A Nation Mesmerized: Can BP Plug the Gulf Gusher?

Monkey Fist
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May 29, 2010

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imageAn egret lands on boom at Bayou Caddy in Hancock County on Thursday, May 27, 2010 as efforts continue to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. (AP Photo/The Sun Herald, James Edward Bates)  story »

The idea of spending this holiday weekend in a dusty, pine-fresh camp out by the lake here in imageMaine is unthinkable. 

The sparkling frigid water holds no allure.  I have no desire to hike up Douglas Mountain to gaze out over Sebago.

Outdoors doesn’t get much more perfect than it is here right now in northern New England, but I’m not going anywhere.

Anywhere that doesn’t have 24 hour cable news and internet, that is.

I, like most of you I would imagine, and hell, most of the nation… am hoping this might be the weekend that “something happens”.  We will click on the tv, and see the flashing red breaking news banner that says “Deepwater Horizon Oil Volcano Staunched”.

Then there would be time to toss a few burgers on the grill, go search the roadside stands for the perfect corn, grab a couple sixes of Shipyard Summer Ale and bury them in ice on the porch, fire up the garden hose and blast the pollen off the cars and the deck…  Partake of whatever crypto-pagan  “it is now officially summer” rituals that imagemake it real for us. If only.

I heard a bit on television the other day that there are folks admitting they are so addicted to watching the streaming BP well-head cam that they rise from their beds in the middle of the night just to check it and see if anything’s changed.  While I won’t confess to being quite that obsessed, my daytime routine certainly has changed since this all started.  I know mariners that admit to a new-found obsessive compulsion to read every article that’s posted.  Now that they are exceeding twelve thousand every 24-hour news cycle, that’s become unwieldy.

I also heard that hotel and resort reservations for establishments on the Gulf are being cancelled with every ring of the phone.  Now, me personally, if I had plans to travel there, you couldn’t keep my ass away.  That would be a vacation to remember.  Imagine the instructive value to children, staring out off the balcony and seeing that sludge washing ashore.  Disaster Tourism, there ya go.  You and your family can be witnesses to history.  Imprint a permanent smell-memory.

Sometime this holiday weekend, make a point of going to commune with your favorite body of water and take a moment to tell it how thankful you are his mess isn’t happening there. 

How has your routine changed since you first heard that the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico was in flames?  How has conversation amongst your family members, neighbors and co-workers been re-structured since this story broke?   Until we get the “good news,” let’s take a moment to exchange thoughts on how this has all affected us.

Update: Oh, well. So much for that…

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LA TIMES: BP acknowledged the failure Saturday of its three-day effort to tamp down oil gushing from a blown out well and began work on a new operation to install a set of valves and pipe to pump oil to a surface ship.

"After three full days, we have been unable to stop the flow from the well, so we now believe it is time to move on to another option," said BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, who cautioned that the new effort would be "a very complex operation."

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