Sam Clark Jr - The Blog

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Jan 3, 2019

This past summer we planned a very unique vacation. We called it the Midwest Tour. A ten-day journey by car to five different cities: Oklahoma City, Wichita, KS, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Tulsa. We'd been to OKC before, but the other places were first time destinations. The trip was memorable in that these cities were far more interesting that I thought they would be.

Actually, I would venture that every sizeable urban area has something that makes it unique. There must be some reason that an actual city exists in a particular spot instead of a corn field. New Orleans has the French Quarter, San Antonio has beautiful Spanish Missions, San Franciso has endless hills and cable cars to the stars. Chicago has shootings. OK, just kidding. Kinda.

The one thing I saw on the Midwest Tour that impressed me the most was the thing I expected to be the most disappointed by; the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. I've seen pictures of this monument since I was a child. And, well, I thought I knew all there was to know about it. After all, it's just an arch.

And the Grand Canyon is just a ditch.

The Gateway Arch is simply AMAZING! It's one of those things you have to see in person to really appreciate. The statistics don't begin to tell the story either. Yes, it's 630 feet tall at the center. About the height of a 60-story office building. But, it's NOT a building. It's a piece of sculpture. A piece of scultpure that stands as tall as a 60-story building. You look up at it, and instantly gain a new appreciation for engineering. And math. Because it took a some serious engineering and math to make sure the two legs of this thing met perfectly in the middle. And they did it with slide rules! SLIDE RULES! I won't even try to desribe those instruments, because milennials will say I was making it all up.

The massive monument was built in the 60's to revitalize the riverfront and boost the city's economy. I guess that didn't work, since the population of St. Louis has dropped from 750,000 in 1960 to 317,000 today. Yikes! And don't even mention the NFL.

But, you have to appreciate the visionaries, who apparently have all died or moved away, that worked tirelessly and brilliantly to build one of the most beautiful monuments in the modern world.


Jan 2, 2019

No day should be called ugly. Any day you're alive is a wonderful day. But, 33 degrees, rain, and a strong northerly wind has this one leaning toward, if not ugly, than at least a bit on the homely side.

I have a friend who moved back to Chicago routinely emailing me anytime the temperature in Dallas falls toward freezing. I just laugh. Because even though we have to fish the big coat from the back of the closet today, as sure as death, taxes, and another outrageous lie from the Oval Office, it will be back into the upper 60's within a day or two. This is what passes for winter around here.

Life is good.


Jan 1, 2019

Today is January 1, 2019. Just look at that date. It looks like something from a science fiction movie. In fact, it probably has been used in more than a couple of them. Those naive films and TV shows envisioned colonies on the moon and Mars, flying cars, and all manner of futuristic gadgets in a Jetson's World. Reality, while impressive in some respects, is largely disappointing compared to what we expected, or hoped for.

It's been half a century since the Apollo Program landed a dozen men on the moon and brought them all safely home. Five decades later American astronauts are having to hitch a ride on Russian spacecraft just to get to the International Space Station. For what purpose, at his point no one really knows. More concerning than how the mighty has fallen, is how little anyone seems to care.

What DO the people of 2019 actually care about? It's difficult to say, really. They spend a great deal of time looking at tiny screens. Those flickering lights dancing across their pupils must mean something. One would imagine something of great significance based on the tremendous amount of time spent. But, for all the promise of the digital emancipation of knowledge in the information age, one could argue that most people have never been dumber.

As a child growing up in a pre-computer society, the idea that anyone would suggest that the earth is flat was incomprehensible. Certainly, they would never have said it out loud, let alone broadcast it to an audience of millions. But, incredibly, a large number of their followers on Twitter will think to themselves, just before posting a picture of their lunch on Instagram, "They may be onto something."

More than anything else lost on the horrible day that was November 8, 2016 is that the truth has become not just optional, but something to be avoided at all costs. A corrupt regime has determined it can only retain power by undermining the truth. Their hope is if they can convince enough people to disbelieve what they know, then their crimes, lies, and treason can be slipped by unseen.

Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to the moon. It was Christmas 1968. They didn't land, but they traveled farther and faster than any humans ever had up to then. The signature moment was after circling around the moon's dark side they were greeted with the first Earthrise. Our home planet hanging over the gray moonscape like a blue-green jewel against the blackness. Right there, in a globe no wider than their thumb, was every person, every thing, every hope and every dream that ever was, suspended in space and time.

I wish people would take a short break from trolling for likes on Facebook and instead search for the picture "Earthrise" on their little smartphone today. And try to think about what that moment meant for humanity. To see our world as no one ever had before. To see it as it really is; just a small, leaky lifeboat in a vast and hostile sea. And realize it will take all of us, working together, to keep it afloat.