Monday, December 17, 2012

United in Grief: An Unspeakable Act in Connecticut

I feel that, if only briefly, we all are united by our feelings after the horror last Friday.  Others have written poignantly about the evil that visited a town in Connecticut, of so many lives so young and now extinguished, of the terror of the day that will long haunt the survivors, or how we all break down at the mention of the names of the children.  We cannot help but think of our own greatest treasures, our children, and how fragile these treasures are.

For a brief while, the nation is united in grief.

But we cannot dwell too long over this evil and the tragic loses.  We cannot become stuck in pondering the acts of last Friday, least we become caught up in the negativity of the evil.  We, as individuals, as communities, and as a nation must, in time, move on, honoring those who have passed by asking how we as a nation need to change.  We all want our children to be safe at school.  And we so desperately want this to never, ever happen again.

But, already, as we consider why this happened and what we can do to prevent it, our unity comes undone.  There are issues related to gun laws, to the care of those with mental problems, to how to secure our schools, and how to detect those who might commit such hideous acts.  And already, most of us fall back to long-held positions on these issues.

Yet, many of us say “enough!”  And some are willing to look anew at the issues and what we should do.

At this point the issues become political and I will discuss them in my political blog.

But my final thought on this matter is about the so-called Doomsday scenarios that some believe are coming soon:  the end of the Mayan calendar and the fiscal cliff.  Just a week ago I wrote a post making some fun at them. 

Like Y2K doom and gloom predictions, the media and many folks have become obsessed about a Doomsday in our times.  Yet, Y2K passed and no Doomsday.  Instead it came on Sept. 11, 2001.

Well, same thing this year.  I suspect everything will be fine on Dec. 22nd and January 1st.  Instead, Doomsday came to Newtown, Connecticut on Dec. 14, 2012.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Disaster Ahead

Clearly there is a fascination with doomsday scenarios, be it the coming of the Rapture, Y2K, nuclear holocaust, alien invasions or any of a number of disasters.  Our culture is full of examples of impending disaster.  You see it in movies, books, and TV shows.  We're all doomed! 

This year is no exception.  We heard a little bit of this doomsday talk after the presidential election:  the Middle East will explode, the economy will self-destruct, unemployment will rival rates in Greece, they'll come and take your guns, or other fears.  But, obviously the big two this year are the end of the Mayan Calendar and the Fiscal Cliff

The end of the Mayan Calendar is interpreted by some as a doomsday.  Maybe aliens will come.  Or a planetary collision. Or a sudden change of the earth's magnetic field.  In any case, it'll be bad.  People are buying shelter and arms.  So, if you believe this, panic now!  There's only 10 shopping days until the End of the World.

If the End of the World does come, then the second doomsday, the feared Fiscal Cliff, won't matter.  But at least the fate of this doomsday is in human hands, and not some unspecified or vague cause.  Of course, the human hands are of US politicians in the post-compromise age, where moving to the middle is seen as heretical, and a reason to raise a candidate to oppose you in the next election.  But the rest of us can only sit back and watch each side play chicken.  All I can say is didn't their mothers tell them "Just because your political opponent threatens to go over the fiscal cliff doesn't mean you should!"  (And, only 23 shopping days before we go over the Fiscal Cliff.)

What do I think?  Well, my in-laws are Peruvian (part Incan) and the Incan Calendar does not end this year.  So, clearly, nothing will happen to our family.  And, I have a hunch they'll have an 11th hour deal to avert falling off the cliff, just like the hero in the movies always avoids falling off the cliff. 
So, what if I'm not right about this?  It's possible, but, for the record, I was right about Y2K. But, if I am wrong, then it's like Wiley Cayote is saying (quoting the immortal Porky Pig):  "That's all folks!"

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Trials and Tribulations of this Rachy Name!

So, when I started blogging back in 2008, I wanted to use a name that was different from what people knew me as.  Everyone uses Rach as short for Rachel, so that's not all that unique.  So, what about "Rachy?" 

I noticed that Rachy seemed to be a nickname for Rachel in England, and I'm part English, so sounds like a plan.  Thus was born "Rachy's Other Thoughts," this blog where  I could write about my range of sane to crazy thoughts on various topics. 

For a number of years, I purposely didn't let friends and family know about this blog, so I felt free to write without being hassled about it.  Nothing lasts forever!

So, this "Rachy" got out.  I suppose that would be fine on its own.  I would get some sing-song greeting "Oh, hi, Ra---chy!"   But then there was this 1960s song "Windy" by the Association.  Someone (I won't say who, but her name begins with "R") got this brilliant idea:  substitute "Rachy" wherever "Windy" comes up in the lyrics.  So, now I get serenaded with "Everyone know it's Rachy!"  Good grief!

Well, it's out now, so you, too, can sing along with it!  Here's a version of "Windy," so go ahead, try it.  I'm used to it now.

(Wikipedia web sit:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

You Can Go Back

 So, I guess you can go back. In this case, back is to my XXth high school reunion, back in suburban Rockland County, about 20 miles north of New York City. (You can tell from the photos we’re not 20-somethings!!)

Like many, the high school years were not the best. I was a nerd, not the most attractive looking, not good in sports, and overall lacking in self-confidence, particularly in social settings. Also, I’ve always been an urban creature, so these 6 years stranded in suburbia were not my favorites. I lacked mobility. Friends were so far away, that I didn’t see them outside of school.

Even in school, I was a bit of an outcast as a nerd, sometimes teased, and not really feeling I belonged.

So, why go back? Well, for the last few years, I had been thinking of the unincorporated hamlet I called home for only 6 years. I’m its facebook page and really have been enjoying the sharing of trivia and the history of the area with a number of the active participants. I was feeling the need to reconnect with that part of my roots, which included my high school class.

So, I got up the nerve and went. And, as it turned out, I do belong. Just didn’t always know it.

It was wonderful time! We had 4 hours in the function room, including a dinner and a DJ playing the hits of ’72. There was a little bit of dancing, but largely everyone just wanted to catch up and talk about those days. When 11 pm came and everyone was still chatting, we adjoined to the nearby hotel bar and put tables together and partied until 2 am.

Our time was unique and special and helped define some aspects of all of us. We were just a little past the “hippie age” in the ‘60s, but thankfully before the disco age later in the ‘70s. We still had bands, and not drum machines! Our songs included American Pie (overplayed!), Born to Be Wild, Layla, Brown Sugar, Imagine, Roundabout, Time in a Bottle, Down by the River, Agualung, Suzanne, You’re so Vain, Touch Me and School’s Out. Come to think of it, some of it downright depressing and not always great to dance to. And there was the story of being stuck on the dance floor during the 17-minute drum solo on Garden of Eden. Or wishing you had someone to dance with when they played Stairway to Heaven, which was a slow dance for the first 3 minutes, and then what do you do with the heavy part?

It was a time when we sought to go beyond the confines of our parents’ white, middle class life, and challenge the status quo in society and ourselves. Yes, it was a time when pot was everywhere in high schools and colleges, and some went on to harder stuff. We were not our parents’ generation by any stretch. We wanted to rebel and be ourselves.

I started high school as a conservative nerd, but left as a liberal more aligned with the “freaks” as that group of outcasts was known. (On the left is Kevin, a rebel and "freak" who had longer hair in the day and takes credit for “corrupting Susan and I! What happened our senior trip stayed on senior trip.) Overall, we all were transformed in one way or another. And then we went our separate ways.

Years past, and now we find ourselves seeking comfort in many of the trappings of our middle class lifestyles, from having decent employment to owning a home to being proud of our families in whatever form we find them. In many ways, we’ve become like our parents (but don’t ever say that to us!!) Our parents are aging; many of us have become their caregivers. Some of our parents have passed on. Our politics range across the spectrum.

We have changed, but, on this one evening we all belonged to our class. And in those few hours, we really felt 18 again and on senior trip.  Yes, you can go back.