Category Archives: bananas

‘Holokauston’ of the Sea

The ocean is being burned alive. We might be next.

(I wish this were a joke. I just can’t find any humor in it.)

Ocean warming is killing the greatest places on Earth for life: the coral reefs. This slow warming during the past century has reached its tipping point, and we can now predict with clarity that an entire ecosystem is dying before our eyes.

As the scientist in this PBS report says, we could lose our reefs within 10 years. Predictions like this used to give us 100 years or so to save them, and that timeframe seems manageable, as if the next generation could solve this dilemma with ingenuity. But time is shrinking, and we might need to start thinking about living in a post-reef world—if we can live at all.

Humans have never existed without reefs, and we have no reference point for losing them. We have caused extinctions of singular species, but we’ve never come close to the extinction of an entire ecosystem. It is quite logical to assume that as the ocean and its shallow reefs go, so go we. An indirect, yet self-inflicted Holocaust.

The Greek word Holokauston refers to a burnt animal sacrifice. The slow burning of the reefs has the potential to sacrifice hundreds of coral species, thousands of fish species, and perhaps hundreds of thousands of associated species. We simply do not know the full scope of diversity on the world’s reefs, but they are estimated to contain a quarter of all species in the ocean.

How can such a rich system be dying? It’s inconceivalbe. Yet we know it is happening, we know why, and we know how to stop it.

It’s bloody murder.

Every thinking, breathing person needs to take a moment to decide: Do I care about people who will be alive within 10 years? If so, you must start caring, and caring deeply, about the ocean.

Any person with a heart and a brain will be outraged. You will go into the streets, get mad as hell, and get rid of any politician or business that is tone deaf on issues of climate change, global warming, and fossil fuel pollution. A climate denier, or a convenient “skeptic” who knows better, will be judged by history as complicit in murder.

I’m still not laughing.

With time running out, we probably have about 1 year left to turn this ship around. Even if you’re not convinced about the timing, is it worth the risk? Do you want to look back in a few years and judge yourself, and the human race, a complete failure?

You’ve got 2 marches on Saturdays to join this month.

Stand up for justice. The Holokauston of the Sea can, and must, be stopped.

 

 

 

 

 

Newest Climate Threat: The Ocean is Losing Oxygen

Image by NASA

Image by NASA

Shall we call this the “climate threat of the day?” With new evidence arriving daily of alarming trends and discoveries of previously unconfirmed effects from a changing climate, and a more broadly changing planet, it can be hard to keep up. Someone needs to publish a daily calendar with a fill-in-the-blank statement: “The thing that scares me the most today about planetary change is ____________________.”

For example:

The thing that scares me the most today about planetary change is ocean deoxygenation.

What is that? In essence, science has proven, just this week, that the global ocean has less oxygen today than in recent decades. The loss is greater than 2%, according to a new article in Nature by lead author Sunke Schmidtko. The trend has been predicted and demonstrated on local scales, but this composite study is the first to quantify it on a global scale.

The ocean is slowly suffocating, due to changes caused by us. If that much harm could happen within 50 years, I shudder to think what could happen within 500 years.

Wikipedia will need to update its definition of ocean deoxygenation, because it’s now an established observation, instead of a suggestion. [We also have a more immediate need of a sad Planet Ocean emoji. Here’s my sideways text-only version  (:<)  ]

Read more about this study in a Washington Post article by Chris Mooney that states: “The new study underscores once again that some of the most profound consequences of climate change are occurring in the oceans, rather than on land.”

Vision of Fish (karaoke lyrics)

Paracheilinus carpenteri

(sing to the tune of “Vision of Love” by Mariah Carey)

(hmmmmmmmmmmmm . . . [crashing waves and seagulls cawing] . . .)

First vertebrate
So slippery
Underwater respiration
In the rivers and lakes and the sea

Body so long
Streamlined and free
Somehow you just keep on swimming
Suspension without gravity

I had a vision of fish
And it was all that ichthyology

Prayed for a bite
Felt a few tugs
Casting my line in the water
Hoping for something I love
There was no bait
There was no hook
And then I dove in the ocean
I’m looking for snapper and schnook

I had a vision of fish
And it was all that ichthyology
I had a vision of fish
And it was all ichthyology

I’ve realized I’m blue, (so blue)
We are one and the same
The water is our food
You’ve got your fins,
I’m dependent on my limbs too
The distance between us is just ballyhoo

You’re vertebrate kind, (yeah)
Deep destiny, (and the water you breathe)
And though separated by fathoms
We are together and free, (swam through the night)
Swam through the night, (so slippery)
So slippery, (slippery)
Knowing the world is my oyster
And all fish are my family (need my family)

I had a vision of fish, [whale & dolphin chirps]
And it was all that ichthyology
I had a vision of fish
And it was all … that ich-thyology

 

Review of Dave Barry’s new book “Best.State.Ever.”

29093310The best thing about humorist Dave Barry’s new book is the title. With a mocking and adolescent tone, the title has literal and interpretive meanings that allow us to giggle about Florida truly as the best of states, the worst of states, and a quixotic state of mind. The book neither proves nor disproves a literal achievement of “best state” (a game showing waiting to happen) but it does entertain in typical, good-natured Dave Barry fashion.

As a fellow Floridian, I enjoyed following Dave’s drives around the state to storied tourist attractions and aging oddities, but much of it was old news. The most revealing chapter covered a retirement community in central Florida (shocking, I know) where people dance until they die (Best.Twist.Ever.). Although sarcastic and knowingly hyperbolic, Dave laughs while still managing to empathize with his subject of old people in a fish bowl. They are too easy to catch and throw back, yet there’s some charm and whimsy to this fish tank, where Dave would never want to live—but now he understands why so many do.

img_2954Other chapters have him driving to Key West to get drunk (shocking) and to Weeki Wachee Springs to see real mermaids (bucket list material). These chapters are like shooting fish in a barrel—they’re just too easy, and they’ve become clichés. Old-school, unfiltered Florida is obviously “the best.” Where’s today’s Florida of competitive commercialization? He visits the trendiest of night clubs in South Beach and gives it too much credit. Boring. I wanted him to rip it like he did in his Miami Herald column on Santa’s Enchanted Forest, a pathetic Miami attraction and multi-layered oxymoron, which deserves an annual reading.

The book “Best.State.Ever.” is fun and fluffy. I certainly agree that Florida deserves the crown for info-tainment, and I challenge any other state to even try to snatch the title. Such mind games are a breezy, harmless distraction from the actual state of our states.

It’s also refreshing to have PG-rated humor in an X-rated world. Our states hold great potential for humor, but our nation is really pushing the boundaries. Considering the state of U.S. politics, the book Dave should be writing right now is “Best.Nation.Ever.” We are killing it.  quote-a-printer-consists-of-three-main-parts-the-case-the-jammed-paper-tray-and-the-blinking-dave-barry-121-5-0562

 

Make Fun Poems with Trump Tweets

Here’s a fun way to make very timely poems. Simply reorder Trump’s published words by following these rules:

  1. Select a week of Trump Tweets.
  2. Use 1 phrase/word per line, including punctuation as provided in the Tweet. No alteration, repetition, or additional punctuation allowed.
  3. You may provide an original title to poem.

Here’s an example to help you get started.

"Patsy Cline" 

Very strange!
People
extremely dangerous people
must ask for Federal help!
Julian
Jackie
Bill
was so careless
The "Intelligence" briefing
is record setting
so-called "Russian hacking"
was delayed until Friday, perhaps
Some people just don't understand the "Movement"
onto the battlefield.
Assange
Clinton
(Arizona)
shooting victims
build a case.
General Motors
must remember that
If the Mayor can't do it
"a 14 year old could have hacked Podesta"
or pay big border tax!
Mexican made
album sales have skyrocketed after announcing
it is not affordable -
There should be no further releases
"CRAZY"

(created from Trump Tweets, first week of January 2017)

 

 

Letter from an Octopus

Attentive Readers of Earth,

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This octopus crawled across a parking garage floor in Miami Beach. Really.

Greetings from Inner Space! We’re so glad that you agree with us that the ocean is too small. With your help, we’re planning a mass migration into your parking lots and condominiums. Thanks for thinking of us!

We’re already sending our eight-legged real estate agents into your coastal cities to assess their value. We’re not too impressed yet, but there is potential. You know, the kind of potential that says “just add water.”

By the way, we’re smarter than you. But you knew that already.

You know, we used to live in your neighborhoods—all the way into Kansas and beyond. But when we weren’t paying attention, the Earth’s temperature dropped, the ice formed, and too much dry land appeared. Bummer.

Now you’re helping the planet get back to the way things were—you know, warm, dinosaur-friendly temperatures. We’re with you, and we pledge allegiance to the United States of Fossil Fools. We love to clap our suckers together and cheer, “Drill, baby, drill!”

We can’t wait to see what the next decade brings. Your flood is our gain!

Park It, The End

“Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention” – Frank Sinata singing “My Way”

I did it my way for eight years, and I still reign supreme as the world’s greatest park critic. (I’ve never met another). Here’s my final column: “And the Winner Is …“.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Where’s Robin Hood? You’ll never find him or this park, but I did.

Patrol Patrol was my creation, although the idea started with Biscayne Times editor Jim Mullin, who simply presented the idea and said, “You’ll figure it out.” I guess we did.

My craziest park experience was in downtown Miami’s Bicentennial Park (now transformed into Museum Park) where a homeless man gave me the “insider’s tour” of the best spots for pooping and pimping.

Check out my penultimate column in the Biscayne Times, where I review Miami’s worst parks in “Good Park / Bad Park.”

The most serene moments happened in almost every park, because they were rarely crowded, and I made a habit of walking the full perimeter to appreciate the park’s scope. Every park has a tree or a corner or a bench that you can claim. Better yet, keep walking and absorb the sensations flowing over you.

Every park has wildlife, and Miami is especially blessed with spiders and amazing aquatic creatures. One time while kayaking back from an island in Biscayne Bay, a man-sized wild dolphin repeatedly performed 10-foot leaps into the air and landed on its back. Probably no more than five people witnessed that feat, even though many thousands live and work in the nearby skyrises. As busy urbanites, we miss almost every moment of wonder.

What nuggets of wisdom did I learn by visiting and analyzing a new park every month for eight years? I guess I could sum it up by saying:

  • Nature creates masterpieces, and humans can only build frames. Light frames around large spaces work the best.
  • The Everglades is not a park, because an ecosystem has no gate. But it needs a park to save what little remains.
  • All children deserve a safe playground in a walkable community. We are not civilized because we’re far, far away from that dream—although a true leader could make it possible (go for it, Donald Trump).

Goodbye my devoted fans (all three of you). Step away from your computer and go take a walk in the park. Now!