Global food poisoning? Yes, We’re maxing out. Forget Peak Oil. We’re maxing-out on Peak Food. Billions go hungry. We’re poisoning our future, That’s why Cargill, America’s largest private food company, is warning us: about water, seeds, fertilizers, diseases, pesticides, droughts. You name it. Everything impacts the food supply. Wake up America, it’s worse than you think.
We’re slowly poisoning America’s food supply, poisoning the whole world’s food supply. Fortunately Cargill’s thinking ahead. But politicians are dragging their feet. They’re trapped in denial, protecting Big Oil donors, afraid of losing their job security; their inaction is killing, starving, poisoning people, while hiding behind junk-science. – MarketWatch
He says that over the next 50 years, if nothing is done, crop yields in many states will most likely fall, the costs of cooling chicken farms will rise and floods will more frequently swamp the railroads that transport food in the United States. He wants American agribusiness to be ready. – New York Times
Among the future trends that will impact our national security is climate change. Rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, climbing sea levels, and more extreme weather events will intensify the challenges of global instability, hunger, poverty, and conflict. They will likely lead to food and water shortages, pandemic disease, disputes over refugees and resources, and destruction by natural disasters in regions across the globe. In our defense strategy, we refer to climate change as a “threat multiplier” because it has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today – from infectious disease to terrorism. We are already beginning to see some of these impacts. – Pentagon
If it wasn’t already our reality…
History shows us there is a thin line between outrage and unrest, between unrest and riot, and between riot and revolution. And it seems lately that we are constantly crossing these lines, that we are constantly on the edge and on the verge of being pushed to the limit, that every day, somewhere in the world, individuals, families, communities, countries, and regions are fluctuating and transitioning from one point of frustration to the next, even more frustrating point.
From the economy, to the environment, to intractable politics, to intolerance, to technology, to terrorism, to any number of other issues, who knows what will trigger the next outrage, unrest, riot, or revolution.
While there will always be multiple known and unknowable factors behind any tumultuous event, historians and analysts have come to a consensus that it was increasingly rising food prices, and, more specifically, the high cost of bread that pushed a region over the line and triggered the Arab Awakening.
And there is evidence showing that throughout the ages it has been the rising costs of basic food staples that pushes even the most civil minded citizens into becoming violent revolutionaries for change.
As the most cursory of searches reveal, the cumulative effect of the world’s many crises, coupled with the continuance of extreme weather patterns and resultant droughts, flooding, and other climate change unknowns, 2015 may be a year of severely rising food costs.
If so, it may prove to be quite the year, indeed.
FILM | TELEVISION | DRAMA | ACTION
SONS OF ANARCHY
RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and since I am American I must, like all Americans are doing across the nation and all over facebook, offer my thanks.
There are many things for which I am thankful: my family, my health, my freedom, football (football, the real kind, not soccer), you know, all the standard things a standard American is standardly thankful for.
But in addition to those standards, I am also thankful for the miracle of technology, for it allows me to experience right from my easy chair such wonderful, and cheap, mind melting joys like this and this and Netflix.
And I am especially thankful for Netflix, for it allows me to watch movies and television shows and documentaries and even some cartoons “on demand” (which is a very American way of putting it, no?).
And, of course I’m thankful for Hollywood, too, for without Hollywood, how else would I and the rest of the world know what it truly means to be an American?
And because of Hollywood, and Netflix, and technology, and my health (and all the free time it affords me), I just spent the past three or fours days (I’m not exactly sure how many it was because by the second day it all became a blur) watching a delightful, family show called Sons of Anarchy.
Well, it may not necessarily be a show you would want to watch as a family, but it is undeniably a show about family and the many challenges a typical — and non-typical — family faces.
Yeah, I know, as usual I’m late to the party. Four seasons late, to be exact. Season Five is already close to a wrap. Unfortunately, I will not be able to see it until sometime next year, probably right before Season Six kicks off; that is, if Netflix graciously makes it available for me to watch.
So much for “on demand” I guess.
Anyway, now, after that marathon of anarchy and mayhem I willingly subjected myself to, I can’t stop thinking, “What the hell just happened?”
You know, I’m not really sure. After four straight days of watching four straight seasons of head bangin’, rock n’ rollin’, face tattin’ motorcycle clubbin’, gun runnin’, drug slingin’, porn flickin’, bombs explodin’, race baitin’, back stabbin’ drama, I’m not sure of anything right now.
Except that the show is good.
Once again, Hollywood did what it does best: exploiting, romanticizing, and glamorizing the most extreme of man’s deviant nature.
Hollywood did its job so well and the show is so good I gave it a Netflix rating of 4 out of 5 stars.
I briefly considered giving it 5 of 5, but it does have a few superficial flaws; however, over the entire well thought out and executed arc of the show, those flaws mostly become forgotten.
But for the curious, here are a few of the annoyances I noticed:
— A bizarre Irish Republican Army connection that put a bit of a drag on the pace and feel of the show for one of the seasons, season two, I think.
— A couple of cheezy reveals, especially at the end of season four, that pissed me off.
— Chuck Hunnam’s British accent. Mostly it goes unnoticed, but it is noticeable. It especially gets thick when he is talking with/screaming at Irish dudes.
But other than those minor flaws, the show is a masterpiece, as in Masterpiece Theatre.
Well, perhaps not but speaking of theatre — dammit, I’m American! — speaking of theater, Kurt Sutter, the show’s genius creator, is in no way shy about the show’s obvious draw off of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. For example, we have our conflicted prince (or Motor Cycle Club Vice President), we have our surrogate father king (or MC President and step-father of the VP), we have our ghost of the dead former king and father of the prince (or a manifesto written by the dead former MC President, which is found and read by the son/VP of said dead former MC President, and which conflicts said son/VP even more).
There are more parallels but I think you get the point.
Hey, if you’re gonna rip off someone’s storyline, who’s better to rip off than the Great Bard himself (who, by the way, is also accused of being a first class storyline ripper-offer in his own right).
Yeah indeed, it’s a raunchy, guns/drugs/sex-laden American version of Hamlet (heck, to make sure we slow on the uptake Americans didn’t miss the Hamlet connexion, Mr Sutter even titled the last two episodes of Season Four as “To Be – Act I” and “To Be – Act II” for us).
I haven’t watched such a deviantly fine contemporary adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s plays since My Own Private Idaho (yeah, I know — Keanu Reeves. But hey, his “style” of acting works in this flick and, besides, it also has River Phoenix (MHRIP)).
Yes sir (that would be a non-gender specific “sir”), Sons of Anarchy just about has it all; all, that is, except…anarchy.
Sure there’s all the killing and all the other subversion of societal “norms” one could imagine, but all that is done within the context of maintaining a structured and orderly, albeit somewhat illicit, motorcycle club. And clubs, especially those that are guided via vote and majority rule like the SAMCRO is (if you aren’t an SOA fan, you’re probably just as confused about the meaning of SAMCRO as I initially was when I first started watching the show…if you want to know what it means, ask Mr Google like I had to), represent anything but anarchistic ideals.
Clubs, especially those of the motorcycle variety, do not represent anarchy, they represent democracy and freedom.
And democracy and freedom, damn it, represent America!
Yes, the Sons of Anarchy, with its British leading man, and its British-owned storyline, and its Irish Republican Army and Mexican Drug Cartela dependencies and connexions–er, connections, is about as American as any television series could ever strive to be…
Or not to be.
Oh well, I tried.
While my dubious and corny conclusion may be in question, there is no question that, with Sons of Anarchy, Hollywood has served up yet another feast of a show for us turkeys to feed upon in our unending quest to fill our insatiable viewing appetites.
And for that, I also am thankful.
So…I may have been talking tongue in cheek for much of my Caffeine Therapy article, but I was serious as a heart attack, and we all know how serious those Widow Makers are, when talking about the positive impact that caffeine has had on my mental state of mind. Before I started drinking coffee I never knew where I was going to be mood-wise. Some days I would wake up Dr. Jekyll, some days Mr. Hyde. It was very stressful. After I started drinking coffee again, or, more specifically, after I added caffeine to my diet again, life was much more normal, predictable, and pleasant for me…and the rest of the family. While I still get stressed out and tense relatively easily, even while caffeinated up, it isn’t nearly has bad as it would get while I was caffeine-free.
Consequently, when I visited the doctor for a checkup from the neck up…and down…this past Thursday, I was looking forward to finding out how adding caffeine to my diet has impacted my liver, since that is where it’s metabolized.
Well, the lab results showed that my liver component counts were pretty high. Here are the numbers (Read: Component, Low Range, High Range, Range Units, My Lab Results):
DIRECT BILIRUBIN, 0.0, 0.4, mg/dl, 0.3
ALKALINE PHOSPHATASE, 30, 120, U/L, 173
ASPARTATE AMINO TRAN, 0, 37, U/L, 100
ALANINE AMINO TRANS, 0, 40, U/L, 263
Now, I have no idea what all of these different components are, but I do know the docs look at them to determine how my liver is doing. I asked my oncologist if he thought I should stop drinking coffee because the counts are so high and he said no. He wasn’t worried about the impact of caffeine on the liver. In fact, he agreed with my assessment that it is probably the caffeine that is positively stimulating me mentally while suppressing the negative psychological impact of all the other drugs and stress from my inflictions.
He was, however, worried that the high counts indicated that Graft Versus Host Disease was flaring up in my liver. After examination, he also assessed that it was flaring up again in my skin and eyes. He wanted to take some “preemptive measures” (his words) by either raising my steroid dosage or by trying another drug called Cyclosporin. But the way things work with my care and treatment, it wasn’t his call. All decisions relating to my care that involve GVHD are made by a different oncologist, one who also is a nationally renowned GVHD specialist and he was not quite as concerned about the elevated numbers as the other oncologists on Team Kurt. In fact, the wife and I had lobbied the GVHD specialist to raise my steroid dosage the last time we saw him over a month ago. I could tell even then by the way that I had been feeling and how my skin had looked that the GVHD was flaring up. But the specialist’s primary concern is with the GVHD in my lungs and not so much with the GVHD anywhere else. According to him, the other areas are relatively minor concerns compared to the lungs and were no cause for alarm or any additional action. A month later he apparently still feels the same.
I’m guessing the GVHD doc wants me to focus on my upcoming week-long visit in April to the National Institute of Health where I will participate in a study to get FDA approval for a new Lung GVHD treatment.
Still, the other oncologist wants me and the wife back next Thursday so we all, to include the GVHD specialist, can get together and further discuss this GVHD flare up in the liver and elsewhere.