Courtney T Ball

Matters of Life and Depth


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Nonviolence Shows Strength, Not Weakness

This week we watch as the drama in Ukraine continues to unfold. Russian troops have occupied eastern territories of this sovereign nation, and many (especially Republican) leaders in the U.S. are calling for a buildup of Western allied military forces near Ukraine. It is a recipe with all the ingredients of a civil war backed on one side by the U.S. and the other by Russia.

It’s fine with me if my ten-year-old daughter wants to try out the ridiculous clothes from the 1980s, but I would rather not return to that decade’s foreign policy disasters. The twenty-first century has enough issues of its own without reviving that nonsense, thank you very much.

Yet in today’s paper I read an article describing Obama’s dwindling popularity as he searches for a nonviolent diplomatic response to Russia’s aggressive move into Crimea. For this hesitancy to move immediately to military posturing, our President is called “weak” or “ineffective”.

To the contrary, I believe that Barack Obama has in fact demonstrated his greatest moments of weakness when he does take military action or celebrates the death of our “enemies”.

Brain Training

On Tynan

One day last week I drank too much tea too late in the day. Instead of going to bed at my normal 1:30-2am time, I went to bed after 3am. The next morning I woke up around eleven, feeling a bit slothful for sleeping in. Usually I make some nice green tea in the morning, but I skipped it that day, half because I had overdosed on tea the day before, and half because it was almost the afternoon. I sat down at my computer, but instead of doing my daily planning, I started researching Persian rugs.

By one in the afternoon I was still sitting at my computer in my skivvies, having done nothing more substantial than gain a comprehensive amateur understanding of what to look for in a Persian rug, and maybe answering a handful of medium-priority emails.

The day was off to a bad start. Not a horrific start, like the kind where you lose your arm in a grain combine, but the kind where you've gotten such a slow start that the day begins to feel like a waste.

I opened up Google Calendar to plan my day, but then closed it. What's the point, I thought, when I've already wasted so much time? There was no chance it was going to be an excellent day, so my brain was trying to steer me towards just writing the day off and refocusing on the next one.

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