Category Archives: Observed

Small Beer


    Americans are too enamored of SCANDAL. Few transgressions are worthy of such designation. The misused and abused word itself. Thanks to the giant scarlet
S, peccadillos barely deserving shrugs balloon into outrage. 

    We resort to SCANDAL too easily. Same with hero. Who can’t be a hero in America? It’s so easy now one needn’t bother swiping Pauline off train tracks at the last minute or yanking cats from tree limbs. The valor invested in hero, like the disgust which should weigh SCANDAL, has been devalued. Otherwise why call such stalwarts “everyday heroes”?

    Isn’t that an oxymoron?

    We now bestow ever-fleeting glory on mundane acts. It’s lazy tabloid media usage. Continue reading Small Beer

Our Time on Earth

    Unlike morally smug, ethically deficient conservatives and the Scripture misinterpreting evangelicals who enable them, the rest of us have had no hand in our own conception. Randomly created, we are born. Inevitably we die. If we’re lucky we begin enjoying semblances of control several years into seeing first light until our mortal forms lose vigor, and blindness begins the cascade rendering us past tense.

    I read somewhere sight is the first of our senses that extinguishes; hearing the last. Maybe it’s apocryphal but Lillian Hellman yelled final tender endearments to Dashiell Hammett just as he succumbed on his deathbed. Seems right. The two writers were true to their beliefs as well as one another in a fashion that flouted convention.    
    
    
Besides, who among us wouldn’t prefer going out hearing how we were adored? Loving phrases over a corpse comfort mourners but do the dead derive any benefit from them? Doubtful. Continue reading Our Time on Earth

Clubby


    Don’t states of desolation descend on country clubs in autumn? Lingering summer’s unformed hours still insist on carefree activity. Remnants of airy remarks hover throughout empty rooms.

    Those ghosts will remain somewhat lonely.

    School has resumed. Vacations and lax diligence are finished. Although weather should permit several more weeks of sailing, serves and tee-offs followed by hacking, the emphasis our society places on nose to grindstone performance denies any extension of these pursuits past Labor Day.

    Strolls through such vacant shore or brae addresses are now mixtures of somberness and relief. The leisure class has abandoned these boating and golf premises to housekeepers, gardeners, and kitchen staff who’ve happily shucked much of their occupational deference. Continue reading Clubby

Staged?

 

    The girl who hands over my New York Times is always astounded at its heft. Even on Saturdays. I laugh at her lack of reference. Stacked against almost every other newspaper in America, yes, the Times is plump. But as subscribers of a certain age remember, today’s editions are miserly compared against the fat decks of a decade ago.

    Especially those Sunday sandbags.

    My newsgirl doesn’t read newspapers. At least not intentionally. She’s of that breezily-informed generation which receives its mostly unedited information through bits and bytes. It shows. Their general lack of awareness, the blithe knowledge deficiency, augurs ill for them.

    Fortunately, this group’s esteeming the ephemeral above all immunizes them against everyday worries as well as prospective maladies. Think of it as bliss without the Schedule 1 drugs.

    Even when my age group lived carefree someone older always cautioned “beware!” If recalled correctly, while we proclaimed disregarding those admonishments they nevertheless seeped in to steer us through responsible adulthood.

    My, how mentoring has changed. Etiquette, too. Continue reading Staged?

Social Intercourse


    Unemployment gave me a lot of time to waste. Since being shelved, I’ve been able to sate a few extreme curiosities. Online dating has been one of the most perplexing.

    Private by nature, the exposure such sites demand have asked more from me than I’m accustomed to relinquishing. Thankfully “Rex Merritt” has been honest.

    In real life, that is life where actual humans maintain face-to-face exchanges, it’s easier to tailor questions and gauge responses. Doesn’t web anonymity license deception and puffery? Continue reading Social Intercourse

Reconquista 2012

 

    The current GOP doesn’t envy Mexico much of anything, but doubtlessly its more avaricious hierarchy dreams about becoming an Anglo version of the PRI. The PRI, or as it’s known in English, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, has been called “the perfect dictatorship.”

    An electoral process gives the organization a sheen of legitimacy. Think of an oil slick upon water. See it as pay-for-play democracy. Isn’t this the system the Republican Party prays someday burdens the United States?

    Ideally, doesn’t the GOP hope to import and infect America with this Mexican model? Through it “freedom” and “justice” mean “shackled to rank ideology and life-draining consumer indebtedness” while “scandal” gets erased altogether from civic discourse because almost every transaction, even the most mundane — especially the most mundane ones! — requires “a little something extra.” A taste. Some beak wetting.

    There. Privatization of public services in a nutshell. Continue reading Reconquista 2012

Less Pie

    Had my former employer been more of a parent and an attentive businessman, I never would’ve written GREEN VENOM. But he wasn’t. So I did. Read GREEN VENOM. It’s terrific! Available through Amazon Kindle.

    Will our current despondency bring forth new versions of restoration farces? Aren’t the conditions ripe for mocking?

    Or have we now reached a period whose circumstances prompt responses more pointed than ridicule? Continue reading Less Pie

Bleed Red and Blue


    Occasionally alma mater notifies me about attending orientation sessions for prospective or incoming students. At these klatches it’s hoped alums will attend and act as gushy founts of information (the more arcane the better) regarding the school as well as be enthusiastic ambassadors. In the promotional sense, not as negotiators.

    My high point for transitioning cosseted high school graduates into women and men bearing the Arizona crest ended somewhere in the late 90s. Eighteen years after the fact represents a generational change. The place I knew has evolved into something unfamiliar.

    Had my 18-year-old self attended one of our 1977 events, how might I have evaluated descriptions of the 1959 institution? A perceptive teen, sure I could’ve extrapolated another’s undergraduate years into my present. But doesn’t the overwhelming majority of that age-set looks askance at the old, considering the “ancient” irrelevant to their then lives?

    At 18, who sees him- or herself at 36? While at 36, doesn’t 18 habitually become even more burnished?

    Yet through the 1990s I made dutiful facetime. I owed alma. Am I not obliged to her until my will is recited before survivors? (Won’t that be a jack-in-the-box!) The 2500 miles between Sonora Desert and Northeast excited me with unknowns. The sort which never would’ve infused me had I remained coddled here within the familiar region and among equally mired contemporaries.

    The adult fondly recalls the teen; the young adult never could’ve conceived of today. Continue reading Bleed Red and Blue

The Exalted and the Excluded


    When did women’s health become a men’s moral issue?

    These last several weeks of governing and campaigning in America have been more absurd than illuminating, but most of all revealing. Sadly much to the detriment of right-wing men.

    The paternalism exposed across these past weeks is a throwback. It harkens to an era when women were belittled as the fairer sex, were denied property rights, the vote, even personhood. No. Real live personhood, not any angels on a pin pointlessness about whether sperm entering ovum confers sentience. Why not ask if zygotes should be counted during census years?

    Naturally men’s misplaced consternation focuses on women’s reproductive systems. Particularly contraception. Even the most ardent abstainers finally agreed stopping results better than fixing them. Don’t believe it? Not long ago retailers stored condoms out of sight behind counters. Buying them required something between bravado and a speakeasy password. Today they’re sold as openly as sweet-laden snacks.

    That’s progress. Especially for horny youths with sugar rushes hindered by shyness. Continue reading The Exalted and the Excluded

Crossing Off the Crossroads of the World


    Our holidays were so desultory, all we lacked were a revolver and remorse to have made it a complete Camus Christmas. Being between jobs let me skip New Year’s Eve festivities. Just as well. I would’ve been ringing out 2011 anger and ringing in 2012 anxiety.

    The whole stretch of cold-weather holidays from Thanksgiving until St. Valentine’s Day darkens my outlook. An extensive slough of despond.

    If it were possible, I’d enter hibernation the day after Halloween and awake on St. Patrick’s Day. Early on St. Patrick’s Day. Was there ever a man less deserving of enduring the enforced spikes of autumnal and winter jollity?

    Yes. The above is an exaggeration. Thanks to the American labor movement my present unemployment is bothersome, not troublesome. The safety net so many Republicans yearn to shred keeps the wolf at bay. Unlike GOP governors, each a mouthpiece for America’s Mr. Potters, I’m quite appreciative of past labor agitators who organized and fought for workplace dignity, be they have been Wobblies, Socialists, or — shudder! — even Commies. Continue reading Crossing Off the Crossroads of the World