oh the irony

“So the fishermen came to receive training in how to clean up the oil spill that was creeping up on the nearby coastline. They were hoping to be hired by BP, the company blamed for the spill and responsible for cleanup efforts.” – NT Times

A disaster of Biblical proportions is unfolding there. And we don’t need one here.

I’m going to Vote No on Measure J – on shore exploratory oil drilling in Carpinteria. And if I get a chance to vote on offshore exploratory drilling near my home, I’ll vote no again.

Citizens Committee Against Paredon Initiative

a kneadful thought

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough but not baked in the same oven.

– Yiddish proverb

Boy, that’s the truth, isn’t it? Even in the small town where I’ve grown up, there’s a big disparity in values.

There are the whole grain flakes like me who care mostly about the quality of our environment and long-term flavor of life. And there are the unleavened ones, who don’t care what rises or falls, year to year, and would slice off half a loaf or more to make some short bread.

You thought I was gonna say dough, didn’t you?


waste not

I sent the following message electronically to both of my senators and my representative today.

Dear … today I received a letter from the US Census, telling me they are going to send me a census form in a week. This is ridiculous. The paper industry is a top polluter, a top contributor to climate change, and they are laying waste and devastation to our wilderness to harvest pulp. The wastewater effluent resulting from sending this sheet of paper, in an envelope, to many millions of homes, is staggering. And of course, they are all going straight into the landfills. And this isn't even the Census, it's just needless note that the Census is on the way. A note on the importance of participation couldn't have been included with the Census itself? What a waste of resources. When we re-elect you, I hope to see a higher environmental conscience in Washington. Respectfully ….

urgently urge

Several times each day, I receive an urgent e-mail from an environmental or political group, urgently urging me to click a click or a button to send an urgent message to some elected official, urging them to do something. I receive these because over the years, I’ve acceded to many such requests, and they tend to spread like mushrooms.

I care about animals, the environment, and justice for all, so I click.

A few days later, here comes an e-mail from Washington – my congresswoman or one of my senators – thanking me. And it never says, “Oh spare me, I wouldn’t support saving the burping barbaloots if my life depended on it.” In fact, it almost always turns out they supported my side of the issue all along.

Sometimes, it turns out I have dramatically urged them to support their very own bill.

Basta. No more of this. It makes me – and the people who sent me the urgent e-mail – look very stupid. So henceforth, such pleas must include some affirmation that the representative to receive our petition is presently wrongheaded and needs to be set straight. Urgently.

Or I can simply unsubscribe. That’s a good idea too.

paper is pretty dead

A friend said that to me once, only not about paper. We were talking about nutrition and he said, “meat is pretty dead.” I think it applies to paper pretty well too.

When I got my new HP pc in early August, I was promised a free upgrade to Windows 7 when the time came, which it has. So I decided to scoot online and order my Windows 7 freebie upgrade today. God knows when it’ll actually arrive – weeks I guess – but there’s no rush.

I tell you what, though. I have a scanner and I’ve got to start getting in the habit of scanning things like receipts. They wanted the “proof of purchase,” and 6 boxtops from Lucky Charms, either uploaded or mailed separately. I had trouble remembering where on God’s Earth I might have put the receipt. I finally found it on a little shelf-table thing in the kitchen-dining room, where I keep my keys and phone and stuff.

When we buy something we might need the receipt for – anything that’s supposed to last, like electronics – I think the store should offer to e-mail a digital copy of our receipt to us. Because the whole world needs to stop printing important information on sheets of dead tree. And it seems like I can’t go out in public without somebody trying to give me freekin paper to clog up my life.

Whatever happened to the paperless office we were promised when we all started getting computers? We have computers in our offices and homes, surrounded by mountains of cellulose. Our landfills are overflowing, and the fact that paper is often recyclable doesn’t make up for the fact that we’re still grinding up forests to print out crap. I know people who print out their e-mails! E’Gads!

So I scanned my receipt and uploaded it to HP, and e-mailed it to myself, and backed it up on a disc. Now I just need to figure out where I’m going to store the original little slip of fading thermal paper.

Poor trees, we hardly knew ye.

Reckoning at Coal River | CommonDreams.org

Reckoning at Coal River | CommonDreams.org:

“the human rights and constitutional violations of American citizens besieged by ruthless outside coal companies will be on full display to the national media and the nation–from the shocking and shameful mountaintop removal operations threatening the safety of a school and community in West Virginia, to the transformed halls of the US Congress.”

And Daddy won’t you take me back to Muhlenberg county,
Down by the Green River, where Paradise lay.
Well I’m sorry, my son, but you’re too late in askin,
Mr. Peabody’s coal train has hauled it away.

save money, space, and sanity: thoughts on ink and printing

Several months ago, I got a low ink warning from my Canon multifunction printer. So I got some new cartridges and put them in the drawer. There they still sit, waiting for the ink to actually run out.

I don’t do a lot of printing on paper, for many reasons; e.g., it’s expensive, the paper industry pollutes like crazy, it wastes trees, and it wastes space in my place. It clutters my life. We got computers partly so we could stop writing everything down and warehousing it, right? A hard drive or a CD can store thousands upon thousands of documents.

Anyway, I do some printing, but it’s been months, and it’s still printing right along. Every time I click Print, the warning pops up and the printed page comes out. No problem.

Now PC World has published this article which confirms what I’ve long expected: that those ink warnings are often baloney. I guess we all know that printers have gotten cheaper and cheaper over the years because that’s not where they make their money. They make the dough on the ink, which is still pretty expensive.

So my thinking is this: When the warning appears, it’s a nice time to stop by the office store for a new set of cartridges. And when the page rolls out with no ink on it, it’s time to put them in the machine.

And now for something else to read:

The “Please Don’t Print this E-mail” Revolution

Corporate America Rides a Green Wave

Initially popular among a green activists, the “please don’t print this e-mail” signature has become a viral marketing phenomenon. Born in an age of on-the-spot information and quick communication, the socially responsible end-note is gaining popularity in the “cubicle armies of corporate America,” as the Los Angeles Times put it.

The L.A. Times traces the phenomenon’s origin to a 135-word Treehugger blog post that eight months ago asked readers to add this short line to their automatic e-mail signatures: “Save trees. Print Only When Necessary.”

E-mail has yet to produce the fabled “paperless office” that computing power pundits promised (According to GreenPrint Technologies, Americans use enough paper every year to build a 10-foot-high wall that would stretch from New York to Tokyo) but it’s easy enough to trim your paper waistline.

Just add your variation of the following eco-tip to your e-mail signature: “Printing emails is wasteful. Save trees and make this message go viral instead.”

Or, for a simpler call to action, just say: “Please don’t print!”

var isBlog = false; var imageUrl = “”; var path = “/environmental-news/latest/”; var pathArray = new Array(); pathArray = path.split(‘/’); for( i = 1; i ‘); } <!–The signature e-mail tag lines asking people to print only when necessary are becoming common.–> Save Trees: Please don’t print this post.


LOS ANGELES – A strong earthquake shook Southern California on Tuesday, and the jolt was felt from Los Angeles to San Diego, and slightly in Las Vegas.

Preliminary information from the U.S. Geological Survey estimated the quake at magnitude 5.8, centered 29 miles east-southeast of downtown Los Angeles near Chino Hills in San Bernardino County.

Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said there were not immediate reports of damage or injury in Los Angeles.

The quake struck at 11:42 a.m. PDT. Buildings swayed in downtown Los Angeles for several seconds.

Yahoo! News

I sure felt it here in Carpinteria, 85 miles NW of downtown LA. It was a side-to-side shaking sensation, more than a wave under the desk feeling.

For some reason, I always think of an earthquake as being here because I can feel it here. You know? So my first thought after it was over was that those little ones are good, because they keep the pressure off. Then I thought, well, that could’ve been a big quake somewhere else.

Hope everybody’s OK. Hold on to your wigs and keys and enjoy the ride.

blog days of summer

Well I haven’t been blogging much lately, have I? I’m in the blog days, so called because of the fact they don’t admit of blogability. It’s a paradox. Such days bespeak a life let slip deep into transition. A confluence of existential forces, in which the TV reminds us of the tragedy of chronic halitosis. And ooh, there’s a scuba diving cat, steeped in Wagnerian strains, no more submerged in mutability than me. My life is changing, is my point.

It’s all good. Obscurum per obscurius: the vagaries of the vague can keep us on our toes. I’ll be up for air soon. And I’m just messing with you guys. In the mean time, I’ve been working on rewriting a scene in my novel, in which the two brothers witness the accidental electrocution of their father’s handyman. The previous drafts had a more juvinile voice, much closer to the cognition of protagonist Marty’s eleven years of age. Now that the voice I’m reaching for is more an adult remembering the event, the scene needs to be more sophisticated, and compassionate.

Anyhoo, here’s a cool video of Al Gore’s challenge to the nation on eliminating carbon generated electricity. If he’d been inaugurated after we was elected, we’d all be far far better off.

your tax dollars

I just saw on the TV that the FDA is broken had can’t do produce inspections properly. The FDA claims it needs $275,000,000 to hire 490 new people for its staff, so it can inspect our food and keep it safe.

Excuse me?

That’s almost 600 grand per person. Why would it cost $600,000 to hire a food inspector? Let’s try this:

$60,000 per year salary, two weeks vacation, major medical and dental.

Now you can get 500 people for about 4 million, instead of 275 million.

Why are the inmates running the asylum anyway?