Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(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.
I cannot post anything unless I write "on the fly" directly into the Blogger editor. This makes blogging using Blogger impossible. Complaints apparently mean nothing to the people in charge. Bear with me as I simply stop blogging until this is corrected.
I recently watched an ad for "Through The Wormhole", a series I highly recommend. In the ad the host (Morgan Freeman) natters on about how the universe we live in might be just a virtual reality game being played by someone, or some thing, unknown out there somewhere.
It reminded me of something I once postulated about a madman in some ethereal asylum who created our world in his tortured mind. In my theory (such as it was), he was in a catatonic state and our destruction, our Armageddon, would come when he woke up.
I have no idea if I am right, or if we are living in a virtual reality world/universe but let me leave you with this thought:
The title is a famous line from "The Wizard Of Oz" when the Wicked Witch of the West is destroyed by Dorothy. A classic film, no doubt, and a favorite of most. I say "most" because I remember a young friend who cried in fear because of that witch when my sister took us to see it at our local movie theater. Kenny was not a brave kid.
I bring this up because NASA has determined that the Arctic ice shelf will disappear by 2020 and, of course, it is all our fault. Climate change, brought on by man.
Personally, I think it is government creating a "boogeyman" to frighten us into accepting more government control over our lives. We need an external enemy to frighten us, an external enemy so huge and threatening that only government can protect us... one which would unify us, a threat to the planet. Since we cannot manufacture an invasion by space aliens, Climate Change will have to do.
I grew up when movies cost 25 cents and there were double features plus cartoons and, sometimes, serial episodes. In the days when commercials took up maybe 10 minutes of an hour TV show. Now, they take up almost 20 minutes.
This is not progress to me. Even movie theaters show commercials (and not just the ones urging you to visit the snack bar for over-priced drinks, popcorn, and candy) which just annoys me no end.
And now we have satellite radio... for a monthly fee. And no one seems overly concerned about the rising cost of entertainment; in fact, they seem happy to pay it. I must admit, I pay quite a bit for my cable service... an outrageous amount, actually. A friend of mine dumped his cable but retained his internet connection through them and gets his entertainment through Netflix, Hulu, and others. Says it saves him quite a bit. These require monthly fees.
Apparently, when it comes to entertainment, we are just sheep willing to be sheared. Of course, I also remember "when the air was clean and sex was dirty."
Being atheist, I shouldn't care much about this story but, in a way, it saddens me. After all, I strongly believe that societies need a core religion.
Religions reflect (and create) the core moral authority of a society. From ancient times, religion has been the concept around which civilization has grown. Some of these religions have been bizarre and even violent (think human and animal sacrifices). Most religions have been the basis for governments, in my view, and have certainly facilitated the legitimacy of the ruler(s).
While many believe religion is the cause of wars, I think religion has also been the impetus for peace. Religion has been used to recruit armies and there have been religious based wars but most wars, even the ones notably religious in nature, have been about resources and land. Even the infamous Crusades were more about fighting against an encroachment than about destroying a rival religion. Today's Jihad by the radical Islamists is about amassing power more than defeating Chritianity.
I would be saddened if the rich tapestry of religion declined in America but I understand it. I heard a random person on the street claim that, as societies advance, they become more secular. I think that is because government tries to take the place of religion. And that is natural because I believe that governments and religion have always been locked in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people.
As I watched one of my favorite shows ("Outlander"), I became grateful that I was born when I was. Though strife and turmoil comes in any age (I remember the Korean War, Vietnam, and so much more), we have learned to make our lives easier over the years. I think we forget how hard life was for those in the past. Because we didn't understand, lives were lost, routinely, due to injuries we no longer think of as important. A broken leg a hundred years ago could easily have led to the loss of that leg... or even one's life. I wonder how many patients died due to the trauma of a medical surgery? Even something like a flu could take your life. And it took many millions of lives in 1918. These days, the flu is more annoyance than important threat.
I was thinking about how we often ignore history as I watched that series which is adapted from an historical novel. We forget the very real threats and hardships we once faced. I grew up during the Cold War when we thought the world would obliterate humanity by nuclear holocaust. It is no longer a threat but could be again if the number of nations with nuclear weapons grows.
In case you were wondering, I didn't post on Friday because I was out of town... and lazy.
This was written a few years ago when Mom was still alive. I have decided I would make it a tradition to post it each Mother's Day. My mother is slipping away. She's 89 and she hasn't been herself for many years. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in her sixties and was put on a wonder drug, of sorts, called Aricept. It held the disease at bay to some extent for decades. Her short term memory went first, of course. But Mom, a clever woman, saw this as a benefit. Every day was a new world, a new life. She always had an optimist's view of life. Now I don't know what she sees or hears or knows. This disease took away the woman who raised me. After my father passed away, I took her into my home. We tried to care for as best we could but the time came when we could no longer see to her needs. She has been in the care of some nice people out at an assisted living facility for several years now.
I go to see her when I can... and when I think I can handle it. It's hard on me. I remember her as a vibrant, cheerful, witty woman who was always there when I needed her. She could always cheer me up when I was down or life seemed bleak. Now she can't. Now I have to do that on my own. And the worst is after I have been to visit her. I look for some sign of recognition in her eyes and never see it. I visit just before lunch because she seems the most animated at that time. I try to think of things she used to say to me to cheer me up and repeat them to her in the hopes they'll somehow break through that fog in her brain. She seems loved by the ladies who tend to her needs. they all speak of her with caring and joy. Some are as sad as I am to see her as she is now.
My mother had a way of getting a point across with humor. She would admonish me to be careful by warning me that "If you break your leg, don't come running to me." Or, "If you drown, I'll never speak to you again." As silly as these were, they stuck in my mind. Nothing seemed serious with her while you still knew how concerned she was. Her humor has failed her now. She doesn't smile much and, when she does, there's no way to know why.
It doesn't seem fair that this woman should finish out her life oblivious to most of the things around her. She read, she painted, she wrote stories, she even invented childrens' games. Oh, none were ever published or developed but that didn't matter. Her paintings were always flawed in some technical way; shadows fell the wrong way, perspective just a little off. They were nothing you'd expect to find in an art show but her family loved them. Her stories were simple and naive. Her games too easy. But you could see her slight off kilter view of the world in them.
Because I didn't get along with my siblings, I spent many of my years far from my parents. I rarely wrote or even called. It was never my way. I took after my father in that regard. In the last couple of decades, I tried to re-connect with my parents. I think I did re-establish some relationship to my father, just a little, in the few years before he passed away. My mother acted as if I was never far away. Now I don't know if she knows I exist, that she had a son, what her universe is like. I think that is what hurts the most... to not be a part of her life anymore.
Mom passed away on July 25th of 2008. Rest in peace, Mom, rest in peace. I miss you every day but you remain in my heart.
In a press release, CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) said:
"We condemn yesterday's attack on an anti-Islam event in Garland, Texas, without reservation. "We also reiterate our view that violence in response to anti-Islam programs like the one in Garland is more insulting to our faith than any cartoon, however defamatory. Bigoted speech can never be an excuse for violence." [NOTE: Geller's American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) is identified as an anti-Muslim hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. CAIR had advised American Muslims to ignore her event.]
I resent, however, CAIR calling that event "anti-Islam" when it is really an expression of an American civil right.
I acknowledge that CAIR considers itself to be (in their words):
"CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding."
But it should, in my opinion, also acknowledge the civil rights of ALL Americans and, indeed, the civil rights of those Muslims currently being suppressed in Muslim countries and and the civil rights of those non-Muslims by groups such as ISIL.
We non-Muslims also have rights that need protection and we also should be safe from the bigotry of Muslims who believe they have the right under Islam to injure or kill those non-Muslims who offend their faith. To that end, I urge CAIR to expose the bigotry expressed by Muslims.
The above is a line from "Make it like it was" by Regina Belle and it could be the guiding ethic of many of us "older folks." Especially those of us who had our childhoods in the 50's to early 60's. I like the song but I know we cannot turn back the clock. And I wouldn't want to. There were things that were bad in those days, things I wouldn't want to see being the "norm" again. Institutionalized racism (Jim Crow laws), for instance, or the practice of "red-lining." It was strange, we had less freedom then but we didn't notice. In some ways, we had more freedom but that was because there were a lot of people who we might call "busybodies", people who paid attention to the things we did and would tell our parents. Yet, we seemingly roamed very freely. It was contradictory times, I suppose. It helped that I lived in a small town far from the big city (maybe 50 miles, maybe, but it might as well have been a 1000); we got a lot of TV and radio stations because of that big city. A fact that was driven home to me when we moved to Florida where we were closer to the big city but had fewer stations (3 TV stations instead of 5-7). Still, we didn't miss much and didn't care. I didn't spend a lot of time in front of the TV set. I was busy much of the time exploring the area around my new home. I guess I miss my youth, something that I can never have back.
They're rioting in Africa. They're starving in Spain. There's hurricanes in Florida and Texas needs rain. The whole world is festering with unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans. The Germans hate the Poles. Italians hate Yugoslavs. South Africans hate the Dutch and I don't like anybody very much.
But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud for man's been endowed with a mushroom shaped cloud. And we know for certain that some lovely day someone will set the spark off and we will all be blown away. They're rioting in Africa. There's strife in Iran. What nature doesn't do to us will be done by our fellow man.
The above lyrics are from a song by the Kingston Trio called "The Merry Minuet."
It came to me as I was watching the news about Baltimore. Perhaps society is breaking down or maybe I am too complacent. I don't know what happened to Freddie Gray and, apparently, neither does anyone else. It's all speculation. We only know he died while in police custody. There are a lot of calls for "justice" for him and for the black people of Baltimore. But what would that justice be? Cops sent to prison? Or just charged with murder? I think "justice" is a codeword for "revenge." The people are angry and demand it. But no one is innocent and no one will be satisfied with the truth of the matter. We all want justice but we mean only for the victim, don't we? What about for the perpetrators, if any? Are they entitled to this justice? Or are we all just willing to be part of a lynch mob?