10/13/14

Happy Indigenous People's Day????

Happy "Indigenous People Day"! Today some of us will choose to honor Christoforo Colombo. The Seattle, Washington City Council has chosen instead to honor Native-Americans. The implication is that Columbus was responsible for the genocide carried out by our forefathers. Columbus opened up a new world. He did not settle it. The trespassers from the old world chose to make the new world theirs, even at the cost of decimating the people indigenous to the land. I wonder why Seattle did not choose Thanksgiving Day as Indigenous People Day. The hypocrisy associated with the First Thanksgiving would have fit that of celebrating a Indigenous People Day. I wonder when we will sack some traditional holiday in favor of a day honoring Black-Americans who suffered at least as much oppression as Native-Americans. Oh yes, we have Martin Luther King Day. Give Dr. King credit. He did not usurp a traditional holiday although he had every right to do so.

10/10/14

Musings by any other name smell the same

To muse is to meditate. To meditate is to think contemplatively. To think contemplatively is to think studiously. To think studiously is to think painstakingly. To think painstakingly is to think diligently. My posts are not the result of diligent, painstaking, studious, contemplative meditation. It follows therefore that the title of this blog is a misnomer. Choosing "musings" as part of the title could be considered an abuse of poetic license. More importantly, only a muse under the influence of booze would use  "Museful"' as a pseudonym. Be that as it may, as an old codger I have paid my dues and claim the privilege of age if not that of a sage. Change the title? After some painstaking contemplation it became apparent that musings by any other name would smell the same.


9/5/14

One size does not fit all

Every time I hear an American politician expound on how exporting democracy to all corners of the world will result in Utopia, I grimace. Its like saying one size fits all is the way to go, regardless of how ridiculous the suit looks. The terrible rise of ISIS in the Middle East makes our attempts at nation building the laughing stock in the Islamic world.

In an essay for the Washington Post on 9/4, "Why they still hate us, 13 years later", Farreed Zakeria hits the nail on the head. His last two paragraphs leaves much food for thought.

"What did I miss in that essay 13 years ago? The fragility of these countries. I didn’t recognize that if the dictatorships faltered, the state could collapse, and that beneath the state there was no civil society — nor, in fact, a real nation. Once chaos reigned across the Middle East, people reached not for their national identities — Iraqi, Syrian — but for much older ones: Shiite, Sunni, Kurd and Arab.
I should have paid greater attention to my mentor in graduate school, Samuel Huntington, who once explained that Americans never recognize that, in the developing world, the key is not the kind of government — communist, capitalist, democratic, dictatorial — but the degree of government. That absence of government is what we are watching these days, from Libya to Iraq to Syria."

No one likes a dictator but if the alternative is chaos and beheadings it is a tolerable choice.  In tailoring our foreign policy it is well to remember that one size does not fit all.

8/15/14

On Aging And Caregivers

As life expectancy keeps inching up, it follows that health issues will become increasingly challenging. A ninety year old wracked with pain from arthritic,  barking knees and a back on its last few discs, finds it a bit difficult to celebrate victory over actuary tables. The problems of old age are further compounded when one's lover is no longer in the picture. Those fortunate enough to be sharing the challenges of old age with their spouse at their side, find the battle easier to cope with. The priorities of a relationship change. As the High Primal shared in her blog, "The older you get, the more you become a caregiver rather than a lover". A loving caregiver is worth two lovers anytime, anywhere.

This is not to say that longer life expectancy goes hand in hand with a debilitating illnesses. On the contrary, having a high primal, loving caregiver throughout life can indeed make a crotchety, low primal the envy of his juniors. More importantly, becoming a loving caregiver in turn, is a sure way to tolerate old age. In the meantime, the hell with the actuary tables.   

8/12/14

On Obituaries And Legacies

I'm not one for reading the obituaries. I should be a follower of obituaries. Not because of my age but because of my genes. My mother was an avid reader of the obituaries (what was unusual about her choice of news was that she read the obits as published in English even though she never had any schooling in the English language). I recall that  Ben Franklin like my mother read the obits everyday.  According to Ben, "I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page.If my name is not on it, I get up". He would be frustrated by today's daily newspaper being delivered only four days a week. Poor Ben would get an awful lot of sleep these days.

My excuse for ignoring the obituaries? At my age, they might spoil my breakfast if my name was staring me in the face.Some people write their own obituaries. I guess they don't want to take a chance of anything negative popping up after they are gone and can't defend themselves. I would chalk it up as an unnecessary ego trip. No undertaker worth the bucks he is being paid would let a negative obituary get by him. Personally, I have found it unnecessary to indulge in obituary writing. I always felt that I would do something outstanding during the course of my life and at my death editors would be scrambling to detail the deeds. Such is not to be. I stopped pursuing a legacy worth any newsprint long ago. I'll have to be satisfied with a generic obituary. No obituary at all would be OK also. What is really important is that those whom I love remember me as someone who did his best to earn their love and respect.

Whoa! This is beginning to sound like an obituary and a published one at that. I assure one and all that such is not the case. Heck those embers from the dying fire of establishing a legacy might still burst out into a flame. Stranger things have happened. Realistically as far as the future of printed obituaries is concerned, its about as dim as my legacy embers. Most investors are convinced that newspapers are on their death bed. I wonder, has anyone written the obituary? That's one I want to read.