Monday, November 28, 2011


If one assumes this is true:

Look beneath the colorful differences in cultural expression and you find at the core everyone wants to breathe clean air and drink clean water. They want tasty, nutritious food uncontaminated with toxins. They want meaningful work, a living wage, success and happiness for their children, and security in their old age. They want a say in the decisions their governments make and they want to live in peace.— David Korten
Then one must assume those who deny climate change or finite resources, the causes of poverty or the ravages of inequality, or insist that opportunity for all is available (in the developed countries, at least) are only uneducated, illogical, or afraid to clearly see and comprehend.  So which is it, and how do you change that? 
Let's look at things in a more narrow view - say, those who live in the United States. The media pap fed to the masses - is it a consequence or cause of the disinterest and ignorance routinely displayed by the general US population? This article demonstrates the actuality of American disjunction with the rest of the world, but I want to know the reason why US markets don't respond to the same offerings that attract knowledge-seeking, globally informed citizens from anywhere else. Are the majority of us too stupid to care about anybody else? Or too egocentric to consider the views and events of other people or countries worth our time? Or are we so stuffed with inanities from popular culture and the mass marketing tricks used to brainwash us into consuming without thought of consequence that we have developed a mind-numbing complacency about the true state of our global crises? 
To reduce even further, I quite seriously wonder about people I know personally, let's just say friends or family, who I believe are good people and also well-intentioned people, who even have a rudimentary grasp of the value of ecological awareness in small ways such as recycling or using less poisonous chemicals for cleaning or feeding their family, yet still won't or can't realize the bigger picture of resource scarcity, either on a personal or global scale.  I'm not sure how emphatic  I should be to try to share my knowledge about global issues that quite likely will sooner or late become personal issues for all of us. Just sharing that frightening information (which I do believe I have tried to do on a very minor scale, and it has never been taken seriously or well received) could very well create rifts between them and I...not what I want to accomplish at all. Is there a way to bring enlightenment without alienating those whom you basically need to scare silly?  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get With the Program!

Why do so many people hand out Almond Joy candy bars for Halloween? I don't even know anybody who actually likes those. Especially kids. And this holiday is for the kids, isn't it? Hello?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Reverse that innocence claim

More recent DNA analysis demonstrates clearly that the Black Death was, indeed, due to Y. pestis and its associated flea/rat vectors. Ah, well. Sorry, black rat.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mage Wisdom

My favorite quote of the week (er, last week) courtesy of John Michael Greer:

Thus we’ve arrived as a society, and at a very late stage in the game, at the same point that classical philosophy reached after the execution of Socrates, when it became uncomfortably clear that having a small minority of people passionately interested in asking and answering the right questions was no guarantee against catastrophic levels of collective stupidity.

I think he may be a medievalist...castastrophic levels of collective stupidity. Such prose!

The Men in White Coats Are Not Coming For Me After All

Today my biology professor lectured - with a straight face - about global warming and the nearness of depleted oil resources. In our lifetime, he said, oil would be so expensive it would be unthinkable to use it for something so inefficient as transportation. It was incredibly gratifying.

Did the mostly freshman students comprehend or believe? Doubtful, for the most part, I think. Regardless, it's refreshing to know that I'm not insane, after all, along with all the rest of the peak oil community. Now if only the rest of the world would listen to all these students graduating from universities...

I think I know how the Christians felt when the Roman emperor Constantine issued the Edict of Milan.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Apparently the black rats have been exonerated in the Case of the Black Plague (1348-49), at least in the view of these interviewed archeologists. Do all agree? I don't know but would like to. I'm sure the rats would like to know, too.

10 years ago, this book suggested the Black Plague was actually a THAT is what I call pandemic. Let's hope the authors are wrong that it will probably happen again, and soon.

Just a little cheer for Saturday!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


That cucumber on the right wants not only to grow up the gate, but has another runner creeping around the fence enclosure behind this bed, on the other side of the fence.

The prettiest beans ever! Very quick to flower and wildly prolific. Also open pollinated, so I'm saving seeds this year. If I'm not careful these beans may take over the world....

I can't remember the name, but these are Asian long beans. I cooked some REALLY long ones last night and now I see that I need to pick these before they reach this length, they were a bit tough. The ones you see here are now in my fridge, awaiting ingestion.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally! The newbies found a friend within the Old Guard (the black hen).

Big row of tomato plants, setting fruit but no sign of red yet. Sigh.

An odd assortment of beets, gourmet white turnips, kohlrabi, corn, basil, carrots, and to be honest I'm not sure what else. Gardening by surprise is the BEST WAY!

I'm definitely planting more Zinnia seeds next year. They are beautiful and just want to grow and grow and grow and grow...

My favorite bed this year -
the wall of beans (3 kinds), 2 tomatoes, 2 cucumber, and 1 watermelon, along with the few asparagus plants that I didn't kill this spring.
This pix is from June, I'll throw a July pix of this space later, it's amazing.
Want to see the beans, too? You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011


Who would have thought hail could demolish tiny baby tomato plants....? I just never thought about it before. Some had so many leaves severed I couldn't even find the little sproutlings. I hope they still have some for sale at the garden store.

The beets suffered but I'm eating 'em this weekend, anyway. Just maybe not the leaves.

The swiss chard and spinach are trying to recover.

The artichoke plant looks pretty devastated. It HAD tons of long, huge leaves. Sniff.

AND I have poison ivy all over the right side of my face. Lovely weekend coming up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


ENERGY: I thought my aversion to coal-produced energy would be obvious and not need to be with nuclear power out of the question (in my mind), coal being environmentally unfriendly, and solar so far quite unrealized but also being very energy-intensive to initiate, the answer is use less. Do with less. Many do. We can, too. Of course, I am aware that such a statement would be political suicide for any candidate except in a nation populated by Roz and Roz clones! ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Ok, so after some thought I realize having "less energy waste" is not a political platform. It IS an issue in our world, but needs to be chosen, not forced. Kind of like democracy. You have to want it and you have to choose to do it. But I maintain my position that our current political leaders - almost exclusively - do NOT promote efficiency in either lip service or their actual lives. However, it seems the vast majority of our populace also either doesn't think being frugal or thrifty with energy usage (or anything else, for that matter) is desirable or sexy. Or even worth considering. I'm not sure how that mindset evolved. It must take generations to shift from one end to the other. Developed nations, and in particular ours, seem to find profligate consumption a badge of pride. I can't help but wonder if this is the end result of decades of insidious marketing. How else would citizens acquire such drastically different views in the span of roughly 60 years? I quite sure waste of any kind was not tolerated or especially encouraged during the years following the great depression.... So in answer to William's comment from the last post, no, that kind of thing can't be enforced. I guess a lot of people currently are wasteful because they want to be. A sad statement of our citizenry. Not very smart, either. A more prudent mindset would be conservation....not gonzo energy expenditure! SECULAR GOVERNMENT: Yes, the Christian Right does whine louder than the rest of us...and apathy OR a charismatic leader may put us all under the reign of a religious dictator. Let us pray that won't be the case! I LOVE the shorter term limits idea. Agreed, the sheeple are contributing to the problem. I'm starting to see a thread of similarity running through these issues here.... EMPATHY: I don't think everybody is entirely self-absorbed. We might not all empathize about the same things, but I like to think (i.e., I don't want to live in a world where this isn't true!) all of us have the capacity for different aspects of empathy, given our priorities. It's the priority part that I think we are missing the boat on. That being said, we ARE spending too much time handing out the fish instead of teaching to fish. Also, some don't WANT to learn how to fish. That would be too much like work! And also, unfortunately, there are always those who just aren't any good at fishing, no matter how hard they try. Certainly, I want to live in a world where their IS something these people are good at...but finding that thing is definitely a challenge, and cost and labor intensive. But wouldn't that be worth it, in the end? Surely, if even some of us are concerned about future generations, that means we care about people who AREN'T EVEN BORN YET! That demonstrates a capacity for empathy...I think it's a part of human nature. Just not a particularly nurtured or rewarded one. That's what makes it special, maybe? OVERPOPULATION: Of course it will inevitably correct. But the sadness involved...well, that's part of the motivation of my previous post, few readers though it had. I don't have any illusions that it will be heard by many or understood by any or accepted by the majority...far from it! But at least I made my position clear. Now, I'll work on my skills so that if I'm around, I can help clean up the mess. But again, we all choose how many children to least, in my experience. But I realize my life doesn't encompass all situations. For some, having children is a way to guarantee survival later in life. I can't really argue with that desire! But I do despise the situation that makes that the only apparent answer. So let me amend that - in the USA, in my socioeconomic bracket, we choose how many children to have. And even this number, to me, seems over-optimistically large, of late. Unfortunately, it's starting to seem that the problem isn't so much with our government (although I'm not saying there aren't problems there) but is with the general populace at least as much. There seems to be a similarity running through these issues...that of denial of a problem, or maybe a refusal to face fact. Or maybe, everybody just thinks that everybody ELSE should do the dirty conserving deeds...but not themselves. Or conversely, the thinking that if everybody else is living the high life, well fuck it! So will I.... I certainly can't deny the suggestion of this line of thinking appearing in my mindset occasionally, as well. It's depressing as hell. Seriously, though - the emphasis these days seems to be on consuming, convenient, cheap, disposable, dumbing down, getting more than the next guy in line, mindless distractions, loss of the concept of honor, loss of a work ethic (or even ethics in your personal life, too, but I'm no saint there), technology overload or at least over-reliance (again, guilty myself!), and I'm sure I'll add more to that list once I sleep on it. In other words, all the wrong things. Obviously, this whole post, and really the previous post, is really just a pipe dream, no one in their right mind could run with this kind of platform. Does that mean I'm a seriously small minority? I really kinda doubt that. Or that politics are insane and increasingly out of touch with the reality of day to day living for those of us non-elites? Or both...??

Monday, March 28, 2011


I don't feel my beliefs are represented in Congress pretty much at all. Here is a small list of a few suggestions, although I reserve the right to add to these subjects at any time. I suspect this will not be popular with many, if any. Am I really the only one who thinks this way?

The Fair and Sustainable Platform:

  • All people deserve access to health care. Coverage should not be determined by profit-making companies. In fact, making money from a pool designed to assist with medical bills is amoral. It means somebody is getting charged too much or paid to little, or not enough people are getting the medical care they need.

  • Different wages for different jobs, yes. A difference in salaries greater than 300 percent, such as the typical janitor and the CEO of the company he works for? No. Income inequality, especially to that degree, is just asking for trouble for everyone in that society. Look it up.

  • Access to higher education should be within reach for anyone who is motivated to succeed. I think that the freedom and resources for learning to read and write is an intrinsic human right. I feel this is a true human right, unlike reproductive freedom.

  • No pork-laden bill passing in Congress. The bill, and that's it. I suspect lobbying was originally designed to bring matters to the attention of lawmakers, so they could have appropriate information before voting on a bill. Today, the lobbyists for too many industries are more like party hosts, supplying extraneous fripperies instead of facts and information of substance. Maybe the whole idea needs to be scrapped and reworked.

  • Accountability. Yes, this is difficult to police. Without it, corruption will rule the day. That's even harder to live with, isn't it?

  • Defense spending more in line with global standards. All countries live on the globe, and all countries should share in watchdog activities, within their financial means. Our pro bono UN policeman job is bankrupting the US. Are they going to rescue us when we can't pay the bills? That's a foolish expectation.

  • Stop sending jobs for Americans to other countries - this should be more expensive to do, not less. Since it's not...we are exploiting people less fortunate than us.

  • Corporations do NOT deserve the same rights as individuals, who are real people. Actually, maybe they should have less rights than illegal immigrants, who are, in fact, human beings.
  • No tax cuts for gas and oil companies, among others. Spend that money to help citizens pay for heating costs, since there aren't enough jobs to go around.
  • We are stewards of the earth, not rapists. Let's preserve a little for future generations, otherwise known as our children and their children, et cetera.
  • Resources also need to be preserved for the sake of preparedness. Since when was having a back-up plan for survival foolish?
  • Our infrastructure in this country is old, and getting older all the time. How many jobs could be provided for by turning our attention to aging bridges and such? Oh, right...this isn't MY idea. It was done before.
  • Separation of church and state (i.e., government) was a pillar for the establishment of this country, which gave residence to many who fled religious persecution. A theocracy was not developed by the crafters of the constitution. A democracy was the plan.
  • It's irresponsible and arrogant to assume we can control the containment of radioactive waste thousands of years into the future. Basically, we are creating energy we feel entitled to at the expense of future generations, to whom will fall the responsibility to oversee the safety of these radioactive by-products from our reactors. I firmly believe that our ingenious, adaptable minds can come up with a cleaner, more fair way to generate energy. Please shut it all down. Today.
  • Also, it's environmentally responsible to keep a tight check on energy waste itself, and show a little restraint. Our ancestors certainly didn't need the amount of energy the citizens of our country seems to demand these days. A little reduction in the consumption on everybody's part could actually be better for us. It makes you think of others. Is that a bad thing?
  • One thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to empathize and bury our dead. Does that mean we actually care about other people? If so, then shouldn't we make sure the folks in our midst who can't take care of themselves are assisted by those who can? I'm speaking of older people who don't have family left, children, and people with disease or defects that prevent them from being as functional as the rest of us. Are we still people if we just cast them to the side, not helping provide them with food, shelter, and a little human kindness? Programs that help people in dire straits are not entitlement programs, they are social safety nets. These need to stay funded, not get cut first when bloated budgets need to be trimmed down.
  • Finally, the big bad wolf. Stop reproducing so much. How is infinite growth in a finite space sustainable? IT'S NOT. IT WON'T WORK INDEFINITELY. The whole population, at some time, will be paying the piper on this one. Guaranteed. The problem is, I guess we all have to decide to not be the fecund beings we are, since involuntary sterilization would cause a riot bigger than the Civil War. Of course, a massive die-off due to overpopulation may also cause a riot. Which path will we choose?
Okay! Time to start throwing the tomatoes! I'm ready to duck or debate!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Couldn't have said it better myself...

This guy is so good at putting my nebulous thoughts into succinct and stimulating prose!

But the mainstream left has a naive world view: "People are good, but passively ignorant. A few Bad People are hiding the Truth. If we point out the Bad People and reveal the Truth, the good people will Wake Up. Then we will be able to Change the System from within, to make a Better World for Everyone."

My view is more like this: People are well-intentioned but Actively Ignorant. We are masters of believing whatever makes our lives feel Meaningful, and then finding evidence to support it. If you threaten the stories that make people's lives feel Meaningful, they will kill you. But if you reinforce these stories, they will reward you, even if you exploit them. This leads to giant systems that feed on Active Ignorance, the way a fire feeds on dry sticks. Like a forest fire, the present system is fundamentally destructive and unstoppable. The best we can do is to channel the destruction so that people who are Paying Attention will have a good chance to survive.

posted at by Ran Prieur, March 25, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

From Peter Lame, on Facebook:

Question for the "Tea Party": What took you so long to get angry?

You didn't get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and
appointed a President.

You didn't get mad when Dick Cheney allowed energy company officials to dictate energy policy and push us to invade Iraq .

You didn't get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed for political reasons.

You didn't get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.

You didn't get mad when we invaded a country that posed no threat to us and spent over 2 trillion (and counting) on said war.

You didn't get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.

You didn't get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.

You didn't get mad when you found out we were torturing people.

You didn't get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies
that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.

You didn't get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.

You didn't get mad when we didn't catch Bin Laden.

You didn't get mad when Bush ran up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.

You didn't get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital.

You didn't get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.

You didn't get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend over a trillion dollars in taxbreaks.

You didn't get mad with the worst 8 years of job creation in several decades.

You didn't get mad when over 200,000 US citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.

You didn't get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement and home values.

No . . . You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.

Illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick . . .

Oh, Hell No!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Rather, homegrown biking accessories. I think I need to make these panniers, but I'm afraid the bike will be too heavy for me to ride without falling off!!

Monday, February 28, 2011

How to Become Popular

Once you buy a gun, everyone who does not own one clamors for you to take them to the range. Even people who don't LIKE guns. Life is so amusing at times.

Monday, February 21, 2011


In celebration of Urban Homesteaders Blog Like a Pirate Day (oops, I mean Urban Homesteaders Action Day), I will talk about my urban homestead.

I love my urban homestead.

I love BEING an urban homesteader.

This I have wanted to do for a long, long least, have a farm. But I finally decided since I never seem to have the money for a farm, I would just farm here in the city. Which, as far as I can tell, is traditionally (meaning, from probably back before WWI?) called urban homesteading, among other things.

I have backyard chickens, a rainwater catchment system, a composter and a compost heap, I use a wood stove for (supplemental) heat in the winter, thus why I have a log pile, racks of wood, and a rack of kindling. I have 3 raised garden beds in the backyard with 2 hardy kiwi plants and a butt-load of strawberry plants, a peach tree, and a VERY prolific raspberry bush, straight from the Smoky mountains (a gift, along with the chickens. We urban homesteaders help each other out! For free! I know, this is an odd concept to some folk who might like to trademark common, everyday words....but I digress). Near the driveway, I have an asparagus bed READY TO HARVEST THIS YEAR! YAY! I have more beds, there, too, and a huge rosemary plant. In the front yard, I have another rosemary bush and more raised beds, along with a blackberry bush and 2 blueberry bushes (both struggling). In the house for now but soon to be back outdoors I have dwarf lemon tree (which perhaps I didn't hand pollinate properly...we'll see I guess) and an dwarf orange tree undergoing serious medical treatment. Which I may also not be doing properly, but since he's still hanging on, I will continue to practice my primitive plant doctoring skills. Let's all murmur a few words of encouragement to the universe any which way you think may help, eh? Thanks....

Friday, February 11, 2011


Exquisite instruction from a friend, teaching 11 how to split a log of wood properly:

"Keep your eye on the crack!"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

...And Now A Word From Our Sponsors!

This is too funny NOT to post. Score!!

Which One Is The Right Choice?

Trying to live with a small, or at least smaller carbon footprint, can be overwhelming sometimes. I'm not sure how to make decisions regarding which choice is the greener one. For example: Getting to work. At first, I considered biking instead of the 15-minute drive....and I was thinking about giving it a shot. I figured I could handle the challenges of arriving at work rather sweaty, bringing my (stainless steel) water bottle, packed lunch, AND a change of clothes. But I was intimidated by the no sidewalk, no shoulder, no bike lane road I would have to share with many half-awake drivers speeding around me, so I haven't even tried to bike on that particular road, much less during the morning rush hour.

Now I work and home, and at first I thought that must be greener, right? After a few years, however, I have started to realize a few more factors to consider when touting this as a greener choice. First, I have to keep my computers on all day now, to work, instead of shutting them down while I'm gone. I have to light the room I'm in, and I have to heat the house. Granted, I wasn't lowering the thermostat when I left for work in the past. I do keep it around 64 in the winter, and 79 in the summer...but sometimes after being in these cold or pretty warm temperatures all day for a few weeks, I get tired of being uncomfortable all the time, and change the thermostat for a while. In winter I've started using the wood stove to supplement warming the house, and this is effective in some ways. It provides a toasty room for raising my body temp for a while, to stave off the chill, and it slowly billows throughout the house, raising the immediate temperature a few degrees and thus keeping the heat pump from kicking on. When I use renewable wood for heat, however, I have to GET the wood here! Mostly I scavenge deadfall from the neighborhood, and ask folks with piles of wood if they want me to haul it away for free. Friends know to tell me of any wood available where they live, too, and a few had trees cut down, so I paid my handman neighbor to fetch it all for me. I bought a chainsaw (electric) to cut it down to wood stove-sized pieces....but this, too, uses resources - such as being another in a long list of chainsaws living on this street alone (I just didn't feel a chainsaw was a good borrowing tool. It's not like a wrench. It has a manual and everything! Besides, I'm going to need it next year, too, I imagine), burning the coal that TVA uses to supply my electricity, using oil to lubricate the chain, disposing of it when it finally breaks, and all the driving that the future maintenance and repair will entail. Granted, some of this is minimal resource use...but multiply that by every chainsaw living just in my city. Every drop of water in the tsunami is part of the flood. I guess it just seems that every option has unsuspected pitfalls of carbon impact, making choices very difficult, indeed.

The bottom line is this: Am I using more energy by being home alone, which entails heating, lighting, and cooking for 1 person than I would be in an office setting, where the heating, lighting, and lunch cooking are done for many people? Certainly, fewer resources are probably used for providing the same for many instead of for one, and yet, my heat would still be on, even if I wasn't home. I would still be cooking my lunch, just doing it at night instead of during the day.

So which option IS the greener choice? How far down can you calculate the lowest common denominator for choices like driving to work versus working at home, in an effort to figure out the smallest carbon footprint?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Double Dippin' Banks

First, we bail out the banks for losing casino bets. Now, taxpayers again get the shaft as banks walkaway after starting foreclosures and kicking out the residents, then deciding NOT to finish the foreclosures, causing cities (i.e., taxpayers) to foot the bill for securing, maintaining, and/or demolishing the domicile.

Just as it seems they can't put us down any more, the banks find one more unprecedented way to demonstrate their disdain for the average citizen...obviously, the only real enlightenment is money grubbing on a vast scale and appalling greed and self-interest, at least according to these con men (and women, I'm not sexist) wearing suits. Armani suits, no doubt.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Post from anonymous

Homeless go without eating. Elderly go without needed medicines. Mentally ill go without treatment. Troops go without proper equipment. Veterans go without benefits that were promised!! Yet we donate billions to other countries before helping our own first!!!! 1% will re-post and 99% of the people on Facebook won't have the nerve to this!

A FB reader is concerned....

Monday, January 10, 2011

But of course

Obviously, investment bankers don't read Cicero:

"According to the law of nature it is only fair that no one should become richer through damages and injuries suffered by another."

Saturday, January 8, 2011

No Thanks!

Eeewwwww......printed food? Shades of Soylent Green!