Archive for May, 2010

For The Record

May 31, 2010

United States War Casuality Numbers

Those wars, like the warriors who fought them, were fought for a dizzying array of reasons, some commendable, some not.  Some who fought those wars did so with honor and for noble ideals, some fought simply because they felt they had to, and some (let’s be honest) fought for reasons darker, be those reasons personal gain, personal revenge, or just because they had a taste for fighting. 

Regardless, and regardless of if I personally agree with the motivations behind either the war or the warrior, one thing has always been clear to me:

Not even the least of these warriors died to give other people a three day weekend. 

In other words, as far as I’m concerned, Memorial day was yesterday.

Sex and Violence

May 28, 2010

In my experience, the more someone has a problem with sex, the less a problem they seem have with violence . . . but I’m not saying there’s a connection.

(I’m not saying there’s a connection, in part because I can’t think of a way to indisputably prove it, but mostly because I’m concerned some uber-repressed bastard will try to hurt me if I do say it.)

I Can Understand That All Too Well

May 27, 2010

So I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and the topic came up of something that he did years ago, but that still weighs on his conscience.  Personally, I thought it was a fairly minor thing even when it happened, and I put it to him (indirectly) that after all this time, surely it wasn’t significant at all any more.

His answer to that (paraphrased) was as follows:

“It was a time when I was being . . . less than what I know I’m capable of.  It doesn’t matter if everyone else in the world has forgiven me; I’m just not ready to forgive myself yet.”

Thoughts On Lessons From Childhood (Part Three)

May 26, 2010

From there — if I’m careful — I might be able to move to more recent examples:

A matador in Spain was horribly gored recently (no link, because if you want to see the pictures you can find them yourself).  Last I heard, he’ll live, but he’ll remember that bull every time he looks in the mirror.

Now, I know that in Spain matadors are ranked right up there with star gladiators of the arena back in Roman times.  Personally, I prefer rodeo clowns, since they demonstrate the same level of bravery without any weapons or need to kill, and I think humor is more entertaining than blood anyway, but that may be just me. 

Given the fact that six bulls are killed in each bullfight in the arena where this happened, I can’t help but feeling satisfaction on the bull’s part for scoring one for his team.  At the same time, however, I still feel for the poor bastard who got gored, because it was horrific, and even though he knew (and likely embraced) the risks, what happened to him was a terrible thing to happen to anyone.

In the end, the only winner, in a sense, was the crowd.  They came to see blood, and they got to see blood, just like, one way or the other, they always do.

I still prefer rodeo clowns though.

Thoughts On Lessons From Childhood (Part Two)

May 25, 2010

I’m planning to start simple, and start off with examples that have a safety margin of hundreds or even thousands of years, just so it’s a little less personal.

For instance, I saw a special on Roman gladiatorial games a while back that talked about the popularity of gladiator versus animal battles because they demonstrated “Rome’s dominance over Nature.”  The special went on to detail the difficulties of  training animals for the arena, and though it glossed over the cruel treatment to make the animals “mean,” it made a special point to mention the diet of human flesh so the animals would develop a taste for it.

Of course, no amount of meanness training and diet really prepares an animal to be thrust into an open space in front of a large crowd of screaming humans, so the animals sometimes did the sensible thing.  Instead of lunging at the gladiators in a crowd pleasing display of  animalistic fury, sometimes the animals chose to, say, back up against a wall and snarl a warning that everyone should just “stay back.”

And that was it. 

In show ruining cases like this (which according to the special, happened quite often), the animal trainer could be (and again, according to the special, frequently was) brought out before the crowd and executed “for his failure,” demonstrating in the process the exact amount of dominance Rome had over Nature.

Thoughts On Lessons From Childhood (Part One)

May 24, 2010

Last week for me was all about revisiting some of the foibles and hypocrisies that tend to come about the longer a person lives; a bit of early preparation for the lessons of childhood I’m expecting to both learn from, and be teaching little “plus one.”  The foibles I’m fairly forgiving of, we all get used to our preconceived notions, and few of us go back to question them enough, but most of them are harmless habits, so it’s nothing worse than a charming surprise when a little one asks if skeletons should be wearing underwear or not.

Some preconceived notions are vicious and dangerous though, and the worst ones are the ones that are hypocritically applied in the “do what I say, not what I do” manner.  Trying to explain that to little “plus one” is going to be trickier.

Lessons I Learned From My Childhood (That Were In NO Way What Was Trying To Be Taught To Me At The Time) (Part Five)

May 21, 2010

When a man and a woman love each other very much, they will frequently lie about not having sex.  If caught in that lie (say via pregnancy), they will talk even louder than before about how much they love each other.

Lessons I Learned From My Childhood (That Were In NO Way What Was Trying To Be Taught To Me At The Time) (Part Four)

May 20, 2010

The beneficial properties of sunshine, fresh air and sleep are apparently enhanced by other people’s desires for me to go do something else for a while, particularly the desires of the person telling me I need more sunshine, fresh air, or sleep.

Lessons I Learned From My Childhood (That Were In NO Way What Was Trying To Be Taught To Me At The Time) (Part Three)

May 19, 2010

Hard work builds virtue . . . provided the person saying this isn’t the one having to do the work.

Lessons I Learned From My Childhood (That Were In NO Way What Was Trying To Be Taught To Me At The Time) (Part Two)

May 18, 2010

Honesty is the best policy . . . for making people really mad at you.