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?