Monday, February 23, 2009

I've got a cold again. That's the second one since early January. What the heck is that all about? I almost never get colds. Or used to never get colds. Yesterday, I noticed that everywhere I went, folks were sneezing. What a crappy winter its been with the thermometer flipping back and forth between really cold and warm. No wonder everyone gets viruses. And the trees and plants seems as confused as we humans. They shiver and wither from arctic temps one day and blossom the next, spewing nasty pollen into the air. Achoo!

On the home front, things are not so good. I've got some worries. Daughter Laura, expecting a baby in four or five weeks has been hospitalized twice since Friday: first with diabetes complications and second with either a rotovirus or food poisoning. She is still there and they can't get her potassium levels stable.

I have to quit reading the morning newspaper with my coffee, too. Here's a few examples of story banners from today: Not All Aboard (on Commuter Rail), Schools See Spike In Free Meals, Deadly Blast Jolts Cairo, Recovery Outlook Even Gloomier Than Expected. Apparently the recession is going to get worse and worse, there are more poor kids needing meals than ever, the Muslim extremists are at it again bombing and creating bedlam and senseless murder somewhere, and commuter rail is off the tracks again. Checking in with the TV news isn't much better. More people are moving out of our state than in due to our crappy economy, lack of job opportunities, real estate debacle, and rising crime rate.

Florida isn't a dream anymore. Unless you count bad dreams. Gloom and doom. Gloom and doom. The stock market isn't recovering. Foreclosures are accelerating and banks aren't lending even to those with good credit. More jobs are lost every day. Tourism is feeling the pinch. For a brief while between November and late January we felt hope that change would come...maybe even soon, but now most folks are losing their optimism. Happy times aren't here again and may not be for a long time. We're not in the money. Hey Bary, can ya spare us a trillion dollars?

These are getting to be really scary times.

I wish I'd paid more attention to my parents when they talked about growing up in the great Depression of the 1030s. I do remember being told that prior to October of 1929 my mother's father was a drama critic on a newspaper and ran an advertising agency in Central Pennsylvania. After the stock market crash my grandfather lost job, business, bank savings, and house. He got a job through a friend on the Pittsburgh newspaper but when he arrived in Pittsburgh he found out that the man who hired him had jumped off a roof and the job was no longer on offer. My grandmother...with two college degrees... got hired on as a maid in a Pittsburgh hospital and my grandfather was glad to find work selling plumbing supplies. They survived but it took a decade to get securely on solid ground again. All four grandparents growled when Franklin Roosevelt's name came up in any conversation and swore that the only thing that got us out of the Depression was WWII.

I shudder to imagine another world war as an economic antidote. It would certainly be a Jews and Christians versus Islam war with really catastrophic consequences. Try not to think about that. At the beginning of WWII nobody had the capacity to blow up the whole planet.

So, I've got to stop reading the paper in the mornings. I suppose the sun will come out tomorrow like the little red haired girl sang...but...what about the day after? Oh well, at least we'll always have chocolate...won't we?

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