-
RSS Become a Fan

Recent Posts

Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?
For All the Saints
It isn't even past
Life at the intersections
Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?

Categories

American Society
Connections
Culture
Current Events
Environment
Faith and Courage
Fiction and Life
Forgiveness
Friendship
Good an Evil
History, Research, Writing, Fiction
Horses
Human Destiny
Language
Life and Death
Life in Aiken
Literary Criticism
Popular Music
Retrospectives
U.S. History
War and Peace
World War I
Writing Groups
powered by

Clio's Temple

Current Events

Is this real life? Is this just fantasy?

In the early days when he was managing the "Amazon' Mets," Casey Stengel reportedly said, "Can't anybody here play this game?" Looking at the avoidable problems which have surfaced with the midterm elections, that frustrated outburst makes sense to me.

Take my native state of Florida. In 2000, a poorly designed ballot may have been the straw the broke the electoral camel's back and helped place George W. Bush in the White House. The outcome, you will recall, was decided by the Supreme Court.

A question of values

In one of life's many ironies, I wound up having a conversation last week with a hospice doctor. The irony lies in the fact thatFaith, Hope, and Dr. Vangelis, my nearly-complete next book, has a hospice doctor as protagonist. He listened with interest to what I told him about the plot and offered some suggestions about "how hospice doctors think." This was a bit of serendipity, as I wasn't there to do research or discuss writing issues. I was there to get shaken up, an expectation that was rewarded.

The things we remember

It's probably inevitable, given the fact that we are in the midst of the centennial of World War I, that a number of highlights or lowlights of that epic slaughter get special mention. Today, at the midpoint of 2016, Europe observes the 100th anniversary of the First Day at the Somme.

In a war that saw many days of horror, July 1 is particularly infamous in the English-speaking world. Two hundred thousand men from Britain and the British Empire went over the top. Sixty thousand of them were struck down; over nineteen thousand of them were dead or missing.

Wish fulfillment?

I will confess: I didn't see it coming. Of course, I'm referring to the vote in favor of Brexit. To my American eyes, it seems like a raspberry toward the outside world, a world that had come to seem heedless of English wishes.

Therein lies the problem: The pro-Brexit vote was drawn heavily from England outside Greater London. Londoners voted to stay in the EU, as did residents of Scotland and Northern Ireland. There have already been rumbles in the latter two regions about a possible breakaway from the United Kingdom.

The day of, the days after

We always remember "the day of," don't we? In my parents' generation, there were the obvious dates - December 7, 1941 being the perhaps the first . Perhaps more significant are those more personal - wedding days, the birth of children, anniversaries, retirement parties, funerals. For my generation (I'm giving my age away), November 22, 1963 was the first great national trauma. Perhaps our children remember January 28, 1986 (Challenger disaster), but for most of them, September 11, 2001 is the one always burned into the memory circuits.

The cost of free speech

In a post on a blog about national politics yesterday, I used the term "Petigru's Asylum." Some readers familiar with South Carolina history might recognize the reference: It's an excerpt from James Petigru, a former SC governor who commented during the secession fever before the Civil War that "South Carolina is too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum."

The post in question had to do with the proposal to repeal South Carolina's archaic statue that forbids liquor sales on election days.

Sanitizing history

The death of Nelson Mandela has given rise to a debate of sometimes primal ferocity about how we should remember him.  Some have likened him to Gandhi, to Martin Luther King Jr., and other heroes of nonviolent resistance. Others have pointed to his expressed admiration for unsavory types such as Gaddafi and Castro. Apparently, he must be either clad in robes of the brightest hues or consigned to everlasting historical darkness.

Reality is inconvenient. Even heroes have feet of clay. It is true Mandela let his admiration for some tyrants be known.

A nation of kludges?

There's an odd sort of symmetry in my classes this week. In my Western Civilization class, I'm discussing with my students how Rome developed the first republican form of government. In my American History class, the discussion centers around the move to replace the Articles of Confederation with the Constitution.

Which makes it particularly fascinating that I just came across an article online titled "Kludgeocracy in America." You can check it out at www.nationalaffairs.com/publications/detail/kludgeocracy-in-america.

The devastation of a small town

I'm sorry to be so downcast on Earth Day. This above all ought to be a day for celebrating the beauty of the world in which we live, and for renewing our resolution to protect it. Instead, my mind is reeling from the news that the West Fertilizer Company was apparently storing more than 250 times the quantity of ammonium nitrate as divulged to the public. It's apparent the devastation that struck there last week was in some key respects foreordained. What is equally staggering is the word that there are over 1,000 such fertilizer storage facilities in Texas.

Patriots Day

"On the eighteenth of April, in seventy-five." The first Patriots Day marked the time when a group of upstart colonists took an irrevocable step toward making a new nation. On this day, we look at Monday's carnage in Boston and wonder whether something fundamental has broken in our land. From henceforth, admiration for the grit and tenacity it takes to run the 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon will be jostled by hateful images - two puffs of smoke, a runner falling to the ground, police and rescue workers scrambling to render assistance not knowing if or when another blast would occur.
Website Builder provided by  Vistaprint