Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crossover into the Twilight Zone

I read a column that made it into syndication by Leonard Pitts of the “Miami Herald” about how people on the internet are attacking Robert Novak rather viciously saying he deserves what he gets and much worse. My response upon hearing that Novak had a growing, malignant tumor replacing his brain was the question: how can you tell the difference?

Like Mr. Pitt, I had come to see in Bob all that is the worse on the Republican right, but to bring down God’s justice on him for his affliction is exactly what he and his kind would do to anyone on the left, and I draw the line there. I may trash the right (and the left) put pray God I don’t trash like someone on the right.

Besides being a devotee of the Twilight Zone during my formative years, I am conditions not to condemn least I be the recipient of the same condemnation – like making him the butt of one of my jokes. I’ve had a many of those things backfire on me. I should have never made fun of baldheaded men.

Stealth Beauty

I came to know someone I met not too long ago – an experience I no longer do much. (Meeting someone more so than getting to know them.) All of a sudden, I realized she was a stealth beauty. The term “stealth beauty” comes from my younger days when I was out there and a player, and I had forgotten about it until I got to know this woman. She was undeniably a stealth beauty in her younger days and still carried the trait in her older years.

A stealth beauty is someone you meet – male or female – who is of average appearance and may even have a less than desirable attribute, a flaw in an otherwise pleasant appearance. I leave the nature of the flaw up to your imagination. The person may even look homely. However, as you come to know them their appearance seems to change, maybe you notice a subtle trait or aspect of their appearance or their personality colors everything about them, and you begin to find them very attractive. As time passes, you come to see them as strikingly good looking and long to see it played out before you. You may even fall in love with them.

The concept of stealth beauty had come to me and was forgotten long before blogging came along or I would have posted about it sooner. The phenomenon was brought back home after this recent acquaintance.

Of course, as it is with the way of life, there are also the presents of stealth uglies. Someone who is exceptionally good looking – drop dead gorgeous – but after getting to know them, their good looks seems to disappear. You can still see those attributes that make them so irresistible but somehow they have become…resistible. And sometimes they become downright ugly.

But I digress. This is a half full post.

Two of the most famous stealth beauties are the main characters in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy found Ms. Bennet “tolerable” when they first met, and she found him insufferable shortly there after. Much of the novel is about discovery by both of the main characters of the other’s stealth beauty.

What hidden traits come out only with familiarity and charms all that comes after, I don’t know. It’s one of those “I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I see it” thingy. It’s a most pleasant experience to come across a stealth beauty, and I’m glad I got to do it one more time.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Russian Bear Re-Awakens

I had thought to title this post “How Russia Spoiled China’s Coming-out Party”. More about that later.

Russia’s invasion of Georgia may one day be viewed as Russia’s announcement “We’re Back!” Russia has been down since the breakup of the old Soviet Union. They had lost the Cold War. Communism was dead; it had no future. Free markets had won; planned economies had lost.

Better mines than us have made the mistake of underestimating the Russians. Napoleon and the German high command made that mistake, a blunder that lead to their undoing. So, never ever make the mistake of underestimating the Russians. Do not take the Russians for granted.

Russia had been in turmoil after the fall of Communism. During a time of weakness, countries that never really wanted to be a part of a Russian dominated union – like Georgia – declared independence, and the old Soviet Union built during Communism’s heyday began to breakup.

Communisms great claims of equality in a workers’ paradise just couldn’t keep up with old fashion capitalism. Workers under that bugaboo capitalism had a higher standard of living that those in the workers’ paradise.

During the latter half of the previous century, Russia was at a disadvantage because it was hindered by a form of government that obviously was not working as well as the governments it denounced. Now, Russia has thrown off that hindrance. It has taken up the free market cause, Russian style, and return to being a world player.

Russia’s future power plays will not be hampered by a system that everyone knows is not working. It need not cloak its aggression with altruistic Communist sayings that no one really believes but in the tried and true sayings of capitalistic exploitation which have worked for years. They are a force to be reckoned with.

Its little forceful excursion into Georgia is an announcement to the world that Russia is back. This was suppose to be the week of China announcement through the Olympics that they are a major player in world events, but news of Russia’s aggression left them with nothing more than a mention as they were pushed off the front pages of the world.

China’s Communism did not fall but has been transformed to reap the benefits of free market capitalism. How China managed the Olympics is more interesting than the games themselves. The stories of sweatshop like preparations and living conditions of participants of the host nation leave no doubt that China, while it appears to have changed, has not.

What China does not realize – just a Russia discovered with glasnost – once you allow the freedom genie out of the bottle, you can not put it back. China is due some internal reverberations as the rank and file gets a taste of freedom and demands more.

Russia could tell China a thing or two about transforming its economy, but Russia will not. They will exploit the situation like any good capitalist should do.