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America’s Terrible Beauty

Posted on 18 April 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

First an apology.

The first two nights of Passover fell on Monday and Tuesday this week and we thought we had our act together cramming three days worth of work into one. We did forget one thing however— to change the message on the answering machine.

We received a lot of phone calls of increasing irritation all we can say is oops and sorry.

It has been noted several times that the victims of Monday’s Kansas city shooting spree of two Jewish centers were not Jewish.

We do not find it odd at all especially for America.

America is different.

The sharp divisions of religion and sect do not exist here. And there is always room at the proverbial inn.

At least for most of us.

The haters will always find a reason to hate and tragically some of us will die for our Ecumenism like the three martyrs did Monday.

It is the price we have to pay for tolerance.

We cannot count the times we attended social events at the local Mormon, Catholic and Baptist churches.

None of them were religious except for the funeral of our father and pastor was very understanding about removing the huge cross at the altar.

That is just how it works out here.

Churches and synagogues are big buildings with lots of seating and it is an American tradition that apart from days of worship they are open to the public even and especially to those not of the congregation.

The first town halls were held in churches and the revolution went just fine.

The same cannot be said for most of the rest of the world.

While it is perhaps not written on the doors the beautiful cathedrals, churches, synagogues  and mosques are avoided by others except perhaps by the American tourists who appreciate the beauty of faith no matter which faith is beatified.

We believe it is a strength of our country and our culture. Yet sometimes it is a weakness.

If the martyrs of Kansas City had been like our old world cousins with old world ideas they might not have been killed.

And yet there is a terrible beauty in this tragedy.

We are all Jews.

We are all Mormons.

We are all Catholics.

We are all Protestants.

Because we are all Americans.

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Over Reaction Revolution?

Posted on 11 April 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

The genius at the BLM who decided to treat a cattle round-up like a military exercise should himself or herself be put in front of a firing squad.

The over reaction and over kill of Clive Bundy’s quixotic stand has created a legend and hopefully not a martyr.

There is simply no excuse in treating an American this way. We do not care what he has or has not done.

The picture of uniformed federal agents complete with automatic weapons and body armor is ridiculous bordering on the retarded.

Why not call up a couple of tanks too?

revolution?Revolutions get started by the state overreacting.

A demonstration brutally put down when it would have just petered out has been a mistake regimes have later regretted.

The original argument of right or wrong is erased by blood.

If violence ensues in Clark County, the issue of unpaid grazing fees and desert tortoises will be rendered irrelevant.

Instead it will be an issue of trust.

We trust our government if not to do the right thing always, but that it won’t kill us out of hand without benefit of trial.

If that trust is broken all hell will break loose.

Those crazy, right wing, nut jobs will not seem so crazy and much more middle of the road to a whole host of folks out there. And it will be perceived as the federal government making war against its own people.

So a firing squad might just be a good idea.

An over reaction?

Perhaps.

Then again we are talking about someone who ordered Kevlar combatants with automatic weapons to round up cows.

 

We have more than a passing interest the state of Israel and thus we have more than a passing interest in the recently failed peace talks pushed by Secretary Kerry.

We made $20 that nothing would come of them.

A good bet we were never worried for the simple reason that for there to be peace with the Palestinians they must agree that there will be a time when hostilities will be over.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Settlements, borders, even the return of refugees are all sideshow issues that deflect attention from the one thing the Palestinians will never agree too.

The war is over.

We know that to continue to insist that it isn’t denies reality. But after 65 years of being fed a diet of lies and free food paid for by the UN reality really does not matter.

And so the imaginary battles will continue punctuated by acts of supreme barbarity.

Perhaps one day when the years of the conflict are counted with three digits there will be a Palestinian who will realize that half a loaf is better than none.

 

The demise of Windows XP is a lesson for us all.

Here there was a perfectly good product.

Worked great for what it was designed for and it is put out to corporate pasture because?

Yes we know there is something called planned obsolescence.

But by the very numbers alone XP was not obsolete.

It still worked and worked well.

It just didn’t fit with the coporate model anymore.

A pretty sorry excuse to make people buy something else that does about the same thing XP did.

We hope they don’t at least not right away.

It could be a very good lesson that we aren’t buying what they are selling.

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Nitpicking Noah

Posted on 04 April 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Wendover lost a treasure this week with the death of Karen Crawford.

She had the quiet strength of a the pioneers and like them met with triumph and disaster and treated those two impostors just the same.

Her life was not easy but she was the first to say it was not as hard as some others.

She was modest and quietly proud and she was among the first to comfort a neighbor when tragedy struck.

Karen brought with her a sense of community, she knew we were all in this together and she let you know it too.

She had common sense and grit.

She could spot a fool from miles and a con artist from miles more and made no secret of her assessment.

We will miss her.

 

The movie Noah has prompted discussion about the veracity of the tale told in the Bible.

Frankly we do not understand what the fuss is all about.

The Bible does not spend a whole lot of time about creation, less than ten pages, just a few thousand words to recount the creation of the universe to the flood and the beginning of civilization.

We view it as a kind of summation, a divine summation but a summation nonetheless.

Today if we gave that task to even the most learned cosmologists, anthropologists and zoologists we don’t think they could do a better job and certainly not as poetic. Remember the Torah is chanted and not just read aloud.

Invariably when the story of Noah is brought up some yahoo will also bring up the epic of Gilgamesh and delightfully point out that the flood story in the epic was written about a thousand years before Noah. Invariably the word borrow will come up and that just raises our hackles. To hear them tell it seems that the ancient Hebrews having no creation myth of their own went next door to the Akkadians and borrowed theirs along with a cup of sugar.

Should we be worried that sometime in the future an Akkadian will knock on the door and ask for Noah back?

No.

The ancient Hebrews were Akkadians. Abraham was a child of Ur which means ‘city’ in both ancient Akkadian and modern Hebrew.

The epic of Gilgamesh is the story of Noah. Call it a first draft. But it wasn’t stolen or borrowed, it is simply part of the cultural heritage of Mesopotamia the cradle of civilization. Everything that came from it is the birthright of all men.

Was there a real Noah and was there a real flood? Did the events as recorded in the Torah actually take place?

Considering the account of is about four pages long and most of it is a conversation with the Almighty and the rest is pretty vague there isn’t much to contradict.

There probably was not a flood that covered the entire planet but there could have been a flood that covered all of world, the world Noah knew. As a man living around the time copper was just beginning to give stone a run for it money, that world was pretty small and could have very easily been swallowed. It is all a matter of perspective. The same applies to the animals. Just how many species does on encounter today in a day’s walk? A week’s?

Nit picking the story also distract from lesson.

The world was destroyed because men abused it and debased themselves. The seven Noahide laws for personal and societal conduct formed the basis of every culture and they have worked pretty good over the last 6,000 years.

The seven laws are:

The prohibition of idolatry.

The prohibition of murder.

The prohibition of theft.

The prohibition of sexual immorality.

The prohibition of blasphemy.

The prohibition of eating flesh taken from an animal while it is still alive.

The requirement of maintaining courts to provide legal recourse.

What is more the lesson that all men are brothers is good to remember.

We are all children of Noah and should treat each other as family.

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No Parent Is An Island

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

For the past seven years we have had a little ritual.

We would make ourselves a cup of coffee open our lap top and with a terrible dread go to an Israeli news site to see if any soldier had been killed or wounded.

If there was such terrible news we would search for details of who what why and where all the while praying that it was not one of our sons.

If it was their brigade, we would call them and trying to sound nonchalant we would ask them if all was all. Invariably it was or at least they were alive and well enough to lie to us.

We would say a prayer of thanks and then we would feel guilty that we were rejoicing because it was another father’s child who died.

And then for the first time in seven very long years we felt no dread.

Our son, Arieh, finished his service this week Monday and no longer is on the front line and like his brother Shalom known here as Sam he is now a civilian.

Someone once said that a soldier does not serve alone, his family also bears that burden.

That someone was a very wise man but he didn’t say the whole truth.

Because while the last seven years have been fraught with trepidation we have found great comfort in the kindness of friends and strangers here in our home in rural Nevada.

We will not forget the gentle words given freely and without reservation while we were buying a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. The simple touch of a hand on our shoulder when we got our mail or paid our power bill. We will never forget the phone calls from their old school mates and teachers who since moved far away just to see how they and we were doing. We know prayers were said for our boys in practically every church in Nevada’s vast outback. And we are grateful for them.

Words really can’t express how much that support meant to us and means to us.

All we can say is thank from the bottom of our hearts and the sun seems to be shining just a little bit brighter now.

 

There are elections and then there are elections and then there are third world elections.

Welcome to West Wendover and the third world.

We have no objections to the number of candidates seeking office.

Democracy is alive and well.

We do have a problem with how the are selected.

With the lack of a primary vote to narrow down the field it is quite possible indeed probable that someone winning less than 40 percent of the vote could win a seat on the city council.

That is not democracy, that isn’t even republicanism and if one considers that it would be of no great expense or effort to hold a primary the only word to describe West Wendover’s electoral process is STUPID.

Hopefully by the next election they will fix it.

On the other hand  the “winners” this time around may like the “winners” the last time around believe that everything is just fine and dandy.

The fact that more votes were cast against them than for them is just a technicality.

 

For much of December, January and February we were ill with combination of maladies that knocked us out and kicked us when we were down.

Still the paper got out, bills got paid, and invoices went out.

We achieved this not because we have a great work ethic but because while we bed ridden our wife Corinne was not.

She kept everything going and still made dinner.

This week she caught flu and wheels are off. We guess we now know who is the essential partner in this endeavor.

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Vote On Medical Weed

Posted on 14 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

To teenagers and 20 somethings, heck even to 30 somethings we being 50 something are old fuddy duddies.

Not that those whippersnappers would ever use the phrase fuddy duddy but yes we are old. And we do things that old people do. We talk about how bad things are in the country, we vote Republican, and we talk about our children and grandchildren— a lot. We will show you pictures if you have a minute and a half. Heck we will show you pictures even if you don’t have a minute.

We also don’t do things that old people don’t do. We don’t occupy Wall Street or any of the other streets out there. We don’t travel the world with only a back pack. We don’t go out every weekend drinking, dancing or looking for chicks. We don’t do it because we are married but mostly because we don’t have the energy.

We have very little cultural references beyond 1992.

And we don’t smoke weed.

But being 50 something also means we were teenagers in the 70’s and back then everyone smoked weed at least once.

We did too.

Not often not frequently, but we did, and we don’t know anyone our age who didn’t except of course for David Stav who came in second to being the Chief Rabbi of Israel last year.

Some of our friends from back then have done very well for themselves. They became judges, lawyers, financiers, high ranking officers in the military and one was even named one of the 100 most thought provoking scholars of 2012.

And all of them smoked weed just like our president and the two presidents before him.

So it would be hypocritical of us to demand weed be illegal.

Another thing about being 50 something, we are hypocrites.

Comes with age.

We raised our children not to smoke weed.

Told our boys that doing it would make them grow boobs and shrink them down there.

Okay we exaggerated but it did get their attention neither of them became potheads.

A pothead is like an alcoholic— absolutely worthless.

But like alcohol marijuana does have some medical benefits, perhaps even more than booze.

And rural Nevada will have to decide whether to follow the lead of the state and permit medical marijuana to be sold.

We are ambivalent.

But we don’t think this issue should be decided by just a small government body like a city council.

And conveniently enough we happen to be in an election year.

Put the question on the ballot.

There is time and it should make for some great stories.

 

 

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What Me Worry About Crimea? YES

Posted on 07 March 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Were it not for a piece of paper we would not really care about the Ukraine, Crimea or Russia invading it.

We have no family or friends in Crimea. We are not fond of Crimean food. Indeed we have never met anyone from Crimea. So we could care less if it is Ukrainian or Russian except for that piece of paper.

20 years ago Ukraine gave up its nuclear missiles in exchange for that piece of paper that guaranteed its territorial sovereignty. It was signed by then President Bill Clinton.

So now we care.

We care not so much because we feel Clinton’s honor should be defended.

That is pretty much a lost cause.

But it is America’s honor that is at stake.

If we honor that guarantee we could find ourselves in a shooting war with the Russian army.

That would be bad.

But if we pretend that piece of paper doesn’t exist or had a secret expiration date on it, it could be worse.

Right now the US is trying to get Iran to sign a piece of paper where they too would give up their nukes for some guarantees of sovereignty.

Yeah, like that is going to happen now.

That is the problem with treaties.

They may seem like a good, perhaps great idea at the time but ten 20 years down the road, the promises made still have to be kept or else.

Funny thing in all the bluster coming from the White House no one is mentioning our guarantee to the Ukrainians.

Maybe the president and his advisors think that if they don’t bring it up no one else will.

We think they might be more than a little bit wrong about that.

The Ukrainians have a copy and they have copying machines. They might be a little low on toner but they still have email.

So either America keeps its promise or it doesn’t. Either way this is going to get worse before it gets better.

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Quintin Rice Computer Maven

Posted on 27 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

We have lots of computers and we spend a lot of money on hardware, software and repairs.

Its just a cost of doing business or so we thought until Quintin Rice came into our offices.

It was rather serendipitous.

We had just broken our laptop.

The computer store we used to use Macdocs had been bought out by Simply Mac and they told us the best they could do was sell us a new computer.

We went on line and find a place which took our machine on spec and did fix most of it for $200. There was a little problem with the latch system which they wanted to charge around $400.

We said we could live with a bad latch.

When we told that story to Quintin he smiled and said he could fix the latch for under $100.

We didn’t believe him.

But we added we had another laptop with a bust screen that every computer store said was un-salvageable.

Again we didn’t believe him.

But he insisted he could so we took him up on it.

It is our son’s computer so not really a matter of life and death.

Took about a week to get the new screen and less than an hour for him to fix it.

Total cost less then $100.

Then he fixed our broken latch again total cost less than $100.

We must admit that one of the reasons why we did not believe Quintin was because we are Apple snobs.

And as Apple snobs we knew that this obviously PC guy could not possibly repair our fine sophisticated machines.

We were morons.

Quintin Rice is a true Maven of computers which is the highest accolade we can give.

He will have our business for as long as he wants it and we urge all of readers to call him first when your own machine breaks down.

You will not need to get to make another call.

 

We have many childless friends and they mark their time either by jobs or pets. And there is a very depressing poem out their where the protagonist marks his time by coffee spoons.

We mark our time by our children and grandchildren.

Starting with 1983 give us a year and we can tell you which of our four was doing what/when/where/why and how.

It is not because we were particularly good parents. It is just something all parents at least all the ones we have ever met do.

For us 2011 is the year our son Ari joined the army and the year our daughter Anna announced she was pregnant.

For Celia Costanzo 2011 is the year time stopped.

Her daughter Mickie was murdered that year.

And we can only imagine how each and everyday after has been for her.

Our mother-in-law who lost two sons kept time that way. There was the glorious past before Charles died and then there was the time after Charles died.

She like Celia did not retreat from the world in a veil of depression.

She learned to laugh and to take joy again.

Even after she lost her second son she again came to grips with the world and took a measure of comfort in her remaining children and grandchildren.

Still the wounds were there.

She grieved for her boys as Celia grieves for her daughter everyday that passes without her.

That Celia is doing something in Mickie’s memory we applaud and support.

She is a wonderful woman who deserves our respect and our attention.

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Kudos To Karen

Posted on 21 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

A huge “Thank You” is in order for Wendover City Councilwoman Karen Shepherd for her blood drive.

We are only walking around today thanks to the grace of G0d and to some anonymous donors who gave us the gift of life two years ago when our own body ran out of the ‘red stuff’.

Thank you’s are also in order for the 37 Wendover residents who pulled up their sleeves to suffers needles of outrageous fortune and give of themselves.

Who knows who they will save?

A child, a mother even perhaps a cantankerous newspaperman?

Whoever it is the donors should know that we receivers thank you with every beat of our hearts.

 

There will come a time in the not too distant future when a Nevada Justice of the Peace will be faced with a dilemma on whether to perform a gay marriage and risk the wrath of G0d or to refuse and risk the wrath of the state.

We do not envy that individual.

The trials and tribulations already being suffered by people who based on their religion refused to participate in same sex weddings should cause us all to pause.

This newspaper endorsed gay marriage over 20 years ago one the grounds that if an 80 year old man could legally marry a 16 year old girl, the state should not have a problem with two adults of the same sex going through the same ceremony.

Of course if that old man showed up at a church with his young fiancé he would be shown the door by 99 out of 100 ministers, priests or rabbis most likely with a swift kick in the rear as well.

And therein lies the problem.

Marriage is for most of us, first and foremost, a religious rite. It has been so for about 6,000 years.

And while the gods may have changed the solemn vows we make are still the same.

To demand that someone perform a secular act diametrically opposed to his religion or conscience is wrong.

It may be legal but it is still wrong.

 

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The Dragon Wins Again

Posted on 07 February 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Charles Perrault, the French aristocrat who brought the world Mother Goose penned a tale called “The Dragon”.

In it a dragon ruled a kingdom and being a dragon was a pretty mean ruler.

It oppressed the people stealing their crops, livestock and children always until it was challenged by a hero who was mad as hell and wouldn’t take it anymore.

Unfortunately the hero always lost and the oppression remained.

That was until a youth decided that he too would challenge the dragon.

They fought and quite unexpectedly the youth won.

But when the boy opened the treasure room he was blinded by the wealth. As his hands ran through the gold and the gems and the silks he was in heaven. That is until he happened to look at his hands. Instead of human fingers he saw they were reptilian claws.

He was becoming the dragon.

Power corrupts was the moral.

And as morals go it is a pretty good one.

Three hundred years after the tale was first told it appears to be coming true again in Ely.

We have never believed that one side in any fight is wholly right or wholly wrong that is unless the conflict personally involves us.

But in the rail road battle now raging there appears to be a whole lot of grey.

One side is just a little darker grey than the other.

The long strong odor of bad blood between Marty Westland and Mark Bassett is so putrid that it taints and will taint every decision by the Ely City Council vis a vis the rail road.

Mr. Westland should recuse himself from any decision or action the council will take in the future.

And the rail road board should be as transparent. A great job at fund raising should not blind the board from scrutiny.

And the people of Ely should remember that a Good Ol’ Boy is not necessarily bad and a ‘reformer’ is not always above reproach.

As for the original tale it ended with the youth renouncing his corruption and going back to his farm.

Nice ending but we didn’t buy it at five when we first heard it and we ain’t buying it now.

 

We were wondering with the failure of gas purchase just what new multi-million project West Wendover City would seek to borrow to build.

The moving of the Public Woks Department it turns out.

Another $2 million in public debt.

A cynic might say that the project is up because with the massive public works department something has to get built.

And with city hall, the beautification projects, and just about every thing else completed Why Not?

We ask why.

Has anyone noticed that while public projects keep getting built private projects just are not there?

Instead the number of businesses continue to either close or migrate to Wendover, Utah while Wendover Will continues to wave at the vacant lots along Wendover Boulevard.

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Legalize Pot? Least Bad Idea

Posted on 24 January 2014 by Howard Copelan

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Howard Copelan, Publisher

Which conversation would you rather have with your child?

1) Mom, Dad I’m gay and I want to marry my boyfriend/girlfriend.

2) Mom, Dad I’m pregnant and I want to have an abortion.

3) Mom, Dad I smoked pot.

For us it would be #3 and with a bullet.

It is not that we are not enlightened, well maybe we are not, but even with the current social acceptance it is still not easy being openly homosexual in even the most liberal parts of the world.

Step outside a queer friendly zone and it is not a big step in most cases gays have a target on their backs. Along with the fear of violence there would also be sadness. Even as religious people we would have no problem reconciling our love for our child with the laws of G0d we know there are others in our community that would. That and knowing that despite the secular law there is no way our child and their same sex partner would ever be married in our house of worship would make us sad. And we would also mourn the children that would never be born. Yes we know there is adoption and artificial insemination but its not the same. It may be fulfilling but it is not the same and according to numbers few gays have children and when the do the average is one. Therefore we would be sad.

Abortion would make us sadder still. Again we agree that it should be legal, strictly controlled but legal. Yet how can anyone rejoice in the death of a potential life and one that is well on the way of becoming life?

Indeed the most appalling thing we have ever seen is the sheer ecstasy we saw when abortion supporters win a legal victory. We don’t see anything to celebrate but something to grieve. And we would grieve for any lost grandchild and being human and selfish that loss would affect more than just some random fetus who had no genetic relationship to ourselves.

As for smoking pot, not so much of a big deal. If it wasn’t illegal in Nevada we would put that conversation on the same level as our under aged child having a shot of hard liquor.

But pot is illegal in the Silver State at least for now and frankly it shouldn’t be.

Not for any other reason than it is the least scary conversation we can have with our children.

 

We have been thinking about the slogan of the Holocaust lately– Never Again

We are thinking about that because we just saw the photos of the Syrian death camps.

The difference is one of size. Instead of millions tens of thousands but then again there are not that many people in Syria as there were in Europe in World War II.

We have seen similar photos before from Bosnia, Darfur, Rwanda, Cambodia, Bangladesh the list goes on.

So we are wondering what about Never Again?

It is not like these later genocides were/are secret.

The world knew about them as they were happening.

So why didn’t the world stop it?

Obviously Never Again does not mean what we think it means.

Perhaps we should take Never Again to mean that never again would the world allow the mass murder of 6 million Jews in Europe.

If so that is a pretty easy pledge to make there are only about 1 million Jews in Europe today.

It may not be a cry to moral outrage but a simple statement of math.

So nice that has been cleared up.

The murder may continue.

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