As the World Turns… and burns

The West Coast is on fire… after suffering through a “heat dome.” Lake Mead — which supplies water to multiple states — is drying up. What’s going to happen when places like Phoenix are uninhabitable? Where will the people go when there’s no water left?

We thought The Twilight Zone episode called “The Midnight Sun” was just a fever dream… but it’s coming true.

The word that Mrs. Bronson is unable to put into the hot, still, sodden air is ‘doomed,’ because the people you’ve just seen have been handed a death sentence. One month ago, the Earth suddenly changed its elliptical orbit and in doing so began to follow a path which gradually, moment by moment, day by day, took it closer to the sun. And all of man’s little devices to stir up the air are now no longer luxuries—they happen to be pitiful and panicky keys to survival.

Rod Serling’s intro to the episode

We thought Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Aqueduct” was merely science fiction. But when people are desperate for water, bloodshed could follow.

We take our daily conveniences for granted – cranking up the AC, taking long showers, watering the lawn. But the clock is ticking, and the world is burning.

Long Live Rock!

Last Friday, I saw a concert featuring national acts for the first time in eons. Live music is my happy place (or one of them, along with kayaking, and biking, and reading…) so it felt so good to see and hear a show.

The concert was supposed to be at an outdoor amphitheater, but the weather gods didn’t cooperate, so the organizers moved the gig to a covered spot a block away. Not the most aesthetically pleasing venue, but I didn’t care, and neither did the artists.

The opener was S.G. Goodman, a farmer’s daughter (literally!) from the westernmost part of Kentucky. Her debut album is called Old Time Feeling and she does have a throwback vibe.

The headliner was Aaron Lee Tasjan, with his band.

He’s tough to pigeonhole into a particular genre of music (the best artists usually are)… Wikipedia lists it as “indie folk grit” and that’s pretty apt.

The audience wasn’t huge (thanks for nothing, weather gods) but both bands really delivered the goods. Greats, actually.

Below are links to both artists’ most recent albums. Give ’em a spin now and thank me later.

The Joker has become an Ace

Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon this past weekend, thrusting him into a tie with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for the most Grand Slam titles overall – they each have 20 major titles.

Several years ago, he wasn’t even in the “best” conversation. It was a two-horse race for the win, and Djokovic was there for show.

He always had talent, but came up a bit short of greatness early in his career. He was 6-7 in his first 13 Grand Slam finals… not too shabby, but not exactly G.O.A.T. material either. But in his last 17 Grand Slam finals matches, “The Joker” is 14-3. He knew that to beat Federer and Nadal, he’d have to get better across the board – as he mentioned in his post-Wimbledon interview:

“Iron sharpens iron” is the old adage. Kudos to Novak for sharpening his sword – not just physically, but mentally and tactically as well. That’s what makes a true champion.

(from this article in Forbes)

It’s also worth noting that Djokovic is the only man ever to win every Grand Slam at least twice. And he’s 27-23 all-time against Federer and 30-28 against Nadal. And back in March, he also passed Federer’s record of most weeks at No. 1 with 311.

Tennis is a young person’s sport, and Djokovic is 34. Father Time catches up with everyone eventually. But here’s hoping The Joker has a few more tricks up his sleeve.

Whatever floats your boat… or paddleboard

Six summers ago, I agonized over spending my hard-earned American dollars on an inflatable paddleboard.

I mean, c’mon, it’s filled with air. How sturdy and durable can it be? I may as well get one of those cheap pool toys.

Eat your heart out, Matt Dillon – I’m the new Flamingo Kid

In hindsight, it’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent, even though I only use the paddleboard for one week a year, and I rarely use it as a paddleboard. I take it along on our annual summer trip to the beach. It’s way easier to transport than a regular paddleboard or kayak. And I bought a kayak seat that attaches to the paddleboard and use it every morning to do some kayaking on the ocean (bay, actually).

That hour-plus on the water every morning is so peaceful, so relaxing… and a pretty darn good workout too.

I was focused on price, when I should have been focused on value. The money I spent was a pittance compared to the priceless enjoyment I’ve gotten out of it. The paddleboard maybe filled with air, but it’s been worth its weight in gold.

Rocking the Vote Boat

Take a gander at the map for Ohio US District 1:

An example of gerrymandering at its finest. Courtesy of the Republican party. Because if you can’t win fair and square, you have to try to win unfair and trapezoid… or rhombus… or whatever shape will give you the edge. But sometimes gerrymandering isn’t enough, and you have to resort to voter suppression.

Source: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/research-reports/voting-laws-roundup-may-2021

This paragraph from an editorial in — of all places — a music magazine, really sums it up nicely:

Having lost the Presidency, the House, and the Senate over four years by margins so wide that Democrats were able to overcome the structural bias, Republicans have not responded as Democrats did, by trying to expand the elctorate, or convincing the existing one that their own policies and platforms merit a change. The entire story of 2021 so far has been Biden and his party trying to govern, at least trying to tackle dire emergencies it inherited , largely from four year of Republican inaction, incompetence, or inadequate response — a pandemic, economic devastation, worsening inequality, alarming climate change, decayed bureaucracy, etc., etc. — while the Republican party has spent all its time tackling the problem of… too many people voting.

The Big Takeover, Issue #88

The best response is to A. fight these voter suppression laws and B. vote, no matter the extra hurdles. (Easier said than done, I realize, when you are elderly and/or handicapped and the only mail ballot drop box is miles away. )

Here’s more from The Big Takeover editorial (bold emphasis mine):

But the ultimate effects of all this suppression and a fresh round of gerrymandering this spring won’t be seen until the next round of elections. Over the next two years, Democrats and others who believe in democracy had better stay vigilant, instead of making the classic midterm mistake that all is OK if their side won and is now in office. Memories fade, and the Capitol riot will too, especially if half of us insist upon it. But the effort to defend democracy against a party that has largely lost faith in it, will be as much the most important long-term effort we engage in alongside climate change mitigation and getting out of the pandemic alive. A responsible, accountable right of center party is crucial to our politics. But until the G.O.P. pays a steep enough electoral price for its big lies and continual partisan sabotage, it will never reform itself from within.

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