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October 4, 2012

Life's puzzling moments ...

CATHERINE LAKE ELLSWORTH
IN THESE OTSEGO HILLS

---- — We have long thought there is much about life over which one might wish to puzzle. But of late, if what comes through our email and what people tell us in person and what we experience firsthand is any indication, those things over which one might wish to puzzle are on the rise. For example, we recently received an e-mail which stated “...I’m more convinced than ever that local governments are the last bastion of democracy...” Yikes! If this is true we have to wonder why we are going to bother to vote in November as there are only state and federal candidates on the ballot where democracy evidently no longer exists.

Nonetheless, the November election is proceeding as evidenced by any number of postings we have encountered on Facebook. In fact, the political rantings of many of the Facebook postings have led us to hide a number of friends until after the election, including the one who had the following comment posted to her Facebook page: “Yeah we’re having a sign war on our block. Right wing (expletive) have signs now!” It was not exactly news we needed to know.

Of course, we were also perplexed when someone mentioned to us, what he saw as rather ironic, that fact that the boardwalk in Lakefront Park is made of what was perceived to be some sort of composition building material as opposed to real wood. And while we would think using 21st century technology to extend the life of the boardwalk while at the same time reducing maintenance to a minimum would make sense, we do think it flies in the face of the seeming goals of the village’s Architectural Review and Historic Preservation Board. Of course, we hasten to point out that the boardwalk is in no way historic and thus no doubt does not have to try and preserve any history whatsoever.

We are also puzzling over an aspect of our recent annual check-up at Bassett. The added attraction this year to such a visit is that we were told in no uncertain terms that we had to choose a healthy lifestyle goal which could be duly entered into our electronic medical record. To aid in choosing such a goal we were presented with a list of options, all of which we decided we either already did or were not inclined to do. Of course, we suppose we could have chosen to eliminate sugary drinks if it were not for the fact that we were not completely certain what might fall into that particular category. If it referred to soda, we would have taken that goal in a heartbeat as we try to avoid soda as much as possible. But if it referred to our pineapple juice, which we note has more sugar than soda, we were not interested.

In fact, we weren’t interested in the whole thing. But, when we were told we had to do it, we elected to make our healthy lifestyle goal to live to be one hundred because each year when we return for our annual check-up, it will be easy to see that we are still working on our goal. We must say that at the time of our visit to Bassett we thought this new requirement of a healthy lifestyle goal was probably related to some governmental directive. And sure enough, it took very little investigation to discover it is part of some government wellness program which evidently increases the government’s reimbursement rates for providers that participate. Democracy may be local, but it seems that health care isn’t.

We have also been puzzling of late by what we think is the current pipeline hysteria which produces comments such as “People don’t travel to see a pipeline,” thus noting the devastating effect the proposed Constitution pipeline might have on the area. And while we would agree that people don’t travel to see a pipeline, we have to think that a pipeline will not deter tourists either because if it did we tend to think the country would be pretty much devoid of tourism.

According to our quick online research, the proposed Constitution pipeline would add another 120 miles or so to the already existing 2.4 million miles of pipelines in the country. Of these, 160,868 miles of pipelines carry hazardous liquids while 298,133 miles of pipeline gather natural gas from wells and another 1,848,980 miles of pipelines distribute the natural gas to consumers.

Additionally there are about 55,000 miles of oil pipelines which connect regional markets and another 30,000-40,000 miles of oil pipelines which gather oil from the oil fields.

Thus, we really rather doubt that the construction of a new pipeline is goingto substantially alter the fact that the country is criss-crossed many, many times with existing pipelines. In fact, given what we know about pipelines, we should be much more concerned about the fact that we need to replace aging pipelines, which are the most likely to cause problems, with new pipelines. Thus we find opposition to replacing existing pipelines even more egregious than opposing completely new pipelines.

And finally, perhaps our most puzzling communication of all, was the email we received which informed us that: “Bolivia is to become the first country in the world to give comprehensive legal rights to Earth. It was developed by grassroots social groups and agreed to by politicians in an effort to halt climate change and the exploitation of the natural world, and to improve quality of life for the Bolivian people. Once fully approved, The Law of Mother Earth will provide the Earth with rights to: life and regeneration; biodiversity and freedom from genetic modification; pure water; clean air; naturally balanced systems; restoration from the effects of human activity; and freedom from contamination.”

And since we think to accomplish these goals it will be necessary to eliminate the entire population of the world, this undertaking by Bolivia has the potential to interfere severely with our stated healthy lifestyle goal.

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer St., Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326, by telephone at 547-8124 or by email at cellsworth1@stny.rr.com