Category Archives: General Grunting

Old Dog. New Tricks.

A voice

A voice from the wilderness!

  • 50 months.
  • 106 blog posts.
  • 89 followers.
  • The rise of Donald Trump.

It was February 28, 2013 at 12:05 PM that I officially kicked off this blog with a nod to Saint Thomas Aquinas, and yet another voice was added to the cacophony. And I didn’t really care at the time if the blogosphere really needed another voice. I just knew that I needed to add my voice, if only as a venue to get things off my chest and out in the open where I could look at them, analyze them, deal with them. Self help, if you will, with some strong encouragement from my wife.

Writing has always been therapeutic for me, and blogging seemed to be a good venue for that. And so I went with it, setting up this blog, churning out a good number of posts for the first few months, going through a crisis of relevance after about a year, renewing my resolve, and then finally getting settled in. Now there’s a word for you: settled.

What does ‘settled’ mean for me on this blog? Well, I seem to have settled into some recurring themes: politics, climate change, robots and technology, some ramblings about race, and so on. I seem to have settled into blogging less frequently, although I would like to change that. I feel like I have settled into a certain style and voice, and I feel more comfortable with that voice. And there’s something to be said for that, being settled and comfortable with one’s voice.

But here’s the thing: we are now living in manifestly unsettling times, and in unsettling times being settled is not the answer. Unsettling times require us to get off our settled asses and perhaps do some unsettling things, like marching for a cause, or going to those town meetings and getting fired up, or finding the courage to dissent or resist. And most importantly, not just being comfortable with your voice, but using it in whatever way you can to make a difference.

So here I am. 50 months and 106 blog posts into this thing. Time to get unsettled. Time to find some new tricks. Time to join a class on blog writing to learn some. Hopefully I will be able to use them to get my voice out there. Because these are unsettling times, and I have a lot more to say. Stay tuned!

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Why I’m Still Here

It was just over a year ago that I kicked off this blog with the following quote from Saint Thomas Aquinas:

The name of being wise is reserved to him alone whose consideration is about the end of the universe, which end is also the beginning of the universe.

I then proceeded to write on a variety of topics—technology, politics, global warming, philosophy and religion, whatever—some of which I extended into multi-post series, and so on. And then I stopped for a little while. You see, I had started this blog to vent some things (much to the happiness of my wife, who was, frankly, tired of hearing me gripe about them), but as a side effect of venting, I eventually began to feel a lost sense of purpose. After all, those of us who take the time to start and write on our blogs are, to some extent, just yelling into the wind. And after yelling into the wind for a while, I began to ask myself: what’s the point?
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Plan for the worst, hope for the best

There seems to be quite the discussion over at David Brin’s blog concerning a recent blog post by that notorious Archdruid, John Michael Greer. And while I find both arguments to be interesting, I believe they are indicative of the either/or nature of debate that passes for civilized discussion these days; specifically Brin’s incredulity at Greer’s disbelief that mankind will be able to just think its way out of the variety of crises lumbering towards us like giants over the horizon.
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In which we solemnly reflect on this day and realize that our leaders have learned nothing

  • The fallout and loss of life from the “surgical” air strikes against the World Trade towers by manned missiles in the form of airplanes are the perfect example of the fallacy “surgical” air strikes.
  • The rage of the American people against those who flew those airplanes is the perfect example of the unifying force of anger against actions taken against one’s homeland.
  • The subsequent retaliation was and is a perfect example that bombing a country will, indeed, be seen as an act of war by that country’s inhabitants, who will respond accordingly.
  • The number of civilian deaths on that day, and in the subsequent actions against Iraq and Afghanistan, is a perfect example that an air strike, and resulting retaliation, will always be felt most heavily on those not involved in the conflict.
  • The stigma attached by the American people to those who resemble those who perpetuated the attack against the World Trade towers is a perfect example that we will all be held accountable for the actions of a select few.

The list goes on and on. The American people, in their strong resistance to an attack against Syria, have learned these lessons. But, alas, our leaders have not. If we really want to make the memory of this day mean something, then we should remind our leaders, in no uncertain terms, how we all felt that day, and direct them, in no uncertain terms, to stop  creating  reasons to  cause those feelings in anyone else.

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Kabuki

The Wikipedia tells me that Kabuki “is a classical Japanese dance-drama” that is “known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers.” The three kanji characters the spell out Kabuki in the Japanese language are literally “sing,” “dance,” and “skill.” Or, loosely translated, “the art of singing and dancing.”
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Chasing livable land

I had the occasion to recently watch the film Chasing Ice, a visually stunning and compelling documentary of photographer James Balog’s multi-year venture to capture time elapsed pictures of the rapid erosion of several of the world’s glaciers.

Highly recommended.

Yet, in the middle of watching the documentary, with its inevitable discussion of loss of glacial ice and the corresponding, devastating rise in ocean level that will cause the inland migration of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, I was struck with this thought: the inland migration to where?

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1984? Who cares? That’s the point.

George Orwell’s famous novel 1984 is invariably invoked when discussing misuse of government power. As a primer for the horrors of totalitarianism, the novel excels, and is enduring. But the surface horror it describes is only skin deep. The deeper horror, for me, is this: what if we lived in a totalitarian state and nobody cared?
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