This week Great Britain’s parliament handed it’s prime minister a stunning defeat, voting down a measure that would have allowed the UK, as part of a NATO coalition, to attack Bashar Al-Assad’s for an alleged chemical weapons attack he perpetrated on his own people.
I arrived at work on Friday morning at 3:45 AM, in the dark and alone. I left eighteen and one quarter hours later. In the dark and alone.
One reason for civilization’s future downfall may be that no one knows how their facebooks, tumblrs, spreadsheets and smartphones work. From most people’s perspective, they turn on a device…a phone, a tablet, their toaster and the thing just works, as if by magic. I don’t think they really care how it works either, as evidenced by the glassy looks I get a minute and a half into explaining what I do for a living.
4 stars out of 5 on Amazon and Goodreads
Like so many others, my first exposure to the world of fantasy literature was
JRR Tolkien’s sagas of Middle Earth. My younger self enjoyed these books…over
and over again. As I began to look for other works to read in the genre,
however, my enthusiasm began to wane somewhat due to the fact that everything I
read seemed to be a flaccid rip off of Lord of the Rings. For almost thirty
years I didn’t even consider anything that was described as fantasy. That is,
until I read Game of Thrones, which is fantasy, with a firm footing in what
looks like medieval Europe and borrows heavily from that continent’s
I recently read an editorial by George Will about the ruination of Detroit. There have many articles and opinion pieces written about Detroit’s bankruptcy recently and they all catalog the reasons for the city’s demise: unions, big corporations, corruption, white flight to the suburbs. The amount of credence one gives to any one of these explanations depends on what side of the political spectrum you fall on. Those right of center lay a lot of blame on unions while those on the other side of the spectrum blame the evil, profit hungry corporations for moving out of the state to where labor is cheaper.
One day last week my dander was raised by a post I found on my Facebook newsfeed. (I pause here wondering if this whole post is just an excuse to use the phrase “my dander was raised”).
I see a lot of these on Facebook and usually, after an enthusiastic huruumph, I move on. Now, I know that 99 times out of a hundred, these didn’t originate with the “friend” who shared it. Still, it’s pretty smug and presumptuous to put something on a friend’s newsfeed saying, in effect, if you don’t share this post, you care nothing about the people who suffered the tragedy described therein. The phrase “I bet no one cares enough” is particularly galling, because it basically tells me that, “You’re a friend of mine on Facebook, I know you and I’m thinking you’re a dirtbag who won’t post my ode the fallen heroes.”
What makes this particular post idiotic is that, even though I received it just last week, the event it describes occurred two years ago. I found this out when I went to my normal online news sources for information on the tragedy.
It would have been nice if the poster had mentioned the seven Afghan commandoes killed in the incident. After all, they were fighting for their country.
Maybe my irritation stems from the fact that guilt has always been a powerful motivator for me. People who know me know it’s an effective tool to use on me. So I certainly don’t need it from some nincompoop on Facebook. Also, f you’re going to guilt me, get your facts right, if nothing else out of respect for the dead.
Early one morning, on one of my walk/jogs about town, I passed by the cemetary and saw an open grave. Me being me, my mind immediately flashed to images of some revenant on the lose in Bolivar, desperately trying to make it’s way back to it’s earthy bed before the sun popped over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Closer inspection showed that the whole was a neat rectangle, ready to receive a vault and casket. Knowing that, though, didn’t prevent the chill going down my spine. I stood and looked and thought that this is our final destination. The open grave is an invitation we all, eventually, accept. One can’t help but ponder mortality when looking into a grave, sunny morning or no.
I approached and saw that the grave was waiting for one Doris M. Stotler. She was 86 years old when she died on July 27th, last Friday. She was interred two days ago, on the morning after I walked by. For a moment I thought about attending the graveside service, but couldn’t get away from work.
According to the obituary on the Melvin T. Strider Colonial Funeral Home website, Doris was born and lived her entire life in Jefferson County, WV. Before retiring she had worked as a pastry chef at the Cliffside Restaurant, which is located about a mile from where I live.
One can make out the side of a funerary vault along the wall of Doris’ grave. Within lies her husband Charles, who died in 2006 after being married to Doris for 55 years. Both Doris and I seem to have had a tough 2006.
So now the grave awaits. Doris and Charles are together again both in body and wherever it is we go when we go.
There’s not a day that I walk that the area in which I lead doesn’t give something to think about…