Saturday, April 01, 2006

Hot Buttered Rum String Band Blogging (part one)

You Can't Get Drunk On 3.2

If jam bands or "jamgrass" is your thing then I suggest you check out Hot Buttered Rum String Band if you haven't already.

Also David Byrne provided another interesting posts in his journal about Mexico and the Mayans:

So, it’s proposed that given the weird water situation, and the fact that limestone and its soil are notoriously limited for agriculture, the Maya did amazingly well, given the extreme physical limitations of their environment. As they mastered field and crop rotation, water and irrigation, and plants that could grow in the poor soil, their population grew — to the millions, it is estimated. So many survived on such a fragile ecology that when the scales tipped — there was a drought that lasted for years — the civilization began to fracture. This was all well before the contact with Europeans… and one wonders at possible contemporary parallels — economies based almost entirely on oil, for example.

He makes an interesting point with the crop/oil comparison but I'd have to think that our economy today is much more complex.

Others followed. Though the subjugation of the Maya didn’t happen as quickly or easily as the Spanish in particular might have hoped. Shades of George Bush and Co. Murderous priests intent on destroying the local culture and Christianizing the Maya, gold seekers, conquistadores and others all made inroads, but couldn’t conquer the little people.

None of the Europeans at first could believe that the little people around them, living in tiny villages of thatched huts with dirt floors, could have possibly built the massive complexes that surrounded them. How could these people have done this? And then how could they have no recollection of it?

Always intent on Bush cheap shots huh? The Europeans knew almost nothing of Mayan culture however and didn't know what to expect. When planning for the War in Iraq it isn't as understandable- the people in position to expect what is happening should have expected it and planned for it. But I'm not really into debating the war so if you want a more detailed look at the war you won't find it here.

I asked myself, “Where are the contemporary ruins? Where are the ruins in progress? Where are our once great cites that are being abandoned as these ones were?”

I came up with Detroit. (Sorry, sports fans.) Vast stretches of the city are already uninhabited, crumbling. The central temples, yes, are still in use — the temples for sports, conventions and ritualistic music concerts — but for how much longer? Will the beautiful deco buildings erected as working shrines by what were once the largest companies in the world (GM, Ford) soon be abandoned? They’re already surrounded by a no man’s wasteland; it seems only a matter of time. And then how long before people wander into that zone and ask themselves, “Who built this incredible building?”

Or New Orleans, possibly, the first urban victim of global warming.

I can also imagine formerly vast Soviet cities in the Russian heartland that may have already been abandoned. Cities, like Detroit, of steel, industry and manufacturing. With temples to the Party and the Worker, now derelict — filled with grass and stray cats, like the once great factories of the Ruhr valley.

Now I'm inclined to believe that Byrne is right about Detroit. We all know Detroit has been deteriorating for years and is now one of the worst parts of America. And I can't really disagree with him regarding the Ruhr or parts of the Soviet Union. But he is dead wrong on New Orleans. Claiming New Orleans was the first modern victim of global warming is idiocy. New Orleans was a victim of ill preparation, bad leadership, and lack of judgment. The city obviously was not prepared to handle the physical effects of the storm which wasn't the monster it was in the Gulf when it hit New Orleans (in fact Katrina technically didn't hit New Orleans). I know I've seen some scientists say New Orleans only got hit by Category 1 force winds. What happened wasn't a result of global warming, it was poor preparation to defend against a storm, lack of leadership at local, state, and national levels, and poor judgment by the people who stayed.

The rest of Byrne's post deal with Mayan mythology and the likes and is very very interesting. I definitely think you should check it out.


Blogger Nicole said...

Blaming what happened in New Orleans only on modern issues is the biggest part of the problem, in my opinion. I mean, almost 400 years of people decided to live there. Finding it a good place to settle isn't exactly a new idea. Blame the dumb French. But in all seriousness, it's short sighted to say that at some point someone should have decided to move New Orleans. In addition, the discussion about N.O. always fails to include the fact that it's the biggest, most active port in the country. It's location is based solely on that fact. Of course it's below sea level. Of course it's sinking. For all intents and purposes it's an island. It's also our biggest, easiest source of import and export as well as distributing those goods to the vast portion of the US - you know, us crappy midland, midwestern areas that aren't bordered by oceans. The city could have been (and partly was) half covered in water and it still would have been settled. It's usefulness as a part was undeniable and settlement there was absolutely inevitable.

8:16 PM  

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