Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Vodka Is One Way to Weather a Drought

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Vodka Is One Way to Weather a Drought

Article excerpt

It doesn't rain, but it pours. What I am talking about is the national media coverage of the drought in California, where pouring rain is only a dream.

Not to be outdone by The New York Times, it is time to file my own report about the situation in the drought-racked state.

Apparently I live in California only when drought conditions apply. I left more than 20 years ago in the midst of a drought, when the state motto seemed to be "If it's yellow, let it mellow" (sorry, I don't know the Latin for that). The dry spell ended soon after I left, but I returned in March to another drought.

This raises the concern that perhaps I am my own weather system. It is true that my wit is dry in all seasons. I can also blow hot or cold and can be gusty on occasion.

If concerned citizens of California were to raise sufficient funds, I might be persuaded to leave again so the heavens could open, but the state may need more help than that. Mother Nature seems pretty cheesed off with the planet in general and California in particular.

The media attention is not wrong. California does have a serious problem. But as with many issues that become a national media focus, sometimes context and perspective are lost. This explains why Pittsburgh friends jokingly offer to send water to me out here.

Get serious, folks. Send vodka. That is the better liquid for mulling the water shortage. I am not sure how you would send water anyway. It would make for a soggy care package.

This concern, however, underscores a bigger problem. The way people in the East now seem to regard California reminds me of an old cowboy song, recorded by a number of artists, as long ago as the '40s:

All day I've faced a barren waste

Without the taste of water, cool water

Old Dan and I with throats burnt dry

And souls that cry for water

Cool, clear, water (water!)

Now, I can't speak for Old Dan, but that is not how things are exactly in my part of California, on the Central Coast between Monterey and Salinas. True, we are not frolicking in fountains. We take short showers and limit ourselves to one rubber ducky per family member. …

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