Did the Pandemic Open a Pandora’s Box of Doom or Just a Box of Crazy?
Most heard phrase since the pandemic, “I can’t believe that . . ..” Events may not be related, but doesn’t it seem like we’ve been living in strange times since COVID?
The long tentacles of COVID-19 redefined the way we work and play. Who knew a disease and its variants would interrupt supply and demand, toy with the stock market, threaten job security, and disrupt our systems of education. And as we learned to use the word, pivot, and adjust to unimagined happenings, more unbelievable events keep coming…Is it COVID, our destiny, or science?
Let’s start at the top….
A newly elected member of congress has lied about nearly everything but his name---we guess---and the day of the week; everything else from Representative George Santos is fiction. In plain speak, Long Island voters got taken---they elected an (alleged) con artist. Santos is under state, national, and international investigation---fraud to campaign finance violations.
Who lies about their mother’s death or says their grandparents fled the Holocaust when it’s not true?
The same guy who claimed he went to a prestigious private school in the Bronx. They have no record of his attendance. Neither do Baruch College and NYU, both on his resume. He also claimed he worked for Goldman Sachs; they have no record of him.
The new member of Congress is accused of stealing from a man in Brazil, and once raised money for a company that the Securities and Exchange Commission calls a Ponzi Scheme.
Once caught, Santos said he was guilty of embellishing his resume. But embellishment is ornamenting the truth---Santos flat out lied, repeatedly. By now, most people have heard details of his story and the investigations into his alleged crimes will continue, but did the United States just swear a con man into the Congress? It sounds like a movie plot, but sadly, it happened. This is crazy!
The Valentines Day joke gift: Pricey Eggs, Not Faberge, Farm Eggs
Remember when breakfast was the cheapest meal of the day? Many event planners defaulted to breakfast vs luncheons or dinners to save their clients money. No more. The price of eggs has more than doubled in one year. Popular memes are showing eggs in jewelry boxes as the expensive gift of choice this year for Valentine’s Day.
When did eggs become the caviar of dining? When 57 million hens came down with Avian flu. Sadly, they had to be slaughtered to protect humans and stop the spread. It is the deadliest outbreak of its kind in history. In California eggs cost more than $7.00 a dozen. And while experts disagree on whether the bird flu is the greatest factor in “egg-flation,” they do acknowledge that it takes laying hens no less than four, five, or up to 10 months to reach peak production. Another words, these high prices are here to stay for a while.
This is not impacting vegans, but most people around the world consume a ton of eggs---the demand continues to increase.
California Storms---Scary and Unbelievable
I first experienced Gulf Coast rainstorms while visiting Louisiana relatives as a child. We compared them to the sounds of scary movies and had never seen dramatic rainstorms before. We were from Northern California and unlike Southern California, we had a rainy season, but it was not as spectacular as the lightning and thunderous barrage of water from the skies in Louisiana and Texas. I later lived in both states before returning home and learned to respect the power of water. Now, we’re experiencing deadly storms and our signature blue skies have given way to dark gray since Christmas. Rain hasn’t been a predicted weather feature in California. Drought conditions haunt us. Unfortunately, all this suffering brings only limited gain. The series of storms that have caused 20 deaths, broken levees, mudslides, power outages and turned streams into rivers, is not enough to cure California’s drought in the long term.
Meteorologists blame Atmospheric Rivers that were in effect “stuck,” over the Pacific Ocean. Atmospheric Rivers originate in the tropics and are like vats of moisture that shoot across the ocean dumping massive amounts of rain and snow as they hit land.
“These storms have not ended the drought.” Molly White, of the State Water Project said, “Despite the jaw-dropping amount of rain — and in the mountains, snow — that has fallen on the state in recent weeks, major reservoir storage remains below average, and conditions could turn dry again this winter, offsetting recent rain and snow.”
And turns out my anecdotal weather observations from childhood are rooted in fact. Laura Feinstein is Sustainability and Policy Director of SPUR, the San Francisco Bay Area Planning & Urban Research Association. Feinstein said, “The California system was built for a climate we don’t have any more.” That’s worth repeating, “a climate we don’t have anymore.”
Why aren’t we talking more about climate change? That’s crazy!
Robert Reich, former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary and UC Berkeley professor asked that question in his newsletter. He wrote: “Why is the media so tentative about attributing the devastation here in California to climate change at all? Or the climate havoc all over America, and the world? Saturday’s New York Times front-page story about what’s happening now in California didn’t even mention the words “climate change” until the 26th paragraph, the third from the last. Even then it didn’t blame man-made climate change but referred obliquely to climate scientists who “say” climate change “amplifies normal extremes” of drought and flooding. A review of coverage by national TV news in the weeks after the storms began found that (with one exception) cable news and national broadcast networks failed to link California’s devastating storms to the global climate crisis.”
Inarguably, we are in a time of sh*t happens. The rug of familiarity is being pulled from under all of us in one way or another; weather, jobs, or societal norms. While there is no true starting point we could mark that set disasters in motion, it does seem that once the pandemic hit us, the other hits kept coming.