Just now, as is the case each morning, I opened a terminal window on my computer’s desktop and typed a command: “apt update”. The window filled with characters as each of several online “repositories” was checked. Soon I was given a list of the software packages, including the operating system itself, that had security updates and bug fixes available. There being some, I then typed “apt upgrade” and a minute or two later those fixes had been downloaded and installed.
The last couple of years brought us a desire to escape from the real world, maybe more than ever before. Due to the circumstance that led us to seek a hiding place, many of the refuges from reality we’ve traditionally sought weren’t available. We didn’t have movies at movie theaters. We didn’t have concerts. We lost sporting events. The attempts to provide substitutes were poor replacements for the real thing.
It is sad to see a newspaper die. It is sadder still when that death is a particularly gruesome suicide. For just under 15 years I was associated with a small paper in my small town. I wrote a weekly column — this column — for all of that time; for four rewarding years I was also the paper’s photographer.
The phone call came exactly when I needed it. It was Bob Bernstein, with whom I’d never before spoken, calling from Rhode Island. “You haven’t been online, so I figured you might be having a problem,” he said. Indeed I was.
You probably don’t remember it first-hand — I don’t — but during World Wars I and II people established what were called “victory gardens.” The idea was that if people grew some of their own food instead of buying it, it would free up supplies to feed our fighters in Europe and the Pacific. It’s time to revive the practice, though for a different reason, and this is the time of year to plan and prepare. Food prices are rising, due to a phenomenon we wouldn’t have imagined a year or two ago: we have actual food shortages.
The phone rings in the White House and Bugout Joe Biden, his pre-existing cowardice now exacerbated by geriatric enfeeblement, answers. White House aides let him answer it himself because it’s the hot line from Russia, and every day at about this time it rings. Biden answers, the voice on the other end, Vladimir Putin, says, “BOO!”, and except for Biden’s attendant having to get him a fresh Depends, no harm is done.
It is said that those who can’t, teach. To which I’d add that those who can’t, and who also can’t teach, become bureaucrats. If they clean up well, their path to the loftiest halls of government is clear.
The scene is a familiar one. Vladimir Putin is at the desk whence he has uttered his increasingly deranged speeches over the last few weeks. An off-camera voice is heard. “Vladimir Vladimirovich, it has been determined that you are impaired in your thinking. You are psikh. Given your advanced age and the unlikelihood of cure, the remedy is to be one with which you are familiar.” Does a flash of panic appear in the former KGB lieutenant colonel’s eyes?
Anyone familiar with the history of the last 100 years or so should be terrified, because they’ll remember that this is how it began last time. We’re not far from saying “if we’d only acted back then.” Right now is the “back then” we’ll be talking about.