Category Archives: Social Commentary

What it says.

Be the Solution. Please?

Surely you’ll succumb to Puppy Dog Eyes?

So, things are contentious around here. The right figures the left (including me) are out to steal their guns, insert tracking chips in their brains, and destroy the country. Meanwhile, from the left are those who figure that the right-wing is out to suppress all minorities, squash all opposing speech, and install a fascist dictator forthwith, thus, of course, destroying the country.

Well, they can’t both be right. Which means (can you hear them) that each side is shouting that they are the side that’s right about the other side. Oy Vey, I say.

Yes, racially motivated violence has increased. Due to an unfortunate series of events, those who are prone to such execrable behavior feel more able to express their urges. And, yes, one of the two major parties seems determined to gerrymander its way into taking over the government. Not good. (We should check out preferred choice voting, but that’s for another time.) And, sure, I lean left, but there are some absolute idiots on the left. Not the people the right thinks are idiots, but those who think it would be a good thing simply to split the country and, so to speak, go home. As I said, idiots. And some on the right would be happy to get together with them to make that happen. More idiots. Still . . .

Since idiocy is well distributed, there’s no cause to hurl invective. You can’t persuade someone to pay attention to your position by insulting them. It’s fun for a minute, then very much counter-productive. What to do? Listen to your “enemies.” All anybody wants out of a political system is to think that their position has been seriously considered. Really, that’s just about it. It doesn’t have to be adopted, but definitely must have been seriously considered. Are the urban, left-wing progressives letting the more rural conservatives think they’ve been heard? Are those conservatives considering that the urban folk have needs as well? I won’t answer, just think about it.

The honest truth is that every few generations we get into a mess like this. A couple of messes ago it got so bad that some Southern states pretty much lost a generation of young men. Not pretty. But, as in every cycle, so far, every time, things end up shifting a bit to the leftward. That is happening now, and I completely understand how those not familiar with the problems confronting urban dwellers feel threatened by the way things are going. (I’m not putting forth an opinion on that here, just stating that it is happening.) At the same time, the urban population, being majority-minority, feels threatened by what seems to be a vendetta against their very existence. Again, that’s easy to understand.

So, respect is what we need. Respect for each other, even those we have huge disagreements with, as human beings with human needs. (Yes, I hear both sides screaming that “those guys” don’t do that.) They’re right. So, instead of continuing to make things tense and awful, how about we all just afford each other, Bernie lovers and MAGA hat wearers alike, the dignity and respect due to any human being. Seriously.

I mean, considering everything, what’s to lose by trying?


Does Death care if you joke about it?

Hi, there! It’s been a long time since my last post, I know. And my circumnavigating friends are stuck in the Seychelles, and I’m basically lazy. I have been researching on behalf of my next project as well as getting the current one ready and sending it out in a query. But, you know what? That stuff is dull. Heck, even I don’t see any reason to write about it. But, Death, now there’s a topic near and dear to us all.

One of Tami’s colleagues at the Law Firm where she works, name of Moorea after where she was conceived, is maybe forty years old. She has a six-year-old daughter that Tami adopted as a grand-daughter, and Beatrix is a neat kid. She has a husband named Nick who loves his family. She probably won’t ever see her next birthday. This truly sucks. Moorea has two brain tumors. It started out as one, but obviously her form of cancer is ambitious. She’s going into Hospice care soon. Nobody ever comes out of Hospice care alive. Okay, this really sucks a lot. She’s just embarking on middle age, which is a lot better than the rumors would have you believe, and, guess what? Rides over! Please exit the cars carefully and proceed down the ramp to your right! There are words for this sort of situation, but I promised somewhere (try to find it) that I wouldn’t use any absolutely filthy language here. But you know what those words are, I’m sure. I truly don’t like it at all!

The thing that bugs me about Death isn’t that I’m going to die. I think anyone who wants to live forever hasn’t really thought that through. I’m easily bored. How boring would be living forever? Sooner or later, you’d have done everything possible to do, several times over, and now what? I’m not that crazy about harp music in the first place! But, that said, what really bugs me is that when somebody dies, the world at large doesn’t even notice, nor has it reason to. When my dad died I remember how weird it was that everything was exactly the same, except that my dad was out of the picture. Outside of that sports, commerce, government, city council meetings, house repairs, everything, just went on as normal. I got a couple of days off of work to attend the funeral, then it was back to work as usual. It’s been the same with everybody else I’ve known that died. Mom dies, and the newspaper gets delivered right on time. A couple of brothers have died, and the airline schedules didn’t change a bit. That seems wrong, except I can’t think of anything to be done about it. I mean, the world can’t stop every time somebody dies, or we’d all die of starvation or thirst, I suppose, from nobody doing anything to prevent that.

Next weekend (31st July through 2nd August) I’m going to a Celebration of Life for my youngest older brother. He died last year (not from COVID-19) but we put off this ceremony until this year when it’s safer to travel. I liked Jim; he was a good guy. Now he’s gone. I have trouble with the fact that I can summarize the situation with those two sentences. Poop on you, Death!

I know, you have to take the bad with the good in life. That’s true, and any other balm that can be thrown on the situation is also fine, but the bottom line here is that, I accept Death for me and everything else. But, I won’t ever like it.

Thanks for reading my rant!


Greenlawn Cemetery, Tiffin, Ohio

Vrai Vert

The star of a sheepdog demonstration. In Ireland, which is unfailingly and intensely green.

Think anyone will see through my cleverly disguised title? Surely nobody who reads this will know any French? Oh, what? Well, I’m not picking on TruGreen in particular, but they’ve been bugging me lately. Actually, the rest of this post applies to any lawn care company, so far as I know.

Know what a truly healthy lawn looks like? It ain’t a greensward, I’ll tell you that. A healthy lawn includes a wide variety of types of grass and other plants, probably has fungus growing in it, and will also probably be full of worms and insects, and it will never look like a “Lawn Care” lawn. Look at the picture above of that Irish pasture (there were sheep in the demonstration also.) The grass, green and lush, is lumpy, and, if you could look closely enough, contains several species of grass, clovers, dandelions, and who knows what all else? The farmer doesn’t care for perfection in the appearance of grass; he doesn’t need a lawn. He needs a productive meadow so that he can raise healthy sheep, and that means that he needs a healthy crop of grass for the sheep to eat. And healthy grass is messy, and not at all like what so many people talk themselves into wanting.

A “Lawn Care” lawn is a monoculture. What happens when a pathogen for whatever plant species is used comes along? Well, it will all die, which is why those companies spend so much time adding ever more chemicals to “keep the grass healthy.” Not sure it does much for people or pets, but what the heck, the lawn looks great, right?

Well, maybe to someone who has no idea how grass is supposed to look. I walk our dogs around the neighborhood every day. Most properties in Vegas don’t have grass at all, but of those who do, there is a split between the perfectly manicured, unhealthy types, and the messy but healthy types. The thing is, both are equally green, if that’s what you’re after. Ireland is the greenest place you could imagine, and nobody tends the meadows at all. They’re diverse, messy, healthy, and won’t poison sheep, dog, or human. So, I come to my final point, which is, please, if you insist on raising a lawn, make it a healthy, diverse and messy one. Don’t use some service that only promotes the further use of its own dangerous chemicals. In the long run, you, your pets, your kids, and the world will be a lot happier if you do.

Martial Arts

Ron Peterson, then owner of World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, with a student, sometime in the early 1970s. Copyright World of Self Defense

I knew Ron Peterson in the mid to late 1980s as one of his students. I also knew the current owner, Ron’s son Steve Peterson, who was 12 or 13 last time we were in class together. That was when I received my Sankyu, or 3rd level brown belt. I’d have loved to keep up, but never found a school as good. That’s World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, just across the alley from my old house. Ron was an excellent teacher. Rather than concentrate on “forms” and strict adherence to nomenclature (other than the names of the techniques) we concentrated on learning, as we would put it, how to “maim and kill.” This has been a useful skill, even without a black belt, as the truth is for some reason, nobody has so much as looked at me funny since I was Ron’s student. Looking for an effective self-defense school? I’d recommend this one.

A lot of Judo, Aikido, and Karate amounts to applied physics. In fact, only Karate can be used on the offense. In Judo and Aikido (this is the one Segall uses in his movies) you use the opponents energy against him. Very cool. Done right, a Judo throw is virtually effortless to execute. And Aikido can tie an opponent up into some amazingly complex knots with a few simple gestures. But there is another part of martial arts that is also important. That is, staying calm. Yes, joking aside, if you can stay calm and keep your head while others are losing theirs, you’re 99 percent of the way to success in winning your battles. The various techniques are physical, it’s true, and the way to do a physical technique as effectively as possible is to relax every muscle that you’re not using. This saves energy, and concentrates the energy you do use in the most useful place for it. This I learned at World of Self Defense, and it has been valuable in many ways.

So, my Liberal, Leftie friends, my advice at this time is to not obsess on what the President and his minions are doing. They have the right to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court if they want to, and whomever they want it to be, it can be. Rather than argue that point, and lose sleep, consider, what is the most effective thing you can do, you yourself, to put an end to all that? Worry about what the next President, even if it’s Biden, is going to do? Worry about the incumbent refusing to accept the results of the election? Ranting about those awful people behind the incumbent? I don’t think so. What you can do is to relax all of the muscles, physical and mental, that you aren’t using, and work to replace the incumbent and his minions. And, remember, ranting about how bad your opponent is, is a big sign of weakness. Strength isn’t noisy, it just acts. So, act. A few suggestions? Join the ACLU, work to elect not just Biden, but anyone you think will overturn the current reign of fear. Post thoughtful and calm analyses, not rants. If you can’t stay calm, I’d suggest simply turning off all media, social and otherwise, for a time. Until your blood pressure subsides, at least.

Sure, the world’s a mess, the country’s going to Hell in a handbasket, there is evil loose in the land. So what’s new? Stay calm, stay strong, watch for opportunities. And above all, vote. Early or on the day, it won’t matter. If you mistrust the mail, drop your ballot off. But vote! You can go back to being a cynical wreck after.

Here’s the Thing

Tyrion LeChien, Beagle

I just noticed that my last quite a few posts have been from my friend Leslie, which is fine ’cause she’s a good writer and living an interesting life, until just the other day isolated from the novel coronavirus, even. (Go back one post to see, or search the tag “odd godfrey” or “Odd Godfrey”) But, this is my blog, and I’ve been remiss. It’s also supposed to revolve around, vaguely at least, writing. And I have been writing again, after several months. But more about that as we go along.

We should have gone to France last Spring and found a house to live in after we’ve moved there. Well, we didn’t. We will, I’m sure, once we can do so again. Just today, though, I was reading that the second wave is hitting in France, and sort of hard to boot, so that may be a while. Honestly, I imagine that by this time next year we can all be talking about what we did during the pandemic. For real. Sooner than that, maybe, but I dunno. Meantime, I’m worried about (got to be something, right) ditching the anti-science people so that we can for sure get out of this pandemic some day. I imagine by now that only those who believe in actual magic spells can possibly think that there’s anything to be gained by retaining the current administration. The current crop of conspiracy theories is (should be) award winning in its creativity and scope, but of course, like all conspiracy theories, it’s total bunk. I know Liberals, and they ain’t never going to get it together to form any conspiracies, and you can take that to the bank. Anyhow. Vote early. Drop off your ballot of you’re worried about the post office, but vote. It’s the only way to restore basic sanity to American society.

Whilst awaiting the election results I’m working on a project that I’ve been working on for at least a couple of years. This time, though, it’s being written right, and I think you’ll like it once it’s out. (Hold your breath! 🙂 ) And even occasionally blogging something original that I actually wrote all by myself, such as this post, for instance. And every day I try to get just a bit better at the French language. Tous les jours, un peut meilleur. I know, “better” is mieux, but that would screw up the rhythm. Nothing wrong with being a little bit the best, is there?

My moral is that the world is going to get better, but there will be a mess of frustrations before that happens. My advice is to ditch the orange guy and his entourage, wear your mask, and ignore conspiracy theorists. If most of us can manage those three things, life will turn sweet once again. I promise.



See that liquid in the cup pictured above? That’s actual coffee, made the way I like it. Many people today think that they like coffee, and in fact spend fifty bucks a week or more on what they think of as coffee, but in fact, they hate the stuff. How can I know that? Because they don’t buy the stuff pictured above. The least un-coffee like thing most people buy at Starbucks or similar places is what they call a Latte. Latte, if you didn’t know, is the Italian name for milk. If you order a cup of latte in Italy, that’s what you’ll get. For the privilege of drinking a latte with some coffee in it, they pay four or five bucks for their hot milk. *

Besides paying five bucks for a cup of warm milk, they get to wait while a barrista concocts their order, after, of course, concocting six other orders that take a long time to make. Why so long? Good question. In Italy, when I ordered caffelatte, it took about twenty seconds for me to be served. At an American coffee shop, it takes several minutes for each order at a minimum. Coffee shops in Italy get really busy, too. It’s not the volume of customers that slows the process. Maybe it’s all the variations Starbucks offers, with several kinds of milk, at least two kinds of coffee, five or six sizes of cup (yes, not all are on the menu.) The net effect is that one waits five minutes or more for a cup of warm milk mixed with what is, in the case of Starbucks at least, terrible coffee.

Okay, nice complaint, but what else is there to do?

Well, I’ll tell you.

The Good Stuff

Pictured just above is a bag of the Good Stuff. 100% pure Kona coffee. From Hawaii. Whoever raised, picked, and processed it was paid at least the minimum wage in Hawaii. The growers are subject to all of the regulations provided by the FDA and other agencies to ensure safe, wholesome product is delivered. It’s about forty bucks a pound.


That’s outrageous!!!

Isn’t it?

Well, all together, that mug of coffee pictured at the top of this page cost me about half a buck to make, maybe a tad less. A bag of that stuff lasts me about a month, at two or three mugs a day.  Since I like the taste of coffee, and since Kona is arguably the best tasting coffee available (even I can’t make it taste bitter or otherwise bad,) I drink it black. But, if you don’t like that, you can get it roasted dark and ground into powder with which to make espresso. A small espresso maker can be had for as little as sixty bucks ($60) on Amazon. That’s less than two weeks worth of Starbucks swill.** Of course, if you like standing around waiting for some barrista to mix up an inferior cup, well go right ahead and spend your money foolishly. But, before doing that, maybe you would enjoy trying some pure Kona, which (honest to goodness) is never, ever bitter. You’d be surprised how much better good coffee tastes when compared to whatever that stuff is that Starbucks uses. And you get automatic Fair Trade status, and you’re even buying American. If you just gotta have those “lattes,” drop sixty bucks on an espresso maker. Or try it plain and black. Who knows, you might actually get to like coffee.

The full set


*In Italy, these drinks are called “caffelatte”, or coffee with milk. In France it’s Cafe au lait. The proper name in English is “coffee with steamed milk.”

**Based upon $5 drinks, one per day, or seven per week.


A Masque

Don’t remember who this is of, but the artwork is in Dublin.

It is mandatory at the moment in Nevada to wear a face mask (masque) in public. Most people are okay with that, but there are always some very vocal opponents to anything that smacks of not letting one do whatever one wishes. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I went to Wal-Mart a while ago for a loaf of Italian bread and some other things. I was amazed to see that compliance seemed to be 100 percent. Yes, everyone I saw was wearing the required face covering. I don’t know if the die-hards gave up, or are simply staying home. Either way, it works for all of us in general. This got me thinking.

Are there fewer narcissists in other countries? I’ve been studying France, not just the language, but the nation, preparing for a planned relocation (dĂ©mĂ©nager). France has almost the identical constitutional guarantees as the US. In fact, no less than Thomas Jefferson gave advice to Pierre L’Enfant as he was writing “The Declaraton of the Rights of Man and the Citizen” during the French revolution. The same L’Enfant for whom a plaza in DC is named. The two countries have very similar philosophical underpinnings. Yet, in France, they were able to enforce with stiff fines social distancing, staying home, and mask wearing. (As a result, France is emerging well from their crisis conditions, while the US struggles with renewed incidences of infection.) That’s right: you’ll pay up if you violate the special coronavirus restrictions. Yet, the French worship individual freedom, they like to put one over on the government (they use what they call “System B”, which means getting things done without the government finding out.) Their rights of speech and action are spelled out, much like ours. Yet, they did not  use any clever methods to evade the special restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In America, some swear that wearing a mask in public was the first step toward the SS dragging people out of their homes. (Which is ironic, since the idea is to keep people in their homes.) Well, most of us know that mask wearing is probably the fastest way to get over this mess, but in this country, there is a very vocal minority who can’t yell and scream enough about their rights being violated by mask-wearing orders. Huh? Ever hear of “promoting the general welfare?” It’s somewhere in the Supreme Law of the Land. You should check for it.

Which is why I ask the question about narcissists. Are there fewer narcissists in France? In Germany? In Spain? Or is it that we allow those people to influence our national policy, even though most of us know that they are dead (yes, dead) wrong. I honestly don’t know. I think I’ll Google it, then post a virulent rant on Facebook. That’s how to get things done, right? 😉




A Home-Town Landmark that was Gone When I was Born

This post is about some of the effects of Attention Deficit Disorder. A few sentences first to explain what that is.

First, it is not really a disorder, and no one blessed with the condition has any shortage of ability to pay attention. The main effect is that one is incapable of being bored. If one gets bored enough, one loses consciousness. That’s why often kids with the condition seem hyper. Movement creates interest, it’s as simple as that.

Second, one of the major effects on the blessed recipient is that the child misses out on a lot of social cues. For instance, they might miss the subtleties of how to kid, and actually insult friends without meaning to. Also, the child may well miss some deeply ingrained and important societal constructs. Remember these two things as you read this.*

Third, someone blessed with ADD can usually tell when they’re being lied to.

As you may have guessed, I am so blessed. I had teachers in elementary school who were very frustrated with me. One kept sending home nasty notes, to no avail. Occasionally I was asked why, since my test scores showed that I was smart, did I not do better in school. The first time, and only the first time, I told the truth: school was boring. Somehow, the faculty and administration were not impressed with my honesty on that point. But it is time to move to my main point.

My main point is that I missed a lot of subtle, unspoken socialization. I did have trouble in school resulting from not knowing the proper way to “praise insult” a friend. But there is one really big part of general American socialization that I completely missed out on. That is, the idea that some people are more equal than others. I have felt, and been grateful for, what is now being called White Privilege for almost my entire life. Sheesh, would I hate to be a minority. I even got to take advantage of a whole boatload of White Privilege without asking for it! I did not ask because, from school days to now, the people one asked for even more, extra-special privileges, are people who, basically, I tend to despise. Yes, folks, I hate seeing a succession of pasty, old, white dudes in charge of the country. (Okay, one of them is now orange, but it’s the same difference.) I’ve never liked the pasty old dudes in charge of, well, anything. Churches, clubs, government organizations, anything. The first group of such dudes, who, honestly, I admire in many respects, set up a system of hypocritical lies right in the founding documents of this country. Sure, all free white men are created equal, and endowed by their creator, etc. But nobody else is! The roots of racism lie in those men having to justify to themselves holding other groups (anyone not one of them, initially) in slavery, exile, inferior status, second-class citizenship. Over centuries, the definition of “whole person” got expanded by adding other ethnic groups (slowly, don’t want to rock any boats here) and, very reluctantly, to women, but the jury’s not totally back in yet on that one. Anyone else, well, fuck ’em and the horse they rode in on, dontcha know?

And I did not get that. I knew that “Coloreds,” as known in the 50s were denied certain rights, but I couldn’t see why. It was obvious that John Law was using Marijuana to keep a thumb on the Mexican migrants who picked produce outside of town, but I couldn’t see why. When, at nineteen, I first smoked the stuff myself, I really couldn’t see why, but that’s probably for another post. The net effect of ADD for me, then, was being able to see American society more for what it is than for what my teachers taught me that it was. It’s not bad in design. In fact, rather than White Privilege, we should extend American Privilege to anyone born here or naturalized, at the very least. Nothing wrong with young people getting help when they need it, after all. And some people are a lot happier governing than most of us would be, so I’m okay with them grooming their own. But, their own has to be an open group based on inclination and talent, not on being lucky enough to be born an Old Pasty White Dude.

And, for the record, I’m a genuine White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. William Powell was living in Philadelphia in 1729. In 1730 he married a girl from Ocean City. Twelve of their sons (!) fought in the revolution. In particular, one Phillip, who fought with a Connecticut regiment, and who received a nice letter of recommendation from his CO. My great-grandfather Andrew Powell fought for the Union with the 123rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and got himself shot in the ass in triplicate for his trouble. He limped for the rest of his life. He was father to my grandmother Bertha Powell, who gave birth to my mother, who, well, you know. So, I have old-time American Cred, and I’m sick and tired of the cretins who think immigrants are the ruination of America. If you think that, you’re deluding yourself. I know this because I can see our society without the subtle prejudices that most of us soak up without knowing we’re doing it. Thanks to the blessings of ADD.

By the Way, I’m pretty sure that an army of medical professionals and scientists knows more about epidemiology and diseases than a gaggle of pasty white dudes in the white house. Again I say, Sheesh!



  • Worried about your child having ADD? Here’s a quick test. Give them unlimited access to Mountain Dew for an afternoon. If they have any form of ADD, they will have a calm and happy day. (Sugar does not make a child hyper, that is a total myth. If anything, it may make them sleepy.) If your child is a third-grade boy, and they do not have ADD, they will not be calmed by the caffeine. What you have is a third-grade boy.


Just this Once, an Illustration that Goes With The Title!

What? You thought it was pronounced “paradigims?”

A paradigm, pronounced just like what is pictured above (for non-north americans, those coins are worth ten cents, and are called “dimes.” There are two of them — a pair) is an excellent example of something, and that something can be a football league, or how a society is organized and operates. As it happens, every so often (about once in everybody’s lifetime, in fact) a free society needs to reorganize and develop new paradigms to live by. Prior to the depression/World War Two, nobody liked the idea of consumerism, moving to the suburbs, commuting to work. After those events, that’s how we’ve lived for the past 80 years or more. It worked great for a while. Some of the other paradigms we’ve lived by include the idea that, to a “good” person, minority citizens need help; to a “bad” citizen, minority citizens are inherently inferior. Also, growth is good for its own sake. Bigger is better, and so is faster and further. Moving around a lot is the way to live is another. There are oodles of paradigms by which we all attempt to make our way through life. But the paradigms that work so damned well when they’re first developed turn into big negatives when they’re used past their expiration date, so to speak. And that’s where we are.

The conservative among us can see this perfectly well. And it frightens them. That’s why they say that they want to “Make America Great Again.” After all, when America was truly ruling the world, those paradigms were how we were living. Makes sense that they’d work again, if we can only get back to them. But, there is a problem with that idea.

It won’t work.

Commuting is a major cause of ill health, in more ways than one. The car ads present a world that cannot exist. No matter what you do, you will never be able to cheerfully park right in front of the country club and leisurely stroll in. You will never have the twisty mountain road to yourself. You will never be able to do a damned thing to avoid that nasty-ass commute you’re stuck with every damned day.

Those minorities are not minorities any more. There are more “non-white” children in the US than “white” kids. Nothing can be done to reverse that. In some places, such as where I live, “white” people are no longer a majority of the population. (This causes, um, nothing, actually, except that you need to be polite to everybody regardless of how they look.)

And our use of burning fuels to power all of our stuff is resulting in a shift in worldwide climate that will make continuing to use the old paradigms impossible in the first place. These are examples; there are plenty of other things that aren’t working properly anymore, but these should be enough to show what I mean. Short story is that it’s time for new paradigms, new approaches to how we live and relate to each other. I have a feeling that one of the new paradigms (for the US, not for most of the advanced world) will be that health care is a right. (No arguments in this forum, please. That’s what Twitter is for, after all, and I’m just stating what I think will happen, not registering an opinion.) For another, we will need to find alternate sources of energy that don’t involve burning things. (Again, no arguments here, please.) And we will no doubt learn to live in an actual multi-cultural country, not just one that pays lip service to the concept. And there will be more, much more, that I can’t begin to see from where we are today.

The new paradigms will seem to create a world that is ever so much better than the one that came before. There will be what you might call “Nouveau Archie Bunkers” who pine for the mid-twentieth century, but most people will be happier. Until, in a few decades, whatever these new paradigms are start to malfunction for reasons I couldn’t begin to guess, and we end up back at the end of the world as we know it.

That is exactly where we are today, and, in the words of Michael Stipes, I Feel Fine!

Crisis Mode

Walapai Trading Post in Peach Springs, Arizona

There is a book titled Generations: The History of America’s Future, by Strauss and Howe. (The Link goes to Amazon.) It is a book about the cyclical theory of history, and it posits four main generational types. What’s important for this writing is that the cycle repeats roughly every 80 years, more or less. (This is not absolute. The Civil War, for example, threw the entire process off by at least twenty years.) Eighty years ago World War Two had started, on September 1st. In fact, every eighty years (more or less) there happens a crisis that seems likely to end civilization, if not life as we know it. The authors believed that the next crisis (as of 1980) would probably be environmental.

One of the principal ways of determining the validity of a hypothesis is how well it predicts future events. Environmental crisis, huh? Imagine that.

We are most certainly at an environmental crisis. The only place on the planet where this fact is at all political is in the USA, and that’s because the Koch brothers and their friends want it to be, because they make their living (and a great one it is) from fossil fuels. Everywhere else, it’s science, not politics. Sigh. So, we find ourselves in a situation where life as we know it is threatened, and our fearless leader (I know, no comments, it’s sarcastic) is determined to return to the days of big coal and big oil. He’s on the side of climate change denial, politically. So, we may well be pretty completely screwed if we don’t figure out what to do and damned fast, huh? It absolutely consumes some people, this crusade to “save the planet” (a ridiculous term as the planet is perfectly healthy even if too warm for humans.) It is, in short, a marvelous distraction from what must be done in a free society every, oh, eighty years or so.

I mean, it is time to shift to a new paradigm on how we organize and operate as a society. And, as always, the opposition to the shift is extreme. And extremely obvious, except that we’re distracted by the crisis, as has been the case since the days of Queen Elizabeth I. Last time, the way out of the economic doldrums was consumerism, flagrant overuse of materials, automobile culture, and spending more than you make. It’s been fun, and that’s a fact. My generation, children of the Baby Boom that followed World War II, is an example of what those authors call an “Idealist” generation, given to introspection, social rebellion, and things like running naked through the woods. What, it happened before Woodstock? Oh, heck yeah. You ever read about the Transcendentalists? Ever wonder why Thoreau was so popular with Boomers? Fellow travelers, folks. The reason that Idealist generations get that way is because their parents, very Civic-minded and trusting of institutions, had a rough row to hoe, and they make damned sure that their children don’t suffer the way they did. In this cycle, this has led to, in recent decades, a belief that life should be fair and painless, which causes great distortion of reality, which is seldom fair, and never painless. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has ever been able to “have it all.” Besides which, the culture of Postwar America is now threatening to end our ability to live on this best of all possible planets. (We evolved here, so this is not hyperbole.)

One thing we’ll need is for everyone, and by that I mean everyone, not just “white” people, to contribute their knowledge, skill, and intelligence. Big paradigm shift there: everybody contributes to their abilities. (I know that sounds like Marx, but it isn’t. Karl was a nice guy, but way to much a dreamer to be useful.) They old idea of a “white” race lording it over other, inferior races, which goes back to needing an excuse for enslaving people, is one of the ideas that are going to need to fall. Also, the idea that bigger is better, that we need automobiles (we need convenient, affordable transportation, which doesn’t have to be automobiles per se,) and that the goal of any corporation is to enrich the stockholders, all useful since WWII, are also in need of replacement. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the current “Conservative” backlash evidenced in the current administration is due to the fact that, on some level, even the Koch brothers can see what has to happen. If your entire identity is tied up in the old paradigms, well, friend, you are not going to be happy about the change.

In conclusion, and you knew there would be one, we will overcome the crisis in climate. it will, in fact, provide a hell of a lot of work for a hell of a lot of people. And the new paradigm, not yet fully formed, will be slipped in behind all the fuss over climate. And, if past cycles are any indication, Generation X will provide the leadership, and Millennials the front-line expertise, to do it. Gen X will, of course, receive no credit, because such is the fate of those caught between Idealist and Civic zeitgeists. (I truly am sorry, but I’m only one guy.) The current Conservatives will, in fact, hate the next twenty years, and spend the remainder of their days complaining about how great it used to be and how awful it is now. Think the opening of All in the Family. And, yes, it appears, and will appear even more so in the next few years, that we have failed, and that civilization is doomed. And, in a sense, it is, as our no longer useful paradigms are tossed into the trash to make room for the new.

Well, that’s my opinion, anyhow.