Monday, July 5, 2010

After the Fourth

Well, we got through another Fourth of July here in our little corner of paradise. We kind of lucked out this time, because it was sunny, clear and not blindingly hot. Of course the Phoenix version of "not blindingly hot" would cause widespread anxiety in most other parts of the country. We were actually a couple of degrees cooler than average - 104 degrees instead of 107 - but we will take any kind of "cooler" we can get. In most other parts of the country Independence Day sort of marks a half-way point through the summer season. But since we are graced with summertime temperatures through the first half of October, July 4th represents about one third down, two thirds yet to go.

We desert dwellers are now looking to the skies to bring us some relief in the form of the oft-promised but just as often missing-in-action monsoon storms. We get giddy with anticipation around midday as we watch the cumulus clouds pile up in massive, custard-like heaps in the northeast, hoping that later in the afternoon we will be treated to huge, torrential downpours and intense winds. In quite a few cases, all this drama and expectation is nothing but a big tease as storms pop all around us, but avoid the Valley of the Sun as if it were a big leper colony.

It's day 77 of the Gulf oil spill and the undersea well is still blowing oil into the water. It seems barely possible that this can continue for so long, and one wonders where all those millions and millions of gallons of crude oil are going. You can tell that news fatigue is starting to set in - the oil spill gets relegated to a spot on the news programs after the annual hot-dog eating contest and the latest professional athlete signing some preposterous, obscene gazillion-dollar contract.

By the way, is there anything as loathsome and disgusting as an eating contest? I am completely baffled why there is such interest in a bunch of repellent, gluttonous pigs cramming food down their gullets, like some kind of weird post-apocalyptic update of an ancient Roman food orgy. I can only hope that the participants come down with a terminal case of crapulence. Yes, there is such a word as "crapulence." It means "sickness caused by excessive eating or drinking." It's in the dictionary, check it out here. It's like the Word God made up a word as a gift for me. It's much classier than the more colloquial "craptacular." I plan on using words like "crapulent" and "flatulent" in conversation and correspondence as often as I can.

On the immigration front, we had someone named Barry Wong, who is a candidate for the Arizona Corporation Commission, the governing body that controls utility rates, come up with a rather incredible idea of cutting off electrical power to illegal immigrants. This idea is breath-taking in its insanity and can probably make its own run for the most half-baked, ridiculous idea of the year. How this proposed law could implemented and enforced, Mr. Wong did not deign to explain, but in an area where the temperatures can reach 115 degrees or higher it this would be tantamount to murder. Also, you would have to know where all the illegal immigrants live before you can start cutting power, and most people here illegally go to a lot of trouble to keep that information from the authorities. I fail to see how the whole immigration debate is advanced by this kind of demented logic, but maybe it works as comic relief, in a pathetic kind of way.

Way to go, Cox Communications, for giving me a brand-new cable modem when my old one stopped working last Thursday night. Oh, I should point out that Cox decided they weren't going to support my old modem due to changes in their network, so when I called and complained about my high-speed internet service going away, they said it was my problem and I need to buy a new modem. They very graciously offered to sell me a new modem for the "discounted price of $39.99." I told them they can shove their discounted price up their discounted butts and started up the corporate ladder on Friday morning. After about an hour complaining they relented and delivered a shiny, brand-new Motorola modem to my house. So they get points for a good resolution but they also lose points because I had to force them to do the right thing. The lesson in all this, kids, is the squeaky wheel does indeed get the grease and don't give up when you know you're right. But it is kind of sad when you have to shame a big corporation into fixing a problem they themselves caused.

But hey, things are not that bad for me at all. I have a house full of happy rabbits and doves, lots of good friends, time to enjoy myself and get stuff done, and every reason to believe life will continue to be sweet and each day is to be savored and appreciated. I'm finding out that getting old kind of sucks, but with age comes a peace of mind and a level of contentment that just isn't possible when you are in your twenties or thirties. So I'm going to serve the bunnies their daily salad and think about the cooler days and nights which will surely come around again. In about 4 months.

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