Saturday, 15 July 2017

My Cursed Barracks

During my Air Force years.....I stayed in six barracks or dorms (counting basic and tech school).  Five had nothing much to say negative.  The sixth....from the Barksdale period....would best be described as a marginal living situation.

It'd been built in the early 1960s with all the positives of the period.  It had a sink in each room....a central toilet/shower, and AC.  Oddly enough, it had a twelve-foot ceiling.  By the time I got there in 1981, it had reached an end-point.  The carpet had some moldy smell (still from the original 1960 construction).  Cockroaches were hour-by-hour thing.  The AC could no longer function.  The heat could handle temperatures only down to 20-degrees (beyond that....it was marginal).

In twenty years, there had been two single upgrades or renovations.  They put some shading film on the windows in the lat 1970s, and the month that I got there....they'd added cable TV connections.

Renovation?  About 18 months into my 'visit'...they announced that they were tearing the place down in a year....it was not capable of handling renovation.  I ended my period on base as the month came when they were shutting down the building.

The three peaks of miserability?

The last summer there....the AC simply died and they refused to fix it (cost-wise, it made sense).  So you sat in 95-degree heat with two fans whirling hot around the room.  Your only relief was a refrigerator that you kept beer and ice in abundance.

Then winter came....with a shocker period of two weeks in December where the temperature dropped to minus-temperatures on three or four nights, and room temperature for seven days in a row could only be kept at 40 degrees.  The system was at maximum capacity and was never made to handle minus-0 temperatures.

Then came the explosion.  Some natural gas leak occurred at one side of the building and they evacuated the whole building for 72 hours while they repaired the gas leak and cleared the threat.    It wasn't a big explosion....just enough to burn half the hair off some kid who who'd showered and lighting up a smoke while he was going blow-dry his hair.

In some ways, it was a cursed building.

Probably everything that came in 1984 has already met their end, and been replaced as well.

"Russia Fatigue"

The phrase was coined yesterday by CNN's Alisyn Camerota.

If you were sitting in 2010 and watching MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NBC, PBS, CBS, and NBC on a regular basis (30 hours per week of news)....the phrase 'Russia' probably wouldn't have been uttered more than 15 times a month.  From the business channel and referencing oil or gas news....it might have been uttered sixty times a month.

Over the past six months, I would guess the seven major networks together.....probably have uttered the word 'Russia' at least 500 times daily.  The business channel?  Just their normal sixty times a month and mostly over oil and gas news.

Yeah, it's kinda like the term 'whore'.....you utter it enough, and people get use to the term being uttered.  It's not so bad after a while.

If you went out into most rural areas of America....most folks will tell you that they've never a single Russian in their life.  Even if you lived around the metro areas of Atlanta or Nashville....there's fairly good odds that you've never met a single Russian.

Around 1996, I went off on a two week vacation to Turkey....a beach resort operation.  The guests?  It was roughly 75-percent German....15-percent Russian....and the rest from Europe (oh and me the one single American guy).  What I generally learned from that 14-day period from interacting with the Russian folks (some did speak English) is that they did like consuming a fair amount of alcohol....used very little sun-tan lotion (meaning massive burns)....and they could have a very good sense of humor.

I'm not sure where the Russia talk will go with the news media.  I think Camerota is correct....it's pretty much a dead-end street with people losing interest.

When the "Kids" Run the University

I sat and read through a piece today...it was mostly critical of a editorial piece from a University of Maryland student....suggesting:"There is nothing inherently wrong with screening speakers, teachers and even students on the campus. in “intolerant” points of view “....to prevent certain groups of people from participating in campus life safely.”

Basically, the editorial was suggesting that you need to deny “intolerant perspectives.”   This would help to preserve the peaceful nature of the campus.

The criticism?  It came from Campus Reform, and suggests that this is something that you really don't want to start up because you don't know where it ends.

I pondered through this logic of the editorial.  You see a lot of this these days....where students seem to think that too many facts change their judgement on things, and they would prefer just one story or one single line of facts....to base their decisions upon.

Rational judgement?  Gone.  The fact that you could add to your grasp of a subject or test your reasoning....isn't something of value to this new crowd of college students.

If you asked me for ten reasons why a college education doesn't mean much in today's atmosphere, this is one of those reasons.

You could easily end up with a bunch of idiots who have no interest in Socrates or Plato....nor desiring to understand Mao or Churchill.

This whole safety discussion going on in campus life is creating a group of 'wussy' intellectuals who will be unable to handle real-life situations.  We will be graduating thousands of these individuals who can't work in certain companies or perform certain functions because they simply don't have the ability to reason and reach rational levels of understanding.

In some ways, they are defeating the term intellectual and becoming something very much less than that.