– Preamble: So, What’s the Point? –
Fiction is the lie through which we tell the truth.
– Albert Camus
Everyone in Bellingham Washington remembers where they were on that lazy, innocent summer afternoon of June 10, 1999. It is the local equivalent to September 11th 2001…if you’re of my generation, the day of the JFK assassination:
A gasoline pipeline operated by Olympic Pipeline Company exploded in Bellingham, Washington’s Whatcom Falls Park. The gasoline vapors exploded at 5:02, sending a fireball down Whatcom Creek.
– The Bellingham Herald
My first impression was, because of the magnitude and the obvious involvement of some kind of petroleum accelerant, perhaps it was the aftermath of a commercial jet crash. But a gas-filled time-bomb-pipeline? Impossible you say? Out of the realm of possibility?
I would not experience that same level of violation…and outrage until 9/11…
For more on the topic of corporate greed and governmental malfeasance…and yes, outrage, and what you can do about it, please visit: http://howardbeale.org “Outrage is Contagious…Catch It Here and Become a Carrier”.
With the exception of notable historical figures, all the characters are fictitious–any resemblance to the bad guys, living or dead, is purely coincidental…unless it ain’t. The main protagonist Michaelangelo Kozlov bears more than a casual resemblance to the author…insofar as the similitude and abundance of disturbing foibles and irritating eccentricities.
Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia…
– E.L. Doctorow (January 6, 1931– July 21, 2015) RIP
So the story is somewhat of a hybrid…between non-fiction and fiction…or fiction-ish. Hence, a novel-ish.
It is a microcosm expanded to the what-if larger scenario of man’s indefatigable hubris. A cautionary parable of the worship of industry, technology and oblivious reliance on fossil fuel, despite imperative warnings of 97% of the credible scientific climate community. The idiot light on the dashboard is now frantically flashing red, admonishing us to shut down the engine of greenhouse gases…before any more irreparable damage is done. It is the tragic replay…over and over again…of the Greek mythos of Nemesis, (Gr. to pay what is due) divine retribution for man’s hubris as he blithely allows the slow systematic Matricide of Gaia.
And in someways, this is my ‘Russian Novel’…a dark, Slavic melancholy morality play…panoramic in scope with lots and lots of characters over an ambitious time line….my contemporary take on Boris Pasternak’s brilliant pre/post-revolution epic Dr Zhivago…as may have been told by Mel Brooks.
– Preface…A Brief History Primer –
Woo ah, mercy mercy me
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east
Woo mercy, mercy me, mercy father
Ah things ain’t what they used to be, no no
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas, fish full of mercury…
– Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology) – Marvin Gaye 1971
Renaissance, Original Italian: (Rinascimento, from rinascere “to be reborn”) was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the 14th to the 17th century considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history.
It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period, later spread to the rest of Europe and finally ended in the Early Modern Age. Although the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the later 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced.
In politics, the Renaissance contributed the development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation.
( 1571–1610) The Bad Boy of the Renaissance Italian painters was active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily, during The Italian Renaissance, between 1592 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.
Caravaggio led a tumultuous life. An inveterate, promiscuous rascal, he was notorious for brawling, even in a time and place when such behavior was commonplace. The transcripts of his police records and trial proceedings fill several pages.
The Gilded Age in United States history is the late 19th century, from the 1870s to about 1900. The term was coined by writer Mark Twain in The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today (1873), which satirized an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding.
The Gilded Age was an era of rapid economic growth, especially in the North and West. American wages, especially for skilled workers, were much higher than in Europe, which attracted millions of immigrants. The increase of industrialization meant, despite the increasing labor force, real wages in the US grew 60% from 1860 to 1890, and continued to rise after that. However, the Gilded Age was also an era of poverty and inequality as very poor European immigrants poured in and wealth became highly concentrated. Railroads were the major industry, but the factory system, mining, and finance increased in importance.
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the 1930s. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; however, in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century.
Worldwide GDP fell by 15% from 1929 to 1932. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how far the world’s economy can decline. The depression originated in the United States, after the fall in stock prices that began around September 4, 1929, and became worldwide news with the stock market crash of October 29, 1929 (known as Black Tuesday).
The Great Depression had devastating effects in countries rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%, and in some countries rose as high as 33%.
The Great Recession was the general economic decline observed in world markets around the end of the first decade of the 21st century. The exact scale and timing of the recession is debated and varied from country to country. In terms of overall impact, the IMF concluded that it was the worst global recession since World War II. According to the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research (the official arbiter of U.S. recessions) the U.S. recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, and thus extended over 19 months. The Great Recession was related to the U.S. financial crisis of 2007–08 and subprime mortgage crisis of 2007–09.
Global Warming and climate change are terms for the observed century-scale rise in the average temperature of the Earth’s climate system and its related effects.
Multiple lines of scientific evidence show that the climate system is warming caused by human (anthropogenic) activities. Although the increase of near-surface atmospheric temperature is the measure of global warming often reported in the popular press, most of the additional energy stored in the climate system since 1970 has gone into ocean warming. The remainder has melted ice, and warmed the continents and atmosphere. Many of the observed changes since the 1950s are unprecedented over decades to millennia.