… I have only a few minor updates to mention. One is that I definitely must get my hands on those Bluiett Baritone Nation CDs that are all easily ordered, but never in stock anywhere I go.
Second, I’m almost finished building a website, and I’ll probably link to it this weekend.
Third, I heard from Charlie, and it’s all good. He’s off to the Great Sandy Desert tomorrow, which is just nuts, but cool. And he knows way too much for his own good about old, bad Canadian TV. Speaking of which, I’ll give a cookie to the first person who can tell me where the original of this song was first made famous. Googling’s not fair. I Googled it and had an answer in 30 seconds. If you Google, I will know it. And no cookie for you.
Fourth, I have just heard about the phenomenon of Global Dimming, and now I am very bloody seriously concerned about human extinction. No kidding, no joke, this is scary. Turns out Global Warming hasn’t been as bad as it could have been because we’ve been choking off total sunlight with pollution, as well as mangling climate through changing the way precipitation works. The until-recently widely undiscussed effect of Global Dimming has been acting as a buffer against Global Warming. And now that we’re cleaning up our particulate emissions, the buffer is being removed. Climatologists explain how much stronger than imagined Global Warming seems to be — so much so that only three days of no airplanes flying in the USA in September 2001 was enough to result in a net change of temperature range amounting to one whole degree celcius, which is, though it doesn’t sound like it, a scary amount of temperature range change, given only one change in the general context.
The thing to worry about is around the mid 2030s or 2040s, when, if unchecked, warming will cause huge reserves of frozen methane deep in the oceans to be released. Methane’s a much more powerful Greenhouse Gas than carbon. Once that happens, the temperate zones will look like the Sahara, the Sahara will look like hell, and most of humanity won’t stand a chance by the end of the century, at least according to scientists studying the matter. And something tells me they’re not exaggerating much. A part of me thinks it’s very important that as many people as possible start working on this set of problems right now, though I myself have no idea what the hell kind of good I can do. Still, I would like to be doing something to help.
Fifth, I’m beginning to wonder about a package someone said they were going to send to me. The thing I’m wondering is whether it hasn’t arrived but gotten stuck in customs somewhere. Of course, I could always email the person who said she was going to send it — though I bet she (Julia) reads this post and responds about it, actually — but in a way I kind of like the suspense. (Being as tardy as I myself am in sending boxes to friends, boxes that have sat and waited in some cases for a full year or more, I’m absolutely not complaining about it. I’m just curious about whether some official got in the way. And damn, I really need to send this one box this weekend. It’s ridiculous how long I’ve had it here.) That, and nothing, nothing, nothing will get me to actually initiate communications with the Korean Customs officials. Not because of having anything to hide — I have no big secrets, really; it’s just I know how much of a pain in the ass it would be. It makes me realize that living abroad has made me even more allergic to bureaucrats than I used to be.
Sixth and final bit of news, a study group is likely to form in my workplace for the examination of Ezra Pound’s mammoth Cantos. The group will involve one other foreigner and a Korean prof as well. I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be fun, and a nice distraction from my worries over number four, above.