Thought for the Day
If you’re too old to move about
With a sense of daily proclivity,
Then getting to the pot on time
Can be a most rewarding activity.
Thought for the Day
To Borrow from the Past. . . .
Help Me! I’m composing—and I can’t shut up!!
Ode to Paper Clips - Addendum
Paper clips, O’ Paper Clips
You bring my thoughts together.
Delicate as you appear to be,
You withstand most any weather.
Even when discarded
To lie upon the street,
Your strength withstands the cruelties
Of auto tires and feet.
Lying left upon the filthy street
In warm or stormy weather,
Your understanding of the human race
Grows daily ever better.
Your sense of order gives the cry
For more organization
Than there appears to be right now
In the world and in this nation.
Things seem to be becoming worse
Instead of getting better.
But Paper Clips, dear Paper Clips,
You bring my thoughts together.
The Art of Composition
Just so you’ll know—I composed my last two blogs while I was asleep in bed. The first, Paper Clips, gnawed at me until I finally got up at midnight and wrote it down.
The second, Staples, left me alone until about an hour before I normally “arise from my couch” on the morning of the following day.
Don’t ask me! They—not I—selected the subjects. I just followed orders.
Unlike the colorful and delicate paper clip, which calls for poetry, the brutal masculinity of the staple is best described in prose.
While the delicate paper clip’s purpose is to gently hold papers together, it does so in the interest of the owner, available to removal and replacement.
Made only in gunmetal silver, the job of the staple--as the staple envisions it--is to brutally stab the papers to which it is affixed, and to stay there into eternity. Staples are lined up in their original box in militaristic rows, each to follow the one before it as the owner wishes.
Occasionally, the owner craps it up, and the staple strikes the paper at an angle that mutilates its body, and it is replaced by the staple next in line. And sometimes the two staples are left that way—side by side, with the mutilated staple further humiliated by the perfection of the staple next to which it lies.
Brutality may be the profession of the staple, but nothing can compare to the thoughtless lack of sympathy of a human being.
Disparities Within the United States
Most Americans, when asked to define democracy in this country, are inclined to think of all citizens as having equal rights and responsibilities. This is not entirely true, for good or ill.
Probably the two most important qualifications for modern American life are education and wealth, neither of which is widely and fairly available. Your opportunities are many times enhanced if you possess at least one—and especially both. This leaves many hundreds of thousands of people forced to make the best they can of their lives--and luck.
On the other hand, if you have inherited a certain amount of wealth, and have at least a modicum of eduation, your chances are very much higher.
As Shakespeare would say, “Aye, there’s the rub!”
The best solution appears to be the Vote. At the same time, it can also be the worst. The uneducated can easily be led to vote For or Against, based in many, many cases on religious belief—a subject which should be sacrosanct. (The elections throughout the country this year have been loaded with religious pressure upon those with whom they do not agree, but should have no right to prevail.) An enormous problem may be that the uneducated seem to be outgrowing the educated in numbers, thus increasing their power in the country as a whole by sheer numbers.
At the same time, at the other end of the spectrum is the problem of wealth—or too much of it. On one hand, there are benefactors like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who have devoted their lives and wealth to helping other people. Thank God, there are people like them!
Nevertheless—and excluding people like them—it would appear painfully obvious that the disparities in wages must be rethought—not only rethought, but legislated or relegislated.
Here we are, living in the “Land of the Free” with many thinking only of sumptuous lives, while many, many more are living in indescribable filth and want!
Yesterday, I spent most of the day composing one of my masterpieces. It was two full pages long, and I worked and reworked the text until it was perfect. Not only that, it was a terribly important subject to me.
But, somehow, when I set about printing it, I forgot to save it. Not only that—I can’t even remember the subject! WAAH!!
Wouldn’t You Think....?
When listening to the news of the oil spill, I heard the newsman say that many people with plans to go down to the area for fishing and other sea sports had canceled their hotel reservations.
Now, assuming that most of this country’s citizens are God-loving Christians-- unlike the rest of us heathens—don’t the rest of you people realize they need us down there more than ever? Wouldn’t it occur to you to fill their hotels and restaurants with people eager to be there—to learn what real tragedy is, both human and animal? And, incidentally to enjoy the pleasures which they still have to offer, while at the same time returning the favor with your presence and your assistance if and where it might be needed, and especially your money to help allay the loss of thousands upon thousands of livelihoods?
Unfortunately, I am 87 and sitting in a wheelchair, so I can’t go, but I—and many others, both heathen and Christian, have been pouring our money and our hearts down into that part of the world ever since Haiti. As for the rest of you, think of someone beside yourselves.
Many years ago, I wrote a very important article on the subject of the above. But, despite the fact that I am a retired librarian whose life has been built upon “everything in its place,” I-- even I-- cannot find a copy of it! So I’ll have to start my crusade all over.
It didn’t take me long to become aware of the “paperclip problem.” I must have been not much older than somewhere in my 70’s when I discovered that the ground of almost every city and town in this country is practically paved with them.
Paperclips, I assume, were invented sometime during the 20th century, and what a convenience they have been. They sort of compete with staples, which also have a purpose of maintaining order. Staples, however, have an air of permanence, which can, in turn, become a sort of imprisonment, while paperclips have an air of “do what you wish.” This, unfortunately, has enouraged slovenly, and—worst of all—a “who cares?” attitude among the public.
For me, there came a day when I finally stopped, bent over, and picked up my first paperclip. And from that day forth, I have bent over—on the sidewalk, the parking lot, or the middle of the street—and picked up every paperclip I have seen. Many have been brand new, some bent or stretched, and some old and rusted.
Paperclips were made to be useful and used, which most are, until the day they are wantonly thrown down. Small as they are, they symbolize both the inventiveness of the 20th century and the decay of its human values.
The time has come for me to reveal myself to my faithful fans—I watch NASCAR! And not only that, I like it! It relaxes me.
For starters, I remember very few of the names inolved. The Bush brothers always seem to win, but on the other hand, I can never remember who wins. My favorite is Mark Martin. He is the oldest, in his fities, and he smiles all the time, win or not. (I realize I spelled “fifties” wrong in the last sentence, but it looks cute, so I left it.)
There are few, if any, women in NASCAR, and NO animals, which is its most saving grace, especially with world news as it is right now.
My computer and my TV are at right angles to each other and separated by about twelve feet. Thus, I can work at my computer, and turn my head to the left only when the noise level changes in both cause and intensity. Those are the most exciting moments to watch. And besides, they are always played over again right then so that those of us at home will not miss any mayhem—just one of the many marvels and services of modern TV.
Well, I finally got that off my mind, so back to work. To those of you who are still left by now, I hope we will still be conversing in the future.
What Do You Think of the Gulf Catastrophe? You Ask
I’ll tell you what I think of it, but do not read the rest of this unless you don’t mind reading the real horror that goes on in my mind when I hear of things like this. I am particularly sensitive to such events, especially when they involve animals, and even insects. I can no longer read the news or watch anything about it on television, nor can I listen to the radio at night.
When my family first moved to Wyoming over 75 years ago, the country was enduring a drought far worse than the present one. While our home was being built, we rented an old home halfway up the mountains, and used kerosene lanterns for light, sitting in large bowls of water to drown the moths.
We had a terrible plague of grasshoppers, and another of mormon crickets. The latter would come over a hill, and the hill would become black as they approached. One of the main methods of dealing with these was by digging trenches which they could fall into but could not get out of. Then gasoline was poured over them and they were burned alive.
One story was of a rancher whose horse broke a leg and fell on top of him. The rancher managed to shoot his horse and started to cut him in half, but he, too, died before he could get free and before they were found.
The cruelty of rodeos is horrible. One horse broke a leg and died due to an act of mercy. He was shot in the head after breaking his leg, a rope placed around his neck, and he was dragged from the center of the corral. But he still was not dead and suffered terribly from the dragging, and he had to be shot again. All part of the entertainment of those days—as well as these.
My father backed out of our garage one day and ran over my favorite dog. To this day, I cannot bear to be in a car being greeted or wagged goodbye to without thinking of that incident and worrying.
One of our beagles got left by accident in a basement food closet, and was not found until some time later, when he was dead, having eaten everything he could find and before anyone realized he was missing.
One of our horses got her foot tangled in a role of old wire in a field, where she was found several days later, dead, with her foot nearly torn off from trying to get free.
But probably the worst for me was a picture in the famous book by Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, about the horrors of the Chicago stock yards. I remember seeing a copy of the book lying on a table at the library where I was a librarian, exposing a picture of a hog strapped in chains to the moving ramp carrying him up to his death, the most horrifying expression of fear and helplessness I have ever seen on any living animal, human or otherwise.
By and large, the human tends to be the only evil—or at least utterly selfish animal. Strange dichotomy between us and the “lower” species.
These memories have stayed with me for 80 years. Now you know how I
feel about the Gulf of Mexico, where suffering business and lifestyle far outweigh the suffering slow death of animals. Sorry to pour this onto those of you who have gone ahead and read it. These memories have been so close to the surface of my mind, that any new addition just brings it all up.
P.S. I sit here at my keyboard garnering your sympathy and admiration as I say these things—I, a meat-eating animal all of my life. What a fraud I am!
As long as I can’t see what goes on, I eat meat like a glutton!
I truly apologize to all animal life which I have betrayed in this fashion, and I swear from this day on never to eat meat of any sort again!
Splitting the Country
Thanks to several of you who expressed interest in my Civil War musings about breaking up the United States.
First, let me apologize for taking so long to get back to the computer. Both my personal condition, and that of the country have been so hard for me to digest that I just haven’t been able even to try. As I sit here at the keyboard, I realize how much I have missed it. At any rate, back to the subject at hand.
The two most important aims on my list are control of population and individual opportunity. I’m speaking here of the United States, but the needs of the whole world are hovering over all of us.
First of all, God, if there is one, has some really superb methods for coping: disease, starvation, suicide, murder, warfare, natural catastrophe, etc., etc. One would think that those who pray, especially, would get the message, but somehow they have gotten it all backwards (keep them alive at all costs, no matter how much they beg to be let go). As Shakespeare once said, “examples gross as Earth exhort us!” Instead, the human animal is well on the way to suffocating us to death by sheer numbers alone.
And you may be lucky enough to enjoy a comfy carefree life, but try taking a look at pictures of those at the other end of the scale, even here in the Land of the Free. The only REAL help for those at the bottom is Education—rather than charity. The road to freedom is very long and steep, the end of which most of them will never see.
As for what we might do to get a start on things in this country, the growing rifts between the states, one with another, seem to center more and more on religion. Religion’s shadow hovers ever darker over the freedoms of non-believers, even in Congress and the laws of the nation. At the same time, the True Believers call ever more stridently for control and removal of the two most effective reins on human error—birth control and the right to die.
Wonderful as this country may be, it has one serious flaw which has won its way into our most cherished beliefs—the right to become very rich. Some of the richest, luckily, have spent their lives helping—really helping—others. Unfortunately, the lucky levels below the very rich are more inclined to wallow in their own good luck. And on a level below these is the level of the real saints, many of them choosing to ignore wealth, and self-taught the values of their own personal religions, who devote their lives to the needs of those below them on the scale of life.
For the time being, it seems to me that we should have an election in which the citizens should have the right to choose to align themselves with other states in order to give each other support, though not to attack those states with very different views and needs. These alliances might become mini- nations, independent of other mini-nations. I do know that many of us who are atheists (heathen to many of the rest of you) find our nation’s laws becoming more onerous and ill-conceived. We owe you the privilege of your beliefs, but at the same time, we claim our right to live by ours. If you want to bring a deformed baby into this world at the expense of his chance of a miserable and painful life, and if you want to force an extremely ill or injured man to continue to live out his misfortune, please make those decisions for your own, and do not force your religious beliefs on the rest of us.
To sum it all up, there is too much of this going on in this country right now. That is why I suggest that the States vote on how they want to proceed—all together, in smaller groups, or separate and different alliances (or countries) beholden to those we choose, but not to those with whom we disagree.
P.S. It feels so good to be back, regardless of any response.
Love you all,