Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Cost of Freedom" Tour/Days 16-17

"Some humans ain't human. Some people ain't kind. If you open up their hearts, here's what you'll find. A few frozen pizzas, some ice cubes with hair, some broken popsicles, you don't want to go there."

— John Prine

Snowing, rainy, sunshine, icy ... snowing, rainy, sunshine, icy .... snowing, rain ...

BEAVERS CANTINA, Corvallis, Oregon — The forecast for central Oregon today was "light rain, followed by hard rain, with a stint of scattered precipitation, to be followed by a period of general gloom."

This morning I left Bend, headed north on Highway 97, trying to go around the Cascades and not have to go over the summit like I did yesterday and hit the heavy snow. But 97 turned to a total white-out, so I turned around. A few miles later there is a pickup on its top. It wasn't there a few minutes ago. I found my way to I-85, Portland, Salem and down to the land of Oregon State University.

Go Beavs.

Yesterday I read at The Book Barn in Bend, owned by Linda Torres. She came to Bend from southern California in 1972. Bend was cool then.

"I hate it now," she says.

It has grown, one of the fastest growing cities in the country for a while, says my host for the day, Ray Duray. Ray is a one-man peace & justice coalition and 9/11 Truth campaign.

After my talk we go along with the "Save The Badlands" group on one part of it's three-bar pub crawl around the downtown.

I hitchhiked from Bend to Nebraska in 1978, I think it was. Roger and Bob and I came out here after Wayne State College let out for the summer. We worked in a mushroom plant in Salem. We hoped to get jobs in the woods, but didn't. I eventually got lonely for Sarah Sister Golden Hair, and I had a job lined up with the state roads department, so I rode my thumb home.

I see hitchhikers along the road quite often. So far I haven't picked anyone up. I tell myself I don't have room, too much stuff crammed into every corner. The hitchhikers are the hobos of our time. Back in California I thought about the Oakies and the "Grapes of Wrath." I try to write that book every time I start a new novel. I think the Oakies of today are from Oaxaca.

Back in Chico I had a short talk with Marylyn about the movie "Zeitgeist." Marylyn says it doesn't matter if the date Dec. 25 and resurrection, and a bunch of other stuff have been copied in several religions, doesn't mean it's not real, that there's not a God.

I just wonder if when we sit in church with our rosaries we aren't a bunch of pygmies dancing around a campfire in the middle of the woods at night.


Everyone is so full of shit
Born and raised by hypocrites
We are the kids of war and peace
From Anaheim to the middle east
We are the stories and disciples
Of the Jesus of suburbia
Land of make believe
That don't believe in me

— Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia

I came down out of the mountains and saw the Columbia River. That is why there are so many liberals out here. I can see why someone from Nebraska or Iowa wouldn't care that much about nuclear war or the end of the world. If it's ... say January 17, at about 3:30 in the afternoon, you're like, awright, whatever.

But if you were out here you would want to save this shit..


"It would be so much easier if this were a dictatorship."

— George W. Bush

If I were king for a day, I would be busy. I would put loggers and hunters in county jail. I would let the druggies go and rich people would take their place.

Yesterday in Bend the discussion came, as it does sometimes, to the question of, if Bush & Co. did 9/11 themselves, how do they live with themselves. Some people think it's because these folks are psychopathic, without a conscience. Maybe, but I'm still not sure.

Linn County Oregon is the "Grass Seed Capital of the World," so this is where America really takes root.

About a block from me, on Fourth Street, between Monroe and Jefferson Avenues, in front of the county courthouse, the longest running protest against the war is now taking place.

People have been standing out there at 5 p.m. every-effing-day for six years. That's a lot. I could be there, but there's a college basketball game on the TV here in this bar, and I have really been out of touch for the past weeks.

I'm not really Joe Protester, to tell you the truth. This book "Cost of Freedom" celebrates the many people who do the stuff like stand on street corners every day for six years, and I am glad to be a part of that, but I haven't really done that much.

I have gone to work and written my books.

Go Beavs.


— Mike


Letters from Readers


This is getting to be too much spam, please take me off your list. I need to keep this email cleared for important message related to actual organizing opportunities.

Good luck,
— Chris

You need a pee bottle for pete’s sake. Just like the truckers do.

— DW

Dude ... you're getting to see all kinds of groovy places.

I dig on Bigfoot. Have since I was in about sixth grade.

In the mid-'70s I saw movie that featured that Patterson film footage that was shown in the Ritz Theatre in Denison. I believe it was called "Mysterious Monstors."

The movie also included the Loch Ness Monster and the Yeti. My sister and I went.

I remember staring out the window each night at the corn field behind our house, halfway hoping to see a Bigfoot, and halfway hoping I didn't. The movie was sort of scary.

This may have been the same year I saw Jaws in the same theatre. I must have been only eight or nine years old. But they let me in. I left in the middle with hands over my eyes.

— David Namanny

Please take me off this list.

— Jeanne


.Enjoy reading you.

Eureka is always cold always raining,that is exactly what you found.

Eureka!..You found it!

On the subject of nuclear missile will love this.

I have a very good friend in Uzbekistan, he is dean of the university of Sanmarkand. I met him in Iowa City. Really cool guy, tap dances, plays saxophone.

But during the cold war he was in the Soviet army and his job was to calibrate all of the Russian missiles on American targets. Cool huh? pal, Kamol.

One day we were driving to Pella Days, and he was looking at the Iowa map, and laughed.

For all of the crap we were fed about Soviet surveillance systems?

They used FREE maps from the Triple A to aim the missiles back at us!

Drive good.

— Tim Tafco

Hey Mike ...

Well, it was good to have you! Too short, though. I
keep thinking of other things to say. Like ... re: Bobby Kennedy ...I
saw a very well-done documentary (BBC?)
about Bobby which highlighted his "conversion" from
what he was as Attorney General to what he became
when campaigning for the presidency. Seems he was
pretty hard-nosed as AG, but when he started his
campaign and found himself in direct contact with
the poor, his heart really softened.

Also about faith in God ...
It's always difficult for me to put this in words, but I have
a sense of the fact that from the very earliest times,
human beings have KNOWN that a Mystery beyond our
ken has not only posited a creation, but has somehow
penetrated the boundary between Thing and NO-Thing
and become one with this creation. And from the earliest
times, we finite human beings have tried and tried
to explain this to ourselves and others by means of
stories. Some do a better job than others. And always
we know it's impossible for our puny little minds to understand because
it would have to be a puny little God (and, therefore, no God at all) if
our little minds could comprehend this Mystery.

— Marylyn

Dear Mike-

Recieved a letter this am from Tom Wodetski via email telling that only two people showed at your appearance at Cheshire Books.
I couldn't make it because of another commitment, but would have loved to have been there. I've been busy trying to put together a benefit for a small shelter for children in Baghdad and working on the details; ie.- posters, tickets, PR, on my computer.

This is an unusual area in that we have a long-time, blue collar working class contingent, "resistant to change" and people who moved here in the late 60's-early 70's "back to the landers" and now the recently retired, rich folks who used to come up for vacation, who've driven the price of property sky-high.
So- it's a mix. Mostly Democrats though. A few sprinklings of Greens, Libertarians, and Whatevers--and GOP.

I have been standing against the Illegal Invasion of Iraq since before it happened, here on the coast. The mood has certainly changed towards us in the last two years toward the positive. Friends and I have organized a few rallys, marches and I stand with Women in Black every First Friday. I have worked to educate young folks about the Draft for many years. And--I'm on The Single-payer Healthcare Board for this Chapter for SB840 in CA. I am 61 and getting tired...I'm only sorry that I can't do more or be at every event possible. I am sorry I had to miss yours. Don't blame Fort Bragg tho--blame the diseases:
apathy, greed and fear.

My best to you on you sojourn,

In Peace,

? Nancy Milano


Good, just got back from a hike around Topanga Canyon with the family. Warm and sunny in the canyon, but socked in with luscious fog here in Santa Monica. For some reason, dense marine layer coastal fog, the kind that drips from the eaves, has become a rarity. This isn't so mushy, but it's nice. I used to live in the Mission in SF, so I enjoyed picturing you having a drink at a rooftop bar. It was less trendy in those days, but unless it's all been bulldozed, I'm sure it still retains funk. As is so often the case, I'm listening to Sun Ra. Hope alls well.

— Rex

Mike, I've heard you comment so often about the stress of needing to pee in traffic, and as a voluminous cross-country coffee and beer drinker, I do understand the crises you've experienced.


Get yourself a pecan .... (heh, down in some parts of Oklahoma, the pronounce it pee-can). I don't travel anyplace without a pecan in my old truck. When the bladder gets full, I pull over even in heavy traffic, pull out the pecan and use it. At the earliest opportunity, I take the opportunity to empty it. Sometimes even at the spot where I used it. Just open the door a bit and dump it on the assfault.

— Larry Hicks


I've been getting your travel notes via email from a friend.

How may I get on your email list to receive these wonderful missives?

I've shared them with various political people on my email list and most are thoroughly enjoying your take on life, the world, the road.

BTW, I work for the actor/ activist Ed Asner and he's been enjoying too.

— Patty Egan
Personal Assistant to
Ed Asner


We want to accept your article but it needs a bit more work, as described below.

You submitted an article titled:
Wealth is a Very Dangerous Thing To Hold in One's Hand

— Op Ed News Administrator

P.S. You need to remove "shit," and substitute something else. While foul language may be appropriate to impart strong emotion, it is just gratuitous as you have used it here. The same may be said with your described urinary tract urgency.

Your Original Submission is attached to this email

Please do NOT reply to this email; no one will see it.

Dear Mike,

I enjoyed your book very much. Thanks for your daily dose of e-sanity in a world gone mad.

Stay cool,


* * * * * * * * *
— David Mathison

On March 19, I dragged my friend Kim, a special ed. teacher, to a war protest held in Memorial Park in Omaha, NE, and organized by Earlier, Friends for Peace, held a rally in the same location. It was cold and damp and got dark quickly. The speeches were too long and the wind got stronger as each speech got longer. We held placards protesting the war and flashlights or glow sticks. Kim and I shared a blanket I’d brought as the rain began to fall. When the wind rushed up the hillside like an attack of shrieking, suicidal banshees, we caved and headed for the car. We were followed by the remainder of the protesters and a few lightweight lawn chairs! Where was the press to cover the protest? Where was the follow-up reporting in the next day’s newspapers? No one cares because the media is keeping it out of the news. And who owns the media?

— Kathleen J.

Hey Mike-
You’re in the best part of the state now. Someday I will move back there, not sure I should have left.. But I did.
I’d be glad to unblock Namanny, if I knew what that was, or how to do it. He emailed me and replied a couple of weeks ago. I’ll email him again.
I doubt you’ll find anyone that remembers me, it was almost 20 years ago.
Jesus – that’s a long time – who’d a thunk?
Take care, stay out of trouble and try to avoid the body casts

— Lundquist

Well, Holy Easter Crap, Auto-Crusader!

Careful of all those nerves you're touchin' Out There!
And just remember, when Zinn was in MN a few years back, here's what he said:
You try and you try and you try and you try; and you try and you try and you try and you try; and nothing happens.
Then, one day, it does.
It's all about process, putting in place an alternative vibe, sending an alternative message, as we keep heading toward a better way of being, while hoping we don't blow ourselves up, or completely wreck the planet, first.

— Leigh

Dear Mike,

We're still aglow from the other night with yr powerful presenation & encourage us to try to harmonize.

— David & Judy Ray

Mike, thanks SO MUCH for the copy of IOWA TERROR -- it's even better than I remember it from the file.
I very much like the presentation -- the cover slightly reminds me of a coloring book, which I like, and
the illustrations extend that feeling. And though the sans serif font is not supposed to work for longer documents, it seems to do well here, maybe especially because the paragraphs are short. Just excellent all around.

— Phil Hey

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