Cul-cher-alee Speakin’

On Friday, or any other day that the mood strikes me, we hear at AFeatherAdrift (doncha love that “we” crap?), like to offer a more culturally mature post, directing you to the kinds of things that will impress your boss, your uncle Bart and the mail deliverer.

So grab a chair, belt up, and be prepared to be bedazzled with high-minded fare.

The New Atlantis has a nice long but very entertaining piece about travel in the age of GPS. If you are like me, you have had the experience of landing after a long plane ride, all of a sudden thrust into a wildly different environment, all peopled by folks who seem to take it as quite normal to be there.

The author muses about Kerouac, Odysseus, Huck, Quixote and others and how they would have found traveling in a world where “you are here” is a constant given. Good writing to boot. What more can you ask for?

It’s downright amazing how things just come to you. Ironic things, or sudden connections. Oddities and as “they” say these days, “ah ha moments.

Well, if you recall, Darwin was talking about changes the species over time caused, as we now know, by mutations. He posited that those species whose mutations led to their being better able to survive, did so at a greater rate than those that were not so fortunate. Over time, the better abled might well push out or “cause” the extinction” of the less abled.

Some (so they thought at the time) smart intellectuals (the very ones no doubt that the knuckledraggers of Trailer Town USA, so loathes today, thought it wise to slap Darwin’s species “survival of the fittest” onto ONE species, that of humanity. They posited that those humans most able would naturally rise to positions of power and wealth because of their superior survival abilities–abilities they believed were inborn.

Well, here is the ironic part.

The Republican intelligentsia  and their followers are to an inordinate degree not believers in Darwin per se. A goodly number agree with their uneducated mob that Darwin is an atheist nightmare and belief that we “came from monkeys” is some satanic plan to destroy us all. Darwin and his “theory” is only just that–a theory–a barely workable working hypothesis that is so full of holes and “gaps” that we can relax, read a much easier tract (read Bible), with a much much shorter story, and rest happy in our salvation.

Except that juxtaposed along side this treatise of idiocy lies their other chief tenet–survival of the fittest, which is nothing much more than the hidden framework for the much touted and Godly “Protestant work ethic.” You see, the reason that the likes of Rubio, Ryan, Perry, Bachmann, and all the other swill (read Republicans) are so against such things as social security, medicare, welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, and so forth is because they think it makes us “weak” as a people. We aren’t striving to survive which is what insures our evolutionary dominance. Oops, did I say evolutionary?  

I wonder do they catch themselves making that mistake? How do they live with the contradiction? I mean I know how the masses live with it. They aren’t smart enough to either realize it or if they did, make any sense of it. But some of the Republican intelligentsia must get it. I suspect they do, but they aren’t really creationists either–just for the masses.

Ironic isn’t it?

Ever thought about walking? In our house it’s a topic of conversation now and again. The Contrarian is not a walker–he will get in the car to drive 100 yards. He saw nothing so awfully wrong in Chris Christie’s taking a limo to drive him the twenty yards from helicopter to baseball seat. 

I have a love-hate relationship with walking. I like to walk on flat ground, not so much uphill. We gotta lot of uphill crap here. I’m hoping for more flat in the neighborhood I will inhabit in Las Cruces.

Once upon a time, walking a few miles a day was fairly ordinary. I recall reading about Henry Ford walking from Dearborn to Detroit to work every day. I lived in both, so I have some sense of the distance. We see refugees on long marches across often inhospitable territory in the hopes of finding safety. They often walk for days, even weeks.

Walking is great for thinking. As one writer says, you need to walk because it slows down the brain. We need the time and space. Nothing else quite gives that to us.

We walk to get from place to place, and we walk to make statements, and to raise money. We walk for health, and for penance. We walk because we can. Do we walk as a reminder of one of the things that makes us unique in the world? We walk to discover that which cannot be seen or appreciated by driving or riding in some vehicle.

Sit down with this article this week-end. Not so long.

Ya know I noticed something the other day. The Contrarian and I were headed to the VA for his yearly check-up and we were on a main thoroughfare through the city of Cedar Rapids. One that once was probably a more pleasant and quiet neighborly street.

Near the urban center, the houses were large with two stories, and wide wide porches, open or enclosed. Some were clearly not being used, others had the obligatory furniture of chairs and plants, making the house look cheery and welcoming.

As we progressed farther from the heart of the city, the houses abruptly changed. Gone were the wide and long porches, and porches became nothing more than a small platform from which one launched to the driveway or into the house. One couldn’t fit A chair on the “porch” and still open the door.

I’d say the first section were homes built in the 30′s and 40′s, and the porchless houses were circa 1950+. Times change, nobody sat out on the veranda and chatted with neighbors passing by in the evening any more. By the 50′s socializing with a family affair, conducted out in the back yard, privately.

Funny, that I just noticed that very physical transition the other day.