Friday, October 22, 2010


When a country fails how do they start the reconstruction process? When an ideology or political party gets trounced in the polls how do they re-establish their base and build upon it. When a house is burned down, how does someone determine what the next step should be? Do they move? Do they rebuild? When we face adversity and have to start over in areas of our own lives where do we begin?

In the United States after the Civil War the south was decimated and its reconstruction began. President Lincoln before his assassination favored lenient terms with the southern states during the process which President Andrew Johnson, a southerner himself, was happy to maintain upon Lincoln's death. Many Republicans irate over Lincoln's assassination were not willing to accept the President's lenient terms with the southern states and with large victories in Congress were able to override Johnson's vetoes to their more hardline policies in dealing with the southern states. Many northerners who supported reconstruction moved south to work with freedmen and create Republican governments in the south. They were derisively called carpetbaggers. The white southerners that supported the reconstruction process were called scalawags. And some of the white southerners who started uprising against these new threats to their lifestyles were called the Klu Klux Klan.

In Germany following the World War I the Allies kept a blockade on German ports that kept ships from delivering goods into the country. Many civilians died of starvation during the eight-month blockade before the Treaty of Versailles was signed officially ending the war. The treaty blamed Germany solely for World War I and placed an enormous bill for them to pay as reparations for the war damage. The amount at the time was the equivalent of $64 billion in that day ($778 billion in 2010) payable over 70 years time. Many believed the amount was far too excessive and that the unrest from the reparations led to the power and uprising of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

When pushed to extreme situations it seems that people lean towards extreme ideologies. This happened both in the southern United States in 1860's and Germany in the 1930's. History will show us that this has happened in most failed states and policies. One failure leads to the birth of extreme policies and individuals. The foundation for rebuilding in these examples appears to be the loudest voice in the room and the one that fans the populaces anger and pride.

In life we face adversities as well. Our walls of security can collapse and our seemingly prosperous economies can crumble. Sometimes this can be a result of outside forces and sometimes it is strictly of our own doing. When that dull thud ceases and we pass realization and sit alone in our own thoughts, we decide which voice will lead us.

Where do we start? Do we start at faith? Is God the answer? In times of my lowest in life I have prayed for guidance. I am a Christian but seem to only call upon God at my absolute ends when I have not a clue how to get myself out of my own doings. When times are good it is as if I don't even know who God is. I look at God as a lifeline on Who Want's to Be a Millionaire. God is my fourth option after "Phone a Friend" and the "50/50" option have been exhausted. I know when I've prayed and called upon Him that I've been relieved of my pain and given a clearer mind out of the clutter of my own thoughts, but I also know that it is an unbalanced relationship. This makes it harder for me to phone that friend because I'm such a bad friend most of the time and I expect the call isn't going to be answered.

I worry that religion has caused so much of the problems in our world. The same loud voices that swayed the disillusioned masses in the south in the 1860's and Germany in the 1930's have swayed many of minds of the young men and women in the Middle East. The fear and pride angle is preached through in the name of Allah and the end to them justifies the means, even if that means their own death and thousands of innocent lives along with them. Yet it is money again and dire conditions that force the power of the words, even the if the words in normal circumstances don't make any sense at all. Is introducing a capitalist system into those countries the answer? If it is the one we have in place here now I don't know, but again I am not sure if it is the conditions forcing the argument or if I'm just blowing smoke. Four years ago I wasn't concerned about the system and the economics of our world, I just wanted to buy a new car.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When the cats in the way, the mice will play

I’m coming to you live from the SOU Computer Lab. Yes, my first Blog offsite. I’ve written from various rooms in my house on my lap top but I’ve yet to take my blog from those friendly confines of home. It’s a blog away game. Like the Giants playing two games in Philadelphia I had two exams today and yet unlike them I need to leave here 2-0. They can be two bitter C’s, but C’s they gotta B. I’m still a little weary from last night’s game of chase the mouse. Seems I have a bit of vermin problem in mi Casa de Miller.

Last night my cat Wicky burst through the doggie door with his prize. His prize was a ginormous mouse in his mouth and one with some fighting spirit left. I thought cats were supposed to get mice out of your house, not bring them in. Well the bastard not only managed to bring in the live creature but he mouth delivered him straight to my bedroom. Then he proceeded to drop him off and let the games begin. I was reading about the Coliseum and live animal vs. gladiator fights that had transpired there in preparation for a blog I was going to write and had no idea that I too would be thrown into the arena. I darted to my garage for my weapons. My weapons of choice were two fishing nets. Here I was trying to wrangle this vile monster into my net while my cat meowed and hissed as if he were going to actually attack the mouse rather than give him a piggy back ride into my house. I knew better and threw him outside of the room. It was me and the mouse, mano y mano (assuming the mouse was a male).

The mouse dove for cover under the bed as I swiped at it with my net and it hid behind the boxes. When I moved them to get a clean jab the creature glared at me and sprinted to the night stand. I got off the floor and hovered over. I could hear the breathing of the beast as my heart pounded with anticipation of my victory. I lifted the night stand and positioned my net to make my catch. The clever animal bobbed and weaved and eluded my trap. It made a fast break past me and into the closet. There it changed direction from east and west and ventured north, straight up the clothes and onto the side of the closet balancing on a belt rack. I stared eye to eye with the mouse. The black eyes peered at me as my cat pounced through my door and waited below looking up with ferociousness at the waiting prey. Sure, I thought, now you are ready to attack after I did all the work cornering the tiny vermin.

 Suddenly the mouse made a cry of mercy as it knew it was caught. My nets were closing in and it gave me one final look of desperation as it looked down at my awaiting cat as its only other option. I was not swayed and tangled the creature in both nets and made a break for the front door. As I prepared to end its life the imaginary crowd of the Coliseum voiced its opinion, “Live!” I put the nets on the ground out front and watched the mouse untangle itself and flee to safety into the night. Then realized a few moments later the stupid thing will probably just find a way to come back into my house again. Damn!

Feeling good about my merciful victory I proceeded on with the night. About an hour later noises in my kitchen led me to the fridge and upon pointing my flashlight behind it an even larger mouse. Oh man, I thought, the house is infested! Another hour later and this one seemed much better equipped at net dodging. Round two is still underway…..