Friday, December 12, 2008


It seems to be human nature to protect one’s own ox, while ignoring the effect that might have on the neighbor’s. I’ve seen two examples of this already this morning.

The first has to do with the smoke in our apartment.

On account of Christmas prep, we’re back in the Houston flat for a while, where we experience the sun-struck day outside through a filter of UV film. I can only vaguely hear the squawk of a blue jay through the glass.

The smoke I refer to above is coming through the AC vents and it’s stronger today than usual. Much of the time recently it has been minimal or absent, but that was in mild weather. Today it is cold outside (by our standards) and so all the smokers in the building are indulging their addiction (feeding their ox) inside. One of the worst offenders is down the hall, a renter in the unit right next to the elevator. Our building has the units under negative pressure, so all the odors from the units flow out into the corridor, which has no air circulation. Nice, huh? As a result, when you wait for the elevator, you get a nice bath of cigarette smoke.

Moreover, a quirk in our ventilation system allows her and others’ smoke to enter our flat, where we don’t smoke and where I happen to be allergic, thanks to growing up in my mother’s house.

Pardon me while I cough...

The second example of oxen I have in mind has to do with the auto bailout. Non-bailout, as of right now. Eight Republican Senators, voting with the majority of their party, provided the margin that killed the bill.

There is logic to their position, even if it lacks heart. Narrowly viewed, if the auto industries went bankrupt, they’d be rid of the union contracts that pay American workers more than workers in American-based auto plants owned by foreign companies. Everything would have to be renegotiated—if the bankrupt industries even survived. This has the virtue for those Senators of being consistent with Republican free market principles. (Remember what Wilde said about that: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” But he was British and he’s dead, so what did he know?)

Their position seems somewhat less pure, however, when you factor in the presence of foreign auto plants in their states. The Republicans voting for the bailout included those from states where the American auto industry and its suppliers are located. That’s part of the rust in Rust Belt. Republicans voting against it included those from states where companies like Toyoto have built their U.S. infrastructure.

Everyone, it appears, is looking after his own ox. Who’s looking after ours? That’s what I’d like to know. There should be someone out there in a position of leadership who understands the big picture, whatever it may be. Or is that too much to ask?

December View for today is the last farm scene for a while. This is a collection of buildings along Winedale Rd. I missed yesterday and will double up when I have some new ones, maybe tomorrow. City scenes...


deb did it said...

Love your views of December. happy you are on board...isn't this a great project?

Bdogs said...

Absolutely! I think everyone is more creative with the images, though, but I'm working on it.

deb did it said...

the creativity has been accomplished by the mere fact you share with us all your views of December. I love the simple, hometown images. keep on clickin and sharin.