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Modest Mid-Summer Musings

A nice afternoon at the pool.


It is wonderful to have a little time off from deadlines and job duties. Here’s a chance to observe the world a bit more quietly, maybe even think slightly beyond the next few items on the to-do list.

Shaved Palm Trees

Palm trees get their beards shaved off every summer in Ocean Beach. The dry old fronds are trimmed and mulched on the spot, with machines you can hear for half a mile. These palm trees are not native to California, use up a lot of water, provide no shade, and are nearing the end of their natural life span. I like them anyway. Even so, Ocean Beach would be a nicer place with different trees when these ones have gone to the big palm forest in the sky.

Youngest daughter Lana May was in two dance recitals yesterday, doing her first ballet performance, two jazz numbers and one rousing hip-hop routine. It was splendid to have the chance to watch both recitals and get a big hit of positive energy from dozens of young dancers. Still, it was impossible to escape completely from the Serious Concerns that seem to be permeating our lives beneath even the smooth surface of smug suburbia.

The program was started by the dance school owner leading the audience in Prayer to Almighty God. “Dear Lord, please give this audience the understanding of how much hard work went into all of these performances…” At intermission, a video was offered “in support of our military families.” It showed movies of families receiving charity with the old Bon Jovi song “Ring the Bells of Freedom” playing loud and proud in the background. What are we all so worried about? Why do we need to make a big deal out of Believing in God and Loving Our Soldiers all the time?

Public displays of piety coupled with a big dose of sentimental militarism seem to be a part of more and more events these days. Some of us are lucky enough to get a couple of weeks off from work, but there doesn’t seem to be any escaping the fact that these are twilight times, even at the height of summer. If you are curious about being serious, you can go here to read about reality in Gaza and here to read about reality in Ukraine. In both of these situations the Obama Administration is displaying dishonesty that would make L.B.J. and Nixon blush.

On the other hand, it’s possible that you are more interested in something a bit less serious, like a few wrinkly old men getting back together to relive their youth and make some money.

Sometimes it’s good to take a real break. Serious business always is just around the corner anyway. Soon I’ll start a new law professor job at San Diego Law School, which is being opened this fall by San Francisco Law School and Alliant University. I have little doubt that all our social problems will be solved by some well-trained young lawyers!

For now, let’s take time to notice the flowers and other daily magic all around.

Shire Flower

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