For those of you who don’t know, that was Admiral James Stockdale, the relatively clueless Vice Presidential portion of the H. Ross Perot quixotic Presidential campaign back in the ’90’s. By the time he showed up in the VP debate, so much had been written about just how wrong it all seemed, he had the good grace to make a joke of his irrelevance. It was, and remains, a classic line in American politics. And something I think we should all ask ourselves every once in awhile.
I want to know this … why isn’t curling ever on when I turn the Olympics on? The only Winter Olympics sport really worth watching. It is a zen moment. A quiet moment. A moment of study and precision. And it’s never on when I’m in front of the dang TV. I’m thinking of starting a petition. Will you sign it?
I want to know this … in our civilized society, how can a man be sentenced to 15 years to life for a crime and then spend 23 years in a segregated housing unit. For those who don’t know, a segregated housing unit is also known as a SHU. It’s this wonderful thing we have in California. The modern day equivalent of the hole. Isolation cells where the inmates spend days, weeks, months, years, without the opportunity to leave and when they do it’s for an hour of “exercise” pacing around another “cell” that gets sun, maybe, but without any other inmates present. It is truly an isolated world. And we wonder why so many inmates who end up there for years and years end up bat shit crazy. I read stories like this and think I want nothing more to do with our civilized society.
And then I think about the “terrorists” who are still at Guantanamo, almost thirteen years after 9/11 … and I want even less to do with our civilized society.
And then I see this video this week, a promo for the new documentary about Dick Cheney, one of the key architects of the adoption of torture by this country …
… and I want nothing to do with our civilized society. Much like GWB who when asked what his biggest mistake was during his first time, was incapable of acknowledging that he had made any mistake at all, Dick Cheney is incapable of the idea that he should even consider what his faults were and then he chuckles it away. I marvel at the idea that we elected this man as Vice President. I actually wanted to do this post without links, without anything and maybe you, my readers, would go in search of things related to what I write here, but there is just one link I need to share and then there will be no more. It is Andrew Sullivan, who regular readers will know, is my muse on topics such as this. There is so much in his piece on this that I agree with. For instance, that Dick Cheney represents a certain kind of evil. But, here’s what I disagree with … I don’t think he abdicated morality in exchange for power. What I think is that he abdicated morality in exchange for doing whatever he thought was necessary to preserve his view of the world. In other words, the ends justified the means. An idea I will never, ever believe in. If we can only survive as a country through immoral means, I want nothing to do with our civilized society for without morals we have no claim to civility. Odd, how somebody like Cheney who probably believes he is a Christian and is guided by Christian values doesn’t get that, yet an atheist like me does.
I’m listening to LIGHTS aka Valerie Poxleitner. She has an acoustic collection out that I just absolutely love. How did I hear about her? My youngest’s girlfriend listened to one of her songs on Spotify, I saw a blurb about it on Facebook, and decided to see what she was listening to. See how all of this social media can help you keep tabs on people? I liked what I heard and am still listening. Her regular stuff isn’t what I like, but the acoustic versions. Very good. You should check her out. More importantly, that a 16-year-old girl who means something to my son is listening to the same thing says something, doesn’t it? What? I don’t know.
Oh, sure, men’s figure skating is on. But, no CURLING!!!
The resident Queen and the youngest Princely Midget are out of town this weekend — headed south to see the oldest Princely Midget. I have three days to myself. I am both exhilirated and terrified at the possibilities. I’ll be going to my writing group tomorrow and golfing on Sunday. Beyond that though, there’s not much planned. All that time. What to do? I’m exhilirated by the possibilities. Terrified that I will waste it.
Did I mention that I’m golfing on Sunday? I’m both exhilirated and terrified at the possibilities. (Hold on a sec, I have now typed exhilirated three times (no, make that four now), and each time the red squiggly line shows up suggesting it is misspelled. Does it look misspelled to you? Let me check and see what the all-knowing and all-powerful google says. Ah, yes, now I get it … exhilarated. My mistake. My apologies.) So, back to the possibilities. For about five years, I golfed. Being the internally competitive individual I am, I took it far too seriously and quit because there was no way I could play as well as I would have liked, given the cost and time commitment that would have been required. I golfed rarely after that and haven’t golfed in at least a decade. So, I’m headed out to give it a try again on Sunday. Relax. Deep breaths. None of it matters. Just have fun.
You know, that whole exhilirated/exhilarated thing really bothers me. There was a time when I never would have made that mistake. There was also a time when every email I wrote was spotless and perfect. Now? Not so much. I actually thought that exhilarated was spelled exhilirated? My god, it’s getting hopeless. Age is a beautiful thing. Er, no, it’s not. What bothers me even more is when I think exactly what I mean to type and then I look at the result and think, whale, I know that when I thought that word, I thought “well,” how the hell did “whale” come out of my finger tips. Age sucks. Er, no, it doesn’t. It’s a beautiful thing — it is the crutch upon which you place yourself and blame all that goes wrong.
Downhill skiing is on right now. Curling isn’t. There was a time when I liked downhill skiing. Back when Franz Klammer was attacking the slopes and I didn’t know better. But now. Downhill skiing? Aaack. Must have curling.
I’m tired of being tired. My best, longest friend says I was born tired. I spent a few minutes with another friend today. She said I didn’t look happy. I told her that I was just tired. That I was tired of being tired. I wake up tired, I spend the day tired, I go to bed tired. I am just tired. My doctor would say that I’m depressed and would want to prescribe Prozac. I refuse. I’ve realized in the past year that I can’t disagree with the diagnosis, however. I am depressed. Not in the “i’m so depressed, I’m gonna kill myself” way, but, yes, I am depressed and it makes it difficult for me to get through the day. What is my solution? To just keep doing what I do. Wake up, get out of bed and plow through the day. And do it all over again the next. Waiting for the day when I have the chance to do something else, something better, something that is … me. That pretty much describes my life for a long … loooooooooooooooooong time … waiting.
My Australian friend, when he and his family were here for a visit last month, provided me with the most wonderful of gifts. A pizza cookbook authored by Pete Evans, who is apparently a big time chef in Australia. I struggle with things like this, however. I’m not the most adventurous of eaters and when it comes to pizza, while I’m willing to crack an egg on mine every now and then, my sense of adventure is pretty much limited beyond that. So when I see recipes like Udo’s Open Fish Pie (including snapper, salt cod, mustard and arugula), I’m not sure the cookbook is for me.
I’ve made this decision, however. Tomorrow or Sunday, I’m making a pizza from Mr. Evans’ cookbook. I’m going to randomly open the book and make what’s on the page. Here we go … Pork Belly with Radicchio and Balsamic Onion. Who the hell comes up with these things? Pork Belly? I don’t even know where to get that. Pretty sure the Safeway down the street doesn’t have it. Let’s try again … Artichoke, Pancetta, Chicory, Taleggio, Chili and Lemon. Ummm … no. Taleggio apparently is a cheese, but, again, where the hell would I get it. Let’s see … Chorizo, White Bean and Octopus. Well, you know, I’ve grown to like calamari in the restaurant, but Octopus on a pizza? I’m thinking this is hopeless, maybe I should go back to the pork belly option. I’ll come up with something that involves me breaking out of my usual options and report back to you later.
I’m writing a short story. I’m almost done with it. It’s nice to be able to write a short story and see the end in sight and know that I’m gonna get there. Unlike that Northville nightmare I’m involved in. But, this story … ready for it … both exhilarates (spelled it right!!!!) and terrifies me. The former because I just absolutely love what I’m doing with the story. The mood, the pace, the words and phrases, most everything about it. Which is why it terrifies me. Authors and writers shouldn’t fall in love with their stories. It’s just not a good idea. Why? Because love is blind and we writers can’t be blind to the faults that lie within our stories. So, here’s what I’m gonna do. When it’s done, hopefully this weekend, I’m going to post it here and ask you to tell me what you think.
Here’s the interesting wrinkle. I’m going to write two versions of the story. I’ll explain why when I post them, but there’s a reason and I’ll expect you to be brutally honest with me. I expect nothing less.
And then I’ll go back to Northville. I’ll continue to plow so excruciatingly slowly through that and hopefully find the end and the path to the end. I think I’m actually pretty close to that, but I struggle with whether I’m cutting the story short because I want to be done with it rather than finding the natural path and natural ending. That worries me. I want to do the story justice.
Who am I? Why am I here?
I have absolutely no flippin’ idea? If you know, could you tell me?