Summer, 1972- I am driving across country from Boston to Corvallis, Oregon with my friend Dave Blake.
He is off to college to become a forest ranger. He is deeply concerned about the environment because he is sure this “Global Cooling” is going to destroy the planet and cause mass starvation.
I was good in math and the arts but terrible in science so I was delaying judgment on when exactly the world was going to come to an end.
See, “Global Cooling” was a very popular concern for us progressives back then. It was going to happen because of all the pollution caused by fossil fuels. The smog was enveloping the planet which will block the suns’ rays preventing plants from growing and causing crops to fail.
Besides stopping using gas and oil, we had to also stop eating meat and should all go on a grass or some other grain diet. Unless we take drastic countermeasures immediately. Global Cooling will be the end of us all. I don’t remember if that alarm applied to folks living in the Congo. Or in Minnesota for that matter. It was over 100 degrees there when we passed through.
We reach Corvallis and Dave takes me to the State Park where he’ll be spending the rest of the summer as a volunteer. In fact, today he’s going to be giving a lecture on saving the planet.
“… And so, remember, it takes 10 pounds of grain to make one pound of meat. If we can all cut out meat from our diets, we can save the poor starving people in India,” Dave said concluding his talk. His audience of tourists listened intensely and gave him a big round of applause.
After the speech, we hopped into his cargo van and headed over to a downtown restaurant. Dave ordered a large hamburger.
“What about not eating meat?” I asked.
”There’s no meat in this,” he grumbled, apparently unhappy that his hamburger might contain grain filler.
Fast forward almost 50 years, in today’s news, professional publicity hound Cory Booker, I keep forgetting is he a politician or a TV celebrity? has announced that he is going to become a vegan to save the planet.
Never mind that the world has plenty of food for everyone. And India is now associated with hi-tech outsourcing, not starvation. And when I was in China, my 20 something assistant could afford to eat lunch every day at a restaurant.
So mass starvation never happened after the 1970s except in Islamic Sudan where it was deliberately caused, and in Mao’s Communist Revolution, and today in Venezuela due to progressive economic policies.
And Global Cooling, the great progressive concern of the 1970s? Ask any progressive. The answer is what “Global Cooling? Never heard of it.”
In fact, just last week the Democrats launched a huge plan to save the planet by destroying every building in America and stopping all use of fossil fuel. Sound familiar?
Apparently not. Within one week of being total ridiculed for their plan, the Democrats have made the entire plan disappear.
“What plan? We never had a plan. Must be a right-wing conspiracy to destroy our good intentions.”
Now that’s progress and reason to be optimistic. It once took Democrats an entire generation to deny a big nothing-burger. Now, they’re down to one week.
And Cory Booker? Will he really stop eating meat to save the planet or will that too become another big nothing-burger. Sure you don’t want a side of fries with that, Cory?
I’m in a “private” bar in York County, South Carolina watching the Patriots Super Bowl game.
A private bar means it can bypass certain local or state rules. For example, smokers can smoke. Troublemakers can more easily be thrown out.
To my surprise, a few guys with long white beards are wearing Patriots jerseys.
Choice of beer includes Budweiser, Budweiser lite, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. Tall can (16 ounces) or short can (12 ounces). For years I drank that when living in Los Angeles because it was the cheapest beer available.
“I’ll have a Pabst,” I tell the female bartender.
“You want a tall PBR, hon?” she asks.
A neighbor to my left explains it. I need to say “PBR-T.”
She introduces herself as the local high school calculus teacher.
A big burly man steps up to the bar next to me and orders an “Apple soda.”
What’s that?” I ask.
“It’s 4.7% alcohol, stronger than beer,” he explains.
He takes it and sits way at the end of the bar where it’s dark and there’s no TV but there is a big bowl of meatballs heating up.
When the first quarter ends at 0-0, a loud cheer goes up among the patrons.
“What’s the big deal?” I ask an old timer sitting next to me.
“We all bet there’d be no score in the first quarter,” he answers while gently tapping his cigarette over the ashtray. “I just won $250.”
In the second quarter, there’s a routine play, an incomplete pass on second down. But the crowd again lets out a big cheer.
“Did you all just win another bet?” I ask.
“Nah, the Patriot who broke up that play is a local boy,” my neighbor says. “We got two local fellas playing for them, Stephon Gilmore and Cordarrelle Patterson, both from Rock Hill right down the road. They don’t call Rock Hill “Football City USA” for nothin.”
At half-time, most of the audience heads over to the free buffet of meatballs, ham, cheese and roast beef sandwiches, Fritos, Doritos, potato chips, four choices of chicken wings: regular, spicy, very spicy, and very very spicy. The halftime entertainers take the stage and blast rock music. Everybody looks up.
“Who’s that?” someone asks.
“Don’t know. Never heard of him,” someone answers. Apparently, nobody in the room has either, including me. Everybody goes back to filling their plate.
Locals have also brought in food and see that other guy with the Patriots sweatshirt? His mom is from Vietnam and she made all them there egg-rolls.
The games passes with up and down cheers though I can’t predict it based on the play. Nobody seems to be rooting for one team over another. Except me.
At the end of the game, I’m shouting the final 10 second countdown. I let out a big cheer when the Patriots win. Otherwise, the room is filled with the usual laughter and conversation you might expect to hear any day of the week.
“You must be a Patriot fan,” my neighbor says quietly while gently tapping his cigarette in the ashtray.
“Screw You,” the guy drinking the Apple Soda way down the bar shouts at me.
I look up to see if he’s angry or disappointed. Doesn’t seem so. He’s busy pecking around the bottom of the bowl of meatballs, searching for the last one.
“He’s just messin’ with yuh,” my neighbor says. “Cause you seem to care about the Patriots winnin.” END