C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Today's Quote

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who resigned at the end of last year:
Nations with allies thrive, and those without them wither. Alone, America cannot protect our people and our economy. At this time, we can see storm clouds gathering. A polemicist’s role is not sufficient for a leader. . . .

What concerns me most as a military man is not our external adversaries; it is our internal divisiveness. We are dividing into hostile tribes cheering against each other, fueled by emotion and a mutual disdain that jeopardizes our future. . . .

All Americans need to recognize that our democracy is an experiment—and one that can be reversed. We all know that we’re better than our current politics. Tribalism must not be allowed to destroy our experiment.

According to Wikipedia,
Mattis was raised in a bookish household that did not own a television. . . . During his service years, Mattis was considered an "intellectual" among the upper ranks. . . . He is noted for his interest in the study of military history and world history, with a personal library that once included over 7,000 volumes, and a penchant for publishing required reading lists for Marines under his command. He required his Marines to be well-read in the culture and history of regions where they were deployed, and had his Marines deploying to Iraq undergo "cultural sensitivity training."
A devout Catholic, Mattis has never been married.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Sunday Drive: 5th Dimension, Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In

Few other songs conjure up the euphoric mood of the hippie-dippy year 1969 as much as this hit by the 5th Dimension that was at the top of the charts for six weeks in the spring of that year.

Ah, but where now is all that dreamy anticipation of a new Golden Age? Who now believes that love is all you need? And where have all the flowers gone?

Friday, August 23, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Invasion of the Flying Mattresses

It happened in Denver, last Saturday.  Coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Sunday Drive: The Youngbloods, Get Together

I'm sure everyone who was alive and young in August of 1969 remembers fondly this haunting tune, which carries a message for the present time, too.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Lady Called Camille

NASA satellite image of Camille, August 15, 1969

Fifty years ago this weekend, Hurricane Camille struck the Mississippi Gulf Coast with devastating Category 5 force, an unprecedented calamity.  Your Head Trucker remembers it well - I was staying with relations in Northwest Florida at the time, but mercifully we had no serious damage from the storm, only drenching rain and a lot of wind - and a broken garden trellis that had been covered with lovely purple-blue morning glories.

I remember sitting in a swing on the wide screened porch as the wet winds whipped around the house, struggling to read one of the books on my summer reading list for school - either My Antonia or Giants in the Earth - two of the most utterly boring and completely irrelevant books ever written, especially for a Southern boy living through a disastrous hurricane.  Maybe Midwestern people could relate to them, but I certainly could not, and the memory even now evokes a shiver of disgust.

The people in Biloxi (pronounced Bill-lux-ee) and Gulfport, lying directly on the coast, took a fearsome blow.  There had been plenty of advance warnings on radio and TV, but this was before the era of mass evacuations, so many folks who had lived through other hurricanes did not take the approaching storm seriously until it was too late.

(Nowadays, it seems to me we have gone too far the other way, and set millions of people on the roads needlessly at the first remote possibility of trouble, but what do I know?)

This video produced by the federal government shows the destruction the storm wreaked on that lovely part of the coast, where the highway runs right along the beach for many miles - a beautiful, glorious drive in fair weather.

I love to hear the mellifluous, authentic Southern accents in this film, reminiscent of those of my elders when I was growing up - and so unlike the fake ones you hear all the time in movies and on TV.  Alas, these are already a bit antique, I'm afraid, due to the proliferation of mass media, which tends to make everyone sound alike.  Even the British are losing their distinctive accents nowadays, sounding more and more Yankee American all the time.  Pity.

How anyone had the courage or strength to rebuild after so great a smash-up is more than I can understand. But that is the record of struggling humanity, is it not? All down through the centuries, in all climes and countries, after every fearsome collapse, those who are left and are not utterly broken somehow find a way to begin again and build anew. And despite all the terrors of death, destruction, and dark despair -- by and by the sun rises again, life goes on, and the ant heap of civilization lifts itself from the mud and muck once more, stick by stick and brick by brick.

A hardy race, these small and foolish humans.  If only they knew how to love as well as they know how to endure.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

You will believe a man can fly.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

This Is So Wrong (Revised)

The world is heating up far too much these days, and I don't mean the climate.

Long-time readers of this blog will remember that your Head Trucker often used to rant and rave in these posts about fools, frauds, and fanatics - but in recent years, he has simply tired of wasting his breath on the heedless, madding world that seems maniacally intent on tearing itself apart.  When the party degenerates into a knock-down, drag-out brawl, the only sensible thing to do is to get out of the way and not get sucked into the fight.

It has become more and more necessary, in the face of the utter madness that seems to be sweeping across the whole world, like a mass psychosis, to pay less and less attention to the news and try to keep one's inner self centered in thoughts of peace and goodwill, so far as possible.  Tempers are so dreadfully inflamed and minds are so thickly clouded with me-ism and us-ism and to-hell-with-them-ism that I do greatly fear we are living in the calm before the storm - as someone has prophesied:
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
It may be that cooler heads will somehow prevail; or it may be that a colossal storm will engulf what within living memory was known as the civilized world.  In either case, this old man knows he is powerless to influence the masses.  The best I can do is to try to remain sweet and sound of heart here in this little house, and to do the small things I can do, with as much love - simple and unselfish - as I can muster.  Beyond that, I must leave the world where it has always been, in the hands of God, and trust in His ultimate redemption of our wretched human natures, as my religion teaches me to do.

Revision, 8/15/19, 10:30 p.m.:

Last night after writing a long post here, I felt relieved.  But strangely, I awoke this morning feeling both soiled and exposed, somehow.  Dirty.  Unsettled.  I can't say why, exactly, but all that rant just felt very wrong.  Perhaps it is enough that I just express as best I can the goodness in my heart, and let the rest go.  (I have no pretensions to be a saint, by the way - merely a sinner with a conscience.)

Great evil is roaming the world today, but I no longer feel called to speak about it.  There is no dearth of voices in the world, all screeching and shouting across one another.  I have my opinions, to be sure - and they do not necessarily coincide with what is politically correct, or What Everybody Thinks, at any point on the political spectrum.  And I believe that we are in the middle of a great shift, a turning point of history - a worrisome thing, but of course all civilizations have had their turning points, crises, and conflicts - and through all the ups and downs of this mortal life, we obscure folks can only do our duty to those we love, and hope for the best.

And when we sparrows have lived our day and sung our song, there shall be rest.  Many a troubled soul who fretted and feared for the future has now been sleeping the long sleep for centuries in churchyard or cathedral.  And still the world goes round and round. The long, golden Indian summer of the postwar era is coming to a close - if it has not already ended - and exactly what rough beast is slouching towards Bethlehem remains to be seen. Nothing lasts forever in this mortal life, neither men nor the works of men.

Well, so be it.  My grandparents, born in the slow-paced Victorian era, grew up on the farm with little education and did not move to town until 1925.  By the time I was alive and becoming aware of the world's doings some forty years later, the world had changed beyond all recognition for them.  They read the daily papers and listened to the evening news, but most of what they read made no sense to them, hard workers and clean livers that they were.  I'm sure now that the frenzied world of the 1960's - the music, the movies, the clothes, the hair, the protests, and all that was so exciting to the younger generation - must have seemed to them bewildering, senseless, and ugly:  just as the parlous present seems to me now.

But instead of complaining and moaning, they simply went on with their quiet life together just as they always had, living by their own timetable, unruffled, unhurried, heedless of change, still getting up at the crack of dawn every day to begin their chores around the house and yard, and going to bed with the chickens - only there were no longer any chickens to tend, nor cows to milk.

Through all the furor of those times, they remained impassive and steadfast, and their humble little home was a rock of stability for all who needed a refuge or a rest.  Perhaps that is the best way to handle the unfathomable:  just go about your business, tend your garden, keep a steady head, and don't dwell on the madness of the world.  Certainly when I look about me now, I am amazed and alarmed, if not to say outraged, by the breakdown of all that seemed so necessary for the peace and happiness of the world and its peoples.  But what can I do about it?  I seem to be learning a valuable and unexpected lesson here.

As a professor of mine once said, the world is very wicked, and even more foolish than it is wicked.  It needs correction, badly, but I know I cannot reform it, or anyone in it. The fact is, I have enough to do keep myself held together and on track, in body, mind, and spirit.  So for now at least, I think I will leave it to others to denounce the crimes and follies of the times, and close with my only message to the world, an ancient message often repeated, that I am sure would serve to right all that is wrong among us - if only the world would listen for once, and take it to heart:

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Get out of Bed

This is a real thing.

Available at Amazon, but reviews are mixed.  I'm retired, so I'll pass.  Cute idea, though.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Sunday Drive: CS&N, Marrakesh Express

I remember going downtown to buy myself a copy of this delightful tune in the summer of '69 - when life was light and easy for a carefree teenager, and the sun shone brightly on every path - remember?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, August 8, 2019

These Old Broads

The weather report here in Texas at midnight last night.
I'm not making this up.

I think we could all use a little relief right now from the heat and horrors of the modern world, don't you?

You're welcome.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Sunday Drive: Chad & Jeremy, A Summer Song

Chad & Jeremy take us back to the sunny, carefree days of the British Invasion with this lilting dream of a song:

Goodness gracious, how did we all get to be so old?

Friday, August 2, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

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