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Elliot: Dangerous daydreams

BY BEAU ELLIOT | MAY 06, 2014 5:00 AM

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Daydreaming about crime and the environment, which is depressing. So I stop daydreaming. I can stop anytime; I don’t need your 12-step program to stop daydreaming.

Just moving through here, like everyone else, wondering why the trees in my backyard haven’t started to bud yet — I mean, it’s May. We’ve had tornadoes already.

Just moving — well, sitting — staring at the naked trees in my backyard and wondering if that counts as tree porn. Wondering when the Red Sox will wake up, finally, like the non-budding trees, and then thinking, What if the Red Sox never wake up? What if the trees never bud? What does that mean about the environment?

Wondering about the environment is always depressing, so instead, I wonder if the Red Sox don’t wake up this season and the next, is that the start of another 86-year drought? Twenty-some years from now, will some enterprising sportswriter for the Boston Globe write a book about the Curse of the Ellsbury-bino? And then send his children to college with the money he makes?

Will there be a Boston Globe 20 years from now? What will a pint of ice cream cost 20 years from now? $100? Yeah, it sounds expensive, but the poverty line will be $100,000 a year.

Some would say it already is.

Stopping daydreaming is easy when you have a computer. Playing Donkey Hotey on the computer, in which one player must donkey Miles Standish while the other windmills around like a fool on wheels — a description that befits most American drivers. Or at least Illinois kids driving in Iowa City.

Then discovering somebody else on the Internet has created Donkeyhotey. Who knew? Well, everyone but me, apparently.

I hate it when people steal my puns. There should be some pun-ishment for that.

Speaking of crime, did you know that the United States has more people imprisoned than any other nation? The U.S. has 5 percent of the world’s population, and it also claims 25 percent of the world’s prisoners — 2.3 million, if you’re counting. China has a population a gazillion times ours (well, OK, four times, roughly), and it comes in second at 1.6 million prisoners.

In 1972, the United States had 350,000 prisoners. In 2010, 2.3 million. Hmm.

And from 1988-2008, U.S. crime rates declined by 25 percent.

So crime rates decrease, but the number of prisoners increases?

This is why I don’t daydream about crime. (From Daily Kos, statistics from Justice Policy Institute.)

And why I don’t daydream about the environment (budding yet, trees?). A 2009 poll put the United States next to last in answering this question: Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals. In other words, do you believe in evolution.

Not much, Americans; 40 percent said yes, 40 percent said no, and 20 percent said don’t know or unsure.

Only Turkey kept the United States from finishing last among the 18 countries, which were pretty much from Europe, plus Japan (80 percent of the Japanese thought evolution was true).

Iceland was first at 82 percent, followed by Denmark, Sweden, and France at 80 percent. But evolution is just a theory, 40 percent of Americans say. Yeah, they’re right. Gravity is just a theory, too.

This is why I quit daydreaming. And, no, Virginia, the trees are still not budding.


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