We’re all Hayduke’s now

A.K. Sarvis, M.D. aka Doc

“Did you know that a consortium of power companies and government agencies are conspiring to open more strip mines and build even more coal-burning power plants in the same four-corners area where all that filth is coming from now? Together with more roads, power lines, railways and pipelines? All in what was once semi-virginal wilderness and still is the most spectacular landscape in the forty-eight contiguous bloody states? Did you know that?”

“I was once a semi-virgin,” she said.” Ms. B. Abbzug- aka Bonnie

Edward Abbey’s, The Monkey Wrench Gang was published in 1975. Hayduke, Seldom Seen Smith, Doc, and Abzug set out to go to Page, Arizona near the Colorado River and blow up the Glen Canyon Dam. The novel is an unapologetic portrayal of a gang of environmental terrorists.

Glen Canyon Dam

Abbey never tried to thread the needle, didn’t bother to put some favorable patina on his gang. Hayduke was a Green Beret, veteran of Vietnam War, beer drinking, civilization hating desert loving wilderness advocate. Hayduke had preservation of what was wild on his list of good and the sprawling mess called Tucson on his list of what he called tragedy.

The Navajo Generating Station was under construction the same time as The Monkey Wrench Gang was being drafted. The book was published in 1975, the same year that the power plant went online.

Navajo Generating Station

Last year, November 2019, the Navajo Generation Station closed unable to compete with newer technologies, both natural gas and solar power were cheaper. In forty-five years of operation the power plant released millions and millions of tons of pollution into the atmosphere, much of it falling onto the Navajo Nations land and people.

Not sure happiness is something Edward Abbey based his life upon. A conservationist’s day begins and ends the same way, losing another fight. Hayduke’s barbarism and wretched excesses I imagine were medicinal characteristics for the author to create. Abbey’s doing something about the desecration was to set Hayduke out on the page and let his savage disdain for civilization speak his vulgar truth to power.

Last week felt like I was on the back lot at 20th Century Fox. I’d just come from makeup and heading to the costume shop. I was Hayduke’s stunt double.

Decommissioned Coal Conveyor Belt

The drive east from Tuba City to Teec Nos Pos is 145 miles. Along the highway the Kayenta Mine and the Peabody Coal Company’s conveying system is found located in Shonto, Arizona. Closed now the mine delivered 8 million tons of coal each year for use in the regional coal fired power plants. The largest were the three power units located at Navajo Generating Station near Page, Arizona.

I opened the door to my van and stepped into the pages of Abbey’s novel. A conveyor belt ran of in the distance a mile or more in each direction, the same contraption Hayduke had sabotaged, the same piece of equipment the environmental terrorist had monkey wrenched.

Inconvenient Truth

Hurricane Zeta the fifth hurricane of the season (an all-time record) will hit Louisiana today. In California and Colorado all-time record-breaking wildfires have shaken communities near and far. Time has caught up with our bingeing on fossil fuels. Climate change is here.

We’re all Hayduke’s now.

“He drank another beer as he drove along. Two and a half six-packs to Lee’s Ferry. Out there in the open Southwest, he and his friends measured highway distances in per-capita six-packs of beer. L.A. to Phoenix, four six-packs; Tucson to Flagstaff, three six-packs; Phoenix to New York, thirty-five six-packs.” Edward Abbey Narrator

Travels without charley

Tourist Services in the Time of the Virus

Tuba City in the Navajo Nation is seventy-eight miles northeast of Flagstaff. Twenty years ago, I came through here after an early April snowstorm. A ramshackle convenience store had pull-through sites out behind the building. Cold, road weary, I needed to hook up my trailer to the electricity to keep my heater running all night. At the counter, an older woman took my fee. I presumed she was a member of the Navajo, sometimes you’ll meet Hopi here too. Navajo are reserved, speak without extra words, do not indicate much with extraneous facial expressions, but still the woman behind the counter with her modest eyes was helpful and generous with her attention. In the howling wind I went back out to my trailer fixed supper, did my dishes, hopped on my bunk, opened a book to read, then after slept until dawn.

Last week I pulled off the two-lane highway into a parking lot in Tuba City. The small store I had stopped in twenty years ago had vanished with time. Instead there was a supermarket, in another adjacent building a hair salon and pizza parlor. A gas station at the corner occupied the space at the intersection.

Truck and Trailer Setup circa 2000

Navajo shoppers were waiting to buy groceries. Because of the pandemic the store was only letting a few customers in at a time. Everyone had to wear a mask. Shopping carts were being sprayed down with disinfectant then wiped dry. The Covid-19 outbreak here in the Navajo Nation has been disastrous. To avoid unnecessary risks before starting this trip I’d gone shopping for everything I would need for the crossing from California to Colorado. This is no way to travel, not anything I would have ever thought to do, but with the invisible enemy floating about I’ve had to adapt and adjust. “Be safe,” is the way we say this to each other.

Diné Bizaad

A one-way road trip from Tuba City, Arizona to Gallup, New Mexico is 200 miles and most of this trip is within the sovereign boundaries of the Navajo land. One hundred and eighty thousand tribe members are scattered across 17.5 million acres. In my years of touring I have traveled up and down most of the Navajo’s paved roads and chanced adventures on many more that were not.

Students living at home take the bus to school, spending up to two hours’ traveling each way to attend class. The tribal elders decided after boarding their youth for some years that taking the children away from their mothers and fathers was harming family life. Much of what a young Navajo boy or girl experiences, much of the lessons to be taught, come from living with their family and speaking the language, known as Diné Bizaad. The Diné (means: people) believe there are two classes of beings: earth people and holy people, and it is the earth people that are sent here to preserve and protect Mother Earth. Ordinary day to day life is the most sacred form of being.

Navajo Farm

You’ll still see hogan’s scattered across the landscape, a small fraction of Navajo preferring to live in this traditional shelter. Here where modern life has encroached, conventional housing now predominates, but homes are modest, families are tight knit. Children grow and change. Life beyond lures the tribes youngest away, many returning disillusioned with the outside world and rededicate their lives to helping make the Navajo way flourish.  

The Navajo Nation has a population of 180,000. As of last week, Covid-19 has killed 600. Seventy-five-hundred have recovered out of the 11,000 that have been infected. And now this great tribe because of how their culture weaves their people together is threatened by this new scourge. To halt this crisis, to be free and safe once more, we’ll all sacrifice and work together to that end. So there is hope, as the Navajo would say,  “You cannot see the future with tears in your eyes.”

autumn backroad east

I’m a roadrunner baby

Running the southern route adds two-hundred miles to the trip to Denver. Once I’d made Bakersfield, I parked at a truck stop, slept there for the night. Sunday, I made five hundred miles east to Williams, Arizona. A local tipped me off to a free campground operated by the Bureau of Land Management.

“Get off Interstate 40, take Highway 64 north a handful of miles,” my tipster guaranteeing, “you can’t miss the campground, the dirt road is on the right.”

Wheeling into the dusty forest there was posted a sign warning camping was limited to 14 days. Squatters can become a nuisance. I was only there for one night. I parked warily under ponderosa pine. Wildfire this autumn has kept people on edge. Terrain was brittle, dry, risk of fire high. Among the long needle Rocky Mountain ponderosa pine, you would be advised to keep your ditch bag near at hand.

I set out a folding table, chair, got my electric skillet fired up slow cooking the one man- one pot dish. Tonight, it would be homemade beans, potatoes, asparagus, and spinach. The secret sauce to being cast a sage culinary vagabond was be spartan like and not make a mess.    

Pandemic dining at its best

In 1992 I lived along the Verde River eighty miles southeast of here. I remember taking my baby girl Alana shopping in Flagstaff. I could still hold her in my arms. I was miserable seeing her grow up knowing that all too soon I wasn’t going to be able to pick her up and carry that baby girl in my arms. You think about the people you love when your camped out alone.

Out here in the southwest where the Mojave, Sonoran and Great Basin Desert’s meet up there has been a great increase in population. Most of the places categorized as in the middle of nowhere and to hell and gone, five miles by dirt another mile on foot, all of that part of the American West is under threat. St. George, Utah was never supposed to grow so big.

In more remote regions of Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico you’ll find solitude as pure as your evil heart. Then, you brush up close to Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, or Phoenix and you will choke on civilization sprawled out over a horizon and cooking at a boil.

Reclamation Project Underway

For my money, the American West is in possession of the crown jewels of our nation’s wilderness. Now each remote outpost is being encroached upon from a new nearby settlement. It is unclear what is to become of solitude, the wildlands have been stolen by a swelling population, hardscrabble loner’s that have struggled to celebrate emptiness are nearing the end of such places. All of us need nowhere even if we never bother to go. The privilege of camping in wild open spaces, counting the mustang off on the horizon, being serenaded by a canyon wren, these are experiences that deserved to be passed onto the misfits and renegade misanthropes.

Fool’s Paradise

I hiked up a gulch fooled by the terrain, read the clues all wrong, ended up in a boxed canyon. Ancient Anasazi people hunted in this terrain, once their prey had been cornered nets were raised, trapped, unable to escape, the ancient hunters armed with spears would press in for the kill.

As the Pleistocene ended, what is now Nevada warmed, ice age animals went extinct, pinion pine migrated north from Mexico. Into the region arrived grizzly bear, elk, deer, antelope and big horn sheep. For the next ten thousand years a tribe of hunters thrived. Early man faced drought, wildfire, and the threat of being eaten alive. Right now a mountain lion can ruin anyone’s day. Important answers to civilizations problems confound people attempting to respond to the mortal risks flourishing in the third decade of this new century. We are acting, you can feel the whole lot of us trying, growing momentum will sweep up more and more, and we will make good trouble refining our path.

I see on my calendar humankind’s next big leap will take place on November 3rd. Let’s get along now, there is a wild blue yonder to chase and a wide wonderful world to save.

Looking for a few ears

Motorcycle Racing Champion and the Circus Arts Aerialist

Women of the Oak Savannahs

I’m still thinking this scene may represent some of the best writing I have ever done. There you go. Just my opinion. I wouldn’t mind finding out what other listeners think. If you do spend time with these two characters, Buzz Jackson and Joann Triche drop me a note let me know how the scene works for you.

sailing beneath wonder

South Tower

Modern wonders of the world number seven, the Golden Gate Bridge is but one. Two more, Panama Canal and Empire State Building give some context to what company this bridge keeps.

Sailing in the presence of one of the great wonders towering above leaves one stunned. Tidal forces are at play beneath the bridge, incessant corrosive sea salts are blown upon the steel and concrete.

In a stout wind sailing beneath the bridge is not a nonchalant experience. Winds and currents are tricky and the sagest of sailor’s tinker upon this piece of water with a care rendered by squeezing so hard to sheet, tiller or wheel that there is no room for blood to flow. Sailing beneath the wonder is often a white knuckle affair.

North Tower

Most times with my course outbound luck has been bountiful. Not every time. I have in fool youth did not appreciate the wisdom of turning back and for that mistake then beaten by steep swell and high wind. Stubbornness retreats as motion sickness is threatened.

Here is a bridge our nation has stood up and by civilization’s collective agreement kept safe for transit. If the bridge were not constantly maintained the wild world would have long ago reclaimed this site.

Our forefathers, the people of the United States of America arranged by democracy to tax sufficiently, raise revenue by bridge toll, hire maintenance crew, keep in constant contact with expert engineers that by fact and science expertly keep the bridge in tip top shape.

Left Coast Sunset

Without such due-diligence there would remain nothing of use at the Golden Gate, this place of places. Our democracy to keep standing requires as much if not more care and guidance by empirical fact. A faith based belief system is not a mechanical engineering manual.

We are at the most delicate hour in the world’s longest surviving democracy. To keep one of the seven modern wonders of the world hail and whole seems beyond the talent or plans of the current gang of fascists circling about our vulnerable present moment.

With more people come more traffic lights, small towns need none. Order needs to be appreciated. An emptier world might suit a libertarian, this congested place demands further regulation. Imagining there would be a Golden Gate Bridge must have been a leap of faith in our country’s power. Our best educated, our most temperate people, reliable and self-sacrificing, possessing a sense of respect for our future, this is the kind that will help build upon what Joseph Strauss in 1917 first imagined.

Sailing beneath the Golden Gate Bridge reminds us of our souls, of mankind’s potential for greatness. Sending a man to the moon, circumnavigating the world, relishing the company of a wife or husband.

Capitalism is insufficient to the project of our governing this land. The means of advancing virtue and discouraging vice in our civic life is on the table and at risk. Turning away from the journey of being a free people would be to put all that we have done in peril. We stand on the shoulders and inherited much. I cannot imagine giving all that this nation has built to the tyrannical selfish and greedy few.

Vote

Sausalito then and now

Foggy Streams Sweeping Inland at Days End

Sailing has been part of my life. My first lessons were on 14’ sloop rigged sailboats in the Alameda Estuary. It wasn’t long before a sailing friend purchased his own, a modest seaworthy boat, strong enough to cross oceans, slow enough to make a sailor think twice of doing so.

In 1980 there was a small parking lot operating as a boatyard in the center of Sausalito. After a long day in the yard prepping the boat to go back in the water a short walk across the street landed skipper and his second in command in the No Name Bar.

Sausalito on my horizon last evening

Sterling Hayden was easy to spot around town. Alan Watts nearly always drunk and irritable made his home here too. Best of the locals was the famous circumnavigator Bernard Moitessier.

Having run out of money in Tahiti he sailed his steel ketch Joshua to Sausalito to rid his life of what he termed the “hungry cows.”

I studied celestial navigation aboard Joshua with three others. Bernard’s berth was located toward the back of the boat near the stern. I remember his bunk enormous, piled high with multicolored quilts, blankets, and pillows. History’s most accomplished sea gypsy slept in a gauzy fantasy world of paisley’s, spangles and curiosities.

I was 29 when I studied under the guidance of this great Frenchman born in Vietnam. I had not read his books yet. His confidence was stunning. He possessed the greatest powers. There was no Global Positioning System deployed yet. To sail the oceans you navigated with compass, sextant and chronometer. Moitessier remains one of world’s most accomplished circumnavigators.

Gossamer Clad Golden Gate Bridge and Sailboat Daring to Kiss its Edge

There exists a shortlist of heroic types I’ve had the pleasure to learn from. Each had favorite poets and poems. My hero’s were deeply spiritual, I would go so far as to say each were touched with a sense of the mystical. All seemed to be wedded to the notion of traveling to faraway places. Most cared little for material things and shopped for clothes at second hand stores. These were spirit guides with vast appetites. Skinny to a one, craving to seize the day, and fulfill their hearts desires. Passion was no stranger among my North Stars.

The rail thin sailor was easy to find. We made a habit of chasing him down aboard his boat. We wouldn’t outstay our welcome. Weather permitting we’d stand on deck. Bernard smoked hand rolled cigarettes. Conversation was a meandering experience. We’d talk politics with a sailor who had looked firsthand into the fabric of power by having harbor hopped the nations of the world. We talked about different aspects of sailing. And then there was always this circling back around to our youth and Bernard’s quirky way of urging us to listen to our own hearts, to do what we want to do, be who we truly are. Bernard insisted we had to honor our dreams. Bernard had become our friend.

A Raucous Wind Awaits a Sailor on Such a Sight as This

Sausalito was storybook in 1980. Homes were improbably perched on perilously steep hillsides. Fog hovered on the ridge and in late afternoons would stream down through the gulches in one place but not another.

By nightfall the anchorage would be overcast. Foreign accented voices were common, exotic sailing craft from all corners of the world set at anchor in Richardson Bay. Levi clad long haired men and women populated the waterfront, merry wide eyed dreamers to a one.

I’m anchored off Sausalito, anchored here last night, reminiscences of the good souls that brought me to this moment, having helped steer my life, helped set my direction. A fine man Moitessier, he spent his last days in Normandy along a favorite piece of coastline. I was blessed with his sure hand and chiseled smile.

Hope is the New Dope

We Start From Here and Now

There is a bright future. In Colorado energy researchers at the Rocky Mountain Institute make it their business to know a thing or two because they’ve studied a thing or two.

Battery storage when paired with solar and wind is the cheapest form of energy on the market in 2020. Coal and natural gas can’t compete. Once photovoltaic solar panels are deployed, once a wind turbine is stood up there are no additional costs. You don’t need to buy fuel to make energy.

Natural gas power plants to make any sense built now would have to make electricity well into 2060. If they were shutdown sooner the costs of construction would be stranded. The writing isn’t just on the wall the word is out on Wall Street. Change has come to the future of electricity.

In middle of August this summer I was in smoke from Bend, Oregon until I was past Ogden, Utah. That is over six hundred miles of hellscape.

Conflagration of many kinds

Last week in Northern California because of the Glass Fire in Napa County exercising outside wasn’t just uncomfortable it was dangerous.

In 2017’s gigantic Thomas Fire health experts calculated that because of the smoke there would be thousands of health related illnesses, that thousands of lives would be shortened, and even if hard to quantify some fragile compromised people would die immediately.

Wildfires are pernicious. People can’t hope to have predictable lives around natural disasters. In the before-time’s, we almost could make a case for slow walking our response to our emergencies. With wildfires growing larger, hurricanes more frequent, a President flummoxed by an invisible virus, because of a fragile psychologically disabling pride, he leaves our nation floundering in the vice grip of these many tragedies.

The date was November 8, 2018. Malibu’s Woolsey Fire had just started. I got a good look at that fire after takeoff from Burbank. An hour later approaching Oakland for landing there was more smoke blowing down from the Camp Fire, this is the deadly fire that killed 85, destroyed over 13,000 homes and leveled  the town of Paradise, California.

Researchers at Rocky Mountain Institute are helping to develop hope. Green hydrogen, better batteries, more efficient solar panels and a more resilient national electrical grid are just some of what they are busy trying to understand and deploy.

Fixing what ails the atmosphere doesn’t require the discovery of anything we don’t already have in our toolkit. Wearing a mask, washing hands, maintaining physical distance from others goes most of the way toward keeping us all safe and alive from a virus. Things are not that difficult.

The current occupant in the White House has failed our country. His being voted out of office is job one. Most of what we face after will be the good work of a nation regaining its balance and purpose.

world emergency full catastrophe climate change comedy show

Wildfire Evacuee Worried Look

Showmen turn a buck creating entertainments. Producing a live entertainment, large or small, one man or cast of thousands, in almost all circumstances are based on sustaining an audience’s attention.

Comedy pleases audiences by laugh and wit. Tragedy appeals by illustrating the fault of a character in a story and how their demise becomes an enlightened vehicle to lift the audience’s spirits.

I’m not a scientist, don’t work for the Pentagon, have no specific training in weather forecasting, forest management or background in urban planning. For some years now our climatologists have urged the creative’s in our world to come up with art to help make the climate emergency unfolding before us into a popular attraction.

Intercoastal mountains running 450 miles north to south from Bakersfield to Redding are hot dry and prone to wildfire

Years back the Pentagon warned that the coming climate crisis risked plunging large swaths of the world into crisis and rendering them ungovernable. Prodding an audience’s imagination into conjuring up what an ungovernable piece of shrinking ice for a polar bear might look like isn’t going to get the artists job done.

The magnitude of California’s climate change enhanced wildfires is of such scale and scope that it has now emerged as the preeminent threat to civilization. Governor Gavin Newsom is a gamer in my book, but the mere mortal leader is up against the wall concocting a solution to this monster.

Making our cars all electric by 2035 is a step in the right direction. I have a movie by Busby Berkeley that might help if you find it difficult being kept waiting.

Reality in California includes reading news about wildfires, remaining indoors because of air quality, and then finding out you know someone that has lost their house or been forced to evacuate.

Easy or difficult, tears or laughter, sick or poor, in good health or on our death bed’s chances are we’ll have to mount an earnest effort if we are going to take a shot at solving our planets problems.

I’m imagining solar panel installation gags, more renewable Don Quixote and his loyal servant Sancho Panza tilting at windmill skits, Back to the Future lithium battery Elon Musk in the laboratory sketches. Once you get the hang of it, it’s not so hard.

Wine Country Wildfires since 2015

I’m imagining doors you don’t want to open, characters warning other characters not to open it, don’t go in there, and of course they do, and come out comically transformed. Make it cartoon like, you know, burnt to a crisp like Wiley E Coyote and his nemesis the Road Runner of Merry Melodies and Loony Tunes cartoon fame.

There have been 7,982 fire incidents in California in 2020 with 3,627,010 acres total acres burned. There have been 7,630 structures damaged or destroyed and at least 26 fatalities as of Sept 28. The coronavirus has claimed 16,000 Californian’s. There are an estimated 151,278 homeless living on our streets. That’s a burden on our spirits, terrible losses to tally.

40 million all left to wonder what is to come of California

That’s where we are, this is the fine mess we are in. To my way of thinking, neither plastering optimism or negativity on our challenges, we need to remind ourselves how much better we all do as a people simply helping to build a better future for our world.

So, I started out with the Royal Lichtenstein Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus, and at the time this show seemed to speak to the moment and lift the worlds spirits. After five decades chasing audiences around the world, I’m thinking of launching a new show, the current working title is, The World Emergency Full Catastrophe Climate Change Comedy Show.  A good show needs a snappy slogan. How about, “I swear to God, you’ll die laughing!”

Work with me people, these are the jokes.

 

glass fire – Napa county

Wildfire on Fire

September 19, 2015 I was on the Calistoga Fairgrounds. I had jotted that date down in my calendar getting up that morning and driving the hour and fifteen minutes from Emery Cove north to this location intending to investigate this northernmost corner of Napa County. I had come to look over the historic racetrack as I pieced the plot to my next novel together.

The hotshot had fought too hard this season, “You give fire a crack, especially with a five year drought on and she’ll make it a moody unpredictable conflagration every time.” From Women of the Oak Savannahs

National championship motorcycle races were scheduled then cancelled. Instead the fairground became a base for the evacuees of the Lake County Fire burning out of control east of the famed wine growing region.

I met activists and volunteers on fairgrounds that day. I had lunch downtown talking to people arriving to pickup friends, family and their pets to take them home until the fires were put out.

“I pray to god I’m to hell and gone,” another hot shot said, “when that road reopens, and the homeowners are allowed back in. I don’t know if there’s a man among us who has the stomach to witness that much grief.”

This wasn’t the first big fire, but it was the worst of them. Unstoppable wildfire in late summer to early fall have become too frequent. California is a little dryer, a little hotter, and this combination combines with high winds and low humidity to make for near perfect conditions for fire.

Satellite View of the Glass Fire

With the economic recovery after the global financial crisis of 2009 came a run up in real estate prices along with an increased demand for markets seeking Napa Valley wines. Attending a Napa County Planning Commission meeting was to witness a frenzied bubble of speculators rushing to buy a piece of Napa County paradise.

“I hope we never do a show like this ever again.” Jo said. “One is enough, two is more heartbreak than a girl ought to have to bear.”

In the last ten years with most of the valley built-out attention turned to the hills surrounding Napa Valley. One developer then another obtained a permit to build. Tens upon tens of thousands of trees were removed, thousands of acres of vines were planted, homes were built, wells punched, and tasting rooms were opened.

All the while each year there were more and ever more dangerous wildfires in the region. Instead of halting further development, consolidating infrastructure, finding solutions to the traffic choked highways, the pressure to keep approving new developments and keep the expansion on track was the unstoppable force.

“What if the whole world gets so hot that there’s nowhere to run? What are we going to do then?”

“Can’t let that happen.”

Wildfire is forcing Napa County to change its plans. Global climate change is forcing the region to reconsider how to even coexist with the now deadly serious autumn fire season. A small army of specialized scientists already have the answers to questions the planning commissioners don’t want to hear. Hazard insurance for homeowners is about to disrupt the real estate market. The cost of protecting hillside homes is spiking. Water scarcity, salmons fish runs going extinct and a spike in childhood cancer rates plague the once pristine region.

Forest Protectors

Locals try to keep their chins up but confidence has dipped, knowing at any moment in any future autumn that orders to evacuate their home because of another wildfire has to be planned for. Having to run for your life with what you can grab before a wall of flames ingulfs your home isn’t workable.

Solving this crisis will inevitably turn to working with the international effort to reverse climate change. The singular focus of increasing vineyards to take what precious little water there is here and ship it in the form of wine to over there is no longer viable. Like the pandemic the wildfires are forcing us to reconsider how we may move forward. This is what we confront now. How to preserve and protect our people and world.

Jo bent over and untangled her long hair with her fingers. “I saw that look, the one you’re talking about. After the show, then it hits them all over again, everything they had in this world has gone up in smoke, gone like that, and now? How do you pick up the pieces when there are no pieces left to pick up?”

Singing Telegram Gigging

Living in an Unpredictable World

Psychological resilience in this after-times is demanded of civilizations players. To survive this rollicking adventure we must adapt to fast moving viruses, wildfires, and weaponized inequality.

Mask wearing, I don’t mind. Socially distancing, I’m hermetic by nature. Vaccinations, I’m ready when they’ve got one that works.

Yesterday I could see and smell smoke here in Northern California where wildfire erupted in Napa County. Evacuations were ordered. Being forced out of your home is disorienting, especially while fleeing and having forgotten your mask.

Into the Wildest Places

Perhaps yours is not but my economy is shattered. For the moment if you are landing on your East Hampton’s helipad things might be just dandy. The peasants in pitchforks are plenty stirred up by the madness that passes for a Republican President and Congress but whether they are going to slow roast their hard-hearts remains a longshot. As we say in the trade, “I like oligarch I’ve just never been able to finish a whole one.”

Swift moving flames of wildfire burn one thing down and odd as it seems another thing isn’t touched. Entertainment industry is shuttered the lives of tens of thousands of ballet dancers, actors, singers, musicians, choreographers, conductors, orchestras, theme parks, circus shows, street performers are all out of work. Movie theaters, Las Vegas, nightclubs, comedy joints, strip clubs, and singing telegram gigs are all kaput.

Better Living Through Virus Dodging

All of what had been reliable and true is no longer the case. We may not wander about the world with our passports, enter and exit most of the world as we once did. We may have thought living on some leafy lane a terrific bit of pastoral splendor at one time and of course now you’ll have to have your head examined before occupying such a residence.

We continue to struggle about whether citizens are going to have access to health-care. Two months from now our Supreme Court may toss out the Affordable Care Act and with it will go coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Depending upon how you count that group of unfortunates, to give you a ballpark figure, approximately all of us will be affected by this change.

Starter Home

As we all dash about dodging the plague and wildfires while searching for new jobs, because we can’t perform the work we’ve spent our life training for, our titans of finance are doing their damned best to get their morally bankrupt huckster back in the Oval Office.

History’s warning chastens our self-conceit. Turning the page on the industrial revolution and building a brighter more survivable renewable energy economy is like you know going to take a moonshot. The technology has all been invented, we have the tools, what is lacking is a means of organizing the human spirit into a coherent civilization saving act.

We’ll need leaders at the top. We’ll need an activist citizenship. Mobilizing will require a colossal deployment of people and technologies. Jobs will be plentiful. The economy will thrive, but yeah there are going to be winners and losers. To that end we’ll show those sectors of the economy that need a hand up how a more compassionate capitalism can work.

None of what I’ve outlined is remotely original. This plan waits. November’s election is crucial. Democracy, civilization and the football season are all on the line. Vote like your season tickets depend upon it.

Author-Entertainer