Thursday, January 19, 2017

It Appears As If I Laughed A Bit Too Loud

I have been a fan of Gary Larson's genius since I first laid my eyes upon his magnificent creation, The Far Side, a lifetime or two ago.  He, along with Berkeley Breathed in Bloom County and Bill Watterson in Calvin & Hobbes, brought to the "funny pages" work that significantly more often than not caused me to think as hard as it made me laugh. And rarely, if ever, did any of the three fail to make me laugh.   For as long as I can remember, among my favorite strips Larson ever inked for The Far Side was his uniquely Larsonesque take on Hell.  Now, perhaps, not so much.

On Wednesday, the President-Elect's nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency (the "EPA", which during Scott Pruitt's tenure as Attorney General for the State of Oklahoma has often been identified by another acronym, "Defendant"), testified that he, himself, does not believe that global warming is a "hoax".  He appeared "open-minded" on the issue of the role that human beings, the things we do, and the manner in which we do them plays in the baking of the planet.

At or about the same time as Mr. Pruitt was testifying before the Environment and Public Works Committee of the United States Senate, an august body historically responsible for a disproportionately-high percentage of hot air that has been discharged into the atmosphere, scientists from NASA and from NOAA jointly declared that 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded in the history of the planet.  It wrested that distinction away from its immediate predecessor, 2015, which itself had knocked 2014 from the top spot.  

Sense a pattern developing here?  According to not only NASA but the fun-loving rapscallions at NOAA, an agency whose acronym has evolved into a double entendre before our very eyes, it certainly seems that you should.  If the pattern remains unrecognizable to you, then perhaps this tidbit (also from NASA) will be of zero interest to you altogether.  I must confess that it interests me, with Maggie's arrival approximately one hundred and twenty days away, a whole hell of a lot: 

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees 
Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th Century, a change 
driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made 
emissions into the atmosphere. 

Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17
warmest years on record occurring since 2001.  Not only was 2016
the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up
the year - from January through September, with the exception of June - 
were the warmest on record for those respective months.  October,
November, and December of 2016 were the second warmest of those
months on record - in all three cases, behind records set in 2015. 

If it helps you to wrap your head around what NASA told us all yesterday, then think of it in terms of the Olympics. 2016 was an Olympic year, after all. If "All-Time Hottest Month" was an Olympic event, then 2016 would have captured eight gold medals and three silver.  Outside of the blood-doping Russians, no one group has ever thrown down such a dominant performance in Olympic competition. 

On the other hand, in practically every Coca-Cola Christmas-themed advertisement I have ever seen, polar bears appear to make wonderful companions and fine pets.  I very much look forward to having one.  We can use it to carry Maggie and all of her accoutrements back and forth to the beach - not to mention to teach her how to swim and fish. 

Pop-Pop, after all, is not a kid any more...  


...regardless of whatever Mr. McMurtry seems to think. 


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