Charles Darwin

I was thinking about my mother the other day, in particular the day she told me that she no longer read the newspaper or watched the news on television because it was too depressing. I recall that she was in her early seventies when she said this to me, around the same age as I am now. My mom was 71 in 1998 (as I am now), and a quick look at some of the top stories in The U.S. and the world for that year yielded the following: U.S: President accused in sex scandal; President outlines first balanced budget in 30 years; Unabomber sentenced to four life terms; Terry Nichols gets life sentence for Oklahoma City bombings; Two arrested in the fatal beating of a gay Wyoming student for a hate crime; House impeaches President Clinton. World: Serbs battle ethnic Albanians in Kosovo; Russia fights to avert financial collapse; Iraq ends cooperation with U.N. arms inspectors; Clinton orders Iraq air strikes.

A quick look at today’s (March 5, 2022) top headlines from section A of the Los Angeles Times gives you the following: West rejects Ukraine no-fly zone; City is evacuated as battle nears; Masks come off in L.A. County; Mix of relief, worry as mask rule is lifted; In Latin America, some support for Putin; Ukrainian suburb is evacuated as battle closes in; Putin’s domestic front: The war on truth; Stocks tumble as war overshadows strong jobs report. My first reaction, after comparing these headlines was. . .well, nothing much has changed in 24 years!

I remember that when my mom told me the above my initial reaction was incredulity! “What?” “How are you going to know what’s going on?” “Don’t you want to be informed?” Let’s just say that if I could take those words back I would, because it’s 24 years later and the only thing I look at in the newspaper are the comics, sudoku, and crossword puzzle. Okay, once in a while I glance at the sports page, until I start reading about the baseball lockout and how billionaires are squabbling with millionaires. . .and back to the crossword puzzle I go. If the last few years of news stories have taught me anything it’s this: listen to your mom. She was way ahead of the curve on this one!

Why the picture of Darwin at the top? For the last couple of years, I’ve had this recurring image in my head of Darwin. He has a puzzled look on his face and is scratching his head and muttering: “Geez, it was supposed to be survival of the fittest, not survival of the stupidest.” Sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and carry on.

Los Angeles 2022

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