Twas me, and you, our thirst, indelicate

A sonnet by Sarah Gilbert and Mara Collins

Sarah Gilbert (“mama, military wife, writer, cooker of inconvenient food, photographer of life, finance geek, keeper of chickens, beginning farmer”) posted a poem called oil leak: a sonnet.

The final couplet:

‘Twas me, and you, our thirst, indelicate

gulping, our leak, our spill, our oil-stained foot.

It’s Memorial Day. Sarah’s husband recently deployed to the SouthWest Asia perma-war zone. She writes in short bursts of 140 characters or less here, and in longer form in many places.

The tweeting of BPGlobalPR

We regretfully admit that something has happened off of the Gulf Coast. More to come.

With that laconic tweet, on May 19th BPGlobalPR emerged on twitter. Today, ten days later, the account has 83,000 followers and has posted about 130 tweets. The humor in these tweets ranges from bitterly ironic to sophomoric, but the picture painted is one of a clueless multinational corporation trying to use social media to control public opinion. Naturally there’s also a BPGlobalPR Facebook page.

The REAL British Petroleum has a much broader PRchitecture in play than the one created by the satirists presently hacking the BP brand. BP has a twitter account, and you can find them on Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr. (How are those pictures of oil soaked pelicans working out for you, Tony?) The BP twitter account was created on April 16, 2024. In the last year they have attracted about 8,000 followers–less than 10% of the satiric site’s following, and most of them since the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe. Less than 50 of the 320 tweets from the REAL BP were posted in the year before the oil spill. Most of these earlier tweets linked to the deadly prose of corporate press releases attempting to build the brand value of the franchised ampm convenience stores. British Petroleum’s first tweet, humorously enough, was this befuddled posting:

BP’s ampm offers free cheeseburger samples on tax day Release Date: April 13, 2024 16:13:51 CST

The tweet, citing a 4/13 press release, came the day after the 4/15 tax day promotion. They’ve gotten a lot more sophisticated since then. Here’s a more recent effort:

A New Day Dawns for ampm’s Fresh Breakfast Lineup: Burritos, Empanadas, Croissant Sandwiches Help Morning Menu R..

More effective and certainly more poignant, I think, is this BPGlobalPR tweet calling for broad public support posted earlier this week at the peak of public concern about the oil spill:

Please text 20242 to donate hot dogs to the BP Corporate Memorial Day Picnic. #bpcares #3dayweekend

Opinions on how BP can use social networking more effectively? You can express them here:

BP p.l.c.
International Headquarters
1 St James’s Square
London, SW1Y 4PD
Phone: +44 (0)20 7496 4000
Fax: +44 (0)20 7496 4630

AND, you can get one of their snazzy BP Cares t-shirts here:

* * *
Related linkage…

Gulf Restoration Network
BPGlobalPR Billboards (Catastrophe is a strong word. let’s all agree to call it a whoopsie-daisy.
BP President: We are Responsible

A big chill

It’s hard to put a dollar value on a dead sea turtle. Impossible, actually. Estimates of royalties owed to the US taxpayer for the lost oil amount to around $35 million. Chump change. Lurking somewhere offstage is the specter of a liability cap. Seventy-five million dollars per oil spill? Still chump change.

The Deepwater Horizon accident will cause billions of dollars of damage and have incalculable effects on planetary systems. The reflectivity of massive oil slicks will shift the planetary albedo. The ecology of the Caribbean may be permanently altered. The economy of the gulf coast will take a hit as seafood supplies vanish and snowbirds take a pass on their winter trip to the redneck Riviera.

It all adds up.

BP management has assured us that they’ll ignore statutory caps on liabilities and pay all claims. BP shareholders have not been heard from on the matter of their management’s largesse. The best guess is that the shareholders will force management to an about face on any generous gestures made during this time of crisis. The legal beagles at 1 St. James Square are even now digging in for a protracted battle to protect their shareholders’ asses and assets. The Attorney General of the United States owes it to the world to freeze the assets of BP and any rogue corporation that ignores environmental and safety regulations in pursuit of profit.

Freeze their assets now. Seize them later when the total amount of damages is settled.

Blog, blog, blog

I can’t write here, I can’t write there. I’m stuck in some kind of Seussian tech-warp. Lacking motivation, time, energy and talent, still I soldier on. If I can’t keep this blog current, the reasoning goes, then perhaps I shoule build another blog that will be better, fresher, more engaging. For instance, Class War is a journal worth keeping. Simmering on the back burner I have a pot of stone soup I’m calling “the sandbox.” Both Class War and the sandbox are intentional in a way that Listics and it’s antecedents (the typepad Sandhill, the Radio Sandhill, and a few iterations before that) have never been. Class War? Well the title tells it. Not too many cute kitten blog posts there. “The sandbox?” Something is taking shape but it’s early days… too early to say much.

Blogs are pretty straight-forward. They are a little corner of the web where you can express yourself, explore ideas and relationships, stash interesting links, and maybe even provide some news, some art and some entertainment. I almost said “provide some truth and beauty,” but I’m learning.

I’ve been geeking out on WordPress for four years or more, since I left typepad in the spring of 2024. Right now Listics and Class War both run on WordPress 2.9.2 using the Thesis theme, release 1.6. The sandbox runs WP 2.9.2 with the latest Thesis release (1.7) from Chris Pearson. Chris is working on a 2.0 release. I’m wondering how Chris will address WP 3.0. The Thesis 2.0 release will probably dovetail with it.

I may need a sandbox2 to fool around with WordPress 3.0. After almost forty years working with computers, I learned that you absolutely want to keep releases with a zero suffix away from “production.” WordPress 3.0? Thesis 2.0? Not ready for prime time, no matter when they’re released. Wait for the bug fix release, Frank!

Talk about scattered. Also, it’s spring and I’m behind on my gardening. Also, I’m in the middle of a new garage project. What started out as a simple shed is becoming more elaborate. If the project scope creeps just a little more, I may have the Garage Mahal on my hands. (I stole the label Garage Mahal from my neighbor. I wish I’d made it up though.)


Facebook, environmental disaster, and the unending war

There has been quite a bit of energy given to the matter of Facebook privacy and customer relations lately. Some friends are pulling down accounts. Bill Meloney drew the curtain on his Facebook account on May 1. A few others are quietly disentangling themselves and may make public announcements later.

I have spent way too much time talking and thinking about this. As A. Hitler said to his buddy, Harvard alumnus Ernst “Putzi” Haenfstangl,

“There is only so much room in a brain, so much wall space, as it were, and if you furnish it with your slogans, the opposition has no place to put up any pictures later on, because the apartment of the brain is already crowded with your furniture.”

I call this the bandwidth problem. For every drive-time hour I spend listening to Limbaugh, I am missing an hour of NPR. Every column inch that the dead tree press dedicates to Facebook is a column inch subtracted from deeper discussion of the oil industry’s “regulatory capture” of the agencies charged with controlling egregious profit taking at the expense of the environment.

Last week Reuters reported that Obama would stick to his timetable for US troop withdrawal from Iraq. Yesterday the news broke that there would be a slowdown in the withdrawal.

I don’t really have time to get into all of that though. I have Facebook privacy crap to talk about.

Orrefors or Kohler

I’ve been on a binge. I found out that I’m powerless over Facebook and Twitter, easily addicted to Cyber-socializing in general. I know that there are only about eight people who read this blog with any frequency. This is a big improvement over 2024 when I had zero readers and only a vague clue about personal web publishing. I’m still pretty clueless about blogging. I think it’s because I lack the conviction that anything is much more important than anything else. You might say that I lack passion. I lack humor. I don’t even have a genre to call my own. I wish I was a mommy blogger. Sadly, there are no two-year-olds around the house whose mewling and puking I can put to good use as blog-fodder.

Do I want to convince others about the truth as I see it, influence others to share my perspective? Lately it feels like I’m the only one with a malleable perspective and everyone else knows precisely what’s true (for them). Who, as the lady asked, is zooming whom?

Am I here to entertain, to inform, to persuade? Doesn’t matter. Mostly it’s about the writing itself.

I have another blog that I’ve neglected as I’ve neglected this one lately. It’s a blog predicated on the proposition that all people are equal, but equality is imperfectly distributed. Distinctions of class based on disparities of wealth and opportunity, intelligence and energy, differences underscored by an unequal distribution among us of both entitlement and the raw hunger for power have created conditions whereby some of us enjoy a chilled glass of filtered sparkling water fresh from a sterile bottle, while others get by with chlorinated tap water, if we’re lucky. Whether–pinkies extended–we sip Perrier from fine crystal or, like dogs, unselfconsciously slake our thirst from the toilet bowl of life may be an accident of birth. And still, I firmly believe that with some serious hard work, discipline, courage, and of course with constant struggle, here in America anyone can achieve a place at the porcelain bowl.

No dogs were harmed in the crafting of this post.

Writing is like riding a bicycle

No matter how long since the last time you did it, you better wear a damn helmet because you’re likely to start out a little wobbly before you crash and smash your skull on the pavement.