September 14, 2012

Various

I was kind of surprised by how much angst over Egypt there was despite the fact that no one was killed there. Anti-American demonstrations and flag burnings and the whatnot, who cares? Everybody knows there's a good dollop of anti-Americanism in that country.

But I was really taken aback by the news of the killing of the U.S. Libyan ambassador. You got to figure being the ambassador to a radical Middle Eastern country is risky but not that risky. It's surprising that we didn't take better pains to protect him given the former.

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Thinking back to the weekend and how we drank the water at a little city festival in southwestern Ohio. They're selling it now (though it was free at the festival), on the theory it's exceptionally good. A guy poured me some from a tap and it was fine but that might've just been because it was nice and cold. It just sort of tasted like water to me. I suppose if I had another city's water and (as long as they were the exact same temperature) maybe I might discern a difference. Although maybe not; my water palate may be no better than Ham of Bone's beer palate.

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Sometimes, like Frank Sinatra, I feel bad for teetotalers. I think of the sum pleasure beer has brought to my life and I feel a bit chagrined that my great aunt Mary was unable to partake due to her diabetes. I wish I could talk to her now, wish I'd been able to speak to her adult-to-adult. I would love, even more, to be privy to the conversations between her and Mom back in those old days. I can't remember a single fragment of a conversation, only of being there.

The past inevitably develops a patina of charisma about it; it's the reason we have all these sentimental television shows about times two decades' past. Part of it is that we were young (or younger) and that is potent, but time passage itself seems to make the past more interesting: what was it like before the Internet and computers, before cell phones and the like? Isn't it interesting that gas was under a dollar a gallon? And more importantly, what were those family gatherings like, the ones that seemed like permanent fixtures at the time - sturdy as good furniture - even though somewhere in the recesses of your mind you knew, of course, that time changes everything via the deaths it brings. So how does one make the present as interesting and charismatic as the past? How does one appreciate what you have while you still have it?

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