Ups & Downs

We of the Empire do feel sorry for the citizens of the United States. They are for the most part good people, but in the back of my mind I keep hearing that accusatory saying: “Every nation gets the government it deserves.”

If that is so, one has to wonder what the Americans ever did to deserve swimming around together in the political chamber pot they occupy today.

Not that those of us in the Empire are above reproach, not at all. We’ve had our own ups and downs, although none of our downs have … but enough of this. Our neighbors are resourceful, and have dug themselves out of worst scrapes in the past.

Imagine being sentient and reading the newspapers in 1954 as Senator Joseph McCarthy went about his daily rounds ruining lives and fouling the nation’s waters. The US of A got through those times and came out the better for it.

Could happen again. We Imperial citizens sincerely hope that a sweet relief for our friends comes rapidly.

******

Monday morning an article in the NYTimes told a story that was like … I dunno … a plot for a “B” movie starring Melissa McCarthy and Adam Sandler. Officials finally cleared the Westerdam, a cruise ship, in the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and hundreds of passengers disembarked to go sightseeing or shopping, while scores more jumped onto planes to continue their vacation travels.

The Westerdam

And then of a sudden one American lady triggers the thermal scanner, and later tests positive for coronavirus. But all these other passengers were out there doing their thing, some of them carrying their viral load to the far corners of the earth. An epidemiologic nightmare, nest-ce pas?

Imagine that you’re on a plane somewhere in the world on Monday morning, reading the Times story, while somebody across the aisle from you is telling the guy next to him how he had been quarantined on a cruise ship and just got released the day before in Cambodia and what a mess that had been. And then the guy coughs a couple of times.

Make you nervous just reading about it, doesn’t it?

Bill Burr might not be your favorite comedian, but while I was reading the Times piece I flashed back to his solution to the world’s population problems, and it involved cruise ships. Here’s a shortened version of that bit, from Conan O’Brien’s show.

Like I said. A “B” movie script idea if there ever was one.

******

I found this animated GIF on the New Yorker site. It’s hypnotic. I keep waiting for something to happen … a dog running into the frame, or the bicyclist’s head to turn. But it never changes. The cyclist just keeps pedaling, the snow falls forever.

******

The Boy Scouts of America have filed for bankruptcy as their sexual abuse lawsuits continue to pile up. This has become another sad and sordid story about yet another institution that didn’t do its job, didn’t protect the children under its care. Yet another group that had to be taken to court and forced to admit that it failed in its primary duty. Make room on the Bench of Shame, Catholic Church, here comes the BSA.

Is there a de-merit badge that the adults in scouting responsible for the offenses and/or the cover-up could be sentenced to wear?

******

I do have a positive Boy Scout story for you. When I was working in Yankton, a teen-aged Eagle Scout came into the office with the complaint of pain in his chest.

He had been backpacking at the Scouts’ Philmont Ranch in New Mexico, leading a group of younger boys. On the second day out, he suddenly developed chest pain and shortness of breath. In spite of this he finished the trek, which meant another day in the mountains carrying a full pack, and then a day traveling home.

My examination and workup quickly showed that his left lung was nearly completely collapsed due to a spontaneous pneumothorax. It happens – a lung springs a leak and collapses, just like the inner tube on a bicycle. A physician then inserts a tube which sucks out the air from the space where it isn’t supposed to be, and the patient is usually good as new.

This kid, who was a Type AAA personality if there ever was one, hadn’t let a little thing like a collapsed lung get him down. He finished the job and then sought care days later.

As a person who feels that he should not be expected to walk whenever his little toe is aching slightly, I remember being suitably impressed.

******

5 thoughts on “Ups & Downs

  • Jon,

    I am enjoying your blog so much! I wish it came out more often…

    Questions:

    1. Is there a way to pull up all the posts in date order from the beginning?

    2. What is “the Empire” alluded to in this post?

    Comment:

    The Tuareg music video conjured up wonderful memories for me…six years in Saudi Arabia and two years in Chad. In Chad, I traveled to Mao, on the edge of of the Sahara desert. (The Sahel region). Saw many men in robes and turbans like the ones in the video. Very cool indeed…

    The era of these wild and free people is coming to an end, alas.

    Looking forward to your next installment.

    Sarah

    Like

    • Sarah,

      Glad this thing amuses you. As for pulling up posts, there is no non-clunky way that I’ve so far found on WordPress, but I added an “Archive” widget today that will at least group them by month.

      My habit has always been to erase entries after a time, usually six months or so. Since I’ve only been on WordPress for a few months, there are not many “back issues.”

      “The Empire” is a conceit of mine, encompassing the places in the world where my children, Robin’s children, and a very few old friends now reside. It is a discontinuous thing, existing only in my mind and is mostly US based, with an embassy in Peru. The citizens are not very good at being Imperial, but they do the best they can with limited resources.

      As to the those wild and free peoples, they are vanishing all over the globe, aren’t they? Who knew that television and improved communication would end up homogenizing humanity to such a degree? Languages disappear daily, cultures fragment and fall by the wayside. In a hundred years, everything will be Kansas City.

      Jon

      >

      Like

      • Jon,

        You absolutely should not erase any posts permanently. You can take them off the blog and archive them, but don’t lose them forever.

        I am looking forward to a long chat with you and Robin soon. I have so many comments on your blog!

        Why Peru? An offspring lives there?

        Sarah

        On Wed, Feb 19, 2020, 12:50 PM Little Home In The Valley wrote:

        > jono55 commented: “Sarah, Glad this thing amuses you. As for pulling up > posts, there is no non-clunky way that I’ve so far found on WordPress, but > I added an “Archive” widget today that will at least group them by month. > My habit has always been to erase entries after ” >

        Like

  • Jon,

    I am enjoying your blog so much! I wish it came out more often…

    Questions:

    1. Is there a way to pull up all the posts in date order from the beginning?

    2. What is “the Empire” alluded to in this post?

    Comment on an earlier post that included a great video:

    The Tuareg music video conjured up wonderful memories for me…six years in Saudi Arabia and two years in Chad. In Chad, I traveled to Mao, on the edge of of the Sahara desert. (The Sahel region). Saw many men in robes and turbans like the ones in the video. Very cool indeed…

    The era of these wild and free people is coming to an end, alas.

    Looking forward to your next installment.

    Sarah

    Like

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