Friday, January 25, 2013

Uniforms, Military & Binary Thinking

There is something to be said for having no choice in the matter. The easy targets (pardon the pun) are uniforms and the military. Rows and rows of unvarying and consistent soldiers paraded with clock-work precision having only to listen to orders and take commands, and certainly never having to worry about what to wear. Rejection of such uniformity and militaristic deportment would weaken the system. You’re either in or out; for or against. The choices are mutually exclusive. There is no room for namby-pamby conduct.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Ugly Americans!

Bashing the Americans is not uncommon.  The modern Roman Empire has historically been the repeated object of criticism. Now however the preferred attack is upon the Chinese, the world’s rising Agamemnon.  It is unavoidable to make a comparison of the two cultures.  The exploitation of resources and energy is shared ground, involving the control of foreign assets and commodities.  But the Chinese have infamously exceeded the boundaries of acceptability in some instances.  The Chinese are for example very big in Africa where it appears they are handily taking advantage of what are largely uneducated and impoverished people.  Africa, pay-offs and corruption seemingly go hand-in-hand, much as the Chinese citizens are now discovering about their own billionaire politicians. As one example of their treachery in South Africa, the Chinese are routinely killing elephants for their ivory. It is speculated that by 2015 the elephant population will be effectively eliminated.  The Chinese are capitalizing upon the need of the desperately poor people in Africa to risk their lives to provide this ``treasure`` to the rapacious Chinese.  The authorities police the poaching, but they have an unbelievably difficult job of it and they too – like the poachers - risk being shot on sight.  Similarly why do the Chinese scandalously thrive upon weird medicinal remedies and exotic foods that involve the death or mutilation of harmless creatures? 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Leave-taking from Hilton Head Island

It is serendipitous that very early this morning (on the penultimate day of our departure from this exquisite Hilton Head Island, South Carolina) I completed with considerable gusto my reading of “Essays in Idleness” by the Tsurezuregusa of Kenko (known I believe to his family and friends as Yoshida Kenko).  Mr. Kenko’s perspective, while strictly that of a hermit (or, if one prefers a more decorous denomination, that of a Buddhist monk), was nonetheless choc-a-bloc with commonplace philosophy rendered in the manner of a parable.  I say the reading of the book and the awakening of this day are chance intersections because as we forlornly make our arrangements to leave the Island one cannot but contemplate the subject thoughtfully if not indeed longingly.  Add to this the fact that our first act of industry this morning was to visit the property manager and to re-book our stay for the same time next year and pay our deposit.  So you see, as one high spot ends, another begins.  I am quite certain that Mr. Kenko would have a great deal to say upon the subject illustrative as it is of all else that transpires in life.