31 August, 2011
28 August, 2011
Posted direct from the mailbox. I LOVE this.
In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.
The woman apologized to him and explained, "We didn't have the green thing back in my day."
The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment."
He was right -- our generation didn't have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.
But we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
We walked up stairs, because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn't have the green thing in our day.
Back then, we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -- wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn't have the green thing back in our day.
Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.
In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us.
When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.
Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
But she's right; we didn't have the green thing back then.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water.
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn't have the green thing back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.
I can think of few better songs to die to.
22 August, 2011
Except Layton was that idealistic. He infamously suggested we negotiate with the Taliban, earning himself the nickname "Taliban Jack". Some of us laughed, derisively, knowing the Taliban for the terrorists they were and are. And yet...we've now pulled out of Afghanistan, leaving it--sorry to say--not overmuch better than we found it, and at the cost of 156 Canadian lives (our highest death toll since the Korean War). Would negotiation have lessened that grisly count? Quite possibly.
Jack beat prostate cancer once, and he did it in fine style. U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Jacobson characterized Layton as "the happy warrior". I wrote about Jackmyself in 2008 without knowing, at the time, I was doing so. It's no coincidence Layton resonated so strongly with youth, the people who haven't had the hope beaten out of them.
10 August, 2011
09 August, 2011
Kind of like the stock market, lately. Let's ride it together, shall we?
This coaster is different from others in several ways. The lift hill starts the instant you leave the station, and it's unnaturally steep. Intamin uses a cable lift system to pull the car up at a 45-degree angle (and believe you me, you'd swear it's closer to 65 degrees...at fifteen miles an hour.
07 August, 2011
06 August, 2011
Prescient, that man Lincoln.
A tiny downgrade in one's credit rating from the highest possible score to the second-highest can not, in and of itself, be proof positive that a country is failing. But when that credit rating has stood since 1917, and when one reflects on the political crapfest that precipitated that credit downgrade, one certainly can't help but wonder if America understands the perils of the road it is travelling.
I, for one, think not.
The Left and the Right used to be two parts of the same body politic. In America in the second decade of the twenty first century they can't be said to inhabit the same reality. Twenty years ago I thought David Frum leaned so far right he was in danger of toppling; today he sounds almost like a Democrat. Believe me, it's not because Frum has mellowed. Rather, the United States started running into right field a few years back and is now so far out there it can't even see home plate anymore.
I don't see how this is correctable. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, we will see the rise of American fascism.
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to be honoured with the Nobel Prize for Literature, once said that "when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross." We see in the Tea Party a patriotism that borders on the fanatical (and which, of course, comes with its attendant branding of anyone not of the Faith as "un-American"); the cross surely need not be explained.
This article, originally written in 2009 as the Tea Party was gaining in popularity, argues the U.S. is already pulling into the parking lot of Fascists 'R' Us. It's not tinfoil-hat territory: truly, it's worth the read. It defines facism thus:
2. Is the economic or constitutional system in a state of blockage apparently insoluble by existing authorities?
3. Is a rapid political mobilization threatening to escape the control of traditional elites, to the point where they would be tempted to look for tough helpers in order to stay in charge?
03 August, 2011
Administrivia first: I must apologize for the really bitchy tone of my last few posts. It is not an excuse, but an explanation: our Sleep ...
I just got off a week of nights. It hasn't been all that long, really, since I worked solid graveyard shift. I was promoted to Meat D...
I have written a few times on the single thing that has defined and limited my life more than anything else--my lack of a driver's licen...