Tag Archives: Environment

The View from Below

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I shoveled the dock steps the other day.  This was part of my latest health initiative, with the purpose of swimming in the river.

Now, most people don’t have a dock or concrete steps to a polluted river where they can swim.  Most people haven’t grown up on said river and watched it change gradually over the past 60 or so years.  It is a blessing and a curse.

While doing this mundane labor, which with clean-up took about two hours, I had time to ponder many worldwide concerns.  First, I listened to the constant buzz of helicopters at Hunter Army Airfield, only a couple of miles–as the helicopter flies–from my house.  There were also military aircraft flying overhead, as I live only 28 degrees off Hunter’s flight paths, and those planes fly low, low, low over my head. This reminded me that the US is engaged in perpetual wars, and I live in a war zone, what with the strong military presence loud, clear, and constant.

Next, I thought about the Clean Water Act of 1972, when the Army Corps of Engineers got jurisdiction over all “wetlands” including the “hydrophytic” marsh that surrounds my small spit of land.  I wondered if the AC of E would fine me for taking mud off the steps and depositing it in the center of my land, which is mine but not mine in that I pay property taxes but can’t modify it.  This spit of land has been sliding into the river for years and now becomes flooded in spring and fall tides.  The channels in the area are also filling in, because no one dredges them anymore, even though the drainage ditches are perpetually clogged and contribute to frequent, severe flooding in Savannah.

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The local movers and shakers would prefer to dump poisonous malathion by helicopter on the entire ecosystem than drain the bogs where mosquitoes breed. That the Army Corps of Engineers pays Chatham County to control mosquitoes, yet operates the largest mosquito habitat in two states does not seem important to anyone but me.  That the dredge material from current harbor deepening project will increase the mosquito habitat at this international port presents no red flags to those who are developing vaccines for mosquito-borne disease but are blithely nonchalant about the cushy habitat they are creating.

This brings me home to the polluted river, which still has fish and shrimp, but not as many as in my childhood.  I figure if fish can swim in it, so can I.  I’ve been stomping around, crabbing, shrimping, boating, water skiing, and swimming in that water since I can remember, so know it well.  While shoveling, I thought about “climate change,” and the claim that the oceans are rising.  I also remembered reading about how land is washing into the oceans and wondered if the oceanic rise is relative to the land’s sinking, in a leveling out that would lead to the oceans’ getting shallower. Shallow water heats more quickly than deep water, as any swimmer knows, and holds more heat, so this could explain some of the climatic changes.

So then I thought about President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord and wondered whether it makes any difference in the long run.  I’ve never been a fan of government solutions to government-supported problems, like the fact that deforestation is a major contributor to climate change.  I don’t believe in paying corporations not to cut trees (as in “carbon credits”) and would prefer instead to reduce demand for paper, like junk mail and single-use packaging.  International Paper, the owner of primo rain forest in South America, and a huge polluter of the Savannah River and air, does not recycle paper.

That got me to thinking about the enormous amount of methane produced by the marsh, the fact that methane and natural gas are the same thing, and that Germany is the world’s leader in recycling (70%).  In addition, Germany has to import garbage to fuel its waste-to-energy plants that provide so much of its heat and electricity. There is also new technology to capture methane produced by landfill, but the US lags behind places like China in its adoption of these promising technologies.  No wonder Angela Merkel was frustrated by Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord. Germany is the world leader in sustainability, and should be so acknowledged.

So, Donald Trump may believe coal gives the US a financial advantage, but this is short-sighted.  Apparently China is the largest purchaser of US coal exports, but China built 431 waste-to-energy plants in 2016, so it may not need our coal much longer.  With the reduced cost of solar, India is also going greener.  China is the biggest carbon-emission nation in the world, and the US is second.  Russia is third, and India fourth, according to Google 2011 data.  Americans probably generate the most waste, though, 4.5 pounds of garbage per person per day, and recycling has decreased, now down to about 30 percent.

So, while I solved my personal problem of how to swim without getting mud between my toes and oyster shell cuts on my feet, I also solved a lot of world problems, and I never had to leave home.

 

 

 

 

I Couldn’t Make This Up: 2007

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Ten years ago this month I was working a short-term contract as a psychiatrist in a public mental health outpatient clinic.  At I was considering allowing my medical and DEA licenses to expire, simply because I felt like a hypocrite.  I entered psychiatry to set people free, not to enslave them to diagnoses and drugs, government and insurance, for the rest of their lives.

DEPRESSED ECONOMY

Sunday, April 1, 2007 – Driving around Columbus, GA shows how depressed the economy is.  It smacks of military people borrowing against an uncertain future. Independent businesses are so rare as to be non-existent. Otherwise, Columbus is clunking along on pawn and title pawn shops, government buildings, banks, insurance companies, and a variety of businesses dedicated to selling and maintaining vehicles and vehicle parts.  There is so much run down and empty commercial space – and the place looks generally devoid of life – that the only activity shows at the multiple traffic lights, where large trucks, vans, SUV’s and old clunkers congregate as if at a business meeting.

PET FOOD SCARE

Tuesday, April 3, 2007 – The pet food scare widens, and it appears the economic hit is on China’s wheat gluten.  I’m more convinced than ever that the thugs at DHS, CIA, FDA, CDC, or DEA are behind it, and they all answer to Bush and Cheney, the sadomasochistic side show in the world-wide butt fuck.

I believe the goons at DHS have made their point.  Melamine is a plastic, used in McDonalds’ forks, hahahaha, and the latest bullet in the war on pets, but the repercussions in the plastics industry should be interesting.  I’ve wondered about the buildup of plastic breakdown products in the environment, and the toxins they release.  Animals would be the most susceptible, of course.

No one has proved the wheat gluten is the cause.  No one has even proved what the toxic agent is.  The “scientists” are disagreeing with each other, thus to obscure the real issue (in my view) that this was inside sabotage by someone who had access to aminopterin, which was proven in the DHS-funded lab at Cornell, created for the purpose of protecting US tax revenues from foreign threats.

The media arm of the Police State blithely ignores the obvious, so eager is it to cozy up to the perpetrators.  I’ve noticed AP is particularly reprehensible along these lines.  No wonder it hides behind its image.  It took some research to discover where their corporate offices are.

FEAR

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – The vague cloud of fear that hovers over me surrounds the planet, I suspect, and I am less afraid than most.  Unseen enemies are those who are reacting to their own fears, and I have to dance lightly to stay out of their way.  I try not to take insults personally, even if they are meant that way.  I get strong reactions from people, as on the ESLR message board, when I assess the state of the “economy.”  I don’t pander to the Wall Street-generated hype meant to reassure people of economic growth, despite evidence.  It’s a pack of lies and deserves to be so-called, because people aren’t as gullible as they once were, especially as they feel the “economic growth” like a cancer in their personal lives.

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Corn, Cochran, GA Supposedly 80% of corn sold in the United States is already genetically modified. It’s too late to label GM products.

CORN AND ETHANOL

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – How much time does it take to grow an acre of corn, convert it to ethanol and burn it?  Has anyone calculated the cost of energy, soil depletion, and water for the process?

The environmental groups are quiet on this one, and so are the Agriculture Department, the economists, farmers, American Solar Energy Society, and scientists.  Isn’t anyone even curious?  Congress hasn’t asked, Bush certainly doesn’t want to know, and once again, I am the lone voice asking questions that should have been asked a long time ago, before the legislation, before the factories were built, before the farmers were seduced into following this government-created fad.

COLUMBUS, GA NOISE POLLUTION:  LOCUM TENENS ASSIGNMENT

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 – The noise makes constant assaults on my senses, and I’m afraid  I will explode from repressed fury.  The airplanes have been droning–along with machines, traffic, and sirens–but mostly constant airplanes since I got home to the camper, exhausted from a relentless day, seeking a little peace, not to be had here, where the very earth is vibrating from the din.

I, for one, will be glad if I live to see the world run out of oil.

Now, the train.  The trucks on the highways.  The last airplane is gone, finally.  Was air traffic stacked up over the airport?  The train whistle is constant.  Everybody is in a dizzy tizzy today, all except the one bird I hear twittering, and my cat, who is as serene as a placid pool, asleep.

That train has been whistling for five minutes.  Motorcycles, more trucks.  If I were home and could do it, I’d let out a primal scream by now, so furious am I.  A horn.  another motorcycle.  I can still hear the train.  More traffic.

I turn on music and dance awhile, as I encourage patients to do.  It helps my attitude a little.

Train still blowing the whistle – seven minutes or so.  Constant.

The work turns me into a zombie prescription writing machine.  In W’s office, where I work on the adult side, the computer is also loud, so I listen to that all day and wonder if that contributes to my headaches.  Or maybe it’s the coffee they have there, the creamer, the stress.

I just got up and closed the windows.  It helps a little, but my head is vibrating still.  I can feel it like a saw grinding though my skull.

I turn on the fan, now that the windows are closed.  I can still hear the traffic noise outside, even though the fan is only two feet away from my head and has its own noise.

How loud must it get before people wake up?  Now I know why people go deaf.  Not that it would protect anyone here, because the vibrations penetrate all walls, all protections.  You can hear it over the music, over the fan, over the air conditioning.  It rattles the ground, shakes the camper.  I might as well be in the center of a war, except this is a war on nerves, as in the nerve of them.  There is no defense against sound, except to leave or bury my head in  . . . what?  The earth transmits it, too.

You get what you focus on, says Seth, but how can I think of anything else?

Winston Smith, in George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984, had a horror of rats gnawing his face, so those who would convert him used rats in cages over his face, as I recall.  For me, relentless machine noise is the torture I most fear, but I am already being tortured, and my head hurts, and I think I will have a stroke or heart attack, and soon, if I don’t escape this hell hole in a healthier way.

 

USPS REORGANIZATION

Friday, April 13, 2007 – I discovered Richard Nixon re-organized the Postal Service in 1971, giving it over to a Board of Governors, and removing the Postmaster General from the Cabinet.  You don’t hear much about the Postmaster General or the Board of Governors, but the USPS affects every area of our lives.

Who exactly owns the USPS, which is so heavily saturated with garbage mail it can’t deliver a first class letter without losing it in the junk?  Why am I subsidizing these assaults on my money, attention, and all the trees on the planet?  I pay yet again for the destruction to the environment.  And these government goons are blaming taxpayers for global warming?  They are burning resources just as fast as they can get away with it, and their solution is to do more of the same?

Not at my expense, folks,  Use your own money to play stupid, because I don’t run my life that way.  Double rates on all sneaky mail (that is, all mail with rates they don’t want you to know).  How’s about publish ALL the rates everyone has to pay, like the slick paper flyers and unwanted medical journals, CME offerings, school and university solicitations, magazines, newspapers, non-profits, campaigners, sales pitches, fundraisers.  If they didn’t spend so much money on self-congratulatory propaganda, perhaps they could afford to do some good.  What exactly is pre-sorted first class?

MONEY MANAGEMENT

Saturday, April 14, 2007 – Money management is about keeping my money.  The more money I keep, the more money I save.

 

 

 

 

 

GOD HELPS EVE BAKE APPLE PIE

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My back yard, Chatham County, Georgia.  Fig tree in winter.  Foggy day.  Live oak background.  Sago palm lower left.  Windmill palms lower center and right. Spanish moss on live oak, Georgia’s state tree. kco122716

From my journal, ten years ago today,Wednesday, December 27, 2006
(Why every would-be communicator should vent on paper)

            God:  I sure would love a piece of apple pie along about now.

            Eve:  What’s apple pie?

God:  Boy, are you dumb.  Apple pie is what you do if you want to earn your keep in the Garden of Eden.  This place requires upkeep, or haven’t you noticed?

Eve:  Okay.  I’m game.  Tell me what to do, and I’ll try to do it.

God:  Attagirl.  Now, go pick a bunch of apples.

Eve:  Oh, no you don’t.  I’m not falling for that trick again.  Picking those apples got Adam and me in a heap of trouble, remember?

God:  That was because I told you not to pick the apples.  Now, I’m telling you to pick some apples.  Times have changed.  Trust me.  I know what I’m doing.

Eve:  Well, OK, if you say so.

Eve picks some apples and follows directions for making apple pie.  First, she has to invent knives, baking pans, flour, sugar, an oven, and the other tools of apple pie construction. God looks on, giving helpful advice.  Adam has invented television and is busy watching sports.

Eve:  What spices should I use?

God cogitates.   God:  I like sage.

Eve:  OK.  Which one of these plants is sage?

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*

God:  It’s over there.  No, not there.  Over there.  Another step.  OK. Now lean over. Now touch it.  No! Not that one.  That’s the poison ivy.

Eve:  What’s poison ivy?

God:  You’ll see.  Just don’t scratch your hand.

Eve starts to itch.  She tries not to scratch.  The itch gets worse.

Eve:  Why not?

God:  Just don’t.

Eve:  I thought I was supposed to have free will.

God:  Fine.  Disobey me and see what happens.

Eve:  Got a better idea?

God:  Wash it off.

Eve:  With what?

God:  Soap.  Calamine lotion.

Eve:  What are they?

God:  You have to invent them.

Eve:  But my hand is itching now.
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*Sage, a perennial, by itself and with other herbs, here  monitored by the Squire-wire, aka S. Squire Rooster, Attorney for the Law of the Land .  Herbs pictured here, clockwise from lower left:  chives (perennial), sage, parsley (biennial), basil and purple basil (annual). Stevia, a perennial, is on edge of deck, flanked by milo plants (look like corn), grown wild from spilled chicken food.  Chickens love the green milo seeds.  Stevia, the natural sweetener now approved by the FDA for inclusion in soft drinks like Coca-cola and Pepsi, is easy easy easy to grow.  I combine stevia with chocolate mint and dry them together for great winter tea.  In the summer they make delicious iced tea, with no calories or caffeine.  kco122716

 

Packaging

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Has anyone considered the carbon footprint (and excessive waste) of all this single use packaging?  Whatever that fluorescent light bulb saves in end-of-line energy use is used up front in excessive packaging.  Why has Congress outlawed incandescent light bulbs?  Because if people had a choice, they would buy them.  Deprived of choice, people are forced to buy the patented technology or go back to using candles.

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The Cosmic Commune

Intellectual property of
katharineotto
* independent country of one  *
$ world’s only free market capitalist  $
(Updated, March, 2016)

The COSMIC IMPROV GROUP (CIG) lives in the COSMIC COMMUNE, which exists outside time and space but contains it all.  In the Cosmic Commune, everything is free, and money doesn’t exist. People and other life forms work because they like it.  Inhabitants of the Cosmic Commune come and go at will, catching my attention or imagination on the fly.  A few members offer their perspectives below:

coscomchar0316COCKROACH THINKING – Friday, January 12, 2007 – I feel like a cosmic secretary, the writer who is busy transcribing the Cosmic Improv Group’s take on humanity, like a cockroach, with antennae ever quivering, wanting nothing other than to feed off debris and live in peace, like it was before God decided we weren’t entertaining enough by ourselves.
So She invented people a couple of minutes ago – by the way cockroaches measure time. People have this attitude that they are better than cockroaches, so they poison themselves thinking they’re beating back the insects, not realizing they are indirectly increasing insect food supply.
Do I claim special powers for reading an insect’s mind, or the mass mind of the insect population?
No. I claim common sense. Who is most susceptible to these poisons – especially in the long term? If you poison the ecosystem from the ground up, you will suffer a slow, agonizing, death.

COMMUNISTIC CAPITALISM – Sunday, February 11, 2007 – I am the ultimate communist in the communal sense, a true capitalist, in the individual one. Shared resources go further and spread responsibility. Private resources, earned and maintained, grow in direct proportion to the individual’s personal investment.
Capitalists with a communistic spirit understand voluntary community involvement keeps taxes low and government within boundaries. In true communistic capitalism, public and private balance out such that each supports the other without taxing anyone unfairly.

fungusdb0107DEAD BODY FUNGUS
Friday, January 19, 2007 – Day before yesterday, just before it rained, I took pictures and dug up some extraterrestrial-looking fungi that smelled like decomposing flesh.     Hauled in with some of the wood chips from a tree trimming job, these loopy cage-like structures were up to 10 cm (four inches) high.
The four orange arms were spongy and fell apart to the touch. They were joined at the top to house an inner sanctum of oozy black and white jelly.
They smelled like dead animals rotting. The stench carries a long way, so it took awhile to find the source. I dug up about 25 liters (seven gallons) of the things, along with their unhatched, subterranean eggs. Yes, their unsprouted pods look like soft, mushy eggs, gel-like, maybe a turtle’s egg. They were repulsive, though interesting. I dumped them in the river, vaguely wondering if I were poisoning it.
I looked for references in various books but saw nothing like them. I wondered if they are mutants. They are the same color as the plastic tree marker tags used in timbering. (Later found them in the National Audobon Society’s Field Guide to Mushrooms. They are “Columned Stinkhorns, “Clathrus columnatus”.)
Maybe they are derived from plastic breakdown products, think I. Maybe all these plastic breakdown products and other environmental toxins have created a food supply for mutant life forms and works of art like this. Born of landfill, looks like landfill, smells like landfill, feeds off landfill?
In our minute human existence, as science explains it, and our dominant role, as religion explains it, we have only lasted longer than the mutant life forms we are creating. Does this mean we are the culmination of life, God’s glowing masterpiece, her raison d’etre, her creative life work?
If so, God is suicidal. The poisons accumulating in the air, water, and earth provide a much greater threat than the so-called “greenhouse gases,” the hot air exhaled and farted out by political scientists.

LIZARDO – Saturday, January 6, 2007 – A young lizard, only about 10 cm long, has showed himself on my deck railing over the past few months. Lizardo just greeted me briefly and now has disappeared vertically.
Lizards take crawling on vertical planes for granted, as if it were normal. There he is again, facing downward about a meter, with no apparent fear of falling ten times the distance of his length. For a human, this would be fatal, or at least damaging, but not for a lizard.
So what’s so smart about human beings if they can’t do things that are easy for lizards and birds? Humans probably learned from birds that flying is possible. And insects. And they learned from fish, maybe, that you can swim.

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WIND AND THE COSMIC IMPROV GROUP – Thursday, February 1, 2007 – The wind has started, signifying qi movement, unblocking my imagination. It makes me jittery and insecure, unsure where the wind will take me.
The Cosmic Improv Group speaks through the wind. “Relax,” it whispers. “The qi is restless and moving. You are being swept in the winds of the moment, and you need do nothing except allow yourself to flow with it. You are fine, but for your own uneasiness. We will not allow you to fail.”
Wanna bet? is my first thought. We’ll see about that.
This gives everyone a chuckle.
“This isn’t about you,” says the ever-so-practical CIG. “This is about the larger plan. No matter what you do, you are part of it. How you do it is up to you.”
I’ve been thinking of the peace the Americas knew before the Europeans arrived. The North American Indians touched the soil lightly, leaving few traces. They left fewer monuments behind, perhaps a sign of the greater tribute they paid to nature. The Europeans thought them savages, yet history has proved the opposite. The most peaceful and honest people are the most gullible, so are easily tricked and exploited.
I don’t know why. Because it appears to work, from the warring and slaving point of view? The bullies and cons who believe they win by treating others so cruelly? Reading Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, and Cuba:  A New History have deepened my questions and profoundly disturbed my beliefs about religion and the atrocities committed in its name.
The promises of later rewards prevent balancing today’s books, but the accumulated debt from centuries of religious persecution weighs heavily now.
Do people get their just deserts when they pass on? What might those be?
This is a non-issue for me. Behavior in the present predicts future behavior, unless something changes it. If you don’t practice your beliefs in the present, how can you know what you truly believe?

UNIFIED FIELD THEORY – Tuesday, February 13, 2007 – The dark, plutonian forces are mere pawns in my hands, in the strategy of life.
Why? I believe in qi, that’s why. Life force, the great, universal energy field that Einstein couldn’t fathom, because he took life for granted.
The great organizing energy force – life – defies entropy, the second law of thermodynamics. Modern science assumes that matter and consciousness are separate, merely because man does not speak the language of matter, or of animals, or of other manifestations of the divine.
To assume that consciousness is based on size or presumed status in the cosmos is merely man’s hubris at work. The Cosmos will live on; man has a choice.

INTERNET – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – The internet may be the most freeing concept to come along in quite a while, maybe leading to a real democracy. I believe this is the secret fear of the control freaks, who are terrified of the technology that has grown beyond their control. Poor Bill Gates.
I am a witch doctor, self-immolating at the stake, lighting my own fire, using the rubbish under my feet to fuel a revolution in consciousness that proves victory over death.
Let’s all burn together, shall we? If I go up in flames, I’ll take you with me, and we’ll see how you flare in the great beyond. It’s not so bad, once you rise above the smoke and ashes.
If my job in life is to wake people up, as it seems to be, I will use the tools at my disposal to accomplish the task.  By pondering later, and by writing in my journal, I reinforce the lessons learned in day-to-day routine. Those with high emotional valence hover in my aura, and I use the energy to reinforce the message on etheric planes.
Since science refuses to recognize the validity of this technique, it puts me at an advantage, and I can communicate with higher selves beyond limiting beliefs. Thus do I communicate with the higher selves of people whose lower selves dominate the daily news.
We all are good guys, according to Seth (of Jane Roberts’ “Seth” series), and I believe it. I always have felt kindly towards mankind, who is doing the best he can, despite appearances. Seth simply reinforces my inner knowing. It’s hard to find people, these days, who admit to man’s good intent. The “us vs. them” mentality predominates. The nation’s spokespeople talk about conflict versus compromise, but nobody mentions cooperation.

 

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TV AND LOUD BAD MUSIC  – Monday, March 26, 2007 – I spoke with the cashier at Piggly Wiggly, and asked if anyone complains about the loud bad music and insulting ads for the Pig. No, she says. Is it too loud?
I’m leaving, I say, but you have to listen to it all day. I mention TV as mind pollution that manipulates people by their fears and insecurities. I don’t have a television, I say. I’m a reader. She seems amazed I don’t have a TV.
Smart lady, she comments, when I say I read. Trying to get smarter every day, I reply, or so I remember it.
Karl Marx said religion is the opiate of the masses. Now TV is the opiate, and people are dulled by it into a stupor of style over substance that blocks inner wisdom.

LIFE PHILOSOPHY – Sunday, June 10, 2007 – How have things come so far? I wonder at the progression through the centuries of virtues gone sour. Literature reeks of the lonely and bored, the violent, thieving, misguided, downtrodden. Even the moneyed are miserable. Happiness is illusion, and those who get a glimpse of it are quickly punished.
How strange, think I. Everyone uses the right words, and for a long time, I believed them. I have taken lots of heat for my unwillingness to compromise on principle. It makes me suspect and dangerous, a threat to be ignored when possible, trounced when necessary. People treat me with studied indifference, if they notice at all.
I try to reconcile my observations with Seth’s teachings. He speaks my beliefs and carries them further, a refreshing oasis in the emotional desert that my life has become.
You create your own reality, he says, and the universe is cooperative. Humanity has a spiritual problem, he says.
We are burning in the fires of hell, I claim, resigned to the idea that it will only get worse, thus creating the future we fear, so invested are we in being right. I feel like an alien among humans, more attuned to the animals and plants than people.
Animal wisdom consists of the innocent amorality man has forgotten. Man funnels god through religion, not recognizing true religion is merely applied common sense. People are more likely to be nice to you if you are nice to them, honest if you are honest, kind if you are kind. At least that’s the theory, but lately I’ve doubted that. Lately, it seems these are invitations for abuse, and it has made me insecure and afraid. Thus am I becoming more withdrawn, self-contained, and reclusive.
The Cosmic Improv Group tells me it’s okay. It provides balance, an opportunity to recharge my spiritual batteries, by giving of myself where it’s appreciated, watering plants, feeding birds, hugging my cat.

BUBBLES GO UP – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – Seth makes an interesting comment about belief systems involving the sexes. He says women represent humanity’s creative, intuitive side. I believe this is the message of the Garden of Eden story: humanity’s awareness of itself and its creative ability. The fear of consciousness has led people to sap women’s strength through childbirth.
And along comes lil ole me. If you think a man is going to save you from yourselves, ladies, you have another think coming. Look at what men have done so far, and tell me if you want more of the same.
Don’t blame the men, because mothers raised them to disrespect women. No one is exempt from the groupthink, the mindless polarization that has tilted the planet so far off balance.
Edgar Cayce referred to a polar axis shift, a reversal of north to south, perhaps, but it’s not clear. What would that mean, if the lines of magnetic force were reversed? Would it turn our thinking upside down? We do have iron in our red blood cells, after all.
If the magnetic poles were reversed, who would know it first? Maybe this is why highway signs and directions are so confused. Nobody knows which way is up.
Like being in deep water, you only know by watching the bubbles.

budsleep0395BUD THE AWAKENER – Wednesday, July 4, 2007 – I sometimes fantasize that I am destined to be The Awakener. Pretty funny, that, as I sit eating chocolate chips and walnuts, drinking coffee, writing whatever comes to mind.
Hahahahaha, think I. What a joke. Me the Awakener? My cat, maybe. He wakes me up, did this morning. Then he goes back to sleep and sleeps all day.
The Awakener by delegated authority? “You do it,” he implies by his attitude. “I’ll lie here on the ledge, semi-conscious, and wish you luck. You’ll need it.”
Little white angel that he is. An angel of punk, pierced ear and all. The punk angel, disguised as a cat, mute, directs by mind melding, without flicking a whisker. Open my window, he says without saying. Feed me. Play with me. Love me. You’re doing better. Keep up the good work. Clean the gunk out of my eyes, but do it gently, or I’ll hurt you.
Even angels in bodies can feel pain, and fear, so don’t rush me. Physical bodies are sensate, better to materialize beliefs and their consequences. Feel your pain. Heal your pain by changing your beliefs, your actions, or both.
Mental and physical pain go together. Anyone who has a neck has a mind-body connection.

 

To Pay the Piper

Highest tide on record, Savannah, GA, October 27, 2015

Highest tide on record, Savannah, GA, October 27, 2015

I need $500 to pay the piper. Literally.  That’s the last of the $3000 bill for replacing my old water pump and clearing a calcium blockage out of the well shaft.

Dropping the new pump into the well. July, 2015

Dropping the new pump into the well. July, 2015

This isn’t just any old well. This well taps into the great Florida aquifer, source of water for South Georgia, Florida, and part of Alabama.  One of the most productive in the world, according to the US Geological Survey.  Its most predominant cations (positively charged ions) are calcium, magnesium, and sodium.  Most common anions (negatively charged ions) are bicarbonate, chloride, and sulfate.  Note these are elements, part of nature’s natural cycle.

When it comes to the Savannah River, we have a different story. The Savannah River floats atop the Florida aquifer, upstream from me. This puts me in direct line of fire should anything go awry with the much touted Savannah Harbor deepening project.

The Savannah River. Hutchinson Island and Convention Center at right.

The Savannah River. Hutchinson Island and Convention Center at right.

The Savannah River has a sordid history. It is rated among the ten most toxic rivers in the country.  It is full of human and industrial waste from the last 280 years.  We have an untold number of rusting and decaying pipelines running under the river, pipes that carry an unreported variety of potentially toxic chemicals. We also have the chemicals, litter, garbage, and human waste dumped along its navigable course, all washed downstream toward the ocean. We have the daily oil leaks and other pollution from the nation’s 4th largest port, exhaust fumes, and all the industrial muck generated by modern civilization.

The Savannah River supplies the city of Savannah’s drinking water. Beneath the industrial pipes and the river-bottom sludge lies the pristine Florida aquifer, source of my drinking water, as well as that of all points south of Savannah. Corporate giant International Paper also gets its water directly from the Florida aquifer, through its eight 6-inch wells.

The current Savannah harbor deepening project was initiated by the Department of Defense d/b/a the Army Corps of Engineers, to expand military capacity in the Southeast. This is not stated outright, but one need only look at the multiplicity of military bases located in the area, and the fact that deployments for our interminable foreign wars fly 200 feet over my house.

The harbor deepening, which has already begun as I write this article, has a few logistical problems ahead. A primary problem is where the Corps is going to dump six feet of river bottom sludge.  The Savannah Harbor is 17 miles inland, and the channel is about 500 feet wide.  There is separate funding for Tybee Beach “re-nourishment,” engineered simultaneously with some harbor deepening money by former US Representative Jack Kingston.

At the same time, retired Corps insiders worry about intrusion into the Florida aquifer, but this is not discussed in public meetings.

The Army Corps of Engineers is also responsible for the largest mosquito nest in two states. This site is the last AC of E dump site for dredged river muck.   This sits on the north side of the Savannah River, where international ships with their passengers and vectors float daily by.  (Point of reference:  The Savannah River was originally 12 feet deep.  It is now 42 feet deep with plans to deepen it to 48 feet.)

Hutchinson Island exit off Hwy. 17

Hutchinson Island exit off Hwy. 17

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the Georgia Ports Authority, the State of Georgia, local government, and the Corps have ganged up in support of the harbor deepening.   SEDA’s home is on Hutchinson Island, an earlier dump site for Savannah River dredging.  Hutchinson Island now boasts a SPLOST-funded convention center and a SPLOST-funded exit off Highway 17, to help bury value in toxic waste.

By further deepening the river and dumping toxic waste from the bottom of the river onto an as-yet-undetermined site, the Corps will further concentrate the toxins above land and breed more mosquitoes, now filled with lead, arsenic, and mercury.

“Yes, but it’s great bird habitat,” says a retired Corps employee.

My point exactly. These mosquitoes are eaten by birds, which are eaten by raccoons, hawks, and other creatures, and up the food chain the toxins go.  Remember that mosquitoes carry disease, like West Nile Virus, and a host of other mosquito-borne illnesses.

The United States Geological Survey has noted effects of metal contaminants in dredge material, including elevated levels of arsenic, copper, mercury, selenium, and zinc in birds and raccoons, as well as “significantly elevated” levels of cadmium, mercury, lead, and selenium in raccoons, with the bioaccumulation in their livers.

And then we have the rats, which carry fleas, eat through walls and wiring, and fill Savannah sewers. Their fleas spread bubonic plague, among other diseases.  Ships bring mosquitoes and rats as a part of their cargo.  There is no human being on the planet as smart as a rat.  If there is food, a rat will find it.  They have fleas to feed.

But this sexagenarian remembers when we still had lightning bugs and could see the north star at night. Over the years, she has observed the drainage ditches clogging, the mosquitoes growing bigger and meaner than ever, the streets flooding, and the rampant public safety hazards on public land.  Streets, sidewalks, curbs, and parking lots are concrete obstacle courses.

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA), the Georgia Ports Authority, Southern Company, International Paper, Imperial Sugar and other mega-corporate air, water, and earth polluters, are fine with poisoning Savannah, since their shareholders live mostly out of town. It appears that since we are busy selling last year’s weapons to our past and future enemies, to stimulate “the economy,” we are heavily invested in suicide.

Local officialdom is all for this. Bureaucrats, who work behind the scenes but who manipulate the publically accountable elected officials, can’t be fired, and their tenures last through many elected mayors and county commissioners.  Bureaucratic pensions and benefits are also invested on Wall Street, the commodities markets, corporate bonds, and treasuries.

But, back to my pump problem . . .

My water pump died at six p.m. on a Friday in July. I saw it coming.  Water pressure dropped too fast, and the old pump was working too hard to re-fill the 120 gallon tank.

Last fall, the last time I needed pump service, Mr. Turner told me it was only a matter of time before I would need a new one. “The old pumps lasted longer,” he said.  “Now you can expect about a 20-year life span.”  He replaced the voltage regulator and used his air compressor to put a head of pressure in the tank.

He’s an octogenarian who has been in the business since the 1940s, along with his 76-year-old brother.   Mr. T. hoped to retire by the end of the year but despaired there was no one he could recommend to replace him.

So when the pump died this time, I tried calling Mr. Turner, but his number had been disconnected. I noticed a small display ad in my old 2011 telephone book yellow pages, for L&S Pump and Well Service.  The “24/7 service” notation jumped off the page.

At 6:30 p.m. on this particular Friday, I called Louis Smith of L&S. He said Mr. Turner had retired two weeks ago.  Louis (Loo-ie) said he would be happy to come to my house immediately, but he would have to leave his granddaughter’s birthday party.

I said my problem can wait until the morning. I have jugs of water stored for emergencies.  What time in the morning can you come?

“I like to sleep late on Saturdays,” says he. “At least until 6:30.”

We agreed to a 7:30 a.m. appointment. He was here by 7:20.  Yes, my pump was dead and needed replacement.  Yes, he would have to roll back the panel on my greenhouse above the well shaft.  Yes, he could do it today, but it would take some doing, as suppliers and crew take weekends off.  Yes it would cost $2000.  He doesn’t usually extend credit, especially to customers he has never met, but I’m land poor, living on Social Security, and can only pay half up front.

So he says he’ll do the job, and I say let’s wait until Monday. Enjoy your weekend.  I know how to make water last.

Typical Chatham County drainage ditch, August, 2015

Typical Chatham County drainage ditch, August, 2015

I also know how to make the most of a difficult situation. I have been particularly interested in water issues lately, everything from the river deepening to the mosquito nest, to Savannah’s clogged drainage ditches, to the nuclear power plants upriver from me.

The Savannah River site, home of an old nuclear bomb factory and nuclear power plants, near Augusta, GA and 100 miles upriver from my well, has been cited as the “most severely radiation-polluted place on Earth,” by brainz.org. There are rumors of tritium and other radioactive isotopes downstream as far as Savannah, but this has not been substantiated.

At the moment, Southern Company is busy building two new nuclear power plants at this site, the first new reactors approved in the United States in over 20 years. We are already paying in taxes and increased utility bills for this, despite the fact that energy usage is going down nationwide.  Southern Company is reporting cost overruns and wants more money.  This is a Fortune 500 company, mind you, that routinely reports huge profits and pays large dividends derived from its double-dip into taxpayer wallets.

Nuclear power plants use enormous amounts of water for cooling, a third of which evaporates, with the remaining heated water discharged back into—in our case—the Savannah River. Raising the temperature of the water unbalances the ecosystem and contributes to further problems with fish and wildlife habitat.

Meanwhile, Atlanta is worried about its drinking water supply. Three states are fighting over water from Lake Lanier, near Atlanta, and the Chattahoochee River that flows out of it.  The state of Georgia is considering piping water upstream from the lower Savannah to supply Atlanta’s future water needs.

Can you find the drainage ditch? It is impassible.

Can you find the drainage ditch? It is impassible.

This validates my assertion that my individual problems are intimately connected to the world’s problems. Rather than clear the drainage ditches, including the one alongside my property, our local government purchases helicopters to dump malathion on our collective heads. The Corps pays local government to provide this overkill and to discharge its responsibility for its mosquito breeding grounds.

Apparently the Corps has forgotten what its own Walter Reed and William Gorgas discovered in the first Panama Canal project in 1900. Attending to drainage and destroying habitat for pests is far more cost effective and gentler on all of us than the pesticides dumped over the entire coast at random.

In an ideal world, common sense exists in the public domain. The drainage method for combating mosquitoes, reducing flooding, and potentially assisting irrigation, discovered by Gorgas and Reed in 1900 and thereabouts, successfully eliminated yellow fever and malaria in this country the first time.

Johnston Street flood. Savannah, GA. June, 1999

Johnston Street flood. Savannah, GA. June, 1999

Besides breeding mosquitoes within Chatham County, the clogged drainage ditches and stagnant water contribute to massive flooding, mold, mildew, and a variety of disease-producing microorganisms. The 12 inches of rain that fell during high tide in 1999 flooded my office on Johnston Street, across Abercorn from 12 Oaks Shopping Center.  The site of the flood is now home to two huge new developments, a Hilton, and some huge monstrosity where Konter Realty used to be.  This will only exacerbate the flooding problems in mid-town Savannah.

Local government, meanwhile, has now extended its water lines into the marshy part of the county where I live, and does whatever it can to discourage private wells. However, considering the high potential of flooding into the county water supply, this taxpayer prefers to keep her private well. Already, 20 years ago, the county was working to ensnare as many taxpayers as possible into dependency on government for water.  Even then the bureaucratic hassle for getting a well permit was a nightmare.

So back to my current saga, which ended with a sigh of relief, but not before we encountered an unanticipated $1000 problem.

Louis, left, and Roy at work. July, 2015

Louis, left, and Roy at work. July, 2015

On Monday, Louis and his helper, Roy, arrived at daylight. The weather was hot and muggy, already 83 degrees.  They worked quickly, unscrewing the fiberglass panel over the well shaft, pulling up the old pump, and putting the new one down.  Water gushed and stopped, gushed and stopped.  This happened repeatedly, at which point Louis finally determined there was a blockage in the shaft.  He rubbed his head and looked serious.

“You might have to get county water, after all,” he said. He added he might be able to clear the blockage, but he would have to find a welder to make a special bit to drill through the deposit, and that it would cost an extra $1000.

Knowing what I know about county government, and knowing it would cost at least that much to run a pipe from the county’s water line, I urged Louis to try to clear the blockage. He left for lunch and to find his welder, and I left for errands, wondering when, if ever, I would have running water again.

By the time I returned from errands, he and Roy had cleared  the well shaft, and water was gushing out of the well. They had removed a calcium deposit at 185 feet in the 300 foot shaft.  The water level was at 57 feet.  He showed me the bit, which was four inches in diameter, with teeth on three rollers that ground down the calcium.

But here’s the real kicker to this story. Louis looked confused when I mentioned his ad in the yellow pages.  It seemed he didn’t know what I was talking about, so I went to look for the ad and couldn’t find it.  I wondered if I had the wrong phone book, checking several pages, over and over, but the ad I so clearly remembered—and used to call him the first time—was not there.  His listing, I discovered, was on an entirely separate page from all the other well drillers and servicers, but there was no ad.   He had told me the phone company had done him dirty, and now I understand what he meant.  Lucky for me—and for him, I suppose, once I pay him off—that the phantom ad brought us together.