Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Paranoia the Destroyer

No, this is not another post on The Kinks. It's a post enabled by The Kinks.

- Bill Maher threw out a stat last week I hadn't heard yet: 23 percent of the North Pole has melted in just the last two years. I haven't had that independently verified, but I did find this: “There will probably be about two-thirds as much sea ice this September as there was 25 years ago, a good indication that something significant is happening with the climate.”

- Did that last fact sink in, so to speak?

- Today someone in my office collapsed into the most violent fit of wretching I've ever seen. He's stable, but had to be removed by ambulance. He's a triathlete with known ulcer, liver and neck issues. But one of the likely culprits: viral meningitis, which is currently keeping another co-worker on the sidelines.

- My son stayed home from day care today complaining of a headache.

- A superbug has killed thousands of people and is showing in kids' ear infections--and there's no antibiotic for kids that kills it.

- Are you still thinking about that North Pole stat? You should be.

- The number of people now having to evacuate Southern California is over half a million.

- If climate change has contributed to the dryness that has made these fires so extreme, the massive burning of wood due to the fires is one of those great "feedback loops" that only accelerates the problem.

- I watched BBC News last night, and (shock!) CO2 emissions are growing far greater than we even thought they wood, er... would.

- I finally had that basement cinderblock issue checked out. Guess what? We have a mold problem! Awesome!

- Atlanta is about to run out of water. Repeat: Atlanta is about to run out of water.

- We don't have anything to worry about. Anderson Cooper is doing his series "Our Planet in Peril" in an awesomely minimalist blue T-shirt. (And it's sponsored by ConocoPhillips.)

- I'm serious. They really are a sponsor. You should see the web ad with the beautiful flowers.

- I fell asleep, then I woke feeling kind of queer. Lola looked at me and said,"Ew, you look so weird." And she said, "Man, there's really something wrong with you. One day you're gonna self-destruct."

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome. And absolutely terrifying.

Aunt Christy said...

People with kids definitely worry about more stuff. I'm currently worried about the lingering effects of a weekend West Village pub crawl and whether my volleyball team has enough players to compete tonight. Not having kids that may have to live on lava some day potentially narrows one's focus. But I think my carbon footprint is pretty small. I mean, I don't own a car, walk to work, and live in 500 sq feet.....

Marc Conklin said...

And you'll be under water in another 10 years. Good thing you're a few floors up.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess your next project is a musical comedy...?

Aunt Christy said...

Ha! Wall Street under water. Great image. Sadly, I believe that the US government would probably let the entirety of Main Street America go under to concentrate on shoring up my un-humble road. We can't have the stock exchange shorting out, can we?

The Wordman said...

you're right: Anderson's t-shirt is totally awesome.

I think each point you make in this post is correct, Marc (esp. the ones related to your personal experience, such as your child's toothache, moldy basement, wretching viral coworkers) -- however, we get back to Mr. Gladwell (channeling George Lakoff) and the method of framing, or in this case associating, disparate facts and events in order to derive a larger view of what the hell is going on.

you're certainly not wrong to get worked up about the state of the planet, our country, our region, and the street where you live -- but, man, what does working yourself into a lather help? maybe the moldy basement is related to the Arctic icecap melting, or maybe a billion Chinese people sneezed all at once and sent viral meningitis blowing our way...

the macro points found in World News broadcasts and Al Gore docs don't help us resolve or deal with the micro points of just getting through our lowly little lives -- sometimes it's better to shut the bastard media streams down and go outside to smell your own flowers (or rake your own leaves), rather than abrade your eyes with the flicker of flowers courtesy of ConocoPhillips.

my advice? avoid apophenia, magical thinking, false dichotomies and misleading associations: just stick with the facts on the ground.

As the classic Zen tale goes:

Hui Ko was a military man, and his resolve and sincerity in his pursuit of the truth are revealed by the manner in which he met with Bodhidharma. He is said to have stood in the snow for a number of days hoping to attract Bodhidharma's attention. At last in despair he cut off his right arm and presented it to Bodhidharma as a token of his good faith and sincerity. Bodhidharma, moved by this gesture asked Hui
Ko what he wanted so badly. Hui Ko said he wanted Bodhidharma to pacify his mind. Bodhidharma said, "Give me your mind and I will pacify it for you." Hui Ko was taken aback by this request and went away to contemplate it. After some time he returned to Bodhidharma and said, "I
have searched everywhere for my mind and cannot find it." To which Bodhidharma replied, "There, I have pacified it for you!"

Vegas Gopher said...

So you're saying I shouldn't have eaten that gumdrop I found on the floor of the gas-station men's room?