The liberation of those 33 Chilean miners who were trapped deep underground for 69 days was truly inspiring. I can't even imagine what spending that long days in a place like that would be like. I wonder what it felt like for the last miner as he waited alone for his turn.
That real life story reminds me of an old Appalachian Jack tale. Jack tales are stories about a character named Jack (as in the one of beanstalk fame) which were told in the British isles long ago. Settlers in Appalachia brought a whole cycle of stories about this character with them and over time they morphed to reflect the culture of the mountains.
In the stories, Jack is the youngest of three brothers, the first two of which are bad news. He frequently sets off to seek his fortune. Like Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire, Jack always depends on the kindness of strangers. On his adventures, he helps those in need and is helped in return and usually prevails against the odds with the help of his wits, luck, and help from his friends.
In one story, Jack runs up against a giant who can turn into a dragon. After he finds the hole leading to its underground lair, he is lowered to the center of the earth by his rotten brothers and liberates three young women who were held captive by the giant.
He gets stranded at the bottom with no way out when his brothers throw the rope down the hole in a fit of jealousy over his luck with the ladies. In the end, he only makes it out thanks to a forgotten magic ring that has the power to grant wishes to those who deserve them.
Too bad they can't issues those to everyone who has to work underground. That would be the ultimate mine safety device.
ON THAT NOTE, it looks like diet, exercise and social support and organization kept them in amazingly good shape.
AN UGLY SPIRIT. This op-ed on the current racially charged political climate appeared earlier this week in the Charleston Gazette.
GOOD QUESTIONS. This item asks why the US right isn't upset about bogus foreclosures. Whatever happened to defending property rights?
CULTURAL EVOLUTION. Here's an interesting item on cultural evolution.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED