12/12/16 A Complicated World

12/9/16 It’s a complicated world out there. Politics, economics, terrorism, globalism, hegemony, wars, pestilence, earthquakes, storms …so many things just waiting for a chance to manifest themselves to interfere with our lives. So many of those things are beyond our control, leaving used tossed on stormy seas, cast adrift in shallow draft lifeboats, bobbing around on the surface like a cork in a catfish pond.

randolphIn all its complexity, I have rediscovered the wonderful B grade Westerns of Randolph Scott. They are so remarkable that one can start out watching one Randolph Scott movie, go to sleep, and wake up in a second Randolph Scott movie and the only things that changed are the girl and his horse. Things were pretty much cut and dried. There was no grayness in the world of Randolph Scott.

Note: The white-blaze faced, three white-socked horse shown in the photo with Randolph has appeared in nearly as many Randolph Scott movies as Randolph, himself. I have looked in the credits and cannot see the horse named, but it must have been his favorite horse.

There is a great peace in this where the evil cattle baron hoarding the water rights from the small farmers, or the gold mining magnate cheating regular miners out of their claims, always get their comeuppance by the administration of frontier justice at the hands of Randolph Scott. He never bends. He never waivers. He is always on the side of truth, of morality, riding off into a sunset which has a brightness exceeded only by the personal power and integrity of the character played by Scott. I am looking for someone like that.

YouTube has nearly all of these movies, each one ready for you to key up with only the occasional commercial interruption which you can skip after five seconds. I think the world needs more Randolph Scott movies, and perhaps less of Tom Cruise. But then, I liked a simpler time, those good old days that were not necessarily the good old days. Back then, people lived their lives in mostly good health until they got sick, then the doctors in the westerns looked down upon the ill or injured patient, shaking his head, and said, “If there was only something more I could do.” We humans frequently mourn at the something more we were unable to do. They did not have modern medicine then. Of course, this is not true….medicine has never had a time in history that it was not modern. That there are things we have now they didn’t have them does not take one iota away from the modernity they enjoyed.

Having traveled up California 395 which follows along the Eastern slopes of the Sierras, it having close proximity to snowy mountains, desolate desert, and a narrow strip of rich green valleys near Lone Pine, California, which is instantly recognizable to me. I enjoy the scenes that are supposed to be set in Arizona, which looks somewhat similar, or Texas, which looks a lot less similar. I’m sure that the Sierras’ convenience to Hollywood made them a great choice for Westerns. For good measure though, they throw in some b-roll shots of Saguaro cactus in the Sonoran desert so as to lend legitimacy to those Tombstone set movies, though the Sierras appear too frequently in the backgrounds to have been visible in a short horseback ride from the shade of a Saguaro. I’ve yet to see Joshua Trees or Saguaro Cacti in Texas, except in the movies.

One of the great things about westerns is the sweeping vistas afforded by excellent cinematography, which mostly far exceeds the lack-of-excellence in the remarkably transportable plots. Those buttes and meas in Utah are hard to ignore. The gray colored Sierras versus the brown stoned Rockies don’t swap well, but they don’t detract from the story line for most, just for those of us who pay attention to such things; and it amuses us.

While enjoying Randolph in action protecting the virtue of rich cattle rancher’s daughters from ignoble men with evil designs, short of the enjoyment of these movies, I am having an awful week which started out by taking a planned outage on a substation we have been working on so we could make connections to the existing 161,000 volt bus work, which is best done de-energized. At 5:00 Monday morning the substation came off line in the rain.

Now, it’s bad form to have a client’s entire substation off line and not be there to work because of some paltry annoyance as minor as four inches of rain. This inconvenience of some of the men was evident, but their objections fell on deaf ears as my brother and I suited up and joined them in the rain. All murmuring and complaining soon ceased as we worked in the rain all day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning all while needing but lacking some high-flotation devices like snowshoes to attach to our feet to keep us from disappearing beneath a sea of mud, the clay type of mud that makes you get six inches taller as you walk across it, it clinging to your shoes and passing itself into the floorboard of your vehicle only to be finally gone when deteriorated by attrition and everyday wear and tear, since, dried, it has the tenacity of barnacle glue. We lost a large trencher and a bucket truck in the mud and are still looking for them. They will turn up in the spring, no doubt.

Of course, the less it rained over time, the greater the drop in temperature, which is the second inconvenience. Most electrical power distributors can take any substation off line, for a time, provided the load is tolerable. When the temperature is mild, this is no problem. As it heads towards too hot or too cold, the ability to keep the load fed from alternate sources becomes more tenuous. With predictions for this past Thursday to dip down into the low 20s, we had to be in a position to get the substation back on by that afternoon. In former times, air conditioning meant that the periods of greatest load were in the hot summer. This is no longer true, as heat pumps have caused the greatest period of electrical load to occur in the wintertime.

Debbie and I are off to Houston tomorrow for an appointment I have with Dr. Gooday on Monday. While the Ruxolitinib has been very helpful, I am still having symptoms I’d rather not have. There’s lots of things we’d all rather not have which we must simply learn to live with. I suspect that more are being added to my ever-lengthening list. It is what it is. I will find out more about what it is on Monday. At least our trip will have no rain, and once again I will eat my way across Louisiana.

12/12/16 I got tired of writing that drivel, so I stopped. Now I am in Houston and it is 3:50AM. I have already done some work on a project at Ole Miss, am drinking my 3rd cup of coffee, and decided I needed to continue what I started. I do not want to write, but it is important to write even when we don’t want to.

I was wrong about two things: It rained, and I did not eat my way across Louisiana. We did not stop for a nice meal, just grazing as we zipped past so many places the thought of which made my mouth water. There is no need to eat when you are not hungry, and though we were hungry by the time we got checked on to the hotel, we were to tired to go out and eat excellently, so we ate at the hotel. It was OK. Merely OK, but having eaten here many times, I knew what to expect. One’s stomach never knows or appreciates what it was that was actually eaten…it only knows that it is full.

As we approached Houston, the clouds gathered. It was cold when we left home, and 73° when we got to Houston. It will be warm again today, with thunderstorms. It started raining on us proper when we reached the Houston suburbs.

There is nothing to report now. I visited the patient services in the hospital yesterday evening and had my blood drawn, so do not have to be at the Leukemia lab at 8:00 this morning. My appointment with Gooday is at 11:15, so I have nothing to do other than write here and a couple of work related things which I have already taken care of. I doubt we will get through by check out time since my appointment is so late. We’ll likely have to stay another day. We shall see.

I am pretty sure of one thing: Writing when I have nothing to say most likely yields a vapid result. That is my job title for the moment: the king of vapidity. I prefer inspiration, but cannot seem to smiley-zipping-mouthgrasp it, or even attempt to grasp it, as if it is even passing my way, it does so in an elusive manner. This is the result of having a glut of politics in my core but refusing to write about it. There I nothing I can add to the din, so I will say nothing.

There! There is my inspiration. I knew it would come if I persisted.

1 Kings 19:12 And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.

Psalms 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah

Psalms 35:20 For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit.

Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 11:12 Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

Proverbs 13:3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 17:28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 18:13 If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.

Proverbs 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Job 2:13 And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.

Job 6:24 “Teach me, and I will be silent; make me understand how I have gone astray.

Job 13:5 Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom!

Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

Lamentations 3:26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

Amos 5:13 Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.

Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

James 1:19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;

James 3:1-18 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

If you are a believer, what more do you need? If you are not a believer, is the wisdom so many others have seen here invisible to you?

One of the greatest mistakes we make is to look at the above verses and point out to others all the places they failed. My! Oh, My! This is the wrong thing, for we have learned nothing if we read them that way. The thing for us to do is to see ourselves in there, be reminded of all the places where we have failed, and to mind our tongues, that unruly member, lest we set some blazes that quickly grow beyond our ability to control.

“You didn’t guard your mouth, therefore you shall come to ruin,” said many who should have never placed themselves in a position of teacher, which James 3 warns about. If I say that to someone, I am not guarding my mouth, but setting myself up for ruin. It could very well be likely that both the admonishee and the admonisher are guilty, but for goodness sake, let us never be found guilty of the things of which we accuse others, for this is a hypocrisy that everyone sees, yields no fruit, and should be pruned away from the root before it poisons the entire tree.

In Job 13:5 we have one entity accusing another of not keeping silent, but that is The LORD rebuking Job. I will allow the LORD the leeway to rebuke whom he will rebuke, remembering that He chastises those he loves. Job should feel lucky that The Lord loved him so much. Job may not have felt much love during his period of a perhaps undeserved chastisement. You can make up your own mind about that if you are of a mind.

It is hard to remain silent. It is easy to judge a thing before we hear it. It costs nothing to hear, to use both our ears. It may cost us a lot to speak. We must decide when it is worth it, when the value of what is said matches the cost, or exceeds the cost, even though the cost may be tremendous. Short of that, let me be silent, or only say such things as build up that it may give grace to those that hear.

I may be less corrupted if I expose myself less to corrupting influences. The internet and TV are full of those things. I hope I can spend my time more wisely, even if my time, right now, is spent in not being silent, but speaking through this medium.

What a strange paradox of a world we live in. I started out with the title “A Complicated World.” It is no less complicated by my having written this.

More, later. I cannot remain silent for long. I’m sure you can hardly wait.

©2016 Mississippi Chris Sharp

4 thoughts on “12/12/16 A Complicated World

  1. You have said a lot about saying little. So well done Chris. Scott was always my favorite cowboy as a youth and, like you, the western scenery and straight forward values even now serve well when relaxation is needed. I love too the scriptural wisdom about circumspection. Often wish I had the good sense to observe such wisdom derived from ages of human experience. All you wrote verifies my long standing admiration of you and appreciation your friendship. All the Best to you and yours all ways.

  2. Great reading Chris. Apparently that hoss’s name was Stardust (although there is some debate).

    Take care my friend!

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