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Stateside With Rosalea: Melting Moments

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Melting Moments

::The heat is on::

I have a newfound respect for water and electricity. And those thick cotton bathmats that take forever to dry. Unseasonably warm water out in the Pacific prevented the Bay Area's air conditioner--the summer fog--from kicking in on Saturday, and Oakland's temperatures went up to the high 90s. At one point in the afternoon, my neighbour climbed up on his porch rail and hosed down his flat, heat-retaining roof.

I did a bunch of laundry by hand in cold water and when I'd run out of that excuse for water play, I found that those big old bathmats I'd just washed were perfect for placing on a chair and footrest. Sitting on my cool throne with a couple of electric fans blowing and drinking copious cold water pretty much saved me from collapse.

What would I do if the power went out because of the strain California's heatwave was putting on the grid, I wondered. What do people in Iraq and Lebanon do, I wondered. People just like me--used to the amenities of modern life like electricity and water--suddenly having to cope without them. Perhaps it's the least of their worries, but I doubt it.

::My three books for a desert isle::

Which three books would I take to a desert island? Easy. The Bible, the Koran, and the Torah. And I'd dig a hole all the way to the Earth's molten core and throw all three of them in.

::The March of Pennies::

There's a charity in the US called the March of Dimes, which was the name given to a fundraising effort for polio research established by Roosevelt in 1938. Everyone in the nation was asked to donate a dime (the 10 cent coin) and, as a result, Salk's polio vaccine was developed.

President Bush's legacy will be the Death March of Pennies.

Folks won't be asked to contribute. They'll just have their pennies (the tiny one cent coin) declared worthless. Well, not worthless. I assume they'll be able to take their stashes of them to the nearest bank to be exchanged for their face value, and the banks will give them back to the Mint. A 1996 report to Congress estimated there were 132 billion pennies in circulation at that time.

But here's the thing: up until 1982, pennies were 95 percent copper--except for a period during the Civil War when they were only 88 percent copper, and in 1943 when they were zinc-coated steel. This country being once again at war now, copper is once again worth its weight in gold, so to speak. So reeling in all those pre-1983 pennies--which are worth far more than their face value--and melting them down could be worth, well, a Mint!

Can there be anything more pathetic in the world than a ruler robbing his citizens of the true value of their possessions in order to finance a ridiculous war in a far-off place that nobody wants? What century are we in exactly?

::Butter wouldn't melt...::

Hmmm. You guys seem to be having a bit of a problem with the yummy stuff, I see. Well, let me revive an idea I first had back in the 70s for NZ's famed "butter mountain"--melt the stuff down and sell it as biofuel! (Only back then, there there was no such word; I just thought we could run the Silver Streak railcar on it and not have to do away with the service.)

::Oh, yes it would!::

To the tune of Santa Claus is Coming to Town: "You better watch out. You better beware. I'll stamp on your toes and set fire to your hair. Vengie-guts is having a meltdown!"

If that little ditty brought a slight curl to the corners of your thin cruel mouth, then please, oh, please go to the University of Pennsylvania's website on Authentic Happiness and do their questionnaire about how vengeful you are. I'm alarmed to find that a mere 1 percent of all the survey-takers are more vengeful than I am.

Me? Vengeful? Obviously only the Pollyanna types attracted by a website called "Authentic Happiness" are going there to take the survey and this imbalance needs to be redressed. How did I stumble upon the website? Well, every now and then I like to amuse myself by typing a state of mind into Google just to see what it brings back.

http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/

::The Boho Brigade::

I wonder how the Boho Brigade coped with the heat on Saturday. The annual summer gathering of important men (and only men) at Bohemian Grove, not far north of San Francisco, reached its midpoint this weekend.

Here is this year's schedule, reprinted from the Sonoma County Free Press website:

2006 SCHEDULE OF LAKESIDE TALKS AT BOHEMIAN GROVE

The most striking thing about this years schedule is that there is NO listing for the 12:30 PM lakeside talk for the second Saturday, July 22. In the past the second Saturday usually features a special big wig with a scary topic and is often just listed as "to be announced" so nosey outsiders won't know. So this has piqued our interest and we hope by July 22 someone out there will share what they know. Here is a partial list of other talks this year:

Friday, July 14: "GLOBAL FINANCIAL WARRIORS"
by John Taylor, Bohemian and Professor of Economics at Stanford

Saturday, July 15: CREMATION OF CARE

Monday, July 17: "UNTOLD TALES FROM THE COLD WAR"
Tom Reed, Bohemian & former Secretary of the Air Force

Tuesday, July 18: "ENERGY, CO2 and CLIMATE CHANGE
Lynn Orr, Director Global Climate & Energy Project, Stanford

Wednesday, July 19: "GULF COAST EROSION: CONSEQUENCES FOR AMERICA"
King Milling, Chm. Louisiana Governor's Coastal Restoration & Conservation Committee

Friday, July 21: "AMERICA IN A NEW WORLD" Fareed Zakaria, Editor: Newsweek

Tuesday, July 25: "ISLAND CONSERVATION WITH GUNS, TRAPS & POISON
Bernie Tershy, Research Biologist Institute of Marine Sciences, U.C. Santa Cruz

Wednesday, July 26: 'THE PARALLELISM & ULTIMATE CONVERGENCE OF SCIENCE & RELIGION, Charles Townes, Bohemian & Scientist

Thursday, July 27: "GLOBAL URBANIZATION: A CHALLENGE FOR THE FUTURE",
Richard Koshalek, President, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena


"THESE EUROPEANS: DO THEY UNDERSTAND US? OR ANYTHING?"
Andrew Knight, Bohemian and Editor

Friday, July 28: "LESSONS LEARNED FROM WAR, ASSASSINATION, THE WHITE
HOUSE & HOLLYWOOD", Jack Valenti, past president, Motion Picture Ass. Of America

Saturday, July 29: "FROM BATTLEFIELDS TO PLAYING FIELDS-ECONOMICS,
ENERGY & EDUCATION", Colin Powell, Bohemian & Soldier/Statesman

http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.com/bohos/bohoindx.html
http://www.sonomacountyfreepress.com/bohos/bohoindx.html

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--

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