THE NEFF ZONE -- BY JIM NEFF
CADILLAC NEWS -- FEBRUARY 9, 2019
The world is a scary place. I am not talking about small things that are a bit unnerving, like Jimmy Dean narrating his sausage commercials even though he's been dead for nineteen years. I'm talking alarming to even horrifying. If I had any hair, I could add in downright hair-raising.
For example, how ready are you for doomsday? “The risk to global civilization is as high today as it has ever been in the face of twin threats, nuclear weapons and climate change, a group of leading scientists has announced. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved its symbolic Doomsday Clock forward 30 seconds, to two minutes to midnight, in a reflection of how the scientists view the dangers facing the world. The only other time the clock was set so close to catastrophe in its 71-year history was in 1953, after the US and the Soviet Union detonated their first thermonuclear bombs.” I sure hope this clock is wrong, but maybe watching my cholesterol is not so urgent anymore. Please pass me the Jimmy Dean's.
One reason the doomsday clock is ticking is climate change. The people along the coasts should be worried. “A large cavity has formed under what has been described as one of the world's most dangerous glaciers, and could contribute to a significant bump in global sea levels, said NASA scientists. A cavity about two-thirds the area of Manhattan and roughly 1,000 feet tall is growing under Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica. The cavity is large enough to have contained 14 billion tons of ice, most of which has melted within the last three years. The glacier, about the size of Florida, holds enough ice to raise ocean levels another two feet if it completely melts.” That investment I made in Lake Huron beach front property in Lucas is looking better every day. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/apos-dangerous-apos-antarctic-glacier-123809538.html)
It would be easy to treat this sea level rise as alarmist ravings if it were not for the U.S. Navy. “The Navy is considering erecting a 14-foot flood wall around the Washington Navy Yard to protect the historic complex along the Anacostia River from rising sea levels. The wall proposal also demonstrates the threat that climate change poses to Washington itself. The Navy Yard is less than two miles southeast of the U.S. Capitol. The Navy has been public about the threats if faces from climate change. In 2017, the facilities command published a handbook for climate change resilience and adaptation.” Geez, if the U.S. Navy feels threatened, I guess I do too. (https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-01/pentagon-weighs-14-foot-flood-wall-at-historic-navy-yard-in-d-c)
If these threats to your well-being seem a tad far-fetched, consider how dangerous it is just to be alive. The statistics on what can kill you are not in your favor. Among these odds are: sunstroke (1 in 8,527), cataclysmic storm (1 in 31,394), bee sting (1 in 46,562), dog attack (1 in 115,111), and lightning strike (1 in 2018,106).
Just walking down the street is problematic because you have a 1 in 556 of being in a pedestrian accident (the odds of which plummet considerably if you try to cross Mitchell Street in downtown Cadillac). There is a new contributing factor to this. “Americans are using their phones in riskier ways while driving, worsening the nation's crash crisis. Using the most recently available figures, it is estimated that about 800 people were killed in crashes in 2017 due to drivers who were using their phones for something other than a call.”
If distracted drivers were not enough, you could be strolling along and get swallowed by a frost quake. “Extreme cold causes bizarre things to happen. They occur when a rapid drop in temperature leads to a quick freeze, which causes the rock or soil to burst rather than just slowly expand. The rapid bursting sounds like noisy quake, along with possible shaking.” To add to your misery, if you return home and your house is gone, “frost quake damage normally is not covered by a homeowners insurance policy.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/01/31/frost-quakes-chicago-polar-vortex/2730412002/)
Things are getting so bad you can't even enjoy a tasty meal anymore. “Americans experience more food recalls today than they did five years ago. Meat and poultry recalls increased by two-thirds from 2013 to 2018 while food recalls overall edged up ten percent, according to the report published by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die from foodborne disease each year in the United States.” Bon appetit, eh? (https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/health-news/food-recalls-up-10-percent-since-2013-as-foodborne-illnesses-kill-3000-americans-a-year/ar-BBSmN1v)
So how about some seafood? Not so fast. An article in Good Housekeeping noted: “Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the United States, but ninety percent of the shrimp we eat has been imported, but less than two percent of that gets inspected by U.S. regulatory agencies. Imported shrimp, more than any other seafood, has been found to be contaminated with banned chemicals, pesticides, and even cockroaches. Imported farmed shrimp comes with a whole bevy of contaminants: antibiotics, residues from chemicals used to clean pens, filth like mouse hair, rat hair, and pieces of insects," says nonprofit Food and Water Watch. (https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a20705777/disgusting-facts-about-farmed-shrimp/)
If all this has you down, just think about the plight of a guy called the Old Philosopher and how he reacted. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKkazr8M-n4)
“Hey there, cousin. Ya say ya can't pull your car out of the mud and you're in the middle of nowhere and its pouring rain and ya can't get the top back up and your paychecks all blurred and your foot went right through the gas and your girl's screaming bloody murder she's scared of the dark and a stroke of lightning splits your motor in half and your suit's shrinking up fast and ya start up the windy road on foot and sixty yards barbed wire hits ya right smack in the kisser and ya both fall down in the mud and then a wild animal comes over and runs away with your shoes and your car blows up suddenly and your windshield wiper ends up in your mouth and ya can't move and the mud's rising up to your nostrils and you're sinking fast and ya don't hear your girl screaming anymore? Well lift your head up high and take a walk in the sun with dignity and stick-to-it-ness and ya show the world, ya show the world where to get off. You'll never give up, never give up, never give up...that ship.”
Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read NeffZone columns at CadillacNews.com and NeffZone.com/cadillacnews.