And So It Goes

January 28, 2012

United (States) Parcel Service.

Image by matt.hintsa via Flickr


Well, glancing over the news this week, I could tell you that the EU has decided to help punish Iran with an oil embargo, to be instituted over the next six months so as to avoid punishing themselves by abruptly discontinuing their oil supply.  Or, that Iran appears to have kindly offered to help them along by simply banning the sale of oil to the EU starting next week. (Oh, SNAP!)  And that Iran will open talks with the UN nuclear inspectors tomorrow in an attempt to show that they are not in fact working on a nuclear arms program even though the US, Israel and the EU already know that and have said as much.  Or that all this falderal is probably more about regime change and the hope that we can slip in a Western-friendly government that will privatize Iranian oil for the benefit of Big Oil (and, of course, the rest of mankind.)


I could mention the cautious rejoicing brought about by 2.8 percent growth in our moribund economy in the last quarter of 2011, though that was the quarter that contained our annual Christmas buying spree.  And that we have already seen an uptick in unemployment claims from the loss of those temporary pre-Christmas retail jobs. Or that, in spite of last quarter’s growth, the Fed is still worried about the sustainability of that growth throughout the next couple of years.


I could discuss our Energy Information Agency’s new happy-happy forecast for growing US energy production over the next eight years that doesn’t really discuss the problem of decreasing energy returned on the energy invested to produce it.  Or that this will likely continue as a drag on the economy and mean continued high  costs to we ordinary consumers of energy.


I could toss into the discussion pot the news that the World Health Organization is increasingly concerned about the growth in the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the growing possibility of an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant diseases with continued overuse of antibiotics by physicians and farmers.  Or that oceanographers and environmentalists are worried that massive over fishing of our oceans is pushing some species of food fish to the brink of extinction.  And that in a string of strange environmental happenings over the last few years, this has been a weirdly warm January for much of the country.


I could even throw some levity into the mix by noting that, if elected President, Newt Gingrich would like to send us back to the moon and John McCain would like to start the project by sending Newt there first.


I could write a blog post discussing any or all of these, but I won’t.  I won’t because on this sunny January day, I find I just don’t give a damn.  Those in power either will or won’t embargo Iran into an actual shooting war; will or won’t get the economy cranking; will or won’t find a way to maintain this high energy economy on higher-cost, lower-value energy; will or won’t find a way to destroy us and the environment we depend on; will or won’t continue the political circus until the whole rootin’ tootin’ shootin’ match collapses of sheer exhaustion.  There is little I can do to influence them one way or the other at this point.


On the other hand, over the next month I can finish planning my spring garden, buy what seeds I need and start my transplants.  I can continue to winnow down the list of small repairs around the house – inside until spring, outside after that.  I can make sure I maintain my pantry and find ways to keep abreast of and engaged in what’s happening in my neighborhood through the rest of this strange winter.


By next week, February will have blown in – perhaps cold, with snow and ice; perhaps unseasonably warm, with floods and tornadoes.  Maybe by then, war will have started. Maybe Europe will have collapsed.  Maybe some new environmental catastrophe will have befallen mankind; maybe we will have turned some unexpected corner back toward sanity.  I will or won’t have survived these vagaries to talk about it.  If so, maybe by next week I will give a damn again.  Maybe not.


And so it goes.


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30 Responses to And So It Goes

  1. pamela says:

    Linda, Linda, Linda.
    this was just brilliant. You managed to pretty much sum up not only what I’m feeling right now, but everyone I talk to that’s awake.
    You have a way of writing that is wise and fresh and stimulating all at the same time, and that’s something special.

    • theozarker says:

      Hey Pam, you know, I read about all this stuff and thought about all this stuff and started writing about it without any success several times. Woke up this morning and by the time I woke up good, the sun was shining in those east windows and I thought, I know what’s wrong. I just don’t give a damn about all that stuff right now. So that’s what I wrote about. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that feels that way sometimes. 😀

  2. Chris says:

    Excellent post and good advice. Whilst I love discussing doom, its the concentrating on prepping and preparing that is the really important stuff. In saying that, I’m off to muck out the chicken pens after a week of 450mm+ rainfall 🙂

  3. Thanks for sending me here Pamela. I stop in from time to time but this one slipped by me. It described me to a “T”. The kids are skiing in the field behind the house. The cat is sleeping in a sunny spot in front of the fire. The ham smells great and the church bells just signaled that it’s time to call the girls in for supper. Who cares about the rest? Not me. Not today.

  4. Barbara says:

    Hear, hear! Exactly how I feel today as well. Brilliantly put!

  5. graveday says:

    Well, they will do what you don’t want and won’t do what you do want.
    We can do what we want, we just can’t want what we want, according to Schopenhauer.
    I read that a seed can pull water to it with a pressure of a thousand atmospheres. That’s how much I want things to work out well for the world. There’s always a chance for a sprout.

    • theozarker says:

      Grave, you always bring me the most interesting facts. I did not know that about seeds, but it does give one hope that some of the seeds will “take”, doesn’t it? Thanks.

  6. Linda, very nice! (Sorry, I know, this is incongruent with your theme, but I often end up somewhere different from where I start.)

    “So it goes.”
    —Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse Five

    “What’s going to happen is, very soon, we’re going to run out of petroleum, and everything depends on petroleum. And there go the school buses. There go the fire engines. The food trucks will come to a halt. This is the end of the world.”
    —KURT VONNEGUT, JR., Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2006

    Into chaos we soon will be hurled
    As the Holocene end is unfurled:
    We have the distinction
    To watch mass extinction:
    This is the end of the world.

    • theozarker says:

      Hi Benjamin, no problem. It’s always good to be reminded that wise men were here crying in the wilderness before we were. And thanks for the limericks; they always make me smile.

  7. “…on this sunny January day, I find I just don’t give a damn….”

    The view of what’s coming’s less blurry,
    So we’ve cut down on hurry and scurry;
    Having looked at our fear,
    Acceptance draws near—
    And with it, a time of less worry.

  8. So many things go on the fritz,
    And in the end, everything quits;
    We don’t worry our wits,
    We’re not down in the pits:
    It’s all good, it will hit when it hits.

  9. and in the end we only have the day.

    The unseasonable weather is bothering me…… i feel i should be doing things different in response but am not sure what to do when……

    • theozarker says:

      Indeed, Wendy. And yes, the weather is bothering me, too. Here it’s oscillated all of January through a fairly regular pattern of above normal, normal, below normal for the season, then it repeats the cycle. If it confuses us, I wonder what it’s doing to the flora and fauna where we live. I suppose we’ll find out in a month or two.

  10. Bill Hicks says:

    “By next week, February will have blown in – perhaps cold, with snow and ice; perhaps unseasonably warm, with floods and tornadoes. Maybe by then, war will have started. Maybe Europe will have collapsed. Maybe some new environmental catastrophe will have befallen mankind; maybe we will have turned some unexpected corner back toward sanity.”

    Or maybe, as seems more likely, we’ll continue on with with The Great Muddle.

    I’ve sensed a lot of burn out among the online doomer/peak oil community lately, probably because our message remains locked out of the mainstream discourse despite the fact that what is happening should be painfully obvious to the majority of people by now. Being aware of what’s happening, but living your life surrounded buy the clueless and watching them make decisions as if the future will continue in the same economic growth trajectory as the past just wears you down after awhile.

    • theozarker says:

      LOL, The Great Muddle, I like that, Bill. I think a lot of doomers couldn’t imagine that TPTB could keep up appearances so long. As for “the clueless”, I wonder if we haven’t been taught for so long that anxiety is a bad thing to be avoided at all costs, we’ve forgotten its evolutionary purpose – to warn us that danger is near and to focus us on the need to get out of the way.

      Not really worn down, just needed an I don’t give a damn day. 😀

    • Steve says:

      Yes! I’ve noticed the burnout in the doomer blogosphere as well. Very interesting to hear you’ve seen it too. What will be, will be.

      I agree with Linda — plant your garden, love your kids and spouse, cut your firewood. Make your friends laugh. Nothing else you can do, really.

      • theozarker says:

        Hi Steve, welcome. I agree. (Though I’m still nosy or curious enough to try and keep abreast of things, maybe I just want to see how long they can keep all those balls in the air. :D)

  11. graveday says:

    @ Ben. ‘Mistah Kurt(z), he dead’, with apologies to Joseph Conrad. But no apologies needed for your wonderful rhymes.

    @ Bill. ‘Buy the clueless’, is just a wonderful slip that can be taken a few ways, as in what they do and how they are treated by the PTB, for two.

    @ Wendy. Still have that kale plant, heh. Chopped it into some fried rice yesterday.

    @ Weather. For the third year in a row the flowering quince has not lost most of its leaves and is flowering. Since the leaves are on, the flowering effect is muted and the ikebana people have to strip leaves to make their arrangements. Daffodils are up and just about to pop, the redbud and almonds should be blooming in a week, and we are in a drought.
    It feels like late March and I have to remind myself it is only late January. Crikey.

  12. gd dude! 🙂 thanks!
    You mean something like this?

    Apocalypse Now

    The General

    Every heart has conflict within,
    Between good and turning to sin;
    Kurtz won’t come around
    From his methods unsound,
    And the good side does not always win.

    Your operation “doesn’t exist,”
    And we are so done being pissed;
    Extreme prejudice is planned:
    End the Colonel’s command—
    And now Captain, you are dismissed.


    We learn from our field benedictory,
    Killing’s good (that’s not contradictory);
    And it’s not Charlie’s turf,
    ‘Cause Charlie don’t surf!
    —It all smelled like…victory.


    —Sampan, port bow: let’s say hello,
    If they’re moving too fast or too slow,
    —Kill ‘em all…why not?
    (They’re shot on the spot.)
    —I told you don’t stop. Now let’s go.


    You think that you’re safe while afloat,
    So you focus on one simple quote;
    If you like, you can yelp
    (At the end it won’t help):
    Never get out of the boat.

    The Photojournalist

    Look at this shit and its trends,
    How everything ebbs and descends;
    Even if you’re no whiz,
    You can tell that this is
    The way that the fucking world ends.


    My perspective is clear and unsparing;
    I’m immune to any more scaring.
    What you call normality
    Is lying morality,
    And that’s why I’m far beyond caring.

  13. graveday says:

    Ben, you shine such a clear light into the Heart of Darkness with your brilliant packets. gd

  14. My dear Linda, what can I say? A great original post is inspirational.


    The Fighter Pilots

    —That order’s a death decree!
    —This is the way it must be.
    —On the screen there’s no doubt:
    Now they’re all flaming out.
    —They’ve gone down into the sea.

    Goodbye, My Friend

    —I liked London. One could transcend
    The war; on long walks, time I’d spend
    Amid historic array…
    —It is a hard day.
    —Good-bye, my friend. —Good-bye, my friend.

    Helen Grady

    Jack…this is Helen…hello?
    There’s no war! Don’t let the bombs go!
    I’ve never lied to you…
    You know that is true…
    Jack…please answer me….No!

    The Ambassador

    —When the hydrogen bombs ignite,
    A shriek will report your plight;
    As they drop to the ground…
    —Explosions now sound!
    The sky is lit up very bright….

    The Matador

    We knew what this mission might be.
    Only I touch the bomb control key,
    And I fly the plane;
    From these acts you refrain—
    The dream! The matador! Me!


    Uh oh, there’s one more:

    2001: A Space Odyssey

    I no longer try to conceal it,
    And there’s nothing to do to heal it;
    Stop Dave…please behave…
    Will you stop Dave?
    My mind’s going—I can feel it.


    That’s enough for now. 😀

  15. Credit where credit is due:
    graveday, actually, YOU got me going on this trip to the movies. Thank you so much for the idea! 🙂


    Terminator 2
    (T-100, to T-1000:)

    I’m not up for domestication,
    But how about cohabitation?
    You can see levitation
    And augmentation
    And why I need a vacation.

    I arrived with no clothes to unpack,
    But still, I’m quite good in the sack;
    You’ve got what I lack:
    A very nice rack—
    And after I’ve come, I’ll be back.


    Logans Run

    Lots of people, but too little food,
    But don’t let that ruin your mood;
    It’s what you must do:
    Renew! Renew!
    (Fat chance that you’ll be renewed.)

  16. Sarah Connor

    You think something’s wrong with my head,
    But doom is becoming widespread;
    You think that you’re wise,
    But everyone dies;
    Everyone’s already dead.

  17. graveday says:

    That is an impressive run Ben. Someday we will sit down to a cup of coffee at Brennan’s. I just hope in person you speak in normal sentences, heh. gd

  18. Barbara says:

    I just had to re-read this after glancing at the headlines. Can’t find any energy for drama today.

    • theozarker says:

      Heheh, we just had a good rain last night and the temps will only be in the low eighties. Drama be damned, it’s time to tackle the jungle on the north side of the house again.

      Cheers right back at ya, gal.

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