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You are here Editorials Bob Alexander What's the Signpost Up Ahead?

What's the Signpost Up Ahead?

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For anyone driving through the American countryside before 1963 there was a good chance they'd see a series of six signs spaced along the side of the road written to entertain and promote the sale of Burma Shave “brushless” shaving cream. Here's one of the last set of signs from 53 years ago:

We don't

Know how

To split an atom

But as to whiskers

Let us at 'em

Burma Shave

The Burma-Vita company's original product was a liniment made of ingredients described as having come from "The Malay Peninsula and Burma." Sales were poor until the company hit upon the road sign advertising gimmick, and at its peak, Burma-Shave was the second-highest-selling brushless shaving cream in the United States. But now those quaint little signs of Americana are as dead as Dodo Birds.

You can find examples of them by Googling around the web, and you can find pictures of Dodo birds too if you want. But you won't find either one of them in their “natural habitat.” They're gone. As Monty Python would say, they've kicked the bucket, shuffled off this mortal coil, run down the curtain, and joined the choir invisible.” They are extinct.

But Burma Shave signs are culturally extinct. In 1963 the company was sold to cigarette king Phillip Morris, spun off to a Phillip Morris subsidiary, and now is owned by the Energizer Bunny. Energizer could bring Burma Shave signs back by kicking off a nostalgic retro roadside campaign, but nothing short of Jurassic Park technology will bring the Dodo Bird back. The Dodo is really really extinct. They've been gone since 1662 and they're never coming back. As Kurt Vonnegut wrote many times, “And So It Goes.”

I suppose denial of one's own extinction is fairly common. It's probably pretty depressing for any sentient creature to realize “Hey! I'm The Last One!” so it's far more comforting to think instead, “Hey! It's getting kind of lonely around here. Where'd everybody go?

We have entered the Shit or Go Blind Era of Human History. In 34 short years it will be 2050. My son will be 50 years old and half of all plant and animal life on this planet will be extinct. No big deal right? According to The World Wild-Life Fund half of the world's animal population has already vanished since 1970. Anyone notice that? But the human population doubled. Did anyone notice that?

I lived, in Caracas, Venezuela way back in 1965. It was a huge shift from being a middle class kid from Seattle let me tell you. I thought I knew what poverty looked like. I didn't have a fuckin' clue. I knew what “the poor part of town” looked like back home but nothing prepared me to see slums stretching halfway to the horizon. I was talking to a guy from UNESCO and he said the population was going to double over the next 20 years. They would need twice as much of everything by 1985 just to stay at their current level of poverty. I was working in LA in 1985. I remember wondering if the Caraqueños had acquired enough of everything to maintain their 1965 status quo. Did their slums now stretch all the way to the horizon instead of just halfway?

An article from The Greanville Post by Alnoor Ladha and Martin Kirk states, “Scientists tell us that we are already in the 6th great planetary extinction with 150 – 200 species dying every day. This is 1000 times the baseline rate of extinction.

Strangely enough this isn't a subject mentioned by the two bloated behemoths running for the presidency.

News Flash! Gunman massacres 50 in Orlando nightclub: Worst-ever US mass shooting!

Big Deal.

The president, presidential wanna-bees, lesser politicians, and yappy irritating pundits all weighed in on the killings. Obama closed his statement with, “... We will not give in to fear or turn against each other. Instead, we will stand united, as Americans, to protect our people, and defend our nation, and to take action against those who threaten us. May God bless the Americans we lost this morning. May He comfort their families. May God continue to watch over this country that we love. Thank you.

God better have a handle on this because over the days, weeks, and months to come we will see nothing done by our most trusted leaders to make sure this horrible tragedy is never repeated.

Like I said … No Big Deal. If our elected representatives could stand idle after twenty 6 and 7 year old kids were ripped to pieces by a fucking madman wielding a semi-automatic rifle … they're sure as shit not going to do one fucking thing about the slaughter of a bunch of gay folk in Florida. There are no “safe” places in America anymore. Nursing homes, movie theaters, elementary schools, universities, shopping malls, restaurants, and churches, have all been sites of mass shootings. Who would change that? Sane people would. People that had a modicum of empathy would. But the spineless minions and their psychopathic masters would see a dip in their profit margins so they let the god-awful butchery continue.

Where was I? Oh yeah … extinction. A somewhat larger issue than answering the question, “Donald or Hillary? Who am I going to vote for?

Regardless of what the pundits say … It Doesn't Matter.

Joseph Kishore at The Greanville Post wrote recently, “The impossibility of resolving any of the immense social and political problems facing workers and youth within the existing political framework could find no more conclusive demonstration than the candidacies of Clinton and Trump.

Would I rather have Hillary Clinton do absolutely nothing, or do I prefer Donald Trump do absolutely nothing?

But what about the Supreme Court blah blah blah? What about (Fill in the Blank) blah blah blah? Well I'll tell ya … the moment one of those gasbags sits down in front of a television camera and says, “Here's exactly what we're going to do in 2017 to make sure the temperature of the oceans do not rise 3-4 degrees.” then I'll pay attention. Until then … I believe I have a picture in my wallet of the rat's ass I do not give.

Donald and Hillary are committed to enriching themselves and their 1% pals at the expense of the entire world, as well as making war anywhere in the world to make money and garner more power. Since I'm slightly smarter than a head of kale I don't think it is wise to vote for either one of them.

From This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein:

The International Energy Agency warns that if we do not get our emissions under control by a rather terrifying 2017, our fossil fuel economy will “lock-in” extremely dangerous warming. … As Fatih Birol, the IEA’s chief economist, bluntly put it: “The door to reach two degrees is about to close. In 2017 it will be closed forever.” … it is time to turn this around now. Is it possible? Absolutely. Is it possible without challenging the fundamental logic of deregulated capitalism? Not a chance.

I don't worry if The United States will completely become fascistic under Trump or only 98% under Hillary. I worry about what the world will be like when my son celebrates his fiftieth birthday.

If flying-saucer creatures or angels or whatever were to come here in a hundred years, say, and find us gone like the dinosaurs, what might be a good message for humanity to leave for them, maybe carved in great big letters on a Grand Canyon wall? Here is this old poop's suggestion: WE PROBABLY COULD HAVE SAVED OURSELVES, BUT WERE TOO DAMNED LAZY TO TRY VERY HARD...” – Kurt Vonnegut

Within this vale

Of Toil

And sin

Your head grows bald

But Not your chin -- use

Burma Shave

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