An Inconvenient Truth

I didn’t think I needed to see "An Inconvenient Truth".  But then it was in excess of 110 degrees in the Valley and Felice’s air conditioning couldn’t break 84 and I wanted a respite from the HEAT!

It’s been kind of scary in Los Angeles the past couple of days.  Kind of like that "Twilight Zone" episode, "Midnight Sun"  I don’t know about you, but I used to plead with my babysitter to let me stay up and watch "Twilight Zone".  At least until I saw "Eye Of The Beholder" and kept crying so long and so hard that I was still awake when my parents got home.  Felice lifted her upper lip forming a pig snout the other day and I had a flashback to the show and was creeped out for hours!  But "Eye Of The Beholder" wasn’t the only episode that left an indelible mark.  "Midnight Sun" creeped me out too.  Because of the HEAT!  And in the end, the darkness, the cold.

The Earth is moving towards the sun.  Everybody has left New York, driving towards the melting polar ice caps.  The sweat is palpable.  Your TV screen almost gets moist.  Heat is scary.  Especially when you feel there’s no respite.

I used to tell everybody about enduring 122 degree temperatures in Sharm El Sheik.  I had no idea it would hit 119 in WOODLAND HILLS!

No wonder my sister called to see if we were going to Malibu.  She lives in that godforsaken burb.  Hopefully she survived, she made it through, I’m almost too scared to do the research.

Research.  Science.  If you’ve been following the Administration you know that facts never get in the way of their agenda.  Stories are spun for a religious heartland that seems to believe the Rapture is imminent.  For the rest of us heathens, when we open the discredited "New York Times" and see what is truly happening in this world, we freak out.

But it’s all a political game.  There’s no center.  You’re either with us or against us.  It’s about winning.  Winning what, I’m not sure, but victory is all that counts.  Ain’t that America, as John Cougar Mellencamp once sang.

But, suddenly, it’s no longer business as usual.

I’ve been noticing the change.  This year Mammoth Mountain had the biggest snowfall in its history.  Moving around some snow by the base of Chair 1, they were able to stay open until July 4th.  Great, I got to go skiing the week before.  But when I was there June 20th thirty years ago, in a season that saw less snow, there was more of it.  Mammoth used to stay open until July 4th EVERY year.  Why is it no longer de rigueur?

But who cares, right?  Who’s paying attention.

But then you go see "An Inconvenient Truth" and it’s like that old Leonard Cohen song, "Everybody Knows".  Yes, everybody knows something is changing, so why in the hell don’t we DO something about it?

I’d like to tell you Al Gore has been totally rehabilitated.  That he’s not the wooden wonk of yore.  Don’t believe the hype, he still is.  He’s still the guy you’d avoid asking to the bar.  Not feeling bad about it, since he’s got Tipper to play board games with.  I think years of trying to communicate with the average American have turned him into someone who’s lost his original personality.  Obviously, Al is smart.  So why does he try to appear just folks dumb?  It doesn’t play.  We revere smart people.  Oops, USED to.  Even as recently as the Clinton era.  When Bill would give speeches with no notes, we’d be wowed.  Now, inner city youths rap instead of study and smart people have to tone their act down, so they don’t appear elitist, appear to be better than the rest of us.  Well, how come we revere Floyd Landis and Tiger Woods but to be a brilliant, educated man, is to garner scorn and derision?  Beats me.  Best and the brightest?  The friendliest and the dumbest.  At least in public life.

Al is smart.  And even though the whole movie has got the feel of his inventing the Internet, it leaves your jaw hanging.

I was prepared.  By that documentary on HBO.  That showed the before and after pictures in Alaska.  Glacier today, ocean and mountains tomorrow/now.  But I didn’t know the science.  Al Gore puts forth the science.  And after seeing this movie, your whole outlook changes.

We went straight from the movie theatre back to Felice’s domicile.  Oh, we stopped for ice cream, but it was so hot you couldn’t eat the goop OUTSIDE!  We had to duck into a Starbucks, to eat our ice cream!

And, after enduring the night, like in some bizarre Harlan Ellison novella, I ended up spending the following afternoon in front of the computer, surfing ski sites.  Not only was it bittersweet reliving my youth in the northeast, I noticed how there USED TO BE a ski season back there.  And it went into April every year.

It’s kind of weird.  It’s like living in a war movie.  After you realize that the enemy is out there, you can’t forget it.  You’re on the outlook at all times.  Like in today’s "Wall Street Journal", wherein on the front page it is revealed that on the 19th of this month, England recorded its highest July temperature EVER!  97.7 degrees.  In ENGLAND??

Something is terribly wrong.  And in the defense of corporations and the so-called economy, nothing is being done.  The Clean Air Act has been gutted.  Gas-guzzling SUVs are still being mass-produced.  It’s like we’re driving towards the cliff.

Now after civilization burns up, it will be like that "Twilight Zone" episode.  Man may not survive, but the planet will.  It will get dark.  And the scenario will start all over again.  We put a man on the moon.  We stifled air pollution.  But global warming is just too big a challenge?

This is a read-only blog. E-mail comments directly to Bob.