Our Strange Brave New World

In January, The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) successfully executed a groundbreaking porcine heart transplant procedure in a human. This was the first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig’s heart into a human patient.
– dicardiology.com (February 16, 2022)

A question of where your heart is
There are so many interesting angles to muse over with this story. Humans using the parts of animals when theirs begin to fail. The ethical dilemmas are many and as usual they are rarely pondered. Is this how we will finally find immortality by harvesting the body parts of pigs? How do vegetarians and vegans feel about this? But the most important question is: what did they do with the rest of the pig? Did the heart transplant patient, a 57-year-old Maryland resident David Bennett, get to take the rest of the pig home, invite his friends over, and have a tasty barbeque on Super Bowl Sunday?

The Dutch city of Rotterdam on Thursday walked back plans to dismantle part of the historic Koningshaven Bridge so that a superyacht built for Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, could pass through the city’s river, saying that a decision had not yet been made.
Rotterdam May Dismantle Part of Bridge for Jeff Bezos’ Superyacht (February 2, 2022)

Jeff Bezos’ Superyacht
When I read this story I could not help but imagine a cartoon. Jeff Bezos, with his bald head, draped with his super-model girlfriend, is looking at his computer at the website amazon.com trying to find a “bridge mover.” The caption reads: “What? No Prime Free Shipping on bridge movers?”

That someone can buy and actually needs a 500 million dollar yacht simply speaks to our strange gilded age and the extraordinary wealth inequalities. That a superyacht was built without figuring out how it would make it to open water is pretty funny, considering that the owner is the supply chain master of the world. Maybe Mr. Bezos should buy a copy of Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel?

Does anyone know what time it is?
– Middle-age man shouting in the returns line at Home Depot

Shouting Lyrics from songs from the 1970s
I recently was at Home Depot returning some tiles. The line was about five deep. People with their boxes of spare parts, odds and ends  that they needed to return. Next to me was a middle-age white fellow. He looked like he did physical work and appeared a bit tired. He had that sort of ruddy uneven tan that you get not from a vacation in the sun but by working outside and coming home to down a six pack of domestic  beer. After about 3 minutes while the line went nowhere he shouted out: “does anyone know what time it is?”. I simply could not help myself as I shouted – “does anyone really care?” As usual, no one got my joke and just did their best to avoid eye contact with me. What has the world come to?

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