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Monday, July 24, 2006

Truly Random Musings

One random thought per paragraph...

I generally don't want things that are merely things. I usually want things that will allow me to do something or have an experience. A pretty vase is nice, but you can't ride it around town or take a picture with it or anything...

Is it possible that the main difference between us and other animals is that we can put value on an item above and beyond its intrinsic value; that we're willing to pay more for a pretty stick than a regular old stick? Or is it empathy - the ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and see that they'd like to have the pretty stick to? Or is it foresight - knowing that if everyone else wants OUR pretty stick, well, then, we'd better be prepared to fight for our pretty stick. Does self-awareness necessarily lead to violence?

My yard is dead. Well, parts of it are dead, the rest is merely dying. I'm afraid of what it's going to look like next year... Why can't we simply go back to tall-grass prairie? It's a city law that I must mow my yard and keep it neat and tidy (which it isn't now - I hate to mow during a drought; I'm afraid of shocking the grass), but what if I were to plant native grasses and let them grow naturally? Could I call my yard a garden and get away with it? What is it about European grasses that we find so fascinating? Is it simply that we like the uniformity of a solid patch of grass? What about diversity? Can't I have a diverse yard? If I did, would I like it? The only things growing in my yard are native grasses (which are called "weeds") that are attuned to this climate. Why can't I just let them be?

My dirty rotten biker buddy Kioti had a saying on his e-mail signatures that read something like, "A smart monkey is a monkey that doesn't monkey with another monkey's monkey." There's wisdom there.

If iTunes is a truly random music player, why has it played "Lazy" by Deep Purple fifteen times in the past few days? Am I supposed to be getting some kind of message out of this? "You're lazy, you don't want no money, you don't want no bread." That phrase alone is 50% of the lyrics of the entire song. Is there a cosmic force out there telling me I'm lazy? I can't say I eat a lot of bread, but I do like it from time to time... Especially toasted with tasty things on it.

It's been said that the true way to find your worth is to figure out how many minutes it takes you to earn enough money to buy a loaf of bread at the local store. Not fancy bread, just plain bread. Now figure out how many loaves of bread you give the government each year for various services. While you're at it, why not take that loaf of bread and donate it to the food bank? You see, no matter how many loaves of bread we give the government, there are STILL going to be people with no bread, and it's our job to take care of them. Sure, the government is supposed to do that, but when push comes to shove, aren't we responsible for our neighbors? Granted, if I give my neighbors a loaf of bread every day, after a while I'd kind of start wondering just when they were going to mow my yard for me... Maybe that's the problem with our welfare system - we're all happy to give to those in need, but it's SO much easier for people to take advantage of a nameless entity (government) that it would be for them to take advantage of their neighbor... Perhaps the government should demand people work for their welfare check? Is that wrong? Personally, I don't mind my taxes going to welfare. But I kinda do want someone to clean the streets and fix the graffiti in my 'hood.

Back to the original premise of the last sentence... How many minutes does it take you to earn a loaf of bread? How many minutes did it take your father? Your grandfather? How much better are we doing?

One year ago today I quit smoking. I don't like being fat, but I smell a lot better.

People bemoan the fact that today's children are forced to grow up so quickly, that they are faced with difficult choices at an early age. True, 'tis a sad fact of our society. But we need to remember that childhood is a relatively new concept, historically speaking. Look at the child labor laws. Until the last hundred years or so, it wasn't uncommon for nine-year-old children to be working in factories or fields. We seem to feel that American society's mores should remain fixed in the 1950s - that Ward should work in an office, June should stay home, watching Wally and the Beaver happily grow through childhood. That scenario worked fine in the 1950s, but it may be time to scrap that. Mom and Dad both have to work now. If we leave things the way they are, of course children are going to have to make tough decisions at earlier ages. We need to pull Gramma and Grampa out of the nursing home, pull the kids out of day care, and all take care of the family again, together, in one big house. That formula has worked for 99% of human history - single (nuclear) family homes have been a dismal failure for the last one percent.

Only two more hours to go and I can go home and stare at a different computer.

I saw a commercial the other day where some company was giving free "dietary supplements" away. One lady said, "If it's free, it must be good." That makes no sense to me at all. Nature gives us good things for free (air, orgasms, etc.) but humans rarely do.

Taking responsibility for one's actions means more than lip service. Sometimes saying you're sorry doesn't cut it - you have to DO something to make amends.

I heard my first cicada song of the year yesterday. What emotion that simple sound brings! It's a bittersweet siren announcing the end of warm summer days, the beginning of lightningbug season, things are going to start drying up in the August heat soon, followed by the autumnal fall. Cicada sirens also bring a sense of space and stillness - where is the sound coming from? A sudden awareness of wise trees, taking up unknown measures of sky above us. The smell of burning leaves, followed soon by the smell of woodsmoke coming from the chimney, followed soon by the snows. When I hear a cicada I want to stop what I'm doing and pay attention to summer. I want to sit quietly and learn what the trees can teach me.

Lord, I miss the farm.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a few comments, if I may...

"Weeds" are not necessarily "native". The definition of "weed" as simply a misplaced plant, many weeds are invasive species. Native plants rarely are able to overrun an area; they tend to live in harmony with other plants. If you want to have a more "natural" yard, go for it! It will take a few years to keep the weeds out of your native grasses and plants, but diligence will pay off. Or, look for alternatives to grass lawns, such as thyme. It's easy to do with a small space, as is turning it into a real "garden". I don't like the American obsession with lawns either. It's wasted effort, energy, and resources.

Today's kids aren't forced to grow up too quickly. They grow "better" physically, but don't mature in the head as quickly as they'd like. The 12 year old of today is much less mature than the 12 year old from 1950. Also, longer lives give more of an "allowance" for younger people to stay immature longer. Don't quote my stats, but isn't the average lifespan twice as long now as it was just 100 years ago? Nowadays, when someone is born there is an expectation that this person will be around at least 70 years. In the old days, people died. Now, we operate and medicate. Natural selection has gone haywire. But anyway...

I argue that lightning bug season starts mid-June, about the time the raspberries are starting to ripen. I did notice cicadas buzzing a few weeks ago. Maybe you need to visit my part of town more often; nature seems to be on a different schedule on the west side.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

We have no nature on the Westside. I often walk the four or five blocks to work... I've noticed TWO places where they've simply paved over their entire yard. Evidently mowing really sucked for them.

I agree with your definition of weed - simply a plant that's in the wrong spot at the wrong time. But you get my point... The only things that are growing in my yard seem to be native plants, and I think they're pretty and I don't wanna mow over them. (I like the idea of having areas of moss rather than lawn, but it's too dry here.)

Kids - I think the average 12 year old of today has much more on their mind than a 12 year old of 1950. That said, a 12 year old of 1850 often had to deal with death and working in factories and fields and such... Anyway, I wish our society would go back to extended families living together - I think a lot of the pressures that are put on today's kids could be relieved, while at the same time imparting grandpa's wisdom upon said child. I know, it's not practicable in many instances... But you know what I mean. Having raised a kitten through cathood, I'm much an expert on child-raising, you know. I should write a book. :-)

4:56 PM  
Blogger gerberdaisy said...

my 12 year old is trying to decide which IVY league school to attend, and has hair under his arms. I'm scared!
is it true cicadas only come once every 7 years?

8:25 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

GD - that's what I've always heard about cicadas. I just published a new post just a few minutes ago - is that a picture of a cicada? Does anyone know what kind of bug that is?

Hey, aren't you guys on vacation in the middle of the Poconos or something?

The 12-year-old neighbor girl is six feet tall and has boobs. I don't remember girls getting busty that early when I was a kid... In my neighborhood, I fear for the child.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous wale said...

my name is wale from nigeria iam here to share my feeling with u. i am a university dropped out and i need ur help to go back to school thanks

2:32 AM  
Anonymous wale said...

my name is wale from nigeria iam a university d
roppedout and please i need ur help

2:37 AM  

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