Water

I just saw a meme which was praising a store for not selling bottled water but, instead, encouraging customers to bring their own bottles and fill them at a ‘refilling station,’ which I guess is a fancy store word for ‘a tap,’ and for which service they probably charge, being a store and all.
I fail to see this as progress. Sure, it may reduce use of plastic by an infinitesimal amount, but it doesn’t solve the real problem of having to buy water.
I am old enough to remember when water was considered a free thing, and there were drinking fountains all over the place. In fact, when I see historical photos of segregated fountains, which indeed was a dark illustration of racism, my immediate thought is “Damn, they had drinking fountains. The 1950s were superior to us in that, and that’s a really big deal.
We need water as we need air, we cannot survive it for long, and it is an outrage that we have to pay for it every time we take a sip in public. It’s not as if it’s a rare commodity, either. 2/3rds of the Earth is covered with water, which we are capable of making drinkable. Even the inland water, the fresh water, or sweet water as it’s known in many languages, is abundant. Most of the Earth’s major cities are built on rivers, where the water is literally floating by and, of course, that’s the reason the cities are there. From the dawn of mankind, people have tried to stay close to sources of drinking water.
In the last half century, it has become a commodity, something you have to pay for, and it amazed me that more people aren’t mad about that.
When they start bottling oxygen and selling it back to us, will we even rebel then?

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Rednecks on the Run

James and Jennifer Crumbley, gun enthusiasts, Trump supporters (in a badly spelled and grammatically horrific letter to Trump, Jennifer Crumbley wrote “I’d rather be grabbed by the pussy than keep getting fucked in the ass”), and parents of mass murderer Ethan Crumbley, 15, are now on the run from the law themselves.
Their attorney (they sure found an attorney fast, eh?) says they aren’t on the run, and will turn themselves in for arraignment soon. Law enforcement doesn’t seem to feel the same way. They’ve posted their pictures, their license plate number, a description of their car, and a hot line number to call in case anybody sees them.
I imagine they’ll be caught pretty soon, or maybe they will turn themselves in. It’s sort of like all those bozos who stormed the capitol in January. They got away from the scene of the crime, but a lot of them were identified right away, mostly by ‘friends’ and family. These are people who hate everybody. It’s no surprise they have enemies.
They’ll be charged with four counts (one for each death) of involuntary manslaughter, and it’s justified. Ethan referred (online) to the gun as his Christmas present, and his mother posted a pic from the gun range saying he was trying out his Christmas present, so it seems pretty clear the parents were giving him access to the gun. Ethan’s father’s call to the police to say his gun was missing, 30 minutes after the shooting began (so actually after the shooting was over) was in the CYA category of phone calls.
The shooting did not last long. Credit must be given to the police for their rapid response. As heartbreaking as it is for the families of the four students who died, it might have been 40 instead of 4 if the police hadn’t arrived so quickly.

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Another One

The school shooting that happened today in Michigan will not long be remembered in the annals of horrifying school shootings. Only 3 people died, which is way short of Columbine, Sandy Hook and Parkland.
But, it is the first post-Rittenhouse school shooting and I can’t help thinking, from the way the gunman surrendered as soon as he saw the police, that maybe he thinks he’s going to get away with it. Not likely, of course, but you can see how he might have that idea.
Also, his weapon was described as a semi-automatic pistol. Here’s the thing: whenever I use the phrase automatic, it is like a starter pistol for the gun nuts to rush into the comments section screaming ‘semi-automatic! semi-automatic!’ Well, semi-automatic is bad enough, apparently, and they should be banned, too.
One more thing. His father purchased the gun, presumably legally, just last week. One thing that should be added to the limitations on buying guns: not if you have a teenage child at home. At least, not until that child has had a psychiatric evaluation.
Because kids who have access to guns are about a million times more likely to kill people with guns than kids who don’t.

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More Than One Thing at a Time

I do think ‘woke culture,’ which, it seems to me, is just a new word for being PC, has gone a bit too far. On the other hand, I get skeptical when I see somebody say, loudly and publicly (well, I guess loud is a metaphor when we’re typing, but you know what I mean) that they are ‘fed up with all this woke bullshit.’ Often as not, they are just a frustrated bigot whose not allowed to use their favorite pejorative terms any more.
That said, the comment that really irritated me today was under a nice science article about some rock drawings, something like 12,000 years old, which were recently discovered in Colombia and may shed a great deal of light on ancient American cultures and, by extension, the development of mankind. Well, one woman was right out of the gate with how this belonged to the native tribes of the area and western archeologists should just shove off, which led to a spirited and quite unproductive debate, as I’m sure no minds were changed.
It’s not a new thing, really, just a new term. I remember reading 30, probably more like 40 years ago in something by Robert Anton Wilson. He called it ‘reality tunnels,’ if I recall correctly. Some people are in the racial reality tunnel, and see everything in those terms. For others, it’s women’s issues, or gender issues, or indigenous culture issues, or vegetarianism, or various economic ideologies. I’ve got one friend who will tie about any subject up with legalization of cannabis.
The world is complex, and it’s important that we be able to see more than one thing at a time, to consider more than one thing at a time.

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The Wrong Direction

There is a lovely (well, maybe lovely is the wrong word), interesting, gnarled, ancient tree that grows through the middle of the sidewalk near our flat, on the path leading out of the housing project, in the direction of Invalidovna, the historical hospital, now mostly derelict, where some scenes from Hellboy were filmed. Last year they trimmed it down to nearly nothing and quite a few people objected, yet, this summer it was greener and bushier than ever. About a week ago they trimmed it again. I hope it survives, I truly do. It is a thing that marks the neighborhood’s character, in a neighborhood that is quickly losing its character, as ultra-modern office blocks are sprouting up all around us like mushrooms after a rain.
A few days ago, as I looked out from my balcony, I saw men with chainsaws and long ladders going after a very tall tree, the tallest one around. At first, I thought maybe they were just taking a bit off the top, to keep it from topping the 8 story building it was next to, even though in my mind that would be a good thing. But no, they cut the whole thing down. As well as one that was right next to our own building. In a world in which we must plant trillions of new trees to absorb the carbon and save our planet, they are cutting down magnificent old specimens right in my neighborhood. I am not happy.
As I was walking past the freshly slaughtered tree, I saw a woman pushing reach down and pick out a couple of branches, obviously for Christmas decorations, and put them in the basket under her stroller with a smile on her face. I am still outraged, but I suppose hers was the healthier reaction.

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