Measured out in coffee spoons.

Well, this is what I call an eventful Monday, I guess: Went in expecting a couple-three hours of deadline work and the rest the more off-deadline sort, but it didn’t work out that way, and here it is, after 7 p.m., and I’m just opening a bottle of wine and considering that somewhere along the way I accepted another big freelance project — a book. Custom publishing, not some art inspired from my soul, but it will go a good ways toward paying off the back yard, and it’ll be wrapped up by summer’s end.

Down side: I have to relearn how to eat a horse. Although I seem to remember the most important part — one bite at a time.

Of course, what good is a book when soon we’ll all be living in Waterworld?

A large section of the mighty West Antarctica ice sheet has begun falling apart and its continued melting now appears to be unstoppable, two groups of scientists reported on Monday. If the findings hold up, they suggest that the melting could destabilize neighboring parts of the ice sheet and a rise in sea level of 10 feet or more may be unavoidable in coming centuries.

Global warming caused by the human-driven release of greenhouse gases has helped to destabilize the ice sheet, though other factors may also be involved, the scientists said.

What wonderful news! And yes, there’s a bright side:

The rise of the sea is likely to continue to be relatively slow for the rest of the 21st century, the scientists added, but in the more distant future it may accelerate markedly, potentially throwing society into crisis.

We won’t outlive this, and likely our children won’t, either, and after that? Eh, I’ll be dead. Let ‘em figure it out.

At what point did mankind become self-aware enough to worry not only about the world we live in, but the world we might leave our grandchildren and great-grandchildren? We may never see them, but don’t they matter? Perhaps in a lifetime, the units of time become so baroque and meaningless — in Washington it’s the week; in other places the day, and I’m sure we’ve all been through some spells where just getting through one hour after another is enough. Eternity is hard except in the very abstract sense, where we dwell with Jesus in really comfortable clothing with elastic waistbands.

Of course, for business, it’s quarter. Break the tape, have a couple drinks and work on the next spreadsheet. And if you did it without giving a shit about what you’re pumping into the air or water, you sleep so much better.

I should add that I’m not holding myself up as some sort of paragon. The world will judge me as a typical 20th/21st century American, who used too much and threw away too much and ate beef from a million farting steers and was basically a plague upon the earth for about a billionth of a nanosecond of the universe’s time. I’ll be swallowed up.

Probably by rising seawater. But not yet! They can’t find me in Michigan, not until the backup from the Great Lakes tops Niagara Falls, by which point I’ll be ashes and it’ll be someone else’s problem.

Not to be all morbid or anything. But seriously: We broke the planet. Good job, humankind! Let’s party.

I have no bloggage today; it seems all anyone publishes on Mondays are recaps of Sunday-night television. When did the recap become a thing? The idea that someone who had actually watched an episode of this or that show might want to read 1,000 words telling them what they already know. At least many are entertaining to read.

Oh, well. It works for Fox News.

Happy Tuesday, all. I’m going to be running from one end of it to the other.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events |
 

21 responses to “Measured out in coffee spoons.”

  1. Dexter said on May 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Brian Williams gave the West Antarctica story about 20 seconds; I heard him say it may begin affecting the entire world’s sea water levels in a hundred years. Most people still don’t even believe in climate change, not yet. A stunning example is found on the latest “Vice” show on HBO. Those reporters have been filing the liveliest stories for over a year now. Thomas Morton interviews some Texas folks including an evangelical preacher about climate change. http://www.hbo.com/vice#/vice/episodes/02/18-the-resource-curse-deliver-us-from-drought/video/debrief-deliver-us-from-drought.html/eNrjcmbOYM7XLMtMSc13zEvMqSzJTHbOzytJrShRz89JgQkFJKan+iXmpjIXcjIysoGgdGJpSX5BTmKlbUlRaSoAUBcXOA==

  2. MaryRC said on May 13, 2014 at 1:25 am

    I think recaps appeal because they give fans a forum to discuss the latest episode, not just read about it. I never miss a Tom & Lorenzo recap of Mad Men (the episode or the follow-up style analysis) because of the comments, although after a while they get a bit a repetitive.

  3. Basset said on May 13, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Custom publishing is what used to be known as vanity press, right? I used to copy-edit those – one that stands out was by the founder of a grocery chain who described starting after WW2 with a case of mustard in his car trunk and building that into the multistate empire he now leads, or did twenty years ago, anyway. He liked to describe himself as “pragmatic,” and did so on nearly every page; story I got was that he gave a book apiece to all his employees.

  4. alex said on May 13, 2014 at 6:38 am

    At what point did mankind become self-aware enough to worry not only about the world we live in, but the world we might leave our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?

    As to the world we live in I’m unsure, but the Republicans invented the “mountain of debt” canard as it pertains to children and grandchildren at the time of the New Deal and have been harping on it as part of their mythology about Democrats ever since. It got turned around on them during the Keating Five scandal during Reagan’s term, but that mountain of debt morphed into a canyon of surplus during the Clinton years.

    Looks like Marco Rubio thinks climate denial is a winning presidential primary strategy, now that the GOP realizes he won’t be the party’s savior among hispanics any more than Alan Keyes or Herman Cain were ever its emissaries to the black community.

  5. coozledad said on May 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    It’s reached the point where Republicans will have to demonstrate their climate denial bona fides by drinking motor oil, or a glass of shit. That’s the only upside- getting to watch them reenact their frat hazing on TV.
    Before rising sea levels flood coastal areas, clean drinking water shortages will have caused industrial democracies to crater. The war party will be in charge everywhere. Drowning will be just be euthanasia for a species already fundamentally valueless and dead.

    I watched Duke Energy give a CYA program before a combined meeting of Roxboro city council and Person county commissioners a few nights ago, and the upshot was “We’re a workin real hard to get set up to remove that coal ash from your river, but she’ll be awhile because of the weather. We stuffed some bricks in the big leaky pipe. Did you know arsenic, strontium, selenium and cadmium exist in nature? They sure do. We seen some live fish. We’re going to use your county landfill for our trash and pass our costs onto you.”

    Our drinky Republican fratboy commissioner Kyle Puryear then took the opportunity to demonstrate that a dog doesn’t only lick its own balls. Shameless bastards.

  6. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 13, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Vanity press is “I want to publish my book, and I’ll pay you to do it.” Custom publishing is when the ice cream company or hospital with a hundredth anniversary coming hires you to write “a book” about them, which they may very well publish through a vanity press.

  7. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on May 13, 2014 at 7:53 am

    (It’s like freelancing a very, very long magazine piece, but you can have some fun with them if the owner/v-p for community relations/exec in charge isn’t too controlling and picky about how they want it, and how they’d write it if they only had the time [koff].)

  8. beb said on May 13, 2014 at 8:16 am

    Expected sea level raise, that’s they’ve been talking about is 10 feet. Rough for Florida which doesn’t have much land above ten feet. Detroit’s about 600 feet above sea level so we’ll be OK. Unless the rising sea levels change the ocean current, effecting the weather and causing a polar vortex to permenantly sit over Michigan bringing in a new ice age. Then we’re screwed. It’s scant comfort to realize that conditions on Earth can change a lot and the planet will survive, just not necessarily the dominant species on it….

    This eating a horse thing: it’s a metaphor, right?

    When did writing re-caps become a thing? About the time that writing twelve post a day to the Internet became a job requirement. When you gotta write and there’s nothing else to wrote about, then recap last nights show.

    Just to prove that North Carolina isn’t the only dick-headed, Republican-controled swamp, we get this:
    http://www.freep.com/article/20140513/NEWS02/305130033/Severstal-steel-plant-gets-approval-revised-emissions-permit
    Rather than force a hazardous waste polluting company to clean up, the State has been covertly writing a new operating permit that harks back to older, looser pollution standards. After all the State has to protect it’s phoney Bologney jobs.

  9. Connie said on May 13, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Prufrock sighting.

  10. brian stouder said on May 13, 2014 at 8:43 am

    And now, thanks to Connie and Uncle Google, I have learned something today

  11. MarkH said on May 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

    An old metaphor, beb. Only I’ve always used an elephant as the example when I would try to help my son with a load of schoolwork he’d let pile up. Given Nancy’s love of all things equestrian she used a surprising choice.

  12. brian stouder said on May 13, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Tripped over this nugget, after reading about diesel particulate filters(!) – and found it to be fascinating.

    Call it – A Tar is Born:

    http://www.newsmax.com/newswidget/rove-hillary-brain-damage/2014/05/12/id/570952/?promo_code=125BD-1&utm_source=125BDTelegraph_Media_Group&utm_medium=nmwidget&utm_campaign=widgetphase1

    an excerpt:

    Republican operative Karl Rove said during a conference last week that Hillary Clinton may have brain damage, the New York Post’s Page Six reports.

    According to Page Six, Rove was at a conference near Los Angeles on Thursday when he said, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.” Rove repeated the claim multiple times, according to Page Six. A representative for Clinton told the Post, “Please assure Dr. Rove she’s 100 percent.”

    See, as usual, ol’ Karl marks the way forward. When Benghazi finally fizzles (again), ya gotta have another turdball ready to throw, right?

    (and to give “newsmax” one mite of credit, their article goes on to note that the SecState was hospitalized for 3 days, and not 30 days – thus correcting the turdblossom’s 1000% overstatement)

  13. Jeff Borden said on May 13, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Maybe it’s just an old hippie legend, but weren’t many of the native American tribes deeply committed to preserving their land and resources? I seem to recall a dictum of “walking lightly on the land.” This would ensure plentiful game for future generations, presumably.

    It’s getting harder and harder for me to believe the U.S. will pull out of this weird tailspin we seem to be stuck in. I just got off the phone with a good friend in Berlin –it looks like I’ll be editing translated German business stories for an English-language website operated by Germany’s most respected financial publisher– and he talked about how striking America’s dysfunction seems to an ex-pat. We seem completely averse to doing great things. . .hell, even mediocre things. Or maybe I’m just extra-cranky because the temperatures have dropped 25 degrees in the past 18 hours and it’s gloomy out.

  14. DanB said on May 13, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Recap-writing goes back to the late 90s at least. For that matter, I remember somebody at my college mass emailing recaps of some show (Felicity maybe?) out to the entire student body in 1994. I know I was reading Carina Chocano’s brilliant recaps on Salon back in the early 2000s.

    Good recap writers do a lot more than summarize- they analyze, make jokes, create memorable nicknames for the characters. It’s a way of processing and holding up shows to a degree of critical scrutiny (I remember a really great discussion of the gender and racial politics of The Apprentice on Television Without Pity). Unfortunately, now that recaps pretty much have to come out early on the day after the show, their quality has rather gone down.

  15. Dave said on May 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

    A moment of silence, please, for Television Without Pity, which was shut down in April. My son put me onto it during the heyday of LOST.

    Brain damage? Is there anything those clowns won’t throw, to see what sticks?

  16. BigHank53 said on May 13, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Here’s the best reference I could find to Native American’s legal regard for future generations:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_generation_sustainability

    The USA’s dysfunctional politics are pretty astounding. It’s better to burn out than fade away makes for an entertaining pop song, but I don’t think it’s going to work out too well as a governing ideology.

  17. LAMary said on May 13, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I want some of those traumatic brain injury glasses. I wonder what they do? Are there eyes painted on to the lenses so both pupils are the same size?
    Now someone is going to tell me that such a thing exists and I’m going to feel bad I joked about it.

  18. Deborah said on May 13, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This right wing strategy to throw everything at Hilary including the kitchen sink has got to backfire on them, right? I know a lot of really smart young people that wouldn’t fall for any of it. There can’t be that many olds around to fall for it, can there?

  19. Sherri said on May 13, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    There are, LAMary. They are prismatic lenses, and they are used to correct the double vision that can occur with TBI. I believe Kevin Pearce, the snowboarder who suffered a TBI and whose story was told in an HBO documentary a few years ago, wears these type of glasses.

  20. Deborah said on May 13, 2014 at 1:09 pm

    A friend from Taos sent photos this morning from 6:30am with 6-9″ of snow on their patio furniture. Little Bird sent a video of it snowing in Santa Fe too. Weird. It’s mid-May. Weather gone wild.

  21. MarkH said on May 13, 2014 at 11:16 pm

    It’s also the West, and at higher altitudes, Deborah. Not that unusual. 25 – 30 deg. tonight, but clear here, we just had snow and rain mix the last two days, was worse in mid-May two years ago.

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