For every one thing I won't miss, there are several that I will. This insight is so overwhelming that I'm almost considering not retiring. Almost. But then I think about compulsory Monday mornings.
For each remaining Monday I'll list what I will and won't miss about the last 25 years of 40 hour work weeks.
#1. Rush hour driving.
The competition for asphalt. I used to walk and take a bus when I lived in the university area. Those were the best days. These days I "hyper-mile" down the valley and stay below 35mph. This contrasts sharply with how we drove before - fast and furious. But now I take pains to avoid the old me and really really really look forward to driving once a week instead of twice daily.
Next week: #2.Trapped in Views from a tall building.
Saw Astra Taylor's film last week at the Guild and it has really stuck with me like so much thought-rich mind candy. This from the review last February in the New York Times:
“My intention was to show the material conditions out of which ideas
emerge,” Ms. Taylor said. “People often think of philosophy as cold,
analytic, abstract, disconnected from the real world, and I really want
to say that’s not the case.”(...)
With “Examined Life” Ms. Taylor set out to make a pedagogical
documentary that is less a lecture than a call to cerebral action — a
film that, as she put it, “creates a space for thought.” Still, the end
result differs from her initial conception in one significant respect.
“I thought it was going to be this sort of slow-paced philosophical
ramble, but it actually really moves along,” she said. “It’s because
they’re philosophers. These are intense people with intense ideas.”
The BMW Isetta - at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in an exhibit entitled, Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures. From the Los Angeles Times.
Classic car buffs may be more interested in the Isetta, a little
runabout produced by BMW in the 1950s and early 1960s. “Powered” by a
one-cylinder, 13-horsepower modified motorcycle engine, the Isetta
bears little resemblance to the high-performance machines BMW is known
Based on an Italian design, the Isetta was an odd-looking egg — in
fact, Germans called the car “the rolling egg” because of its ovoid
Members of the U.S. Legislature are currently working to close the
“Halliburton Loophole” and shed a little light on drilling practices.
New legislation named the FRAC Act – Fracturing Responsibility and
Awareness of Chemicals Act – would repeal a Safe Drinking Water Act
exemption provided for the oil and gas industry. It would also require
oil and gas companies to disclose the chemicals they use in their
hydraulic fracturing processes, where a stew of unknown chemicals is
injected underground to break up oil and gas deposits.
The number of new wells in recent years and their proximity to development is shocking in light of the impacts.
Four Corners resident Shirley McNall is no stranger to oil and gas
drilling. While McNall and her husband live inside Aztec city limits,
their home is also in close proximity to 9 different natural gas wells.
recent years, she’s seen gas leaking from production tanks; bubbling
well heads submerged in deep water; and “foul-smelling, dark-colored
fluid” running off a well pad, down a gully and puddling 500 feet from
subdivision homes. The dirty list goes on to include things like split
pit liners, noxious fumes and trucks deliberately dumping hundreds of
gallons of hydraulic fracturing fluid into arroyos.
“We’ve got nine wells surrounding our property, and of the nine, only one’s not been a problem,” McNall said.
The situation is especially distressing for McNall because she knows that much more than natural gas is finding
its way into the air, the ground, the watershed and the neighborhood.
“All these episodes happened right here under our noses and inside
Aztec city limits,” she said. “Can you imagine what’s happening on well
pads and drilling operations out in the middle of nowhere?"
New Mexico Business Journal Weekly story reads as a press release from the ever-cheery National Association of Realtors who say Home Sales Rise Again. This part is interesting:
The numbers could be even better, if it weren’t for poor appraisals,
says the Realtors association. While pending sales of existing homes -
those with signed contracts but not closed - indicate stronger
activity, some contracts are falling through from faulty valuations
that keep buyers from getting a loan, said Yun.
The NAR calls the appraisal problem serious, and says complaints
about faulty appraisals have been snowballing across the country.
Given that a significant part of the housing problem was caused by
appraisers who signed off on exaggerated home values, it takes a lot of
nerve for the realtors to demand that appraisers now ignore market
prices in order to let them sell houses. “Distressed and discounted”
sales are real, even if they are inconvenient.
Enjoyed Anthony Anella's Bean Counter bit in the New Mexico Independent explaining the need for a new accounting of environmental consequences - using soil as an elemental example of his larger point. It is a faulty
accounting that does not count "dirt".
In a very real sense, we owe our wealth as a nation to the black dirt
of our heartland. And yet we treat that dirt as if there were no
tomorrow. In a few short generations we have converted the grassland of
the Great Plains into an 80-million-acre agribusiness machine. In the
process of plowing the soil, we have also exposed it to erosion. (...)
We need a new system of accounting that does not distort our
understanding of our economic self-interest by emphasizing short-term
profits while ignoring long-term environmental consequences. Such a
system would help us to reconcile our short-term economic aspirations
with the earth’s long-term environmental necessities.
Soil and soil loss is a fundamental challenge for humanity - closely
related to issues of watershed management, agriculture and land use planning. Grading development
sites for building pads and parking lots also exposes soil to erosion, of course.
As a regular practice, land is summarily (and somewhat cavalierly) stripped of flora, fauna and place-defining features . Worse than the resulting franchise architecture and big parking lots are the many many cases where these sites remain undeveloped, unused, unlandscaped, unloved and eroding. Even worse than that is where tax dollars get spent to service these now gaping vacant dumpsites on the sprawling edge of what the bean counters call progress.
Now, I don't know anything about Solar Array Ventures, so I've no
desire to disparage the company. I'm just saying that it should not be
the government's role to take taxpayer money and utilize it for
If the government wants to encourage
economic growth, then how about just removing or seriously reducing
taxes on ALL businesses as opposed to handing out cash packages to
individual businesses in particular industries.
The more follow-the-moneyish question is what particular land owners benefit in this particular circumstance. And others before it in that particular location. Our local "economic development" efforts, with few exceptions, are a blatant display of political favoritism facilitating far-westside water service and road construction. On the taxpayer's dime. Beneficiaries are the speculative real estate investors we call developers, including SunCal and SunCal devotees, who land-flip and hope for future sprawl.
::steps down off old soapbox:: Not sure whether Mario agrees with that part.
Hippies at the Rainbow Gathering - who if they played
golf would be considered tourists - are getting citations for minor infractions like cracked windshields and
loose dogs and are having to appear in federal court in Albuquerque 120 miles
away. Way to harsh the mellow.
The Albuquerque Journal and the Santa Fe New Mexican cover the story that morphs into a tale of law enforcement overkill - 50 officers, 370 "incidents" and 120 citations among the 1500 gathered. And the event hasn't even started yet.
Garrick Beck, a Santa Fe business owner and public-information
volunteer for the Rainbows, said the citations were an excuse for the
officers to search Rainbow family vehicles and "harass them." The
Rainbow family has no official spokesperson or leader. Instead, it
manages its gatherings through volunteers.
Beck said the tickets were handed out by a "rogue" group of Forest
Service law-enforcement officers. According to some gatherers, he said,
"this comes as a slap in the face after several months of successful
cooperation between (Rainbow) volunteers and Forest Service resource
officials to assure a safe and legal event."
I drove through Cuba twice this weekend. Nary a hippy in sight but multiple law enforcement vehicles zooming up and down 550. Rest assured that young men with guns in overpowered SUVs are protecting you with near maniacal fervor from people who talk about peace and sleep in the woods.