OldStuffVI

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

O Fried fish, O Eels

Ah, back to work and stress. It was nice to have a week or so off from thinking, but now the mind has to reluctantly and painfully start working again. I find the morning shower gets things off to a relatively uncomfortable start, but then by the time I make it upstairs most of the brilliant thoughts have wafted away to join my dreams in half-remembered haze which is completely gone when I make it to a place to write them down. Anyway, thinking about science and faith, one of the things that stuck in my mind was this idea common to many religions that ‘the Other’ is to be hated, feared and (when possible) destroyed. Who am I to question God, but why so many Gods who all hate and fear each others’ followers? Of course each group knows that theirs is the One True God, but they all seem to demand the same from their followers, in very similar terms and the end result (killing) is pretty much the same. How is this different from worshipping the deceiver? Seems like that’s what our conception of Satan would want. There have been prophets who preached tolerance and love, but naturally they were killed. Is it just that we simple tribal animals must twist and corrupt everything worthwhile into hate and death? Boy, talk about Original Sin.

Labels: graybeard angst

 

Monday, January 12, 2009

How did Pepys do it?

moan, moan, moan. By the time I have time to write, usually I can’t remember what I was going to write about. I guess it takes practice, so my latest NYResolution is to write something every day whether it’s interesting or not. Should be easy – most of my writing falls under the ‘not’ category already. Right, then. let’s see: the weekend was actually quite nice; a trip with my family to Bertha’s (my last favorite restaurant in Baltimore now that Harvey’s and Haussner’s are gone). Expensive, yes; extravagant, definitely. But then, you don’t go to Bertha’s for cheap eats. Like Haussner’s, it’s more for the surroundings and a certain comfort level when eating very nice food. It’s a special treat maybe a couple times a year. Also, a nice view of 2 relatively recent urban hawks – our local Red-tail soaring in dignified circles while a couple of crows yapped around it like excitable Labradors, and a Cooper’s Hawk sitting irritably in a backyard tree during a cold rain/sleet storm. Watching Shogun – Toshiro Mifune and Frankie “Mothra” Sakai in magnificent form, assisted by a wonderful cast who appear to be having a terrific time re-enacting a rather romanticised Tokugawa Ieyasu’s rise to the Shogunate. For some reason, I kept remembering Damien Thomas (Father Martin Alvito) as Christopher Guest (Count Rugen). Must be the voice and my all-too-fallible memory. Ten hours of pure and guilty pleasures mixed; what more could we ask for?

 

A Dollar Short

I’m sure that this is well known by now, but I’m out of the loop – it’s striking how adults are so much less resilient than children when coping with moderate to severe illness. Kids can be hosing down their beds from both ends, and then a few hours later, they’re clamoring for soda and jello and playing video games with wild enthusiasm. An adult, after only a few bouts of uncontrolled gastric expulsion, is hidden under a lump of covers, emitting occasional moans and nasty noises when prodded, and moving only when the need becomes acute for the next couple days.

Labels: what, another, laundry, load?

 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It’s the 7:03 from Scranton, right on time!

I never really appreciated before I had teenage boys how much they help you to get going early in the morning. Especially in the winter. Having to get the older boy to the train station by 6am for his expedition back to Great White North College, I was struggling a bit to get showered and dressed by my desired leaving time of 5:30. Luckily the younger boy helped out by taking a twenty-minute shower at 5, which meant that I managed to get mine in in less than 5 minutes and be wide-awake when I hit the road at 5:35. Mmm – cold showers in the cold bathroom before 6 am. Last time I managed that was in the Boy Scouts when outdoor showers in the mountains were our equivalent of coffee. I prefer coffee.

Labels: ice cube showers

Thursday, January 15, 2009

That statement is now inoperative

Boy, when I think sometimes about the incredible number of times I’ve written or said something embarrasingly stupid or stunningly wrong, I thank God I grew up with sisters – having had to appear in public accompanied by (both loud and “plain-spoken”) sisters and then also with a girlfriend/wife who herself had several sisters of the same sort, I have become almost entirely immune to embarrasment. It’s been a huge relief to me. Except for that time in a small Italian place in south Philly when my future sister-in-law started making personal remarks about the owner in a rather clear and penetrating voice. I could see that he felt this was not terribly respectful, and I began to be concerned that the tab for our meal might be more than I was willing to pay. Luckily she managed to not cross any unforgivable line, and I left a hefty tip, so it worked out all right.

Labels: indigestion

 

Friday, January 16, 2009

Cold, cold, cold

On my way to pick up my younger boy from his half-day exam day, I noticed a couple dozen Robins who had been suckered in by the weeks of 60 degree weather from Dec to Jan. They now face a situation where the air temp is way lower than they are built to handle, and the ground is frozen and there are no soft berries to keep the energy up. Perhaps they’ll be able to make it back down near the ocean to where there is some dense brush windbreak and unfrozen, wet ground to haul food out of, but I think far more likely they’re going to be dead within a day or two and feeding our local rats, foxes, and other winter urban scavengers. Natural selection is harsh, or as some wit so deftly put it, cruel but fair.

Labels: death, robins

 

So much for good intentions

I noticed this morning a posting for a seminar series we have on potential urban disasters and how to deal with them. The title lists ‘dirty bombs’ and pandemic flu, and asks the musical question “Do you know what you will do?” Well, for starters, I figure on taking a day off. After that, maybe joining a flood of refugees into a post-apocalyptic nightmare of raiders, ghouls and super-mutants. I’ve stock-piled plenty of spam and stimpacks.

Labels: future, shock

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