Thursday, June 30, 2005

Seaside, Oregon was where our family spent many great vacations. Recently my wife and our friends would all come down for a weekend and hang around. Deb and I still try to visit every summer. There sure are a lot of great memories there.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Donkey Strikes Back

Interesting if not bizarre things are happening in the state of partisan politics in Washington state. Washington voters have always cherished independence and the fact that they have been a swing vote, most voters in this state have been of the mentality that they vote for the man, not for the party. The Politicians in this state at one time reflected that, Governor Dan Evans ,a Republican, was perceived as a Liberal. The politics of the late Governor Dixie Lee Ray, who succeeded Dan and labled herself as a Democrat, were truly to his right. Much of this was made possible by the "Blanket Primary". Voters in Washington state unlike most other states did not have to register by party or have to vote a party line in the primary. Still the top vote getter in each party would be on the ballot in the general election.
Under this system each party had no control over the candidates that ran on their ticket which pissed them off of course . Through a series of lawsuits they adopted (The donkey and Elephant hung together on this one) what they thought was a compromise, no party registration for voters but they could only vote for candidates in one party during a state primary.
Voters greeted this with all the enthusiasm of 6th graders having their recess taken away! A resolution was on the ballot in the very first year this new system was established and aided by the near unanimous endorsement by print media and Secretary Of State, Sam Reed, (A Republican who I figure Democrats owe dearly for his fairness in our razor thin Gubernatorial election), adopted the new Louisiana-type Primary. Now the top 2 candidates advance even if they are of the same party. Both parties have responded by saying "screw this" and by adopting their own nominating processes. In this odd year, all the county offices including Executive are up for grabs.

Anyway if you are still with me after that long build up, I attended the First ever Washington State Democratic nominating convention last night. We met at the believe Community College Gym, which is right on the way home from work. All of the Democratic faithful were there, and it was obvious that hard work and planning had gone into it. Still I could not escape the air of confusion as voters seemed to wonder what their role would be. To top things off, new redistricting put two sitting County Council members against each other and they were asked to obey a small group of voters to abandon their seat. A county council position pays nearly 6 figures, so if the losing candidate gives this process the finger, I would understand. Nonetheless, I learned about my district and that we had a very high Democratic vote in my precinct (giving more weigh to my vote as Precinct Committee Officer). We also learned that we did have a candidate from our district. A fine man named Roger Larson
My feeling about the whole thing is that our purpose needs to be defined maybe by passing legislation to allow and to bind the results. My feeling is that Washington voters have totally lost their patience with both major Political parties (which of course is better than unilateral frustration with us) and that this battle will wage for a long time to come.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Tom Cruise Feeding Frenzy

Everywhere you look there's Tom Cruise. Not because he has a movie out. Not because he has been engaged to a lady he's known for a few months at best. Now that Michael Jackson and his court ordeals are over we need someone to trash or should I say, the media needs someone to shoot it's arrows at. I can't say he didn't make it easy for them, his behaviour on the Oprah show was definitely outside the norm. Yes, he did take a cheap swipe at Brooke Shields (like that's never happened before) and yes. he may have lost his cool in an interview on the Today show, but so what?! Has Tom ever shot anybody? Has he hurt a child? Did he start a war?
I did not see Matt Lauer's interview with big Tom, but my guess is that the TODAY show is in a fight for ratings and one sure way to put your show high in the ratings is to agitate someone. Tom Cruise has certain beliefs just like Mel Gibson and many other people. If you would have Donny Osmond (a practicing Mormon) and talked about how some people have fun chugging beer, I think Donny may be a litttle upset. I do not adhere to any of Tom's beliefs, but I think he is entitled to have them. I certainly disagree with them, but there are much worst things happening in these troubled times.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Can You Handle the Truth?

The AFI, which I would think stands for American Film Institute has recently published the top 100 movie quotes. Some of the top ten are so immerced in our culture that the quote is more famous than the movie. Today I will so you the top 30.
out the Top 100:
1. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.- GONE WITH THE WIND
2. I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse.- THE GODFATHER
3. You don't understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.- ON THE WATERFRONT
4. Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.- THE WIZARD OF OZ
5. Here's looking at you, kid.- CASABLANCA
6. Go ahead, make my day.- SUDDEN IMPACT
7. All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up.- SUNSET BLVD.
8. May the Force be with you.- STAR WARS
9. Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night.- ALL ABOUT EVE
10. You talking to me?- TAXI DRIVER
11. What we've got here is failure to communicate.- COOL HAND LUKE
12. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. - APOCALYPSE NOW
13. Love means never having to say you're sorry.- LOVE STORY
14. The stuff that dreams are made of.- THE MALTESE FALCON
15. E.T. phone home.- E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL
16. They call me Mister Tibbs!- IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
17. Rosebud.- CITIZEN KANE
18. Made it, Ma! Top of the world!- WHITE HEAT
19. I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!- NETWORK
20. Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.- CASABLANCA
21. A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.- THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
22. Bond. James Bond.- DR. NO
23. There's no place like home. - THE WIZARD OF OZ
24. I am big! It's the pictures that got small.- SUNSET BLVD.
25. Show me the money!- JERRY MAGUIRE
26. Why don't you come up sometime and see me?- SHE DONE HIM WRONG
27. I'm walking here! I'm walking here!- MIDNIGHT COWBOY
28. Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'- CASABLANCA
29. You can't handle the truth!- A FEW GOOD MEN
30. I want to be alone.- GRAND HOTEL
Now it is up to Hollywood to go back and make the magic and more memorable quotes!

My Dad (right), his brother Arny and cousin Jan were down in Rancho Mirage last March to celebrate Arny's birthday. Posted by Hello

Friday, June 24, 2005

This is Rusty with his buddy Bailey. Bailey entertained him when we were out of town. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

It'sMonday, Time for Maple Valley weekend in review

Debra's birthday party came off well without a hitch even though at crunch time (like about half an hour before) I was going crazy. I was obsessed with the need to get balloons. I was driving to Bel Square where party was and since the sun was out, I decided to go down Kirkland's Main Street. I stopped at a flower store to check on balloons but it was closed, I still had a couple of unwrapped presents and wanted to get a couple more. I went to the QFC on Bellevue way and found the service to be wanting. Finally got to QFC across from Bel Square, scored the balloons, went to the Bartell Drugs next door and got gift bags as well as found another good present. It took another 20 minutes to find a parking spot but Deb and Pam were not yet at the restaurant so all was OK. I managed to put everything down to wait in line to put our name in and got a call saying we had one more person joining us. Remember that this was a crowded restaurant (The Cheesecake Factory) and my hands were full. I went up, changed the order and then things got much better. It turned out to be a great time for everyone.
\ We will celebrate Dad's day next Sunday instead. Deb and I spent some quality time with my Dad at his place as we watched the sunset on the lake.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Birthdays fun stuff

Today is Debra's birthday as well as for her twin sister, Donna. Donna will celebrate with her parents for the first time in years. Deb's parents Bob and Lynn went to Philadelphia to be with the Donna's family. Deb and I will celebrate tonight with Pam and Jerry, along with George, Jackie and their 9 month old son Jonah. This Monday we will be out with our families to continue the birthday celebration.
How about our Mariners? They took the wood to the ball yesterday as they spanked the New York Mets 5-0. It's been a long time since our Mariners have been on the right side of a game like that and it came against a pretty decent team. Congrats to Jamie Moyer, who showed that he still has got it.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Les Cole Rocked the telecom world

Tomorrow marks one sad anniversary. Les Cole, who was founding President of ICON Communications, passed away from lung cancer. ICON was a very special company, it was based in Downtown Seattle in the Westin Building. You could to the Westlake Mall during lunch and in the summer bands would play, but I digress. ICON, a telephone long distance carrier, marketing primarily to businesses, did everything with professionalism and class whether it was for customers or employees. There was good pay, good benefits, and very few rules. We had to produce or die but this was a company I was happy to work hard for. Employees working there received generous Christmas gifts as well as birthday gifts and bonuses and tickets to ball games and what not. ICON didn't advertise (it did do a few spons0rships) and received most of it's business through the sales staff and by word of mouth. The company was bought out in 1998, and the new company just wasn't the same. I eventually left in early 2000. Unfortunately Les was a heavy smoker and had he not started that bad habit he would probably be riding his boat out in Lake Chelan right now. He was able to retire before he hit 50, unfortunately his retirement was way too short.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rusty is our golden retriever on the left. Cora from Deb's work is the German Shephard mix on the right. Kind of sounds like the crossfire intro, only they are much more enjoyable. Posted by Hello

Going down memory lane

Here is an excellent article on former KOL-KJR-KYYX-KTEL DJ Burl Barer. It has a sound bite from one of his shifts at KOL which at the time was locked in a radio war with KJR. Like when Israel won the 6 day war, KJR not only won, but took many of KOL's DJs.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Jackson Beats It

Well, since it is the talk of the town, I may as well put my "two cents" in. I did not follow any of the Michael Jackson trial as it got so ridiculous and so long it was basically noise. I really don't know what was presented as state's evidence. I cannot say for sure if Jackson was guilty of the crimes that he was charged, what has to be addressed is the fact that a lower paid County prosecutor isno match for a high price celebrity attorney. The system ideally is set up to keep an inocent person from being incarcerated. Obviously that does happen in certain cases, that above all is what the first item of judicial reform should be. Because of Jackson's celebrity, this case has received way more attention, than it's importance. We feel for the alleged victims, but it is just one speck of the problems that exist in our society.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

It's a Brad and Angelina Thing

"Mr and Mrs Smith" is the story of Jane Smith and John Smith, husband and wife who could be mistaken for the dopey couple on the '90s show, Mad About You, except for one minor detail, they both have the same secret that they have kept from each other as well as their friends, they are hit-people. That's right, they are hired assasins.
Inspite of their grisly profession, they have a seemingly normal (almost hollywood cliche) maried life and that is where the laughs come in. They have the white picket fence and go to neighborhood parties and get along real well with their neighbors. Their troubles are regular marriage problems. That kind of changes at the end when it becomes your James Bond type flick, even though in the real world they are "bad guys". Even John's fellow hitman is your typical "bowl on Tuesday night" buddy. The only good guys in this flick are the clueless neighbors. Brad and Angelina make this movie worth seeing with their goodlooks and incredible chemistry.

Mike and Debra at Joshua Tree State Park. We were visiting my Dad and Jean last March in Rancho Mirage. We took a side trip to Joshua Tree State park. About an hour away. You can see Mexico in the background. Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 11, 2005

From March 2005, Mike and Nephew Ethan in Atlantic City, NJ  Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

It was an ordinary Friday at work until this gentleman walked into the store. Posted by Hello

Well he is just a guy

Edgar has been the store before, but there is something about seeing your hero. He is always pretty easy going and very comfortable even though it can turn some heads and cause a few poking of ribs. I have an assignment now, this Monday I have to come up with envelopes with his companies logo on it for him. Edgar also shipped a couple packages and bought lots of envelopes. A year ago, I helped him work our copier, I was hoping he could return the favor by showing me how to hit a baseball, I did not ask and as a result I am not a millionaire.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Links to live by

I'm was trying to set up my links for this blog and have not been able to quite yet, in the meantime I thought I could share a couple of good ones through this post. The link is to "Pleasing To Remember". It is a sample of political news and views for the Eastside.
Another great one is That is the Lan Roberts web sight. I did not know Lan during his radio days, but he was one of the great Seattle radio personalities of the 1960s and 1970s, He has now embraced the new technology and offers a no-holds barred passionate editorial everyday on politics, entertainment whatever. You can also hook into that at It is definitely worth a look. Also, if debating the far right wing is your thing, there is Belky's Place at
It is a right leaning chatroom where all views are welcome. The debates can be rough and tumble but rarely get personal.
while I have this chance, on behalf of my wife Debra and I extend the deepest thank you to Evonne Bennedict and the King 5 news staff. When Cora, the pet therapy dog at Sunrise Assisted Living was lost last March, King 5 put it on the 6:00 news and because of the coverage the dog apeared. My wife is the program coordinator at Sunrise. Evonne is the producer of the KING5 news and also a volunteer at Sunrise.
Come to think of it is very useful and entertaining. It has virtually every movie and TV show as well as actors, writers and producers of everthing to come out of Hollywood ever. So if you'r wondering "where they are now?" or have a special memory of a TV show in your childhood, that's not a bad place to go. You can also review and make comments on every entry.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

What's up or how far can I get.

This weekend my cousin-in-law Kevin was kind enough to offer tickets to see the Seattle Mariner play Tampa Bay. I took my buddy Dave and we found out that we had excellent seats! It was a win for the Mariners (yea!) but I kind of realized that this Mariner team is playing at the best of it's abilities and it still needs two big late rallies to beat lowly Tampa Bay. My thanks go to Kevin who is one of the most generous people you would ever meet. Another thing I am curious about. Tampa Bay was always touted as an area hungry for a baseball team. Owners were able to black mail their county and municipal governments for big bailout and brand new stadiums built with practically blank checks from taxpayers including yours truly. Well now they finally have a team, they languish in last place and barely cause a ripple even in their home town. I guess it is pretty easy to fool the public.

A couple of months ago, I went back to Walla Walla because my great Uncle Paul was in town. He is the only surviving sibling of my Grandfather Granek. Hopefully we can have a reunion like that again soon. The highlight of the trip though was we went by our old house on Palouse street, we saw our old next door neighbor on her front porch and went to say hello. She happened to be talking to 516 S Palouse's current resident, Jackie. Jackie was nice enough to give us a tour and show what they have done to the house. She said she kind of felt guilty for all the changes they had made and I said there is no need because when you buy the house it becomes your house and I think everything they have done improves it. Since Walla Walla is now on the winemaking map, property values are remarkable up. Who would have thought?

Monday, June 06, 2005

Ailing Burl

Please have Burl Barer in your thoughts and prayers, Burl who like me was raised in Walla Walla is having surgery to have a couple stints put into his arteries. As near as I can tell, that means they will try to widen a couple of arteries to help take pressure off of his heart. A couple of weeks ago Burl had a heart attack while on the shuttle to the Sea Tac Airport. By the sake of a miracle the shuttle was making a stop at Valley General Hospital , perhaps the driver had notice Burl looking funny (no jokes now) and could tell something was not right, more than likely though, it was a devine coincidence because if he was further away and paramedics were summoned, he would not have made it. Burl's Dad (my uncle Dave) had a history of heart trouble that he fought valiently until 20 years ago when we lost him. I would like to see Burl kick the smoking habit. That is up to him, but we certainly do not want to lose our Burl.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Olympic Cousins of Mine

Sada Jacobson--USA Posted by Hello
Most people would be proud to find out that one of the relatives had competed in the Olympics. Last year I found out I actually had two. Emily and Sada Jacobson got to compete in Athens on the US Fencing team. They were in the Sabre competition. Both girls were expected to win medals, which no American had won in many decades. As it turned out, Sada won the Bronze and another American from Portland won the gold. It was a great day for the US teams. I have not met either of them at this writing but have met their Dad, David. David's brother Rick who is my age and I hung out at Seaside one year and quickly became good friends. We both were crazy about sports and Played plenty of Strat O Matic Baseball. He came to Walla Walla for my Bar Mitzva and I went to his. We were also up for David's first wedding (not Sada and Emily's Mother). Come to think of it, I also was at Rick's wedding as well. Rick and Dave, along with middle brother Mike, grew up in Fresno California. Their parents are Adrienne and the Late Jack Jacobson. They are all the most wonderful of people.
To Clarify how Sada and Emily are related to me the most simple way to put it is my Dad and Adrienne (their grandmother) Adrienne's Mom and My Grandmother Barer (Auntie Esther to some of you) were sisters.
I got to watch Sada Fence last summer on TV and it sparked me to be more interested than usual in the Athens Olympics. I was excited to see the US Women's Basketball team with Sue Bird won the Gold Medal and the Australian Women's Basketball team with Lauren Jackson won the Silver. Both play for the Seattle Storm which is owned by a partnership that includes another cousin of mine, Stan Barer.
For more on Sada, check this link

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Where on Earth is Maple Valley??

Since that is the title of this so-called Web-log maybe we should educate you the reader who may not have heard of this humble little town. Maple Valley about 30 miles south of Seattle. When we first got our house here we may have made the biggest land steal since Uncle Arny bought lake side property in Medina back in 1969 for what now would be worth maybe 10 times as much.
Because Maple Valley is a rather long commute, it had been a nice small town near the mountains with lots of tall evergreen trees and killer views of Mount Rainer and many beautiful trails. We bought a good relatively new house with a big back yard and since then this town, which is now incorporated is one of the hottest real estate markets in town. There are houses springing up everywhere and now the business community is rising on top of that. The big drawback is the commute. It was a better commute for Debra when we bought it, but now we both work in Bellevue so we car pool whenever we can. It is also not as easy to get down the main highway as it used to be so that makes us much more patient. Anyway, more on Maple Valley later. .