Archive for November 30th, 2010

by problembear

so long bud, next time i give a peanut to a camp robber jay on the trail,  i will think of you….

Finnegan’s is closed…

By Duganz (Above photo courtesy of Alisia Duganz)

I’m heartbroken, and feeling at a loss for words right now. Finnegan’s was the first place in Missoula that I took ownership of. My friends and I spent sophomore year of college reclined in booths drinking coffee, perusing the spinning glass tank of pie, and telling jokes while trying to feel like we were adults–or maybe just cast members from Swingers, I can’t be sure.

I remember one night in particular where a table of us started quoting lines Office Space to each other, and half of the surrounding tables joined in while the others watched. “Lumbergh fucked her!” we screamed until they told us to get quiet or get walking. Those moments of strangers connecting are rare, and infrequent–like first snows, and first loves,.

There were waffle fries and drag queens the first night I hung out with Alisia, my wife. I thought she looked pretty. She thought I was funny.

A Twitter update from the Montana Kaimin announced the end to 23 years of business. I saw it and texted some friends. One immediately responded with a memory from the night of April 11th, 2008. He remembered how a group of us left the Union Club following a night of drink and dance, and wandered down to Finnegan’s for greasy food and black coffee. He asked if I was there (to his credit, he was quite drunk that night). I said, yeah, I was there.

That was the night that, among so many friendly faces and a crowd of merry folks fresh from last calls around town, I leaned over to Alisia and told her for the first time that I loved her. She replied in kind, and only months later I proposed. I’m not saying that Finnegan’s was the best place to eat, or be, or to woo a potential mate. But it was something special in the way that certain inanimate objects will always be special to us–like your first baseball glove, or car.

Tonight I sat in a car outside the restaurant while Alisia took photos of the barren, empty eatery. I watched the glass pie tank and the warm neon sign glow in the dimly lit storefront. And in the booths to the left, for just a moment, I saw friends shooting the shit, telling stories, and wondering when Gabe would bring us another carafe of his sorry excuse for coffee.

You want to lament the loss of Macy’s? Macy’s was a confusingly structured store with inadequate parking, and florescent lights. But Finnegan’s? That was something special.

By Duganz

I remember sitting in my high school computer lab when we started shocking and awing Iraqi civilians, and soldiers into oblivion. Some of my classmates were cheering. I was 18 so I could only think of Johnson, Nixon, and the story my Dad’s plan to run to Canada when he got his draft number (just a few months before the end of the Vietnam draft).

We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan for over nine years, and in Iraq nearly eight years. The cost of the wars has exceeded $1 trillion. Nearly 100,000 American troops have been wounded, and thousands have died.As for civilians of those two nations, thousands are dead, homeless, or slowly descending into a mindset wherein bombs are a fashion statement.

All those years, all that money, and all of those wounded human beings and I still have yet to get a sound reason for this question I’ve had all along: “Why are we fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?”

It’s a childish question, I know. But it is nonetheless relevant. The Left has laid blame on reactionary tactics (Afghanistan), and corporatism (Iraq). The Right is quick to beat the purity drum with a ratta-tat-tat roll for FREEDOM! FOR! ALL! The Left arguments may be true, we may be in these conflicts for empty reactionary reasons and our ongoing desire to burn dead dinosaurs. I don’t know.

As for the Right’s reasoning, well, I don’t know how an occupation creates freedom. And I mean that literally. How are people free if armed soldiers are walking around telling them what to do?

I ultimately want to believe the best in all people, even former President George W. Bush. I want to believe that he got bad intel, and that he stretched facts for pure reasons (it ain’t likely, but I want it to be true). I want to believe that we are still losing lives and money for the cause of freedom, even if I feel that war is a misguided means to an end when it comes not from the people, but from an outside force.

But, hell, it’s probably just imperialism and greed.

I want answers to why this has happened, and why it’s still going on. I’m Cruise in A Few Good Men. I want the truth (and, sadly, my government seems to think more like Nicholson).

So I decided to email Sen. Jon Tester, Sen. Max Baucus, and Rep. Dennis “Denny” Rehberg that one simple question: “Why are we fighting wars Iraq and Afghanistan?”

I didn’t put anything else in the email. Just the question; no slant or bias. I could have asked how any of them sleep at night knowing they could save lives, or if each flag-draped coffin means something to them. I could have asked Baucus if his nephew dying changed his mind.

I only used those eight simple words.

For those of you who have never emailed our national representatives, the easiest way is through the email forms available at their websites (links above). You give some personal info (most likely for future mailers), select a topic from a pre-made list, and then you’re free to write a little message.

But here’s something interesting:

At Tester’s site you cannot select Afghanistan as a topic, but you can ask about Iraq; Baucus apparently wishes to avoid talking about either (regret those votes Max?) as neither war is an available topic so I chose “foreign policy”; Denny is the only one providing an option for both under the heading “WAR.” I’m not lying. His topic list has the word “WAR.” Just like that. In CAPS. Like it should be proceeded by a grunt and the words “Good god, y’all. What is it good for?”

My emails have been sent. I’m waiting for responses.

I’ve been waiting for nearly ten years. I’ll post the responses as they come in.


Update (5:20pm): I posted this on Twitter at approximately 5:10pm MST. Rep. Rehberg’s account is verified. Sen Tester’s is not. It’s possible that Mr. Smith can infact no longer go to Washington, but Mr. Duganz can go to the internet.

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