Which is stronger: an oak tree or a single reed of bamboo? I suppose the question requires amplification; and explanation of qualifiers, if any. Amplification of matters such as both absolute and relative ages of the oak and bamboo. And revelation about the strength x weight relationships. And a host of other factors. Yet the question did not interject those elements of analysis. The question was simple. Which is stronger. A simple question. Yet one that cannot be answered in simple terms without introducing massive complexity to the question, first. There are no simple questions. And no simple answers.


If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

Khalil Gibran


This morning’s news triggered a memory from my childhood. News about Hurricane Orelene hitting Mexico’s Pacific coast southeast of Mazatlán brought back a recollection involving my childhood friend, Steve Scaff. At least once, and perhaps several times, Steve and his family vacationed in Mazatlán, where Steve’s addiction to surfing really took hold. Apparently, surfing along the Texas coast off of Padre Island or Mustang Island was barely “okay.” Surfing in the Pacific off of Mazatlán was superior in every way. According to Steve. I’ve never been to Mazatlán. And I haven’t seen Steve in more than fifty years. Only once during that long absence have I spoken to him; by phone, ten or fifteen years years ago, when I learned that striking up a phone conversation after so very long emphasized the impermanence of childhood friendship. But I remember Steve’s tales of surfing at Mazatlán.

Hmm. Childhood vacations. I have no recollection of vacations as a child. If my family took vacations, they did so after I was born. Or else my memory of those times has been erased. I suspect there were no vacations after I was born. The sixth of six kids has no legitimate expectation that his family will take a vacation; all the money that would have paid for a vacation went, instead, to buy groceries to feed those ravenous little mouths.


Once again, Americans should prepare for significantly rising gas prices. OPEC, meeting today, is expected to cut production. I imagine the meeting might already have taken place, considering time zones. If that happens, it suggests to me that OPEC ministers would rather deal with U.S. Republican politicians than with Democrats. Taking actions that would have the effect of raising gas prices a few weeks before the mid-term elections would, if those cuts materialize, be the next closest thing to proof that OPEC ministers are doing what they can to impact the elections. Rising gas prices hurt Democrats (since they are “in power”). I don’t like it. So I plan to will a different OPEC outcome. If OPEC does not dramatically cut production, you can thank me and my application of psychic pressure.


I have more words to spill, but not enough motive to spill them. So I will stop for the moment and crawl into the day.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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