Our first major storm of the season commenced last night. The Tribune is calling it a blizzard. We'll see. We'll still attend a Super Bowl party today. Though we're not hosting, we kind of instigated it, and we enjoy the group that's coming together. Getting there will only require a short hop on the L, so as long as the trains are moving we should be fine.
My greater concern is the drive to work tomorrow. My clients will be there because they live there. I expect I'll be leaving very early in the morning.
Note to readers: My dashboard indicates that this post was published last night at 10:00pm. If that's the case, I accidentally posted a draft I dashed off last night before bed. I did some significant editing this morning, so if you read this post on Saturday night or before 7 am CST, you only read a rough version of it.
Earlier this week, in another blog, someone made a disparaging comment about people who interpret fortunate encounters as contact with angels. You know the kind of story I'm talking about.
My car broke down at 3:00 am on a dark road over 30 miles from the nearest town. No one is ever on that road late at night because it's a service road that goes to the old mill that closed years ago. I was only there because I got lost. Well it was 10 degrees below zero and I thought I was going to freeze to death until a man came along and got my car started. He had hot cocoa and a blanket, too.
Somehow the teller of the story is convinced that this was an encounter with an angel.
In the urban legend version, the account would include absurd embellishments.
I turned to say goodbye, but he was gone, and there were no tire tracks or footprints in the snow.
During the week, I watched this PBS documentary on reactions to the staggering and unexpected death toll of the American Civil War. Interesting stuff.
I've long pondered not only the effects of the catastrophic death toll on the psyches of those who lived during the Civil War, but also its psychic imprint on American culture itself.
I don't see that imprint as having a benign influence. Aside from the complicated racial legacy of the war, I think that a derivative chain of reactions to the collective trauma imbues many other facets of American life with a heightened sense of conflict.
For example, I suspect that the traumatic trail of the war fortifies tension between an alternating appetite for belligerent exercise of power in foreign affairs and a similarly robust counter-tendency toward belligerent isolationism. While the roots of such a conflict can be found in archetypal conflicts intrinsic to the human psyche, I do think that the overwhelming trauma of the Civil War amplifies the conflict in troubling ways.
SFGATE: A San Francisco deputy public defender was handcuffed and arrested at the Hall of Justice after she objected to city police officers questioning her client outside a courtroom, an incident that her office called outrageous and police officials defended as appropriate.
The Tuesday afternoon arrest of attorney Jami Tillotson as she denied police officers’ attempts to take photos of her client without explanation raised questions about police intimidation and harassment, Public Defender Jeff Adachi said at a Wednesday news conference.
A man is surfing our train on crutches. Really struggling. Passengers near the doors needed to get up to allow room for his passage at both ends of the car. Plenty of seats available, but unless he's armed, too many men on the train for him to engage in predatory behavior. Well, I guess that's not true, but it's crowded enough that there are plenty of men in every car. He isn't asking for money, just trudging through the train on crutches. WTF?
Daniel Bergner writes about an Orthodox Jewish social worker who treats sexual problems in ultra-Orthodox women referred for treatment by their rabbis. The article nicely conveys a sense of the challenges this work presents.
I'd have let the matter drop [his UFO skepticism], but there was one email I want to share, almost beautiful in its simplicity, from reader Charles Yates. It struck me because it conveys a thought I've never seen expressed before. Here it is, in its entirety:
I'm very skeptical when I heard about Roswell years ago. This ufo traveled from distant galaxies, and then when it gets to Earth it......crashes??