Dialogue 5 – Comedy

September 26th, 2018 by Ken

“A dog walks into a bar  . .”

“What are you doing,” she asks.

“Telling a joke,” he answered

“What makes you think I want to hear a joke.  I don’t feel very funny right now.”

“Maybe a good joke will make you feel better,” he said

“Maybe not – but go ahead and try.”

“Why would I want to tell you a joke when you’re not really open to hearing a joke,” he said.  “I think you have to want to hear a joke to really appreciate it.”

“OK, I’ll get a better attitude,” she said.   “Go ahead and tell me.”

“A dog walks into a bar and says to the bartender, Do you have any jobs.  The bartender said, Why don’t you try the circus.  The dog says – How many bartender  jobs do they have at the circus.”

“I don’t get it,” she said.   “Why would a dog ask a bartender for a job?”

“Let me change the subject,” he said.  “When I die I want my headstone to say ‘If life is a joke – then death is its punch line.”

“You didn’t tell me you were sick,” she said.



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An interesting meal

September 20th, 2018 by Ken

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the Lacey McDonald’s to get a quick bite to eat before an evening meeting.  A homeless man was standing near the door and asked me if I could give him some money to get something to eat.  I said, “No, but I’ll buy you something.”

He said thanks and went inside with me.  “What can I have,” he asked.  “Anything you want,” I replied.  He ordered his meal and went and sat down at a table.  I ordered mine and the woman behind the register said, “I won’t charge you for his.”  She didn’t, and I thought  it was very kind of McDonald’s, but I’m not sure if that was the store’s policy or just a kind person working that evening.

I got my food and went and sat down at his table.  He was a little surprised, but moved his stuff and gave me room to sit.  We started making small talk.   I found out his name was Jay and that he was 52 years old.  And, that he slept near a dumpster by Lowe’s.  A short time later I asked him if he was a vet.  “Yea,” he said.  “Vietnam.”  I thought a minute and realized that was an incorrect statement.  “You were too young for Vietnam,” I said.  “They drafted me right out of the eighth grade,” he stated.  “They were looking for a Rambo type and I was it.”

I realized that Jay might be having some problems, but I didn’t push it.  We kept talking and he told me he had to get to Reno because his Tiffany jewelry was locked in a vault and they had taken his key.  It became obvious that Jay was having some mental problems.  We talked a little more and he told me he was a computer security expert and was looking for work.  “Did you know,” he said, “that all of the computer knowledge in the world is kept in a warehouse in Estonia.”

That was the key.  Estonia.  He could have said almost any other country and it might be possible – – but Estonia?

It was time for me to leave.   “Have to go,” I said.  “Got to get to my meeting.”

“Thanks,” he said, as I walked out the door.

He wasn’t threatening and I never felt like he might lose control, but – – it was an experience you seldom have. Besides, I got to see the charity of one of our fast food restaurants.  It was an interesting meal.

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Mother Nature’s Third Act

September 18th, 2018 by Ken


It’s been a hot dry summer.  This is the third summer in a row with hotter and drier weather than normal.  While I enjoyed the weeks of sun, my garden, my yard and my psyche began to suffer.   I wanted rain and I wanted lots of it.

Well, the rain came, and along with it came Fall.  Autumn started this week.  I love Fall.  It’s my favorite time of the year.

Fall is like the third act of a four-act play.  All of the characters, all of the excitement, all of the action becomes more animated just before the fourth act and the finale.  That describes Fall fairly well.   It’s colorful, its exciting and it’s a prelude to the end.

The trees have started to turn and soon will spread their color over the ground.  The Big Leaf Maple has piled its droppings in brown patterns all over the lawn while the Flowering Plum’s purple leaves contrast with the dark green of my neighbors lawn.

Soon the daffodils will start peeking their heads up thinking that spring is here when the sun makes a last few futile efforts to stop from becoming irrelevant.   The dahlias and the roses  have  a few colorful blooms, but even those are beginning to wilt and sensing the shortening of the days.  The marigolds still have some yellow color but the brown of rotted petals can be seen more often on the tall stems while the smell of those rotted flowers carry several feet.

Someone in the neighborhood has put out a sack of peanuts for the squirrels and they roam the area at will, digging and planting their fall harvest for the winter, not caring that they are disturbing the Tulip bulbs just planted a few days ago.   The loose soil easily dug.

Down by the lake, a handful of Canadian geese are still roaming the shoreline looking for handouts, content to stay put and not migrate south with the rest of the clan.  Their clucking and honking can be heard over the sounds of the lawn mowers of those few souls who feel the need to cut the grass one more time.

I’m content to stay inside and venture out only for my daily walk, secure in the feeling that the Third Act is the best act of all.  Knowing that an early Fall is a joy and a bonus.

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You don’t have to be “fair and balanced” in news coverage

September 16th, 2018 by Ken

Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald.  His column often appears in The Olympian.

His recent column said that newspapers do not have to show both sides of an issue.   Pitts claims that showing both sides of an issue, in an effort to be fair, often gives both sides the same standing, when it’s obvious that one side is the predominate side and that newspapers are under no obligation to be “fair and balanced.”

He’s right.  No newspaper has to be fair and balanced in its news coverage.  Presenting fair and balanced news is a modern idea that has no basis in history.  Since the beginning of the printed word, newspapers never claimed to present both sides of an issue fairly.  For most of this country’s history, newspapers were either conservative or liberal.  More importantly, they were often “homers” with a bias towards printing what was good for the community it served.

The problem began in the 1960’s and 70’s when newspapers were being criticized for being monopolies.  Their subscribers began clamoring for news that printed both sides of a controversial issue.  Newspapers answered by printing the news on the news pages and keeping the biases to the editorial pages.

Now, with the age of Trump, papers have forgotten that news and opinions should be separated.  You have only to read a newspaper to see the biases in the writing and more importantly in the stories that the newspaper chooses to  print.  I once had a newspaper editor tell me that he decides what is news.   “If I chose to run a story I make it important by where I place the story on the page and how big of a headline I put on it.”  That’s even more true today.

You can’t blame newspapers for showing their biases.  They are no longer the dominate news media in the country nor often in their own home town.Social media, technology and television have displaced newspapers as the main source of news for people.

If you want to see the future of newspapers, you only have to look at cable news to see where it’s heading.   FOX News is conservative, CNN is liberal.  Viewers know what side of an issue the station will come down on and watch the channel that best fits their bias.  That’s where newspapers are heading.  They’re already there, they just aren’t admitting to it.

Please.  Would The Olympian stop saying it’s  “fair and balanced”  when the readers of its pages know otherwise.  Follow Leonard Pitts Jr.’s advice and come clean.  You could be setting a trend that other newspaper will soon emulate.

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Dialogue 4 – Old Age

September 14th, 2018 by Ken


“It’s hell getting old,” she said.  “I’ve got aches and pains everywhere and just about everyday I discover another.”

“Welcome to the club,” he said.  “Want to compare pains?”

“Not today,” she said.  “But, maybe if I get a new one tomorrow, I’ll want to talk about it.  Until then, how come young people think it’ll never happen to them?”

“Because old age doesn’t come all at once,” he said.  “It comes upon you a day at a time.   A new ache here, a sprain there, a broken ankle, a hard hit on the head.   We get these over a period of time and they just sneak up on you.

“But, there’s a good thing about that,” he said.

“What can be good about having all the aches and pain of old age?” she asked.

“Simple,” he said.  “Time gives us a chance to adapt.  We age one day at a time, we adapt one day at a time.

“Put a 25 year old in this body and he’d be screaming like a baby.  Old age asks the questions, but it gives you time to understand the answers.”

“So, would you want to be 25 again,” she asked.

“Not on your life,” he said.

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Washington’s immigration problem

September 11th, 2018 by Ken

Washington State has an immigration problem.   It’s California and Californians.

Some 10,000 a month move to our fine state.   They bring their socialist ideas, they bring their bankrolls of money made by selling their $300,000 homes for $2.1 million and they bring their California culture.

Half of them settle in the Seattle area and the other half settle around the Puget Sound area.   A few, a handful, make their way to the Eastern side of the state where they congregate around Spokane.   But their impact is significant.

With their pockets bulging with money, they overpay for housing and drive up the cost of living for everyone else.  Seattle has the second highest housing costs in the country, second only to San Francisco.  This influx of over paying drives up housing costs all around the Puget Sound area and right here in Thurston County.

They also bring their socialist ideas, particularly as it relates to government and government’s role in our lives.  Several of the state initiatives on the ballot this year are the result of Seattle-area Californians who want to remake the state – or at least Seattle and Puget Sound – into the California image.

And, they often fail to assimilate into the Northwest culture.  They complain about the rain, about the gray and cloudy weather.  They put on jackets when the temperature dips to 72 degrees and complain about being cold.  They ride their bicycles on our bike trails and demand more trails be built.

And, they run for public office with the idea of changing the independent spirit of Washingtonians into one of subservience to the greater good.  One California right now is running for the highest seat in Thurston County government.

This isn’t new.  Californians have been pouring across our borders since the 1980’s.  Oregon even tried to stop them once before they got to our state, but failed.  (At one time, the police chiefs of Olympia and Lacey, as well as the Thurston County sheriff, were all California transplants.)

We need to find a solution to this problem.  Maybe we need a wall on the Columbia River and a roadblock on I-5 and 101 to stop them before they get here.  And, we’ll have California build it.  Or, maybe we just need to face the fact that California is out-of-control and the smart ones are moving out and moving here.


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Lawn Chairs

September 10th, 2018 by Ken

Jan and I have been doing a lot of sitting out doors this summer.   The weather just seemed to require that we leave the interior of the house and venture outside.

For the occasion we bought six new lawn chairs.  Not the really good kind that you buy in an outdoor store for hundreds of dollars, but good enough chairs that we actually purchased at Costco.

We have them placed strategically around the yard.  Two of them sit facing the East where we can get the morning sun.   Here we start the morning with coffee, the newspaper (Jan gets hers on-line) and conversation.

As the day wears on and the sun gets a little too hot, we move to the two chairs we have under our large Cherry Tree.  It blocks most of the sun and gives us a different view of our yard.   We usually sit in these chairs after having done some household chore  like washing the dishes or vacuuming the floors.  A cool drink often helps us to relax and enjoy our conversation.

In the evening, when things have calmed down we sit in our lawn chairs on our patio, facing west and watch the sun go down.  These happen to be rocking type chairs and we rock as we share the highlights of our day.   We stay there until we run out of highlights, or it gets a little to chilly for one of us.

There’s nothing like good lawn chairs to help put a day into perspective.


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Worst state initiative in history?

September 6th, 2018 by Ken

Initiative 1639 is the most intrusive, the most ill-conceived, the most unconstitutional, the most over reaching state initiative in history.   It may be the worse initiative since Initiative 276 in 1972 which made it difficult for good people to run for public office.

Initiative 1639 is billed as a school safety measure but in reality it blows a hole in the Second Amendment and will no doubt be over-turned by the courts.   But if approved by the voters, it may be years before the courts rule and the damage will have been done to individual rights.

The initiative makes the possession and use of most guns illegal.  It puts intrusive rules in place which would place severe restrictions on the use and storage of firearms.   And, it make it illegal for 18-20 year-olds to buy or own a gun even if they’re in the military.

The campaign to get the measure on the ballot was paid for by out-of-state money and Seattle liberals.

If you own a gun of any kind, you will be faced with new rules on how you can buy, store and use your gun – – no matter what type of gun you own.   Don’t be fooled.  This has nothing to do with semi-automatic assault rifles.

There is no definition for such a weapon in law.   Get this straight.  All guns and most rifles are semi-automatic.  That means you have to pull the trigger for every shot.  Automatic weapons fire their entire magazine in one pull.   Most automatic weapons are already illegal.

I think supporters of gun control don’t understand that most guns and rifles are semi-automatic and not automatic.  I suspect assault rifles are those semi-automatics which have high capacity magazines and and can fire one at a time until the magazine is empty.

We need to have a good discussion on guns and responsibilities but Initiative 1639 is just a feel good measure so Seattle liberals can say they’re doing something about gun violence – while not doing anything at all but place the burden on legal gun owners.


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Dialogue – love

September 4th, 2018 by Ken


“It’s all about love,” he said.

“Love, what’s love got to do with it?” she asked.

“Everything,” he said.  “Everything.   Love is the glue that holds us together.  Without love we’re just an empty vessel floating along the ground, moving whenever a strong breeze or gust of wind sends us in some direction.

“Love gives us roots, deep roots, that allow us to grow and explore  our world while still being anchored to something special.”

“Where’d you read that?” she asked.  “On some Facebook page.”

“Nope, he said.  “From experience.”



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27,548 days

August 29th, 2018 by Ken

27,548 days.   That’s how long I’ve been alive (as of August 21, 2018).  27,548 days I’ve lived on this planet, breathed its air, drank its water, ate its food.

For 27,548 days I’ve learned from it.  Things like compassion, selfishness, love, hate, despair, anxiety, beauty, horror, and hundreds of other lessons.   Some came easy, some came hard, some came early and some needed everyone of the days I had available.

We all have somewhere around 29,000 days in our life span if we’re lucky enough.  What lessons are you still going to learn in your remaining days?

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A story on reading

August 28th, 2018 by Ken

The boy remembered the first time he learned to read.  He was parked in front of a small town meat market in a car being driven by his mother, waiting for his father to get off work.  Slowly he sounded out each word – – Charles City Meats.  “It says Charles City Meats, mom.”   “That’s right son,” she replied.

He was four.  It wasn’t unusual for a child to read at four years of age, although children learned to read a lot later back then; but it seems unusual for him to remember the exact time and place when he learned to read.

When he was about eight years of age, living off of a rural road in the country, it was the bi-weekly bookmobile which got his attention.

Every two weeks, during the summer, the bookmobile would stop at the end of the long dirt road.  In order to serve the rural population the local library sent an old bus, filled with books, out in the county to serve kids who couldn’t make it into town.

It was one of the highlights of his summer.  He would browse through all of the books on the racks.  Since there was a limit on the number of books he could borrow, he made his selections only after careful consideration.  After an hour, maybe less, he could never be sure of how much time passed, he would leave the bus with his arms full of books, hoping they would last until the bookmobile came again.

In school, most of the subjects bored him, with the exception of history and literature (what was called reading then.)   But he was lucky.   He was seated next to the entire collection of the World Book Encyclopedia.  It was in these volumes that he escaped the boredom of organized education.   He started with the “A” section and made his way through the entire collection  which ended in “XYZ” before the school year was out.  How much he recalled of his readings is left to a faded memory, but he remembered loving the words on every page.

When he was 12 he discovered the Christian Bible.   People were talking about it and people were quoting it, so I thought I better read it, he said.   The boy picked up an old copy of the Bible and every night, before he went to sleep, he read a chapter.   Most of it was uninteresting, full of “begots”, but he made his way through.  It wasn’t the last time that he would read that book.

For his 13th birthday, he asked his mom for a book case in which he could keep his many books.

Without much money, and a good distance from any library, the boy would go into his local mini-market and read the new pocket books on sale off the magazine rack. He would stand there for an hour or more, reading the new novels.  He particularly liked historical novels, but he also took a shine to Mike Hammer and Mickey Spillane.   He knew the books were re-stocked every Friday, so it was on the weekends when he took time to look over the new selection.  And he’d pick one, maybe two, stuff them in his jacket pocket and walk out the door.   These new pocket novels eventually filled his new book case.

When he moved into town, the boy would look for ways to spend the summer days and he found it in the Carnegie Library.   The rows and rows of books overwhelmed him.   But he made his way through most of the biographies and some of the histories, sitting in the old wooden chairs and filling his mind with images.

During his time in the Army, the boy, now a young man, would find his way to the Dayroom which the military stocked with ping pong tables, card tables, a television and many magazines.   The young man would look over the dozens of titles, pick one out, and sit for several hours just reading the magazines, many of them he had never heard of before.   The military exposed him to new worlds, through its magazine collection.

When he became a husband, the man subscribed to the local newspaper and as many magazines as he could afford.   And, while he watched television for entertainment, he found reading as an educational escape from the troubles and the worries of being a husband, and then a father.

When the opportunity came for higher  education, the man, grasped the opportunity and entered college, expecting to be exposed to new ideas and new concepts.   What he found was often boring and nonsense.  So, he started a reading and writing group and soon found himself teaching classes in both for the students, many of whom were a decade younger than himself.

That translated into employment in the newspaper and radio business, where he had to read to keep ahead of his audience, but a chore he found exhilarating and exciting.

As he aged he continued reading.  As the act of actually reading printed material ceased to be a major factor in communications, he still read.  Since printed magazines were inexpensive he subscribed to several, as many as a dozen at last count and found himself surrounded by new writers and new information.

To this day, the man reads constantly.   He can’t sit still for a few minutes without feeling the need to read something.

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Where is George Barner Jr.?

August 11th, 2018 by Ken

Despite losing part of his right foot to diabetes.  Despite losing his house to fire and all of his worldly possessions.  Despite suffering a stroke which sent him into rehab – – George Barner Jr. is alive, standing tall, and looking towards the future.

George has purchased a mobile home and is putting it on a lot he owns near Tenino.  He is working with a partner to develop his former homestead, which consists of two city lots on the westside of Olympia,  into a four-plex which he will rent out.

And, physically, he is doing well.  George is still suffering some weakness in his right side because of the stroke, but he can walk slowly.  His mind is still sharp although he does have some trouble pulling out information as quickly as he would like.  This may be because of age as well as the stroke, because shortly, he’ll be 78.

George is still involved in those projects which are important to him and continues to plan for the future.

And he continues to be a local community icon who has had a tremendous impact on our lives.

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A new police chief for Lacey – my opinion

August 6th, 2018 by Ken

Dusty Pierpoint’s decision to retire as Lacey Police Chief gives residents a cause to pause.

Dusty has been a good police chief and is well-liked and well-respected in the Lacey community.   When the announcement was made at the monthly Lacey Chamber forum last week that he was retiring, the chief received a standing ovation from the largely business crowd.

His reputation in the community is set.  At the age of 53, he still has years to go and perhaps he will re-appear somewhere in some other capacity.

But, a recent article in The Olympian cast the chief in a different light.  The head of the Lacey Police Guild – Ken Kollmann – stated that the department was a “mess” and detailed allegations and charges against the city and the chief.

The Guild has asked that the city look outside the department for the choice of a new chief, indicating that they were not happy with the current leadership of the department.  “That’s what they said when I was appointed,” Dusty said recently when asked about the Guild’s choice.

Dusty Pierpoint is the fourth police chief the city has had in its 52 year history.   The first chief Chuck Neuman was fired by the city’s mayor Al Homann.  No one has ever said why he was fired.   The second police chief Jim Land was a wife beater, and an alcoholic who ruled his department with an iron first.  It took a change in mayors before he too was fired.   The third police chief came from California – John Mansfield held the job for more than 20 years until his retirement more than a decade ago.  (It was at that time in the 1980’s, when the Lacey Police Chief, the Olympia Police Chief and the Thurston County Sheriff had all been in law enforcement in California.)

Current Sheriff John Snaza has a great deal of respect for Dusty Pierpoint.   In his opinion, a new police chief for Lacey should be someone who understands the Lacey community, something an outsider does not.  (For the full interview with Sheriff Snaza, click on the Coffee With Ken button at the top of the page.)

I don’t have a good understanding about the department’s leadership team at the top, but I do agree with Sheriff Snaza.  The new police chief should understand Lacey and what makes this community different from other cities.

I also agree with the Lacey Police Guild in one respect.  We do need more police officers for this growing community.

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I’m a dead skunk

July 30th, 2018 by Ken

I’ve been thinking about creating a new political party called – The Dead Skunk Party.

It’s not a new idea.  Over the past several decades many people have talked about trying to create a middle-of-the-road party.  But it has often been said that the only things in the middle of the road are dead skunks.  Well – call me a dead skunk.

For decades I was a member of the Democratic Party.  I served as precinct committeeman for most of that time and attended several state conventions.  Almost became a delegate to the national convention.  My party was the party of the poor working stiff.   The laborer, the farmer, the small business owner, the pride of the country.

Over the  years my party moved left.   I stayed in the middle.   If I had to put a label on my political position, it would be as a Henry Jackson Democrat.  Fiscal conservative, social liberal, internationalist.   I never moved to the Republican Party.   The religious overtones scared me away.

Now, the Democrats have moved so far left that they are now the Socialist Democratic Party.   The Republican Party is still searching for an identity and trying to stay relevant as Donald Trump and his supporters have made the party a shell of itself.

We need another party.   We need a Dead Skunk Party.   Sign me up.


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When it’s hot – it’s (well you know the rest)

July 24th, 2018 by Ken

Just got back from my annual visit to Sin City.   People say, “isn’t it hot in Las Vegas?”  I reply, “it’s 68 degrees in the casinos.”

But, it has been hot in Las Vegas – 110, 111, 112, 113 – – the days we were there.  Locals adapt.  They go from their air conditioned houses to their air conditioned cars to their air conditioned offices.  However there are people on the streets – – tourists for one.

Only mad dogs and tourists go out in the desert sun.

Thinking they’ll walk from their hotel to a casino or restaurant down the street, they venture out.   Many of them are from cooler climes and don’t realize it doesn’t take long to feel the effects of  the desert sun.  And, don’t forget, the blocks in Las Vegas along the Strip are long.

Very few collapse, but sunburn, heat stroke and dehydration are common occurrences.  After one walking trip, most of them go back inside and stay at their original location never to venture out again.

However, there are people on the streets along the Strip.   The street performers.  No matter what the time or the temperature, these Las Vegas staples are on the job.  Dressed as Superman, a gladiator, chorus girl, Mickey Mouse, and more, these are people just trying to make a living.  If the heat impacts them, they don’t say so to the tourists.

When its hot – some people still have to make a living.

( A side note:  It’s hot here as well.   This is the fourth hot summer in row.   If this climate change continues, think I’ll probably have to get an air conditioner.)

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The day Don Rich died

July 17th, 2018 by Ken

July 17, 1974, was a long day for Don Rich.

He had spent the day at Buck Owen’s Bakersfield studio and was heading on his bike to meet his family for a vacation.   Buck Owen’s never liked Don riding.  He often asked him to stop and drive a car instead.   Don didn’t listen and headed out US 1.  Sometime in the middle of the night, his bike hit a center divider strip and Don was killed.

A Tumwater kid, Don was an early student of music.   He began playing the fiddle and other instruments and was well-known around the Olympia area.   At the young age of 16 Don was playing the bars around the area, and it was at one of them that Buck Owens noted him and asked him to play.

Buck was living in Tacoma at the time and was playing a regular gig at Steven’s Gay 90’s on Old 99 in Tacoma.  Don played many gigs with Don but wasn’t certain he could make a living at music so he enrolled at Centralia Community College.  He thought he might be a teacher and teach music.

But, Buck continued to insist that Don join him and eventually he did.  His musical style encompassed rock and roll along with country music, with a twang of Western Swing.  After a few starts and stops, Buck Owens had a hit record “Under Your Spell Again” and the rest is music history.

Don was the perfect partner for Buck and influenced Buck’s style into developing the “Bakersfield Sound.”  Don led the band, the Buckaroos, and had his own hit, a western instrumental called “Buckaroos”.

Buck often said that he owes his fame and fortune to Don Rich.

On that clear day in 1974 Don Rich died.  And so did Buck’s career.

(Editors note:  Don Rich (Don Ulrich) was my neighbor in Tumwater.  We went to Olympia High School, although Don was a year ahead of me.  Don is a member of the Olympia High School Hall of Fame – – and has his own display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.  Some of the information contained in this story came from “The Bigfoot Diaries” on line.)

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Worthless piece of paper

July 16th, 2018 by Ken

It’s election time in Thurston County.   You can tell – – you’ve just received your Voters Pamphlet in the mail.

To many, this voter’s guide in the ultimate political tool.   It’s the one piece of printed matter they depend upon to give them the correct information on the candidates and issues.  Because it comes from the government – – in this case  the Thurston County Auditors office, – – everything in this document is true and accurate.

Boy, are you wrong.   It’s just another worthless piece of paper.

Because, nothing contained in this so called ‘voters guide’ has been vetted to determine the truth.   Actually, the Washington State Supreme Court says you can actually lie in the guide.   It’s a First Amendment thing.

The statements are written by the candidates or their supporters.  It is not edited for grammar, content or truth.  It’s just another piece of political propaganda put out by politicians and paid for by you – – the taxpayer.

Do not believe anything in the voters guide you received in the mail.   Get your information from other sources. Talk to people you trust, go to candidate forums, educate yourself.

Don’t be an ignorant voters – – and don’t believe a word of what you read in the Voter’s Pamphlet.

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The Story Teller

July 12th, 2018 by Ken

I’m partly a journalist and partly a writer, but I’m a complete Story Teller.

As a story teller I’ve learned to never let facts get in the way of a good story.  A good story can often contain fabrications, white lies and stretched truths.

People have been telling stories for millenniums – – around campfires, from traveling minstrels and by way of local cultural outlets.  Good stories keep the listeners interest.

Real facts are often boring.  But a good story contains people you want to know, places you want to go and  adventures you want to undertake.

No story ever told  – no matter how good – has ever been hurt by a little embellishment.

Lets start with a waitress called Carol.   There really was  such a person and her story follows.

The first time I saw Carol she was pouring coffee.  The last time I saw Carol, she was pouring coffee.  It never occurred  to Carol that someone would come into her 10-seat diner and not want a cup of coffee.

I saw her that morning when I came in for breakfast.   I was going to the police department for an interview and felt I needed to eat something before facing the questions and the accusations.

She turned over my cup, filled it up, and said, “What it’ll be honey?”  I ordered a short stack and she left, placed the order with the cook and went on to take care of her customers.

They were all men, and all regulars.  She greeted each one by name, filled up the coffee cup at the seat they always took, and placed their order before they had sat down.  “The usual,” she said, even though the cook was starting to make their breakfast.

She engaged each of the men in conversation, asking about their kids, their jobs and what they were planning to do this coming weekend.   I never heard her ask about their wives, because it was obvious from the way she treated them, that most of them were no longer married.

Carol inquired about their health, smiled when the answer was a positive and frowned when it wasn’t good news.

All the time she kept filling up their coffee cups.

I got engrossed in watching the action.   It was almost like a movie and I was just an observer

I never saw her leave a bill in front of any of her regulars, but they all reached into their wallets and placed an amount on the table before they left.   She trusted them and they responded.

When I finished eating, she came over, put a bill on my table, asked me if I wanted more coffee, said thanks and went back to her regulars..   I left my money – plus on the table and walked out the door.   As I left, I looked back and saw Carol pouring coffee.


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Indian treaty rights have standing

July 5th, 2018 by Ken

For more than 200 years, the Federal Government has been negotiating treaties and land use issues with the Native Americans, whose land and waters they coveted.   And, for 200 years the government has ignored or thrown aside those treaties, when the government and the white settlers wanted the land.

The examples of government indifference to treaty rights could (and has) filled several book. The Sioux are still waiting for the return of the Black Hills and the Trail of Tears remains fresh in the stories the southern tribes still tell.

The same held true here in the Northwest where tribes saw their treaty lands slowly dissolve over decades and centuries of neglect and indifference.

Until the 1970’s, that is, and the Bolt decision which ruled that treaty tribes were granted half of all the salmon running in streams and rivers in the state.  That ruling was later upheld by the United States Supreme Court.

The  high court’s recent ruling that the state and local governments had to remove or repair culverts so the salmon can make their way to the spawning grounds was just the latest in more than half a dozen findings that upheld tribal treaty rights.

I’m not certain that the Sioux will ever get the Black Hills back, or the Creek, Cherokee and other southern tribes will ever get their dues – – but it does demonstrate that things are changing, and that lands and rights spelled out by those marks on paper hold some weight.

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Odds and ends

July 2nd, 2018 by Ken

The Olympia School District is going out for bids on renovation of the old Daily Olympian building as the location for its new district office.   Bids will be go out later this month.   Engineer’s estimate of cost for making the facility into a district office is $3.3 million.

Intercity Transit is just one of several government agencies thinking about about asking voters for more money.  Those who run 911 dispatch are seeking more money, local school districts are also looking at bond issues in the near future and our city governments are eyeing addition financial support for various projects.

For more than four decades, planners have been touting the benefit of “walkable communities.”  Almost every local comprehensive plan dealing with development, calls for “walkable communities”.    These usually call for wider sidewalks, narrower streets, trees and plants along right-of-way and constructing buildings up to the street line.  Two things are often missing in these plans however – – interesting views along the walkway and someplace to go when they get there.

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