Always Looking For Answers

Quote of the Day:

Voice comes to you through a spell, a trance. The best voices are not you…they’re a little away from you.” –Barry Hannah

TB doesn’t know why. And that’s the problem I suppose. So I keep looking.

I have always had the nagging feeling that there was something I didn’t know that I should about things. As I age that nagging feeling attaches itself to more and more subjects. So as you may imagine, it upsets my apple cart a little bit when I come across new information that challenges an issue I thought was settled. Such was the case a couple of weeks back when I was browsing through Lemuria Books in Jackson, Mississippi. I went in to pick up the late Barry Hannah’s “Airships” collection of short stories. Just finished that, by the way, and, I don’t know. Can’t get some of those stories out of my head, but, I don’t know. Anyway….

I always browse through the latest historical works and on this day “The Imperial Cruise” by James Bradley caught my eye. James Bradley also wrote “Flyboys” about WWII flyers in the Pacific and “Flags of Our Fathers” which was inspired by the author’s own father who was one of the men photographed raising the flag on Iwo Jima. While I haven’t read either of these, I know they were well-received and popular. Bradley’s “bona-fides” as a WWII Pacific expert established, I picked up his newest to read the book jacket and the introduction. It is a story about a cruise commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. He sent his Secretary of War, Taft, 7 Senators, 23 Congressmen, his daughter and a host of other military and government figures on a tour of the Pacific Rim to lay the foundation for American power with respect to Asian world.

Teddy Roosevelt has long been the President I most admire. A Republican, but unafraid of big business, prescient about environmental issues, ahead of his time in calling for universal health care, and more; I see him as a visionary who either accomplished or laid the foundation for much of what America is and might be. I wrote about him once before here. But I’ll be dang if Bradley didn’t set out to tear down my notions of the man and his legacy. So I bought the book. If there is one thing I like less than finding out something that changes my opinion on a matter it’s being excluded from the very information that would change it. I don’t know if “The Imperial Cruise” will in fact change my opinion on Teddy, but it’s premise is that this diplomatic mission set in motion a course of events that led to war in the Pacific, Chinese communism, a fractured Korea and other issues that plague us to this day. If he makes a good case for all this, I’ll have to do a bit of thinking. I finished Chapter One last night. So far I’ve learned that Roosevelt and his oldest daughter didn’t get along and a short history of the long-since discredited and debunked theories of white supremacy. Enlightening already, though I don’t yet know how it ties in with his thesis.

Tangentially (at best) related to this is a story I came across about Stephen Hawking yesterday. It’s linked here. One subject that fascinates me to no end is the “universe” (and everything). But I don’t spend too much time thinking about it. Questions involving infinity and nothingness and antimatter and the like blow my mind. Then I get panicky and claustrophobic. So I avoid that. But the question of whether there is life out there doesn’t reach that level of mind-blowedness and that’s what Hawking’s recent remarks were about. Short answer, yes, he’s pretty sure they are there. The bad news is, he says if they come to Earth we are screwed. He says they will only be here to re-settle from their own screwed-up planet or to drain us of our resources. If that’s the case, they’ve got quite a surprise waiting for them! (*walks to window and dumps out quart of motor oil onto grass outside*) Take that, Vogons!

And finally, have y’all seen the Goldman Sachs emails? Jiminy freaking Christmas. Confirms everything I already knew about Wall Street. The bastards were selling junk investments, telling the buyers they were buying safe, conservative even, investments, all the while betting against those same investments and laughing like hell when they ended up profiting wildly on the inevitable crash. Where’s the Bull Moose when we need him?

About travellinbaen

I'm a 40 year old lawyer living in Ridgeland, Mississippi. I'm several years and a couple hundred miles removed from most of my old running buddies so I started the blog to provide an outlet for many of the observations and ideas that used to be the subjects of our late night/happy hour/halftime conversations and arguments.
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12 Responses to Always Looking For Answers

  1. irvine redd says:

    Interested to see how he ties that trip to Chinese communism. From my own personal research, I’d lay that blame at another imperial doorstep, the one that belongs to our dear friends across the pond with the Union Jack flag. (not the total blame, mind you, but some of it)

    Have you read Return to Return yet? I love that story.

    All of the Goldman Sachs stuff is just mind blowing. Obviously I don’t think anyone here is so innocent minded to believe that these sorts of companies aren’t up to at least some shenanigans, but the extent to which Goldman seems to have been involved in some pretty brazen defrauding of their investors is pretty shocking. For me it just shows that all those companies are, more than likely, simply greedy as hell and in need of someone slapping them around and following their every move. Can’t wait to see the Teapartiers bring their brand of populist outrage to this topic. Oh..wait a second…they won’t. Unless this somehow get’s tied to Obama, in which case the anger will flow.

  2. Jessie Lou says:

    The Goldman Sachs saga makes me glad that I invest only some of my money while hiding another portion of it. Perhaps I do not make anything on the hidden portion but then again I’m not loosing it all either to some jackass who is laughing at my expense.

  3. Sweet I know you have opinions on the alien issue.

    Irv, “Return” and the one about Quadberry are the two most burned into my mind. Two things–I’m pretty sure I’m missing a lot in these stories. I get some of it, but not all I’m certain. Second, I knew a bit about Hannah’s youth from old friends/acquaintances of his, but the hard edge of this book was a bit of a jolt. It put a lot of questions in my head about the stories I’m putting together right now, and indirectly caused me to significantly alter one I was working on while I was reading about Levaster and French Edward.

    It was a relief to read the Civil War stories as the intervening century made the psychological duress seem more historical than current. In fact I’m guessing that’s one reason they were placed in the order they were, relief, for the writer or reader I don’t know.

  4. Mac says:

    I also find the universe intriguing. Especially black hole/white hole theories. That all the stuff sucked in by a black hole erupts out the other end in another universe. A volcano of energy and material where there was nothing prior. Lines up well with Big Bang. Oh, and as an added bonus fact, there is a black hole at the center of EVERY single galaxy we have found (including ours). I love thinking about these things, at least until my head starts to hurt.

  5. sweet says:

    Aliens are already among us

  6. irvine redd says:

    The climatic moment in “Return”, I remember reading for the first time like I just finished the story ten minutes ago. It’s just a really good story and understandable that it would cause a re-think of one’s own work. Barry Hannah changed how I thought about writing. He was a pretty awesome dude.

  7. Smilyj says:

    I am inclined to agree with Sweet on the alien situation. If they are here, it is within reason that they are cleverly disguised as humans. However, they may have some subtle inaccuracies. Such as: They may have miscalculated the anatomy and protruded the sternum out too far on the upper body. Also, in learning the mannerisms of how humans engage in making whoopy, they may have thought that the climax of the act happens before any actual intimacy and only lasts for 10 seconds or less. This disguise is beginning to sound eerily familiar……

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  8. Jessie Lou says:

    With all this alien talk I am wondering how many of you watch “V” on Tuesday nights.

    Anything is possible but I’d rather not run into any of them.

  9. sweet says:

    JL, I watched the original in the 80’s but haven’t this time around

    Smily, fascinating viewpoint

  10. Jessie Lou says:

    I watched it to the first time around but was not crazy about it so I have not invested my time into it. Anything that causes me undue anxiety will not be watched right before I got to bed which includes a chick who devours her lover right after they have sex.

  11. Madd Dawg says:

    aren’t you such a clever boy, sEan.
    On GoldSac, it would seem to me that any first year DA could find mountains of evidence showing where these guys were violating numerous SEC regs and state securities laws hopefully landing a bunch of them some jail time and large fines. Unfortunately, their disclosures and propspectus might provide them some CYA.

    It kind of makes one wish we the taxpayers didn’t give, directly and indirectly, tens of billions of dollars to GoldSac a couple of years ago to allegedly “save” us from a depression, especially since a lot of that money then went straight to large bonuses. Too bad that there are many former GoldSac execs now holding high positions in the Executive Branch such that the proper punishment will probably never occur.

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