Fire And Water ~ Bumper Sticker Blog + Surprise

 

The Fake Prez has come up with a new way to combat
climate change woes. Sop up excess H2O with a YUGE
sponge which can be wrung out over all the wildfires!

 

Aw shucks… I wound up feeling so guilty for getting you to read that above lame bumper sticker about a lame fake prez that… uh… well… I just had to make your visit more worthwhile.

Hence this genuinely entertaining Wilson Pickett track. Although this song’s subject matter is unrelated to climate change / global warming it is aptly titled Fire and Water… ENJOY…

 

 

How Would You Read These Signs?

 

It’s been a little over a month since Earth Day, but since environmental concerns should be addressed all year long, check this out…

As a lifelong Michigander (6+ decades), I’ve grown accustomed to an occasionally odd, illogical meteorological mix… in some instances unseasonal extremes spanning a 24 hour (or less) cycle.

This spring, my region has been experiencing the fifth wettest May since meteorological record keeping began. Even so, based on my observations, I don’t believe that precipitation, alone, is responsible for such a weird phenomenon.

In short, both professional and amateur groundskeepers have been finding it quite difficult to keep up with a botanical growth spurt.

To e.g. this… my next-door neighbor (who does over fertilize his weed free lawn) used to be on a mow once every 7 days schedule… but now? In spite his allowing only 2 days to elapse, today, his normally kickass power mower still found it difficult to deal with his lush lawn… it kept sputtering and, a few times, nearly stalled out.

To further e.g. this… yesterday, my own weekly, groundskeeping didn’t go much better. Naturally, I don’t use any of those nasty, toxic, carcinogenic lawn chemicals, so my own battlefield had involved heavy duty, grotesquely overgrown dandelions. Hmmm… might my weedy “lawn” act as the “control” to this field experiment?

And since I’ve noticed both above lawn types citywide, I do know that these problems are not unique to my neighborhood.

One final e.g… in spite of my electric trimmer’s best efforts, yesterday, I still spent over an hour sculpting my three car length hedge… a weekly task that… once upon a time… only required half an hour to complete. It’s almost as if these elm shrubs have been goaded into some sort of competition with America’s West Coast, 3,000 year old redwoods… and are doing their utmost to win the race in far less time. BTW, even under normal conditions, elm hedges have been known to grow into 60 foot tall trees.

Naturally, I’m curious as to whether this growth spurt is localized or widespread. Considering how WordPress is a global platform, I now ask anyone reading this post…

Has anyone else observed any signs of wildly accelerated plant growth in their “neck of the woods”? Might the goading factor be an increase of atmospheric CO2? If not, what do you believe is the driving force?

The comment box awaits your responses.

 

 

Footprints in the Snow

Just before the ’17 winter solstice, I had set forth on one of my early a.m. power walks, which upon arrival at my favorite park, typically transitions into a more contemplative, leisurely stroll.

On this particular occasion, it soon became evident that while we homeowners do a good job clearing snow from the public walkways we’re responsible for, the DPW does not always shovel those they’re required to maintain.

Judging from the neglected, snow-covered condition of that park’s asphalt paths, I presumed that some austerity program adopted by our city fathers had either furloughed some of their snow removal crews or had assigned them to less frequent work-shifts.

Looking glumly at the sorry state of affairs, I soon found myself wishing I had worn my boots instead of athletic footwear. My options were now limited to two. Either walk gingerly to prevent snow from collecting inside my shoes or do an about face and head for home. Since I normally slow my pace in this setting, anyway, I figured I’d be OK with cautiously staying the course.

As I soldiered onward, all the sudden, I spotted a trail of fresh footprints, ahead. My lucky day! Executing a slight course change and matching the previous park visitor’s stride, I had found that third option. In other words, my following in the footsteps of an anonymous, out of sight trailblazer had saved the day.

It was afterwards, on the return home leg of my fitness walk that I sensed something much deeper than those actual footprints in the snow. True, my observations are hardly anything unique and groundbreaking. But, upon factoring in how, our increasingly “What’s in it for me, Me, ME” driven society needs an attitude readjustment in that regard, my following “deep” thoughts are worthy of mention. Let’s refer to them as…

 

A Refreshing Refresher Course

  • In humankind’s walk through life, we are following in the tried and true footsteps of others who came before us. It’s that intergenerational continuity from where we learn what worked for our forebearers and what didn’t. In other words, if we watch where we are / where they were going, they’ll save us from repeating their mistakes… and, if nothing else… that’s a great time saver.
  • It’s our slowing down, thinking on our feet and… when appropriate… accepting someone else’s fresh, course of action (e.g. our following those footprints) that can work wonders whenever we’re trying to work through some unanticipated, problematic situation.
  • More importantly, regardless of our “shoe size” / our station in life, at any given moment anyone with a good idea has equal footing.
  • We humans are helping one another even when we don’t realize it. And that says much about each individual’s importance. Of course, this doesn’t even take into account how much better life can get when we do consciously cooperate / work well with each other. Words such as “offering a helping hand” and “walking hand in hand” do come to mind… that latter phrase possibly even adding the dimension of love into the equation of life.
  • Seeing how the person who had walked in the snow before I had, wore a smaller shoe size, as I enlarged that original trail of footprints, I may’ve even made life easier for the next person to follow in my footsteps. And maybe, someday, some newly arriving person (with even bigger feet) will do the same!
  • It’s safe to say that the spirit of human kindness and cooperation can have a snowballing effect…and that improves the quality of everyone’s life.

 

In spite of how those footprints in the snow had helped me, I do know they best serve us as a metaphor. Were that not the case, with the arrival of the warmer months everything would soon melt away and we’d lose our way. We’d then have to depend on the next snowfall to regain our bearings (and with global warming snow days could become rare).

That means we must take great care to heed the wisdom of our past and present, actual, venerated trailblazers… many of them brilliant scientists, who are ignorantly ridiculed by the present DC regime. After all, it takes trailblazers to hurdle political speed-bumps and roadblocks… to help us stay the correct course upon humanity’s path to survival.

 

 

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!

 

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 (#008)

 

Rants from a White House, that’s loaded with chaff,

Head-case head honcho, made one more YUGE gaffe,

Bigmouthed butthead, had misspoke,

Called us the butt of world’s joke,

When it’s at HIM, not U.S., they all laugh!

 

 

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?

The 1-2 / KO Punch: CO2 Gain & O3 Loss

Yesterday, while doing my weekly yard work (more specifically trimming my hedge), I was amazed by how fast it had grown. More to the point, it had grown totally wild. I’d say, in that past seven-day timeframe, I had wound up with more than two weeks worth of cuttings to compost.

Now, one of the things about performing such humdrum tasks is how they allow one plenty of time to think about more important things. And my thoughts did turn to greenhouse gases… how humankind has upset the natural order of things… how the overabundance of Carbon Dioxide (a key ingredient in photosynthesis) is the likely culprit for my hedge doing so “well”.

By now some of you may be asking, “Is not a hedge that’s thriving a good thing?” Ordinarily… I’d tend to agree… but…

I did need to run my trimmer a lot longer than normal… which burned up more of my time… burned up more electricity… burned up more natural gas and/or coal to generate that electricity… which added more heat and Carbon Dioxide to the atmosphere… which, in time, will cause my hedge and other plant life to grow even faster… and…

As for what happens next? Just reread that above paragraph several dozen times. Or, to save us all some time let’s just call it what it is, a “runaway vicious cycle”, and then move on.

And speaking of moving on… a warmer planet also means a moving northward, more habitable zone for mosquitoes… more specifically the Zika virus carrying variety. Similar pests also cause a swarm of other diseases as well. Humankind’s pollution has depleted our Ozone layer, too… meaning more sunburns and skin cancers.

In the typical problem-solving mode, science can usually come up with quick fix solutions to our problems… literal chemical solutions… such as mosquito repellent and sunscreen. The problem with these lotions / potions is they get applied to the skin… and then what?

As we know, one of the methods for human beings taking their medicines is “The Transdermal Patch”… these externally applied, little “miracle workers” do everything from delivering nicotine to supplying female birth control hormones.

It’s fair to say that if nicotine and estrogen/progesterone can work their way from the outside in… the same thing happens with mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

At the risk of repeating myself… and then what?

Remember, especially in the spring/summer months we are slathering on these chemicals on a daily basis. So… can human physiology totally eliminate them? Or do these questionable concoctions get stored / accumulate within our bodies… oh… say… forever? Are any of them carcinogenic? What about the other long-term deleterious effects? What about chemical interactions between repellents and sun blocks?

I’m not suggesting that we quit using these solutions… that, in itself, would be health and life threatening. All I am saying is we need to come up with real solutions that treat the root cause of what these temporary “solutions”, at present, are “fixing”. To get out of that quick “fix” we must first permanently fix the environment.

At the heart of our health problems is our need for less CO2 and more O3. Until we restore these Carbon Dioxide and Ozone levels to normal, we cannot lead normal, less chemically toxic lives.

To accomplish that, first and foremost, we must stop electing “leaders” who deny that our environment is in ruins… deny the existence of climate change / global warming… “leaders” who are hedged in by a limited education.

Hell, my own hedge “knows” more about what’s actually going on than they do!

 

Pale Blue Dot

Inspired by the late Carl Sagan, late this evening, I composed the following poem. We can only hope that it is not too late to save our world… not too late to save humanity.

 

Pale blue dot,

You are all we’ve got,

You ARE our only shot,

In our time, which you allot,

We beat you to a blot,

Be we grownup, teen or tot,

Humankind’s a sorry lot!

 

Pale blue dot,

During mortal folks’ time slot,

Against you we do plot,

Greenhouse gas has made you hot,

Fracking always HITS the spot,

The wounds we’ve caused won’t clot,

Our actions noble? NOT!

 

Dot pale blue,

The life force, you can’t imbue,

Laws of nature, now unglue,

Can’t we see your sickly hue?

Left ignored; problems accrue,

But we prodigals miss your cue,

We’ll be forced back home, it’s true!

 

Dot pale blue,

We do not heed your clue,

Venerate the smokestack flue,

Mutate the double helix queue,

Frustrate escape’s avenue,

There’ll come the day we rue.

Our accounts are all past due!

 

Blue dot pale,

Absent sweet scents; rose, hay bale,

Your food / water rank; air stale,

Unfit to eat, drink and inhale,

Not fit for eagle, man and whale,

Warning signs now on grand scale,

Freakish floods, snows, rains and gale!

Blue dot pale,

You writhe; are far from hale,

Do we stand on hill or dale?

On pinnacle or in swale?

On solid ground? Soft shale?

How do you end your tale?

With a whole schmear must go sale?