Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Flowers of the Forest

And other laments and poetry, to boot.

In 1765 the wit and socialite Alison Cockburn published her lyrics to the Flowers of the Forest beginning "I've seen the smiling of Fortune beguiling" said to have been written before her marriage in 1731 . It concerns a financial crisis that had ruined the fortunes of a number of the Selkirk Lairds. Later biographers, however, think it probable that it was written on the departure to London of a certain John Aikman, with whom Alison appears to have had an early attachment.
*all this above is from Wikipedia

The first verse runs

I've seen the smiling
Of fortune beguiling,
I've tasted her pleasures,
And felt her decay;
Sweet is her blessing,
And kind her caressing,
But now they are fled
And fled far away.

Here's some Rudyard Kipling taken from a poem "The Young British Soldier"

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!

And last (some more) here's some Tennyson (circa 1889) that might also appeal to the reader:
It is from a poem called "Crossing the Bar".

Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,

But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.

Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;

For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.

And here's one more from the WWI timeframe:

The first chapter of In Flanders Fields and Other Poems (a 1919 collection of poems by John McCrae) gives the text of the poem as follows:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

An autographed copy of the poem (reproduced at the start of this same book) uses grow (instead of blow) in the first line. The book includes a note seeking to explain the discrepancy by saying "This was probably written from memory".

Friday, May 20, 2011

Propoganda today

Here's a primer I use and believe in.

What is it? In my KISS (keep it simple stupid) method, it is saying black is white enough times to where people start believing it. And it is a technique, a method if you will, to influence fellow humans.

Is it an ancient "thing"? Yes. It has been going on as long as humans lived on the earth.

Who tradionally practices it? Usually governments of all stripes, as a way to influence "their" populations, use this method.

Is it about the same or different now?
A) It's worse now, and in my lifetime. I am age 63. By worse I mean its practice. Said another way, it is being used more often by governments and institutions than even 50 years ago.
B) Now an institution, the 4th Estate if you will, or the reporters, or the media, seems to practice this method, too. I suspect most of the younger ones don't even recognize this. They (and probably the parents who paid for their education) don't know how bad they have been screwed). Hence a lot of other people are going to other sources for their "news".
1) When reporters casually accept conflicts of interest, then things have changed from even decades ago. Conflicts of interest are a big deal to so many. Even I have signed "conflict of interest" statements, and avoid the obvious things, too. Most of us do avoid the obvious things, I think.
C) The method is deliberate, in other words, the practicer is attempting to influence our thoughts. Even go back to the "Yellow Press" who helped get the USA into the Spanish American War, as an example.
1) Lying is immoral, period. Selectively distorting the facts is immoral, too.
2) High school cliques and debating methods and sales pitches are understandable. I've been a recruiter for the Marines, and understand sales pitches. Propoganda is different.
3) Lying to get elected is one thing that most voters accept. Lying to rule, or report to the ruled, is another matter. Back to the immoral idea about lying as a method.

Does propoganda work? To those who use it as a technique or method, I guess they think it does.

What are the implications these days.
A) People around the world are becoming more jaded than in the last half century. Depending on where you live, one may call it cynical. All I know about, or think about, is where I live; and propoganda, or the hint of it, is a wasted effort. It has a bad connotation because of its association with Nazi's. Most where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in east Tennessee also know there is no free lunch, or "no body gets something for nothing", in the end. And there are a lot of deadbeats who live on the government dole these days. But even they know "the times they are a changin".
B) It doesn't work in the long run.
1) Even the more recent Nazi's who used this method in their bag of tricks lost WWII.
2) People will change their views of the integrity of the present system. Hence the status quo is changing.
3) People aren't stupid all of the time.
C) Reporting what others want you to hear, like what the terrorists want one to hear, is a manifestation of how bad the problem of how propoganda has become these days. It seems to me to be the height of laziness to even "cover" such obvious things. Yet it is going on, right now at least.

"Would you like fries with that order?" may increase as an often used phrase.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Up to the limit

Most have heard versions of this following theme: "There is nothing we can do to America we can't walk back".

I have a friend who truly feels this way, and makes fun of me for worrying. He has my attention. He may be correct, in my mind. I have not asked him recently, though. And he served in the 82nd Airborne, too.

I've heard TV and Internet pundits say as much, too. Most are sincere, I think.

Then there are others who suggest much of what the present federal administration is doing is serious "can't walk back stuff". Others suggest it will take a long time to undo what is going on at the federal level these days.

I for one don't know.

What I do know, or think, is I like the idea of voting for my future, and my children's future, and my grand children's future here in the new world USA.

So back during the 1776 American revolution; I would not have been a King George fan.

But I do also know, or at least believe, that one must start somewhere, and "they" can finish it up, later. Call that a philosophy, if you will. It even works on genealogy pursuits.

And what I think is we can mess up the USA new world America, and now is as good a time as any to start the process of going forward. Much friction will occur, I think. Especially changing the status quo.

Hope does spring eternal, in the old time classic expression.

I think the times they are a " changin", and the status quo of the last century is also changing. The present national USA political parties, the Republicans and the Democrats, are declining.

The new world USA is still a good place to immigrate to, especially compared to the alternatives.

Back to the friction. Much change is going on.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The superficiality of it all

No wonder so many are asking, is there another way?

The idea of mission first comes to mind. Are we in the new world USA in it for ourselves, which I buy, or are we in it for supporting the current ruling parties, now called the Republicans, and the Democrats.

In my mind, there are two divergent interests at play.

Mostly, I think, most just want to go forward in a way that enhances their lives, and their children's lives. Hence the idea of a political party may be less important than their values. After all, it is the idea, not the political party. Call it a quality of life idea.

And then there are those who want to preserve the status quo, which is in their mind. For example, I know someone who just wants to keep Southern Democrats alive and well. His intentions are good, I think.

And to achieve one's political goals that keeps the status quo going, I have problems. For example I hear the present Federal President says Texas has always been Republican, which is simply dumb to say; or I hear a county person in Wisconsin say Arizona is not a border state.

Maybe this appalling ignorance is part of our American experience, but I am not happy with the result. I prefer facts, vice superficiality.

What really upsets me are the obvious results. Many people will have to suffer just because of all the superficial things going on today.

I just hope a vote will influence things, vice something like a revolution.

I think most Americans want change. Just how we get there is up to us, not the presently elected politicians, I think. They seem to be so superficial and so status quo. We are better, I also think.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The basic functions of government

This post is just a reminder to myself.

If our governments can't afford it all through our local taxes we pay, then I think about what we can have. Mostly these governments I think of are more local and state, than federal.

Of course, the basic question is how do we rule our selves, and our country. For example, so "we" decide on those who rule us, most recently that we have elected where I live.

And I also have, in my reminder, a question as to how effective the governments are compared to local charities in taking care of our legitimately poor. How well the deadbeats get filtered out is a local question also, to me. Where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, we do have our share of deadbeats, who filch off the poor through local government programs.

So how all the present situation affects me is of interest. For example, will my local police and fire protection decline for other priorities in funding, like a 40 year old druggie male who will not work for a living. How about funding elections so I can at least vote? Obviously, some things are going to suffer, and I am interested in hearing how my local rulers decide their priorities.

As long as I can vote, I can live within that system.

Just what is a big deal, locally. Right now it is a voter decision, in the long run I think and hope.

Much change is coming, I think.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We have a crummy president

There I said it.

As one who treats psycho babble stuff as a waste of time, though it is a human trait most pursue, I would rather deal with capabilities.

And whether Barack Obama is just dumb, or a liar, or some combination, is less important than the effects his Presidency, and those he has hired to work for him, can affect our lives.

Now I personally think he is a lazy President, in my opinion, mostly by connecting the dots over the last two years. And we have so many problems that are both internal, like jobs, and international, like terror.

So what is going to happen. I predict many people are going to die because of his being a crummy president. Some may be domestic, some may be foreign. Whether it is being cold and hungry this coming winter, or just old fashioned war, depends on what is your interest. I myself think his ideas and policies are leading us to major calamities. And this crummy President doesn't even know it. He has other priorities, it seems to me.

So what can we do. Mostly vote to change things. And go from there. I expect it will be a painful process, but will sort out in the end.

I do have one connect the dots concern. Will this crummy President and his hired minions try to become royalty? Now most will say I am crazy or silly, but to me I just don't know, right now.

Who knows what a crummy President might try do?

And all I want to do is to enhance my loved ones in the New World USA.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Is our culture approaching limits?

By our culture, I mean our new world USA culture. That's a pretty good standard for our human future, I think.

By limits, I mean things like what is the difference between OK and pretty good? I suspect the answer is in the eye of the beholder, like the common citizens most of us are.

After all, we all want to succeed for ourselves, and our Family's selves.

What got me thinking this way is something simple. Taking pictures of my loved ones is the idea. For example, if one shops for digital cameras these days, one has mostly really good choices. The dilemma is the multiplicity of good choices. This, to me, is a good problem. But it also suggests maybe our choices of OK and pretty good is becoming too fine a point to think about influencing what we want to do. After all, I just want to make my Family happy.

So have we gone too far, like to the point of excess. Maybe we are there already. And so many jobs depend on this idea, I think.

Said another way, should politicians who appeal to supporting the past initiatives of their ancestors supersede those politicians who want to keep "improving" things. Even said another way, how about we support our recent past (and how we voted), as opposed to changing things some more.

To me that is voter decision in the new world USA. In other places the politics will probably be different, like revolt or revolution.

In all cases, I think, the coming change will be difficult, as in much friction.

But for sure change is coming, I think.

Like the "Bridge too far" idea, maybe we humans will sort it out in the end.

Thank goodness I live in Putnam County Tennessee where reality and idealism seems to balance out in the coming cultural limits idea. And we have our share of deadbeats who leach off the truly poor, too, local County government provided, of course.

I personally know of a 40 year old local man who will not work for a living. And he has local women who provide sex, and he survives OK, right now. I suspect here locally all this is coming to an end after decades of "otherwise". He and the current women will figure it out when they get hungry, mostly to go to work at minimum wage in order to sustain their lifestyle. Here locally, we do have a bad drug problem, by the way.

So I truly think our culture is approaching limits. And I think many others may think this way, too.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The end of the world as we know it

Besides being an old time rock and roll song going back a couple of decades, it prompts some questions to this person.

So what if the world changes (which it will anyway), and is that good or bad?

I guess it depends on your perspective, and your time frame.

For example, you may think the next period in your timeframe and your family is most important. That is pretty normal to me. Call that the short term approach.

Others may think more medium (like the next few hundred years). For example, how many is too many humans on the earth? And can our human politicians influence what happens?

Last, others may think even longer term, like billions of years. I think most humans agree eventually the solar system will turn the earth into a crispy critter, and all of us, too.

I just wish political leaders would say the timeframe they are thinking in, which unsaid I assume to be short term, and that idea influences the way I think about my vote, or other political actions, like revolt, or revolution, or civil war.

Even where I live on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, there are those who want to preserve the environment, a noble goal I would say. What I hear is they want to keep it like today, which to me is different than even from 100 years ago, or when the European ancestors of myself got here (like 200 years ago). How about the end of the last ice age, like 8,000 years ago around here, as a goal. Can we humans even influence the outcome?

Somehow I suspect it will all sort out in the end. And maybe the end of today's world may portend a better world in the future. Hope does spring eternal, and maybe much friction will occur in the interim. Now I wonder if human friction is a curse, or just a part of living on the Earth?

On that question, I do not know. But I have my guesses. I expect you do, too.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The game of musical chairs

Many people have played this game. For those that don't know about it, well, Google it, or something like that.

I think of that game as an analogy of what is probably happening in the USA these days. The past 100 years or so of the status quo of two national political parties is coming to an end. And a new national political party is arising kind of like normal, if history is any indication. All this will probably happen in the time up until 2020 or so.

During the interim, several ideas come to mind.

One is who might compose or join this new party. I suspect it will be a lot of former democrats, former republicans, and former independents.

Another is how this "party" will come about. It may be more a "movement" than a party.

Last, where I live, I still hope we have a third choice other than whoever the two present national parties nominate. Maybe there will be more than just three choices. And keep in mind there are many more elections than just the federal presidential election going on.

The game was fun when I played it in kindergarten. Governing the USA, to include our well being, is probably more than a game, or theory, or otherwise do-gooder intention. Most people know this already.

So like the game of musical chairs, someone is always left out when the music stops, and the game then goes on until the end when one is left standing. I suspect much the same will happen to how we end up governing ourselves in the next decade or so.

Lord hope we USA citizens depend less on luck, and more on just being ourselves.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Waiting for it to warm up to 50F

It's early May in 2011 on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. And I have decided to try start the tractor with a bush hog on it when the temperature gets up to 50F. If I have to "jump" it, then I can do that, too. Mostly I will bush hog an area to be used for Mother's Day fishing this coming Sunday. Today is Thursday, I think.

That's a big deal to me, even if I think the poachers will also enjoy this effort. Oh well. Hopefully there are some fish left for these mother's day visitors to have a nice day. After all, I paid money to stock this pond a while back, and did the work to stock it, mostly for my family and friends intents. In fact, I had to restore this old time pond earlier , which I guess to go back to 1890, but I don't really know.

In the meantime, I too am enjoying all the euphoria over the Ben Laden death. I would add not to believe much of the first 24 hours reports, but at least now we are into the "believe it" reports, which should continue for a while. At least the bad guy is dead.

Now is a good time to remind all that we elect and appoint leaders just to have someone make decisions. In the business world, many have a board of directors, and I like that system. In the political world, the election system seems to be the way to go. There are worse alternatives, like revolutions, or civil wars; or in the business case; going out of business. It does happen.

Well, it just got above 50F, so I am ready to go outside and unlock a farm gate, then go bush hog for Mother's Day.