This will certainly blend the most pessimistic and the one at the other end -- what was it? Oh yeah. Optimism. A recent commenter here left the message that optimism and trust were the hallmarks of ignorance.
A variety of news reports today from around the world will certainly challenge the best and the worst, and I readily admit I'm starting to shy away from all the news, because seeing idiotic talking-heads providing fifteen minutes of some American Morning program to the question "Is our butts getting bigger or is bigger butts just better?" gives me the same headache that reports from the frontlines of a half-dozen battlefields do.
Meanwhile, I have read the all-out horror stories emerging in the hearings to determine if court-martials are to be held for a group of soldiers accused of raping and killing an Iraqi girl and her family. It is as grim a story as I've heard.
Today also brought in a report from NPR about "religious assassinations" in Iraq because the visibility of female sheep butts can bring death to a shepherd, or that the arrangements of vegetables in a market stand can also bring death. You can here that report here.
In Afghanistan, the long-standing cabinet-level office of Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Discouragement of Vice (yes, that's the real office title) is maybe not as bad as it used to be. Maybe. That story is here. "No reason to be frightened," say officials, but I would recommend some fearfulness and perhaps moving to a more sane country.
I really need to stop being surprised that much of what appears in print and on TV is a variant of two topics, humanity's favorite pastimes, Death and Sex. (Or chess-playing under the Taliban regime.)
Wouldn't a sane person really really have to have the most troubling doubts about religious policing of Islam? Perhaps being immersed from birth onward in a spiral of madness makes sanity a fantasy only the truly deranged can imagine. Like the late, great Hunter S. Thompson said, "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."
It is frustrating as a bloggin' guy, as I was just about to post a video for this Monday, from a super-catchy tune that gets my vote for Best Song of the Summer. Even the music video for it is both original and layered and still matched the thematics of the lyrics with the faces of the band. And I love this band's name, too - Gnarls Barkley. I'm not the only one who thinks this tune is worthy of fame in 2006.
It has the appeal of an old Marvin Gaye or Bobby Womack tune, but it's an MTV hit too.
"Crazy" is the song. And I guess that for better or worse, Crazy is the theme of 2006.