Archive for the ‘Climate change’ Category

Why is it so difficult to think of the world 200 years from now? Hell, you, your children, and your great-great-grandchildren will all be dead. Therefore, why should we even care? Why recycle, for example; why worry about the rain forest, species extinction, overfishing, or global warming or any of that stuff? After all, we’re just going to be a pile of dust by that time. Screw the future; there are already enough people who don’t give a damn about it anyway, so why should we care? But…we do recycle; we do attempt to do our bit to keep the earth as pure and pristine as our little efforts can do so. For some strange reason, whether it’s perpetuation of our species or what, we attempt to prevent the world from destroying itself through some combined effort.

When I say “we,” I don’t necessarily mean the United States of America. Shucks, we’re way down the list when it comes to ecological friendliness, or as I like to put it, “Preserving the planet for Cap’n Kirk and his Enterprise buddies in the 25rd Century.”  According to one article that I read, “You’d think with all of the smarts and resources this country has, it would rank a bit better than Number 2–afraid not. Although it did rank a respectable 211 for natural habitat conversion–that honor is pretty much negated by the country’s abysmal ratings in other areas. Ringing in at 1st place for fertilizer use, this country’s excessive application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (NPK) fertilizers can result in the leaching of these chemicals into water bodies and remove, alter or destroy natural habitats. The USA also ranks in 1st place for CO2 emissions, 2nd place for water pollution, 3rd place for marine captures, and 9th place for threatened species.” Sometimes, our braggadocio isn’t so warranted after all.

I suppose that by the time the big blue marble becomes inhospitable to human life, somebody, somewhere will have discovered a place where all human life can be transported. It may even be a possibility that those people, with the species of animals they wish to take with them, will also have found a way of keeping the new planet somewhat cleaner than the manner in which we’ve treated this one…but I rather doubt it. You see, I don’t think that man, as a species, evolves as rapidly as we’d all like to believe he does. We may have banned DDT, creosote, and a few other dangerous things, but as it says up above, we surely have a long way to go. To digress for just a moment, I should tell you that I am now wearing the plastic bottles that only a few months or years ago I was drinking from. That is, I now have sweat pants that are made from recycled plastic bottles…and they’re great!

When I look at all of these ‘studies,’ reports,’ ‘analyses,’ etcetera, about countries and even cities that are good or bad in terms of this statistic or that, I find that the criteria, rather than clarifying the situation, only serve to confuse it.  Smaller countries, on the whole, seem to do much better than larger ones. Russia, China, and the United States have such vast areas as to make some judgments more harshly than they necessarily have to be. As another aside, my son was credentialed to attend the Olympics in Beijing but opted to stay back at Olympic headquarters in Colorado Springs. “I’d been there once,” he told me, “and I wasn’t certain my lungs would every clear up!”

Who are the clean, green, ecologically-conscious countries throughout the world? Yes, you’re right; the Scandinavian countries lead the way. Why is impossible to say, but they were the first ones that came to my mind, and they, along with Germany, Costa Rica and Spain round out the top ten.  These are countries that make a genuine effort to lower their carbon footprint and work at maintaining a partnership with the planet’s resources.

It puzzles me that our commuting problems in the United States are as bad as they appear to be. Some time ago we were caught in the rush hour between Hartford, Connecticut as far south as the New Jersey Turnpike. Between the amount of traffic and the word that was going on to expand the highways, it was rather obvious that by the time the new, widened highways are complete, the traffic will have expanded to keep pace and to keep the traffic jams just as they are today. A mathematician might say that the highway system is expanding arithmetically while the number of vehicles attempting to use those highways is expanding exponentially. The thing is that I’m not certain newer and wider highways are the answer. However, as long as the automotive industry controls Congress, along with a few other industrial giants, we will continue to view automobiles as our major source of transportation.

I’m fully aware that there are people from other parts of the country who believe that those of us who live in New England are as soft as a newly-minted cow flap, and to some extent that might just be true. However, I see industrial park after industrial park with ‘For Lease’ signs on better than half of the buildings, and it leads me to wonder why some companies insist on keeping their businesses in downtown Boston. This is the age of technology. You can be connected to anyone, anywhere in the world in less time than it takes to snap your fingers. Parking in cities such as Boston is a hassle that no one wants or needs. These industrial parks have tons of parking. Why do some of these huge operations insist that the ‘city’ is the only place to be? Years ago, a friend of mine had a consulting business in the heart of New York City. One day, he announced to his staff of 10 or 12 that he was moving his operation to Keene, New Hampshire. He had been commuting from Greenwich, Connecticut into the City, and had enough. How many people did he lose to this move? One…one person could not make the transition, not because she thought it was too “country-bumpkin-esh, but because of her spouses commitments in NYC. He has long since retired, but the business is still in Keene.

We ask that those who lead our businesses have vision. Perhaps part of that vision should include where the company can most efficiently be located. At least here, in the Northeast, visionary leaders should be looking at the suburbs with their unused and probably one hell of a lot cheaper-per-square—foot rental rates as places for their employees. The buildings are already there, in anticipation of a boom that never seemed to take place. Let’s use the space we have and stop destroying more of our land. Who knows, some employees might begin cycling to work or begin to feel better about their commute. After that, more companies might begin recycling programs. Lord only knows what innovative and planet-saving things may happen after that.

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The stewards have failed. The stewards were given a pearl, a gem of priceless value and failed to protect it. That’s right, you and I, she and he, they and them, we and us…we have failed to protect that with which we were charged to do. We have raped the land; we have polluted the waters; we have exhausted the resources; and we have wept crocodile tears blaming everyone and everything else for what we have reaped. Hypocrisy, the name is man.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke said that. He also noted, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.” Burke was an Irish statesman and political thinker; just a man, like so many others, to whom we should have been listening but also like so many others, a man we arrogantly ignored.

So what has happened because of our ignorance? A failed art student and painter nearly exterminated a race of people. Man’s willingness to take the path of least resistance is leading us to a change in our climate that will, in all probability, hasten our demise as a species. Rather than trying to find a common ground for peace, man continues to slaughter his brother for reasons that are trivial, interpretative, and idiotic.

Terrorist groups actually threaten the very existence of mankind. Billions of people live in fear 24/7 that someone representing one of these groups will kill them for no reason whatsoever other than the fact that they may not like the color of your hair, eyes, shirt, skirt, or shoes. Having a shotgun put to your head and being told that you are going to have your fucking head blown off is a very sobering experience. Having been there, I guarantee you will not wish to do it twice.

Good people have tolerated bad behavior for too long. What has it gotten us? It got us two world wars, ‘police actions,’ as they were called, and numerous fire fights from South America with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC)  to Boko Haram in Nigeria, to Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, ISIS, and lord only knows how many other groups all over the world. These are bad people. They don’t care about preserving the pearl. They don’t care about human life. They are selfish and care only for themselves…and even that is open to question most of the time. Some of them claim to follow religious teachings. Ha, that is a joke; they follow nothing. They are murderers, rapists, thugs of the worst sort, and they should be demolished. The pearl’s problems are far greater, yet these are what we as the stewards must confront on an hourly basis.

Now, we have a government that has collapsed in Yemen. We have a world economy that appears to still be in recession. We have an ice cap that is melting. We are still polluting the atmosphere with greenhouse gases from fossil fuels that will eventually cause the temperatures to rise further. Polluted air will kill us; a lack of clean water will kill us; food production will decrease as droughts occur. Our lack of stewardship of our pearl has resulted in melting ice and rising sea levels can also affect the Earth’s crust, causing land to rebound and triggering volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis.

While some of our population attempt to act as good stewards, they are being ignored by others more interested in short-term gain and with greater resources to allow their stupidity to be accepted. Doctors warn that global warming will also create more heat-related deaths from cardiovascular problems and strokes. Young children and the elderly will be especially vulnerable to higher temperatures. Elected officials say, “Don’t listen to the doctors. They are naysayers,” but are they really? The conservationists tell us that we are destroying animal habitats and food sources for larger animals and that we should not be surprised when these larger animals begin to attack man for food. Elected officials tell us that the conservationists are being irrational and that animal attacks will never happen. It seems to me that some of these attacks are already underway, but perhaps I’m just being an alarmist; after all, who am I, but one of the stewards who wishes that more people would pay attention to what’s going on in our world.

According to the Mother Nature Network – another one of those groups with “all the crazy alarmists,” as its detractors might say, while “Global warming may be bad news for us, it’s good news for disease-carrying mice, rats, and insects.” We’ve seen that with the Ebola outbreak. Places like the Centers for Disease Control and other health organizations have had their funding cut because our elected officials don’t see the need for greater research or the development of vaccines for diseases such as Dengue fever, a disease which causes internal bleeding and which has now spread to Florida.

In all, since the beginning of time, man, charged with the stewardship of the planet he inhabits, has done a pretty poor job of taking care of our little gem. Over the centuries, as we have grown to walk upright and evolve into what we are today, we have ignored the fact that we have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to our place of habitation. One of the reasons we have been so minimally concerned is that we are mortal. We come; we procreate; we age; we die. While we’re here, we are more intent on looking after ourselves rather than our surroundings. Unfortunately, we have reached and are rapidly passing a point of no return. Our planet is going to turn on us. War won’t be an answer. Merely existing will become the goal, but we will continue to be stupid and create a poisonous environment that will make even existing a challenge. Perhaps we will find another place to go; another place to poison. Perhaps earth will become a dead planet…or perhaps that was what was supposed to happen all along.

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How many dry skin creams have you tried? Winter comes on; the skin starts to crack, and it’s “Okay, which one shall I try today?” It’s worse when you’re old. Your skin has thinned out. You definitely don’t have the seven layers with which you were born. There are some creams or lotions that you try and you have to rub the darned things in for the day. If anyone went to grab your arm they’d slip away as if you were the greased pig at the fair.

I think I’ve probably tried every skin cream known to man, including…yes, I admit it…some of those one o’clock in the morning television ad creams that you know are fake. I have two bottles of Vaseline Intensive Care sitting in my nightstand. I can’t make them work for me. Neutrogena proved a failure from the outset when a finger-full slipped off and landed on my new khakis. Like most of the rest of them, it stains. Clinique, Oil of Olay, Gold Bond, and a variety of others have also been wanting. The reason I bring this up is that the skin of the elderly loses its moisture. When you get an itch and go to scratch it, you stand a good chance of removing enough of what’s left to draw blood. It is ugly. So then you bleed all over the book you’re reading or the dinner you’re preparing – don’t gag – or whatever else it is you’re doing and it’s very, very embarrassing. ‘No, the meat isn’t that rare; it’s just me.” I mean, come on, you want to say that to your guests…tacky, tacky, tacky!

All of these skin creams must be absorbed into the skin for them to work, right? This does not mean that one dabs on a light application and pray for osmosis. It means that the lotion/crème/gel/whatever, must be rubbed into the skin. Let it be sucked up by the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. That’s fine, except that the sneaky epidermis, the one that is supposed to be the outermost, strongest layer that gives us such great protection also has some layers. These are the stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and the stratum corneum [you don’t have to remember this; it won’t be on the test]. So or Therefore or yuk, it appears from an article in The Journal of Dermatology, that the epidermis does, in fact, lose cells to some degree as we age. In one study that was done, they took skin from near the navel to study. I don’t know much about this but it seems to me that if they were going to do that, they should also have taken some from the face or any other area that is more exposed during a lifetime. I mean, how many people do you know who rub Aveeno around their navel?

Anyway, I have concluded from all of my Internet research that I am completely and utterly screwed when it comes to using any skin softening crème, or lotions for my poor hands and arms; I will just {head thrown back and the back of one hand gently touches the brow in an expression of “I’m doomed} suffer through the winter months with skin that tears like tissue, fingers cracked and bleeding..ah, suck it up and behave like a man you wimp!


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I don’t know about anyone else – and frankly, I don’t give a damn – but I have had it with the winter of 2013-2014. Now just how many Americans, Brits, Indians, and others around the world are uttering the same freakin’ words? Yet, in Massachusetts this is only the 54th coldest winter on record. My complaint is that I can’t remember the eight out of ten of the others in which I was alive…ah, the innocence of youth; ain’t it grand?

It’s said that we forget our unpleasant memories and tend to exaggerate those that we recall as being pleasant. I haven’t done the research on that, but it must have some validity. If not, why would mothers get pregnant a second time? Why would blood donors continue to give after having been stuck by the hollow harpoon the first time? Why would I have gone through a second and third back surgery had I recalled the pain of recovery from the first?  Why would any country ever go to war again, knowing the sacrifice and horror that any war brings? There are hundreds of examples that could be given, but we continue to repeat our painful and unpleasant memories. Remember what George Santayana said; “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

While we may believe that this winter has been an absolute bitch, there is one other I remember. We were in Quebec for a conference and visited the ice sculptures at the Carnivale. Instead of taking a cab Iback to the hotel, we decided to walk…silly us…Quebec in February…walk back to the hotel…can you say “idiots?” I had a full beard then and when the young woman I was with indicated that she could no longer feel her face, I looked at her and, simultaneously, grabbed my beard. Her face was blotched with white indicating frostbite, and pieces of my beard literally broke off in my hand. Although we didn’t know it at the time, the temperature was minus twenty-two degrees below zero. At the hotel, we immediately began putting cool compresses on her face. That’s one bad experience with winter that I really can recall.

There is one positive note about this winter; it has brought rain to the western states. Oh, no, wait a minute, the rain might help to ease the drought, but it’s also going to cause mud slides because of the wild fires that devastated so many acres of woodland over the past couple of years. How can one win? In the mid-west and New England, and even as far south as parts of Florida, the cold has killed people, ruined crops, and collapsed roofs. In California, the fear is that houses may be swept away or damaged by mud.  So tell me this…where the hell is it safe to live in these here United States? The answer is that nowhere is safe, neither from weather, cost of living, or crime. I was going to write that there might have been a time, but that’s not true either. There have always been earthquakes, tornadoes, droughts, and other weather disasters. We’ve adapted to them; and, we are adapting to this particular winter.

Is this winter a result of climate change? Has the polar vortex shifted south because the arctic is losing its ice cap? Who is to say? There appears to be major disagreement one minute and then complete accord the next. Scientists argue over this single degree of temperature or that. There is always some pissing contest going on in whatever scientific community is involved. As many people are aware, the AIDS virus had difficulty being clearly identified because French and American scientists’ egos got in the way. As far back as the invention of the light bulb and the telephone, scientists and inventors have been arguing over “who was the first?” Whatever the case, climate change or just a bad period of time, this winter has certainly given us some bad memories that we can hardly wait to forget.

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“I cried because I had no hat till I saw a man who had no coat.
I cried because I had no coat till I saw a man who had no shirt.
I cried because I had no shirt till I saw a man who had no socks,
I cried because I had no socks till I saw a man who had no shoes.
I cried because I had no shoes till I saw a man who had no feet.
I cried because I had no feet till I saw a man who had no legs.
I cried because I had no legs till I saw a man who had no life.”

The author of this poem, to be best of my research and knowledge, is unknown. Some say that it’s somewhere in the Holy Bible, although no one seems to be able to find it. Others attest that it is an ancient Persian Proverb, and there is research to support that thinking. Attribution to a single author, however, is sadly lacking. Whatever and whoever may be responsible for this aphorism, it is something with which each and every person should identify.

I’d love to have a larger pension; then I talk with someone whose IRA was stolen by this crook or that, and now they have damn near nothing. I’d love to be able to go someplace warm in the winter; then I hear about people who have lost their homes to foreclosure or to tornadoes. I’d love to get a new car, and then I see the people who don’t have cars and rely on public transportation. I’d love a lot of things, but I read that proverb and think, “You really are one lucky son-of-a-gun; you have three children who are successful; you have nine wonderful grandchildren; you have a roof over your head, reasonably good health, and twice you have been blessed by women who love you and whom you love. What the hell more could you want out of your life? Go ahead and die tomorrow ‘cause it doesn’t get much better than this.”

Lately, the Boston news media have been covering the situation of David Ortiz, the designated hitter for the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz was a great acquisition from the Minnesota Twins when the Red Sox traded for him. He has been a wonderful addition to the roster and certainly has, in part, been responsible for the success of the team over the past few years. Ortiz, however, has a bit of a problem. It seems that a $12.5 million dollar a year contract is not enough money for Ortiz to stay in Boston. He wants the Red Sox to either ante up or he’ll go where the money is. Ortiz is 37-years old, and in major league baseball parlance, that’s getting near the end of a career. Ortiz’s net worth is $45 million; that sure seems to me to be enough to put his three kids through college; to buy a few homes here and there; and  still have a couple of bucks left to buy a new car or two each year. If, per chance, you don’t agree that Ortiz should be making much more money than he is, you are, in his own words, a “hater.”

On the one hand, Ortiz says that he loves Boston, that it’s his city, that he loves playing baseball here; after the Marathon Bombing last April, Ortiz addressed the Fenway faithful, saying in part, “This is our fucking city. And nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.” That it came from the heart, there can be no doubt; that he went on to have a great season, there can be no doubt; that his contribution to the 2013 World Series Championship, there can be no doubt, but David, I have some words for you…”You didn’t do it alone; I can’t begin to name every other player, but each one contributed in some way to that World Series win.” Twelve point five million dollars a year is a lot of money for anyone to be making, particularly when there are so many who are making less than twelve thousand dollars per year. Yes, Ortiz, like any professional athlete, can suffer a career-ending injury at any time, but with a current net worth such as his, there should not be a problem.

Should Boston allow Ortiz to go elsewhere? No, no, this is a case where John Henry and company should ante up. Ortiz means a great deal to this city, but to be really great, both sides should come together before the start of the season in a sensible fashion. That means that Ortiz stops publicly speaking about his salary and that the Red Sox make a fair and equitable offer that will allow him to finish his career at Fenway Park.

Perhaps I’m wrong to pick on David; in fact, I’m not really picking on him. He just happens to be the most public figure on the greed scale at the moment. I was talking with Ted Williams years ago. We were walking across the campus at Babson while his son was speaking with folks in the Admission Office. We talked about a lot of things, but I remember Ted saying how much he loved playing baseball. “Where else can you have a job that is playing a kids’ game every day, outdoors in the sun, and they pay you money for doing it?” he asked…or words that were certainly very close to that. I later heard some line like that in a movie and it reminded me of Williams.

Times have changed since the Williams days. I’m not certain that there isn’t more pressure to build that bank account because who knows what’s around the corner; what the economy is going to do; what climate change may hold for us. It’s a “Get it while you can” mentality and that may be fine, but what’s enough? How much is too much? What do we do to help those with nothing? Better yet, how do we help those who have given their body parts on our behalf…the men and women who have defended our country and paid for it so dearly? We may cry because we only feel deprived; how about those who have actually been deprived?

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I feel badly for the people who live in the Southern states when they are besieged by several inches of snow in the winter. We saw an example of this recently when Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia were belted by a highly unusual snowstorm. In Atlanta, cars were abandoned one after another along the side of a main highway. It was really a tragic sight to see. Southern states just aren’t prepared to face the rigors of old man winter in this eon of climate change. I think that perhaps they should consider buying some plows for their highway vehicles before the first winds blow next December.

There is a great true story about a town in North Carolina many years ago. I know it’s true because I read it in the Washington Post the day after it happened. The District – as those of us who worked there came to know it – had received a coating of about three inches. In this town further south, they received about the same. Not having any plowing equipment, they sent the fire department out to wash this white stuff down the drains. It was never clear to me how the drains weren’t able to handle the “cleansing of the streets,” but that night the temperature dropped to below freezing. Following the hockey game on the main street the next day…no, no, no, that’s not true; it could have been the case, but it wasn’t. Let’s suffice it to say that neither pedestrian nor vehicle were on the road the day after the fire department completed its task.

Drivers who live in the Northeast are used to wintery conditions. That doesn’t mean that we know how to drive in snow; it just means that come November, we are prepared to deal with whatever God and the weatherman deliver. The funny thing is that the older I get, the more I realize that New Englanders have lost or are losing their ability to driver in wintery conditions. I saw a woman in a huge SUV driving on the other side of the street today. She had a circle cleared of snow on the driver’s side of the windshield. Every other part of the car, with the exception of the tires had a two-inch layer of snow thanks to last night’s brief snowfall. It was terrifying; this one little patch on the windshield was uncovered. When I saw the license plate I understood; Rhode Island drivers, according to several surveys, are the worst drivers in the country…she ranks right up there in my book.

I like the people who clear their windows after a major storm and leave it to God to take care of everything else on the car. They take their vehicle out on the highway and build up as much speed as possible so that the draft will blow the snow from their vehicle. To hell with the person behind them or those they pass as they try to clear their vehicle. “Look out; here I come; rules don’t matter to me; if the speed limit is 65, I’ll still go 75 to get the snow off faster; Look out!” Can you say, “Assholes and idiots?” for that’s what they are. The big rigs I can understand; it’s too easy for the drivers to slip and get hurt if they try to get up on the trailer and clear it off. It just makes sense to give them a wide berth. However, people who leave snow piled on their roofs are just selfish, uncaring, and stupid drivers. Police shouldn’t have to pull these people over; just get their license plate number and send them a ticket for $500. Let’s not fool around with a ten or even fifty dollar ticket. These people are more of a hazard than the potholes we face every winter, and they should be made to pay for their selfishness and stupidity.

There is another group of winter drivers who deserve a good swift kick in the butt. These are the folks who wait until they get to the shopping mall or the local market to clear the snow from the roof, hood, and trunk of their vehicles. Excuse me, whoever owns that lot doesn’t bring their trucks to your driveway and clean them off so where do you get the right to do it in their parking lot. Have we become so self-centered that we just don’t care about the property of others? “Well, it’s a big lot and they can afford it,” isn’t an answer. The simple truth of the matter is that you were too damned lazy to clear your car at home. In addition, you probably blew the snow from your driveway right out into the street where the city plows could take care of it.

It’s time for a little winter courtesy folks; how about becoming part of it?

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“Oh….I wish I was in the land ‘o cotton” or anyplace far enough below the Mason-Dixon Line or West of the Mississippi where my butt cheeks didn’t feel like a couple of very, very large ice cubes! I generally cast aspersions on my cowardly friends who retreat to Florida this time of year; now I’m wondering if it isn’t cowardice but a firm grasp on reality that drives them south. Our low this morning was minus eight degrees; right now it’s a blistering fourteen…and tomorrow is supposed to be worse? You have to be kidding.

On a bit more serious note, I received my first bit of “that’s how badly your lungs are damaged” information this morning. Juli was sleeping and I decided to let Widget out for her morning ablutions. The ‘long’ leash is about twenty feet. This allows one to stand in the Florida room off the kitchen, open the back door, and let the dog out to do her business without having to step outside. There’s only one problem…the door to the outside must remain open so the dog can see who’s holding the leash. She couldn’t have been out more than three minutes – poopsicles and peesicles form quickly – and she was back in the house like a shot. As I was removing the leash from her collar, I felt so faint that I collapsed in a chair and had a measure of difficulty breathing that caused me to think I might be joining my late wife any moment. I can make light of it now, but it scared the living daylights out of me. Research says that breathing freezing air isn’t necessarily bad for one unless he or she has exercised-induced asthma. Since that’s not a problem, I have no clue about what happened and would prefer that it not happen again.

It was wonderful to watch Deval Patrick, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts doling out instructions on television about how to dress; how to drive; and how to keep your house or apartment warm and cozy during this snowstorm that just passed. Either he didn’t have much else on his plate or he felt lacking in television time. Best part of the whole thing was watching a friend from the gym do the signing for him.

Winter in New England certainly isn’t for everyone. It’s not that ‘we’ [notice that, did’ja?] are all that much heartier than folks from the more temperate climate. It’s more that we’re cheap bastards who say we can’t afford to spend the money. Then we die and our kids get what we should have spent going south. Therefore, it may be truly said of us that we aren’t all that bright.

Some will say, “Oh, but you get to see the changing of the seasons and that’s so beautiful.” Bullshit; I’m willing to bet that I could sit in a beach chair in Islamorada and watch the sun set and never get tired of that either. The seasonal changes themselves have changed up here. We go from winter to rain; there is no spring anymore…it’s just that you know winter must be over when, instead of white stuff falling from the heavens, it’s crystal clear and doesn’t stop until July 1. It then goes from monsoon season to the grass-growing-brown season, also known as “turn on the goddamned air conditioning” season. White people lather up and try to turn brown, and Black people prove their mental superiority by staying the hell out of the sun. A Black friend once told me that his sunburn made him turn purple. I didn’t believe him until I actually saw a Black guy on the beach one day and he was turning purple – I kid you not!

Sometime in late September – still summer by my calculations – a day dawns that has a ‘snap’ to it. This is rather shocking since summer seemed to have begun yesterday. The next day is back to being one of summers finest, but by early October, ‘snap days’ become far more common than those of summer temperatures. The leaves change, returning to their birth colors and we all “oooh” and “aaaah” over nature’s beauty. If we’re fortunate, the snow doesn’t begin to fall until after Thanksgiving. Then we repeat the cycle…and repeat, and repeat, and repeat ad nauseum until eventually we give up the ghost and pass silently and gently to another life.

I’m one of those who says that it doesn’t snow as much as it did when I was growing up. Of course, I’m also the one who says that the classrooms in my old elementary school are much smaller than I remember them to be. The stairs are steeper and the desks are smaller, but hey, that’s life.

So here I sit, away from the book I was reading and trying to warm my fingers by pounding away on the keyboard. If we turn the heat up any higher the energy police will probably come knocking. Ah, to hell with it; I’m going back to bed. Someone kindly wake me at the end of the rainy season, puh-leeze?

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Since the movie, The Day after Tomorrow, I often wonder what the world will be like when my grandchildren have grandchildren. Is Global warming the crisis it’s portrayed in the movie, or is this just another scare tactic the way the atomic bomb tests were back in the fifties and sixties. Remember, if you go back that far the drills that were conducted in schools. You were to huddle under your desk and expect that flimsy piece of metal and wood to protect you from the horrors of an atomic or nuclear weapon. You might as well have tucked your head between your legs and kissed your ass goodbye for all the good that desk was going to do.

It does appear from what I can gather that the threat of climate change is a greater threat to human survival than nuclear weapons…providing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or some other idiot who cares little for the rest of the human race gets his/her hand on a button. In a more serious vein, and this really is serious. There has been all sorts of scientific experiment completed that demonstrate how concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have reached pretty dangerous levels in our global atmosphere. It seems that the increases in carbon dioxide are largely due to the use of fossil fuels and land use change. Those of methane and nitrous oxide are primarily due to agriculture. I’m not a scientist and much of the data I’m using comes from several sources. Are they accurate? Who knows or can say if the data is accurate or not. However, the subject of climate change seems to have become too popular to ignore.

When I see huge chunks of ice breaking away from glaciers; when I hear that polar bears are close to extinction because their habitats are disappearing into the ocean; when I read that, “A warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level. At continental, regional and ocean basin scales, numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns,”1 I tend to take this whole thing a bit more seriously.

It appears to me that over the past few years, hurricanes have done a great deal more damage than in the past. Certainly, Katrina was hardly a pussycat and its predecessors, Andrew and Ivan left little standing in their paths. We won’t even bother to talk about Sandy at this point. Her vengeance is still all too real to people living in New Jersey and other parts of the East Coast.

I have always maintained that Tornado Alley, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, etc, is among the most dangerous place in the United States in which to set down roots. Cost be damned, I still don’t understand why schools and all other public buildings don’t contain shelters, and you can bet your bottom dollar that as a homeowner, I’d be certain to have my own underground shelter. The tornadoes in this area of the country appear to be getting more and more deadly despite an improvement in the early warning systems.

In spite of all of the indications to the contrary, there are still a number of members of the United States Congress who do not believe in climate change. Sounds kind of stupid, but then, these are members of our duly elected law makers. Here’s what a few of them had to say: David McKinley of West Virginia maintains that “Scientists are still debating the issue.” Well Representative McKinley, the number of scientific organizations that have publicly denied climate change is zero, so I’d say the debate is over. Louisiana’s 1st District Representative Steve Scalese, noted, “The debate on the causes of climate change are far from settled,” and Florida’s Marco Rubio said, “The climate’s always changing. That’s not the fundamental question. The fundamental question is whether man made activity is what’s contributing most to it.” There are many more head-in-the-sand Congressional Representatives but I don’t want to make you lose your lunch over their idiotic comments. On second thought, listen to the comment from California’s Dana Rohrabacher, “The ice caps are melting which we see over and over again; yeah, their melting on Mars too.” And how about this one from Representative Bill Cassidy of Louisiana: “It could be just a shift on the axis.”  Remember, we elected these people.

It appears that most of the Congressional group, (a) don’t believe the climate is changing at all; (b) believe that scientists are falsifying data to ensure continued receipt of government funding, or; (c) don’t believe that climate change can possibly be manmade.

From what I’ve seen and read, it appears that the climate is definitely changing. I guess that if Congress believes – as 240 of them did in 2011 – that climate change is a hoax, we’ll just have to wait until, as they say, “Hell freezes over.” The thing that science hasn’t said is when all of this is going to take place, and that’s a burden that science better figure out soon. Otherwise, they deserve to have their funds cut. I just hope we have to wait another 10,000 years, in which case…who really gives a damn!


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