Tuesday, December 31, 2013

That's What It's All About

So I went back and read the December 31 and January 1 posts I've written.  They're filled with literary quotations about endings and beginnings and uncertainty and despair and determination and . . . .

God, it feels like I've been showing off, quoting everyone from Shakespeare to Stephen Hawking. The single almost constant has been Don DeLillo, the first sentence of Americana, his first novel.
Then we came to the end of another dull and lurid year.
Which is annually apt.

I could do a recap, but there's little point.  You want to know what 2013 was like?  What 2014 will be like?  Go and read what I wrote at the end of 2009 or 2010 or 2011 or 2012.  Basta!

Look, the thing is that what was is and will be.  Win a little, lose a little.  
You put your left foot in.
You take your left foot out.
You put your left foot in,
And you shake it all about.
We didn't kill Ron Phillips in November, though only because Governor Kasich granted a reprieve to study whether they can cut out his organs and sew him up before killing him.  Dennis McGuire is due to be murdered in a bit over two weeks.  I don't imagine the Governor will do it again, though I didn't think it would happen to Phillips either.

The Pope wonders who he is to judge.  My son points out the obvious answer - he's the fucking Pope.

A guy in my office tried to convince us that the deadliest mammal is the hippo.  There's some support for that, though it's clearly not right.  The mammal that kills the most people is man.

Voyager I has now left the solar system.  Its signals take something like 17 hours to reach earth. They think it will continue to broadcast for another 17 years or so until its power runs out.  Then it will simply sail on, further and further into interstellar space.  In 40,000 years or so, it will approach another star.  Unless, of course, it should be destroyed somehow.  Thing is, we won't know.

I was going to end with Prospero from The Tempest.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Ye all which it inherit, shall dissolve
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
Or maybe Macbeth.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.
Then I thought Jaques from As You Like It.
All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
There's something to be said for each of these, but they're all either too final or too despairing.  The year ends, sure.  But we lift a glass to the new year.  Fearfully, perhaps, but with just a sliver of hope that things won't get much worse.  

And we prepare to push the rock up the hill yet once more.  And this time, by god!  OK, not.  But we do it anyway.
You do the hokey pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about
Happy New Year!  Thanks for reading.

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