Tagged: relationships

Not “No-Fly Zone?”

The question is not, “Should the US create a no-fly zone?” The question is, “What informs your belief that the US will create a no-fly zone?” Put another way, the question is, “For what reason(s) do you believe the US will create a no-fly zone?” Because we will create one, make no mistake. The only question is will you have seen it coming before the announcement.

For me, I’ve “gathered the data” for long enough and have committed to living under the belief—new to me—that World War III is here.

The result of this commitment is mostly mental preparation. I’m preparing my mind for the heavy sacrifice that I believe is obviously coming. The main effect of mentally preparing is so that it doesn’t feel like a shock, so that I don’t sound like the fools will, when it arrives. No more, “I can’t believe this is real,” not out of my mouth. It’s real. It’s here. Catch up. Be prepared.

No more, “gas is how much?” No more, “groceries are how much? And they don’t have what?” When you hear that, it’s not me talking.

My grandpa who recently passed was a seemingly happy man his whole life. A child during WWII. Probably a bit naïve at times. So what. I think about how he missed it. Just barely. Lucky guy all the way.

My dad, on the other hand, was not so lucky. He wanted to believe it wouldn’t happen in his lifetime. Now it’s the event that he watches until the end.

Today, for posterity’s sake, I feel like, “Of course. Of course World War III is here. Of course it is. We poor creatures utterly lack imagination and creativity, and the only thing we’ve been thinking for my entire life is: ‘World War Three’. So of course it arrived.”

I also feel like (just because I’m bitter about the lack of our creativity), “Fuck Greta.” I told y’all that a special needs child was leading you astray, was no leader, was no prophet. I told you! Even in creativity, we only saw problems. Enough. Time for the men to assert themselves. Tell the children to be quiet. Let them watch and learn. That’s a child’s place. The children are not the future. They never were. They never are. The men are the future. And here they come.

World War III has begun. America and the West will ultimately win. The sacrifices will be enormous. Enormous. 3,000 dead for 9/11? 3,000 more for Iraq? 3,500 more for Afghanistan? Ultimately insignificant. This is gonna be millions again.

My main question at this point is (and it’s a serious question which I believe has a serious answer—I just don’t happen to know it, so I ask in earnest), “What are we waiting for?”

As in, what are the reasons for keeping the US military collared? Follow-on: what events or what thinking will be the start of US military action against Russia?

I’m not hopeful to learn the answers ahead of real-time. I’ll see them when we all do, over the coming months and years and then in books decades later. But that’s what I want to know.

Why today? What makes me decide and announce my new resolution today? Poland. Just thinking about Poland’s symbolic offer of their fighter jets to us chokes me up. Everyone—literally every human being on the Earth—knows exactly who can and who must stop Putin.

USA! USA! USA!

Now we wait.

Step 2: Gather The Data

https://www.economist.com/international/2022/02/12/how-russia-has-revived-nato

For review. Note the legend on the bottom left.

In short, the “red line” (which when crossed by Russians will trigger unmentionable alterations to our lives) is actually blue on this map.

Step 3 is “List all possible solutions.” I mention it so you know. But I’m still at Step 2.

Found: A Tale of Unexpected Reunion

“Yeah, housekeepers don’t really keep anything like that. Most people wouldn’t drive back for a sock,” I heard the receptionist reply to me, damningly, over the phone.

“But I’m a regular. It’d be no trouble for me,” I retorted unthinkingly.

“Well, they wouldn’t know that,” she continued, unmoved. Then, to be nice, “So don’t forget your underwear next time either, cause they’ll pitch that too, haha!”

“Haha. That’s a deal,” I replied in kind, though maliciously pouting on the inside. See, I knew all about dirty necrophiliac hotel housekeepers. Throw forgotten socks and underwear away? Right. Sure. If by “throw away” she meant, “sniffed every ounce of man scent out of them while dreaming of someday being friends with George Clooney,” then I could believe they “threw them away.”

I wasn’t about to cry, but I did hold back a torrent of emotion. Frustration and disbelief being the order of the day. How could I—I, Pete Deakon!—forget one of the greatest socks ever assembled on this side of heaven in my hotel room? Phone chargers and loose change, that’s my calling card. Not one of the best socks ever.

Its warmth was unmatched. Its thickness, divine. And when my foot first entered it, I don’t mean each time, I mean I remember the first time I put it on, I swear I saw the face of Jesus.

But now it was gone.

How many times could I look in all the places it could’ve run off to? I triple checked the drawer. I checked both the washer and the dryer at least four times—nothing. I checked my t-shirts. Sometimes, as you know, a sock has been known to get *inside* the garment and I’m not just talking polyester gym wear. Even cotton shirts have been known to swallow a sock or two.

Still nothing.

Days went by.

Every time I passed my suitcase—the offending article—I’d nonchalantly open the lid and double-check what was inside. I mean, surely I wasn’t expecting to find anything, especially after so many days and so much effort.

Late last night, however, a novel angle came to mind. I remembered that my wife, at random, scoops up my clothes from the foot of the bed and unthinkingly—I won’t say with evil intent—puts them in her laundry basket.

“Eureka!” I told myself. “That’s got to be it.”

And rather than get out of bed and look right then and there, I savored the thought like only I know how, and slept peaceably until the morning.

“Fart,” I said, hands mingling with bras and who knows what other odd kinds of accoutrements the woman punishes the Maytag man with.

Was there no end to my pain?!

The hour had become late; if I didn’t get going now, I wouldn’t be able to capitalize on a quiet morning that spontaneously bestowed itself on this overworked—an apparently victim of spiritual warfare—father of three, going on four.

I opened the sock drawer to pick out my underwear and socks. There it was—the evidence that I was without. One sock—unmated.

I thought, “I will never again find a sock to replace these.” I was now talking aloud to myself, “These were the best socks Cabelas ever sold. They don’t even have them anymore. Fuck Bass Pro.”

I reached for a pair of underwear.

What is shorter than “instantly”, dear reader?

Seriously. A second is shorter than a minute. A moment is shorter than a second—some lovey-dovey movie taught me that. And I have to believe an instant is shorter than a second. But what I need to describe is an even shorter amount of time.

A spark.

I mean that in the time it takes to feel a spark, I knew something was different about the pair of underwear I was trying to pull up. It had undue thickness and, again, as quick as a spark, I knew it was heavy—too heavy. I mean, I wasn’t grabbing one of my “off-the-hangar-at-Macy’s-one-pair-only-Tommy-Hilfiger-I-think-they-count-as-MAGA-colors” pairs of 100% cotton underwear. I was touching a newer—and nearly ethereal—pair of Hanes—out of a 5 pack.

As gravity worked against me, all in this single spark of time, I squeezed all the harder and noticed that my fingers were kept separate by some material, some seemingly hidden, spongey, like the thickest of wools-

“My sock!!!”

Picture the blur that is the Guatemalan daycare kids’ hands as they open the Christmas gifts that your high school social studies class got them, picture that and amplify it by every color in the rainbow and every shade of glitter.

Then pause.

These moments don’t happen very often, and at my age, they won’t likely happen very many more times. So I thought to myself, “Let’s not rush things, baby. I know you’re in there. Let me just get my camera quick.”

Long story short, I took four pictures, in sequence, as a time capsule, and sent them to my wife. My final text taunted her to try harder next time, if she really wants to hide my sock from me.

As I’ve been writing this, I know she texted me back, but I won’t check yet—not just yet. These moments—bliss—do not last much longer than a spark, so I’m gonna hold onto this one just a little bit longer.

Almost A Decade In, And I Still Love Blogging

The first post on this blog was in 2013. As most bloggers can surely relate, that post felt very exciting. It felt like I was about to contribute. And not just in a small way either—this was the big time. My words were going to give other people meaning.

The excitement that I felt that day nearly nine years ago wore off pretty quick. But I still love blogging. Here’s why.

Yesterday, after reading some of the book of Genesis, the book of Beginnings, from the Bible, I was frustrated that I knew hardly anyone who could keep up in a conversation about the actual words of the text. Plenty of people like to talk about what they believe and what their church believes, etc. But it’s a different thing to find someone who can remain centered on the text itself.

So I posted a fantasy conversation. I just took a minute to befriend myself and imagine what I thought a good conversation would be like.

The conversation ultimately centers on the Bible’s very own version “Which came first, chicken or egg?”

And here’s the point. Because I blog, because I took the time to flesh out my little fantasy, I came to a pretty cool little realization. While I was wrapping my mind about how someone could know he’s been fathered by one particular father, how could that person not know his father’s name, I now see that I had set the stage for me seeing that this conundrum is one of the primary claims of Christianity.

Regarding Moses, Yahweh was always there. But Moses hadn’t met Yahweh, or put differently, there was a time in Moses’ life before Yahweh had introduced himself to Moses. This introduction is the precise moment where words in the atmosphere, ink on a page, crossover into reality.

The question about how Moses could know he was an Israelite, but not know his own god’s name, is not more than chicken and the egg.

But this simple way of analyzing the problem doesn’t resolve anything, mind you. Yet it does bring things to a clean head. Christians often say they have met their maker. “That’s when I met Jesus”, or something similar. They claim they know—with certainty—the chicken came first. But for you, o undecided one, or egg-firster, the problem remains. Is your maker out there, trying to get your attention? I don’t mean your natural father, I mean the one that gave us “life”. I don’t mean animation, I mean, joy, sorrow, passion, desire, personality, you know, our life. Could you imagine that he is out there, this maker? And his interest is to make his introduction, with a follow-on goal of giving you eternal life?

This introduction and this eternal life are certainties that do not necessitate the end of uncertainties. My own ability to know the chicken came first and yet still ask, “But how did the chicken get there?” is proof enough of these unending uncertainties.

In the end, I just wanted to share that after nearly a decade, I still love blogging. More than that I love life. And I am glad to believe that I have received the promise of eternal life from Jesus. Let’s keep the good time’s rolling.

Lemme Tell Ya What’s Stupid

You want to know what’s stupid? Using visual aids or graphics to describe COVID-19.

You want to know what’s stupid? Boosted pro-vaxxers, who finally got it and now say, “This time everyone’s gonna get this s—-!”

You want to know what’s stupid? Self-policing mask usage/fit.

You want to know what’s stupid? Children declaring that they don’t want to get “COVID”.

You want to know what’s stupid? Adults feeling ashamed for getting COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Variants.

You want to know what’s stupider? Sub-variants.

You want to know what’s stupid? Saying “He/she/they died of COVID.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Fearing death.

You want to know what’s stupid? Fear.

You want to know what’s stupid? Pandemics.

You want to know what’s stupid? Buying and using a home test whose result you know isn’t going to be definitive in your eyes.

You want to know what’s stupid? Signs above sinks that read, “Wash your hands for 20 secs.”

You want to know what’s stupid? Using your eyes to read a test to discover if you feel sick in your body.

You want to know what’s stupid? Using short animated videos to explain/defend/justify the need to lockdown.

You want to know what’s stupid? Bubbles.

You want to know what’s stupid? Worrying.

You want to know what’s stupid? Telling a child to worry.

You want to know what’s stupid? Mankind testing animals for COVID.

You want to know what’s stupid? Restricting travel during a pandemic.

You want to know what’s stupid? Runs on toilet paper.

You want to know what’s stupid? Emails explaining COVID plans that may change.

You want to know what’s stupid? Feeling like you can (and should) do something to help during a pandemic—like explaining things in emails.

You want to know what’s stupid? Email pronouncements that describe the last two years without using the word “stupid”.

This hasn’t been interesting, strange, complicated, challenging, scary, wild, or any other of the many safe-for-work adjectives.

Lemme tell ya what’s stupid. The last two years—that’s what.

An Example of Tuesday’s Post

The Twin Cities have announced that January 19th begins a new rule for restaurants. On that day you gotta provide proof of vaccination or negative test from last 72 hrs in order to receive service.

It’s being decreed by Mayors, as it is only for the two cities (and mayors are kings of political units called “cities”…)

So now what? Who do the folks affected seek relief from? Another government official? Say, the governor? I doubt that would result in the desired relief.

The politicians are backed by doctors.

So to whom do we petition as we seek relief?

A judge?

Peter Drucker handily explains in his tome on management that the reason written, or even spoken, propaganda never actually works is that eventually people lose faith/ignore it. He suggests that there is just something inmate in us that recognizes the difference between experiences and false descriptions of experiences. “You’re happy! Believe me!”

I can tell you that even 6th grade boys know whether they really beat me in a game of basketball, or whether I threw it.

In any case, this new situation in the Twin Cities is just another example of the definitive reason we can’t stop talking about the pandemic. Who can be called upon to provide relief?

The Definitive Reason the Pandemic is THE Most Compelling Conversation Topic

One of the ways a distant king garners direct power over his distant subjects is by offering and providing them protection and relief from their more immediately located feudal rulers and their policies. This “offering protection” doesn’t have to mean much more than “hearing constant petitions and seizing convenient opportunities to increase his power.” In other words, the low-level ruler, whether exercising legitimate or illegitimate power, does it poorly and so creates a need for relief in his subject. The subject petitions the far away king and the rest falls into place. The king gains loyal subjects until he has enough to clearly have real power, while, at most, the low-level ruler continues to rule in name only. (And at worst, war precedes lasting peace.)

Hold that thought for a second and follow me from kings to doctors.

Who among us hasn’t been fed the idea that going to the doctor is a good thing for our entire lives? We may not have wanted to go sometimes, but that wasn’t because we didn’t believe in the doctors ability, it was because being ill clouds judgement.

From the earliest times, our parents may have helped us through minor illness or trauma, like a fever or a scraped knee. But there was always a possibility that we would need to go to see the doctor. Hear me carefully here: once we hit a certain circumstantial threshold, the doctor was the only solution. So if one doctor couldn’t help, there was no other solution, just a more specialized doctor. It wasn’t ever, “I can’t help ya, let’s get you to a lawyer (or a plumber, or a pilot).”

From another angle, if you have ever needed legal help, you were advised by all to see a lawyer and eventually went to a lawyer. And if the first lawyer proved incompetent, then you went to a better lawyer etc.

But when you’re with the best lawyer and about to win whatever the dispute is, if in that moment you get sick enough, then you enter the doctor realm and remain there. A failed doctor visit only leads to a different doctor, not a visit to a different profession. Again, once certain situations unfold, you never leave the doctor realm.

And another angle: if you need to travel, you call up a pilot, or some specialist delegated by the pilot, to book a flight. But while on that flight, if you get sick, you are diverted to the doctor—and at no point will you, in the process of solving the sickness problem, be diverted to anything other than doctors.

Put plainly, we all have been living, pre-pandemic and now, under the belief that doctors-as-problem-solvers were meaningfully all-powerful.

And the trouble with this can be made clear with the analogy to kings gaining power. Serfs and others needed protection or relief in a way that they couldn’t achieve from their direct rulers, so they went to the next level up. They eventually went to what had to appear like an almost mythical character called a “king”. They brought, more than anything, hope to the king, hope that no matter how inept or unqualified he had proved to be thus far, that he would be able to help me now. The position itself, rather than the individual holding it, turned out to be the thing that mattered in many cases.

Fast forward to 2022 and even the “king” (POTUS) defers to the doctor when faced with a challenge.

Consider that.

The President defers to the doctor.

And that’s what makes the pandemic the most compelling conversation topic. The king didn’t provide relief. The pandemic is not over.

We serfs still have pressing problems.

Putting this all together, then, the definitive reason why the pandemic is the most compelling topic of conversation is we have no one, literally we don’t even have a position or concept of a position, to help us. In the analogy I’ve used, we are the serfs being harassed by the Lords. Who is our equivalent, distant king? Who can we write to? Who can we appeal to?

The definitive reason we can’t stop talking to each other about the pandemic is because it has made evident the lack of a relief valve/person/position.

We want relief. We know that. But to whom do we address the letter?

(For my Christian readers, surely Jesus is our deliverer. But He was still on the throne when the serfs petitioned the earthly kings of old, too. So I’m suggesting that even if all prayer was directed to Jesus, we still are not set up for earthly relief. Remember that even the Israelites appealed to their neighbors’ having kings when they asked for a king. It wasn’t like Yahweh is in the business if inventing political systems.)

And, for better or worse, this seems worth discussing.

After Lies

Oooo. January 6th is tomorrow! The one year anniversary of… What? What exactly happened one year ago tomorrow?

As usual, while that’s a compelling question, it’s not the most pressing question. A better question is, “How many people died due to the events at the capital on January 6?” If you have time to spare, figure that answer out. The rest of the answers will fall into place.

But even that very specific, particular, and on some level should-be-simple, question is not the best question to ask right now. The problem we face is made evident by asking this, the best, question:

What do we do after determining we’re being told lies?

What do we do after lies?

Some people are quicker than others at recognizing lies. Other people lie with gusto. But that’s not the problem that faces us. The problem is, “What next?”

The problem that no one is directly addressing, but in priority needs address immediately, is, “So we’re being told lies. Fine. What next?”

Plug our ears? Blot out our eyes? Neither of those would seem to motivate the truth to come out.

Direct requests? As in, “Please stop lying.” Would that work?

Commanding language? As in, “STOP LYING!” Anyone think that would have the desired effect?

Maybe a shouting match? They lie, and we tell the truth, but a little bit louder, hoping to drown the lie out through force. Would we be wise to place hope in that strategy?

What do we do after lies? How can we know what to do? What method even helps with the choice? Is there an analogy or a small-scale example?

After being lied to in a relationship, friendship or romance, there is often a breakup or cooling off period at least. Accepted wisdom for those situations includes the need for “time” to be taken.

Fair enough. But what would “taking time” look like between a government and its citizens? Or even on a smaller scale, a group of leaders, say at a business, and its employees? Does anyone have any experience at that level? Initially, I want to say that “business” is measured by performance, so as long as the business can perform while on a “break to re-establish trust/truth” it could proceed.

But in volunteer organizations, it seems like wholesale change of personnel usually accompanies lies from leadership. Those caught lying have got to go.

The performance measurement of a nation is security. Security in business, security in home, security in diversions, security in economy, security in law, security in institutions, security in defense, security in contracts, security, security, security. Security = no questions. Security = I know what’s next. Security = predicability. Security = stability.

Are we any closer? What do we do after being lied to? What do we do while being lied to?

To stop paying attention isn’t a fix when it’s government officials.

To tell the truth louder isn’t a fix.

To ask them to stop isn’t a fix.

By process of elimination, the fix isn’t becoming any more clear.

This is why I say, the problem that faces us, the problem that the events at the capital on Jan 6, 2021 reveals, is made evident by the fact that there is no manifest answer to the question, “What do we do after lies?”

Friday Thoughts

My daughter, A-, not H-, is about 16 months old and as I tried to help the wife by finishing up the infant’s laundry, I saw once again that there were entirely too many articles of clothing in her dresser. By the time I got done sorting out everything that was too small for storage, and re-folding everything that is her size, I had the thought, “I have, on this day, touched every piece of my daughter’s clothing.”

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My step-son, just now, reheated his chocolate mousse pie slice in the microwave. Just imagine it. Last night he saw the lady pull two chocolate mousse pies, a lemon meringue pie, and a pumpkin pie from the fridge, not to mention we were given the option of taking home an apple pie, a blueberry pie or another pumpkin pie that were over on the counter (room temperature). Yet, today when it came time to finish the second abnormally large, special-for-the-day piece of leftover pie—still topped with whip cream and all—he turned into a mindless robot and acted out, “Food from fridge must be reheated.”

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Do any other husbands and fathers ever find that they ask a question of their family members and in return receive an answer—a clearly-worded answer—which is ultimately the exact opposite of the answer the son/wife/daughter states that they had in mind after further clarification? “Is the dishwasher clean?” “Yes.” Door opens. “Looks pretty dirty.” “Oh, I meant ‘no’.”

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My other daughter, H-, was not feeling good enough to FaceTime last night. But she was able to send her Christmas list.

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And, finally, politics. I finished the guided reading portion of Kant in my Great Books of the Western World set this morning. Next up is John Stuart Mill. John Stuart Mill is the one who advocated for universal (unqualified) suffrage—the first one. 1861. Let’s us 2021 Americans recall that people—essentially all people ever prior to 1861, and this means many people still alive today who are not us—did not want everyone to vote. In short, for most of human history it’s safe to say that all people feared mob rule. Put another way, let’s recall that the idea that “mob rule is to be feared” is a problem that has not been abated by universal suffrage.

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Movie news: If you need another nod to get you to sit through 2019’s subtitled, “Parasite,” here it is.

On Ethiopian Civil War

If I was you, faithful reader, I’d probably be thinking, “Pete, why don’t you stop pontificating as a pretend-amateur-auteur-political-motivational philosophy professor guru and instead give us some insight into something you truly do have unique access to, as surely your wife knows something about what is happening in her home country and you could translate for us?”

Okay. Will do.

Here’s my best translation.

For a typical citizen of Ethiopia, everyone you don’t know (and many people you do know) are spies for the enemy. Cab drivers, people at the bus stop. The person next to you at the market. If you hear people in the the apartment above and below, or any adjoining wall, assume they too are spies.

Add to this that, instead of, or in addition to markets, there are food banks.

How does an approaching army pass through a town? It doesn’t take much to imagine that only a few deaths (+ these spies) would powerfully dissuade other resistance efforts.

How does the army feed itself? They send some men with guns to the food-bank and load up—maybe killing a few non-combatants in the process, which again acts as a tremendously powerful deterrent.

There is also the typical scene from Hollywood, where the “bad guys” steal the “foreign aid” and then “give it” to those in need to show their generosity and confuse the matter of who is good and who is bad.

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Back to pontificator role: the lying/deception involved in the “spying” is the only area available for change. Until some large group of individuals experiences an event which leads them to fear Jesus’ eternal judgment more than their this-worldly death, the situation will never meaningfully change.