Two of my favorite quotes:
― Isaac Asimov,
Democracy don’t rule the world,; You’d better get that in your head.; This world is ruled by violence; But I guess that’s better left unsaid.
— Bob Dylan, Union Sundown
If you put these two together, you come up with something interesting: this world is ruled by the incompetent. Explains a lot.
Since 2015 there has been lots of speculation from the Fringe on the possible reasons for a string of Walmart closings here in Texas. Many were worried about some terrible government plot to use these vacant big box stores for something nefarious, among other things, storing food for invading Chinese troops, FEMA run concentration camps after the imposition of Martial Law orentrances for secret underground military bases. Turns out they were all wrong. They are just being used to hold large numbers of foreign children that the government has separated from their parents. Nothing to see here.
Conspiracy theories about why several WalMart stores suddenly closed in April 2015.
Having Saturday morning coffee with BBC World Service playing in the background. Up early having a new sofa delivered (how do you end up with a defective *sofa* that needs replacing?) Sick cat going back to the vet. Some light rain coming down. Very unisual during this heat wave.
Enjoyed Friday afternoon watching Spain vs Portugual at a local bar with the folks from work (no photos; don’t want to incriminate anyone).
A friend posted an old video of young William F. Buckley and impossibly young Noam Chomsky debating. I always thought Buckley was a very smart guy, but now I am thinking he never took on anyone he couldn’t run circles around and / or intimidate (well, maybe Gore Vidal).
I didn’t watch the whole thing. Didn’t have to. Buckley has no real arguments and no real facts. He is just regurgitating what would be called “talking points” today. It is almost embarrassing to watch the smartest guy American conservatism has ever produced (?) Get taken apart like this. Wish I would have seen this 40 years ago. I see the full version is out on YouTube. It is below instead of the 15 minute clip I originally watched. I see there is also a Chomsky vs John Silber YouTube. Silber was a conservative Texan and former BU president who ran for office in Massachusetts in his later years. I met Silber my first day at BU and he impressed me (maybe more on that later). I still like the man but understand how other people could find him irritating. Will have to watch Silber vs Chomsky.
It gets me to thinking about how we get where we are, what accidents and luck, good and bad, take us places. It is good to have goals (or this week, goooaaaals!!!!”), but if Noam Chomsky hadn’t gotten beaten up by some anonymous Boston cop at a protest, how different would the world be? Cheers to you, Mr Chomsky, and maybe even to you, Boston Cop, whoever you are.
One of my favorite pieces of popular music in recent years is Bob Schneider’s King Kong trilogy. For reasons I can’t imagine, someone put these on Spotify as a single long work, which is ok, but mixed the order of the songs. I’m usually not pickey about these things but in this case, at least for me, it totally wrecks the enjoyment of the work. As a public service I have put the original three parts out there as playlists.
My friend Marilyn sent me an article from the New Yorker (What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus Runs an Empire?) about Kaiser Wilhelm II. I don’t like heavy handed comparisons, but it made for an interesting read. Sent me to the Wiki page on Kaiser Wilhelm II, in particular his personality. A quote from a biography:
… gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,—technology, industry, science—but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success,—as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday—romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off …