Thursday, March 29, 2012

Q: What is Sanford, Florida?

A: A town in Central Florida.

A: A place that at first glance has little charm or history.

A: A place that owes its current existence to abundant fossil fuels.

A: A town that would likely suffer in the Long Emergency.

"The Myth of Peak Oil"

is the title and subject ofthis essay on today's CounterPunch. I'll read it more fully and comment on it later.

On Indigenous Control of Pacific Media


I've found the blog of the Pacific Island News Association and begun subscribing to its feed. Press coverage of the Pacific region is very sparse. Sometimes the Pacific region (i.e., the islands of Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia) is lumped in with Asia and Australia, but those two areas receive far more attention.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kunstler: Matrix of Rackets; Fracking

Kunstler continues a discussion of his diet and the American health system. Matrix of Rackets

There's a good article on fracking in the 15 March issue Rolling Stone. Specifically it's about Chesapeake Energy, America's second-largest producer of natural gas. The article is behind a paywall so pick up a copy (Whitney Houston is on the cover).

27 March update: The article is online, after all. But it's easier to read in the print format.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Andrea Bofill: "I Just Wanna Stop"

Andrea Bofill brings an unmistakenly jazzy flavor to her late-eighties remake of one of Gino Vannelli's biggest hits.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kony2012 is Phony

Ten Ways That Kony2012 is Phony.

I know at least one young person who supports Kony2012. A lot of good-hearted people have fallen for this.

16 March update: Jason Russell Arrested.

21 March update: "Kony's Invisible Christian Fanaticism"

6 April update: article by Michael Barker

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Sixth Anniversary of Poppa Zao

This blog is six years old today.

Newt Gingrich: Cornucopian

Newt Gingrich: Cornucopian

More here.

"The idea of peak energy is a stupid idea. It does not exist, it is a technologically limited model, it has been the basis of American energy policy for 40 years, and it is wrong."

Monday, March 12, 2012

Enjoy the Silence

The Rush controversy is slowly disappearing from the mainstream press, but it reminds me of this, from the June 2010 issue of Index on Censorship, an essay on talk radio by Joe Queenan, a pretty good writer I know of mainly from his work in GQ. (He sure gets around.)

But most important, I dislike talk radio. I dislike talk radio for one reason and one reason only: because it is unrelentingly unpleasant. (This is true not only of politically oriented radio but of sports-talk radio.) Talk radio, the stomping grounds of a battalion of Johnny One-Notes, creates the impression that everyone in the United States is at everyone else’s throat, that everyone is angry and bitter and outraged and miserable all the time. Talk radio is dominated by crackpots and paranoids; talk radio is dominated by people whose entire emotional repertoire consists of rage and disbelief; talk radio is hysterical. Thus, if you turned on your radio while motoring past the wheat fields of Kansas or through the foothills of the Rockies or across the wide Missouri you could easily forget what a remarkable country you are living in, a country of hard-working people who love their jobs, love their families and love their country.

My own listening to Rush is a long story, on which I'll elaborate soon.

Kunstler Starts a Garden

By James Howard Kunstler
on March 12, 2012 10:21 AM

Unless your mobile home was blown all over the county on opening day of the tornado season, this must seem like an interlude of reassuring normality in the world's convulsive wendings. The IED known as Greece has not quite yet exploded, loud as all the graveyard whistling that emanates from Europe might be. Even the invocation of a "credit event" by the notorious ISDA has seen a first-stage payout of a few mere billions - though you've got to believe that this is some kind of stage-managed dumb-show designed to conceal the fact that the whole credit default swap racket is a network of frauds.

Where I live, in the uppermost Hudson Valley, the peace and tranquility of the moment is overlaid by sweet spring zephyrs arriving about a month early. I hope that doesn't portend weeks on end of 90-degree summer heat, but I have the consolation of not being in Texas, where that would be more like three straight months of 100-degree-plus heat. It must get tedious running in and out of the a.c.

My gardening schemes which fermented all winter are finally going into action. Yesterday, I banged together the first two of ten raised beds arrayed geometrically in a forty-eight foot square foot formal vegetable and herb garden. I've done it before on a smaller scale at a different house in a different time when nobody except the clinically paranoid expected the collapse of civilization. I'm going to put in a not-so-formal patch of corn-squash-and beans outside of that in the manner of the people who lived here a thousand years ago, really just to see how it works, and I may also plant a monoculture patch of potatoes elsewhere.

The "back forty" awaits the arrival of twenty fruit trees - mixed apple, pear, cherry, plus blueberry, raspberry and current shrubs - and two blight-resistant American chestnuts (not absolutely guaranteed blight-free). A mighty effort has been made over recent decades by valiant arborists to restore the American chestnut. It was this tree (Castanea dentate) which made the forests east of the Mississippi so prolific with game in the time before clocks arrived in North America. My back forty used to be huge lawn, with an above-the-ground pool decorating the middle of it. The pool is gone, thank you Jeezus. I'll start with this set of fruit and see how they take to the soil here, and if they get going well I'll get twenty more next year. It could add up to a really immense amount of fruit for one household. There's always cider....

Altogether I have about an acre-and-a-quarter of already clear land to experiment with. The rest is woodlot. The woods will require a lot of grooming and brush-hogging to get decades of "trash" out: rampant honeysuckle, Virginia creeper, box elder. There's a lot of good hardwood in there otherwise, and I built a saw-jack set up to cut stove lengths. There's enough in there to be self-replenishing with careful management. The house I bought last fall has a fireplace with a stove insert. The builder insulated the shit out of the place. The chain saw is off in the shop getting its battered old chain replaced. I have to learn how to sharpen the damn thing now. Cutting firewood is where you get a really vivid sense of the power embodied in gasoline. A couple of gallons will get next season's supplementary supply laid in. In the past, and probably, in the future, this is a job that would be nearly impossible to do by yourself.

These days, except for highway repair and oil-drilling, there are few outdoor activities that require a gang of men working together. In the years ahead, household composition is going to change hugely for many reasons. It's unusual these days to have a lot of children - considering population overshoot, it seems crazy to promote that - but people with something to offer in the way of skills and labor may have to join forces just to get the necessary day's work done together. I'm sure that will have its consolations, even if it means you don't get to have a 3,500 square foot house to yourself.

The deer-fence installer just submitted his estimate. It was an eye-opener, but it has to be done and it's a one-time thing. I could have done it myself in a half-assed way with plastic netting but this is not a time for half-assed measures. My place is like a petting zoo, there are so many deer on and around it. Left open, they would ravage anything I grow like locusts. And they had the easiest winter in memory - no snow on the ground all January and February, something nobody around here has seen before. Here it is March and they are still looking plump and ready to pop out lots of healthy babies. So I have to put a fence up around the garden and orchard part of the property, with gates into the woodlots. The fence has to be eight feet high because the white-tailed deer is a mighty leaper. It's going to look a little like Jurassic Park.

Of course, if the USA gets into really deep socio-political shit, it's easy to imagine the entire deer-herd of Washington County getting exterminated inside a couple of years by hungry, desperate jackers. The people I play fiddle with on Tuesday night, many of them boomer-age hippie homesteaders and master gardeners, remember thirty years ago when you hardly ever saw a deer. We could easily get to that point again when times get hard.

About a week ago, I stopped on a country road to take a leak. I stepped into the woods for a minute and then, stepping out, was horrified to see dozens of ticks crawling on my pants legs. I took the otherwise unused snow-brush to them. The really weird part is that it was only thirty degrees that day. Yet they were already active and right lively. This place is now the epicenter of the eastern Lyme Disease epidemic. I went to a party not long ago where at least fifteen people were currently in treatment, or had been more than once before, for Lyme. Some just couldn't get rid of it. It is a wicked-ass illness, very difficult to get out of your system, and debilitating in myriad ways. It, too, was unknown around here thirty years ago.

I honestly don't know if my own little homesteading experiment at the edge of this sweet-but-beat little village is going to work out. I'm pretty confident about growing vegetables because I've done it successfully before, even in recent years when I was a renter sitting out the housing bubble. But it gives you something psychologically nourishing to do while the turbo-industrial world wends its way into the long emergency. Pictures to come on my website as the season wends where it will.
Apologies for late posting today...time change and all....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"Shock Me": Jermaine Jackson feat. Whitney Houston

I'm reading an unauthorized biography about Whitney Houston, in which I found out about this song from the soundtrack of the 1985 movie Perfect. Jermaine and Whitney were an underrated duo.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Evangelicals and Israel

Interesting article on evangelicals tightening their embrace of Israel amid that country's rising tension with Iran.

10 March update: I don't know if he's an evangelical, but Tom O'Halloran obviously wants "Bibi" for president, and also seems to be a birther.!/TPO_Hisself/status/178405935562227712

Tom O'Halloran
‏ @TPO_Hisself
#Bibi for potus, OBVIOUSLY birth cert is not a concern, and we NEED a president that has Honor, dignity, love for America & has BALLS!

11:04 PM - 9 Mar 12 via web ·

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Notorious B.I.G.: Fifteen Years Later

The Notorious B.I.G. died fifteen years ago today (9 March).

The video for "Sky's the Limit", apparently made after Biggie died, is inspired by Bugsy Malone.

Cornucopians to the Left, Cornucopians to the Right

Keith Olbermann:!/KeithOlbermann/status/177472185424818177

It means, Sasquatch, that if you can artificially recreate the natural compression process you can MAKE crude oil!/KeithOlbermann/status/177457115110191104

Answer? Oil was once algae, plankton RT @GingerGibson Newt "I don't think your car is going to go very far if you s...

Rush Limbaugh: "The supply may be infinite [sic], but we're nowhere near its end. There is enough oil in this country to run this country at current levels of usage for around 250 years, and the regime wants you to believe we've only got 20 billion barrels; we're gonna run out here in ten years or so. That's outrageous."

Cornucopians: A Guide for the Perplexed.

A further definition.

10 March update: The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore on "What North Dakota Could Teach California: While One Plays Host to a Modern-Day Gold Rush, the Other Shuns Evil Fossil Fuels and Wallows in Debt.":

"Williston [North Dakota] sits atop the Bakken Shale, which will later this year be producing more oil than any other site in the country, surpassing even Alaska's Prudhoe Bay, the longtime leader in domestic output." (Subscription required for full access.)

Michael Klare, interviewed in 2010 by Chris Hayes, is certainly not a cornucopian. Neither is he a doomer.

(Here, Chris Hayes casts a skeptical eye on Kunstler's book The Long Emergency.)

Monday, March 05, 2012

Rush Limbaugh: No Longer on KPUA

Who could have thought today was the last day The Rush Limbaugh Show would air in Hilo--at least for now? KPUA became the first radio station in the United States to stop carrying the program. This New England station soon followed suit.

KPUA's announcement

I wonder if this will make tomorrow's Tribune-Herald.

(6 March update: Full front-page treatment. An article by John Burnett incorporating content from the Associated Press, and a large color photo of station manager Chris Leonard.)

And check out HFP for this pungent rant, headlined CENSORSHIP:

(Make one nasty comment about an abortion activist and you will be silenced. Meanwhile UH Hilo Faculty is infested with 9-11 trooothers and anti-Semites. And they are PAID to spout their filth.)

11 March update: Rush scrubbed his website of "slut" comment and demand for sex videos.

Dropping Rush Attracts Support Across Nation (10 March Hawaii Tribune-Herald)
14 March update: Michael J. Smith at StopMeBeforeIVoteAgain takes it in stride.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Breakfast at Wailoa State Park

Busy at home, but I had a nice breakfast (from Hilo Lunch Shop) with a friend today at Wailoa State Park. The ducks and other fowl came right up to our pavilion. I found that Hilo Lunch Shop serves generous cups of coffee, and ogo salad. (Recipe for ogo salad if you want to make it yourself.)