Looking Beyond The Late, Great King of Pop
To those mourning the death of the King of Pop, permit me to say that I am not totally insensitive to your pain. Celebrities occupy an odd role in our society, and sometimes we feel an artificial personal connection to them, especially when our own lives are lacking in genuine personal interaction. There is also a modern penchant to enjoy angst, the gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and that sort of thing, and it would be impolite to expound on that here and now, and so I'll let the crowds around the Walk of Fame wail in peace. As for me, I never met him and know nothing about him other than what was communicated to me by an unreliable and hysterical press and so I do not have sufficient reliable information to make any informed judgments.
Permit me further to add a couple of other examples of people for whom we should be praying, and whose lives and "homegoings" we should be remembering and celebrating this day:
Officer Henry Canales, Houston PD - Killed in the line of duty, 23 June 2009. Officer Canales was working undercover investigating a criminal conspiracy and was shot by the criminals when a deal went bad. In undercover work, officers seldom can wear any protective vests, etc., nor can they carry weapons of the power and capacity which they normally carry.
William Thompson, Dushore Fire Company, PA - Died in the line of duty, 18 June 2009. At the age of 65, Bro. Thompson was still responding to calls and fighting fire. The physical stress of this call was too much for him, and he is now answering the Last Alarm.
Both gentlemen leave families to whom they were devoted.
To date in 2009, there have been 63 line of duty police deaths, 51 line of duty firefighter deaths and 8 line of duty EMS deaths.
Celebrities Must Lead Us In All Things
At a Massey Coal (naturally) facility this week, a number of activists were arrested for trespassing. They are righteously angry that the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that “monuments,” or fixed objects controlled the location of boundary lines, rather than a careful, engineer-certified, metes and bounds description prepared with the latest in laser measurement devices and even GPS equipment. This is significant because if the survey were correct, Massey could not put a coal handling structure where one is located, 240 feet from an elementary school. (Now, the fact that monuments have been the preferred method of determining the location of boundaries since the concept of land ownership was developed in medieval England seems to get lost in the argument.)
Among the activists arrested were Ken Hechler and Daryl Hannah.
No criticism of Ken Hechler as a celebrity is intended. Mr. Hechler was a member of Congress in the 60's. He is an historian, and wrote a well regarded book, The Bridge at Remagen, about a battle in World War II in which he participated, as well as other historical tomes including a personal memoir of working for Harry Truman. He served as West Virginia Secretary of State in more recent years, and that is largely an administrative position held by people getting ready to run for Governor. So if Mr. Hechler is taking a principled stand, I’ll listen to what he has to say. This principled stand is fine, but damned limited, because it provides only a path to cutting electric production.
Those who trade off on celebrity earned in unrelated fields annoy me when they expect that to impress. Daryl Hannah has found success in acting, and I don’t know enough about the subject to criticize her in the slightest. I am unaware of any specialized knowledge or study she has respecting energy policy.
Indeed, the whole notion of single-direction focused protest of the dramatic type, getting oneself arrested, that sort of thing, is simply shrill, not rational. Coal structures are negative things – Well, you can say a lot of objective things supporting that, and couch them in lacy language. However, simply “tear them down” is insufficient and lazy. Once again, Mr. Physics is at work here. Facts, so they say, are very stubborn things. We are addicted to energy. No more mountaintop mining. No more strip mining! Hell, no more coal!! Dare I say: NO MORE FOSSIL FUELS. That would soooo drastically reduce pollution in so many forms - carbon, particles, metals, it would be paradise. Oh, there would be a little problem with methane from the decaying bodies of the human die-off, but that wouldn’t last but a couple of years.
Whose power do we turn off first?
Simple answers. Simple minds. Simpletons.
Early Project Notes:
A possible collaborative project may be writing about what “people should know,” or what qualities and knowledge is necessary or advisable for a positive and successful life.
By the way, how do you keep track of notes of such things? Paper? Flashdrive, hard drive? Do you have copies or back ups? Or, do lots of people not keep these sorts of odd things? This is a real question, I have no idea.
In any event, what should people know or do? Just a few thoughts of mine: Start a fire; comfort the dying; diaper a baby, drive a truck; propose a toast; read aloud. I remember that Robert A. Heinlein had a collection of aphorisms of a character, Lazarus Long, one of which was such a list, and I may be borrowing a couple of items from the recesses of my memories.
Another Inquiry Into the Breath of Understanding From Poetry, With Contest
Once again, your tattered scribe has been interrogated about the origin of the closing of these Dispatches, “Pippa Passes,” this from Friend Jan at CCC.
Having explained the full glory to Friend Jan, I’ll again run a modest contest for the best explanation of “Pippa Passes” as it applies to this place. The prize will be a not-randomly-selected-but-not-necessarily-glorious selection from the rambling library of Friend Elu, currently in terra incognita on his world tour in search of investment opportunities in feldspar, kivas and trillium.
Friend Jan and Preacher Joel are disqualified from this contest, Jan having been given the Truth and Joel having twigged to the absolute heart of the matter within an hour of the last time this petit contest was run. If some persons (such as Pastor Josh, Parson Jim, or Brother Bert) enter, they will be held to a higher standard. I know it’s unfair, but you guys already know that’s the Secret of Life and pass it along at every opportunity. However, Bert is funnier than Josh or Jim, so you guys need to listen to Bert and catch up.