Category: Localism & sustainability

My “local” grocery store is 2.2 miles away, or 4.5+ hours round trip by foot

April 5, 2011

According to Google Maps, I can hop in my car and get to a nice Homeland Supermarket in 8 minutes.

Lucky me.

Not all my neighbors are that fortunate, and I got a real clear picture of that last Friday.

Getting ready for fundraiser on Saturday, on Friday, which was April 1, I headed for the printer and at pretty close to 12:30 pm, on 13th Street N. just east of the 235 overpass, I noticed an older man pushing an empty shopping cart, heading west, as I was. Since I only saw him from the rear, I couldn’t discern much except that some gray hair was visible, and faded clothes. It was just a glance, and while such sights are not completely rare, for some reason I noticed him and gave him a second or two of sympathetic thought. The cart was empty, not like most homeless people, so I kind of wondered what his story was.

Then I forgot about it and continued on with my business of dropping off my last-minute print job.

At almost 5 pm, I headed out the same route as before, to pick up the job before they closed. Remarkably, at almost the same spot — a bit further east but not much — I saw a gray-haired man pushing a shopping cart eastward, this time with 5 or 6 full plastic grocery bags in the cart. I’m convinced it was the same guy, and he had just spent 4 1/2 hours (at least, since I don’t know exactly where he lives) getting groceries, probably with his monthly check. I suspect he went to Homeland on Classen and 18th; from my apartment in Lincoln Terrace, that’s 2.2 miles away. That doesn’t sound far to a car owner, does it?

If I had not had to get to the printer post haste, I would have stopped at offered to drive him at least the rest of the way to his destination, but the pick up at the printer took longer than I would have liked, and when I went back along that road there was no sign of him — hopefully because he had made it home and was resting his poor feet. As I drove slowly along 13th, to see if there was any sign of him, I imagined picking him up and driving him to the store every month. He might be a Vietnam Vet, I thought, or maybe he digs Willy Nelson, who he kind of reminded me of. Maybe he would have refused my offer, maybe it would need to be arranged to seem less like charity for a proud man to accept such a suggestion from a stranger. Maybe a local church could institute a shuttle. Well, my imagination started churning out a dozen remedies to this unacceptable situation in the city I’ve adopted and historic neighborhood I love.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like living in a neighborhood and city where some old man has this task to look forward to every month so he can eat on his meager income.

Now let me say that it’s great that there is an expanding and thriving medical complex two blocks from me. It’s pretty damn handy if I accidentally try to cut off my finger (which I kinda did a couple months ago, though I didn’t end up having to go to the emergency room), and it’s contributing a great deal to the economy and academic development of the city and state.

But really, how can you hold your head up as a medical community, a civic entity and a decent neighborhood when a poor old guy has to spend 4 and a half hours getting a few groceries that might last him two weeks if he’s lucky or, more likely, really careful.

You can’t, that’s the answer to that question, not while meeting any standard of civilized behavior.

Now let me say a few words about the OKC City Council. It is and has been for some time made up of probably nice enough people who think they are doing right by giving tax breaks and outright bribes to corporations and sports owners to get them to locate here or stay here. I’m sure all the people they see at church and social events they attend are pretty jazzed about their public service. But there is more to living in and managing a city than corporations and rich people who cater to them.

Maybe Charlie Swinton would feel a heart tug seeing that old guy. But would he talk about him at a council meeting and try to convince his colleagues to help a small but health-conscious grocery go up somewhere in the shadow of OU Medical Center? I can’t conjure up that picture in my mind. Not his ward, you know. There are some really good banks right there, though, he might say.

But I don’t have to use any imagination to see Ed Shadid doing that. I know for a fucking fact it would happen, and it wouldn’t have to wait for the eve of the next election when he’s looking to work up some warm fuzzies.

Ed Shadid cares about PEOPLE, and especially about the people that live in his city. He cares about their kids, and about their grandparents. He doesn’t just look at people for what they can do for him, he SEES and HEARS them and what they love, what they might fear, and what they might need. ALL OF THEM, not just those who need bankers.

Please help get Ed Shadid elected today. Somebody’s quality of life depends on it.

Correx: Added missing work to the third paragraph to make it read “NOT completely rare.”

Sustainability forum in Edmond disrupted by anti UN attenders

December 7, 2010

At least that’s how is sounds in this article:

Protesters cut short Edmond sustainability forum » Local News » The Edmond Sun.

Not only are they against anything with Democratic cooties, but the scourge of being ruled by an “international agenda.”

Clearly these people do not understand that the US is one of the “national”s in “international, just like they don’t get that the government they hate is all of us acting collectively.

They will cheerlead the decimation of the planet, with death to every living thing on it, as long as we all go down with them thinking they are living some kind of mythic individualistic ideal.

Gotta go to Groovefest – event rescheduled

May 14, 2010

Update. This just in: Due to the weather, GrooveFest has been rescheduled for June 13.

I’ve been in Oklahoma since 2003, and haven’t been to this event yet. It sounds like one of the most progressive things in the state, but then, that’s relative, and it’s Norman.

What is Groovefest?

Groovefest is Norman’s one and only Human Rights Music Festival. Each spring and fall, the community comes together to raise awareness about human rights, listen to some talented musicians, and have a great time! Established in 1986 by the OU chapter of Amnesty International, Groovefest has since been under the guardianship of the Norman Groovefest organization. This year, OU Amnesty International will host the festival once again.

(links added)

Anyway, hopefully — life and weather permitting — I can get down there and correct the oversight.

All your emails are belong to Inhofe

November 30, 2009

A big part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much is that I just feel like I don’t have the ability or opportunity these days to do enough reading and research to post anything of value to the discussion. For example: The conservative conspiracy theory du jour, led by Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, regarding emails stolen from the computers of climate scientists. With the Google — even with the Bing, I bet — you can find plenty of worthwhile and relatively calm insights into the matter, if you know how to look, and weed out the bias and blather. The only things I would consider adding would be links I found from said Googling. But I tend to expect others to point and click on the Tubes just as well as I can.

But I clearly am being held back by an overwrought case of blogger ethics that does not afflict many others. I need to loosen up. They’re only words, for gawd’s sake!

Digby, a very ethical blogger, does see some need for the consideration that I’m prone to, so I’m still going to err on the side of expert consensus rather than accept the practice of legislating, or blogging, half-cocked.

From what I can gather, this climate change pseudo-scandal is going to be with us for a while so if you haven’t delved into it in any detail, it’s probably a good idea to do so. The number of Inhoffian cretins bellowing on TV about hoaxes is growing by the hour. This article by Brad Plumer seems to be a good place to start.

For ongoing understanding of the science in our lives (for our lives), follow DarkSyde.

Another Oklahoma blogger’s quick take on Inhofe. Bet he didn’t hear anything like that on radio!

And that, kids, is why I’ll always be a blogger.

Local Twitterers for community service

January 31, 2009

This sounds like an interesting project:

During the January ice storm, Twitter served as a powerful reporting tool – crowdsourced news. What if we had used it to find people who needed help, then organized to help them? So, I’m proposing that Central Oklahoma Twitter-ers think about how we can make our own “service club.” We can’t save the world, so we won’t try, but we can make things a little better for the Oklahoma City metro area. What do you say? I’ll be organizing a tweet and greet in the next two weeks to talk about how we can make this happen

The story behind Obama’s uexpected walk past National Archives during parade

January 22, 2009

Obamas Inaugural Parade WalkThis is cool. That populist gesture was not spontaneous as many watchers might have thought, but the location for it was thoughtfully chosen to be symbolic on many levels.

The most obvious symbolism is the fact that the National Archives contains the Constitution, and Obama plans to make the rule of law the theme of his presidency.

But now it’s revealed that the idea has a larger backstory, one that not only echoes President Obama’s interests in honoring neighborhoods and communities, but connects him to JFK.

For this is the location of a once blighted scene that prompted President Kennedy to inquire “what’s wrong with Pennsylvania Avenue” after his own inaugural parads. Because of his notice and concern, Jacqueline Kennedy lobbied Senator Patrick Moynahan, who made it his pet cause, and a long urban renewal project began, resulting in the mixed use neighborhood that is now thriving.

But the writer of the Huffpo piece also notes another symbol Tuesday’s surprise walk held:

In a sense, the most powerful symbolic message might be if this President and his staff read their mail from well-intentioned and informed citizens, and then accept useful suggestions. We need that now.

KCCU first station in Oklahoma to air Democracy Now!

January 8, 2009

Democracy Now! is finally airing in Oklahoma, though many residents will not be in a area where they can pick up the signal on a radio. For them, there is a live stream on KCCU’s site.

KCCU is a non-profit station run out of Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma, and is broadcast in/at:

Lawton-Ft. Sill 89.3 & 102.9
Wichita Falls 88.7
Ardmore 90.3
Altus 90.1
Duncan 89.3
Weatherford-Clinton-Elk City 89.1
Chickasha 100.1

Oklahoma progressive activists have been seeking to have the program picked up by stations in the state, but have been rejected by stations who deem the show, which features news of events and interviews of people on the progressive end of the political spectrum. The show comes out of New York City and is hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez.

From the station’s announcement:

KCCU is excited to announce new programs for the new year!

“Democracy Now” and “Swingin’ Down the Lane” will join the lineup in the first week of January.

“Democracy Now” is an independent daily journalism program that airs on 750 radio and TV stations nationwide. KCCU is the first Oklahoma radio station to air the program.

Hosted by award-winning journalist Amy Goodwin [sic], “Democracy Now” does not accept corporate sponsorships, and is funded entirely by listener and viewer donations.

“Democracy Now” will air weekdays at noon, taking the place of NPR’s “Day to Day”. Due to budget cuts at the network, NPR is cancelling “Day to Day”. …

x-posted at OKIMC