cooper dot se.

this page is called because it represents much of my thought since studying for a semester in sweden in the spring of 2005. this thought process has continued on down to the beginnings of my real adult life....what comes next? let's talk about it....and many other things of course.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

On Apocalyptic Musings

Dear friends, I would like to share with you today, one of the perils of a curious mind such as my own. It has to do with imagining apocalyptic situations. What, exactly, is an apocalyptic situation? From Merriam Webster, apocalyptic is defined as "forecasting the ultimate destiny of the world." How is it that I seem to find mmyself involved in such a lofty proposition?

Each of the last few times that I have returned home to Tucson from school, I always find myself with time on my hands. Often, I use this time to read about subjects of interest. This usually involves current events, different countries of the world, some literature, and plenty of history. Quite often, I find these all coming together in my mind to create many apocalyptic situations.

You want examples, do you? Well, two years ago, I had just finished my sophomore year of college and I was getting excited and ready for a trip to South Korea. I spent hours and hours reading books about the history of Korea, the war, the division, the current economic "miracle" in the south and then went and saw it on my own. Often, as I read through page after page about this sadly-divided nation, I kept imagining how one day, hostilities would cease, two separate flags would become one, two governments one, and two people divided for so long would be one nation. Capitalism would take care of the poor northerners plight.

And it seemed reasonable. But each day I would think again about the sad status quo and I would hang my head, yet still hope for the best.

Last Christmas break, when I started using this blog more often, my attention shifted to the terrible situation in Iraq. I could read the writing on the wall and watched as, each day, the situation grew more and more dire. I was amazed that I could learn about what was going on by reading blogs that Iraqis had written. See my "Blogs I Read" section to find some of them. Again, the more I read about Iraq and its history and status quo, the more I would keep imagining how great it will be one day. How one day I will fly there to meet some of my online friends, will sit in the sunshine on the sidewalk and smoke hookah, discussing the horrors of the past and the beauty of the present. But alas, each day the news tried to keep me from imagining this.

Other times, like the Christmas right before I went to Sweden, I turned my attention to Europe and the world as a whole, imagining everyone working together, using sustainable, non-polluting energy, not wasting away the earth, not exploiting each other, and everyone doing their part to help everyone else have a better standard of living without a cost to the environment. Often my apocalyptic thoughts would be accompanied by futily wishing certain things in the past hadn't happened, such as the horrors of war, especially the horror in Iraq since 2003 and the sad division of Korea in 1953.

This summer, I have some of these thoughts mixed in, especially as I try to imagine myself as part of the world, now that I have graduated from college and am trying to figure out where I fit in.

However, because of the amount of time I have had on my hands this summer, I have used some of my thinking on more trivial matters, namely, my beloved Chicago Cubs. Often, I would find myself dwelling on events in the past, such as how the Cubs have only won the World Series twice, in 1907 and 1908, and how they lost it in 1906, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and 1945, despite my wishes that the past could change. By the way, they have not been back since 1945, despite a close call in 2003. So yes, I go over events in the past, wishing they could change, but I also look forward to the future, when the Cubs will win the World Series and the entire city of Chicago will disintegrate from happiness and the Cubs become the team against whom all others are measured.

I can keep imagining. The funny thing however, is that given the current state of the World, including the Korean peninsula, the 2006 Cubs season, the capitalist system currently in place, the country of Iraq and the Middle East as a whole, I don't think any of my apocalyptic musings are any more likely to happen than any others. That is the sad part, but then again, if I only were to dwell on things that just might happen in my lifetime, these thoughts would not be apocalyptic musings, and it does not take much of an imagination for those, does it?

Here's to the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, to Iraq, Lebanon and Israel living in peace, to Indonesians designing automobiles and Americans making clothing, to Koreans meeting their long-lost brothers and sisters, and to the world living at peace.

Currently Reading
When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906
By Bernard A. Weisberger
see related

Monday, July 17, 2006

Oh the (minor) Joys of Summer

Greetings. I write now as it is about 10 minutes to 7 o'clock in the evening. What have I done today? Oh, not much, I just walked/ran the dogs for about an hour in the 105 degree heat and then decided to mow the lawn and trim the Ash tree in our backyard for the first time in probably over two years. This involved the following:
-Trimming tons of branches with the super powerful loppers.
-Using a chainsaw, one of the greatest inventions in all of human history. Did I mention that it was created by a Swede?
-Climbing a ladder and the tree as high as 20 feet perhaps.
-Firing up the leaf blower to clean everything off the grass.

It feels cool to take a chainsaw to a 2-inch or so thick branch and watch it fall about ten feet to the ground. And finishing everything just feels so good when it is something as visible as half of the branches of a tree coming out.

So, now that I have shared enough of my boring-to-you day, I will be heading up to my housesitting house soon. This is such a beautiful, totally Arizona style house, complete with flat screen hdtv, a pool, king sized bed and one of those cool showers that is part of the room, instead of having a curtain. It's pretty underbar.

That's really enough now. And that book I was reading last post at least changed the way I think about the news and about history, and it may well have changed my life, but I don't know yet. Maybe I'll know that if or when I ever find a !@#$ job!!

Peace and love!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

This is What Blogs Are for, Right?

Greetings friends and loved ones. I am writing a new entry in the midst of a completely uneventful summer. It looks like my lack of planning in the lead up to graduation is coming back to haunt me. But I'm not here to whine about my summer. I'm going to rant a little. That is what blogs are for, right?

Driving home from Phoenix the other day, I had some sports radio on. An idiot-sounding radio host was talking about the World Cup and how he thought that Italy paid of Zidane to do the headbutt. This is not the part that made me angry though. He then started talking about how Americans just don't get soccer and never will. He said that his children can play it or whatever but he will always hand them a baseball bat and glove.

Then he proceeded to talk about how soccer was so stupid and the only reason it was popular was because any kid in any poor country can always kick around a ball. Our sports were clearly superior because you supposedly have to have money to play baseball, hockey or football.

Forget about the fact that Domincans are some of the best ballplayers in the world and that they play with sticks and stones. Or that eskimo kids have probably been playing some form of hockey for centuries. Clearly we shouldn't play soccer; that should be relegated to the poor of the world. We are far too better than that.

This kind of talk angers me so much. Guys like this just continue to feed the stereotype that people for the United States are arrogant, do not care about the rest of the world, and think that money is more important than things like tradition and family. This makes me so angry, but it also makes me happy that I can try and stand out in society by actually caring about the world around me.


This book is in the process of changing my life:

Currently Reading
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
By John Perkins
see related

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Back with a vengeance?

So I am back for the first time since February. Insane, I know. I was inspired by the birth of a new blog from a good friend Sarah Bradford. Her blog is over here and she is going to be doing some pretty amazing things in NYC with Teach for America.

So, while I was gone....I went to NY for spring break, I went to several Cubs games and had my hopes for the season dashed sometime in the middle of May, but most of all, I graduated from college!

What exciting, life-altering event happens next?

....errr...ummm....well, I am home for the summer and am delivering pizzas to save some money. This is not exactly the summer I was envisioning or hoping for, but hopefully being able to save some money will help make the fall that I envision and hope for more of a reality.

This fall would involve Chicago and an apartment with some friends. I will keep you updated.