First day of August. Hot Under The Collar.
Times Square. 10:10 PM.
Very hot days in New York with weatherman forecasting more hot days even hotter.

Some people crumple. It’s hard to forget about, no matter what you’re doing. It also makes bad news worse. The oil spill in the Mediterranean affected me almost as if it had happened to me. The war is bad but the oil spill in that sea will affect the food chain for millions and millions of people, including all the warring factions.

Are we seriously idiotic? We are seriousy idiotic (I mean us, the human race). I won’t go into the Hezbollah-Israeli War. I know most people know what they think about that. I don’t. Except that it is clearer and clearer by hot day after hot day that we are now living in the danger zone, no matter where we are. Or so it would seem.

There’s worse. The Los Angeles Times is currently running a five part series called “Altered Oceans.” It’s about the changing chemistry of the oceans. Changing because of human activity. I dare you to read any part (there are five) without wanting to quit reading because it’s too hard to take. It reduces everything else that matters and exists to the inconsequential.

I was telling a friend about it. He said what most people I know say: “Well, whattaya gonna do about it?” Meaning: if it’s such a big problem, what can anyone do anyway? So live, love, laugh and be happy? I don’t think so. Reading these segments, it’s easy to think things are impossible to repair.

I don’t think that way. Nothing is impossible as long as there is you and your imagination. That may be beyond naivete. But ... have you ever been confronted by the very real possibility of death? I have. I learned that the human reaction is to Do Something. However, as a race, we’re not there yet, or we’ve lost our way there. We engaging in warfare as business as usual when nothing’s “as usual” anymore. Fools and knaves we are; every last one of us. The confrontation appears vague, if it appears at all but The Los Angeles Times series (“Altered Oceans”) proves that it is before us.

Meanwhile, the city is quieter in this blistering weather. Sunday afternoon was sunny in New York but there were very few people down on the Promenade by the river. And even fewer at sundown. The heat. Soon, however, a rainy day will come and everything will suddenly be beautiful again.


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August 1, 2006, Volume VI, Number 122


© 2006 David Patrick Columbia & Jeffrey Hirsch/