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9 January 2011
I have not been coy about admitting that I am a TV addict and that the television is usually on all the time in this house.
I go in spurts, sometimes watching inane comedies, sometimes watching crime marathons, sometimes glued to the 24/7 news stations (usually MSNBC).
Today, however, someone on Facebook sent me a link to a site called Cruise Critic, where people can read about all things cruise and where, this woman told me, there has been a thread going since 2005 about Viking trips to China. I started reading the entries posted in about 2008 and forward and was just fascinated by the stuff I was learning and the photo albums I was able to check out. I am currently on page 167 of 198 pages and may soon actually get to entries posted in 2011, and maybe meet some folks who will be on our cruise.
It felt like I had spent my day in China. I have a better feel for how the trip will go (there was almost unanimous praise, over all those years, for how well Viking handled everything). I also have a better feel for how much walking it will involve (even though "leisurely" seems to be the accepted pace and someone in some message said that the median age of the travelers seemed to be about 75).
Someone named Peregrina651 has gorgeous photos, but this one had me a bit concerned.
The circled thing is the steps we will have to walk from the ship to the buses. Slippery, she says, and no handrail, and we will be carrying luggage. (Our friend Suellyn from the Russia cruise has already warned me about the difficulty of getting onto the Great Wall.)
It inspired me to walk half a mile on the treadmill, hoping to do this several times a week and gradually build up distance and strength in my legs. While walking, I listened to my James Patterson audio book and, again, did not turn on the television. (This may have been the longest daytime television blackout since I first got a television, unless there was a power outage.)
I had heard about the shootings in Arizona in several shocked status updates on Faceboook, but had not listened to any news about it. I just knew that there had been a shooting, that several were wounded and 6 killed and that Congresswoman Giffords was in the hospital, having been shot in the head.
I was appalled, of course, but with all of this China stuff going on and no newscaster talking about it in the background, I kind of forgot about it until I heard from Char tonight, saying that she had sent several hours watching MSNBC newscasters. I tried finding news at midnight, but lots of luck with that on a Saturday night at this hour.
There are people pointing fingers at the likes of Sarah Palin as the root cause, along with others who have used incendiary language, and other people pointing fingers back and accusing the first group of taking advantage of the situation for political gain and that we have no idea what the shooter's motivation had been.
Well, OK. I'm all for not jumping to conclusions, but this Congresswoman's office was vandalized after she supported the health care bill, which was about when all those tea critters started lockin' and loadin' and talking about exerting our "2nd amendment rights."
I don't think anybody in his/her right mind would take that as a call to arms and an order to go out and shoot people you disagree with, but this was probably someone not in his right mind and who knows how little it takes to set someone like that off.
I don't want to say that Sarah Palin and her little chart of targets with crosshairs on them where all the objectionable people are (including Gifford) was to blame for this incident, but posting graphics like this and calling for a "2nd amendment solution" if things don't go the way we want them certainly doesn't help cool the emotions of people on the edge.
I wonder if Palin and anybody else who has stood in front of a television camera or an auditorium of people and, with a cute smile and a wink, has used veiled threats of violence against those in office with whom they disagree can look the mother of 9 year old Christina Taylor Green, who was murdered, in the eye and say their words had NO effect whatsoever on the mind of the shooter, and that they played no part, however small, in the slaughter.
From Marty Kaplan on Huffington Post: If you're worried that violent video games may make kids prone to bad behavior; if you think that misogynic and homophobic rap lyrics are dangerous to society; if you believe that a nipple in a Superbowl halftime show is a threat to our moral fabric - then surely you should also fear that the way public and media figures have framed political participation with shooting gallery imagery is just as potentially lethal.
Words have consequences. We may just have realized
that in Arizona.
PHOTO OF THE DAY