Technically I'm not outside at the moment. I'm combining an afternoon walk with a late lunch, so I'm sitting here with a foo-foo mango margarita, tapping furiously away on the ol' Blackberry. And I feel like such a total dork, but hey.
As I said, really I ought to be tinkering with my Solaris kernel module, or my intractable java bugs right now, or doing something useful, like getting a haircut. But the sun's in my eyes, and I simply can't do any of those things.
Until I started this post, I was reading one of our fair city's free and very silly New Age newspapers. All about "miracles", channeling, reincarnation, quack medicine, the whole works. My wife makes fun of me for reading these things, but it's oddly irresistable. I read these people babbling on about crystals and unicorns and crap, and I see dollar signs. They're practically begging to give their money away, and chances are they've got tons of money, and they don't expect to receive anything of tangible value in return. Sure, it'd still be evil to exploit 'em, in an objective sense, but it's not exactly TV evangelism, is it? It's not like you're ripping off the poor. Silly weak-minded rich people are sort of fair game, dontcha think?
When I was younger and less cynical, I used to be outraged that supposedly intelligent, educated people would fall for this nonsense. I was really big on the whole "skeptical humanist" outlook, and saw the New Agers as a real threat.
I could say "silly me" but it's not just me that's changed. In retrospect it seems like that was such an innocent time, when a few Shirley Maclaine types seemed like something to worry about. As silly as they are, you don't see them screeching about the Rapture and waterboarding people and demanding eternal wars all across the Mideast, do you? As ludicrous as New Agers are, they still qualify as Mostly Harmless, unlike, say, the president, for example. As an entirely nonreligious person, Mostly Harmless is the most positive thing I'm inclined to say about any irrational belief system. Still, the possibility of laying hands on their cash is awfully attractive. I'm pretty short on evil impulses, despite the nym, but sometimes I'm tempted to set myself up as some sort of fancy guru and rake in the bucks. In reality that won't happen; I'm nowhere near evil enough to actually do it, just enough to be sorely tempted sometimes.
Ok, enough ranting. It's sunny out, and that's rare enough that it's a shame to waste a moment of it making fun of people, as much as they might deserve it. I'm outside now - I wandered up to Washington Park and I'm traipsing about taking pictures of flowers and such, like I tend to do. But you don't get to see them just yet, since this post will be logical day 3 of the logical week of monomedia, and them's the rules.
The great thing about Washington Park is that despite being a crown jewel of the city park system, it's full of obscure nooks and crannies nobody knows about. Venture off the beaten path just a little and you could be lost in the Coast Range, practically. Every now and then you'll pass a couple having a private moment, or teens splitting a six pack, and you'll catch the occasional whiff of illicit herbal entertainment. But this is Portland, so one doesn't make eye contact, much less rat anyone out to the fuzz. It's all good.
Wander around the park long enough and you'll stumble across the city's Holocaust Memorial, which for some reason is here in the middle of a serene park setting. It's pretty effective; some might even call it manipulative, with the scattered sculptures of lost toys, eyeglasses, a violin, and so forth. But it's certainly effective. It's a shame that the one lesson present-day people seem to want to draw from the Nazis' atrocities is that Palestinians and other Muslims can, and ought to be, slaughtered with absolute impunity whenever an opportunity presents itself. Call me crazy, but that seems to be missing the point, somehow.
I don't want to wrap this up on a down note like that. I didn't mean to include it at all, except that I stumbled across the thing, as I suppose you're meant to. So let's move on, shall we?
I'm up at the Rose Garden now. We're heading towards sunset, and the camera batteries are nearly spent, so it's about time to head back to Civilization and Responsibility and all that. But it's been a good day. Maybe I'll go ahead and post some photos soon, rules or no rules...
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