11 May 2011

Stray thoughts While Sorting

Dear Reader,

Well, the asparagus is done. How much can I expect in the third year, anyway? A compost bin is in my future, which will be great. And even though work is heading toward the summer slow down there is enough deferred work to keep me quite busy for some time.

I am between books now. My policy is to read very old fiction and very new non-fiction. A month ago I finished the last volume of the Divine Comedy (which took years as I waited for a new translation to make it to paper back form). There are some luscious books waiting for me, but I am guilt ridden about the stack of unread magazines on my shelf.

One stack is NYTimes Sunday magazines which are too good to toss without reading. They date back to the last administration. Thus my new practice is to reduce that stack, which has the satisfying effect of tossing things out regularly.

Every issue has something interesting, but now and then something sails over the rest as having pertinence or insight that touches on other things. An example is an article from the October 10, 2010 magazine by Ted Fishman.

The Old World examines the fact, as he demonstrates, that the world's population is aging. That is, the average age is getting higher. Not everywhere and not all at once, but overall and inexorably it is aging.

And what's really interesting is that this is actually very good in some ways. Older nations (think Europe) have more stable, more democratic, more equitable societies. They are less likely to go to war and other sorts of indecent things. It reminded me of a book I read fifteen years ago, "Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches," which also noted the correlation between war and high levels of young males in society.

Fishman's article took a wide-angled lens perspective that I find helps to connect political turbulence, poverty, religious fanaticism, and resurgent American conservatism. So go back up and click on the Fishman piece. The other link is to a Youtube summary of the other book. No endorsement is intended in either case, but maybe you will have the same intriguing thoughts I did.

Back to my weeds. Yay!

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