A DECADE INTO the twenty-first century, some pundits suggest that we’re living through the most divisive period in U.S. history; apparently they’ve forgotten the Vietnam era, the civil-rights movement, the campaign for women’s suffrage, or, for that matter, the bloody and prolonged War between the States, in which nearly as many Americans died as in all our other wars combined, from the War for Independence to the struggle for the minds and hearts and oil of the people of Iraq.
A decade into the twenty-first century, the United States still has military bases in more than one hundred countries. U.S. dominance in the world continues to decline as India and China become the new economic superpowers. (Then again, global domination isn’t what the Founding Fathers had in mind.)
A decade into the twenty-first century, Americans, apparently the thirstiest people on the planet, still carry bottled water wherever they go. The average cloud still weighs the same as one hundred elephants, give or take an elephant. String theory still suggests that there are a vast number of parallel realities; in one such reality, presumably, John McCain is president and Sarah Palin is vice-president. The female black-widow spider still occasionally kills and eats the male after they mate.
A decade into the twenty-first century, ordinary men and women still perform unheralded acts of courage. An ant is still able to lift ten times its own weight. Food cooked with love still makes young bones grow stronger. It’s still impossible to commit suicide by holding your breath.
Archive for the ‘Cool Stuff’ Category
I’ve read The Sun off and on for too many years to count. One of my favorite parts of the magazine is Sy Safransky’s Notebook, short notes about whatever crosses Sy’s mind. After reading it for all these years, I feel like I already know Sy, it’s almost like we’re friends, or could be if our paths crossed. This selection is a good example of the writing that resonates in me:
YES, WE’RE IN A RECESSION. But sooner or later each of us will lose something more important than our savings or our job. Will we have the resilience to deal with sudden illness or injury? With the death of a loved one? With any of the innumerable misfortunes life may have in store? I remind myself that every experience can be a teaching if I’m willing to see it that way; that suffering, too, can be a teaching. In fact, suffering usually gets the teacher-of-the-year award because I always sit up and pay attention when I’m in physical pain or when my heart has been broken or when I witness the anguish of someone I love. To honor the teaching doesn’t mean welcoming suffering with open arms, or looking for the silver lining of a tragedy with the kind of relentless optimism that denies painful feelings. I remind myself that blessings in disguise remain disguised until they’re good and ready to reveal themselves — and even then, the blessing might simply be that a particular setback has taught me to live more fully in the present, or deepened my compassion for others going through a similar difficulty, or underscored the paradox that we’re ultimately alone and inextricably bound to one another.
Through the miracle of social media, I recently got reintroduced to an old colleague from my WFYI days. He introduced me to a creative team that needed a trailer for a documentary on The Nutcracker. They had the video and needed an editor. The piece turned out great! I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved putting together. By the way, the documentary is still seeking funding. If you’ve always wanted to fund a documentary on The Nutcracker, I’ll hook you up!