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Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Threepenny Opera

I just discovered a pot of gold: "The Threepenny Opera," which I am still reading. ... It jolts the credulous and passive state of mind into a stimulated and critical thinking state.

"What keeps mankind alive? The fact that millions
Are daily tortured, stifled, punished, silenced, oppressed.
Mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance
In keeping its humanity repressed.
For once you must try not to shirk the facts:
Mankind kept alive by bestial acts."

Gulf of Mexico's Oil Spill

As the Gulf blackens and the fishermen don't fish—but disperse chemicals on the dark waters of the beautiful Gulf they once fished—and their tears darken by the hour, there is no one to blame but us: Our sybaritic life and, therefore, hunger for oil. And in the spirit of our mediocrity and I-only-care-about-me patriotism, I intend to go have a glass of wine and listen to Mozart.

State of the Union Speech 2010

It's convenient to be cynical listening to the president's speech, but hardly useful. The opposite of being cynical is to be optimistic; and I think that's a healthier course for the soul. For without hope, life is dry and dead. It pays to know there is a better tomorrow. The only thing that doesn't pay is to dwell on the past. [And I like the black lady in the White House: She's terrific.]

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle)

We live and then we die; life is too short and we all die too soon. For death is unpredictable, variable, and inevitable. One of the characters in Kurt Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle says it well; and he is not resentful that he's dying, but rather thankful to have lived. ...

"God made mud.
God got lonesome.
So God said to some of the mud, "Sit up!"
"See all I've made," said God, "the hills, the sea, the
sky, the stars."
And I was some of the mud that got to sit up and look
Lucky me, lucky mud.
I, mud, sat up and saw what a nice job God had done.
Nice going, God.
Nobody but you could have done it, God! I certainly
couldn't have.
I feel very unimportant compared to You.
The only way I can feel the least bit important is to
think of all the mud that didn't even get to sit up and
look around.
I got so much, and most mud got so little.
Thank you for the honor!
Now mud lies down again and goes to sleep.
What memories for mud to have!
What interesting other kinds of sitting-up mud I met!
I loved everything I saw!
Good night.
I will go to heaven now.
I can hardly wait...
To find out for certain what my wampeter was...
And who was in my karass...
And all the good things our karass did for you.
— Kurt Vonnegut (Cat's Cradle)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA)

My wife has gone into the wilderness of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). A place where many a soul soars to the heavens, as eagle's speed soars in a stoop; a place in the blessed regions of the earth. A place not desecrated by modernity and ruined by humankind's ingenuity; a place with ornate civilization enlivened by pristine lakes and wild flowers and mighty pines; a place with moose and caribou and bears; a place where the fish is mercury-free and the water is still blue and tastes good; a place of tranquility and wonders calling to the heavens; lively, yet masterly constructed for canoeists. And canoeing is what she is doing. To think such a place exists, and humankind is in it, and to justly be able to describe it, is beyond my humble pen.