February 26, 2011

Corporatists & penguins: Both poop in their own nests

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Jane Stillwater @ 3:18 pm

I just got back from Antarctica and it was the Commute from Hell! First I had to endure three-and-a-half horrible days almost solely devoted to seasickness and fear while crossing back to Ushauaia through the infamous Drake Passage in a boat originally designed to cruise up and down the Danube. It was like being trapped in a washing machine 24/7. Terror in a Maytag.

Next came my air transportation nightmare. I mean seriously. How long can you spend in a succession of faceless terminals while trying to sleep on plastic chairs or limping from wrong gate to wrong gate on swollen feet and bad knees while living on airplane food and watching grade-B Hollywood movies through loop after loop in order to try to take your mind off of turbulence that sounds like the wings on your plane are about to fall off — without going crazy?

And now I know the Lima (Peru) airport and the Santiago (Chile) airport and the Buenos Aires and Ushauaia (Argentina) airports intimately — after spending three days sleeping with them, waiting for my delayed luggage and trying to find out which gate I’m supposed to be hobbling off to next.

But that’s okay. The experience was worth it because of Antarctica’s majestic untouched beauty, my renewed sense of urgency regarding global warming, marching with the penguins, scoring multiple souvenir T-shirts and having gained much deep knowledge learned the hard way.

So. Exactly what kind of deep knowledge did I acquire down there?

“An ice shelf is a glacier that extends out into the sea. Glaciers in Antarctica are 100 times larger than glaciers in Alaska and after they reach the edge of the land, they continue on out into the ocean and create enormous ice shelves the size of New Jersey. And two of these gigantic ice shelves have recently broken off from their bases as a result of pressures on them caused by global warming.”

And these two huge ice shelves the size of New Jersey are now happily melting and floating our way. Why? Because in the last ten years alone, global temperatures have spiked up more than 800 percent higher than from their original documented baseline, set approximately 150 years ago when temperatures first started getting recorded.

And as a result of these gigantic new post-industrial temperature increases, Antarctica is melting, water levels all over the world are rising and Americans are all stuck in what Elisabeth Kubler-Ross calls the “First Stage of Death — Denial”. And instead of trying to bail out our poor planetary ship before it’s too late, we just sit around on our hands while our global Titanic goes down — hit by an iceberg.

While on this trip, I also learned something about penguins that I had never known before. Penguins are rather smelly birds. When visiting a penguin colony, you first start to get unpleasant whiffs of it from miles away out at sea. Penguins have no latrines. They poop in their own nests. Yuck!

“Wanna go ashore and look at penguin colonies today, Jane?” No thanks.

And after coming back to America, I also discovered that the corporatists and oligarchs who now own my country are like penguins too — pooping where they live, heaping excrement down on the workers who support them. And just how long do the corporatists actually expect this situation to last? Penguins can always migrate elsewhere. Corporatists cannot. Corporatists have pretty much pooped in every nest here in America and have also moved on to poop in every nest in the rest of the world too. And now they have nowhere else to go.

“Wanna go visit Wall Street and K Street and the Cayman Islands and the Federal Reserve Bank today, Jane?” No thanks to that either. Can’t stand the smell.

PS: In every single airport that I was stuck in on the way home to Berkeley, I could always count on seeing hundreds of flashy, elegantly-designed, glamorous and fabulous posters and displays and billboards that advertised all kinds of useless consumer stuff that nobody really needed — so much stuff!

I must have seen over a thousand ads during my five flights toward home.

In every airport I waited (and waited) in, glossy in-your-face hard-sell ads campaigns and marketing blitzes covered almost every square inch of their walls, ceilings, counter-space and aisles. “Buy this! Buy that!” Then you too will be happy.

And the oligarchs and corporatists (and us too) continue to sell and buy all this stuff and to poop in our own nests just like the penguins — while silent, white, deadly icebergs float closer and closer to New Jersey.

PPS: If you want to donate a pizza to the heroic protesters in Madison, Wisconsin, first click here for more information:!5765822/egyptians-are-buying-pizza-for-wisconsin-protestors. And then click on Ian’s Pizza FaceBook page to actually purchase the pizzas:

In America today, our government and our media have been almost completely bought out by corporatists and oligarchs — and our unions are the only real organized voices we have left that are strong enough to stand up to these creeps. But if we silently stand by and watch our unions go down too, then we will obviously get what we deserve — a nest filled with corporatists and oligarchs, happily pooping on us.

To see a photo of penguin poop and me trying to toilet-train a penguin, click here:


February 21, 2011

Still in deep trouble here: Heading for Ushauaia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 8:48 am

On the Beaufort wind scale, we are now at 9 — 50 mph winds, huge waves, crockery flying, barf bags everywhere, Dramamine the drug of choice for sure. Generator still out, going 8 knots per hour, 140 nautical miles left to go before we reach the Beagle Channel. What an adventure! Yahoo!

The food onboard is great but who wants to eat it.

Our boat holds 100 passengers, most of whom are in their rooms, praying and turning green. But the crew is amazing, steady as rocks.

This trip has really taught me a lot about myself — that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And I’m definitely going! To pray to the porcelein god!

February 20, 2011

Waves in the Drake Passage as high as the ship!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — Jane Stillwater @ 8:15 am

Here’s the update I just e-mailed to my daughter Ashley:

The waves here are humongous. Our boat creaks and howls like its very nails are screaming to get out. A wastebasket and a shoe just rolled past my bed. Dramimine is causing nightmares — I was stalked by an alien truck driver and Ruby served me with a lawsuit in the Willard Junior High School gym. Two more days of this yet to go. We look out the window and see 25-foot waves. Crawled to the bathroom on my hands and knees this morning because I couldn’t stand up due to the roll. But somehow it all seems kinda fun.

The captain says that we can still plan to make our flight back on the 23rd — but who knows for sure.

PS: Things just got a whole lot worse. I’m typing this in the ship’s library with books and chairs flying across the room behind me. Two more days of this. Thank goodness for Dramamine. I’m still shaking from looking out the window and seeing nothing but water where the horizon used to be.

February 19, 2011

Update from Antarctica: Drake Passage, busted generator, gale-force winds….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Jane Stillwater @ 12:09 pm

The boat I’m on is having technical difficulties with its main generator, we’re running on an auxiliary shaft generator and heading towards gale-strength weather in the Drake Passage. Are we having fun yet?

Who would have thought that I would be so susceptible to seasickness. Not me. Word of the day? “Drama-mean!”

Our captain says that we will get back to Ushauaia okay, going nine knots an hour in bad weather, and will be there in only two or three days. But still. I HATE being seasick. Seasickness sucks eggs.

PS: Today’s scheduled tour of the ancient caldera at Deception Island is off. But that’s okay. Penguin poop stinks anyway.

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