Friday, February 20, 2009

Lost Robes and Nuclear Power

I must admit that last Wednesday I did not substitute The Robe for Lost as promised in a previous post. My intentions were good. I had the book next to the recliner. I...............

39 hours earlier…

I just dropped my daughter and her friend off at the mall and was going to do a little shopping for myself. As I pulled into Dick's Sporting Goods I heard Dennis Prager introduce an upcoming guest on his radio show. Gwyneth Cravens was going to discuss her book concerning nuclear power.
Nuclear power. I think of my son's autobiographical descriptor on one of his blog posts, "I am a die-hard conservative, Reagan politics, pro-nuclear power, confessional Lutheran." Thinking little of the interview, I stepped out of the car, locked the door, side stepped the slush and went inside.

17 minutes later…

The automatic doors herd me out the store as I leave with more than I entered: a headache from the over-priced, under-stocked big box sporting goods store. Pulling out of the parking lot, I heard Cravens explain her initial skepticism about nuclear power and her subsequent transformation from opponent to proponent.

I’m not a numbers guy. I don’t like formulas, never understood mathematical theories, theorems and/or serums. I like that last sentence, however. The syntactic balance of phrases and the alliterative rhythm create a powerful, linguistic treasure. I’m a word guy. And this is why I found my intrigue in Cravens’ book odd.

27 hours earlier…

I reached under the lampshade and clicked on the light. Tuesday morning blackness was immediately transformed to a soft amber glow easing me into the week’s duties: logging into, grading papers, listening to excuses, challenging intellect and helping young ones grow in their ability to write, think, learn. Before any of that began I logged onto the library’s website and placed a hold on Cravens’ book, Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy

16 hours previously from the spot of the foul...

A voice on my answering machine informed me I had a book on hold.

Four-score and twenty minutes after the second overtime…

After Wednesday’s bell dismissed the building’s human contents, I headed to the library, checked out the book and journeyed home.

7 dog minutes later…

I hunkered down into my favorite reading chair, glanced at the clock and knew I had two hours before I covered myself with The Robe. As a kind of reading warm-up, I grabbed Cravens' book.

“The worst large-scale consequence of Chernobyl has been thyroid cancer in Ukrainian and Belarusian children. I am told by Dr. Stanislav Shushkevich, the first Belarusian head of state and a nuclear physicist, that every Soviet fallout shelter held a supply of potassium iodide that would have protected the children by saturating their thyroid glands, preventing the uptake of radioactive iodine-131, but that Moscow refused to allow the tablets to be distributed until it was too late and the children had already been exposed. Chernobyl was a failure not of nuclear power but of the Soviet political system.”

With those words, I was hooked. With these words from the inside cover, so will you.

“She refutes the major arguments against nuclear power one by one, making clear, for example, that a stroll through Grand Central Terminal exposes a person to more radiation than a walk of equal length through a uranium mine; that average background radiation around Chernobyl and in Hiroshima is lower than in Denver; that there are no ‘cancer clusters’ near nuclear facilities; that terrorists could neither penetrate the security at an American nuclear plant nor make an atomic bomb from its fuel; that nuclear waste can be – and already is – safely stored; that wind and solar power, while important, can meet only a fraction of the demand for electricity; that a coal plant releases more radiation than a nuclear plant and also emits deadly toxic waste that kills thousands of Americans a month; that in its fifty-year history American nuclear power has not caused a single death.”

So I didn’t read The Robe. I will. For now, I’m going to satisfy my Cravens craving and learn more about nuclear energy.

5 card-carrying, union breaks later…

As for next week, I won’t be watching Lost.
Not then, not ever.
I mean that.
I’ve expunged that show from my existence. Unlike Jack and Kate, who are now on the island but about to be shot by Jin, I won’t be back.


I promise.


Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julianne said...

Thanks Mr. Brandt, and thanks for the Star Wars allusion. I'm not quite the Star Wars fan you seem to be, so I decided to look up "Jedi."

According to Wikipedia,

"The Jedi are members of a fictional monastic order in the Star Wars galaxy created by George Lucas. Known for their observance of The Force,[1] specifically the "light side" of the force, and the rejection of the "dark side" of the Force, as well as the dark side's adherents, the Sith."

Haha...very interesting.