Friday, May 23, 2008


Groups. Political reporting is dominated by demographics. The media doesn't need to know what you think -- they only need to know what group you belong to, like "white working class" and "latte drinkers" and "young voters." Your age, gender, race, income, and education determine your political views. There's no need to think, just follow the herd you have been assigned to.

Serious. The farmers were at the coffee shop this morning. They can't get into the fields because of the incessant rain. The discussion was about rising fuel costs -- but the tone was different. It's not so much an abstract matter anymore where the guys are making points in a competitive free-for-all. It's getting closer to "what are we actually going to do about this?" I saw the first $4 per gallon gas prices up in Bellingham yesterday -- this concentrates the mind wonderfully.

It's about time America got resourceful. Nation building begins at home. Can do. Yankee know how. Don't wait for instructions from headquarters. Get started now.

Mashed Potatos. This week at Water Cress Medical Center, the cafeteria is featuring it's famous mashed potatos and brown gravy with Salisbury steak. Doesn't that bring back memories of times when you were too sick to move and they brought the food in on a tray? Potatos, shipped by the truckload, directly from barges on the Snake River, and before that picked from the vast potato fields of Idaho -- direct to your hospital bed, as it has been for generations. And absolutely no lumps. Water Cress Medical Center mashed potatos are smooth going down the gullet.

Seriously. Seriously, the food is getting better at Water Cress -- fresher and not so overcooked. And sometimes they serve local potatos. Yes, our famous Skagit Valley red potatos, grown right here, and now served at the hospital for your dining pleasure. I am very pleased with this. As I said to one of the nurses, if the cooks got paid as well as the surgeons, we'd really have some good chow.

Appetite is a sign of well being. When you get sick and come to the hospital, you don't want to eat -- no delightful treat will tempt you. Even the smell of food becomes abhorrent. If you can get down a little jello or broth, that's good enough. But, when you start to get better, you get hungry again. That's when you need some really tasty food -- to catch that upswing and boost it with solid nourishment.

In the End. But it's not so easy to make nice food here. Let's consider the importance of elimination. Nursing and medical staff are incredibly interested in how much you pee, because if it's not working down there, you got a big problem, and that's a real medical fact. Where else can you get a round of applause for making water? So, how much you eat is not so much of a concern here.

Anyway, when you start asking for a pizza, you're getting better and you'll be home soon.

Waiting. Keith Bodell, in LaConner, had chest pains and called the ambulance on 911. Keith wasn't sure what the pain was, so he figured it was better to call. The ambulance came and they put him on the stretcher and wheeled him out the door. It's standard procedure -- if you call the ambulance, you have to take the stretcher, which is a bit of drama for the neighborhood.

But so what. Kevin gets to the ER at Water Cress and the doctors check him out. They run tests. He's fine, it might have been heartburn.

"Chest pains" are the magic words at the ER. You go right to the head of the line for that. No waiting. Top priority. Quicker treatment can make a huge difference in case of heart attack or stroke.

So it's like a good luck/bad luck thing. If you come to the ER with something serious and they tell you to wait, that's good. I mean, waiting is no fun, but why would you want to get to the head of the line? Like, "I'm dying, so I get to go first."

But, if you wait an hour or so, that means they think you're not too bad --- So be happy about that.

LaConner Weekly News. This week's issue has a great photo on page 4 of a teenage girl with a dazzling smile. Now, they just need some advertiser to step up to the plate and buy a color ad, so they can print photos like this in color. That's how it works. Color is beautiful but it isn't free.

Here's how to get color advertising in the local paper -- it's kind of round about but it might work. First, convince the people in Shelter Bay that they need to construct their own strip mall where the golf course is now -- including a small grocery store and gas station and a few other local necessities. This would save them a trip across the bridge. The commercial rents from a strip mall (with tasteful architecture, of course) would alleviate the increased lease payments that Shelter Bay residents currently face.

AND, if there was a small grocery store in Shelter Bay, it would be in competition with with the Pioneer Market in LaConner, AND both grocery stores would need to ADVERTISE in the local paper in order to get customers, and THEREFORE the LaConner Weekly News could that increased revenue to print pretty photos in color.

So, let's get started on this right now, and remember, nation building begins at home.

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