Archive for August, 2012

I Got A Name

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

The Book of the Week is “I Got A Name, The Jim Croce Story” by Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock, published in 2012. This is a career biography of the singer-songwriter Jim Croce.

In struggling to be his own man, Croce’s strengths and weaknesses emerged. In the early 1960′s, Croce rebelled against his parents in various ways. He broke free of his strict Catholic upbringing by converting to Judaism, marrying a Jew and pursuing a music career irrelevant to his Villanova University education in psychology and German.

He was able to stand up to his family but not the music company he chose to represent him and his wife. Although Croce had incredible talent and passion for composing and singing folk songs about working class people and love, the couple got swindled due to their phobia for dealing with attorneys. For years, Croce’s music made only his promoters wealthy. The couple stayed dirt poor even after there was widespread purchasing of his music.

In the late 1960′s, the Croces were pressured by the music company to go on concert tours at colleges. In the early 1970′s, Croce, without his wife, went on long, grueling road trips, during which he adopted the stereotyped rock-star lifestyle– taking drugs (not the hard ones, though) and philandering, but without the luxury accommodations and high pay.

Read the book to learn the full story (that ended tragically) of the suffering that Croce and his family endured in order for him to pursue his dream.

All Creatures Great and Small

Monday, August 13th, 2012

The Book of the Week is “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot, published in 1993. This is a lighthearted account of Herriot’s training as an aspiring rural veterinarian in 1930′s England. A crotchety yet experienced character showed him the ropes. The author gradually developed confidence in curing the afflictions of pigs, cows, horses, etc. The job was suitable for neither the squeamish nor faint of heart.

A Sea In Flames

Sunday, August 5th, 2012

The Book of the Week is “A Sea In Flames, The Deepwater Horizon Oil Blowout” by Carl Safina, published in 2011. This is a description of the disaster that spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico starting in late April 2010.

British Petroleum (BP)– the oil company– was the major party responsible for killing eleven workers and causing ongoing long-term emotional trauma and major financial hardships for thousands of people. BP’s poor safety record, and favoring money over human beings made it more of a scapegoat than the other parties involved– Halliburton, Transocean and other subcontractors that were providing equipment and services for deep exploratory drilling.

The accident’s aftermath was a cluster screw-up. Both plugging the oil leak and cleaning up the oil were uncharted territory, literally and figuratively. Previously, greedy politicians had been loath to regulate the oil industry because they needed the industry’s campaign contributions to win elections.

A month after the disaster, President Obama prohibited deep sea drilling for six more months. Even so, in June 2010, a federal judge nixed such legislation for economic reasons. It was clear that the government continued to woo the oil companies, at the expense of the victims. That judge cared more about the nation’s fiscal health than about people’s health and the environment.

The victims include not just humans, but civilization as a whole. This blogger contends that it does not matter that the victims are voters. They are easily psychologically manipulated. The oil mess has incalculable, ambiguous biological and environmental consequences. However, hard economic numbers win elections because money is more important to voters, too. Voters will readily believe a storm of economic misinformation, including the incorrect notion that clean fuels cost more than fossil fuels. Electoral mudslinging that asserts that the opposing candidate allowed serious health problems and scary ecological goings-on to occur, to which oil contamination might or might be attributable, do not win elections.

This is just one more depressing piece of writing that reminds us that we are all destroying our earth.