Anecdotal Evidence of the End of Days

Throughout time every society has thought that the end of times was just around the corner. The world is a resilient place and thus far everyone has been wrong. I am not ready to gather a cult of followers and move to the middle of nowhere to wait for the end of days. In addition I don’t intend to put on a tinfoil hat and hold up a sign that reads “the end is near”. I just wanted to point out something’s that make me wonder. I intend to ramble about anecdotal evidence rather than provide statistics and other proof to my statements. I suspect if I cared enough I could indeed find some statistics that would support my claims. At the same time I don’t care that much.

Yesterday I noticed a bumble bee hanging around my potted citrus tree. At the time I thought it was odd that it was the first bumble bee I have seen all summer. I haven not seen any monarch butterflies this summer either. It seems as though the attractive insects have been disappearing over the years.

I have also noted the number of rabbits have been steadily declining over the years. I rarely see rabbits anymore. This time five years ago I might go for a walk and see twenty our more.

On a national level I have noted more and more articles about strange natural occurrences. The lobster population has increased dramatically. This has been attributed to global warming. Jelly fish are increasing in numbers as well. I have read other articles about the increase in lion fish.

Again, I have no scientific facts or statistics to back up any claim. I just think it is odd. Perhaps, this is simply evalution or part of the cycle of life. Animal populations have always varied. Some animals are destined to fail. I am sure the world will get by without Ivory Billed Woodpeckers and Giant Pandas. We also seem to be doing fine without Dinosaurs and Saber Toothed Tigers.

Yet, it all makes me uneasy. It seems as though I am not alone in recognizing this trend. “This is the End” was a comedy that came out this summer about the end of days. This weekend “The World’s End” comes out. Although, I am looking forward to seeing the movie, I loved “Shaun of the dead”, I am worried. I think these movies reflect a collective consciousness of concern.

I am not suggesting to save money and buy the paint with a 10 year versus a 20 year warranty. I believe the world has plenty of good years left. I just find some of my observations disturbing. That being said if you feel the world is going to end tomorrow feel free to send me all your money since you wont be  needing it.

Even if the world is coming to an end I am not sure we can do anything about it. We can certainly recycle and cut our carbon footprint. We can stop overusing pesticides and chemical fertilizers. You, can hug a bunny if you can find one. It also wouldn’t hurt to love one another and bar your teens and tweens from listening to annoying music with swear words and no positive messages. It also can’t hurt to read more.




The Fountain Pen – A Sword in the War of Time

I am not always at a computer. Sometimes I am forced to use a pen. I am also old enough to write in cursive. This is not to show off. I understand cursive to kids today is akin to riding a dinosaur to work or listening to Neil Young on a phonograph. I use cursive when I find the need to write quickly or take notes.

Sometimes I like to use a fountain pen when I write. I do love the old fountain pens one finds at antique stores. The only problem is that they often don’t work. When one leaves ink in a pen for fifty or more years the ink tends to dry up and the pen no longer works. Certainly Mont Blanc can provide a good modern fountain pen but I don’t like to spend hundreds of dollars for an item I am likely to loose. Cross makes a nice fountain pen as well. The ink cartridges are cheap and easy to find and the pens are less expensive than Mont Blanc. They are also available at most office stores where Mont Blanc is not. Yet, even if you can get a Cross fountain pen for less than a hundred bucks (some are significantly less than fifty) it is still a drag to loose one.

Thus, I have tried a couple of cheap alternatives to see how they work. Pilot makes a disposable fountain pen called a Varsity. These pens come in a variety of colors but I have only used blue and black. I purchased them at an office supply store for less than three dollars each. I have not had one run dry before I lost it. They also flow well without getting gummed up. Pilot also makes a fountain pen called the Metropolitan that is not disposable and sells for less than twenty dollars. I have not tried this pen yet. That is partially due to the office supply store having trouble finding the cartridege number that goes with the pen. Sheaffer also makes fountain pens. I have not yet tried any but have had luck with their other prodcuts.

I just purchased a Zebra V-301 fountain pen at a Walgreens in Wisconsin. It was less than six dollars and more substantial than the disposable pen. I am not sure of the availability of cartridges since this was the first time I have seen this product. I have used other Zebra pens with success.

I have found a number of problems with fountain pens in general. They do take a moment for the ink to dry so the ink can smear on the page. Over time it is possible to get fountain pens gummed up. This includes some of the more expensive brands. The old pens with an ink sac often have the ink solidify and the pen may need to have surgery.

I would not recommend the exclusive use of fountain pens. I love roller ball, felt tip, and ball point pens. These types of pens are all inexpensive and do a great job. Yet, sometimes I feel nostalgic or just like a different look to my writing.

There is also a bit of luxury associated with a fountain pen. A quartz watch may keep as good if not better time than a luxury Swiss timepiece but it is not the same. In some ways the whole concept of writing seems old fashioned with computers and all. A fountain pen feels like a good way to strike back at technology.