Off to See the Wizard
I leave town in a few days, so my posts the next few weeks are going to be somewhat infrequent and all “off the cuff.” I will be taking trains back and forth across the country and reporting my observations as I may. When I travelled across this great land of ours in the late eighties I was dismayed how many small towns had near deserted downtown districts with many closed businesses…but on the outskirts of town would be a thriving Walmart and a MacDonald’s. Hmm. Five years ago when I took the same trip I couldn’t hep but notice that things had improved…next to the Walmart and the MacDonalds they had built casinos. Capitalism on meth, I dunno. Wonder what they’ve built since then? Recruiting stations?
Well, Charlton Heston of movie and NRA fame died this weekend. He had a good run and seems like he was decent sort from what I’ve read. He died at his home with his wife and family apparently, that’s about as good as it gets. (No word yet on whether they were able to pry his gun from his cold dead hands.)
Olympic protests are getting more exciting all the time. No doubt someone in CA will take a shot at the Torch as it passes through. The way things are going the Olympic torch will have to ride around in a specially designed “Torchmobile” for its own safety. Joking aside, and no insult to the people of China intended, what was the Chinese government thinking? They should have been able to figure out that there were going to be a lot of people in the world who view the Beijing Olympics pretty much the same and the 1936 Berlin Olympics…IE this is a government using the Olympics as an international platform to legitimize their one party dictatorship. On the one hand, I do think China’s government really is their own business. On the other hand, it’s truly sickeningly hypocritical to see the USA and the west look the other way regarding China’s lack of democracy and poor human rights record while we use the same accusations to bludgeon smaller countries into line.
And of course nothing but bad news on Iraq and the economy as far as I can tell. I am starting to really wonder if reality is starting to approach my usual admittedly paranoid outlet. Things are really really bad for the USA right now, but it’s so muted by media spin and distraction that people are still arguing about whether or not this is a “recession.” It can’t be good when the economy is in tatters and a foreign war has turned into a mind numbingly expensive counter-productive debacle…while the public and our leaders pretend everything is under control.
Oh well, I’m working on a “Ten Good Things about America” column. I’ve found two so far, so it’s going to take some work. Maybe I’ll spot some from the train. Though that started out inauspiciously. I got to the station to buy my tickets and the clerk had a heck of a time figuring out how to give me a ticket to Buffalo from Emeryville. “You want to go where? Where’s Buffalo?” She had to get her supervisor to help.
Oh well, life’s a trip.
(The above image of a buffalo is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. I got it from a blog in Buffalo, yes, it really does exist.)