Coffee

December 1, 2017

 

BW photograph of a strongly-lit coffee cup.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Yes, the availability of good coffee, preferably at an independently owned shop, is very much a key to the walkability of a place.

Coffee is an integral part of global history and culture, and therefore very much open to a sociological view.  One of the major sociological theories is Symbolic Interactionism, which essentially argues that societies attach meaning to words and concepts-and it is the interpretation of those meanings that is critical to understanding a given group.  With that in mind, this is an anecdote from a wander in Los Angeles:  Every now and then when walking, I order a decaf, sugar-free, skim milk, vanilla latte.  Given that it is somewhat frightening when I hear myself make that order, I usually just get regular decaf coffee.  However, on that particular occasion, I went with the latte.

In keeping with the attachment of meaning to words, having ordered the latte described above, the barista said “We call that a ‘why bother?'”.

Take care.

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Hurricane Season

September 27, 2017

BW photograph of a bike rack flooded by Hurricane Jose at Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

This is a photo essay showing the standing water that remained a couple of days after having been left by Hurricane Jose as it passed by Bethany Beach.  Jose remained off the coast, and so this part of the world was spared the massive damage generated by the 2017 Hurricane Season (thus far).  Such is not the case for other parts of the mainland U.S. and several of the islands in the Caribbean.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of the Hurricane Jose's flooding of Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

BW photograph of a flooded storm drain in Bethany Beach.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

NPR’s 1A broadcast a program dedicated to the impact of Hurricane Maria on Puerto Rico.  This discussion addressed the breadth and depth of the humanitarian, political, economic, and social issues generated by this disaster.  Several important historical points that have contributed to the current crisis are included.  Mr. Johnson’s opening lines encapsulate what follows.

Take care.

UPDATE:  This link addresses The Jones Act mentioned in the above discussion, and this link provides more details regarding the extreme hardships being experienced in Puerto Rico.

 

 

Fall 2017

September 20, 2017

BW photograph of fall debris.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The official start of Fall 2017 is right around the corner.

BW photograph of a foggy river.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As last week closed, the days generally started with decidedly cooler temperatures.

This week, though, has seen a return to more summeresque conditions-higher temperatures and humidity.  The week also brought a continuation of natural disasters:  Hurricane Jose has created some disruption for the Mid-Atlantic, and Hurricane Maria has torn up several countries on her march westward.  Time will tell if she is destined for the U.S.

Violent weather patterns are not the only issue as we make this transition:  Mexico had a 7.1 earthquake.

Hurricane season officially ends on November 30.  There is no “season” for earthquakes-they are the result of geology.  Such quakes are not unique to Mexico-in 2015, Nepal experienced a 7.8 quake.  The U.S. is still waiting for “The Really Big One”.

Just as human lifestyles have contributed to climate change and the subsequent increase in massive storms, not to mention our propensity to drain wetlands and build close to shorelines, which makes the infrastructure more susceptible to flooding and storm surges; human activity also plays a role in some earthquakes and the subsequent damage done.  Part of this is due to the location and the manner in which buildings are constructed-the latter point is especially true for less developed countries-but here in the U.S., many are related to our energy production needs/methods-please read this and this.

Condolences to all who continue to suffer through these catastrophic events.

Take care.

 

Torrents

September 1, 2017

BW photograph of dark and light clouds with a tree in the foreground.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Harvey has set a U.S. record for the amount of rain dropped by a single storm in the history of recording such things.

Attention here is focused on Texas and Louisiana, and the other states impacted as Harvey moves north and east-what remains will most likely arrive in this area Saturday. On the other side of the world, South Asia has been hammered with torrential monsoons.  Last month, Sierra Leone experienced this.  The death tolls for both Harvey and the monsoon in India continue to rise.

The property damage caused by Harvey has yet to be determined-that should provide an interesting comparison to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.

While some politicians have said this is not a time to discuss climate change, as that would be “playing politics”, at what point will the severity of climate change get the full attention of those with the power to make large-scale systemic changes?  Four years is an awful long time to wait, and there are no guarantees then.

An awful lot of losses can accrue over that span.

There is another issue to address as well-the human factor.  The above incidents are referred to as “natural disasters”.  However, that grossly overlooks the human factor.  The failure of New Orleans’ levee and seawall system has been widely documented.  (As an aside, New Orleans had flooding earlier this year due to many pump failures.).  NPR published this report regarding Houston.  Part of what contributed to the flooding in Mumbai was clogged storm drains due to the amount of trash generated-poverty and poor infrastructure add to the problems.

One thing is certain, though:  these “100 year storms” are occurring with greater and greater frequency.  When there are weaknesses in the social structure, they will increase the risk to the population.

The clouds in the above photograph?  They produced not a drop of water.

Take care.

Time

August 14, 2017

BW photograph of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Time passes.

Over the years, I drove past this abandoned gas station with a degree of regularity, and each time I would literally say to myself “That is worth photographing-stop.”  Inevitably, I kept going by convincing myself that there would always be another time.

BW photograph of an upturned cigarello rack outside of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Eventually, there was (most likely) not going to be any more “times”, so I did stop.

BW photograph of an abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

As often happens, the light itself on this particular morning was quite mercurial.

BW photograph of the "Site Available" sign in the abandoned gas station.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Look closely at the juxtaposition of the two signs in the window:  “Grab Some Fun!” one shouts.  “Site Available” another proclaims.  Quite a contrast.  Hopefully, when this business was in operation, there was a time when it was fun for the owners and the employees.

BW photograph of a Marlboro sign laying in a parking lot.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

That time most certainly passed awhile ago.

It is helpful to recognize and enjoy opportunities when they are presented as they may not be available later.  Time does indeed move on.

Take care.

Summer 2017

May 18, 2017

BW photograph of a twisted and broken sapling in the woods.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

It was 84 degrees this morning at 10:00 a.m.  By 1:00 p.m., it was 94 degrees.  That is supposed to change this weekend as cooler weather and possible thunderstorms are forecast for the area.

Meanwhile, the Mid-West continues to be hammered as described in this discussion.  That source indicates we are coming off the wettest April in the past 60 years and provides an overview of the weather expectations for Summer 2017.  Please be sure to listen a few minutes into the discussion for meteorologist Angela Fritz to explain the relationship between weather and climate change-particularly as it relates to the development of extreme weather.

The discussion of FEMA is just as important.

Take care.

BW photograph of California poppies.

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Last month, Governor Jerry Brown officially declared that the five-year drought in California was over.

BW photograph of a billboard in Los Angeles saying "Loving Water Means Saving Water".

Copyright 2017 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

The question now becomes how much these efforts to conserve water will remain going forward.  California’s experience over the last half-decade provides hard lessons well-learned in the age of climate change-lessons that would be well-applied locally, nationally, and globally.  Of course, one definition of learning is “Any relatively permanent change in behaviour brought through experience” (Lahey 194). The operative words there are “relatively permanent change”.  Arguably, not much will have been gained if folks return to previous patterns of water use and consumption.

Time will tell what learning has actually taken place.

Take care.