Little Boats

I rarely go down to the water’s edge
preferring to be here on my hill.
I can see the field of dry flowers
where men will come soon
to build the new road.
They will throw up dust.

And I can see the little boats
come and go with their sails
the colors of festival.
They leave a white scar
on the sea. Someday
a boat will come for me.

I will be terrified and I will go alone.

 

J. Kyle Kimberlin
2nd draft, 12.09.2016

Creative Commons Licensed

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iPad: How I Got Locked Out

I recently upgraded my iPad to iOS 10 and just out of curiosity, I set up a thumbprint unlock setting. Big mistake.

Last night I picked up my iPad and it wouldn’t accept my thumbprint. It would only accept a passcode, which I never set up. I didn’t want both. Now I was hopelessly locked out of my own device.

Apple will tell you that when you set up a biometric – using your fingerprint or thumbprint to unlock your iPhone or iPad – a passcode will be required also. This would have prevented my problem. If had set up a passcode, I could have entered it, instead of my thumbprint, and opened the iPad instantly. By it isn’t true; it wasn’t required and there was no warning of the risk. So I’ve gently made Apple Support aware of this.

The only way to get my iPad back was to connect it to my PC and use iTunes to restore it to factory condition. Then all of my apps and stuff were restored from iCloud. The process took 2 or 3 hours, with Apple’s assistance. I first followed the instructions online, but failed.

Everything is OK now, including the photo of Brookie on my lock screen.

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But events like this are stressful: they flood our poor soft-celled brains with damaging cortisol, which makes us stupid. Which may explain why I had to call Apple.

Ordinarily I’m a big believer in system encryption and personal security in general. I lock doors; ask anyone who knows me well. But in the case of devices this complicated, it might be that the better policy is KISS: keep it simple, stupid.

The better approach may be to be careful with our belongings, not let them fall into the hands of miscreants.

What do you think?

A Lesson in Fundamentals

The right to protest peacefully (freedom of speech and expression) is a fundamental right afforded to every citizen by the US Constitution. It’s right up there with freedoms of equality and religion. But in my lifetime, I have never seen anyone protest peacefully and have that right respected. Tolerated occasionally, but never respected.

When I was born in 1961, people were being jailed in South Carolina and Mississippi for the act of sitting at a lunch counter. In fact, charges against the Friendship 9 weren’t dropped until 55 years later, in 2016.

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The reality is that not only do we Americans despise and disrespect our own right to protest, we don’t really have rights of equality or religion. Because if we deny those rights to anyone, we don’t have them either. But my question today is this:

If it’s not OK to protest by simply sitting quietly, declining to participate, can anyone tell me what form of protest is alright? If a citizen has a complaint about society, how can he or she express it without pissing off a mob of idiots?

If you are white and think you have equality, you don’t; you have supremacy.

If you are Christian and think you have equality, you don’t; ask a Muslim.

If you’re a veteran and think you fought to give Americans their rights, you’re wrong. Our rights – if we really had them – come from the Constitution, not from the military. And by the way, the National Anthem is a custom, not a legal requirement. It’s not mentioned in the Constitution. Demanding someone stand for a song is like insisting they eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Or watch football.

The service of our military and our veterans isn’t dishonored by citizens exercising their rights. It is dishonored when people deny the rights to others which are guaranteed to all.

So if you think you can stand up and speak out without being told to sit down and shut up, try standing up and speaking out. Considering all the stupid that’s floating in the atmosphere these days, I wish you luck.

If you think you can sit down and shut up, try sitting down and shutting up. See if it works better for you than it has for Colin Kaepernick. But don’t feel sorry for him when he’s cut from the 49ers. That was a foregone conclusion before he tried to protest. Everybody knew it; he’s been injured too long to play. But he’ll make $12,000,000 this year anyway.

That’s why Kaepernick protested during the preseason, when fewer people are watching, instead of waiting until the final roster is done. He knows he won’t be playing the season, no matter what he says or does.

Unlike the rights the Constitution only guarantees if we’re willing to defend them for everyone equally, Kaepernick’s money is guaranteed. And unlike all the millions of us who don’t have the rights we think we have, because we don’t want men like Kaepernick to have right either, that dude’s got nothing to lose.

 

Those who survive?

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It begs the question:

Would it have been better to survive by means of collusion – in 1940s Germany, or as a Christian in 1920s Russia – or is it better to die fighting evil?

What sacrifice would you or I make to stop the imminent rise of evil, unenlightened despotism? If you could go back in time, would you kill baby Hitler? What would you do, back in 2016, to stop Trump?

Remember the Animals

I’ve been thinking about the killing of Cecil the lion..

It is a tragic, senseless, stupid, deeply selfish waste of a life that should have had and should have had some deeper meaning. That life could have been lived with dignity and ended in peace and wisdom. Instead, it was simply wasted. For nothing.

The life of the lion was wasted too, but it was lived much differently, and from that we can take some measure of consolation. In Cecil’s life, in great contrast to the other, there is a legacy of beauty.

Wherever “Painless” Palmer is (ironic, huh?), I hope he’s never found. Let him who has caused suffering abide in oblivion. Let his name be stricken from the memories of the people. Let him be forgotten, forever denied the comforts of kindness in society with his kind.

Remember the animals, passing from our lives.

“We must fight against the spirit of unconscious cruelty with which we treat the animals. Animals suffer as much as we do. True humanity does not allow us to impose such sufferings on them. It is our duty to make the whole world recognize it. Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.”

– Dr. Albert Schweitzer