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Against the wind

BY BEAU ELLIOT | JUNE 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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In a local radio’s ad for BP, “BP” stands for “Beautifully Pristine.”

No, really. And yeah, that’s rich. Even my pal Higgs, who as a professional skeptic believes almost nothing is rich, thinks that’s rich.

Right now, BP is collecting around 25,000 barrels of oil a day from the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico, which is not all the oil that is gushing. Remember back in the good old days, when BP reported that “only” 5,000 barrels were gushing out of the well? Me, neither. (That was way back in May. Who can remember May when we’re rushing to the end of June?)

Which brings us to Rep. Joe Barton, the Republican from Texas who, as we all remember even though it was almost two weeks ago, became famous (or notorious, depending on your point of view) for apologizing to BP. And then apologized for apologizing. And then apologized for that apology. If you got lost somewhere in there, you’re not alone.

Apparently, Barton has this thing about wind. More specifically, wind energy. He’s agin it.
Who could be against (and what’s with this “agin,” Higgs demands; what a cheap rhetorical device) wind energy? you say — outside of rich people on Cape Cod, who aren’t necessarily against wind energy in theory, they’re just against it in their back bay.

Well, Joe Barton is against wind energy. Or at least he was in 2009, when he pointed out at a Congressional hearing that wind energy increases global warming. (Which, by the way, Barton doesn’t believe in.) It’s kind of a convoluted argument that goes something along the lines of wind is caused by hot air blowing toward cold air, so if you capture the wind to produce energy, you wind up causing global warming.

Is that clear?

I didn’t think so, so we’ll let Barton speak for himself: “Wind is God’s way of balancing heat. Wind is the way you shift heat from areas where it’s hotter to areas where it’s cooler. That’s what wind is.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if in the interest of global warming we mandated massive switches to [wind] energy, which is a finite resource, which slows the winds down, which causes the temperature to go up?”

Bet you didn’t know wind was a “finite resource.”

On the bright side, having Joe Barton in Congress makes Iowa’s Steve King look halfway intelligent, which, in a normal universe, would seem to be an impossible task.

On the dark side, there’s soccer. I’m not against soccer in theory; it’s just that it’s about as confusing as Barton’s Theory of the Wind. Soccer has something called, even on BBC, “time stoppage,” in which time doesn’t stop at all but continues, as does play. So it’s not really very much like the “stoppage” Americans know, in which things “stop” (unless they go by the name of the BP oil gusher). It’s as if Ionesco wrote the rules.

Which he probably did.

Of course, it’s possible Heidegger wrote the rules — that would explain why nobody understands them,especially the referees. (See U.S. vs. Slovenia, or, more handily, Ireland vs. France in the preliminaries — particularly France, which “beat” Ireland on a “hand” goal not called by the ref. France went on to disgrace itself in the Cup, a perfect example of karma.)

I would call the sport “football,” the word pretty much most of the world uses for soccer, except that Americans would get confused, because they think “football” is a game in which almost no one actually uses his foot to strike the ball. Hmm. Apparantly, Ionesco wrote the rules for the American game, too. For a playwright, the guy gets around. (By which I don’t mean to imply that playwrights don’t get around. Many of them are not squares at all. Though some seem to be rhombi.)

Oh, well. At least soccer, or football, is only a game. As opposed to the wind, which seems to be blowing again.


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