Tag Archives: Self Esteem

Going to the dump

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant is scheduled to close. The first reactor will shut down by 2024, the second reactor goes offline by 2025. Since events in Fukushima on March 11, 2011 concerns a tsunami could deliver a knockout blow and scatter radioactive contamination across the coast of Central California is all too real. Earthquake faults and nuclear power are a match made in probability hell. There is no win, lose or draw. Consequences of a catastrophic event are unimaginable.

Fully decommissioning Diablo Canyon will demand eye watering sums of money and a span of time even Chaplin’s Great Dictator failed to grasp. Moving the spent fuel rods to a safer storage site will be litigious, expensive and one of the most hazardous engineering feats ever attempted. Containers with spent fuel rods will be hoisted onto trucks, reloaded onto trains then unloaded into an underground storage vault where the radioactive waste will slowly decay for the next one quarter of a million years.

The twin reactor buildings at Diablo Canyon will be sealed and guarded by security officers and monitored by technicians for decades. Radiation levels will drop over time and then the removal of the reactors will come at the end of this century.

Closing Diablo Canyon is pegged at $3.9 billion, a phantom number, a sprawling untethered guess. How and if PG&E, California, or humanity completes this job remains unanswered. Ratepayers should have been warned.  

In 1981 in Nevada the Department of Energy began studying a remote and isolated Yucca Mountain, then scientists described underground aquifers and seismic activities that after 27 years rendered the proposed storage site unworkable. Seventy miles south 2.3 million mortal Nevadans and one pugnacious former senate majority leader Harry Reid all breathed a sigh of relief. Las Vegas residents wouldn’t be subjected to being an experimental randomized statistical study on the incidence of cancers caused by a leaky radioactive storage facility.

A second repository has been proposed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at a facility between Carlsbad and Hobbs, New Mexico. Locating a suitable underground storage vault where all North America’s nuclear waste can be safely stored for the next 250,000 years exceeds the limits of any previous human endeavor.  

Nuclear waste disposal is a complex yet to be solved problem. Keeping track of the materials, making sure storage containers remain sealed, monitoring the site for earthquakes, guarding against a fluke fiery meteorite plunging into the atmosphere and like a tsunami striking the disposal site, a cosmic bullseye of all bullseyes, worries of this kind are on the short list of what might go wrong and could go wrong.

Plate tectonics, continental drift, or an earth in a bad mood might trigger unforeseen radioactive extinction events. Unimagined flooding such as happened when Hurricane Harvey stalled over Houston is followed by drought, what was thought to be a stable underground vault might become plagued by swarms of earthquakes, a vent opens and there is a volcanic eruption where none had been anticipated. Scenarios such as these sound as if they were found on the pages of comic books. Setting aside all the ways a storage containment site could be breached there is the technological challenge of building a warning sign that could hold up to howling wind, sun, rain, snow, and ice over the course of tens of thousands of years. Experts have created a short list of languages and universal symbols to be placed on the mother of all sign’s that must hold up to the father of all tests of time.

The National Energy Laboratory in Idaho has cooked up a plan to build what are called miniature nuclear reactors. Utah, Montana, and Wyoming with coal going the way of the dodo bird are all considering deploying the 5-megawatt reactors across their states. Nuclear power interests who believe in this technology know that even small miniature nuclear reactors are by the billions and billions of dollars too expensive, their costs make the technology uncompetitive, even still the industry can’t seem to stop trying.     

Failure is not an option and so it has become a feature. Plutonium contamination at Rocky Flats near Denver haunts the former bomb making facility. Radiation at Nevada’s Atomic Test Site isn’t going away anytime soon. Atomic waste at the Hanford site where our nuclear arsenal was built is a mess wrapped in a riddle inside of an unsolvable conundrum. Politics, science, and journalism have no words to describe the severity of this situation. There is every reason to be concerned that a radioactive spill could work its way into the Columbia River, spread downstream to Portland, beyond to Anacortes, out into Pacific and then by ocean currents the remains of our atomic bomb making materials could be swept around the world.

The debate over whether the climate is changing is over. Dismantling last century’s fossil fuel energy system and replacing it with this new century’s decarbonized energy system is under enormous time pressure. The world must move faster than has ever been done before. It is as fantastical as sending a man to the moon, but this time, we are all going, and if it doesn’t work out, none of us will be coming back.     

In Las Vegas, the honorable Peter Guzman of the Latin Chamber of Commerce makes the case we must continue heating our homes with natural gas, that to do otherwise would damage the economy and the pocketbooks of the people he represents. Guzman took on the work of being a leader for this organization, for the people he’s been elected to speak for. The responsibility of how to respond to the climate emergency hasn’t made it into his job description, but that is going to change. All of us will be asked to participate in the solution. Deploying the new energy system is the responsibility of leaders higher up the chain of command. Powerful storms, floods and wildfire have changed minds. A sizable majority, not all but most support efforts to fight climate change.

Trust what this change means to our survival, embrace the challenges, volunteer to be part of a citizens brigade willing to try new things. Raise your hand, sign up to go work elsewhere, be a willing participant, hold up your end of the bargain, there is no free lunch, no easy way out.

Building Confidence thru Play

A path to a better world, a more whole and healthier American West, walking this trail doesn’t happen by accident. A moral compass is made of hearts and minds, understanding there is an opportunity in making a measure of sacrifice, acknowledging the journey is difficult, that our prevailing against the odds is- good trouble, that this inner guidance system, the climate challenge we face, the path we walk, asks of us that we give the best of who we are. To plant a tree, start a family, mend the roof, cook a tasty wholesome meal, remind the children by deed and word, how you believe that in their hearts, between what they trust and know and doubt and fear, that you have confidence in their power to steer their fate, that this power to imagine animates the path they will choose, it is their story that our children are creating, with their magic pen, it is the story of their life. If only we have the willingness to nurture in this new generation the most renewable of renewable energies, the power to have faith in who we truly are.  

ooh-Pin-Her Part Tree

“My flight up to San Francisco was a little bumpy, but the water landing was very smooth. That was a real professional pilot flying that plane…”

More Northwest

Work pulled my low-budget quest for entertainment immortality as far as ten degrees latitude north of San Francisco. After playing a noontime date I made a turn and put some south backtracking down the interstate. After a rough and tumble forgettable “nooner” at South Seattle Community College it was all I could do to keep my head above water. My self-confidence was in tatters. After threading my way south on Interstate 5 in heavy commerce laden traffic I veered off to the east taking a twisting road paralleling the Cowlitz River. I was back out on the road where a down in the self-esteem department showman could use road miles to regain his footing.

Mount St. Helens had been rumbling— an active volcano might be something to see. Rain was predicted as ever to continue without letup. As the crow flies I was twelve miles north of a mountain sized time bomb you would never know was even there.

Highway 12 would take me over the Cascades to Yakima. My next dates were in Cheney, Pullman and Moscow. On the eastern slope rain was forecast to ease up. Like that clouds dissipated— sunshine cheered the weary soloist. There was hope after all.

Tracks of my Years

I traveled through brush-steppe country crossing the Columbia River at the Vernita Bridge. Here of all things in a state famous for its lumber was a treeless landscape. Driving east irrigation pivots dotted the rolling barrens. The town of Othello was allotted less physical endearment than most other remote farm communities. Town folk were more likely here because they were born here. Home— I have come to believe is karmic. Pilgrim showmen are taught about the peril of permanent residency in their first thousand outbound miles.

I set up out on the lawn for a “nooner” in front of the student union building at Eastern Washington State College. I had drawn an audience of three hundred, a sizable potentially rollicking horde for a no-name small-time traveling juggler with not much more than a performing dog and dozen goldfish. The show was designed to catch, build and hold a crowd of undergraduates. Then there were laughs. Applause points ranged to respectable— not more.

At Evergreen State in Olympia my noontime show had been not as big but turned out to be more energetic. I am 29 years old. My sixty minutes remained a work-in-progress. After most of a decade of trying to figure this thing out I had to face up to the fact there remained much to be done.

At the end the show in Cheney a friend of the “circus” waving to me during my one hour set rushed forward at the end thrilled by my chance appearance at her school. Two fated talker’s is what joined up—a couple of ear chewers. I’d first come to know my relocated friend from dates I played in Fresno while out on my first national tour. In 1974 I was then a traveling performer with the Royal Lichtenstein Quarter-Ring Sidewalk Circus. Her home had been a stopover where her parents three-ring sized hospitality was teased as the ultimate soft spot on an otherwise austere list of one day stands. Augie, her father, by unanimous consent had long been enshrined the maker of the world’s greatest pancakes. Each hotcake was ‘from scratch made batter’—  an example and temple to the  high griddle arts. With outsized pride Augie’s daughter could barely contain her excitement waiting for the show to be over. After she would commenced to behave exactly as her family had trained her to. Having grown up around sawdust, tent poles and canvas she had literally been reared by parents that taught there was virtue in helping to care for the world’s smallest circus. Not lending a hand to strike the rigging and loading out would be  unforgivable. Familiar generosity silenced my pangs of isolation. Here was an example of how distance amplifies companionship. A traveling one man entertainer, go for broke type, was a particular kind of comic telegram and messenger in this era. Showmen arrive to far off corners carrying eyewitness insights into the lives of other people and remote hard to get to places. My Fresno friend demanded we depart immediately and on her dime for the nearby pizza parlor where we would burn the building down by force of fever pitched family informed comradery.

A week and half earlier in Olympia I had met a baker. In this instance I’d stayed up all night making bread with a sleep deprived crew of longhaired bandana wearing misfits. Helping at the bakery created a sense of my belonging to something all Cascade, Olympic peninsula and Northwest. I wasn’t simply passing through, I was a welcomed part of the vital enterprise of making this a better world by preparing fresh baked bread here on the southern tip of the Puget Sound.

Weeks before in Eugene I’d fallen into a clever back and forth with a blue eyed reddish blonde ruddy cheeked girl-woman who had recently returned by sailboat with her family after an eight year circumnavigation. There were practical concerns expressed whether she would manage to be happy living in one place now or ever. Fending off the peril of  maturity in honor of her free spirit she’d of liked to have dropped everything— joined up and taken off on tour with this jury rigged traveling enterprise. A narrow bunk didn’t worry her, she had put up with less. Touring would have been an easy and more familiar path. Going harbor to harbor, town to town could be an appealing form of land-yachting. Wanting to drop everything and run off on impulse with a kind of a sailor you didn’t even know the first thing about was not an uncommon desire.

Local actors from the theater program at Centralia Community College held a post- performance gathering in my honor. Together we danced, drank wine and exchanged tall tales about the fated struggles stand-ins, bit players and movie stars confront on their road to fame, gossip and paparazzi ruin.

Western Rangeland Touring

I had been out on the road six weeks. The hour long set had been much changed by the hundreds of sidewalk shows in San Francisco. New and better material was the result. Next goal on my infinite to-do-never-finished list was putting my best thirty minutes together. Whether it was sixty minutes, thirty or fifteen each show’s length was its own puzzle demanding its own particular answers. A showman among many pieces of hard earned wisdom becomes with more first hand stage experience a living breathing compendium of human nature. Being funny is one skill. Having the talent to disguise the lapse of time another. Stage time translates into a deeper seeing into the reins of our common human bonds. More time hustling on the sidewalk back on the streets of San Francisco was indelibly inked into my calendar. Instincts told me I would be all the wiser for doing more shows out there on that hardest of tarmac hard spots.

Mount St. Helens continued making news. US Geological Survey had deployed instruments to measure the mountains increasing bulge. Uncertainty prevailed. The volcano might not erupt at all. Then again there was no predicting how big a volcanic event there could be if this mountain let loose. A National Public Radio station from Spokane reported on the unstable volcano. I was three hundred miles east standing at 2352 feet above sea level, one-thousand miles from San Francisco. I’d traveled north and east as far as this up and coming showman would go. I had been holding up out here in the rough and tumble, but still there I stood between the places I had been and the places I was going. I gave in and amused my wanting off the road and allowed my mind the pleasure of anticipating my return.

edited red star

April 12, ’18 Summer Reading Self-Esteem

As ever buy a book, book a show… My highlight reel, biography, book synopsis and contact information are a few clicks away. You can scroll down to my blog. Hope you come back soon…!

love children

She’s Got it in Spades…

Friends of the Library raise funds all year long in support of the summer reading programs. They are selfless citizens dedicated to the proposition that the most precious natural resource is life! Sort of  love life locally but think globally… These peeps wear glasses and have books on their coffee tables.

Aside from the juggling and comedy my show is really about infusing my young readers with a sense of self esteem. Inner self confidence is a construction project. We don’t come ready made with very much of this appreciation in our own abilities. We need to have an elder guide us to the location of this cultivated inner resource.

Brilliant Child One

Having the Heart to Try

I use volunteers to accomplish all manner of amazing tasks. Most of the children succeed, some struggle but learn right in front of an audience, and the biggest gift is the look of determination on their faces as they risk trying.

No admission charge the summer reading program is aimed at creating a safe, non-commercial- free to the public event where parents and children, friends and neighbors, librarians and volunteers can gather for the important purpose of building a more resilient community.

So I do take offense at politicians too mightily focused on tax cuts. I am one of the many who believe our children are a future worthy of investing in. We want our employers to have access to the brightest, best educated, most self confident college graduates our country can create.

Risk Taking Two

True Grit Uncovered

Go see a show this summer. Support your summer reading program. Sell a cupcake and give the proceeds to your library. Read a book. Volunteer to help children learn how to read. Be sure to be enthusiastic about these little new people. Encourage them. Tell them how good they are. Our kindness and helping hand up might well be one of the single best ways we preserve our freedoms and protect our liberties. We give without limit. Love and kindness is infinite. You’ll see your generosity shining back in the eyes of the children looking up to you.

bows

Audience Bestowing Honor Upon our Little Risk-Taker

Edited Red Star