Entries in A-Ranting We Will Go (15)

Saturday
Nov292008

Black Friday

Police surround the body of Jdimytai Damour, the employee who was trampled to death by Wal-Mart shoppers in Long Island, NY on Friday morning.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.
--William Wordsworth

Friday
Oct312008

I Can Haz Do-Over?

I won't bore you with all the details of my morning.

Suffice it to write that highlights (or would that be lowlights?) include fishing a little girl's hair accessory out of the toilet and witnessing our emphatically non-LOL-cat barfing under the kitchen table.

Do you ever wish you had a magic rewind button for your days?

Yeah. Me too.

Wednesday
Sep242008

My Mind = Desert


I've been having a stupor of thought when it comes to the blog lately. In an effort to inspire me, the excellent Megan recently supplied me with a list of ideas for posts. (Go read her great piece on Joyce Carol Oates's classic short story "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been"; you won't be sorry.) All Megan's ideas were great, but I'm still coming up short. Is there a such thing as "blogger's block?" If not, I just invented it. Again.

Life is good. Everyone is healthy and happy (except Hope; apparently there is a wormhole in our house, and her backpack has disappeared into it). The weather is gorgeous. I'm busy, busy, busy, but that's nothing new. And I'm thinking that my recent jam-making exploits or ruminations on the current state of the speculative fiction world or rages over evil ninja garden-decimating deer aren't terribly interesting to anyone but myself.

Maybe I'll get myself together in time for Fascista Friday or Soap Opera Sunday later this week, but for now? I'm hoping James Cromwell will nod and smile at me and say, "That'll do, pig."

Tuesday
Apr222008

Ask Not What Your Earth Can Do For You...


This post is brought to you by the hellebores and muscari in my yard.

Today is Earth Day. I'm not going to preach to you, since half of you are in the 'choir,' and the other half don't care to be. Instead I'm going to give you some practical (and hopefully non-controversial) ways, big and small, that you can commemorate this world holiday. I'm sure that even the busiest among us can fit one of these into our schedules in the next several hours.

1. Clean up a local public area with your family. Members of our church did this on Saturday; many families, including ours, went out with safety vests and garbage bags and picked up hundreds of pounds of trash along a popular bike path near the chapel.

2. Buy reusable grocery bags and keep them in your car so that you remember to use them.

3. Figure out your local walkshed and enjoy using it instead of driving at least once a week. Thinking about moving? Figure out your potential new neighborhood's Walk Score. Our neighborhood is only average, getting 52 points out of 100. (Our old neighborhood in Manhattan scores a whopping 98.) That said, nearly everything I need on a weekly, nonexceptional basis--namely, the grocery store and the library--is within a half mile of home.

4. Buy and eat locally grown food. Find out where the nearest farmer's market is. Join a CSA. Patronize producers of grass-fed Real Milk. You'll make new connections in your community, and your taste buds, your waistline, and your local farmers will all thank you.

5. Read the fantastic book Food, Not Lawns, by H.C. Flores. Then plant a garden, even if it's just a couple of tomato plants in a bucket on your patio.

6. Read Michael Pollan's essay "Why Bother" from last week's New York Times Magazine.

7. Check out the funny, informative, and inspiring blog of Colin Beavan, a.k.a. No Impact Man. Colin is Walking the Walk, my friends; it's pretty great to witness.

8. Subscribe to Grist, the free online environmental news and commentary site.

9. Don't just recycle it; take steps to reduce the junk coming into your mailbox. Pay $1 to the DMA's Mail Preference Service to get off undesirable mailing lists. The Big Three credit bureaus have an opt-out function for the deluge of credit card applications many of us receive on a daily basis. Join Green Dimes! This service is terrific.

10. Just say 'no' to more stuff. Set at least a 24-hour 'time-out' period in which you consider whether you really need that new (fill in the blank). Use your library more. Share yard tools with your neighbors. Downsize your wardrobe and donate your excess to a responsible charity. To quote Emme, a prominent simple lifestyle blogger, "Living simply does not have to mean sacrifice or hardship. It means focusing on the things that are important to us and in our lives." Amen, sister.

Monday
Apr072008

It's the Smell

I've mentioned before the superpower with which pregnancy curses me: an ultra-bionic sense of smell. Some of you thought this sounded cool when I did so; I assure you, it is not.

It is not cool to know exactly what is in the kitchen garbage can at any given moment.

It is not cool to be able to determine with precision what the person behind you in the supermarket line had for breakfast.

It is not cool to be able to tell from six feet away whether or not your kids have brushed their teeth yet this morning.

It is not cool to be awakened by the smell of old fish as the cat gives herself a midnight bath at the foot of the bed.

I feel assaulted.

In the very cool movie The Matrix, an artificial construct named Agent Smith (played by the fabulous Hugo Weaving) characterizes the human plane of existence thusly:

I hate this place. This zoo. This prison. This reality, whatever you want to call it, I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it.

I know; he's a bit extreme. But I can identify, I really can.

Fine ladies in medieval times carried around scented handkerchiefs, pomanders, or ripe fruit to ward off the pervasive scents of the vast unwashed all around them. There's even an heirloom melon called "Queen Anne's Pocket," grown only for its rich, powerful fragrance (its taste is utterly bland; the vast majority of its volatile compounds are found in its skin, not its flesh).

Do you think anyone would notice if I wore a clove-studded orange around my neck on a ribbon for the next nine weeks?