Is Anything Working?

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by Hayden Hollingsworth

Well, let’s see now . . . is anything going well?

The world financial markets are totally unsettled and, as if that wasn’t bad enough, there is a nagging feeling that no one really understands a) how they got that way, b) how to fix it, or c) what really happens when a nation defaults.  Given those disquieting facts the Dow Jones responds to each bit of news with wild swings that would give anyone vertigo.  It only involves money which is more important than life or death; at least Wall Street feels that way.

The Boston Red Sox, our parent team, is in the terminal stages of an end-of-season swoon.  We have come to expect that but it is made worse by the natural enemy of all that is fair, the New York Yankees, poised to win it all.  How can they manage, with their payroll which is larger than the GDP of Greece, not to win?

The United Nations . . . now there’s a group that gets things done . . . at least when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is speaking many walked out.  But the real fireworks will come when the United States vetoes the Palestinian bid for statehood.  Given it is an idea that is totally unworkable at the moment, it would be polite to have the General Assembly nix it, rather than have the United States veto in the Security Council giving Hamas more ammunition to call us irrevocably pro-Israeli.  Let’s hope it’s only words that are hurled at us, not bombs.

Presidential politics seems on a road to immolation.  No sooner does Rick Perry leap to the stage, arms wildly waving and preparing to step into a phone booth for a costume change than we find he’s a demagogue who substitutes political prattle for genuine understanding of the problems.  Good news that Michelle Bachmann has plummeted faster than the expended satellite.  At least neither did much damage, although Ms. Bachmann did add some comic relief with her HPV vaccine announcement.  Given the current theatrics of the Republican hopefuls, there seems little need for Sarah Palin, although the Democrats are praying she will run.  One wonders if we can survive all this until November 2012.

Congress!  No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while Congress is in session.  So said Mark Twain but he didn’t know about our current group.  If there was an award given for the most noise with the least results, those 535 gentlepersons would be hands down winners.  Unfortunately, they are doing what they like best:  Trying to hold on to their seats while appearing to do meaningful work.  It seems unlikely that anyone could manage the mess into which successive decades of Congress has led us.

The fall television shows are debuting and are carefully aimed at an audience with a mental age of 12.  If it were not for sex and the so thinly veiled double entendre coupled with the clever and beautiful lady-cop shows, we would be reduced having to talk to one another or, heaven forfend, learn how to read a book.

Evolutionary studies may show the possibility of future generations having a perpendicular appendage to the side of the thumb.  It will allow for more rapid and accurate texting, obviating the need for abbreviations like c u l8er, lol, and the like.  One can hope vocal cord atrophy will not be the end product of not talking.

Then there’s the matter of Islamic jihad which encompasses less than a nano-fraction of Muslims but continues to be a threat to civilization, not just ours, but the whole world.

Obesity is rampant, drug use everywhere, unemployment frozen at 9 %, skyrocketing national debt, the government about to shut down . . . again, and an expanding loss of confidence about everything.  It’s enough to make one long for “the good old days.”  Just remember, when we were living them they were called “these trying times.”

Despite all the pessimism this fall, we are told that hope springs eternal.  Maybe it will happen before spring.  Maybe the Red Sox will win.  At least it would be a pleasant surprise and we could use a few of those.