American Elephants

One of my favorite columnists makes a list. by The Elephant's Child

I am not impressed with the “changing of the year”. I don’t like New Year’s predictions, resolutions, endless displays of diet books, and the trite lists of ten best and ten worst.  They are lazy efforts at glorifying the work of newsmen who increasingly are unable to identify what is important and what is trivial, and don’t want to put much effort into year-end columns.

Canadian columnist David Warren is a man after my own heart. For his “Man of the Year ” column he says:

For my last Sunday column of anno MMVIII, I will announce my selection for “Man  of the Year.”  It was, at most, a year of thin choices in the public and political realm.  Once again, Al Gore did not make my list of finalists.

I didn’t like any of the newly-elected presidents, either; not Asif Ali Zardari, “Mr. Ten Percent” of Pakistan; nor Dimitry Medvedev, the Russian place-holder; nor Ma Ying-jeou, the smooth compromiser of independent Taiwan; nor Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana (if he has indeed won); nor even Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe (who won the election, but did not become president); or Barack Obama of the United States (who won but is not yet installed).  I have invested no hope in any of them, and thus must hope to be surprised.

Among Time magazine’s rival list of candidates, I was immediately able to eliminate Steve Jobs, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney, Rem Koolhaas, “Brad and Angelina,” Oprah Winfrey, and even Laura Bush’s library-science nominee, the Afghan novelist Khaled Hosseini — along with several dozen others among the world’s current, media-recognized, “leaders and revolutionaries, heroes and pioneers, scientists and thinkers, artists and entertainers, builders and titans,” to say nothing of their chefs.  (I noticed that nobody nominated Bernie Madoff.)

I also consulted the “100 most beautiful people” of People magazine.  After eliminating overlap from the list above, I further discounted “Kate,” “Salma,” Carrie,” the entire cast of Gossip Girl, Jessica Alba, their respective boyfriends where applicable, and anyone with the first name “Vanessa.”…

The whole delightful column is to be found here. You will be surprised at his choice of “Man of the Year”, and appreciate his reasons for his choice. Restores my interest in year-end lists.

Ah, yes! The Golden State! by The Elephant's Child

SACRAMENTO: Beginning Jan. 1, every 2009 model year and newer car built for sale in California will be required to carry a label that clearly ranks the vehicle’s environmental impact.

The label will show the simple ranking system that provides consumers practical information that can help them choose the most environmentally friendly vehicle that still meets their transportation needs.

“This label will arm consumers with the information they need to choose a vehicle that saves gas, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and helps fight smog all at once,” said ARB Chairman Mary Nichols. “Consumer choice is an especially powerful tool in our fight against climate change.”

Bwa ha ha ha. California descends further into complete moonbattery each and every year. The perfect Global Warming Score, a 10, is earned only by the 2009 Tesla Electric Roadster, a bargain at a suggested price of only $109,000.

Just when it is becoming clear that the globe is not warming, but cooling, and stopped warming in 1998, California comes out with another sticker for each car. For most consumers, practical considerations are the mileage rating and the price. Here is the sticker with the standards enumerated. Here is the article that alerted me to this scientific howler. They are scoring CO2-equivalent grams per mile emissions. Huh? They lump together all:

greenhouse gases (ghg) emitted from vehicles includ[ing] carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (H4), nitrous oxide (NO2) and hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) from air conditioner refrigerant together into one CO2 equivalent Value.

Oh, well that explains the whole thing. “The use of fossil fuels in motor vehicles is one of the primary human sources of global warming gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere, leading to a warming effect on the planet.”

Unproven nonsense. Marc Sheppard compares it to a Dragon Repellent Score. The Roadster is pretty sexy looking though.

Happy New Year, and better luck in 2009. by The Elephant's Child
January 1, 2009, 2:00 am
Filed under: Environment, Global Warming

The streets are clear.  The weather forecast promises rain continuing into the distant future.  The parking lots, however, are interesting.  Merchants in the Seattle area expect only a light skift of snow, and are completely unprepared to deal with 8 to 10 inches.  The parking lot at Crossroads Shopping Center has vast mountains of black and dirty snow 6 to 8 or 10 feet tall scattered here and there.  Seattle’s mayor, the very green Mayor Nickels has relented about the salt, now that the snow has melted off.  North slopes have dirty white piles at the edges of the roads, and in shady spots.

For those who live in other parts of the country, we occassionally have a weather condition exclusive to this part of the country, called “sunbreaks”.  This describes the rare moments when the sun peeps through the cloud cover, briefly interupting our accustomed drizzle.  Do not sneer.  We do not have tornadoes or hurricanes, and freezing weather is rare.  It is a very mild climate, though wet.

What Northwesterners do is complain.  Being accustomed to grey skies and what the weatherman ever so delicately calls “sprinkles”, we do not know how to deal with ice, snow or sunshine.  Temperatures over 80° cause vast suffering, endless whining, and runs on the ice machines for relief.

Threats of any unusual weather activity brings the weather people out on the roof of the broadcast studio in parkas, engaged in a “stormwatch”.  Weathermen being what they are, the watched-for storms seldom appear, and are usually not worth being watched, as there simply isn’t much to see.

And a very Happy New Year to all our friends out there.  We’ll hope for the best.

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