25.11.08

*Yawn* Can't Scare Me!


Ha, Reuters! You're too late! Isaac Asimov and Frederick Pohl had me freaking out about the possibility of a massive earthquake occurring in the midwest OVER 20 YEARS AGO. In fact, I was supposed to interview Isaac Asimov before their book Our Angry Earth was published for a college journalism class I was taking, but the interview fell through because he was ill. He died in 1992.

In the book, written in 1991, they warned the three of us who read it about things like global warming and improper farming techniques and the dangers of pumping water from the massive water table located directly above a major MAJOR faultline to supply the fountains and megahotels in the desert. Places like, say, Vegas. Which is in the desert. More recently, I got to view the beautiful lush grass and deep pools of Palm Springs, California. Which is also in the desert. If you like green grass, and you want a nice lawn, (to be said in Sam Kinison voice:) Move to where the WATER IS!!!!!

This book had a profound effect on me. I can't say I can recommend it because it scared the bejeesus out of me. Still does. If one of you had recommended it for my Halloween contest, you woulda won hands down. It scares me because UNSCRUPULOUS people with money who only want to make money and money and more money with no regard for anything else get away with doing a LOT of damage. And money is powerful. What the heck can I do about so much as shutting off the fountain at the Bellagio? You know, the one you can see from the plane as you fly overhead?

NOTHING. I can do NOTHING about it. THAT's why the book scared me so much. I can whimper and shake my fist and worry and care, and point to people who have no money and need water, and think about the damage the unfathomable damage a massive earthquake - that may have been avoided - could do to the midwest, and It. Gets. Me NOWHERE.

It's one thing to feel insignificant in comparison to the universe, but quite another to feel powerless and insignificant in the face of greed on your own pitiful little planet.

The fact that Vegas pretty much doubles in size every few years and continues to find new and stunning ways to waste massive quantities of water while concurrently tampering with the water table above the New Madrid fault sure keeps me cynical. Case and point: I'm doubtful that the human race has the brains to survive for another 100 years. (Pohl and Asimov gave us until about 2050, so I guess I'm an optimist compared to them). The EARTH will survive, certainly, but I dunno about us. Any time I start to believe in the human race because of the philanthropic efforts of wonderful and amazing people, it's offset by some moron with An Idea!!! for a hotel in the middle of the desert. Or an oil drill in Alaska. Or maybe mass-marketing the Hummer. Or nuclear weapons. Or, oh, I don't know, maybe feeding cow parts to cows to save a few bucks on cow food.

Frakk. I really should start meditating on a regular basis again. I'm no use to anyone with this attitude!

I think I'll cheer myself up with fellow cynic Sam Kinison as Professor Turguson in Back to School. Maybe he'll help distract me from how insignificant I am in the great scheme of things for a few minutes.

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