Merry Minuet




It was nearly eight decades ago that the U.S. unleashed the “Genie in the Bottle” when a B-29 bomber dropped the first (and hopefully the last) atom bombs ever used in war over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, killing 120,000 people instantly and another 80,000 who slowly succumbed to radiation exposure.


Japan’s almost immediate surrender quickly ended World War II, thus preventing continued destruction and the deaths of thousands more soldiers and civilians. And it ignited a painful moral debate that continues to this day, as to whether these ghastly actions were justified or not.


And yet the devastation wrought by “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” is but a pittance when compared with today’s nuclear warheads, some of which are 3,000 times the power of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.


Like it or not, today we are faced with the possibility of another conflagration. Some call it Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD). Yes, the very thought is maddening.


The whole world is festering with unhappy souls, the French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles, Italians hate the Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch, and I don’t like anybody very much.


But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud for man’s been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud, and we know for certain that some lovely day someone will set the spark off and we will all be blown away. (“Merry Minuet” – Kingston Trio – 1959)


Keeping in mind that nine nations – including North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, China and Russia, to mention a few – currently have over 15,000 nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, the nuclear threat remains real, not to mention that so-called “loose” Cold War era warheads may be in the hands of terrorist organizations.


As we sit on the doorstep of “MAD,” isn’t it ironic that Crestline has officially been named a City of Peace? During this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, in addition to all the backyard barbeques, yard sales, lake opening, beach play and memorial services, perhaps it might help if we pray for peace for all of mankind.


Have you looked around Crestline and other mountaintop communities lately? It’s bad enough that Edison is cutting down trees at a record pace, instead of burying their cables, but now the trees are once again succumbing to the bark beetles, with dead and dying brown pine needles?


Sad but true, dozens of tall and formerly mighty pines along Lake Drive and many other locations have fallen prey to the voracious appetite of the bark beetle. The climate change deniers have got it all wrong. Not only is air pollution killing us, but with only scant winter and spring rainfall, the creeks are drying up and trees are sapped of their lifeblood (sap), which in turn invites bark beetles, and now the frogs and toads along the banks of Seely Creek have disappeared. It seems that old Mother Nature is getting revenge for the apparent mismanagement of our natural resources.


They’re rioting in Africa, there’s strife in Iran. What nature doesn’t do to us will be done by our fellow man. (Kingston Trio)


Keep it flyin’, Uncle Mott