Unstuck In Time

Last night I started to watch Slaughterhouse-Five, which was a mistake, because after only about five minutes I realized that it was dreadful, and it was not going to get any better.

You know, kind of like what babies treedrealize, as soon as they’re born. And so they start crying.

I was inspired to revisit that flailing film because, like Billy Pilgrim, I too have become unstuck in time.

For instance, there is a Christmas tree, here in this Manor. Although it is now, um, March.

Not that this is really anything Abnormal, here in my life. At least since the arrival of my daughter. She was a great believer—and still is—in extended holidays. And so, with her about the house, it was not uncommon for a Christmas tree to stay up until Easter. And Easter eggs: well, once, I think, some of those hung around for, like, two years. Occasionally they would be withdrawn from the fridge and hidden around the premises, for her to find. In, like, September. Generally July, as I recall, was a big month for Christmas movies. For some reason this unnerved her mother. Who required many medicines, when she would hear the unmistakable strains of Holiday Inn or Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, sounding out when the temperature was 110 degrees.

This particular Christmas tree, though: I’m starting to feel wary around it. It is so dry, I fear that some morning, when I walk by it, I may spontaneously combust.

I think it’s time for it to go out of the house. I do not want to be the man who gets in the newspaper because he perished in a house fire caused by his Christmas tree bursting into flame in, uh, June.

There are about 365,898 birds who hang around here waiting to feed on the squirrel mix I put out every morning. I’m thinking I’ll introduce the Christmas tree as a potential home-site for the ground-wanderers among them. They can nestle into the thing and from there laugh at the neighborhood cats.

Slaughterhouse-Five may be a piss-poor film, but, some 70 years on, the slaughterers are still with us.

With the news this morning comes word that an accounting of the number of Nazi-era death camps, labor camps, POW camps, forced-sex camps, black-hole ghettos, and the like, has reached a total that stuns even the researchers from the Holocaust Memorial Museum who are tabulating them. The total has now passed 42,500. And, like some death’s-head Energizer Bunny, is still going.

This basically means that during The Great Madness, sites where human beings were being deliberately extinguished and monstrously abused were more homeprevalent than today’s 7-Elevens.

But the Germans, they Didn’t Know.

They know today, though.

Which is why it was kind of embarrassing for fledgling Secretary of State John Kerry to last week select Berlin, of all places, to declaim that the American people “have a right to be stupid.”

“People have sometimes wondered about why our Supreme Court allows one group or another to march in a parade even though it’s the most provocative thing in the world and they carry signs that are an insult to one group or another.

“The reason is, that’s freedom, freedom of speech.”

Since Kerry delivered these remarks in Berlin, you think he might first have reflected upon the real-world consequences, that once upon a time played out there, of indulging that kind of “stupid.” Like, a steaming road of bones, stretching from one end of the European continent to the other.

The Germans, these days, know better. Which is why they’re moving to defund and ban a political party that would bring back the bad old days.

Once, they figure, is enough. Never again, uber alles.

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5 Responses to “Unstuck In Time”


  1. 1 Miep O'Brien March 2, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Americans are more than a little confused about free speech. Some are even convinced they have an ethical obligation not to moderate their own blogs. It’s a little like thinking one has an ethical obligation to submit to assault.

    What free speech laws are all about is ensuring that we don’t lose the right to protest the government, that the government and public figures are exempt from libel laws. But since corporations now own the government, this becomes more complicated. And laws fall down into generalities because anything that is open to interpretation becomes open to litigation.

    I don’t present any of this as answers, just observations.

    When I was a kid, we’d give the Christmas tree to the birds around Easter. Popcorn and all.

    • 2 bluenred March 2, 2013 at 9:42 am

      peeder tried with pff a grand and idealistic experiment, offering a forum where anybody could say whatever they wanted.

      The result of the experiment, of course, was that some people arrived to make sure that everyone else couldn’t have anything nice.

      And so, quite rightly, he pronounced the experiment a failure, erased the blog, and went off to cook.

  2. 4 Mike Lambert March 3, 2013 at 11:15 am

    I read comments , all the time,I quickly scan the story,and rush to read what my fellow citizens have to say. I am usually disappointed, and am continually struck by how poor in spirit and education many are despite being in front of a terminal or holding a device that could literally, change their lives.
    I do but infrequently, find a kindred soul. I blog, and have now for several years , I am happy with my numbers, less so with myself , for pulling punches, everyday. I just feel that an anonymous posting would not give me the feeling of peace, that it would be, for me ,like spray paint on a wall, at night.
    So I try to convince with facts, good ones, solid ,straight from the Pentagon, who are often more honest than the mainstream press on our prosecution of constant War, and forward deployments.
    Weapons procurement .
    Readiness
    I can count on one hand the number of folks that will click on a link.
    I just turned 60,and have decided to step it up, despite the costs one incurs ,especially when living in a very small town.
    Best ,
    Mike Lambert
    Exeter,NH

    • 5 bluenred March 4, 2013 at 12:51 am

      Generally I stay away from comments on blogs, certainly on all mainstream blogs/newspapers/publications/etc. This is due to the 95% rule: 95% of anything, no matter what it is, is crap. This is certainly true of whatever people might inscribe in response to a story. It requires enough time and effort to cut through the 95% of items that are crap to find the decent stuff: I am not then going to waste my life scrolling through the 95% that is crap in response.

      & good for you, for stepping it up.


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