Saturday, May 19, 2007

My New Happy Thought

Sometimes you just need a new (or a few extra) happy thoughts.

Recently I've been glum.

Japanese news reads something like this:

A kid shows up at a police box with a black bag and says he just killed his mother and her head is in the bag (he wasn't kidding). He cut off her arm, painted it white and buried it in a planter as well.

Some kids decide they are going to beat a girl, cut her hair and then chop off her finger and put it in their curry.

Two young parents have the bright idea to go to the pachinko parlor on their scooter. Their one-year old has nowhere to sit so they stuff him into the helmet section of the bike. They check on him after their bout of pachinko playing, lo and behold he's dead. They've been doing this often, it seems.

A pretty English teacher ends up cut into pieces and buried in a bunch of dirt in a bathtub. The police come and knock on the murder's door, he answers, and somehow escapes. They still haven't found him.

I won't go on. I could. Like the pieces of body that were discovered floating around my father-in-law's fishing spot awhile back.

Cho goes nuts and everyone here clucks their tongues at America's Gun Society.

Like I said, I'm fairly blue.

So I was looking for anything happy, anything to make me smile when J came in yesterday and said, Mom you gotta go outside! You should see all the bats!

We've always had bats here, but I'm usually inside at dusk when they do their dizzy, bug eating thang. I really, really like bats, despite their diseases and neck biting and nest-in-hair making tendencies.

When I was little they were my most hated of animals. I was convinced (or had been convinced) that they'd land in your hair and make a sticky nest that you could never get out. I also thought that airplanes and helicopters would shoot you down if you didn't have a hood on your parka. We lived on an Air Force base in Alaska. The older kids were assholes.

In enclosed spaces bats aren't so swell -- I've had my brush with that -- but, bats are cool.

So I sat out their on the hood of my car relaxing and communing with dozens of crazy flying rodents. I also tried to take their pictures. Have you ever tried to take a picture of a bat? Those suckers are not only fast, but they don't fly anywhere where you think they are going to fly. In this picture there are five bats. Well, there's supposed to be.

My new happy thought: Bats.


Prashanth said...

Hmmm. Bats. What's this world coming to, don't you wonder? So much angst, frustration and pointless giving of pain.

Frank Baron said...

I like bats too, but not indoors so much.

Those crimes you described are awful, yet somehow reassuring - that human nastiness isn't confined to North America or the Middle East - that no culture is immune from whackos and idiots.

I think I'll fix a heavier-than-usual drink tonight....

Kappa no He said...

Prashanth: It is just so sad. So scary.

Frank: Indoor bats are frightening to me because they are such near miss fliers. Ha ha. I never thought about it like that. I guess this kind of news doesn't get on CNN so often. So yes, be assured. They're everywhere!

Brian said...

I watched a discussion on C-Span a few years ago regarding journalism. A newspaper editor spoke of how they are so often criticized for reporting on 'bad things'. She said that the problem lay in the fact that news inevitably acts as a filter.

The worst things you hear about in the world tend to be on the international level- billions of people, higher chance of incident. On the national level, the pool of people is lower so incidents tend to be bad, but not as-bad as the genocide, starvation and war. When one watches the local news, car accidents, burglaries and house fires are reported- bad, but not on the scale of national news. Finally, when one looks around at the things happening on his/her block, there may be little or no news to report.

Of course, this varies depending on where you live and the sort of catastrophic anomalies that strike. Neither am I suggesting that nothing bad might happen in your neighborhood, but it's important to recognize that the stuff you hear on the news is the most violent, awful things pulled from an enormous number of stories that span billions of individuals.

In moments when the news feels overwhelmingly negative, I like to look at the community around me. Even in a city as dense and crazy as New York, I rarely witness the sort of madness I read about on a daily basis. Plus, I can effect change at this level. Stopping genocide in Darfur or stopping a pedophile in another city is usually out of my scope of influence.

Scriptorius Rex said...

I'm with you, I'd rather watch bats than the latest news reports.

Kappa no He said...

Brian: Yes. I remember once I heard Walter Cronkite talk about how the news used to be reported as opposed to how it is now. I don't remember the details but he said that somewhere there was a shift from a nice balance of happy, good feeling pieces up front, and then the dark news to all dark. It's become tabloid journalism, really.

I think things have been sorta building up. Even local news has been getting me down, a beautiful river I love is being destroyed, my son's school has a monthly tally of how many 'perverts' appeared on the kids' walk home, and oh god the fish story...I'm blogging that next. The day before yesterday was the straw that broke the camel's back and I tried to make a difference...with both good, bad, and hilarious results.

Scriptorius Rex: Wanna go watch the bats with me?

Anonymous said...

As for bats in a house, use a tennis racket. Their sonar is confused by the spacing of the strings, and they actually move slower than a tennis ball. Ace on nearly every swing!

I was dropping off Momo at a collegue's house in NW DC at 5:00am for a trip to a conference about two weeks ago and stopped for this poor 18 year old woman who had been mugged by a group of 15 year old kids, three girls and 2 guys. She had been kicked out of her boyfriend's apt and was moving her stuff to a friend's place by handcart. At 5:00am. Bad all around. She had been hit in the face by one girl and had given up her cell phone, but she didn't even have any money to steal, so they hit her again before leaving. Her nose didn't look to be broken, but it had bled and was starting to swell by the time we came upon her. The bad guys wil never be found. Hell, the clearance rate for MURDER is only around 35% in DC. Only a 1 out of 3 chance for getting caught for murder. Not bad odds at all. This kind of crime, mugging, is so common around here that none of the major papers even run a police blotter. You have to find a a local weekly (The Prince George's Gazette in our case) in order to see what is really going on around you. When we first moved here, I thought our place was pretty safe, but after looking through the PG Gazette, it was clear that every week, within a mile of our apt, there were car thefts and armed robberies EVERY DAY, with about 2 reported rapes a week and a murder every 3 weeks. Really cuts down on my evening post-prandial walks. Didn't have anything to do with me buying my own guns, though. That had to do with the idea of being IN THIS SAME NEIGHBORHOOD after a major attack on the nation's capital. If the locals act like this now, what's going to happen when they're hungry and they find out I've got a 10 kg bag of rice in my kitchen?
Happy Memorial Day.

Talia Mana said...

Those news stories made my stomach turn. In Russia they tried to ration bad news to less than 50% of the stories.

I would love to not have to listen to mainly depressing stories with one cute puppy story to round it out.

Talia Mana said...

Those news stories made my stomach turn. In Russia they tried to ration bad news to less than 50% of the stories.

I would love to not have to listen to mainly depressing stories with one cute puppy story to round it out.

Kappa no He said...

Imomo: Believe it or not that made me feel better.

Talia: I like that idea Less than 50%. Or at least have one channel with happy puppy stories.

jean said...

Love the bats; I often see them flying around. They're mammals but not rodents (not that it really matters, but the idea of a rat-thing swooping above you is really not that pleasant!)

The couple with the baby in the motorbike helmet area -- I think he went off to pachinko, and she went shopping. Sigh...

See you tomorrow night -- hope a 'gals night' will help get rid of those blues.

Kappa no He said...

Jean: I'm really looking forward to tonight. Good book too!

Benjamin Solah said...

Yeah, I need things to take me away from the state of the world. Reading and computer games usually do it for me.

I love bats, cool photo. It looks so creepy.