April Fool

This is a piece from eight years ago.   My li’l Tony is much older, but still very strong for a 16 year old wild animal.

The wake-up call came at 6:30AM, just as light was sneaking into my bedroom.  It didn’t come as a glowing ball over the Mississippi valley but as an orange blur on little cat feet.

Galumpgalumpgalumplop! A leap onto my feet and Brrrow! As a small caliber tiger licensed for home use Tony always means what he says, too.  It’s Spring.  There’s no time to spend lazily in bed.  Happy April Fools’ Day!

April means a lot to both people and cats.  The weather is turning and it’s time to shake off the glum of a drippy lingering Winter.  A few pranks and jokes are just part of the fun – and they’re part of an ancient and natural celebration  we can all get into.

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Keepin’ Bizzy

Some have asked, “With the Mueller Report and Brexit and the yield curve inversion, why are you going on about ethics and sociology stuff?”  This piece, from a year ago, explains it.  Just take the long view.

Did you see the news today? It’s hard to not simply react to the world around us. There’s too much going on, too much chaos, too much news. And that post on facebook – did you see what “they” are doing now?

There are many problems associated with this sort of life, starting with anxiety and unhappiness. Stress induced coronaries come to mind as well. But as bad as this is for a person, it’s even worse for people. Everything in our world depends on some level of planning, deliberation, and rational thought.

Good luck with that.

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National Identity

You are a citizen of many different things. You belong to a city and a neighborhood, a state or province, and a nation. The word “citizen” is something like a title in that it implies there are certain rights and privileges that are at your command, in addition to a few obligations to maintain the entity.

More important, however, is that citizenship is an identity. While the various actions required by law or custom only come up once in a while, your kinship is a constantly defining force. You might travel around the world and meet someone who shares a citizenship with you, and there is an instant bond.

But what does any of this mean to the ever increasing number of people who call themselves “global citizens”?

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Grabbing Globalization

So what’s wrong with the world?

If you’re a longtime reader of Barataria, you know that I have more than a few quirks. One is that in times of trouble, I always go back to the basics, the fundamental. This is part of my instinct as an engineer to hunt out the errant assumptions or whatever caused the problem.

Before I go much further in the topic I am considering, introduced in the last post, I’d like to lead you down my trail of logic – or lack thereof. Feel free to comment on any point of this which you think is weak or just plain wrong.

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Disconnection

We don’t need daily reminders about how disconnected our world has become, but we do have them. People rather routinely commit heinous acts somewhere, somehow, for some reason that seems important to them. But why?

Disconnection seems to be a by-product of industrialization. It’s a kind of pollution for the soul and society, a thick gunk that clings to some people and makes them terminally sick. But what will it take to not just stop this, but clean up the mess?

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Grounding

On March 10, 2019, Ethiopian Air flight 409 crashed shortly after takeoff from Beirut. Radar and cockpit communications showed that the pilots struggled to keep the plane flying from the moment it rotated off the runway, eventually just falling out of the sky in a stall.

It was eerily similar to the rash of Lion Air 610 out of Jakarta on 29 October, 2018. Both crashes were of a kind that simply should not happen to a modern aircraft.

Since both incidents involved the relatively new Boeing 737 Max airplane, attention immediately centered on how safe the plane was. It seems like a simple decision – is this plane safe? But if you read a lot of the coverage of it, you might think this was entirely a political issue. Has everything, even safety, become a matter for politics and the questions at hand involving money and who looks bad?

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We Are All Immigrants

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

At most of our southern borders, there is no great statue welcoming anyone. There is only the vast expanse of desert to cross, there is only the journey. No one comes through this looking good, but at the end there is the goal. It may not be paradise, but it sure looks like it to someone running, riding, walking, moving however they can just a few steps ahead of death.

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