Visitations of Insanity

January 2, 2014

fiveCrystal-clear and cold this early Thursday on California’s north coast as we transverse into a brand new, just-like the old year.

We made the national news yesterday, and most-likely today, too. And it ain’t good — a popular Catholic priest was found murdered in the rectory of St. Bernard Church in Eureka, about 10 miles south of me, and police haven’t a clue to what happened.
From the best online news source up here, The Lost Coast Outpost, yesterday afternoon: An hour ago, EPD Chief Andy Mills and a tearful Mayor Frank Jager spoke about this morning’s murder at St. Bernard’s and the state of the investigation. Jager confirms the identity of the victim, Father Eric Freed.
Cops are looking for a possible get-away vehicle, a dark grey Nissan Altima Hybrid, bearing California license plate 6NDW400.

CNN has its story here.

(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Two Sisters‘  found here).

Meanwhile, in another news story from Tuesday, I’ve got a personal note with, too — but it’s one of those six-degrees of bacon-n-eggs from me.
My youngest daughter lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and yesterday an apartment explosion there — via USAToday:

An explosion and fire ripped through a building housing 10 apartments and a grocery store Wednesday morning, leaving more than a dozen people injured and three unaccounted for, officials and witnesses said.
“This is a tragic morning for the city of Minneapolis,” Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges said.

I e-mailed my daughter, just in case. She mailed back: Hey! Lol, no I don’t live super close to there. That’s about a mile and a half from here. The apartment across the street from me exploded last summer. It was crazy, I just went to get some tea a couple blocks away, and when I got back there were fire trucks everywhere and all the tenants were on my lawn.
Well, I’m sure she didn’t pull the John McCain lawn thingy.

And how can she live there — it’s -2 degrees in Minneapolis right now, tonight down to minus 13 — after being born and raised in sunny Southern California. She loves it in Minnesota, though, and that’s all that counts.

Beyond murder and mayhem, Americans don’t think the government is worth a shit — the latest poll at AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research:

Half say America’s system of democracy needs either “a lot of changes” or a complete overhaul, according to the poll conducted by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Just 1 in 20 says it works well and needs no changes.
Americans, who have a reputation for optimism, have a sharply pessimistic take on their government after years of disappointment in Washington.
The percentage of Americans saying the nation is heading in the right direction hasn’t topped 50 in about a decade.
In the new poll, 70 percent lack confidence in the government’s ability “to make progress on the important problems and issues facing the country in 2014.”

People feel somewhat better about their personal lives.
Most have at least some confidence that they’ll be able to handle their own problems in the coming year.
A narrow majority say they’d do a better job running the country than today’s leaders in Washington.
Local and state governments inspire more faith than the federal government, according to the poll, with 45 percent at least moderately confident in their state government and 54 percent expressing that much confidence in their local government.

Americans don’t feel terribly optimistic about their own economic opportunities.
Although 49 percent say their standard of living surpasses their parents, most are broadly pessimistic about the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.
And they are mixed on whether people like them have a good chance to improve their standard of living.
Few are hopeful that the pieces are in place for the government to improve.
About half are pessimistic about the country’s ability to produce strong leaders generally.
And 61 percent are pessimistic about the system of government overall and the way leaders are chosen.

This brings to mind a most-excellent piece this week at The Atlantic by Adrienne LaFrance on how the old “Twilight Zone” TV series foretold the nowadays. Rod Serling seemed to know strange shit — especially this particular bit:

The Twilight Zone repeatedly encourages its viewers to be skeptics.
In “Third from the Sun” (1960), a government skeptic is warned that asking questions is dangerous.
In “And When the Sky Was Opened” (1959), viewers are cautioned that they may cease to exist if they ask about secret government programs.
In “No Time Like the Past” (1963), the cynical main character sums up his disdain: “We live in an exquisite bedlam, an insanity, made all the more grotesque by the fact that we don’t recognize it as insanity.”
The message is that what the government says and what it does are often incongruent, warmongers end up haunted or damned, and only those who exercise humanity may have hope for survival.

Surviving even more insanity — welcome 2014!

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