Wednesday, August 27, 2008

a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

View halloo to one and all. I have been a little depressed, which I am chalking up to the election season (now 50% longer! with lemon-freshened enzymes!). I go home at the end of the day, looking forward to no electronic input of any kind. I have been reading a lot of Greeks and Romans and historians thereof, to remind myself that really, things were not exactly *better* as the Normans grew to power in Sicily. It occurs to me that the Fall of the Roman Empire might have been hastened had there been 24-hour cable news coverage of it.

I have a question -- do we, as a country, now have on hand a quantity of portable trailers that outgas somewhat-less formaldehyde than previously? Because it appears that we may need them, in the same darn place we needed them before. Don't even get me started.

I was given something called "Amish friendship bread" today, which appears to be a kind of sourdough starter for a kind of quickbread. If you can call something that takes ten days of mixing and adding stuff a quickbread. Not sure what this is supposed to be -- will I eat it and discard all my clothing with zippers? I'll have a slice and suddenly feel compelled to go to a barn-raising? I'll let you know.

My perusal of Tacitus proceeds apace. My Latin, rusty from disuse, is getting progressively better. I find that the more I read in another language, the less time I have for reading political blogs and comments areas of newspapers, and the better I feel about the world. Here's the scorecard so far: Germanicus? Awesome. Agrippina? Not so much. Crispus? Thumbs up. Tiberius? Kind of a creep.

I wish there were some sort of modern-day Tacitus. I suspect that if such a person exists, he/she is, in fact, a political blogger. It is thus with a kind of hope-tinged regret that I find myself reading many, many, many of these kinds of blogs. Mostly, it makes me exasperated that this great opportunity (i.e., the opening up of the great digital podium for all to speak) has attracted so many people who, quite frankly, cannot write. "You with your jejune little grammatical rules! How dare you tell me, The Chronicler of Our Age, that I need a better understanding of the subjunctive mood? How dare you! You are in thrall to the mainstream media! You are keeping me down, man! You're part of the problem! You don't want to hear the truth! You are threatened by the Glorious Coming Wave of Citizen Journalists! Spelling is patriarchal oppression! Oops, out of time -- gotta go feed my cats and watch teh Battlestar Galacticaz. 111000011010zz!!"

Whatever. I blame the iPod for all of this. You somehow end up getting the idea that the world revolves around YOU and your playlist. It's all about customizing things for this big collective "you" out there. Like, heaven forfend that you should have to sit through a Journey song you don't like or something. Perish the thought that you might have to get along with people who don't agree with you. Horrors -- the idea of reading something that makes your blood boil with rage? Forget it, who needs that kind of stress? Just keep reading and listening and thinking about stuff that you already know you like. Slag off all the people who disagree with you, embrace those who seem to be just like you. No problem. To quote Aaron Sorkin (which I don't recommend as, say, a habit): "Hubris, yeah, that always turns out well."

forecast for region: sunny, 20% ch t-strms, high of 87. mstly clear after 8, low in the upper 60s.
forecast for my house: shady, 40% ch mowing lawn, 20% ch baking Amish bread, 100% ch playing with dogs. extended forecast: reading, with a chance of housecleaning on Saturday. 30% ch of journeying Sunday to Leavenworth County to look at a sunflower farm. 0% ch of watching political commentary on television. It is remarkable how much better you feel about the world when you just. turn. it. off. Not to mention how much more time you find you have on your hands to knit, bake a pie, think a thought, look at the sky.
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A Microscopic Cog in a Catastrophic Plan by Laura Lorson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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