Monday, December 3, 2012

Harmless is Apparently Subjective

Only recently did I jump on the coconut water train with a vengeance. I mean, YUM. I love that stuff. I really just want to buy coconuts and drill right on into them to avoid the middleman.

Like these guys: Harmless Harvest. From all I can see, they are a great company, try to do everything sustainably, have a great attitude and a good business, and their water is supposedly the best-tasting, hands down. It's not heated, it's pressure processed for a good shelf life, totally organic, raw.

But, I'm sorry, guys. You can't call yourself harmless if you are using plastic bottles. Just can't be. Glass is harmless. Plastic is almost never harmless in the big picture. I understand their process requires the use of plastic bottles, with the pressure and all. But, no. Plastic in the environment, plastic bottle, is not harmless. I have NO shades of grey on that one. They look like nice guys. They seem to want to do their best. But I will avoid any product that is in plastic. I e-mailed their company to try to get some information from them. They were not terribly responsive. I gave up. I am sure this is delicious. But I would rather just flat-out buy the darn coconut than add more plastic to the planet.

Just don't call yourself "harmless" unless you are, completely and totally. No excuses. Wonderful Harvest? Tasty Harvest? There are lots of Adjectives. Harmless, however, is not the one you should be using. It's catchy, sure, but it's false.

I'll maintain this position until I hear otherwise from Justin and Douglas. Sorry, guys. None shall pass.

Hmm... there's some Mamma Chia on the shelf right nest to it... I'll buy that.

It's in glass. And I love me my chia seeds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

They Make Banana Slicers.

I'm not kidding. I almost feel like I don't need to say anymore.

But you know me. I shall say more.

A simple Google search on banana slicers, which I did not know existed until a good friend pointed them out to me, yielded not just one but many different types and styles to choose from. Because, you know, your hand and a BUTTER KNIFE just won't do. I have cut a banana into cereal WITH A SPOON so I didn't have to dirty another utensil, for frick's sake. WHO BUYS THESE THINGS??? I can't even imagine.

If you are spending otherwise perfectly good money on a plastic product like this, you need to be removed from the gene pool. Now. You need to stop using air. You need to not use otherwise perfectly good water that the rest of us need, for you to wash this thing. I suppose you wash out something that you only used to measure out water, too. You have your kids use paper or plastic or Styrofoam plates for dinner some days because you don't want them messing up other real plates. I'm just guessing, here. By all means, let me know if I'm wrong. You use lots and lots of single-use plastic bottled water - at home - which is the last place anyone needs it. You leave the water running while you do dishes and brush your teeth. You use a Kleenex to wipe your nose just once then throw it away even though there is plenty more Kleenex to use. You flush bugs. You think those disposable hand towels might be pretty nifty, because life is germy.

Actually, I'm not really sure what you are really like, if you are the kind of person who buys this sort of useless plastic crap thing. I think I'm pretty sure I don't really need to know you.

Please, just don't have kids.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Magic Tap: Plastic AND Batteries For What?

Here's another one of those wonderful solutions to a problem I did not know we had.

Is it convenient? Sure! Is it useful? Yes. Do people with small children or older adults who have problems lifting need it? Need? No. Helpful? Sure. I lean more toward the older adults, because people with small children don't need yet one more thing to duck out of when being around their kids. (Yeah, I said it. bring it. I'm a witch, not a fluffy bunny-land airy fairy.) It's the Magic Tap Automatic Drink Dispenser. Battery operated.

One of their selling points is that kids can help themselves now.When you have kids, you accept certain responsibilities. One of those is pouring the heavy stuff or cleaning up a spill when you let them pour the heavy stuff. Kids don't really need to be helping themselves to things all the time and you don't have to give them a sense of independence by letting them get their own damn drinks. They need supervision at certain ages. And if they are too small to handle a gallon container of something, then they are still at the age of supervision! Why do I care? Because this is more plastic crap that breaks and gets tossed when it doesn't work right and uses batteries which also just get tossed when they are spent... and really it's for nothing. This is not a problem. If it is, maybe you have to think about some things long and hard. This is simply a company trying to make money. They don't care about your home life. They just are trying to make a buck. Yay, America. Of course they are entitled, but it doesn't mean we have to fall for it.

Yes, I can see where it would be handy for people who cannot lift, or have arthritis, but look at this thing. It IS plastic crap. It can break anywhere so easily, or it'll be a pain to clean out when necessary so into the drawer it goes, then into garbage... and of course they are SO nice and cheap that if it breaks, just buy another, no problem! It's just part of a bigger picture. Solutions to problems we don't really have, and things we have dealt with more or less in an OK manner for years.

If the bottles are too big for little kids, handle it for them. If you don't have time, don't have kids. (Again... "witch." Sorry. It's long been my philosophy that if one doesn't have the time needed for kids or finds life too inconvenient with kids... don't have kids.) If the bottles are too heavy for some people, buy smaller amounts, or have someone (if you can) split them into smaller containers that are easier to manage. (Yes, I have more sympathy there, arthritis runs in my family and I realize certain things become difficult.) But please let's stop with the As Seen on TV crap that addresses made-up issues. We aren't helpless. Our predecessors got along without these stupid things, and just because we think of them doesn't make it "Progress." One of their claims: "If you're tired of lifting large containers, do yourself a favor and buy these." Notice a marked increase in obesity out there in the world? How about we DO lift heavy stuff for a change?


And actually, if your kid is standing there with the fridge door hanging open in the hot Summer while waiting to fill up a glass of plastic-encased high-fructose corn syrupy crap, you got more than just the one problem. Just sayin'.

Symptom of a bigger thing. Yeah, I picked on the Magic Tap, but really it's all these damn things out there. These stupid products sell millions and then end up where? You guessed it. Ever Ever Land. Part of which is right smack in the middle of all of our oceans.

Help with This One...

I love candles. Love love love them. I have some burning a really soft glow at my desk right now. Eco-friendly? Depends upon what they are made from, I guess. Some say soy candles are great. I say no, soy is very GMO. Beeswax works for me, but the vegans will say no to that one. I just buy candles. Good-smelling, inexpensive candles. I love the gentle smell and the soft glow.

The latest trend lately has been flameless candles. I'm a fire sign, so burning candles with actual fire is fine by me. I don't have kids to eff with them, and I place them out of range of my cats.

I'm not sure about flameless candles. They are pretty. I guess they have plastic parts, which is not great. When they are done being useful or stop working, they got to Ever Ever Land. Regular candles at least mostly get consumed. These... just stick around. And here's the part that gets me more: they can take 2 AA batteries or 4 AAA batteries. And while they are usually LED and take very little energy and do not actually burn through batteries quickly (pun intended), they are still using batteries. Which also stay in Ever Ever Land. And I don't know a whole lot of people using rechargeable. Oh, and some come with remotes. Gimme a break on that one. Remotes for candles.

In researching these, they seem very nice. They do last a long time, they take very little energy, and many are made of actual wax and emit a soft aroma. Actually, I had to laugh at a complaint I saw... apparently sometimes they flicker, then they'll go really bright for a few seconds, then resume flickering. THIS is your gripe?? Sigh. But anyway, I thought with the battery use they were a big bad idea, but now I am not so sure. Might they be better than candles? Candles have soot... candles can be made from bad stuff... I really just don't know on this one.

Those little fake plastic votives they use in restaurants now? Ick. Always hate those. Those really are just chunks of useless plastic and I cannot condone.

Thoughts? What say you? Fan of the flameless, just for certain areas, feel safer with them around? Maybe that's it. Maybe for just certain spots, and keep the other ones around too. Maybe it's a world where we have both. Let me know what you think...

Still can't quite take the FOUR AAA batteries per candle....

Friday, November 23, 2012

Or you can, you know, MAKE your own drinks.

My favorite holiday tradition... thumbing through the Bed Bath & Beyond mailer. After my head flew off at the old-timey Atari Flashback Game Console, with my inner child screaming how we HAD to HAVE that, I was able to look at the rest of the stuff. (But yeah. Oh yeah. Might have to get that. I'm only human. And a product of the late-70's-early-80's. I'm weak.)

But get to the section of "What more can I possibly spend money on that I really don't need?" That's where it gets good. Around the super-special wine openers and battery-operated wine preservers (Who are these people that leave opened wine around that long??? Just drink it!!) was the creme-de-la-creme of the perfect home wet-bar: the Margaritaville Mixed Drink Maker. If Jimmy Buffett is involved in this thing, I am truly embarrassed for him.

For a mere $299.99, you too can own this giant plastic monstrosity that you will use maybe twice a year and that takes up what looks like a go-awful amount of counter space, and of course don't forget to clean it out after use because if you put it away with the liquids in it they will go bad and get really gross... Oh yeah I am running out to get mine! Hope they don't sell out!

Oh, and then when you go to their site to check it out, on the FAQs they recommend using 16oz plastic party cups. Oh, and of course it uses power, so there ya go.

To summarize: giant plastic parts that when they break or you are sick of this just go into Ever-Ever Land (since, you know, plastic NEVER goes away, so it stays around for Ever), energy consumption required, and the potential for great amounts of wasted beverage. This, versus a coupla bottles of alcohol and mix, and then actually pouring drinks by hand. So pedestrian. So last century.
pouring drinks. Snort. The thought of it.

That's it. Just a tiny bit of holiday "extravagance" which is really just plain old stupidity. Surely there are more worthy things to blow this much money on, right? No? Surely.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And Another Thing...

...that we can easily do without, that is, replace with something reusable that we all used to use.... Another great gift, that'll make them think of you every time they use it! I wasn't planning on a gift guide this year. It just so happens that a lot of these thing I am mentioning right now happen to make awesome presents!

PENS! How many pens do you go through in a year? How many do you lose in a year? Can't even think of the number? I save pens forever, but then when I go to use them after some time, they are dead. I LOVE pens, I love calligraphy, I like writing by hand. What's as cool as a beautiful fountain pen? It's a lost art. Why? Because we can't be bothered with ink anymore? Because... why because? Ink is too messy? Not really. Why is this worth the millions of pens that wash up from the ocean?

Washed ashore in Australia
I'm trying to make sense of all this "progress." Help me out here. How are we better off using plastic cheap throw-away-but-never-really-away pens? It's the little things. Because little things add up to and contribute to big things. Attitudes, even. When the littlest things are insignificantly disposable, it just goes right up the chain. If we have to care for and maintain the littler things, maybe bigger things mean more too. Does that make sense? When we have to stop and THINK... when convenience doesn't rule our lives... maybe.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. We need to value things more. So maybe the gift of a really decent pen that has a refillable life, rather than a throw-away destiny, is a really cool thing. I'm looking around at my "stuff"... especially as we prepare to move, and I thinking about what I can replace with something other than plastic. It's really not hard at all. I went somewhere the other day where I knew I would need a pen. I brought 3. ALL of them failed. Next time I am in the market for a pen, I will get one I can refill instead of replace. Same with my razor. My hangers. My kitchen stuff. All of it. If you are already doing that in your world, yay! Now start with these great things for this holiday season. Buy local and replace some things for your friends and family.

Hey, they don't even have to realize what you are doing. You can be all slick and sly about it. It's OK. We'll know.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

It's My Own Addiction

Lip gloss. I like it. I like a little color on my lips. I've talked about it before; I still fight it.

But at least I can maintain control in some other areas. We can all do the same. I love the ease and look of a liquid eye liner, but I will not buy one because it only comes in plastic that I see. Does this make me feel better about the plastic tube of colored gloss I bought? No. Not really. OK, a little.

UGH! So much plastic stuff around! I really do understand that we just want to be able to live our lives like normal people and not have to think about so many things all the time! Maybe if we had chilled on some of the truly stupid stuff... like plastic forks and spoons IN the home, we could get away with a few things here and there. But I have an addiction to pretty lip colors and I try, I really do, but I slip up here and there. I don't have a lot of income right now and I miss shopping for even the basics, and a 99 cent boost of color is a real draw. I know this; I understand. I know what it's like. Truly. I do it too, see? I'm GUILTY.

We just have to do the best we cam. Yeah, I buckled, but I refused the other thing. Sometimes when there are things I want, and they are only in plastic, I refuse. Life goes on. I can use an eye liner pencil just fine. I can do without the ranch dressing. I can do without mayo. It's all fine, we can all cut back. Yes, we slip here and there, but it's OK. Life does go on. Just keep a chin up, and keep trying.

I slip, but I still carry on. It's OK to slip. Just... try anyway. Hell, I wouldn't be able to get up in the morning. Seriously. Just keep swimming...

...while we still can.

Bring Back the Zippo

There are so many disposable things in our lives that we don't need to be disposable, it's mind-boggling. For example, take the easily-ignored lighter. There are a lot of smokers out there. I used to be one of them. How many times does it happen that they have lost the lighter? Constantly. How many lighters do we go through in the course of, say, a year? 3? 6? More? We have them left over from my smoker days and from when we have found them in the laundry room, etc. We use them to light candles and incense. They get lost or get used up, and thrown away they go. As I've said before, though, away isn't really away.

Cigarette lighters collected by volunteers;
 picture by D. Tsukayama,  Midway Atoll
Remember Zippos? Those awesome metal refillable things that just plain looked cool back in the day? Why did we abandon those in favor of plastic? Plastic lighters can be dangerous. I had one explode in my car once, as it sat too close too being in the sun as my car was parked at work. Plastic shards everywhere, lighter fluid smells. They go through the laundry. They end up in the ocean. They leak their toxic fluid into the ocean. They never go away. And for what? Convenience? Because we cannot be bothered to refill Zippos?

Here's what REALLY funny: It's very hard to buy the necessary lighter fluid. This I know because I was fond of using refillable lighters. They make it very hard to purchase that stuff. Because it's dangerous. I find that vaguely ironic, because I find the plastic lighters far more dangerous in the long run. Is that why people don't buy Zippos? Because it's too darn inconvenient to buy the fluid? That has to be the reason, because overall there really can be no other excuse. They have a lifetime warranty so it's not like it breaks and you are SOL. Pure, sheer convenience, I guess.

Look, almost all of us have need for lighters at one point or another. Lighting candles in the dark when the power goes out, camping, fireplace, pilot lights that went out... why not have something of quality that will last, rather than cheap dangerous plastic that ends up in the Midway Atoll of all places, in the stomachs of baby albatross??? What a great cool neat thoughtful green gift: a Zippo. I went to their site after thinking about this, and WOW! I have to say, I was even more impressed. What a great story they have, and what cool products. I don't get on people for smoking. It is what it is. I DO get on them for littering or for the plastic lighters. Matches are preferable, for that matter. But, yeah, let's please do away with plastic disposable lighters. There is nothing redeeming about them. We do not need them. The planet doesn't need them. They are bad-bad-bad. 

I will buy no more. When I find need for a lighter, I will purchase a Zippo and keep it forever. Better yet, I will find an older one and keep it forever. Those things rock my world.

I didn't intend this to be a commercial for Zippo, but it sure turned into one. HAH! This IS an indictment against plastic lighters. Please: buy no more. And think about gifting something to that candle enthusiast you know... a personalized pretty lighter is really a very thoughtful gift! Designed. Engraved. Whatever! They will think of  you every time they use it, too! Get one for the smoker in your life. Even if you do not approve of their choice to smoke, at least you can help them be a little better about it! Right? 

And when you go to Zippo's site, please tell them I sent you. Not that I'll get anything, just... well, they should know. Hah!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Seemed Like a Good Idea...

First, we'll tell the good story and give praise. Then, we shall discuss why it's still a bunch of horse-pucky.

"The story of the handle: 1. From plastic hangers. 2. To 100% recycled plastic. 3. To Xtreme3 Eco Handle.

"Schick Xtreme 3 Eco helps keep plastic waste out of the landfill by using 100% recycled plastic in the production of the razor handles. In addition, the package is made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper. It is still the same great shave for your skin, but now better for the environment. Aloe & Vitamin E; Flexible 3 Blades. Great for Your Skin; Better for the Environment; 100% Recycled Handle."

Great, right? Stop for a moment, and think about it. Plastic can only be recycled - actually downcycled - maybe once before nothing more can be done with it. Compare that to metals and glass which can endlessly be recycled into something equal. So, this "recycled" handle is now no longer able to be anything else after this, and so shall end up right where those plastic hangers would be anyway. Is that an improvement, or just a delaying tactic of the same result? Of course it's good if you buy these instead of their other lines with brand new plastic handles... oh... wait... so they are still making their other razor products with "virgin" plastic handles? Why, yes, yes they are. So all that plastic is still getting put out there in the world? Why, yes, yes it is. If they care so much, shouldn't they try to make ALL handles of all their products from plastic hangers? Hmm. Well, THAT would seem like progress. This? This is just a shallow effort to get some greenwashing money to try to make people think they are doing something green and great. 

There's no reason to continually use disposable razors. None. Even if you are using one with the little changeable heads, sure that's plastic, but it's a lot LESS. I have been using the same handle for the better part of a decade, and I use the heads way longer than a few weeks, because they are still good for a lot longer than the manufacturers say they are. Of course they are. Of course they just want you to buy more, more quickly. Not necessary. Someday, I will graduate back to a metal handle and real blades. Someday. 

What's even funnier is that when I was researching Schick and these greenwashed garbages, I came across another wonderful product they have: Xtreme3 with "SCENTED HANDLES." Yes, Hawaiian Tropic scented handles.

Um.... WHY???? Sigh. There is no hope.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

School Lunch Horror

So a picture cruised over Facebook the other day. I don't even remember what group posted it. It was supposedly a picture of some kid's school lunch. The idea behind the picture was that it looked nasty, and here they thought their kids were being overly picky, but now seeing this they realized how horrible their poor little angels had it at lunchtime.

Now, it's really hard to tell where this picture really came from. It looks, for all intents and purposes, like ethnic take-out, as one person commented. That's really what it looks like to me. Looks pretty good actually. I know many people who would be perfectly happy to have this. I'd try it. Looks like grape leaves. Looks like a lentil or other bean mixture. And, look, fresh veggies. What's the problem?

Well. I'll tell you what my problem is. I hope to HELL this isn't a school lunch. Not because of how it looks (again, I'd eat it), but because of WHAT IT'S IN. Are you kidding me??? Is there a reason a school lunch would be in a TAKE-OUT Styrofoam container??? With a little extra cup of something on the side for added Styrofoam pleasure? Do they have plastic forks and spoons and knives to go along with this??? (Actually, I'm pretty sure if they pulled out on this, yes that would be the case.) I know a lot of schools have been using one-use Styrofoam trays in the lunch room. I'm not really sure when or why that happened. Why it was easier to have kids throw things away and learn to be disposable rather than the solid trays that got washed every day, the ones we used, the ones you gave back for tomorrow's lunch. I know (and applaud) that some school are seeing the error of those ways and are returning to something a little more Earth-friendly and cost-efficient...

So, yeah. It's amusing that they are trying to sell this as some horrifying school lunch thing. I'm not amused that we aren't horrified by the thought of all this garbage emanating from our schools on a daily basis.

Perspective. Think for yourselves, people. See more than what they are trying to spin at you.

Our Plastic Bag Addiction

The more I know, the less I want to know.

I toured the Algalita Marine Research Institute in Redondo Beach ( These great people are responsible for research in the 5 Gyres, especially the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as well as the tsunami debris field. I have met, and know and respect these people. They are doing amazing work. They inspire me.

Bezoar from camel's stomach
During the tour, the instructors brought out something surprising. It didn't have anything to do with the oceans. It had to do with the Arabian desert, of all places. Plastic bag pollution there? Yes.

I Googled, and I've seen some pictures of the desert just strewn with plastic bags. I don't recommend it; it's pretty depressing. And before you think that you have nothing to do with that... yes, our recycling cast-offs (because, remember, we don't actually recycle things here, we just bundle them and ship them off to other countries to be processed) end up over there, and because even those places don't want to recycle plastic bags, they just get tossed away. They blow off into the environment. No one wants to pick them up. Where else to put them, anyway? Then, it turns out, camels will go along and just eat whatever they come across in a goat-like manner. They are not discerning, They do not know what will hurt them. They just graze. So they end up munching a bunch of plastic bags. All this crap and debris just kind of sticks around in their stomach, becoming a huge mass called a bezoar, which I have pictured here. This, of course, eventually kills them. Slowly and painfully. This thing pictured weighs around 30 pounds. Think about THAT extra weight in YOUR stomach. You weigh more but you starve to death anyway, because you can't take in nutrients around this thing.

Our plastic habit has much further-reaching impact than we think. How insane is it to grab something that you use for mere moments, then discard, and then that thing goes on to pollute the place we live for years and years and years? How does that make any sense to anyone? Because it's convenient? Surely we are better than that. Surely. Please let us be better than that.

We need to realize that other creatures on this planet are suffering because of our carelessness, negligence, and desire for convenience. Because we can't be bothered to remember our reusable bags. Because we just have to have bottled water. Because... just because. There are no real reasons to do this to the planet and to the animals that live on it and through no fault of their own are harmed by OUR actions. Ours. Ours and nobody else's. And there is no excuse for this. There really isn't. We don't have to be a disposable society. We don't. We need to think, we need to care. We need to be the stewards of this Earth that we are supposed to be. That the other creatures here need us to be, because they cannot defend themselves against our apathy.

We have to do better. We just do.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I've Seen Enough. Just Shoot Me Now.

Someone somewhere was talking about hard boiled eggs. My former co-worker when I had a job would bring in hard boiled eggs. Great snack, good basis for a lunch. Got a bunch of eggs and the are about to go over to the dark side? Hard-boil them and you got lots more use out of them. Egg salad? Yum. Deviled eggs? One of my favorites. Super yum. Husband hates them; I rarely have them. Here's a funny thing about me: I worked in some very fine restaurants as a sous chef, and I was pretty damn good. I made a chicken piccata, make you weep. Scampi? Mmmm. I could do it all. But I have never mastered the perfect hard boiled eggs. They are inevitable underdone or done to the point of green. You know what I mean, when they yolk is just plain angry. Or they will not peel properly. But, yeah, I, a fairly accomplished professional chef at one time, cannot boil an egg to save my life.

And yet, and still, I would never. Ever. EVER. Never never never in my entire life, even DREAM of buying... wait for it... pre-shelled, packaged hard-boiled eggs.

I am finding it hard to believe that these exist. Then, I have to remember that they only exist because people ACTUALLY BUY THEM.

Somewhere, there was a demand for this product. Yeah. They even have a Trader Joe's brand. (See, I knew there were multiple reasons I stay out of that place...) "They're great when you're in a hurry!" "My husband loves them for his lunch!" "They're convenient!" (of course) "We save energy by not boiling them ourselves a few time a week, and by buying these instead."

No. No, no, no. No. Eggs come in a really great container (so long as you stick with the paper one, not the Styrofoam kind), and seriously, you can boil them at once one day and have them for the rest of the week. It's not difficult. I can come up with not one excuse to introduce this plastic packaging into to environment. Not one. If you can, please let me know. Because I sure cannot.

"I have a hard time peeling them!" No. "I don't have time." Nope. "I eat them more often since they come so easy like this!" No no no. If you have to resort to this, just skip it altogether. Really. You obviously do not need it that badly.

If you ever see me buying these, you have every permission to beat me silly. I'm not too worried. I'd have to have had a lobotomy to have these in my cart. These make about as much sense as buying packaged pre-peeled bananas. There is no reason to send this packaging into the ocean. None. I can't stress it enough. If I ever see someone buying these... let's just say, maybe it's better that I limit my exposure to public places. I'm OK with that.

The fact that these have apparently been around for a few years just goes to show how little I look for this stuff. It does not even occur to me that this is a fillable niche.

What about you?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Over 36 Pounds

Very excited... I am taking a Speakers' Training Course called Rise Above Plastics. Yesterday was our first class. We met at Venice Beach for a clean-up to see exactly what gets washed up/left behind on a daily basis. We arrived with buckets and gloves and great attitudes, and set to work picking up what we could.

Just my small contribution to the pick-up.
The beach looked pretty clean on a sunny Saturday morning. The craziness of Venice Beach had not quite hit full force yet, and there were surfers, and people riding bikes on the path. Typical Southern California day. We were to go out for just 20 minutes. In that time, about 40 of us picked up almost 40 pounds of crap.

When you think about that number, please realize that the nearly 20 cigarette butts I personally found weigh very very little. It takes a lot of those to make a pound. Bottle caps, same thing, they are pretty light. Also, most of what I was trying to grab were tiny little broken bits of Styrofoam. You know, that stuff you use for mere minutes but then it never, ever, ever goes away? Styrofoam and plastic will never break down completely; they are here for good. I picked up countless little bits that used to be something bigger and got broken up out there to be eaten by fish and other animals that have no idea that what they are eating is going to kill them.

The other thing about cigarette butts: think about all those chemicals and carcinogens that we humans happily and willingly take into our bodies, and what is left in the filters. Now realize that when that filter hits the water, those chemicals get leached out immediately into the water. Now think about the 100 or so that we picked up in 20 minutes on one tiny stretch of beach on one morning. That adds up to a lot of chemicals. The oceans can only handle so much. Small little tiny creatures directly affected, which affects the bigger guys, which affects the even bigger guys, which eventually comes right around to... us. Is there any wonder the cancer rate among our children and pets has exploded? I never wonder. I know why.

And soon, I will go around speaking out alllllll about it. Come see me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Baby Soft

There's a product that has been around for 75 years... a name most have heard at some point in their life. Dreft. I hadn't really thought about it, because I don't know nuthin' 'bout birthin' no babies... and I avoid that aisle in the stores (baby AND laundry aisles, actually), so it took a commercial to make me go HMMMM....

Can't help but notice the PLASTIC diaper...
This here is a product specifically marketed to and targeted at parents of babies. So, then, is it all fresh and natural and not made with lots of chemicals and completely safe? It's been around so long, surely it's safe. Looking at their FAQs, I had to be pleased to see that at least they discourage the use of dryer sheets and softeners. But do you know WHY they say you shouldn't use dryer sheets? Because the use of dryer sheets can cut down on the effectiveness of the flame-retardant that is in baby clothes. (You know what's in flame-retardant? Bad chemicals. Why are we OK with these bad chemicals next to a baby's delicate skin? And why do we have to make babies flame-retardant anyway? Are we smoking around them a lot? Do they frequently burst into little flames? Does anyone ever ask why we need this?? I'm asking now. Please, do inform if you know. I didn't really realize that we had a problem with infants playing with lighters much...)

But I digress. Back to the chemical soup that is Dreft. It's kinda funny to me because they talk a little in circles. They market themselves right off the page. They say how specially formulated Dreft is for babies but how it's OK if you want to keep right on using it on all laundry and it's great for adults, too! Well, which is it?  Am I the only one that sees the double-speak there? NOT TO MENTION that under the FAQ on "powder or liquid" they say that one is great for one thing and the other is great for another thing and they are both great so go ahead and buy both! Umm... wow. Who falls for this??? Apparently, moms everywhere for 75 years fall for it....

They claim Dreft is gentle as water on baby's skin. This made me curious to see exactly what is in this product. Learn with me, will you? Keep in mind, I personally use soap nuts, which are the ultimate in natural. I'll save you the trouble of looking anything up. Here is the list of their ingredients in their "gentle as water" product:

Ingredient Name - Function
Sodium Carbonate - removes water hardness
Sodium Aluminosilicate - removes water hardness
Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonate - surfactant
Sodium Sulfate - processing aid
Alkyl Sulfate - surfactant
Water - processing aid
Sodium Polyacrylate  - dispersant
Silicate - processing aid
Sodium Percarbonate  -oxygen bleach
Ethoxylate - surfactant
Polyethylene Glycol 4000  -stabilizer
Fragrance - fragrance, Click Here To Learn More (GGW says - I'll list that below)
Disodium Diaminostilbene Disulfonate - fluorescent brightener
Protease - enzyme (stain remover)
Silicone  - suds suppressor

I don't know. Personally, the thought of putting something that I can't pronounce on the super-absorbent skin of an infant is a bit abhorrent to me. But that's just me. I don't have kids, so I could be wrong. Sulfates? Benzene?? Surfactant AND suds suppressor??? Which is it?? And I was GOING TO list the chemicals from which they choose to make their pleasing scents, and undoubtedly that "baby-smell" people mention (never been one for it myself), but the think is THIRTEEN PAGES!!! So here's the link:  That is the list of chemicals that their "perfumers select from". It's kind of staggering. 13 pages in really really small print, 2 columns, big words.

Now, it's your kid and I don't care what you do. Actually, that's a lie. I do care what you do. 'Cuz this stuff runs out and off into MY environment too. And, call me crazy, but I don't like to see kids with cancer. I just don't. When I see all these chemicals, and the population growing as it does, and the population using more and more of these chemicals, I cannot help but suspect a cause and effect. Is it just me?

So they've been around 70 years. Maybe it's time to stop? We aren't getting better or healthier. We are getting more cancer, more obese, more developmental problems. Are those the fault of Dreft? Of course not. But we need to stop with these chemicals. Stop. Nature gives us everything we need. We do not need 13 pages of chemicals to smell fake-good. Just stop.

Oh - Dreft is from our friends at Proctor & Gamble. And you know how much THEY care about their bottom line - er - I mean OUR HEALTH! Yeah, that's it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How Many Little Plastic Drinks?

How many little tiny plastic bottles does Society want us to use a day??

Let's see... we wake up in the morning and drink Yakult to balance our digestive systems for the day - because, you know, we eat crap - so that's one little tiny plastic bottle. Multiplied by the millions that our sold daily. Daily.

Through the morning and during lunch, we have the little stuff we add to water or soda bottles or sports drinks or vitamin waters or other Styrofoam cups or single-use cups. Those aren't little bottles but they do add up to the trash.

But then in the afternoon, we have those cute little bottles of 5-Hour Energy Drink. We should drink those every day at 3pm or so... every day... millions of us. Because instead of the natural way our bodies are supposed to work with a siesta like the entire rest of the world does, we have to keep work-work-working so we can buy-buy-buy more plastic things. Go home too tired to cook so get stuff in take-out packaging and serve on paper plates and plastic forks because it's to hard to wash dishes.

All these products are not only packaged so poorly that we should run screaming, but they are completely unnecessary. We don't need to chug probiotics daily if we would just eat better. We can bring a coffee mug to work to use at the desk or the travel mug to transport coffee. As for the "needed" energy boost in the mid-afternoon? I guess it's too much to hope we can change Society to realize that a nap would raise productivity to amazing heights...

Yeah, that'd make too much sense. Makes much more sense to pollute the ends of the Earth til we kill everyone and everything. Including ourselves.

Monday, October 1, 2012

No... Plastic... Hangers

I paraphrase, of course. It's wire hangers that are the evil things.

Why again? We pretty much used them all the time. I cannot even recall when plastic hangers came into being. Or why. Oh - because they are convenient, probably. I don't notice them to give that "Hanger Shoulder" nub-thing any less than metal. How about wood? Wooden hangers seemed fairly kind to clothes, if not trees. Don't like to sacrifice the trees? Well, how about bamboo?

The problem is, it doesn't matter if we phase out those stupid plastic things right now (though we should anyway), all those billions will still be right here. Going nowhere. Useful for nothing.

When a plastic hanger breaks, that's pretty much it. Trash. Landfill. Ocean.

Wire hangers are at least useful for other things. You can still open some locked cars with them. You can make things with them. I saw an awesome website where they were making beautiful skeleton keys with wire hanger pieces. Wire hangers can be recycled. Plastic hangers do not have any marking and therefore are not going to get recycled. (Face it, it's true.) Wooden hangers have the decency to break down over time. Plastic hangers are going to be around long after the clothes they held are dust. That's kind of sad in my book.

Cedar hangers. Those were nice.

I, like most people, have that closet full of these. I'm changing over as I can. I'll give them away so at least whomever receives them doesn't have to buy new ones. Maybe someday we'll find a use for them. I mean, I doubt it, but maybe.

When you think about all the homes across the country with all the people and all the clothes and then all the stores with all the clothes... it's kid of staggering.

Think about it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Google Mixed Feelings

It's a nice enough commercial. Got all the things we like/hope for/dream of, I suppose. Nice house. Happy pretty smiling blonde little girl, all curious and alert and intelligent and well-behaved. Lots of toys. Mother lovingly reading to said child. Did I say lots of toys? They read, not from a book, but from the new Google tablet. In between short passages from Curious George, the child is seen running around, happy and free and well-behaved, playing with things that relate to the story, and of course talking to Grandma on the tablet.

I love Google. Use it all the time. G-mail, Google Chrome, Google Search, Maps, heck my phone has a Google platform. This is not against Google. It's not even against tablets. Heck, I wish I had one. Big time. I have Big Time Tablet Envy. Instead, and I'm struggling to put these feelings into words, I just find the whole commercial to be a very sad statement on reality. I'll try to explain....

I like seeing kids with books. Real books. Yes, tablets in schools make sense. But at home on the couch? Bedtime? Something comforting about BOOKS. Books passed down. Books your Dad read to you and now you read to your kid. Is your kid going to read to THEIR kid from the table you used? SNORT! Hardly. Not in ANY scenario. And then there are libraries. A kid of any economic background can enjoy books so long as there are libraries. There are a lot more kids whose families CAN'T afford tablets than can, I would say. I know we had a good life with enough of most everything, but we would have been hard-pressed to have tablets. And my dad was a teacher. Irony.

And about that perfect house with perfect toys and the perfect back yard. Talk about showing what the typical household in America is NOT right now. Maybe I'm just tired of the "Hey look at this don't you want this if you just buy THIS product you too can have this" messages in this consumer buy-buy-buy society. It's a symptom.. or actually is it the problem? It's a MYTH.

You know, like in the BOOKS?

I don't wish to stop progress. I just wish that it would be tempered with good sense. I wish that we weren't ignoring important issues in our quest to consume everything we see. What are we leaving behind?

WHO are we leaving behind?

By the way, when you Google mixed feelings, you get:

*mixed feelings (about someone or something)
uncertainty about someone or something.

Just FYI.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Instant Kids

I worry. I worry about kids. I don't have any kids, which is good, because I really worry about kids. And if I had kids... well, I wouldn't worry so much about my kids, because it would be likely my kids would not be Instant Kids. Well, they would try, but I would not let them.

We are creating a whole generation of Instant Kids. Kids who think that everything is right there and right at their fingertips and RIGHT NOW, and worst of all, free. Nothing has value when everything is instant and free. The Internet that I too love and use so much is of course responsible for a lot of this. Need some information, a picture, an idea? Look it up. Use it. I'm not saying it's a bad thing... who doesn't love being able to get instant directions instead of getting lost, or looking at a MAP fer' cryin' out loud? Information is a good thing. It's when those expectations branch out into everything else that it gets... undesirable.

How does Mother Nature have a hope against all this instant gratification? TV on demand and available NOW, when I want it. I can't wait, I need it now now now. Microwaves for food with crap in it that our bodies cannot recognize, I don't care I'm hungry I want it now now now. Cook? Bake?? Surely, you jest. Fast food restaurants open all the time. Food in fridge gone bad? So what, I can go to the store now now now and thrown this out and get new. Oh and then I see a fast food joint so I eat there now now now and bring the stuff I bought home and it goes bad too because it wasn't instant enough. Instant oatmeal, instant lunch, instant rice, instant coffee, now now now... Plan ahead? I don't have time! I want it now!

Hey I missed that, can you go back? Sure! no need to pay attention the first time, our DVRs catch it all. Same with music, DVDs, anything. Do I use these things? Of course. But then I remember the Before-time, when, if you missed it, you were SOL. So we paid attention, and we valued experiences, things. We are not raising kids to value anything. Cell phones? I need to call someone now now now. Text. Now. Don't have to wait til you get home to make a call. Get a glass of water. Watch something. You can do that, all of that, now now now.

I'm a part of this society. I have a microwave, of course I do. I have a cell phone, of course I do. I use the internet. Duh, obviously. I am instant, too. But not always. And I lament that these kids will be all Instant. That they will never know how to grown something. Or cook something. Or have to wait for something, so that when something comes along that is worth waiting for, they will not wait, and they will miss out.

We HAVE to teach these kids to wait. To value. To appreciate. I fear, if we do not, we will be lost. THEY will be lost. They will be swallowed in a sea of plastic and they will never have what they should havem what I have...

Appreciation for this world in which I live...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Make the Switch, It's Easy!

More often than not, I stumble across a product that just makes me see red. But then again, you knew that about me already. Imagine my delight when I ran across something that made me happy!

We already use VERY few paper towels, very very few, but with this product, we never have to use a tree-paper towel again! Bambooee. I'm still checking in with them with a few more questions, but so far I like what I see. Bamboo is almost as good in my book as hemp! So why not make these out of bamboo? According to their site, you can wash them around 25 times before they need to go away. Yes. You can throw them in your washer. I'm just bummed I didn't see them at an expo I attended  where they apparently were one of the best new products.

They've ingeniously made them so that you can make the switch with minimal fuss. It's almost... convenient! They put these towels in a roll so you can put them on your existing paper towel holder (something I don't even have, come to think of it). I can't think of a down side.

I am curious as to if the spent sheet is compostable. I'm sure it has to be biodegradable. I wonder what process it takes to make the bamboo into sheets. Are there many chemicals involved? I have an inquiry out to the company, so when I hear, so will you! I have my PeopleTowel in my purse so I don't use paper towels in public restrooms, and now we can completely avoid paper towels in the kitchen.

Of course, I have to think people will find a downside and say it's too much to wash them, what a bother, not convenient to throw them in the wash, or they cost too much, and won't take into account the money they AREN'T spending on paper towels... but as wise people always say, ya can't fix stupid.

Meanwhile, I will await the reply from the company and hope that I am not disappointed in any of their answers. I'll give them a positive for now.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

They Still Make Them

Because we still buy them.

"Scrubbing Bubbles® Fresh Brush® Starter Kit & Caddy makes toilet cleaning easy. Simply use the disposable Fresh Brush® Heavy Duty pads for thorough weekly cleanings and Fresh Brush® Flushables pads for daily use. The Fresh Brush® Heavy Duty toilet cleaner pads clean tough stains like hard water stains, toilet rings, lime scale, rust and more. Our Fresh Brush® Flushables feature active cleaners that work for days to loosen and clear away daily soils and stains. With both types of pad, there's no germy brush to store."

Our good friends at SC Johnson strike again, because, you know, they CARE about your time and your toilet. Here's what you get (need): 

Fresh Brush® Heavy Duty: Great for tough stains. Thousands of scrubby fibers. Just toss in trash.

Fresh Brush® Flushables: Active cleaners that work for days. Great for everyday cleaning. Eliminates odors as it cleans. Fresh Citrus Action™ scent. Flush the germy mess away™

"Just toss in trash"? I know, it's so convenient. I'm guessing it's made of various and sundry plastic stuff. The Flushables? Say what you want about their whatever-biodegradability, there's a lot of packaging involved and resources involved. 

Oh, and what's priceless is that on the TV commercial for these, they suggest using the gel thing on top of all this. Scrubbing constantly still requires use of other chemicals. Funny about that. It's never enough, is it? Just buy more more more. You are not keeping it clean enough. You suck. And your toilet is disgusting. And it will always be disgusting no matter how many times you clean it. Buy more.

Feeding into the fears and phobias to sell products. I wish we'd stop falling for it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quaker Oatmeal - Made So Convenient

Uh oh, You know what THAT word means...

Not even sure where I saw these. But... hot cereal, Quaker Oatmeal Real Medleys, in convenient and easy single serve cups, just add hot water. Oh, let me guess. The cups are plastic. Yeah, buddy. Get 'em in a 12-pack so you can REALLY get the plastic out there!

PepsiCo owns Quaker, just in case you didn't know. And, you know, they make this great product just for us! Because they care SO MUCH! They even pin it right on women in their press release: "Today, women are busier than ever before, and in the morning time crunch, a nourishing breakfast is either skipped or sacrificed for food that's convenient, but maybe not as desirable," said Andrew Sutherland, Senior Director of Marketing, Quaker Foods & Snacks North America. "New Quaker Real Medleys are perfect for women who want to start their mornings with a wholesome and delicious oatmeal breakfast that adds a little extra flavor and fun in a convenient, portable cup."

When, oh when, pray tell, are we going to get off the notion that we are SO busy that we have carte-blanche to trash the planet? Are we ever going to realize that this is NOT the thing to do? That actions matter? That if you have/want kids, maybe you should stop trashing their home? That throwing something "away" just means it goes somewhere you don't see? That we can't keep going like this??? I've said it before, I'll say it again: I might give a pass if, with all our busy-busy-busy, we were actually doing anything POSITIVE in the world, or, if with all our time-saving conveniences, we were making the world a better place.... But, news flash... we're so not.

I'll keep pointing out the stupidity and harmfulness of these things til I run out of products.

I don't think I have to worry about running out of products any time soon.

A reviewer on Amazon pointed out that the cups aren't even the #1 or 2 plastic. They are made from 7. & is not easily recycled yet. So... until such time as communities have the wherewithal to recycle #7, where do we think these cups are going? In some *convenient* holding facility to just sit there and collect and wait til the technology is in place and someone really really can't wait to get their hands on them? NO. They are going in landfills and the OCEANS. PERIOD.

Ugh. I'm done, I can't even say anymore about it. It just never ends. I'm completely overwhelmed at the thought of the millions of these cups entering the trash stream for no good reason at all. Can we just stop?

There is so much sugar and so many chemicals in them and calories and crap that they aren't really even that healthy. And boiling hot water in a #7 plastic cup? Let me think about what is leaching into your oh-so-convenient healthy oatmeal.

Think about that, then go get pregnant, and eat more. Then come talk to us when your child has cancer.


Yeah? What's your point?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Just So Far Off the Mark...

Don't even ask me how I get on these mailing lists... because I sure as heck don't know.

In the world of Fabulous New Products in my inbox comes WineStraws. Now, mind you, I am ALL down for reusable straws. I find plastic straws to be one of the Great Scourges and Evils of the Modern Times. Just think about how many millions of straws get used a day. It's staggering. So, naturally, I am intrigued by this product. Glass straws are amazing and I am all over that shizz. Therefore... imagine my disappointment and dismay when I go to this particular website.

WineStraws. Drink Red, Smile White. Err... OK. Just another glass straw, but aimed at the red wine community who fears the all-embarrassing wine-stained teeth, right? Wrong!!! Yes it is aimed at the wine-drinking community almost exclusively, but it's not glass. Nope. For some reason, these wonderful things that are designed specifically to the perfect size to deliver the proper amount of wine to your discerning tongue is made from PLASTIC. Not glass, which is kind of natural with red wine, in my mind anyway, but plastic.

But it's OK!! It's recyclable! It's a high-quality BPA-free and EPA-approved plastic! Oh, and you know what else? It's OK if you don't want to reuse them 'cuz, you know why, 'cuz they're recyclable! They "look" and "feel" like glass, but thank goodness they are plastic, 'cuz you know how you get when you're drinking wine, can't be trusted with actual GLASS... even though you are drinking from a glass... so Heaven forbid you try to use a glass straw, too. That'd be like... wearing zebra stripes with a leopard-print. Unheard-of.

And as for the reusing, it's OK! If you are the type who just cannot stand the thought of having to actually WASH the darn thing and prefer a more convenient lifestyle, they say this: "WineStraws are safe to reuse, just rinse them with some warm water. If you prefer not to re-use your WineStraws just toss them into your recycling bin because they are 100% recyclable."

See? If you really cannot be bothered to rinse your straw with warm water, just toss it. Rinsing something with warm water is SUCH a hassle. I know I have better things to do with MY time. Rinsing. Snort. That's so hard and inconvenient. Rinsing.

How about NOT adding any more plastic into the environment for no good reason? And no, wanting to drink wine after you just bleached your teeth does not constitute a "good reason." Get a frickin' glass straw if you are so concerned. Or don't drink red wine. They make white stuff, too, you know.

These were invented by a 30-something mother of two boys who apparently cannot live without her red wine. Good idea, bad execution. She has KIDS, and she blithely irresponsibly and with no regard introduces more plastic into their future. "But it's OK! It's BPA-free and EPA-approved plastic!" You know what ELSE was EPA-approved in the recent past? BPA plastic.

WAKE UP. Plastic isn't safe, it never goes away, and we sure as hell do not need it to drink our red wine. I am all for wine (I'm drinking it now!) and I am ALL for white teeth (your hair would stand on end if I told you the Tale of my Teeth and the money involved...), but can we please Stop Doing It Wrong?



Do you get those Groupons or Living Social deals? I do; I often get great deals on stuff. Heck, we are getting a great won car ride to LAX for our vacay for less than it would take to park! They offer a lot of good deals. Good for us, good for the businesses, good for the economy.

But, then I saw this one for a mani/pedi. Now, I really have never had a professional manicure. And NO ONE touches my feet except my husband. (There are reasons.) But I decided to look at it anyway. Curiosity and all that. I basically consider manicures a waste of money (and heinous chemicals). And as far as frequent manicures... really? My nails generally look pretty good. They are clean and bright and healthy and I try to keep them shaped, I've even had people think they weren't real because they are in kind of nice condition. They are getting a little ridgy as I get older, so I thought maybe a splurge was in order. (Of course that was before I got fired the other day... but that's a WHOLE other thing!!!) Anyway, something made me click it to check it out.
Maybe slightly unnecessary?
Here was the text: "Our primitive ancestors enjoyed very few creature comforts -- no reality TV shows, no social networks, and certainly no nail polish. Luckily, we've evolved since then: You can make unsightly nails ancient history with today's deal from [XXX] Salon, which gets you a Classic manicure and pedicure for $30..." regularly $60, I guess...
Um. Seriously? "Evolved"? I can think of a million examples of how "our primitive ancestors" we much better humans than are we. Reality TV shows probably top the list. (Honey Boo-Boo? Just kill me, and make it swift.) I do admire pretty nails at times and will definitely compliment someone in public, you know, maybe make them smile if they are not... show them I see them (I've surely been ignored and it's nice when someone SEES you, you know?)... a little tiny ice-break or conversation starter... but, yeah. I get it that they are a nice thing people like to do for themselves to feel good or treat themselves a little, here and there, easily. But, I've never sat quite right with the acrylics that have been proven to be bad, or the constant chemicals, or the horrible stories of infections etc... Could some of these chemicals we've been freely exposing everyone to be causing problems in children? In us? I'm all for feeling good about yourself, And I'm not saying we all have to walk around with dirt from the garden under our nails. (Though that would be an improvement.) I just feel we focus on the wrong things a LOT in this society. Priorities? I personally refuse to live such a life that it's a complete calamity if my nail breaks. Indeed, when they do get long and pretty and then I reluctantly file them down, I marvel at how much easier it is to text and type and I wonder why I ever let them grow in the first place. But that's me. I know I can't force my beliefs onto others (Even though I am right. HAHAHHA! Little joke there!!!), but actually we can when the behavior of others is affecting the health of the rest of us. Have I mentioned the chemicals? And it really isn't even the thought of the mani/pedi that annoyed me - it was the use of words. Words mean things. I know, I use them all the time. Let's stop being so irresponsible with them. If reality TV is evolution, then we need to de-evolve and quick. You can say they were trying to be lighthearted, but I know the audience at which they are aiming, and this is more like gospel to them.

And THAT'S the problem here. Not the deal, not the action, but the thought processes at work. This is the kind of not-thinking-consequences thinking that keeps us mired in all of it.

Because, really. Can we really say "Toddlers with Tiaras" and its spawn are signs of an evolved way of thinking?

..........not so much.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Let's Think About It

Progress? Or just an excuse to create an industry we don't really need?

Let's really think about this and think about it hard. Please.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about so-called progress, and convenience, and making our lives easier, and solving problems, and solving problems that aren't really problems... and finding "stuff" for people to do - because maybe just maybe there are too many people doing the wrong job and we are going the wrong direction altogether?

Observe: The Milk Carton Dilemma. SUCH a horrible problem to have to mash open the mouth of the carton. Wow, that sucks. I just can't think of anything worse. What a problem. I mean, my whole day is ruined when that happens. That's just terrible. Cancer? Terrorism? Poverty? Mere child's play compared to when I can't open a milk carton. Those old enough to remember Sniglets might recognize the word "Lactomangulation." You may as well go back to bed when this happens.

But wait! Never fear! Progress and Technology are here to rescue YOUR morning! To make YOUR life better and easier and more convenient, we have PLASTIC to save you! And look! Jobs! We need people to make these very very necessary things!

Now look at what we have: we've gone from a carton that really doesn't recycle anyway, to a carton that now has a plastic piece on it that won't get recycled because it's attached to a carton that doesn't get recycled and it will not get separated from said carton. PLUS, a little round ring thingy-piece that gets thrown away after you hurt your finger trying to get it the hell out of there. PLUS, the lid. That won't get recycled. We went to the beach the other week, and I didn't get any shells, but I DID pick up a whole handful of plastic screw-top lids. Might not have gotten them all, but damn it I got those. So, you know, I'm thinking we have more than enough lids out there already. We didn't need an excuse to make more.

But, but, but.... JOBS! Jobs are good and people get jobs by making these things we don't really need! And THAT'S good, right? Justified!

See, I have a problem there. Jobs for the sake of... jobs? Why? Because we can't come up with a job that might move us forward ecologically instead? Because this was just easier and someone is making good money up at the top? Because the Plastics Coalition says, "Hey, here's a job!" and no one says anything about how we really don't need this and maybe there is something else to be done? We had to train people to work the machines that make these things; why not train them to, I don't know, grow industrial hemp instead, or make/install solar panels or wind turbines? Why not THAT job? Instead of making machines to make useless unnecessary plastic pieces of waste, why not make machines to make stuff out of hemp? Why not?

I know why, actually. It's because plastic is made out of petroleum, and the oil industry prefers that we don't actually think about the reality of this situation. And HERE IS the reality of this situation: Opening a milk carton was never a problem in our lives. It was at most a minor nuisance that really did not negatively affect anything in the big picture. And we are creating needless waste by solving a problem that didn't exist in the first place. And we are holding people to jobs that don't go anywhere and don't really advance anyone and just keep people locked into a certain position in life. And if you didn't realize or don't believe that, you ought to give it some thought.

Hey... how about we go back to glass bottles? And hey, why don't we go back to milk delivery? THAT was a job. It was a good one.

In the meantime, can we just start thinking a little more, and stop taking everything at face value? And realize what's REALLY going on out there?

That'd be nice for a change.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"That's all well and good, but..."

"Trader Joe’s 10 Instant Coffee Packets All Dressed up with Creamer & Sugar were crafted to quell the coffee conundrum, not just for our buyers, but for all who face it. Discovered while traveling in Korea by a buyer in desperate need of a quick, quality caffeine fix, these portable packets promise a consistent cup of delicious coffee with a careful balance of creamer and cane sugar sweetener. That’s right; the coffee, cream and sugar are combined in the same packet. All you need is a drinking vessel and some hot water – simple, elegant, reliable."
That's GREAT when you are traveling in far away and distant lands where a cuppa joe might be hard to come by, in a serious pinch, in desperate times.

We still seem to be rushing down the wrong path. I really want to see us turn around. I DON'T see it turning around, but I wish it would. But I never seem to run out of things to say here. I'd call it job security, but, well... I don't actually get paid for this.

Yeah. Who's kidding who? Whom? Whatever. People aren't picking up this product for their trip to Borneo. For climbing the Alps. For super-coffee-emergencies. People are buying this to use in their homes, and of course that is perfectly fine by TJ's. That's what they made it for - to sell it.

Why does anyone *need* this product at home on any random day? Just can't get up the energy to actually collect the jar of instant and the sugar and the creamer on a daily basis? I can see how that can get tiresome.
By all means, buy this product for that "coffee conundrum" that you ran into in your own kitchen. Those happen far too frequently. It's a real problem. Solve it with plastic packaging! Quick! Hurry!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

ALL Natural and Very Magical

'Egyptian Magic All-Purpose Skin Cream "The People's Choice" is made with the blessings and guidance of our ancestors and with the following pure ingredients: olive oil, bees wax, honey, bee pollen, royal jelly, bee propolis and Divine love.'

I was intrigued by the wording on their site and their jar. "Life takes from the taker and gives to the giver. Above all, let your word be your bond." Yeah, it says that. Right on the jar. I love the ingredients. I do not agree with vegans who say we should not use bee products. I believe bee products are some of the best things that Mother Nature shares with us. Bee keepers are some of the most Earth-respecting people I ever meet. They are not exploiting bees, they are caring for them and loving them. But I digress from this product.

The nicest person responded to my inquiry when I contacted the company, hoping for a sample to try for myself. Emma sent me an entire 2-ounce jar, plus some sample packets which I happily gave to others, so they could try it, too. I was hoping it would be in a ceramic jar, not plastic, but alas, that was not the case. I wish they would not use plastic jars. The only consolation I have for that is that I reuse those things forever and ever and have many uses for them and really rarely buy anything else in them anymore. I am not defending their choice, but I can live with it if that is how it has to be. (Um, maybe we can write to them to get them to change that?) It helps that this little 2-ounce sample is going to last me for MONTHS. I compare that to other products that don't last nearly as long, so I know I am conserving in the long run. But still. Ceramic or glass, please??

I use an amount about the size of my fingernail for my whole face. It's a lovely solid that liquefies to an oil in your hand. That little bit goes a long, long way. What's left on my hands, I rub off in my hair. I have really oily skin, so I am very picky about what I use. This stuff actually makes my skin GLOW. Are my wrinkles going away? I don't really know. I know my skin is smoother and clearer. I don't really care about wrinkles, so I don't much pay attention to them. I'm OK with my "laugh-lines" and "crow's feet" or whatever. They make me look like a real person. With a real life. But, yeah, I guess my forehead could be looking smoother, and my skin looks more even after using this for about a month. I just plain love it. I can't wait to get it on my skin after my shower. It just feels good.

It's a little pricey, I thought. At first. It's endorsed by celebrities, which is usually more of a warning shot to me than an actual reason to buy. But, using it, And seeing how long this ONE jar will last, and seeing everything it does, I'm Ok with the price. There is not one chemical in it. It's all-natural, and it will keep the bees in business. (Again, contrary to vegan views, that's a good thing. I don't mind if they don't like this product, that means more for me.) The different uses for this stuff are pretty great, check it out here on their site:

I was happy to see it on the shelf at Spouts. Love that store. I know I'll be able to get it on Amazon for a good price if a store around me doesn't have it. As a matter of fact... go here: Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream Facial Treatment, 4 Ounce (I know there's a weird block there, I can't get rid of it!!!)

I find no need to look at any other products for my skin. This one jar will do it all. So no little tubes and multiple jars in my bathroom... just my new favorite thing made from beautiful wonderful bees and Nature and Lord-Pharaoh ImHotep-AmonRa, CEO, founder and manufacturer. I'm sold on it, I recommend it, I love it. I'd say I can't wait to buy my next jar of it, but judging from what I still have left, that'll be... another 4 months or so!

Now, if we can just persuade them to ditch the plastic.... :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Planet - Cuz It'll Be On It Forever

So I get this sample of this 100% biodegradable heavy duty hypo-allergenic not-tested-on-animals 2x Ultra laundry detergent, 2 load sample, called "Planet". I'm looking at the bottle right now. The small plastic bottle. The small strong thick plastic bottle. I've seen their products around. They come in plastic bottles. I went to their site to find out a little more about them. Here's a fun quote: "The name Planet was arrived at when a child of one of the founding partners suggested that it would be a great name for a company that genuinely cared about the environment."

Gotta say, I can't really take seriously a product called Planet that comes in bottles that will only harm the planet. When you go to the FAQs, they kind of dance around that with the whole thing that it's hard far a small business to find good packaging etc etc blah blah blah and on. The bottle DOES, in all fairness, ask you to please recycle. That fixes pretty much everything. Yeah. Of course.

Now, this is an OK product. And if there were NO other alternatives and you could NOT avoid buying something in plastic, then hey! Sure! Go for it! And pay too much while you are at it! Oh and it's great for your HE machine too! You know, the one that get's to stinkin' every so often? But there ARE alternatives. Really good ones. I have written about them. We do NOT need packaging in plastic. So, they can call this stuff whatever they want, but I will not buy it, I will not recommend it. Seventh Generation is at least experimenting with alternative packaging. Not that I use that either. My stuff has next to no packaging, except the box they come in. My stuff from that one box lasts like a year. This stuff lasts... even months? I don't know. 

Don't call yourself all great and harmless, if you aren't 100% there. I know I'm not, personally, but I'm trying. This... well, take a look at images of landfills and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and tell me again how to justify adding more plastic to either. I don't. Do you? This product does. It just plain does. It may be superior to that other stuff that is not biodegradable and hypo-allergenic and not tested on animals, sure. But it's not absolved. Not even a little.

Harsh? Eh.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Encouraging Forgetfulness, Now With Chemicals!

I don't won't never will use dryer sheets. Can't stand the smell of them. The thought of them leaving all their chemicals behind on my clothes and my sheets to just sit on my skin makes me feel all crawly.

BUT DON'T WORRY! You no longer need to rely on your poor memory for dryer sheets! No more forgetting them! We are SAVED! Bounce has brought us the Bounce Dryer Bar. Procter & Gamble to the rescue, again.

Oh I shudder to think what gooey glop of chemicals make up this thing. Can't really find it easily on the site. But, yeah. for all those forgetful types who just can't be bothered to remember the dryer sheet, this thing just sticks right on in on the wall of your dryer. The heat and your clothes bumping up against it release its magic into your life.

If you discover you don't like it, guess what - you already bought it and you now have this plastic thing that you have to pry out of your dryer, just to toss out into the world. I was amused by this little blurb in the FAQs about if it should stain your clothes: "Well, the super smart scientists at Procter and Gamble spent a whole five years developing the Bounce® dryer bar to assure there will be even and consistent benefits to your glorious clothes. If it so happens that you do develop a stain, re-wash your garment and it should come out, no problem!" Great. It MIGHT stain, so now you have to use twice the water if it does. Lovely. Now, mind you, not only does this stuff get all over your skin and into your system, but next time you wash everything, there are still plenty of chemicals left there to wash back into the environment. 

Yay! It's such a win-win!

I've lived happily and relatively static-free without dryer sheets for years now. I can't imagine how this thing is a necessity in anyone's life. But by all means, watch the commercials. They are such a celebration of the massive airheads we have become. Let's keep going that way. It's so helpful.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I Feel Rude, but Justified

I'm really not, especially compared to other people in this town/country/world, but sometimes I feel rude even when I'm not being really THAT rude. Apartment living's bigger pain in the ass: shared laundry. I'm one of those that will see someone's finished stuff in the washer or dryer and give them the benefit of a little bit more time to get their stuff. It's a small building and we only have 2 of each machines. I can wait a bit most times.

Nicer than ours, frankly
Today, I went all the way down there (we are as far as you can get from the laundry room, so I just consider it good exercise and great stair-climbing) more than once, and I gave them at least an hour. No go. Still in the washers. I was done being patient. It's funny, I am always prepared to feel sheepish should the offending washer-hog burst in on my touching their stuff. I even considered putting an apology note. "Sorry, I waited as long as I could" kind of thing. But wait - aren't they the ones being rude by not being on top of their laundry, in a building on a day when laundry's gonna get done by lots?

Why am I worried about being rude when they aren't at all concerned?

As I remove their stuff and put it... elsewhere... I notice they have done both loads in hot water. This is not necessary. Pretty much ever. Everyone knows that. The only thing hot water does is waste energy. So now this person has wasted my time and some of that energy out there that we all use/need/pay for.

I feel justified. And I don't feel nearly as bad that I dropped an item on the floor for a second.

Now, if  you'll excuse me, I have to check my laundry, as I dream like I always do about my someday-laundry-room of my very own. It'll be magnificent. And chemical-free, thank you, please.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Say It With Me, Again

Say it slowly, because we didn't get the memo last time.

A plastic bottle made with less plastic is still PLASTIC.

A friend of mine pointed out what Nestle has been up to with their new and improved Poland Spring Eco-Shaped bottles. I guess the bottle is super-crazy thin and the cap is tiny. I don't usually catch this stuff because bottled water is way off my radar. Maybe if I pretend it isn't as prevalent, it won't be? No? Darn.

The new bottles use less materials and therefore fewer resources, and they weight less so they are easier to ship, and less material goes into the waste stream. Good, right? Is it still plastic? Yes. Then, no, not good. I read that the company's machines produce 1200 bottles every... hour? NOPE. MINUTE. Can you conceive of that? Because I cannot wrap my brain around that.

Now, are the good people at Nestle doing this because they care SO much about the environment? Of course not. Less plastic and less materials and less shipping cost while charging the same amount or more for the same amount of product (which they pretty much pump free out of communities that would otherwise be USING that water for, you know, themselves) means a better bottom line for their CEO and shareholders. That CEO, Kim Jeffery, in case you wondered what his name is, would have you believe they are doing some great service by giving people something bottled to drink other than soda. He would have you believe they are superior because their bottles are more eco-friendly than the heavier soda/juice/sports drink counterparts. Look - the only reason they care about the environmental impact is because they can use it as a selling point. Bottom line again. (See how that works?)

Did I mention that they have to have a warning on the label about the caps being a choking hazard for babies and small children? Lovely. If your kid gets your hands on this cap and chokes on it, you have no one to blame but yourself. Seriously. I don't want to see one single lawsuit come up about that. I would actually have to side with the Corporation on that one. And that makes me despondent.

Here is the long and short of it... let us ask, "Is this still a plastic bottle?" Why yes it is.

That is all we need to know. Thank you. Move along, please. Nothing to see here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

I Scream for Ice Cream...

I discovered the reason I stay off Pinterest. I'm sure there are a million wonderful things on there, but knowing me, they would be overshadowed by things that piss me off. Like this...

"what a great idea! such a time saver for birthday parties- scoop the ice cream into lined cupcake pans & put them in the freezer. then just pull them out when you cut the cake & serve!"

And someone's comment: "oh I LOVE this more expensive single servings needing to be bought!!"

Where to start. I almost do not know. I guess I'm wondering why it's OK to create more garbage for a little time saved. I'm wondering what lessons we teach children by these actions. I'm wondering why no one stops to think about the resources wasted by manufacturing these little paper liners in the first place, not to mention the resources to get them to stores, etc.

Most of all, I am wondering who the hell buys "expensive single servings" for a birthday party???

I consider this a Lazy Fail, and the wasteful use of resources for something that isn't really necessary. I know, I know, the hardship of actually scooping ice cream during a party is truly heartbreaking. But I think we can get over it.

You just KNOW these went straight onto paper plates, too. Better yet - Styrofoam. With Red Solo plastic cups and plastic forks. And spoons. And knives. You just know. You know you know. I know. I'm dead sure of it. Add the little plastic crap party favors Made in China and the scads of wrapping paper - OH! and probably bottled water, too, I am sure, because if you are too damn busy to SCOOP ice cream DURING the party, then you sure as hell are the kind of household that uses bottled water - add all that up and you have the PERFECT 21st Century Kids' Birthday Party.

You enjoy that. I'm sure they will when they are adults with their own kids, looking around at what we have left them. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Choosy Moms Choose... Convenience?


I have to laugh, because I know that there are people out there who KNOW my head flew off when that commercial came on. "The same great Jif taste in a convenient snack size that's perfect for dipping!" Oh look, there's my favorite word. So, let's check out this product: peanut butter that we KNOW is way too packed with sugar to be healthy, and even in the larger "home" container, it's in plastic... but now, it's in even smaller plastic. Because it needs to be convenient and you need to take it with you! I won't even mention the fact that there are 22 grams of fat in each tiny little pack.

(Oh, wait, I did. Oops.)

Now, a slightly more creative person, one who is - you know - choosy, might actually think that if you really need to take peanut butter out and about with you, that you can just take it out of the large jar already in you home and place it into smaller containers that can be, oh, I don't know, washed and re-used again another time? Well, THAT'S just silly, because, well, think about it... then you have to wash a knife or a spoon, you have to rely on that container finding its way back home, and THEN you have to wash that too! The horror! Who has time for THAT? By all means, let's pay more for the convenience of creating extra garbage. We don't have enough of that in the world. Who wants to take the extra time to plan a lunch, or a snack? The awesome people at the J. M. Smucker company have taken care of the pesky details for you, because of course they care SO much about YOUR time and YOUR well-being.

We're not moving forward with any of this. All I see are more conveniences popping up all around, because we sure as hell don't have time to do anything once we have brought the kids into the world. And we can't stop and do what really is the right thing. Just keep going. Keep shoving the kids into the SUV's and shoving the fat-packed fast and convenient crap into their mouths. Because that's how we support a successful, viable, sustainable future. Yep, we are definitely heading in the right direction here. Get the jelly packs in separate plastic containers and pack the bread in individual plastic Ziplock bags, because you wouldn't want anything to get soggy or anything to touch anything else until right before you eat half of it and throw the rest away...

Yeah. We're definitely progressing.