Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Life is all A'twitter

Timely "pulling out"is a responsible way of controlling World population ; but is a poor way of preserving this Earth for future generations

The troika of climate deniers votes for a leader : Syria, wins out; Nicaragua, close second ; USA, also ran. Leading from behind, stinks !

A Serpent, clothed in ignorance, loosed on the World, can be found in our country mucking up the works by incessantly tweeting garbage.

How long, just how many years, will our government take to right the ship and undo the injury this president has done to USA's functioning ?

"Covfefe" is a loathsome word used by ingrates in their attempt to sanitize their discourse. It backfires frequently becoming a juggernaut.

Four Intelligence heads questioned ; they : hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing. By not answering, they do one more, cover their ASS's.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Once : Dank, Dirty, Discusting

Off and on, I worked in Pittsburgh in the late 1950' early 1960's at a time when the city was becoming cleaned up under the watchful eye of four term mayor, one term governor David L. Lawrence. Pittsburgh, one of the worst, dirtiest, polluted cities of the Industrial Revolution era, proved to the World pollution was man made but, also, its effects could be eradicated by man.

In his style, President Trump set out his decision to pull out of The Paris Climate Accord by stating that he is the leader of the people of Pittsburgh, USA ; not Paris, France. Ironic is the fact that, in the election Mr. Trump won, the electorate of Pittsburgh voted 60% for Mrs. Clinton. The Pittsburgh Mayor said essentially that, thanks but no thanks, his city will do just fine without Trump's endorsement

If you lived in Pittsburgh, I bet, you would much rather have someone like David L. Lawrence to gather around, than with Donald Trump. Mr. Lawrence was a progressive visionary whose efforts were for the city and its citizens ; whereas, Mr. Trump has turned out to be narcissistic misogynists looking out for Donald Trump, only. I would think, most all Londoners can do without Mr. Trump's tweets as, more and more, Americans are becoming sick of them. Life is becoming one that reveres clean air, potable water, and friable soil for all the Planet's inhabitants. Blessed Be !

Ronald C. Downie

Friday, June 2, 2017

Of, By, and For ...

I learned that back in my childhood there was a time when citizens of certain countries were hoodwinked into dream able thoughts of imperialism by deranged dictators. In true dictator fashion, starting out with loud lies, small cadres of malleable people, long starved for attention, gravitated to lies like they were mana from heaven. They provided the fervor of combined voices which reverberated thru their countries and led the populous to ultimate defeat. Germany, Italy, and Japan were among these countries where impressionable people became the tails that wagged the dog.

Now, closer to the exit from this life experience, I get an up close view of similar circumstances right here in The United States Of America from homegrown malleable people. Similarities are indelible ! The outcome must not be allowed to follow suit !

Being a country of laws initiated by a Constitution that spells out why all men are created equal ; we, who are of free mind and sound of body, agree to be governed by this body of laws. Laws apply to all regardless of stature, of wealth, and of personal aggrandizement. Some who distain the Constitution, our hallowed document, also disparage some citizens because of skin color, of religion, of gender affiliation, of not acquiring personnel wealth, and because of having some physical abnormality. These people are toxic and must be singled out so their voices do not drowned out the vast majority who enjoy the freedom given them by the Constitution.

Of, by, for the people !
Ronald C. Downie

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Wrath of War

Will there be a time when WAR will be the only way America gets its economy rolling ? When that day comes, there goes the World as we know it.

I envision a black robed, bearded, old man leaning on a scythe, his free arm extended heavenward holding in his hand a bolt of lightening. He is ready to launch this bolt everywhere on our Earth.

Masses, fervently in prayer, huddled on their knees, and, in a unison voice, can be heard : " Lord, oh Lord ! Forgive the ignorant for they know not what they do ! "

A "Nuclear Winter", as it culminates all over the World, brings death of unimaginable voracity to all living organisms. Escape is a "fools gold"
when radiation invades every aspect of life and all life forms. There is no "Marshall Plan" that can alleviate the aftermath.

No ! We cannot just "forgive the innocent" for they have been entrusted by our electorate with preserving our union from outward intrusion or from internal disorder.

No longer is the work of planetary politics a game, it is to be dogged work, day in and day out, to move the country into a position that, at the end of each day, America is closer to becoming "A More perfect Union" in spite of adversities.

This, our leaders have pledged upon taking their Oath of Office. They must, at all cost, be held to their solum duty. They may not be allowed to ignore "The Grim Reaper" poised over the World to unleash his bolt of utter destruction on our World.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Brother Andrew Downie

My only sibling Andrew (Andy) was born in 1930 on May 30th just north of New York City in Tarrytown, as I understand. I was born on February 6, 1935 in Elmsford, New York. Andy's and my first homes were located in this area of New York because both Mom's and Dad's families immigrated from Scotland; Mom's from Dundee, Dad's from Glasgow. Mom's family settled in Bayonne, New Jersey, Dad's in New York around the area where Andy and I were born. Both families settled in ethnic conclaves of Scots though in Dad's location there was a much more concentration of Scottish than in Bayonne, NJ.

Independent of each other they both booked passage back to Scotland for a vacation sometime in the late 1920's. They met aboard ship in a storybook romance and their desires became realities when they got back home. The distance between Bayonne and Tarrytown was considerable so their courting was a long distance affair but marriage was its outcome with Andy and I coming along later. As a married couple they settled in New York State joining the other Scottish settlers living there. Football ( soccer ) was the rage for young men and Dad joined his brothers in playing for the Partick Thistle, a local club in an amateur league.

Along came a calamity, The Great Depression, and no work was to be had. Dad, a journeyman draftsman, lost his position and only found part time work in an A&P lugging baskets of fruit around until he was sidelined by a burst appendices. As he recovered all "want ads" were read and reread, over and over. Bethlehem Steel, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, was in want of experienced draftsmen, Please Apply ! He did, got a job, and in the summer of 1934, with Mom pregnant with me, he came alone to Pottstown to work, and after a day's work, looked for a place to bring his young family here.

Like all young families around this time, especially those without family in the area, we rented and moved, rented and moved, from one school to the next. Brother Andy, we think, went to every school in the town. I lucked out because, by the time I entered school, our family was fairly stable in a house they were purchasing on Houck Road in Chester County. Andy and I went to Warwick School, a 12 grade school on Route 23, in Warwick.

Tragedy struck Andy at a young age : he went to his school buddy's farm to help mow grass and an adjoining hayfield. His friend of similar age was operating the old tractor equipped with a scissors cutting bar which reached out about eight feet. As the tractor moved forward this cutter bar out to the right would activate like a scissors during a cutting activity. Andy walked on the wrong side of the tractor to talk to his buddy and trying to retreat both feet got cut in the heels. The cuts were into the bone but thank goodness weren't high enough to sever the Achilles' tendons. Needless to say, Andy never was the fast runner he was before the accident. He and Dad had similar body frames, Dad's from a longtime running playing soccer. Andy's injury didn't keep him from joining the Navy during Korea at an age shy of twenty.

Our parents sold the house on Houck and bought one in Lower Pottsgrove on North Keim Street. When arriving there, I went to Lower Pottsgrove Elementry up on the hill on Pleasantview Road and Andy went in to Pottstown to Junior High School. We both graduated from Pottstown High School.

This is a glance at my family in the early years. Brother Andy would have been 87 today had he lived. He retired as a professor of The English Language from the New Jersey college system after teaching English for half a century. Though we were four and a half years separated in age, we both revered each other for what each of us had done with our lives. Brotherly love is a type of endearment needing little association between the individuals. It spans both time and space in a strange way. Rather than feelings it is more of a sense of being that allows substance between siblings without direct contact, it is what they call family.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, May 29, 2017

"What goes around, comes around"

Life has ways to create parallels ; just compare me and, how at my age, I'll be treated by the number crunchers putting together this year's budget. Promises be damned ; Social Security and Medicaid, Trump promised will not be cut. His proposed budget blatantly cuts what ? You guested right, Social Security and Medicaid. Bingo !

---Those in authority decided me, this old invalid bird is expendable, so if he needlessly dies, so what ? The rich need more bobbles to show off so, give them another tax cut ! The poor super rich need more and more money to have to buy elections.

A parallel is the Borough of Pottstown : post depression, pre-WW 2, Pottstown citizen's roll was long stable. Her industry was small businesses, employment was alright, her economic muscle was flexing, she saw few green lights in sight, but she was ripe for a change.

Then something happened : the great World War 2 spun into action. War is a glutton for the implements of carnage and the infusion of federal dollars for the defense industrial complex which lusted after machines and factories that arrived like a stampede in Pottstown and were like mana from heaven during the Big War.

Then - victory - swept the World : the Greatest Generation came home, fathers, brothers, aunts and uncles, all seeking good jobs ; factories large and small stuffed within their walls employees, especially ex-GI's, since the government subsidized their wages. Pottstown's population swelled to 32,000 people. Building homes and necessary public infrastructure seemed unstoppable. The suburbs ballooned : work, wages, taxes flowed ; we were the unquenchable engine of economic muscle for the county who sought our endorsement.

Watch out, "What goes up, must come down", the terrible '70's lit on Pottstown and her surrounds like a plague. One after another company either downsized or sold out. This pulsating industrial area began flaming out, taxes to the county dried up, and the borough's population kept declining until it now is about 22,000 people. Pottstown beware, the long knives of politicians want to carve a declining town into eatable bites. Resist and persist must become a town's motto.

But, it's the way Pottstown was perceived by citizens of the county and surrounding communities which told a tail, a tail I was familiar with, a tail similar what had happened to me. When a town or a person grows old and run down after a lifetime of work both seem to be expendable. Unlike, a person who is just laid to rest, a town must continue on, must allow itself to be rebuilt, must adopt new
leaders who think revitalization. But, politics play a vital roll. Just as with people who, during their life, created jobs and hired workers, but now, are old and in firmed and now are expendable ; towns can be revitalized and returned to high income producing engines.

On this Memorial Weekend work to make "Pottstown Great Again"!

Ronald C Downie



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Posted Poet Talks

I am without a framework which specifically defines my life to date. I was fairly successful at sports but not great. Played a lot of games of different sports : captained in high school, presented the game ball for play against arch rival, played in championship games, at least twice, noted for some super drives and poorer putts. Neon light games, like darts, came my way when the legs wore out. For a time arm wrestling contested my interest. Feats of brute strength followed me during my working days.

Civic responsibilities cropped up and grabbed me for duty. Owning a business allowed me the time and opportunity to serve the community.
Board member and president of : American Businessmen Club, Building Industry Exchange, Schuylkill River Greenway Association, Carousel At Pottstown.

As well as, elected : Pottstown School Board, one four year term ; Pottstown Borough Council, two four year terms ; Pottstown Borough Authority, two four year terms, chairman four years.

Honors : Elk of the Year ; Pottstown's First Grand Marshall ; Schuylkill River Park Amphitheater, named and dedicated in my honor ;
Pottstown School District, Alumni Association, class 1953 Honoree.

I've been asked to read some of my poetry works in southeastern Pennsylvania over the last forty years. And, since now I'm essentially disabled and unable to walk without support, I've taken up blogging as this epistle demonstrates. I feel I've filled my available time with positive constructive things during my 82 years on this planet. I love to talk but I find few to talk to these days. Thanks for being attentive.

Ronald C. Downie---The Posted Poet---
"Drunkenness without wine", just let that sink in, "Drunkenness without wine". It's a very chilling vision, improbable but self fulfilling.

Looking back to the early 1930's in Germany, this concept swept throughout the rest of Europe as their citizens questioned the attitude of the German electorate who voted in Adolf Hitler and his Third Reich.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Knowledge Loosed Again

Inequity seemingly lasts forever that brings with it harsh biases which, even time, can't easily dispel. The Great Religions of this World sort of fit this description, especially, in the way proponents treat women, or artifacts, or revered sites. From the Middle East, the oil capitol of the World and the caldron of tribal beliefs steeped in antiquity, comes a plethora of religions that have demeaned females as second class citizens even to this day. 

It is inconceivable to me that in this 21st Century over one half of the World's population but 100% of the World's birth mothers do not have equal rights as do their male counterparts. Religion is a construct of males dating deeply back into the past of humans evolving on this planet. I surmise, male supremacy rose from the fact of male physical stature which acknowledged the idea of "might makes right". This maybe held true in the hunter's World but, today, does not hold water. 

Evolving at an accelerating rate humans will quickly in the scale of humanity throw off the shackles that imprisons him. Tribes need to go. Females will assert themselves. Antiquities will move into the museum to be viewed but not worshiped. The information age will mature and knowledge will become "the king of the hill" once more.

Ronald C. Downie

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Arrogance of Ignorance 

Lack of knowledge, learning, information, etc. is a broad definition of ignorance. Ignorance seems to pervade our country- big time- these days. Once, at the beginning of our country, when settlers were on the move, self preservation was the driving thrust of existence. Kill or be killed was the coin of the realm with survival knowledge and good luck, working in unison, to secure a safer future. 

But, as settlers developed communities they sought the strengths brought by immigrants from European heritages to their new homes as they grew more civilized. Knowledge through learning was a key stone of this new structure, as was, the rule of law. 

Arrogance is an offensive display of superiority or self-importance, overbearing pride. Certainly some gun slingers fit this description but, as more and more moved west, slinger's gusto was not equal to the stories told about them. 

Harbored in the ghettoes of this World at this present time, a couple decades into the 21st Century, are pockets of deeply underserved citizens who have been been left behind. They lack the mental tools to lift them away from their plight and, more and more, cause their offspring to have a similar cross to bear. Ignorance, in the 21st Century, is a plague, a self inflicted plague, as well as, a plague orchestrated by the moneyed and powerful who see the effects of poor education but yet seem to ignore its causes. 

This truly is an example of "The Arrogance of Ignorance" bright and clear. Will we ever correct the conditions bringing ignorance to too many ? But, a more insidious result is surfacing in our World. More and more a dumbed down populous is satisfied with being awash in the throws of ignorance. They, by their attitude, allow the oligarchs to pidgin hole them into servitude, and worst of all, their offspring are drug down with them. The Lord of the Castle now has a serfdom to rule over, an intergenerational serfdom. 

 First, we should aggressively ferret out those in control who, though educated, are the perpetrators of this inequity. In them lies the scourge of arrogance, of overbearing pride. Secondly, we must have pre-kindergarten through four years of college as a goal for all citizens on this planet. And, the best and brightest must be chosen by each country to lead this endeavor in their respective countries. Not a want but education is a need to stamp out ignorance. It is a battle and must be fought as it was a war. 

Ronald C. Downie


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What's In A Name

Forever, in all my 82 years, I've been watching the by-lines, credit lines, for movies and anywhere else names were listed that I could read to find the name Downie listed. Yes, I did find Leonard Downie, executive Editor of The Washington Post, before he retired from the post. He's not a relative.

All of a sudden, while watching channel 507, abc, this evening just after 6pm, a piece on Phillippi Creek Estates was aired and a commentator for The Estates was named Heather Downie the same name Connie, my wife, and I named our oldest daughter. Heather, an elementary grade school teacher at Lincoln, is renovating the old homestead on Evans to live there where she and her siblings grew up and attended Pottstown Schools through graduation. 

I did find Uncle Malcolm's linage up in New England and have corresponded with them. Alexander, my Dad, had three younger brothers : Malcolm, Andrew, and Hugh. I've lost contact with both Andrew's offspring, as well as, Hugh's. My recollection is that his youngest brother, Hugh, moved many score years ago to Florida with his family still intact. Maybe, Heather Downie is an offspring of Hugh's family, far fetched at best, but is a Nobel thought.

Few and far fetched are people named "Downie" that I've come across. Somebody once told me Downie is derived from the term "crooked nose". Could be true in my case since I was, in my hay days, a real rugged character. My farmer's strength came naturally to me and I exhibited it more than once in the early days. 

My favorite professor, my brother Andrew, has passed and our quarter of the family's linage rests in his and mine offspring. I got an idea where Malcolm's are and maybe even Uncle Andrew's whose only child was a son Andrew like my brother. Young Andrew we believed to be living  in Red Bank, NJ. So, if the Downie connection is maybe our family, it would probably be my Uncle Hugh's offspring. 

For an old bastard like me this is a good way to spend an afternoon thinking about family. It was merely a few seconds on the television screen that took me here. At 82, what else do you think I can do ?

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Looking for a  Swamp Hog

Looking back, I vividly see my senior high school years when the school was situated on Penn Street between Chestnut and Walnut St's during the early 1950's. Neat being downtown for most kids but, I lived in Lower Pottsgrove on North Keim Street a couple miles from school, so most every thing required extensive walking to attend anything extracurricular. Walking, when in your teens, was just a fact of life which consumed some time. 

The Swamp Hogs was a high school recreation league basketball team informally lead by Ed Gibble, yes, the same Eddie Gibble who is the Prudential Insurance man. Games were played in the basement of the High School along Penn Street in a large, high ceilinged room we schoolers took our gym classes in. It was outfitted for basketball by having standard 10 foot high baskets at either end and a modicum of traditional lines, though awfully faded, painted on the floor. Out of bounds was generally called if the basketball touched a wall, in fact, the area was better used for dodge ball which we constantly played in our gym classes without incurring any out of bounds. It didn't matter wether a player or a ball bounced off the walls, the game continued on.

Today, from Washington, DC., comes the chant of "the draining the swamp" by the president. I guess, meaning : cleaning out the people varmints living there who are living off the excesses which seems to permeate life in our Capitol. A study of news these days sort of indicates D.C. is overrun with swamp hogs, swamp rats, swamp snakes, and swamp 'gaters all wallowing in the muddy waters of our present political system. 

Back in high school, I never thought the steward young men I played against would have to carry a derogatory name at these last stages of their lives. Being  a Swamp Hog back then was an honor just because it was a super name, very descriptive. Even to this date Eddie, a super salesman, promoted Swamp Hogs his whole life, more in jest these days than in reality. Never did he think the nature of swamps would change especially in the derogatory way it has been demeaned these days. 

Yes, I believe the Swamp must be drained and the first to be flushed down the drain would be the perpetrator of the idea. Remember, you have to cut off the head of any varmint you wish to eliminate. Swamp Hogs were a good bunch of guys but the guys I played with on my team were good too. The trouble is, I've forgotten my team's name and players' names to old age since we didn't have a memorable name like "Swamp Hogs" that you can't forget. For olden time's sake !

Ronald C. Downie, Class of 1953



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Curb Appeal 

Street curbs are designed to contain the street and its users. The majority of street trash accumulates there in the curb line for sweepers like Daisy Paolucci and other town persons who feel civic responsibility for a clean town. They broom sweep even though the town contracts truck born sweepers to clean the streets. These, town civic minded sweepers, have a calling rather than a duty placed on them by others. 

Curb lines have quite a history. Back, before passable alleys, all garbage collections were situated there. Every type of container was used before the borough tried its hand at imposing standardization. Remember, in olden days, every household burnt coal as wood availability declined, in either case, both created volumes of ash which were put out at the curb as part of the trash cycle. Then, the country grew up and packaging became a volume trash maker for everything bought from stores and shippers. More and more trash created as, just in time, alleys where considered important and trash disappeared from view - out of sight, out of mind.

I remember from my early years, about out site seeing, with dad driving us through a town and seeing very large piles of furniture stacked on the curb line for a house and I asked about why this was. Dad assured us that incidences like this had diminished greatly since the wrath of the Great Depression had about its run course in the late years of the 1930's. Evictions were life episodes, although diminishing, life lines were fragile, at best, and many ceased at the curb line. The Great World War changed the way Americans reacted to life. Curative, full employment, was a pill for social ills.

For Sale, For Lease, For Rent - signs became common place ; the curb line became more prominent as a function in the design of streets and, finally, assumed their rightful place in a borough's landscape.

My thoughts, though, bring me back to youthful feelings about the roll of curbs. Too often I squint faces into the piles of disposed furniture from evictions long forgotten. Will this happen again ? Will citizens be marginalized again from their inability to pay for housing or for basic healthcare ? Will the funnel remain reversed and draw all increased income from the American engine of production up, away from the producers, into the deepening pockets of our oligarchs ? 

Will curb lines up north become clogged with the destitute population as it has down here on the sun coast of Florida ? How will the old, the in firmed, the immobile be treated ? I know, I'll expire shortly, so don't cry for me, save your tears for those with few resources, who have to live life out there behind a tree. 

Ronald C. Downie 



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spanish Point

In coastal waters, early man sought food
Delivered by tides that rose and then fell ; 
Almost like a huge organism breathing, 
Unless upset, by storm induced fury.

Shellfish by the buckets, the earthen mounds 
Sing out loudly to our generations.
Facts needn't be expressed only on paper.
Unwittingly, "The Assent Of Man" strides.

Did sunsets enter into early life ?
Did early natives begin drum circles ?
Did they hollow out logs for their canoes ?
Life evolves, goes on, believing in self.  

Seeking answers from ancestors long gone.
Who lived their lives suppressing wants, while needs,
Pressed each day's hours seeking eatables.
Existing, they survive today by deeds 

Unaware of their affects left behind.
No Bible was written about them, then.
Inquisitive, modern man scales the walls 
Recording what he thinks about the past.

Ronald C. Downie




Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May Day, May Day, May Day !!!

Not lately, do I see colorful crepe 
Paper steamers twirling in sun warmed air, 
Hung from a tall flag pole, centered out front.
Music's a must, if not a radio, records. 

Through the magic of memory, many
Years disappear, seventy-five long ones. 
The golden time of youthful impression,
Elementary school, up there, top the  hill.

May First, May Day, somewhere begins summer,
Somewhere, end of winter. Pivotal day
In the scheme of seasons, not calendar. 
Hair combed, the girls interweave the streamers.

Grumbling, the boys reluctantly pitch in,
As teachers play conductor-director.
All look forward to that last bell, "School's Out".
Time, as a vine, withers as it's climbing.

Young impressionable days dissipate 
Into the far off zephyrs of heaven.
Lost, but to be resurrected for thee, 
By me, pulled from temporal recesses.

Ronald C. Downie
5/1/2017

Monday, April 10, 2017

Readers Wanted

I don't want to sound like a sniveling idiot by thinking what I've written over the last few decades is no longer relevant in today's environment. All words, whenever written, have weight to them equal to the mass of the thought used while writing. The problem arises when the reading public, very limited as it has been, gives little if any response to the effort, therefore, how do I calculate the weight of my words? Well, now that I'm living on the Sun Coast of Florida rather than in southeastern Pennsylvania, I will have to change my reading public. Maybe these sun worshippers will gravitate to my poetic words just because many are retired and closer to my age and their commitments for earnings to pay for life's responsibilities have been much lessened. 


Ronald C Downie

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

March Madness

March 2017 has come and gone and, what of importance, happened to me in those 31 days. "Good fences make good neighbors" from a Frost poem cropped up in my mind when I thought of writing this piece about my own "March Madness". 

Yes, there is a fence, part of the way, dividing daughter Lia and Marty's property from their neighbor to the east of them. Mark and his wife, Sharon, who are really good neighbors, helpful and friendly, social and caring. It is something Mark did for Connie and me that triggered my own personal "March Madness".

Writing hasn't left me, yet, though many known and unknown to me, I bet, wish it had. I am neither academic nor scholarly with my ventures at connecting words into phrases to make a point. Once I was a voracious reader. Pre-iPad I read every day both business wise and for enjoyment.  Today, I am as many, many also are, enslaved to the screen pad of their worldly instrument. We all spend an inordinate amount of time perusing Facebook, reading eMails, and in general surfing of the web. My enjoyment now is turning the TV to Music Choice - Light Classical - and lightly listen to music of the masters. 

Mark, the neighbor, dropped over and asked Connie and I how we were doing and in the conversation Connie said about books she was reading. In a split second Mark went back through the gate to his house and returned in a flash with three books : "On The Edge Of Survival" author, Spike Walker ;  "The Shack" author, Wm. Paul Young ; and "The Road" author, Cormac McCarthy. 

Connie started reading The Shack and I picked up Spike Walker's book because of Mark's recommendation : Mark's older brother, Matt, now a Rear Admiral in Washington, DC., was a principal character in the unfolding of Walker's gripping saga of survival. Matt Bell commanded the coast guard cutter assigned to try to off load the crew from a huge Chinese freighter floundering without power. Weather no one had ever seen so bad, waves at record heights, winds at hurricane force, and the dark of night so frightening ; all elements had to be ignored, had to be overcome. Spike Walker thrives on describing harrowing tails like few other writers can do. Jump ball for my March Madness started between three book covers.

Picking up "The Shack" after consuming a book of survival where every page grips a reader and won't let them go, may to some, be sort of a let down. It wasn't ! A modern day family living a normal life is crushed by an event seemingly unfathomable but what comes next defies all modern day thinking. If you have all your faiths wrapped up and folded away, "The Shack" is a must read for you.

Last read but not the least of books was "The Road". From a thrill a minute book, to spiritual testing beyond the norm in "The Shack", to "The Road", a book hard to describe. Now to be found in film theaters, "The Road", will take some acting to pull off the abject horror found in its pages. If this story is the eventual episode of mankind, heaven help us. Disappointment, disillusionment, and despair fill these pages in a way a reader never wants to put the book down. Odd this response, but true in my experience. 

The best March Madness I've had in many years of my 82 that I've been privy to. All made possible by the swift action of a neighbor who, "like a good neighbor", thinks of others as he would himself. Could this be the affect of living in Sorrento East ?

Ronald C. Downie

Saturday, April 1, 2017

An Oligarch Here, an Oligarch There ..,

An Oligarch here, an Oligarch there, seems an Oligarch is everywhere. 

Watching C-Span 3 today : the Senate's hearing on Russia's influence on our just past presidential election : the word "Oligarch" was often used to describe filthy rich men, especially Russians, who seemed to be pulling strings in a way that swayed the election toward Donald Trump. 

Oligarchs are not the ones hitting the keys of computers but are the financial facilitators to hire individuals whose job is to tickle the keys. And tickle they did and, worst of all, they were very successful. Poison the news their mission, poison was their words, their words then became fake news.

Neither can I pronounce these Russians by name nor, heaven help me, spell their names correctly. I imagine I can do both with American Oligarchs since many are referred to every day because quite a few are cabinet members in our new government, the billionaires who were the captains of industry. 

Oligarchs seem to have few allegiances; they seem to worship the accumulation of huge sums of money most of all. They are those welcomed visitors to our president's palatial digs. Rarely in my life have so many billionaires congregated together in their effort to show us commoners why we're not one of them. 

Oligarchs in the past occupied the castles, owned the serfs, paid homage to the King, raped the earth, and when both land and people were spent, they turned to conquer a weaker neighbor. They may be more sophisticated these days but their allegiance to accumulating huge sums of money has never wavered. 

Today they're installed in Washington DC's  halls of power. Where are we ? "We the People" are void of power since we are without huge fortunes that seems to follow certain family lines. Being poor is similar to having some type of a plague, the type which debilitates us beyond our imagination. 

In medieval times, long past, oligarchs were finally unseated from power, king's feudal systems wained, the impoverished serfs rose up to form democratic governments based on "the rule of laws". But, just like a bad penny, the debunked old surfaces again to test "we the people"and see if we do have some resolve left in our bonnets. We must overcome the oligarchs whichever century they pop up in again.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Your Health Care

Wake up, people ! Single payer, Universal Health Care for every American, is the most effective way to pressure "Big Pharma" to price all prescription drugs at the lowest unit cost possible. Further, "Big Pharma" would also have to compete with drugs possibly coming from foreign countries. 

As I find in my own circumstances, drugs make up at least half of my costs for insurance coverage. Savings there are huge in overall premium costs figured to enhance your coverage for your health care insurance. Medicare for all is the proper path for Universal HealthCare coverage to take.

Those with vested interests in no change will want to pressure congress not to change how we in the USA provide for and pay for health care. Keep your eyes open to see how the professionals grease the palms of our representatives so they vote for the status quo. Professional lobbyists will swarm over the halls of our lawmakers like flies on a manure pile because there is just so much money awash in our present system. The problem exists, though, that this money goes into someone's pocket rather than insuring the public against disease and other medical problems.

Universal Health Care, "Medicare For All", is coming down the tracks. Hop on and finally give Americans what the rest of the industrialized has. 

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Universal Health Care 

It's about time ! The time has come for Bernie's proposal to cover every American with Universal Health Care, from birth to death coverage of everyone, because it is your right by being an American.

When legislators begin to warm to this ultimate solution for health care they will hunt for offsets, income sources to replace new costs. I suggest, using child tax deduction value as a source of offset dollars. Since at birth a child will be guaranteed health care for the rest of his or her life, it seems parents could be persuaded to forgo some of the dollar value for income tax deductions on their annual fillings. 

Approximately four million babies are born in the USA yearly. This year each child brings with it's birth $4,050 of income tax deductions for the filer. Multiply four million babies by the value of four thousand of gross income in tax dollars and the IRS will have a sizable amount of money to work with. 

For the next 25 years these relatively healthy, young bodies will populate the healthcare insurance population and become the backbone of a universal system. Many may still be on their parents insurance policies until, at an age, when they become an adult.

Universality relies on 100% precipitation of all people to make it work. It also relies on having a monopoly so costs and income can be structured to cut out the middle men who, in the present system, suck out far too much capital which should be dedicated to actually caring for Americans. 

It is amazing that in the USA : the preeminent country of this World, the richest country, and the strongest one too, that our government has never implemented Universal Health Care for her citizens. Every other industrialized nation in this World has done for their citizens what America has refused to do for their's ; foreign countries have Universal Health Care for all their citizens by making good health care their right by birth. 

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Health Care at What Cost

There is nothing like a good discussion to focus your mind to digest relevant financial facts normally over looked by you. Like, just how much do I pay for health coverage today ?

I've been on social security ever since I retired 8-10 years ago and, since I'm now 82, it means I payed into SS. for about 55 years starting around 15 years old when l began getting a check for my work. In 2016, 1 received a gross amount of $15,790.80 from SS of which $1,258.80 was deducted to pay for Medicare part B. I imagine 2017 will not be too much different. 

Now add to this, $ 4800.00 which I pay for Supplemental Insurance and add on the amounts I pay to pharmacies each time I get my prescriptions filled. The yearly total is somewhere in excess of, "oh my goodness" ,$ 7,200.00, or about half of the total of my monthly SS insurance checks. 

Review starts one to wonder, when is the time to choose between pills or food ? I bet, many my age have had to make that decision. In the richest nation in the World, yes, in this nation of inordinate abundance for some, pills or food should be the last thing on people's minds. Sadly this is not the case, far too many people have this choice to make. 

Don't get up a " Pity Party" for me, I'm ok and so is Connie. We have a loving family and some supplemental reserves. The key will be when, if at all, either Connie or me will ever have to go into a home. The story I've heard is that most elderly care homes are huge vacuums sucking in every dollar available. 

"Just keep on ago'n till you can't go no more" must be words to some song, somewhere. 

Ronald C. Downie







  

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Trump Care

"Proof of the pudding is in the eating" quickly jumped out of the TV an hour ago. When is the date that Congress will cancel it's present gilded healthcare insurance and shift over to the new - "Trump Care" -rolled out today for the rest of us citizens ?

If the Republican plan is to be the ultimate healthcare solution for all Americans, wouldn't this gesture be the "cats meow" showing the World just how our Congress works ? If they won't ! That too would show what hypocrites we Americans vote into office to lead our country.

From one who cares,
Ronald C. Downie

Golden Years

I'm toast ! At 82, I am expendable, too damn old to do any good for society, so what Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell pulling the strings for Donald Trump want done is to punish me for living too long, I'm here, I'm vulnerable. It seems these three will price me out of basic health care needs so Big Pharma along with the rich and powerful can sing they squeezed the last dollar from me. 

All my life, I worked and paid my taxes thinking I've done my share, done my duty, and when I get older social security and any savings I've accumulated will provide for my wife and I until death takes us. But now, in light of "Trump Care", I worry. Soon the old will be offered an out. 

Do you remember - grandmother being pushed in her wheelchair off the cliff ? Bet you do ! Well, accept this in its current context of "right to die laws". Costs that are pushed onto the states will rapidly rise and state legislators in an attempt to control costs will realize the elderly are soaking up health care dollars too rapidly. Yes, they'll say - first - we will allow the in firmed to dignify their lives by assisting their quick death with appropriate pills. Next - states will be allowed to liberalize these laws in both age and method until crematories can't keep up with the ashes. 

The Grim Reaper lies among us just biding his time. The golden years lay strewn about each day tarnishing more and more as we elderly no longer can see any luster. 

Old and Weary,
Ronald C. Downie

Monday, February 20, 2017

House Hunters and Friends,

Are you looking for a house in the north end of Pottstown ? Or, do you know someone who is looking ? If so, wife Connie and I have a perfect home for you to look at, "778 North Evans St."

Recently we moved to Florida to live with our youngest daughter, Lia, a nurse, and live out out life here under her care : I'm 82, Connie's 77.
We lived at 778 for 42 years and raised our three children there.

The primary reason we chose North Evans Street to live was the convenience this house has to raising young children. Franklin Elementary School is but a four block walk, the Middle School and the High School a one block walk, the First Presbyterian Church is next door. Busses run just one block away on Charlotte and also on Wilson Street. A Turkey Hill, convenience store, one block away and two restaurants are but a three block walk.

The house has three bedrooms on the second floor along with a full bathroom. All three bedrooms are sufficiently closeted. On the first floor is a "Mother-In law-Quarter" bedroom/sitting room,  and a full bathroom, a utility room, a kitchen, a large dining room, and a full house width living room with a fireplace and a large cedar closet. Both living and dining rooms are floored in old time hardwood. Both front door and back door access. The front door opens to a large livable front porch and an attractive walkway entrance complete with mature shrubbery and trees.

The neighborhood is pleasurably livable, clean, and quiet. 778 N. Evans is the last house accessed by a dead end alley with two off street parking spots adjacent to a large, stand alone garage. Although not utilized by us, it is my understanding a public gas line runs in the street.

This house is well worth a look ! The house will be sold "as is" to you or to someone else with a vision. Since it was built as a two unit I'd be willing to talk to investors who are looking for a more long term return.

I am : Ronald C. Downie to be reached at - 941-966-5929

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Rebirth

The poem - yes, the lowly, forgotten poem - once a mainstay of commutation, way back in antiquity, because it was a form that allowed messengers to memorize thoughts and words by verse and meter, and memorize through rhyme and rhythm so early man could discount both time and distance when messages were sent between far flung villages. "Heaven t' Betsy" present day captains of communication have found poetry as an excellent means to convey a message.

Check out some of the latest TV advertisements and see if the poetry pleases you : one's by Walt Whitman, "The Song of the Open Road" ; another by Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night". Recently I found another one but, being that I'm unfamiliar with both the poet and the poem, I can't say anything about it.

Maybe the romanticism with Poetry will escape from the public's psyche and flow through their intellect instead. Combining words into thoughts which moves people to act is the intent of the advertiser and, finally, they've hit upon a new catalyst, the poem. I only hope they continue their dependence on this form of dialog.

Ronald C. Downie

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Me, With Thoughts on Medicare

Rarely in my 82 years have I been deeply worried about my waining years on this earth. Relegated to sitting in front of a TV set is the staple activity during my waking hours of the day. Watch TV these days and it's nearly impossible not get wrapped up in our past election and now the hearings on our new president's appointments engages me. This morning I watched the second senate panel question Rep. Price, the president's desire for Health and Human Services Secretary. From his replies, Price gave me a chill up the middle of my spine since I'm so dependent on the assistance of Medicare to pay medical costs both doctor and hospital and, especially, prescriptions.

Take Medicare away and President Trump may as well add me to the roll of the "too old", of "good riddance", of "only a sickly hanger on".

If fear was the template mounted daily on to our public discourse during the election cycle it has manifested itself in my mind now that the election is over. I fear for the disabled, for the disenfranchised, and for those of different lifestyles. Also, I fear for women kind who will be challenged mightily to remain subservient to males.

The poor, I fear, having never felt part of our great system will remain downtrodden and still won't realize much help from their new masters. In feudal times the serfs rarely knew which court controlled their kingdom and, I imagine, most could care less. Nothing added to nothing is still nothing.

Ronald C. Downie
Women of the World

The Mega Optics of The Women's March on Washington, DC. and throughout the United States and the rest of the World announced : from this date forward - Women of the World - will not permit themselves to be treated as second class citizens.

I laud their joined voices. Voices that initially spoke to their grand scheme which was targeted to the largest population centers throughout the World but, as I see it, this was only a good start.

"All politics is local" screams out loud and clear. Women, don't be lulled to sleep by intrenched male dominion who can easily mobilize a   powerful blitzkrieg undercutting all your previous initiatives.

"Local" means just that. Marches and gatherings must be organized and effected by women in each political entity that is filled by election. The task is enormous but doable because it is broken down into manageable parts : everywhere, from bottom up. "All politics is local !"

Powerful, loud, and massive was the grand rollout of women finding both their footing and voices. If not now, when ? Please don't allow a good thing go to waste. Organize locally, demand attention, and help other locals by supporting their efforts. Why do people march ? They march, to get somewhere, where they're not.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, January 23, 2017

Alternative fact : defining the indefinable
What you believe is a lie and is only a misconception in reality.
No longer do your senses contribute rhyme or reason to their activations, so ignore their stimulations and listen only to the
powerful to decipher life's episodes.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Don't Know Where, Don't Know When

Watched again the movie, Doctor Strangelove, last evening which has kept me under a lifetime angst about a nuclear Armageddon during my stay here on this Earth. Sure, I watched the movie to the end, so I could listen to Vera Lynn sing "We'll Meet Again" as the mushroom cloud billows up getting bigger and bigger in an image I never ever want to actually see.

Farcical as the picture is, thru subtle humor, all kind of bizarre notions crossed my mind. The stumbling, bumbling of our military, the ingrained adherence to antiquated policies of that generation displays
a decayed society culminating in the unthinkable.

Will I ever watch this movie again ? Probably, and I'll watch it to the very end just to hear Vera Lynn sing again. It was her voice which urged the dough boys to keep pressing on even as the future seemed bleak. Vera had the presence to engage her audience in many of her songs which further emboldened the solders to keep their energies up and spirits high. In these times we need more uplifting images to offset the dank and bleak things facing humanity.

Ronald C. Downie

Monday, January 2, 2017

A Birthday Wish for Lily Noelle

A read of literature will show you
Punctuation's a necessary evil :

When to pause, when to stop, regulating
The impulses of mental images.

Maybe mental images need be left
To artists painting by brush from pallet.

To those, who effect scenes by light's shadows,
Cause a pause in the viewer, a deep breath.

Art on canvass is not photographic;
Rather, it's to stimulate the senses :

To raise in the viewer emotional
Fervor, exulting, exhilarating.

Who to choose to replicate a snowflake,
Or the flicker of an open fire's flame ?

It is you, Lily Noelle, we've chosen ;
You, who wear the cloak of family artist.

You, who'll dress your barren walls with portraits,
 With pastoral scenes : verdant, expressive.

Happy Birthday ! Lily Noelle Kurtz
Love, Nanny&PopPop