July 23, 2006

don't tell me to calm down

7/23/06

So, let's see...

1) Hezbollah, a terrorist organization, apparently has enough support to fire an endless number of rockets into Israel and even has the capacity to destroy ships. Conversely, Israel is blowing Lebanon back into the 15th century, with massive civilian casualties, entire families being vaporized, and a blank check from the rest of the world.

2) Iraq is in full-blown civil war, and the situation has gotten so bad that the Sunnis are asking the Americans to stay. Which they are, and when we're not dying in waves, we're dying on average about one soldier a day. That's one of your high school classmates, worse off than you, going to serve and coming home in a box. Once a day. For a war based on utter lies.

3) The power is out in New York City, St. Louis, and all over California. Temperatures from yesterday and today have shattered records. 2006, so far, has been the hottest year in recorded history, and estimated to be the hottest year in 400 years. What was in second place? Last year.

4. Gas is the most expensive it has ever been in this country, going over $3 a gallon. This absolutely kills low income families not lucky enough to live in a place with realistic public transportation (pretty much everywhere not called New York, Chicago, Seattle and Washington D.C.)

5. Bush just spent his first veto on the only ray of hope to come out of this year's political fiasco: a real stem cell bill passed by the Senate. Paraplegics, those with ALS, Parkinsons, macular degeneration and Alzheimers are all told to fuck off. By the way, one out of two men (and 1/3 of women) reading this blog will get cancer if current rates persist. If your cure does not come in time, you will know who stopped it.

6. Rent The Corporation. We watched it last night, and while it can be literal and heavy-handed, you will not come away unaffected. It is so depressing that it made me want to curl up with Tessa and Lucy and never leave our bed.

7. Which we can't do, because Lucy is so uncomfortable with her heat rash on her back and arms because of the weather. Watching her writhe in misery absolutely floors me - I just want to take all of her pain away (fortunately, hydrocortisone did the trick).

These are desperately bad times, no matter how comfortable you feel. You may like your job where you're reading this, you may find your home office or laptop a little piece of serenity, but the world is in mid-disaster. Things move slow enough not to be noticed, but they're happening. You're living history, you just don't know it. They didn't know it in 1066, 1215, 1512, or 1848. They didn't know it when the medieval sickness came from Italy, they didn't know it when Noah began pounding.

I'm reminded of two quotes, one from George Orwell:

"We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men."

And of course, this from Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus":

FAUSTUS: Where are you damned?
MEPHISTOPHILIS: In hell.
FAUSTUS: How comes it then, that thou art out of hell?
MEPHISTOPHILIS: Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.


Posted by Ian Williams at July 23, 2006 11:22 PM
Comments
Posted by: cmnc at July 24, 2006 3:35 AM

1512?

Posted by: alan at July 24, 2006 4:25 AM

The end is near. Repent now.

Posted by: Laurie from Manly Dorm at July 24, 2006 4:59 AM

This is one of your best posts, IMO.

Posted by: GFWD at July 24, 2006 5:27 AM

Don't forget 2002, when Carolina went 8-20.

I fully recognize that I'm just ignorant enough about the world as a whole and the big picture that if I were on the sinking Titanic and the band started playing, I'd probably be right there with them making requests or singing kareoke telling everyone, "I don't think the heavy stuff's gonna come for quite some time."

I know it seems like we're headed for hell in a handbasket, but I just came off a great weekend with my camping buddies, extending our 14th annual tradition at Lake James in the NC mountains east of Asheville.

Just watched Tiger clinch his 11th major after dealing with the loss of his father. And got choked up while clutching my son as Tiger's tears flowed freely on the middle of the 18th green.

Watched Floyd beat the hell out of the French in their own backyard taking the yellow jersey and assuming the mantle that Lance left behind, knowing that he'll have potential career-ending hip surgery later this year.

Dressed my son up this morning in a little iPod onesie a friend got us that is not unsimilar to one Lucy wore in a photo on this very blog some time ago. And then watched him fumble around with my actual iPod on the couch as I got his stuff ready for daycare. Priceless.

I might be confusing the figurative whistling of the missles of doom aimed at our heads for a bird's sweet song, but at least I enjoy sipping from my half-full glass. It ain't all bad . . . and you can't ruin your buzz worrying about the things you can't change.

The resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be out in two years. Maybe when the stem cell opponents see their loved ones wither away from diseases which MIGHT have otherwise been cured with some research, they'll change their tunes. And maybe when the fortunate sons eschew the privileged path and serve this country unlike their fathers, their positions on a questionable war will change. And perhaps the prohibitive gas prices will force Americans (myself included) to get off of our fat asses and ride a bike or walk to the corner store. Or purchase cars more realistically tailored to their needs.

Until then, here is something which may make you smile. Prized class of 2007 basketball recruit Kevin Love is going to make his decision tomorrow on whether he's coming to UNC or going to UCLA.

If THAT can't put a smile on your face, then perhaps staying in bed is best.

Posted by: John Schultz at July 24, 2006 5:35 AM

But I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance............

Posted by: Anne D. at July 24, 2006 6:04 AM

Cue "Stormy Monday" -- play them blues, Ian.

8-O

Posted by: Deb at July 24, 2006 6:49 AM

I'm a little bit Ian, a little bit GFWD. I think you can be both; unlike country and rock and roll.

Posted by: emma at July 24, 2006 7:00 AM

I am sometimes too Pollyanna for my own good and probably fall on the side of GFWD.

So, I have to add one more thing that should put a smile on the faces of both Ian and Greg. I was watching a little bit of ESPN's In Focus last night and they were spotlighting the 1992 Dook season. Don't ask why I didn't change the channel, but I didn't. Maybe the remote was out of reach. They started showing a recent interview of Bobby Hurley and let me tell you, he is large. He has not passed many Mc'Ds without stopping for some cheeseburgers. You think he was unattractive as a skinny dook player in the 90s whining for some Pepto? Wow.

Posted by: Lee at July 24, 2006 7:36 AM

Ian, I'm feelin ya and I don't even know what to say.

I want to write the Dalai Lama and ask him about reincarnation. I was thinking about if we either blow each other all to bits, or if global warming kills us all first, where are all of us gonna go who haven't becomed enlightened yet??

Do we have to start all over as cockroaches since they would be the only things to survive? Talk about karma...

Posted by: CL at July 24, 2006 7:45 AM

Great post. (I know I am not adding anything worthwhile to the discussion by saying that, but just letting you know it's appreciated.)

Posted by: Neva at July 24, 2006 8:12 AM

Loved the post and GFWD's comments as well.
By the way GFWD - my brother works for Crescent and they are selling the land around Lake James (large lots, conserving trees well, beautiful planned state park) - now's the time to buy if you want your own little cabin up there.
As far as feeling doomed, I can go either way on this. But, today, I refuse to feel down about the future since all we really have is now anyway and I'd rather not spend my birthday worrying about anyone or anything. Let the party begin instead and maybe Syria will just tell Hezbollah to get the "shit" out of there and it will be over soon! Sorry, couldn't resist.

Posted by: GFWD at July 24, 2006 8:32 AM

Happy Birthday Neva!

The development around the lake is going to take away future camping, I fear. The homes are beautiful and the lots are wonderfully done, but I'm not rich enough to buy one. It really is fun camping up there and looking at the views. That annual trip goes a long way to recharging my batteries.

Emma, please send me Neva's personal email, so I can catch up with her.

Deb, I'm a little more rock and soul, but saw Keith Urban rock the crowd at Jazzfest this year and actually touched his shoulder (and by the transitive property, I touched Nicole Kidman's shoulder) when he waded into the crowd. I say that to tell you this. I think I might be a wee little bit country, too.

Posted by: tregen at July 24, 2006 8:58 AM

Read Specter's pathetic attempt at rationalizing his abdiction of his constitutional duties in today's Washington Post editorials. That should push you over the edge.

Posted by: CP at July 24, 2006 10:26 AM

it is hot...

Posted by: Paul G at July 24, 2006 11:06 AM

I'm linking this post to all my away messages, so don't write anything for a few hours, okay :-)

Unless it's something just as needed as this one was.

A friend of mine took a picture of me giving the Earth CPR the other day(chest presses, to you imaginers), I really think she's dying and I really wish I could have helped her more.

Posted by: Piglet at July 24, 2006 11:47 AM

This is what happens when you elect a government with a stated determination to prove that government can do nothing right.

Would you hire a babysitter who says, over and over, that children should be starved to the point where they can be drowned in the bathtub?

Posted by: Matt at July 24, 2006 11:59 AM

1) Actually, Hezbollah has a finite supply of rockets and it's dwindling fast. Israel is the "resister" here, of aggressive acts of war by a terrorist organization based in Lebanon and supported by Syria and Iran. They retreated from that land under the promise that it wouldn't be used to fire rockets into Haifa (and beyond), which, of course, is exactly what happened. You can't have a one-sided peace. People should stop expecting Israel to quit resisting their own destruction.

2) So Iraqis want us to stay and the left wants us to leave. Will the problems go away if we left today, or get worse? And there were no lies, except from the anti-war side.

3) Sigh.

4) The days of cheap oil are over, and it has as much to do with India and China as turmoil in the Middle East.

5) That embryonic stem cell research is "the only ray of hope" for paraplegics and ALS, Parkinson, and Alzheimer sufferers is the lie (advances in adult stem cells are promising also). Blaming cancer deaths on Bush is -- I was going to say beyond the pale, but it's really par for the course.

These are interesting times. It's not comfortable, but necessary in my opinion. Doing nothing is what got us here.

Posted by: Lee at July 24, 2006 12:49 PM

Doing nothing is what got us here?? What are you talking about????

Posted by: CP at July 24, 2006 1:42 PM

ok, before this turns into an all out battle royale, here's a joke I was gonna post on the lucy shitting everywhere board the other day, but what little decorum I actually have prevented me from doing so. in that same spirit, here it now is:

three old men are talking. one says I got it so bad -- every morning 6AM, I stand at the toilet, trying for an hour to pee; hoping for something, anything, a little trickle to come out. second one says I got it worse -- every morning 7AM, I sit on the toilet for an hour; squeezing, straining, trying my hardest just to move my bowels. third one says I got it worst of all -- every morning 8AM I take a big piss and a big shit.

the other two say what's so bad about that?

"I don't wake up 'til 11."

have at it.

Posted by: Zel M. at July 24, 2006 1:44 PM

Is this the Zeitgiest of the left? No wonder the modern Democratic party is in the state it is.

As for the specific points:

1) What is Israel supposed to do, exactly? What we as Americans do not comprehend is that Hezbollah and Hamas exist for one sole purpose - the EXTERMINATION of the Jewish state. Fighting for your literal survival gives you a little latitude.

Everyone should read Charles Krauthammer's excellent piece from last week for a perspective on this.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/13/AR2006071301667.html

2)Please, we all grow weary of the "Bush lied, now kids died" mantra. Also, enough with making military service a class warfare issue. The wealthiest among us have deferred military service since the beginning of the American revolution.

3) Speaking of growing weary, I will concede the planet is getting warmer, if you will concede we only have 130 years of weather records to base it on. Trying to determine human impact on long-range global climate change is like trying to predict whether or not a movie was good or bad by watching the last two frames.

4) Part of the reason gas is so high is that we have reduced capacity to refine oil, mainly because of environmental opposition to refineries. Plus, 1 billion screaming Chinamen have decided to come to the oil table as well. Here is another good link:

http://www.edmunds.com/advice/fueleconomy/articles/105901/article.html

5) Bush vetoed spending government money on stem cell research. Why does the government have to pay for it all? If stem cell research is truly worthy (and I believe it is), private industry will pick up the ball and run with it. That's how a free market works.

6) Speaking of, what bad, bad corporations you have all been. Naughty, naughty. Besides, you need corporations so that John Edwards can finance his presidential aspirations by suing them, or so that George "Gordon Gekko" Soros can get rich by trading stocks.

Posted by: Beth at July 24, 2006 3:03 PM

"1 billion screaming Chinamen"?

For fuck's sake.

CP, I liked your joke.

Posted by: Zel M. at July 24, 2006 4:30 PM

Easy, Beth. It's a shout-out to "Red Dawn". GFWD will get it.

But I love a woman who has the term "for fuck's sake" in her arsenal. That's hot!

CP, your joke was great!

Posted by: caveman at July 24, 2006 5:16 PM

God bless anyone that can work a Red Dawn quote into a conversation. I try to throw in one of Swayze's finest, "Because we live here!" from time to time but it is generally met with crickets chirping and the sensation that I have given people stupid feeling TM.

Posted by: caveman at July 24, 2006 5:19 PM

by the way...I think Red Dawn and the band Toto may be the most misunderstood entertainment options of all time

Posted by: CP at July 24, 2006 6:28 PM

thanks yo. I can also do a decent alan arkin impression.

Posted by: kjf at July 24, 2006 9:27 PM

i wont tell you to calm down but i will just direct you to your posting of july 17th.

Posted by: Ian at July 24, 2006 11:35 PM

Zel, you may be weary of the "Bush lied, kids died" mantra, but millions of us are not, including parents of those who have given their lives up for this war.

And 130 years of temperature records? Please, I know you're smarter than that. We have accurate accounts of temperatures going back hundreds of years due to careful documentation and tree ring/plant growth analysis, but even MORE info from THOUSANDS of years ago from ice core samples.

It's called "science." From it we can see the unseen and experience the past and have a pretty damned good idea of the future. You may want to look into it.

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