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Alex Baer

Deep Blue Reservations

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A funny thing happened on the way to the reservoir...  Not.

In fact, a lot of unfunny things have been happening on the way to absolutely everywhere, not just to the water supply.  But we might as well start there, especially as someone else led the way -- someone whose cup runneth over, so to say.

The musical question here, for which there are no chairs available on which to sit or catch one's breath, once the music stops, is this:  How much does 38 million gallons of water cost?  Another question tends to come up right away:  Why would anyone want to know?  Other questions follow, flowing right along from these initial queries.

If we're talking about money, the cost of the water might also depend on where you price it -- if there's a drought going on, say, or if there's a raging fire nearby that needs a good dousing, and so on.  These are all good questions, all very excellent angles worthy of consideration.  As is so often the case in life, some questions simply have no satisfactory answers.  This is one of those times.

The reason for the question in the first place, the cost of 38 million gallons of water, is because that is how much drinking water a city is dumping, of deferential respect for subscribers, owing to contaminants in the water.

Last Updated on Friday, 18 April 2014 21:33 Read more...

All Aboard the Thought Train, Cosmic to Mundane

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It was a night like any other.  I simply wasn't expecting to lose sleep.  It just turned out that way.  See, I wasn't out for blood -- hadn't even thought about it until the Internet brought it up in our evening exchanges, smug as ever, buffing its know-it-all buffer on my server, simultaneously pouty and coquettish, impossible to ignore.

Sometimes, you take a chance and you hop a thought train, not knowing where you might end up, or how you might feel when it's all over.  I was restless.  I took a chance.  And now, having ridden that train of thought all up and down the line, I'm still not sure how I feel about it -- how it all worked out, I mean.

The thing is:  I might have used those hours for something else.  I know, I know -- it's not like I was going to give Einstein a run for the money last night.  It's not like I would have written Beethoven's Tenth or anything.  Regrets are just part of the bittersweet terrain, when the moon is full, its light so bright, and the night so clear you swear you can feel the frosty moonlight thinly ice the air.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 22:35 Read more...

Cupid's Calling Cards, Kiss Kiss.

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First, there was unorganized barbarism for the species, down to the individual, very-personal level.  It was very hands-on.  It was very messy.  There was a lot of complaining about the workaday dry-cleaning bill for the yak furs, and some wisecracks from the laundry about the stains on the goatskin leisure suits as well.

Then, in a burst of ingenuity usually reserved for the plunder of goods and riches from others, humanity figured out a way to step back a bit from the mess of mayhem-making, if not the abyss of going with our worser instincts:  We watched volcanoes fling great chunks of rock onto hapless hunter-gatherers in our midst, and, inspirationally thunderstruck, we immediately started building catapults, trebuchets, and other means of decimating people at a distance, such as telemarketing calls.

Slings and arrows of outrageous fortune had nothing on the march of human cunning.  Before long, we were able to drop large portions of mountainous regions upon distant enemies and hostile foreigners, not to mention the people right under the cave window who were completely clueless as to how to work the howling alarm systems on their Flintstonemobiles at half-past two-stones-and-a-clam-shell in the morning.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 April 2014 10:35 Read more...

Note to a Friend

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For some insane reason, I am still able to find occasional laughter, and am not always intensely angry.  Usually, but not always.

Like those who realized they would not live to witness Dems appoint sane people to The Supreme Court, once Bush slid in, both times, I have the distinct feeling I will not be around when the historical cycle shifts, and allows the U.S., whatever is left of it, to move away from the extreme right wing psychosis of the last 30 years, sharpened to a hurtful point, from 2000 to 2008, and from which we have yet to recover.

The majority of people have defaulted on caring -- can't, won't, or not able -- and action, so the inmates have taken over the asylum, and the entire country.

Is it any wonder we've been in the midst of a zombie craze?  Simply substitute Republicans for zombies, and, well, there you go.  (After all, we humans hunger for what we do not have, and zombies lust after brains!)

Last Updated on Monday, 07 April 2014 09:19 Read more...

Out of Sight, Out of Shut-Eye

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There'd be no telling what's really bugging us, second-to-second, without all the constant, helpful reminders from our talking-head gadgets, sound sources, headline services, downloaders, and assorted cultural pulse-takers.

The media does our thinking for us, so we can continue our sleepwalking, and our sleepdriving, and our sleepworking, and our sleepeating, and our sleepsleeping, in uninterrupted bliss.

It is now possible, for example, to go from coast to coast in this country, one of outlandishly enormous land mass and huge distances, and never once hear any local programming on the radio.  Instead, we can hear just one, long, steady drone, not unlike the long, steady drone heard just before an actual drone drops from the sky, a split second before the sky itself drops out of the sky, and right onto you.

Or your wedding party.  Or someone soon to be identified as The Wrong Person(s), in grudging news reports, which will then, Rube Goldberg-style, cause the U.S. government a nanosecond's spasm, and trigger a defensive need to offer those who remain upright (aka Blast-Deafened Survivors) compensation.  This financial offer is in lieu of simply not killing anyone with drones in the first place, in places where military (or other) intelligence is nonexistent, but in spots which might-maybe-could be used as terrorist hideouts.

Last Updated on Friday, 04 April 2014 22:40 Read more...

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