just when the quicksand of obsessive trivial pursuits is getting the upper hand as usual, another wake-up call from the real world of actual people heroically dying young in the pursuit of truth and peace snaps me back to perspective.i didn’t have the privilege of knowing and working with anthony shadid, as my brother did, but he was well known and respected in our family. he was a true bridge builder in a world of war and hate. he willingly risked and gave his life to understand and reveal events in the middle east, on a very personal, human, street level, as well as their international significance. it’s sad that it sometimes takes a death of someone whose life mattered and meant something, albeit someone i only knew of indirectly, to remind me how small and inconsequential my petty anxieties and preoccupations really are. it’s so easy to get hung up in the tedious business of quiet desperation, and lose the big picture. if it takes the tragic, untimely death of an extraordinary human to remind me of what is important and possible, then what does that say about me? of course i will never be a courageous hero or achiever, but even shaking off the semi-comatose state of mundane existence would be an improvement. a start would be acknowledging that everything isn’t about me, or in how it relates to me, or how short i fall compared to someone else. that’s quicksand thinking. because of anthony shadid’s courage, there is a little less ignorance and small-mindedness in the world, and in the lives of those he impacted. he pursued peace and exposed the things that matter, that bring people together to rise above their differences. people at endless war, struggling just to survive, not even daring to hope for rights or freedom, will stop and remember him, and raise their sights and hopes a little higher. this is the kind of impact he had, because he wasn’t afraid to put his life on the line and shine light into darkness, eloquently and passionately. that is my humble tribute to anthony shadid.
one tree limb falls on one fios wire, and i’m back to the 20th century. cut off. i can type this post, but not send.moreover, i can’t do a million online things i normally do each day. i can’t connect to people, or conduct business. i guess people with smart phones just do everything wirelessly, but i depend on my computer. not only that, but my landline goes out, too. it’s also fios. the other (conventional) landline keeps working! i’m not sure how this is progress in technology. i don’t really use my landline much, so i don’t miss it. i just keep it for backup, since my antique cellphone is even less reliable. for example, if the power goes out (say, from tree branches falling on power lines, which seems to happen a lot here), and i can’t recharge my cell battery, i’d normally have my landline to fall back on (if some moron doesn’t sever the wire!). but not my computer, because the verizon fios backup battery only keeps the phone connected for a limited time, but not the computer. what is fios even for? the funny, but not surprising, thing is that this all happened because the town was trimming tree limbs away from the main power and phone lines, to avoid just such damage later. they dropped branches right onto our service lines to the house, snapping them off. i knew it would happen, like a premonition. it’s so predictable. the guys were like, oops, sorry. that’s it. then they left. it was up to us to call verizon, and wait a day for them to come ‘fix’ it (i.e., jury-rig it some more). typical NJ disconnect, literally. meanwhile, here i am, marooned and helpless without my daily online fix. i realize how addicted i’ve become to killing time that way, but it’s my only real contact with the outside world. one more thing i take for granted until it’s temporarily withheld. i know this is probably a good exercise, but aagghh! i might even have to get actual things done offline! so i figured it’s a good excuse to sit here and type out a much-overdue whiny post. if anyone bothers to read it, it means i’m back in the so-called 21st. where there’s one fiber-optic wire between me and oblivion. something is very wrong with this picture. maybe i’d better go gather some of those tree limbs for the smoke signals i will need soon. much flinging of wires over trees later, and… we’re back. it was rough, missing all those junk emails and lame fb posts. all the tiresome business calls i couldn’t make, and online bills i couldn’t pay. all the robo-calls i missed. the actual stuff i had to do instead. i don’t know how i survived to post this report. let me send, before some other apocalyptic disaster hits.