It was an unexpected and chilling moment. As is my wont, as I made supper Monday night I had on in the background the Japanese international television station, NHK. The program was about learning the Japanese language by reading the news.
Autumn doesn’t begin until Thursday night — Friday morning if you’re a few time zones east of here — but recent events led me to begin a regular fall pastime a little early this year.
It was expensive as mute buttons go. That seems clear to me, but anyone else might need a little explanation. For the last number of years I have had in my bedroom what was the cheapest little flat-screen television that WalMart had to offer in about 2015, so it wasn’t much good seven years ago and today no one would purchase even a telephone with its low video specifications and lack of inputs.
It happened again, dammit. I was headed to the store when, out of the woods on my left, a deer appeared. Again. It ran in front of my car, again, and I slammed on the brakes, again. There’s always that moment, magnified by the mind’s ability to slow time so that every second is a million instants, of wondering if the deer was fast enough, or I was, and I’d manage to avoid hitting it. Usually it’s a narrow escape.
He who sits upon the throne in Revelation has a patent complaint against current events on Earth. “Behold, I make all things new” is how it’s put in Revelation 21:5. There’s another way of looking at it. The notoriously non-revelatory Karl Marx noted that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. As with most everything else (we have no reason to doubt that he spelled his name correctly), Marx was wrong in the particulars, though the general idea, that history repeats itself, has evidence in its support.
The mowing is finally done, at least for now, and the whole area carries the invigorating scent of newly mown grass. My amazing Swisher mower pulled through like a champ yet again. They make ‘em good in Missouri, except that when a friend overseas asked me about it, I checked and learned that it is no longer manufactured, which is a shame.
As life moves to dotage (and of course anecdotage), and like many people having allowed my recovery from COVID-19 to proceed largely at its own pace, I only now am getting around to mowing.
It hit me like a bolt of lightning last week, as I saw the OPEC logo flash on the television screen. It is, at best, a doodle and not a very good one at that. The thought had been simmering in my mind — “cogitatin’” as an old friend put it years ago — since I first saw the ridiculous NATO logo. This comprises a four-pointed star of the sort drawn by every third-grader, along side the letters “NATO” over the letters “OTAN,” or “NATO” backwards. It does not strike me as something sufficiently sophisticated to characterize as an idea.
Years ago, though in living memory, a phrase was coined. “Too big to fail” meant an institution is of such significance that the government must bail it out no matter what amount of incompetence, mismanagement, or pure corruption has put it at risk. In the intervening decade or two, the meaning of that phrase (along with the meaning of very nearly everything else) has softened. It’s now “too big to go against,” meaning anything whose shortcomings it would be inconvenient to mention.