Monthly Archives: July 2009

Solution People

I have links on my site like: the Mahoning Watershed Timebank, Freecycle, Hands On Volunteer Network and the Armchair Activist because I feel  they provide for changes that can make for a better community and a better world.

For the betterment of our planet we also need to think about whether we really need of all of the things we purchase. Do we need a Hummer or a four wheel drive vehicle here in NE Ohio for the six days of winter we get enough snow to even bother shoveling? Do we need a McMansion to live in with rooms we’ll never use? Do you really need so much bling in your life?

The Elecpencil has been accused of being such a pessimist that if he smells flowers he looks around for a casket.  Truth is I’m trying hard to be an optimist because I think it is better for ones health. I believe that the individual person provides the antidote for a better world. When I see people who are racist, people who bash illegal immigrants, and the recent example of the “birthers” who question where President Obama was born I know people can also be the problem. I tend to believe these problem people are outweighed by the solution people.

Whenever solution people do something for others without expecting anything in return  they are doing a revolutionary act that is counter to our system.  When you have helped others without expecting anything in return you have inspired them to do the same. I know this is a slow revolution but it is a revolution none the less and one that can work because it’s one where we can all be leaders.

The movie, “Play it Forward” got at the heart of this kind of revolution. Here is a preview of the movie: Pay it Forward

Think a young kid could only make the world better in the movies?

Five year-old girl feeds 18,000

Think such a idea as, “Play it Forward” can’t work? See: Pittsburgh to Chicago

It’s all about good Samaritans: Kidney

Maybe those are to big of a scale for you so how about this: Gasoline

Rascal Flatts: My Wish

Playing for Change: One Love

Wherever you find injustice, the proper form of politeness is attack.

~T Bone Slim

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Trying to Harvest a Field of Dreams

The Elecpencil looks at issues in the world  from the point of what would be best for my children’s future. I think most parents tend to think along the same lines.

I know a big issue has been about whether our children will have the same standard of living as we baby boomers did. With jobs disappearing to the Third World at such an alarming rate it looks like we may soon be the Third World.  The jobs left have gone from decent paying industrial ones to lower paying service sector jobs. I can personally attest to that situation. The industrial jobs left now have second and third tier wages for the generations after the boomers.

Of course the things we want for our kids to lead a good life are not just about money but also about inheriting a cleaner environment, a world not at war and just being able to lead a happy life. I’m not seeing the country we live in planting enough seeds for our children to see a harvest of their, “Field of Dreams.”

I recently saw author, Douglas Rushkoff interviewed and thought he had some good ideas about our economy and a better way of life. I didn’t mention this to my son so I was surprised to get an e-mail from him saying, ” Dad I saw this guy on TV and liked what he had to say so check out this link.” I was happy to see my son and I both felt some sign of hope that someone was offering answers to some of our questions  about the future. As the Elecpencil has gotten older he has not found many answers in life only more questions. I have decided that being on a quest for answers is what life is about.

I give you the link for the nine part short videos my son sent me:

Life Inc. The Movie from Douglas Rushkoff

Drop me a comment and let me know what you think.

Todd Rundgren: New World Order

For the Want of a Nail

If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. ~ Emma Goldman

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Talking Inequality

Before we can talk about how to make the USA and the world better let’s look at a big problem in our country. That would be a discussion on inequality that neither of our two parties want to address. I would tend to agree with the following three part video see if you don’t agree:

I think these videos get to the heart of the matter in a simple to understand way. We need to not get caught up defending either of our two parties because does either one of them really represent you over the corporations that finance them?

Song: Skip a Rope

Where is the Love

The miners lost because they had only the constitution. The other side had bayonets. In the end, bayonets always win. ~ Mother Jones

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Blog Update:10 Best Cities to Start a Business / Fairy Tales by Talk Show Callers

Blog Update:

This August’s Entrepreneur magazine boldly promotes the feature story “The 10 Best Cities to Start a Business” and Youngstown Ohio made the list!

The factors the magazine cited in ranking Youngstown so high: a dynamic congressman, and energetic young mayor, exciting and thriving tech ventures like YBI portfolio company Turning Technologies, and the Youngstown Business Incubator.

This proves that the Elecpencil was right when he said in yesterday’s post that our area unions in no way scare off businesses that might want to locate in our area. Score one the Elecpencil and a zero for the areas anti-union radio talk show callers. I give you yesterday’s post:

Fairy Tales by Talk Show Callers

You’ve all heard the corporate tools and small businessmen who call our local radio talk shows and say this, “The unions in this area are too strong and that’s why companies won’t locate here.” To that the Elecpencil says, “Horseshit.”

I’m the most union guy around but these unions around here are the best friends companies ever had. Take the IUE at Delphi for instance who voted for contracts over the years that have set up two and three tiered wages. Hell, a contract with a fourth tier almost passed. For newly hired workers that have to do the same jobs for less and never reach wage parody tiers should be spelled “Tears.” Does someone think these lower wage workers pay any less for gas, groceries or utilities?

The USWA I once belonged to pushed so many concessionary contracts on steel plants that we workers went from being called, “Joe Sixpacks” to “Joe Twopacks” or from “Joe Bag of Donuts” to “Joe Bag of Donut Holes” if you prefer. So I find myself wishing unions had just 10% of the strength that talk radio callers imagine. I also find my self wishing I had 10% of the free time these talk show callers do so I could call talk radio and counter their fairy tales.

The other thing I wish is that these anonymous anti-union callers who own businesses would tell me the name of their business so my union butt wouldn’t cross their doorstep. Truth is they don’t have the nads to say the name of their sweatshop.

As for businesses who are suppose to be afraid of our big strong unions and won’t locate here let me note that Wal-Mart just located in Liberty Ohio and has other stores in our valley. They don’t care about our unions just how much corporate welfare communities can throw at them to get them to set up shop.

I talked to a young fellow who just got hired at the new Wal-Mart in Liberty. He had to pass four separate interviews and a drug test before being hired for this job that pays barely above minimum wage. I asked him, “On which day  did Wal-Mart make you watch their anti-union movie?” He replied, “On the first day I was hired.” He also said they gave new workers a whole spiel on how green Wal-Mart is. He said, “The spiel contained such a small effort of being green that the newly hired workers had to bite their lips to keep from laughing out loud.”

More low paying jobs selling Chinese sweatshop goods is just what our area doesn’t need. Who’s got an answer about what is economically happening in our country and what can we as individuals do about it? I will be posting a video  later in the week that I think gets to the heart of the matter.

Sweatshop Union: Thing About It

Human Race

With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men.

Clarence Darrow


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Don’t Miss This Event

pig iron

Photo of Pig Iron Press

The Elecpencil wants to invite everyone to a cool event he attends every year. I’m talking about:

Saturday, July 18, 2009
Pig Iron Community Street Festival
North Phelps Street, from Commerce Street to Federal Street
Youngstown, Ohio 44503
Free admission!
Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The festival will include music, magic, poetry, a talent contest and an artist and crafts bazaar and more.

The festival is put on by the Pig Iron Literary and Art Works (PILAW) in association with the Pig Iron Press which has been in business 35 years.

Mission Statement: PILAW is organized to enrich the quality of multi-generational cultural and social life in the Valley by advocating for, sponsoring, and promoting programs in the areas of literature, art, culture, and community.

The following are some of the musical acts and a sampling of their music:

Singer/Songwriter: Adam Jacobs:  Fake Loving You

Waterfall

Dog OK: Check out their mp3’s here

The electronic sounds of : Beautiful Day Monster Collective

Here are tunes by: SexTon

Rockin sounds of: Aldous

Great 80’s sounding rock of:  Makayla Dawn

The acoustic indie sounds of: the City Beneath/Chazz Sutton

The events entertainment will also feature: The Leonard Cohen Ensemble of One, Indian Catastrophe, Jason Alan Magic, Lemon Grove Medicine Show, Dr. RAY’S Amazing Side Show of Science, the Talent Show and the Pig Iron Poets!

Come celebrate the “common unity” of the Youngstown community at this great free event!

“When buying a used car, punch the buttons on the radio. If all the stations are rock and roll, there’s a good chance the transmission is shot.” ~ Larry Lujack




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A Barracuda Goes Fishing

A bad day of fishing

gw


is still better than a good day at work.


Don’t you feel safer now that all three of these Bozos are no longer working? The Elecpencil predicts that Sarah Palin like that other GOP losing candidate Mike Huckabee  will soon have a show on FOX NEWS.

Taj Mahal Fishing Blues

Squat That Rabbit

Men and fish are alike.  They both get into trouble when they open their mouths.  ~Author Unknown

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Observations at the County “Fare”

Well, the Elecpencil is back after major computer problems. My computer is old and needed some major updating that my son is still working on.

It is the rainy season and in this area that means that it is Trumbull County Fair time. The fair was moved up one week earlier this year in an effort to avoid the annual NE Ohio rain storms that happen the second week of July. You can’t fool Mother Nature that easily as she brought on the monsoons one week earlier and soaked fair goers.

Here is a poem I wrote a few years back about the Trumbull County Fair but it would still be true about any county fair in America.

Observations at the County “Fare”

My kids were pestering me to go to the fair,
and I realized I hadn’t been to one in years.
It’s good family entertainment, a learning experience.
There’s farm animals, a horse race,
pickle and jelly judging,
4-H and farm equipment exhibits.
It will do the kids a world of good
to learn about the agricultural community.

Orange flag wavers make me park,
miles from the entrance gate
in a field of mud.
My first inkling something is amiss
is the parking area near the gate.
It looks more like a motorcycle rally
than a county fair.
A 5-foot tall, 95-pound biker
jumps up and down on his Harley
trying to get it started.
Another leather-clad biker
standing nearby said,
“Pig Pen what’s the matter?
You just rebuilt that hog.”
Nearby a 20-something couple
that looks like magazine models,
fire up a pair of Honda Goldwings,
and smoothly cruise by.
Under his breath Pig Pen’s pal
mutters, “Jap lovers.”
The workingman in me is thinking
those Hondas were made in Ohio.
I’m glad the Japanese are building here
as more and more U.S. companies head overseas.
Pig bounces up and down,
still mumbling, “Rice burners.”
The only thing he’s burning
is energy as his legs,
hop up and down
between his Milwaukee vibrators
Italian made front forks
and Japanese carburetor.

I half empty my wallet
for admission.
I’m told that includes all
rides for free.
My kids stop
at the first booth.
A woman is airbrushing tattoos
on a teenage girl’s shoulder.
The girl turns to show her friends
the huge butterfly.
She giggles and tells them,
“My father would kill me,
if this were real.”
Judging by her blue hair
and pierced lip, eyebrow, nose
and 8 or 9 earrings in each ear,
I suspect her father
is already visually impaired.

As I glance about I notice
the fair has a dress code.
Any color T-shirt you want,
as long as it’s black.
Heavy Metal t-shirts are in abundance,
Mega-Death, Maxi-Death, Ultimate-Death,
Gigantic-Death, Super-Duper-Death, Colossal-Death
and Big-Gulp 72 oz. Death.
Then there’s the screaming eagle,
tattered and torn Harley  t-shirt crowd.
I’m thinking instead of a jelly-judging contest,
there should be a dirtiest, stinkiest t-shirt competition.
Or maybe a 1st place award
for most tats or piercing.
Vendors are selling wrestling t-shirts,
only in black of course.

The horse races of the past have been replaced
with redneck tractor pulls and demo derbies.
Carnies yell from game booths,
“Come on Pops, break a balloon,
one dart for only two bucks.”
What happened to 25 cents a game?
At $2.00, the only thing I’m breaking
is going to be my bank account.

There are few animals at the fair that are real,
most are pink and stuffed.
But there’s lots of animals’ feces.
That smell lingers and mixes,
with the smell of fried foods.
If you’re hungry, there are lots of choices
for you to pick from.
There’s steak, bananas, caramel apples, Klondike’s,
corndogs, sausage, tacos and egg rolls.
They’re all convenient for you to eat,
because they’re all served on a stick.
The guy that owns that stick company
must be a gazillionaire.

Carnies continue to yell,
“Show the kids how it’s done
only 2 bucks,
a mere 2 bucks.”
I notice all these carnies
seem to look alike.
Shaved heads and tattoos
and only one tooth in their head.
There must be a lot of inbreeding
and no lifeguards in the gene pool.

The rides my kids ride cost extra,
so much for the free rides.
A barker screams out to all,
“Come into the freak show.”
Only, you guessed it,
a mere two dollars.
The sign says two-headed dog
as seen in the Inquirer.
I tell the barker,
it’s Enquirer with an E
and not an I,
he stares through me.
A six-legged sheep
is in front of the tent.
I look at the paintings on the canvas tent
of the dog lady
and the alligator man.
I then realize they spawned
the carnie workers.
When I look down
the fair’s midway,
I see people who could be framed
as walking skin art
or the multi-pierced people
who look like walking jewelry boxes.
Then there’s the bikers, heavy-metal heads,
Goths and wrestling fans.
The barker asks me,
“Hey buddy, bringing the family in?”
“No way,” I say,
“The freak show is out here pal!”

As we leave for the night,
Pig Pen is loading his cycle
in the back of a pickup truck.
A handy accessory to have
when you own a Harley.

Now the real contest begins,
finding you car in the dark.
In the background I hear the freak show barker,
“See the four-headed chicken and the bearded lady.”
As I check my wallet, I think,
“See the bankrupt dad.”
I realize that fair is spelled wrong,
it should be “F-A-R-E.”
My kids have seen more than enough for one day.
Maybe next time I’ll just take them to a gambling casino.

Dave Alvin 4th of July

Every Night About This Time

“Everything being a constant carnival, there is no carnival left.”

Victor Hugo

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