OldStuffV

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It’s amazing, really

You look around and see how stunningly stupid most people are, and it just makes human civilization seem so unlikely. How the great mass of humanity can lurch more-or-less forward while trying to savagely rip each other to shreds seems so unlikely. Perhaps we’re being carefully monitored and steered on our way by our secret alien overlords.
Well, it’s been a good 60 years since the end of our last great military cataclysm – plenty of time for people to deliberately forget the horrible bits and elevate the sexy myths to common-knowledge. You can see the usual results of this sort of activity in the popularity of people who howl for war while piously refusing to serve themselves; who “honor the troops” and “value patriotism” by not supporting the one and by denigrating the other if it doesn’t fit their political ideals. There have always been self-important, self-righteous fanatics in every time and every place, and they inevitably lead to disaster when they gain power or influence. And yet, after so many thousands of years of continuous failure, these people continue to gain followers and power as they drive their tribes and nations over the cliff of history. They never learn, and they never think – they just Know and Believe. That reminds me – there’s nobody I detest more than people who divide the world into “Us” and “Them”. I really hate them – they’re just not like us!

Labels: us .. and them ..

Monday, December 8, 2008

Suggestible, that’s what you are

I first noticed the affect that movies can have on me one day when, shortly after watching Lethal Weapon 2, I was eating with my wife at a cozy little place near where we lived. At the next table were several visitors/students at the local university, 3 of which had pronounced South African accents. I was seized with a powerful, unreasoning dislike for them as soon as I heard them talk, even though I hadn’t had any reaction on seeing them. It’s not just movies, of course – I’ve noticed for the past week or so that I keep getting an urge to search those cylindrical trash canisters. Today, as I came in to work, there was a row of discarded file cabinets in the service corridor, some upright, some leaning against the wall at various angles, and I had to stop myself from dropping into a crouch and rummaging through them for stimpacks or rad-away. Maybe I should ease up on the weekend gaming a bit.

Labels: maybe, a kiss to build a dream on

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cold weather perks everything up

On my way in this morning, the birds were acting more alert and lively – I guess a couple days of rain in December drags all of us down, and clearing, colder weather gets everybody fired up. Day before yesterday, I sneaked out to take my wife on a date at lunchtime, since she was down at the hospital for the day. We went down and had a lovely meal at a nice, comfortable joint, one of the few of my favorite eating places left in the city. I don’t know why the places I like tend to go out of business – makes me feel like Joe Mfspwhatever from Al Capp’s old strip. Anyway, after that, we went and walked out the pier next to the ‘Homicide’ headquarters and looked out over the harbor (nothing too exciting – a few ships loading/unloading, a D-c Cormorant, a single male Mallard and scads of Ring-billed Gulls) before heading back in. The fun started then, though, because the area’s pigeons apparently thought we were easy marks and descended on us in a huge cloud. There’s something very Hitchcockian about a cloud of pigeons flying down right at you – I wasn’t sure for a few seconds whether I was going to get run into, let alone bombed, but they swirled around us and landed, then followed us as we walked back out to the street. It’s surprisingly uncomfortable to have about 40 or 50 pigeons following you closely – I kept looking back to make sure they weren’t making rude gestures and snickering, or imitating the way I walked. I got them back, though – I tossed a penny at them, and then made my escape while they were fighting over it, and before the word got out that it wasn’t edible. Which leads up to today – as I got off the elevator on the top floor, and walked down the windowed hallway to my place, one of the local Peregrines dropped off the roof and flew right down past me about 10 feet or so away. Love the Elvis look on those birds, although I don’t think Elvis ever looked quite so coldly at anybody – maybe it’s more of a young Marlon Brando. Anyway, it struck me for the first time how well Peregrines fly – I’ve seen them soaring (wings like a Spitfire), cruising (easy, strong wingbeats with curved wings), and attacking (fast, powerful beats with angled wings), but this was a stiff, fluttering flight very like a Kingbird’s. I hope they nest here next year; I never get tired of watching them in action. And the local pigeons really need to get some of the arrogance beaten out of them.

Labels:Pigeons and Peregrines and Mallards, Oh my!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Now the first refuge of scoundrels

It’s somehow more impressive than I can express, that the VP of the US can casually, even proudly, claim that he authorized torture of _anyone_ and sees nothing wrong with it. He just doesn’t care. Judging by the deafening silence in the news media, neither do most people in this country. This would have brought down the government only a couple of generations ago. What have we become when the Geheime StaatsPolizei had more rules and restrictions governing their ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ than US forces do?

Labels: shame

 

Monday, December 22, 2008

say what?

It’s so hard – I keep having these amazing insights and profound thoughts, but it’s almost always late at night or when I’m driving. Then, by the time I’m in a position to record them for posterity, pfft!; nothing. Oh, well – posterity’s loss I suppose, but I think of this e-journal rather like a photo album; it’s interesting to see what blather I was thinking at any particular moment back then, and see whether I understand it any better now. Usually not, and it’s also a bit embarrassing to see the tripe I’ve already written, but luckily, I’ve been so inured to embarrassment by my sisters and my wife that it would take more than that to make me stop writing. Besides, there’s always the possibility that I might actually get better at it.

Labels: natter, natter, gromit, gromit

Monday, December 29, 2008

White?  Not hardly.

Well, I mowed my lawn today. This marks the first time in my life that I have done so, or indeed have ever needed to do so, at the end of December. I worked up quite a little sweat as well, since the refreshing Spring breeze led me to put on a light jacket. A lesser man might take advantage of the prospect of a week’s worth of year-end temperatures in the 50s and 60s (Fahrenheit, of course) to make some witty remarks about the global-warming skeptics, but not I. Besides, I know how the game is played – any sporadic event that can be somehow interpreted to support the right-thinkers’ approved belief system is evidence that the approved belief system is in fact correct (as it naturally must be). The prevailing tsunami of evidence to the contrary must be wrong, because, well, it just must be. I find it both amusing and ironical that it is the wild-eyed “anti-communists” who give us the most Soviet of approaches to life and politics, while accusing their opponents in the most shrill and hysterical outbursts of every crime imaginable against the golden idols of Patriotism and Democracy. I think, if nothing else, the modern day Republican Party has at least demonstrated for us the clearest possible practical definitions of such terms as “hypocrisy”, Anti-Americanism”, “treason”, “satanic” and, of course, “suicidal”. The world hasn’t seen this level of insanity since good old Adolf decided to take the whole nation down the toilet with him.

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