An Open Letter To My Dear Deer Friends

 

Dear Jane and John Doe,

For starters, I am so sorry for needing to assign you made-up names. But… that’s because seven daybreaks ago there had been little time for formal introductions. And even had time permitted, there still is that language barrier between our species. After all, the two of you are majestic deer and I am merely human.

Why am I writing to you? Well, this open letter is to offer up my heartfelt apology for having frightened you off one week ago. Up till that moment, we had been able to coexist. But, in my defense, I did that in your own best interests. How so… you ask?

You see, the instant I threw open my patio window’s curtains that morning, I had to do a double-take. In spite of my having lived six plus decades in my lifelong hometown, I had never, before, seen a buck and doe paying me such an up close and personal visit… so calmly walking about my little corner of our neighborhood. Up till that moment, I had only seen you and your friends from afar… frolicking in that once-upon-a-time woodsy area right across that hazardous highway, which separates our home turfs.

And I do know you had a perfectly good reason for stopping by… namely… for too many decades, our formerly bucolic locale has been mutating into something more citified… changing too rapidly… and not for the better.

Perfect example… just this past spring, a tasteless, greed driven, environmental terrorist / land developer came to town. Obviously, he has never met a pristine natural habitat he didn’t want to sully… i.e., urbanize / pave over with wildly unaffordable, “luxury” condominiums, which are are butt ugly.

True, I don’t know for sure that we’re talking about an actual “he” here, but, that is a reasonable conclusion considering how I don’t believe womankind would be capable of / culpable for committing such a violation of Mother Nature.

As if evicting the deer population weren’t bad enough already, what makes his construction / destruction project even worse is it’s poorly chosen locale. Jane, John, I’m sure you’ve noticed how the two intersecting roads abutting this corner lot are elevated ten feet higher than the land itself.

Such a steep drop-off not only makes for an esthetically unpleasing view for both passersby looking in and eventual dwellers looking out their windows, but also makes for a potentially dangerous situation. Anyone with half a brain could’ve foreseen how, with the rooftops being at the same level as the roads… an out of control vehicle… oh… say… one spinning out on an icy patch of asphalt… could easily come crashing down… right through the roof… to maim and/or kill unsuspecting condo occupant(s).

And unbeknownst to most folks… who weren’t around back on 06/25/1968… is how a sudden, summertime cloudburst had left waste deep floodwater almost nowhere to go. Indeed, this particular parcel of woodsy land, likely from time immemorial, has proven itself instrumental in the drainage of such stormwater. This land, indeed, was what had limited 1968’s storm damage to my home’s basement.

So, I suppose I should feel a bit grateful that the condo builder, in question, hadn’t opted to truck in megatons of soil to raise the level of his land. Of course, keeping one’s own home dry probably won’t be a shared experience for those folks who eventually take up residence across the road from me.

Of course, who knows what the overall impact this newly paved over land might have on this drainage issue? And these concerns do exist even prior to our factoring in how rainstorms have been rapidly growing freakier… oft taking on biblical proportions. How global warming issues… the melting of our planet’s icecaps is causing rising water levels of our oceans and lakes… inclusive of Michigan’s Great Lakes.

This multitude of worries does raise many questions. Each and every time I take a gander at that local, ill-conceived condo project, I shake my head and ask myself…

How could our City Fathers have ever been so shortsighted to have green lighted the construction of these condos and destruction of an ecosystem?

True, I have absolutely no proof to back my suspicion, but…

Would it really surprise anyone if the mayor and councilpersons have recently come into some windfalls… now enjoy substantially larger, personal bank account balances?

But enough about me, Jane and John. I’ve only mentioned these issues to demonstrate to you, my dear deer friends, how humankind is harming itself, too… not to imply that one wrong would ever justify another.

Returning, now, to the morning I had chased you two away… I had fully realized that you’d been displaced by this ill-conceived condo project. In fact, while still remaining undetected while observing you, I could already hear the telltale racket of foremen barking out high decibel, yelled orders… backhoe and crane operators revving up their diesel engines… of carpenters carving up wood with their power saws and banging away at it with their hammers.

I had just about turned away to make my breakfast… just about left you two alone in your makeshift wilderness… when it suddenly dawned on me how this is deer mating season… how bucks like you, John, would be challenging every competing male who’d ever dare to woo over your mate. My immediate concern was that you might come charging in towards my house to attack, what, in reality, would’ve been your own image reflected in my patio window.

While I’d normally consider myself a welcoming person to creatures great and small… I had to prioritize your wellbeing… keep in mind how, were you to crash through all that glass, you could’ve easily become severely lacerated… might’ve even died from the severe injuries you’d sustain.

Not really knowing how the two of you would react I opted to risk it by cautiously sliding open my patio door. Well, you both did the rest… reacted to my just standing in the open doorway by taking that running leap over my next-door neighbor’s four foot high chainlink fence… btw… you two “totally rocked” with your gracefulness and athletic prowess.

Crisis averted? Nope, that’s likely only been postponed… that is… unless you, John, realize that, sometimes, it’ll be your own image getting reflected back to you in the windows of the homes you’re passing by… unless you can spread the word about this to the other bucks within your herd.

I’d also like to warn you, Jane and John, that not all humans will be as kind and considerate as I am. Indeed, in another Michigan community, Ann Arbor, many self-centered dwellers feel pissed off whenever deer visit their neighborhoods… have actually whined about this to their City Fathers. And these local politicians have been opting into a deadly solution… green lighting actual, within the city limits deer culls… i.e., the hiring of sharpshooters / hitmen to take you out.

Such small-minded humans deem deer as invaders of our territory… never once, even for one split second, realizing that it’s we humans, who are the invaders of deer territory.

It doesn’t need to ever be that way if humankind would stop chopping down, paving over and overdeveloping (y)our forests and wetlands. Regrettably, that MO is ubiquitous… proven out by my own hometown’s crazy condo project… one that has negatively impacted both the deer and human communities.

Jane and John Doe, I do hope we now better understand each other and that you, my dear deer friends, will accept my heartfelt apology for frightening you last week. Stay safe and stay alive!

Respectfully Yours,

CommonSenseTom

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Rush’s Hot Air Rushes Don’t Ease Global Warming

 

Just in case there might be one or two of you, out there, who may not have heard (or heard of) that archconservative, broadcasting blowhole, Rush Limbaugh, here’s the skinny…

Limbaugh is a pathetic, stick figure quasi-human being… a deplorable, unconscionable, unprofessional phone-in, talk show host… no strike that… parasite. He’s a professional media whore who shills for / sucks up to each and every one of his kindred spirits… i.e., the ghoulish, gluttonous, Orwellian corporate “johns” who pay him, handsomely, to (figuratively?) drop his soiled, bunched up / loaded up drawers.

These “johns” will stop at nothing to grant that self-aggrandizing, propagandizing warper of public opinion ceaseless, limitless, national level, media exposure… allow him to fully expose himself… i.e., to indecently expose mindboggling levels of his ignorance.

To that end, Limbaugh routinely takes to the airwaves to incessantly bleat out his unintelligible, screeching, grunting, oinking noises. In a nutshell… that nut rails out against common sense… spits, claws and fights, tooth and nail, against mental health… especially his own.

More to the point, as of late, he’s been throwing around his considerable rhetorical and actual weight while… pulling out from his ass… his fiercely biased and uniquely ignorant notions about hurricanes and climate change.

In the wake of hurricane Harvey and while hurricane Irma is presently raging away in the Caribbean… check out how the climate change denying, know nothing, know-it-all Limbaugh recently raged on…

“Here comes a hurricane, local media goes on the air, ‘Big hurricane coming, oh, my God! Make sure you got batteries. Make sure you got water. It could be the worst ever. Have you seen the size of this baby? It’s already a Cat 5. Oh, my God, oh, my God, it’s bigger than the island of Haiti. Oh, my God.’ People run to the stores, they stock up everything, and they hoard. And they end up with vacant stores, nothing there. And it’s a big success. TV stations got eyeballs, the advertising businesses have sold out of business, gotta restock and the cycle repeats.”

“You can accomplish a lot just by creating fear and panic. You don’t need a hurricane to hit anywhere. All you need is to create the fear and panic accompanied by talk that climate change is causing hurricanes to become more frequent and bigger and more dangerous, and you create the panic, and it’s mission accomplished, agenda advanced.”

So there you have it… in one breath… Rush (likely intentionally) further fuels the already existing public panic. He lambastes the media, meteorologists and climate change scientists as if what? Any attempts at protecting the public and saving lives is a bad thing? As if what? He believes such reports muscle in on his absolute blackout of information? OMG, must his monopolization of the media be inclusive of no weather warnings, too?

Would it surprise anyone if… with his very next breath… while airing / airing out his rank sponsor’s commercials… we’d find the off microphone, giddy, greedy, opportunistic Limbaugh placing an on the QT phone call to his Wall Street broker… bleating buy orders for mega-shares of Eveready™, Duracell™, Evian™, Figi™, Perrier™, etc.? You know… for the express purpose of fattening up his already obese portfolio.

Stunningly, Limbaugh actually did make one spot-on comment…

“I wish that not everything that involved news had become corrupted and politicized, but it just has.”

What a pity that, all the while he’s been tirelessly working towards the wholesale detriment / destruction of our global society, Rush Limbaugh has been oblivious to the fact that it’s HE, who has been corrupting and politicizing damned nearly everything!

 

The Hot Tub: A Microcosm Of Planet Earth

 

When it comes down to the new DC régime’s pecking order, Mike Pence is Number 2.

Shortly after his boss had withdrawn America from the Paris Agreement, Mr. P publicly commented on issues of the environment. And one almost felt sorry for the li’l guy because he seemed to be genuinely mystified when he said…

“For some reason or another, this issue of climate change has emerged as a paramount issue for the left in this country and around the world. It’s long been a goal of the liberal left in this country to advance a climate change agenda.”

Now Mr. P, there really is a reason and it is… or should be… nonpartisan. But let’s ease into this slowly. We lefties do realize that righties feel flummoxed by science. Nonetheless, you guys simply need to open up your minds… maybe just a tad? Meet us at least half way? OK?

Perhaps you’d gain a better understanding were this environmental stuff to hit home a bit more? And here’s where being a wallowing in wealth type of guy could actually come in handy. I mean, somewhere within your posh mansion, we would find a family sized hot tub, right?

Now let’s say you’ve worked up a profuse sweat from gutting government of all ethics and laying waste to our economy and ecology. Come the weekend would you not want to kick back and relax… to take a dip into all that warm bubbling water?

Perhaps, from time to time, even your wife Karen and your three kids, Audrey, Charlotte and Michael Jr. all hop in to join you?

Now let’s say on one particular weekend, you suddenly come down with a really nasty case of diarrhea… and by that I mean you’re, literally, unable to contain yourself. Under those circumstances, would you hop into the hot tub anyway? Expect your family to smile, say nothing and even remain soaking in the no longer clean water with you?

Of course not! You’re too refined to expect that, right?

Don’t you get it, Mr. P.? In this make-believe scenario, your hot tub is a microcosm of our climate change, warmed up planet… the fouled water analogous to our contaminated seven seas. You represent all of the world’s polluters who your admin enables… your family is akin to the family of man… all seven plus billion of us.

The obvious difference, here, is your spouse and offspring can easily make their escape.

However… on the grander scale, where in our vast universe would seven+ billion people run to?

Mr. P, are you beginning to see the big picture, now?

Decent, considerate folks… and yes you’re right… we’re mostly on the left… do understand that planet Earth is the only home we have. If we render our world utterly uninhabitable… shoot (oo = i) all over the place, as it were… there’s no other known, nearby, earthlike planet, within our vast universe, where humankind can seek refuge.

 

 

My Sanctuary City’s 5-Star Bistro / Birthing Centre

 

For the past several weeks, quite by surprise, I’ve found myself wearing a diverse array of occupational hats… e.g., proprietor/head chef of a five star bistro (which I hadn’t even known I owned)… silent partner of a suddenly “christened”, necessity is the mother of invention, birthing center… and mayor of a sanctuary city, as it were.

Now, lest I needlessly raise the hackles of overly zealous U.S. federal ICE agents and my own home state’s inspectors of eateries and medical facilities … it is with both sudden alarm and alacrity that I must point out that the hungry patrons (inclusive of a new mom) are none other than a family of rabbits. 1

Undoubtedly, these refugees had been displaced by urban sprawl… the dirty deeds of avarice driven, excessively capitalistic fools… i.e., those who have yet to “meet” a natural, pristine parcel of land that they would not hesitate to violate.

Yes, I do get it… with the level of our global human population on the rise, there is a real need to construct new housing. Even so, would not renovating rather than razing existing homes and apartments slow that sprawl and, in the same breath, be far friendlier to the environment? Would that not show proper consideration for the rabbits and other creatures, which humans are supposed to live in harmony with?

After all, every living organism has a purpose… provides a natural balance within our Creator’s (or if you’d prefer, Ma Nature’s) grand scheme. One would think that in the interest of interspecies amity, humans, allegedly the smartest creatures of all, could find it within their heads and hearts to favor the carrot over the stick?

One wonders if humankind will realize this stark reality soon enough to avert an environmental cataclysm? Time will tell… but… alas… time is also running out… rapidly.

Well, this kindly “mayor” has opted for the carrot… as it were… to welcome my newfound rabbit pals and what a pleasant experience co-existence has been for all. Each new day we’ve been sharing our sit down breakfasts and suppers together… I at my dining room table, indoors, while they’re nibbling away at whatever they choose, al fresco.

As for their specific dietary requirements, most of the lush, verdant, naturally, abundantly growing vegetation within my backyard provides them an “all you can eat” vast smorgasbord of culinary delights.

As for their delivery room / maternity ward needs, mother, instinctively, knows best.

So you can clearly see, my new furry friends are no trouble… not in the least.

Of course, I don’t take my newfound “mayoral” duties lightly. I have felt one overriding concern… namely, unless it’s found within the vegetation, itself, what and where is their water source? Albeit briefly, just as many a restaurateur would do, I did think about setting their “table” with a few shallow containers of water but… factoring in my legitimate worries about standing, summertime H2O being a breeding ground for disease carrying mosquitos (perhaps even inclusive of the Zika virus), “quick as a bunny”, I wisely nixed that notion.

Of course I had actually had nothing to worry about. If needed, located less than a kilometer down the road, there is a creek, which could amply quench their thirsts. For them, the travel time would be no prob, either. On the rare occasions where I’ve unintentionally spooked them, watching them race away in a blur, indeed, establishes how well deserved their “quick as a bunny” reputation truly is.

But even so, that short distance does seem a long way to go. Why would they prefer moving into my yard rather than dwelling closer to that stream? And why my yard vs. the yards of my next-door neighbors?

I think it’s fair to conclude that rabbits find better tasting vegetation growing within my “sanctuary city”. How could they not? Unlike far too many urbanites ISO the picture perfect lawn, I believe stinky lawn chemicals are a bane… not a boon… are likely carcinogens, too.

The perceptive nature of rabbits amply proves they are not dumb bunnies.

NOPE, such nomenclature would be far more appropriate in describing the money-grubbing, land grabbing developers, who so thoughtlessly (oft needlessly) invade and pave over natural habitats. And the same goes for the lawn chemical industry, which (soon afterwards) steps in to con ill-informed new (and current) homeowners into poisoning our entire planet.

 

1 Please keep in mind that my intent is not to trivialize the suffering of human war refugees and émigrés. Indeed, I believe this blog will demonstrate how man’s inhumanity to man knows no bounds.

 

 

One Quick Limerick (#009)

 

Grump’s hot air and hotheaded storming,

Like greenhouse gas generates global warming,

Freakish wind, rain, ice storms,

Have become the new “norms”,

Our weather ravaged, whole world is deforming!

 

 

One Quick Limerick (#007)

 

Old Grump snarled at Ma Nature, “F You!”

From the Paris Accord he withdrew,

It’s a damned shame Grump’s old man,

Had not conceived THIS game plan:

To always “exit” when his wife he knew!

 

 

Political Peeing Takes the “P” Out of the EPA

In the nearly half century since our very first, eye-opening Earth Day in 1970, the efforts we humans have taken towards saving our planet… saving our very lives… have been mere baby steps… i.e., insufficient to shallow out humankinds’ overall, deep, damaging carbon footprint.

And, as far as the new administration in DC is concerned… it is not concerned.

#45 and Scott Pruitt, his likeminded, malicious, handpicked Environmental Protection Agency stooge are both notorious climate change deniers, who are hell bent on greedily prioritizing currency’s green over naturally preserving chlorophyll’s green.

Instead of working diligently towards cleaning and greening the Earth, their negligence their premeditated outright, malfeasance can only serve to totally muck up our world. Ironic how politically peeing everything up can manage to take the “P” out of the EPA… and in the end… take out the Earth.

Well, Earth Day 2017 has now come and gone, but the frequent, freaky, ferocious weather strongly linked to climate change / global warming is here to stay. Admittedly, devastating hurricanes, tornados, wind-rain-snow-ice storms, lighting, flooding and droughts predate #45. Even so, it is his flat-out refusal to take any meaningful steps towards resolving this problem, which makes him a YUGE [sic] part of the problem. Stated more bluntly, some would brand him an environmental terrorist and all I can say is there’ll be no steps taken in this blog to refute such a claim.

In short, Mother Nature, who takes a dim view on all such dim “leaders”, is now fighting back… and… in the end… will win. If mankind won’t stand down, her attacking storms will intensify until she wipes us out… along with the very same, dirty, environmentally damaging technology that made our assault upon her possible.

My following true story comes straight from the frontlines of the Michigan battlefield…

Packing sustained wind speeds of 40 mph and gusts exceeding 6O mph, Mother Nature was certainly venting her anger. She had timed everything out, perfectly, so it would barrel down upon a vast area of North America on International Women’s Day Wednesday, March 8, 2017. And she did have good reason to be PO’d.

While far too many righties all across America would hotly deny it, manmade global warming / climate change was playing a major role in this threatening weather event. Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa likened these forces to a Category 2 Hurricane.

This past January’s political climate change in Washington, DC was not helping matters much, either. Indeed, now calling all the shots… stepping onto the world stage we could see #45, full of bluster and hot air, thoughtlessly and gleefully stomping his YUGE [sic] “Size 45”, carbon footprints all across our nation… all over our planet.

I’d have to concur with Torregrossa’s post storm assessment. While I’ve witnessed such destructive winds during my three score and two years, this had been associated with severe thunderstorms… the type usually occurring on sultry, sweltering summer days when clashing cold fronts spawn excessively strong gales… if not the actual tornados. But I could not recall ever experiencing such relentless, overpowering gusts on an otherwise sunshiny, March day… not even as a kite flying young boy. Yep, the tempest of 2017 was nothing like my windswept days of yore.

One needn’t have been clairvoyant to sense an imminent power outage… one that would render my natural gas fired furnace useless. Since it’d be far better to start out a late wintertime blackout with indoor temps of 70° vs. my usual, Spartan 58° Fahrenheit living conditions, it was time to become proactive. Starting around 10 a.m., with each successive heating cycle, I began gradually nudging my humble home’s thermostat upward by three degrees.

It was during my furnace’s second run that the power did go out… but, within mere minutes, it came back on. Had some power grid substation’s breaker “smartly” kicked in to isolate an adjacent circuit failure… thereby sparing me? Or had a soon-to-be, doomed-to-be downed power line simply, temporarily, arced back to reconnect?

Well, it was along about 3 p.m. when, all the sudden, my luck ran out. With an indoor temperature reading of 68° the power had failed once more. Would I be getting a second reprieve?

With each successive tick of my battery powered, quartz wall clock, inside… with each roaring wind gust, outside… where no restoration occurred, I began to feel that sinking feeling intensify and take root. That clock and wind were now the only sounds in town.

A quick inventory of my tech offered me some consolation. I could add my landline’s dial tone to my short list of familiar sounds. A rapidly fired off test text to my sister (to apprise her of my situation) and her reply meant the cell towers were still up and running, too. Of course, I already knew my laptop’s house current dependent modem would be dead as a doornail and my connection to the www would be severed for the duration.

With only about three hours of useful daylight remaining, I headed off to the kitchen to salvage whatever perishable refrigerated foods I could. Striking a match to ignite all four burners of my natural gas cooktop would not only allow me to cook but also keep my home warm. Shortly after cooking up a storm, I treated myself to a sit down, dining room table supper where I’d be gorging on ten… yep count ‘em… ten scrambled eggs sided with bacon and washed down with freshly brewed coffee. Within minutes, I had scarfed down quantities that would normally take me several weeks to consume. As for any other items that needed to stay cold, my car’s trunk had suddenly been upgraded into a makeshift refrigerator / freezer.

The changeover to Daylight Savings Time still being several days away, darkness descended far too soon requiring a flashlight to finish the kitchen cleanup. Fortunately, my no house current required, gas fired water heater could still supply all the hot water I needed.

A battery-powered radio tuned to my local NPR station, one that truly provides a valuable community service to its listeners, apprised us of the dire situation. Long news story short… of my state’s 10 million population, I was amongst the 1 million citizens cast into darkness by this massive power outage… one my energy provider later deemed the worst, most massive power failure in their 114-year history.

Conserving battery power being paramount, I soon silenced my radio. To entertain and cheer myself up a bit, I sat down at my piano in nearly total darkness. After locating “middle C”, I stuck to performing songs with “C” key signatures (those that didn’t require black key flats and sharps). As my playing got better, I added songs with “F”, “G” and “Bb” signatures… those with only minimal black keys in their scales. At that point I could truly appreciate the accomplishments of blind keyboard geniuses such as Stevie Wonder and the late Ray Charles… had a better sense of the obstacles these pianists had so completely and adeptly overcome.

After that? It was time to don my amateur astronomer cap and step outside. With such a vast area blacked out, viewing the night sky as Ma Nature had intended, was truly one of this outage’s brighter moments… darker moments. For a moment I had even considered hauling out my 90mm Refractor Telescope but several sudden wind gusts soon changed my mind. I could not risk such forces toppling and crashing it to the ground. And, as fate would have it, hours later… once the winds eventually did die down… that’s when the clouds promptly came rolling in.

With not much else to do after that, I turned in for the night. With my down parka serving as a makeshift pajama top and several extra blankets piled on, my own body heat had now become my auxiliary “furnace”. I did wind up getting several extra hours of sleep since there was little point of trying to cook my breakfast in the dark hours before daybreak.

Oatmeal, coffee, bread (untoasted) and jam were on the menu and once that meal was history I went out to my garage to retrieve most of the food from my car’s trunk. I’d need to rewrap certain items into individual portions because new weather forecasts were reporting that by the next nightfall, the temps would be dipping to the 15° F mark.

Well, 23 hours after the power failure had begun, just as I was texting my blackout update to my sister, the living room lamp came back on and I thanked my lucky stars that I had finally left the Dark Ages behind me. After waiting a few moments to be really sure this was over, I began plugging sensitive equipment back in and flipping circuit breaker panel switches back to their on positions. Getting my furnace roaring back to life was now top priority… the indoor temp had dropped from 68° to 57°.

Considering how it would take the power companies an additional eight days to fully restore electricity to all of their customers… and how there would be many subsequent nights where the temps would be bitter cold… dangerously cold… to have escaped all of that misery made me amongst the lucky few.

In the days that followed, while walking through my lifelong hometown, there was one ground zero battlefield, in particular, that was truly startling and thought provoking… a huge tree that had to have been over one hundred years old got toppled in one of the parks I frequent. In fact, it had crash-landed within mere feet of my favorite park bench… the spot where I normally sit to view the oncoming river… one of its major branches slightly denting the backrest.

I suspect that decades worth of acid rain, coupled with the unnatural, bright sodium and mercury vapor city street lights altered the way this tree grew… structurally weakening it until the windstorm could easily send it crashing to the ground.

This recent, humbling experience has once again reminded me of Mother Nature’s resounding message / wake up call… namely that we humans had better clean up our act before it’s too late. We need to be taking environmentally sound giant steps forward but that would require sound minded leadership and good stewardship of our planet… and… I ask… does that sound anything even remotely like an apt description of #45?