06 September 2009

Small Stuff and Discomfort

I’ve some short observations tonight.

New Eyes

I am pleased that several new readers of these humble scriblings have contacted me in the past month. I make no pretense that I have superior ideas or insight. Wait, wait, wait, that’s bullshit. Of course I do. But where I (hope that I) differ is that I know that I may be wrong. Adopting convictions instantly without thought or the intake of facts is stupid, and unwillingness to reevaluate and engage in reasoned, fact-based discussion/debate is equally stupid. Anyway, all are welcome and all are encouraged to comment and direct us to their own offerings in the Marketplace of Reason. [This was formerly termed the "Marketplace of Ideas," but that admitted ideas such as "The Secret" (sit on your ass and think what you want and you get it), debt stimulation (get out of debt by incurring more debt), and the suspension of Cause & Effect, so I've capriciously changed the name of the souk. Reason raises the bar.]

Healthy Children

I sit here in the domesticity of Casa LaJ, and at the other end of the room the flicker of the TV competes with the laptop for my eye. [My aside: This is a hardwired brain thing. Early man needed to be on the ball to keep from being eaten, so we are wired to respond to motion.] And a few moments ago, there was some sort of ad or blurb for some children’s show or CD involving “Thomas the Tank Engine,”, essentially a talking train in a little society of talking trains. That takes me back to when Tim was very little and we would watch such things and read such books. It’s easy now for “kids” of his age to pooh-pooh those things. He came in about 1 AM this morning and we talked a while about his hard night shift at Rescue 20 last night, one of those places that services the harsh world. But Thomas and his friends, and Winnie the Pooh, and Dr. Suess and the Lorax and the Cat in the Hat and the stuffed animals, they are all real, too. They are a part of the emotional and moral world of learning for little ones and the awakening to wonder of them and the reawakening to wonder of jaded adults.

I am reminded of a lesson I learned unexpectedly in college. I was spending a couple of weeks at the State Capitol on an internship led by my good friend and mentor, Dr. Jim Whisker. (Google him - Conservative voice, writer on early firearms) One of the people he had sit with us, a group of 20 high energy college students who, by then, were running on the reserves which the 20-somethings seem to have, was Jack Whiting, the director of the Kanawha County Regional Development Authority. Jack brought with him a stuffed tiger and passed it around. Well, we were college students, not little kids, so the darn thing went around quickly and at arms’ length - almost. Until (well past me), someone cuddled it a bit and lost themselves for a second, and then it seemed to be OK to act like humans. What a lesson - you can be a human and sentimental and it doesn’t lessen you as a strong person.


I spent the afternoon at No. 3. When I have things to do on a computer that don’t require a large screen or lots of books or documents, I may move to the armchair with the laptop. This afternoon as I was there, the stubbornly unnamed neighborhood cat who is attempting to inveigle himself into the office dropped into my room. (He pops in when Pooka the Dalmation takes an outside break.) Cat cynically jumped onto my chest. Two hours later, I woke up and resumed activity. But don’t get the idea from this that I am moved by my many animal friends.

The Clampetts Make a Phone Call

Until Friday, I had never made an international phone call. I am extraordinarily untraveled and of unimaginative geographic focus. (Also, as the Shelf Community denizens know, my modern popular cultural orientation is totally out of whack.) Friday, that All Changed, and I Joined The Pepsi Generation. On My Very Own, I Made An International Phone Call. (To Tunisia.)

It’s interesting how blasé on the one hand and cocky on the other we become about the things we do. Oh, my yes, what a hillbilly bumpkin, pshaw, never called Africa? Good heavens, you’re impressed just by meeting The Governor? You must be kidding! A little blood? That bothers you? How odd! Goodness, I meant this to be light, but I’ve led myself into one of my pedantic hobby horses, when people believe that something about them makes them better than others. Smarter? Often that’s true. More skilled at particular things? No problem. But better?

The Discomfort Part

This evening, the notion of writing in the short blurb bothers me, and I’ve no idea why.

Pippa passes.


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