Saturday, January 30, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #2


First thing I do, every morning, is brew a pot of liquid sunshine. I need it so. I cannot bear to think of life without it.

Chances are, after the Peakalypse, Juan Valdez may be still roaming the slopes with his mule, picking coffee. But, without cheap oil, that coffee won't be traveling the thousands of miles so easy. (if for no other reason, I may have to relocate to South America).

I doubt that my beloved bean will disappear suddenly, coffee availability will slowly dwindle, so I'll have time to kick the habit. First, it will gradually become too expensive a commodity for the Proles (like me). Then, Outer Party folks will see it vanish, and only the Inner Party may have access to it.

So, I will relish every cup from now until the dismal dearth, and it truly will be good to the last, final drop.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Pots and Kettles #100127

I was half-listening to the State of the Union Address the other night and, towards the end, something the President said grabbed my attention:

Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions – our corporations, our media, and yes, our government – still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper.

I'd have a little more faith in the institutions if the leaders of those institutions didn't remind one of a 'Three Stooges' sketch involving name-calling, poking, slapping, and nyuk-nyuk-nyukking between the lot of them.

But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates into silly arguments, and big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.

President Kettle is calling out the Pots. How about when a politician tears down bankers and corporate leaders, reducing the economic crisis to a sound byte to cover his own failure? Or when union leaders game the system to cut special deals?

No wonder there’s so much cynicism out there.

No wonder there’s so much disappointment.

No [bleep], Sherlock. And after the cheap populist sloganeering above, the President has the gall to then say:

Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths.

How about the hard truths that many Americans, like their Government, have spent too much, borrowed too much, thought too highly of their own prospects? Or the hard truths that government meddling in the markets has done as much damage as deregulation? Or maybe the hard truth that a big factor in the loss of manufacturing in our country is that most Americans don't want to pay the costs of items made by fellow Americans?

After such accusations from the President, I'm sure the Pots will gladly return fire. With all the clatter in the kitchen, I'm stepping out for a while.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Things I Will Miss After the Peakalypse, #1

Toilet paper.

Nothing is so civilized as toilet paper; clean bum, clean hands, and clean shorts. It's a huge leap for sanitation, and indoor plumbing just isn't the same without it. Besides, you can't haul a bidet out behind a tree.

After the Peakalypse, I doubt Charmin will be cranking out the two-ply. So, I imagine that we'll be scouring the old landfills for moldy copies of Cosmo for #2 duty. That, or we'd best learn to identify and avoid poison ivy, oak, and sumac in the dark, just in case.

Sure, there are bigger worries, but it's the little things that we'll all miss the most.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Pondering the Peakalypse

Peakalypse? Yeah, like a few others, I'm pondering Peak Oil, and the possible crash of civilization following it. This pondering may come as a surprise to folks who may have known me in the past, as I'm not a garden variety enviro-lefty. I'm not a denier of climate change, but I also believe that climate changes are a part of the Earth's history and future, regardless of what humans do. I'm a skeptic of many in the climate change movement because of the other agendas they peddle under that banner.

But, for some reason, Peak Oil has caught my attention. I think most people would agree that oil is a finite and non-renewable resource. There's lots of debate about how much oil reserves we think we have, but common sense tells us that with demand trending ever upwards, and supply trending down, supplies will dwindle and we will eventually run out.

I haven't read much Peak Oil agitprop, and have read just as much debunking it. Also, I haven't bought into the worst-case scenarios, but the issue bears some thought.

Our current lifestyles are touched by oil seven ways to Sunday. When the oil starts getting scarce, life will never be the same. And after witnessing the quick breakdown that occurred in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina, I'm not optimistic about the prospects of our culture and civilization once scarcity hits. I'm not a full blown Doomer, yet, but I'm not Pollyanna either.

I'm still mulling it all over.