Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Werewolves are real

 The mythical werewolf is activated by phases of the moon.  This is not an unreasonable proposition,  unless you deny that tides are controlled by the moon, or that woman's menstrual cycle has a connection to lunar time. 
The story of the werewolf is familiar.  A  friend, a neighbor, a family member  becomes transformed into a wolf-like creature that attacks people unlucky enough to cross its path. 
Adults don't believe in these creatures.  But children do, and with good reason. 
Many children have seen a loving and loved adult become a stranger who ravages them in differing ways, either physically, emotionally, or sexually.   The beasts these children meet do not grow hair on the face and body, or have paws.  But children see them as monsters.  They frighten and they make the myth become real.

Monday, September 27, 2010


"In every work of genius, we recognize our own rejected thoughts."

                                                                                                   Ralph Waldo Emerson

Now who could disagree with that?

Space and Motion Theory

Many years ago I attended a lecture by the philosopher, H. Youngman.  His ideas seemed slightly complex until he recited real-life examples of his theories.  As well as I can remember them, I relate two of them here:

Firstly, Mr. Youngman described a visit to a rural college town and his experience with the room he rented at the one local hotel.  He discovered the room was so small that when he put the key in the door, it broke the window.
Now, of course, we know this is not possible in any real sense yet we accept the concept of this space as described by Youngman for the power it has to make us laugh.  The impossible size of the room becomes possible indeed, and he proves that space is relative in size to the need that it fills, and that the need that it fills is inversely proportional to the space it occupies.

Then Mr. Youngman addressed his ideas on the laws of motion by describing an experience in a restaurant.  When the Maitre'd asked Youngman where he would like to sit, Youngman replied that he wants to be seated near a waiter.
The Maitre'd replied that this was not possible.  If such a request could be met, it would mean that the waiter was stationary and therefore not moving and serving and waiting on his appointed tables as he should.  Such a man would not be employed by any restaurant worthy of its name.
If, on the other hand, the waiter is a superior performer, then he is constantly on the move attending to the needs of the diners in his purview.  This desirable motion, however, would make it very unlikely that Mr. Youngman's request could be fulfilled as the waiter he wants is not near the empty table that will be his place to be served.
Mr. Youngman went on to say that he had a wonderful dinner, and was well-served; that it lacked only a companion for discussion of paradoxes.  Zeno, he said, yes, Zeno.  He and I, Youngman said, could have retired to the lounge for some wine and delightful conversation.  I would have liked that, Youngman said.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Debt and the Economy

"For decades we have piled deficit on deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue the long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political and economic upheavals."

That was from Ronald Reagan on his first day as President of the USA.

We know that when President Reagan left office, the US had the largest deficit ever achieved in its history, had been changed from the biggest creditor nation in the world to the biggest debtor nation in the world, and the middle class had shrunk to the point where it was smaller than the poor and rich classes combined, first time ever..

All successive Presidents have done as badly or, in the case of Obama, worse, apparently in emulation of Reagan.

Yet all Presidents campaign against debt and deficit, and malign those who cause it. Are they lying? Are they hypocritical? Perhaps. But I think it is something else. What that may be I don't know. But  if we don't start asking questions we'll never find out.
There are some things I have learned from this latest financial meltdown that I didn't know before. The most surprising of these was to learn how important credit is to the daily operation of our nation's businesses.
Apparently most corporations, large and small, depend on ready lines of credit for the payment of salaries, overhead, and purchases on a weekly or monthly basis. To express this same fact differently, these businesses do not have a 90-day or even a 60-day cushion of capital as an element of their business model. Who knew?
Most individuals cannot survive without the credit offered by the credit card. Trillions of dollars of consumer household debt attests to that.
This is probably due to the not-talked-about-enough fact that real earnings have not kept up with inflation.
SO, let's sum up:
The Government needs debt in order to keep the economy strong.
Corporations need debt in order to survive and grow.
Individuals need debt in order to survive.
SO - why is debt a dirty word?
Why don't we admit we can't live without it and stop all this phony denunciation of it?

Friday, September 10, 2010


A fox crossed the yard,
paused twice to turn its head
and sniff,  
then disappeared
into the wood,
alone, at risk,  
yet free.
From my cage
I saw him flee.