Astroworld

2

November 8, 2021, San Diego– A lot of the conversation with friend, J, at Harpoon Henry’s Restaurant, in Dana Point, had to do with self-assessment and self-accounting. This was my first visit with her in two years, due to both the pandemic and the current circumstances of her life. J and I normally walk a bit along a beach of her choosing- Crystal Cove, Laguna Beach and Dana Point being her favourites. For the time being, such walks are on hold, but it was a good time for catching up. We agreed that it has been quite a year, all around. There have been ongoing debates and recriminations passed around, unwitting public figures being drawn into the limelight and a penchant for name-calling taking the place of people owning their decisions and the resulting behaviours. Through all the negativity, the pandemic continues, albeit in a slowly diminishing manner and responsibility takes a vacation-not in the beach towns, but at large public events.

Astroworld’s hip hop concert, over this past weekend, ended in horrific fashion, with eight people being crushed to death, and dozens more injured, in a stampede. There are further intimations of people being jabbed by hypodermic needles, laced with illicit drugs, at certain points during the Travis Scott concert. The performer himself couldn’t hear people calling for assistance for those injured or dying, until it was too late.

It is time for musicians, performance artists- and politicians to take stock, not only of how their words and actions immediately affect their audiences, but also how these infest the muscle memory of significant segments of society. Travis Scott cannot bring back his dead and injured fans-nor is he, alone, likely to curb the increasing tendency towards lurching towards abandon, when crowds of people are whipped into a frenzy. Astroworld should be a wake-up call for people to exercise restraint and look out for those around them. In the same way, Columbine, Sandy Hook, Parkland, Las Vegas, North Charleston each should have been a wake-up call for curbing the access by mentally ill people to firearms.

The solution is spiritual. J and I each have chosen different paths to the sacred. Yet, both of us have found that sacred, in a way that makes sense to us, as individuals. It would have been all too easy, at least for me, to embark on acts of throwing caution to the wind-and giving vent to the wildest of urges-had I not been raised to act in a conscientious manner. Even so, trial and error have taken their toll, though thankfully not in a manner that was injurious or lethal to another human being. I can credit belief for the fact that such tendencies have gradually faded.

My heart always aches for those who suffer, needlessly, in events that go awry or where destruction is intended. The stampede at Astroworld and the apartment collapse in Lagos, also this weekend, are only the latest examples of the consequence that accrues, when we do not-even for the briefest of times, look upon the well-being of our neighbours with the same vigilance that we look upon our own.

The Long and the Short of It: Part II

4

May 11, 2021- I was able to locate the Windows service for deleting temporary Internet files, so let’s see if that helps with the configuration issues that have been irksome, over the past few days.

The Elantra is ready for its first cross country jaunt, since 2019. It was found that the small brake light bulb, that kept burning out , is simply not well-made, with small filaments that don’t handle the bumps and lumps of our rougher roads-and those are the ones that are paved. It’s a nuisance, but also a First World problem.

The lack of regard for the safety of children is not just an American issue: Eleven people, many of them children, were shot to death yesterday, in Kazan, Russia. I can’t say it enough- It is not the God-given right of mentally ill people to bear arms. This does not mean those who have been successfully treated for mental illness can’t own firearms, but those still certifiably afflicted are a public safety menace, when given access to guns and ammunition.

It’s time to end the “audits” and voter restriction bills that seek to undo the results of LAST year’s election and/or prevent American citizens from voting, based on any number of anticipated, but unlikely, “potential frauds”. If anything, voter protection needs to be expanded. If that means there are laws passed that I may not like, then let the courts determine whether these are/are not constitutional. It is not up to state legislatures to circumvent the right of the people to vote as they please.

It’s starting to get warm here again, and I see that just as I am preparing to head out of town, the fires are kicking in. This time, I am taking care of family matters first, and pray for the safety of those in the back country, who might be affected by the present wildfire. My journey does not mean I don’t care about our County.

Onward and outward, it is.

The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 60: Hermanator,Derailment and An “Inside Job”

4

July 30, 2020-

Herman Cain died this mornng, the victim of , apparently, the after effects of Coronavirusdisease 19 on his vital organs. He was, by all accounts, a still robust man. This underscores the reason for every one of us to continue to take this NOVEL disease seriously, and consistently so.

COVID-19 is infecting some high profile people, across the political spectrum. Microbes do not care who you are, or who you think you are. “The Hermanator” was a colourful human being, a pizza magnate who, at one point, thought he might make a fine President of the United States. His worldview was not my worldview, by any means, yet his death diminishes us-because he was, in essence, a man of love.

Now, as his family and friends mourn his passing, let those who were with him, at the event which likely was the scene of his infection, take stock of their own health-as we all must.

This news just added to the residue of yesterday. Early Wednesday morning, a loaded freight train, passing through Tempe, Arizona, went off the rails. The friction set the wooden bridge, over which the train was passing, afire. The bridge collapsed, several cars tumbled off the bridge and into a vacant park. Some other cars hung from the edge, over a major parkway.

Fortunately, there was no loss of life, and the sole injury was to the train’s conductor: Smoke inhalation. Police and fire crews responded swiftly, spectators who were in harm’s way were removed from the area and the few joggers, walkers., cyclists and boaters who were at nearby Tempe Town Lake had the good sense to stop their activities and head for home.

This was the second derailment on that bridge, in little over a month. The first one, on June 27, was underreported and it is not clear whether Santa Fe Railroad, which owns the bridge, even had plans to address the issue. Now, they have no choice.

The larger question, as with bridge collapses in other places, over other rights of way, is: How widespread is this issue? How many other railroad bridges, across the country and across the planet, are outmoded, decrepit, unsafe? It is time for ALL rail companies, not just Santa Fe Railroad, to start assessing the tensile strength of their bridges.

Finally, the matter of the torching at Arizona Democratic Headquarters, on July 26, has an update: A registered Democrat has admitted, nay, BOASTED, of having set the fire. This was not aimed at framing conservatives or alt-Right people, as some had speculated. The perpetrator is a mentally ill man, who has a recent history of making delusional statements and excessive demands on certain people, including the Chair of the Maricopa County Democratic Party, which also had offices in the same building.

The investigation, of course, is ongoing. As is this day, which will, among other things, feature the unsealing of some of the documents pertaining to the case of alleged sexual predator, Ghislaine Maxwell. July is far from over.