Monday, June 19, 2017

Cool solutions to melting Antarctic

Alarming news about the rapidly melting Antarctic glaciers has me scrambling for silver linings. They say the inundation of as much as 13-feet of water could swamp global coastlines where 50 percent of the world’s population lives.

Could disaster be averted if everyone in the heartland started digging really deep backyard pools?

The problem isn’t having too much water. Water is essential to human life.

The problem is having too much water where no one needs any more water.

I used to worry Earth was going to run out of water. Now, I worry we’re going to have too much. It’s like every other day humanity must decide whether it wants to die of thirst or drown.

When did life become such a daily disaster film?

Researchers say a Texas-sized iceberg is about to break off the Antarctic. They say this will eventually melt, a prelude to the loss of the icy continent. Fun fact: ants, the most prolific species on the planet, can be found on every continent except the one that includes “A-N-T” in its name.

So everyone is fretting a Texas-sized iceberg is about to break off into the ocean.

I say tow it to Texas!

That much fresh water could turn the arid state into a green paradise. I love the plush Texas Hill Country, but dousing the scrub lands of West Texas could transform deserts into farmlands that could feed the world.

I’ve never been to west Texas, but I understand it’s very flat and unrelentingly nondescript. Texas troubadour Robert Earl Keen says it's so flat that on a clear day you can see the back of your own head.

Besides agricultural uses, that much water could serve civic purposes. Texas is full of filthy Texas who could — lather, rinse, repeat — use a good soaking, giving fresh meaning to “scrub” lands. 

I used to think industrial efforts to desalinate ocean water for human purposes just confirmed my theory that humans are nothing more than parasites with personalities.

But rising oceans may make mass desalination necessary.

That’s because a major part of my planet-saving plan will require lots and lots of fresh water. 

I’m talking about saving the planet by — hallelujah — drinking more.

Sure, you’re welcome to wuss out and drink plain water. I’m unsure about the legitimacy of the claim and too lazy to research its validity, but it’s recommended we all drink “8 x 8” (eight 8 ounce glasses of water) each day.

It makes sense. Our bodies are 60 percent water. Again, without the benefit of research I’ll speculate the rest is 30 percent muscle, 6 percent bone, 3 percent compacted fecal matter and 1 percent brain.

Feel free to transpose the last two percentages based on political party affiliation. 

But water is essential. It flushes toxins, carries nutrients to cells and provides necessary moisture — our bodies’ oil — to all our moving parts.

Of course, the real yeoman work will be done by a demographic frequently disparaged as drags on the planet, not its saviors.

I’m talking beer drinkers.

Each beer is about 90 to 95 percent water.

I was too muddle-minded to realize it, but I’ve spent much of the last 35 years helping to save the plant.

Heck, from 1981-1999, I was practically a Superhero.

We can be the wobbly vanguard of a new environmental movement, only instead of bagging sand on flood plains we’d be the ones in the bag.

Instead of spending our bar time discussing things like sports and which weather babes give us high pressure systems in our pants, we could elevate our conversation.

We could talk about climate change and how it’ll effect our bar. 

And we could address the next big problem that’ll be a direct result of solving the last big one.

That being: Where the hell are we going to put all the piss?

Related …

Monday, June 5, 2017

Pledge Week results!

The people have spoken! 

And they said, “Ehhh …”

My earnest, ballyhooed, passionate blog pledge drive landed with a thud. Total haul from nine enthusiasts: $447.

That was three $100 donations, one $52, two $25, one $20, a $15 and a $10. Each donor will receive equal prominence on the acknowledgements page of my new “Use All The Crayons! II,” which I hope to have available for sale by September. And each will receive a free signed copy.

So what do I do with my “windfall?” What’s the splurge? I hadn’t seen my sunglasses in about a month. I’d had them about six years and was eager to update with something stylish. I’d planned on going to The Eyeglass Shoppe on Route 30  today to shoppe, er, shop.

But I found the old ones rattling around beneath the driver’s seat Sunday morning on my way to church.

Nothing’s going right!

Now I’m conflicted about the blog’s future. Certainly, it must change.

I don’t doubt that many people really enjoy it and consider it a welcome distraction. For the first time, I had three months in a row with more than 10,000 unique views from all over the world. That’s not insignificant.

We’re talking Trump inauguration numbers.

And I really enjoy keeping it lively and fresh. It indulges a swampy part of my mind where offbeat ideas stew and seek release.

But, geez, there’s another part of my mind, the minuscule stump where cold logic dwells, that shouts the blog is a tremendous waste of time and energy.

I’d hoped to show that part of my mind a great, big bag of money to refute all its shrill protests. Take that, brain!

Alas, it is not meant to be. 

I’ve started a new novel and I think it’s time to really inhabit it, to divert all the time and thought I use for the blog and apply it to a new novel. I intend it to be fast and funny. My goal is write about 60,000 words by Labor Day and have some version of the story on Amazon in time for the holidays.

What’s the book about? It’s a satire about the upheaval the introduction social media wreaks on the afterlife. It centers on a star-crossed Romeo and Juliet couple only instead of Juliet being on a balcony, she’s in heaven and instead of Romeo being on a plaza, he is in hell.

It’s a match made in heaven.

And hell!

And it’s all thanks to Facebook.

Maybe this will be the project that leads to some sort of authorial stability.

Maybe not.

I now know this after nine years: no stability will come from blogging four or five times each week.

It’s like what Branch Rickey told future Pirate Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner when Kiner said he was too valuable to be traded.

“Ralph,” Rickey said, “we finished last with you, we can finish last without you.”

Related …

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Tweets of the Covfefe

Follow my tweets @8Days2Amish! And there’s still time to donate to support the blog at … Chris Rodell, 874 Solomon Temple Rd., Latrobe, Pa. 15650. Or just click the PayPal ( donate button. Remember, all donors, no matter the amount, will earn name recognition on the acknowledgements page of the new “Use All The Crayons! (deluxe edition) to be released this fall!

• I hope Trump's correct. That this is a witch hunt, but I hope the witch they find turns out to be her (above).

• Some men dream of riches. Some of solvency. Me, I dream of a day when I’ve vanquished caring in the least one way or the other.

• I’m going to be famous! I just taught Snickers how to sing/bark "I Want You To Want Me!" Yes! I taught an old dog Cheap Trick!

• Fart Joke I: If sitting is the new smoking, how long before burping is the new farting?

• Fart Joke II: A burp is just a fart that’s afraid of the dark.

• Can’t believe I'm 54, lived the life I've lived, been where I've been and I've not even once had to duck bullets fired in my direction.

• Did your Mom ever write your name on your undershirt tag? She was years ahead of her time. Mom: inventor of the original Collar ID.

• Where any of the apostles married and if yes what did they do at their bachelor parties?

• I’m crossing my fingers that I'll live to see the day when Power of Blogger has the same legal relevance as Power of Attorney.

• I enjoy asking waitress if she has chicken fingers & when she says yes saying, "You're too hard on yourself. They're ugly but they still appear human.”

• I so dislike being vertical I'm thinking of having a surgically-inserted kick stand so I can always lean without fear of falling over.

• One benefit about being carefree is serious people never look at you and say, "Hon, let's go sit next to that guy. He looks real serious, too.”

• In support of Pens vs. Preds game tonight, I propose all area Italian restaurants dump meatballs in favor of meatpucks.

• Leaders of most major religions preach peace and the breaking of breads; many congregants choose hate and the breaking of heads.

• Yeah, I pray for the end of war, famine, blah, blah, blah. So does that make up for praying for comedic reasons Trump picks Chachi for FBI?

• I wonder how much it'll dismay future historians to have to type the phrase, "... then President Trump tweeted …"

• Trump supporters who think everything will be fine if he "just stops tweeting" crack me up.

• I’ll bet the Angels are heaven's home team and their record is like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals.

• Just realized: I have more business cards from phony-baloney jobs than I did from actual jobs.

• At what point in the Mid East briefing Trump on difference between Sunni & Shia do you think they pulled out the puppets?

• The literalist in me was furious to visit the Air & Space Museum and see it has both walls and ceilings.

• Stephen Hawking sez Artificial Intelligence could wipe out man by 2050. Imagine theological ramifications if Jesus returns in 2051.

• Which is older: Earth or Sun? Trick question: Earth is 4.5 bil yrs old. Sun only 1 day old. Sun cannot have another day til it has a night.

• Friend turned 40 fears he's over the hill. Told him to fear not. Going downhill is always the most exhilarating part of the ride.

• I wonder how many times when other foreign leaders were talking Trump was thinking, "Man, I wish I were right now judging a beauty contest.”

• If Matthew 6:12 were rewritten to conform to our current tastes, it would read, "... give us this day our daily bacon.”

• Facebook is like a high school yearbook that is updated every 30 seconds, but with food porn and cat videos.

• There are evident flaws in the language when I can enjoy engrossing films, but disdain gross ones.

• Because they never not even once toured I propose we rename this heirloom band the Stationary Wilburys.

And don’t forget …

• Chris Rodell, 874 Solomon Temple Rd., Latrobe, Pa. 15650. Or just click the PayPal ( donate button.

Related …

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pledge Week: A bleak career assessment

I used to dream I’d one day become a great writer. A wiser man would have known it would have been better to dream he’d one day become a successful writer.

Big difference.

Am I a great writer? Lots of people say so. I think I’ve become exactly the kind of writer I always wanted to be, funny with a keen eye for offbeat observation. I know there are no other writers that make me wish I could trade my talents for theirs.

Maybe I’m delusional.

Or maybe I’m not delusional enough. Being more delusional would certainly benefit my peace of mind.

I’ve written two books that have earned exactly the kind of reaction writers crave. People say say they’re hilarious and soulful. They buy them for friends and recommend them to other readers. They provide gushy on-line reviews.

Even many of my friends began treating me differently after they’d read “The Last Baby Boomer.” Sure, they loved “Use All The Crayons!” But that book wasn’t so much written as assembled, stitched together with treads and fabric I’d worn like so many colorful shirts.

But “Last Baby Boomer” was real writing really written. It’s like my friends were shocked someone they know so well was capable of something they considered great.

It’s a real kick in the ass when that shit happens.

So many people compare it to Kurt Vonnegut. In fact, I’d never read Kurt Vonnegut until readers started comparing me to him.

I read “Dead Eye Dick.” Didn’t like it. Thought I was better.

How’s that for delusional!

I’ve never asked anyone to take me seriously, but people began taking me more seriously as a writer after they’d read that book. It was very gratifying. So, I thought, this is what if feels like to be a real writer.

Only took me 30 years!

You’re aware by now of my affections for the blog. People say they can’t live without it. Many of these same people, to my ever-loving chagrin, don’t seem to have the disposable income to justify paying even a penny a post for it. 

One of the great surprises to me is how much people enjoy hearing my “Use All The Crayons!” talk. I’ve twice been paid $2,500 to address groups of 250 people. And they all loved me and chipped in with referrals and gushy compliments I still use when pitching to other event planners.

How come I can’t figure out a way to arrange one of those a month? Am I close? Somedays I think so. Other days, I fear it’ll never happen.

I may, indeed, be a great writer and speaker, but I’m an utter failure in every single category that people like Trump use to consider success.

I’m in debt. My car’s a wreck with 180,799 miles on it. I can’t afford to buy my wife and kids the things I wish I could. I sometimes feel crushed by disappointment.

How come I can’t convert evident abilities into even meager income?

My entire so-called “career” seems to be one of disappointment, rejection, humiliation and cruel defeat. I lie awake at night wondering how it’s all gone so wrong.

And what’s truly confounding is how I wake up every morning soulfully convinced that this will be the day something great is bound to happen. I’m stubbornly convinced I’m doing exactly what I ought to be doing and it’s all going to work out just fine.

Sadly, I’ve been thinking that every day since, gulp, 1992.

I may be broke but, by God, I’ll never be broken.

Being delusional isn’t a character flaw.

Being delusional is a frreakin’ godsend.

• Chris Rodell, 874 Solomon Temple Rd., Latrobe, Pa. 15650. Or just click the PayPal ( donate button.

Related …

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Random thoughts amidst unseemly Pledge Week begging

• I know many of you start each day with a cup of hot coffee. Since, oh, mid-April I’ve been starting each day by watching Ray Davies and the Jayhawks perform “Americana,” the title cut from Ray’s magnificent new album. I find it soothingly elevating.

• If it wasn’t pledge week, I’d today be writing about how I told my mother (84, dementia) a dear old cousin of hers had gotten eaten by a bear. In fact, he died of a common heart attack, but I thought I’d use his death to see if she’d remember a really colorful demise. As she does not, I keep adding details. It’s now a very rich and gothic death, one which I think cousin Chuck would prefer. He was a fun and outdoorsy guy who was fond of wearing ’70’s style leisure suits. I’m enjoying telling the fiction because it proves, to hungry bears at least, you don’t have to exude good taste to taste good.

• In my mind, I was hoping my plea for donations would be greeted the way Bedford Falls greeted Mary Bailey’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” summons that her husband George was broke and needed dough fast. That hasn’t happened yet, but I’ll be sure to post something cheerful the instant it does.

• Spent the weekend with the family being tourists in D.C. It was wonderful. We spent Friday evening doing the Western monuments (Lincoln, Vietnam, Korean, MLK, FDR, Jefferson), Saturday the centrals (Washington monument, Holocaust Museum,  WWII, American History) and Sunday the eastern sites (Capitol, Supreme Court, Air & Space, Natural History, Hall of Archives and later the National Zoo). We’re so divided over so much, but that every American can enjoy each of these historical splendors for free is a national blessing.

• If it wasn’t pledge week, I’d have written about Uber. My old Nashville buddy Jim pointed out an NYTimes story about how the once-promising partnership between Uber & Pittsburgh soured. We used Uber a bunch in DC. Being aware what a criminal jerk Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is, it pained me to use them so much. Uber drivers work for next to nothing, get no respect, and have to hustle to make ends meet. So Uber drivers are like the bloggers of the transportation world! And, yes, we always tipped them (nudge, nudge).

• I realized I became eligible for an Order of Irony Medal when we were standing in front of a monument honoring victims and survivors of the Bataan Death March and all I could think about was how sore my feet felt.

• A friend of mine turned 40 this week and was lamenting how he now felt over the hill, done, used up. Overlooking the fact he was making this gloomy assessment to a 54-year-old listener, I told him he was fine. “Plus,” I said, “even if you are over the hill, it helps to remember going downhill fast is always the most exhilarating part of the ride.” I’m going to try and keep that in mind as my declines accelerate.

• I’m very proud of this blog and the number of people who enjoy it so much, but if circumstances don’t improve, changes will be made. I’m paraphrasing here with something I heard on an actual PBS pledge drive.

• The literalist in me was furious to visit Smithsonian Air & Space Museum and see it has both walls and ceilings.

• Jim, that same old Nashville buddy, asked if donation amounts lead to increasing gift levels. Like does a $25 pledge earn a blog umbrella; a $50 pledge a blog tote bag; etc.? I told him I'll start throwing in cheap bulk tchotchke when surging donations make purchasing cheap bulk tchotchke possible.

• I am putting together a sequel to “Use All The Crayons!” How about this? Anyone who donates to support the blog will get a grateful mention in the new book’s acknowledgments. And a free signed copy!

• I guarantee some of the jurors being selected in Pittsburgh for what is likely to be a long trial once said, “Oh, I just love Bill Cosby! I wish I could spend some time getting to know him even better.”

• If it wasn’t pledge week, I’d be writing about our visit to the magnificent Lincoln Monument and one of my favorite recollections of offbeat Presidential history. It was May 9, 1970, five days after the Kent State shootings. It was there under the shadow of Lincoln that then-President Richard Nixon surprised college protesters by appearing in person at 4 a.m. just to philosophize. It was utterly bizarre. The students asked Nixon questions about U.S. incursions into Cambodia, about the death of innocents and the morality of war. Yeah, in the back of my mind, I game planned what I’d ask President Trump if he on the spur of the moment decided to wade out among the tourists. Was I going to ask about prejudice? Equality? The sustainability of human life on a depleted planet? Nope, nope and nope. I was going to ask him if he’d likes to donate to support Eight Days To Amish. I’m optimistic he’d have written me a check on the spot.

• Chris Rodell, 874 Solomon Temple Rd., Latrobe, Pa. 15650. Or just click the PayPal ( donate button.

• No amount too small … or too large! Every gesture appreciated.