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 · Michael Delp seeks answers though...
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Michael Delp seeks answers though short stories

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli - March 15th, 2010
Michael Delp Seeks Answers Through Short Stories
By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli
As If We Were Prey
By Michael Delp
Wayne State University Press
The magic thing about writers is that we get to watch the way they think. They leave a trail of pebbles behind them, a body of work that, with good writers, expands, then flattens into a wide vista of explored ideas.
Michael Delp, teacher of creative writing at Interlochen Arts Academy and writer of many books of poetry and fiction, including: Over the Graves of Horses, Under the Influence of Water and more, is one of these good writers. With, As if We Were Prey, his new book of Michigan-based short stories from Wayne State University Press, he takes old and new themes and drives them and us to new places.
“Commandos” is the disturbing story of a boy bullied by a cruel young neighbor. The boy can see into the bully’s second story bedroom—with binoculars. He takes stock of the Nazi paraphernalia; the photo of Adolph Hitler. The boy and a friend plan to humiliate their torturer, blindside him into tripping over a wire stretched between trees. When this fails, and his attempt at revenge only deepens his misery, he is left to watch–almost without emotion – until the bully’s life plays out at the end of a rope.
In the story, the boy’s grown self looks back from a different place and sees that the boy he was, never had a chance; that triumph wasn’t waiting in the wings. The older man knows that life doesn’t play out according to a self-written script; that the bully had “. . . no real dad to come down to pick him up. No friends. I’m thinking about his vacant eyes, the smoke of Camel straights rising up out of his sneer, one of his engineer’s boots propped up against the wall—waiting like a bird of prey.”
This isn’t Psych-101 stuff. This is growth, and understanding from a far place of years. The adult man sees not only the bully, but the boy he, himself, once was; a boy watching out the window, still trying to understand long after the bully is dead. Raw emotion is here, but something, too, of a different sort.

We find the same qualities in “We are Living in the Future,” another past and present story entwined into a narrative teaching: ‘you can’t go home again.’ In this story a man mourns the loss of more than one life. There is no recapturing the boy he once was, nor should he want to. The friend he goes to visit, an old football player from his glory days in high school, now “looks like a woodchuck. His gut hangs over his belt, and I could see different parts of his underwear poking out along the waistline of his pants.” Under the decrepitude, the alcoholism, the loss of respect, adolescent stupidity, right down to a final degradation, the old football player still has one thing the man envies. One thing that will probably keep him tied to the past for the rest of his life.
Lessons learned in Delp’s work are never the ones we suspect we’re learning.
Of all these fine stories, I have two favorites. First there is “Mystery Park,” for the sheer pleasure of getting drunk and setting free a bear caged in one of those awful Michigan zoos.
The second favorite is “Traveling Einstein.” This is the story of Art, a man who travels Michigan, an itinerant teacher, getting paid by the citizenry to answer questions. He stands by his truck and defies the crowd he gathers to ask him anything. Anything at all. He knows all the answers. “Who is the only president buried in Washington, D.C.?” he’s asked. He’s got the answer. “What was the Great Gatsby’s first name?” He knows that too. But confronted with his own brain, where answers come from, he has no answer. After pulling an answer seemingly from so deep it frightened him, Art ...“stopped the session and sat in his truck until the crowd went away. He watched them trailing off in the dust and waited for what seemed like hours for his heart to slow down, remembering that the answer had risen from deep in his limbic system, moving up through the blood and tissue of his brain like a bubble rising in maple syrup.”

Art knows they’re waiting—those deep bubbles—until the day there won’t be a bubble left, and he’ll be asked the kind of question he can’t come close to answering. When this does happen, he retires—not with a brain-blowing explosion of knowing too much, but with a whimper. A woman teaches him the biggest question of all. The question doesn’t come from a book, but from deep in the human heart. This question has, a single, unknowable answer, that sets him free.
Other reviewers have pointed to the sense of melancholy in Delp’s stories, and it’s there, but more important are the truths that spring from the melancholy. These are truths a grown man has to deal with eventually: who he was and who he’s become. The stories here are right out there, in your face. Delp is shooting for deeper things, beyond simple emotion and experience, all the way to that inner core of knowledge we know is there but, like Art the answer man, are afraid to face. Maybe he’s telling us we’re all prey to begin with but, like the caged bear, there’s still hope of smelling freedom.

Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli’s third book in the Emily Kincaid mystery series, Dead Sleeping Shaman, will be in bookstores in May.

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