Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Books · Inside the heads of Generation X
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Inside the heads of Generation X

Kelsey Lauer - August 10th, 2009
Inside the Heads of Generation X

By Kelsey Lauer 8/10/09

backpocket e-pistles
By Mike Darigan
Skellum Imaginations, Inc.
264 pages — $11

“It’s about getting off the track and onto something different, maybe not a road,” writes Josh Meritz, one of four young men in backpocket e-pistles.
And that is exactly what the four close friends — Mike Darigan, Josh Meritz, Cleveland Winfield and Perry Panzarella—proceed to do over the course of a year as they study at four different universities—step off the beaten path and onto one of their own making to escape the pressures of modern society and learn who they truly are.
Through a series of unedited e-mails, backpocket e-pistles tells the story of their adventures and misadventures with learning, love and life in general.
“It’s kind of a collection of useful dreaming and a desire to be an individual and to live life to the fullest, to look at life with a sense of humor and adherence to being creative,” says author Mike Darigan. “Carpe diem would be a two-word summation of the general theme of the book.”
Darigan currently lives in Suttons Bay, where he is working on a book tentatively called La Femme and is starting an organic farm in Northport.

At Emerson College, Mike Darigan is in the final year of a winding, six-year-long college career that began in 1990. Recently returned from studying abroad for a year as an associate student at Oxford University, Darigan discovers the joy of e-mail in 1995 and begins to correspond with three friends, one of whom he met while in England, one of whom he grew up with and another in his first year of university.
Also recently returned from Oxford University, Josh Meritz details his experiences of trying to fit back into a typical American university after his year abroad, which has transformed his expectations of life and given him the ability to question the norm.
Cleveland Winfield, who has known Darigan since the age of six, is a senior political student at the University of Rhode Island and brings a good deal of life experience to the table, thanks to having studied in Wisconsin, served in the army as a tank driver and spent two years in Nevada “slanging dope and getting married.”
Reading for a master’s degree at Whitefriars College, Oxford University, Peregrine “Perry” Panzarella has recently graduated from Providence College, where he and Darigan lived three doors down from each other; Darigan credits Panzarella with his introduction to writing.

In places, backpocket e-pistles fits neatly into the coming-of-age genre personified so well by authors such as Jack Kerouac in On the Road. The concept of coming-of-age spans every generation, for no one really knows who they are until they have lived long enough to make mistakes and fall off—even briefly—the path that they planned to be traveling.
Like some of Kerouac’s works, backpocket e-pistles offers an unedited thought-stream that allows for a deeply personal glimpse inside a character’s life. But it differs from Kerouac’s works in that it details the lives of several students in the first generation to reach adulthood just as technology, such as the Internet, became more prevalent.
E-mail allowed each person writing to attain a spontaneity and realness that can be hard to find in a traditionally-written literary work, even one that is autobiographical; informal writing with at-times entirely lowercase letters means that the language is occasionally hard to follow, but adds to the entirely-true authenticity of each man’s correspondence.
Nearly every page inspires laughter due to one outlandish experience or another or, alternatively, delves deep into a thought-provoking examination of one of life’s many aspects, which Darigan says is exactly what he intended.
“It’s an entertaining book about some funny stories and outlandish acts in terms of the partying,” he says. “It’s a blend of humorous anecdotes mixed with thought-provoking passages. You’re either going to laugh or think about your life a little bit.”

At a time in life when college students or any other 15 to 25-year-old is struggling to discover who they are and where they are meant to fit in the world, backpocket e-pistles serves as a useful map through some of the rougher patches of life.
It’s no self-help book—and wasn’t meant to be, according to Darigan—but the amusing anecdotes can put a smile onto even the most serious face and teach you a little about life in the process, the main lesson being “...for people to have confidence to adhere to the prompting of their own hearts within the matrix that we all live in that is constantly and subtly exacting pressure to conform,” Darigan says.

Backpocket e-pistles is available locally at Horizon Books and Borders in Traverse City and at Brilliant Books in Suttons Bay and online at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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