Biblical Floods

Gorgeous weather yet again. We are a little behind in rainfall this month. I’ve noticed a little parching of the bedding plants, but not enough to get alarmed about. I’m just thankful that our specific area has been spared the excesses of weather that have been visited on most of the rest of the country. Whether it’s droughts or floods, it all seems to be at that level of “500-year events” that are supposed to only occur, like, well, every 500 years. What the heck is happening?

We have been so much more fortunate this year than folks to the West or South of us. I can’t imagine the amount of rain that they’ve had in Dallas this year. Calling all of the animals together two by two would be considered a good idea if you lived in the Dallas environs.

Biblical floods are not something we worry too much about here in the foothills of the Appalachians. After all, we are on high ground here, for the most part. There have been problems to the North of us, like in the valleys of West Virginia, for example. Runoff from the West Virginia hills has flooded whole towns in some parts of the area.

It is our “convenient truth” to be in an area that has had relatively normal weather. While fires continue to rage out West, the mid-west is being devastated by tornadoes, high winds and now a drought that has allowed people to literally walk on the Mississippi river bed. Florida and other areas have been devastated by a super hurricane causing billions of dollars of damage and displacement for hundreds of thousands. The polar caps continue to melt, and the snow is pink because an algae is growing in it. Sea levels continue to rise and threaten coastal populations all around the world.

If you are a believer of the mystical, strange, and weird, it’s like Nostradamus was reincarnated in the body of Al Gore. How else do you explain all of Gore’s predictions from An Inconvenient Truth coming true unless he is somehow supernatural and connected to Vishnu? Who could have had enough information nearly twenty years ago to be able to predict the weather catastrophes that are occurring not every 500 years, but every year? Not Nostradamus, but Al Gore and a ton of scientists that studied the climate and determined the path that big oil had put us on was not sustainable very much longer, that’s who.

Twenty years later we see that the facts and the science behind the predictions of An Inconvenient Truth. were correct. The fact that was misjudged was the reaction to the truths. Who could have predicted that big oil wouldn’t slow their process in killing the planet one iota? Who could have predicted that the big oil companies wouldn’t diversify and choose to get in on the ground floor of clean renewable energy? Who could have predicted that big oil not only didn’t have a sense of social conscious, but of their own survival? A dead planet requires no gasoline.

Who could have predicted that our elected officials would look the other way until prompted to look into the matter by the insurance companies? Who could have predicted that we who will suffer the most would continue to buy gas guzzling cars and send climate deniers back to represent us in Washington? Who could have predicted that when the scientific evidence that is all around us proves that change needs to come and come in a hurry, there would still be people more aligned to their cult party affiliations than making a change?

I like to think that even the most diehard climate denier will have to own up to the fact that things are just not right anymore.

Hopefully, it will be sooner than later.

The Not So Good Old Days

As we see racism pop up its ugly head every day in tweets from The Donald; I am reminded that it was eighty-six years ago in 1936, that “Gone with the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell was first published.

A romantic novel about lost causes, the book was transferred to film in loving detail for the unwashed masses who to this day long for the “good old days.” It does make one wonder if certain topics weren’t romanticized if the public would be more inclined to let go of bad ideas. Bad ideas like racism, antisemitism, and white supremacy.

The book was rated in a Harris poll in 2014 to be the second most popular book in the world, just behind the Bible. The film was a resounding success and won all of the awards possible including the first Academy Award won by a Black actor. The movie was seen by everyone that could get to a theater and was an annual event for most families when television began broadcasting it over the airwaves.

Though the tone of the movie was not as dark and cynical as “Birth of a Nation” all of the now familiar tropes were there. Lazy, shiftless Black men who were solely concentrated on deflowering our genteel southern belles. Offset the shiftless men with the compassion and long-suffering strength of the ultimate female protector, the Black nanny. The Black female that could be trusted with not only our children but the family’s deepest darkest secrets.

Logic is completely dispelled when one tries to reconcile the overwhelming fear of the members of one sex as opposed to the absolute trust given to the other. Do we just assume that the surrogate mothers raising the white children were not applying the same methods and ideologies on their own children? The mind boggles as to how we can ascribe certain qualities to a race of people just because it is more convenient than getting to know the actual person.

And yet here we are, nearly one hundred years from the birth of one of the most revered books of all time and we still can’t address its fallacies.

Like the members of the Royal family, most rednecks, and they’re not all in the South, believe that they have racial superiority because of Divine Right. They won the birth lottery and “cain’t nobody” take white right from them. As bad as their life might become, as bad as they may fail, at least they’re not the “other.” God picked them out of the assembly line, painted them white and determined that they would always be the premiere model.

Of course, I’m joking, a little. But even the most “woke” redneck can justify voting for Republicans by using the economy, crime or taxes while ignoring that those three core issues fluctuate no matter which party is in office. As long as there is an issue to point to other than “we’re being replaced” the “compassionate conservative” can ignore all of the other evils perpetuated by the Republican party and vote for candidates that no longer hide their distaste for democracy. It’s out there in plain sight now, the Republicans have embraced an autocrat that uses hatred and bigotry to stoke up the base. Their fear of color is overwhelming.

I live in a “minority/majority” city. Atlanta was officially a Black majority in the 1970 census. Fifty years of Black mayors and councilmen and we’re still here. We’re not only here, but we’re also thriving. Atlanta is the jewel of the South and opportunities abound for people of all colors and persuasions. In my eyes, the people causing most of the problems are the good old boys who can’t let go of the “good old days.”

To me, an aging white person, the last fifty years have been the good old days.

Mutual Assured Destruction II

Following up my discussion last week about things that can kill you, I’ve decided to give voice to some of the other dangers lurking out there.

Global pandemic: looks like most of us dodged the Covid bullet or had sufficient inoculation to avoid a deadly outcome. But what about the next one? What if we continue to dumb down our society and to shortchange the medical community? When the next super bug rises its head will we have the medical minds in place to affect a solution? Will the general public be so devoid of scientific knowledge that they don’t trust the solution? Logically, I think that won’t happen, but logic only applies to those of us willing to use it. Cults rarely use logic.

Speaking of things that will keep you awake at night, how about the claim that North Korea has tested a hydrogen bomb? I think the “hydrogen” declaration is being disputed, but apparently, they did set off something big.

As I understand it, the hydrogen bomb takes a level of expertise that is relegated to a handful of countries. North Korea has not yet been a verified member of the “end of the world” club. Considering that the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un seems to have some serious compensation issues, it benefits the world, and the insurance companies to limit his reach.

There was a time, before Ted Turner started buying up all of Russia’s nukes, that the world was set to go into a nuclear “throw down” at  a moment’s notice. The “insurance policy” that was in place to keep both sides in check was called “Mutual Assured Destruction.” “MAD” is the perfect acronym for two superpowers slinging thousands of nuclear bombs at one another because one or the other of the leaders “looked at me funny.” To launch a missile attack that would surely bring about the end of the world is, indeed, mad.

So far, we’ve dodged the “nuclear bullet” and neither the Russians nor the United States has gone MAD. Let’s hope we can keep Putin from settling his border dispute with Ukraine from going nuclear. I propose we give him Ivanka, or Jared, or whatever it is he wants that is not more territory, to keep his hands in his pockets and his finger off the button.

By the way, hydrogen bombs are a different level of crazy. A little google searching has brought me this tidbit: The biggest hydrogen bomb ever tested, Tsar Bomba (1961), was more than 3,000 times bigger than the atomic bomb that was used in Hiroshima. When it was tested in a remote part of Russia, it was predicted that anyone within 100km of the blast would have suffered third-degree burns from the radiation released. After the test, it was observed that the blast wave broke windowpanes 900km away. That is, if the explosion had occurred in Berlin, it would have broken windows in London.”

By all means Google or follow links on Wikipedia if you want to depress yourself further. It just depresses the heck out of me that we spend so much wealth and intellect on the destruction of life. I get so depressed that it makes me want to eat a Twinkie. The good news is that according to the movies, they’ll survive everything.

Mutual Assured Destruction

As I count down to the dreaded annual physical, I survey all that is about me and declare it to be “not good.” To say that I’m not in as good a shape as I once was, is an understatement of monumental proportions. Heck, I’m not even in as good a shape as I was last year, and that is truly the worrisome part.

How long can you keep eating half as much, and exercising more, to maintain what the medical professionals are calling my “target BMI.” BMI stands for Body Mass Index, which is an acronym to use instead of, “you’re the perfect weight for someone seven feet tall, the problem is, you’re five feet ten inches tall.” According to my BMI, I’m 7’4″.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for improving everyone’s health. Even if it’s the insurance companies driving the bus. Insurance companies fixed the tobacco problem in the United States. Now they’re going after the fat people. I suspect at some point they’ll target alcohol abuse, since they’ll get a twofer, cancer, and car accidents.

Maybe, eventually, the insurance companies will go after the gun manufacturers. I’d love to see it, but I don’t think the numbers support the effort, from the point of view of the insurance companies. There have been 33,675 shooting deaths in the U.S. so far in 2022, 18,282 are suicides. This is just a blip on the radar to the insurance companies. Even if 1,253 of the deaths were children.

The website “National Cancer Institute,” predicts that in 2022, that there will be an estimated 1,900,000 new cancer cases diagnosed and 609,360 cancer deaths in the US. See my point? Even if the gun companies weren’t protected from civil suits by our government, the amount of potential liability from gun deaths pales by comparison to the amount of money spent on cancer treatment.

Using a bit of twisted logic, that only I can employ, it is actually beneficial to the insurance companies if folks shoot each other, rather than die from the traditional causes of heart disease or cancer. Particularly now that we have the Affordable Healthcare Act. Twisted, I know, but these are the big players that are in it for the long game. They have actuaries that can give you a death toll, down to the last gnat, for every area of the world. Why wouldn’t they use that knowledge to their own benefit?

Speaking of twisted logic, how about the realization that the thing that gives us life, is also the thing that hastens our departure?

Yes, I’m talking about food, and I’m not even including the “it’s filled with pesticides and plastics” arguments. I’m talking about having a ready supply of food that has been engineered in focus groups to make us want to eat more. Sweet foods beg for salty foods and salty foods beg for sweet foods, and if they’re combined together, well, let’s just eat all we can. Why would we ever want to get up from the table?

Think about bacon cinnamon rolls or chicken and waffles. Now think about the fat count and caloric values. Is there any wonder why my BMI is higher than Hank Aaron’s lifetime batting average? I think not. At some point the insurance companies will have to put their foot down on America’s eating habits and get us to toe the line, to preserve their bottom line. Until then, I’ve got a Frosty and some fries that I’m entering into a Mutual Assured Destruction pact with. Mine will just take a little longer.