Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 2

If you’ve been reading you know that bananas are genetically maladapted, poised to drop dead en masse, and there’s a pathogen that’s actively and globally killing every banana it can. (You also know I consider the zombie apocalypse just another shitty day instead of a reason to weep in movies.) Now consider this:

IT HAS HAPPENED BEFORE!

We’re already in a banana post apocalypse wasteland! I had no clue. Sorry to break it to you this way but our world is really just the miserable and tasteless wreckage of the banana disasters of yore. Please don’t cry.

Originally most commercial bananas were a variant called Gros Michel (Big Mike). A pathogen went ape on Big Mike. The ensuing planetary horticultural rampage drove Big Mike into the corner and stomped it to dust. Nobody remembers this because it was bananas and happened before the advent of cell phones. (Ancient history to Americans.) If it was dogs and happened last February we’d remember. (Though, given the average American’s grasp of history we’d forget Fido’s untimely demise by the next Superbowl.)

I’m shocked. Every banana I’ve eaten is the post apocalypse reconstruction replacement? Shit! It turns out I’ve been eating the Cavendish banana. That’s right. I’ve never had a banana that wasn’t the last ditch effort of the lab coat guys from the last banana war. God bless ’em.

Unfortunately, everyone agrees the current strain is inferior to the good old days of yore. I’ve been eating shit all this time! I had no idea my life was marred by inferior bananas.

Which brings me back to my original point. From various viewpoints we’re already living in post-apocalypse times. It simply doesn’t feel like tragedy because it happened slowly, or long ago, or the dudes in labcoats came up with a backup plan. The wipeout of Big Mike isn’t good news but we absorbed it so completely I had no idea.


We are in the “post apocalypse” of many things. Don’t give a shit about bananas? (How can you not like bananas? You monster!) Fine! Try different examples: You know that Christmas carol “chestnuts warming by an open fire”? Chestnut blight means you don’t get them in America. (They’re delicious when roasted by the way.) Think it’s only modern evil assholes at Monsanto that had this problem? Look up silphium which presumably died out around 200BC in Libya. (Gonna’ blame that disaster on America, GMOs, or global warming? Which is it hippie!)

Don’t give a rip about plants or trees? Fine! How about shit that killed people “apocalypse style”? The black plague pretty much hosed Europe. How can that not be an apocalypse? It doesn’t count if it happens to Europe? Fine PC freak, read up on small pox instead. Still bored because history is all old stuff? OK go ahead and vacation in Sierra Leone this summer and ask about Ebola.

Think I’m only talking about biology? Ask Europe about the fall of the Roman Empire. Our press tells me every election is the new improved precipice of doom but the fall of Rome is a done deal. From what I can tell it royally sucked for centuries. Eventually Europe recovered (to whatever extent you want to define recovery). Or at least it’s… you know there. People live there and everything. Think about it. People live right smack dab where the Holy Roman Empire collapsed and left everyone shitting in buckets for centuries until the black plague killed 2/3 of the population. In short, the “unthinkable” has already happened. Often.

Go team humanity! We’re hard core survivors!

A.C.

P.S. I really want a Big Mike banana just to say I’ve eaten one. (I also want a Woolly Mammoth steak but that’s another story.) In a world with Fed Ex, getting a “special banana” has got to be possible. They’re rare but not extinct. If anyone knows where to get one (banana or mammoth steak) drop me a private e-mail.  Note: in my climate I can barely keep the pipes thawed so don’t tell me to buy a Big Mike seedling and grow it. (Mammoths would thrive in my climate though. So if you’ve got any mammoths for sale I’m in! I’ll raise ’em up to market size in a jiffy!)

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Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 1

Pondering the zombie apocalypse reminds me of bananas. I love bananas. They’re my dirt cheap, yummy, easy to peel, oddly exotic, genetically maladapted fruit of choice. Bananas are one of many mundane things for which I’m thankful. I’m old enough to remember when bananas were relatively rare. (It was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away.) Now they’re in every grocery store all the time. (Also they’re green… which is not yellow and therefore pisses me off; but that’s another story.)

I’m so irretrievably uncool that I ponder agronomy. Many (most?) crops, are precarious. Read up on it and you’ll start getting nervous. (You’ll also bore people on your blog.)

Light reading for those who actually care about agronomy. The rest of you can go back to watching "Ow My Balls" on C-Span.

Light reading for those who actually care about agronomy. The rest of you can go back to watching “Ow My Balls” on C-Span.

Basically every banana you’ve eaten is a clone. (I’m painting with a broad brush. If you’re a hermit botanist living on an atoll 500 nautical miles from Fiji and keep an heirloom banana tree locked in your sealed herbarium I’ll grant you a variance. Also drop me a line because we simply must talk!)

Since they don’t have sex, bananas lack genetic diversity. That’s biology’s way of saying “we’re out of ideas and poised to drop dead en masse”. (Insert joke about Republican party here.) If a pathogen figures out their weakness it’s game over. Perhaps a crop that doesn’t have sex cries out for the sweet release of extinction?

I’ve known this forever. I presume wicked smart dudes in lab coats are on the job to rectify this. I suppose they’re in the employ of “big corporate banana” and facing constant protests from smelly hippies who think kale in Whole Foods is produced by Gaia’s magic wand. Probably they’re ridiculed by people who work in marketing. “Oh you’re a banana scientist? Don’t ever mention your work to me again.”

Ideally they’re developing new strains (the smart dudes in lab coats and not the smelly hippies). Or maybe they’re splicing in genes from lemurs or sacrificing goats or whatever it is that agronomic mad scientists do. I wish them well as they struggle to keep civilization going. In the meantime I eat bananas fully aware that they could all die and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

Recently I learned what I thought was a theoretical risk banana apocalypse is now happening for real. It’s progressing slowly. A pathogen called Panama disease strain TR4 (or as I call it “horrible doom to my yellow treat”) is running amok. Attempts to stop the spread have had disappointing results. I’ll bet dipshits who don’t get biology (which is damn near everyone) aren’t helping. “You mean the dude with the clipboard says I’ve got to sterilize a tractor tire? Screw him!”

Barring unexpected events it’ll slowly churn though cloned fields of bananas making them as commercially unviable as a Socialist’s tax plan. The unexpected event is really up to the dudes in lab coats. (Boring people in lab coats matter. We should have shrines to Norman Borlaug in grocery stores.)

So there you have it. Something bad is happening. It sucks. Dudes in labcoats are the last desperate line of defence. If they fail we’ll be reduced to eating turnips. Is that not the zombie apocalypse?

Stay tuned…

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Big Mike Bananas And Our Normal Lives In The Post-Apocalypse: Part 0

I only enjoy post-apocalyptic movies and books to a point. Eventually I get frustrated and start to rant. It goes something like this:

“OK fine! Almost everyone died when they dropped the bomb/loosed the menace/opened the magic vault. It was exciting and scary when the zombies/vampires/aliens were pounding on the door. But now it’s act three and you’re just wallowing in the tragic backstory. Dragons/infections/space Nazis are officially part of the world so man up and quit pretending it’s an extended campout.”

For example, if you want to engage me in a discussion of “The Walking Dead” I’ll lose it. I watched a half dozen episodes and tuned out. I wound up yelling at my TV:

“Nobody asked me if I wanted to live in a world with shitty features; frozen plumbing, rattlesnakes, and the AMC Gremlin. I just live with it. We all just handle it. We fix pipes, kill snakes, and burn an AMC whenever we get the chance. It’s no biggie. If there were zombies I’d handle them just like raccoons in the chicken coop. So would everyone else who didn’t die in the first two months. Mankind is a damnsight more innovative than a Hollywood hack’s limited imagination. We live in the world we’ve got and leave the wishing for hippies and John Lennon songs.”

Surely I’m preaching to the choir here. At some point in the zombie epidemic it’s time to build a goddamn anti-zombie fence and get your ass back to work. I give it a few months before we’d accept that the walking dead is merely an unpleasant part of the environment; like taxes, real estate agents, light beer, and speed traps.

I’ve a deep and unshakeable faith that homo sapiens is a creature born to be bad ass. (I duly note exceptions and pathological weakness in nutless twits who expect “trigger warnings”, “community organizers”, Republican party apparatchiks, people who give me shit about gluten, and pretentious jazz aficionados.)

In the long run the rest of us (lets call it “non-bullshit humans”) have overcome everything. Shit got real and the survivors figured it out. Otherwise the planet would be ruled by something more adaptive; maybe marmosets?

In my next post I’ll explain why Norman Borlaug is a super stud.

 

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I’m Back: Part 4: It Just Doesn’t Matter

When party leadership rejects its member’s views is it really a “party”? Recently I’m not sure “party” is appropriate. “Gang”, “bullies bossing stooges”, or “oligarchs and useful idiots” all seem more descriptive. I’m not worried. The nation doesn’t need parties anyway; certainly not these two.

Rushbo, the living embodiment of AM howlers, was in full apoplexy. He gets paid to freak out and he’s good at it. My truck’s speakers were awash in his blathering about Colorado. I had no context. It could be anything. Colorado tends to go ape fairly regularly. Last summer the EPA nuked a mountain river and they shit themselves over gun magazines. Before that it was legalized pot and the housing bust. Invariably there’s the continuing process of becoming an undocumented northern province of Mexico. It was probably something silly. Maybe an undocumented transexual Islamic terrorist demanding safe places to bake gay cakes in a church while shooting heroin?

My “go to” Colorado contact is a life long conservative. We debate politics and his opinions are reasoned and sincere. Often he changes my mind. He’d know.

I texted in all caps: “WHAT THE HELL IS LIMBAUGH BITCHING ABOUT? HAS COLORADO BEEN WEIRD AGAIN?”

The response came quickly: “After 38 years, I’ve quit the Republican party. I went to the courthouse today.”

Holy shit! This guy simply bled GOP. If he didn’t have a shrine to Reagan he at least considered it. (Editors note: My friend wants to point out he doesn’t have a shrine but he does have a coffee mug.) If he severed ties with the Stupid party what’s next; a Buddhist Pope? Me buying a Prius? Dogs and cats living together?

The ensuing conversation was both inspiring and depressing. It gave me hope that anyone can break free of the Stupid/Evil dichotomy. However this guy’s faith was dependable like gravity and I hated to see it go.

Me: “What happened? Did they gut a kitten on live TV?”

Him: “There was a primary. Actually it was a caucus. But it turned out like a straw poll. I think the word is a preference poll.”

Me: “Preference poll? Sounds like pansy shit but whatever. Did the people go for Senior Hair or the Sad Sack? Wait! I know, everyone got stoned on legal pot and went for Kasich!”

Him: “Well 34 non-binding delegates pledged their votes to Cruze. I think they’re non-binding. I’m not sure.”

Me: “So folks in Colorado totally dig Cruze?”

Him: “I think maybe Cruze would have won the state but the activity that looked like voting was just for show anyway.”

This gave me pause. A party is a private entity. It can select candidates any way it chooses. It could take careful readings of it’s party members and act accordingly. Or it could examine goat entrails in a secret rite. Which leads, immediately, to me wondering; if you’re going to make a selection based on goat entrails why drag your followers through the mud? Who invites people to an event that’ll prove how much you don’t care? Suppose I called up my neighbor and personally informed him I was going to let my dog shit on the public street in front of his house? Perhaps I have the legal option to do so but what good can come of it? Generally when you’re going to ignore someone you don’t ask them to take a day off work to be ignored.

Me: “So there was an event that had the appearance of voting but the real answer is ‘thanks for coming today but you can go fuck yourself’?.”

Him: “Pretty much.”

Me: “And the ballots or whatever you call them were irrelevant? Did they at least provide cookies? Maybe snacks?”

Him: “I didn’t go. It just doesn’t matter.”

Me: “Was, at any time, a goat sacrificed?”

Him: “This isn’t funny. Fuck those guys!”

Me: “Legally they’re entitled to ignore their members.”

Him: “Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.”

Me: “It does seem like a kick in the balls.”

Him: “I just didn’t matter. So I didn’t go. It’s long past time to leave.”

Me: “You were a rock. I didn’t see it coming.”

Him: “I’ve been inching this way for a while. They haven’t done Jack Shit. They never accomplish Jack and now my opinion means Jack. They’re not interested in doing the people’s will. They’re only interested in holding power. They haven’t made good on their promises on Obamacare even after they controlled both houses. So why should I be glad they control both houses? They only want to continue problems so they can bitch about them to get re-elected. There’s no real interest in solving anything.”

Me: “Am I missing something? Was this a straw poll? A caucus? What did you call it; a preference whatchamajigger?”

Him: “I’m unclear on the details, all I can tell with certainty is that it didn’t involve votes from people like me.”

Me: “Well you’ve been bent over by politics. Join the club. How’s it feel to be an Independent?”

Him: “If I registered Independent both parties would consider me a likely voter for them. I registered Libertarian. I want them to know they’ve lost my support.”

Me: “Sorry about that. Libertarian isn’t mainstream and you’re the last guy on earth I’d call ‘fringe’.”

Him: “I know! But my opinion (or vote if you want to call it that) just didn’t matter. I couldn’t stand knowing they’ll surely do it again next time. It’s a relief it’s over.”

Me: “God speed. If you learn the secret Ayn Rand handshake tell me all about it.”

Him: “Ugh, don’t make jokes about tinfoil hats either. I miss the Republican party.”

Me: “But…”

Him: “I didn’t leave the Republican party, the Republican party left me.”

Me: “I can see that.”

Him: “Reagan said the same thing about the Democrat party.”

Me: “No shit.”

Him: “Yes shit. Read your history redneck!”

Me: “Ha ha ha.” (Like all men, I appreciate a conversation that ends with an insult.)

After our conversation I wondered how many citizens rebelled long before my rock solid friend and how many are still working up to disengaging by November. I’ve been going vaguely, independently, and quietly Galt forever but nothing I do is ever trendsetting. Regardless nobody honestly likes their party. It’s a party’s job to listen to American citizens and not the other way around. Didn’t they cover this in civics class?

Meanwhile parties reap what they sow. Jeb Bush couldn’t clear the opening lap and Hillary is the worst product since New Coke. Her struggle against Sanders is like watching Robocop bravely hold its own against a slinky. Hillary and Jeb; three hundred million Americans and those two dipsticks were the best “the establishment” could find? Groupthink is powerfully stupid.

Luckily change is afoot (even if comes in the form of two rich obnoxious New Yorkers who began with nepotism and persist through populism). Don’t weep when stagnating parties have to be put down. In the end it’s for the best. Put another way; a brokered convention that screws Trump will definitely be a screaming shitfest but maybe America needs a screaming shitfest. Perhaps it’ll finally kill off the Stupid party and free up headspace for an effective opposition party? Lest the Dems overdose on schadenfreude, remember their convention required tear gas in ’68 and when Obama needed a black woman for the $20 bill he picked a vigilante who clung to guns and religion.

A.C.

P.S. Sorry about the politics. In my next post I’ll write about bananas.

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I’m Back: Part 3: Why I Smoke In Front Of My Cat

After three days of mouselike quivering in the truck cab listening to the Evil and Stupid party jockey into mutually assured destruction I dropped all contact with “news”. I was in constant motion. I hadn’t surfed the net, listened to what the press shovels into our heads as news, or even seen a headline for weeks. I ignored my blog, deferred addressing the looming menace of tax day, and nearly forgot my name.

Just a few hours ago I resurfaced. All I needed to do was make the last leg on a multi day multi mode trip into nowhere and I’d be safe at home. I flipped on the radio. Since I’d missed over a month of electioneering surely something had changed? I wondered what progress had been made.

The Stupid party: “Trump is still doing fairly well and zillions of people like him. As Republicans we will find out why he’s popular and do the exact thing that most pisses off his supporters.”

The Evil party: “Jesus Christ, that dick Sanders totally won’t leave the anointed one (Hillary) alone. And speaking of innocent, it’s no big deal to be under FBI investigation for the eleventh time. I mean who hasn’t been subpoenaed in a bunch of compromising matters? And doesn’t everyone have a bunch of strange sources of income, questionable contacts, and wads of ill gotten gains? And when someone gives you State secrets it’s no big deal… just blab that shit everywhere. Everyone is hereby ordered to chill out and submit to the inevitable. Did we mention the flying monkeys?”

Really? All that time and expensive scheming and backstabbing and lying has done so little! Both parties, in fact the whole of the 2016 election cycle boils down to this:

“The people have spoken and we, their betters, refuse to accept it. We hereby order them to shut the hell up and do as we’ve instructed.”

That’s the “problem” with democracy (or in our case a Republic). People who have free will make decisions. Inherently some of these decisions will differ from the “elite’s” considered and proper opinion that they strenuously insist all people must hold.

I suppose it’s the mark of being elite? One is elite when they know with no reservations or doubt how other people ought to live? It’s impressive really; the complete lack of humility that accompanies their false belief that they know precisely how everyone should live their lives. I consider it a character flaw. They consider it simply the truth.

Now the people are pissed off. (Why now instead of any year in the last several decades is a mystery but it’s definitely palpable in 2016.) Meanwhile both parties have crossed the line of frustration with dipshits in flyover country and have gone all the way to disagreeing with the concept of free will itself. They can’t fuckin’ stand the citizenry. It’s ever more apparent.

How odd that it must come to this. Yet how predictable. An expanding portion of our society is personally invested in the MANAGING of others. You can call them socialists or you can call them micromanagers or you can call them busybodies or you can call them nitwits but it doesn’t have much to do with their politics. It’s all about their self announced Godlike powers. There are people who allocate for themselves the role of decider and the rest of us are presumed to be cattle. They hang out with each other and tell each other how awesome they are. They’re the fish that can’t see water. They’re walking overinflated egos in need of a pin.

And so it goes until it crosses the dumbass event horizon.

Forget about large clusterfucks like the Trumpening or Sanders’ Quixotic socialist challenge to Hillary’s Tower of Sauron. I have a funnier example. Here’s my report on the mundane stupidity that comes from people who smell their own shit and call it roses:

In a hotel room I saw ads about how smoking will kill your pets. This was meant as a self referential “joke” that was “serious”. It was also stupidity so compressed it created its own gravity.

Someone somewhere collected tax dollars. They used to force of government, including men and women with guns and scary dudes with law degrees, to get this money. (Actually they used ill gotten gains from a huge lawsuit.) Then they expended the seized fruits of someone else’s labor on manipulative ads. These ads tell me my cat will die if I light up a Camel. Suppose I want a Camel and personally experiencing lung cancer isn’t sufficient motivation to keep me away? What then? Will they shoot my ass for my own good? Will they shoot my cat?

Quite simply the kind of person that’ll spend seized funds on ads to manipulate someone’s behavior is a person who’s never considered the ethics of manipulating other people. It’s… for want of a better word… evil.

That’s the crux of it. The problem with that person and their cat saving crusade is not that they’re wrong. It’s that they’re at odds with free will.

There’s more. Stay tuned.

A.C.

P.S. I wasn’t hallucinating. I found the link here. The link goes to America’s State Sponsored media, NPR. Unsurprisingly they like the ads. You expected a State Sponsored Media to say “nah, leave the people alone”? NPR knows everything about how you should live and they know it better than you. So just shut up and do as you’re told.

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I’m Back: Part 2: The Fit Hits The Shan

For several weeks I dropped out of all news content. Usually it’s a planned effort to maintain perspective while the press shrieks “Ignore the forest! Stare at all these trees!” This go round it was just the mundane chaos of life. I did the following:

  • Woke up to a flat tire. I manfully jacked up the truck and swapped tires in front of a hotel room in the middle of nowhere. As far as I can tell the entire town drank coffee and watched.
  • Miles later, approaching midnight in a crowded city in a different time zone, I drove over a nail and toasted a different tire. I called it a night and parked at the nearest hotel. Nothing says “fun” like pulling dual wheels in the snow at dawn and that’s precisely what I did.
  • Fortunately the third flat, in a third tire, in a third state… which made me start wondering if I was cursed, was in my driveway. All I had to do was roll around in chickenshit while it rained.
  • Been physically groped by the TSA, psychologically raped by overpriced hotel drinks, shoved like cattle through chutes, and emotionally battered by the psychotic monsters in a Salt Lake City terminal. Those bastards told me they had “craft beer” and then delivered a pint of 3.2 pisswater.
  • Made reservations months early, paid full freight for a flight, checked in two hours early, and still got dumped into “standby” because “fuck the customer” is apparently a valid business model.
  • Stepped on a cactus. I do not blame the cactus.
  • Ate a cactus. (It was a different one.)
  • Slipped on ice and wound up in a ditch.
  • Found a magic flashlight. (More on that later)
  • Went on an adventure. (This was actually pretty cool. Maybe I’ll mention it later. Maybe I won’t.)
  • Went to a rock concert. (This is VERY rare. The last time I saw live music was a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away. Mrs. Curmudgeon got the tickets and talked me into it. She loves me y’all!!!)
  • Worked my ass into the ground.

Stay tuned for sober reflection as I pass from unseemly chaos back into order.

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I’m Back: Part 1: The Peasants Are Revolting

Here’s the beginning of it all several weeks ago I was on the cusp of a scheduling crunch when I experienced an epic, no holds barred, evacuate the body in all directions, illness. No worries. I lived. In fact it was short, probably because an illness that nasty must necessarily be short lest it kill off it’s host instead fulfilling its cosmic duty to optimize misery.

Under such circumstances a sane man will call in sick, crawl into bed, and stay there a week. I didn’t. Literally hours later I verified most of the storm had passed and bravely (or stupidly) climbed into my truck to pursue the almighty dollar. Reflecting on the events leading up to it I figured it was even odds the trip would be a failure and I’d wind up barfing in a gutter somewhere. Of course I’d never let a fear like that stop me from completing a job.

I rolled along in my truck; a hollow shell with the constitution of a tiny little bird. No sudden moves. No scary road food. No nothing… just one man hermetically sealed and perched on eggshells in his roving security blanket; desperately hoping breakfast wouldn’t explode all over the dash. I did this for three days. Three full days of thinking… and listening to the press hyperventilate.

The radio dutifully injected stupid into my cab. America’s Pravda (NPR) took the lead but the gibbering hordes of AM were nipping at its heels. Being as weak as a mouse and driving from nowhere to nowhere I could only listen. I listened as if observing a strange alien culture from a great distance. This helps one grok the inanity of it all.

the peasants are revoltingThink back. Can you remember what was on the mind of the newsies and spinmiesters back then? Rewind a month or more of this fun filled election roller coaster. What was the panic du jour?

“Trump is winning big time and we Republicans need to stop that shit toot sweet. Perhaps we can scheme up a brokered convention whereby we take the likely holder of a plurality and kick him in his big brass balls. We’ll follow that with an ugly screaming shitfest where we draft a milquetoast loser that Hillary will grind to make her bread. We’ll even ignore competitor number two, Cruze. Why? Because we’re a foot that likes shooting itself. Nothing impresses Americans like fucking the first and second place winners in a year long marathon. They simply love it when we excrete a gutless uninspiring apparatchik on America’s plate. We sure love being the Stupid party.”

While the Stupid party was aghast at the horror of a popular candidate who can pack stadiums what was the Evil party thinking?

“Sanders has not gotten the memo that we anointed Hillary years ago. Plus, quite frankly that bitch terrifies us! What’s wrong with that dipshit? Stand up to Hillary and bad things happen. Also Sanders is building tremendous support and as Democrats we need to stop that shit toot sweet. Perhaps we can pretend that Hillary’s secret illegal server is no big deal and line up a herd of purchased superdelegate shitheads that’ll do what our idiot party voters won’t do. Doesn’t everyone realise that she must win or she’ll release the flying monkeys? We sure love being the Evil party.”

That was several weeks ago. Since then I’ve been busy. Stay tuned.

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