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<b>CHILLY RECEPTION:</b>  This iceberg, larger than it looks here, was floating near Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier when photographer Sue De Lapa sailed by. According to one theory, icebergs could be towed to California to alleviate droughts. Maybe.

Sue De Lapa

CHILLY RECEPTION: This iceberg, larger than it looks here, was floating near Alaska’s Hubbard Glacier when photographer Sue De Lapa sailed by. According to one theory, icebergs could be towed to California to alleviate droughts. Maybe.


Icebergs to the Rescue

Towing Ice and Other Wacky Notions


COLD COMFORT? So far, I haven’t heard new calls to tow icebergs down from Alaska, something we explored during the last drought. With the current heat wave, they might just melt before getting here.

Believe it or not, the idea has been floated (sorry for the pun) for at least a couple of centuries; Europeans once considered harvesting Antarctic ice to irrigate global deserts. But so far, the zany concept has never been able to hold water. (Sorry, again.)

In 1956, John Isaacs of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, known as the godfather of modern iceberg towing, proposed “capturing an eight-ton iceberg, 20 miles long, 2,000 feet wide and 1,000 feet deep in Antarctica and towing it to San Clemente Island” off the coast of California and then desalinating it. (How, I’m not sure.) The chilly voyage would take 200 days, Isaacs estimated. Never happened.

In 1972, two RAND Corporation researchers claimed that it made more sense economically to tow bergs from Antarctica than to pump H₂O south from Northern California under the state water plan. Tugs, they explained, would lasso bergs, cover them with enormous “quilts” to reduce erosion, and tow trains of them to Southern California. There, the bergs would be anchored offshore, quarried into chunks to be hauled ashore on conveyor belts.

Barney Brantingham

No one took Isaacs or the RAND smarties up on the idea, but who knows, maybe its time has come. Santa Barbara Harbor might make a likely anchor, eh?

NEVER MIND: Then there’s the other wacko idea of pumping water from the north, charging suckers like us millions, and then not delivering it when drought strikes. South Coast water districts and the City of Santa Barbara got suckered into the state water boondoggle, promoted by hucksters and their lawyers, who hooted off Cassandra-like warnings.

It’s cost taxpayers millions, and as of today, the spigot is dry. We’re on our own, and nary a word is heard from the “water buffalos” who promoted the scheme and got rich doing it.

Years ago, it was proposed to unify the coast into one cooperative, efficient water entity. It made sense but never happened due to selfish rivalries. No one wanted to partner up. RIP Cachuma.

There are cheaper solutions, of course, like conservation and living within our means.

But for now, Santa Barbarans are waiting for: (1) Cachuma to spill, or (2) if that doesn’t happen by spring, City Council to okay desal, which at last report would kick in by the summer of 2016.

WACKY TITLES: Titles gleaned from this year’s Planned Parenthood book sale are wilder and more bizarre than ever. Mary Brown forwarded a few that volunteers came across while preparing for the Earl Warren Showgrounds sale starting today, Thursday, September 18, at 5 p.m. It’s $30 for opening night and then free through September 28.

Here are a few titles:

A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown

A Poet’s Guide to the Bars

Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures

How to Pee Standing Up: Tips for Hip Chicks

Your Nose and Personality

It’s Hard to Fight Naked

It’s Just a Plant: A Children’s Story About Marijuana

Mud Pies and Other Recipes for Dolls

Normal Is Just a Setting on Your Dryer

Thinking Tuna Fish, Talking Death: Essays on the Pornography of Power

Shot an Elephant in My Starched Pajamas and Other Astounding Facts About Starch

Knock Yourself Up: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom

The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods

Don’t Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them Taters Got Eyes

Be Bold with Bananas

And, finally, a chewed-up copy of Everything You Need to Know to Train Your Jack Russell Terrier.

HOT MUSIC: Camerata Pacifica is back for a 25th season, and if you think founder Adrian Spence is running out of program ideas, you should have been at Hahn Hall Friday night. Franz Schubert’s Piano Trio No. 2 was a wild, sweaty affair (at least as wild as you can get with a piano, cello, and violin).

Poor Franz, like many a genius, was so poor he couldn’t afford to marry or even buy a piano until he was nearly dead. He died at 31, but his name will live forever (I hope) for his Unfinished Symphony.



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