Miscellaneous thoughts on an already summer-like day:
I've fallen in love with my labyrinth. I've been trying to take a picture but it's too big to capture the whole thing. I've walked a lot of labs in my time but this one is different. I can walk it anytime I want. I can talk to God outloud, and do, venting various complaints and questions. The path is wide and I can walk boldly. The wall of trees surrounding it on three sides offer me privacy and the open field of horses on the fourth side gives me space and compadres. I will be updating it in the next few days with new illustrations and a smoother plan for painting it. I've also learned a lot about grass as a canvas.
There was simply a blockbuster evening of television on PBS last night. The first program was a history of surgery that I recorded. This turned out to be a good idea since I couldn't hear but about three words of it because Beaven spent the entire hour talking to a customer service rep about our poor cell phone coverage out here in the wilderness.
The next hour was on the black market for dead bodies. It turns out your body can be worth about a quarter of a million bucks when it's doled out in pieces for everything from ballistics testing to skin grafts. And crematoriums can sell them for a lot more than what they make setting them on fire. Plus, the odds of getting caught are small since the family gets a box of ashes later on and they have no idea whether the box of ashes is really Grandma or a few vagrant dogs or even the remnanats of some great S'Mores. Ashes are ashes. Dust is dust.
Fascinating stuff, no? By now Beaven had given up on the cell phone and control of the TV and started watching with me.
There was a short half-hour program on Jack Kilbey. He was the guy who invented the integrated circuit board, aka the micro chip. Everyone who has lived in Dallas as long as I did knows the interesting custom Texas Instruments had for years; I'm not sure if they still do it. They would shut down the whole place in the summertime and everyone took their vacation at the same time. Jack Kilbey was new and not eligible for vacation so he had the whole place to himself for two weeks. When everybody got back from vacation he had invented the chip that changed the world. Until that time they knew how to build bigger computers but couldn't move to the next level because they would have been too big to be practical. The microchip made things like going to the moon a possibility. The show was testimony to how much you can get done if you just have a little peace and quiet.
Then the final show I watched was talking trash. Trash in Egypt. I thought I had seen poor people in Guatemala and Mexico. And I never thought of Egypt as a poor country since they had built the pyramids. The poor in Egypt have a level of people called the Zaballeen. These are the poorest of the poor who would dig through the trash and sell the individual pieces for recycling, shredding plastic and aluminum to sell as raw materials. They didn't make much money to speak of but had gotten very good at using every speck of trash from the smallest glass shard to separating the rims of aluminum cans from the bodies. They had formed a school of sorts to teach their children to read and form contracts. It may be trash but they are good at it. One young boy went to Wales to study their methods and came home with a plan called "source separation" to ask people to separate out the food items from the non-food before the Zaballeen picked it up. I saw someone who is poor but also know his profession and is proud of his abilities.
I've been to the trash dumps in Mexico where the poor people live off the food they find there. And I've walked through La Lomita, the small village atop a mountain in Guatemala where the poor dump their trash down the mountainside, forming a river of plastic cascading down to the river. I have seen these things with my own eyes so I know them to be true. The Zaballeen of Eqypt seem to have figured out how to make a living for themselves by being good stewards of the earth.
Then came three foreign companies with a contract from the Egyptian government to pick up and dispose of trash. It put the Zaballeen out of business. And the heartbreak was that the foreign companies were taking the trash to the landfill and just dumping it. They showed one of the Zaballeen boys shocked by the waste: "How can they bury a fortune like this?"
I offer these tidbits to illustrate what great programing you can find on PBS and because I don't have any original thoughts of my own today. I spent the last two days writing about tea time with my girls and that may be my literary offering for you today.
I've got to get outside now before it gets any hotter. We have a pretty small planet and it's seems unhappy right now. Go read about tea.