March 18, 2011

Japan: "Where Are the Robots?"

My friendly landlord caught me coming in from work tonight at 2 a.m. and enlisted me to help him slide a 300-lb. slab of bluestone down an innovative ramp into the cellar, and after we'd both risked our lives doing it and had stood it against a wall, Gary asked:

"Mike, with Japan's supposed advanced lead in robotic development, where are the damned robots?"

Of course! A light went off in my head. Robots! Robot fire trucks, robot helicopters, robot wheeled vehicles with cameras to go in and take a look at this melting pile of radioactive human garbage which is now threatening to poison and cook us all.

"They've probably been so busy working on building Terminators for the military that they never imagined robots that could go in and prevent a meltdown," I replied.

They probably could make a robot which would be powered by the escaping radiation. Nuclear-Meltdown Terminators (NMTs). The higher the radiation, the stronger they become. Anti-Godzillas.

Godzilla always was a puzzle to me. I guess I missed some of them. As I remember it, Godzilla was created by radiation mutation after WW II. He was the ugliest monster imaginable, all lumpy and misshapen, with a head that didn't look like it belonged to the body; a fierce mouth breathing fire like the dragons of yore...and now look. Look at the visible radioactive monster created by greedy humans with a lust for power and gold. They created this monster, this Frankenstein, and set it loose despite every reasonable protest and argument. They've birthed these little Godzillas all over the planet, to fuel "development" through "Atoms for Peace," which has expanded us into a species of consumers, and which has spawned a million millionaires, and all it took was a 30-foot tsunami to open the cage to let a few of the monsters out. People are, just like in the movies, fleeing for their lives.

The twin reactors at Indian Point on the Hudson River ("O majestic river!") are only 35 miles from New York City, where population is most-concentrated in the United States. An earthquake, any geologist will tell you, can happen anywhere on earth. No place on the planet is immune from earthquakes. Indian Point sits directly on a "fault," and it's application for a license renewal is under legal challenge because the plant has for years been in violation of the Clean Water Act...Will they re-issue it after a few vague promises of reform? Or won't they? Stay tuned. (You don't think they are going to shut down a moneymaker like that, do you?)

Do we have any such robots? If not, isn't it time we started designing and building some?

And here is the other thing that puzzles both Gary and myself. When Chernobyl melted down, it was reported that hundreds of Russians and other volunteers went in to put out the fire, and then to entomb the whole joint in concrete, knowing full well that all were doomed to die. The "News" recently reported that Japan's emergency teams "could not get near" the reactors, because it was "too dangerous." It is reported also that they are willing to let the whole shebang melt down to the groundwater, rather than go in there.

What happened to that so-called Code of the Samurai in Japan? The hero who would sacrifice his life for the people? You mean to tell me that Japan can't find a thousand or so of its citizens who will volunteer to die in order to save the rest?

Jesus Christ, they commit hari-kiri over exposure of shameful business practices! To save their "honor."

What happened to "Banzai!" the shout of the brave Japanese soldier running into battle and almost certain doom? Was this another lie, another movie myth?

After all, there would be compensation for the families, and a promise to be shot through the heart when the sickness becomes too painful to bear.

What about us? Do we have any of that sort of people in America, heroes who are willing to give their lives in order to save the rest of us? Is anybody except me and Gary thinking about these things? We know one of these sons-of-bitches is going to melt down sooner or later. The questions are only where? when? and what are we prepared to do about it when it does?

I confess that I'm not one of them. If Indian Point starts melting down, I'm getting the hell out of here.

March 16, 2011

Godzilla Arrives

Finally the Japanese are handed their birthright…a radioactive island…this is what we are leaving for our children and their grandchildren if there are any …nuke plants exploding in Japan…where will the Japanese go?...NOT KOREA…the nuke plant’s secret name is GODZILLA…Japanese have been expecting something like this for years…they knew in their hearts that someday a horribly deformed and unlikely monster would descend on Tokyo and tear the place up…what can they do? They have no say…queue up stay calm and kiss your ass goodbye…RUN FOR IT!... (“They’re coming to America.”)…we have no say in things either…the NRC like the “oil regulators” is more interested in building nuke plants than policing them…advocates and regulators combined in same agency same as in the BP debacle…what to do what to do…GET RID OF THEM!...but the planet’s too stupid…Maybe the Japanese will figure it out that the United States guided their energy policy for years and SOLD THEM THE NUKE PLANTS…G.E., WESTINGHOUSE, etc…53 nuclear power plants in Japan can you imagine.

IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD…oh well there are other worlds…somewhere…OM…die and hold onto God or you have to live another existence and it’s all a pain in the ass…AN ILLUSION!!…SAMSARA!! 200,000 demonstrators in Wisconsin…THAT really worked…what a feel good thing for the defiant chorus…but guess what?...IT’S A LAW ANYWAY…no more collective bargaining for you…oh well while you were protecting your comfy jobs and pensions enjoying your house and car and cabin having all the fun in the world while gouging your customers for every dime you didn‘t say much about the poor people…you prayed O GOD don’t let me be poor…I wanna stay middle class…WHINE…I voted for every war and now this! I never supported organizing the poor and I ALWAYS WANTED MORE AND WORSE PRISONS (and now this) BOO HOO…now you’ll be one of US!... Welcome brothers and sisters…it’s not so bad in here once you get used to the stench of hypocrisy and the braggadocio of activists…WE STOPPED THE VIETNAM WAR! Sure you did. I seem to remember the Vietnamese stopping it when they finally kicked our ass…75% of “the American people” are against the present two wars AND THEY HAVE NO INTENTION OF STOPPING THEM…you can find another job in the Prison Industrial complex. Or you can be sacked and thrown in the slammer and become a CLIENT (prisoner) of the Prison Industrial Complex…it’s being “privatized” you know…soon they will outsource the prison system to Arabia.

We want to have a revolution but it has to be fun or we’re not coming…OKAY…GOOD LUCK…TWITTER IT!...Government might outsource the Air Force and Corporate Big Boys can watch them bombing our asses on real time big screen televisions from their rooftop verandahs…laughing their asses off…LOOK THERE GOES SAN FRANCISCO!...surgical strikes on the queers in Greenwich Village…a little collateral damage but oh well…you’ll see…we’ll have our RIGHT WING FASCIST REVOLUTION and it will be fun fun fun…and simple too…cracks me up to hear the dreamers thinking it will be a left wing revolution… NOT IN AMERICA…Hitler waiting somewhere to come out full blast when America finally loses a war…LYNCH THE USUAL SCAPEGOATS!...okay Mein Leader and thank you for removing the burden of voting…CHOICE MATTERS…the vote is meaningless…nuke plants meaningless…profit the only thing that counts…the more you have the more your vote counts…THAT’S DEMOCRACY…O no Mike think positive…kiss my ass…it all sucks…nothing has changed in Egypt…the military has always been in power…same here…civilian leadership my butt…they blew so much smoke up Obama’s ass it came out his mouth…you think I’m a cynic? should hear my marine friends talk…Punchy’s a Mexican who hates black people…Ralph’s a 10th generation West Virginian and he wants to vote for Sarah Palin…THAT’S AMERICA TO ME…oh well they are still my buddies and I’d die for them… POLITICS SUCK…friendship’s the only thing that matters…and family if you have one…I don’t.

Hey, I just remembered…I saw Dylan on MacDougal St. last week at midnight…standing in a circle in a dark corner near Houston Street…him another guy and two women…looking each other in the eyes and singing…Dylan keeping the rhythm with his hands…I told a friend...I was beginning to doubt my vision, but he said yes he was probably here for Suze…I thought he meant her birthday and didn’t know she had died until the next day…I read a lot of obits but missed hers…too bad she’s gone…her picture reminds me of a woman I loved in the Sixties (still love) and she was Italian too…she had that same look, a happy, outgoing look, and my gal was her own woman too…especially after she dumped me; it’s been over since 1968 and I still haven’t gotten over it so I can imagine how Bob Dylan must have felt and probably still feels about Suze Rotolo…I hear it in some of his songs; not just the ones they write about… when you fall in love for the first time I don’t know how you can ever get over losing it…you keep seeing her as she was…I do anyway…if I saw her today and she was a fat old lady she would be just as beautiful to me as the first time I saw her in that green cape in Basin Street East…I couldn’t get my eyes off her…she was just my style… that’s what Dylan wrote about Suze in Chronicles…”She was just my style.”…so anyway it was him all right…there are a lot of Dylan lookalikes but they aren’t all wearing thousand-dollar cowboy hats…I don’t know what it has to do with anything except it was the high point of my week.

Next week I’m quitting the crappy cab business and THAT will be another high…back to building geodesic models for a living…gonna make connectors that look like dollar bills and sell ‘em on Wall Street and in front of the Chinese Embassy…paint ‘em gay colors for the Trivial and Irrelevant in the Meat Packing District…Mike the Peddler with a thing about Buckminster Fuller…equally tired of the sad and the arrogant…Sadassed Hillary flying around selling integrated weapons systems…STATE DEPT.THE BIGGEST ARMS SELLER IN THE WORLD!...President Obama doesn’t have the guts to summarily stop the two wars…DECLARE A GODDAMNED CEASE FIRE!...Commander-in-Chief my ass…where will he find the guts to stay out of Libya?'s the first thing I've written since November.