Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The River

Is a dream a lie if it don't come true or is it something worse?

I'm a big Bruce Springsteen fan and I was listening to "The River" when that lyric came up. "The River" discusses a man who has to let go of his dreams due to the circumstances of his existence. Many of us live with that. We'd all love to be the awesome people that we think we are, but in all honestly, we're all a bunch of middling failures in the grand scheme of things. And no, I'm not exempting myself from this category and looking at you with hoity-toity disdain as I'm puffing away on a pipe and swirling my scotch in a glass; I'm in the same sinking boat as all of you folks.

Nevertheless, calling it a lie is a harsh way of putting it. Of course you have to let go of certain dreams at some point in your life. But does that mean that anything that doesn't pan out exactly when you want to mean that your dream is a lie?

We all live with disconnects with reality. Honestly, it's probably what keeps most, if not all, of us sane. Reality is a gritty, grim place. A few dreams here and there to doll up the place doesn't hurt too much. But it's when you've completely blinded yourself with those dreams and lost touch with reality that something is up. There comes a point when you have to accept the circumstances handed to you and figure it out from there.

Even still, you shouldn't fully give up on your dreams. Keep at least one alive; it's part of what makes us human. And if you're not human, then what are you?


Senatory Edward "Ted" Kennedy succumbed to brain cancer late last night at the age of 77 years, leaving behind a long, storied career in politics.

The list of accomplishments under his name would be so long that I'd have to dedicate a massive series of blog posts just to fully discuss them all, so I'll leave that to professional historians. One of the most notable accomplishments he will be remembered for is his work in civil rights, as theGrio notes.

However, there is one issue that is over-looked in that discussion and that is his stance on desegregation busing. Busing caused all sorts of problems most everywhere it was tried and took existing issues and served as a catalyst to make them major headaches. Many of the proponents of busing, Kennedy included, had children in private school where they would be unaffected by the decisions on busing.

This remains an issue as areas where busing was implemented saw fairly well-functioning school districts fall to pieces as those who could move out to avoid busing (whites) did so while those who couldn't (minorities) had to make do with whatever was left. Entire school districts were ruined by this policy. Prince George's County in Maryland was totally transformed by this change and now not only suffers from the problems in the school districts but also now has a crime rate higher than that of neighboring DC.

Now don't get me wrong: I did agree with some of Ted Kennedy's views. But let's not be so quick to make him a saint and a messiah, especially of race relations.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

64 Checkered Squares

I used to play chess quite a bit when I was much younger man. I played for my high school (I was that cool) and it was one of the few things I could hold my own in from time to time. Like most games, you learn a lot about yourself as a person and about life.

As a youngster, I had real difficulty sorting through how life worked. I just couldn't put it together to save my life. As such, I grasped for anything that I could use as a model. Chess somehow managed to fit. It was logical, which meant that it had comprehensible reasons for everything. There were definite rules that were inflexible that reduced variation. An opponent sat across from me, something that I felt was present at all times in life.

Once I've aged a bit, I've learned that things aren't like chess at all. You can't go around looking at logic for the answers to everything. People are driven by other things. This is what distinguishes us from the silicon machines we use to write and respond to blog posts. And because of this, making all the right moves 100% of the time doesn't guarantee victory, something which I've learned, often through the hard way.

It's something hard to reconcile, since a logical and refined world is easier to comprehend and sort through. As someone who has no clue about the rules of engagement, it's like grasping at straws or trying to devise a strategy for a game of which the rules are not defined.

Then again, who would really want to live a life that could be boiled down to 64 checkered squares?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Ride

Yesterday, I rode a bus route I hadn't ridden for a while. I avoided it because of what triggers I was afraid it would bring up. Nevertheless, necessity won out and I succumbed. As I was riding, I started to feel nothing. It wasn't numbness; it was just simple apathy. And that felt great.