Friday was a peculiar day, I had to run out the door first thing in the morning to take a client’s cat to an emergency veterinary appointment. Thus, no blog Friday morning. I run out the door, and the last thing I do is check on my cats to make sure they are safely locked inside. My calico girl, asleep on her bed, check. My big old fluffy guy, asleep on his beam in the skylight, check. My orange stripy guy, pissing on the bathmat, check. Sigh. That’s his way of telling me that the litter box needs cleaning. For an animal with a brain the size of a walnut, they can sure express themselves eloquently.
I was in both Home Depot and my local hardware store later on Friday. It was creepy as hell. They were deserted, just empty aisles with smiling helpful clerks. This can’t be good. I have never see the local hardware store empty before, and I’ve been shopping there for decades. I think the second wave of the Great Depression II (or whatever we’re calling it) is about to roll over us, a lot of these places are going to be letting people go or closing real soon. Getting fired really tends to put a damper on people’s spending. For a variety of reasons some of the economics pundits I follow claim the solid human waste matter is going to intercept the rotating turbine blades this spring, from what I see I can’t but agree. There was only so long an economy based on consumerism and constant growth could last.
On the plus side it appears that the Obama administration is winding down use of the “war on terror” catchphrase. I can’t argue with that, it’s always struck me as almost sophomoric propaganda. It’s grammatically meaningless, how does one have a war on a word? Worse, it’s limited our options and dumbed down public dialogue to a good guy vs bad guy debate. Few things are black and white, foreign policy one of the least among them. Let’s hope Obama is working toward realpolitik, and actually ending the war on terror. In some ways I think Hitler’s most enduring legacy is that he enabled “just war” propaganda to this day. If it wasn’t for World War Two idea that war is pointless and bad would be far more prevalent in the west. Hm, and now, as I type, the calico is barfing all over my boots.
Moving right along, in Iraq an orphanage built and displayed a fibreglass and copper monument to Muntazer al-Zaidi, the Iraqi shoe thrower who tossed his shoes at President Bush. Two days later it was torn down. He’s actually considered a hero by many people. He was exercising freedom of expression, so I can’t fault him. And, um, it’s not to hard to imagine why many people in the Arab world and Iraq in particular might be contemptuous of Bush. I’m a little unclear on why Zaidi is in jail, I think it’s 100% clear he was expressing contempt, not trying to hurt Bush. Granted I haven’t followed the case all that closely, I spend enough time reading on line as it is. And as is often the case with foreign affairs, I am astounded by Americans that don’t understand that many people do not hold us in high esteem. They think the Iraqis should be grateful to Americans, and don’t see how paternalistic and condescending that is. No matter what your motives, beating people up is going to engender hard feelings. Most people would have little trouble seeing that in terms of interpersonal relations, but seem to be blind to it a collective sense.
There is lots else going on in the world. In a slightly related vein North Korea is engaging in all sorts of sabre rattling with South Korea. What is usually not mentioned is that South Korea recently began taking a much harder stance against the North. More proof that confrontation generally makes things worse, not better. Hopefully this won’t get any worse, as governments go, North Korea is very isolated and paranoid. A cold war fossil, like Cuba, but without the charm and good weather.
Friday ended well for me I suppose, the cat I rushed to the vet was OK, I’m still here to pen these words. Sadly though, when I got home there was a notice that the old fellow who lived below me had died. I’d known him well nigh twenty years, so he leaves a hole. Plus he was a fellow who never left the first Great Depression, he never spent a dime he didn’t have to. He would have been handy to have around, but maybe it’s merciful that he was spared going through it again.
God rest your soul George. I hope everyone else is having a great weekend.
(The above image of the Iraqi monument to the shoe thrower is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is arguably an historically important image. Credit: Some unknown Iraqi news agency as far as I can tell. Yes, a statue of a shoe thrown at Bush. Is this the legacy thing Bush was talking about?)