Friday, August 31, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review #2012-15

I am an American

Just prior to my graduation ceremony from junior high school in 1961, all students in the class had to give a presentation, or speech, to the general public. I chose the poem, 'I am an American' by Elias Lieberman. I had no idea who Mr. Lieberman was, nor did I have a real understanding of what his words meant. I was merely a 13 year old young kid trying to get through an experience as best I could. My speaking and memory skills were rudimentary and unrefined, so any presentation I would make was bound to be apparent with stage fright.

As an adult I began to understand what it means to be an American, an individual free to pursue my life as I see fit in a peaceful manner. Deciding what kind of car to drive, where to live, what kind of house to buy, what I want to eat, expressing my thoughts in words and deeds were what it means to be free. In fact, millions of people came before me to define their lives through the same actions. Some went to war to defend these freedoms, to preserve them for their children and grandchildren. Many didn't return from distant battlefields. What do people living in the United States today owe those that came before. What do we owe those who understood the importance of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the natural rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? I doubt that many people think of this proposition; that our ancestors bequeathed a nation to their posterity that would be better because of their actions. That we understand the importance of the meaning of the word 'American.'

So here it is; that poem I read fifty years ago. The poem I didn't quite get, but today is the heart and soul of my writing. Enjoy.

by Elias Lieberman

I am an American.
My father was a son of the Revolution.
My mother was a colonial dame.
One of my ancestors pitched tea overboard in Boston Harbor.
Another stood his ground with Warren;
Another hungered with Washington at Valley Forge.
My forefathers were America in the making.

They spoke in her council halls!
They died on her battlefields.
They commanded her ships!
They cleared the forests.

Dawns reddened and paled. 
Staunch hearts of mine beat fast 
At each new star in the nation's flag.
Keen eyes of mine forsaw her greater glory:
The sweep of her seas,
The plenty of her plains,
The man-hives in her billion-wired cities.
Every drop of blood in me holds a heritage of patriotism!
I am an American!

I am an American!
My father was an atom of dust,
My mother, a straw in the wind
To his Serene Majesty.
One of my ancestors died in the mines of Siberia;
Another was crippled for life by twenty blows of the knout;
Another was killed, defending his home during the massacre.
The history of my ancestors is a trail of blood
To the palace-gate of the Great White Czar.

But, then the dream came---
The dream of America.
In the light of the Liberty torch, 
The atom of dust became a man
And the straw in the wind became a woman
For the first time.

See, said my father, pointing to the flag that fluttered near,
"That flag of stars and stripes is yours;
It is the emblem of the promised land.
It means, my son, the hope of humanity.
Live for it---die for it!"

Under the open sky of my new country, 
I swore to do so, 
And every drop of blood in me 
Will keep that vow.
I am proud of my future.
I am an American. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review #2012--14

Skippy, the Sage Books Cat

When you open a used bookshop, there's a couple of things you can't do without. The first thing is books, and the second thing is a bookstore cat. We had the first point pretty much covered, but the second  wasn't fulfilled until the fall of 1998 when Itty Bitty Kitty arrived on the scene. A young, scared little black cat that didn't much care for being alone, or outside, showed up at the backdoor to the shop on a cold November day. She became family almost immediately and enjoyed not only the store, but was a delight to the customers as well.

Now, you'd think that having one bookstore cat would be enough, but something else happened on a late November night in 1999 that enriched our lives and changed our little bookstore family beyond measure. That night Sue was putting out the closed sign when she noticed a big orange fluffy cat quickly headed in her direction. At first she assumed the worst, that perhaps he intended to attack or claw her. As he got near, however, he stopped and stretched his front legs as far as they would go up the side of her leg. She could see by the look in his eyes that he was asking for help. "I'm cold and hungry, can you please help me?" So Sue did the only thing that a cat lover could do. She said, "Alright, I'm going to open the front door to the store. If you want in, then come in." He took just a moment to judge the situation, then made a beeline through the door. Skippy, the bookstore cat had arrived, and he would never leave.

We had no idea where he had come from, only that upon inquiring about the neighborhood found out that everybody in proximity to the store had been feeding him through most of the summer and fall. We had even seen him sleeping once near the foundation of the house, but didn't think much of it since there were, from time to time, stray cats seen around the local properties. After checking with all our neighbors, no one knowing anything about who owned him, we decided to make him our #2 official bookstore cat.

Skippy (he got this name because we thought, perhaps, that he had hitchhiked a ride from parts unknown and was dropped off locally) quickly acclimated himself to the store. He found an excellent sleeping spot in a kitty basket under the new arrival section located directly over a heating vent. He ate himself silly, slept large and did his best to investigate every nook and cranny of ten rooms of books. He had found his sweet spot, his nirvana and we were sure he felt safe in our presence.

As winter turned to spring he showed signs of wanting to take a look at more than just the confines of the store. One day in early May, when a customer entered the store, he saw his chance and ran out the door to the check the delights of a beautiful Spring day. As he motored down the sidewalk we thought that perhaps he had regained his confidence and found it time to leave our employ. He was moving quickly, and since we couldn't leave the store with customers inside, thought that maybe he had gone to seek new adventures. But at exactly ten minutes before we close the store, at ten of five, guess who comes sauntering up the sidewalk obviously proud of a day in the sun? Skippy! He was just doing what any mature male cat would do, out patrolling the neighborhood. He knew where his food and his bed were, and he wasn't about to give those things up.

As time passed, he became a mainstay to the store and the neighborhood, including the Congregational Church two houses over. Rev. Gardiner, Pastor of the church, found Skippy strolling down the aisle of the church during services and would inform the congregants that Skippy, the bookstore cat had arrived. He spent leisurely hours with Ron & Cindy, our next door neighbors, watching a movie or football game. He even jumped into a customer's car that had its windows open on a sunny summer day and ended up half way to New York before they realized who was tagging along. Thank goodness they returned our wanderlust cat to his proper home.

Skippy kept his special acts for the customers and he especially enjoyed being petted under the chin and on his head. He often sat on the check out desk next to me while customers scratched his head and marveled at his size. The good food and fine living conditions had enabled him to put on weight and he now tipped the scales at 18 pounds. His other antics included jumping into boxes of books as if to say, "hey, check out these great reads!" Lying on the floor and exposing his big belly was another favorite pastime. He'd convince you that he wanted  to be scratched on his tummy only to playfully attack anyone who tried to do the scratching.

Skippy loved to be with Sue in our garden. We had a scarecrow called Eleanor Digby, 'who sat on a hill surrounded by dill' that Sue would dress up according to the seasons. Skippy would give Sue such a fright when he'd hide underneath Eleanor's skirt and pounce when the time was right. At other times he would stay perfectly still and end up locked inside the garden when Sue finished attending to the plants. Hours would go by until we finally figured out where he was. Then we'd see him in the garden sheepishly asking to be sprung from his foolish incarceration. There didn't seem to be anything he wouldn't do. When a neighbor's house and barn were sold, he found himself locked in the barn. I had to introduce myself to the new neighbors by asking that they come to the barn (they weren't living at the house at the time) and extricate our trespassing cat. Evidently, our new neighbor hadn't noticed Skippy entering the barn when he locked the door and left.
As the years passed Skippy was more than just a bookstore cat, he was family and a large part of our customers experience. Our regular customers would, upon entering the store immediately ask, "where's Skippy, we want to show him to our friends." He could often be found lounging on the front porch furniture taking a snooze before his patrolling duties would commence, or in the big blue chair next to the fireplace. Skip knew how to enjoy his surroundings and made the most of his time in the yard.

By 2009, we noticed something strange in Skippy's behavior. He seemed to gag when he tried to eat. he was either in pain, or had a difficult time swallowing. We took him to a veterinarian specializing in dentistry to find out that he had a severe inflammation in his throat and several very bad teeth. The doctor proceeded to remove several teeth with instructions to return in one week. Before the end of a week, however, things took a turn for the worse and we took him to another doctor as an emergency visit. This vet gave him a prednisone injection to limit the swelling, but little did we know that he was allergic to this type of medicine. He looked like he might be a goner when we took him to the emergency animal hospital in South Deerfield. Thankfully, however, he pulled through and we felt relieved that the worst might be behind him.

Skip continued on his regular jaunts about the area, sometimes straying into a nearby field. When I saw this, I would call out his name in a cadence that had become recognizable to him, and when he heard me, he'd come running to my side. SKIP-SKIP-SKIPPEEEEEE! Come home Skip. Come on home. Like a flash he'd come running, to be picked up gently to the safety of his home.

In 2010 the same throat problem appeared resulting in more teeth being removed, and in 2011 he suffered a hematoma of his left ear resulting in a misshapen ear as if he'd been in a cat fight. He may not have retained his usual good looks, but he was still our wonderful Skippy.

As in all things there comes an end, but it wasn't Skippy. It was our bookstore. A store that we had labored and loved for over fifteen years was closed on August 31, 2011, and a part of our lives that we treasured beyond description passed before our eyes. Closing the store wasn't fun, but the prospect of retirement loomed in the near future. Business had fallen off dramatically in last 2-3 years and I felt the time was right to close and move. The economy wasn't good, so we felt now was the time to move to Georgia. In 2005 we had taken a short vacation in Savannah, Georgia and fell in love with the area. In 2006 and in 2008, we even looked at houses in the hopes of finding something we liked. In the Spring of 2011 we found our perfect spot with a home in Richmond Hill, Georgia. The move took place on October 1, 2011. Now we were official Georgians and the cats seemed to accept the new house with certain reservations. We now had four cats, two that resided in the former bookstore , and two that were in our residence side of the business. Willow and Jenny, our house cats, had always gotten along. Besides they were only 3 and 4 years old respectively. But for Itty and Skippy, things were not so wonderful. Itty was intimidated by Willow, and Skippy just couldn't understand why he couldn't go outside. But Skip did what he could to make the best of the situation and tried to co-exist in his new environment.

Then it happened again. The gaging, trouble swallowing and general slowing down of an elderly cat. When we found Skippy, his age was estimated at 4-5 years. Now, that would put his age at about 17. Not young for any cat. We took him to a local vet who gave us anti-bacterial medicine to be administered twice daily. She felt it was an infection and could be controlled through medication. We hoped for the best, but he was losing weight at a dramatic pace. We returned to the vet and were given the news that all animal lovers dread to hear: cancer.

And so it was that on Monday, August 27, 2012  our wonderful bookstore cat, our beloved Skippy loosed his earthly bonds to run to a happier place. I can almost see him now far across a field, and as I call his name I see his tail lift high and his fur flying in the wind, running to my side. SKIP-SKIP-SKIPPEEEE!! Come home buddy. Come on home.

In memory of Skippy 1994?-2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review #2012-13

Screened-in porches

Recently, Sue and I had a screened-in porch added to our home in Richmond Hill, Georgia. This was an addition that was an absolute must for both of us. Porches had been a part of my childhood, and regaining the delights of a bygone time have been a boon to my mental well being.

The memory of porches and screens starts with North Farms Road on Horse Mountain when I would open the front window in my bedroom and listen to the wonderful evening sounds of the countryside. Gazing across the meadow beyond the front yard of our house you could hear the lonely call of the Wipperwills beckoning a summer night to last forever. WhippoorWILL! WhippoorWILL! The plaintive call would echo through the field and provide a lasting memory to a little boy who would soon fall fast asleep to nature's song.

Horse Mountain was about as far away from the center of Florence that you could get, and it stirs memories of days in Anunciation Grammar school in the center of town. I distinctly remember one particularly beautiful spring day when I just had to leave school after noon recess and enjoy the day by walking home. What never occurred to me was that my second grade teacher might consider this an inappropriate thing to do without consulting her as to my intentions. Oh, but what a grand time it was walking the 3 miles home all the while reveling in the sweet smell of Spring. My parents took exception to my actions as well. As I strode up the road to the farmhouse I noticed two rather stern looking adults standing in the front door ready to pounce on their prey. From that point on what happened doesn't come to mind, although nothing more than a dressing down might have happened. No matter, life goes on.

By 1958 we moved to the very heart of the metropolis of Florence, at 18 Powell St. and a house that had a front porch. This porch had windows and screens and became my favorite area to while away the long days of summer. My parents had bought me a small transistor radio and it became my main source of entertainment, especially Red Sox games. As I listened I would score the game and root the Sox to victory. If one knows anything about the Red Sox of the early sixties, one knows the agony of defeat more than the thrill of victory. This hardly mattered to a youngster enjoying summer, baseball, and a porch.

My parents were compassionate people and there many times I was displaced from my normal bedroom in the main house to the porch for sleeping. They had an arrangement with Northampton State Hospital to allow people to stay in our home while attempting to transition to the community at large. Banishment to the porch was actually not bad when I could open the window in the evening and breath in the sounds and smells of summer. Winter was another matter altogether as the little porch room had no heat source. Bother me, it didn't. You'd always find the window open a little on cold nights even with a hint of snow in the air. I remember brushing away an inch, or two, of snow from my blanket upon waking to the bracing cold air.

In 1963 we moved to the big city, 23 Edwards Square,  Northampton and a house with a screened-in back porch. Now I could walk to St. Michael's High School, Calvin theater, The Academy of Music and the general downtown area. I would be within walking distance of one of my favorite activities, accordion and guitar lessons with Joe Pizzitola at his studio on Main Street. Music had become an important part of my life and being with Mr. Pizzitola was always enjoyable. Occasionally, if I hadn't adequately prepared for my lesson, Joe would feign disappointment with my shortcomings, scolding me briefly and then tell me how good I was doing. His gentle laugh at my imperfections are a delight to remember, even fifty years on. Jim Hurley bought the studio in 1965 from Joe and I continued on as a student, and music teacher until I left for the Navy in 1968. Recollections of Wednesday nights with Jim at Joe's Pizza on Market Street conjure up a sight of pizza brimming over with melted chess, sausage and hamburger, along with good conversation that would make us friends to this day.

The most interesting aspect of the porch on Edwards Square were the train tracks which lay only about fifty feet from the porch itself. Trains would race by at all times of the day and night and would literally shake the house as they passed. If you weren't used to the noise and shaking it could give you quite a fright. I remember my brother Arthur visiting  in 1964 and waking in the middle of the night, jumping out of bed, and generally being shocked to feel the house shake from a speeding train. I brought my future wife, Sue, to meet my parents in late 1972 and while sitting in the living room, suddenly start to feel the room shake as if an earthquake were about to strike. She hadn't been warned about the trains and was concerned when objects started to move across a coffee table. Perhaps a warning for her to consider whether she should marry into this family. This didn't deter her, however, as we've been together almost 38 years and counting.

There was one event that happened in August, 1967 that I remember very distinctly while on the porch listening to the Sox on the radio. The Los Angeles Angels were playing the Red Sox in Boston and on this particular Friday night Jack Hamilton was pitching for the Angels. Hamilton was a hard nosed fastball pitcher not afraid to play a little chin music to any player foolish enough to crowd the plate. Tony Conigliaro, of the Sox, was just such a player and I remember well the sound of the ball smacking into the side of Tony's face and the quiet falling over the stadium as medical personnel attended to him. The ball had broken his cheek bone, smashed his left eye socket and damaged, not only his career, but his life as well. He returned to the game over a year later, but was never the same, and died, still a young man, from a heart attack.

Porches hold many memories for me, both good and bad. As you can see I'm enjoying my latest porch. It gives a sense of peace, recollection and love for times and people long gone, but forever in my thoughts.

Life, and porches--live and enjoy them.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review #2012-12

The serious political party

So Todd Akin, that great believer in a woman's ability to shut down her reproductive capability during a "legitimate rape", has decided to stay in the race for the Senate against Claire McCaskill in Missouri. Sometimes you just want to smack a person up side of the head and tell them that there's nothing more important than saving the country from the Demorat party, and you, as an electable individual really don't matter. Unfortunately, Mr. Akin isn't wearing his hearing aid and nothing can be done to save his stupid ass.

Other than that, let's take a look at just which political party, Dems or Repubs, is the serious party in this upcoming election. The Demorats are all up in arms about Akin's statements concerning rape as, they should be. However, now the party of great concern for women is trying to tie ALL Republicans to Akin's comments. You see, according to the Demorats, republicans hate woman and will do all they can to make sure they stay barefoot, pregnant(though not from rape) and in the kitchen. Repubs would deny women access to contraceptives, put blacks back in chains and destroy jobs for hard working Americans! Is there anything coming out of the mouths of these idiots that ANYONE believes? ANYTHING??

To prove just how supportive the Demorat party is of woman, they're going to have former President William Jefferson Clinton as their keynote speaker at their convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Who can better explain the Demorat position on all the important issues for women then the old pervert, Clinton, himself. Yes, that wonderful example of a fighter for women's equality and health, that bastion of knowledge and fortitude for women's rights; THIS DISGUSTING womanizer; this CONVICTED liar( who lost his law license in Arkansas for five years for lying to a Federal Judge); this accused RAPIST(remember Juanita Broddrick); this accused exposer( remember Paula Jones); this philanderer(remember Gennifer Flowers). Ah, yes, Bill Clinton, that paragon of women's access to the White House( Ms. Lewinsky anyone?)

You've got to be kidding. This stinking Demorat party is a collection of misfits, nitwits, boneheads and utter incompetents, not to mention HYPOCRITES!!! Obama and his collection of stupid Marxist nerds have almost destroyed this country. How could any sane person consider voting for this President again. How can anyone consider listening to William Jefferson Clinton and take him seriously.

The Republicans, with the selection of Paul Ryan by Mitt Romney, are the only serious party in this country. They look to a future with programs and policies that will work. The Demorats have NOTHING! They have a bunch of ideologues concerned only with attaining and consolidating power.

Einstein's definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Are you people who will vote for Obama expecting different results in his second term? Welcome to the looney bin comrades. Obama will be your jailer

Oh, and have a nice day!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review #2012-11

To Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution from all enemies both foreign & domestic

The above words are uttered by every government official upon taking office. Do they have any meaning anymore? or are they just words mouthed by officials intent upon having their moment in the sun.

It becomes more evident every day that President Barack Obama is intent upon destroying our most hallowed document. Consider the following:
  His recess appointments to the Consumer Protection bureau of the Dodd-Frank Act in January when Congress was NOT officially in recess. Power, of which, he does not have under the Constitution.
  His amnesty to approximately one million illegal immigrants using a term called ' prosecutorial discretion' which was intended to be applied on a case-by-case basis, not for a blanket amnesty.
  His waiving of the work rule under the 1996 welfare law, power, of which, he does NOT have under the Constitution.
  His awarding the UAW 55% of the ownership of GM & Chrysler over the secured bond holders during the bankruptcy re-organization of these companies, power, of which, he does NOT have under the Constitution.

These, and other instances, have proven that President Obama cares NOTHING about the rule of law and will do whatever he wants, and needs, to consolidate his power.

What is even more disquieting, however, is an article published in The American Thinker on August, 21, 2012 that reports an Obama takeover of the government with the heading entitled 'by any means necessary.' Is it nonsense, or something that warrants serious consideration? Read it and judge for yourself. I believe we live in extremely dangerous times with an administration loaded with communists, socialists and general ideologues hell bent on destroying the Constitution, controlling the population and making us all servants of the State. Don't think so? Ignore it at your peril.

ReadRead the article, here. 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review # 2012-10

Do as I say, not as I do

Ever wonder why government gets to tell you what NOT to do in your life, but then goes ahead and does those very things?

Illegal drugs--thou must not consume or sell controlled substances unless thou shall be penalized with incarceration.
        Fact: government agents pose as buyers to catch sellers. Isn't it illegal to buy drugs? Oh, I forgot, it's ok for the government to pretend buying drugs. Apparently, government has to break the law to enforce the law.

Printing money---thou shall not print your own money unless thou shall be penalized with incarceration.
        Fact: government printing presses are completely overworked, straining to keep up with the demand to provide the citizenry with funny money. Much easier to finance debt when you have an unlimited supply of dollars. Try printing your own money and the government will accuse you of debasing the money supply with your fake dollars. But government debasing the dollar? NAH!!!

Speeding in your car---thou shall not speed, nor become a nuisance to the general public with your insouciant lack of concern for people's safety.
        Fact: how many times have you seen a police cruiser, or official government vehicle pass you going well beyond the speed limit WITHOUT its lights flashing? Apparently, government, and police vehicles are immune to accidents and can, therefore, travel at whatever speed they desire.

Lawsuits---thou shall not sue the state, or inconvienence an elected official by threatening a lawsuit.
        Fact: we reside in the most litigious society on the face of the earth. We file suit at the drop of a hat. Negligence, fraud, you name it. Sue the government for negligence? Can't do it. It's called immunity from the nasty little citizens. Government is perhaps the most fraudulent, negligent entity there exists on this earth, but lawsuits against our elected officials? That's a no-no.

This government, and that includes local, state and federal entities, is the most pitiful, corrupt, despicable bunch of numbskulls ever placed in control over people's lives. But don't worry, we'll keep electing the most ridiculous gasbags we can find. Why? Because we abhor the idea of having to be responsible for our own lives. The gasbags know it and they relish the chance to be our masters.

Do as I say, not as I do. And, oh, have a nice day!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Pete Morin Editorial Review # 2012-9

Lazy Summer Days

It's been awhile since I've posted anything on this blog and perhaps it's because there's so little to write, or there's too much to write about.

We all know the current State of affairs. Obama continues to lead from behind and Romney has just announced that Paul Ryan will be his running mate. Smart move, Mr. Romney. Paul Ryan will lend a very steady, conservative voice to your campaign as week as explain what needs to be done concerning our debt problems. He also brings a very clear understanding of the mess in entitlement programs. No matter how much Demorats scare senior citizens about reforming Medicare every reasonable individual knows that this program, in current form, is unsustainable.

Putting politics aside, living in the Savannah, Georgia area has been a blast. The summer has been the usual muggy oven that only the South can provide, but it reminds me why I'm here. Winter in New England is much worse than summer in Georgia. I'll take the heat and humidity anytime over the long, cold Northern winter. It may be especially brutal mowing the lawn in July, but what a difference from shoveling snow in January!! The people here are very nice as well. We recently hosted a dinner party(nothing fancy, just chicken on the grill and cold salads) where we met some neighbors for the first time and everything went very well. I'm sure some of our neighbors were wondering if a Northern couple were going to be snooty and stuck up as some may have heard, or if we seemed like regular folk. Hopefully, we succeeded at being very regular.

I've also managed to get my opinions inserted in the local newspaper, The Savannah Morning News. I've responded to some local writers and a regional writer based in Atlanta. If I haven't written my blog very often, it isn't because I've stopped writing, it's just that I've turned my interests to local issues.

Anyhow, I've got to get back in the swing of things now the Presidential campaigns will get into full swing. The most important issue now is to remove our Marxist-in-chief from the oval office. Romney may not be the best selection possible, but he's a far sight better than the bum there now. This may seem harsh, but I'm no longer going to hold back criticizing Obama for all the unconstitutional crap that he's pulled. Let me be very clear about one important point: if Obama should be re-elected, and he continues to defy his limitations with respect to Constitutional power, then I'll call for his impeachment. I know he's black. I know I'll be called a racist by those on the left. But guess what--I don't give a damn. Not one damn bit of a damn. Saving the Federal Republic and the Constitution will be worth all the hell that will break loose.

So let the games begin. Let the lies and deception that signify this administration spew forth. Let him tell us what a magnificent job he's done pitting one American against another. Let him continue to tell us that we're not responsible for our successes. Let's have him leave the oval office as a future community organizer where he can emulate his political heroes, Saul Alinsky and Karl Marx. Let him..........(fill in your own blank)

Let's rid ourselves of this menace.