Hey, Listen To What I Say … Not What I Said

Joe Biden has been around American politics a long, long time. He is famous for making gaffes, sometimes talks like he’s eating a peanut butter sandwich at the same time, and no one has ever (to my knowledge) referred to him as an intellectual or a scholar. But the other day when he declared that Putin must not remain in power … I understood him clearly. No matter what disclaimers are coming out of Washington DC trying to explain those words away. He now says “I didn’t mean regime change, folks, really I didn’t.” I don’t buy it.

Of course my own understanding is that of a know-nothing yahoo from the prairies without a political credential to his name. And of course world leaders don’t want anyone suggesting that forcibly removing world leaders from office is a good habit to develop. But when Biden said For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power, I heard – take him out. Period.

There were moments in history when disagreements between tribes were settled by having the leader of each group square off in combat. If your guy won, that was a great day, but even if he lost … at least both villages were still standing and there was always hope for a better result down the road.

The evolution of warfare that we see on display in Ukraine finds instead the Russian armies destroying cities, non-combatants, and children. It’s not new, just the latest iteration of the horror that is war. All this to achieve goals that are not completely obvious to those of us in the yokel-universe. Reverting to having one-on-one combat would be so much better than this.

Perhaps Russia would put up Putin as their champion, perhaps not, but I definitely wouldn’t use President Joe to carry our colors. Why, the man’s almost as old as I am! And I wouldn’t suggest having any warrior that superannuated defending anyone’s honor or any country’s borders. Nope. Who I would want as our champion would be someone who was strong, unscrupulous, dumb as a bunch of rocks, and who could hold only one thought at a time in their head and that was winning the duel.

I would send Marjorie Taylor-Greene. If she won we could give her a pat on the back, a medal, a pension, and send her back to to where she came from. A win.

If she lost, at least we wouldn’t have to deal with her particular brand of idiocy any longer. A win.

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We didn’t watch the Oscar ceremonies this year. Our television usage is strictly streaming and non-cable, and all of the choices available to us involved signing up for a free introductory week on some service and then dropping out later in the week. It’s legitimate but a tiresome dodge.

Last year I tried to do this end-around with Hulu Plus but their computer found me out and I received the message “Hey, you did this last year and what good did it do us? So get on out of here, you deadbeat. No more free lunches at this bar.”

I read, though, that I missed something a bit out of the ordinary Sunday night, when Will Smith punched Chris Rock onstage. Usually the attacks in situations like this are verbal ones, small daggers slipped so deftly between the ribs that hours might pass before you even knew you were dead. To have a direct physical confrontation so publicly … .

Rock may have made a thoughtless joke at Smith’s wife’s expense (after all, he makes his living as a smart-ass) but Will Smith … for cripes sakeuse your words! And aren’t we past the time when powerful women need men to protect them from comedians at the Oscars? Jada Pinkett Smith is smart, not socially inhibited, and could have spoken up very well for herself.

It was a thug move on Smith’s part.

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Parker Palmer is an educator, lecturer, activist, author of several books, and a Quaker. Every once in a while I will come across a snippet taken from one of his books, or a short video on YouTube and I think “That is one thoughtful man, I should get busy and learn more about what he has to say.”

And then I am distracted, forget all about him, and go on with life in the maelstrom.

So I have no idea why I picked up his book A Hidden Wholeness this morning and started in reading it. In fact, I had no idea we owned the darn thing in the first place. But I ran into these paragraphs right there in the preface and I was hooked.

This seems such a great analogy, to me. The deadly confusion of a blizzard. The sometimes fatal consequences of being lost in one. I will admit to letting go of the rope at moments in my life, and to not always doing proper maintenance on those good old moral bearings.

This time … I will read Palmer’s book. Maybe there’s more good stuff on the inside. But, you know, at least I’ve read the preface.

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I have joined the Carhartt Universe. In fourscore plus years I have not owned so much as a bandanna manufactured by this venerable manufacturer of clothing for working men and women. Oh there were reasons … everything was this red dirt color, was constructed of the same material that they make heavy duty tarps with, and when wet the garments weighed enough to cause profusions of hernias to bloom.

Then there was always the potential for ridicule by people who actually worked with their hands and who might murmur “Impostor” under their breath as I walked by.

But Carhartt has broadened their lineup of products quite a bit in recent years – more colors, more styles, more sizes. So when we were at Murdoch’s yesterday I took the plunge and bought a T-shirt. It is sturdy, seems durable, and there is not one red-dirt thread in it. One small step for man … .

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