Empty Symbolism

I came home tonight to news of another horrific terrorist attack today, this time at the airport and train terminal in Brussels.  As with other terrorist attacks, the responsibility for this atrocity was claimed by ISIS.  And as I watched the news to catch up on what had happened, I saw stories about how other countries in Europe were “showing solidarity” with Belgium, because the Eiffel Tower and the Trevi Fountain and, probably, other European landmarks were illuminated with the colors of the Belgium flag.

56f1cf08c361881c2c8b45e3Am I the only person who has had it with this kind of empty symbolism?  I guess we’re all supposed to be deeply moved by the projection of the Belgian flag.  Hey, while we’re at it, let’s have a Facebook app that allows us to change our profile pictures to use the Belgian colors!  And maybe we can come up with a few good Twitter hashtags, too, like when the primary response to the African terrorists who were kidnapping young girls and selling them into slavery was a “freeourgirls” hashtag?  Boy, a really good hashtag will teach those ISIS guys not to mess with us!

I understand the desire to show solidarity with innocent people who have been attacked.  But at some point projected flag colors and hashtags and statements of Facebook support are pointless.  ISIS doesn’t give a flying fig what the trending hashtags are or whether the Trevi Fountain is bathed in the Belgian colors.

Are we going to try to defeat these guys, or are we just hoping we can out-symbolize them?

Always A Castle Builder


Richard’s on vacation in sunny Mexico, and his fiancee Julianne snapped some photos of him building a sand castle.  It’s some good castle-building work on his part — part of a long line of castle-building prowess that dates back to his childhood.

I have happy memories of building castles with Richard and Russell when they were kids.  Good to see that the architectural tendencies still run strong!

Political Withdrawal

pixelsWith the Ohio primary behind us, I’ve withdrawn for now on the political front.  Watching the political talk shows, reading the political websites, and checking the polls just got to be a bit too much.  Although this 2016 presidential election has been weirdly fascinating, and probably will be studied for years into the future, I didn’t want to let it become all-consuming.  After all, the election itself isn’t for nearly eight months yet.

Since last Tuesday, I’ve kept the news channels off and skipped the Sunday talk shows.  I’ve tried to avoid political discussions at the office.  I’ve taken Kasey for some long walks and watched the CGI-heavy video-gamer movie Pixels, which I thought was, surprisingly, pretty funny and enjoyable.  I’m focused on finishing a book, and I’ve got another book in line to read after that one.  I’ve discovered that not reading about the latest shenanigans of Donald Trump and the other candidates has been good for my outlook — and probably good for my blood pressure, too.

At some point, being a political junkie could interfere with your real life.  I’d rather keep my focus on the real life, which is a lot more important, anyway.  So, they’re voting in Arizona and Utah today?  Good for them . . . but I’d rather think about spring and the flowers we’re going to be planting in the back yard.