Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

What Would Jesus Drive?
March 29, 2008

This semester, I’ve shown the films, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” (trailer above) and “An Inconvenient Truth” (good curriculum materials on that site too) to several sections of my basic writing classes. Shockingly while Generation Y cares about the environment and wants to take better measures than their predecessors did to protect it, most of them haven’t seen Al Gore’s film, which is essentially an encouraging primer on global warming and its effects.

I’ve had fun asking these twenty-somethings to research where the U.S. currently stands on the Kyoto Treaty, what the fuss is over a few melting ice caps, who gets to define “moral imperatives” and how, what the difference is between “fact” and “hyperbole” and how one can feed the other, what each individual can do to lessen their carbon output, how Halliburton and the industrial rebuilding of Iraq and New Orleans are related to big government & Mr. Cheney, among other things.

I’m learning a few things along the way as well. I keep running into the ways in which scientists and evangelicals are overcoming their differences in favor of a higher calling.

I find that solar research is expanding at a wonderful rate with new applications, thanks to folks like Stan Oshinsky. That grassroots movements to correct these “gradual”, now accelerating, planetary changes are picking up steam; check out Plug In America, Care2, and Sierra Club.

Fresh water
is taken for granted at the moment, but too soon, we’ll buy it by the gallon, watching the prices go up, like gasoline right now.

There are so many more things to educate one’s self about and respond to. If anyone would like to contribute to my pursuit, I have a few more dvds I’d like to acquire for my classes and for my own benefit. I probably expose 60 – 80 students per semester to this info. Please view my Amazon Wishlist here if you’d like to help out [my mailing address is here]. Otherwise, I’d simply recommend sharing the films mentioned above with as many folks as you can, get into heated debates, and generally ask yourself and others, especially those planning to have children, “Just what would Jesus drive?”

6 Responses to “What Would Jesus Drive?”

  1. didi Says:
    November 9th, 2007 at 7:46 pm eHagman is a hoot.
  2. Jeff Says:
    November 9th, 2007 at 8:22 pm eThis post is in response to the “Who Killed the Electric Car” and global warming the title of your post.

    I watched a video a few days ago in regards to using salt as power. It is impressive. But, they didn’t mention if the salt water fire was being powered by the radio frequencies…It appears that it is not self-sustaining. Darn!

    However, I suggest we keep an open mind and remember that at one time people thought it was crazy that we’d be able to go to the moon! Therefore, what if we consider supplemental fuels? Specifically, hydrogen on demand that is safe and burns with your gasoline?
    “Where Water Powers Our Cars!”

  3. Gary Says:
    November 10th, 2007 at 9:10 pm eChecked out your wish list. I have Iraq for Sale (the DVD — I’m not actually selling Iraq) if you’d like to borrow it for your classes.
  4. Tim Caldwell Says:
    November 15th, 2007 at 4:37 am eHi Amy,

    I just ordered MAXED OUT off your wish list. I hope others see this entry in your blog and decide to help out. I’m so glad that you mentioned a way for us civilians to help you shape the minds of the next batch of grown-ups. Thanks for your efforts!

  5. Amy King Says:
    November 17th, 2007 at 1:40 pm eYou rock, of course, Tim! My future students thank you and will appreciate the warning, fingers crossed. Many thanks!

    Gary – I’m going to certainly take you up on the offer to borrow! And likewise, I’d never buy Iraq either… hope you’re doing well!

    Jeff, thanks for the info – I think we should be actively exploring all kinds of alternative sources for energy. It seems like a bad dream that we’re so behind in doing so …

  6. O.V. Michaelsen (Ove Ofteness) Says:
    December 9th, 2007 at 4:58 pm eIn response to WHAT WOULD JESUS DRIVE?

    Did he speak of his own Accord?
    He wouldn’t be driving a Ford.
    No pedals, no floor board,
    Nor anything four-doored.
    A vehicled anti-war lord?

    God drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden in a Fury.
    David’s Triumph was heard throughout the land.
    And the apostles were all in on Accord.

    How dumb can you be? Man alive!
    You ask me what Jesus would drive?
    He’d probably hike,
    Or travel by bike,
    But never by mule on I-5.


Make More Lungs
March 29, 2008


Let’s play more than politics now – and hope that Bloomberg’s proposals, such as the million trees project, will see the light of day. The first tree was just planted a few hours ago in the Bronx, with only 999,999 more to go (by 2017)! Mayor Bloomberg and Bette Midler planted the Carolina Silverbell themselves!

Not so incidentally, major kudos to Ms. Midler for founding the New York Restoration Project on her own dime (or million plus) and for saving more than 51 community gardens in NYC (& boroughs) slated for sale to private buyers, under former Mayor Guiliani’s reign. She also promoted, funded, and participated in the clean up of public parks that had become severely polluted and dangerous. Cheers, Bette!

And now, Mayor Bloomberg follows up:

“Our economy is humming, our fiscal house in in order and our near-term horizon looks bright. If we don’t act now, when?”


* Accelerate the cleanup of 7,600 acres of contaminated sites.
* Provide incentives to building owners to recycle water for non-potable uses like toilet flushing.
* Increase the city’s trees by 1 million.
* Waive the city’s sales tax on hybrid vehicles.
* Provide cleaner, more reliable power by upgrading the energy infrastructure and retiring dirty power plans.
* Add a surcharge to electric bills to finance incentives for retrofitting buildings.
* Promoting bicycling by completing the city’s 1,800-mile bike master plan.
* Eliminating roughly 40% of locally produced soot.
* Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.
* The new building code – which is expected to be adopted this summer – will provide rebates for many environmentally-friendly features such as improved ventilation and white roofs, which reflect heat rather than absorbing it and so reduce energy needed for air conditioning.
* The city plans to offer a property tax abatement for solar installations.

And last, but far from least, the proposed and hotly debated congestion tax. “Under the plan, passenger vehicles entering Manhattan below 86th St. from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays would pay an $8 daily fee. Trucks would pay $21.” I live in Brooklyn, own a car, and take the train into Manhattan on a regular basis. Sometimes though, I drive through to the Holland Tunnel on my way out of town. As a resident, I would happily pay the fee. I view the tax as an encouragement to use our vital and efficient public transportation system that is already in place, and I would like to see more folks using it, residents and out-of-towners alike. Other major cities such as London already pay the tax to their advantage. Bike riders would also find the streets safer. God knows, pedestrians would love to be able to cross on the light without a car bearing down on them to turn. Etc etc. Hope these things come to fruition, fingers crossed …


4 Responses to “Make More Lungs”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 7:18 pm eHopefully there is sufficient new mass transit planned to
    offset this(?). Usually there isn’t, and downtowns
    lose things, or turn into a super-wealth address.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    October 9th, 2007 at 7:20 pm eCogeneration (making heat and elec. inside the building)
    saves over 50%. But various groups oppose it.
    I hope it is actually done with smarts.
  3. Jim K. Says:
    October 13th, 2007 at 5:17 am eSorry for 3rd post,
    but I found out: the Bloomberg plan does include
    incentives and a scheme for dealing with Con.Ed.
    so they can hopefully install some cogeneration.
    There’s the savings, but also the reliability of
    local power sources. I’d call it a reaching and
    clever plan now!
  4. Amy King Says:
    October 13th, 2007 at 10:15 pm eThanks for the info, Jim! I hope it actualizes cleverly too …

The Environmentalist?
March 27, 2008


Does the poem below evidence Günter Grass’s predilection for the environmentalist movement?

Finnish librarian, Petri Liukkonen, has curated and written the Pegasos Authors’ Calendar (Kirjailijakalenteri) for many moons now, a spot I go to for succinct author, theorist, & philosopher introductions. The following was lifted from said spot:

[Günter Grass] has once said, that writers, by giving us ‘’mouth-to-ear artificial respiration,’’ help keep humanity alive.

“You can begin a story in the middle and create confusion by striking out boldly, backward and forward. You can be modern, put aside all mention of time and distance and, when the whole thing is done, proclaim, or let someone else proclaim, that you have finally, at the last moment, solved the space-time problem. Or you can declare at the very start that it’s impossible to write a novel nowadays, but then, behind your own back so to speak, give birth to a whopper, a novel to end all novels” (from The Tin Drum).



Looked for pebbles and found
the surviving glove
made of synthetic pulp.

Every finger spoke.
No, not those daft yachtman’s yarns
but of what will remain:

our litter
beaches long.
While we, mislaid,
will be nobody’s loss.

Günter Grass


4 Responses to “The Environmentalist?”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    July 18th, 2007 at 4:29 pm eHaving spent a lot of time beachcombing in the mid-70s,
    I can vouch for the abstract trash (then especially).
    Interesting…I actually read three things lit up by comparison..
    1) “our litter // beaches long”
    2) “while we, mislaid, will be nobody’s loss”

    (2) is especially interesting right now, both as our species perhaps going wrong,
    (time and evolution filling in the dents)
    and as the growing anonymity of the individual in the roar of the Web
    (making the speckness and lostness more plain to see now).

    Things and times have refrains and redecorated pasts under the Tao.

  2. Helen Losse Says:
    July 18th, 2007 at 11:30 pm eHi Amy, I’ve read this half a dozen times and still don’t know what to comment, except that I really like this poem. Every word seems necessary and in its right position. Grass does begin in the middle and create confusion while tying things up very well. Thanks for posting this.
  3. Gary Says:
    July 19th, 2007 at 4:33 pm eGreat poem, Amy. Thanks for posting.
  4. Amy King Says:
    July 19th, 2007 at 9:59 pm eMost welcome, All! Glad you enjoyed it~

I Don’t Have Kids
March 26, 2008


And it doesn’t look like I’m going to have them anytime soon. I can live for me, me, me, which means I can consume, consume, consume! Maybe I’ve got a good fifty years left on this planet, so should I be concerned with the condition I leave it in when I’m stardust? I’m not leaving any personally-birthed people behind. And yet somehow, I continue to wonder why it seems I’m more concerned with what’s happening with the environment than people who have children — I really, really don’t get why news items regarding the threats against breathable air and the dramatic rise of asthma and allergies in children don’t seem to strike a chord of even remote interest, let alone fear, in our gas-guzzling SUV-driven country. It’s truly baffling. Aren’t parents invested enough to at least research the plausibility and hazards of that term, “Global Warming“? These two little symptoms I mention are just the tip of the iceberg. For a brief display of the top ten global warming stories of 2006 that will affect your children’s lives, take a look at this.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming parents – maybe trying to incite a little, but I’m not pointing any real fingers. Everyone is responsible; we are a communal species that shares the same life-sustaining planet. So why won’t our government step up with the rest of the planet now and take action? Because our economy might take a hit? Perhaps it’s time we all learn to do with a little bit less, particularly those with vested interests in big business. “The United States, with less than 5 percent of the world’s population, produces between a fifth and a quarter of the world’s emissions, according to government data” 1. If you learned that you or your children were slowly being poisoned through the drinking water so that we would become ill in fifteen or twenty years, even dying as a result, I bet we would all be up in arms, demanding the U.S. government take action, locate the source of the poison, and eliminate the threat – immediately. We wouldn’t wait for a projected date of fifty more years for a possible fix. I’m no alarmist, but friends, this is not an outlandish possibility.

Why does the Bush administration continue to vote in favor of profit while dancing around — and then giving the finger to — first the Kyoto Protocol and now the G8 proposal? Is the rest of the world wrong, including Britain? Are we that pompous? Ignorant? Flagrant in our sense of superiority? Can we continue to blatantly share our poisons with the rest of the world, disregarding their effects, so that we might remain the top economical power? Do we care that our children will reap the hazards of our apathy?

After the last election, even Christian evangelicals felt betrayed by Bush, who seems to be truly faithful only to those whose stock reports papered his campaign trail. Now, the Christian right is teaming up with scientists, both groups tolerating their differences in beliefs for what they now see as a moral issue rather than a political one. And yet, Bush continues to play monetarily-motivated politics with the future health of this planet. Are we going to let him carry on? Will our next president return to business-as-usual after the campaign promises fade? Between the pressing matter of Iraq and the long-standing neglected cooker that is global warming, we can’t afford to sit around waiting for someone to take the reigns and guide us. One of the people who has been at the forefront of getting Christians and scientists to come together on the matter, E.O. Wilson, has a few things to say on the matter that might motivate you (FYI – population growth factors in heavily too). As you become more informed and gear up to get your political voice in tune, there are also things that can be done in the present and in the midst of your daily movements – some practical suggestions found here and here.


My grandfather was an entomologist, whose specialty was ants. Likewise, E. O. Wilson is too:

Say you’re president. What’s your environmental agenda?

New, sustainable energy generation, new forms of transportation, conservation of natural resources and general improvement of the quality of American life with a simultaneous reduction in per-capita consumption of energy and materials. The president who exercised that kind of leadership would ensure his or her legacy for all time.

Somehow that doesn’t seem likely from any president, let alone a Republican.

Last spring I was invited to speak at one of the leading conservative think tanks, and I asked two questions: What is the core of conservatism if it does not include conservation? And why have the conservatives needlessly and destructively abandoned the moral high ground on the issue? We had a lively discussion. They essentially said the liberals are blue sky, they’re big talkers and dreamers, whereas conservatives are problem-oriented, practical people who keep the wheels turning and the world on course. But they’re not solving this problem. Too often they don’t even admit that the problem exists.

–from Salon

If atheists and the God-fearing can get on board, why can’t the dreamers and conservatives find that same common ground? It’s high time we figured out how.


p.s. Water? Do you and your children actually need it?

“Also, fresh water is declining around the world, with many of the aquifers scheduled to give out in the next several decades. The forests, estuaries, coral reefs, river systems and, increasingly, even the oceans are being either destroyed or seriously degraded.

The experts on natural resources around the world are in pretty much complete agreement that the world population as a whole is running down arable land, and the trend shows no sign of being reversible.” –excerpt from Salon Interview with E.O. Wilson


5 Responses to “I Don’t Have Kids”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    June 2nd, 2007 at 3:29 am eI get worried that the success of our
    boom-or-die economical (stock) system works
    because it taps into the warm-blooded, always-hunting,
    energy-intense animal. That means it taps deep…addicted for eons.
    But there will be serious reminders soon that we are running out
    of it all. The efficient must thrive, not the intensive. We need a scheme
    that drives that.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    June 2nd, 2007 at 3:32 am eBTW, if we really screw up the Earth and perish in big quantities,
    we will do what only the blue-green algae mats did when they
    loaded the oxygen into the air and poisoned themselves.
    Creepy to think that our aggregated smarts was no better
    than algae mats. They had the excuse of no brain.
  3. Sam Rasnake Says:
    June 2nd, 2007 at 3:38 am eStrong post, Amy. Thanks for this.
  4. SarahJ Says:
    June 11th, 2007 at 4:12 pm eHi –
    like your blog. i was reading with interest the anne boyle post, and then came down to read this. thanks.
    I was at the zoo this weekend and was glad to see people with children and babies because I remember when I had children it made me way more concerned about the environment and the future. I was pretty environmentally conscious to begin with, but kids brought it home to me like nothing else.
    yes, babies are being born like crazy, and mostly in countries where they think they can’t afford to make concessions to the environment if economic growth is at stake. it’s complicated and tetchy, because it’s hard to go somewhere like Africa and say, “well, you guys haven’t hurt the environment much over the past 200 years, and we have but please lay off all polluting activities right now.”
    if you don’t mind, i’m going to link to you.
    best, sarah
  5. SarahJ Says:
    June 11th, 2007 at 6:27 pm eboof, sorry, anne boyer!

Remember That Time?
March 26, 2008

Hey Michael Lauran,

Remember the time all five of us went to Vieques, Puerto Rico, and Jen Demartino and I narrated every move you made as you made it? Remember how our narration took the form of nostalgic questions? Remember how we drove you crazy? Remember when we all went rafting and swimming in the Bioluminescent Bay and then ran away when the other tourists got pissed at our narration? Remember the time that parrot nearly took my hand off? Remember when the pilot flew us in his hoopty-like mini van with wings from San Juan over the rain forest, and he gave me the controls since I was sitting in the co-pilot seat? Remember when you all screamed in real terror? Remember when the locals told us later that he was a total drunk?

Remember the times we went swimming in such a clean & clear ocean and then how we went back to our hotel each night and got free drinks at the lovely outside bar? Remember the very cool kick-ass locals we vowed to stay in touch with? Remember when that local “lady” of the village cornered Jen on the dance floor and danced up and down the length of Jen’s body singing, “Trabajo,” over and over until Jen couldn’t look anymore panicked?

Remember the time Jen moved to L.A. and became some famous casting agent who shows us the town & goes dancing with us when we visit? Remember the time you were living in San Francisco, and I was missing you? Remember when you sent me & Jen a Regina Spektor video that reminded you of Jen’s and my antics? Remember the time I wrote you a blog post that barely touches on our history but denotes the love we share just enough? Remember when I signed a blog post to you, “Love, Amy”?


4 Responses to “Remember That Time”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    March 12th, 2007 at 2:06 pm eMichael likes eggs, toast? ;-) Why live one life.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 2:35 am eRegina is awesome!!
  3. Amy King Says:
    March 13th, 2007 at 2:40 am eYeah! She’s fun~
  4. Jen Says:
    August 31st, 2007 at 5:17 am eremember the first time i saw your blog, august 3, 2007, and i got terribly nostialgic? remember when i didn’t know how to spell nostalgic? remember vieques? and how we got to name our own cocktails? and remember when we were farting in bed and waking everyone up? ok remember when i was farting? remember when i made a pass at you and rejected it and it wasn’t weird, i just kept farting?
    me too.
    damn that was one of the best trips ever. period.

Mr. Rogers for Adults
March 25, 2008


Unfortunately, the video is gone, but this old news is worth noting: What Will You Do With the Mad in You?


We’re off school for the week. A friend left his better-car-than-mine for me to take on road trips upstate & escape the city, but instead, I find myself thinking about things at home. I’ve already taken a walk with the dog on this lovely balmy 40 degree day. Now I’m also making lazy attempts at writing and am here actively avoiding the work that needs to get done.

On in the background has been Charlie Rose, and now, Mr. Rogers educates the planet. On Rose, Michael Crichton explained why global warming isn’t really happening – whew. I’m glad he cleared that up.

When I was in the fourth grade, Mrs. Creighton overheard me calling Mr. Rogers a sissy. She called me over and explained to me, firmly, why my remark was ignorant, misinformed, and a raw example of a stereotype. I walked away from that chat trying to suppress tears, not because I truly understood why I was wrong, but moreover, because I had disappointed Mrs. Creighton, who was, not so incidentally, the only African American teacher I had until I left for Baltimore at 15. I remember admiring her stern, strong character as a child, though in retrospect, I can only imagine what it must have been like to be the only (I’m fairly certain) non-white teacher at Stone Mill Elementary.

Anyway, I never really did like Mr. Rogers’s show as a child. I thought it was too slow and full of obvious, boring lessons. I’ve watched his show plenty of times as an adult and knew someone who used to do the sets. She told me that he really was as kind as his t.v. persona and that she loved her job. My opinion has altered considerably, now that I have the patience of an adult (sort of). This show was made for adults.

True, Fred Rogers presented lessons that were obvious about whatever the topic of the day may be, but moreover, his show exemplifies the in’s and out’s of navigating and enjoying community. With his numerous walk-on guests/visitors that included a range from scientists, sports players, jazz musicians, etc., as well as his standard puppet friends, we are privy to conversation after conversation that aims to teach common sense and how to deal with misunderstandings.

People/puppets become frustrated, depressed, or stressed out at worst, but no one ever comes close to blows or anywhere near the line of aggression. We witness these characters making concessions, being generous, and inquiring in the face of curiousity or confusion. Best of all, emotions are never disregarded or suppressed; they are acknowledged and worked through, sometimes not so easily. I’m a simple person. And I like Mr. Rogers now – may his legacy make its way into the hearts of more adults.


After said television time, I find this to be an R.E.M. kind of day, old skool. How you gonna kick it: Talk About the Passion or Andy Kaufman, yeah yeah yeah? The Decemberists also do a nice rendition of one of my fave REM songs, Cuyahoga (I couldn’t find REM online doing it).



13 Responses to “Mr. Rogers for Adults”

  1. Frances Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 12:53 am eListen to Cuyahoga here.
  2. Joe The Artist Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 1:11 am eIt’s obvious why Ashok has you on his list of friends. Love your tale about Mr. Rogers; my son would cry everytime Mr. Rogers left, and had to be reassured that he would return the next day or Monday.

    I watched it with my son, and although your thoughts about the program are true, to most children, he respresented many of the things that were not evident in their “real world” and for which they yearned.

    Best Wishes, O friend of Ashok.

    Joe The Artist Hagarty

  3. Joe The Artist Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 1:14 am eAlso, I see you live on “Long Island” – I’m originally from Rosedale, Queens, and most of my remaining siblings live on Long Island. I retired from Raritan Valley Community College in 2000 to live in Western, NC.
  4. Tim Caldwell Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 2:52 am eOne of my fondest memories in my life came from my freshman year at UCLA. The school arranged for many midday informal visits from artists and intellectuals and scholars, popular or otherwise, and one day Mr. Rogers visited. I recall the event was held at Ackerman Union. Many in the audience were adults with children.

    When Mr. Rogers took the stage, the children, without prompting or an invitation, all went directly to the foot of the stage and stared up at the man. He leaned down and greeted them, and they responded with awe and reverence. He was large! He was tall! He was out of the television! They could not have looked more astounded than if he had sprouted wings and took flight.

    He excused himself from the quiet chat with the kids, suggested gently that they take a seat so he could speak to everyone, and he began speaking with intelligence, wit, and concern about child psychology, education, television, and parenting. I have no memory of watching his program when I was a child, and I happened upon that event by accident; I was looking for a seat to catch up on some reading between classes (William Carlos Williams if memory serves). That day I met a beautiful man, a man of unique and radiating kindness, one who taught me not to confuse a gentle nature with weakness. He cared tremendously for children, and for the future they would walk in.

    It’s a little odd even now to write this about Fred Rogers because of the impression most have of him from the easy caricatures that abound. But what a good person he was. I still recall how saddened I was by his death because he was “about” something eternal yet vanishing…sweetness, kindness, and a life committed to caring.

    Oh, and today was a good day for old R.E.M. Even though I love the song “Bad Day,” it was a good one after all. It was almost like spring.

    Sorry for running on…


  5. Jim K. Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 5:48 am eHeh…I made fun of Mr. Rogers early on.
    But for Xmas I requested his little
    “The World According to Mr. Rogers” book, to put next to
    the Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Heaney. We all need to be human.
    Oddly enough, especially when life hurts. Better late than never.
    He knows what’s going on in the child in us.
    His PSA for what to tell your kids just after 9-11 made me
    realize just how massively insightful he was, and we are sometimes not.
    That was well put, Amy.
  6. Amy King Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 1:57 pm eFrances – thanks for the mp3 link!

    Joe Hagarty, Artist – I’m glad your son loved him. I felt fairly alone as a child in my boredom with his show; most kids at my nursery school were similarly enthralled.

    I don’t live on LI; I teach there. I live in Brooklyn. I like hearing you that you retired to NC. How are you liking it? I think about going back (to GA) now and then. But it seems a long way off. The thought of woods and the green right in the backyard though …

    And very cool that you do sketches of people! I’m going to see if I can muster something up and send it along!

    Tim — What a lovely story. And what a great introduction to Fred Rogers, esp since you hadn’t even planned it (& in lieu of poetry!). Thanks very much for sharing it. I love that there are so many consistent stories about his character all over the internet. Accordingly, this is the most key note here I think, “…one who taught me not to confuse a gentle nature with weakness. ” Thanks, Tim!

    Jim – Well put: the proper place for his book. I missed the PSA – do you recall what he said? Or maybe it’s on youtube, my new addiction. Thanks, Jim~

  7. Jim K. Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 6:07 pm eI think the gist of was,
    your children see all the grown-ups upset,
    and they need to know they’ll probably be OK,
    and that you love them and you’re looking out for them now.
    …which is also really good for the grown-up too at that moment,
    to know you’re needed and you belong (as I noticed).
    That helps bring you back from your anxiety.
    It was awesome.
    Kids you know as well, of course: relatives, friends.
  8. Jim K. Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 8:09 pm eI have the big 33-1/3 EP for “Don’t Go Back To Rockville”.
    One of the few vinyls I didn’t toss. One whole LP side for
    just the one tune. It has a big bouncing wide sound from
    not cramming tracks on the vinyl. Like that 45 rpm / juke sound.
    Mixed like it was recorded in some hollow room…awesome.
  9. ashok Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 8:15 pm eI enjoyed Mr. Rogers when I was really, really young – he had Andre Watts on this one show to play one of Schubert’s “Moment Musical” pieces and Chopin’s “Revolution” Etude, and god, it was a thrill about a year ago to see Andre Watts in concert and think about Mr. Rogers – and I probably would watch him now if I could.

    I just wish his ability to appreciate what people are was something I had during my teenage years. It was easy to be cynical then.

  10. Jim K. Says:
    February 21st, 2007 at 8:29 pm eI say awesome too much today…sorry, lol.
    For an interesting (possible?) influence,
    compare “Don’t Go Back To Rockville”’s
    calling vocals with Snow Patrol’s “Chocolate”.
    The harmony, the echoes; the beat, though slowed a bit.
  11. Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Says:
    February 22nd, 2007 at 11:26 pm eWhen I was a kid, urban-legend had it that Fred Rogers was a decorated sniper and that he had to wear long sleeves at all times while on the show because his arms were covered with tattoos that he had aquired during his tour of ‘nam — he had one tattoo to honor each person that he had killed.
  12. Jim K. Says:
    February 23rd, 2007 at 12:51 am eHa…a few people said that to me.. I checked it out at
    snopes .. he never did about a dozen odd things the rumors
    say he did. The sniper rumor is, strangely, the most popular.
    So they (at snopes) showed how he didn’t have enough time
    to serve in the Forces. The tatoos are a pretty fancy embellishment, heh..
    Sometimes a cardigan is just a cardigan..
  13. Tim Caldwell Says:
    February 25th, 2007 at 1:24 am e…and sometimes the truth is hidden beneath a cloak of woolen deceit…

    Mr. Rogers, a sniper? While I was spellbound reading Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia Mia’s comment, I have to shoot it down, because he’s just to good a person to besmirch postmortem with rumors such as this. Fred Rogers is my homey.

Still Sore
March 24, 2008


My throat is worse, and no one seems to be able to bring hot soup. Woe is me, really. Bed all day yesterday, enough awareness for a comatose version of t.v. watching today. Any remedy suggestions?

We are updating over here this weekend. Enjoy reading. I did.

And here’s a new review: OCHO or MiPO? Let Dan guide you.

One last thing, can E.O. Wilson really save the world? Thanks to my new subscription to the New Scientist, I considered this question and found some of the answers to be refreshing. You can listen here (or read part of the interview).

And here, in a minute long excerpt from a recent talk he gave at MIT, Wilson seems to be attributing the final cap (which is close at hand) on the world’s population growth to women’s increasing ability to choose to bear children or not, due mostly to women’s increased financial security and independence. He ends it with “The earth can be made a paradise”:

Though from Mississippi, my grandfather and E.O. Wilson, who is from Alabama, share a commonality: they were both respected entymologists whose speciality was ants.

7 Responses to “Still Sore”

  1. Robin Says:
    October 9th, 2006 at 3:07 pm eWow! the MIPO site looks great! If you were in Houston, I’d bring you that soup. Hope you’re feeling better today.
  2. Amy King Says:
    October 9th, 2006 at 5:19 pm eYay! Someone cares! Thanks, Robin — I’ll take it virtually. I’m a bit better but home, “resting.”
  3. gina Says:
    October 11th, 2006 at 9:28 pm eJesus Christ are you feeling better already or what?!
  4. Amy King Says:
    October 11th, 2006 at 11:59 pm eThird day out of work, taking Biaxin, a strong ass antibiotic, but yep, a little bit. Going to try to go to work tomorrow and see how that goes. Grrr.
  5. Lee H. Says:
    October 13th, 2006 at 1:35 am eI hope you’re feeling better, Amy. But if not, here are my remedy suggestions: a TON of water, vitamin C like crazy, Airborne if you have it, and a lot of deep/ relaxation type breathing. And a little Bob Marley never makes my colds worse.
    Feel well soon.
  6. Amy King Says:
    October 13th, 2006 at 8:15 pm eThanks, Lee! I seem to get a sinus infection once every four years, and each time, it does me in. I’ve got a new antibiotic because Biaxin wasn’t doing anything good. I’m feeling much better and am on that water and C like mad!

    As for the music and the Airborne, I get those does quite sporadically but will bear it in mind for sure. By the way, you and Mairead Byrne are vocal fans of Marley!

  7. Lee H. Says:
    October 16th, 2006 at 2:51 am eGlad you’re feeling better, Amy! Byrne has good taste )

Really? Really, Really?
March 24, 2008

Daryl Hannah and Her Biodiesel El Camino (w/silly intro)

Someone on the LUCIPO listserv challenged my idealistic notion today of exploring biodiesel fuels by claiming it’s akin to converting to a biodiesel car and installing a solar panel on my house, which in turn, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Nice metaphor for the planet, by the way.

Now I’m sure this line of thinking is more common than I’d like to admit. In fact, the people who hold to such dismissive claims probably excuse their own over-consumption before driving off into the sunset. I’m not excusing my own “carbon footprint,” as a friend of mine puts it when she’s measuring her activities for the day, but I am wondering: do we really need to convince people, especially those with children, that the world is not yet lost but that we really are, in actuality, destroying certain vital elements and resources by living carelessly, and moreover, by cultivating a cautious ignorance?

So without further ado, I’m going to simply cut and paste my part of the discussion from the list in a minor attempt to persuade and convince (sorry, I’m too lazy to eliminate the typos):

Okay, a nice pat rejection, JFQ … what are your sources? Who is doing the math in your sweeping equation?

Considering the fact that governments, private companies, and individuals find exploring multiple sources of biodiesel and renewable resources (wind, solar, hydro – wave and tidal – etc) as well as methods of implementation worthwhile, why forgo these alternatives, even on a smaller scale and as supplemental, with the dismissive notion that we’re on a “sinking ship”? Sounds a bit like words from the mouth of Michael Gerson himself… ‘Don’t think about it – just give up and give in.’ One way of shirking responsiblity as a citizen of the country with the most …

Such considerations are simply “rearranging the deck chairs”? Aren’t some of the benefits of trying out assorted types of fuels beneficial for other reasons, like reducing pollution? Greenhouse effects? I realize the country’s infrastructure might become a little inconvenienced and disheveled when options beyond petroleum and gas come into play, but it seems like supplementing fuel sources and exploring on a larger scale (beyond the conceptual & dismissive) is due. With a few more solar panels and hybrid cars on the road, people might start talking about their own bottom lines being cut, and well, that might just inspire … it’s at least a step beyond shrugging one’s shoulders and claiming “Oh well.” Conservation surely has practical applications too~

Certainly there are flaws in developing any plan for new energies, but aren’t there worthwhile advantages to consider?


“The environmental problems of petroleum have finally been surpassed by the strategic weakness of being dependent on a fuel that can only be purchased from tyrants. The economic strain on our country resulting from the $100-150 billion we spend every year buying oil from other nations, combined with the occasional need to use military might to protect and secure oil reserves our economy depends on just makes matters worse (and using military might for that purpose just adds to the anti-American sentiment that gives rise to terrorism). Clearly, developing alternatives to oil should be one of our nation’s highest priorities.

…a preferable scenario would include a shift to diesel-electric hybrid vehicles (preferably with the ability to be recharged and drive purely on electric power for a short range, perhaps 20-40 miles, to provide the option of zero emissions for in-city driving), and with far fewer people buying 6-8,000 pound SUVs merely to commute to work in by themselves. Those changes could drastically reduce the amount of fuel required for our automotive transportation, and are technologically feasible currently (see for example Chrysler’s Dodge Intrepid ESX3, built under Clinton’s PNGV program – a full-size diesel electric hybrid sedan that averaged 72 mpg in mixed driving 6, 7).

…The research began as a project looking into using quick-growing algae to sequester carbon in CO2 emissions from coal power plants. Noticing that some algae have very high oil content, the project shifted its focus to growing algae for another purpose – producing biodiesel. Some species of algae are ideally suited to biodiesel production due to their high oil content (some well over 50% oil), and extremely fast growth rates. From the results of the Aquatic Species Program 2, algae farms would let us supply enough biodiesel to completely replace petroleum as a transportation fuel in the US (as well as its other main use – home heating oil) – …”


“The key to kicking what President Bush calls the nation’s oil addiction could very well lie in termite guts, canvas-eating jungle bugs and other microbes genetically engineered to spew enzymes that turn waste into fuel. …

‘The process is like making grain alcohol, or brewing beer, but on a much bigger scale,’ said Nathanael Greene, an analyst with the environmental nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council. ‘The technologies are out there to do this, but we need to convince the public this is real and not just a science project.’

The idea mentioned by Bush during his State of the Union speech — called “cellulosic ethanol” — skirts that problem because it makes fuel from farm waste such as straw, corn stalks and other inedible agricultural leftovers. Cellulose is the woody stuff found in branches and stems that makes plants hard.

Breaking cellulose into sugar to spin straw into ethanol has been studied for at least 50 years. But the technological hurdles and costs have been so daunting that most ethanol producers have relied on heavy government subsidies to squeeze fuel from corn. …

‘We have been at this for 25 years and we had hoped to be in commercial production by now,’ said Jeff Passmore, an executive vice president at Iogen, an ethanol-maker Iogen. ‘What the president has done is — perhaps — put some wind in the sails.’ …

Iogen opened a small, $40 million factory in 2004 to show it can produce cellulosic ethanol in commercial quantities. In the last two years, it has produced 65,000 gallons of ethanol that is blended with 85 percent gasoline to fuel about three dozen company and Canadian government vehicles. Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has invested $40 million for a 30 percent ownership stake in Iogen; Petro-Canada and the Canadian government are also investors.

Now the company is ready to build a $350 million, commercial-scale factory in Canada or Idaho Falls, Idaho, next year if it can secure financing — long one of the biggest stumbling blocks to bringing the stuff to gas pumps.

While conventional lenders are wary of investing in a new technology, the company is banking on winning a loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Even under a best-case scenario, Passmore said Iogen won’t be producing commercial quantities until 2009.”,70208-0.html


“There are a number of benefits to using biofuels aside from guaranteeing the longevity of the supply system. First, biofuels are produced domestically, and the feedstocks for them are grown domestically. This helps reduce our country’s trade deficit and creates jobs in our country, both of which are good for our economy. Our agricultural community especially stands to benefit, since biofuels are made from crops and agricultural residues, providing options for new valuable crops and new uses for existing crops and residues.

Producing our fuels domestically also improves our energy security; we become less dependent on the strategic, political, and economic whims of other countries. And with continued Middle East turmoil it is important to remember how vulnerable we are and how heavy our reliance is on imported oil. Key among the reasons for rising oil imports is the limited domestic resource base of crude oil.

Finally, producing and using biofuels is much better for the environment than burning fossil fuels. Biofuels produce fewer harmful emissions during production and combustion and they reduce life cycle carbon dioxide to the atmosphere 78%, which is very important for reducing the build up of greenhouse gases.”

***In response to naysayers of biodeisel, SWITCHGRASS is now being considered as an alternative to SOY and RAPESEED crops:

“Switchgrass is a perennial C4 grass propagated by seed that can be established at low cost and risk and requires very low inputs while giving high biomass yields even on marginal soils. Since the early 1990s the crop has been developed as a model herbaceous energy crop for ethanol and electricity production in the USA and in Canada and it is also being considered as a paper pulp production feedstock. …

But what makes switchgrass bad for barefoot lawns makes it ideal for energy crops: It grows fast, capturing lots of solar energy and turning it into lots of chemical energy— cellulose—that can be liquified, gasified, or burned directly. It also reaches deep into the soil for water, and uses the water it finds very efficiently. And because it spent millions of years evolving to thrive in climates and growing conditions spanning much of the nation, switchgrass is remarkably adaptable.

Many farmers already grow switchgrass, either as forage for livestock or as a ground cover, to control erosion. Cultivating switchgrass as an energy crop instead would require only minor changes in how it’s managed and when it’s harvested. Switchgrass can be cut and baled with conventional mowers and balers. And it’s a hardy, adaptable perennial, so once it’s established in a field, it can be harvested as a cash crop, either annually or semiannually, for 10 years or more before replanting is needed. And because it has multiple uses—as an ethanol feedstock, as forage, as ground cover—a farmer who plants switchgrass can be confident knowing that a switchgrass crop will be put to good use.

Annual cultivation of many agricultural crops depletes the soil’s organic matter, steadily reducing fertility. But switchgrass adds organic matter—the plants extend nearly as far below ground as above. And with its network of stems and roots, switchgrass holds onto soil even in winter to prevent erosion.”

*** AGAIN, WHY?:

“1. It provides a market for excess production of vegetable oils and animal fats. There is increasing demand around the world for soybean meal to provide the protein for human and animal consumption. If new markets are not found for the soybean oil, then the price will be low and farmers will have even more difficulty producing a profit. The animal by-products industry also has a problem with more supply than the current market can absorb. This is compounded by the potential for even greater restrictions on the use of animal fats in animal feeds because of concerns about the spread of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy – Mad Cow Disease) .

2. It decreases the country’s dependence on imported petroleum. Obviously, this reason should not be overemphasized since the percentage of the country’s fuel supply that can be replaced with biodiesel will be small. However, petroleum markets tend to be sensitive to small fluctuations in supply so an additional source of fuel can have a surprising impact on keeping fuel prices stable.

3. Biodiesel is renewable and contributes less to global warming than fossil fuels due to its closed carbon cycle. Because the primary feedstock for biodiesel is a biologically-based oil or fat, which can be grown season after season, biodiesel is renewable. And, since most of the carbon in the fuel was originally removed from the air by plants, there is very little net increase in carbon dioxide levels. However, some fossil carbon is contained in the methanol used to make methyl esters, and some fossil fuel is used during the production process. A life cycle study on biodiesl use in an urban bus conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory [1] found that CO 2 emissions were reduced by 79% for pure biodiesel compared with petroleum diesel fuel. Again, this reason should not be overemphasized because biodiesel does not have the potential to make a major impact on the total carbon dioxide production.

4. The exhaust emissions from biodiesel are lower than with regular diesel fuel. Biodiesel provides substantial reductions in carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and particulate emissions from diesel engines. While the carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons from diesels are already very low compared with gasoline engines, biodiesel reduces them further. Particulate emissions, especially the black soot portion, are greatly reduced with biodiesel. Unfortunately, most emissions tests have shown a slight increase in oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions with biodiesel. This increase in NOx can be eliminated with a small adjustment to the engine’s injection timing while still retaining a particulate decrease.

5. Biodiesel has excellent lubricating properties. Even when added to regular diesel fuel in an amount equal to 1-2%, it can convert fuel with poor lubricating properties, such as modern ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel, into an acceptable fuel.

Reference: Sheehan, J., V. Camobreco, J. Duffield, M. Graboski, and H. Shapouri, Life Cycle Inventory of Biodiesel and Petroleum Diesel for Use in an Urban Bus,” Report from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fuels Development and for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of Energy, NREL/SR-580-24089, May 1998. ”

7 Responses to “Really? Really, Really?”

  1. shanna Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 2:25 pm ei haven’t read the whole thread over there, but isn’t the argument about “it takes more energy to convert biomass into biodiesel” etc. forgetting that it takes an awful lot of energy to kill all those people sitting on the petrol reserves in the middle east? pollution, greenhouse gases, co2, etc. aside, one benefit to converting to biodiesel and renewable energy and otherwise reducing our dependence on petroleum would be LESS PROVOCATION FOR KILLING.even if the switching over is more expensive, and even if it’s inconvenient, i’m okay with that. i don’t like WAR for OIL. it sucks.

    hey, did you know you can buy wind power here in NYC. check the con ed website here. i haven’t done it yet, since i’m about to move, but will when i do. also, i have given up plastic bottles. these things are not BIG but they are SOMETHING which is better than NOTHING.

  2. Amy King Says:
    September 16th, 2006 at 4:55 pm eExactly – an excellent point, Shanna. It’s as though there’s a switch that allows folks to ignore the fact that we’re in Iraq because they’ve got oil we covet — folks who don’t want to consider how their actions impact the environment they personally inhabit find a remove from the war by negating any gestures toward eco-consciousness and turning these considerations into a series of clichés about treehuggers and greenies.If we begin, as a country, to think about our impact on the environment and how much oil we use, well then it becomes impossible to ignore that we’re at war for this very reason … and we don’t want to admit that, not even to ourselves — that our “comfortable” lifestyles need to be fulfilled by certain means, even if those means are horrifying.

    Another “small” but good thing in addition to weening cars off of petrol is the change in home heating. Several companies are now selling alternative/mixed fuels for heating.

    Ultimately, appealing to people’s wallets, instead of the solo moral method (Gore’s position in “An Inconvenient Truth”), I suppose, is going to be the route of selling folks on switching over or just supplementing our daily consumption of petrol. Any move, even baby steps at this point, is better than sizing up the next country with oil …

  3. shanna Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 2:51 am eyeah, and i have a friend who is an environmental specialist who is noticing just that trend. (she currently coordinates recycling and energy policy for a county in new jersey.) she says companies are starting to realize that their consumer bases are “turned on” by envirnonmental conciousness as part of the corporate culture, so they are hiring away eco peeps to help them fall in line. as much as i’d like to dismiss this as a PR move (and indeed, it is, mostly), those eco peeps WILL shape the companies up somewhat. they are beginning to realize–at the level of the bottom line (the only line that matters to them)–that we do care and that we’ll spend more if we can feel better about it.(so, yeah, money. whaddaya gonna do?)


  4. john sakkis Says:
    September 17th, 2006 at 7:04 pm ean el camino?! with the matte black paint job! she’s so rock and roll…
  5. Mia Says:
    September 19th, 2006 at 3:16 am eAll I know is that out here, there are a lot of people who claim to be environmentalist, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who is actually using public transportation. And screw biofuels. I’m not interested in the price of food going up because it could be more profitable to grow corn for fuel. We have the technology to create vehicles that emit olny water vapor. And Honda has just figured out how to make them go fast. Those cars will be a real option for buyers in the EU in 200.
  6. Dan Coffey Says:
    September 25th, 2006 at 5:56 pm eNow that we know there’s oil in Canada, we just need to find some WMDs up there and we’ll be set for probably another half-century.
  7. belledame222 Says:
    September 28th, 2006 at 12:14 am e> haven’t read the whole thread over there, but isn’t the argument about “it takes more energy to convert biomass into biodiesel” etc. forgetting that it takes an awful lot of energy to kill all those people sitting on the petrol reserves in the middle east?>Yup.

    I think that there are a number of factors at work in defenses like that; and that “want to preserve status quo/profit” or what have you is only the surface. I think change is scary and hope is scarier, as it raised the specter of ambivalence, which scares a lot of if not all people more than anything.

March 24, 2008


Warmer weather nears — time for some backyard cheer! I plan to play some games, sit and read, barbeque, but first, will rake up the sticks from the crazy ocean wind that topples our lovely trees!

Am I becoming suburban just because I long for this? A book — and drink — in hand …

A Little Credit
March 23, 2008



Let’s face it: actors don’t have to do doo-doo. I mean, they have to pose and supply our pop-culture-hungry minds with enough visual fodder & personal drama to destroy small forests for Hollywood rags, and they act on occasion — but there’s no contractual agreement that requires them to also be socially-conscious citizens who will use their powers for good and not evil.

So whenever I hear of one of these pedestaled beings actually speaking out, or better yet, acting for the greater good (a good that extends beyond their own world, at least), I take note. I mean, imagine if glamour puss Paris Hilton used a tiny fraction of her celebrity exposure and financial resources to extend just a glance beyond her own mirror?

I think fondly now of Pamela Anderson on her anti-fur campaign via PETA … and yes, gasp, Angelina Jolie (click here for a brief list of her efforts) – I don’t have time to research it, but I understand she contributes some large percentage of her already rotund paycheck to assorted charities (at least, significantly more than most of the wealthy elite), etc. And then there’s Bono and a whole slew of others …

The point? Last night I caught ETown on the radio. They awarded Daryl Hannah their weekly E-chievement award, especially for her promotion of bio-diesel fuel. She spoke briefly but articulately about the benefits of the fuel, emphasizing the fact that this isn’t a future solution but that the capabilities exist right now. She explained that using this fuel emits the same dose of carbon dioxide as required to sustain the same amount of plants required to make the grease that runs the car. Whew. That’s a bad sentence, but it’s basically a tit-for-tat kind of equal expenditure vs. our own fossil fuel use that is just destroying the environment. Here, let Daryl explain.

When asked who she would like an audience with, Hannah said that she would simply like to speak to everyone, so that we would know how to get access to this fuel. She drives an old El Camino on this diesel fuel – information can be found at
Anyway, I’ve really got to run, but I just wanted to take note and make note. You go, Daryl!

4 Responses to “A Little Credit”

  1. Didi Says:
    June 9th, 2006 at 1:32 am eI think she is beautiful. She is the same almost exact age as me. John Jr. was also same age although he was born in November and I in July. She does not look my age though. I feel old.


  2. Mr. Horton Says:
    June 9th, 2006 at 2:55 am eIn paragraph 3, you should specify bio-diesel in the first mention. Just an idea.
  3. EL Says:
    June 9th, 2006 at 3:46 pm eI saw her video on YouTube and it is cool, especially because she’s doing this sort of out-there issue. Not that there’s anything wrong with advocating on the usual things- props to the ones speaking out and being active – but it’s cool that she wants to bring to light a lesser-known issue.
  4. just aimee Says:
    June 13th, 2006 at 3:23 pm eif 2 out of 5 (I wish it were that much) average humans are passionate about some sort of issue, then maybe the same is true of the “extraordinary” humans such as stars and whatnot. but it’s true that once one gains that fame and fortune, i think they have a moral obligation to use it for a greater good. daryl is so much sexier as she gets older!