Thursday, August 22, 2013

If You Can't Say Anything Good . . .

So they say if you can't say anything good, you shouldn't be saying anything at all. It appears that that's been the case since I've gotten back from Florida, which now seems like it was a long time ago. But in fact this been very little good news since my return. (Aside from the wonderful winning ways of the Texas Rangers lately.) But rather than say nothing at all, let me just give you a few short bullets about what's happened in the past week – all the good news:
  • The Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan has leaked another 300 tons of radioactive water into the soil. You will not believe how much radioactive water has been released into the ocean and into the ground there since the 2011 tsunami. It is staggering. Scientists don't really know what the long-term effects of this is, but – surprise! – They are concerned about marine life. Check out this article.
  • A military judge has sentenced Pfc. Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for leaking classified information. Manning is a whistleblower, he's not a traitor, he's not a criminal. It used to be that whistleblowing was adjudged an honorable thing to do. We are a long way from that in paranoid America today where terrorism and terrorists are everywhere.
  • Along with the security state apparatus, which is everywhere. We just found out that NSA "accidentally" collected the email communications – or was it Internet transactions? – of over 50,000 Americans who had no connection whatever to terrorism. Does anybody really believe these people at NSA or in the White House when they say anything at all about this domestic spying and how they've got it under control now? I don't.
  • Another crazy rube, admittedly "off his meds" with a gun in an elementary school. This time in Atlanta. Some brave soul in the school actually managed to talk him out of killing anybody, so nobody was hurt. But don't you worry: some idiot perfectly protected by the laws that the NRA has stifled will succeed in blowing a bunch of innocent people away with a gun in the not-too-distant future. There is no safer bet in America.
  • The Syrian government has killed hundreds of its own people with poison gas near Damascus. The USA Today this morning had a picture of about 25 dead bodies laid out on sheets, and most of them, or I should say all of them, were kids. There's something so repulsive about this so repugnant to human decency, that it puts a serious question to my pacifism. The last thing I want is for the United States to get involved in punching the Middle Eastern tar baby again, but the moral dilemma presented by something like this is almost insoluble.
  • Closer to home in the little city of Duncan, Oklahoma, three teenagers shot and killed a 22-year old Australian baseball player who was jogging near his girlfriend's home. They were bored and just decided to kill somebody, one of the thugs explained. They did it "for fun." Does this really need any commentary? It was a .22 caliber handgun. Story here.
Maybe I shouldn't be saying anything at all, huh?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

What Is This?

I'm talking about this new attitude I seem to have developed as I approach age 70. All of a sudden I just don't seem to care too much about all the things that used to rattle my cage. For example, I'm on the verge of quitting to watch the PBS News Hour every night every night. Why? Because it doesn't seem that important to me anymore. Plus, I've got disgusted with the way they are doing the news. Everything is a contest. In the political realm they have signed on to the silly notion that one idea is as good as another and that "balanced" coverage requires that idiocy be given equal time. The program, which I have never missed, doesn't engage me like it used to. In fact, it's just pissing me off now more than it is enlightening me. Is this a sign of terminal decrepitude, not to really care much anymore about all the foo-rah-rah going on. Seems like I've heard it all before.

Hell, I can always read the news if I choose. Fact of the matter is, I'd rather be reading. Television is largely a waste of time, except for baseball games, LSU football (which I'm almost ashamed to admit I am still a devotee of), Masterpiece, and a few other quality shows.

I guess I'm just getting tired of the same old shit, and hearing the same old shit promises and "solutions" from politicians, the same old shit coming out of Hollywood--I mean, how many good movies have you seen lately? The same ole religious shit that makes no sense and doesn't begin to grasp the gospel. Doesn't it seem that they're getting worse, or is that just me? I'm finding advertising, screaming capitalism, commercials – all just totally futile, and maddening. I'm sick to death of lies. Lies everywhere, but mostly from the mouths of so-called leaders. The real leaders, the ones who can see what the actual problems of the world are and want to address them realistically, humanely (instead of with smoke and mirrors or blah-blah-blah or more-for-me-less-for-you-is-the-answer), it seems to me are just ignored. I search in vain for some sort of moral, upright example of courage in leadership anywhere. Don't see it, except from people who cannot change much of anything. It's discouraging, brothers and sisters.

Maybe I've come to realize, after years of saying so, that things really are not going to change. Maybe what's left of my hope is draining away. I say this, but I don't know if I really believe it – that hope is draining away. It just feels that way sometimes, which is why I need to be around my kids and grandkids whose future stretches out before them and who can give an aging, cynical, but earnest historian and aspiring Christian an alternate viewpoint.

In the meantime, I'm just keep on working on my history stuff which certainly holds my attention and keeps me busy. Doing my poems, listening to my music. Loving my dear wife and chugging along. I'm resolved to read. Read more. I just started a new book on Gettysburg which is already got me quite engaged. I also intend to be a little bit more faithful about checking in here. We'll see how that works.

Or maybe, just maybe, all this is temporary and I'll be snapping out of it tomorrow or the next day. This is what used to be known as blue funk . . . now it's known as check your anti-depressant.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Little Vacation

Off to see the boys in Tampa in less than four hours. I'm taking daily notes, and will have lots to say when I get back. Hang in there.