Everyone is writing and talking about the oil spill. I guess I am too. What a mess. What a disaster. I have these recurring bizarre thoughts that the hole will never get plugged and eventually the world's seawater will be replaced by oil. Only problem is it can't be used because it is too salty.
We're actually dealing with multiple disasters here. First there's the damage from the spill itself. Anyone who tells you what the extent is and will be might as well be pumping golf balls into the hole. No one knows yet, and no one will know for some time. Predicting it has to be more difficult than trying to figure out what Apple's next iPhone will be. Oh, wait, we already know that.
Next up is the political muck that all the politicians and talking heads are wading through. For some reason I feel like every time I hear someone talking about the politics of the matter, Tina Turner needs to be singing "We need a hero" in the background. I don't know the ins and outs of this, but from where I sit there is plenty of blame to go around. BP and the other companies in line should be forced to clean up the damn thing with a gun to their head. Send the boyish looking CEO down 5000 feet in some sort of diving suit or diving bell that doesn't exist and hope he gets crushed by the pressure. He isn't going to last much longer anyway. Line up the politicians from all sides who love deregulation and campaign contributions from Big Oil, and make them walk the beaches cleaning up tar balls and dead and soiled animals. Tell James Carville to lay off the Tennessee Williams analogies. Big Daddy never tackled a fight he couldn't win, and this one has looked un-winable from the beginning. That said, Carville has a point. While the Obama administration really can't do anything other than coordinate and put on the pressure, they've looked more like oil covered sea birds wondering what just hit them than they have adults who are in charge. The largest political irony of this is all of those who want less government are screaming for the government to do more. You got to love that one.
And speaking of Katrina, which everyone loves to do, the other recurring thought I have is what happens when we see a hurricane pass through the gulf this season and pick up all that oily water and dump it inland? Don't think that's not on everyone's mind dealing with this. Here's hoping if it happens that it all gets dumped on Houston.
Through all of this, I get this creepy feeling that this is some sort of disaster flick like episode that doesn't have the heroic ending. There's no way to send Bruce Willis and a team of misfits down 5000 feet to plug the hole. I'm sure everyone who has any involvement in this is working as hard as they can to come up with a solution and feeling more and more miserable as the oil continues to gush and the minutes, hours, days, weeks, pass by. But we may have created the problem that humans and technology can't solve.
Side note: This is the first time in I don't know how long, if ever, that I've seen gas prices drop heading into the Memorial Day weekend. Around these parts, we're seeing prices twenty cents below what they were 10 days ago. Curious.
I didn't know that Samuel Clemens AKA Mark Twain left instructions for his autobiography to be published 100 years after his death. Well, it looks like the countdown to that is about to run its course and the University of California, Berkley will be publishing the first volume in November. I can't wait. It will end up being a trilogy and run to a half million words. Again, I can't wait.
Google unleashed lots at the I/O conference. Among the lots was the next version of the Android OS (Froyo) which is running the Flash 10.1 beta. Lots being said but lots. Here are some interesting takes on Flash and the announcements fromHarry McCracken, John Gruber, and MG Siegler. Bottom line it is open war fare and as I said here, for the first time, Apple is playing from behind.
Scoble has some interesting videos on how the iPad is changing art and music. Given that we saw some interesting things on these fronts with the iPhone, it is no surprise that the iPad furthers the journey.
Bill Maher has a very entertaining rant against the Republican Leadership. Excellent read.
Meanwhile in Texas history continues to be re-written in the textbooks. Two thoughts on this. This is a pendulum swing back from what had been a very liberal re-writing of many issues of our history. Second point, whenever you feel you need to re-interpret, re-frame, re-write history to shine the light on current thinking, you are in good company. (The communists, the current leader of Iran and other Holocaust deniers, etc...) Civilizations have been doing this for centuries. It's easier to make the past fit your current reality (or the one you want) than it is to deal with the complexities. Does make you wonder how this wacky era will be viewed in the future. But then again, when you can edit out facts you don't like (on all sides) and pump up views you do, it just shows how little faith you have in what you believe in.
The young people of Wayside Theatre's Young Ambassadors Guild are amazing. They are in the middle of a project called the 24 Hour Play Festival. They started last night at 8pm. Three teams are writing three plays. They then rehearse today, and tonight at 8pm they perform the plays. It's a crazy time, and it makes we wish I had their energy. Here's a quick video of three of the participants working hard with 8 hours to go.
OK, this just has to stop. The show has become beyond old, beyond stale, and well, its so predictable that pretty soon the main stream media and blogs will stop covering it.
Yet another Congress person has resigned because he got caught doing the hanky panky with a staffer. This time it is Republican, Mark Souter. I believe the last one was a Democrat. It doesn't really matter what party they belong to. It's just reached a point that I'm wondering when the Puritans are going to make a comeback. Oh, wait, they knew we were all sinners and that's why they enjoyed their misery. The difference these days is we actually pretend that we can find 535 or so folks to elect to Congress who might just be able to keep their libido in check.
But then as my grandfather always said, "why elect a man to high office if he doesn't have enough moxie to pick up a babe now and then." The only problem I have with grandad's wisdom, is that these guys just look like they're desperate and not desirable. Maybe it's the power thing.
Can't we just assume that most of these folks are doing the do on the side and get on with it? I think that's easier than parading out their family for apologies and that part of the circus. I mean in an age where we are debating whether or not to continue a national policy of lying called "Don't ask, don't tell" haven't we moved passed this? Can't we do the same thing for the Congress folk when it comes to their peccadilloes? I mean I'm all for morality and character and all of that stuff that these guys and gals have to swear they are for. But give me a break, these folks are giving apologies and resignations a bad name, as well as hypocrites.
Elena Kagan, like all these days nominated for office, is in for a grilling and we're in for more politics and obfuscation. I haven't read a lot, but what I have read, she's capable of eviscerating anysacred cow on either side of the political or social spectrum. Quite honestly, I think that's a good thing.
Apparently there's an uproar because the US is still using private contractors for spying. Some say it is illegal. Just asking here, but isn't the inherent concept behind the art of spying, illegal by definition? Again, just asking.
Just like we'll probably never know what the real deal was and who the real culprit is behind the oil mess in the Gulf, we probably will never know how bad (or not) the situation really is beneath the surface. This article says there's much we can't see going on.
Privacy and Facebook still continue to dominate the tech news. Mark Zuckerberg's early life is getting splayed open for all to see (read privacy). Dana Boyd talks (excellently) about radical transparency. Robert Scoble says we need to reboot privacy and realize that everything we put on the net could be public. Hit the brakes there. It always has been that way. The reboot isn't about "getting over privacy" or getting over a fact of life. The reboot is about forcing companies to say exactly what they are doing and if you believe that will happen, I'll promise you that you can actually have some privacy in today's world.
Face it Zuckerberg and Facebook are BP. Zuckerberg and Facebook are Big Finance. Zuckerberg and Facebook are Apple (for those who like to hate Apple there's a bone). Zuckerberg and Facebook are the the health insurance industry. Zuckerberg and Facebook are the political class. Zuckerberg and Facebook are any religion that feels like it has to ban things and ideas in order to protect itself. Zuckerberg and Facebook will do what is in their best interest, period end of statement. That is until they perceive that interest is threatened.
When that happens they will weasel and they will manipulate and they will find a way to spin it and still do what they want. That's what lawyers and PR peeps are for.
It might sound like I'm down on the whole game here. I am and I'm not. I am because of the delusional aspects. There's self delusion here by those running the game in that they continue to believe that they can pull the wool over our eyes. And in many cases they are correct. I'm not because, face it folks, we must like the game, or else we wouldn't play it.
Been busy and there's been a lot going on that I usually take a few minutes to comment on. Just haven't had time to. But here's a random collection of observations about things that seem random but, when you think about it, actually have more than a random connection.
Oil in the gulf. Surprise. It happened. Bound to. Humans don't do things with technology that don't fail at some point. Sometimes disasters ensue and that's where we are. The finger pointing and blame games going around are moving faster than the oil spill but the bottom line here is, as with everything else, about profits. All sides surrounding this issue are on the take because there is plenty of take to go around, especially now that the Supreme Court has legalized bribery, er... political contributions as free speech. It may not be BP's accident, (according to their CEO) but as he says it is his oil. Great, then when you decide to pay out for the damages you collect from the company that caused the problem.
Arizona's immigration bill has lots of folks worked up and rightly so. Depending on who you listen to 70% of the American people are in favor of the bill or 50%. Doesn't matter. What most are in favor of is quelling the problem of illegal immigration. Illegal immigration won't end because those who can solve the problem realize that illegal immigration is good for the bottom line of too many businesses. Didn't we have a Presidential candidate have to get rid of a nanny or something like that in the last election who was an illegal? If we seriously want to stop this, slap a real fine on employers who hire illegals. Until then, the flow will just go elsewhere. On the bill itself, in my view its wrongheaded, and while the protests won't mean much in the end, I'm happy to see them. Kudos to Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns in any case. Just keep this in mind, borders, like fences weren't something laid down in the first seven days of creation. They were intelligently designed into the system much later.
The Prez says that information can become a distraction on iPods, iPads, XBox, etc... Doesn't he get it? That's part of the big plan. It used to be called bread and circuses. Now its called consuming media and gadgets. Besides, what information is he talking about? We haven't gotten any real information from anybody on anything in quite some time now. There's no profit in it, and you can't advertise easily on a format that actually requires a brain to be engaged.
Facebook has folks in a privacy snit once again. Some, like Robert Scoble say it isn't an issue, (as long as you don't put the stuff you don't want available online) some say Facebook is evil. Everyone on either side has a bank, shops at a grocery store, and a credit card or two. Facebook is just trying to make money off of the same things that those businesses already do, selling your data to the highest bidder.
When our brood gets together wacky things usually ensure. That’s exactly what happened today when we convened at Mom’s nursing home for Mother’s Day. For those that don’t know, Mom is dealing with lung cancer and is in Hospice. She was diagnosed last November before Thanksgiving, and frankly none of us, including her, thought we’d see Mother’s Day in 2010 with her around. But we did and as the saying goes, we take advantage of every minute we are given.
My youngest sister, Jane, decided that we’d have a picnic today for lunch. The weather was much cooler than it has been or should be, but that didn’t stop us. We basically sat around in wheelchairs, on the floor, and on Mom’s bed, eating chicken, potato salad, pasta salad, and assorted other goodies. When a nurse’s aid came an knocked on the door and I opened it, she looked stunned at the party atmosphere going on and when we said we’re having a picnic, she just said have a good time.
Later, Mom decided she wanted to journey up a floor to the home’s social room for what was billed as a champagne and strawberries reception. Mom doesn’t do much socializing there, so we all joined the line of wheelchairs heading upstairs and settled in along with the other residents and family members. There was a gentleman doing some singing using karaoke tracks, and when it decided to get my younger sister Jane into the act, the hilarity began to bubble up. Good thing because the promised champagne was apple juice or fruit punch.
Lacking enough servers for the crowd my two sisters jumped in and began serving the residents and their guests. And then the singer decided he’d drag my wife, Thomasin into the act when he was ready to sing Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown. I doubt he knew Thomasin was an actress so he got a little more than he bargained for and everyone had some great laughs and smiles as the two of the danced and acted out the song.
Mom got tired soon after that and we all headed back to her room leaving the entertainer to handle the rest of the show on his own and then the family headed left Mom to head back to our respective homes so she could get some rest.
Mom had a blast. She loves watching us crack each other up, and also anybody else who might be within range. Watching her laugh and smile at our wackiness today was a gift and a blessing. I hope you had the opportunity to make your Mother laugh and smile today. Those days aren’t ours to take for granted forever.