Top 10 natural disasters in a most disastrous year

December 29, 2008

Hurricanes and cyclones killed nearly 85,000 people this year

More than 220,000 people died in 2008 as a result of natural disasters, making it one of the deadliest and costliest disaster years in history. This was also the 10th warmest year since records began in 1850.

If you won’t listen to me when I tell you to get ready for the coming global climate change cataclysm, will you at least listen to your insurance company?

The world’s second largest insurer, Munich Re, blames climate change for the disasters. They’ve compiled this list of the Top 10 Natural Catastrophes for the year.

With billions of dollars worth of losses on the line, Munich Re is preparing for the cataclysm both within their business and in the global political debate:

“We – as a company – press for effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions, so that climate change is curbed and future generations do not have to live with weather scenarios that are difficult to control.”

They’ll do it for money. Will do it to save your life?


#37 Learn to talk to people face-to-face

December 28, 2008

Apparently, a whole generation of people is growing up unable to carry on a conversation with another human being face-to-face. They’re so used to email and texting with their friends, they’d rather do that than actually see them in real life.

The Onion

Source: The Onion

Great if we want to reduce the spread of communicable diseases. Not so good for after the global climate change cataclysm, when batteries run dry and the electrical grid collapses.

Imagine, you’re going though life just texting along, when your iPhone suddenly goes dead. You realize the last time you plugged it in, it didn’t actually juice up. You look up from the phone, only to discover the water has already risen up to your knees. What do you do?

You can’t start emailing or texting for help. You’ll have to shout. I know it sounds frightening, but you will have to talk to the people around you. They may be family, friends or even strangers. If you don’t know how to carry on a verbal conversation with the people who planned ahead for the cataclysm, you’ll have a lot of trouble getting them to row you to safety or share their freeze-dried Brunswick stew with you.

Practice now. Put down that phone or PDA and talk to someone. You may find it less efficient than email. It will require more words, and you may have to talk about things that aren’t on the topic you started with. You’ll have to use entire words. Then again, you may be surprised to find out it takes less time to say “by the way” than it does to say the letters “BTW.”

smileyYou’ll also need to make facial expressions and hand gestures appropriate to the content of your words. To do this, imagine the kind of emoticon you might use with certain statements, and try to make your face look like that. Many people of the older generation learned this as children, and may be able to help you.

Start talking now, lest you find yourself texting underwater.

Happy 60th to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

December 8, 2008

Universal Declaration of Human RightsThis Wednesday, Dec 10, marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. If you’ve never read it, you should. It’s an impressive document.

If nation-states should collapse after the global climate change cataclysm, we can just fall back on these rules.

Here it is, in English. To read it in your preferred language, click here.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December 1948.


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Read the rest of this entry »

We’ll all celebrate Buy Nothing Day on Nov 28

November 26, 2008

This Friday, November 28, is Buy Nothing Day. Join me in celebrating my favorite holiday of the season.

Hell, if the economy keeps going like it is, I’ll be celebrating Buy Nothing Year in 2009.

Here’s a cataclysmic video to get you in the mood, called What a Way to Go.

(If you can’t see the vid, click here to watch it at Adbusters.)

Holiday gift ideas: local, organic, artisanal literature

November 25, 2008

Everyone knows that the best-tasting holiday cookies are the ones made from scratch with fresh ingredients and a lot of love. The same goes for gifts. Southern California’s indie presses are cooking up unique, reasonably priced poetry and fiction appealing to almost every taste. Check them out online or visit an indie bookstore, and enjoy the warm holiday feeling that comes from knowing you supported local artists and businesses instead of overseas sweatshops and multi-national retail chains.

Remember, buying local is good for the environment. Fend off the cataclysm, one book at a time!

Here are a few presses and stores we recommend.

Southern California-based Presses:

  • Angel City Press: nostalgic yet cool illustrated books
  • Arktoi Books: poetry and fiction that give lesbian writers access to “the conversation”
  • Cahuenga Press: poetry that honors creative freedom and cooperation
  • Cloverfield Press: books as visually beautiful as they are intellectually and emotionally stimulating
  • Dzanc Books: literary fiction that falls outside the mainstream
  • Gorsky Press: risk-taking books that encourage readers to re-examine society
  • Green Integer: essays, manifestos, speeches, epistles, narratives, and more
  • Les Figues Press: aesthetic conversations between readers, writers, and artists, with an avant-garde emphasis
  • Make Now Press: contemporary works of constraint and conceptual literature
  • Otis Books/Seismicity: contemporary fiction, poetry, essays, creative non-fiction and translation
  • Red Hen Press: poetry and more by writers whose work has been marginalized
  • San Diego City Works Press: local, ethnic, political, and border writing
  • Santa Monica Press: offbeat looks at pop culture, lively how-to books, film history, travel, and humor

Independent Bookstores in L.A.:

Happy holidays from the Future of Publishing Think Tank*!

*The Future of Publishing Think Tank is an ad hoc group of writers and representatives of independent publishers and bookstores, nonprofit literary organizations, and producers of public radio. Our task: to consider the changes occurring in publishing, distribution, and marketing of literary work and to envision new ways for writers to engage readers and build audiences for their work. Groups who that have been involved include 826LA, Arktoi Books, GuerrillaReads, the HeArt Project, Hol Art Books, “Indymedia on Air” (KPFK), the Lambda Literary Foundation, Les Figues Press, Poet Joi, Poets & Writers, Red Hen Press, Skylight Books, and Writers at Work.

What else can you do with locally-grown veggies?

November 21, 2008

After the cataclysm, we’ll all have to find unexpected uses for familiar things after the cataclysm. The Vienna Vegetable Orchestra is already prepared:

Just be prepared – the veggies that grow in your ‘hood today may not grow there post-cataclysm. For related info to help you create your own veggie music, check out tips #8, #18 and #22.

Thank you, Cheryl, for posting the link!

The official blog52 status update

November 20, 2008

Regular readers of blog52 will have noticed I’ve been doing a Brownie-style heckuva job lately preparing you for the coming global climate change cataclysm. This is week 47, and I’m only up to tip #36. I never call, I never write, I know.

Apology by Jshei

Apology by Jshei

Let’s see, what can I blame?

First there was the sudden realization in Washington, DC, that we’re in the middle of an economic cataclysm. They gave $700 billion to some executive from Goldman Sachs to take care of it, so at least that problem’s solved. But it did distract me for a few days.

Then there was that pesky election thing that had me up late, biting my nails and clicking back to HuffPost compulsively to see the latest poll numbers from North Carolina.

For a few days afterward I was so full of hope that I couldn’t even imagine the cataclysm. Then the fires broke out in Southern California and of all people it was Arnold Schwarzenegger who reminded us about climate change and what a mess it’s making for everyone.

On a more personal note, the hand crank on my wind-up radio broke, which really threw me off my cataclysm workout. Then, this morning, I’ve had to break down and admit that those radishes I planted just aren’t going to get any fatter no matter how long I leave them in their container.

Well I’m back to business now. I promised 52 tips for surviving the climate change cataclysm, and like it or not, you’re going to get them. Plus 52 podcasts of those tips, with music from 52 fabulous artists. It’s just going to take more than 52 weeks to get there.

Stick with me, and we might just survive the cataclysm yet. In fact, if you have any suggestions on how to survive, send them along. I’ve got a sweet sixteen more to go.

Cartoon: fan art by Jshei on Super Mega Comics