Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Upon Further Review……..

Lines in the Sand (2932, EM1)

If you’re in the northeastern U. S. right now, these lines in the sand could probably be replaced (mentally) by “lines in the snow”.  We’ve got lots and lots of the fluffy white stuff on the ground here, along with some pretty stiff breezes and falling temperatures.  Wind chills are at or below zero.  But then again it’s winter; we shouldn’t expect anything else.  I’d rather be walking on sand and slick rock, of course, but it is what it is.  I suppose we should be happy that Sunday night’s Super Bowl was played in Glendale, AZ and not in NYC (as it was last year).  At least the players and the fans who were there got to keep warm.  Heck, they even showed us aerial pictures of the Grand Canyon and nearby Sedona, AZ during the game.  Complete with a blazing sunset.  I didn’t see a single white flake anywhere.  Location is everything.

For those of you who watched the game, what the hell was Seattle thinking when they called their last – and totally disastrous – play?  They had about 2 yards to go for the winning touchdown, one of the best short yardage running backs in history, and they call a pass?  Incredible.  I don’t think Seattle’s offensive coordinator will be showing up in public anytime soon.  Unless, of course, he happens to be in Boston………

Ah, but hindsight is 20 – 20.  Right?  Statistically, that play – from that position on the field – works most of the time.  An interception?  Almost never happens.  An interception by a rookie corner-back?  What are the odds of that happening?  The worst possible outcome, on paper, is (was) an incomplete pass.  So much for statistical analysis.  Next time, go with your gut (and Marshawn Lynch).

A side note for Seattle fans:  Don’t feel too bad about the loss.  The Buffalo Bills (my wife’s team) and the Cleveland Browns  (my team) lose these kinds of games all the time.  It seems to be embedded in their DNA.        

Speaking of losers, did anyone happen to catch Sarah Palin’s speech at the so-called Freedom Summit in Des Moines, Iowa last week?  I can’t stand the woman and I was still embarrassed for her.  Incoherent doesn’t begin to describe her performance.  After watching replays of the speech I’m still left wondering if she had been somehow mentally incapacitated.  I mean, more so than normal.  Maybe she was drunk?  Or high?  Or maybe she was just having a monumentally bad day.  As one noted pundit said, “If Sarah Palin ever had a stroke, how would we know?”

On second thought, maybe it was the water they were drinking at this event.  Former Texas governor Rick Perry was also acting weird, and Bobby Jindal kept saying that we have more than an immigration problem – what’s really happening is that we’re being “invaded”.  If we continue to allow it we’ll soon have Muslim-only zones in every state, complete with Sharia law (you know, like they have in Europe).  Except, of course, they don’t have any such thing in Europe.  He made it up.  Where do these guys get this stuff?

Not that I’m singling out Republicans, mind you.  Well, maybe I am.  It’s a target-rich environment.  But the Democrats have some cuckoos, too.  Can’t think of one at the moment, but I’m sure they’re out there somewhere.  As a country we seem to be getting dumber and dumber.  And not just the politicians.  Too many of us are acting like we’re refugees from the Middle Ages, believing that everything we’ve learned over the last 100 years or so is suddenly open to debate.  Science and data be damned.

Like not having your kids vaccinated for measles.  This one just defies logic.  Once the measles vaccine became available in the 1960’s, the incidence of the disease declined steadily until it was essentially nonexistent in the United States.  At least until now.  The “story”, of course, is that the measles vaccine – and perhaps other vaccines as well – can trigger autism and mental disorders in some children.  There’s no hard evidence to support this hypothesis, but lots of people have decided that it might be true.  So they leave their children unvaccinated.  This is very easy to do in those states that allow people to avoid vaccinations for “personal beliefs”.  In California, for example, there were over 18,000 kindergartners allowed to skip getting the measles vaccine last year.  

So what happened?  So far this year California has had more than 90 confirmed measles cases, a number that is higher than the median number for the entire country for every year between 2001 and 2011 (according to the CDC).  As you probably know, this outbreak started at Disneyland.  It’s kind of fitting, actually (if you appreciate dark humor).  A dormant disease regains a foothold in a place known for its emphasis on fantasy.  Sooner or later, though, people are going to start dying.

I guess that’s enough “good news” for one day.  Maybe tomorrow things will be better.  Maybe those ISIS assholes will stop killing innocent people in the most horrific ways possible and crawl back into whatever holes they came out of.  Maybe the Russians and Ukrainians will become friends, as will the Israelis and Palestinians.  Heck, maybe the Democrats and Republicans in Washington will shake hands and actually do some governing.  Ya think?                 


7 Responses to “Upon Further Review……..”

  1. TomDills

    Paul, it sounds like it must be time for you to get out of NY and on to someplace warmer! 😉 I share your thoughts on a lot of those subjects but try not to let them spoil my fun! And the only part of that that really scares me is that we pay any attention to Sarah Palin whatsoever. Surely we’re not that stupid, are we? Yikes!

    • Paul Maxim

      Yes, almost time, Tom. Five weeks to be exact. We had trouble deciding whether we should go south or go west. As usual, “west” won. We decided we really wanted to see Death Valley (having never been there).

      Hopefully most of us aren’t that stupid. What troubles me is this perception I have that more and more people are that dumb. Too many of them watching Fox News I guess……..

  2. E. Brooks

    It seems we are at a point in our history where there’s no limits to stupidity. People act and speak without thinking and when they do think it is usually about themselves and how they might selfishly gain, no matter the cost. Yet, there are also great stories of people helping people with no consideration of themselves–these wonderful examples often only barely filter through the cracks of what the media publishes. I would blame the media but they are only publishing and focusing on what “sells” so we all have to take ownership of that. However, there is certainly a bright point to your post–this wonderful photo. I like it for it’s simplicity, the gentle earth tones and the flowing lines. With all the ugly in the world we must remember and still look to the beauty.

    • Paul Maxim

      I remember very well the day I took this picture. We were wandering around an area in southern Utah (near Kanab) where there is a lot of this kind of terrain (badlands). And it was quiet, like a cemetery. The further we walked into it, the more isolated we felt. In other words, just the way I like it.

      You’re certainly correct when you say that there are plenty of good stories as well. It’s just hard to find them sometimes. And I’m absolutely certain that you’ll encounter more of the “good people” on your new adventure than you will the “stupid” ones. It’ll help, of course, if you leave the TV turned off…..

  3. Cedric Canard

    Good news stories are hard to find though it’s worth the effort of looking for them, if only to avoid reading all the other rubbish. The trouble with having access to so much information however is that it’s a hell of a task figuring out what’s right and what’s not. Still there are some things that defy logic, at least in general terms, like vaccination. Though even there it’s not something I can be too harsh about. I have a friend who’s 12yo nephew has the mental capacity of a 9 month old baby, a condition which was attributed to a severe (though extremely rare) reaction to a vaccine. The thing is that for all their friends and family who had children after that, the decision to vaccinate wasn’t so clear cut. Sure the odds are minimal but for some of these people it felt like playing Russian roulette with their children. I’m not trying to make excuses, just saying that despite everything, sometimes, depending on where you’re standing, choices are not so clear. I almost lost my own wife to a vaccine so I kind of understand the fear and trepidation, even if in reality, it’s misplaced.
    As for IS, Putin and politicians, well, best I not get started but I dare say we’d be in full agreement.

    • Paul Maxim

      Clearly, you’ve been more affected by the potential negative sides of vaccinations than the rest of us. I certainly hope that your wife fully recovered from whatever affected her. Other than a slight soreness from flu shots (sometimes) I’ve never had any problems at all with shots. So I guess my perspective is a little different.

      Interestingly, many of the opponents of measles vaccinations in southern California – the epicenter of the current debate – have suddenly decided to get their kids vaccinated. Pediatricians out there have been inundated by vaccination requests and in some spots are running out of the vaccine. The “choices” facing these parents have apparently become a little more clear.

      My only point is that weighing the consequences of certain alternatives in cases like this shouldn’t be all that difficult. The likelihood of having a bad reaction to most vaccines is no where near as high as getting into a car accident on any given day. Yet few of us decide to walk to work or become recluses. The perceived benefits far outweigh the risks. Getting the measles vaccination is, in my opinion, a no-brainer. If you don’t have a valid medical reason for not getting it, it should be mandatory. There should be no allowed exceptions for “personal beliefs”. Just get the damn shot.

  4. Cedric Canard

    The thing to remember (in terms of trying to understand the other side of the coin 🙂 ), is that science doesn’t have the best credibility record. It was scientists who told us tobacco was good for us. It was scientists who brought us the food pyramid and who told us fats were bad and that we shouldn’t eat foods that had cholesterols. The trouble with science is that it has a habit of asserting things as fact until new evidence proves otherwise. Or just as bad, it also has a habit of not stepping in when popular misconceptions morph into bad science like drinking lots of water and taking vitamins. As humans, we operate largely on pattern recognition. Get kicked in the balls enough time and we start to shy away from the perpetrator. I once had a conversation with a doctor who pushed vaccination “because,” he said, “the current evidence shows that they save lives.” It seemed like a weird turn of phrase to me and when I pushed him he explained that medical science was more an art than a science. Someday, he said, scientists may find that childhood diseases play an important role like strengthening our immune systems or something and they’ll be telling us not to vaccinate. An unlikely scenario in his view but he was well aware of his field’s past blunders.
    Again, I’m not trying to make excuses for anyone. Just saying that what looks easy and obvious from one perspective, may not be so clear-cut from another standpoint.


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