Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Four Things

Four Things


Thing One: Flight Behavior

Barbara Kingsolver told a doozy of a story in Flight Behavior (2012). I finished it this morning and it's still buzzing in my head; it won't leave me alone. Kingsolver is a very funny novelist and a heady biologist. Her humor and vision carry you through the enormous sad tale of a poor, intelligent, uneducated Tennessee farm wife and mother, trapped by poverty and duty and doubt, who finds herself in the middle of her century's global environmental undoing. Monarch butterflies. Human stupidity. Science. Determination. Hope. Struggle. Suffering. Mass unconsciousness. Children.

This book may not make you happy, but it will make you laugh out loud inside the minutes of life, as you cringe in realization about the direction we are going. The moral of the story kind of sneaks up on you like a time-release dose of understanding. Oh shit. The end. Five stars. Brilliant.

Kingsolver nails a big part of the problem on page 351. Let me quote from her paragraph about the general public's and the media's ignorance regarding climate scientists and what they do to seek the truth.
"Science as a process is never complete. It is not a foot race with a finish line...People will always be waiting at a particular finish line: journalists with their cameras, impatient crowds eager to call the race, astounded to see the scientists approach, pass the mark, and keep running. It's a common misunderstanding...They conclude there was no race. As long as we won't commit to knowing everything, the presumption is that we know nothing."

Thing Two: San Andreas

I live smack dab on top of the San Andreas Fault. In a travel trailer. On purpose. So in your mind, you may be automatically disqualifying me from anything resembling common sense or logic or credibility. If that is so, it's a darn good thing I don't care what YOU think. Otherwise, I'd be wasting my time here.

A small group of retired science teacher friends and I gathered at the Premiere Theaters in lovely Hollister CA last week completely prepared to howl and shriek obscenities at the screen in the event that the movie San Andreas was as bad as we feared it would be.

IMHO, the San Andreas movie exceeded expectations. In other words, it did not suck as bad as I thought it would suck. There were the usual Hollywood exaggerations (an ocean floor generated tsunami as high as the Golden Gate Bridge - that's 265+ feet - an unlikely and seemingly bottomless chasm/rift in a section of the fault known as the "creeping section" - the notion that the quake could be felt on the east coast by anything other than a seismometer), but these quirks added to the excitement in a fun sort of Transformer/Terminator/Goober Gumby sci-fi way.

The acting was atrocious, but you hardly noticed that with all the skyscrapers exploding and shedding glass shards and concrete everywhere. There were some immortally classic lines, like "EVERYBODY DOWN!" and "R-U-U-U-U-U-N!" Aided by spectacular latissimus dorsi, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson held his breath underwater for more than ten minutes while dismantling an office suite with his bare hands to get to his drowning college babe daughter - very impressive tattoos, too.

The most disappointing thing about San Andreas, though, was the casting of Paul Giamatti as the genius Cal Tech geophyzzy-wizard. Everyone knows that real life genius geophyzzy-wizards are way more handsome and witty than that guy.

Go see it if you want. It's kind of fun. Oh, and I live about 75 miles northwest of HERE.

Thing Three: President Obama Rocks

This past week was a POTUS smackdown. Kickin' butt. Takin' names. Singin' Amazing Grace. Affordable Health Care. Marriage Equality. You either believe in freedom or you don't, folks, and it's not just for the suburbs. 

Somewhere around 10-20% of Americans are gay. Some smaller percentage of those folks might want to marry. It's not a big freakin' deal if people get married. Celebrate if you want, that's cool, rainbow up, but let's move on to stuff that affects everyone, okay? See Thing One, for example.

The hatefulness in Charleston and everywhere else needs fixing. Income inequality is devastating families across the country. Native American children are committing suicide in alarming numbers. Scaliwags are running for President who publicly humiliate and degrade whole groups of people like it was nothing. There is more work to be done. Thank goodness for Barack.

Thing Four: Independence Day

Shut off your TV and talk radio. Swear off alcohol. Quit smoking - anything, everything. Spend time outdoors. Breathe deep and exhale - over and over. See each person for who he/she is. Think for yourself. Improve yourself.

That's independence.

Peace, Love, and Glowsticks,

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