Saturday, October 15, 2011

Shit Happens

I apologize in advance for the language, and the idioms you are about to endure, but I'm in a morose Brooklyn/Bronx mood these days. The frozen shoulder I woke up with on September 10 turned out to be tendonitis. I'm better since the steroid injection, but am still limited in my range of motion and how long I can type before the pain—from right thumb to my neck—roars back. Physical therapy is a slow process, with some good days interspersed with a few bad ones. Shit happens and, this too, shall pass.

Seems like nothing in comparison to the sights on a recent trip upstate to close our summer cottage: The devastation wrought by Hurricane Irene on the already depressed towns in the Catskills where floods wiped out whole towns, roads, bridges, and a lot of farmland and livestock. At one low lying intersection, at the bottom of a hill, next to a stream between Cobbleskill and Middleburg, remnants of hay bales dangled from treetops, where they were deposited by raging flood waters. I can only imagine what it was like since more than a month has already elapsed with most roads at least passable, but many homes and businesses damaged or in ruin and fields underwater.

This courageous homeowner, somewhere between Potter Hollow and Preston Hollow, has chosen to count his/her blessings and remain positive though the property is a total loss.

The Preston Hollow Little League field, home to a team that once made the Little League World Series, is a mudflat and the playground equipment a tangled ruin, testament to the power of floodwaters in one of those rare weather events that come along once in a lifetime—we hope.

Has over development, acid rain denunding the northern forests, and global warming caused major changes in the ecology, the environment, and weather patterns, which caused this area to suffer more damage from Irene's wind and rain than Coney Island, Brooklyn where the storm made landfall (another cosmic joke, though none of this is really funny)? Yes, I think so.   

( Locust Point, Throggs Neck (Bronx) after tidal surge from Hurricane Irene. This area was under mandatory evacuations but obviously not everyone left. Thanks for the photo Karl, Jr.)

Which might mean that this sort of shit will happen more often in places that it has never happened and no one is prepared for or equipped to handle it. Like the Indian Point Nuclear Plant, Buchanan, New York, which is up for license renewal and advertising like hell, using a female engineer who sounds far too young and naïve (and brainwashed) to reassure me and others in the fall out zone (approximately the surrounding 250 miles, which is just about where Potter and Preston Hollow are) that the plant has been built to withstand hurricanes, floods, is protected from aerial terrorist attacks or airplane accidents at nearby airports, and is "perfectly safe."

I ain't buyin' it—though I'm from Da Bronx, not Brooklyn. Floodwaters with the power of those in the Catskills would surely create another Fukushima Daiitchi scenario and we ain't got the Fukushima Fifty kamikazes around here to go in to try and fix it. Hell, we can't even get home on Friday nights never mind evacuate the tri-state area about to experience nuclear meltdown. And in upstate New York, "you can't get there from here'" right now with many bridges still badly damaged.

Who knows what the proposed hydraulic fracturing (say it isn't so, Governor Cuomo) will do to the topography and environment, exposing this area and our watersheds to pollutants and further degredation and ecological and environmental systems? Big business has paid for a smooth talking, snake oil salesman to sell the idea, but the signs are all over the muddied lawns upstate, and I concur. "No fracking way!" "No drill, no spill!"

Fugetaboudit. Give up those gas guzzlin' cars, turn out the lights, reduce your own carbon footprint, and reuse and recycle. We can do without "alternative energy sources" which could kill us all either the quick and dirty way, or the slow and insidious evolutionary way.

Yeah, shit happens, and we're shoveling, pumping, and mopping enough of it in New Yawk these days.