Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How Thinking Leads to Short Bread

“Hop inside while you give it a think.”
--George “Baby Face” Nelson, O Brother Where Art Thou?

Without taking a particular stand on the issue, I report that several states, my current home state included, is currently attempting to pass laws that would prevent Federal gun laws that might be passed from applying in that state. The waste of time in drafting such laws really frustrates me. The issue itself notwithstanding, it appears that these several states that are attempting to draft these laws have forgotten that we fought a Civil War back a hundred and fifty years ago over just these sorts of issues. It has been settled, I thought.

Of course, the question was already settled when the War Between the States was waged. After all, Article II and III of the Constitution declare the supremacy of Federal law and reject the nullification of Federal law by the states, respectively. How on earth anyone legitimately expects that these state laws would pass the Constitutionality test is beyond me, but, like the wife likes to say, you don’t know if you don’t ask. In most cases, I think she’s right.

As a matter of fact, just today I was on the phone with a sales person who was tallying up a bill for me. She quoted me the shipping charge for my order, and I said, “Okay…unless you want to waive that for me.” I don’t usually do that, but, today, I was feeling feisty, I guess. She didn’t waive the fee, but she took off half the cost. It never would have happened had I not thought to ask. Lesson learned.

Today’s feistiness could be the result of the weather system that is passing through. The Weather Channel, in one of the more annoying television weather-related ideas of the last half-dozen years, has decided to name winter storms. Yet again, the nation’s East Coast bias shows, as New England got Winter Storm Nemo a few weeks ago, but we in the Plains get Winter Storm Q. Really. One letter? It’s bad enough TWC is attempting to label storms as some kind of warped marketing ploy, but, if they are going to stoop so low, they might at least stoop low enough to come up with more than one consecutive actual name. They don’t have to slight us flatlanders by laying us with a one-letter storm. At least stick with the cute animation-name theme started with Nemo and give us Winter Storm Q-bert. If they aren’t even going to try, then they ought to just stop. Also, if they are going to be selling t-shirts, I hope they offer at least one long sleeve design. It is February, after all. I think the apparel should match the season.

Whether I will get a t-shirt out of the deal or not, the future is perhaps going to bring us some snow. We haven’t had much out here. Two storms that left about five inches each, a few dustings and squalls, the stray flurry. Winter or not, the drought continues. And a foot or so of snow (should we even get this much) won’t fix much. Don’t mistake me, however, we will take it; I’d prefer a couple of inches of steady rain, followed by a couple more, spaced out enough to prevent flooding. As I ponder the way nature often works out here, in full on feast or famine mode, I suspect I will see a cloud of locusts followed closely by enough rain to put us all in river mud for a month or two as soon as the season breaks. Then again, the only thing you can predict about nature is it’s unwavering unpredictability. I might just get eaten by a mountain lion walking to the grocery store. However, I think not.

Be it a bear or a mountain lion I see on my way to the mercantile, it will more likely be a house cat or a dog in this neck of the woods since the wildest we get around here is a sociopathic squirrel or a rabbit with delusions of grandeur. I do sometimes see a red-tailed hawk in the neighborhood as I drive to work, and I have spotted a screech owl a few blocks from my house. It all depends on how you think of a thing or even where you see it as to whether it is wild or not. A black bear in your back yard is probably considered wild. A flock of penguins at the children’s zoo is most likely not. At least, that is how I think of it.

Friday, be it a snow day or a day of deep adolescent disappointment, has been tabbed as World Thinking Day. Apparently, the origins of World Thinking Day stretch back to a time of prosperity, loosening morality, and home-made booze, but the originators of the day have little to connect them to the Jazz Age. In 1926, at the fourth World Conference of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, attendees determined that February 22 would be World Thinking Day, a day to express thanks and appreciation for their global entity. Ironically, as far as I think it, February 22 was chosen because it was the birthday of the founder of the Boy Scouts. I don’t know enough about either organization to know why they picked that particular fellow, but it smacks of early-20th century hegemony. I don’t know if it really is, I just wanted to use the word “hegemony,” thankyouverymuch.

Be that as it may, it was also the birthday of Lord Baden-Powell’s wife, Olave. In 1936, Olave drafted a letter telling all Girl Guides and Scouts that World Thinking Day should be observed as a time of fundraising. I don’t know about you, but when I think of Girl Scouts and fundraising, all I can think about is cookies. I really have not been able to figure out exactly how to connect thinking with an object of so much American mindless eating, but what can I do about it? The fact is, in America, World Thinking Day and Girl Scout cookies are inextricably linked. So, in this month of scrambling to every grocery store to find the last box of peanut butter tag-a-longs, don’t forget to give your brain a little bit of exercise as well. What do you think about that?