Archive - January, 2012

A Different State Of Mind

Throughout much of the 1930’s the people living along the border of Oregon and California found themselves mired in a fairly frustrating existence.

The borderland wasn’t just timber country, it was still quite literally a frontier.

The loggers, miners and farmers who worked the land did so with very basic services and government infrastructure.

If the Great Depression ensured that America’s cities foundered in their desire for growth, it guaranteed that the Northwest had a better chance of snaring bigfoot than getting the traction needed for forward progress.

Consistent electrical service was rare and, aside from the major interstate highways, most roads were merely packed gravel and oil pathways which quickly turned to mud during the abundant seasonal rainstorms.

By the late 1930’s the region’s wood, mineral, and agricultural industries began to recover from the effects of the depression.

The state taxes that flowed into the coffers of Salem and Sacramento began to improve conditions just about everywhere in the state….

…except in the borderlands.

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What We Want To Believe

Sometimes a lie is so believable that it makes a fool out of a lot of people.  You’ve probably joined me in repeating a lie (or forwarding an email lie) because it seemed credible to you, only to have a friend direct you to Snopes.com.

I’ve found that the best lies get retold because not only do they “seem” true, they make sense to us based upon our perception of life experiences.  For instance:

I keep getting forwarded emails that encourage me to refuse the new “golden dollar coins”… because they do not say “In God We Trust” on them.

The emails claim that “liberals”, “Muslims”, “secular humanists”, and or “the Jews” (depending on the version) have been trying to eliminate God from our lives for years, and now that Barak Osama has been elected president, they’ve finally begun the next phase of their devious plan.

The removal of “God” from our money.

Individuals frustrated by the fading homogeny of our culture are quick to use the absence of “In God We Trust” from the face of the golden dollar coin to point out that “They’ve been right” all of these years, and now “the unthinkable has happened!”.

The only problem is that careful inspection of the coin reveals that our government has gone to the added expense of inscribing “In God We Trust” onto the outer edge of each and every golden dollar coin in circulation.

The email, trumpeting the righteous indignation of the true believer, also remains in circulation.  It’s an embarrassing reminder of how easy it is to manipulate people into believing something that they already want to believe.

Like the lie that Taco Bell meat isn’t really meat.

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Reversal Of Fortune

In honor of the day that Nike may, or may not, have saved Oregon football.

If you haven’t heard, Oregon head football coach Chip Kelly suddenly decided that he didn’t want to be an NFL coach… after deciding that he didn’t want to be a college football coach.

He’s back in Eugene, Oregon without missing a day on the job.  Rampant, yet unverifiable, speculation is that Oregon’s most celebrated financial donor (Phil Knight of Nike) stepped in to save the day at the last-minute.

As a UCLA Bruin fan, I don’t root for the Ducks often, but if Oregon goes down in flames it will be up to the rest of the hapless teams in the Pac-12 to keep USC out of the National Championship hunt.  Since my Bruins certainly can’t do it yet, I need Chip Kelly at Oregon for at least another three years.

Oregon has still got some serious talent in the cupboard, but it takes Kelly’s motivation, discipline, and mental acumen to get that talent to produce at the high level that Oregon fans have come to expect.

Next year Oregon’s offense will have to rely on a running back whose name features a “soft J” (as in Yogging), and an undersized speedster hoping to catch passes from a running quarterback.  That’s a recipe for disaster without the coach who has designed an offense to turn this type of potential into touchdowns.

Whether or not you think that the Ducks are Nike’s semi-professional entry into NCAA football, you have to admit that without Phil Knight, the state of Oregon doesn’t get much recognition or representation on a national level.

At least with Chip Kelly at the helm the state should be well represented in Pasadena come New Years.

 

Shoe Art by jordanchez

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