Thursday, December 17, 2009

Copenhagen Addiction

They are gathered in Copenhagen, our leaders, and every time I read those words (I have no television reception) I think of the round tins filled with that nasty black goo some men like to chew, in the same way their counterparts in the Third World chew narcotic leaves to fend off the pain of reality. I dare say First World leaders at the Climate Change Conference in the Danish capital could do worse than chew tobacco from a tin, or chew coca leaves from a bush, as they ponder how to save us from ourselves. Or how to shoe horn us out of our Humvee addictions and into modest unmanly sedans like the little car on the left: I find it hard to believe that any useful thing will come from the chewing tobacco gathering in Denmark, where delegates are pondering whether to hold climate warming to 2C or 1.5C; I'm rather surprised they haven't passed a motion ordering the tides to comply. Already Third World delegates have walked out in protest, saying First World countries are refusing to give them enough money to offset carbon, those would the be the countries producing the most paying the countries producing the least in case you thought you misheard. I wonder what the Third World leaders are chewing to give them the illusion that they are going to make out like bandits from this conference? Coca leaves? The conference was billed as a way to get everyone on board with Anthropogenic (Human Caused) Global Warming, known for short as AGW, and to figure out ways to reduce carbon output by humans. What the conference is turning into instead, is a grand hand out by the First World to the Third. Which seems counter intuitive to me based simply on the Third World's record of not spending the money where it's supposed to go (Swiss banks are not supposed to benefit from charity donations to banana republic dictators). And if we in the world's most industrialized nation can't wean ourselves off our oil and carbon addictions, how can we expect a country filled with poverty to cut back whatever modest output of carbons they may be responsible for? How many African villagers does it take to produce as much CO2 as this Hummer traveling say, from Key West to Miami?
It beats me, but this Hummer, an overly obvious symbol of First World excess is not alone traveling on the Overseas Highway as you can see. And most of those other vehicles are single occupant rides too, producing their own carbon releases into the atmosphere. Yet back in Copenhagen... ...they are busy shooting each other down, blaming each other and reaching no useful consensus. Just like drug addicts in crack houses anywhere in the world. It's always somebody else's fault.

The thing is these are World Leaders I am talking about, the 21st century Moses leading us out of the wilderness of Sinai to a new promised land, a place of carbon neutrality, of modest consumptions, of local consumerism, of useful industrialization. To be an AGW skeptic is to be a heretic, is to be someone who refuses to face reality and by so doing puts the planet at risk. It's hard though not to be skeptical when one observes the actual behavior of our leaders, who preach change and give us business as usual, who can't curb their own excesses but expect their neighbors too do so. If they know the actual threat posed by Anthropogenic Global Warming and they cannot do anything meaningful about it, what are we the people supposed to do? Quit driving? Take cold showers to conserve propane? Turn off the air conditioning? What? Perhaps we should chew qat leaves:But there again despite the requirement that we disconnect belief from reality we are prohibited from consuming narcotics unless a major corporation somewhere makes an obscene profit off them. Reach for the beer and the Valium not the unprofitable leaves. AGW may very well be a clear and present danger to all of us but you wouldn't know it from the antics of our leaders. Peak Oil is going to double gas prices sooner or later and when it does presumably the cost of producing CO2 will get out of reach for many of us and perhaps then we will be forced to modify our behavior. Until then I guess we all of us in our different ways, remain addicted to our chew of choice, oil, coca, qat, carbon or just the pleasure of wielding meaningless power in a world gone mad.

Vignettes XXIX

Yesterday I spotted this sign on Stock Island's College Road and it is new to me:Since when has the formerly upscale, all floating dock, well protected from hurricanes, Sunset Marina felt the need to advertise it's presence? And with such a tacky, soda-infested banner ? Standards are dropping in parallel with the economy and I am glad I no longer live there!
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This sign made me laugh out loud. Painted on a stairway for an ascending patron the intent is clear, even if the execution allows the message to be read backward:I am easily amused.
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Not so amusing was street blockage on Angela Street alongside the cemetery. I understand that sometimes M'Bubba has an urgent communication for a neighbor and feels compelled to stop and share the news right there on the street without bothering to pull over and park. However for a commercial operation loading debris to fill the street like this seems rather...inconsiderate? Isn't that why God invented wheel barrows?
Unlike the poor sap in the PT Cruiser I am an able backer and I reversed fifty yards in one fell swoop back to Margaret Street and circled the block. It was actually as easy in the dog-laden Nissan as it might have been on the Bonneville.
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The general subject matter for this essay ("pointlessness") was prompted by the next picture. Unlike more accomplished photographers I use a small pocket Canon SX100 which not only uses double A batteries so I never run out of juice as they are available anywhere in an emergency, but it is also always to hand. Sometimes I take pictures just because, without knowing exactly why. That's why this blog is my diary and it is, in a sense, a repository for all my random thoughts. One thought that comes to mind frequently and is brought up in the Citizen's Voice even more frequently is why do people bother to blow leaves around? Obviously this guy is acting on orders, but the question remains.

It's another source of noise pollution (and CO2 let's not forget!) and serves no useful purpose. Like I said, I am easily amused and the idiocy of blowing leaves around while burning dead dinosaurs seems bizarre to me. Whatever happened to dust pans and brushes?

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We need Irondad to step in here. This scooter is so badly parked I can only assume (and make an ass of myself!) it is a practical piece of transportation for some cager, not an enthusiast of two wheels. I find it odd that "bikers" think that riding a scooter should somehow be beneath them, though in Key West where scooters are used as daily workhorses, more so than any other US city, most scooter riders would laugh if you called them "motorcyclists." And frequently it shows. You'd be amazed at the number of flip flop riders dragging their feet when in motion, riding gear is never in evidence and rules of the road are followed about as often by scooters as by cyclists. Not that I'm complaining, I'm just observing. I like that adults (with health insurance) don't have to wear helmets in Florida. I don't always wear one myself, and my wife hates wearing hers. However when it comes to parking I have a different take on it. Parking a scooter or a motorcycle is so simple I wonder why one rider thinks it's okay to dump the scooter (downhill, facing the curb no less) in such a way as to occupy the whole space. Anyone else wanting to use the abbreviated spot will need to move this machine to make room.

It's not labeled as scooter parking but anything bigger than a Smartfortwo wouldn't fit. Perhaps it is meant for sidecar parking if not scooters? I'm thinking it was the room left over on the street (Frances if you're interested) and the city hasn't got around to striping and labeling it yet.

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I've seen this car around town and the driver shows no particular aptitude for speed, and no obvious driving skills but the spoiler is firmly attached to make his little Hyundai more...what exactly? "Zoom zoom" was Mazda's advertising years ago when I had television. Maybe he heard it while in the womb and it left it's mark. Sometimes when I pull the Bonneville alongside cars with racing mufflers I make "zoom zoom" noises while sitting on my factory muffled Triumph. I hope it embarrasses them to hear the old man next to them " broom brooming" through his gray beard and pulling away from the light before they can even release the brake.

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And here we have a series of photographs to explain why the Honda Ruckus scooter should never have become as fashionable as it has. Saddlebags on a scooter??
Well yes, I took the second picture in the parking lot of Bank of America on Flagler and there they are, leather bags dangling off the 50cc Ruckus. The reason is the Ruckus has no luggage space at all on it's trellis frame:Vroom Vroom. However this (I think) Taiwan Golden Bee has under seat, weatherproof, lockable storage and an optional basket trimly secured to the rack. Convenience and style, says I. I live with saddlebags because I have to. My wife with her Vespa ET4 doesn't have to. That's the whole point of scootering.

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Bayside Landing in Big Coppitt is coming close to completion. This new housing development faces Highway One across from the Shell station (where I dropped the Bonneville last June, actually...)and they are putting up the last few homes there. It's been a long difficult road.

I am sure it comes as no surprise that some neighbors protested loudly about this Habitat For Humanity development appearing next door. They belonged apparently to either NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) or the BANANA schools of thought. That would be "Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything". Well, you can understand that, who wants poor people cluttering up the neighborhood? Happily a few of the candidates for housing here, bank tellers, clerks, government employees and the like, got overwhelmed by the cost of living in a crap economy and have left the Keys. Which I suppose will help to justify future attempts to keep working people from owning their own homes in the Keys. Slow them down enough and eventually they will give up. Aren't people great? (My neighbors, the sole nice couple on my street, said they have applications pending to quickly fill the available spaces).

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In case you get lost or panic stricken in the event of a hurricane, the Great State of Florida has put up some useful signs along the newly designated Highway Of National Importance.

Any other direction will get you drowned in short order, and it won't do your car much good either.
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I should applaud this tourist's determination to document his visit to the Keys, with his patient passenger slumped in the Sebring while he photographed Boca Chica bridge.
Instead I wonder why he doesn't just lift pictures from Key West Diary? She would be so much less impatient and he could do it from the comfort of his home.