Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Forecast is Bearish

Brown bears in Siberia are wandering around, gnoshing (though they're not really hungry) and walking (though they're usually starting to hibernate). I was surprised when I heard this on the radio, but then it occured to me that they probably don't get to hear too many, "Smile, it's perfectly normal" weather forecasts, thereabouts. So instead, they skip the expert opinions and they obey their senses, these crazy Ursine somnambulists; Shuffling around, snacking when they should be sleeping. Polar bears have it marginally worse, but it's not much of a picnic for either family. Folks, I know a lot of people living this way, too- hope their paths don't cross too soon!

Friday, November 03, 2006

A Tip About Points?

It's pretty ironic. Here in the States, the mid-term (the Prez and Veep get to sit this one out) elections are coming up in a few days. Normally, voters are content if they don't make it to the mid-term polls, the rationale being that there's not so much at stake (in the out-years, at any rate). That's always been fallacious thinking, at least, to some degree; this year's been a little different in genuine intensity. My mailbox has been crammed with glossy political ads from both majority parties, a real boon to advertisers and recyclers alike. So, how many trees did it take to create these flyers?

You want glossy? Fine, let's talk about glossing over basic constitutional government, and the way eyes gloss over when voters are treated to a litany of largely immaterial schoolyard slights and insults. These internecine cockfights are losing whatever entertainment value they may have had. Is this another process that's reached its tipping point? Has the job of government finally found its accepted status in the lengthening shadow of campaign fundraising? I don't blame politicians of either party for calibrating their notions of responsibility- we, the electorate, are supposed to unconfuse candidates who fail to grasp what we expect of the job.

If, by some odd navigation, ethical beacons are obscured by the rocks and shoals of avarice or the fog of personal ambitions, then what role do lookouts have in righting the course to avoid shipwrecks? If our lookouts decide to pass the monotony of their days embroiled in games of chance, tilting rations of grog, or in the recounting of tales, then their faults lie not in being human, but maybe, they're simply wrong for the job. Government offices take a special kind of person, and they do have interesting benefits, but in the end, they're jobs like any other, with rules and responsibilities.

As voters, we have a bit of soul-searching to do. Like the owners of the ship,we have our own set of responsibilities. Proper operation of the ship should be the first order of business, which includes getting the most competent crew possible. Less glamorous, but still necessary, the establishment of clear responsibilities (and anybinding set of rewards and punishments) are important, but secondary to making sure that the crew remains focussed on the right jobs. The tricky tasks of finding and grooming crewmembers, and recognizing when to say, "Enough! Thank you for your best efforts", are skills whose development many of us would gladly forgo ourselves, but as voters, we seldom get better representation than we deserve, without effort. In other words, if we accept candidates' media spin without questions, or don't bother to examine who (or what) we're voting for, or don't even vote, then we have nobody else to blame for the outcome. Hopefully, this line of reasoning has a toehold (at least) in this election cycle, but just in case, has anyone brought a plunger?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Minds, Only Driven On Sundays

"A poet somewhere queried,'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star...'.
Wonder if the words wonder, 'Have we taken things too far?'
Our days, our ways have left fewer stars to be attained,
but by night, leave us even fewer teachings to be retained

As though looking up at stars somehow absolves our hands,
we've paid so little heed to the condition to our lands.
The same hubris that makes us too big for our pants,
switches the phrase, 'a disaster', with, 'a retrograde advance'."

The essence of intelligence includes the ability to learn from mistakes, so that they aren't repeated nor compounded. Smartness, or savvy, too often means that only the most egregious heinous, or reprehensible glitches will be addressed. For countless others, (big or small) problems simplify to slapping on an attractive new paint job, before the whole shooting match gets pushed back into the stream of consumption

We're running out of places to park smart (though possibly, defective) answers, even if there are still empty slots in the 'intelligent' lot. Ignore the obvious, if you think you have something to lose; it could be a lot to ignore, but then, we have everything to lose.