ZIPPED UP

There is a code for everything today. Every item in the shop, every village in the world. There’s a code for every telephone. Bar codes float through the air like fireflies. We are all zipped up. Where once we needed our name, today we need a passport, email address, social security number, and zip code.

But, life on earth existed before codes. Before zip codes, cable television, and calling codes. Before bar codes were printed on every product. We used dial telephones which worked better — at least as telephones — than the phones we use now. In small towns, you only needed the last four numbers to place a call.

We mailed letters and remarkably, they got delivered. Television was not as interesting, but we did read books for entertainment. And we enjoyed it, or at least some of us did.

We had conversations with each other. That’s right! Imagine it, for a moment, groups of people getting together and talking about all kinds of stuff. History, books, and the state of the world. No one became enraged and charged from the room with blood in his or her eye.

Oh, did I mention that most of us were polite? Said things like “excuse me” and “thank you” and “please” … and no one felt diminished by this. It made many of the small things in life a little easier to deal with. Not that the world was perfect.

Much was broken and is still waiting to get fixed, but as a whole, we were nicer to each other. Personally, at least. We weren’t nice because we were whiter or browner or some shade in between. We were nice because we were taught to be like that. By our parents. Because civilized people were taught to be polite to adults and each other. It was the grease on the squeaky wheel of civilization.

As I watch kids today sitting together in groups busily texting each other, I have to wonder how they will develop human relationships with any depth. If they don’t know how to have a conversation, how are they going to build a life? Maybe the passion for tiny electronics will fade with time. Then, folks will remember how talking and laughing used to take up that space in the world.

You never know. It could happen!

SMACK IN THE GOB

I’ve heard this from a lot of people in a lot of places, so maybe there’s something to it.

Trump is a horrible president. He not only won the office, but has been a sore winner from day one. Of all the people elected to the presidency, he has to be the most unpleasant of any man to step into the Oval Office. Instead of taking this “honeymoon period” as an opportunity to try to make a few friends, maybe win over a couple of disaffected Democrats, he broke out of the gate hating everyone. From day one, he has been spiteful, nasty, bigoted, and thoroughly ill-tempered. Some people think he’s mentally ill, but regardless, he is extremely disagreeable. Any of us who hoped he might not turn out to be as bad as we thought … well, we sure were wrong about that!

He has been as bad as we feared — and worse. Every day in every way, he has been our political nightmare come to life.

Which may be the upside of his presidency.  The awfulness of these months or years may be  what finally blows the door off our proverbial electoral wall, getting people actively involved in politics and trying to make the world a genuinely better place.

Suddenly, after many a long year, people are out in the world. Demonstrating. Getting involved. Active. For the first time in 50 years, I’m seeing younger people waking up from their stupor and paying attention.

Is Trump horrible? You betcha. But maybe he was the smack in the gob we needed to get our act together.

You think?

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Since November 8, I’ve been fantasizing about the ways in which Trump could be removed from office. Resignation, Impeachment. 25th Amendment. Russian collusion. Emoluments Clause. Money laundering. Treason. Let me count the ways!

I really want Trump brought down in a humiliating ball of Karmic fire! But that’s as far as my fantasy goes.

I haven’t thought through what that would actually mean for America. So, let’s assume for the moment, Pence does not go down with Trump. We’re left with President Pence, for two or three years. How does that scenario look? Is it better or worse than the same time period under Trump? I believe Pence might be smarter and more effective pushing through his appalling far right agenda. He could do more actual legislative damage — domestically at least. That’s the negative. Remember — much of this damage is getting done, however inefficiently, under Trump too, so that would not be much of a change.

On the upside, Pence is sane. He has some fundamental understanding of government functioning, particularly foreign policy.

As a sane person, he would not be as volatile, erratic, vengeful, mindbogglingly ignorant or pathologically self-absorbed. There would be some level of competence and stability in government. That by itself would be a good thing. It might bring back some normalcy to our foreign relationships. It could help us regain our lost stature in the world. We would not be as feared — or mocked — as we are now, which would be a big plus. We might also shore up our bonds with allies and be better able to combat common enemies. We might at least have a better chance of stopping the nuclear arms production going on in dangerous parts of the world. I would sleep better at night not having to worry about setting off World War III.

Another good thing about Pence as President, is unlikely to be elected in 2020. I can’t imagine he would generate the kind of adulation Trump did. And he would get little support outside the Republican Party. Which is huge! If we can end this nightmare in four years, we can spend the next four undoing the damage done to our country. Then, move on.

I might miss the excitement of reading about some new tweet, gaffe, or scandal each day in the news, but in the end, I think our country and the world would be better off with less craziness at the top. Predictability is healthier for everyone when it comes to national and international relations.

So I can continue to dream about Trump and his cronies disappearing into the giant sinkhole they have created. I wouldn’t be happy with Pence in the White House, but I think the entire world would heave a giant, collective sigh of relief.

ODDBALLS: PLATES AND DISHES

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: April 23, 2017


Last week during the “Pease” section of the black & white challenge, I got into plates. Antique plates from Japan and China. Decorative plates from Maine and locally. So this week, we have PLATES.

Holiday plates

Qing dish, early 19th century

1800s Japanese porcelain plate

Famille Rose plate, mid 19th century

Modern plates from Maine (note the blueberries) and Mexico

Modern Chinese porcelain