Monday, January 09, 2012


We all have them, those times when we sense a fog hanging over the whole earth. I don’t often have them, but today is one of those days. Not much that I see seems to make sense.
I watched the news this morning. They’ve apparently caught the guy who set all those fires in L.A. I can’t figure out how many loose screws a man must have to hate America or people so much he’d be willing to burn the whole city down.
I turned the channel and saw that the Iranian mullahs are telling us we’d better not send one of our aircraft carriers into the Straits of Hormuz. In North Korea a new boy genius has taken his place at the helm.  He’s decided it’s not worth his time to talk to his brothers in sisters in Seoul. I sense that on some future slow news day he’s going to uncork the lunatic plan he’s been hatching while his “dad” was wasting away. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
The Iowa Republican caucuses are, mercifully, over. Are you like me? Did you get the sense we were watching a pack of overweight jockeys beating the devil out of lame horses up there? The Democrats can hardly contain their glee at the prospects for them just a few months from now. I think we’re gonna’ see “hope and change” updated and recycled, which means America will be faced with a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee. “I don’t suppose there’ll be a tree left standing, for ever so far around, by the time we’re finished.”
It’s a new year, which means folks are making resolutions. Lady Gaga’s made hers. “Never be afraid to be kicked in the teeth. Let the blood and bruises define your legacy.” It just goes to show you how far a person can go in life after some time in a convent and New York University’s School of the Arts.
Matt Drudge rang in the New Year bragging. Apparently his site was visited over 10 billion times in 2011. No wonder. The uplifting headlines say it all. “Man disguised in bandages robs pharmacy.” “Armed clashes erupt in central Tripoli.” “Americans buy record number of guns going in to New Year.” “Bachmann top vote getter in Iowa coffee bean caucus.” I guess it’s all the news that’s fit, or unfit, to compile nowadays.
Right around Christmas ten year old Nicholas Taylor of Smyrna, Tennessee ran afoul of school officials. His crime? He was eating a piece of pizza in the school cafeteria. After taking a couple of bites another student suggested that the piece of pizza looked a bit like a gun. Nicholas then playfully “brandished” the pizza. School officials consigned Nicholas to a “silent table” like a hockey goon being banished to the penalty box.  He was also required to meet with a school resource officer to learn about gun safety. One hates to consider what continued offenses might bring. The Ritalin room, perhaps? Somewhere in America a libertarian commented he’d be willing to bet if Nicholas had bitten the pizza into the shape of a hammer and sickle school officials would have given him a full scholarship to Harvard. As an aside, have you ever heard of a bank robber accosting a teller with? “Gimmee the money or I’ll drill you full of pepperoni and capers.” Me, neither.
Here at home the movers and shakers are trying to find ways to shake what little money we have left in our pockets out of us. Some of them are dreaming of bigger ball fields. Some are skulking around, trying to get unlimited taxing authority. Rumor has it that local rock salesmen are getting excited again. I hope when they’re done they leave us a buck or two for beer money.
I’m having a hard time trying to make things add up. I’m told the world is round. I’m not so sure. Today it looks a lot more like a Rubik’s cube with none of the colors matching up. Reds are colliding with yellows and blues are exploding against the greens. And, there are no nine year old prodigies or political messiahs waiting in the wings that can twist it all back together or legislate the problems away.
I wonder if all this false sense of hope has something to do with the nature and shape of competing illusions interacting on a cosmic scale. In my younger days it was Bobby McNamara’s jut-jaw on one hand and Fidel Castro’s beard on the other. These days we have Barrack Obama’s toothy smile on one side of the divide and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s icy stare on the other.
I survey the madness and it confirms to me the decision I made to walk toward heaven those many years ago.

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