Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day 2012

And so this is the day after Christmas....and in the "what have we done?" spirit it is time to think about New Year's resolutions, like blogging more, and also about who we are and what we want to do in the world. In that spirit, I offer up this poem I recently came across, from (Pulitzer winner!) Edwin Arlington Robinson:


Dear friends, reproach me not for what I do,
Nor counsel me, nor pity me; nor say
That I am wearing half my life away
For bubble-work that only fools pursue.
And if my bubbles be too small for you,
Blow bigger then your own: the games we play
To fill the frittered minutes of a day,
Good glasses are to read the spirit through.

And whoso reads may get him some shrewd skill;
And some unprofitable scorn resign,
To praise the very thing that he deplores;
So, friends (dear friends), remember, if you will,
The shame I win for singing is all mine,
The gold I miss for dreaming is all yours.

-- from Edwin Arlington Robinson, Poems, Everyman Library copyright 2007, p. 19

Monday, December 03, 2012

How to Start a War With Syria in 24 Hours or Less

They talk a lot about the "24-hour news cycle" (they who?) but today I experienced it in a new way. I was listening to NPR news off and on all day, much of the time while working on other things in my mother's house or running errands. I was thus able to repeatedly hear their news headlines and news reports as I went about my business.

In the morning, the reporter informed me that the U.S. - including Nobel Peace Laureate Obama himself - had officially warned the Syrian government that if it uses chemical weapons on its own people, there will be consequences. (At that time, I rolled my eyes and sarcastically commented to my radio, "Well, then I am sure we'll find a way to make sure the Syrian government does just that, so we can stir up some consequences."  Little did I know.)

Midday, it was reported that the Syrian government had officially stated that they are not crazy, that they have no plans to use chemical weapons on their citizens, and basically that they are in the middle of a total shitshow but give them a little credit, would you? That kind of thing.

Then, in the afternoon, the newscaster kindly informed me that the U.S. and intelligence sources were looking into a suspected chemical weapons site in Syria.

Conveniently, the BBC had a packaged feature story in their afternoon program about some people who experienced a chemcial weapons attack (in Iraq, I believe) years ago. This was followed by two or three repeats of Obama's stern warning that there will be consequences, just in case we had forgotten how this story ends.

Isn't that remarkable?! In less than a day, the media cheerleaders for war can take you right through the steps leading to our next effort to defend freedom/fight terror/uphold liberty/make the world safe for democracy.  Brace yourselves, young men and women! They've found another country where your blood needs to be shed!