Random Conjectures

"Act locally; bitch globally."

Category: A public service announcement

This and That

La metro

Well, I’ve woken up, managed to make a strawberry croissant and a killer cup of coffee (roasted a week ago, ground a few second before using, perfectly brewed, and with a 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, two tsp white sugar, and some Trader Joe’s thick cream). Delicious.

I’m playing hooky from my studies today, and will be leaving my house soon, because it’s now nearly 9 a.m., and it’s 76° F. already. By noon, it will have reached 91°. My little cottage by the beach has many good qualities among it. Air conditioning, alas, is not one of them.

So, when I’m done with this little screed, which should be by the next hour or so, I shall be taking the air conditioned bus down to the air conditioned light rail train, which will in turn take me to the air-conditioned Barnes & Noble, which I will be infesting until about 5 pm, by which time the temp will have declined to an acceptable 82°.

And, in the mean time, I will be writing about this and that: idle thoughts worth examining further. Read the rest of this entry »

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More Notes from the First Circle of Hell

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I’ve recently read something that has stirred up something vaguely resembling thought in me, and I’ve decided to put down those thoughts. Bad thoughts! Bad!

Seriously, though, the first of the writings in question is this one entitled Hikikomore and the Politics of Despair. The writer examines the lives of a growing sector of people in Japan who are described with the name in the above title. The name means ‘shut-in’, and refers to a large and growing group in Japan who have pretty much given up on Japanese society, and are living in their parents’ homes, or alone. They seldom go out of their rooms, and are pretty much bound to their computers, their televisions, or their video games.

The ultimate result of this way of life is called kodoyushi. It means lonely death, which is being experienced by more and more of the hikikomore, either as they age, or as they decide to give up. It is indeed a lonely death, because what often happens is that these people die alone, and their bodies are not found until days to weeks later.

The writer suggests that these hikikomore are the inevitable result of our modern society, that they are canaries in the coal mine: outliers who are showing the way that more and more people in the U.S. will be living in the not-too-distant future.

I hate to be the one to tell the writer, but it is unlikely to be as good in the U.S. as in Japan. It seems that in Japan, there is a much better social support network, in which people who can no longer cope are still taken care of. Not so in the U.S.

No, we have had our hikikomore for a long time now. We call them the homeless. Read the rest of this entry »

Some musings on the National Anthem

What with the fact that even a hermit like me, without newspapers, television, or cable, and with the radio permanently stuck on the local classical station, KUSC, has still heard of the fracas about footballers and others not standing for the American flag or the National Anthem, it is obvious that teh Interwebz has an inordinate effect on the weak-minded, such as yours truly.

That being said, and the fact that like most of my fellow weak-minded souls, I’m armed with a weblog, and I’m not afraid to use it, I might as well do so likewise to deliver my uninformed and cantankerous opinion upon an already weary world. Read the rest of this entry »

To Serve Man: An Interim Report

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ABSTRACT:  A report on recent developments in the feeding, care, and harvesting of human beings (hereafter, ‘cattle’).

HISTORY: Approximately 5,000 SPO (Standard Planetary Orbits) ago, an agent of our corporation discovered that the third planet orbiting Yellow Star 57429 was infested with a more or less intelligent mammalian primate species. Being rather hungry after a long period of induced hibernation, the agent harvested and consumed a member of this species. The agent thereby discovered the delicacy which is the primary product of our boutique corporation, with a niche market of five amphibian or reptilian customer species, including our own. Read the rest of this entry »

The Impressive Clergyman

I’m sure that most of my seven or eight readers will remember that most impressive scene within that classic motion picture, The Princess Bride, when Prince Humperdinck is about to enact his, er, ‘arranged’ marriage with Princess Buttercup. The court chapel is richly arrayed with tapestries and flowers. The Bride, groom, wedding party, and wedding guests are richly dressed. The altar is gorgeously arrayed. The Impressive Clergyman, who is even more gorgeously vested, turns from the altar to the people, while the organ plays the final cadence of its beautiful music. The Impressive Clergyman silently gestures for the congregation to rise.

And then the Impressive Clergyman opens his mouth. Read the rest of this entry »

Nightmare

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It started very suddenly. First, the computers stopped working, those that drove the screen that I tapped at, and those that ran the household appliances. Then the electricity stopped.

Then the nearby refineries started blowing up. The fires of their burning went up forever, veiled in the pillars of dark black smoke that thrust through the sky. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Sometimes I take a great notion…’

As one can perhaps tell from my choice of title and music, I’m a bit down right now. Now, where to start as to why…? Read the rest of this entry »

An episcopal apology I’d like to hear some day

When I was a child at a Roman Catholic grade school in Southern California, long ago, the practice of the nuns who taught there was to have the students of in each class room line up in their own line at the end of each recess. One morning, the kids in my class room, while in their line, were being particularly loud and unruly, so much so that they delayed the whole school from going in to their respective classrooms by at least ten minutes.

My teacher, a particularly tall and stout Carmelite nun, came up to me, and said, “I want you to apologize to the whole school for the behavior of our class.” I quietly protested to her, “But I didn’t take part in what they did!” And the nun quietly said to me, “I know that. Nonetheless, I would like you to apologize on behalf of your class. Could you do that for me?” I nodded, and in as loud a voice as I could muster, I apologized to the school on behalf of my class.

It seems that these days, I have heard tell of a number of bishops who are remonstrating with their unruly and disorderly flocks. I have remarked here and there about such bishops. I’m afraid that I have not been very charitable with these bishops, and for that, I apologize myself. Read the rest of this entry »

It is better to light one small stick of dynamite, than to curse the silence.

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This is a wake up call, for me and for my five or six readers now. I’ve mourned the death of my late wife, Beth, for long enough. I have also mourned the death of all that I have loved in the Church of my youth for long enough.

It is time to wake up to what we must become, rather than who we now are. Read the rest of this entry »

I feel much better, now that I’ve given up hope.

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Well, today is my 63rd birthday. It would be better if my late wife, Beth, were here to enjoy it (or for that matter, my first late wife, Carolyn, but as I often say, ‘If wishes were horses, we’d all be knee deep.’). Bur friends are posting greetings to me on my e-mail and my Facebook page. And Beth appeared to me in another dream last night, and we had a nice talk. One accepts one’s blessings with gratitude and humility, if one is wise. Read the rest of this entry »