How Many People?

The “balance of nature” has become an abstract concept in terms of our place in the puzzle. A industrialized world which tends to remove humanity from the equation – “nature” becoming the realm of plants and animals,  beyond our lofty”king of the hill” mentality. All too easy to forget mankind plays a pivotal position in Earth’s balance.

Prior to mechanized farming and medical advances such as immunization – world population chugged along at a manageable pace. Somewhere between one and two billion people until the mid 17th, early 18th century when food production tripled along with the number of mouths to feed. From a billion or so in 1850, two billion by 1930, to over seven billion today – taking a moment to ponder our planets’ breaking point is a sobering thought.

Water is a finite resource – as with fossil fuels, we can’t manufacture it. Over a billion people on Earth have limited access to fresh water. China, India, the Middle East, California – all face epic water shortages. Available land for farming has reached critical mass – there simply isn’t any more, and what we do have is stretched to a breaking point by over-use and water shortages.

When China introduced the “one child” policy in 1979 I thought of it as totalitarian meddling – reproductive legislation, yet another blight on an already oppressed country. Impossible to fathom public outcry if western politicians dared hint at such a travesty of human rights.

Like it or not, we all need to ponder how much our planet can sustain. By 2050 our population is projected to top 10 billion. I don’t know what the answer is. Are we willing to play golf on artificial grass, turn off the fountains in Las Vegas, collect rain water for our yards, flush the toilet after every third use, and learn to live with dirty cars? Would we be willing to settle for our “share” of available water in exchange for restoring the balance of nature.

Ponder the balance of nature and ask yourself – how many people can the Earth support? Nature’s balance depends on the answer.


180 Million Years

In the grand scheme of planetary history, 180 million years doesn’t seem that long. The “big bang” happened sometime between 12 and 14 billion years ago. Between 4 and 500 million years, fungus and plants appeared. Amphibians and reptiles emerged , leading up to the age of dinosaurs at roughly 200 million years ago.

Now ponder this snippet – it wasn’t until 180 million years that species sex was determined by an X or Y chromosome. Not possible you say? How could all those species manage without sexual determination at conception?

Even today many reptiles become male or female based on the temperature of incubation. Alligators whose eggs incubate at 30 degrees Celsius become female, incubation at 33 degrees produce males and temperatures falling in between produce some of each.

Henrik Kaessmann of the Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics published his findings in the journal Nature – tissue samples from mammals, marsupials, and egg laying mammals were studied. They compared genetic sequences of male and females, working backwards as they eliminated similarities. Keeping only sequences corresponding to the Y chromosome. I won’t even pretend truly understanding the science, but will say it’s mind boggling to ponder all those early creatures dependent on temperature for gender.

A Gentle Reminder

I posted this video last year . Putting it up again is for my benefit above anything else. A gentle reminder that blowing off steam is one thing – being a schmuck about it is another. Passing judgement, pointing fingers, unleashing venomous rants – make us no better than those in our cross hairs. Loosing my mind over bat shit nonsense may come from a place of decent intent yet come across as a deprecating sermon.

Mud slinging serves no purpose – becoming a better person might be the answer. Pondering middle ground – a place to retreat, regroup and move forward – strikes me as constructive. It’s so easy to puff ourselves up with ideologic hot hair – gentle reminders are often all it takes to reset our focus.

Why the Tea Party is Un-American

My apologies to the Tea Party. Being the one to break bad news is never easy – I’m prepared to ride out your onslaught of denial and bargaining, hoping you find the strength needed to reach acceptance. I’m certain you mean well and know you love your country. Your destructive actions stem from insulated thinking rather than malicious scheming. Your literal interpretation of America as it should be – a product of religious, geographic and economic factors beyond your control.

Lets take a peak at your core “values”, your mission to save America for Americans.

What is an American? Who are “we the people”? Would it be fair to say “the people” arrived on your shores as immigrants in search of “freedom”? Freedom from religious oppression, refugees in search of a better life, opportunists in search of wealth, people swayed by the promise of land, survivors of war and genocide? You do realize the “people” includes African Americans deposited on your shores by slave ships – human fodder whose broken backs built your economic power? America was founded on freedom for all these people – a constitutional right to freely practice ANY religion, the core belief church and state remain separate.

A true “patriot”, a person dedicated to the preservation of America would embrace all citizens – faith or lack of – secondary to the principles of freedom. A true patriot wouldn’t demand the ten commandments be posted in schoolrooms, toss a fit when Obama neglected to mention “God” in a speech, throw tantrums over gay soldiers being treated with dignity or whine because abortion is legal.

You’ve made it abundantly clear – the Tea Party is a Christian movement dedicated to “family values”. I’m sorry Tea Party – “family values” upheld by your members is an un-American attempt to divide the country along religious lines. There’s nothing patriotic about it. You champion tax reform, as in limiting the power of government to collect them, salivate and high five each other when hard asses like Cliven Bundy of Nevada stages an armed stand off with federal officers over unpaid grazing fees, and erupt with delusional mirth every time bat shit talking heads at Fox News champion your misguided agenda.

Wake up tea Party patriots – stop with the “grassroots” movement nonsense, it’s embarrassing. Knock yourselves out – love America, love God, go to church, teach your kids prejudice, hatred and paranoia. Arm yourselves with semi-automatic weapons, thumb your noses at the courts, spread hysteria over the evils of non Christians, undermine government attempts to narrow social divides, stick pins in an effigy of Obama – you have the right as an American. All I ask is that you accept the fact you’re destroying America. There’s nothing patriotic about your tiresome ruse – have the balls to come clean. Grow up and admit you want an America under God – your God.

Open your minds long enough for the light of your un-American shenanigans to penetrate  unpatriotic brains. America is far from perfect – you have that right but for all the wrong reasons. Your government is bloated, political system practically ineffective, special interest groups out of control, infrastructure and education on the brink of collapse and a cult of dangerous spin doctors fanning the flames. Your actions hasten the demise of a country you claim to “protect”. God is your business, not America’s problem.

Clumsy Notes

Clumsy Notes

My clumsiness used to be mildly amusing – mishaps met with inevitability rather than surprise. Naturally mine was the car drunk drivers demolished. Who else could give themselves a black eye opening a door, break their toe going to the bathroom in the middle of the night or fall in a hole while walking across a field? Rest assured – walking with me is safe, I’ll take misfortune on  the chin so you can breathe easy.

Good natured laughter came easy for a while. Comments like “you have to be more careful” or ” Geez” never offended – they were bang on, I would have laughed and shaken my head, every bit in disbelief if it were another clumsy sod instead of myself.  My list of injury,mishap, folly and circumstance stretch back so far they’ve become comedy sketches. Those who know me aren’t being unkind – I get it, I’m a klutz.

Years of “bouncing back” from injury have given way to the stark reality of middle age. Shaking it off with a chorus of “I’m a dumb-ass”, no longer a match for the reality of “I’m not as young as I used to be”.

A few days ago I was walking with my husband to the grocery store. One second we’re talking – the next I’m hard on the ground – no warning, no chance to anticipate or prepare. Long story short – I knew my arm wasn’t right and went to the emergency room today. Four hours later I walked out with this “half cast” on my arm and an appointment to see a bone specialist on Thursday.

Clumsiness isn’t funny anymore – I’m getting to old for this crap and really have to start being more careful.


32 Years

April 21, 1982 was a Wednesday – my husband and I stood before a Justice of the Peace in a chapel on the Las Vegas strip. We hadn’t planned to be there, hadn’t talked about a Vegas wedding or announced our intention. The previous day had started as any other, by evening we were on a plane to Vegas. A wedding band purchased at a shop in Caesar’s Palace, $35 for a license at the court house, a few cruises of the strip before settling on one of the all night chapels – we were married.

No wedding dress, flowers, photographs, first dance or cake – never important, never missed and never regretted.

If we’re lucky enough to find that one person; the person destined to nurture without coddling, listen without judgement, hear our darkest secrets without bolting, smile fondly in understanding of our frailties, give us as much rope as we need but never enough to hang ourselves, and call bullshit when necessary – nothing else matters.

Thirty two years ago I became whole, living life as intended with the one person capable of making it complete. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or if one of us stumbles and falls – we have each other and nothing can take that away.