In case you have not noticed, in the dark of evening, crazy things are going on in our fair city, Romney. Every night the big industrial lights come out, the heavy machinery begins pounding ever deeper into the earth, construction workers come out of nowhere and traffic comes to a standstill. As you drive through town the workers look at you in a suspecting way, peering into your car as if looking for something. The blinding lights are directed into your eyes, keeping you from seeing what is really going on. I have heard that large trucks carrying giant things, appear late at night when most Romneyites are nestled in their beds. Strangely enough, these things disappear by morning. I am not one who normally buys into the run of the mill conspiracy theory, but my imagination has begun to run wild with speculation about this ongoing event. For almost a year they have been working on fixing our road…right?; I am not that naive! It takes a year to cut through a mountain or build 20 miles of interstate but not to fix a two-mile road through Romney.
I believe I have determined what is really going on! I will probably have my phone tapped for revealing this along with all the other cool things the government can do to us, but I cannot keep quiet anymore! Here it goes, the truth: THEY ARE BUILDING A BALLISTIC MISSILE BASE UNDER ROMNEY! Yes, I know it is hard to believe , but what else could it be? They tell us they are working at night for our convenience…right? What better time to hide what they are doing than during the cold dark nights of West Virginia. Keep your eyes and ears open. Watch for suspicious people you have never seen before. Talk to the workers, they are probably CIA. Protect our fair city of Romney!
Today we saw the true face of American greed. Not often does this beast show its face directly to the people. Not often does it come right out on national TV and tell us directly that we are stupid.
Joe Barton, the long serving congressman from Texas, feels that BP is being fleeced by the US government for 20 billion dollars in exchange for destroying the Gulf of Mexico and the peoples’ lives that depend on it. That is real cute, since he has received 1.4 million dollars in contributions from 1990 to the present from the oil industry. At its current flow rate, the BP oil spill will turn the Gulf into the new DEAD SEA in a very short time. Maybe BP should adopt the VISA logo, ” Priceless.” Some experts are predicting that this disaster will alter the entire Earth’s climate. Do you know that the ocean produces 95% of our oxygen? Do you think it will continue to produce oxygen if it is filled with oil? In case you are unaware, we need oxygen to breath. Apparently Joe Barton, whose pockets are lined in oil money, does not believe the American people know simple middle school science or have a basic understanding of what is ethical. The ocean is the very life force that allows us to inhabit this planet, and we are filling a large part of it with oil! This oil will move up the east coast and into the Atlantic and eventually into every major ocean in the world!
How many of our congressmen are on the take? Many of them want to let BP off the hook. Joe Barton, being the dumbest of the group for saying it on film, will probably step down or lose his next election, but there are many more Joe Bartons who are smart enough to just keep quiet and play lip service to the American people. If this oil spill does not destroy our fragile environment and we eventually get it under control, maybe the American people will finally see how our political system is bought and sold by the oil industry. The last eight presidents, including President Obama, have stated on the record that we as a nation need of a comprehensive strategy to become energy independent but each administration has floundered in the shadow of the oil industry and its immense control over our congress.
We saw a similar fight with the passage of the health care bill and are now seeing the same with the banking lobby. There is an old saying, Power corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have given the health insurance industry, the oil industry and the banking industry absolute power because the congress is for sale to the highest bidder. These three powerful entities are deciding the future of our country, and all decisions are based on the dollar and how much power corporate America can amass. We as Americans must make a decision to become informed voters. This information is available but not on WWF or FOX NEWS.
I am sure you have heard the old riddle about which came first, the chicken or the egg. I think this children’s story may have some relevance to our current disaster raging in the Gulf of Mexico. Another scenario that might be similar to our current crisis is: Who is more guilty, the drug user or the drug seller?
We live in a world that is totally dependent on petroleum. Without oil we would be either a total electric society (which would be nice) or still back in the horse and carriage era. Being the contrarian that I am, I have to address this from a different angle. Who is the guilty party? Like most people my first response is to blame BP along with all the big oil companies. No doubt these guys are not model citizens. BP alone had 700 safety violations in the last three years! The closest to them is Shell with eight! With this kind of record it is hard to feel sorry for them. But the question needs to be asked, why run a company in this manner? The answer is very simple, greed! And why are they allowed to get away with this kind of conduct? That answer is us, the energy-consuming population of the world. We want the oil and we will do anything to get it. This includes invading countries, wrecking environments, polluting the atmosphere and ocean and affecting the health of every living thing on this planet.
So, who is the guilty party? Is it us, the ones who buy the product or is it the folks who sell the product? I guess that is a question we will all have to address. Just for a little perspective, there are over 4026 oil and gas wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and if that does not scare you, I am not sure what will. Right now, some experts are referring to the Gulf as the next Dead Sea.
I guess that will be a tourist attraction in the future.
Do you remember the story of John Henry, the steel driving-man who single-handedly took on the steam engine in a steel-driving contest? Here is part of the story:
“One day a salesman came along to the (railroad) camp. He had a steam-powered drill and claimed it could out-drill any man. Well, they set up a contest then and there between John Henry and that there drill. The foreman ran that newfangled steam-drill. John Henry, he just pulled out two 20-pound hammers, one in each hand. They drilled and drilled, dust rising everywhere. The men were howling and cheering. At the end of 35 minutes, John Henry had drilled two seven-foot holes – a total of fourteen feet, while the steam drill had only drilled one nine-foot hole.
John Henry held up his hammers in triumph! The men shouted and cheered. The noise was so loud, it took a moment for the men to realize that John Henry was tottering. Exhausted, the mighty man crashed to the ground, the hammers rolling from his grasp. The crowd went silent as the foreman rushed to his side. But it was too late. A blood vessel had burst in his brain. The greatest driller in the C&O Railroad was dead.”
My John Henry story is not nearly as exciting, but there are several parallels. The other day several of us Schrock bus drivers were getting ready for a six bus move to Washington DC. I approached our senior driver, Jim Taylor, who will not buy a GPS but has a one implanted in his brain and said, ” Jim, my GPS says we will arrive at the school in 32 minutes.” Well, Jim went into a long scenario about what I could do with my GPS, ending with throwing it on to the road and letting someone drive over it. He went on to tell me that there was no way we could get there in that amount of time. Then he offered to bet me $20 that we would not get there in 32 minutes. I struggled with this for a few moments and declined to take the bet. I know how sneaky he is and figured he would worm-out of it somehow. Anyway, bet or no bet, I wrote down the time we left and the time the GPS predicted we would arrive and headed down the road hoping to make my point. We arrived almost exactly when the GPS said we would, but Jim wanted no part of this. He decided that his watch said that we arrived at a different time and would not hear anything else.
So in my mind, technology won this competition. Regardless, Jim is an incredible archive of hundreds of thousands of hours of map data from his years of driving and in many cases probably knows the better way to get from A to B. But Jim will someday step aside and all his knowledge will be lost to all of us, leaving the GPS to guide us through the tangled road system we have created. Just like John Henry, Jim pitted himself against the machine, and in his mind, won. Next time the GPS and I will be ready for his bet and we will take him down!
The weather was perfect for a triathlon, warm with very little sun and just a couple of short showers. Troy Crane, Rich Davis, Todd Buckley were in the international event, which consisted of a mile swim, 23 mile bike and a 6.2 mile run. Their race began at 7am with the swim. Rich won his age group, Troy placed third in his age group and Todd had a respectable time. I worked out with them most of the winter and I know they worked very hard. When I was younger I did these longer events so I know how grueling they can be.
At 9 am the sprint triathlon began. Kaleb accompanied Donna through the lake in good time, I used the tandem bike to get her through the 8 mile bike ride and Tim Stewart ran with her on the 3.1 mile run. She did real well considering the fact that she did very little actual training for the triathlon. Her time of 1 hour and 17 minutes is very respectable.
Here are some pictures of all us crazy guys and gals who participated in the race.
I have so many friends who I know I can ask for a favor most any time and they will be right there. I probably will write about all of them over time but right now I think I need to tell you about Rich Davis. Rich and I met at a little league game years ago. He and I were head coaches and played the standard rivalry that coaches have to play. Through the years Rich and I saw each other occasionally while training for various races. As I got to know Rich, I learned to appreciate his clever, dry humor. My favorite Rich line went like this. He said his wife came in the living room and asked him what was on the TV; he replied, “dust.” I am not sure too many of us men could get away with that line, but Rich could.
Despite Rich’s witty nature, he is a person who would do anything for a friend. Recently, my x-student and friend, Hali, decided she wanted to do the Rocky Gap Triathlon. This involves running 3.1 mile, biking 8 miles and swimming 1/4 of a mile. Hali had several problems to over come; she did not have a bike and could not swim, which was her biggest obstacle. Rich was able to find an old bike at the Rio Mall that met Hali’s needs, and the he proceeded to teach Hali to swim. This was not an easy task to take on because Hali was petrified of water! Over the winter Hali and Rich spent numerous hours in the wellness center pool. The end result, Hali can now this Saturday will jump into the Rocky Gap water and swim 1/4 mile across the lake. Hali’s accomplishments are amazing, but the man behind the scene is Rich. Without his patience and motivation, Hali would have never come this far. The point of this story is that Rich would do the same for almost anyone! He is a true friend, and I feel lucky to be his friend. I know the first thing he will say after reading this,” Who said you were my friend?” Then he will expand on this point in numerous ways. The answer is, I know he is my friend and that he will always be there if I need him!