It was a muggy, rainy kind of day; not particulalrly cold, which made the chill Francisco experienced all the more suspect. Then it hit him, like he knew it would ultimately, but had hoped, prayed to himself that he might awaken from this exsistance and be back in the warm embrace of Rachael. And, yet, he also knew that the cold feeling, now accompanied by dizziness and profuse sweating would be a gateway back to a time with Rachael, however fleeting. He pulled his trenchcoat tighter, muttering to himself, “Fuck Corporate”. He knew the words spoken brazenly before would come back to haunt him. Feeling as though he were about to disembark on Toad’s Wild Ride again, he found as soft a spot in front of the old brownstone as he could because he knew he would never make it inside. He needed to find privacy. He thought about his actions of the last 24 hours and his commitment to drinking the whole drink. It was too late to go back, this bullet had left the chamber. He didn’t know if the drink kept things under control, if it somehow kept him intact, if it influenced the dreams or what. For all he knew it would kill him in this dose, but Francisco was tired of living in this half-life. Whatever lay on the other side of the looking-glass would be a welcome alternative to what he had found on this side. Would he go to Rachael and never come back? Would it be more vivid this time? He had been experimenting but didn’t have any answers. He was a hack with no expertise, just a hunch and a desire for something better than what he had. Corporate had needed it to be this way. He wiped the persperation from his brow. He was feeling much less centered now and things were beginning to spin and darken. Whatever was going to happen was going to happen very soon. The sense was that gravity was no longer his friend as he careened into a small grouping of bushes, grasping out for the railing to the stairs, rolling to his back as he settled on the dirt between the bush and the stoop. He had passing thoughts about the events leading up to his involvement with corporate. Paralized, his eyes rolled back, and he muttered something to himself. At least he thought he was muttering…words were no longer leaving his lips. He was waking up inside. “Rachel!……”
Pete’s gaze had intensified. He reached under the counter, eye contact unbroken, and raised up, smirking, holding an opaque green glass bottle whose label was so worn it was no longer readible. He set the bottle down on the counter as a hunter might display a prized kill. Francisco knew though, something inside him knew. This bottle, seemingly ageless, held a familiar, yet forgotten destiny. He had drunk from this bottle before. Many times, it had been presented to him to consume from.
His eyebrows raised and then tightened together as he examined Pete’s face more closely looking for something that he would recognize as he let out a sigh. It was always different. A moment had passed before either spoke. “Look, you know the drill, Frank.” Pete stated in a stern, almost fatherly voice. “your work here is done.” “C’mon, you didn’ think we weren’ keeping track of you did ya?” he added, tone changing to an apologetic, yet mocking tone.
Everyone needs a dog or small child. The things they bring you are priceless. Usually Ernie brings me stuff from around the house and yard in a condition that requires a litttle pondering about its origin and purpose, sometimes we wonder simply what it might have been in its former life before becoming a chew toy. This morning, Ernie brought me a small tag. “Important Safety Instructions” it shouted at me in big, red(well, a little more orange than red now) print. I figured whatever it was had been operated for a fair amount of time without injuring me to my knowlege; but despite my laziness about reading such fair (also includes instructions and technical manuals unless I can’t get the device to work properly without them), I read the small tag. It read:
This portable lamp has a polarized plug (one blade is wider than the other.) Ok, I am following this so far, and I really want to be safe and teach safe practices in the peoper operation of our lamp, whichever one it may be. As a safety feature this plug will fit in a polarized outlet only one way, if the plug does not fit fully into the outlet, reverse the plug, if it still does not fit, contact a qualified electrician. Wow! How will that phone call go?! Sir, I can’t get my plug to plug in. Um, is it a polarized plug, did you try it the other way?
But wait this gets better: Never use with an extension cord unless the plug can be fully inserted, Do not attempt to defeat this safety feature. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DEFEAT THIS SAFETY FEATURE?! I love the wording on this. It makes it sound as though this the shape of the plug has become a mortal enemy on par with Galactus or Darth Vader- clearly a villian to dangerous to attempt to defeat. Leave that up to the Justice League or perhaps a qualified electrician. There’s more to the note following this, but I suddenly found myself hatching plots to defeat my new enemy. All I need to do now is figure out from which lamp this came and contact the A-Team. Happy NewYear! jp
I have been thinking a lot recently about the nature of wealth and what is fair taxation, etc.
I heard Bill O’Reilly talking the other night and accusing Obama of wanting to do wealth redistribution. This got me thinking: “this is something people think of as negative because it means taking something hard-earned from those who have toiled to earn it and giving it to those whose actions have done nothing to make it.”
Then, my thoughts drifted to a few events, one from Policy class and two more recently occurring at family reunions. First of all, the statistic that something like 97 percent of the wealth is controlled by three percent of the population. The others are a game of Risk with my cousins, and a conversation with Mandy about her family.
As we know the divide of the uber-wealthy and the lower classes is growing. The amount of wealth is continuing to be governed by a smaller percentage of the population. This is fact. This is inevitable if you have read much on behavioral economics. I recommend the “logic of Life” as a book to illustrate this point.
This became clear to me as I found myself on side of a losing campaign in Risk, a game I had not played since young. At one point I decided to hole up in Australia, after spreading too thin and being conquered elsewhere. I thought, ” at least I can defend the bottle neck here in the south pacific by putting all my new resources into the defense of the one country blocking my cousin’s way to world domination. The fallacy that I quickly discovered is that if you had captured continents you amassed more armies because you had more resources, same too for just having sheer numbers of already existing armies. In essence, if you already had wealth, you could make so much more. So there is a tipping point there where defeat is inevitable, no matter how great your geographical advantage. I realized that the percentages were about the same as those discussed previously in policy class, my cousin owned about 95 percent of the board and defeat began to unfold at an exponential rate. Continue reading
Yes, indeed, we might well have been the luckiest of all our friends this weekend.
We got a first hand Beckett sighting and Clara sighting as well. Bouncing baby Beckett, a bundle of beautiful babbling, was quite the sight. We are grateful to the Shotts-Aspengrens for hosting us and only wish we would have had more time to visit, but alas, we had a wedding to get to. On the way home we got to see Tobandsteph with Clara. Also wonderful, and thanks, to you, too for going out of your way to accomodate our travels and time constraints.
I was reminded of how fortunate we all are this week when I saw a posting on facebook. Apparently, Kori Karstetter (a year or two younger than us, if memory serves correct) was in the midst of her second child birth when they lost their child. To make matters worse, she had a heart attack a short time later and at last check was touch and go. Really brings home how fortunate we all have been.
Thanks so much to you all for sharing your families with us.
OK, so I am a little late to weigh in on the old discussion, so I thought I might renew it as I have finally been able to take this great movie in. I have to admit that I enjoyed it thoroughly and that it has haunted my thoughts the last couple of days (and, perhaps most embarrassingly, my bad version of DDL’s charater’s accent has been haunting Amanda since I saw it. I think we may have to rename our dog, Ernie as “H.W.”. Anyway, some points of interest for me- Mandy pointed out that the preacher was played by the angst-ridden teen from Little Miss Sunshine. She also pointed out the quite obvious and symbolic notion that where did the minister (term used loosely) come to get big oil’s help at the end? He was in the gutter. Sure it was a more oplulant gutter, but a gutter nevertheless. Knowing what he was and whata he represented the preacher pulled Plainview from the gutter to get what he wanted. Interesting to me was the character of Daniel Plainview- almost as though he is birthed from a pit at the beginning of the movie, I think he was intriging. There are some hints in the film as to his background, but I don’t think that it is all that important. I think there are some traits of anti-social personality here as well as a complete lack of social understanding, almost to an Asperger’s degree. I think he was intentionally played with a relatively flat array of personality. He is almost more a thing, than a person. A crazy thing, made most apparant in scenes like the one where he tells the other oilman that he is going to “cut his throat”. I don’t think one must interpret this movie in the most general of ways- that all oil industry is bad or that all religion is fake or full of lies. I think this movie is about a lot of things, a social commentary and cautionary tale about the lies we tell others and ourselves to mask our greed from ourselves and others, to be wary of the actual cost of things, the way that complex issues vibrate Hud’s “Web of Life”. Sometimes the things we hold most near and dear to us are the things that blind us the most to their effect on the systems they are connected to. I feel as though the metamessage is more about taking a critical perspective about our involvement in things, whether that be our church’s politics, our government’s foriegn policies, our own interactions with others, etc. Mandy watched it the day after I saw it and I joined her about halfway through. I have to admit the music, the mood, etc – Brilliant; I couldn’t take my eyes off of the film.
I was listening to a speech by Michelle Obama yesterday afternoon and had a couple of thoughts. I hadn’t really thought much about this until yesterday, but I think Barrack is what this country needs in this era because of the fact that he probably has the best perspective of how economic policies affect the world as his grandmother still lives in Africa. Maybe, this isn’t “american” (maybe also read “isolationist”) enough for the average American who perhaps believes in something other than America, a part of the global system. I think this brings us to an interesting crossroads in history, a chance to go on without much regard to how our politics affect others in the world, an arrogance and ignorance, or a chance to choose a new, different path that would recognize that this big, spinning rock has moved forward into a new reality.
Sorry for my lack of participation over the last month or so. Our computers have been relatively unusable (mine has died and Mandy’s has been in various states of disrepair, which is fixed for the time being.). Of course, the biggest news is the addition to the Becker clan. The hugest congratulations are in order! We are thrilled to finally see the photographic evidence of this “Clara Francine”, but photos as we all know can be easily altered. I will have to have tangible, physical proof at some point to be sated. I can report on this to all you distanced brothers when I have seen it for myself. I would have to say that one book I am truly glad to be reading prior to having children of my own is Dr. Bruce Perry’s book, ” The Boy who was raised as a Dog”. This is a fascinating book, written in pretty accessible terms about the neurodevelopment of infants brains, particularly from pregancy through infancy and into pre-adolescents. Pretty cutting edge stuff in the area of what we really know about development. I would recommend this to anyone with kids, considering kids, or who knows kids. I would recommend this in particular to anyone who has contact with foster kids or others who have had trauma in early childhood. I hope all is well with each of you and your families and am glad to once again have a voice.
We are all 1st years at Hogwarts School of Wichcraft and Wizardry. Taking turns sitting on the stool, wearing the Sorting Hat, we are all Sorted into our halls. I suspect I would be in Ravenclaw. For those willing to share, where do you think you might end up?