Category Archives: America

Let’s Pull a New Cartoon Out of Our Hat

One-word prompt: Recreate

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/recreate/


Holy Smoke! Politics, espionage, Russians, uranium, a billionaire and his wife. Surely a Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon revival is due. Those old cartoons from the Cold War era were great.

So far no such revival in sight. The artsy Hollywood types, most likely to recreate a cartoon, apparently don’t see the potential humor new episodes could bring.

Just a few years ago, our former president said that Russia is not such a big threat anymore. Even though Russia has been known to mess around with American elections for decades. Who knows how many other countries try to influence the elections of other places. The good guys, US, are on that list as well.

Then a new president gets in and all of a sudden, we have Evil Empire redux. The Russians are hiding under every rock, Russians behind every potted plant. This time the attack on democracy is for real! Rocky and Bullwinkle we need your help!

Surely we can eke out some new cartoons with just a few minor tweaks:

  • Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale drop stink bombs over Frostbite Falls. Rocky gets to work creating anti-stink missile defense system, saves the day.
  • An international incident barely averted when Boris and Natasha steal the Stanley Cup after Fearless Leader is offered a drink from it. Possibly getting back at Frostbite Falls for stealing all those hockey players.
  • Boris and Natasha sell counterfeit electronic coupons over Internet. Bullwinkle unwittingly foils plot by breaking Internet with tweets.
  • Wossamotta U holds contest to change school’s name. Rocky flies by just in time to pull Bullwinkle out of path of falling statue.
  • Upsidaisium mine sold to Boris and Natasha by mysterious shadowy figure.
  • Bare-back man and horse chase our heroes, Rocky and Bullwinkle, through the Frostbite Falls forest.

And now, can’t someone give us something we’ll really like?

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Murky Certitudes

Abortion is no different than clipping fingernails. At least that was what my mother and I believed in the early 1970s.

At the time, the debate raged on as to whether to legalize abortion or not. Pro-choice and pro-life were not, as of yet, the labels for opposing movements on this issue.

In 1969, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League) organized. I think NARAL sponsored the pro-abortion booth that I volunteered at the State Fairgrounds one year. Among the prized livestock and blue-ribbon winning homemade jams, I passed out this radical literature to the fair-going public. The anti-abortion people had their own booth and ventured near us with their bloody photos of aborted fetuses. We just shrugged and kept on distributing our NARAL pamphlets.

Years later I thought about my carefree stance on abortion. I should have known not to align myself with my mother’s point of view. At times my mother would tell her friends and relatives that she had a right to kill me since she gave birth to me. I was eleven at the time and I protested this proclamation. She told me to shut up since she can say what she wants to say.

If a fetus/baby can be aborted at 8 months, is it murder when the mother kills the baby shortly after its birth? Maybe you can push the issue and kill the kid well after a decade of her life. I had to live with a whole lot of crazy so my brain works in weird ways.

But if a woman’s life is in danger during pregnancy, even a late-term one, the American medical community can and will save the mother’s life before the baby. A reversal of this position would be unwelcomed. If a radical pro-life agenda is capable of eliminating all abortions, I’d be working in a booth at the fairgrounds again.

The very liberal and very conservative in this country are disingenuous. They can’t talk to each other and only want to divide and humiliate each other. You can be against abortion, but don’t chase women back into dangerous back-alley abortions. You can be for abortion, but don’t be so flippant about the gut-wrenching feelings others have on the issue.

Today the medical community keeps formerly unviable fetuses alive. But desperate women will seek out abortions legal or not for a number of personal reasons. Compassion must encircle this difficult topic. A safe abortion is far more than a clipped nail, but sadly it is necessary and I hope as rare as possible.

China Travel in Four Days

China is evil according to some of the news reports in America. I’m skeptical since agendas abound.

What I do know is that I found another author to read and he is Chinese: Cixin Liu, the award-winning author of The Three Body Trilogy. I just finished the second of the series, “The Dark Forest” and look forward to the translation of the last book in his series next year.

A book on the philosophy of Confucius is the only other book I remember reading from China.

I may have missed the author’s intentions, but here is some stuff I found interesting in his books so far:

History and evolution of communist forces in China. I started reading up on some of the incidents he mentioned.

Technology holds a positive place in the future of mankind. A different spin on the debate between environmentalists and industry. When technology is held hostage by an alien force, the world may be doomed.

Spirituality has a place. Many of the characters in his books are atheists and they wish they had the ability to believe in something. A piece of the puzzle eludes them even if it is only a comforting piece.

Love lends a hand in solving problems for some of the lead characters.

The humanities, the arts clarify reality. They are a useful tool even in a high-tech world.

A frequent refrain in “The Dark Forest” is, “If I destroy you, what business is it of yours?” Despite the harshness, it is something to contemplate. Historical, societal, and personal concerns alter the meaning of this idea.

The firefly refrain: it is everywhere in the book and thought by different characters. I just love the symbolism.

A spaceship named Natural Selection. What a fun, not too subtle reference. All the names of the earth spaceships are interesting to note.

Cixin’s description of nanotechnology, space stairs, and the potential immensity of a photon brings me a bit closer to getting these scientific concepts into my unscientific mind.

I find it harder to separate fact from fiction in the real world. Statistics lie and so does the mutable Internet. I trust well-written, solidly researched books instead. If nothing else, good fiction and non-fiction books start a conversation in my head. Unravel with a book.

Snow in the Summer

DAILY PROMPT
That Stings!
Franz Kafka said, “we ought to read only books that bite and sting us.” What’s the last thing you read that bit and stung you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/that-stings/

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That last book was “Snow” by Orhan Pamuk. His books give me a glimpse into a land and culture that I am blind to and gives me inklings of understanding.

“Snow” explores the author’s country of Turkey. His land has been and is at the crossroads of the east and west where a complex pull of secular and religious ideologies struggle for power.

The whole book had a scorpion effect on me, but I remember a particular bite and sting in Chapter 32, “I Have Two Souls Inside My Body.”

In this chapter Ka,the main character, writes a poem that speaks of a “. . . sadness of a city forgotten by the outside world and banished from history.” He imagines that he is in a Hollywood movie, the image of the earth spinning pans in, the camera moves closer until you see only one country — Turkey — with its surrounding seas, Istanbul, trees. and laundry, until the film stops at Ka’s own bedroom window.

I received a bit of a jolt when the camera settled in on a location several thousand of miles away from my personal view of the same Hollywood movie. My earth stops spinning on the Great Lakes, Detroit, a Ford motor plant, a birdbath. This may be my American egocentrism at work here, but it is probably a natural vision most people go to in their minds.

I love to read books that take me out of my skin and for a second puts me in another’s place. To me this is better than physical travel. Travel may take you to tourist spots and remove you from controversial images or people. Your mind can take you more places. I prefer Dickinson’s room to Melville’s open seas.

Flag Waving and Guitar Playing

DAILY PROMPT
I Pledge Allegiance
Are you patriotic? What does being patriotic mean to you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/i-pledge-allegiance/

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Out on the porch, I fly the American flag on the Fourth of July and Memorial Day. I usually forget about Flag Day on June 14th.

A couple of things have changed in patriotism since I was young in the 1960’s. When I was a teen, the anti-establishment segment of American society wore the clothing in the pattern of the American flag, sometimes made out of the actual flag. The more conservative elements of society railed against this flag-draping practice and called them unpatriotic.

Today, the most conservative people wear the flag-inspired clothing in my country. Hats, shirts, pants, socks, even shoes with the red, white, and blue plastered across it. Now this is a sign that you are a true patriot.

At Woodstock in 1969, Jimi Hendrix played The Star Spangled Banner on his crying guitar. This rendition of the patriotic song was labeled as shockingly unpatriotic. The more traditional people found the sad wailing of his guitar as being deeply critical of America.

This last Fourth of July, some guy on a Florida beach played The Star Spangled Banner on his electric guitar in a fashion similar to Jimi Hendrix. He gets arrested for disturbing the peace. Then he becomes  the darling for today’s more conservative crowd. The patriotic flag-wearing people of today applaud the music gleaned from the more radical past.

Both the dress code and the musical style have exchanged places on the political scale. In this case, patriotism is in the eye of the beholder.

The Division of Islam

A few years ago, I communicated with an Islamic blogger about the division between our cultures. I timidly asked if there can be any coming together, middle ground where we can live in peace. He said, I’m sorry, no.

About 15 years ago, an Iranian woman said that the West should get all the Christians out of Iran and kill the rest. My husband and I couldn’t believe what we were hearing.

But they are your people. You don’t understand, kill them.

How can you say that? You don’t understand their mentality.

Everyone? You don’t understand, there is no other way.

So, anyone, is there another way? Is the most we can hope for is the word Sorry before the  bullet hits the head?

All I know is that worrying about backlash against the Islamic community is moving down my list of concerns.

Ironic on Land and Sea

Oh, The Irony
This week’s challenge explores one of the oldest — and trickiest — literary devices.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/oh-the-irony/


She said she loved Wales. I said, I do too!

Mary was my mother’s good friend from childhood and I sometimes drove my mother over to her house for them to visit. Neither of them ever drove a car, and now that they were older, even the public transportation just a few steps from their front doors, could be daunting to them.

So I would come by and sit while they talked. I learned:

  • Old women acquire a license to say anything they want, no matter how outrageous.
  • If you don’t rinse the coffee cups inside and out, you drink coffee that tastes like soap.
  • No amount of dusting will keep 7,000 knickknacks placed about a house dust free.

Yet I got excited about my shared interest with Mary. Whales.

Whales represent America, American literature, natural beauty, grace mixed with strength; mostly due to an influential class on Melville I took in school.

Now Mary kept talking about her passion, I kept talking about mine. A few times she looked at me quizzically. And a few times I thought her comments about whales were odd.

Finally she pulled out a large coffee table book off her coffee table and showed it to me. The title was “England and Wales.” A castle graced the gorgeous book cover.

This was the most ironic conversation of my life. I tried to take another sip of the coffee.