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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Summer Wind

Technically the autumnal equinox was two days ago.  I'm still hoping to bleed a few more days out of summer, so I'll pretend it's not fall just yet.

Wish I'd kept more of my dad's records.  They're most likely sitting in a compost heap inside my brother's house.

The summer wind, came blowin in - from across the sea
It lingered there, so warm and fair - to walk with me
All summer long, we sang a song - and strolled on golden sand
Two sweethearts, and the summer wind

Like painted kites, those days and nights - went flyin by
The world was new, beneath a blue - umbrella sky
Then softer than, a piper man - one day it called to you
And I lost you, to the summer wind

The autumn wind, and the winter wind - have come and gone
And still the days, those lonely days - go on and on
And guess who sighs his lullabies - through nights that never end
My fickle friend, the summer wind.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Is it just me, or does the world seem to be in a spiral of chaos and decay of social order?  

Wars, kidnappings, murder.  How damn many sociopaths are there on earth?  More than I imagined apparently. I think I've met one, just one, in all my years of working in and around mental illness. 
Ironically, the entity was not a patient but a co-worker.  My 'superior' as it was.  Thing is, sociopaths are so good at deception that I wonder if I may have encountered others and was just unaware.

I am astounded, minute by minute, as I read of and hear news reports of accounts of man's inhumanity to one another.  Has it always been the state of affairs as it goes with humans?  Periods of some semblance of civility in parts of the world while atrocities go on elsewhere?  Seems to me the answer is yes.

The link crapped out, so:

Roger Cohen NYT

It was the time of unraveling. Long afterward, in the ruins, people asked: How could it happen?
It was a time of beheadings. With a left-handed sawing motion, against a desert backdrop, in bright sunlight, a Muslim with a British accent cut off the heads of two American journalists and a British aid worker. The jihadi seemed comfortable in his work, unhurried. His victims were broken. Terror is theater. Burning skyscrapers, severed heads: The terrorist takes movie images of unbearable lightness and gives them weight enough to embed themselves in the psyche.
It was a time of aggression. The leader of the largest nation on earth pronounced his country encircled, even humiliated. He annexed part of a neighboring country, the first such act in Europe since 1945, and stirred up a war on further land he coveted. His surrogates shot down a civilian passenger plane. The victims, many of them Europeans, were left to rot in the sun for days. He denied any part in the violence, like a puppeteer denying that his puppets’ movements have any connection to his. He invoked the law the better to trample on it. He invoked history the better to turn it into farce. He reminded humankind that the idiom fascism knows best is untruth so grotesque it begets unreason.
It was a time of breakup. The most successful union in history, forged on an island in the North Sea in 1707, headed toward possible dissolution — not because it had failed (refugees from across the seas still clamored to get into it), nor even because of new hatreds between its peoples. The northernmost citizens were bored. They were disgruntled. They were irked, in some insidious way, by the south and its moneyed capital, an emblem to them of globalization and inequality. They imagined they had to control their National Health Service in order to save it even though they already controlled it through devolution and might well have less money for its preservation (not that it was threatened in the first place) as an independent state. The fact that the currency, the debt, the revenue, the defense, the solvency and the European Union membership of such a newborn state were all in doubt did not appear to weigh much on a decision driven by emotion, by urges, by a longing to be heard in the modern cacophony — and to heck with the day after. If all else failed, oil would come to the rescue (unless somebody else owned it or it just ran out).
It was a time of weakness. The most powerful nation on earth was tired of far-flung wars, its will and treasury depleted by absence of victory. An ungrateful world could damn well police itself. The nation had bridges to build and education systems to fix. Civil wars between Arabs could fester. Enemies might even kill other enemies, a low-cost gain. Middle Eastern borders could fade; they were artificial colonial lines on a map. Shiite could battle Sunni, and Sunni Shiite, there was no stopping them. Like Europe’s decades-long religious wars, these wars had to run their course. The nation’s leader mockingly derided his own “wan, diffident, professorial” approach to the world, implying he was none of these things, even if he gave that appearance. He set objectives for which he had no plan. He made commitments he did not keep. In the way of the world these things were noticed. Enemies probed. Allies were neglected, until they were needed to face the decapitators who talked of a Caliphate and called themselves a state. Words like “strength” and “resolve” returned to the leader’s vocabulary. But the world was already adrift, unmoored by the retreat of its ordering power. The rule book had been ripped up.
It was a time of hatred. Anti-Semitic slogans were heard in the land that invented industrialized mass murder for Europe’s Jews. Frightened European Jews removed mezuzahs from their homes. Europe’s Muslims felt the ugly backlash from the depravity of the decapitators, who were adept at Facebooking their message. The fabric of society frayed. Democracy looked quaint or outmoded beside new authoritarianisms. Politicians, haunted by their incapacity, played on the fears of their populations, who were device-distracted or under device-driven stress. Dystopia was a vogue word, like utopia in the 20th century. The great rising nations of vast populations held the fate of the world in their hands but hardly seemed to care.
It was a time of fever. People in West Africa bled from the eyes.
It was a time of disorientation. Nobody connected the dots or read Kipling on life’s few certainties: “The Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire / And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire.”
Until it was too late and people could see the Great Unraveling for what it was and what it had wrought.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The unhappy nurse.

Wrote this some time ago.  It came back to me as I was driving yesterday.  People are so strange.

I've always had a thing for nurses.  Thought I might marry one some day.  Known many, loved a few.  Me and Gunter Grass.

I know some pretty unhappy people, too. Sad really.  You only get one shot on the ground, near as I can tell anyhow.  Why spend it pissing and moaning?  That's a trap.  I don't doubt that satan has his little fingers in it.  (See Paul Harvey 1965 and the devil)  Anyhow, back to the unhappy folks...

Years ago I had the experience of working with a most unhappy person.  It wouldn't have been so bad, if that had been it by itself.  That she was unhappy.  If we acknowledged it, suggested counseling, tried to help. If she refused all offers, we fired her and went on about our business.  Change of venue and attitude was not a satisfactory outcome for her.  She was miserable and she seemed to want to bring everyone else down there with her.  (you know who, again) Complained incessantly, threw little wrenches into the works wherever she could.  Gossiped, stabbed backs. A real pain in the ass.

I said at the time, and I still hold this opinion, that people like her should really do the rest of us a favor and off themselves.  Really.  If your life is so miserable that you can't stand it then change that thing or things that are getting your panties in a bunch.  If that's beyond your capability then please, make a hasty exit.  I don't care to have you linger, like a fart, making the place uncomfortable.  I'm liking it here, pretty much.

I never did figure it out, what she was so angry at the world about.  Everything appeared to be in her favor.  Her husband seemed a decent fellow.  Both of them had jobs that paid well. Her kids were grown and successful.  She was physically very attractive, fit and in good health.

One of my good friends, a woman old enough to be my mother, who was also my mentor, pointed out one of the aforementioned person's personality traits that I had not noticed.  It was there the whole time, right under my nose.  I just didn't see it.

She liked to humiliate.  Most often her victims were folks who were perhaps due a good kick in the seat of the pants, but who also lacked the means, intellectually and otherwise, to retaliate.  Sad state of affairs, that.   Evil.

Friday, September 5, 2014