Governor Justice, take a hike!

It has come to my attention that governor Justice has proposed the selective harvesting of trees in West Virginia State parks via proposed Senate Bill 270.  This is a hard concept for me to fathom as it makes little sense both on the surface and after close consideration.  One of the few reasons people come to our state is to visit our wonderful state parks and enjoy the old mature forest that it took us eighty years to develop.  Nobody comes to see bare hillsides and muddy logging roads cut into once-tranquil forests.  Folks come to our state to walk in our pristine parks and enjoy nature’s splendor.  We have some of the most beautiful parks in the world!  When I go for a hike, I want to see nature the way it was seen before man touched it.  
Some people think, and I will add falsely, that timber can be removed from a forest without damaging the environment.  Let me walk you through the process:
First, if you think fairies come in and gently lift the trees out of the forest, you are sadly mistaken.  It takes large equipment (skidders, harvesters, forwarders, and loaders), which require the cutting of logging roads. This process destroys the soil and the erosion-controlling decaying leaves and humus on the forest’s floor.  I am sure there are folks who might think that the beautiful sound of a chain saw in the woods is a welcome addition to nature, but I beg to differ.  I would rather hear the rustle of leaves as a squirrel scampers away or the call of a bird I do not recognize.
Second, the proposed bill allows for much more destruction than it first sounds like. The proposed limit on tree collection is an average of 4 trees per acre per track of land up to half of the merchantable timber per acre.  Although this does not sound like a lot, it is if you adjust the track size.  In theory, the proposed law would allow for 40,000 trees to be removed from a 10,000-acre state park (like Watoga state park) so long as you called it one track.  Most of these trees would likely be taken from one area as long as they did not go above the 50% mark on any one acre.  The simple reason for this is that it would be the most efficient (and profitable) for the timber companies and the statute would allow it.
Proponents of the proposed bill have argued that selectively timbering the parks will make the forest healthier by reducing the wildfire risk and that the revenue from the timber will be used to address a maintenance backlog, improving the parks overall.
First, the current risk of a wildfire damaging one of our state parks is statistically so low, that it had never been brought to the public as a risk until this proposed legislation.  It is nearly impossible to find record of any wildfires that have damaged any of our parks in the last seventy-five years, and the small fires did exist damaged far less than this proposed bill threatens to.
Second, the harvesting of our old-growth forest to fund park maintenance and man-made park structures forces us into a choice that most of us would not make.  The entire point of a park is to preserve a part of nature.  The buildings and required maintenance of park facilities serve to enrich, add to, and facilitate the enjoyment of nature.  If we chose to put the park facilities ahead of the parks themselves, we’ve effectively defeated the main purpose of the parks, the enjoyment of nature.  People don’t come to West Virginia to look at our beautiful park buildings, they come to enjoy our beautiful parks.  

Our parks were preserved and gifted to us by those that came before us in an act of great foresight.  To throw this gift away would leave us with nothing beautiful for us to give to the generations that follow.  This is our home and we have a chance to protect it.
So, if you are one of the people who enjoy a peaceful walk in the park, I suggest that you call your representative as soon as you can get to a phone! Show them that we care about our natural places and preserving them for ourselves and generations to come.
If you want to contact someone who is instrumental in this issue it would be;
Mark Maynard of Wayne county
304-357-7808  Capital phone
304-272-3030  Business phone

Happy birthday to me…yahoo…

Well, today marks the day that this bag of gelatinous water, supported by sticks of hardened calcium, adorned with a chemical battery capable of rudimentary thought has circled the sun 68 times.  For some unknown reason we celebrate this day by eating sugar covered, wheat based dessert with all kinds of chemicals designed to give it a multitude of colors, which for all intent and purpose causes a wide range of adverse reactions in the body.  I have to assume this celebration is designed to hasten the demise of the celebratee (I made this word up).  Knowing that you are now one rotation closer to your demise, all your so-called friends wish you a happy birthday in order to help you to forget the fact that you are celebrating, for some unknown reason, your approaching demise.

All joking aside, thank you few that remembered this sad occasion and know that due to my diminishing mental abilities, I will probably not remember to do the same for you, but I will try.

Enough is enough!

If I have to watch one more “buy your wife or husband a new car for Christmas” TV commercial, I am going to be sick!  To make this even more ludicrous, these are not low-cost cars, they are Mercedes, BMW and Acura just to name a few. I just watched an ad for Jaguar, not a cheap car!  I believe I know a lot of people and I do not remember any of them ever buying a car as a Christmas gift, maybe buying it around the Christmas season to take advantage of one of the many end of the year sales, but not on a Christmas whim.  Just in case you are unaware, cars are very expensive!  Most of these ads are for cars in the $60,000 to $80,000 class, which in my book is a lot of money.

Since I am on the subject of TV ads, let me mention a few more pet peeves.  I’ll bet 90% of the ads on TV are by drug companies, insurance companies and car companies.  This is simple math, it takes lots of money to advertise on TV which means these companies have to make lots of money!  Of these adds, probably half of them are by pharmaceutical companies which I place in my “evil guys” classification group.  This is a limited group made up of companies like Monsanto, BP and Phillip Morris to name a few that are on my despicable companies list.

OK, let me get back to my point.  Christmas is a time of giving, sharing and helping your fellow-man, not time to buy an $80,000 car so that the neighbors think you are rich.  If you can afford an expensive car then maybe you should be sharing some of your wealth with the less fortunate.  Only in this country could a company be so out of touch with the reality of the majority of Americans that it thinks Christmas is a time for buying a luxury car.  Maybe I am missing some point, possibly there are lots of rich people out there who can afford to buy an expensive car as a Christmas gift.  Since the monthly payments on these cars are in the $600-$1000 range, not including taxes and insurance, I know that my meager budget could in no way support a payment of that size.  Maybe it is my geographic location that does not allow me to observe the rich and the famous buying luxury cars at Christmas.  In order to observe this behavior I guess I will have to move to one of those exclusive gated communities in the suburbs of Washington DC and watch the upper class drive in and out of the gate with their Jaguars and such, trying to impress everyone.

I think I can safely say that Santa is not impressed with fancy cars and neither am I.  I know I am rambling a little bit in this article but somehow I must help people understand that the decadence that permeates our society is detrimental to the future of our country.  Life is not about things, even though things sometimes make it seem that way.  Driving around in a new expensive car is sort of fun but quickly becomes just another vehicle over time.   The depth of greed is so pervasive that the damage to several generations may be irreversible.   The inevitable conclusion of this mentality is a total collapse of the ecosystem of this planet and the end of our financial system as we know it.  Yes, our greed will lead to the end of life as we know it.

So, HO, HO, HO, have a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and go easy on the presents.