This and That

Earthquake; The sheer force of nature was never more evident than last week and even continuing now in Japan. As has been written by many, Japan is one of the most technically advanced countries in the world. Their foresight and training for just such an event probably saved hundreds of thousands of people.


Yet the startling fact to me is that against forces of nature, even the most brilliant minds are no match. The sheer power of the Pacific Plates is both wondrous and scary. The thought of that occurring 15 miles below the surface of the water is mind blowing. That is 75,000 feet  into the earth’s crust

Almost simultaneously, the shuttle Discovery was setting down from another and final trip into space. The program is shutting down after several decades. There are going to be scientists and support staff out of work. Why don’t we explore the oceans?

Compared to outer space we have spent nothing in finding out what goes on thousands of feet below the surface. Approach this frontier the way we have the heavens. Think of it. It is a source of food, water, oil and who knows what minerals. How many other problems can we solve here without going to war. Just another pearl of wisdom from a dumb civilian.

The Japanese people are incredible in their demeanor and outlook. There isn’t a hint of ill will or looting or despair. I am sure it is somewhat religious and cultural but everyone treats each other as family watching out and being one. There is no pushing in line. Share and share alike. Neat concept.

Most of all is their resolve to rebuild and literally start over again. They are assessing the damage and going back to the drawing board in spite of constant aftershocks and threats of new Tsunamis. Can you imagine the fear and anxiety that must happen when they hear the dreaded air raid sirens again and again? Talk about resilience.

I watched a two hour show on the prophecies of Nostradamus. Like everything else you can read into it anything you want. But it was eerie that I watched this ten days ago. It speculates that the world will end on December 21,2012. This was all written several centuries ago. Very interesting. If you are the faint of heart, make sure it doesn’t hit your must see TV in the coming days

Church: Kathy and I tried a new church this week. We were welcomed openly by a wonderful young priest and very enrgetic congregation. His homily struck an interesting similarity to my blog last week. He must have copied it. The real gist was our preoccupation with things that go wrong. Charlie Sheen. The earthquake.The nightly news always features the latest murders, rapes and car crashes.

I have often wondered about our obsession with all things disastrous. Do we revel in gore and disease as long as it isn’t happening to us? Do we feel lucky or smug? When we say I am so sorry for this or that I wonder if we really mean it? Does misery love company or do we just move on? Thank God it wasn’t me. How many people checked the site where we feed the poor or tend to the sick.

There was  a four month old found in Japan yesterday. She had been torn from her parents arms by the Tsunami. She will be just fine. How many of you heard this heartwarming story?

Football: Maybe it is posturing for negotiation but this thing really gives me a bad taste. We are talking about two sets of spoiled brats trying to figure out how they are going to split $9 billion. The worst part is that the seats aren’t filled by corporate execs but Joe Six Packs. It’s this guy’s country club and they just closed it down.

Fines: For some reason after seeing the report on the financial crisis that absolved everyone, I got to thinking about my old stomping ground of Wall Street. I tried to quantify how many fines they and corporate America have shelled out.

$550mill for Goldman. $400 mill by Fannie Mae and $1.45 billion for Eli Lilly.Leo Mazillo of Countrywide fame paid $47 milllion personally. No one went to jail. Everybody is still in business. And they all paid without admitting any wrongdoing. Just their largesse. What a country! Tell that to some dude that got sent up the river for robbing a bank.

Conclusion: Well, Kathy and I are on the road to visit several old friends in Phoenix. She is playing in a member guest. I really enjoy driving. Sounds corny but you have no idea how big our country is until you travel it. Talk about diversity of people and ideas. If we were any other country we would 6-8 different nations. It really is a miracle it works.

 Sorry it’s a mishmash of ideas but there is so much happening. A lot to process. Of course a lot to ponder. I hope I listen. I hope I learn. I hope you all stay safe. Say Amen.

As Always

Ted The Great

Mouths of Babes:  My five year old grandson Jack Kenny, told his mother that “smooching” was kissing longly. May you all smooch sometime today.

Now Anders Mc Keever, my 4 year grandson, went for a ski weekend with his father. His mother is about to give birth to #2 child in 3-4 weeks. He gave his mother a kiss and ran out the door only to return. “Hey Mom if you have the baby while we are gone make sure you get in touch with us.” Enough said.



One thought on “This and That

  1. Ted – great observation: “I have often wondered about our obsession with all things disastrous. Do we revel in gore and disease as long as it isn’t happening to us?”

    I recently went on my first fatality call with the fire department. A young man on a motorcycle lost his life when he went head first into the side of a car that pulled out in front of him. This unfortunate young man had passed instantly so there was not much for us to do on scene other than assist with traffic while the investigators and everyone else conducted their business. As a relatively new volunteer (18 months), I tried to take notice of every person’s reaction to the scene and there were a few very distinct reactions I noticed:

    1. Many people drove by and gasped at the scene – showing genuine horror at what had occurred. Interestingly, a significant number of these people (more than 20) made the sign of the cross on their way by in an unexpected show of compassion, mercy, or whatever holy expression they intended. Most of these people were women.
    2. Most others drove by the scene with a confused or inquisitive look on their faces. The reality is, for most people in this part of the world, it is a rare occasion when an accident of any type occurs in their neighborhood. The flashing lights of the emergency vehicles and the obvious wreckage of the accident act as an instant alarm for the human brain to try and figure out what is going on and make sense of what has occurred. Most of these people were men.
    3. As we move lower down on the scale of decency, I can tell you there were a handful of cars that came through more than once. These people (and the people in group #4) are the people of which I think you are referencing in your observation. This group that drove by multiple time was all men and all were straining their necks and holding up traffic to try and get a glimpse of the recently departed.
    4. Possibly the most foul form of human life were the handful of ghouls who lived nearby and congregated on the street corner. Some of these people started taking pictures of the scene with their cell phones. When one of the troopers asked them to stop taking pictures out of respect for a family that did not know they had just lost a son and brother, a couple who were in the crowd started yelling at the officer about their 1st amendment rights. Some people seem to think that respect for others and common decency is not as important a person’s right to get a picture of a warm body posted on YouTube or their facebook page. There were a few more women than men in this crowd, but oddly the women stayed longer (odd because the men were the ones who drove by multiple times).

    If I had to put a number on it, I would say that over 95% of the people fell into category 1 or 2 and fewer than 5% fit into 3 or 4. Regardless of these categories, 100% of the people I saw put their eyes on the scene at least once.

    I’m sure I am stating the obvious when I say that when people see disaster, they have to look because the human brain has to make sense of the situation it is in (otherwise our forefathers would have all unwittingly tried to pet the hungry lions, tigers and bears they encountered). Broadcasters know this to be true and leverage it as much as possible for ratings and the subsequent advertising revenue. They do not care how most people feel after the news otherwise they would attempt to offset the bad and traumatic news with stories of success, compassion, and people who do right by their fellow man. We keep returning to the horrible images on the news because of our brain’s need to understand, adapt, and overcome. I cannot imagine that we will ever desensitize to this completely because of our acute sense of survival.

    On a side note, I thought for a few years now that it would be interesting to see how a “Good News Channel” would fair in the current battle for the 24 hour news cycle.

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