Sunday, March 2, 2014

Turtle Dynasty

To a Midwesterner, this is probably one of the most bizarre stories about Clean Line Energy Investor.   Like most good billionaires, Michael Zilkha has a philanthropic side.  He supports the Turtle Conservancy.  Actually Michael Zilkha is on the board of the Turtle Conservancy.   Surely the Turtle Conservancy does some good deeds as an advocate of all turtles great and small.  Without a question turtles, like many bird or bat species, need protection.  Like eagles, turtles can be rare and exotic.  This is not a knock on turtles or their advocacy. 

What makes this story odd is the sociology of the .1% of society and the media that covers such socialites.  It appears Michael Zilkha is a co-host of the Turtle Ball, a New York City hotel fund raiser for the Turtle Conservancy.  Last week was the second annual Turtle Ball.  Last year was the inaugural ball.  Vanity Fair covered last week’s ball.  A British tabloid also covered the Turtle Ball.  For those who might have missed it, here’s some pics of the Turtle Ball.   As one looks at these pictures more and more, one gets the sense New York City socialites live in a strange fairy tale land.  Perhaps, Zilkha and the other organizers of the Turtle Ball have a knack for exploiting this part of society for fund raising.

Looking at the pictures and the Facebook pages.  It is quite the party.   Zilkha deserves some credit.  He knows how to throw a good party with New York City social elites, B List “stars” and artists.  How many of these people are actually passionate about turtle or how many are here because it’s a good time and potentially good for a struggling career?

Here’s a quote from the Vanity Fair article.
“I’ve seen sea turtles in the wild. I went scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef,” she said, although her closest encounter with turtles was much closer to home. “I owned two from Chinatown, who lived far longer than they were supposed to. Up until tonight, that was my part in turtle conservancy,” XXXXX said, laughing. “They are very old now, a lot bigger. They live with a family friend; when I went off to college, I had to leave them,” she said. “I bought them in Chinatown in L.A., for five dollars.”

Another guest was quoted as saying,

“I was in a movie called The Big Blue years ago, and my payment (that I asked for) was to go to where they were shooting the dolphins, and be able to swim with them,” said XXXXXX XXXXXX. “And then I got there, and the trainer wouldn’t let me swim with the dolphins, he was, like, a total dick. And so I snuck into the dolphin cage late at night, and they got out, and I just swam with them, on my own.”
Superficial guests?

After thinking about the shallowness of the guests to the Turtle Ball, consider the conservation practices of those who live in rural America.  This last week a friend in Kansas posted pictures on Facebook.  They had a newborn calf and because of the cold weather and other difficulties the calf was brought into the house.    
Learning animal husbandry at the age of 4 on the kitchen floor trumps a Turtle Ball any day.  I saw those pictures and yes, it reminded me of my childhood.  There are few childhood memories that can be stronger as when Dad brought the calf inside.  Just seeing someone else’s pictures and remembering my own experiences make me wonder just how common that is for a child growing up on a farm.  I suspect a dad carrying the calf or lamb into the house in artic temperatures is more common childhood memory.

Just google “Calf in Kitchen” and look at the images.  This is common.  What does this have to do with Clean Line Energy?  This is the lifestyle some of us are fighting to protect, the life style of rural America, the lifestyle we chose to live.    

The Turtle Conservancy is also having an art auction as a fundraiser with online bidding.  Michael Zilkha was interviewed about the art sale at  Zilkha gives the basic advice about not buying art that doesn’t move or inspire the buyer.  He also talks about some of his favorite first edition books in his collection.   Zilkha might have learned about art from New York City, London,  

and Paris, but he doesn’t know about Midwest Art.

A one owner IH 1066 with 725 hours, now that’s a piece of art.  A 1972 John Deere 4020 with one owner 4180 hours sold for $30,000.  That is something to appreciate.  I remember watching an adjustable wide front John Deere 530 sell.  It was one of the last 2 cylinders sold before the 10 Series.  It was in beautiful condition and sold for over $5,500 twenty years ago.  That was something a person could appreciate watching it sell at an auction.     This is art and what some desire to preserve. 


That reminds me, The Sublette Toy Tractor Show is coming up March 14th to the 16th.  If you’re not   It’s an art show like you’ve never seen before.   The New York definition of “culture” and “art” is vastly different than ours.  Their definition of “conservancy” is vastly different also.  We are opposing Clean Line Energy for conservancy and maintaining our Midwestern sociology.
doing anything, come on up to Lee County, Michael.

For a moment, lets talk in NYC environmental terms.  How do you think the Rock Island Express, Grain Belt, and Plains & Eastern affects turtle conservancy Through the Midwest? Wet lands, swamps, and marshes, versus construction, stray current and voltage, how do turtles stand against these obstacles of progress for "clean" energy?

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