Thursday, August 14, 2008

Retirement preoccupations

What a delightful blog title and simple banner:

For readers who might not be aware of personal facts concerning George W Bush, Crawford is the Texan municipality where he owns a ranch. If I understand correctly, it's not absolutely certain that Bush will in fact retire there when his presidential mandate ends... on 20 January 2009.

Actual countdown clocks are now displayed on the web:
They stopped counting long ago!
Articles and blog posts are also starting to appear concerning the possible nature of Bush's historical legacy. Most specialists consider that he will not be considered as the worst president in US history, because the competition for that title is pretty tough in God's Own Country. But he stands a good chance of being thought of as "one of the worst", at least in the modern era. All I hope, when these historical "honors" are bestowed, is that some of the Bush infamy rubs off onto his old mates in the UK and Australia: Tony Blair and John Howard. I don't know whether these guys—along with Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and all the others—ever lose sleep thinking about all the chaos and bloodshed for which they're directly responsible in Iraq. How do they remember their condoning torture ?

In the Dawkins book I'm reading [see my previous post], my Favorite Author brings up a fascinating topic concerning the planet Earth: collisions with large meteorites or comets. An awesome impact wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It hit Mexico at a place now named Chicxulub, leaving a crater with a diameter of 180 kilometers.

Devastating collisions with heavenly bodies continue to be a threat. The big difference now is that earthlings should be able to foresee imminent dangers of this kind, and even deploy gigantic futuristic technology capable of saving our souls. Dawkins sees this as a potential challenge for determined statesmen such as Dubya and the late great Ronald Ray-Gun.

Politicians who invent external threats from foreign powers, in order to scare up economic or voter support for themselves, might find that a potentially colliding meteor answers their ignoble purpose just as well as an Evil Empire, an Axis of Evil, or the more nebulous abstraction 'Terror', with the added benefit of encouraging international co-operation rather than divisiveness. The technology itself is similar to the most advanced 'star wars' weapons systems, and to that of space exploration itself. The mass realisation that humanity as a whole shares common enemies could have incalculable benefits in drawing us together rather than, as at present, apart.

Indeed, it would be marvelous if George W Bush, once retired, were to spend his time and resources in transforming Crawford into a fabulous planetary fortress destined to detect and counterattack threats from the heavens. Everything's imaginable when you've got God on your side.


I'm not happy with the grammatical laxity in the above countdown clock. The word "quicker" is an adjective, not an adverb. I complained... and received the following friendly reply:

Hi William.

Thanks very much for the note. I am not kidding when I say this has been a running argument between me and my fiance for the last four years!!!!

I do realize that the text is grammatically incorrect, and for a short time we did have the proper wording in there. But it was just a bit too much of a mouthful, and as I'm sure you know, most Americans don't even know the difference. They prefer the vernacular over the grammatically correct.

Thank you very much for the note and we hope you enjoy the weekend!!!

All the best,

Vince and Merry

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