Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Every Day is Earth Day

Happy Earth Day. I hope that you were able to enjoy some of it out in our world, enjoying the weather.

Every single day is Earth day. How could it not be? Can you imagine a day not being a day sustained and made possible by the Earth? When we wake up tomorrow, will it somehow be human day, where the only thing we all need to live is humans? Will it be Mars day? No, it will always be Earth day. Maybe the calendar should have a little fine print on every square that says "This day made possible by the generous contributions of Mother Earth." I think a lot of people these days forget how intertwined we are with our natural world. Think about it. If I can urge you to do one thing on this day, change one behavior, it would be to look for the links.

When you prepare your dinner tonight, or order it in a restaurant, stop and think. Where did that pasta come from? Grains that were grown in the soil, given life by the Sun, and then mashed into long thin strips to be boiled in water which was recycled by the water cycle that has been persistent for billions of years. What about the tomatoes, or the lettuce in a salad? They were also grown in the ground. Where? On a farm, probably hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from where you are consuming it. Who brought it to you? People, human ingenuity, life. What about the meat, if you choose to consume meat today? The meat came from an animal that was raised on a farm, where a farmer diligently woke up every morning before you or I could ever imagine waking up unless we have some flight to catch. And the farmer woke up every day before the sun to feed and hopefully care for that animal. What did the animal eat? Corn, wheat, rice, soy. He sure as heck didn't eat chips, cookies, crackers, frozen pizzas, canned soups, or anything else that has to be processed. He ate from the ground. And he spent months and months growing up off of this food, living his life. Eventually when it came time for slaughter, the animal was butchered up, packaged, labeled, and shipped by human beings, far away from your table. What about your drink? Wine, beer? Grapes, hops, barley, etc, all grown naturally. Milk? Same story as the animal. Water? That one's a given. It may seem like you simply bought or ordered your food and then ate it, but it was not chance or coincidence that the food was made readily available for you. It all traveled from thousands of miles away to meet on your plate tonight.

Thinking about where our food comes from connects us to the land, to nature. Consider just where your meal came from. If you truly can't say, maybe think twice about putting it into your body.

What about the building you are living in or studying in? Was it built from the land? Yes. The wood was cut from trees in some forest far off, hopefully sustainably harvested (but not likely). The concrete came from cement; sands, limestones, water, and a few other natural products. The plaster in the walls (the drywall) is made from a mineral called gypsum which is mined from the Earth. How about bricks? Well they are natural too. Nails, steel, iron. Mined.

The paper in your book or notebook? Trees. The gas in your car - like it or not, came naturally from the Earth, by decomposition over millions of years of marine organisms. The electricity I am using to type this post with was generated from coal, which is mined from the ground, either in Wyoming or West Virginia probably. The coal was created naturally too, like oil.

It can be easy to forget this day-to-day, when we drive in our cars and live in our rooms, work in our offices, all which have benefited from human ingenuity to be the way they are, but have lost the obvious qualities of the natural world. If the car wasn't painted and looked like the rocks the metal was mined from, we'd see. If the walls had chunks of sand and rocks in them, we'd know. And if we wrote on slabs of wood, we'd get it. While we get a lot of use from our natural world, it is the idea of separateness, of us vs. nature, of nature being there solely for us to exploit, that is the problem. Understand that we rely on nature to sustain life, but also that nature is precisely that itself. Nature is life! So when you sit under a tree or simply pass one on your way to class or work, think about how much you share with that tree. How the tree sustains your life, but how you sustain the tree's life just the same.

If we could see those connections, then caring for the Earth would no longer be a feel-good virtue that we strive for or hope that we can "figure out," but rather a natural impulse, as organic and innate as caring for oneself.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Seriously, Hillary??

After a debate Wednesday night in which moderators trained their ammunition on Barack Obama in what many view as an unfair manner, Obama complained about the line of questioning, which was aimed more at campaign blunders and trivial political matters than actual issues. Never missing a chance for a cheap shot, Hillary told the following to a FOX affiliate in Philadelphia:
"I know he spent all day yesterday complaining about the hard questions he was asked. Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House. In fact, when the going gets tough, you just can't walk away because we're going to have some very tough decisions that we have to make."
Isn't this the same woman that once said "maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow" during a February debate? She was playing off of an SNL sketch in that instance, and my guess is that she was half-joking, but she's made no secret of her long-held viewpoint that the media goes too easy on Obama. Yet, when the tables are turned and Obama complains about being treated unfairly, she paints it as some sort of character flaw.

I do not like Hillary Clinton. I really don't. I would strongly consider voting for McCain if she was the Democratic nominee.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Now That's a Ballpark

Star Tribune Twins beat writer La Velle E. Neal mentioned this tidbit about the new Twins stadium on his blog yesterday:
It’s unfortunate that there’s not a retractable roof on the ballpark, but it should be a great place to watch a game. Just remember, the last row of the upper deck of the new ballpark is equal to where the first row of the Dome’s left field upper deck is. Wow.

Wow indeed. After visiting a few other baseball stadiums over the past couple years (Milwaukee, Kansas City, and to a lesser extent Oakland), I can barely bring myself to watch games at the Metrodump anymore. 2010 could not get here soon enough.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Issa is a Moron

I'd like to nominate my candidate for biggest douchebag in Congress... Mr. Darrell Issa!

Say hi, Darrell!

Issa is a GOP Rep. from San Diego. At a hearing last week, he suggested that the federal government had already done enough to support New York in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, which he referred to as "a fire" caused by "simply an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center. Classy.
So today, Jackie Speier, a DFL Rep. from California participated in a mock swearing-in ceremony in Washington. Making her first speech to Congress, Speier spoke out against the Iraq War.
"The process to bring the troops home must begin immediately," she said, as several Republicans loudly booed. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Vista Republican, bolted from his seat and left the floor.
So, let's get this straight. Issa will not tolerate any opposition to this war, which he apparently supports adamently. A war which was first authorized in large part as a response to a terrorist attack which he downplays as "simply" a plane crash. Wow.
Electing Issa is the worst thing San Diego has done since drafting Ryan Leaf.

Monday, April 7, 2008

On Ineptitude

So, back in the day, people would write books on subjects and call them "On..." something, like "On Race," "On Poverty," or "On Democracy." They would choose such a title, I presume, because they thought it would be the be all and end all to these discussions. They would finish writing that last page and think, "well, that's that - no one could possibly have anything more to say about this subject." Well, this is my attempt to close the conversation on the ineptitude of human beings, by telling you a tale of this weekend past.

On Ineptitude

Let me set the scene for you. A party is occurring at my apartment, in honor of a mutual friend of both my roommates, Jordan, whom I had never met. My roommate Ed invites a few friends, and Jordan brings an entourage of four friends, two male, two female. Drinks are had and laughs transpire. I did not partake for the festivities as I had other plans, but I returned to find Jordan leaving the party. Naturally, my two roommates and I only assumed that with this departure his friends would follow. Not the case. So, the scene is set. An apartment, alcohol, and strange guests.

Thinking nothing of the matter, I retire to my room for some snacks and TV. Roommate Akbar follows behind, as he is not drinking either, and wants to chat about the strangers. We chat a bit, then decide its time for sleep, and head out to get ready. As we are in the kitchen, we notice one of the unknown girls is getting up to go to the bathroom. With a stumble, she nearly topples over, almost taking a flimsy Ikea chair with her. However, she successfully reaches our half bath.

After some time, a knock greets our ears with a muted thud. Thinking it may be the coppers, we quiet down and Ed opens the front door, only to find the emptiness of the hallway staring back at him. Continuing our conversations only momentarily, we are again interrupted by a thud, thud, thud. This time, recognizing that the knock is indeed coming from inside the apartment, a few of the guests head towards the bathroom.

In the kitchen, Akbar and I discuss the prospect that our stumbly guest is vomiting in our half bath, and we agree on the notion that this is just "not-cool." However, after a minute of this, we hear from the hallway the friend of the girl in the bathroom say, "do you see my credit card? Did it make it under the door? Can you see it?" Absolutely perplexed, we walk to the bathroom, to find the friend on the ground, peeking under the door, and sliding multiple credit cards underneath it. "What is going on?," I ask.

"She is stuck in the bathroom!"

Thinking that there must be something wrong with the lock, I suggest unscrewing the doorknob. However, they persist with the credit card strategy. Convinced we were getting nowhere, and increasingly becoming aware of the fact that the girl in the bathroom couldn't even find the credit cards being slipped to her (mind you the floor is all of 3X3 feet), I decide I have to ask... "Uhh, so I have to ask the obvious question... did anyone suggest that she just unlock the door..?"

The answer may surprise you, as it did me. "No!"

No, the first response of the people assisting was not to see if she had tried the lock, but instead to slip her credit cards! Beyond me... So then becomes the task of having her unlock the door (keep in mind that no less than 5 minutes earlier, she herself had locked said door... keep that in mind). This proved harder than you'd ever imagine. One of the reasons being, as I noticed, the lights were off in the bathroom. Again, I said, "Uhh, did anyone suggest that she turn on the lights..?"

Again, "NO." Shocked. This itself took 3 minutes for her to get the lights on (contextual note: the bathroom has TWO light switches on opposing walls, including one that is LIT UP itself!! This gave her a 50% chance that if she just chose a wall and felt around, she'd hit that oh so elusive switch). Three minutes of struggling finally produced light. Success! Now she'll clearly be able to just unlock the door and come out. Wrong.

"Do you see the doorknob?" says the friend on the floor. "No..." replies a paranoid voice. "Find the doorknob, and look in the middle of it, do you see a lock? What position is it in, hot dog style or hamburger style?" (I kid you not this is what actually transpired). "I can't find the doorknob.." In the background pipes in one of the male unknown guests with "I am about 3o seconds from calling the landlord." Yes, I can see that now (after said male guest awkwardly asks the tenants for this phone number) - "Uhhh... hey, Felix..." "Who's this?" "Uhh, there is a girl locked inside the bathroom at this apartment... can you come let her out?" Felix replies, "Is there something wrong with the lock?" "Uhhh, no... she's just really drunk, and can't figure it out..." Click. Felix hangs up, and goes back to sleep, because it is 3 am.

Finally, understanding that this girl just wasn't going to figure out how to unlock the door (again, the same one she locked herself only minutes earlier, and which she really only need to twist the same piece of metal the opposite direction, just 90 small degrees) it was decided that we would pick the lock. So we found a small metal object and picked the lock, at which point the girl, who was on the floor the whole time (of a 3X3 foot bathroom, meaning that the credit cards were undoubtedly right in front of her), literally spills out onto the floor.

15 minutes later her friends and the girl somehow managed to trek the 15 feet from the bathroom door to our apartment door. How it only took them that long I'll never know...

Thus, let it be known that the ineptitude as the subject of this treatise should not only be the girl who locked herself inside a bathroom (which is indeed truly inept... I mean besides basic functioning like eating and sleeping, twisting of the hand is something that many of our friends in the animal kingdom of lesser intelligence have mastered as well... and unlocking a door is a learnable skill for even our canine and feline friends). No, no, the ineptitude lies equally on the shoulders of the 3 friends of the girl, who's first reaction was not to ask if she'd tried the lock, or to notice that the lights were off (there is a window at ceiling level that makes this determination all the more obvious)... No, their response was "this girl is too drunk to unlock the door herself, but clearly she'll be able to use these credit cards to jiggle the door open..."

And this my friends, is the story of the most inept I have ever seen any one human being be.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Devin the Liar

Once I knew this kid named Devin. Good kid. Looked a little like a broken radiator, but I suppose that's to be a expected by a kid who was raised in South Korea. Anyway, me and Devin made this cool blog, and Devin (a liar by nature) told me he'd be a regular contributor. I should have taken into account at the time Devin's lying nature. There have been many examples over the years I've known him to illustrate his lying ways.

One time, he told me his middle name was "Devin." For the first four years of our friendship, I thought his name was Devin Devin Ellsworth. Seemed reasonable enough at the time. Sometimes I'd see him at school in the morning and I'd say, "What up DDE?" Little did I know that he and all his pals were laughing at me behind my back.

On another instance, he gave me a key and told me it would open any door in the country. I had no reason not to believe him; he'd always been a good friend and he was a pretty good Connect Four player. So I got in my car and made the 13-hour drive to Denver, CO, because I wanted to use the key to get into a ski rental shop and get some skis and then go skiing on a ski mountain where people ski. I got there, and naturally the key did not fit the lock. Fortunately, it was during business hours so the door was unlocked. I entered the building and said, "Two skis, please." The man said, "That will be sixty dollars, sir." I reached for my wallet and remembered that I didn't have it... I had given it to Devin before I left because he told me that bringing your wallet with you on a road trip can increase your risk for cancer. After consulting several doctors regarding the matter, I learned that, indeed, it was another classic Devin Lie.

The tales of my history with Devin and his chronic dishonesty are heart-wrenching, as I'm sure you can tell. A huge hole in my heart has been ripped open over the years. But ol' Dev could do a great deal to fix that hole by coming through on his most important promise ever and posting more often on this little blog.