Feb 12, 2011

Rockport Ruminations

We're closing in on the halfway point of our stint here along the Coastal Bend of Texas. The second historic cold wave in as many weeks is now waning and I, for one, am ready for a little warmth and sun. Since Dar has been deep in the bowels of the local hospital for 50 or 60 hours each week recently, she's escaped the creeping onset of camper fever that's effected this half of the Sabbatical Project duo. But the days continue to march by and I find plenty to keep me busy or interested or involved. And, in any case, Spring is just a few weeks away.

Disclaimer: Occasionally this blog strays from the subject of our RV fulltime life... and this is one of those times. If you're here mostly for that reason, you may want to move along to the next blog on your reading list... and save yourself some time and, perhaps, the ravages of elevated blood pressure.

I've been very interested in world and national goings-on the past few weeks. The Middle East looks like it's entering a phase of historic change and upheaval fueled by a big "bubble" of young people. These "kids"  have seen "Paris" (... "how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paris?")... thanks to the internet... and aren't going to settle for the staying on the "farm" the way their parents and ancestors did. No sir... they too want to have what young people in the USA and Western Europe have... smart-phones, dumbed down TV, a narcissistic and celebrity-crazed culture, and not having to work too hard to have it all. I don't see how any change there can bode well for the USA in the long term since the hand-crafted regional quasi-stability that was in place for decades was there for one reason only -- getting all the energy we needed, from their reserves and into our gas tanks, for the least amount of money. With so much of our energy coming from Arab oil, any disruption or wrinkle in the supply lines will hit our barely-recovering economy with even higher prices for oil, and thus, nearly everything else. Despite the recent euphoric spirit of the computerized traders on Wall Street, I have a queasy feeling about the future.

And speaking of dumbed down TV... if the cost-cutters in Washington have their way in the next few weeks, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will be history... taking with it most if not all of the one shrinking island of refuge for people craving intelligent television broadcasting. Republicans, mostly, see public TV, PBS in particular, as competition in the marketplace of ideas. They won't be satisfied until they have that scalp on the wall and we're all forced to get our daily dose of indoctrination from Fox News and have only advertising-laced reality TV as our entertainment option. As a vibrant democratic society shouldn't we have a range of ideas available... to listen to and understand, to think about, to consider? Those pushing for this move, I believe, don't think the rest of us are capable of sifting through competing ideas and thinking for ourselves. They are very strident, believe they have it all figured out, and are going do their level best to make as many of the rest of us start thinking the same way.

Sure, we've got to get the federal budget closer to being in balance... the current path is not sustainable. But when we have to close down public TV because our leaders are not willing to ask billionaires (some of whom caused the banking crisis and the resulting huge deficit spending needed to keep the financial system from totally collapsing) and corporations to contribute a little more in taxes -- well, it's just a sad state of affairs. And while I'm particularly sensitive about the public TV issue, there will be many more issues that affect all of us even more deeply. The closure of State Parks all over the USA is happening right now. National Parks are being turned over to private concessionaires. It's only a matter of time before Forest Service and COE campgrounds are closed.  How long will it be before selling National Parks is on the table? I mean... the Grand Canyon would make a great exclusive retirement community for the wealthiest 1%, wouldn't it?

And if these issues don't concern you... don't worry. There'll be plenty more that will in the weeks ahead.


Beyond Branson; Pondering Future Travel

This past Tuesday, we moved from Branson to a very nice Corps of Engineer’s Park on Wappapello Lake.  We’re in the Redman Creek CG. This fac...