A ONCE-A-WEEK (or so) LIST OF WHAT I GIVE A DAMN ABOUT. WITH 10 = MOST IMPORTANT; AND 1 = NOT SO MUCH
Tis the Season. Fa- la- la- la-la
QQ : 1 SURVIVAL OF THE FIT
It was not evolutionary superiority that permitted my mother and my father to survive the camps.
Nor was their survival the product of intelligent design. There was nothing intelligent about it.
All their other immediate family didn’t survive.
My parents both spent the remainder of their lives pondering the un-answerable question:
Why did they survive? Why them?
QQ : 2 FATE
Day by day, it seems one or another of my peers and colleagues are facing their maker.
One ponders the same question; why them, and why now?
Who's the decider?
QQ : 3 THE MEANING OF LIFE
I had a mystical experience as I walked by the mounds of earth containing thousands of bodies at Bergen Belsen.
The signs said: “Here lie 30,000 dead” and then “Here lie 25,000 dead” and a few meters later, “Here lie 20,000 dead”.
The day was dead calm when suddenly a gale force wind came up.
The wind was so strong, it literally blew me out of there.
The message was clear. Get out of here! Make some music!
Make up for the melodies that were lost.
Have a life! Carry on!
QQ : 4 VERDI'S REQUIEM
Despite the most inhumane conditions at Terezin where life was not an option, music uplifted and inspired. My mother sang in the 150 voice choir for 16 performances of Verdi’s Requiem while the sick and starving dropped around her.
Perhaps it was the Verdi that saved her.
Giuseppe Verdi designed an intelligent tune or two.
QQ : 5 THE EURO
And now Germany is back. Germany has the Money, the Resources and the Will. They also have Rules. Germany always has rules.
How ironic that the world's economy teeters on the brink and it is within Germany's power to save us. Am I my father's son? Do the sins of the father pass on? Should we be afraid?
Angela seems so benign. Chancellor or Fuhrer?
QQ : 6 DECK THE HALLS
I have an idea! Let's invent a religion.
All religions need holidays. Let's start with that.
The first holiday involves a rabbit and eggs. I haven't quite figured out what to do with the rabbit or the eggs, but there's a start.
The next holiday involves a dead pine tree in your house draped with some aluminum foil and plastic stuff, and something about a fat man in a red suit who climbs down your chimney. He needs cookies and milk.
If we don't like that religion, we could invent anther one that cuts of bits of penises and prohibits oysters and bacon.
Most religions also mandate funny hats.
Maybe that’s all too violent, especially for the fat man in the chimney.
I personally like the one that prevents women from driving. Makes for less traffic and pollution.
QQ : 7 REL-I-GION
The problem with religion is that right outside Bergen Belsen, the place that I was blown out of, are regular, jolly-looking. well-kept family homes that look out over the camp.
Gestopo officers and their familes sat around the tannenbaum at this time of the year and sang carols and said their prayers and dreamed of the utopia of the master race once they got rid of the undesirables on the other side of the barbed wire.
QQ : 8 UTOPIA
All religions are utopian. They seek an ideal way of life.
I think Fundamentalists who seek to impose their concept of an idyllic life on others because they have received a message from God, should be regarded as insane.
You cannot impose utopia. The attempt to impose a utopian ideal is a crazy act.
Ethnic cleansing is not utopian. Child labour is not utopian. The elimination of social welfare is not utopian and the free market allowed to dominate without controls is not utopian.
Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney seek to impose their concept of a utopian ideal.
They are both insane.
QQ : 9 OFF WITH YOUR HEAD
Say bad things....go to jail, or even "off with your head"!
The "Satanic Verses" was an "off with your head" offence.
And don't say anything mean about the The King of Siam. Deborah Kerr might break out in song.
Don't make an image of the prophet, cover your head, cover your face, face East, genuflect, wear a box on your head, put a sign on your door, count beads and beat your breast, "practice" celibacy until you get it right and remove parts of your anatomy. Chant, sway, pray, flay, get stoned if you work on the sabbath day. Wear white, wear black, don't shave, wear a funny hat and never even think about covetting your neighbor‘s ass.
Do all of this and heaven awaits with the utopian afterlife.
QQ : 10 TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY
Perhaps we need to invent new ceremony.
We could celebrate peace in the Middle East with an annual giving of our time to those who need it. It occurs to me that our time is the most valuable thing that we have. It is limited, absolutely.
We could celebrate the cure for cancer with an annual, ritual, community meal of exclusively, locally- grown, organic food.
We could celebrate the elimination of carbon-based fuels with a decorated, live camellia tree at a community center with music and dance.
But then again, we seem to prefer the more primitive ritual involving eggs and bunnies, dead pines and fat old guys in red suits. And avoid those oysters at all cost, otherwise G-d will strike you down! And if not for that, then for inserting the forbidden "o" in the word.
Etched on my stone tablet.