Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Random Topics

(Not likely to interest anyone very greatly, but at least it's not about my driver's license!)

Gulf Oil Leak:
I'm glad it's sealed, obviously, and happy that (so far) it doesn't seem to have been quite so catastrophic as feared-- but I'm still not convinced that we know the full extent of the damage.  I hope and expect that things will continue to improve, but in the meantime I feel like I'm waiting something out...

Some would not agree (a few might even be furious and say that people of my opinion are hurting their businesses), but personally, I still don't feel completely comfortable with the thought of prolonged time in the water or a diet filled with local seafood.  I'm probably being overly cautious, but what's the point of pretending to feel otherwise?  The fact is that we hardly ever eat seafood, anyway, so my abstinence will not hurt the local economy.

I will admit that for all I know, our local seafood on a bad day may be safer than much that is imported on a good day.  I never said my instincts were right-- just that they are what they are.  The "smell test" doesn't feel like enough to me, at the moment.  I believe that (even if something were to slip past the safety checks) you can probably eat the occasional meal that is contaminated and still not feel any long-term ill effects-- but what's the point of eating something when you have no appetite for it?  (Okay, I think I've made my point, so I'll move on.)

Politics in General:
I'm not particularly happy with a lot that's been going on, but that's not surprising.  I try not to worry about it (not always possible), but I also feel obligated to stay somewhat aware of what's happening.  I wait for my next chance to vote and hope (and pray) that enough of my fellow voters see things the same way I do to effect real Change We Can Believe InTM.

It's those irritating new neighbors of ours.  We're outta here!  ;o)

Alright, not really.  We're not moving.

The blog's not moving, either.

But there's another blogger I follow...  I gather that her husband designs and builds (or oversees the building of) homes-- one at a time.  I haven't seen her ever spell out their lifestyle, but it definitely seems like this is the pattern of their lives:  They live somewhere temporarily while he builds the next house.  When it's finished, they move in-- settle in.  She decorates the home beautifully with their belongings.  She writes about what a brilliant job her husband did on the house-- how much she loves this or that feature.  The house is home and school to their two sons.  (She homeschools.)  Meanwhile, the husband locates another site and begins the process all over again.  If they sell their current house before the new one's done, they rent until they can move into the new place.

I don't know about you, but that sounds fairly torturous to me.  I could look on the bright side and say that life would never get dull-- you'd get to experience a lot of locations-- learn what you really like in a house, etc.  But the truth is that it sounds excruciating to me.  Moving everything in your house every couple of years (or less)?  Just when you're starting to feel "at home" in a house, having it sold and moving on to another?  You could never really put down roots-- never feel completely that this place is yours-- never make and execute long-term plans for a place.  I don't think I'd like that, at all.

Maybe it's an unavoidable situation for them, but I'm doubtful...  They must like it.  To each his own way, of course, but I'm so thankful that's not how we live.  I like a little more stability, a little less moving.  (Or, ok, a lot less moving.)

Tropical Whatever-It-Is-Now:
It's no secret that the "news people"-- and especially the "weather people"--  tend to go a little crazy when there's something unusual stirring in the atmosphere.  You can't really blame them.  It's their time to shine!  I have a greater-than-usual interest in weather, myself-- but lately they've really gone overboard.  I've gotten used to the more frequent "severe weather" watches and warnings.  What I'm not used to is the fuss they make over even the humblest of tropical depressions.

There's one out in the Gulf right now (for those of you who don't live around here-- because if you did, you could barely escape knowing all about it).  There was one a month or so ago, too.  That one turned out to be nothing.  Unless you live right on the water and get a little extra wave action or slightly higher than normal tides, these depressions usually pack less punch than we get in an average afternoon thunderstorm.  But because they're "tropical", we're supposed to be sitting on the edge of our seats.  I do want to know the latest-- but that doesn't require an all-day crawler of information about a tropical depression.  They started yesterday (afternoon? evening?), and we're not even supposed to get rain from it until this afternoon, at the earliest.

Does it hurt anyone to have the news crawler / warning map across the bottom of the screen?  No, not really.  (Though it can be annoying when they cover the important portions of the TV program you're trying to watch.)  However, it does seem excessive, given the weakness of the "storm" and the fact that most people have access to the Internet, where they can go for weather updates 24 hours a day, if they wish.  (Oh!  And there are also two local channels that are devoted almost entirely to weather!)  Worse, when they make so much noise about little, no-account depressions, they desensitize people to the threat of truly dangerous weather.  It's a perfect example of the old "don't cry 'wolf'".  When something big and bad does come along, some people might not take it as seriously.

Does everything have to be Big-Huge-Awful, these days?  It certainly feels like it, sometimes.  If it's not potentially The End of the World, no-one will care, so let's hype it up!

The Guy Who "Escaped" Down the Chute:
(I'm referring the bizarre flight attendant story that's been in the news for the past day or two.)

What?  Is this guy really being hailed as some sort of folk hero?   I just don't get it.

Look, I'm sorry that the man's mother has... lung cancer, is it?  That's truly awful.

I'm also sorry that the passenger he was dealing with was behaving like a spoiled brat.  Maybe if the flight attendant hadn't made such a spectacle of himself in response, she would have been the one facing legal troubles.

However--  There's a right way and a wrong way to deal with life stresses and unruly customers.  Cursing someone out over the airplane's intercom system is not the right way.  Opening the emergency exit and fleeing the plane (with beer?!) wasn't the right way, either.

I keep hearing about how the man will be sure to get some money for his story, because obviously everyone wants to hear all about it.  Honestly, I don't.  It sounds like he was being a bit of a diva.  I don't know if he should face the exact charges that have been pressed against him, but yes, some sort of reprimand is in order.  Did he put the passengers in danger?  I don't know.  It seems unlikely, but possible.  Certainly I wouldn't handpick him to be a flight attendant on any plane I ever fly on.  (I prefer someone with a cooler head, thank you very much!)  He definitely didn't behave in a professional manner, and there's no telling how much his little outburst will end up costing the airline and society at large.

All in all, not very heroic, in my humble opinion.