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OK, call me obsessed with the heat — not just Texas heat, mind you, but the ever-growing evidence that this rock we all live on is warming up at an alarming rate. I base my assessment on two epic ecological documentaries.
The first documentary is “An Inconvenient Truth” which is basically a scientific slide show presented by ex-Vice President Al Gore. Truth be told, when I first heard the title, I thought it was about the way the presidential election was stolen from him down in Florida. However, instead of the saga of the “hanging chads” this is a sobering account of detrimental climactic changes in our world. I must say, although the presentation was informative, Al is still about as exciting as watching paint dry. He is so slow, he’s like a postal worker on valium.
The second documentary was also very informative and a lot more fun. It’s called “Ice Age: The Meltdown.” It is a sequel to the wonderfully animated “Ice Age” and has the same old wooly mammoths, a saber-toothed squirrel, a giant ground sloth, a smilodon, and even a glyptodon! How much fun is that? Anyway, after thinking the polar melt-offs were great fun for a while, the gravity of ice-cap breakups sets in and the goofy adventures begin.
But seriously, folks — here are some stats from this week’s Time magazine about the past year in America which are startling to say the least: more than two million acres burned up in massive wildfires; more than 110 million folks were living under extreme-heat advisories at the end of June; and more than two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought. In March, 15,000 daily high temperature records were set nationwide. The past 12 months ending in June were the warmest continuous months recorded in this country. Something is going on!
I look at the national and the Texas weather maps each day in my trusty Dallas Morning News. They have color codes to indicate temperatures and the oranges and reds (80’s through the 100’s) are pervasive. This reminds me of that old “Ponderosa” map that used to curl up and burst into flames at the start of each “Bonanza” episode. Oh, come on! Some of you are old enough to remember that.
Of course, the naysayers like Rick (It’s Good To Be the King) Perry say, “What’s the big fuss about? It’s summertime in Texas. We need to build more coal-fired electric plants to keep the air conditioners going in the summer and global warming will lower the heating costs in the winter.” He reminds me of my dearly-departed dad who maintained until the day he died that the space program was faked and wrestling was real.
One of the features of that weather page of the Morning News is they give the cities in Texas that set the high and low temperatures for the previous day. Guess where the coolest place to live in Texas is (and I don’t mean the hippest)? Why it’s good old Marfa. Now if you are like me, you are probably wondering, where in the hell is Marfa, Texas? Well, Mr. Computer and I are going to tell you. Marfa is located in the high Chihuahuan Desert between the Davis Mountains and Big Bend National Park, at an elevation of 4,685 feet.
I found out some interesting facts about Marfa. The population there has stayed right at 2,000 people for the last 20 years. That is because, every time a new baby is born, some guy leaves town. Marfa was the film location for such epic films as “Giant,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “No Country for Old Men.” There is a small municipal airport there but the nearest commercial air service is Midland (180 miles NE) or El Paso (190 miles NW). The Amtrak Sunset Limited passes through Marfa but doesn’t stop there — it does stop at nearby Alpine. Good old Greyhound does operate bus service out of the Western Union Office.
The Little Woman (she doesn’t cotton to that name) and I are getting serious about downsizing from our retirement empty nest here on Golden Pond and moving to Sarasota, Fla. to be near our only son, daughter-in-law, and grandson. I have suggested downsizing to Marfa but TLW doesn’t even think that’s funny. So anyway, we are renting a place on Siesta Key (connected to Sarasota by two draw-bridges) for three weeks at Thanksgiving and we have a nice real estate lady who will be showing us that nice “down-size that we just can’t live without.” So if you know someone who wants a really nice lake-view house out here on Golden Pond we would probably be ready to talk. This is not an advertisement — I’m just saying...
Now you might say, if the heat bothers you so much why move to Florida? Good question and the answer is twofold: the aforementioned grandson and the fact that the weather actually stays 5-10 degrees cooler than here.
So Al Gore was trudging through the frozen tundra while filming his epic and came face-to-face with a huge polar bear. Al became stricken with fear and fell to his knees to pray. The polar bear immediately fell to his knees and he also began to pray. “It’s a miracle!” shouted Al. The polar bear opened one eye and growled, “Don’t talk while I’m saying grace!”
Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: email@example.com.