Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Who in the World Lives in Coltons Point?

In an earlier story we gave you a thumbnail sketch of Where in the World is Coltons Point and now we think you should know a little about Who are the people of Coltons Point just in case you ever get lost and wind up there. Defining this cast of characters requires no small effort but the Diner crowd will do the best they can.

The first installment is a primer in sociological, demographic, and analytical research although Hillbilly Joe thinks we also need to factor in archeological (Hillbilly calls it “old stuff”), anthropological (Hillbilly calls that “stupid people stuff”), and historical (Hillbilly calls that “dead people stuff”) factors.

Rumor has it, and rumor is more than enough validation to justify headlines in today’s news, rumor has it the University of Maryland undertook a study of Coltons Point once to determine if it really was a microcosm of the USA as a whole. They assigned a team of social scientists (eggheads), demographers (numbers junkies) and analysts (out of work teachers) to see what they could find. They were no match for the Coltons Pointers.

First they applied genealogy principles and discovered a host of families that had been here practically since the beginning of civilized time, which we identify as the point the Catholics came and went. The original Pointers (Native Americans) that greeted the pilgrims would most certainly dispute the definition of the “beginning of civilized time”, as they would call it the beginning of the “End Times” according to ancient prophecy, but they were all driven away and have no voice in history.

Seems the more the researchers studied the original Pointers the more patterns they detected. Mostly they found over time all the prominent original families inter-married with each other so today you don’t marry into one family but the whole bunch of them.

Next the researchers turned to social factors such as class stratum and this was a little easier to define. Yes, Coltons has a colorful social stratum with layers of old money, new money, old families, new families, people with a rich hereditary legacy, those mysteriously with no past, etc., ad infinitum. Too many choices so they tried to categorize the folks.

First, there were the Civilizers (original families) and Uncivilized (new ones which also includes the colorful River Men). They neatly fit into some sub demographics like in boating – you either had a Yacht or a fishing boat. You played golf at the Country Club or Cow Pasture pool. The Uncivilized baited their own hook while the civilized hired someone to do it. Everyone had riding mowers, not a good class distinction, but the Civilized hired someone to drive it. Manicured yards were generally Civilized while natural swamp was the work of the Uncivilized.

The Civilized were required to be Optimists, were overseers of the Museum, must buy tickets to every activity that offered a dinner with real tablecloths, were committed to building a lighthouse, and had a septic system that could power at least two bathrooms.

As for the Uncivilized, they figured you didn’t have to join a group to be an optimist, they were more likely than not to be on display in the museum, they can’t rightly see paying for food when they catch all the fish, crabs and oysters they want for free, they are not too excited about building a lighthouse for a riverbank since there aren’t a lot of traffic jams on the river, and as for the septic, they never much saw the need for it in the first place, the two-holers worked just fine.

Yes, the researchers finally gave up discovering what we already knew, the Pointers are a unique, colorful, non-conforming and independent group of folk who all shared a common purpose, protecting themselves, their families and each other from the “outside” world. We may not be a definitive microcosm of the USA as it is today, but we are a microcosm of what the New America should look like.

Neighbors get to know their neighbors and are always willing to help out, regardless of the social, economic, religious or political beliefs. Down here there is only one class, fellow Americans, though it may include a variety of beliefs. Do your own thing but respect others right to do their thing. If your neighbor can’t bait their hook do it for them.

People here generally don’t see through blinders unless they walk on four legs. Oh they might not agree with you on some things, but more often than not they will never argue, respecting your right to have your own silly ideas. Old values in a new world, colonists trapped in a bureaucratic republic, independent survivors in a world of inter-dependence, that’s what you find down here at the Diner.

So don’t be surprised if you see the slogan of all the locals, regardless of race, creed, color, or class, PROUD TO BE A POINTER!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pre-Halloween News From The Diner

Notice any interesting trends in news coverage, at least on television? The Diner patrons down here sure do. They notice few stories anymore about oil prices, as if we’re supposed to believe the prices have returned to normal. Heck, we’re still paying a heck of a lot more for gas than last year. While oil companies set records every quarter for profits the nation’s governors have stopped complaining about high oil prices to. Why not, the states are collecting record amounts of gas tax so pork barrel spending can proceed as usual.

Education stories seem to center on security issues rather than academic achievement. Seems it’s more important to have armed guards in schools than to worry about sagging test scores. Why they even adopted a long overdue change in SAT tests for college bound students and what happens? Test scores go down. I mean, we are only asking that students be competent in reading, writing, and ritmatic.

Reading dropped 5 points, math dropped 2 points, and writing didn’t even reach the level of reading or math. (Since it was new it couldn’t drop.) Just about every excuse for poor performance has been offered, yet the new education money goes for security. Maybe the system is just broken and needs to be fixed? More armed guards are a rather unusual way to improve learning.

There are a lot more news stories on health and medicine. Guess it’s not so strange that as drug companies advertise more on television we are informed by the news media of all the new drugs now available to cure us. Every week a new disease seems to be discovered to sell a new drug that was magically discovered about the same time the drug hit the market. Makes you wonder how drug companies spend research dollars? How much goes to finding new diseases to sell drugs and how much to curing diseases they already discovered?

Dogman thinks there is a conspiracy between the drug companies, doctors, hospitals, insurance companies, Medicare, Medicaid, banks and politicians. He wonders why it is out of all the players only the lowly patients are not coming out ahead in the zillion dollar medical field? Miracle drugs have an exorbitant price tag. The only miracle is figuring out how the patient can pay for them.

That’s about all the news worth remembering this week.

Special Bulletin!

Duke Deere, the man about Coltons Point permanently fused to a John Deere riding mower, noted the other day that riding mowers seem to be everywhere in the Point. He’s fighting depression because so many are not John Deere mowers, but nothing the doctors can’t prescribe a mind-altering drug to fix, or make him forget.

We tried to calculate how much grass the grass mowing champions of Coltons Point cut in a season. Yes, we have dedicated champions, the ones seen every other day cruising around the yard cutting grass that already had a buzz cut. The average cut by the all stars is about 1/16th of an inch three times a week. Most people never even notice the yards were cut. Any worms in their yards have flat tops.

So take Mayor Bob or Dogman Joe, the true champions. We figure if they mow about an acre a day about three times a week for about 10 months a year they most certainly cut enough grass to stretch end to end three times around the world each season. Imagine that! They sharpen lawn mower blades far more often than a kitchen knife, which keeps the Mennonites happy.

When I first got here I figured their wives must be Caribbean Island women cause every time the champions would get on the head of the households nerves she screamed out Island gibberish like “Go mo mon”. Took me a long time to figure out she was yelling “go mow man!”

But back to Duke Deere. Now he took note of all the persnickety Point power players on their mowers and had an original idea, which is cause for celebration in itself. It came to him one day when his globes were glued to the tube watching synchronized swimming. If that could be an Olympic sport then a synchronized mowing team doing figure eights on their riding mowers might be the answer to all those Pointers stuck on mowers 67% of their lives.

Mayor Bob liked the idea, he fondly remembers back when he was young playing baseball before big crowds. Maybe they could gather a following, even groupies. But Dogman, well he had a slightly different view of the idea. “Duke”, he remarked, “that is the stupidest idea I heard since NASA tried to tell us they landed on the moon! And those of us who are enlightened know that was hogwash!”

Still Duke figured a 50% majority of the people supported the idea and that was a true democratic mandate so if you want to join the synchronized mowing team just shout at Duke Deere when you see him riding past and tell him you’re in, or on, or whatever. Odd thing about the Duke, he spends more time on his Deere cruising the blacktop than mowing the lawns.

Friday, October 27, 2006

America Squeaks/Speaks - Election 2006

We worry about our future down here, how to protect it from the crazies up river in DC. You should to. So I thought you might want to hear the latest election news from the Diner.

Will the President be Bush-whacked? Will the Democrats ever stop attacking the attackers and tell us what they would do different? Come to think of it, what is the difference between a Democrat and a Republican? These are some of the questions to be decided this election year.

Well, thanks to President Clinton we know the Democrats still party better. As far as the scandals and corruption, anyone who pays attention knows the party in power, no matter which it is, always gets scandalous and corrupt in time.

We know political party platforms have a foundation of quicksand. Most all candidates take big money from big money. If they don’t they lose. TV stations can’t tell us the truth about candidates because every two years politicians are their biggest source of ad revenue. About a dozen congressmen, senators or governors will get caught in corruption, a sex scandal, or some other form of private perversion that went public.

Somewhere around 100 million votes will be cast if that many, probably split about even between the good guys and the bad guys so it doesn’t matter which side you’re on. Two years ago in the presidential race Bush and Gore had about 60 million votes each.

So there are 225 million Americans of voting age. About 100 million will vote and they will split the vote between Republicans and Democrats. Thus each party will get about 50 million votes. That means the destiny of the USA, the world’s self-proclaimed greatest democracy, will be governed with the support of 22% of the eligible voters, while more than half of all eligible voters (56%) won’t even bother to vote. In the words of philosopher Hillbilly Joe down here at the Diner, “that sucks”.

So America does have a silent majority. They just don't vote. Why is that? Watch for future articles on that issue. More Joey gems; “good thing the nonsense will end in 10 days, I’m sick of the donkeys and elephants taking over TV. Besides, if the no shows win then both candidates should lose, and wouldn't we be better off with no politicians.”

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Where in the world is Coltons Point?

Coltons Point is on the Potomac River 60 miles south of Washington, D.C., just a few miles from the Chesapeake Bay. The river here is 4 miles across. The first Catholics in America landed here around 1620 but were immediately chased away by the local Indians. To this day that remains the mood of the locals toward outsiders.

Think of it, a pre-colonial artifact in the 21st century, that's Coltons Point. A quaint little very old fishing village with no churches, no government, no politicians, no gas stations, no cops, no stop lights, no street lights, no sewers, no water, no hospitals, no schools, no doctors, no dentists, no shopping centers, no libraries, no fast food, well, you get the idea.

You come down here and you're on your own.

There are more fishing boats than cars, more animals than people, and more crabs and oysters than you can ever eat as long as you don't go out to eat. You won't find high speed internet here, it's beyond dsl, the end of the line for digital cable, and phone lines flood out every heavy rain.

Coltons Point has its very own perspective on the nation and the world and that is why we are trying to give you this news on the news since we also have no newspaper. It's a tough crowd down here. They don't put up with much nonsense from the "real" world. I'd say they are street smart but there aren't any streets so let's just say they are savvy in the ways of the old fishermen of the sea.

Hope you enjoy their worldview in the postings.

TV News - Alice in Wonderland

We bring you world events as viewed from the Diner patrons in Coltons Point. Okay, so we don't have a Diner, but if we did this is what the locals would be saying. Mostly we bring you our comments on the stories told to us by TV, radio and newspapers, a view most certainly as imaginary as through the looking glass of Alice in Wonderland. Feel free to comment on our comments.