Easily the most enjoyable part of blogging (I'm new at this, or is that stating the obvious?) has been some of the responses I've received. There have been the truly creative and the not so creative, and, unfortunately, the way predictable.
Going into the blog writing game I suspected that there were dozens, hey maybe hundreds, of angry males out there just waiting for me, or any blogger for that matter, to appear the least bit liberal. Once these males get the liberal scent they were ready to let loose with a load of vitriol
So far not too much vitriol. That noted, one reader asked why I felt it necessary to call a printed tract that was dropped into my car at Costco, "a right wing rant. "Why didn't you just call it a rant?"
Well if it reads like a right wing rant and has all the classic fear mongering right wing hooey, it's right wing rant as in two pages full of "they're-coming-to-get-us" fantasies.
For the record, for all you waiting to spew venom and treacle after reading one of my blogs, I'm pretty much a political wuss, i.e. middle-of-the-roader. That noted, I believe in all sorts of liberal ideas. So typecast if you like as one of the liberal media.
Aside from anything remotely political, thanks to the person who responded to my blog about the local paper's fascination with Bend's "jocktocracy" (you know elite athletes who seem to train 20 hours day while juggling family life and some high-paid on-line job) with a note complaining that culture and cultural events seldom get much, if any, press.
I agree with the writer's statement if they're talking about culture versus pop culture. The latter gets plenty of coverage; the former, not much.
The problem as I see it is that Bend has yet to find its cultural identity. Those who drive the local art and culture scene seem best at stealing ideas form other cities with the hope that they'll take root here. Bottom line-when it comes to culture, Bend is still years away from being the next Santa Fe.
Moving on to the outdoors, I got this comment on the demise of the McKenzie River due to over-use.
"I agree this is a bit of a tragedy, but aren't the terms 'singletrack' and 'overuse' pretty much synonymous anyway? Since the growth of mountain biking, deep ruts have become the landscape."
And while I don't agree that singletrack and overuse are necessarily synonymous, I agree with the writer that deep ruts, deep moon-dust and erosion have increased dramatically on trails everywhere with the popularity of mountain biking.
My whine about trying to find a good place to drink coffee brought this brilliant response.
"I believe that the options are to either get comfortable with the current milieu or embrace your inner curmudgeon, give up on these darn kids these days, and become the old guy with plaid shirt and suspenders drinking Farmer Brothers coffee made in a Bunn coffee maker (ick) at Mae's Cafe, flirting with Rose -the waitress in her orthopedic shoes - while watching the Budweiser clock going 'round and 'round.
Whoever wrote that gets two A's, one for such a cleverly crafted response, and another one for making my day, in fact week.
Another response to the "java love" blog came from a good pal in Wisconsin (that's right they read Source blogs in the Badger State)
He talked about his dad's daily coffee gatherings with friends.
"My dad and his buddies had a long standing tradition of getting together for coffee. They met twice a day, 9:00 and 2:00. They had a helluva time and mixed great camaraderie with sotto voce talk of who and what was happening in town.
The first gatherings were at the Midget Cafe, a true greasy spoon. They moved from restaurant to restaurant over the years. Funny thing is that I was cleaning old files at work and came across a letter one of my dad's buddies had written when dad died. The letter, in part, was about the great times at coffee. So there you have it: a summary of two good friends at the end of one's life and coffee is one of the key elements. You're on to something."
And speaking of the more social aspect to drinking coffee, an Associated Press story by Kathy Matheson (www.Ap.org) cites a Temple University professor's new study that claims that Starbucks doesn't promote a sense of community.
The professor, Bryant Simon, visited 425 Starbucks locations nationwide spending up to 15 hours on week on his study. He claims, according to writer Matheson, "that sense of community is what's missing from Starbucks." And if Simon owned a coffee shop, "it would not have conversation-killing WiFi, wouldn't offer to-go cups but would have a big round table strewn with newspapers to stimulate conversation.
I think Professor Simon is on to something.