Monday, March 14, 2016

Early Monday Morning Thoughts

     When I still held a regular job, I regularly got up at 4:00 AM so I could be at my office by 6:00. It was a requirement of the position. I’m retired nearly a year, and I still get up at 4:00 AM, most days. Sometimes I wish I could sleep later...and sometimes I wish I wouldn’t wake up at all.

     Civil war is here. Check this out and try to say it isn’t.

     Very few people are aware that the 1970 tragedy at Kent State began with violence and gunfire among the protesters. That’s the power of the media.

     There will be more disruptions before Campaign 2016 is over. Chicago proved that they’re a viable tactic. The mainstream media blamed the victims: Trump and his supporters. Eventually there’ll be violence -- lethal violence. Any bets on who’ll be blamed then?

     Catholicism is increasingly a divided house. Here’s a case in point.

     It’s well known among American Catholics that Jesuits – American Jesuits, at least – are half crazy. But for the flagship Jesuit publication to trash the most important Catholic legal scholar of our time is nevertheless a shock. I’d have thought even a Jesuit would have better sense.

     (Yes, Pope Francis is a little weird. However, most American Catholics were braced for it: he’s a Jesuit. )

     While we’re on the subject of the law, I’m a believer in natural law, though my understanding thereof is a good distance from the Jesuit whose piece I cited above.

     Natural law is merely that set of rules, whether we know them or not, by which the universe operates. It cannot be reconciled with arbitrary laws made by Man, for man-made laws can (and often do) contradict natural law. (And no, I’m not talking about legislative attempts to set π equal to 3.)

     The Constitution of the United States is not an expression of natural law. Indeed, it’s not possible for any man-made law to express the natural law, simply because we don’t know it in its entirety and never will. Persons who claim to grasp the whole of natural law are filled with hubris, one and all – and that includes persons in Holy Orders.

     Just in case you’ve forgotten your Greek mythology, Hubris was always followed by Nemesis.

     You want to know how bad things are? I’ve recently been conversing with a deputy chief of police in a rural area many miles away. This is a rather impressive fellow: he, a holder of a doctorate in Electrical Engineering, was for some years one of his employers’ high experts on radar. He gave that up to become a cop.

     My friend described a recent dispatch to the scene of an altercation. He went there alone...and was greeted by twelve large black men who asked him, “What do you think you’re gonna do here, white boy?” He described them as ready to rumble – with him.

     My friend replied, “Well, I’ve got eight bullets in my gun. Which four of you want to fight me?”

     The crowd dispersed.

     The lunatics aren’t running the asylum alone. They’re getting plenty of help from the felons.

     The Clintons’ IT specialist, Bryan Pagliano, has already been granted immunity so he can talk to the FBI about the Clinton email scandal without legal jeopardy. Now we have this – and do please remember that we speak here of a family that tried to steal White House furniture and other articles for its private, post-presidential residence.

     The Republicans are trying to run a major political party without voters. The Democrats are trying to do it without morals. Take your pick.

     On a more frivolous and certainly happier note, if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber and own any of a number of video-game consoles, I hope you make use of your access to Prime Video. There are several Amazon-only series available that make anything on “regular” television look trivial and dismissible.

     The C.S.O. and I have already greatly enjoyed:

  • Mozart In The Jungle
  • Bosch
  • Hand Of God
  • Strike Back

     The entertainment we’ve received from those series has justified the $99.00 annual cost of Prime membership all by itself. (Yes, the free two-day shipping is nice, too.)

     While we’re on the subject of entertainment, does anyone out there know if creator/director/producer J. J. Abrams is involved in any way with NBC’s series Grimm? I ask because all the other television series Abrams has been involved with have veered into CrazyLand in their final seasons – and Grimm appears to be doing the same. A pity; it was one of the more original of the fantasy-themed shows on TV.

     (Hey, we old farts have to do something between New York Rangers’ games and the start of the baseball season.)

     Writers write. If you’re not writing – generous allowances to be made for restroom breaks, op-ed, meals, sex, and the occasional vacation – you’re not a writer. Corollary: Fiction writers write fiction. It doesn’t matter what else you’re writing; if you’re not writing fiction, you’re not a fiction writer.

     I’ve struggled so long and so hard to finish Statesman that the paralysis has driven me nearly to despair. Recently it occurred to me that I don’t want to finish it, for reasons I must leave undiscussed. So I spent a bit of yesterday mulling it over, contemplating possible alternate paths that might release me from my funk.

     Accordingly, for now Statesman is “on hold.” I’m pursuing another project, one that’s less emotionally trying, just so I can carry on fictionally. Never fear: the novel will be completed someday, God willing. It’s just not the top item on my stack.

     Have one of my favorite dark lyrics to top off your day:

Another suburban family morning
Grandmother screaming at the walls
We have to shout above the din of our Rice Crispies
We can't hear anything at all
Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
But we know all the suicides are fake
Daddy only stares into the distance
There's only so much more that he can take

Many miles away
Something crawls from the slime
At the bottom of a dark Scottish lake

Another industrial ugly morning
The factory belches filth into the sky
He walks unhindered through the picket lines today
He doesn't think to wonder why
The secretaries pout and preen like cheap tarts in a red light street
But all he ever thinks to do is watch
And every single meeting with his so-called superior
Is a humiliating kick in the crotch

Many miles away
Something crawls to the surface
Of a dark Scottish loch

Another working day has ended Only the rush hour hell to face
Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
Contestants in a suicidal race
Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
He knows that something somewhere has to break
He sees the family home now looming in the headlights
The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache

Many miles away
There's a shadow on the door
Of a cottage on the shore
Of a dark Scottish lake
Many miles away...many miles away...many miles away...

(Sting, “Synchronicity II”)

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Back tomorrow, I hope.


Avraham said...

I am a fan of natural law. If only I had the time to go into it better. Clearly the natural law of John Locke is going to be different than Aquinas. Still it is a fascinating subject

Backwoods Engineer said...

Was the gun stuff on Bosch any good? I despise "cop" shows and the like that add "cocking" noises in post-production and "gun cocking" subtitles at the exact moment an actor points a striker-fired gun (like a Glock). Such pistols do no "cock" when you point them, sigh.

Francis W. Porretto said...

I didn't detect any significant errors in Bosch, BE, but I'm not as up on handguns as I am on long guns, so I could have missed things. The series is good drama, one way or the other.

Navvet55 said...

We are Korean-centric here as far as a large chunk of our tv viewing goes. (Thank heavens for subtitles. Though I think some of the Korean is taking hold...and kimchee is really good mixed with rice.)
I thought "The Man In High Castle" was also an Amazon offering, but I could be mistaken, and it may be via Netflix. In any case, from what I have seen, and others have said, it seems to be faithful to the original story. Might be worth a look.

And not to cast any aspersions toward your "Mets". But dag nab it!! This is the Cubs year to go all the way!

Guy S

Francis W. Porretto said...

Not to cast any aspersions at your Cubs, Guy...but I'm a Yankees fan. Since 1960, in fact.

Navvet55 said...

^^ "We all have our crosses ,,,etc" *Runs, ducks, and covers" Seriously, I hope they have given you as much enjoyment as the Cubbies have given me.