Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas 2012

We have survived the Mayan projected end of the world and the most expensive and mud slinging campaign in our history. We will survive the fiscal cliff. Merry Christmas to each and every one. Happy New Year and go Cardinal in the Rose Bowl!

Christmas 2012 

Much of the nation this Christmas is covered by blizzards and snowy drifts
But we seem to be skiers schussing to the fiscal cliff
Our leaders have left town and Obama is working only on his Hawaiian tan
Until now it has been impossible to be tranquil and serene
When countless political ads have filled the small screen
Two billion spent on political ads leave no more money to spend
A chance for serenity now the campaign and ads have come to an end
Where are the modern Magi bringing not frankincense,  gold and myrrh
But the gift of sanity and unity to somehow this disaster defer
Christmas is a time of songs, children running down the stairs
Gift wrapping covering the floor while holiday aroma fills the air
A time to share the gift of peace with family, stranger, foe and friend
Praying that the serenity and tranquility so received will never end
It is also a time of faith and hope
And a belief that with unity we can cope
If Blue and Red become more Purple and shed the warring past
The gift of peace has a chance to really and truly last
To all Merry Christmas and  God bless
United we will end this distress

© December 24, 2012 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fromage Always Wins

We have been overwhelmed by talk of the American Dream at both conventions as each speaker tries as each speaker seeks to portray themselves as totally destitute with parents and grandparents trudging though the snows of poverty so their children or grandchildren could have a better life. Like piranha trying to devour a cow in the Amazon River, both parties seek to portray themselves as the defender of the American Dream. Today at lunch I meet an example of the American Dream in action, a young white woman native born, working full time and going to school at night to get her
degree. The title of this post is a code for her name. She represents exactly what this country is all about.  I can only wish her well and hope when 2-3 years from now she graduates that a job will be waiting for her.
The convention halls have been full of rhetoric and hot air
Stories of humble beginnings each speaker wishes to share
So refreshing to talk not about a parent but a a young woman in search
Of a degree that will enable her to climb to a higher perch
Eating lunch with text book at her side
Determination to force opportunity open wide
Who ever believes in this Golden State that we only go to the beach
You should look at this young woman and the level she is trying to reach
The hurdles are not money or lack of drive
But the regulations and taxes waiting when she arrives
The Dream can be the thinnest of candles in an Elton John song
Or in this case cables of steel really thick and quite strong
Fromage allons, allons, le jour de gloire est arrive
Soon the tassle will be moved on a graduation day
Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet (c) September 5, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day Thoughts

236 years ago and thousands of lives and broken bodies ago, a brave band of men and women, pulled the English Lion's tail and would not let go until freedom could grow. If there were Vegas betting odds in 1776, no one would have taken the bet--Liberty is a concept you need to forget. Follow Paine and you will need to drop the e for that is what you will get, from Bunker Hill to Valley Forge to even crossing the Delaware is what you will get. Like today the country was not in one voice against an external threat. If we had had the bickering we have today and the partisanship would this country ever been formed and survived. As we celebrate our independence to our rabid Blues and Reds a plea on this most important day wear a swash of purple.
Hope you enjoy the poem describing what Newport Beach California looks like on the 4th

Summer Patriots 

It is far too ironic that on the day we celebrate independence from our former English liege,
A large part of Newport will be like a city under martial siege,
With police on every corner though not in riot gear and barricades on every street.
That cherished right of auto movement has been curtailed, it has met defeat.
In recent years our neighbor city further up the coast,
Thousands of celebrants turning all manner of couches and sofas into toast.
Symbols of farmers, blacksmiths or tanners behind a hedge, fence or tree,
Armed with flintlock by force to try to set us free.
The image of fife and drum and three men with bandaged head and wounded leg,
Replaced today by those gathered round the coolers, gathered round the keg,
The badge of honor goes to whomever can most and forever consume,
Or who gathers the most thongs throughout his rooms.
In 1777 it was a day to reflect, of fireworks and a thirteen cannon salute,
Marking the first Independence Day the fragile seed of democracy began slowly to take root.
In most of the country this is a day of parades, Sousa, reflections, fireworks and family barbecues.
Sad, in this Golden Land of beach and sun, it is a day of too much wine, too much brew.
Any excesses you cannot blame on Washington who on this day in 1778,
Handed out rations of double rum to his soldiers who helped forge this ship of state.
A thin blue line and thin green line are poised on our border,
Against overwhelming odds to try to prevent drunken chaos and disorder,
For those summer patriots whose guzzling will not relent,
Who feel such independence is a God-given consent,
No matter how close you look at their blue and green threads,
No way will you find the slightest speck of Redcoat red.
If the summer patriots despised by Paine choose to party and not reflect,
At least accord the thin blue and green lines some honor and respect.
In the party daze remember freedom is not cast in stone nor etched in concrete,
It is more fragile than a snowflake or butterfly and in the hall of nations may quickly lose its seat.
Look only to Troy who felt with their walls alone were beyond any Greek’s reach,
Remember this short lesson history will teach,
After the celebrations of rivers of wine ran their sleepy course,
Troy was destroyed by conscious Greeks coming from their Trojan Horse.
For our rights soldiers are dying daily on Iraqi sands or in Afghan not Bunker Hills,
Party to the max, is that how one respects that sacrifice and final bill?
If for only a moment, image an army unpaid, in rags, many without shoes,
But no matter the hardship forged in the valley, their faith remained true,
They would not let go when they grabbed the lion’s tail,
No matter what, against trained English steel, cannon, and muskets they would not fail.
Each pledged one’s property and each pledged one’s life.
In countless battles many our forefathers paid the ultimate sacrifice.
So done, wave the flag with meaning and fireworks applaud with hearty cheer,
But maybe this year as you pause and reflect, use a little less wine, a little less beer.  
© July 4, 2007

Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet


Friday, June 22, 2012

Sailors in Graduation Boats

June 21, 2012 was graduation day for the seniors, including my son Ryan Michael Ridley, at Newport Harbor High, home of the Sailors in Newport Beach, CA. Only in Newport Beach can you have a bagpiper, my favorite Keven Weed lead the faculty to the dais. Watching over 300 pairs of young men and women clad in blue marching to Pomp and Circumstance evoked this poem on the spot. Wandering through the graduates in search of my son gave me a clear sense that although we have problems, this nation is not done yet, today or in the foreseeable or long distance future. This kids we like sled dogs fired up beyond belief ready to achieve their dreams.


The longest day of the year when hopes should overcome all nightly fears
Four years of struggle of projects, tests or homework now time for dreams to adhere
On a football field, stands filled with a faculty first in tow
Led by a bagpiper with notes to make all spirits grow
A thin blue line of two by twos marching across a field.
Leaning forward, eager, dreams to pursue never to yield.
Other sailors have gone to the sea to explore or seek the ocean’s wealth
Or haul cargo or make war in the open or in stealth
These Sailors are of a different cloth, their ocean is the sea of dreams
Even though today the winds of chaos blow not gently astern but in full force abeam
The winds may be howling and many will seek the safety of a college port
Knowing four years from now the chaotic forces will subside or abort
No matter the force, this class of Sailors will not blink
Four years and all of you know how to think
Watching blue columns of two marching through flags rippling in the breeze
One is left with a sense of relief, a sense of welcome ease
Better yet the names read show the melting pot is still warm
One people united to escape from foreign harm.
Tassels turned, caps launched together into the sky
The dreams of a generation getting ready to fly
Your parents and friends salute
May your dreams take lasting root
Millions like you graduated on this day
Marching to the Pomp and Circumstances sway
But Sailors are special; they are unique and are blessed
For only they can traverse the seas of dreams and not by the confines of land find arrest.

© June 21, 2012 Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Dau

What a better world it would be if on this day and the other 364 we treated our spouse as a valentine. A lot less divorces, fewer family law lawyers, less ravagaed and devastated children....It's not about the flowers (they wilt) or the candy (too quickly eaten and gone) or the cards (read and discarded), no it is about love, honor and respect. Simple words but with meaning to move mountains. Happy Valentine's Day and may tomorrow be the same.


Can you believe the skill that puts a probe on Eros 190 million miles in space?
Or the GPS that finds you within an inch of any given place?
Yet, when it really counts, when love must do its part,
Cupid uses only a bow and arrow to find a romantic heart.

In a sea of missed encounters, how does a single arrow find its mark?
There's no laser to guide it through the cold or cynic's dark.
Is it a shaft of graphite or a flowered or candied head?
Is it the bow or the strength of the archer instead?

Maybe the string when drawn back and the bow fully bent,
Guides Cupid's calling card that forces all to relent.
Maybe it's the alignment of the feathers
To push through all manner of nonromantic weather.

Actually, it is so simple and not really that mysterious or even that profound.
What is needed to prevent the arrow from missing and falling wasted upon the ground?
Only this, to make Cupid's arrow run swift, lasting and true,
Words truly meant and soft spoken, Valentine, I love only you.

Michael P. Ridley

©February 14, 2001