Category Archives: Wisdom

Garrison Keillor – Autumn is Coming: Prepare to Be Bold

 

She told me out of the blue that she adores me. I was there, in a chair, listening; she was standing by the grandfather clock. She didn’t sing it but she said it clearly. This should answer any remaining questions. But Mister Malaise and Madam Miasma are ever on our trail, skulking in woodlands and meadows, waylaying the vulnerable, requiring us to drink discouragement and despair, and they got me a few days ago, two weeks after mitral valve replacement, walking tall in Transitional Care, transitioning back to normal life when I was hit (in the time it takes to tell it) by abject weakness, dizziness, nausea, and had to be locked up in hospital and tubes put in my arms for blood and antibiotics, and then released in a weakened semi-invalid state. It’s a lousy feeling. I look out at Minneapolis and imagine it’s Odessa, which it is not. I worry the Swiss banks will fail. Water mains will burst. Bacon will be banned, leaving us with vegan substitute

.The body wants to heal and it has felicitous intuitions how to go about doing it but meanwhile I ache and shuffle around like an old grampa and hike the hallways and work at maintaining a cheerful outlook (false). My wife is a worrier and when we promised to love and honor each other 27 years ago, diarrhea and vomiting weren’t mentioned in detail, so I walk carefully. Continue reading Garrison Keillor – Autumn is Coming: Prepare to Be Bold

Arizona’s Unbroken Election Hero: Rusty Bowers Speaks

The Guardian — Sun 21 Aug 2022

Interview
Ousted Republican reflects on Trump, democracy and America: ‘The place has lost its mind’

Ed Pilkington in Mesa, Arizona

Rusty Bowers is headed for the exit. After 18 years as an Arizona lawmaker, the past four as speaker of the state’s house of representatives, he has been unceremoniously shown the door by his own Republican party.

Last month he lost his bid to stay in the Arizona legislature in a primary contest in which his opponent was endorsed by Donald Trump. The rival, David Farnsworth, made an unusual pitch to voters: the 2020 presidential election had not only been stolen from Trump, he said, it was satanically snatched by the “devil himself”.

Bowers was ousted as punishment. The Trump acolytes who over the past two years have gained control of the state’s Republican party wanted revenge for the powerful testimony he gave in June to the January 6 hearings in which he revealed the pressure he was put under to overturn Arizona’s election result.

This is a very Arizonan story. But it is also an American story that carries an ominous warning for the entire nation.

Six hours after the Guardian interviewed Bowers, Liz Cheney was similarly ousted in a primary for her congressional seat in Wyoming. The formerly third most powerful Republican leader in the US Congress had been punished too.

The thought that if you don’t do what we like, then we will just get rid of you and march on and do it ourselves – that to me is fascism
In Bowers’s case, his assailants in the Arizona Republican party wanted to punish him because he had steadfastly refused to do their, and Trump’s, bidding.

He had declined to use his power as leader of the house to invoke an “arcane Arizonan law” – whose text has never been found – that would allow the legislature to cast out the will of 3.4 million voters who had handed victory to Joe Biden and switch the outcome unilaterally to Trump.

Continue reading Arizona’s Unbroken Election Hero: Rusty Bowers Speaks

Gwynne Dyer on James Lovelock, father of “Gaia”

GWYNNE DYER, August 2, 2022:

Gazing into the future of Gaia — Revolutionary thinker James Lovelock was truly Darwin’s heir.

‘Jim Lovelock’s blunt predictions of global climate disaster were once seen as exaggerated, but he understood what was really happening.’ He died on July 27, on his 103rd birthday. (Images via Reuters)

Scientist and inventor James Lovelock, 94, sits with one of his early inventions, a homemade Gas Chromatography device, used for measuring gas and molecules present in the atmosphere.

 

Jim Lovelock was a late bloomer.

His first book, Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth, was published in 1979, when he was already 60 years old. By the time he died last week, on his 103rd birthday, he had written 10 more books on Gaia, the hypothesis that has evolved into the key academic discipline of Earth System Science.

That gives him a strong claim to be Charles Darwin’s legitimate heir. Just as Darwin’s 19th-century theory of evolution shaped our understanding of how life became so diverse, our understanding of the present is shaped by Lovelock’s idea that the millions of living species function as a self-regulating mechanism that keeps the planet cool enough for abundant life.

The puzzle that started Lovelock down that road was the fact that the sun’s radiation has increased by 30 per cent since life appeared on Earth 3.7 billion years ago, while the planet’s average temperature, despite occasional huge surges up or down, has consistently returned to the narrow range most suitable for life.

What was making that happen?

Gwynne Dyer

Collaborating with American biologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s, he worked out a tentative description of the super-organism he named Gaia and wrote his first book. Most scientists treated it with disdain because he was not a biologist, but also because Gaia had New-Age connotations that he was unaware of. (Jim was not a hippy.) Continue reading Gwynne Dyer on James Lovelock, father of “Gaia”

Attending A Funeral To Die For

The Guardian

Why a good funeral can be a life-affirming occasion
Eva Wiseman — 10 Jul 2022

As well as tears there’s cake and laughter: remembering a well-lived life is a very human affair

Last week, I went to the most fabulous party, and it happened to be a funeral. My best friend’s mum, Janet, died – a clever, funny, brilliant woman who was remembered for the way she danced around kitchens, and smelled of perfume and fags, and trucked across the world with priceless artworks, and brought up two of the most extraordinary girls in London. But while the loss was incredibly sad, her funeral was an absolute blast.

My friends and I dissected it on the way home in the car. Why did it make us feel so… good? The journey was long, the roads were blocked, so we had plenty of time to discuss it, to think about the way their family had performed this quiet trick, taken a sad song and made it better. They’d started by employing progressive funeral directors who gave them a copy of the book they’d written, We All Know How This Ends, a guide to death and the lessons it teaches us about life. They said talking about death and dying can be life-enhancing; they never used the words “passed away”, always “died”. And they insisted the funeral could be anything the family wanted it to be.

There was nothing wild about the afternoon, nothing fired from a cannon or dropped from the sky, instead just this sense of gentle shared joy, passed from hand to hand. Beside the coffin, Janet’s daughter did, not a speech, really, it didn’t feel like a speech, it felt like a series of happy memories told beautifully and everyone laughed.

A colleague talked about Janet’s work, her husband talked about the places they’d lived and the family they’d built, their shared love of drunkenness. There was a poem which read like a love letter, and there was mingling outside in the sun. At a café down the road a jazz trio played while we ate some sandwiches and drank some wine, and the place was packed with Janet’s many friends, some old, some young, some she’d known from work, some from the pub, everyone chatting and chuckling, and holding each other’s arms with that perfect griefy care.

While the loss of my best friend’s mum was incredibly sad, her funeral was an absolute blast
I’m sorry to go on about the pandemic again when I know everybody’s doing so well at trying to forget all about it, but God, every now and then the facts of it prick freshly at me: the way so many had to mourn alone, or die on FaceTime, or attend funerals from home and the distance of a shaky camera, or sit very far apart in ventilated rooms while coffins slid away. It is unbearable, really, to remember.

Continue reading Attending A Funeral To Die For

Living As Well As We Can In Spite of Them Is the First Revenge

NOTE: It’s clear to me that Garrison Keillor doesn’t like to be profound, at least not when he’s performing.

He starts off writing or doing a monologue, following the curves and turns of a narrative, striving for a seamless whimsy. Then something big & weighty abruptly rolls like a boulder onto his path — interruptions that happen too doggone often these days — which  he’d just as soon avoid, or slide around, or deal with obliquely, sidelong, seeking a way to draw at least a half smile out of it. Continue reading Living As Well As We Can In Spite of Them Is the First Revenge