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