Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rising From the Dead and Multiple Marriages

In the past few years something awful has happened.  Soap operas are disappearing from daytime TV, and I’m not sure if society at large understands the implications. We are losing our fiction!!

Sure we have all sorts of “Reality TV” now to serve as fiction, since we seem content to go along with the notion that the reality we see on “Jersey Shore,” “Real Housewives” and “Love in Paradise” are unscripted, in the moment, docu-dramas…but they aren’t! They’re poorly veiled, thinly disguised coliseum rehashes! Even our theaters are filled with remakes, reboots, redeauxs...whatever.  We have no fiction.

And fiction (not to be confused with FRICTION) plays such an important role in life. It’s an escape, a mirror, a foil to our everyday lives and the doldrums therein. Reality TV is jumping into the drama that the worst of society creates for itself. And what is it saying about society that we so crave the pretend drama of 15 men vying for one woman? In “real” life we have worser names for her than “The Bachelorette,” and she probably has a rap sheet a mile long with the words “solicitation” and “sex acts” written on it somewhere….

A "Bachelorette" by any other name is called a "Hooker."

I believe it’s come to the point that we no longer realize we’re seeing fiction because it’s reality, but it’s not reality…it’s fiction.

We’ve dumped Charlie Sheen, and for that I’m grateful, however we still need to dump Trump, Bachelors, Housewives (mob or otherwise), Big Brothers and Love on deserted islands…deserted except for the camera crew, sound crew, boom operators, medical staff, caterers and make-up crew.  Remember when a person could say, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV?”

We need a call for true fiction like we’ve had for so many years in our daytime soap operas:  no holds barred and no limits. Because I can’t handle the train wreck that is the manufactured drama of “real life.”   Except in the case of HOARDING.

Now THIS is reality...not mine, but someone who's
 obviously not found Oprah.

*Photos: coverbrowser.com, crystalcleandecon.com, and zaffgroups.com

Friday, June 24, 2011

SLAP! What Should We Eat?

Is he trying to tell us something?

First off, apologies to Katie S. She had me going on a perfectly fine rant that I’ve had to abandon because something else has caught my eye and it’s STAGGERINGLY ignorant to me. 

So of course I have to share it with you.

Once again the labeling on food is in the news. We are such total morons that that we need to be told what’s healthy, what we should eat and in what quantities. Much like being dumber than a chimp, we are the only species on the planet having no clue how to feed itself. 

Can you imagine? I mean, you don’t have to because it’s a reality - but consider it.

Do cheetahs look at food labels? Do squirrels have a food pyramid or plate? Does a turtle need an FDA to decide what amounts of chemicals are good for it? 

If it isn’t food, IT ISN’T FOOD no matter how many chemical vitamins and minerals have been added. And if it comes in a bag, box, bottle or can the chances are pretty high that it’s not an item that a socially unconnected, “indigenous” type human would recognize as food.

A few weeks ago I wrote you a tongue in cheek (idiom!) post on being a fat American but today I'm serious…isn't it absolutely absurd that we collectively wonder, “Is this brightly colored, sugary cereal nutritious?” Or, “Will this bar of low fat, low cal, high fiber ingredients be healthy for me?”

You know they used to be called "SUGAR Pops..."

The cereal didn't change...just the name.
VOILA! Healthy.

We have higher than ever incidences of cancer, diabetes, obesity even in children as young as three, high blood pressure, thyroid rebellion and every other health malady you can imagine. And it’s such a mystery! Sure we can look at the data however we choose: there are more people not more incidence, there is better diagnosis not more incidence…but I think we might know what’s really happening. 

We’ve lost the ability to feed ourselves FOOD. We’ve lost the ability to determine what, in fact, constitutes food for human bodies. More labels are the answer, naturally. (Irony!) People like Michael Pollan are deemed hippie idiots. Food Nazis…because they advocate this whacko advice:  if your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize it immediately as food, it’s probably not.

Please note that we've only needed two generations to lose something that was presumably instinctual for, well...EVER. And now pediatricians have to tell us that feeding junior nuggets, ice cream and potato chips is bad.

So what IS food? Food stands on its own. Food packages itself. Some of it is highly convenient on its own. Some of it isn’t inherently convenient. And I’m not a Michael Pollan; I like my pretzels, microwave popcorn, and Cheez-Whiz (trademarked!). But I don’t operate under the assumption that Funyuns (tm!) and root beer are healthy foods…I don’t eat them and then stare in gaping horror and disbelief at the rising scale numbers. There really isn’t any question why I carry around extra weight. I LOVE COMBOS! (TM!) 

Lest you think I’m only finger wagging today, let me offer the following advice. Shop the outside of the market. If it’s refrigerated it’s perishable. And natural things perish. Twinkies (tm) don’t. Buy the Twinkies, but remember that no matter what the LABEL says….it’s junk. It’s not good for you and the 2% of RDA vitamin C that’s inside is decimated by the 2,000% of sugar and sodium you’re going to eat. If you choose to eat it anyway (and who am I to say you shouldn’t?) just remember that you’re not eating food. And don’t blame the industry when, after stopping at every fast food joint on the commute for the last 5 years, you find yourself obese, diabetic and on more pills than you can remember to take. 

P.S. Any "food" with a silly spelling, or an all natural ingredient that you can't pronounce on its label, is probably not a real food. Blueberries by any other name are chemicals.

Much like the havoc we’re wreaking on our environment, we’re murdering our own bodies; the most intimate environment we’ve got.

So add this one to the pile of things about which we need to shift our thinking. Because honestly, when the “gubmint” has to tell us what we’re eating, how much we should eat, and when to eat it…haven’t we really lost our minds completely?

I wonder if that walrus knows the health benefits of that cake?

*Photos: Pops- Marina Dominguez/NPR, myfoodlooksfunny.com, sugarpopspete.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wonky Legos at 2 a.m.

I hate kids…and old people.

"Just wait until they’re all grown up…then you’ll miss [insert horrifying childhood behavior here]…." so say The Elders.

Apparently, someday, it’s going to be super sweet and I’m going to dearly miss the midnight vomit down my chest, the screaming meanies who come with me to the grocery store only to completely FALL OUT in the canned foods aisle, the fighting over a 5mm Lego and stepping on said Lego at 2am when I have to “go potty.”

Someday I will wish I could shout out, “HOW MARVELOUS!” at the wonky sided Lego firmly embedded in the soft mid-section of my foot rather than, “MOTHER F*CKER!”  I guess when the boys move away that kind of pain becomes quaint.

And at the same time, I have been told that I’ll miss the shrill shrieking, the biting, pinching, tripping and psychological warfare that they inflict upon each other daily…because any time a woman in her child rearing years dares to complain about the grinding, tedious, embarrassing and/or soul crushing moments that make up the days of small children, that woman is IMMEDIATELY admonished by any empty nester in reading or hearing distance that, “Someday you’ll miss these moments! Cherish them!”

Isn't he A DEAR??


No woman ever in all of time has LOOOOOVED the midnight vomit. No woman has ever looked at her children, who are a tangle of blurry arms and legs tearing at each other in hatred only siblings can muster, and had a warm feeling of joy and maternal satisfaction at their “play.”  And any woman who claims thinking anything other than "I-should’ve-stayed-on-the-pill" is a liar, a psycho or a lying psycho.

So what is it in us that makes people wax nostalgic over the child who’s losing their ever loving mind in a grocery store?  Because despite these kind reprimands from The Elders, I don’t usually see them walking up to said family in the restaurant, on the plane, in the mall, at the library, in a park….I don’t often see anyone approaching said child with a misty, wistful kind of look that says, “Oh how I miss those days of grace…I am truly envious…”

IN FACT:  we see families being kicked off planes because of crying toddlers, families asked to leave restaurants because their “spirited” children are causing other patrons to not enjoy their meals….so where is all this national treasure?!

Are women truly not allowed to hate moments of parenthood? After all this time, after all the movements and equality marches, are we still really not allowed to HATE parts of motherhood?


Because I HATE parts of motherhood.

And since I'm a fully functioning adult I can hate parts of motherhood and yet still, somehow, some way, incredulously...love my children.

What other part of life has to be WHOLE HEARTEDLY loved, cherished and held in such sanctimonious regard? Even my preacher man says I’m allowed to feel angry or hurt by The Almighty Creator…but not the little darling who’s leaving gobs of snot all over the back seat of the car because he’s gone stiff as a board and won’t wear his legally mandated 5-point harness.

Oh treasure these moments, because someday you’ll wake up and they’ll be 35!

Thank heavens someday they’ll be 35 I say…. Then it’ll be my turn to tsk at the young mother. Except I hope I have the good sense to look at her say,

Isn’t it THE WORST?!  But don’t worry, soon she’ll be 35 and you can watch her deal with HER child…that’s the BEST!”

OMG...when is she moving out??

*Photos: catholicvote.org, dadwagon.com

Friday, June 17, 2011

SLAP! If You Want It - Get It

To be fair...you knew this was coming

If you’re a fan of the Facebook page "Dirty Words," then you’ve already seen the video below. If you aren’t a Facebook fan…well. Thanks for nothing I guess. You’re really missing out on stuff and things. Seriously, go be a fan. I need nearly constant validation.

ANYWAY. This is a video about William Kamkwamba who wrote a book about being a boy in The Republic of Malawi, in southeast Africa, during the famine of the early 2000’s: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope.

Okay, let’s be very very clear here from the start: we aren’t talking about the 1950’s, or the 80’s or some other equally ancient time. We’re talking about now.

This boy was living in a town that had no running water, no electricity, no plumbing and in a home with a thatched roof. When the rains didn’t come his father’s tobacco crop failed and his plot of maize didn’t grow. People around him literally starved to death.

In THIS time, this boy watched friends die with those distended bellies we think are just the fodder for vintage National Geographic. If you’ve watched the video you see that William isn’t some quaint provincial boy from another place and time. He’s a young man with brains to spare who was “lucky” enough to be a DNA combo belonging to people who were living under one of the most corrupt governments on Earth.

Let’s take two seconds and thank our lucky stars if we’re Americans or Western Europeans, shall we? This is hardship we left behind a long time ago. I eat asparagus in December, kiwis anytime…even though I don’t remember a kiwi being native to my hemisphere. But William was looking for a ball of corn and water…to survive a day, during the same time we were worrying about cell phone contracts and gas prices for our SUV's. 

He rummaged junk yards; he pieced together rudimentary elements and brought wind powered electricity to his village, which was teetering on the verge of extinction. He did this without formal education (which cost a crippling $80 a month...how much is that cell phone bill of yours again?), without the Internet, without food and without support from his community.

He decided to do it, and he did it.

So what’s going on in your life that you think is impossible? What THING needs to be done, needs to be removed, needs to be grown? Whatever it is you can do it. This boy William is a most human example of how much we can do when get out of our way and START.  He didn’t ever talk himself out of it and he didn’t listen to detractors who thought he was smoking too much pot.

He put his face toward the goal and he STARTED. What’s out there that you’re not starting? What are you talking yourself out of? Are you your own worst detractor?

I certainly have days where I’m pretty sure I’m smoking too much pot behind my own back! I think I’m crazy, stupid, lazy, wasteful…you name it. But then I read a story about a boy like William.

And then I slap myself in the face. Since I’m such a giving person, I like to pass the slap on to you! Slap yourself, you fool!

Excuses are words we use to mask inaction. If you have something out there that you truly want, go get it. It’s yours if you do the work to take it. And you probably aren’t looking at the kind of work William did to have your desire! My guess is that most people reading this don’t need to start from the very most ground level…most people aren’t lacking basic sanitation, water not carried in from miles away, or just a light with which to read after dark. But is your less monumentally basic desire less important?

Not to you.

Get out of your way, take the first step and then keep on stepping. Sometimes you’ll slow down for sure; some days you may have to stop. But if you keep your face pointed toward the goal, you’ll get there. William Kamkwamba made electricity from wind…first for a light in his own room, then for his home, then for a water well in his community…he changed the lives of the people around him.

You can change yours too.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Once in a blue moon an idea comes to me in a flash.  Most of the time it’s like pulling teeth to get something worth its weight and I just draw a blank…

Right off the bat, let’s be clear: I don’t have the foggiest notion how this ball of wax will rate but let’s give it the college try because I’ve been told there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and I just want you to be happy.  I’ve also been told not to shave a bald kitty…but I don’t know what that means.

Sometimes you come here for a tongue lashing, a slap on the wrist, or to see what bee I’ve got in my bonnet.  And I know this is a tired tale that you think you’ve read before under the guise of cliché…but for the record: this one’s a whole different ballgame. 

These are idioms, you idiot. 

Are you picking up what I’m putting down, or have I come out of left field leaving you feeling like you’re up the creek without a paddle?  Fear not pals, the ball’s in your court!  You can read this or not and that’s an open and shut case.  There are plenty of fish in the sea if you don’t care for this and I’ll be cool as a cucumber about it. On the other hand, you know I’m always fishing for compliments, and I have a mind like a steel trap and the memory of an elephant so let’s get all hands on deck and give me a round of applause, old school.

This blog is small potatoes compared to what’s out there and I’m just happy as a clam that you’re here reading, giving me a fair shake.  I don’t like to whitewash the truth or jump to conclusions, unless it’s funny, and I strive to roll with the punches.  I hate when someone jumps the gun because there’s nothing worse than having egg on your face.

So if you’re having a bad hair day, if someone’s being a fly in your ointment, or you just feel like all you’re doing is running interference, then I hope this has made you crack a smile.  I’d hate to be a bonehead.

HOLY MACKEREL!  Stick a fork in this!  We’re done.


(Warning, for my 2 or 3 non-native speakers…know this: it’s not even a little bit funny to read the literal version.)

Occasionally I get an idea easily.  Most of the time it’s very difficult and I can’t think of anything.

Let me tell you right away in clear language:  I don’t know how well you’ll like this but I’m going to try my best because I’ve been told that there are different ways to accomplish the same task, and I just want you to be happy.  I’ve also been told not to shave a bald kitty…but I don’t know what that means.

Sometimes you come here to read serious things or see what idea or concept is making me angry or frustrated.  And I know you may think this is something that has been written before under the title of Clichés: The Whole Kit and Caboodle…but to make it known, this post is completely different.

These are idioms, you idiot.

Do you understand, or are you confused?  Fear not pals, you are in control! You can read this or not and that’s a fact.  There are many other blogs on the Internet and if you don’t like this, I won’t be angry.  Although I always like praise and when I learn something it stays in my memory so everyone should come here and praise me, like when we were much younger.

This blog is not important compared to what else you can read and I’m very happy that you’re here reading, giving me a chance to try and make you laugh.  I don’t like to make things appear better than they are or assume an answer before I know facts, unless it’s funny, and I strive to be good natured and calm.  I hate when someone assumes an answer because there’s nothing worse than appearing to be a foolish person.

So if your day is bad, someone is frustrating you, or you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything, then I hope this has made you smile a little bit.  I’d hate to be stupid.

WOW!  This task is finished!  We’re finished with this task.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Read a Book Already

Hey readers!  Happy Friday.

I'm concluding what might be the longest week of my life today and I have nary a word of contempt or derision.  I don't feel particularly bossy today because I've spent Tuesday afternoon, Wednesday and Thursday being as bossy as I can be in an attempt to lay the groundwork for the grueling 10 weeks ahead....

Apologies, but I don't have anything left for you. There just isn't anything in me today that's righteously indignant.

But I DO have something to offer you....and hopefully it'll come in handy at some point over the next few months.  I like to think that you revisit posts.  Don't tell me if you don't. 


 (It's just your READING LIST if you're somewhere that it isn't summer...but since I'm a fat, entitled American I don't have to learn about your seasons.)

FYI:  I'm copying and pasting from Goodreads, where I keep track of my own reading, and so should  you.  Remember that it's Summer Vacation in my house....I don't have time to personally synopsize every single book for you.  What am I, motivated?  The answer is no.  But these are all books I LOVED and in no particular order, okay?

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot 
Who, you might ask, is Henrietta Lacks (1920-1951) and why is she the subject of a book? On the surface, this short-lived African American Virginian seems an unlikely candidate for immortality. The most remarkable thing about her, some might argue, is that she had five children during her thirty-one years on earth. Actually, we all owe Ms. Lacks a great debt and some of us owe her our lives. As Rebecca Skloot tells us in this riveting human story, Henrietta was the involuntary donor of cells from her cancerous tumors that have been cultured to create an immortal cell line for medical research. These so-called HeLa cells have not only generated billions of dollars for the medical industry; they have helped uncover secrets of cancers, viruses, fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping. A vivid, exciting story; a 2010 Discover Great New Books finalist.

The Kitchen House  
When a white servant girl violates the order of plantation society, she unleashes a tragedy that exposes the worst and best in the people she has come to call her family.
Orphaned while onboard ship from Ireland, seven-year-old Lavinia arrives on the steps of a tobacco plantation where she is to live and work with the slaves of the kitchen house. Under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate daughter, Lavinia becomes deeply bonded to her adopted family, though she is set apart from them by her white skin.
Eventually, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, where the master is absent and the mistress battles opium addiction. Lavinia finds herself perilously straddling two very different worlds. When she is forced to make a choice, loyalties are brought into question, dangerous truths are laid bare, and lives are put at risk. The Kitchen House is a tragic story of page-turning suspense, exploring the meaning of family, where love and loyalty prevail.

Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid    
If Julian Green's view that life is an overrated way of passing the time, Denis Leary's humor offers an entertaining way to redeem the experience. In Why We Suck, the writer, creator, and star of the Emmy- and Golden Globe–nominated TV series Rescue Me delivers raucous riffs about everything from family matters to our bottom-feeding political elites.

The Spellman Files (The Spellmans #1)
Meet Isabel "Izzy" Spellman, private investigator. This twenty-eight-year-old may have a checkered past littered with romantic mistakes, excessive drinking, and creative vandalism; she may be addicted to Get Smart reruns and prefer entering homes through windows rather than doors -- but the upshot is she's good at her job as a licensed private investigator with her family's firm, Spellman Investigations. Invading people's privacy comes naturally to Izzy. In fact, it comes naturally to all the Spellmans. If only they could leave their work at the office. To be a Spellman is to snoop on a Spellman; tail a Spellman; dig up dirt on, blackmail, and wiretap a Spellman.
Part Nancy Drew, part Dirty Harry, Izzy walks an indistinguishable line between Spellman family member and Spellman employee. Duties include: completing assignments from the bosses, aka Mom and Dad (preferably without scrutiny); appeasing her chronically perfect lawyer brother (often under duress); setting an example for her fourteen-year-old sister, Rae (who's become addicted to "recreational surveillance"); and tracking down her uncle (who randomly disappears on benders dubbed "Lost Weekends"). But when Izzy's parents hire Rae to follow her (for the purpose of ascertaining the identity of Izzy's new boyfriend), Izzy snaps and decides that the only way she will ever be normal is if she gets out of the family business. But there's a hitch: she must take one last job before they'll let her go -- a fifteen-year-old, ice-cold missing person case. She accepts, only to experience a disappearance far closer to home, which becomes the most important case of her life. The Spellman Files is the first novel in a winning and hilarious new series featuring the Spellman family in all its lovable chaos.
(My note: this series is hilarious and a perfect beach read...or mountain cabin porch read....or wherever you read that you just want to laugh and not THINK....)

SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes And Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance
The New York Times best-selling Freakonomics was a worldwide sensation, selling over four million copies in thirty-five languages and changing the way we look at the world. Now, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner return with SuperFreakonomics, and fans and newcomers alike will find that the freakquel is even bolder, funnier, and more surprising than the first.
   Four years in the making, SuperFreakonomics asks not only the tough questions, but the unexpected ones: What's more dangerous, driving drunk or walking drunk? Why is chemotherapy prescribed so often if it's so ineffective? Can a sex change boost your salary?
   SuperFreakonomics challenges the way we think all over again, exploring the hidden side of everything with such questions as:
How is a street prostitute like a department-store Santa?
Why are doctors so bad at washing their hands?
How much good do car seats do?
What's the best way to catch a terrorist?
Did TV cause a rise in crime?
Can eating kangaroo save the planet?
Which adds more value: a pimp or a Realtor?
   Levitt and Dubner mix smart thinking and great storytelling like no one else, whether investigating a solution to global warming or explaining why the price of oral sex has fallen so drastically. By examining how people respond to incentives, they show the world for what it really is – good, bad, ugly, and, in the final analysis, super freaky.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life

by Wade Rouse

Finally fed up with the frenzy of city life and a job he hates, Wade Rouse decided to make either the bravest decision of his life or the worst mistake since his botched Ogilvie home perm: to uproot his life and try, as Thoreau did some 160 years earlier, to "live a plain, simple life in radically reduced conditions."
In this rollicking and hilarious memoir, Wade and his partner, Gary, leave culture, cable, and consumerism behind and strike out for rural Michigan–a place with fewer people than in their former spinning class. There, Wade discovers the simple life isn’t so simple. Battling blizzards, bloodthirsty critters, and nosy neighbors equipped with night-vision goggles, Wade and his spirit, sanity, relationship, and Kenneth Cole pointy-toed boots are sorely tested with humorous and humiliating frequency. And though he never does learn where his well water actually comes from or how to survive without Kashi cereal, he does discover some things in the woods outside his knotty-pine cottage in Saugatuck, Michigan, that he always dreamed of but never imagined he’d find–happiness and a home.

All New People: A Novel

With generosity, humor, and pathos, Anne Lamott takes on the barrage of dislocating changes that shook the Sixties. Leading us through the wake of these changes is Nanny Goodman, one small girl living in Marin County, California. A half-adult child among often childish adults, Nanny grows up with two spectacularly odd parents-a writer father and a mother who is "a constant source of material." As she moves into her adolescence, so, it seems, does America. While grappling with her own coming-of-age, Nanny witnesses an entire culture's descent into drugs, the mass exodus of fathers from her town, and rapid real-estate and technological development that foreshadow a drastically different future.
In All New People, Anne Lamott works a special magic, transforming failure into forgiveness and illuminating the power of love to redeem us.

So here it is.  Seven (7) books I've read and liked.  I don't think Anne Lamott is strictly a writer for women, so try her out.  The Spellman Files is a hilarious series (for anyone posessing a sense of humor) with a mystery twist, and if you don't find anything thought provoking in the Henrietta Lacks story, then stop reading this blog.  I admit that The Kitchen House is probably "chick lit" but it's not frivolous....and the rest of the books HAVE to be good as evidenced by their masculine authors, right?  I'm nothing if not misogynistic.

Look what I did there...I gave you a personal recommendation when I said I wasn't going to.  I'm such a liar.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Just Kill Me Now

Today is a day of mourning. 

It is the last day of school for my two sons.

My life is over.

I have ten and a half weeks of this ahead of me: 
“I’m booooored”
“There’s nothing to dooooo”
 “Are we doing anything FUN today?”
 “Mama, can I have more computer time?”

I have the usual things lined up...we'll  go to the zoo, the museum, the art museum, parks, the library to brush up on bodily fluid identification, the pool so we can experience the thrill of peeing freely...but that's all just ridiculously mundane to the 10 and 6 year old crowd.  SOOO 2010. 

Therefore, in an attempt to avoid throwing my boys across the room tomorrow, I may have found the greatest thing ever. 

Holy crap, it’s the coolest.  All over the world, and most likely in several places in your town, there are boxes hidden along trails, up in trees, on the street, under water…all manner of places!!  Once you sign up for this FREE service, you get coordinates to a cache sent to your GPS or smartphone. (Elitist I know, but jump into the new millennium with me.)

Then you start looking!  When you get to the general area you’re notified that you’re close and then the hunt begins, because the cache is hidden. 

After you find the box you open it, sign the log that you’ve been there, and then my miscreant, devil sons (and your miscreant, devil children as well!) get to take a trinket from the box!  The rule is to have a small trinket with you to leave in its place for the next little wretch to find.

GEOCACHING!!  It’s a worldwide scavenger hunt!

Check it out pals.  Because, honestly…I think this one might be fun for ME. I plan to start an adult geocache around town and leave things my friends might like to find:  packs of cigarettes, travel size whiskey, bags of chips, $5 gift cards, ammunition….the possibilities are endless.

Look carefully for the cache I left!

*Photos: beijing-kids.com, and my phone.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SLAP! We're Dumber Than Chimps

Be careful, I'm starting early...

“Because I could not stop for Death,
he kindly stopped for me…”
-Emily Dickinson

So begins a poem about inevitability, whether we acknowledge it or not.  Certain things are absolute and inviolable no matter how many ways we invent to describe our way out of responsibility for them.

Our world has to wake up and recognize the arrogance and callousness with which we live.  Jane Goodall, scientist and Wonder Woman, who is one of my personal heroes and should be one of yours too, has said in regards to humans: 

“…how come this most intellectual being, as far as we know, to ever have walked on this planet is destroying its only home?

No other animal on this planet destroys it’s own habitat.  No other species lives in COMBAT with it’s home.  Fish aren’t killing oceans, chimps aren’t destroying forests, and elk aren’t taking the tops off mountains.

“Think of what we’ve done. Think of our technology. We’ve gone to the moon. We’ve got little robots running around Mars. I mean, it’s extraordinary what we’ve done. So how come this most intellectual being, as far as we know, to ever have walked on this planet is destroying its only home?”

I’m not sure how we decided that buying “carbon or pollution credits” could offset our pollution issues; I’m not sure when it became a valid course of rational action for companies to trade amongst themselves the amount of garbage they get to dump…  Adults with prestigious college educations, brains and abilities to spare, have convinced us all that an ever growing “certain amount” of waste is okay. 

Gone is the notion that you take some and leave some…and I don’t know what needs to happen for a collective consciousness shift. It is virtually impossible to convince someone that their way of thinking is wrong when their fat wallet depends on it. Wal-Mart, McDonald’s, meat at every meal and snack, deep sea bass, kiwi in the winter in Wisconsin…we need it all, we’re entitled to it all and we DEMAND IT, consequences be damned.  That’s someone else’s problem right? 

After all, by the time it gets really bad our technology will catch up and we’ll figure out a solution. But here’s the deal pals:  “Since the Industrial Revolution, our human impact on the planet, our greenhouse gas emissions, our reckless damage to the natural world, our continual growth of our populations, they have had a tremendously damaging effect, which has led to the sixth great extinction” -Goodall

The sixth great extinction since the beginning of time!  Because 99% of all life on the planet since the planet’s birth is GONE.  Gone…I believe it’s catching up to us NOW.  And the problem isn't "natural".

According to David Jablonski, a paleontologist at the University of Chicago, in an article published by Fox News, "...a lot of the problems probably have a lot more to do with politics than with science."

Dear Ms. Goodall goes on to say:

“One way is to help us be less arrogant and realize that we’re part of it all. Some people say, “Well, you know, a few animals, what does it matter if they go extinct?” But I’ve been to places…where absolute crippling poverty as a result of environmental degradation is meaning that people are suffering horribly, too. And it’s getting worse and worse. People are moving because their islands are going underwater. And, I mean, we should be able to understand the consequences of our selfish behavior by now.”

Sometimes I look around me and I wonder “how arrogant and stupid can we be?”  Why does a family of 4 need to cut down trees to live in a home with 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and 2,500 square feet to boost?  Are they the Bunyan family??  Why do we NEED so much, in such excess, all the time? 

Why is EVERYTHING never good enough?

We’re so myopic, so narrowly focused.  “In a down economy I don’t have time to worry about the earth because I need all my effort to make it through a day.”  I get that; I’m feeling the same way too.  But what good does it do us to get through a day if we’re doing it by murdering and stealing and destroying everything around us?  Are we three year olds on a tantrum tear?  Are we entitled to bully through our lives, kicking and screaming and tearing down the walls, because it’s DIFFICULT?

“There’s a saying, “We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents, we’ve borrowed it from our children.” When you borrow, you plan to pay back. We’ve been stealing and stealing and stealing. And it’s about time we got together and started paying back.” -Goodall

Please, PLEASE, take two and a half minutes right now and think about what Jane Goodall is saying.  Just think about the rationality of it, the common sense of it, and TRY. 

I am betting that no one who reads this is a corporate giant, or industry tycoon….so I’m either preaching to the choir or I’m still trying to talk to a person who long ago stopped reading because, to them, my words are nonsensical.  This is what leaves me feeling like a lone survivor, screaming from the top of a hill to no one left below.

We are burning down our own house for a few dollars in wood.  There will be nowhere left to live once the wood is gone; for it is an absolute certainty that some things will stop for us, whether or not we slow down for them.

*Jane Goodall’s words are excerpted from Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues published by The New Press, Inc

* Emily Dickinson excerpted from Brooklyn, Cuny