With other animals

“Think of the disproportion,” Lord Edward was saying, as he smoked his pipe. “It’s positively…” His voice failed. “Take coal, for example. Man’s using a hundred and ten times as much as he used in 1800. But population’s only two and half times what it was. With other animals… Surely quite different. Consumption’s proportionate to numbers.

Illidge objected. “But if animals can get more than they actually require to subsist, they take it, don’t they? If there’s been a battle or a plague, the hyenas and vultures take advantage of the abundance to overeat. Isn’t it the same with us? Forests died in great quantities some millions of years ago. Man has unearthed their corpses, finds he can use them, and is giving himself the luxury of a real good guzzle while the carrion lasts. When the supplies are exhausted, he’ll go back to short rations, as the hyenas do in the intervals between wars and epidemics.” Illidge spoke with gusto. Talking about human beings as though they were indistinguishable from maggots filled him with a peculiar satisfaction. “A coal field’s discovered, oil’s struck. Towns spring up, railways are built, ships come and go. To a long-lived observer on the moon, the swarming and crawling must look like the pullulation of ants and flies round a dead dog. Chilean nitre, Mexican oil, Tunisian phosphates–at every discovery another scurrying of insects. One can imagine the comments of lunar astronomers. ‘These creatures have a remarkable and perhaps unique tropism toward fossilized carrion.’

POINT COUNTER POINT, by Aldous Huxley, 1928

Climate Evasions Test Nation’s Denial Abilities

It’s getting more and more difficult to disconnect our crazy weather from climate change – but we, and our media, keep on trying:

The PBS News Hour did a long story Tuesday night on “Sweltering Heat Wave Roasts 24 States, Feeds Wildfires,” but the only explanation they would offer up is “Meteorologists say the immediate culprit is a high-pressure system stalled over much of the country’s midsection.”

The NBC Evening News also did a long story on the “massive and dangerous heat wave” that has “half of the US population … under a heat advisory.”  Then NBC’s Ann Curry mentions the superstorms and floods the nation has experienced, along with the heat wave, and asks a “Weather Channel meteorologist” just “What Explains This?”

What follows is one of the great tautological non-answers ever seen on a major network:

Well, Ann, during the spring time we were stuck in a very active spring pattern.   Now that it’s summer, we’re stuck in a very active and persistent summer pattern.

The idea that even this brand of non-sensical excuse-finding would have its limits is an increasingly bizarre form of optimism. Still, I think we have much in us by way of abilities to block out, not see, entertain fantasies and generally look the other way – which itself informs an equal and opposite hopelessness. The middle is in there somewhere, as the rest of the world leaves decides to take measures aimed at AGW. While we look for more things green might possibly mean, other than the one thing. What’s a metaphor for, anyway?

Top 10 Things I Started in 2009 But Didn’t Finish (and my excuses)

10. A bottle of moonshine that shouldn’t have been in the house anyway. (I don’t like moonshine)

9. Building a garage/bike-tool-wood shed, for which we have an awesome plan. (too expensive)

8. A painting of a rainy early evening in France where we once lived. (I almost screwed up the light, which was the whole reason to do it, but salvaged it – kinda. Because it’s in oil, I paint on the front porch; it got too cold.)

7. A book proposal for the Eco Hustle columns. (Mmm… since “I got too busy with a new job” is a Phlegmish excuse, I don’t have a good one.)

6. A treatment for a screenplay out of one my novels. (see above)

5. Homer’s The Iliad (I was at my in-laws and left it – on purpose, I think)

4. A magazine article about a Swedish director who shot someone. (This is one I feel both good and bad about, which is somewhat rare. I agreed to do the piece and put in a non-trivial amount of research/interviewing – enough, in fact, to realize that I would need to do more and probably go to Sweden in order to do him any kind of justice. The magazine wasn’t going to send me there, so I ultimately dropped it – but I didn’t tell them. I’m sure they figured it out. It was the right call.)

3. The other blog (It wasn’t meant to be finished.)

2. A new job (see above).

1. A new story that might be a novel if it holds up. (It might be a novel if it holds up. There are several sub-entries here, but this one gets the hope-y attention.)

S0… some (most) of these weren’t abandoned, just not finished. It’s a hazard of writing. Can’t judge the year on just these, but it’s part of the truth of the 365 about to turn.

And you?