Nuggets of Nonsense Part Deux

Before getting to the nonsense, I must declare: Welcome new readers! I can’t believe how many people decided to follow The House of Nonsense. Thank you kindly and please enjoy my humble blog. I hope it lives up to your expectations (and that your expectations are rather low.)

Going on a media fast was rough. The radio woke me up Monday with the announcement of the Baltimore riot. So I spent a lot of the week itching to surf news sites.

Riots and anarchism confound me. Civilization seems pretty fragile to me.

When I attended Wayne State University, I drove past Brush Street several times a week. Burned-out apartment buildings still decorated a plot near the exit ramp, like a monument to the 1968 riots. Plans for renewing Detroit were a constant throughout my childhood – and still are.

“Some people would set the world on fire just to watch it burn,” some pundit said years ago. To which a friend added, “Some people would set their own apartment on fire and bring marshmallows – then complain about the landlord the next day because they had no place to live.”

I met a lot of young people with that world-wrecking attitude when I first moved to this area. It was a perfect mix of the culture of poverty – people living in the moment with no resources for tomorrow – and the culture of entitlement.

The local high school used to give pencils to any student who asked; it was part of providing learning tools. Every day after school, the floors were littered with pencils, many snapped in two.  The custodians collected them by the handfuls. Some teenagers didn’t litter; they tossed pencils in the garbage on their way out of class.The next day, they asked for more.

I thought it was an American thing. Then a Swedish friend reported a similar disregard for “free” things at university. Like me, she was appalled by the waste.

Nowadays budgets are leaner. Our high school has pen-and-pencil vending machines near the front office. The money goes back to the supply, and the floors are cleaner.

Upon checking e-mail for work-related items, I found far too many notifications and newsletters. On a happy note, lots of people discovered this blog on the very week I checked out.

Speaking of irony, as the job requirements and challenges have increased, so has my job satisfaction.

Recently one of the Ninnyhammers wanted to watch (again) the movie version of the musical Les Miserables. I was surprised that even though I’d never seen it before, I knew most of the songs. Familiarity didn’t make me like it, and she liked it less the second time.

I thrilled my friend Tone by offering to drive her here and back for our August pilgrimage. Airfare is high – almost a month’s rent! In order to get a direct flight, she’d have to drive past her own city’s airport to Nashville (180 miles/ ~290 km). Driving is a 16-hour roundtrip, but I can visit her family while I’m there and see the sights on my solo drive home.

I dislike flying. It’s not the flight as much as the hassle of airports. I find trains more pleasant, provided there’s not much baggage.

I forgot my knee brace on a train trip from Madrid to Paris. Luckily I strengthened my muscles enough not to need it anymore. I like to imagine it traveling through of Europe and then exploring Asia. Be free, brace, and spread fortitude!

The repair shop called about my mower. The warranty doesn’t cover broken belts, but parts and labor are only $66. Bits of branches lodged in the hub, causing the belt to overheat and melt. It’ll be another week before the parts come in. In the meantime, I’m going over the lawn with a fine-tined rake.

A 4.0 earthquake shook Metro Detroit. Didn’t feel a thing here, but Tía Delphine lives close to the epicenter. We aren’t in earthquake country – one consolation when we have tornadoes and blizzards.

It’s gorgeous weather this weekend. Yesterday I watched a tall ship motoring its way up the St. Clair River, a black-and-tan vessel against the deep, glorious blue of open water. I don’t know what it was, as it wasn’t listed on the traffic reports of Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping aka The Boat Nerd.

A sad addendum: Maryland Gov. Hogan stated that more than 200 businesses were destroyed in the Baltimore riots, most of them minority-owned and many of them uninsured. Those poor people – in both senses of the word – may never reopen their businesses.