(Miscellaneous musings of more than 140 characters, usually, but not enough words to be fully blogicious.)
We found ourselves wandering through an otherwise unoccupied mind one recent day when ice or the threat of ice was limiting more fruitful occupations or ambitions.
An observation after two years of retirement: If you put on slippers instead of shoes when you get dressed in the morning, the chances are above average that you will not step outside your house more than three times during the day and you will stay outside no more than two minutes each time. One of the trips will be to get the morning paper. Another will be to get the mail.
We are reminded of the closing lines of the movie “Patton,” a quote from the general read by George C. Scott: “For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conquerors rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.”
NASCAR sent us a note the other day that now is the time to load up on 2017 driver merchandise—everything from baby clothes to pull-along coolers with your favorite driver’s colors and numbers. We thought it would be interesting to look at Carl Edwards’ stuff, which went from merchandise to memorabilia pretty fast. Hats and t-shirts are about ten to twenty dollars off. Jackets are forty dollars off. And so it went with other items that became examples of the truth of Patton’s remark that “all glory is fleeting.” Superstar today, clearance table tomorrow. Such is life.
We were headed to Nevada, in southwest Missouri, a few weeks ago to deliver a couple of copies of our Capitol art book to Cavender’s Book Store when we came upon a large crowd of black birds somewhere near Preston clearing the road of remnants of an unfortunate creature, bite by bite. As we neared them, the birds all took frantic flight—except for one, a much bigger bird that seemed to just spread its wings and gracefully elevate. As he lifted off, I spotted the large fan of white tail feathers and then a white head. I swear he looked back over his shoulder, perhaps to see if my car did any damage to his snack. It’s kind of a gruesome story, I suppose. But I’ll remember the Eagle I saw a few days before Christmas long after I’ve forgotten the rest of the long trip on a chilly, rainy, December day or even Christmas itself.
Our state has a new chemistry set in an old box. About one-fourth of the members of the Missouri House are brand new. The governor, as we have noted several times, is fresh to the world of political office-holding. Five of our six top state officeholders are new to those offices. The chemistry in our Capitol is entirely different. It’s going to be interesting to see how the elements mix.
More than a dozen years ago, someone suggested the Missourinet start using Twitter. The example of Twitter that was given to us was a series of twits, tweets, toots—whatever they are (perhaps depending on the sender)—from a former colleague who was telling the world he was at an airport, then that he was waiting to board his plane, then that he was in his seat, then that he was waiting to take off. We all thought Twitter was silly and superficial, an attitude borne out a few weeks later when another friend send a message that she was on her way home from work but had to stop at a store to get a sump pump. Your observer started calling Twitter, “The Theatre of the Inane.”
We are reminded by all the discussion about punitive tariffs on American-company vehicles made in and imported from other countries of a talk we had a long time ago with Kenneth Rothman, a two-term Speaker of the House who was Missouri’s first Jewish statewide elected official, Lieutenant Governor, 1981-1985. He bought a little farm near Jefferson City during those years and wanted to get a little American-made pickup truck to use out there. But he learned Ford’s compact pickup was made by Mazda; Chevrolet’s little truck was made by Isuzu, and Dodge’s compact truck was made by Mitsubishi. He finally found an American-made small pickup truck that was manufactured in Westmoreland, Pennsylvania. A Volkswagen.
We have friends who flee to Arizona and Florida during these months. We pity them for the loss of their sense of adventure.
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