May 14, 2010

Every day, the headline on my local paper gives me an update on how the geologists and engineers are going to stem the flow of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. I know the engineers and the geologists brainstorming in a Houston conference room are smarter about these things than me, but when they're down to stuffing the hole full of tennis balls and used baby diapers, I think that maybe I could have come up with that suggestion in a shorter time span than three weeks.

I've been meaning to post a detailed travel log, but from Easter Sunday until the following Tuesday, our family sailed out of the lake, into the gulf. We sailed alongside dozens and dozens of boats harvesting the shrimp, oysters, and crabs. We crashed into waves and took fresh, salty spary in our faces. For 30-45 minutes, we enjoyed the company of a pod of dolphins, some of whom surfaced so close that we were looking right into each others' eyes.

I'm glad that we went when we went, because I have no clue when the water will be clean enough to have a similarly enjoyable trip. Four years? Eight? More? I tend to be pretty optimistic, but it's really hard to stay positive.

At least I can sail in a lake that's closed off by protective boom. The white sand beaches of Alabama and the Florida Gulf Coast are going to have it much worse. I love being a handful of hours from a nice beach, but when will that be true again? They cleaned Valdez-spilled oil off of rocks. How do you clean it off of grains of sand?

But there will be time to worry about that later. Right now, let's figure out how to stop the leak.

Call my a cynic, but I'm fairly convinced that BP's first priority was to try to harvest the leaking oil. They made the world wait a few days while they built a house-sized 70 ton chamber to funnel the leaking oil up to ships. But the pipe to funnel the oil up froze shut, so nothing made it up to the ships.

To me, this is success. I doubt the oil would have moved the 70-ton house. And if there's a little ice keeping the oil out of the gulf, so be it.

So I don't get why they hauled this thing out of the water and went to plan B, which I guess still hasn't worked. Headlines tonight say, "BP could begin siphoning oil leak overnight."

What the fuck?



How about we just shut the whole thing down?

Let me know where to send my dishtowels and tennis balls.