Sunday, November 27, 2011

Edited to Add (to my post about Ohio)

I've got a few additional thoughts to add to my previous post. As often happens with me, I have to write down what my initial thoughts are in order to move forward with my thinking. Within minutes of posting, it hit me that these weird incidents represent larger paradigms.

Stay with me here. What if this means that Ohio, like a lot of other places, is moving away from its quaint communities that seem frozen in time? That it may speak to a larger discontent and upheaval in America? Or that things will stay the same, but more and more crime is invading them, like a lot of other places.

It hit me that the exotic animal incident are somehow be connected to property rights, the Amish thing to customs and cultures, and the Craigslist murders scheme connected to the assault on our trust in other people.  For some reason, they just seem weird to be happening where they are, in quick succession.

I wouldn't be surprised to see this happening in Texas, a place with twice the population and 3 times the land. In California or New York, it's light fare for the month. Last year, all sorts of weird crap happened in Arkansas, as I recall. Utah's had their time to shine as well. Back in history, Kansas gained a rep for being contrary. During the Civil War, Missouri was a radical oddball. I guess it's just Ohio's time.

What the Heck is Up in OHIO?

Muskingum County sheriff deputies were forced to kill 48 wild animals including bears, lions and endangered Bengal tigers after their owner, Terry Thompson, 62, threw open their cages on Oct. 18 and then killed himself on his farm.

Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla says Sam Mullet -- father of 18 children, grandfather to 85 and patriarch of a community of 100 -- is behind a series of attacks in four Ohio counties in which members of his group, including three of his sons, have cut the beards from Amish leaders in symbolic assaults meant to degrade them.
The discoveries of two new bodies near Akron could bring to three the death toll from a Craigslist ad that police say lured victims to Ohio and into a lethal robbery scheme.

I had been hesistant in talking about this before, but dang, 3rd time is a charm, as they say. And that's just what has hit the national news recently, since October 18.

Now, I'm the first to agree that I might be picking on one state when there is crime happening in the other 49 as well, but these incidents in Ohio are no ordinary crimes. They are straight-up weird-ass, creepy, kinky acts of strange being committed smack dab in the heartland of middle America. How can that be ignored, or be called comparatively normal?

The first of these 3 incidents, the exotic animal escape, can be explained away by citing Ohio's laws allowing exotic animal ownership, the most lenient laws in the country. So, while it probably could only have happened in Ohio because of the laws, I didn't think it particularly odd at the time. I thought the Ohio laws were quite odd. Years ago, I had a friend down here who kept a lion in his yard in a rural area and was very upset when the county confiscated it. I tried in vain telling him that people just cannot keep dangerous animals as pets when they live anywhere around other folks. So I figured those Ohio folks were a lot like my friend.

Then, the Amish action went down, and I know they are a bit different as a population, but not that way. Heck, we have rebel Mormon sects down here, but even in West Texas when their compound was infiltrated, there was no violence. I began to wonder, is there some kind of weird-ass whoopass in Ohio's water?

Finally, when I heard about the Craigslist crimes, I just had to check into it. I emailed a few friends of mine who live there. One was completely defensive about it, so I knew I wouldn't be getting an objective input there. The other two enlightened me, as long as they are correct about many of their neighbors. One friend feels that Ohioans are caught in a type of rural evolution. She thinks that rural life there is being assaulted by today's fast pace and fast morals, whereas it has been able to avoid being affected in the past. Why? She had no idea, really. Lots of things. In short, a general and non-specific answer.

My third friend says she blames it on new people moving there and changing the demographic. This might have some meat on it as a viable answer, if I could research the perpetrators' bios to determine if they were lifelong Ohioans and new implants. So far, I haven't been able to locate the resources.

Out of frustration more than anything else, I emailed a fourth friend of mine from my campaign volunteer days, who has lived in about 20 different states since graduating from college 17 years ago. She'd just spent 2 years working in Columbus for a Congressman. She told me she lived in a nice suburb and really liked it at first. But she was quick to tell me that people there are different. She said there is a pride that borders on my way or the highway, and she never could really ever figure out why except for tradition, and that many folks just do not know any other way to be. (She thinks that Iowans are also that way. I suspect there are ALOT of states filled with people like that, but as I have not lived in 20 states, I will defer to her. I also know that 30% of the population is German and another 15% is Irish...two ethnicities who have been accused of being prideful and stubborn to a fault. Just sayin'...maybe.)

I'm even more confused than ever now. Perhaps it is just 3 random crazies randomly concentrated in one place. I have heard Ohio (and a few other places) described as The Land That Time Forgot. Apparently this does not apply to some of their more special people.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Somewhere over the rainbow...

Do you ever feel like Dorothy must have? Like you are living in an other-wordly place that you don't know anymore? You woke up today and nothing is like it was yesterday?

Yep, that about describes the way I've felt for quite a while. And I've traveled this way to several other-worlds since. I get somewhat familiar and used to the new world, then I wake up and I'm in yet another new one.

I'm connected almost 24/7, by tv, radio, internet, cellphone, and real live humans. Yet, that damn world keeps getting kidnapped and replaced by another! I think the nasty little problem is that I have a memory, bad as I think it is most of the time. I remember when it didn't used to be this way, and well, I want that back!

It's like Moore's Law met All The Other Laws, and they mutated into a virtual world in which we are all forced to live in.

"Technology is advancing ‘exponentially’ or faster. This means that the bulk of the change in knowledge and capacity needed to precipitate the singularity will occur within the last year [or two] before the event. [Translation: most of us won’t see it coming.]"
~~ Dan Clemmensen, 1996
We may be moving headlong into a time or era in which we can no longer predict even the near future, no matter how mundane or predictable the behavior of the thing we want to predict. The heads of chaos theorists must be spinning on hyper. We may already be there. It is the opinion of at least a few that the Crash of 2008 was one of those nonpredictables.


This would definitely explain why I'm feeling the way I am. Unsettling. Like you are on a roller coaster all the time, with only very short rest periods. I'm thinking that guessing will become the hot new job skill. Once predicting becomes obsolete, what else do we have?

In an interview for his book, Timeline, Crichton laments that an appreciaton and knowledge of history is the first casualty of periods involving accelerating change. Here is a favorite quote from him:

"Historians generally agree that all history is contemporary history. That is, every generation remakes the past into some form that suits the present time. But this means that all our understanding of history, like all our understanding of science, is provisional. It's likely to change. It does change." ~~ Dr. Michael Crichton
Such good food for thought.
"The [biological] evolution we have experienced for 10 billion years is reaching a state beyond which it cannot proceed without a fundamental and radical change of direction, form, mechanism, and nature. [Due primarily to our recent ability to generate meaningful information much more readily than our biological forms can process it]." ~~ Richard Coren, 1998
I get a headache just trying to consider the applications and implications of Coren's quote. I am convinced he has said something big and important here, but ... what? The first application I thought of was climate change, or rather, how the pro-CC people propose to fight it, because I don't think there's any real question that climate change does indeed exist (and yes, I believe that man has accelerated it to some degree).  That last sentence of his reminds me of the late great Dr. Michael Crichton's very astute observations about a culture that expects to be entertained all the time.