Sunday, April 30, 2006

fishy frogs

Frogs are nature's meter for water contamination. At the first sign of heavy metals or invading germs, they start sprouting extra legs. First a spare to help them get away, then another spare to trip them up, finally legs and nubs from the middle of their heads. Yet people will say that mutations don't happen, nothing can evolve into something else without going through some kind of silly phase that has never been observed in the "real world" ...

I love those old reports of when it used to rain fish on villages miles from the nearest sea. Maybe a waterspout was playing tricks, or an updraft of freakish proportions. Maybe they were just swimming upstream to spawn, decided to turn UP and got lost in the atmosphere. The reports used to point out that what made them most unbelievable was that it would only rain one species at a time. So ... there's some kind of angelic cannery at work, stuffing sardine tins but throwing out the baby mackerel. Or maybe some kid chucked a barrel full of kippers out into the field when nobody was looking, only to laugh at the adults as they crawled around with their Sherlock Holmes' magnifiers having what they could only describe as spiritual experiences.

Are you allowed to eat fish in heaven? Maybe the cows will give you a ticket, then go back to munching their cloud grass ... which, if you listen reeeeeeallly close, can be heard screaming.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

earth day weird

Today was Earth Day, and there was a big festival down at Balboa Park. Naturally, it attracted thousands of gas-burning stink machines (cars) that had to fight for parking. There were lots of little booths everywhere, mostly with overpriced food. A few outdoor stages with music; some good sounds, some international sounds, and a few crooning husband and wife hippie duos (of course).

I don't understand why the environmental movement got all tangled up in dumb New Age baloney. There were booths where you could pay people to teach you how to meditate. The Scientologists were there with a one-stop massage and brainwashing booth. There were some local temples recruiting tomorrow's Hindus and Krishnas. All kinds of delusions out there, few of them helpful. I'd say about 30% of the booths were actual environmental stuff, and those were good.

There were some super hybrid cars on display, even a hydrogen-burning truck developed by folks at Camp Pendleton. Trouble is, we couldn't afford any of these vehicles if we wanted to, and even if we could, only the dealers know how to service the things. Gone are the days of being able to fix your own cars. Yet it's impossible that they need to be so damned complicated. A power source turns wheels, and there are flashy bits. But no, they all have to be computer-controlled megatech monsters. And I guess we could take on a massive debt for this luxury, but that's really not a good idea.

There was a lot of info on local parks and conservation projects. Thanks. And a fun area for kids, even a table where they could make their own paper (a.k.a. the world's messiest hobby). There was an area where kids could arrange old book covers of all different colors on the grass to make pictures - or throw them at each other. Nearby were the stinky generators that were producing much of the electricity for the event. One could hope that by the time all the gasses reached the stratosphere, the diesel had been subdued by all the yummy kettle corn and funnel cake fumes.

There was plenty of info on recycling, but with a clear demonstration that people won't walk an extra 20 feet to recycle their crap if there's an overflowing trashcan right at hand. They had big recycling station set up, yet all the regular trashcans were overflowing with paper plates and plastic bottles ...

Some solar and wind power companies were there, trying to make a mark. New ways to heat your water. Low-power desk lamps. And the Kashi people are always nice, with tasty cereal and crackers. Though I have to say soy milk still tastes like regular milk that had someone's sock in it overnight.

But my favorite bit was the Japanese man whose two kids (about 5 and 6) were chuggin Rockstar energy drinks. After much pondering, I could come up with only one explanation ... he must have a giant hamster wheel at home to harvest their energy.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

scurrying dreams

Dreams scurry around the bedroom like mice. Only half as nice. Wake up, think I hear them scratching, but it's nothing, or is it? Stucco ceilings shouldn't be allowed in bedrooms - look up at 4 A.M. and the whole blurry surface is crawling, triggering images of spiders and beetles. Roll over, knowing there are microscopic things chewing on my legs, or partying between the weave of the cotton sheets rejoicing in the dead skin snowfall.

At least we're in a quiet neighborhood. No more hearing the people in the apartment across the hall - just beyond the wall - screwing or shouting or crying. Although one time I got even, accidentally. I was a kid and had found a small garter snake outside, brought it home in a cardboard box. Looked in the box before bed, and it was gone. Heard screams from across the hall, snake under the fridge, kid comes out holding it my the tail. I wanted to say, "Hey, that's mine." But we all know we can't own those things. I'm just glad they didn't kill it ... people are just so heartless ... kill first and bitch about it later. Now that I think back, it wasn't getting even with anyone, just freaking out the wildlife.

Snakes under the bed. Lizards in my head. Late nights are the best.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

cleaning like zombies

Whatever happened to good old-fashioned soap? Soap was working fine for centuries. But now there are thousands of cleaning products, with millions of dollars dumped into scientific and consumer research and testing every year. Now we have whole lines of hair care products full of truly noxious chemicals, and funny little wipes that leave only the toughest germs behind, and soaps with perfumes and moisturizers ... bath scrubs, bath oils, scouring powders, scrubbing bubbles ...

Yeah, we need cleaning products. But we're just "consumer" zombies with targets painted on our chests, and we buy whatever "they" throw at us. So we end up with whole piles of swiffers and wonder brooms and gobbledy goop that we never needed. Some of it seriously toxic. If only we could think before we swipe those cards ...

Who would've thought that the first household robots would be little disc-shaped thingies that quietly bounce off the walls. In theory their mad meanderings should end up cleaning the whole house, or at least scaring the cats on a regular basis. I hope they have the laws of robitcs programmed in ... I'd hate to have them come after my ankles when I'm headed for a midnight snack!