Other Pages...  [FOKUS HOME][CONTACT US!]

Fokus.gif - 6813 Bytes


June 2001


Previous Issues

January 2000
February 2000
March 2000
April 2000
May 2000
June 2000
July 2000
August 2000
September 2000
October 2000
November 2000
December 2000
January 2001
February 2001
March 2001
April 2001
May 2001

For technical support for these newsletters, please e-mail: arachne@pantarbe.com

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

We Hope To See You At Our Next Celebration

Friday through Sunday, June 8-10, 2001
Todd Christoffel's cabin in Mazama
Cost is $20.00 per person for food. Your cost for food will be reinbursed for any food you provide.

For directions: Please phone Bob Olson at (425) 747-3879.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Art Sharing
Sunday May 6, 2001

Larry Lewis filled us in on upcomming events in his life. He is is going to WorldCon and is also taking part in a paleontology trip. He recited his original song “Dreamcon Anthem”. Susan L. Guse showed her oil painting titled “Dry Canyon”. David Ingersoll passed around his detailed sketch books. Sarah Byam read her story “Angela” which is illustrated and published on the Internet by ecoaction.org. Roberta Gregory played a new eleven-minute video episode of the Bitchy Bitch animated cartoon “We shall Overcome”. Ben Miller brought us up-to-date on pantarbe.com news. Carl Sloan showed a new portfolio and an “ancient” cartoon project he helped develop on bureaucracy in the 1970s. Pippin Sardo prepared fajitas for Cinco de Mayo. Mike Monro gave a Qi Gong demonstration of mind over matter. Bruce Taylor read a short story from his new collection, Kafka’s Uncle and Other Strange Tales titled “A Little Spider Shop Talk”. Bob Olson read three letters regarding the international prison rehabilitation program Project ARC. Lida Sloan and Seiko Olson provided attentive listening.

[Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

Other Stuff

Bruce gave a reading at the University Branch of the Seattle Public Library, May 17, at the About Time Reading Series. He’s also had another story (“Bats”) accepted for publication in The Vampire’s Crypt

Upcoming “Don’t Ask” Events:

  • Friday, June 15, Starbucks in Issaquah Meadows Shopping Center, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  • Friday, June 22, Victor’s in Redmond, 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm.
  • Friday, June 29, Starbucks in Issaquah Meadows Shopping Center 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
  • Friday, July 6, Hopvine on 15th Ave. E., Capitol Hill, 9:00 pm - 12 am

    Future FOKUS meetings:

  • July 1, Pippen Sardo's place.
  • August 12, Bob and Seiko Olson's Bellevue home.

    If you want to advertise something your are doing in our newsletter please call Bob or Bruce. This is an excellent free bulletin board for your announcements.

    [Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

    Bruce Taylor's Editorial: Freedom of the Press

    Freedom of the press, that concept is one of the cornerstones of our Ozymandian Society*. The freedom of the press shall not be abridged, but what can be abridged, is being abridged is the freedom of the press to investigate. An article dated May 1, 2001, by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel on the editorial page of The New York Times should be of concern to us all.

    “Taking network and public-broadcasting television news, Newsweek, and the front pages of selected sections of the New York Times and The Washington Post as a whole, there were 41 percent fewer stories about Mr. Bush from Jan. 21 to March 21 than there were on Bill Clinton in the same two-month period eight years earlier, according to a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism.”

    Why is this a concern? Because it raises all sorts of issues: given the presidential race was the closest in 124 years, given the problems with how the election was carried out in Florida, given the obvious shift to the right as far as policies and politics re Mr. Bush and Company, given the politization of the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems that these topics deserve as much scrutiny, if not more, than anything Slippery Billy and the Monica Lewinsky Show paraded before us. With the latter, we have a guy who used power for sex. In the former, we have a guy who looks like he’s using power to change the course of a nation as if he has a vast mandate to do so, and somehow the press doesn’t see this as nearly as “immoral”, or worth as much newsprint as Bill and Monica.

    “In Newsweek the dropoff (in coverage) was most dramatic - 59 percent.”

    Uh, folks, just who are these people running the government? Don’t know much about them do you? Why is that? The U.S., with two percent of the world’s population creates 25% of the pollution and then has the arrogance to withdraw from the Kyoto Agreement on global warming? Why didn’t that deserve in-depth coverage and reporting? What Bill and Monica did was more immoral than withdrawing from an agreement to limit greenhouse gasses that, if not stopped, may play a role, how much we don’t know, in potentially making the planet unlivable? This is less immoral than the Bill and Monica Show? Oh, Christ! Come on! What about these issues? Or these questions in the article:

    “What changes will the election and the crisis over voting bring? What are the implications of a president who lost the popular vote attempting to govern as if he had won it by a wide margin?”

    If the press ceases to be critical of who’s running the country, what else aren’t they going to look at? What if there is further decrease in funding, say, for the arts? What if the NEA gets abolished? (Remember, artists don’t fare too well in totalitarian society, left or right, unless they are politically correct.) Hey, this affects everybody and it’s up to us, as artists, to keep the pressure on and keep asking the questions, particularly, just who are these folks running the government and what can we expect of them? If the press isn’t doing its job, how are we to know what’s going on? Frankly, to this writer’s eyes, it looks might scary.

    *Regarding the comment “Ozymandian Society”: It is the arrogance of power, (also the title of a book by J. William Fulbright), or the idea that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The hallmark of power for the sake of power is arrogance, and it is arrogance that says, “I am so powerful that I command power now and will be seen as powerful for all eternity,” to which, in 1817, poet Percy Bysshe Shelly had this to say: (hey Dubya, hey Dick, pay attention)

    I met a traveler from an antique land
    Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
    Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand,
    Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
    And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
    Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
    Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
    The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
    And on the pedestal these words appear:
    “My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
    Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
    Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
    Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
    The lone and level sands stretch far away.

    [Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

    A story by Bob Olson:
    Hitler's Favorite Jew

    “Seig Heil! Seig Heil! Der Fuhrer demands your obedience.” Vice principal Dirk Lewis took command of the faculty room, black hair combed over his right eye with a small square fake mustache under his nose. We howled in glee for this rare day when the real fuhrer was ill and absent. Dirk had nicknamed our principal Adolf Hitler because of his insane command of events. I survived Hitler with the guile of a fox. How Hitler survived himself remains a mystery.

    I became Hitler’s favorite Jew as that school year unraveled. Two years before I was hired as a counselor- consultant and director of a federally funded project at another school where Adolph was principal. When I first went to work for him my mentor, Assistant Superintendent Frank Novell, told me quite frankly that my new principal was inept. I needed to help change him or cover for his frequent mistakes. One example: Our school district was giving state-standardized tests to all eighth graders. Wanting to do the job “just right” our boss required that the testing service send out their test administrators. ”Experts” would give the tests to groups of sixty or seventy students in the cafeteria. Teachers would not be needed. Parents would monitor the testing. These testers were unwelcome strangers to our teenagers. The “word for word” directions they read were not the same directions the students were reading in their test booklets. Our frustrated kids broke into disruptive chaos. They threw down their tests and started yelling. The vice-principal and nearby teachers contained the disturbance and sent all the eighth graders back to their classrooms. Then, our vice-principal and counselors spent all that night rewriting the misprinted directions in the test administrators’ booklets to match the same directions in the student booklets. Assistant Superintendent Frank Novell arranged for Der Fuhrer to be absent for the next seven days of testing. Tests were then given by teachers in their classrooms. That year part of my job was to provide in-service workshops for teachers. I hired well-known speaker/presenters in education and behavioral psychology. As the year drew to a close, I needed to employ a presenter for our final workshop. In a planning session Hitler insisted that I hire Dr. Rudy Blume. Adolph said, “Dr. Blume really knows what’s wrong in our school and he’ll correct it.” Behind Hitler’s back Frank kept shaking his head “No! NO!” When I queried Frank he told me that Dr. Blume once stated at an administrator’s conference that our fuhrer was unqualified. Dear Adolph had totally misunderstood this message. He always attributed his own mistakes to others. Frank Novell said, “Bob, you can’t have a speaker who wants your boss fired.” I recommended several other speakers, many times. Finally, Hitler told me, ”Bob, you hire Dr. Rudy Blume or you’ll lose your job.” I hired Dr. Blume. In our final workshop , eliciting comments from all the teachers, Rudy Blume clearly revealed that the big problem at our school was an inept principal. Instead of losing his job, our principal was transferred to another school. I resigned from the federal project and did not recommend its’ continuation at the end of the following year. So, I was out of a job and the only opening was again working with my former principal at his new school. Hitler reluctantly hired me as a part-time teacher, part-time counselor - “part-time” counselor in punishment for his transfer. I taught two hours of shop and two hours of Geography/History, not being certified to teach in either area. That year I was President of the King County Counseling and Guidance Association and Chairman for the Washington State Counseling and Guidance Convention. I registered my grievance with the Washington State Board of Education. Guess who was Chairman of the State Board of Education? Yes, Dr. Rudy Blume. Quickly, I became reinstated as a full-time counselor and Hitler’s “favorite” Jew because he was wary of my influence, -- but still sought my demise.

    Der Fuhrer held nearly all of his co-workers in contempt and was quite blind to our efforts covering up his mistakes. His rule was painful, but we had to bite our lips to hold back laughter at some of his antics. English teacher Gwen was one target. She was popular and creatively talented. Some days Adolph would say to me, “Go see what The Bitch is doing. I know she’s up to something. I just know it.” When she had an ear infection he thought she was drunk (although Gwen was a teetotaler). If the kids were laughing in her classroom he thought she had to have said or done something obscene. One day he looked out his office window and saw Gwen on the lawn leading her kids in exercise. “My God!” he exclaimed, “The Bitch is playing games on the lawn with her English class.” Hitler had forgotten that he had assigned her one P.E class to make her teaching schedule more difficult. He ran out the door onto the lawn and slipped falling flat on his back. Poor Adolph couldn’t get up. Creative Gwen came to his rescue, for she was also a massage therapist. Hitler accepted Gwen’s healing without a word of appreciation and stomped back to his office.

    I anticipated his efforts to destroy me. Knowing that his annual evaluation would be devastating, I obtained written recommendations from our most respected teachers, students, parents and administrators at other schools. When Der Fuhrer sought these same teachers to denigrate me, I already had their praise in writing. Hitler always wanted to quote others instead of taking responsibility for himself. Wanting to back up his plan to fire me at year’s end (which of course he could not simply do). Hitler told me that I constantly irritated my co-workers. “What am I doing wrong? Who’s complaining?” I asked, “Please tell me, so I can correct my mistakes.” Finally, with his usual wisdom, Adolph said, ”Vice-principal Dirk Lewis says you goof off all the time. You and Dirk need to meet together.” Our fuhrer attended district administrator meetings with lady counselor Ruth Dawson. He would not allow his vice principal Dirk Lewis to attend these meetings. So when they met, Dirk and I conspired as good friends to share strategies for coping with Adolph. Through the support of teachers, students, parents and administrators at other schools I survived. Our new superintendent came to my rescue. He assigned me to another principal at another school.

    How can such a disastrous leader keep his job for so many years? This remains a mystery. However, I think I know the answer. His fellow principals liked to have him around because his mistakes made them look better. Assistant Superintendent Frank Novell wanted to remain a school principal. He was treasured by teachers, students and parents and was honored as Washington State School Principal of the Year. The next year Frank was made an assistant superintendent whose only remaining contact with students, teachers and parents was as my mentor. Another educational consultant that I hired to lead workshops was a former Seattle principal who, after becoming Principal of the Year was placed in charge of school bussing the following year.

    If you can offer Bob an opportunity to meet with a class you teach or a small group you belong to, he would love to volunteer his services. Some of Bob's special skills and interests include: conflict resolution, value education, cultural diversity, storytelling, creative writing, near-death experiences and art expression. Bob has been fortunate enough to have worked with many of the pioneers in these fields. Please call him - - - - - Bob Olson 425-747-3879

    [Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]

    Advice From The Experts:

    “Man is the only animal who has to be encouraged to live.”
    Friedrich Nietzshe

    “When it is dark enough, you can see the stars.”
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

    “How refreshing, the whinny of a packhorse unloaded of everything!”
    Zen saying

    [Up To Contents][Up To Page Top]