Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Want to be Free

Since I'm on the topic of freedom, here's an example of our every day freedom. This song delivers a message about what it takes to keep this country alive. Although Tom Morello is a socialist activist, he sends a pretty healthy message: keep the country fresh with new ideas. His lyrics talk about revolution and change. I'm not saying that we need revolution and change, but these are the things that keep a country honest. I will let The Nightwatchman take it over from here.

Not Even for the Sun

Horrible acts have been committed in this world. Buildings have been blown up, wars have been started, and freedom has been taken from those who need it most. The men and women weren't always this cruel; they were innocent children once too. I stumbled across a music video that depicts just that. At one point or another, all of these terrorists were innocent children. At some point in our lives, we leave our innocent self for our adult counterpart. Some of us make changes for the better, some for the worse. All in all, we aren't always that child. Billy Corgan says in the song Disarm, "I used to be a little boy, so old in my shoes. And what I choose is my choice, what's a boy supposed to do? The killer in me is the killer in you."

Serj Tankian spreads a similar message with this music video for one of his solo projects Empty Walls. Serj Tankian is the lead singer of the band System of a Down. Pay attention and see how many real life instances you can pick out of this video.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Keep Me Searchin'

Music has been the theme as of late for these blogs. Tonight is a night in which I look back not only on timeless classics, but on something that is very important to me in a song. These are those songs that when I hear them, it sends a shiver up my spine. These are the songs that give me goosebumps every time I hear them.

1. Heart of Gold - Neil Young
This was my song of the day today, it's a timeless classic that just gives me the shivers. Words can't describe the melody of this song.

2. The Fred Bear Song - Ted Nugent
The Fred Bear Song is about a man named Fred Bear who is no longer alive. This song doesn't touch me because it's about Fred Bear. When my Grandfather passed away, I listened to this song many times in remembrance of him. I don't really know why, because he wasn't a hardcore hunter. However, every time I hear it, it brings back memories of my late Grandfather.

3. Peace of Mind - Boston
In the UP we listened to a radio station called The Bear. The Bear played Peace of Mind almost every day it seemed like. So, naturally when I hear this song it brings me back to possibly my favorite family moments - trail riding with my Dad. Not only that, but rabbit hunting. So many times we went up there hunting bunnies. Some of the best memories were trout fishing, or just when my Dad would drive the trails trying to make me lost.

4. Hurt - Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash brings much emotion with this song. It has no specific memory for me, only that it is a touching song. Sure, it's about drug use, but it's still such a sympathetic tune.

5. Gray Seal - Elton John
I got the Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album when I was about 7 years old. When my parents split up, I played Gray Seal over and over all night long. I fell asleep to it, it helped me get through the tough times for some reason. I couldn't tell you why, I don't even know what it's about. All I know is I will never forget the words, "And tell me gray seal, how does it feel to be so wise?"

6. Edmund Fitzgerald - Gordon Lightfoot
There's not much to say about this song, other than it chills to the bone with its lyrics.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Real List

Here it is. This is my list of top bands of all time, in order of my opinionated best.

1. Metallica

Metallica has released many albums, and are the most sold rock band of all time. Stemming from the early 80's they released Kill 'em All, originally titled "Metal Up Your Ass" - needless to say, the producers didn't approve of that title. They have released controversial albums such as ...And Justice for All, and even new albums such as St. Anger. In 2001 they released a documentary Some Kind of Monster, it was a huge success in the box office. Another of their albums was titled S&M, which was Metallica live with the San Francisco Orchestra. This album features some of their big hits, along with No Leaf Clover, recorded exclusively for S&M. That is the video I posted for Metallica, I encourage you to give it a try.

Metallica Top Songs:

-Wherever I May Roam
-Nothing Else Matters
-No Leaf Clover
-Fade to Black

2. The Who

Roger Daltry - need I say more? His lyrical geniuses, combined with one of the best voices known to man makes him a legend. His role in the rock opera Tommy, which came to live via the album Tommy, was a musical masterpiece. Combined with the lunatic drummer Keith Moon, stunning guitarist Pete Townshend, and intriguing bassist John Entwistle - Roger Daltry and The Who released album after album of musical fury. With songs ranging from love, war, hope, and prosperity - what's not to love?

Top Songs:

-Baba O'Reily (some know it as Teenage Wasteland)
-My Generation
-Won't Get Fooled Again
-Who Are You
-Behind Blue Eyes

Who could forget this moment on the Ed Sullivan Show? If you've forgotten, or haven't seen it - stay tuned for the won't be disappointed.

3. Rush

Geddy Lee, Neil Peart, Alex Lifeson - what a trio of talent. Geddy Lee not only is the lead vocalist, but he plays bass and keyboard. Alex Lifeson is an amazing lead guitarist, and don't even get me started on Neil Peart. Regarded as one of rock and roll's top drummers, if not the top drummer, Neil Peart brought creativity and great lyricism to Rush. Rush released albums such as Rush, Fly By Night, 2112, and Hemispheres. Rush brought a great blend of the high pitched voice, keyboard, impressive guitar, outstanding drums, and killer bass. Rush is one of the most overlooked bands of all time.

Top Songs:

-Tom Sawyer
-Working Man

4. The Smashing Pumpkins

In The Smashing Pumpkins, there is only one band member that sticks out - the white pale bald guy...Billy Corgan. Billy Corgan has one of the most unique voices to ever hit the rock scene - not to mention the most unique lyrics. With albums ranging from Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, to Rotten Apples, to Zeitgeist, the music is electric. Every song from every album is a blissful tune to my ear. A hard rock sound in some songs, an easy going sound in others. The Smashing Pumpkins have it all - even a woman guitarist.

Top Songs:

-Tonight, Tonight
-Bullet With Butterfly Wings

5. Tool

Regarded as more of a grunge rock band, Tool brings to life a dark set of lyrics. Maynard James Keenan writes with a sense of dark and twisted demise. The music itself is rich with bass guitar, and has an unmistakable sound to it. Songs range in topic from death, to depression, to politics, to what's wrong with the world.

Top Songs:

-Prison Sex

6. Rage Against the Machine

I had to do it. I had to show my inner rebel. Communists, rebel scum, outcasts, heathens, the Hammer and Sickle warrior elite. Only, they were armed with sound. Rage Against the Machine was one of the most outspoken bands of the 1990's. Their voices were heard not only on Wall Street, but in every house with a radio tuned to a modern rock station. The unique rap/rock sound of the 90's was just what they needed to spread their communist message. With albums ranging from Renegades to Battle of Los Angeles, Rage Against the Machine combined lyrical spunk from Zach De La Rocha, with a revolutionary guitar player, AND HARVARD GRADUATE (Political Science), Tom Morello.

Top Songs:

-Guerrilla Radio
-Bulls on Parade
-Sleep Now in the Fire

Shades of 1989

So, I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon and post a song or two from my birth year - 1989.

Rockin' in the Free World - Neil Young

Epic - Faith No More

There's a funny story to go along with the video by Faith No More. If you notice, at the end, there is a goldfish that is flopping around out of water. The fish ends up dying and it turns out it was a fish belonging to one of the band members' girlfriend. She ended up suing them.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I Know We Ain't Got Much To Say

So maybe you noticed and maybe you didn't. I got a new playlist. This playlist contains over 50 songs. They aren't songs that I picked though. They are from the game called "Rock Band" Rock Band is a video game in which there is a drum set, lead guitar, bass guitar, and microphone. I am currently in a band known as Jack Be Quick. I am the lead singer of this band. Right now, we are practicing up so we can win our school championship on May 9th. I know it sounds lame, but it really is a blast.

Basically, the point of this song list is to help me study up. I need to know how to sing all of these songs by May 9th. I know most of them, but some of them really give me problems. I would have to say my best song is (Don't Fear) The Reaper, by Blue Oyster Cult. Also, I am pretty good at We Won't Get Fooled Again, by The Who.

Anywho, just thought I'd give you the run down.

Shine Until Tomorrow

Carpe Diem

In short, this means 'seize the day'. Such a simple phrase, used in many song lyrics and books alike. To seize the day is one of the most debated phrases in culture. What exactly do you do to seize the day? This writer's opinion is this: live for the small things. Life isn't about saving mankind, making the world a greater good, or changing the world in which we live in. Life is about enjoyment. When we are off this planet, it won't matter how much we contributed to a company, a stock, or our portfolios. What will matter is, how did you carry yourself? How did you live your life? Were you too buried in work that you didn't stop and do something you enjoy every now and then? This post is dedicated to all of those small things that we simply have right under our very noses - yet they go overlooked.


In short, it's the rest that cleanses us. Sleep keeps us fresh, it's the one true rejuvenation of the body. Shakespeare quoted through the character of Macbeth,
"Sleep that knits up the raveled skave of care,
the death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
Chief nourisher in life's feast"


Everybody believes in something. Whether this something is God, a spirit, or just pursuing the greater good - it's each individual's choice. One person's sanctuary doesn't dictate over another's; to each their own. In the end, it comes down to what your inner mind tells you.

"Sanctuary, on a person level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul."
-Christopher Forrest McDowell


Whether it's baseball, softball, boxing, skiing, shooting, fishing, running, hiking, biking, chess, knitting, or any other hands on physical activity - everyone has one. It's the most basic form of entertainment, no imagination is required - although it can be a very fun addition. Sports like these keep us on our proverbial game. Many times these things get overlooked, but they contribute to the well being of society.

"Sports do not build character; they reveal it."
- Haywood Hale Broun


What tune do you march to? Is it blues, reggae, jazz, rock, punk, classic, instrumental, vocal, country, pop, hip hop, rap, R&B, or is it just the sound of wind whistling through the trees? In any case, we all have our rhythm. It all comes down to what your inner ear likes to have ran through it. Whether you're into deep lyricism, outstanding guitar solos, a catchy beat, or the sound of the string instruments - it helps us through this life.

"Take a music bath once or twice for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes

This is a very short list of things that go overlooked in this world we live in. I want to know what you guys think. What things go overlooked in your everyday life?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Like my father before me, I have decided to do a song of the week courtesy of youtube.

You will know some of them, and others you won't.

You will like some of them, and you will shut some of them off.

Simple Things, Like Suffering

I feel as though I have a whole new life tonight. Something has happened that I've been waiting for for a long time. As I sit here, I am a new man. But this feeling isn't backed by money, policy, or the greater good. This one is all for me.

DSL is back on.

Now for all of you who don't understand what that is (which I assume you all know, but let me have my fun), DSL stands for 'direct service line.' This is a high speed internet connection that allows you to feel the wind in your hair, rather than feel like you're being passed by a snail with dial-up.

Anywho, baseball practice has been brutal. Normally we do a nice fifteen minute fast paced run (I know you don't feel bad for me Sarah). Today, however, we did white line gorillas. This is where you touch every white line in the gym (5), and come back. It's basically a shuttle run. You sprint to the first line, sprint back, second line, back, third line...well you get it. Anyway, we end up doing 5 of these, at the end my legs were dead. However, we did get to get outside for the first time today. We were initially supposed to kick off the season with a game against Clare today, but the weather wasn't permitting.

I hate to cut this short, but my brain just hasn't been turning normally lately. I promise I will get some better material up soon.

But until then, take care.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Feel the Wind Pass Through My Body

Nine and a half hours later, we arrive. It's best to take this story backwards. I sit in Plymouth, WI, in this darkly light room, typing away. My stomach is full; my thoughts are plentiful. You see, nine hours in a vehicle gets you thinking. You aren't pleased with the nothingness that has happened all day, you have thoughts: many thoughts. I wrote and revised most of my graduation speech today on the not-so-scenic Michigan winter drive across the UP today. The road becomes faded; the hammer hits the stone.

Back to the beginning.

07:30 - Liftoff

After patiently sitting in my living room since 06:30, my grandparents showed up. You see, I'm a very punctual person. When someone tells me to be ready, I'm ready early. I can't sit still, I pace back and forth until they show up. It's a crazy crazy process. Are any other Porters like this?

We hit the road, with no looking back. The air temperature was 14 degrees. As the day went on, we had a good time, just like our trip to Houghton, and on the way back from Older Auntie C's and Uncle D's. It was as usual, I split time driving with Grandma, and Grandpa was disappointed with the food (even I thought the omelet was sub-par).

We got to Wisconsin in one piece. The ride was over. We went out for fish on a Friday night; the fish was delicious.

But for future reference, don't order German Potato Salad, no matter how much you like potato salad.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Frayed Ends of Sanity

I sit here tonight with my tail between my legs. With the start of baseball, the commencement of soreness follows like a shadow. Minute after minute of running, combined with drill after drill, combined with sprint after sprint, combined with shuffle after shuffle, has left me absolutely sore. This isn't like any other year, this is twice what we took part in last year. In the end, it's all worth it, it's getting us closer to our goal. However, I just turned in what I thought was a lackluster paper for my college English class. It's about as lackluster as this blog tonight. I apologize for the boring topic and all of that, but I figured I'd use tonight just to let you guys know what I was up to.

Tomorrow I plan on going to school, and then practice, and then the fish dinner at the Beagle Club. I know every single one of you has been to the Beagle Club, so at least you can related to that. In fact, I see Aunt Carrie's picture right along side with ole Bob-e in front of those pines in Grandpa's yard. It should be a good chance for me to catch up with some old friends there (I realize I'm young, but I haven't seen them in months), like Mike Perry, Matt Geiling, and even Grandma and Gene Shuler.

Anyways, I'm exhausted, so I'm out for the night.

So long, and goodnight, good morning, or good afternoon...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My First College Paper

This was my first college paper, it was for my English 111 class at Delta College. It was a 4-6 paragraph descriptive essay on a picture. We had three to choose from.

Skies of Fire, Shores of Ice

The couple was patrolling that beach like they were lost. The sun set the sky on fire, from horizon to horizon. Waves crashed in, both big and small. Upon contact, they met sand; sand that was smooth as ice. The couple took in all the scenes, sounds, and smells the glorious beach had to offer.

I saw it with my own eyes: the radiant sun glowed like a hot iron. However, the rays floated down to give a gentle warm kiss to the exposed skin of the body. It was eighty two degrees, not a degree too hot. I watched the couple under the burnt orange sky. The heavens were nearly cloudless, but Zeus was hovering. In the southern sky, small dark clouds lingered.

Next, I closed my eyes. My ears pricked up and listened to the steady crash of wave after wave connecting with shore, after miles and miles of ups and downs. The water levitates; it hangs in the air and enters the nostrils. That brine in the air leaves an unforgettable smell and texture with me. Every molecule tickles the tongue. Each breath leaves as potent a taste as my mother's saltiest foods. This place suited my eyes much better than my nose and mouth.

I opened my eyes to take in the glorious sight again. This time I looked not to the illuminated sky, but to the cool sand. I felt it on my bare feet. Through ten toes I felt the pleasant grit of sand. Through my same ten toes I saw the sand reaching to the heavens. The fine dust was pushing through. as if it was trying to escape that place. I peered across the shoreline at the couple. They looked as though they could ice skate on this glorious coast. This beach was not sand, but a sheet of ice; smooth ice reflecting the sun's rays. A canvass portraying the glorious burnt orange skyline; artwork worthy of the most famous painters.

The couple seemed happy to be a part of this wonderful landscape. The sunlight blazing through the sky smiled on the young couple. The water crashed onto the beach, trying to reach the toes of this young couple. I took another look at that frozen sand, that beautiful painting. Yes, I think that couple was happy to see this beautiful sight. However, I think the shoreline appeared more delighted to see them.

And here is what my Professor, Mrs. Hutchins, said:

Assignment: Eng. 111 Unit 6 Descriptive Paper
Comments: You did a really good job writing a fictional account of the photo. Tie yourself in with stating you were somewhere where you could see them a little more clearly as it kind of goes from them to you to them. Your description was concrete, and your word choice was excellent. You used all the senses in a very concrete manner. The presentation was excellent as was the organization.This was your best work to date:-)
Grade: 25 / 25

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


There you go, I dedicated my title to you, cousin Sarah. Now you must start a blog, isn't that enough pressure for you to do it? How about a little more? Everyone else is doing it! I realize countless teachers, speakers, and counselors have probably warned you about that phrase, but hey, we need you. Please?


I decided to piggyback on older Auntie C's idea, and do a song list, except I'm going to do the first 4 I feel like at the moment; I already did the random one.

I find wisdom in music, it's my guilty pleasure. I enjoy deriving meanings from lyrics, especially the really dark twisted bands such as Tool, The Doors, and so on. So here are some songs...

When Two Are One - Atreyu

Thought to be screamo, Atreyu just released a new album Lead Sails Paper Anchor that features more modern rock sound. Sure, some of it is still screaming into the microphone as loud as possible, but it's much easier to listen to. When Two Are One is a song, in my opinion, that is about holding on even when the odds are against you. "Like the rising tide, beating hearts grow but never die, simplify, I'll stand by your side; close my eyes hope will never die."

Zero - The Smashing Pumpkins

Billy Corgan is one of the strangest lyricists in the history of Rock and Roll, in my opinion. His lyrics are twisted, and very open ended - leaving room for wide interpretation. The reason I picked this song is it has possibly my favorite few sentences in any song, bar none. It says, "Emptiness is loneliness, and loneliness is cleanliness, and cleanliness is godliness; and God is empty just like me." This line is so full of twisted lyrics. Stemming from the old proverb "cleanliness is next to godliness"(or in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World 'cleanliness is next to Forliness"), it paints a picture of how Billy Corgan feels about religion and himself. He's saying that God isn't there for him, but he's not there to receive Him even if He is.

Rapture - Hurt

One of my most studied songs. It took me hours to peg this song. With lines such as, "But was I just a picture in a photograph?" meaning 'am I just one out of many that she's done this to?' I finally made the connection that the song was about a baby born out of wedlock, and the insane mother was driven to kill it. She was told by Jesus to do it, as she claims with the line, "She swore she heard the voice of Jesus, telling her it was wrong to keep it." The word Rapture actually means the sudden rescue of true Christians, believed to take place right before the Second Coming. The chorus says, "until your rapture falls to pieces, find in me the room to breath"
Also, one of the final lines of the song says, "And I would, if I could, destroy your God. Yes I would, if I could, destroy your God. Because we're born again, until you're worn again."

Eye of the Beholder - Metallica

Metallica is the most sold Rock band of all time. They bring together great lyricism with a great 80s metal sound. They've released many albums starting from 1983 with Kill 'Em their 2003 release: St. Anger. Eye of the Beholder is featured on Metallica's 1987 album ...And Justice for All. The album itself is based around the central idea of what freedom really is. The chorus of Eye of the Beholder says it all, "Independence, limited, freedom of choice is made for you, my friend. Freedom of speech is words that they will bend; freedom with their exception." Not to mention the opening lines of the song, "Do you see what I see? Truth is an offense You silence for your confidence Do you hear what I hear? Doors are slamming shut Limit your imagination, keep you where they must."
I think you can figure out what that means.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Recipricate. Anticipate. Alleviate.

March 10, just another day - or is it? Everybody woke up this morning, and only a handful realized what day it was. Those handful live for the green grass, the blue skies, the gentle breeze, and the snap of a ball coming in contact with a leather glove. Today isn't opening day for the spectators; it's opening day for the players. 365 days (356 this year) separate opening day each year. Today is the day we have lived for over the past 4 years. Today is the last time that, well, today, will happen.

I stepped up to the plate. I dug in, and got ready to hit. I looked to my bat, it was beautiful, shining blissfully in the bright yellow sun. I looked to my cleats, one was untied. I looked at the plate, five corners with a heavy black outline, encasing the bright white plate. And finally, most importantly, I looked at the pitcher. This pitcher was no player, he was older; this pitcher was my Dad.

It's been long since the days of T-Ball, and every time I step up to the plate it's with the same enthusiasm as day one. Every practice is a blessing. I heard someone speak the other day on the topic of our baseball team, she said, "It's different with their baseball team, they can't wait for practice. Most kids are excited when practice gets canceled; they are not. It's like they live for it."

We do.

13 of us, 12 now (due to the departure of Jesse K), live, eat, and breathe baseball.

And today we find our fix.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

We Face the Path of Time

For too long I was put at that card table to eat my family dinners. For too long I was cast aside with 3 others, put in a separate room even, during the Porter family gatherings. Shea and Sarah grew older and left us; it was then myself, JP, and Mickey. We found ways to manage though, from the time the Jell-O was put in Sarah's milk, to all of the childish humor we took part in. We bought squares of Grandma and Grandpa's land in the big pines that encase the yard, and we called them home. Even through all of the responsibilities of owning land, coordinating our own family dinners, and taking initiative to entertain each other, we were exiled to that separate table.

I'm much older now, and not a whole lot wiser. All of my friends are turning 18 right along with me; we're adults. Adulthood brings not a whole lot of difference when you're still in high school. Water still tastes the same, books are just as difficult or easy to get through, and you do not get all the girls you want. Contrary to popular belief, it's not that great. Dr. Seuss said it best when he said, “Adults are just obsolete children and the hell with them." We get older, but we still hold on to the child within us.

So back to the friends and I. We decided to put our considerable coolness to the test and hit the casino. After all, we're of age, how cool. So four of us packed into the car and took East Coleman Rd to Leaton Rd, the trip was set. We talked about a lot of stuff on the way there, but none of it was really about gambling. By the end of the night, I think we all realized that we enjoyed the time before the Casino more than the pit itself.

The skies were lit on fire. Light after light rippled through the dark starry sky. Signs blazed and told of all the entertainers that were to be at the establishment. Bill Cosby, The Romantics, Grand Funk Railroad, all illuminated on that blinding sign on Isabella, or M-20, or Pickard. The time was 10:10, hundreds of cars poured out of the casino parking lot. A single car pulled in; our car. We were so cool, all four at the ripe age of 18. Armed in hand with about $20 apiece our motorcade came to a stop, and our militia poured out. We walked through the 26 degree night, from parking square C8; one of us was without a coat, why?

Because we were cool.
This cool wasn't just like 'hey I saw a cute girl" cool, it was like John Belushi or Chevy Chase in Saturday Night Live cool.

Through the valet parking we walked, not caring where we walked, walked in front of moving vehicles just because we could. After all, they'd stop for such cool kids...adults, right? We hit those glass doors and with them we hit a wall of smoke. Person after person armed with their death sticks, puffing them down, stopping only to put their next quarter in. The place reeked of alcohol. Fearing for our hygiene, we decided we didn't want our coats to smell like smoke, so we checked them in at the door. It was like valet parking for your jacket. They take your jacket, probably for a joy ride not caring if they scratch it, and they hand you a ticket. We had our Alice in Chains Tees, our Rage Against the Machine Tees, and even a Polo shirt, each was about a size smaller than we normally wear; we were cool.

All four of us hit the floor without even being checked for ID; the race was on. We sat down at mostly nickel machines, a few two centers, and a few pennies. I had lost five dollars on nickels within about 10 minutes; "This sucks", I said to Corbin, as he hits 50 credit, and then 25 credit. However my luck turned around when I found that Salmon Run penny machine. I hit a 500 credit, in which I bet 3 credits apiece on; good for 15 bucks. I cashed out with 30 dollars on my ticket - 10 dollars ahead.

We tucked tail and ran out of that place; with our winnings. One of the friends came out 30 bucks ahead, the other two were minus 10.

In the end, adulthood isn't what it's cracked up to be. It's the only phase of your life when you add a lot of bad, and practically no good. However, it's just another part of life that humbles you from your considerable "coolness."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Headlights Pointed at the Dawn

Inspiration is inspiring, isn't it?

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Character and charisma are usually key elements to inspiration. I am inspired most by good public speakers(Tony Snow), powerful leaders (Reagan, Hitler, Stalin), great lyrics writers (Roger Daltry - The Who, Maynard James Keenan - Tool, Billy Corgan - Smashing Pumpkins, Jim Morrison - The Doors), and the leaders of the free world(Nixon, Truman, Eisenhower). However, inspiration doesn't always come from well known speakers and writers who drive home messages over airwaves and through books. Sometimes there is an inspiration right under your very nose that may go overlooked.

I make the drive about twice a week lately. Go down main street in town, and turn left at Rick's Autobody. Next, I take Webster out of town past Mindy's house...beep twice. I see County Line Rd, and the seemingly endless fields. I see the nice house with all the pines that extend to the road. I see the Amble house, I see Don's house. But the stamp of the whole trip out to Shepherd Road is that abandoned house. It sits on the corner of East Coleman Road, and Shepherd Road heading North. I see it every single trip, wondering if it will be standing the next time I make this trip. As I turn left onto Shepherd Rd, I slow down, thinking that maybe even in their old age my Grandpa and/or Grandma may think I'm 'tearing' down that road at an excess of their usual 8.5 mph; I turn down the radio thinking Grandpa's laser sharp hearing might pick up one of my horrid tunes blasting through the speakers. (I mean come on, you guys can't like the music that's playing on my blog site right now) As I turn in the driveway, I be sure to go extra slow as to not upturn a single piece of gravel, or Grandpa would have to go out there with the shop vac to get them out of the beautiful grass and back into the picturesque driveway. Next, I glance over at the pond and see that beautiful green grass forever circling that deep blue crisp water. The rocks look like they've been placed in the exact spot they were intended to fit in all along the edge of the water. Sometimes I wonder if I'm staring at a painting. I tear my eyes away from the sight and park the car, not too close to his truck, the dust off the driveway might scratch it.

I walk up to the cement porch that approaches that deep red door with the glass panes. I see Grandpa come hustling to the window in the kitchen as if I'm going to leave if I don't see him fast. He smiles and gives a wave to come inside. I walk in through the candy red door and onto that multi colored rug on the floor. I kick my feet and walk up the two steps with the oval shaped rugs on each one (which were imagined to be alligators by myself and the cousins in our younger days). There is yet another rug at the top of the stairs, to the right of those three beams, with a pair of white tennis shoes, and a pair of black cowboy boots, and if Grandma is home, another pair of white tennis shoes; i kick off my brown K Swisses as I walk in. Grandpa greets me with the same thing every time: "Well what do you say, John?" I glance around and notice that everything is in place...the blocks on the small table still say PORTER, there is a magazine or two waiting for me to take them (and they are always placed with about a half inch of table room on each side...never lopsided). And as I glance I take a deep breath so I can belt out, "Not much, how've you been?" in a loud enough tone for him to hear.

We retreat to the living room, which is about the only room that has changed since my lifetime. The long couch on the right side when you walk in is too firm to actually sit comfortably on for more than about 20 minutes. Next, the two Lazyboy chairs that replaced the old orange couch, Grandpa's is on the left, mine is on the right; separated by that old wooden stand with the lamp, which for 2 months out of the year holds a small chipmunk speaker that you can hear cousin Sarah sing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." The carpet is still off-white, and is still able to be drawn on with your index finger; not a piece of plastic or a hint of dirt or dust. The TV flashes on, Grandpa says, "Well, what do you want to watch?" We both always agree on the News. Usually, Grandpa is a CNN guy, and I've gotten to where I don't mind it because Lou Dobbs is an Independant, and Wolf Blitzer is favorable to watch really, so we stay away from most of the Liberal bull crap. However, from time to time we watch Fox News.

The conversations are usually among the same topics. Grandpa always says, "Talk to your Dad?" I tell him either not lately, or yeah just last night or so. He then says, "Is he liking it there?" I reply with, "He doesn't mind the area, but he doesn't like the job as much as he did in Virginia." As the conversation goes on, I find out that Grandpa cares a lot more about what I have to say than what he wants to tell me. He opens up more than I ever knew he could. Just the other day he got out some pictures to show me, and was so disappointed when he couldn't find a good picture of his father painting the house; see, he is a real person. I saw pictures of Uncle Carl holding a mammoth of a Rainbow Trout from the pond, I saw pictures of both Auntie C's when they were mere adolescents. I saw a picture of all 4 C's standing in the pond before the water had been pumped in. But most importantly, I saw a youthful Grandfather holding a fish, driving a bulldozer, and sitting in front of me. He was beaming as he looked through these pictures, proud to have lived the life he had. He even told me of how lucky he was to have my Grandmother for as long as he has; so much that he even admits to being lonely when she's gone. He told me he might have to get himself a dog if he lives alone for half the year (a lab or a weimaraner) .

I've heard so many stories in he past two years from this man. He never seems to regret much of his life, other than not spending enough time with the kids. He always talks of how he worked a lot, and the other time was devoted to beagling. I hear stories of him waking up in corn fields after a crazy night, and of getting shot and spending the night in the hospital; not to mention a night or two in jail. But none of this matters now, because he is a content man with a much nicer side then I could have imagined really.

So, I encourage you to find inspiration in an ordinary character. Anyone can be inspired by words written in a book or belted out on the radio. I am deeply inspired by these things too, but nothing compares to this. He might not be able to hear very well, but he can communicate.

Be My Guest

About a month ago I sent out a letter to Bill Caul, 99th District State Representative, to see if his office could send me some political items for a scrapbook project in one of my classes. Not only, did Mr. Caul send me pages and pages of items, but he invited me to the Capital to be his guest for the day. After a few emails back and forth, our plans were set. So, with that, Grandma and I packed up and shipped out this last Thursday, March 6, 2008.....

After circling the Capitol two or three times, we finally found a parking garage that suited our needs. I was ready, with map in hand, (which I now seem to carry ever since the story that Jock has cited about me). We were to go to Bill Caul's office in the Anderson Building right off the Northwest corner of the Capitol Building. We arrived at the right place, went up 12 floors, and entered room 1288. This was, of course, after showing our ID to the security guard. I was then greeted by an intern for Bill Caul, and he sent me to the Joint-Outlay Appropriations room, where Bill Caul is on the Join-Outlay Committee. We found that room on the West end of the Capitol Building, and entered. 19 Senators and Representatives were sittting in the front. About 18 of us were in the gallery. Mr. Caul (an old friend of my grandmother's) recognized us as soon as we walked in the room. He politely nodded, and then got up from his chair to greet us. He walked over and introduced himself and welcomed me to the city. He handed me an envelope full of material, as if he was briefing me on what was going on. I felt much less important when I opened it to see that it was just basic information about the building itself, and such.

The meeting, scheduled to start at 9 AM, started around 9:35 AM, right on time for any US Government meeting. All around me there were donuts being eaten, coffee being drank, and cell phones chirping. The constant buzz of chatter was always present. The first item on the agenda was a construction project for the University of Michigan. The lobbyist representing the University was asking for approval of a self funded $1 billion worth of construction, with a couple hundred million dollars worth of renovations. By self funded, they actually meant 75% self, 25% government. However, this committee doesn't approve the state funding, so she received 19 yes votes.

Next, we had a nice discussion with Bill Caul. I asked him my prepared question: why do bigger schools, such as Midland High, receive more state money per student than smaller schools, such as Coleman High?
Mr. Caul had an excellent reason, and I now understand why that works.
Midland, as a city, pays higher property taxes. Also, they have many more people contributing to the tax base. A larger tax base is a larger tax payment to the state, which means they get more money back out of the state. So basically, they're fronting the most money, so they should be able to get the benefits.

Later on, we sat in on the Senate and Mr. Caul sat with us. We watched the Senate pass about 17 bills into laws. It wasn't very entertaining, since they were all Third Readings, so they were all passing unanimously. We then ate lunch, compliments of the Michigan Conservationists (they had some bills that they wanted passed, so they provided the House and Senate lunches for the day).

Next, we watched Mr. Caul in the House of Representatives. Congressman Sak, the President Pro-Tempore, presided over the House. Mr. Caul stood up to the podium with the microphone, and Mr. Sak said "The floor acknowledges Mr. Caul" which means Bill Caul was allowed to speak. He said, "Fellow Representatives, I would like you to welcome John Porter as he is here with an interest in the study of Legislature, with his grandmother." Mr. Sak replied with, "John Porter please rise and will the House welcome him, along with his Grandmother, to the House of Representatives to witness the State Legislature."

How cool. I waved, it's all I could do. I stood there and waved, as the Michigan House of Representatives clapped for me.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

And by the Way...

I am a proud owner of 2008 Mid-West League All-Star Game and Homerun Derby Tickets. We have two extra tickets to each; the bidding starts at $20 each, or $30 for a Game and Derby Ticket.


Don't ask face value; scalping is illegal.


Many people have endless details to contribute to society. The hope for tomorrow starts with the people of today. This world possesses people of strength, intelligence, stature, cruelty, malice, kindness, compassion, and any other adjective available for use. However, the beacon of tomorrow seems dim lately. The filth coming from this country in the past years leaves me with little hope.
Turn on the TV to MSNBC (sorry in advance for this Shae), and you might see Keith Olbermann spewing about the Bush Administration. Funny, this could be last night's show, tonight's show, three shows ago, or about any other time period that he has been on TV in the past 7 years. The point is: Keith Olbermann hates George W. Bush, fact or fiction? Olbermann wants America to think this so profoundly for one reason: ratings. It has become a sort of pop culture to hate the President. Approval ratings become a fix. It feeds an addiction to the press like greasy food satisfies Michael Moore.
In the past two months testimony has taken place in front of a Grand Jury about steroids in baseball. As we all know by now, Roger Clemens cheated. Roger Clemens lied to a Grand Jury. Roger Clemens is a joke. Roger Clemens can't even come up with a good argument against a credible witness. When teammate Andy Pettitte admitted to witnessing Roger Clemens takimg HGH, Clemens' best excuse was, "...Andy must have misheard." The last time I heard that excuse used was when I was tattled on for swearing in 6th grade, "...She misheard, I swear." (<---no pun intended)
Remember when Dick DeVos said, "I'm not running for governor to have the job, I'm running to do the job..." Maybe Hillary Clinton should take a page out of Mr. DeVos' text. Clinton is too power hungry. Hillary and Obama have very similar ideas, almost identical. However, the thing that's holding Hillary back is quite simple: it's her monetary policy. Not really though, that was a joke; we all know why Hillary is losing, she's a bitch. (and not a 13 or 15 inch one at that)
Maybe my standards of people are too high. Maybe there really is only one Ronald Reagan. Maybe nobody will ever again say 'tear down this wall' with the same force that the Reagan Smash once belted. Maybe lying to a Grand Jury is cool. Perhaps it is cool to hate the leader of the free world. And, of course, maybe it's cool to make documentaries about how expensive our health care system is. (maybe if we didn't have to share the burden of every chin Michael Moore gets removed, we could afford it) In the end, everything will balance out, and it will someday be 'cool' to back our leaders.

Salutations to the Family

Cyberspace is the one place that everyone can stay connected. Now, more than ever people are drug into the pop 'cult'ure that is the internet. Blogospheres rather than atmospheres, cyberspace rather than outer space, and wireless networks instead of news networks. I am proud to say I, too, have now fallen victim to this way of society that all of you, my family, has as well.

First off, greetings to my family; it is nice to see everyone connected in some way, shape, or form. I will be updating this pretty frequently I would say, since I enjoy sharing things with other people.

Signing off for now,

The former baby of the family

(I willingly passed that on to little K)