Thursday, July 28, 2011

Something Else to Worry About

Well, it looks as if there's pretty much no chance of Congress pulling its head out of its rigidly political backside and coming up with a plan to solve the immediate budget crisis, so there's not much point in castigating them any more. I'm just in absolute awe of people who can look into the camera with a straight face and tell me what the American People want. The American People want you to do your damn jobs and fix the immediate crisis so you can move on to what we really want - jobs and a measure of economic and health security.

Can you hear the echo back from the intellectually and morally empty Congressional canyon?

Okay, so it doesn't do any good to bitch about our useless Congress any more. In any case, there are worse things to worry about, believe it or not. Read on ...

I'm about 75% of the way through a fascinating and frightening book titled Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization, by Spencer Wells. If anything could make me feel more queasy than the Congressional circus, it's this.

Mr Wells' basic thesis - if I may be allowed some gross oversimplification in the interest of brevity - is that the vast majority of the problems we face today (epidemic disease, overcrowding, global warming, government, obesity, and mental illness, among others) are the result of a single decision made many thousands of years ago: the decision to change from a semi-nomadic hunting-gathering lifestyle to one based on agriculture and the breeding of animals for food. Although I am certain that there are many scientists (and many, many conservative Republicans) who will poo-pooh the ideas in this book (especially the concept of shared human responsibility for global warming), I found Mr Wells' ideas logical, compelling, and well-researched.

The bottom line: the things we do today in the interest of making life better and solving immediate problems may have unintended consequences that may not manifest themselves for decades, if not centuries or millenia. Read the book and get worried. As if you needed something else to worry about today.

On a somewhat more entertaining front, the winners of the 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest have been announced. The Bulwer-Lytton Contest, of course, celebrates the sort of terrible writing popularized by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton (he of the famous opening line, "It was a dark and stormy night..."), and each year generates some wonderful howlers. You can read the major results at the link above, but to whet your appetite, here is the winner of the 2011 prize:

"Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories." (submitted by Sue Fondrie of Oshkosh, Wisconsin)

And the vanes of my mind continue to turn, moved by the hot wind blowing from the uncivil and ill-informed arguments on Capitol Hill.

Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.


P.S. - getting back to Pandora's Seed for a moment, I wonder if the mass extinction of certain large animals ... like the GOP elephant (politicus intransigentius) ... might not be a good thing. Hmmm...



Raquel's World said...

Totally left field here but I agree.
I think all this hand sanitizing and antibiotic prescribing and organic eating is making us weak, our bodies have all this abundance of stuff to "keep us safe" but I have noticed that the kids who are all organic eaters and sanitize their hands every time they touch something seem to have more asthma, excema, higher levels of allergies and more sickness than those who do not???

Mike said...

Conservative Republicans? There are no conservative Republicans anymore.

allenwoodhaven said...

The satirical newspaper ( has an article about emergency teams of eighth grade civics teachers being sent to Washington to teach Congress how the government works.

Sadly, it's what they need....