Kage Baker believed firmly in the adage “Begin as you mean to go on”.
It’s a popular vow this time of year, of course. I know several people who made that their New Year’s resolution last night. It was certainly among Kage’s top personal beliefs. Nonetheless, what Kage always resolved was: I WILL SURVIVE.
I made that same pledge last night; standing on the front porch with a glass of bubbly, watching the faux battle lights of fireworks light up ghostly conflicts all around the edge of the sky. It’s especially heartening to be starting a new year, promising survival, defiant in the face of the continuing mess of our government. And, of course, looking at the ass end of the nightmare that was 2017 …
A few thoughts occurred to me, there in the dim light of distant explosions. Allow me to share a few, Dear Readers
More rhinos and elephants are still dying each year than are being born – all at the hands of human hunters. It takes 2 years to produce a baby rhino or elephant. All it takes to kill one is a few hours out of sight of the few park rangers. That trade is driven by the desire of Saudi princes to possess exotic dagger handles; and the conviction of Asian gentry that elephant tusks and rhino horns will assist their (unnecessary) erections.
On the one hand, these moneyed idiots are now driving the poaching of large antelope, tigers and even the more extravagant lizards. The bones, horns and skins of many surviving mega mammals are now credited with magic, to bolster the sagging manhood of royal drones and businessmen. On the other hand, Saudi princes are being harvested by their own big brothers, and Asian millionaires are discovering Viagra. So there’s some hope there.
Bananas are one of the most eaten fruits in the world. Whole economies depend on them, as well as millions of American lunches and smoothies. Bananas are also grown commercially as a monoculture – the Banana Lords only plant one kind of the curved yellow fruit. And that kind (Cavendish) is being killed world wide by a banana pest. Wave bye bye to that banana – but not to fret, the previous King Banana (the Gros Michel) went exactly the same way decades ago … so we may lose Cavendish bananas, which were replacements in the first place, but we will just change to a new banana. Which may not be curved or yellow. It might be straight or fat, green or red or blue. Also, a lot of people will go hungrier, but the Banana Lords will be okay. As will your lunch.
However, there is a worse plant holocaust growing in the coffee fields of the world. Luckily, this one is under swift, desperate and concerted study: odds are, my favourite alkaloid will remain available, though the type may change. But global warning is making it more possible to consider backyard production – I may be able to cultivate a couple of coffee trees in my backyard. I have a friend who is trying that ….
But more horrifying still is the potential apocalypse in the gardens of theobromos. Yes, Dear Readers, chocolate in all its varieties is in danger – again, from micro-organisms destroying the plants. See this article:
There is frantic research going on to combat this – chocolate is an enormous industry, and probably ranks as a major religion if you could get its devotees to admit their dependence upon its benefits and charms. Yet even here, I maintain hope – for one thing, there is a lot of clever and determined work going on to prevent the Food of the Gods from vanishing on the Earth. Also, never underestimate the power of money – Hershey’s, Cadbury, Godiva and all the other confectioners will not go down without a struggle, I am sure.
And, of course, I will always be waiting for a miracle from the Company, at least to save the chocolate plants: Zeus ex machina, if you will. Or any other punny device that will save my choccies.
So I have some little hopes new born, growing earnestly in the Jiffy pots of my soul. They show bright and green this New Year’s Day, even amid the tragedies and multifarious sins of the naughty world. I will continue to hope.
And I will survive.