how a panic gets started…

“I always thought a shipwreck was a well-organized affair,
but I’ve learned the devil a lot in the last five minutes.”

Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania


(a decadent chocolate treat from The Confiserie Sprüngli / Zurich, Switzerland /
Julie Cook / 2012)

I think most of us know that it is unlawful to yell “FIRE” in a crowded
public venue when there is actually no fire.

The original use of the phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theater” actually
dates back to a Supreme Court case from 1919.
It was a case that dealt with the distribution of anti-war pamphlets and whether such
an act was a violation of the original Espionage and Sedition Acts of 1917 / 1918—
and was such an act in opposition, as well as a violation, of free speech or was it considered ‘a clear and present danger.’

It was actually Chief Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who coined the phrase when
he wrote the unanimous ruling over the case.

And according to Wikipedia:
People have indeed falsely shouted “Fire!” in crowded public venues and
caused panics on numerous occasions, such as at the Royal Surrey Gardens Music Hall
of London in 1856, a theater in New York’s Harlem neighborhood in 1884,
and in the Italian Hall disaster of 1913, which left 73 dead.
In the Shiloh Baptist Church disaster of 1902, over 100 people died when
“fight” was misheard as “fire” in a crowded church causing a panic and stampede.

All of this came flooding back to the forefront of thought when I saw a news report
with the near cataclysmic title
“Start Hoarding! Chocolate on Track to Disappear in 40 Years”

WHAT????

Chocolate gone in 40 years????

We might just say down here in the South, “thems fighting words”

After reading that title I felt a sudden urge to run to the kitchen, throw open
all the kitchen cabinet doors and take immediate stock of all the chocolate I have
stashed away for baking purposes….
Do I need to run the the grocery store and purge the shelves of 70% Cacao bars for all
my baking and dessert purposes????

Visions of pandemonium breaking out on the candy aisle at the local grocery store
as visions of a bunch of older ladies on walkers and kids with sneakers that light up fighting over bags of M&M’s…not a pretty picture.

And so goes the latest in a string of earth shattering headlines that when all
is shifted and shaked out…are not exactly as life shattering or life ending as
the words allude.

Clicking on the story and reading the tale behind these alarming headlines and
whereas the dwindling supply of chocolate is truly a real concern…
the headlines are not as dismal nor as damning as they lead one to believe.

And therein lies our trouble.

Sensationalism.

The “news” media has learned that they can grab and stir up the masses into
a frenzy of epic proportions with just a couple of carefully lined up words.

And we, the receivers, fall hook, line and sinker to the gurus of verbiage.

The moral of this tale you ask…..
well perhaps it is two fold…..
Firstly do not take headlines at face value….

In education we call such headlines “a hook”—-as in it grabs your audience…
pulling the recipient quickly into a state of curiosity while knowing that they,
your target audience, will be naturally curious… wanting to know more,
experience more, participate more….

And secondly–yes, in the reality of life, the cocoa plant is in peril….
yet is the peril as grave as we are being lead to believe?

I think the jury is still out on that….
and therefore, it would behoove us to be a bit more cautionary when it comes
to feeling the need to race to the store…grabbing up those precious bags of M&Ms
out of the hands of the grandparents and those fighting grandchildren…

https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/world/2018/01/02/start-hoarding-chocolate-track-disappear-40-years/109090682/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatodaycomworld-topstories

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Past and Future

“. . .It’s got me hoping for the future
And worrying about the past
‘Cause I’ve seen some hot hot blazes
Come down to smoke and ash. . .”

a few lines from Joni Mitchell – Help Me

DSC00781
Giovanni Bellini / Le Christ Bénissant 1465-1470 / The Louvre / Paris, France / Julie Cook / 2011)

Has the past left you worrying about the future?
Will the future find you wistful for the past?
Does the present find you hopeful about much of anything?

Have you turned on the news, read the paper, seen the stories. . .

Terror attacks on the beach
Heads chopped off like weeds.
Migrants are flooding across the seas
Legislation turns topsy turvy
Killings where we worship
Good guys set bad guys free
Sharks are hungry in the surf
Flags flap in the wind

That which is seen now as bad must be stricken from sight, from history, from acknowledgment—
Seek and destroy quickly lest anyone notice.
Hysteria is crying foul as the masses must now acquiesce.
Simply wipe it clean with the sweep of a pen and that’ll make it all better.
Don’t pause to consider the bigger picture.
Just erase it from view and that’ll be the end of it.
Rewrite what was and that’ll keep them happy, quiet, confused.
Out of sight, out of mind.

Is straddling that fence getting uncomfortable?
Is the grey any more clear?
Upside down for one is now right side up for many.
Thought you knew which way to go. . .

When rainbows once came after the storm
Hope grew out of the past
History directed the future
and everything made more sense. . .

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
And, “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved,
what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?”
So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.

1 Peter 4: 12-19

A few observations

“We cannot create observers by saying ‘observe,’ but by giving them the power and the means for this observation and these means are procured through education of the senses.”
Maria Montessori

DSCN7555
(sea algae / Watercolor Beach, Florida / Julie Cook / 2014)

Life’s a bit hectic right now. . . leaving me absolutely no time at home and very little time to, let alone, think! Yet I have been rather keen to be observant, taking in snippets of life, right and wrong, on my many comings and goings as of late. . .

Earlier this week, on the way to Dad’s, as I was making my way around Atlanta’s autobahn, otherwise known as 285 or the Perimeter, I noticed a glaring billboard advertising, for what I think is to be some new sort of new Fall TV series. . . “How To Commit Murder”—-
Will someone please tell me, why in the world would anyone want to put up such a billboard in a city that once held the dubious rights to the title of Murder Capital of the US? I would think, sadly, Atlanta had regrettably already figured out such, not needing a billboard for instruction. My other question is why would anyone want to use such as a title to a new show, and what kind of shows are we wanting to watch these sad days. . .digressing. . .

After safely making my way on and off 285, arriving safely at Dad’s in one piece, Gloria immediately wants to show me the new bedspread she found for the front bedroom. As I make my way down the hall for the exciting viewing, I notice (observe) that my old bedroom’s door is shut. That door is never shut–not since an angst ridden teen use to reside in there oh so many years ago. It’s the room directly at the end of the hallway which now carries the official title of “Dad’s Office.” The same said office I had come to make some sense over, wading through the accumulated piles of bills, statements, invoices and chaos known as Dad’s world.

“Dad, why is the door to my old room shut?”
“Shut, oh, uh, I don’t know. . .”
“Daaaaad”
“Because we’re not going in there.” (shrugging of shoulders and a little snicker)
“Dad, that’s what I came for, to help you go through the bills. (I feel a battle ensuing)
“Ohhhh, don’t harass me today.” (digging in of heels)
“Dad.” (note stern voice)
“OOOOOhhhhhh NOOOOOO, NOT TODAY! I want a nice day.”
“Dad, you have a nice day every day” (as that is part of the problem). . .

And that is when I tell myself to simply let it go. . .today, we’ll enjoy lunch and a nice visit.
When the time arrives for my departure, I simply tell Dad that he best plan on opening that door next week because. . .I’ll be back. . . (using my best Austrian accent of course)
More shoulder shrugging and snickering.
UGH.

Another observation from today, of which I’ve noted that I must be the only person observing—or the only person that this seems to bother, is looking at the headlines and of the disparaging extremes over what seems to be important and what seems to be an after thought.

Here we have some news headlines touting what seems to be oh so important. . . A Dancing with the Stars participant has a new boyfriend. Oooooo.
Firstly whoever would have thought a show about the grueling (paaalllleeezzzeee) dancing of the famous or infamous would seem so important, let alone the news that one of them has a new boyfriend.
Go figure.

Or what of the slew of TV dramas, aka reality shows, with one of the latest being titled Utopia—of which sounds to me as if it’s anything but. . . maybe that’s the point. If we tend to seek out entertainment in order to avoid reality, then why is it that there is a flood of Reality shows. . .hummmm. . .

We’ve already discussed murder, which equates obviously to violence, which pretty much sums up most of the drama shows. . .we’ll move one. . .
What about the tiring endless obsession we have with our sports figures and of their bad boy behavior? Perhaps we should rethink that whole payment of millions of dollars for “playing games” as their behavior on and off the field is egocentric, childish bullish and piggish. Shame on us for allowing such . . .

Which brings us to the after thought headlines which really should be the REAL headlines—headlines such as:

The latest beheading of the French tourist by Algerian ISIS sympathizers.
Or what about the bombing of Syrian ISIS strongholds which in turn prompts an accelerated US threat. And yet we’re focused on the latest greatest IPhone. We may be facing devastation but we’ll do it with the best new phone out there.

Or what about the potential global political disaster, not to mention medical catastrophe, of those countries battling the spread of Ebola. An estimated 1.4 million cases of Ebola are predicted by the start of 2015. Sheer global devastation with the predicted collapse of several African nations, yet our concerns focus on the “stars” who dance and football players, which we’ve “enabled” to act badly. . .Are we about to get caught sleeping at the wheel again. . .?
Ugh

Or who heard about the thousands who took to the streets in Russia over the weekend to protest Russia’s involvement in Ukraine.
Really?
How great is that?
Yet who heard about it?

My life is busy right now.
Busier than I prefer.
And yet there is a world that is spiraling out of control.
Are we all so busy and or preoccupied by the little things in Life, those things we’ve allowed to become bigger than they should. . .so much so that we prefer merely to bury our heads into these things which are to be considered “fluff” and superfluous in hopes that all that is bad, troubling and negative will simply go away?

We must remain observant, vigilant and thoughtful of our world and of those things taking place that need our attention, our help, our sorting and not let the things which are secondary to act as blinders or detractors to the very REAL issues. . .

The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

Proverbs 22″3