Sunday, June 27, 2010

Will You Survive?

Fresh from the morning news, I have to continue to wonder what the heck is going to wake people up in large enough numbers to make a difference.
A charter boat captain of 25 years blew his brains out, distraught over the oil disaster's crippling effect on his ability to make a living and by his recent employment with BP. He ended his life where he lived it; in the wheel house of his boat in the town of Gulf Shores Alabama. I've been to Gulf Shores. I've known many boat captains, charter and otherwise. The captain chose to leave two minor children, 11 and 12, a wife and an adult daughter. I feel as though I knew the guy. I feel deeply sad and frustrated.
Adding insult to unspeakable injury, I then read a piece about Mariah Carey owing a NY veterinarian who traveled to California to care for one of Carey's 4 Jack Russell terriers close to $30,000.
Readers know that I believe in being a responsible pet owner. I believe in caring for pets, spaying/neutering, etc. But come on, in this day and age, how can we stand for a celebrity we made famous and rich - or any one for that matter - spending $30,000 on a dog for one month of treatment when there are babies and children and mothers and fathers dying right this second, and every second, because of starvation, pollution, the oil spill, drug wars, dictators - as I've gotten so used to saying I could go on and on . . .
Thirty thousand on a dog when we haven't even taken the initiative to be responsible citizens of the planet, and I'm referring to the facts that we are still oil-dependent, endlessly-consuming stuff we don't really need, star-struck to the point of uselessness, irresponsible fools who can't even clean up an oil spill in a timely fashion - or have the balls to exert enough power over big-business to prevent the carelessness and deception that led to this spill. Day after day, we forsake our planet, we forsake ourselves, having given "the keys to our kingdom,"to those we have made powerful and rich and famous. WHEN WILL THIS STOP?
As previously stated, I could go on and on about politicians sucking the power out of the masses who put them in office. U.S.A. Today reported in Jan. 08 that the movie, TV and recording industries gave $33.1 million to federal candidates and parties in 2004. Names such as George Clooney, Tyra Banks, Chris Rock, Larry David, Ed Norton, Jennifer Aniston and Will Smith are among those who help line the coffers of politicians. The celebrities scratch the backs of the politicians, and vice-versa. They're all living in luxury and oozing power, and we the fools are allowing it to happen as our planet dies and we head closer to disaster every second.
Prior to the oil rig explosion of 4/20, Goldman Sachs and Bp's Tony Hayward both sold off large blocks of BP stocks - that's called insider trading - more of the rich and powerful scratching each other's back to their benefit and to our and our planet's extreme detriment.
Now there's news of a judge who engaged in insider trading related to BP.
Instead of continuing to hurl statistics and news items at deaf ears, I'll share some thoughts I had regarding the future of John and Jane Q. Public - that's you and me.
Last night, I watched the movie, "The Pianist." The story centered around the true account of a Polish pianist of about 30 years old who was caught up in the horror of the Warsaw Ghetto from 1939 until Poland's liberation by Russia at the end of WW II.
I was both amazed and horrified by the main character's family's' (and neighbors') acceptance of the horrors the Nazis subjected them to. First, the family was forced to hide its money and few valuables because a restriction was put on the amount of wealth a Jew could hold. Then, the family was banned from walking on the sidewalks (Jews had to walk in the gutter) and forced to bow to Germain soldiers on the streets and endure spur-of-the -moment and random public beatings. Then, they were forced from their homes, rendered helpless and useless by a lack of jobs and resources within the "ghetto" they were herded into like sheep to the slaughter. They were forced to walk the streets of the "ghetto" among corpses and the dying. They were starved, beaten, randomly attacked and murdered, and finally shipped off to "labor camps," like cattle and to their mass deaths.
The main character escaped and lived alone and hidden by sympathetic neighbors. To put it bluntly, he sucked at survival, and only survived by chance, not by his wits or skills. Although he managed to survive, this urban man with little knowledge of survival skills nearly died because he couldn't open a can without a can opener. He was discovered by a German officer because of the racket he made trying to open the can with fireplace tools. He then dropped the can, allowing its vital liquid to spill out on the floor at the feet of the German.
He certainly brushed close to madness, because he didn't have a clue regarding simple self-preservation.
I thought to myself, "Wow, when the planet is stagnant and fruitless , when there's no more electricity or oil, when there's not enough food to feed the masses, the people I see everyday, my children, my neighbors, are all going to be as clueless and as useless regarding being able to survive as the urban Jews were at the hands of the Nazis."
Think about that. Let it sink into your brain and take up residency there for a while. Think about how you and yours will - or likely will not survive - when our resources are depleted and our planet is dead.
What will you do? It's likely coming in our life times. What will you do?
Like the charter boat captain from Alabama, will you end your life where you lived it and in despair with no hope for the future or for your survival. Will you suffer and die in your home, among your family, in your place of employment? Or will you rise up now and do something to change the inevitable?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Reader Request: Address the Oil Spill, Part 1: DO SOMETHING!

Gulf Coast pelicans wait to be de-oiled. Wonder how many will survive?

Thanks to the "Daily Beast" for this poignant image of a pelican attempting to overcome its oil-soaked state and take flight on Queen Bess Island, Louisiana.

When a reader speaks, I listen. I also love hearing from you all!
Reader & follower (and really old friend, I'm talkin' Junior High School) Thomas Dobbler asked via facebook: "Hey Liz, how about this for your next blog? 'Where are all the entertainers lining up to get the oil spill stopped & cleaned up at BP's expense?' "
The line doesn't seem to be forming anywhere that can be pin-pointed, Tom. BUT don't despair, because as readers know, my lines aren't always the straightest or the simplest, but they always have a destination, a point, and a purpose. I guess my lines make up tapestries of thought, and hopefully, truth and solutions.
Let's start with what I know from experience, or simply by perusing the morning headlines.
  • I know that the oil spill's residuals have reached Pensacola, Florida and will soon soil & smother the entirety of Florida's Gulf Coast, the Keys, and likely the Atlantic.
  • I know that several, if not many, celebrities live along the path of that ill-fated current. When I worked at a newspaper (circa 2004) in Vero Beach, FL, on the state's mid-Atlantic Coast, I interviewed John Walsh (America's Most Wanted/ Center for Missing & Exploited Children), who also has/had a residence in Vero. I know that Gloria Estefan (apologies if that's misspelled) lives and has/had business interests in Vero. Arlo Guthrie frequents an Ashram (place of prayer & retreat) a stone's throw from Vero, in Sebastian, Fl. I'm guessing he may have a residence nearby, too. Vero Beach is known as "Dodgertown," the winter home/training camp of the L.A. Dodgers. Port St. Lucie, just south of Vero, is the winter/training home of the N.Y. Mets. I did a stint at the paper's Daytona office, about an hour, maybe an hour and a half if memory serves, up the coast. Auto racing finds its roots on the lovely sand beaches of Daytona (more accurately, neighboring Ormond Beach). It blew my mind, coming from L.I. where beach driving is restricted and frowned on, that anyone -and I mean anyone - could drive on the beach in Daytona. So the race car circuit (NASCAR) and its enthusiasts should have an interest in keeping that beach oil-free. John Travolta lives in Ocala, a fairly straight line west from Daytona, in the middle of Florida, but not far from the beautiful Gulf Coast. My daughter worked at a popular sushi restaurant in Ocala, and waited on Travolta and David Cassidy. Maybe the former partridge lives nearby. I know that Jerry Springer has a house near Sarasota on the Gulf Coast. Tiger Woods, Jimmy Buffet (about - meaning any day now - to open a resort near Pensacola!), Tom Petty (a Gainesville native), you get the picture.
  • I know that entertainers, public figures, sports personalities, etc., all care about the Earth, don't they? I know they care about their fans. I know they are grateful for their talents, their fortunes, their ability to use their fame to help others and to champion causes.
  • I know that people, both regular Joes and Janes and the famous, use the press to further their causes and to bring attention to themselves. Whether its a 4-H bake sale, a book sale to benefit a local library, a gallery opening, a benefit Polo Match for a children's charity, a resort opening, a concert, or a political campaign or cause, people turn to the press for support and coverage.
  • I know that people write, pay attention to, ponder and heed letters to editors of newspapers.
  • I know that many people believe that all things happen for a reason. I'm beginning to see (thanks again, Tom) that the reason for this oil spill is clear. It's time for regular people to take a stand. It's time for Joe and Jane Q. Public to hold the celebrities WE MAKE FAMOUS and the politicians WE ELECT accountable for the glory we have bestowed upon them and for the trust we put in them and for the fortunes we have helped them amass. It's time for the regular folks to stop aimlessly paying taxes and watching programs on TV and buying music and movies and products that make the famous and powerful and greedy more famous and powerful and greedy. It's time for us to stop offering our sons and daughters as easy and endless fodder for the war-machine that distracts us from the great, big giant joke that's being played on us and at our expense. Its' time to say "Stop, enough is enough." It's time to start glorifying ourselves and holding ourselves in high esteem and empowering ourselves and paying attention to ourselves and lining our own pockets and saving our own world. Stop being lulled into oblivious submission by People Magazine or celebrity tweets or Paris Hilton's latest hairstyle or designer puppy or the bimbo de jour's umpteenth plastic surgery. What you are submitting to is the destruction of your prosperity, your life, the lives of your descendants, your planet - and it's time to stop! Seriously folks, this may very well be the common man's final chance to save our world. God helps those who help themselves. And the politicians and the famous have been helping themselves to our blood, sweat, tears, prosperity, climbing on our broken backs and stepping on our blistered hands and on our furrowed brows long enough. Wake up! It's time for us to take control of our own destinies and responsibilities as citizens of planet Earth. If we don't, you can sure they'll (the famous and powerful) all continue fiddling - and laughing at you and me - as Rome burns.
OK, this is what I'm going to do as step one in this process of taking back our world and taking responsibility for our own fates.
I'm writing a letter to the editor of every newspaper in Florida ( and other places where I know the famous live and play, such as my former home of East Hampton, NY, where I also was a newspaper reporter), putting the politicians and celebrities on notice that we the people expect them to start really and truly giving back to us and to our world.
I'll be , and I am here & now & TO YOU, calling for a boycott of television and its advertisers (I survive without it- I have for two years!); of buying music; of going to, buying, renting, paying to download movies; donating to political campaigns; following stars on twitter or facebook; reading and buying celebrity rags such as "People," etc.
I'm also calling for a boycott of BP and its subsidiaries, which include: Amoco (owned by BP), Gulf stations in south east U.S. (BP owned), BP Solar (includes Lucas Energy Systems and Solarex); ampm convenience chain; Aral (BP's retailer in Germany); ARCO (BP owned in western U.S. and West Coast); BP Travel Centers in Australia, which include Wild Bean Cafes, McDonald's (yes, the Golden Arches), KFC (yes, the home of the Colonel), Nando's and Krispy Kreme; BP Connect and Wild Bean Cafes in the UK (in partnership with Mark and Spencer as "M & S Simple Food," ), Europe, U.S.A., Australia, New Zealand, Bosnia/Herzegovina; and in the U.S. being transitioned into ampm convenience stores. Also, BP Express, BP Shop, BP2Go, CASTROL OIL and lubricants (yes, the Castrol many of us use), Air BP & BP Shipping, The Standard Oil Company. And let's not forget BP's top institutional stock holders: State Street Corp.; Fidelity Management & Research Corp.; AXA Financial, Inc.; UBS Warburg, LLC; Morgan, Stanley, Dean Witter & Co.; Barrow, Hanley, Mewhinney & Strauss, Inc.; BANK OF AMERICA Corp.; CITIGROUP, INC.; First Union Corp.; STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE Company.
I will be making form letters to editors of newspapers that "call out" celebrities and politicians, and boycott information available to readers. If you'd like a letter/information packet, e-mail me at
More tomorrow regarding celebrities, politicians, what seems to be pre-explosion/spill/ April 20 insider trading of BP stock by its CEO and by Goldman Sachs, political contributions, what BP is paying up and the government help it's receiving to expedite the claims process (of course, a multi-billion dollar company can't possibly process claims in an efficient manner without the help of the government - SAY WHAT? Can you say "RED TAPE?" I feel another hand in my pocket!!! and the like.
In the mean time - DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!!!!!
Sources:; Jacky Jasper Hollywood Street; MSNBC; The Daily Beast