Real illness is rarely like that. Sometimes even successful treatment doesn’t cure you; it just makes life go from ‘Star Wars Episode I-level awful’ to ‘Star Wars Episode III-level bearable.’ Sometimes illness doesn’t teach you anything, or make you a better person. But because so many of us rely on the quick and/or life-affirming versions of illness we’ve seen on television and in movies, we tend to discourage real-life experiences when they don’t match up. Cancer sufferers discover that people don’t want to listen when they express understandable feelings of anger or depression, because everyone expects people with cancer to be strong and courageous so that we can repeat their uplifting stories in email forwards. People who are sick for years might find that friends who were understanding at first gradually start to drift away, as if they’re thinking, ‘Didn’t you have surgery already once? Isn’t that story arc over yet? For God’s sake why aren’t you doing a fun run?’
We will not just say, “I love him very much,” but instead, “I will do something so that he will suffer less.” The mind of compassion is truly present when it is effective in removing another person’s suffering.
The right has figured out how to make partisan politics into popular, profitable entertainment, in a way that liberalism hasn’t. Right-wing talk radio is huge; left-wing talk radio has never gained a toehold. MSNBC prime time gets pretty good ratings, but Fox has been the top-rated cable news channel every month for the past twelve years. So, yeah, it’s laughable that Sarah Palin brings down the house with a tendentious Green Eggs and Ham parody plagiarized from a 2010 right-wing email forward. But there’s a huge audience that loves that. The fact that right-wingers love this stuff is, obvioualy, a clear sign that they’re insane. On the other hand, it’s why they vote. They’re always fired up. They’re on guard 24/7 against a menacing liberal juggernaut that threatens imminent societal doom, and they’re always ready to smite the liberal beast.
We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.
I spent an hour yesterday morning, under a sky like this. Clouds rolled in from north northwest eventually.
I don’t know if it helped me sleep any better. Orion had tennis practice last night, and I get my exercise walking the court scooping up stray tennis balls, which means I usually crash early on Monday nights anyway.
I don’t think it helped my depression much, though. Around midday I got my usual unexplained urge to cry. It’s just so weird because I don’t feel sad, or feel much of anything, except this urge, and no way to get catharsis. Then my son comes home and fills the house with noise. In short order I switch from blocking out what’s in my brain to blocking out the TV.
Still, I’m out here again. Because it’s beautiful. And it’s fleeting. Another month or two and we’ll be sheltering in place from the scorching sun. But this? If I were building a Heaven, mornings would be like this.
I finally figured out the location of that beach in the first scenes of Cosmos!
It’s somewhere in California, about a hundred miles south of San Francisco, 14 miles south of Monterey. The exact coordinates of the place Sagan/Tyson stood are, more or less:
I don’t even know if anybody else cares about this, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who know already, but I’ve always wanted to know and could never find it through basic Google searches. I only found it after searching the California coastline in Google Earth until I found a place that matched the first scene in the new Cosmos.
Championship game. Desert Chapel is down by 20. Trinity Classical subs in a student who has autism and has never scored a point. What do you do? You do what Desert Chapel did.
Once there was only dark… if you ask me, the light’s winning.
It’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen, right? And so, knowing what’s going to happen, I figure, “Oh, that’s nice. Maybe I’ll watch it anyway, but since I know what’s about to happen, and I don’t feel anything just thinking about it, I doubt I’ll feel anything particularly strongly, let alone shed a tear. A single, manly tear. Nope. Entirely unlikely. But I’ll watch it anyway.”