Saturday, February 25, 2006

The end is the beginning is the end

There are two major problems in the world right now that scare the bejesus out of me that could lead to Armageddon. Civil/Sectarian war in the Middle East, and the melting of the polar ice caps. Both seem real enough to me to question bringing children into this world for fear of having them live in a world not only worse off than how I found it, but might actually not make it to a natural death because the earth "dies" first. However, after seeing Independence Day, of all things, on TV yet again I came to the conclusion that each end of days scenario can save the other from happening. It's a kind of glass is half full logic as long as I forget the empty half of the glass will kill us all in the process anyway.

I'll start with global warming since that's the one where Independence Day gave me the idea. Aliens were attacking and 1/2 the world was dead and what happened? The rest of the world came together to fuck those aliens up. Hurray! So, what's our alien invasion? The melting of the ice caps and the destruction of every coastal city in the world. When we're all sent back to the middle ages because the earth's pissed off at us, petty things like religion are going to seem a bit, well, petty. And I bet Sunni and Shiite and American get along pretty fine then.

And if civil war breaks out in Iraq the next step would be Iran siding with the Shiites and Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc.. siding with the Sunnis (or do I have that reversed?) as well as the Kurds across the middle east playing some sort of third party stick poker. That's going to be a Middle East version of a world war. When no oil is flowing out the rest of the world will be forced to alternative fuels, not for environmental reasons but because there just won't be enough oil. And perhaps that will force CO2 emissions down thereby stabilizing the earth enough to ward off a global catastrophe the likes of which only Hollywood has seen. Granted the earth will still be absorbing and reacting to CO2 from today a hundred years from now, but optimism is optimism.

As Eric Idle keeps whistling for a smaller and smaller brief case of cash: Always look on the bright side of life!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Apparently I'm working

May 19, 2000: Graduation from Colgate U with my BA
September 14, 2001: Graduation from Chicago Portfolio School
April 1, 2005: Graduation from Miami Ad School
February 21, 2006: First day at Avrett Free Ginsberg

That was a longest trip from one destination to another I've ever taken. And a la RB on her timing clock it's been 5 years 9 months and 2 days from the time I set out on my life in advertising to the time I got my first full time job.

Linda and I are settling in nicely at our respective neighboring desks and pondering the delights of Fancy Feast Cat Food. It's finally the end of the beginning and the beginning of the road itself and I couldn't be happier to finally be on it. (Ok well I could if this were BBH or something, but now is not the time to complain, now is the time to make the best TV spot for cat food you'll ever see!)

Cheers to y'all and please tune in this summer to some freakin tasty shots of canned meat byproduct!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

For the right and wrong reasons

As the hoopla over Vice President Dick Cheney continues lets try not to let this hunting accident, this hilariously silly hunting accident, overshadow the real reasons why Dick Cheney shouldn't be around. I mean it's been two hundred years since a vice president shot anyone and that time Aaron Burr shot back and killed the guy. He gets into office, immediately creates record breaking tax cuts for all his rich buddies, especially gracious awards to oil companies, has a secret meeting with these tycoon CEO's keeps it top secret and gives them everything they don't need, more money, no bid contracts for his company Halliburton, ousts a CIA agent, leaves the blame on his fiercely loyal chief of staff, lies about WMD's, continues to insinuate Saddam had something to do with 9/11, hires and fires based on loyalties, like-minded thinking, and cronyism instead of actual skill, and the list goes on. And when he didn't get his way he told Senator Patrick Lehey to go fuck himself in the halls of the very public Senate building.
Frankly the closest job description this "skill set" belongs to is mob boss. He'd fit in quite well over at BadaBings once he has someone take out Tony Soprano I'd have to say. The jokes are so easy it actually took time for people to come up with some of them simply for that reason. I've heard the "Cheney's got a gun" song I've seen the pics of the different ways Cheney can kill you. And it's all a barrel of laughs that rightfully should be enjoyed. And on the completely other side of things, this guy, after one of the pellets found it's way to his heart, had a heart attack and almost died. That would have made Cheney guilty of involuntary manslaughter and a man would be dead. Horribly serious and horrible in just every single way. It's the closest line I've seen in a long time between hilarious and grave.
We're all, especially we in these early years of our lives, quite cynical about government. But it's Dick and his buddies that are giving us reason to be so cynical. It should only take honesty and hard work to make us believe in government again. Not even someone from another party (though that would be nice), just someone who lets us trust our government. Let's hate Dick Cheney, not Washington DC.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

All or nothing or something in between

I saw a Chevron ad this evening that said if Paris wanted to power itself with wind power it would need 20,000 turbines and it showed a hat blowing by the Eiffel Tower with a huge turbine on it. I guess the point was to threaten us with the fact that it'd be a huge undertaking to use alternative fuels and oil is just so... here. And of course making the ad in Paris was the subtle hint that only frenchie, tree-hugging hippies like the environment.

That made me think of the saying that good things come through hard work and time but great things happen all at once. We do like to think in distinct, big step progressions. It's one thing then it's something completely different. It's not incremental, boring steps, that aren't noticeable until it's already happened. But that's just not the way life works. And it shouldn't be the way to approach life either. It's the only argument I hear the oil industry making: it'd take so much to replace oil. We're not thinking that far ahead, we just need little things.

We're not going to "litter" the landscape with wind turbines, or solar panels, or dams, but we'll have all these options, and oil, coal, biofuel, etc. working together. Solar panels on roof tops and in the deserts. Turbines on hilltops and off shore and water turbines under, well, water.
We're insulating our homes better, and using lower energy draining electronics, more and more, it's a progression. There'll be gas powered cars on the road 50 years from now. They'll just be in the minority.

So lets stop sweating the big stuff, always think globally about the future, but we can act locally today. By the way, there's a blue light special on compact fluorescent bulbs right now. When you're next bulb blows, be ready with one of those. It's not all that needs be done, but there's plenty to fill in the gap between all and nothing.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The race is on

Scared beyond belief again by what Andrew Sullivan had to say this morning on the Chris Matthews Show I feel like I now have to prepare for what this century will actually turn into. I think it's true, as most people say, that the 20th century ended when communism collapsed and the 21st century started on 9/11. But what this century is forming into is what I am just coming to realize. We are beginning to change the Middle East. We're not really changing it by this "democratization" but just by confronting Islam itself. Not the Islam we see in America but the Islam that has either not changed or is hearkening back to the middle ages.

The new clashes that have erupted across the middle east from the cartoons of Muhammad are showing just how true this is. Late last year there were a few Danish cartoons that featured Muhammad, most in derogatory ways like having a bomb for a head. Now that these images have made it to the area of the world where any drawn images of Muhammad in a derogatory form are blasphemous, the true reaction is being seen.

Of course devout Christians take offense to derogatory pictures of Christ and some Hassidic Jews were punishing Madonna for mentioning a prophet in one of her songs as it's against their religion for any mention of a prophet to be used to make money. The difference lies in the retaliation. The Islamic reaction is vengeance of the worst sort. The attacking of the Danish consulate this weekend in Beirut for instance, but simply in general, 9/11 being the most obvious, resorting to murder as the only answer. Now we must turn the confrontation into dialogue. We're going to have a lot of reactionary coups, and elections, and attacks during this century. And yes, it's going to take a century. The race, as Andrew Sullivan said, is going to be if we can modernize Islamic thinking before they get The Bomb. Lets start the discussion. Good luck to us all.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Friedman's Baby

I was all set to rip Bush a new one as soon as his state of the union was over either for pandering to the right or for making a bunch of promises I knew he wouldn't keep like all his other semi-do-good sounding projets over the years. But then I heard the speech and it reminded me of what everyone had been wanting to hear but wasn't expecting, what Thomas Friedman has been screaming for this past year, a Kennedy style moon-shot for our energy problem. Bush actually addressed it.

Friedman's point is essentially this. We need to fix a lot of things and the way to do it is with energy. If we invest in home grown energy we can actually address problems in oil rich countries without worrying about where to get our next oil fix from. And that also frees that oil up to go to countries we'll no longer have to compete with like China and India. So we won't have to go to war for oil. (Literally, not like it says on the banners at the rallies just to keep the flow going to the open market instead of actually plundering the oil.) If that home-grown energy is environmentally sound we'll fix the earth we're beginning to destroy. And that home-grown, environmentally friendly energy will have to be invented from one of our scientists of tomorrow which means addressing our education and immigration issue. We have had significant drops in students going into the sciences and we have been sending immigrants who study science in America back to their own countries instead of encouraging them to stay here and investing back in the country that educated them.

30 science industry leaders got together, raised 400 points, agreed on 399 of them unanimously and sent their findings on to Capital Hill. Bush has essentially set his goal around these proposals for the most part. Cutting a few corners here and there but essentially, says this panel, accepting the 10 year program of $9 billion the first year and growing to $19 billion by year 10 in investments in this country's sustainability.

We simply can't lead or even survive in tomorrow's world when our only export left is American Idol and The O.C.

So now Thomas Friedman has written his response to Bush's response of Thomas Friedman, the man who I believe is most responsible for encouraging the "Geo-Green" movement. And he brings up a point I think we should all face. Bush has made his proposals and we need to make him stand up for them and not back down. Make him stay true to his word because we can't afford to just ignore him for another three years, we don't have the luxury of time any more. We need to invest now. The kids in elementary schools today are the ones that must save this country. And it's going to be a few years before they're out of the sandbox and into those labs.

I know with Bush my pessimism has become my reality and my optimism has become my fantasy but what choice do we have in a 4 term presidency? Write to the White House, write to your representatives and let's get this ball rolling.