OUR WORLD BALANCED ON THE HEAD OF A PIN – Marilyn Armstrong

Garry was a working reporter for more than 40 years, so you have to figure I have an interest in the news. I never watched all the news. I didn’t think every shooting or fatal car accident was news. Just because something happens doesn’t make it newsworthy. Even if it’s tragic. News directors believe in bad news. Good news rarely makes the cut.

I was never a news junkie. I wasn’t — and still am not — addicted to the news, but I like to know what’s happening. Not just about things which directly affect me, but how goes my town,  city, state, nation, and world. From wondering who was going to fix our local potholes to which war we are currently fighting even though I never understand why we are having another (or the same?) war.

Film at eleven!

As far as elections go? I like to get a good, long look at candidates. If you don’t watch candidates during their campaigns, how can you know who to vote for? Having enough time to get that look at candidates is probably the only advantage of our ridiculously long election process. One of the many things you can learn is if that person has a moral center, something to which I think we’ve previously paid far too little attention.

There may be more …

Right now, as I’m watching television, it appears Iran has shot a dozen ballistic missiles at an American base in Iraq. So all of this could be a moot point. For all I know, we may be in the middle of nuclear war tomorrow or by the end of the week. I asked Garry if we should call all our friends (there aren’t that many) and say goodbye.

Maybe I don’t need a new boiler after all. Well, that’s a relief. There’s always a silver lining. You just need to look for it.

Missiles from Iran to U.S. installation in Iraq

When people said: “Oh, I don’t watch the news,” Garry took it personally. After all, he was on the news almost every day. Meanwhile, he read three papers a day as well as working fulltime for a network news affiliate. To be fair, half of that reading was sports, but we all need hobbies. He knew the candidates personally because he worked with them. He knew their records. He was really good at predicting elections. He had better than average resources and by definition, so did I.

Australian fire – clouds and embers

I never read three papers a day. I spot read one and never missed the comics or anything about archaeology. I watched and recorded Garry’s daily piece. Nonetheless, I knew what was going on. I voted almost every year. I missed a few. I never missed a presidential or senatorial election, but sometimes I’d let the local elections slide because I didn’t know anything about the candidates. When you don’t know who the candidates are, voting is like scratching a lottery ticket. It has the same resonance. I can’t throw my vote to the most appealing face on the ballot.

These days, I feel like our world is balanced on the head of a pin.

REUTERS/Noah Berger – Fires in California last summer

It’s a big, blue ball and a very tiny pin. There is no room to make a mistake. A bit of imbalance and that big blue ball will crash. Given one thing and another, it may crash regardless, but until I know it has, I’ll do the best I can to make a difference. In the course of our lives, we don’t get much opportunity to influence anything outside ourselves and maybe our family. The magnitude of the world in which we live has dwarfed our efforts.

Montecito Mudslide – 2018

This little blog is what I can do. If there’s any purpose to blogging daily, it’s because maybe I can help someone. Change someone’s mind. Show them a choice they didn’t know was available. Whenever I’m tired of the whole thing, I remember that there’s a chance I can help. Maybe I’m not just spinning my wheels.

I think everyone has a minimal obligation to have a fundamental understanding of the world in which they live. I find it appalling in a time when all our lives are on the line, that so many people still hide their heads in the sand or willingly believe lies because they feel better than the truth. Then they complain when things go wrong.

It was generations of head hiders who got us here.



Categories: climate change, Ecology, Election, fire, Marilyn Armstrong, News, Photography

Tags: , , , , , ,

28 replies

  1. I used to read three papers a week 😉 I’d get the Sunday Globe, Sunday NY Times and Sunday Manchester Union Leader (I’m in NH…). I’d read them cover to cover, almost ever word (except the sports – sorry Garry) and would finish about the time I needed to buy the next week’s Sunday papers. Now I read most of my news on line and hate watching…

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    • The Sunday paper was definitely an all week read. Aside from sports, he luxuriated in the arts, movies, plays and other things section of yes, the NY Times — which I had grown up with, so it was still my “newspaper of choice.” I was such a huge paper back then. Now the Sunday papers are skinny little things. You couldn’t train half a puppy on one of them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is almost a crime what has happened to our newspapers… but then, all I have to do is look in the mirror to find the perpetrator of this heinous crime since I only rarely buy a paper any more.

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        • I subscribe to the Washington Post — online. I barely have time to read most of their posts, so I’ve resisted adding the Times. We also get National Geographics because the money goes to support National Parks and breeding rare species … and The New Yorker because they are great reading in doctor’s offices. But I don’t have time to read anything more. I barely have time to read a book these days.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I actually do subscribe to the NY Times, but currently can’t get access to it… I spend a lot of money, so I need to get it fixed (I won’t embarrass myself by telling you when they last time I had access was 😉 ) I get National Geographic as well. I love the New Yorker and have subscribed in the past, but not right now. I also like The Economist, but haven’t subscribed in years – it is farther right than I typically read, but isn’t politically so and tends to tell it as it is when talking politics.

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  2. Don’t lose heart Marilyn, and please keep writing we need to hear from you.
    Leslie

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    • I’m intending to keep writing, though I think i may start to head for fewer, better researched, material. For example writing this took HOURS. I wrote it. Edited. Rewrote. Deleted sections. Added better pieces. Changed my mind. More editing. I finally got it posted around midnight and it took me from just after dinner to put it together. I am a very fast writer, but a very slow editor — even with all those typos I leave behind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Had a great comment but wordpress list it. I have to login every time I comment. Sometimes something goes wrong.
    I am a news junkie and remember Gary.

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    • I know a lot of people who are news junkies and their lifeline is their phone. It is one of the reasons I do NOT use my phone. I don’t need another thing to spend time on. I have little enough time as it is. I get addicted to information of all kinds. History especially. But I don’t read well anymore, so mostly, I listen and usually, in bed. I’m lucky if I get a half an hour before I pass out. Good narration is very soothing.

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  4. One semester in college I read the Boston Globe, New York Times and Wall Street Journal 5 days a week.
    I loved it and my young eyes could do it. Ofcourse I was reading 100 pages of text per day also.
    I’ve been a news junkie all my life. I think part of the reason I don’t have a Maine accent is from watching the news.
    I was a kid when the Watergate hearings and our evacuation is Vietnam happened. I watched most of that unfold on TV. Now I am so glad I didn’t miss all of that. And I can’t forget the moon landings.

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    • I think you must be a few years younger than me because I was in my early 20s when Watergate occurred. I was a total news junkie during those hearings. I had a little portable radio with an earphone which I took to work, and then turned on the TV as soon as I got home. But then life changed dramatically. I moved to Israel. My Hebrew was never great, though I understood more than I could say. The news was the ONLY place where they spoke very “high end” Hebrew, so my understanding of it was limited. I could read the English-language Jerusalem Post where Wolf Blitzer was a major writer/reporter. Imagine how surprised I was when he turned up anchoring CNN.

      My son was about 3-months old for the moon landing. I remember watching with tears in my eyes while nursing him. We really thought we were making progress back then. Who knew?

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  5. I only have ONE complaint: EVERYBODY who can read SHOULD READ YOU…. It should even be compulsory to read TEEPEE12 !!!!

    It’s quite interesting to me how my reading priorities change and change back again. Ever since we lived in the UK, Hero Husband is a daily and compulsory reader of everything political going on there. I must absolutely know what’s going on regarding your (not) leader of the lands. But I only get those infos from YT publications, no papers. HH is subbed to The Economist and reads business magazines plus a few hobby mags. I read absolutely tons of books of mostly modern fiction.

    I cannot imagine a life w/o books. I’d read the telephone directory if nothing else is available. Although, having said that, there are no more telephone directories!!!

    You guys do what you can do. And that must be enough…. we ALL must do what we can, in our tiny ways, with a hopeful mind and a heart filled with kindness and no hate.

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  6. It is a great way to think and write; a chance the one can help someone, show them the choices or give them hope.

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    • In the end, it’s the other positive reason I have. A lot of days, I’m tired, crabby, busy and think maybe I should leave the computer and take down those cobwebs. But I actually do think we all have an obligation — especially NOW — to do what we can, even if we don’t know if anyone is listening. I keep being surprised at how many people really ARE listening. They may not comment, but one day I meet them somewhere and discover they’ve been following me for years. That IS comforting. I hope I’ve done a little good somewhere. I want to believe I have.

      I’m way past marching with signs, but this, I can do and I will as long as I’m able.

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  7. Mr. Swiss was always the news interested and would watch all the news programmes and discussions on the Swiss and German TV. Now he no longer looks so much. since I am more on my own in the evening as he tends to go to bed earlier than me, the TV choice is alone mine and I am a keen watcher of the BBC first programme and have slowly got interested in news again, but from the British point of view. I would also watch the Swiss news, but feel more homely now with my Brits.

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    • And the Brits have a lot going on, too. It’s probably more interesting. Our news tends to raise everybody’s blood pressure. I’m hoping one day that will stop being true. Sooner rather than later would be great. Meanwhile, though, there’s an awful lot happening here and all over the world. Hey, for all I know Trump is going to blow us ALL up this week. He’s crazy and stupid enough to do it.

      Like

  8. So true! I am pleased (and impressed) that you included Amy Klobuchar in your candidate portraits graphic — she has impressed me a lot since before she declared her candidacy! I have adult friends who wait until the day before the elections, then ask parents of friends who they should vote for! Typical head hiders!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a granddaughter who is the same way. I wish I could say we are all savvy and caring, but we aren’t. A lot of kids — Millenials like my granddaughter — don’t seem to believe anything has anything to do with them. It’s their world too, so it’s pretty hard for me to understand. I don’t nag her about it. I think that would make it worse but it really IS appalling.

      Liked by 1 person

    • To me, E.Warren stands head and shoulders above the rest (if that is the right expression). But then I’ve got nothing to say, as a foreigner. But the main thing is that everybody must go out and vote. Just talking isn’t good enough.
      Sadly, I also have to totally agree with your statement…. yeah, why not ask our dog for its opinion for something so trivial as an election!

      Liked by 1 person

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