Wednesday, April 02, 2008

"May you live in interesting times!"

As a kid back in the mid-20th Century, my one major goal was to make it to the 21st Century. I figured that would be far enough into the future to experience some of the incredible changes science was promising us all; to get me to that state of the alleged Chinese blessing, "May you live in interesting times!"

Of course, as a kid, I didn't realize that expression wasn't Chinese. Nor was it a blessing. It was a curse! But that was all right too, because youth is most always tempted by conditions offering an element of daring and danger that challenge their comfort zones. So if the future with its unknown manifestations held some potential dangers, "Alright, bring it on!"

My wish to make it to a place with many unknowns held the promise of some excitement for my future. Kids have a reputation for often doing crazy or stupid things, I suppose. Pre-frontal lobes of their brains have not yet fully matured, likely explaining why young men and women make the best soldiers -- they haven't fully grown into their common sense.

I know making generalizations like that are arguable. "How do you explain mature adult's actions so wrought with danger and daring like those of a George Bush or Dick Cheney?" one might ask. But I'm speaking to normal adult human maturations, not aberrant sociopathic ones. But I digress.

So my wishing to live into the next millenium to experience "interesting times" seemed relatively tame in light of some of the craziness around me and my peers so absorbed in youthful moments. Now however, having arrived in the future, I'm not so sure how tame my desire to experience it was.

Sure, the next forty years cruised along pretty routinely with wars (mostly unnecessary), assassinations, and natural disasters seasoned with unnatural, man made ones as well.

There was the exciting moment when modern man first stepped on another heavenly body as millions watched below. That was almost a decade after he nearly fried himself in a US - USSR nuclear annihilation.

But as kids our main concerns were girls, money and cars. Occasionally we'd think about the future and sometimes dream. One in particular I remember was the fantasy of making it to the year 2000, of having amassed $100,000. (My dream was modest.) As a friend and I imagined, at 6% the $500/month income it would provide for the rest of forever, while not wealth, would leave us very, very comfortable. We'd never have to work again!

Now, 50 years later, here I am. Living in the future. The $100,000 at 6% fantasy obviously didn't allow for inflation. That aside, where can one earn 6% without more risk than I'm willing to take in increasingly riskier financial markets.

I admit, over the decades since boyhood, I became lulled into a sense of an unending status quo, that my wish as a kid would not happen. But with the turn of the century, things have really heated up. In retrospect, I now realize since 2001 I, indeed, have gotten my wish. I do live in interesting times!

What's far more exciting, the immediate future looks to be getting even more interesting. Far more than anything I wished or bargained for as a kid, I fear.

Stay tuned. The future sure ain't what it used to be!

13 comments:

eProf2 said...

Nice post. Are you hinting that you have a birthday today or soon? My birthday is next week, so I can empathize with the sentiments in this post as a child of the 40's and 50's and now living in retirement on something a little greater than the $500 a month. I still wonder about what interesting things are still to come even though the future is now. At the same time, I also think about what my life must have been like had I lived exactly one hundred or two hundred years ago on these same dates, ie, April 3rd 1908 or April 3rd 1808. Maybe that's why I'm fascinated by the sign: "Absolutely nothing happened here on (fill in the date several hundred years ago)." If it's your birthday, happy birthday. If not, enjoy the day nevertheless!

eProf2 said...

Re: Guess who's coming to dinner and the Cowboy Del Amor discussion. I'm glad you and so many others enjoyed this little quirky film.

Horsedooty is a friend of mine from CrawfordsList, where I no longer post due mostly to the number of posts each day now numbering in the hundreds with lots of nasty name calling exchanges. So, Horsedooty, if you're stopping by here once in awhile I'm glad to see you again. Do you have a web page or other locales you like to post? Yo estoy tu amigo!

dada said...

eprof: Hey, thanks for the birthday wish. Unfortunately, I have no birthday in sight...not for a few more months anyway.

But this appears an opportune time to extend such wishes to yourself on the upcoming anniversary next week of your introduction onto this Earthly plane. So, "Happy Birthday, eprof!" May it be a grand one. (We never know how many of these occasions we have left, do we? ~grin)

I suppose in this blog I was hinting at my take on reality here in Act One of the 21st Century. A tad reluctant to reveal here what to others might be considered "fringy," no doubt I may hint at this (or more) in some future blog(s). After all, the premise of this blog is we are living in the midst of a the greatest mass extinction period in 63 million years!

Fortunately, scientific uniformitarianism being what it is, the Fates seem gentle on us.

Yet, I've always been somewhat of a catastrophist myself. But that's not to say one must exist to the exclusion of the other ala a Bush dictum, "You're either with us or against us!" There's no reason you can't be one (uniformatarian) sans an occasional mass catastrophe, right?

But, alas, hear my woe! Catastrophism probably played a part in my departure many years ago from Calif. to avoid the disaster I anticipated (still do) for my home state. It turns out my expectations for the Golden State may have been premature while my extinction from California was not!

As I said, however, enough talk of this fringy stuff, lest I alienate the few readers I have.

Again, "'Happy Birthday!' eprof."

dada said...

eprof; Horsedooty:

Thanks eprof for your post re Horsedooty. I feel really remiss, having intended to respond to HD on that original post where s/he commented (but I never did).

I don't know if HD will catch your comment here under a new thread, but I shall make an effort to return to the pre-spring break post to welcome/thank HD for the add'l info re that part of Texas I have yet to visit and mention your comment here under this blog in case s/he ever returns to Dada's.

Re CrawfordsList: I can relate. I used to frequent "Pogo," an online gaming site where one could I could play any number of games. I chose solitairebecause it had a "Politics" board. Of course, I didn't really go there for the card game, I went their for the discourse. Sadly, we of a more radical left bent were far, far outnumbered by right wingers and the--what I took for ignorance because I could no way on this Earth relate to their espousals--took its toll on me to where I left them to wallow in their own devices.

The result was the birth of Dada's Dally shortly afterwards and I don't know whether to thank those neo-con shills or curse them.

One more note in passing: This weekend we are to again return to the home where we met "Peter," the Unabomber-like person. While I doubt he will be there, I'd love to eventually hear a follow-up of his spring break in the Big Bend area.

dada said...

another comment: This is totally outside the thread here, but was wondering eprof if, by chance, you have ever seen the movie (with English subtitles), "Y tu mamá también"? Happened upon it late one night before axing our DISH satellite.

I enjoyed much about this movie, especially the glimpse of Mexico and its culture...like stopping for roadblocks by, whom?, Mexican gov't troops or militia in control of the local countryside? Of course, the strong sexual content was that of teenage male fantasy, but with a nice, deservedly, yet tragic, ending.

D.K. Raed said...

I remember almost those exact numbers, the fantasized wealth of $100K. As a kid, I thought if you made $12K/yr, you were rich. Inflation was something to be blissfully ignorant of, even when the grandparents would talk about nickel hotdogs ... or maybe that was corndogs.

I also remember, quite distinctly, seeing the movie "2001" and realizing OMG, I will still be alive then (it seemed so far away)! My next thought? Too bad I'll be too old to enjoy it! Those sobering recollections make me a bit less harsh on today's youth.

oooh, I saw "Y tu mama, tambien" some time ago, on late night HBO. Talk about hot! Whoa, who could pay attn to countryside scenes or militia or even the obvious class distinctions between the main actors? IMDb noted this gem about the movie that escaped me:

"The image of 'Che' Guevara hanging from the rear-view mirror keeps appearing and disappearing during the first part of the road trip, right before it is substituted by the toy rabbit Luisa buys at the town."

ps, happy b-day Eprof!

eProf2 said...

OK, I'll try again because Blogger deleted my post to you last night.

Thanks for the birthday wishes Dada and DK. I could have sworn that you, Dada, were rapidly approaching another set of candles with this post. They'll be waiting for you in a couple of months.

I'm glad you decided to start your own blog as a result of your experiences at a right wing blog. CL isn't so much a right wing blog but simply too many posters and too much name calling where once it was just fewer posters and more interesting exchanges based on a main stream media, insider guy's writings on national politics. My reaction was the opposite of yours when I stopped writing my own blog. I've been thinking about going back to it one of these days.

Yes, I've seen Y tu Mama Tambien. A remarkable film in that it tries to capture the youth movement and the realities of an upstart Mexican revolution in Chiapas. Did you notice the overlap between the Chiapas problems and the segment on Cowboy Del Amor? It was when the female doctor was telling her story to Ivan about her father being killed in Chiapas and losing his land and property and why she went into medicine. She and the suitor never did get together.

I hope your friend Peter shows up for dinner so you learn more about Big Bend National Park and life as a border crosser each day.

I was able to contact HD through his profile on CL where he left his email address. Between this blog and his email I should be able to make contact again. I was pleased that he found his way over to your blog. He's a photographer, very knowledgeable about old time country/western singers and songs, and lives in Ft. Worth. As a yellow dog Democrat (his own words), he makes interesting comments for CL readers.

May we live in interesting times! (And be able to watch interesting films.)

horsedooty said...

Hi guys, Sr Horsedooty here, thanks for the email this AM eprof2 I have responded. Hi Dada, thanks for the welcome. I was not offended in anyway just figured you were busy or away on Spring Break.

Of all the movies y'all have talked about the only one I have not seen is "there will be blood. I saw "Cowboy del amor" several times on HBO I think. It has been a while since I rented "Y tu Mama Tambien". Sra Horsedooty recommended it and I have learned after 31 years not to oppose her as she generally knows of what she speaks. :) We both enjoyed it tremendously. One other that I liked a lot was "All The Pretty Horses". It was beautifully photographed. The story sorta followed the book and I know a lot of cowboy types that did not like the movie because it did not place the emphasis on horsemanship like the book did especially when the Matt Damon character was in Mexico working for the Mexican rancho. I can live with that. I don't need to know what bits and stirrups were used, that sorta thing. It was sort of a love story at that point.

Again thanks for the welcome and to you eprof2 for the introduction.

adiós para ahora mis amigos,

Yo soy un demócrata amarillo del perro.

Yo soy Horsedooty!

horsedooty said...

oh I forgot eprof2 "feliz cumpleaños" I just celebrated my 63rd in March Damn, I am getting old.

adiós para ahora mis amigos,

Yo soy un demócrata amarillo del perro.

Yo soy Horsedooty!

eProf2 said...

Gracias, Horse Dooty. Next week I'll celebrate 68 sets of candles. But, I'm going on 48 instead.

HD, I sent a reply to both of your emails. I guess I'm going to have to rent All the Pretty Horses as I'm about the only one who hasn't seen it from Dada's. Since we're into "borderland" films, check out The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez from a few years back. Excellent film on "lost in translation."

Thanks, Dada, for allowing us to get reacquainted with old friends here on your blog.

dada said...

eprof: Yes, thanks for drawing the link of Chiapas in the two movies. (Personally, in "Cowboy del Amor" I felt badly for the doctor and the "match" made for her. That poor guy didn't much more to say than a 2"X4" full of rusty nails. (? Don't ask, I have no idea what that means.)

I'm glad you've reconnected with HD. He seems like a pretty nice guy for a "demócrata amarillo del perro" (grin).

Mrs. Dada assures me I saw "All the Pretty Horses". I'm trying to recall, but fear I'm going to have to resort to some internet help to refresh my memory.

As for "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez," Mrs. Dada did a search on NetFlix and it returned a big zilch.

D.K. - I hope to see "Y Tu Mama Tambien" again in the near future. (Maybe for my birthday? ~grin) And I'll be sure to watch for the Che Guevara hanging from the rear view mirror.

(BTW, I have to say, as a kid fantasizing about your future ROI, your 12% return doubled my 6% - way to go!)

HD: Thanks for returning to the blog. The infusion of new blood on occasion is vital (and appreciated!). Evidence the nice conversation here that serve as such pleasant distractions from some of the incredibly insane events too numerous to address in the real, everyday, world.

So, while on the subject of movies filmed in the area -- this may be a stretch -- but one of my very favorites will forever be, "The Last Picture Show" because it reminded me sooo much of my youth in a small (dying?) town. (No, I didn't get to sleep with the coach's wife.) But the flavor of this film, the BxW photography, the desolation of the characters and their town really grabbed it for me. Sam the Lion was a killer character.

Mrs. Dada and I were passing thru Carmel, CA the night we decided to go see this movie. In a strange place, it was the darkest little town I'd ever been in at night.

But I digress.

horsedooty said...

I enjoy the film talk here Dada. I was just talking about "the last picture show" this afternoon. This fellow was having his picture made (by me) for a CD he is doing. Allan is from Wichita Falls and his family knows McMurtry. He was talking about this guy that was rich as cream and even had a pool in the house. We decided that McMurtry was only writing what he knew about. Coincidence? I think not. :)

My wife, Sra Horsedooty, and I talked the other night about "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez" Since she knows everything she said she remembered the true to life story and what happened. Neither of us have seen the movie though.

adios para ahora mis agmios

Yo soy un demócrata amarillo del perro.

Yo soy Horsedooty!

dada said...

whoa boy....days have gone by and I realize I failed to respond to this comment -- so worthy of response.

I think some of the best "fiction" comes from "non-fiction". Hell, that's what made TLPS, the movie, so good - there was fiction in there I experienced in my non-fiction youth, so I think you're right on, HD, about reality shaping these flights of fancy that make such excellent novels/movies.

As for "The Ballad of Gregorio Cortez," it looks very interesting. After checking NetFlix for it unsuccessfully, I will have to trust your wife's memory (which concerns me a little--not her memory, but her age, as that happened a long, long time ago ~grin).