Passionate intensity on climate change

Here’s something that’s been bugging me lately.

One issue that concerns me is man-made climate change. I have my own thoughts on its existence, but I’m not here to debate that right now.

Rather, what I’m curious about is why, exactly, those who aren’t convinced man-made climate change is happening are so goddamned ginned up about it? I can read any article about global warming on any news website and be assured, without even looking, that there will be swarms of the MMCC-unconvinced going on and on in the comments, to the point where it soon crosses the “protests to much, methinks” line.

The only equivalent hot button issue I can think of is abortion (the current astroturfed health care stuff aside). Now, I get where the vehemence comes from on abortion. The passion on both sides makes sense to me. But in my experience on the climate change issue, I’ve seen a lot more vehemence from those who refute man-made climate change than those who are convinced it’s happening.

Anyway, my question is this: what exactly is at stake here? What happens if we take steps to reduce emissions and so forth, even if–for the sake of argument–they’re not responsible for global warming? (more…)

No Comment, Part II

The mainstream media is starting to catch on.

“Got a comment? Keep it to yourself” | The Boston Globe

My favorite passage:

I feel sorry for today’s reporters and columnists, who work hard gathering information dutifully trying to raise the debate on issues or inform the public on a burning topic only to have some agenda-driven bonehead who doesn’t have the courage – or need – to identify himself or herself and isn?t bound by the same ethics or policies tear down the work product the moment it appears.

Well said.

5 reasons I can’t wait to live in a house

1.) More space. Karen and I have been in this two-bedroom apartment for almost four years, and our stuff is stacked to the ceiling now.

2.) Having a yard. On a nice day, my options are staying inside or going for a walk into downtown Brighton. Or driving somewhere nice. I’d love to be able just to go out and sit on a porch or a deck and read.

3.) Getting a dog. No dogs allowed in our apartment.

4.) Packages will actually be delivered, rather than slips being left in our tiny mailbox forcing me to try and fit in a trip to the post office in that single hour before or after work when the PO is open. I don’t know how many times I’ve gotten home around 4:30 (I work 8am-4pm), grabbed the package slip and ran down to the post office only to learn that the carrier hadn’t even brought the package back yet (and of course the post office closes at 5). And don’t even get me started on UPS or Fedex. I had to drive 45 minutes last month to pick up a Fedex package in Wilmington.

5.) Having a washer and dryer that don’t cost $4 per load. After four years, we’ve paid about $2,000 in weekly laundry.

Welcome to my hell

Month may become dimmest on record (Boston Globe)

Contrary to popular belief, hell is not a landscape of red rock with flames flickering here and there, nor is it other people. If, as some theologians conjecture, hell is the worst thing any particular individual can imagine, I’m fairly sure that June 2009 in New England is my own personal hell.

If you receive no more missives from me, it’s likely because I went insane from lack of vitamin D.

Knitting and knitting and knitting

I envy my wife her hobby–knitting. She can knit while watching TV or having a conversation without missing a beat. And she gets something out of it, too–at the end of a four-hour marathon of NCIS, she’s made half a blanket or whatever.

I don’t have a hobby like that. I’ve tried writing while watching TV, but it just doesn’t work–writing requires so much of my concentration I can’t even listen to music other than classical (and sometimes not even that, depending on how up-tempo it is).

Which all means that, in order to be anything resembling a successful writer, I’ve got to get used to spending a lot of time doing nothing other than writing. It’s hard not to feel like life is passing you by. But that’s always been one of the crosses writers have had to bear, I suppose.

Thoughts on online comics archives

[I clicked on the “add new post” link on my BBn dashboard and the site didn’t react. It just sat there, motionless. It woke up after a second click. I guess it wasn’t expecting to ever be used again.]

Marvel Comics has a great online service called Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited, which allows users to read thousands of back issues for a monthly fee. It’s awesome, but I’m a DC guy these days, and I just don’t get why DC Comics hasn’t done it yet. If they did, I’d sign up in a second. (more…)

Let the boys be boys

Could we please have a moratorium on the media’s use of the word “slam” to represent one politician’s criticism of another? Stop trying to make it exciting. It’s not.

Ed Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

On Saturday, Karen and I went to see my good cousin Ed (of the Ed Zone) in his first dramatic appearance since the renowned Rockland High production of Annie nigh on twenty years ago. This time he played asylum orderly “Aide Warren” in the Gateway Players’ production of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ed seemed natural in the role of the sadistic, brutal Warren, which makes me wonder what life is like for the employees he manages at his job, but whatever. Dressed smartly in a white shirt with a black bow tie and sporting his clean-shaven head, Ed’s Warren looked like a 1950s gas station attendant–from hell.

As for the play itself–I’ve managed to get through twenty-nine years of life and a first-class education without ever having read the book or seen the film, but I thoroughly enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. While ostensibly an indictment of 1950s mental disorder treatment, its significance has become less pragmatic and more symbolic as time goes on. I found myself making comparisons to Sartre’s No Exit. (You can read an official review here.)

There’s still another weekend of performances to go, but tickets are sold out, so if you don’t already have one, you’re out of luck. But if you’re going, prepare to enjoy an enlightening evening watching one of the classics of American drama–or a bald guy gleefully beating on mental patients, if that’s your thing.

No comment

I’ve participated in online communities ever since the days of Prodigy’s bulletin boards back in the early 1990s. I still remember my first–and only–flame war: it was with a guy named Den Elms over how realistic the effects in Jurassic Park looked. I also remember another poster chiding me for the anti-Elms posts I was writing, saying I didn’t need to “build a temple of hate” to the guy. I took that criticism to heart,* and ever since I have stayed away from flame wars and arguing on the Internet–which is, of course, the best modern analogue for the myth of Sisyphus.

But by the early 2000s, the Internet had become all about the user. And so the sort of close-minded, competition-based arguing that had once been done primarily about the supremacy of one sports team over another or whether or not Balrogs have wings is now found beneath news articles, editorials, and anything else on the Web. (more…)

No one to blame but myself.

I admit it–I don’t read as much as I used to, and when I do read, it’s often not “great literature.” As I chronicled recently, I’m working my way through the old Doc Savage paperbacks from the thirties and forties. I also read a lot of comic books these days.

When I do read a novel, it’s often…not that great. Once upon a time I used to read great works of literature for fun, but that was mostly in late high school and through college. Fantasy and science fiction have always been my literary bread and butter. And I’m also a lifelong fan of…(deep breath)…tie-in fiction. (more…)

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