Monday, November 29, 2010

A bittersweet Thanksgiving

I drove the family two southern states over, to visit my elderly parents for the holidays. The older we both get, the more I appreciate my father, all he's done for us, & his many brothers and sisters. So I was very glad to take a day and drive him four hours to yet another state, to visit his brother, the last of his many siblings. They grew up on a farm, and had older siblings who were themselves old enough to be their parents. These have all passed on, and now it's only the two of them left.

It's really only Daddy, though. The younger brother has been disappearing into dementia for the past decade. Now he is almost totally gone. Thank God he was able to recognize Daddy, though. He thought I was also Daddy, but I don't care about him recognizing me. We visited him in the hospital, where he had had to go after a bad turn the previous week. He lay in bed looking up at Daddy with a wall-eyed, frozen grimace--possible the result of a mini-stroke. Daddy looked down at him, his weathered old face shifting from sadness to compassion to attempted good cheer. He didn't know what to say to him, but just muttered some pleasantries in his bluff, good-natured manner. My uncle asked for a deceased sister and her deceased husband a couple of times. Daddy tried to explain that they were dead, but the second time just said that they couldn't make it this trip.

We couldn't linger in the hospital, because we had to get back home before Mother's in-home care left for the evening. We said our farewells; "See you next time", I promised. We drove back mostly in silence, didn't want to intrude on Daddy's thoughts. Finally I said that the visit had been too short, and that if he wanted to come back I'd be glad to take him some other time. He said he was grateful for me taking him--I've never heard him thank me so profoundly for something--and trailed off, and I didn't press. Daddy had helped him financially in the past, as well as several other siblings and inlaws. This might well have been the final favor he could do for his brother, just to let him look into his eyes once more. I'm glad I didn't bring a camera, for fear of the temptation to intrude on their moment together.

High anxiety


I screwed up at work last week, an unintentional, probably harmless but highly unseemly & embarrassing error. Been flushed with nervous adrenaline ever since, can't seem to calm down. I inherited my father's rusticated good looks--most of it, anyway--but my mother's depression, thin skin, and insecurity. So now I'm toiling away at work, once again feeling like I'm on double secret probation. People who require constant reassurance that they are loved, accepted, etc. become fatiguing to be around after a while. So I do what I can to avoid being one of them. Still,...bleagh...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Somali teen tries to blow up Christmas tree lighting

Implant him with a tracking chip, deport him to Somalia, and when he links up with AQ in that country, rain down the hellfires.

Oh, and a preemptive FU to lefties who seek to rationalize his murder attempt, claiming tit for tat. At least this KosKid has the grace to be grateful to the FBI.

And a grateful hat tip to the informant in "the Muslim community", who brought this holy warrior to the attention of the authorities.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


For "too much irony". North Korea accuses the South of using human shields. This from the regime which engineered terror famines against itself, and operates the largest and possibly last concentration camps in the world. Disgusting...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Things I used to believe, but don't so much anymore...

  • If you can walk you can dance, and if you can talk you can sing. 
  • It doesn’t matter who gets the credit, so long as the work gets done. 
  • A soft answer turneth aside wrath. 
  • There’s no such thing as a stupid question.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Remember, class...

The West "invades". Islam "spreads". There are always more of their demands to accommodate.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A tardy Veterans Day thought or two

This post began as a comment at Obsidian Wings.

The draft was abolished when I was a child, and I never enlisted. Closest I got to military service was doing yard work for a retired Army recruiter, a major who had been a rifleman in France, 1944. His house was filled with WWII memorabilia, and the war was never far from his conversation.

My father was always matter-of-fact about his Korean War service. He was in Air Force reconnaisance. His particular job on the night flights had been automated but not yet eliminated. So his biggest worry was having enough comic books to read while aloft. Presently he asked for and received a transfer to the photography lab.

Most of my uncles fought in WWII. One had enlisted in the National Guard because of hard times in the depression. His unit was called up after Pearl Harbor, and he fought across North Africa and Europe til VE Day. In 1995, I visited another uncle who had served in the Italian campaign. I asked if he was paying attention to all the 50th anniversary commemorations. He shook his head no. "I saw all the war I want to see, and I don't want to see it no more," he said, his voice trembling with more than just advanced age.

Thanks to them all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

From ghoulies and ghosties. And long-leggedy beasties. And things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!

I’m disappointed with the current craze for paranormal programming on cable TV. I took the plunge and bought cable some time back, because I wanted to enjoy good, solid documentaries, both nature and historical. Yet whenever I flip on the box, on most channels I want to watch, I find all manner of programs on hauntings, UFOs, cryptids, ancient astronauts--all of which have been exploded a hundred times over within my lifetime alone. The real world is much more mysterious and wonderful than this rubbish, and I’m quite sorry that said rubbish has crowded out the higher quality programming for which I subscribed to cable.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The trouble with American society today... that it's too darn masculine.

Does time pass more slowly in academia than in The World? With a little less concern trolling and a little more old-fashioned man-hating, this article could have been penned in 1974. How can anyone write as if nothing has changed since then?

Thus today’s typical man is seen as independent, ambitious and competitive, naturally suited to market work and the breadwinner role. Meanwhile, today’s typical woman is seen as nurturing, expressive and responsive to the needs of others, naturally suited to homemaking and the emotional work required by secretaries, flight attendants and nurses. These basic tenets of separate spheres continue to shape our default understandings of men and women, reproducing stereotypes that systematically advantage men and disadvantage women in the workplace.

Huh? Where did the last third of a century go? Masculinity is considered a vice by intellectuals nowadays, practically a crime. Who is Professor Williams' audience, here? And where have they been?
Masculinity holds the key to understanding why the gender revolution has stalled. As long as men continue to feel threatened by the possibility of being perceived as wimps and wusses unless they live up to the norms of conventional masculinity, we can expect little economic progress for women.
What would "progress" entail, in this sense? More women in traditionally male-dominated occupations? Higher incomes, despite putting less time than men into their professions? A thoroughgoing suppression of anything anywhere that smacks of masculinity, for fear that it may incommode female achievement or wellbeing?

Ex-patriate curmudgeon Fred Reed has a typically jaundiced view of these matters. As he admits, yes there are exceptions and degrees, and no he doesn't have polling data. But,

Men are capable of malignant government, whether authoritarian or totalitarian, as witness North Korea or the Russia of Stalin. I don’t know whether women would behave as badly if they had the power. (I’d guess not.) But women have their own totalitarian tendencies. They will if allowed impose a seamless tyranny of suffocating safety, social control, and political propriety. Men are happy for men to be men and women to be women; women want us all to be women.

The United States becomes daily more a woman’s world: comfortable, safe, with few outlets for a man’s desire for risk. The America of wild empty country, of guns and fishing and hunting, of physical labor and hot rods and schoolyard fights, has turned gradually into a land of shopping malls and sensible cars and bureaucracy. Risk is now mostly artificial and not very risky. There is skydiving and scuba and you can still find places to go fast on motorcycles, but it gets harder. Jobs increasingly require the feminine virtues of patience, accommodation to routine, and subordination of performance to civility. Just about everything that once defined masculinity is now denounced as “macho,” a hostile word embodying the female incomprehension of men.

My daughter is tomboyish at the present, but we're trying to raise her to be as feminine and considerate and kind and nurturing as possible. If she wants to succeed in business, I hope the sports activities we provide her with will help grow the necessary talents. If she wants to go into a profession, I am confident her native grey matter, coupled with the work ethic we're trying to instill into her, will carry her through. If she wants to be a feminist, a few semesters of Strong Wymynyst Studies in college ought to fix her right up. But in order for her to be a good mother and wife, such as becomes the very pearl of the home, she's gotta get it in her soul early. There's no written certification for it, no seminar to go to, to get it. It would be a signal tragedy is someone succeeded in reducing the rich pageant of her life to the dryness and hardness of mere political positioning. I hope she becomes a fullblown, unapologetic woman, and finds a man to match.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Election Day Plus One

In so many other countries, elections are a prelude to civil war, or simply a sham. No matter what any particular election is "about", I am always awed at the sight of genuine democracy in motion.