Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Mother

My daughter, Whitny, was telling my wife, Gail and me about a friend that was having a very difficult time getting back to New York because of the weather.  After several cancelled flights, she got one that had a layover in Chicago, another in Bangladesh and another in Islamabad before arriving in Philadelphia.  From there she had to take a bus to NY.  This reminded me of Christmas Eve, 1980.  Gail and I were with my parents.  We had been visiting my sister in Sacramento and I think it was me who suggested that a drive down the coast would be a good idea on Christmas Eve.  Well, we were in one of the coolest cars ever made.  A 1979 Oldsmobile Station Wagon that some engineers at GM decided would be great with an engine that was originally designed as a gasoline engine and simply converted to diesel.  Eventually, GM replaced all those engines with actual diesels and my parents gave it to me when I was in grad school and we couldn't afford anything else.  I am getting off point...this original engine...blew the primary fuel injection pump in a little town that shall remain nameless that was right out of the Twilight Zone.  There was no way in Hell that car was getting fixed and we soon discovered that if we didn't want to spend Christmas with Sinaloa Cowboys and Zombies...it was the bus.  We soon discovered that it is apparently a custom among all these small towns that the bus stops in to oust their wretched on Christmas via Greyhound.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, my mother, sitting several rows back from Gail and me said quite loudly, "Hey, kids, it could be worse.  At least we're not these people."  That was my Mom.  I think she was teaching us about the miracle of Christmas.  I am writing this 30 years later and that means I survived.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Dismayed but not totally without hope

I'd be shocked if anyone disagreed with my assertion that the World is a fundamentally different place than it was just a few years ago.  Things started to go poorly in the 60s for a number of reasons that I'll probably go into elsewhere.  Right now, we're in serious trouble.  I mean, it really seems like Capitalism and Democracy were only slightly better ideas than Communism and they're on their way out as well.  I hesitate to sound like Chicken Little with the sky falling and all that, but I'm really concerned about where we are headed.  The truly frustrating part is that all the major problems we are always hearing about could be fixed if there wasn't an epidemic of greed.  Most people alive today grew up being bombarded with the concept of living beyond their means.

Probably even more problematic is that we've totally lost all faith in our leaders.  And, rightly so.  They have failed us miserably.  Historically, when a government fails its people as badly as ours has, they've been overthrown.  Well, we live in interesting times.  The framers of the Constitution put in the Second Amendment with the idea that we could overthrow the government with force if they got out of control the way the British Crown did with the colonists.  Well, two centuries ago...maybe.  The Second Amendment is pretty much an anachronism.  We can't overthrow our government with physical force any more.  But were do have options.