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 · Nothing More To Tell
. . . .

Nothing More To Tell

Elizabeth Buzzelli - August 22nd, 2011
Author has Nothing More to Tell

Nothing More to Tell
Stories by George Dila
Mayapple Press

By Elizabeth Kane Buzzelli

Once in a while you come across a book of stories so true you convince
yourself you’re reading memoir and you get mad or sad for the writer until
you remember this is fiction and you’re only getting pieces of a life and
maybe a made-up life. Then you get upset that you’ve been had so easily.
Then you understand what a good writer this is and you’re happy to be in
the hands of this magician and go on to the next story, the next life, and
the next twisting of your emotions.
Nothing More to Tell, stories by George Dila from Mayapple Press, is like
that. Small town Michigan life, rural life and Detroit life. And you’re
going back and forth between a 15-year-old being introduced to a life of
petty crime by his father, then off to meet a hardened Detroit killer,
back to a small town barber doing a haircut he might not want to do, and
then a retired electrician taking a creative writing class along with a
man from his childhood; a man who may have stolen his mother’s love when
they were little.
Big stretch. Big reach. All of it real and alive. Nothing predictable.
Nothing comfortable here where people are just people without deep
messages carried in on their backs. Just people. Heartbreaking.
Honest. Cruel.

Back to the first story, “Lessons My Father Taught Me.” And back to when
I still thought I was reading veiled memoir and I got furious with his
father — the small town crook, an often unemployed jerk, with a good kid
who he forced into petty theft and treachery. But then I started to not
like the kid either — did he rat his father out on purpose? Too much like
the real life we try to pretend away. Fiction doing what fiction does
best — telling truths we’d rather not have to look at; those small things
that eat away at our souls and drive us into churches.
Like the Detroit killer story, “Pizza Pie.” “Jablonski always gave his
victims the final word.” That was just before he shot them in the head.
All in a day’s work for this Hamtramck Pole who figured one day it could
be his turn unless ‘with a little luck, he’d die of cancer or a coronary,
or maybe even old age, rather than a bullet in the brain.’ He often
thought what his last words might be. Not the ‘Eat me’ of one of his
victims, nor the ‘f*ck you’ of most of the others, but something better.
A thing to dream on. And then the moment: ‘Well, Kielbasa man, now it’s
your turn. Anything you got to say?’ Ridiculous; a tour through
Jablonski’s memories: ‘pizza and golabki’; with a bunch of ‘St. Florian
kids in Schostak’s Buick, going to Buddy’s on Conant.’ Jerry Lewis and
Dean Martin—an unfair God: “cut Dino off and give us thirty more years of
Life’s not fair and here he is on his
knees and his last words are…
well, you read the story.

Surely we’ve all met the woman writing “Four Letters to Angelina Jolie.”
A single mother with hopes of schmoozing her way into someone taking care
of her and her kids. A woman who thinks subservience leads to the easy
life. A woman who gets led around by God passing on this or that
self-serving suggestion. In this story it is Marie Piemontessa who is
after Angelina Jolie, with flattery, with a description of her own
wonderful kids: “The less said about their so-called fathers the better.”
Maria tells Angelina, “I believe in my heart God has a purpose for me in
life and that purpose is to help you with your kids.” She wants to go
live with Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt and bring her kids with her. When
she gets only fan photos as answer, after three letters she decides maybe
God’s got another plan for her; life with another movie star. Tom Cruise
watch out. Poor Maria Piemontessa.
And “Valentine’s Day.” A sad and happy story. Two unhappy anniversaries
on the same day: Valentine’s Day. Twenty years ago Walter’s wife left him
“to discover who I am.” And one month ago “Darlene, our little baby girl
now all grown up and feisty, had gone off to live with her boyfriend,
Roland.” So we have a new anniversary, a day when Walter dares tread off
into the cyber world of porn and new pleasures and possibly new
anniversaries. This is a day when Jay Leno leans toward him on his TV
set, winks at Walter, and says, “Reach out and touch someone, Walter.”
Which he does.

Then comes “Mares Eat Oats” and that writing class where the retired
electrician comes to learn to write a memoir only to meet a kid from his
childhood, Witski, now in his 60s, who forces the electrician into knowing
more about his past than he’s happy knowing. Witski — whose mother left
when he was a kid: “That was unheard of back then. A mother never walked
out on her kids, for Christ sake. The old lady never left the old man.”
Witski could only adopt the mothers of his friends as his own. “ …I
adopted a new one every year or so. Did you notice one year, maybe sixth
grade, maybe fifth, I was at your house almost every day?”
The electrician remembers. “One year we did seem to be best friends.
Then we found new friends.”
New friends after the electrician’s mother, a cold, uncaring mother to
him, bent to kiss Witski fully on the lips and sing a nonsense song to
him: ‘Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy…’”
These are satisfying stories delivered in clear, brightly lighted prose.
Well worth a read.
George Dila lives in Ludington where he directs the Ludington Visiting
Writers, a literary program he founded in 2001. His stories and essays
have appeared in North American Review, Driftwood, Traverse, Christian
Science Monitor and other publications. A native Detroiter, George is a
graduate of Wayne State University.
He will be making appearances at bookstores around Northern Michigan.

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