Category Archives: global warming

Mish mash

It’s one of those days where the temperature is [number in the high eighties/low nineties] but feels like [number in the high nineties]. Boston is closing schools because of the heat [cue up local TV footage of box fans arriving at old brick schools in town]. Has that ever happened before? It’s MUGGY out there, a regular swampfest.

Finn and I headed out early and managed to walk the standard loop. My new big-brimmed cotton hat is a godsend.

Me reacting to the heat

While walking, I listened to a couple of episodes of this podcast. A group of us will discuss it tomorrow morning. It’s about the beating of a Black teenaged boy, Lenard Clark, in the late 90’s and the weird alliances that formed in the violence’s wake (not to mention the disappearance of one witness and murder of another and rumored ties of the perpetrator’s family to the Mob).

Calls for reconciliation were made by the perpetrator’s family, Black ministers, and others, even as Lenard remained in a coma. The narrator, a journalist named Yohance Lacour, examines both the impact that had on the community and on him personally. His story telling style is really compelling but you’ll have to listen for yourself because I haven’t yet figured why exactly. I think I fell a little bit in love with him by the end.

But I digress.

Lacour remembers the anger he and his friends felt upon finding out about Clark. He also remembers how quickly the story disappeared in a news ecosystem that seemed fixated with turning the tragedy into a tale of racial reconciliation, he said.

From Block Club Chicago article, 3/21/23

(I remember a similarly weird focus on forgiveness after the massacre at the Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston).

Here are a few quotes from the series:

“I can’t keep my mouth shut when the Devil got his foot up my behind.” Zakiyyah Muhammad

“Ain’t no reconciliation when Black people only ones wanting it…” Yohance Lacour

“If serious about reconciliation, they’re supposed to wake up every single day with nothing else on their minds but how to repair the damage.” Marcia Chatelain (I think).

Everything else, the script goes on the say, is mere gesture or worse, insult.

For Black people, Pulitzer-prize winning author and historian Marcia Chatelain continues, life is “a series of negotiations that force us to evaluate what our life is worth.”

“I’m not gonna move along. I’m gonna be right here standing in my rage, unreconciled. Because I didn’t see nothing. I saw something.” Yohance Lacour

Water and sky

Hot and muggy here and a sky blotted by smoke.

Hard to complain (I’m not really) with what’s going on elsewhere. I just moderate like mad — two blocks with Finn instead of the usual two plus miles. No gardening. AC is heaven.

Tomorrow we go to the beach in Rockport and a new person comes to stay with Finn. I’m so glad! It means we’re not dropping him somewhere. Five days. I plan to shimmy my fat ass into a bathing suit and get in the water. Eat fried clams. Read. That’s about it, really.

All the rain has been wonderful for the garden.

Not so idyllic in my town, however. There was ANOTHER murder in Newton yesterday. Gawd. Domestic abuse. Man beat his wife to death with a baseball bat in front of their kids. “Dad stop! You’re killing her!” The TRO hadn’t been served (and really, even if it had?)

Three weeks ago, three people were knifed to death across town. Two had just celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary. A man with a grudge off his meds?

What is happening?

And that case in Long Island? Holy shit!

And, just because I need to delete a few screen shots from my phone, here’s a good one.

Climate and continuing

Placekeeping today. Followed by the quotidian.

Yesterday’s Robert Hubbell newsletter was a very amplified version of the comments here on my last post (thank you everybody who commented here! No acts strike me as too small). Hundreds of people wrote in about what they’re doing about climate change. It’s worth a look.

Third Act is an activist group that organizes boomers, recognizing that many have resources that can be wielded to make a difference.

About boycotting fossil fuel industry in your investments, this was from The Financial Times yesterday:

Did you know that there are now “climate crisis therapists”? This week’s New Yorker article entitled “What to Do With Climate Emotions” talks about them. And of course, about the dilemma of being alive today and paying attention. The following paragraph is from that article.

“It may be impossible to seriously consider the reality of climate change for longer than ninety seconds without feeling depressed, angry, guilty, grief-stricken, or simply insane. The earth has warmed about 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit since pre-industrial times, and the damage is irreparable.”

From NYTimes, The Trillion Gallon Question

Today, it’s raining. Finn and I walked the shorter loop on account of it. I’ve just baked a chocolate cake and made mint cream cheese icing for a special somebody’s birthday (which is later in the week but since it’s just the two of us we’ll eat cake every night for days!)

We had family over to celebrate early this weekend. I don’t like to post pix of myself but since this reminded me a bit of one of my recent favorite TV shows (The Bear), here I am.

July 4 and July 5 records

You know it’s bad when the hottest day in the history of tracking temperatures was beaten the very next day.

July 4. Then July 5.

This collage used photos from NYTimes Sunday piece wondering if California dams will hold. Below is a flagrant copyright violation. Does it matter if I do so intentionally and with attribution?

Four of the scariest words in the English language these days: faster than previously thought.

In a conversation today: recycling is promoted as a distraction from the fossil fuel industry.

Somewhere I read that becoming a vegetarian is more consequential than even switching to an electric vehicle.

We don’t invest in fossils fuel companies. A small step, one made without personal sacrifice, but one hopefully making a difference.

In the Northeast we are not under the heat dome that is causing so much suffering in the southern part of the country. But it has been too hot to walk Finn a couple days recently. Better to lay low.

Meanwhile, we have to fight.

How are you staying cool (if it’s hot)? How are you managing the deluge of bad climate news? What, if anything, do you do to minimize your contribution to global warming?

P S on another melancholy note, Lawrence O’Donnell gave a moving and elegiac speech mourning the Supreme Court recently. It’s very much worth a listen (google his name and SCOTUS and it comes right up).

Notes from April 2021

Indulge me. Otherwise where will all these passages live? I randomly opened a writing group notebook and found this prompt response. I may do more of this.

Not that you need to know to appreciate my response, but these words were written about six months after my brother’s hemorrhagic stroke. The novel mentioned is Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam.

Who’s to say why the coagulation goes awry and what shoves the blob skyward to lung or brain? I don’t mean chemistry, but rather destiny.

Flannery O’Connor said anyone with a childhood has enough to write about for a lifetime. Two things: what if you don’t remember is one, the other is had she lived past 39 would the assertion have held?

Next up: a novel written about end times. A white couple in their forties rents a house from a Black couple in their sixties. The initial conflict centers on sympathetic flexibility — to exercise it or not — toward the Black couple. One of the younger characters in defense of helping them out keeps repeating, because they’re so old.

I’m so old. What an unexpected place to land critiquing a novel.

The radiology tech ticks through her questions: surgeries, Jewish genes, forebears with breast cancer. No. No. No. The final No gets an asterisk — none of my forebears having lived long enough. Same regarding hip fractures.

Without looking back (to childhood), what is there to say? My socks are damp. I hear a truck passing on Route 9. For some reason, my ears are ringing. What’s for lunch?

If I wrote an end times novel, the first floor would fill with water and the deer would swim all the way to Worcester to claim higher ground. Wouldn’t we be clever, crafting a boat out of an armoire, diving into the pantry to claim all those cans of beans and a can opener. He did scuba. I can sew. Does anything ensure survival?

The water froze on Saturday. A beautiful skim of ice not welcome or expected in the white ceramic pot outside where it awaits spring annuals.

Beautiful, cheerful, colorful spring annuals. Let the adjectives march off a cliff after I fill my pot. I want the thing instead of its description.

One child gets the bum thyroid, another my soft teeth. Their father imparted a singular disinclination to converse.

Check the bloods! Get the teeth polished! This week I learned that most hip fractures are from falling sideways.

It still knocks me back to hear my doctor ask, “Have you sustained any fractures that you know of?”

Husband and I would paddle out the second story window and collect the neighborhood cats, relieved that at least we wouldn’t have to listen to children screaming at the nearby playground anymore. The school and its surround submerged.

So much of privilege comes down to being able to effectively manage one’s annoyances.

Raucous, repetitious, grating. Adjectives that speak to the inability to control things.

Last week, I said to the Dive Master, “We’ve got a screamer this year. First period.” I blame the teachers.

He hasn’t donned a scuba mask in years and most of my sewing is of decorative items. Make a top why don’t you? Cover the goddamned ripped chair?

Marshaling skills in non-income producing venues is another sign of privilege.

Soon I shall reduce myself, not to a fine, ineluctable syrup, dense with flavor and mystery, but to apology. I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

Everything is happening at once. The reefs dying off, the burning of the West, forests under stress. And here we are twiddling our thumbs as if we had all the time in the world.

I am sorry. I am so, so sorry.

Destructive, greedy, corrupt or willfully blind. Those adjectives feel necessarily to name what gets in the way.

Not to be too reductive. But it’s white men, specifically Republicans.

Chomsky called the GOP ‘the most destructive organization on the planet.’

Noun — GOP. Adjective — destructive. We get tired, all of us, tracking the damage. The clot gathering density, the vein about to collapse and send blood northward, glacial ice one-fourth the size of Rhode Island letting loose.

I got cold. Put on a sweater. My feet feel dry now. Sometimes that’s all we have — the noticing of damp, the preference for non-damp, and the gratitude for dry socks.