Tom Petty: To Find a Friend


I was listening to the Wildflowers album by Tom Petty back in the 1990s when, of course, I first heard this song.

A random thought occurred to me: If The Beatles were still together, this is the kind of song they would be playing. I had no idea why I had that thought.

I glanced at the liner notes and looked over the personnel for the recording of this song.

Drums: Ringo Starr.

Huh.

I guess drummers do have their own recognizable style, which I heard without knowing. That is my only explanation for the random thought.

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It’s easy: Vote for who you want.

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The latest from my day job:

As a habitual voter of third parties and an occasional purchaser of lottery tickets, I am always amused by the warnings about the dire consequences of voting third parties.

Those folks have been very active as the major parties careen toward a fall election that will match two of the most disliked politicians of our present era. It’s said that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have disapproval ratings north of 60 percent each.

“If you don’t vote for Trump, it’s a vote for Clinton,” holler alarmed Republicans. “If you don’t support Clinton, it’s a vote for Trump,” scream alarmed Democrats.

Well, no. A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump, period. A vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton, period. A vote for someone else is a vote for someone else, period.

According to Google The Great and Powerful, if the November 2016 election were to mirror the 2012 turnout, my individual vote will be one of more than 3 million votes cast in Wisconsin that day. The odds that I will win today’s Badger 5 jackpot are twice as good as the odds my single vote will be the deciding factor in determining Wisconsin’s Electoral College votes for president.

Given those odds, for my own peace of mind, I will research and vote for the candidate whose views on the issues most closely mirror my own. Then, over the next four years, I will at least be able to say, “Don’t blame me, I didn’t vote for that (insert the noun of your choice here).”

For the past 240 years, and at least for the time being, this has been a representative republic. What that means is we collectively choose the candidate who represents our beliefs better than any of the other candidates, theoretically at least.

It doesn’t mean we vote for who we consider the most electable candidate. It doesn’t mean we vote for whoever our preferred party puts up. It doesn’t mean we ignore our personal beliefs and choose the lesser of two evils.

It means exactly what the term “representative republic” implies: We should vote for the candidate who represents us.

I know what you’re thinking because I have had this conversation many times before: “OK, Warren, if you want to waste your vote, go ahead. But I’m at least going to vote for someone who has a chance to win.”

Why would you do that, especially in a year like this one? I know, you think only the major-party candidates have a real chance to win the election, so you should ignore all of the small-party candidates, even when you absolutely agree with how they say they would run the U.S. government.

But why? If you dislike or even hate the way the two major parties run the government, why would you vote for the major party candidate who would run it slightly less badly than the other major party candidate?

What happens if you vote instead for the candidate you agree with? Worst case scenario, nothing. Better case scenario, a great many people also vote that way and the numbers will draw attention to worthy candidates from smaller parties. Best case scenario, we actually get a president whose values and beliefs reflect a majority of Americans.

I know I’m spitting into the wind.

I know a lot of people are thinking, “I think Hillary Clinton will make a terrible president, but if I don’t vote for her then Donald Trump will win and that will be worse.”

I know a lot of people are thinking, “I think Donald Trump will make a terrible president, but if I don’t vote for him then Hillary Clinton will win and that will be worse.”

So, OK, if you want to waste your vote, go ahead. But I’m going to vote for someone who would actually represent me.

Creative log:

Friday, May 20, 2016: Krayatura 1 – 0/9,127/60,000; Reviewed existing projects with goal of setting deadlines and release dates; brainstormed new project ideas

A pretty good life, all told, so far

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May 18 was a Sunday in 1975, and on the night of May 18 I was lying in a bed in a hotel in Waupaca, Wis., where the next morning I would begin my career as a professional radio news reporter and announcer.

I had said goodbye to my parents and brother a few hours earlier, and they were heading back to New Jersey without me. I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I hadn’t found the job in Waupaca four days before I graduated from college on that sunny Sunday afternoon.

I definitely would have been on my way back to New Jersey with them, looking for a job in my home state instead of starting a new life. I would have missed knowing an awful lot of wonderful people.

Wisconsin has been my home every day for the 41 years since graduation day and probably for the four years previous. I think I decided to leave New Jersey behind on my first day in the Badger State in ’71, and it would have been weird going back to stay. I suspect I’d have tried to find my way back to the Midwest, but who knows? Maybe in an alternate universe I’m a TV news anchor in Boston or someplace like that.

One of the first stories I remember reading that first week was a United Press International story about how UPI was going to be closing a number of its overseas offices, in countries where not enough news of interest to U.S. readers was being generated. It seems journalism has been in retreat for most of my career, first in radio news and later in my adopted newspaper career.

Like people in most businesses these days, the mission seems to be to do more with less. But you can’t do more with less, not really – you can only do less. The only thing you can control is how well you do what you do, and you always aim to do the best you can.

It’s only 121 miles from Waupaca to the little city where I work now, and if you took a drive from Waupaca to each of the communities I’ve worked, in chronological order, it would only cover about 175 miles in all, so in a way I haven’t traveled very far in 41 years.

But it’s been far enough, and as the day nears when I step away from the business I’ve been in all these years (hopefully not THAT near and on my own terms), I’m glad I followed the path I took. Mostly they’ve been small towns – Green Bay is the biggest city I ever worked – but people seem more real in small towns. The bigger any enterprise gets, be it a town or a company or a government, the more likely it is that real people will get lost and/or neglected.

Sometimes I think about that kid lying in that warm hotel room that Sunday night, looking forward to starting life in the real world less than 24 hours after taking off the cap and gown. The first day of a new adventure is always exciting, always filled with promise.

Thursday is the first day of my 42nd year of seeking out people’s stories and telling them as best I can, so I must have grown to like the job. And some days the adventure is just as much fun as it was that first day in a little town in the middle of Wisconsin. It’s been a pretty good life, all told, so far.

Creative log:

Thursday, May 19, 2016: Krayatura 1 – 156/9,127/60,000

This one life in a glass

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“There’s gotta be more to life than this, right?” the old man said as he cradled the glass between his hands.

“What do you mean?” his companion asked.

“I mean just that: There’s gotta be more to life than this. A guy’s life has to mean something – something special, something different from anyone else, something like nobody’s ever seen before and nobody will ever see again, because you only live have this one life and you have to leave your mark that says, ‘Hey! It’s me! I made this! This is who I am!’ and when I’m gone, ‘This is who I was so people will remember!’ Don’t you think?”

His companion narrowed his eyes and lifted his glass.

“Shut up and drink your Kool-Aid.”

Blizzard warning

Snow, blowing snow, expected to accumulate 10-14 inches … in this part of the world, we seem to get a storm like this almost every year in the early spring.

The only consolation is that in a few days and weeks, warmth will return, the earth will come alive and the land will turn green.

We live here in the north country because we enjoy all four seasons – some more than others …

Oops

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This is pretty embarrassing – I recently realized that I had let my eponymous domain name expire, which means that for about two months it went to a “Page not found” message and mail to warren@warrenbluhm.com went into a cyberspace void.

Fortunately, in the interim no one else snapped up the domain (why would they?) and order has been restored to the universe.

I apologize to the five of you who visit regularly and pledge to be more attendant in the future.