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A potpouri by any other name




Putting off the apocalypse

I am of the opinion that nothing of substance can or will be done to stave off the impending eco-catastrophe, which, like most such events, is only a catastrophe in the short run for those involved. A century from now 90% of the species of life will have disappeared (although we probably shall have invented some new ones - some unintentionally.) Gestures will be made to abate global warming - ineffective gestures that are too little and too late. The climate and the biosphere will undergo radical alterations and things will rather generally go to hell in a handbasket.

Humanity, you see, is a wild species. We live by behaviour patterns that sufficed hundreds or even thousands of millennia. We have learned, albeit rather incompletely, not to shit in our drinking water. We haven't mastered the principle though. The breeders keep breeding and the consumers keep consuming. Despite jaw flapping they will not stop. The ten thousand year old party is about to be busted at its liveliest moment.

It will not, I think, happen in my lifetime. If you are younger as I suppose most of my readers are it will happen in yours. That is your lookout and none of my own. You, naturally, do not really believe this. I encourage you in your disbelief. Let the party continue until I am safely buried.

Apres moi, le deluge.

How did Ireland get so flat

In this past winter there was an absurd amount of snow covering the prairie. Not all of it was in the prairie, mind you; an inordinate amount of it was piled up in my front yard. There was a slow melt which allowed the water to soak into ground. Spring brought rain after rain. Transient duck ponds sprang up all over the place, a figure of speech that is somehow inappropriate - one thing that water does not do is spring up. In consequence the prairie has turned a brilliant emerald green; there is lush plant life everywhere. Green is not a color one associates with South Dakota landscapes. Said landscapes are in earth tones in the summer - colors like amber, tan, and brown for plant life and gray from the blowing dust. Emerald green is a color you associate with Ireland. What I want to know is how did Ireland get so goddamn flat?

A conspiracy to kill

I write this on Sunday, June 10th, 2001. As I write I am aware of a conspiracy to kill a man tomorrow. It is a cold blooded, premeditated slaying that is planned. The victim to be is not a popular man; many will welcome his death. The conspirators have cut a deal with the government; the killer means to proceed openly. Indeed, far from slaying his victim in the dark, he will (if all goes as planned) slay him under the spotlight of media attention. No one, I suppose, will pay any attention to the killer - his name, his hopes and fears, or what twists of fate brought him to this moment of taking human life.

This conspiracy of death is widespread. Its members are men and women of high public reputation. Many hold high public office. Most of the conspirators do not wield the instruments of death themselves; the actual taking of life is delegated to a licensed cadre of killers, killers immune from prosecution.

Tomorrow's victim? His name is Timothy McVeigh. At one time he was a licensed killer himself. The conspiracy of death taught him their trade and trained him well. However he turned on them and made unlicensed kills. This is something that the conspiracy of death does not allow.

Some anonymous killer will snuff out Timothy's life as other anonymous legal killers have done in the past and still others will do in the future. Public orators with bloody hands will mouth words about justice being done. The public will cheer.

And the killing will go on.

And on and on and on.

Are you really that old?

Recently I bobbled off to get a physical exam. Except for insurance exams I haven't been to a doctor for 30 years. That's not quite true; I went once to see a doctor because a sore wasn't healing as fast as I thought it should - it turned out that I was doing exactly the wrong thing in my self medication. I figured that at my advanced age I must have high blood pressure and all manner of ailments. It turns out that my blood pressure is quite normal and that my organs are performing better than can be expected. Apparently I have the constitution of a somewhat younger person; I do hope that he doesn't show up and ask for it back.

I don't believe any of this of course. I am well aware of all of my minor physical ailments. My knees are shot - the rewards of 20 years of competition volleyball. I've put on some pounds. I suppose I should diet but I've never done such a thing and haven't the slightest idea of how to go about doing such a thing. And so on and so forth. I am quite certain that the doctor must be wrong and that I am at death's door. I have every expectation of going to a doctor again, thirty years from now, and discovering that I have been dead for ten years.


This page was last updated June 10, 2001.
It was reformatted and moved May 11, 2006.

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