It’s Getting Ugly Out there….

It’s Easter, Passover or whatever your flavor of celebration of the season and it ain’t pretty. One can tiptoe through family, road rage, Congress, Europe, the Middle East and beyond to say we are not exactly singing out of the same hymnal…or Torah as the case may be. The older you get the more you look back at the way things used to be.

The Rite Of Spring always engenders pretty thoughts like daffodils or easter baskets and knowing that Opening Day is not far away. That is not saying yesteryear was always idyllic but I am struck by how many really earthshaking events occur today on a pretty regular basis. I always ask myself the question,”Is it chaos or growing pains?”

When you live in the Rockies the mountains are omnipresent. It may be sunny and mild in Denver but you can still see the snowcapped peaks in the distance. I can remember when we lived in Vail all you had to do was step outside your door and the landscape jumped out in front of you. You could take a hike and marvel at the thought that maybe no other human being had set foot here before.

I used to wonder to myself what those mountains thought. Over millennia they had seen just about everything from T Rexes to early settlers. People with incredible foresight and likewise immense folly had trouped through those valleys. Some had prospered and some had perished. Yet the continuity of rock and seashore endure. We are just travelers along the way.

As I approach the wonder age of a septuagenarian there is a part of me that says “Stop the world I want to get off”. Sure I could just put my feet up and chill. If I grew some hair and a stache I could be Don Ameche in Cocoon. How depressing. The world is a dynamic place and it is as satisfying as it is enigmatic. The challenge is to make it work.

Now everyone has the right way to pull this off. We seem pretty intent on spreading democracy throughout the world but the jury is still out as to its applicability everywhere. There are countries that will defy equal participation by their breadth of geography as well as multiple ethnicities. We got rid of Hussein but that created a vacuum that all manner of zealot wanted to fill. Egypt, Libya and Yemen got rid of the tyrants but maybe they weren’t the worst thing in the world at least in terms of stability. Putin’s Russia spans 10 time zones.

I have always been intrigued by Lee Kuan Yew who died last week. He appeared on the scene of a former British colony, Singapore and had nothing to work with but swampy slums. Even Indonesia cut them loose in the late 70’s and they were forced to fend for themselves. Educated at Cambridge Yew had a patrician accent and a vague idea of political science but he built and lorded over a peculiar brand of whatever. He was playing it by ear.

Slowly with a little chutzpah and a lot of resolve he created a miracle. He was dictatorial but benevolent. There were no guns nor chewing gum allowed. You don’t like it? Go somewhere else. And that crazy rag tag country grew to be the most successful nation per capita in the world. This wasn’t looking to the past because they had none. He and his subjects embraced change and innovation. They broke all the rules.

Every planner, MBA and political wizard was proven wrong. I get that same feeling today in so many areas. There was story in the Denver Post about a guy that is growing vegetables vertically in hydroponics two to three stories high. Weird arrays of pastel colored lights warm the plant to not only survive but thrive. Why didn’t I think of that?

In medicine we have a promising cancer therapy that is derived from the polio virus. There is an Israeli researcher who discovered that tissue from your nasal cavity can be grafted onto the spines of paralyzed people and they may regain sensation and perhaps walk some day. Are you kidding me?

Herein lies the rub. Let’s say I am a Republican or conservative if you will. I am a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution. I want less government and more defense. Free markets will conquer all. Not quite sure of all that. On the other hand if I am Democratic or liberal I think the government should provide for all. Bring up the downtrodden and all will be successful. Tax and spend beyond one’s means. It will all work out in the wash. Don’t think that is my mantra either. Still searching.

So with all this insanity going on everywhere what does a nice guy like me do? I have to learn that we as a country cannot control the world anymore. We can do pieces but not the whole magilla. That terrifies some but are we giving up power or making more nations responsible? Saudi Arabia feels deserted but is that really a bad thing? They seem like they want to step up to the plate. Ditto Europe and ditto the Far East.

Terrorism is here to stay. I don’t say we give into it but we realize that by virtue of everything from world trade in arms or the ability to harness the internet for all forms of evil it is just too easy to be in the bad guy business. Sadly there are going to be more young copilots that fly into mountains and whackos that are willing to blow themselves up in search of vestal virgins. That is life pure and simple.

Technology is both good and bad. It will drive you nuts and then save your life. Accept that fact. You can’t separate the wheat form the chaff. Just make sure there is more of one than the other.

Bottom line this a wild and wooly world. We will have to think on our feet and be open to all new things. Will it hurt? Depends on your outlook. You can embrace change and revel in it or you can let it scare the shit out of you. I am too old to worry and too dumb to be scared. I think I am just going to enjoy the ride and hope I don’t fall out.

As always
Ted The Great.

Factoids:
1 million domain names on the internet are reserved every month.At the end of 2012 there were 17 billion devices connected to the internet.

Apple, Microsoft, HP and Google all started in a garage.

Terrorism is actually quite rare in the West with 4.6 deaths per years since 2006.Over the last 20 years (which includes 9/11) average deaths from terrorism total 162 Americans per year.To put that in perspective, compare it to the 679,853 who die of heart disease each year, 52,823 who die of the pneumonia and the flu, and 17,961 who die of “falls.”

The pejorative connotations of the word terrorism can be summed up in the aphorism, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. This is exemplified when a group using irregular military methods is an ally of a state against a mutual enemy, but later falls out with the state and starts to use those methods against its former ally. This was too good. I plagiarized it.

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