Sober Reflections

Thankfully didn’t sip each time Trump uttered the litany of targeted SOTU words. Would have been ugly. Melania wore white. As a nod to suffragettes? Serious stretch. Dems responses too disparate to follow. Bernie’s online feed failed. Joe Kennedy’s spittle a distraction. Maxine Waters on BET? Did anybody see that? Cohesive messaging please.

Finished a relevant novel. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie. Man Booker longlisted story which reflects past observations about the Lost Boys who join gangs to feel valued and find direction. From Northampton, Massachusetts to Raqqa. An important read.

ToPaz

Topaz. November birthstone. Penultimate month of 2017. Already. Fall back. Need the extra sleep after late nights watching the World Series. It was fun. Love the Astros team. Altuve is my MVP. Also. Time for one-pot meals despite the thermometer’s resistance. We can still make stews, vindaloos or braised veal shanks. Osso Buco. Great after running the Marathon. Or. Just watching the fireworks at tonight’s opening ceremonies. Pre-Game Finish Line

La Paz. North Korea hot topic of Trump’s Asia trip. Can a coalition thwart a military option? Diane Sawyer has been investigating ISIS recruitment of young men. Timely 20/20 report. It’ll be interesting if it tracks with SideTrek’s thoughts. Brothers KaramazOff.

Terror Bro’s

Again. Brothers at the center of terrorist attack. This time Belgium. It started with the Tsarnaev sibs of the Boston Marathon massacre. The Chechen Brothers KaramazOff. Disaffected young men ostracized and marginalized in their adopted or native land. Attracted by a global gang of thugs to mount revenge in the name of religion but with no real devotion to it.

So. It we take Cruz and Trump to their logical conclusions. Arrest all swarthy young brothers. Just to be safe.

Fraternité

In a bad way. Disgruntled brothers again at the core of terror in a major city. As with the Tsarnaev’s in Boston. Radicalized in Eastern Balkans. Now bereft and left out brothers Abdeslam at the heart of another siege. This time in Paris. Radicalized in Syria. But, disaffected Muslims encore.

Leaders and as always military are overthinking this as a macro geopolitical religious act of war. Nope. The Belgian brothers were not even mosque-goers but rather like the Tsarnaev’s drug users. It’s a psychology of unemployed youth who lack purpose and attach to a criminal cause. Pope Francis was right. The most lethal weapon against world peace is men without jobs.

Armies and bombs can never combat that.

Je Suis Candide

Charlie Hebdo Magazine killings in Paris. Lamenting those who carried the enlightened torch of Voltaire. Satire. Free speech. Pens drawn against guns of disaffected disillusioned men disguised in the guise of religion. Boredom begets indoctrination in absurdities as a rationale to commit atrocities. Another BrothersTsarnaev scenario. As Pope Francis says, jobs will obliterate these faux jihads. Economics drives our new Gang World.

On a more mundane note. 20 years since Starbucks served its first Frappuccino.

Tales of Two Cities

In New York City, a homeless family’s life is chronicled in the Times. In Boston, an outcast Chechen family’s psychological unraveling is told in the Globe. Award-winning level of journalism. Better than any books I’ve read this year.

NY Times‘ series focuses on an 11-year old girl in Andrea Elliott’s exposé, “Invisible Child. Girl in the Shadows. Dasani’s Homeless Life”.  Named for the bottled water because it represented wealth, Dasani treads above the depths of an urban shelter. With many siblings and incompetent parents, Dasani at her young age keeps them all from drowning completely. She is miraculously smart and talented. It serves her well but also works against her as she feels responsible to keep her family afloat. Hard to predict whether her wits will be enough to escape the obstacles of their needs and her environment.

Boston Globe’s “The Fall of the House of Tsarnaev”, tells two stories of two brothers. I dubbed them at the time, Brothers KaramazOff, April 24, 2013. Boston Marathon bombers. A spiral of bad luck, degenerate genes, and failed dreams with a pinch of radical religion turn anger into terrorist violence.

Brothers Karamaz Off

A tale of brothers struggling with morality, religion, ideology? Or, one brother whose psychology emanated from an unbalanced family dynamic influenced the other? I believe the latter. Russia, Chechnya, Islam are peripheral to this story. Elder son coddled by an obsessed mother, who seems a bit off. Her shoplifting conviction a case in point. As her first born began to behave like an angry bully, she tried to steer him away from evil booze and drugs. He dragged his young brother into an ideological excuse for escalating a violent nature into an act.

It could have been just guns, like other recent mass murders. But, the Boston Marathon Massacre had the added firepower of bombs. Yet, it was still a plot born of psychology and not ideology. Apologies to Dostoyevsky.