Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Summer Rant

Many of those that know me well would tell you how much I completely go bonkers when entertaining friends and family.  If I had but one wish for own happiness, not just one wish, no (that would have to go to World Peace or A Doctorate for Every Soul or There’s No Such Thing As Money Anymore, So Piss Off—I Don’t Owe You A Thing) my wish would be to have my family and friends over for dinner every night.  I simply love them; making them laugh; filling their bellies; hearing comments concerning so-and-so’s tipsiness—all of it.  I liken the feeling to having just walked off the stage after a smokin’ performance.  People congratulate you, slap you on the back, shake your hand repeatedly, ask how you did it…the list goes on.  For those of you that have never felt the joy (or relief!) after performing on stage for hundreds or even thousands, don’t be regretful!  Entertaining your friends and family every bit as rewarding.

Alas, this honor only, or I should say, usually only occurs once or maybe, if the planets align just right, twice a year.  Because of the recent damage to our home, there was quite a dry spell…until last month.  Two high school graduations, a birthday, and a 50th Anniversary later…wait, that was a month ago! (It all happened within four days).  Maria and I are still recovering.  For a moment that was actually a few days, I completely forgot that I was actually on a break from work so I could…work.

The Oil “Spill”

Seriously, how can they (everyone!) call the tragedy happening in the waters a few miles from here a “spill”?  Shouldn’t the term change “catastrophic deluge” or some other term that actually, and accurately, describes the never-ending gusher of marine death that British Petroleum (BP) unleashed.  And, let’s not forget the other owners of that sunken albatross—Anadarko Petroleum Company and Mitsui.  They own over a third of the responsibility according to news reports.  Millions upon millions of gallons of oil continue gush into our waters, and yet I’ve read reports where BP bought keywords from Google and denied the University of South Florida (my alma mater) a simple oil sample so they could track the spill more easily.  As a human being, I want to believe that large corporations do not have Hollywood-style evil CEOs rubbing their hands together, seeking new ways to rape and pillage the small guys.  When you see articles like those however, you have to believe the modus operandi for the guilty lately runs similarly to that of Tiger Wood’s, Bill Clinton’s, Major League Doper’s, and other notorious scandals.  Only if you’re caught deceiving do you do the right thing—otherwise, keep deceiving, right?  Pathetic.

The bottom line here is not BP, however; it’s the coastlines and the wildlife that ultimately pay the price.  The owners and operators of the Deepwater Horizon cannot possibly erase their mistake themselves.  It is going to be up to the general public who don’t give a damn about compensation from BP or any other entity; they just want to save what’s theirs because no amount of money will repair the damage if they let it happen.  Are we to believe BP will send us a check for the higher seafood prices at Red Lobster?  We know we’re screwed.  While some legitimate fisherman are allowed to come forward and make claims, hoping to be compensated in an fair and expeditious manner, many more that were off the books are now playing Go Fish with the dodos.  Hotels and other adjoined hospitality businesses all over the Gulf are losing incalculable revenue.  So incalculable, BP et al may likely never be responsible for the full amount.  In the end, we, the general public pays through increased petrol prices, increased taxes, and inflated goods and services.  WE pay—not BPplus.  So, if you decide to volunteer or help “the cause” in any way, please don’t do it to help these companies; do it to help yourselves.  That’s the right thing to do.

Last words on this particular tirade…
After pondering my individual course of action to “help” in this great tragedy, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is only a couple of “best solutions”:  Wean ourselves from oil dependency and spend money in the affected locations.  I’ve read countless blogs and updates from friends stating their intention to boycott BP stations, perhaps with our without the full knowledge of how the open oil market works.  Suffice to say, that has very little or no effect.  There are over 3,000 of those oil rigs out in the gulf and, even after this debacle, there are many like-minded individuals that feel we need more—much more.  In a way, I almost liked the gas crunch back in 2008.  I saw fewer road deaths than any time in five decades, and I saw new innovative ideas spring forth.  The Sleeping Giant that is American Ingenuity briefly awakened and got back to work, creating more nifty energy ideas and solutions in a few short months than I’ve seen since the technology boom twenty years prior.  Hybrids, Windmills, High-Speed Rail—Alternatives!  Now that gasoline has settled down into a livable price range, back to thoughtless dependency we go.  It’s almost like watching your friend trying to quit smoking for the past twenty years.  Maybe, someday, I hope we become humans.

Now on to this writing thing…

I’m afraid to say I am adopting a new policy regarding content of the new novel.  Just a few weeks ago I was (thank goodness!) painlessly reminded that it’s a public domain topic and there ARE others out there fully capable of attacking much of the same story…or at least, the concept.  I can see why those like Tom Clancy opt out of discussing future works.  The book industry has forever been plagued with the unethical—searching like hungry gnats for the sweat of our labors.  I wish I could tell you what it’s about other than being a Tampa crime novel adapted from a true story.  I wish I could tell you why it’s being adapted instead of being written as a True Crime piece.  Unfortunately, I cannot.  Not yet.  What I can discuss is that I’ve enjoyed a full twenty days so far, back in the saddle, writing at a full-time pace to finally reach…the possible “halfway mark”.  I can also tell you that this mark is almost exactly the same word count as Dust. (we’re talkin’ within a couple hundred words…yoiks!)  I’ve certainly enjoyed getting back to where I was before that little work interlude, but I’m suddenly faced with another conundrum: this work vacation may be over in a month
Everything’s a learning process, isn’t it?  I’ve discovered that one should never, ever, ever take a break in the middle of novel.  That much is clear as crystal. What I’m faced with now is a deadline.  Lesson number two: never set a hard deadline!  I guess I’ll panic about this in a month, but with tens of thousands of words left to write, a deadline is a constantly nagging distraction from what should be “raging torrent, flooded with thought cascading into a waterfall of creative alternatives,” as Heddy (Hedley!) Lamarr would put it.  We’ll see.

As a good friend likes to say, MORE SOON…
T. Nelson Taylor | Official Site | DusT | Bolita