These aren't "quick" quick takes at all, but rather really long diatribes that didn't seem important enough to put in posts of their own. They're also pretty much all political, which shouldn't surprise you considering the description of my daily life in #2...
I think my biggest obstacle to writing these days is titles. One of two things is going to happen. Either I think of a snappy title but have no brains whatsoever to write anything underneath it, or else I know what to write about but have no title with which to focus my efforts. Writing turns into either a Drudge headline or a epic novel about Something That Recently Occurred To Me. This is a problem if you want people to read your stuff, but it’s also a problem if you want to write at all. After a while, all-or-nothing syndrome makes you just want to throw in the towel.
In the meantime, I live life at the lowest possible ebb of individual effort. I teach four or five piano lessons a week (which is down from forty plus, so five feels like practically a negative number), I stay in bed until it’s just silly to do so any longer, I spend three hours a day just sitting on the couch listening to the radio because I “can’t do anything else while I’m listening,” and I occasionally will put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. This is the shape of summer at my house. It’s depressing, not really because the house has gone to heck, because it hasn’t, but more because I don’t feel good about how utterly unmotivated I am. If I felt like doing more, I would do it! But I don’t, so I don’t, and it ends up resulting in a cobwebby mental state that feels icky enough to be icky, but not quite icky enough for me to do anything about it.
I was fascinated to find, on network television, a paid and successful TV personality who appears to have a fairly pro-life outlook, at least on the “big issues.” Billy the Exterminator is an A&E reality series about a family who does pest control in Louisiana—and these ain’t spiders and voles, peeps. The guy jumps into lakes after alligators, traps possums, raccoons, armadillos, bobcats, exterminates wasp nests the size of a VW (not a joke), and all manner of Texas-sized animalia that are found in Louisiana. The show is “totally whack,” too, with the whole family in this weirdo semi-Goth style of dress and all the black-leather flair and ambiance that goes along with it. Joseph makes grand and royal fun of me watching this show. He’ll come in, stay long enough to see how disgustingly huge the latest infestation of roaches is, and say, “Oh, are you watching Billy Ray Cyrus Kills Bugs again?” No taste, that man.
Aaaaanyway. So, there’s a number of situations in the first three seasons where Billy goes into houses and the woman is pregnant. One of the company’s trademark things is how they use environment-friendly pesticides, which is probably not a bad idea when the nearest body of water at any given moment is 8-10 feet down the hill. Whenever he does his little voice-over for each job, he lists the products he’s going to use, and consistently says, “And these are much safer to use at this house, because they don’t pose any risk to Mary and her unborn baby.” And he always says “baby.” I like that! I like the show, too. It’s sort of Crocodile Hunter meets Dirty Jobs, messy and funny and sometimes you get to see a 23-foot snake. But anyway. I think it’s pro-life of him to speak that way, and I like that this is a prime-time reality show where people are hearing it. Certainly aren’t many other places you hear words like that in public.
In politics these days, it would possibly be educational for “evil empire” anti-military Americans to consider what’s happening in Syria lately. As is traditional and normal in Middle Eastern locales, large scale infighting and violence is on the table, and no one is able to deny that the latest round is directly at the behest of the current ruling party in Syria, headed by Bashar Assad. We are, please note, not in Syria right now. Thousands of people are murdered and tossed into mass graves, including women and children (who are often targeted), and we are not there. Stop whining that we're "everywhere," when clearly we are not.
Iraq is not a shining beacon of peace and accord, nor was the war in Iraq necessarily just (I’m on the fence on that one, still). However, there are NOT still people being systematically killed with chemical weapons, not still entire towns being slaughtered because of their religion or tribe, not still mass graves being dug and filled weekly at the direction of the regime. We were in Iraq, and now there's no genocide. Now please, the very last thing I’m suggesting here is that we should go to Syria! That's a very bad idea. But I’d like for people to do two things: first, stop Chicken-Littling your way through life going, “Omgz! We’re totally like involved in EVERY WAR on EARTH!!” Because we aren't. Sit down and shut up. Second, think of piles of dead children, and tell me whether “interference” on the part of a wealthy and capable nation might not, in the end, just possibly, be a net gain for humanity. I’m pretty sure back when Ignatius sent missionaries to Asia, there were plenty of European Christians who were in grave need of evangelization and ministry, yet he left the immediate sphere of influence and responsibility and traveled out to help those who could not help themselves. Stupid Jesuits, going abroad when clearly they could have done so much more good at home, guarding the borders against the insurgent Protestant Bible Cartels in France and Germany.
“God wants us dependent on Him, not dependent on the government.” That was Ryan Rhodes, the now-famous Tea Party member who made it his business on Monday to ask the President some pressing questions. Now he’s hit the big time, of course, with major news outlets searching for him, his name plastered across all the ubiquity of the mainstream media. Tuesday afternoon he made it through the lines of the Rush Limbaugh show, where he had great comments to make about individual responsibility, traditional liberty, the need for Faith. Once again, we’re getting to the bottom of all that is wrong with our country—people have abandoned God and faith (any faith!) and, knowing that their house must be build on stone, look for stability and protection from something else. Would the welfare state even exist, if our nation was still a people of Faith? I think not, or at least certainly not to the degree it exists today. Jesus said “the poor will always be with you,” but he didn’t say that “You should strive to always be poor and need someone else’s help.” We need to take back our country, be in charge of our own future, own responsibility for our decision. We need the resolve and determination to do so, for if “we the blessed” are no longer able to support ourselves or find prosperity, how will we find a way to help those who cannot help themselves?
We would do well, conservatives, in our quest to discredit global warming and combat Earth-worship hyperenvironmentalism, to keep in mind that “green” initiatives are not all bad. “Weatherization,” for example (upgrading insulation, improving heat/cooling retention) is not at all a hoax, nor a sham. It works. Insulate your house, buy expensive UV-reflecting windows, your energy usage goes down. Heck, put a windmill in your yard to power the well. It works! Use solar energy to run your water heater. It works. Recycle glass and plastics. It’ll save you three or four garbage bags per week, and those suckers are expensive. What we can’t do is replace a millions-of-megawatts-wide power grid with a thousands-of-megawatts-wide [and currently nonexistent] solar and wind grid. We won’t kill the planet in ten years by burning fossil fuels, nor will we run out of said fuels in that same time frame. We don’t need to sterilize humans so that the rain forests can live. There’s all kinds of nonsense out there, but don’t toss out common sense and actual money-saving investments just because they have a “green” label.-SEVEN-
Be grateful I don't get riled up about all this stuff very often. Most of the time, I hear and observe political and philosophical wrangling and go "meh, I have a life to fritter away on the couch," but lately it's all coming to the surface again. Sorry. I've grown up around a very broad array of political opinions, I have extended family members who are quasi-racist, there are gay people in my family, there are people who carry guns in their cars in my family. I met all manner of nuts and normal people at work and at college, and now I live in a completely different social and political environment...probably the most uniform set of opinions I've seen in a while, but nevertheless different and hotly contested at the points of disagreement. NONE of those people, in all my life, have held their opinions because they're stupid, or because they shut their eyes to the truth (ok, well, maybe a couple). They either think as they do because they have always done so and are too lazy to reevaluate, or because they've been fed wrong information their whole life, or because some real, personal tragedy has driven them away from truth (and usually also Truth). It's offensive and frustrating to me, who has never made this assumption about others, to be assumed to be stupid merely because I hold firm to a political opinion that differs from someone else. That's the irritating part, and that's what brings out all of the loud, sarcastic, obnoxious, conservative in me.