Mad Monk of the Midlands

Name: Mad Monk of the Midlands

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Sundogs and sundry thoughts

January 23rd in Minnesota, sundogs flank the sun and mock its warmth. A bitter January day in an already long winter. Beautiful sky, however, as if done by some incorporeal Impressionist, the sundogs hazy behind the lower atmospheric layer of dust and snow blown all the way from the Dakotas by the freight-train winds. Later, at sunset, the sky still smoky, refracting apocalyptic oranges and fuchsias, imitating Rubens...

On becoming a Third World Country...
The rich are still doing just fine, the rest of us are learning to struggle.
Wall Street takes the bailout money from the taxpayers and distributes it as bonuses to the schmucks who gleefully got us into the current mess.
My neighbor wants to raise chickens in her back yard -- she calls it a sustainable economy. Before long, I'll be offering to shovel her walk as barter for eggs. Talk about the end of the cash economy....

Idolizing the outrageous, or, Maybe we deserve to struggle?
Watching the TV promos for WWE Smackdown. Mindless and with a talent mostly for hype, these steroidal specimens with perfect pecs strut and posture, and are in fact rewarded with loyal audiences, adoring women, and large salaries. And they are tame compared to Ultimate Fighting. The New Rome.

January 31st in Minnesota, at last the hard winter breaks -- it hits 45 today, the ice begins to melt, people are back out on the street and in the malls and restaurants. I go into one of the high-toned coffee shops and ask for a "Cafe au Lait." "A what?" the young woman behind the counter asks. "Coffee with steamed milk." "Oh, a Latte?" Yeah, whatever. And then she overcharged me by a buck.

Dorkball Fashion
It's really hard to look cool or fashionable at any time during Winter in Minnesota. Frump is the fashion, it can be plaid or olive or polka-dot, as long as it's heavy and it's wool or down. Still, what's with trying to look even uglier than you have to? I'm seeing these beanie caps with a duckbill brim. You look like Elmer Fudd. Still, these guys are young and I'm not, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the young woman behind the bar is winking at them and not at me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

On my way to becoming a Creature of Light

... And nothing's forever, except the Wind that scours the Earth...

January fourth in Minnesota began a brutal two-week perioud of unrelenting snow, ice, wind and cold. At one point, places like International Falls were as cold as the South Pole.
I looked out at the absolute whiteness and wondered, why would any human have decided to stay here?
The whiteness is stunning, to be sure, and the cold is serene, because so little moves or makes noise, except the wind. But Winter makes everything more difficult. The cold slows everything down. You need to put on more layers of clothes, your glasses fog up, ice forms on your mustache and eyelids, the muscles don't respond as quickly, you need to allow at least twenty percent more time for any task or to go anywhere.
Winter thins the Herd. Some succumb to its harshness.

Sunday the 18th: in the Time of the Great Dread, and the Time of the Great Relief...

The Great Dread: that everything is falling apart. We're all going broke, and between Israel and Iran and Al Qaeda, Armageddon's a better bet than Wall Street.

The Great Relief: after eight gloomy years stumbling under the weight of the vision of W and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and Dickie Dark, at last there's a Shining Light, and America could once again become the City on a Hill....