Monday, January 30, 2012

"May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view... where storms come and go as lightning clangs upon the high crags where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you... beyond the next turning of the canyon walls."

-- Edward Abbey, Benediction

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Seen in comments in the New York Times, following globalization bitch Thomas Friedman's recent editorial lauding Chinese serfdom in service to Apple and the "disappearance" of the average worker:

"There was a quaint view after WW11 that people had a "right" to a job and that this system of capitalism would provide that better than any other system. It turns out that jobs are only a by-product of capitalism. The good times are over. Capitalism is now consuming itself for the sake of shareholders who are essentially using slave labor in China to ever greater profits. This doesn't require education but a new model."

Monday, January 23, 2012

Seen on a Stephen King thread . . .

. . . regarding the inaccessibility of the recent stories except via eBook or audio book:

"I'm an old dog, and not only do I have to turn around in circles three times before I lay me down to sleep at night, I'm paper trained. I'll do whatever is needed to keep turning pages 'til they pry them out of my arthritic little sausages . . . "

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Real Best Places to Retire

Finally . . . realistic suggestions that actually make sense!

"No matter where you end up in retirement, remember that relationships are more important than the weather. The warmest climate can be found amidst the safety and security of family and friends."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shutting your employees up and down is not good management.

Killing the messenger doesn't make the message go away.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In a NY Times article 8/8/12, interviewing Art Oehlke, owner of the 530 antique shop in Lorain, OH (echoes of "Darling Lorain" by Paul Simon here):

Mr. Oehlke did not say how much the shop makes. But a clue, he said, is in the thermostat on the wall near the cash register, which showed 45 degrees. If the store were more profitable, he said, it would be warmer. But he preferred to see the bright side.

"It's got an advantage," he said. "If I have to go somewhere, I already have my coat on."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Never Grow Old

"Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?"

"Not very many, Nick."...

"Is dying hard, Daddy?"

"No, I think it's pretty easy Nick. It all depends."

They were seated in the boat, Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die.

-- The Nick Adams Stories, Ernest Hemingway

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"America is a country where the rich all live together in exclusive towns (and the nicer parts of cities) - network only with each other and feed off each others contacts while everyone else is just a human resource to be thrown scraps and kept stupid and underemployed. The poor and under-siege members of the middle class need to understand this: that being an 'American' is a corporate logo identity and that it engenders exactly zero feelings of responsibility from the rich. So drive around with that flag on your pickup bumper. The rich don't do that. They care more about their international counterparts in rich suburbs of Paris and London and Tokyo than they do about their fellow 'Americans' in the old mill town across the river."

-- NY Times Opinion Letter, 1/5/12

Our new national poet laureate, Philip Levine, in an interview in the New York Times magazine, reacting to the question of whether he hated the rich, replied, "I don't, because I’ve met them now under silly circumstances, and they seem like hopeless jerks to me, for the most part."
"It's called the American dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it."

-- George Carlin

America the Beautiful

The New York Times recently included an interesting article about the genesis of the poem (and song), America the Beautiful.

Among the comments was this one:

"America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!"

Thank you; my favorite stanza of this poem, and a relevant one in our times, as it was in the times of Bates.

Wittingly or unwittingly, the lines touch upon a broad subject, one with which this nation still must come to terms: every freedom FROM something must become a freedom FOR something better. Freedom to act freely must be followed by learning the wisdom not to act wantonly; the "soul" that strives for self-betterment must control the temptation to trample upon others; the freedom to possess is not the right to beggar another. A people free from tyranny has, more than any, the great obligation to willingly build a just society, and accept the obligations and self-control that come with that.

We are adrift as a society. Let us hope that the price of finding our course will not be terribly high.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mile 81

I so didn't want my first post of the New Year to be a downer, but I was once again reminded that I will probably never be able to read Stephen King's latest effort, MILE 81, until I reconnect to the internet at home. The ONLY way to read this short story is to download it in an electronic format.

Thanks a lot, Stephen King. And I'm being sarcastic. I wish that, if you need to explore innovative and variant publication methods, you would remember that not all of your fans have eBook readers or computers. I'd pay a good price for that story as a small softcover or special edition book but I want, dammit it, to be able to buy it in a conventional format.

If you can do that for BLOCKADE BILLY, why not MILE 81?

There, I'm done.

Coda: Through the grace of the Multnomah County Library, I was able to reserve this story on CD, read by an uninspired narrator who can't do little kids' voices worth squat. Very disappointing story, so I'm glad I didn't buy it. On the bright side though is the bonus story on the CD -- The Dune -- read beautifully by Edward Hermann. It's ten times better than Mile 81 and worth the price of admission.

Mile 81: tired retread
The Dune: provocative and creepy