Friday, December 09, 2016

Miscellany. (Godspeed John Glenn)

I was going to post about the impact on a business when they’re the victim of fake news “reports”: think Comet Ping Pong, which used to be just a pizza parlor before some fringe nut jobs decided that it was a front for a pedophile ring run by the Clintons and John Podesta’s brother. Or something. (And I thought the one about Obama stockpiling thousands of guillotines in Atlanta, for the purpose of beheading Christians, was about as nut-jobby as things were going to get.)

But what is there to say?

Other than what I will say: about time to start suing the bastards, like Alex Jones – or even Mike Flynn, if he keeps up with his idiocy - who traffic in this nonsense. Sure, they’ll all howl ‘free speech’, but here’s the thing: ‘free speech’ doesn’t mean there are no consequences to free speech. Might be just the right antidote if some of these a-holes end up with kabillion dollar legal judgments against them, maybe even some jail time if their vicious, unhinged nonsense causes some unhinged goon completely lacking in analytical reasoning to go off the deep end with his AK 47. Then maybe the purveyors would stop purveying the horrific untruths that are tearing the country apart.

But once I got past Comet Ping Pong, I thought about how I’m self-soothing these days.

I should be doing more walking to see if I can unstiffen my left knee, now that arthritis seems to have settled down there and in my left ankle for a long winter’s nap. Make that a long winter’s fitful, toss and turn nap.

Instead, I’m reading more. Let me tell you, not watching MSNBC for 4.5 hours a night sure frees up some serious time! Oh, I have switched back to a bit more HGTV. (Have to keep up with the Property Brothers, after all.) But I’m also reading more. Nothing too heavy-lifting. I started Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad, which is brilliant. But harrowing. And there’s quite enough harrowing on in the here and now. I will pick it up again in a few weeks. A brilliant and important read.

In the meantime, I’m digging in to a pile of Donna Leon Inspector Brunetti crime stories, lent to me by my friend Peter. The books are set in Venice, and Peter thought I’d get a kick out of them, given my recent trip there. And I am getting a kick out of them. Very enjoyable, given that I know what they’re talking about when it’s Dursoduro or acqua alta. I’m sure they’d be fun reads even if you haven’t been to Venice, but having been there is the icing on the cake. Nice little bit of escapism.

I’m also taking my mind off of things by doing a bit of volunteering for Christmas in the City. Each year, CITC runs a BIG PARTY for thousands of kids (and families) from the Boston area who are living in shelters, motels, or some other non-permanent housing situation. The next day, CITC distributes thousands more presents for needy families. Great, all-volunteer organization. If you’re looking for an end-of-year donation to make, this is a good one. Money always welcome, but it’s not to late to order a toy online and get it to CITC by next Friday.

(Of course, another wonderful and wonderfully worthy organization is St. Francis House, which helps Boston’s poor and homeless rebuild their lives.)

Music is helping soothe things out, too. A bit of Christmas-y “stuff” when I put my tree up – mostly (I’m not embarrassed to admit) Bing Crosby. (Or am I embarrassed to admit it???) But mostly Mary Black, Stan Rogers, and Tim McGraw. (If you’re inclined to buy a country CD, you could do a lot worse than Damn Country Music. Which ends with “Humble and Kind.” Would that they’d play that at the inaugural festivities. Unfortunately, it’ll probably be all Ted Nugent and “Cat Scratch Fever.” Ugh doesn’t begin to capture how I feel here…

Finally, while I’m not watching news, I am scanning it – Boston Globe, WaPo, NY TImes…So I know that John Glenn died yesterday. Even non-science-y boomers were caught up in the early days of the space program. What a thrill when John Glenn made his turns around the earth.

And what a good and decent man he was. Hard not to do a compare and contrast with a lot of what passes for “leadership” these days.

So how can I not end this miscellany with “Godspeed, John Glenn”?

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