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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Muck Sifting in Grand Isle

Grand Isle, Louisiana is a place that is nationally known only to hurricane-fanciers such as myself.  From the mentions I read of it, it sounds like an a excellent place to convene with Mother Nature, which there takes the form of a lot of sky, a lot of sun, and a lot of the Gulf of Mexico, but hardly anything else, especially in the way of ground to stand on and to build on, and it would never be a sign of being smart to try to establish even temporary residence there, for in a process of meteorological clockwork, regularly the hurricanes from Africa and the Caribbean come along and you have to leave or either let it all get devastated, because on Grand Isle there's no running for the high ground, unless you have already left some time ago.  All of its topography, if the place ever had any, has long since been scoured away to a flat featureless expanse of sand, barely above sea level.

Nevertheless things are booming these days on Grand Isle, Louisiana, because of the broken oil-drilling operation currently tagged with the new expletive, "BP."   This sandbar and its accompanying waters have become a big marshaling yard filled with the workers and the equipment that is needed to clean up as much as possible of the crude that has burst out from the ruptured pipe at the sea bottom and has spread all over and through things,  though it's thought that by this time, a good percentage of the petroleum has now been removed from the water, through evaporation and bio-degradation, as well as through the use of numerous skimming and collection boats, with the exception of what has gotten through and reached the sands and the marshes on the nearest shorelines.

In the Alternet you can find an interesting case of two forms of muck-sifting, as distinguished from the centuries-old concept of muck-raking, sloppily rather than neatly coming together on Grand Isle, Louisiana.

  A lady journalist put her virtue at extreme risk by visiting one of the local alcohol-swilling places that have become favorite hangouts of many of the workers brought in from elsewhere to do messy jobs like taking the oil out of the sand.  It's not clear why the lady journalist did this, unless she thought it was the next best thing to being a war correspondent in Afghanistan.  If she meant to throw some light on the unfortunate circumstance of Men Without Women, which Ernest Hemingway must've explored long ago, because he used that as a title somewhere, her experience didn't quite do the job, aside from saying, "Here it is."

I have a habit of reading comment sections, though I know it's not good for the equilibrium, and the one to this article was no exception.   Comment sections are good examples of muck-sifting.   You put yourself through sifting a lot of verbal refuse with the bare hands of your mind, looking for the occasional jewels of genuine insight and interesting information that lie there, covered over with the offal of opinions fired off with the same lack of forethought as public belches and other bodily emissions.

This morning as I write this, a tropical storm called "Bonnie" is supposed to arrive right on top of the ill-fated well, which was successfully capped on the 15th just past.   The good news is that the storm could dissipate even more of the escaped crude while not damaging the relief structures that have been left there.  The bad news is that the storm could also push oil still in the water onto the birds, turtles, and sands of places like Grand Isle, Louisiana.  There that is, too.


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