April 12, 2021

Spontaneous Human Combustion and Other Worries

I read an email from The Dispatch (Jonah Goldberg's outfit) and it was hard not to think of the path not taken by my cousin Joe. It was written by journalist Rachael Larimore, from Cincy, who graduated OU in 1995, a very similar life path to Joe without the career results. He now toils in a far less glamorous job unrelated to journalism while she's a managing editor. I pondered fate when I read her story: 

"When I chose to go to OU all those many years ago, it was in many ways a practical decision. It had a highly ranked journalism school, which is what I wanted to study, and in-state tuition made it affordable. I was close enough to home that I could visit occasionally, but not so close that I could show up at home on a Saturday morning and beg my mom to do my laundry."

That would make her about 47, a few years older than Joe. She entered journalism before the jobs crashed due to Craig’s List and later Facebook. I’m guessing Joey is 43 now making them near contemporaries. But she entered the workforce in 1995 and he probably around 2000.  Newspaper revenues fell like a downed rocket beginning in 2000, an economic Great Depression for the industry. Certainly Joe had precious little time to break into that type of job if he desired to do so and the talent required to enter a dying field would necessarily be rare. 

As Warren Buffet said of newspaper decline:  “Simply put, if cable and satellite broadcasting, as well as the Internet, had come along first, newspapers as we know them probably would never have existed."

If Joe seems to be an underachiever then Jesus himself might’ve seemed a failure in the eyes of the world at age 30 before his public ministry. 


I made it a priority today to find on google maps where the poet Donald Hall lived.  For some reason it felt important to concretize the airy dream of his descriptions of his farm in New Hampshire. I wanted to see it with Google in the way I wanted to see the Shroud of Turin as physical proof of Christ’s death and resurrection.  After a lot of fits and starts I located the cuss; the 1803-built house and 160 acres near the bottom edge of Eagle Pond, a mysterious Elysium come to life via the prying surveillance of Google maps. 


Later during a workout I listened to Jimmy Akin talk about spontaneous human combustion.  So far the takeaway is that thin nudists will never have that issue.  I commend you all to the podcast “Jimmy Akin’s Mysterious World” for further details. Being neither thin nor a nudist, I’m unrelieved of worry.


I had to laugh at the Drudge (the modern day doomsday report I normally try to avoid) about covid strains being resistant to the Pfizer vaccine. All this trouble to get vaccinated and perhaps for naught. The anti-vaccers may have the last laugh. After a year of disruption and semi-heroic efforts, I think at some point we’ll all be ready to just die in the streets if that’s what it takes to burn out the covid strains.  Virus 1, world 0. 

In a similar fatalistic vein, I feel 2020 marked the epochal turning point at which the nation is set furiously on disunion, the rubicon passed. I’m finally at the point ol’ Hambone was back circa 2011: "burn it down".  The surreal insult to legislators in Georgia attempting to make elections secure just feels all of a piece, that 50% of us have no home here anymore. I'm with Texas, wherever she goes. 

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