The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.


Friday, February 12, 2016

Kids!


They are the future, are they not? Many of the politcians talk about them in terms of their future. When I was in my twenties (back in the late 60's), they were even held up as examples of tolerance and fairness.

Bunk! Or maybe the ones holding them up as shining examples had faulty memories. I recall my own youth and small children were mean, close-minded, and cruel.

It's true they were/are innocents in a lot of ways. But they are born selfish and demanding. We parents spend 4 years civilizing them so they can go out in public and not embarrass us. We send them to school by age 5 so they can learn how to communicate enough to carry on conversations with us.

Hopefully, they learn learn enough about how to get along with others to refrain from being menaces.

There is a popular saying that goes, "it takes a village to raise a child." It certainly used to. School, neighbors, the friendly cop on the corner were all part of the mix... helping to socialize children so they can become productive adults. But no more. Today the schools are failing to even educate them, the neighbors are afraid of them, and the cops are not respected by them or the parents.

Think about that baby you brought home from the hospital. He/she turned your world upside down, making you a slave to their demands. Your schedule became tied to their needs and desires. Feed me! Change me!Keep me amused... or I will cry and turn red in the face and cause you worry and frustration. And you did those things, probably happily because you thought it was a requirement of being a parent. That was what you learned as you grew up: it was expected. And, so, you tried to fill that role as best you could.

Kids were often afraid of you and you tried to ease those fears but you were also afraid of them. Especially as they grew older and started to gather in groups. They could be quite dangerous in groups. Mischievous and cruel in groups. They made fun of other kids (which you tried to curtail) and teased and ridiculed any kid that seemed different; smarter, uglier, messier.. whatever.

When they were little (pre-school), you felt only a little fear of them. And it was mostly fear of what others might think of your parenting skills or accidently hurting them. Your job, as I see it, was to civilize them enough to be tolerated in school. If you did your job well, they would not act out in class or bully other children. Children are, as I said, mean by nature and are natural bullies.

Some said (back in the 60's) that children had to be taught bigotry and prejudice. That's not so, not exactly. Other children would teach them those things but parents also would do it by example. In reality, we parents just reinforced those things and we used other children as examples of how to behave. We really wanted peace in our own houses so we did those things we thought we had to. We gave them adages to live by: dress nicely ("clothes make the man") and reinforced that by criticizing their choices in clothing and their friends' clothing styles. We judged them by their friends because we knew that others would.

But all we really wanted was for them not to embarrass us.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Most Of What I've Learned...


...Comes from crossword puzzles. It's a strange place to learn, I admit, but that has been the primary source of my vocabulary for some years now. I have learned new words, new definitions, and a bit of other things. How? Nice of you to ask... One of the first things I learned was that "Nice" usually refers to a city in France and that means the word is probably French. I did not know the the French for "head" until I started doing crosswords, though I did know adieu and a few others from osmosis, I guess, when I was younger. It's weird that I know how to say "thank you" and "good-bye" in several languages, I think but we pick these up easily enough. I have picked up a few Latin words (mostly pertaining to footnotes, it seems), some Greek alphabet, and the word for "tent" in Mongolia.

Crossword clues can be vague and misleading, though, one must be very careful when doing them in apps or online where you are penalized when entering the wrong letter (A good tactic is to check the clues for other words that will make up the word you want). That can still mess you up, though, but I don't have to tell you that.

I learned that crossword puzzles-makers seem to use similar clues and words on the same day. This helps in solving them. Especially when you attempt to do several puzzles each day, as I do.

I have told you previously about the app I use on my tablet, "Shortyz", which collects and provides several crossword puzzles each day. Prior to finding that app, I started doing some online crossword puzzles when I started into dealing with the internet back in 1994 or 5. I have used the internet's research functions (mostly Google) to find answers. I have learned that there are those who make money of of crossword puzzlers by being the sources of words that stump some.

I have this notion that I can help keep my brain healthy by doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles and that both are as highly addictive as as cigarettes. I am probably foolish to think that.


Friday, February 5, 2016

The Apocalypse Is Coming!


...Soon... I'm sure...well, fairly certain anyway... maybe... I dunno... could be. To watch the news, you'd think it's very soon. Especially since it is a presidential election year. Doom and gloom is the message everywhere, it seems. Global climate change, giant meteors maybe hitting the planet and triggering a mass extinction event (these have allegedly happened in the past); this time wiping all life from the planet. Not just humans but all life.
Think about it: the final retribution, not just paving the way for far in the distant future fuel sources being set up but total and complete annihilation. And, of course, the entertainment industry is taking advantage of the possibility (as they always have). I am talking about "You, Me, and the Apocalypse", of course. Sorta...

As a child, I fantasized about such an event. As I reached my teens, the fantasy grew larger but, somehow, I would survive it. In my daydreams, I would roam the country looking for clusters of survivors and living on my wits (and canned food from supermarkets), somehow I would not contract some disease from the multitude of corpses that would surely be scattered throughout the land. I didn't think about the horrible stench that would fall over the land. But I would contemplate how to get gasoline from pumps that had no electricity (all that stored energy pretty much unusable without energy to deliver it). I would have little competition from other humans, of course, but there would be dangers galore that I would have to avoid or overcome. In my fantasies, I would always (especially once I reached puberty) find a girl (or several) around my age that had, like me, somehow survived.

But the TV show is more about the events leading up to the mass extinction than the aftermath.

We humans are both fragile and resilient, some of us will survive the event... possibly only to die in the coming years of starvation or whatever. Think about it, something as minor as as a disease could become as deadly as the plagues of olden times. A broken bone might easily lead to your death, as it likely did for many who ventured out into the wilderness just a few hundred years ago.

I once wrote about surviving in the not so distant past when there was no indoor plumbing, no anesthesia... little of the modern amenities we depend on today. But we are a tenacious species and some would survive and learn to cope with what is left. Maybe that is why we love the Mad Max movies.


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

But How Do You Feel About It?


Life is, as my mother often told me, unfair but it is the only thing we have. We are pretty much stuck with whatever it dishes out to us. As I grow older, I have added a corollary to the old saw that "life sucks and then you die"... "first they take away your dignity and then they kill you."

I am talking about doctors, mostly, but there are more forces out there than just them. As you get older, you will learn this too, I think. Maybe not, maybe you will have a more optimistic outlook. I run into that outlook a lot but it is mostly "what other choice do you have?" thing. It is often phrased this way, "it beats the alternative," life, that is. To which I usually answer "how do you know?" or "are you sure?"

You see, very few have been dead and then came back. So how do you know if death is worse? Maybe if you believed in Hell and know you have sinned often, you can be fairly certain and I, being atheist, don't believe in either Heaven or Hell so I am pretty much doomed according to the believers I know. There is no chance I could end up in Heaven. And Hell? Well, most of my childhood friends would be there (or soon to arrive) and I am looking forward to seeing some of my old girlfriends should I be wrong about Hell. I would be greatly disappointed if they got to Heaven somehow.

But I am committed to the idea that when you die, your body rots (like meat left out) and you just cease to be.

Frances (my late sister-in-law) believed and I can hypocritically hope that it's true and real for her. She certainly deserves a Heaven, she had a tough life.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Robots, Friends Or Foes?


I watched a movie I hadn't seen in years the other day. It was called "A.I. Artificial Intelligence". I like to watch movies again after a few years because I often see things I hadn't seen the first time around and come away with a different impression of the film.

One of the things I newly noticed was that it was about the relationship between a boy named David (a "Mecha") and his adoptive mother. A kind of love story. the boy searched for the "Blue Fairy" who, he thought, could make him a "real boy" that his mother could love, maybe more than her own son (Martin) who had been in suspended animation because they had no cure for his disease. Toward the end, we learn the head of Cybernetics built him modeled on his own son who had apparently died years earlier (I do not know why he died or how). Anyway, he finds the "Blue Fairy" (a character in a fairy tale called Pinochio) but since he was made as a child, he believes the statue underwater can do what she did for Pinochio and spends the next 2000 years waiting for the miracle to happen. Along come some space aliens who find him and the statue and build a clone of his mother from the hair he once clipped from her head. The clone only lasts one day (which one alien warns him will happen) but that one day is the best day of David's life.

A truly satisfying ending and one which almost brought a tear to my eye.

Interesting sidenote: The head of Cybernetics is played by William Hurt, who also had/has a similar part on Humans.