Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat, Again

It’s the heat. The Washington area has been wrestling with 100˚F weather and there is no break due for a day or two. Yesterday, the power went out for a blessedly short time, but in the hour or so without air conditioning, the temperature in my house rose from 76˚F to 84˚F. Local rescue squads are gearing up for a bounty of heat-related calls, and there’s nary a child to be seen playing outdoors.

Weather like this makes me ponder the imponderable and question the unknown laws of the universe, I wonder, for example:

Why are we paying for cable? The original intent, if ancestral memory serves, was to have a wide variety of channels (mostly educational, as I recollect) that would be provided free of charge. In the past few years, however, we’ve added a collection of useless and vapid channels that offer nothing but paid programming, reruns and shows with eighteen minutes of TV and twelve minutes of ads. What happened here?

Why are we paying $4.00+ for a gallon of gas? We won the war in Iraq, and traditionally when you win a war you get to take home whatever neat stuff the losing country may have. That’s the rule and often the reason we go to war in the first place. In Iraq, the neat stuff is oil, millions and millions of barrels of the stuff. Yet somehow there is a national shortage that allows the oil companies to ram up the price all the while posting record profits.

Why aren’t people up in arms about this? That ones mystifies me. Oil is to America what potatoes were to the Irish and bread was to the French. In the latter two countries, revolts started when these commodity prices soared, making them unaffordable to the common folk. Here, we line up to pay for fuel that, with 10 percent ethanol in it, is less energy efficient and ruins our engines. Think I’m kidding? Gasohol delivers fewer miles-per-gallon than does regular gasoline, and creates vapor locks and harder starting. There’s also a pretty valid theory that ethanol is highly destructive to plastic and rubber engine parts.  You’re paying more, getting less, driving fewer miles with it, and your car won’t last as long. What a deal! Why aren’t you pissed off?

Why don’t radishes taste lice radishes and tomatoes taste like tomatoes? Cause they’re grown in water, that’s why. Hydroponic farming has robbed us of taste. Seedless watermelons have no oomph to them, and most of the veggies we consume have never been near soil.

Why is there epidemic obesity and diabetes? The short answer to that is processed food. Sugar, rice, the flour used to make bread and pasta, all are essentially nasty to your system. But we like white, since in the Western world it symbolizes health and purity. We overlook the fact that foods become white because fiber is taken out. That means it is digested quicker and turns into sugar faster. According to nutrition expert Kent C. Sasse, MD, “So many white foods contribute to huge amounts of simple carbohydrates finding their way into your body and bloodstream and becoming dangerous by being converted to and stored throughout the body as fat. These simple carbohydrates also set off a potent hormonal cascade, a stimulus of the hormones insulin and leptin, the main drivers of a rebound affect of yet more hunger, more calorie intact and more fat storage. The whole sequence leads to obesity and disease like early heart disease, impotence, strokes, blindness, kidney failure and cancer.” Neat, uh?

Do airplanes really fly? No. It’s an optical illusion. And the people who enter an airplane are not the same people who come out of it after the plane lands. The ones who come out are clones of the originals. The originals are sent to colonize faraway planets. This is a plot by aliens from a parallel universe.  Really.

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