Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's the Protocol?

So there's this person, let's say... let's say it's, oh, me. Yeah. So I have my household. I have my beliefs. I have things I use and don't use. We sometimes have guests. Not often right now. Maybe more when we have a house back East. Right now it's mostly during football season that we have anyone over. The question comes up in my mind, do I have the right in my home to impose my beliefs on my guests?

I mean, sure, there are standard things you make sure are OK... if your guests are vegan, you aren't going to force them to eat meat. You make sure to provide filtered drinking water, not bottles. (That would be silly.) If you prefer cloth napkins, you make sure they have clean acceptable ones at hand.

But what about... Kleenex??? I think it's a good question. I do not keep any form of facial tissue, especially Kleenex brand, in our home. We use hankies. Therefore, I never buy them and never even think about buying them. But what about guests? What if they should need one? It happens. Is it completely rude if I don't have one to offer them? Do I say, "Go use toilet paper." Is it their responsibility to make sure THEY have one when they leave their home, if there is danger of their sneezing? What would they do if they were in a park or something, instead of my home? They would be SOL, right? Am I responsible for their nose? Or am I just responsible for my beliefs and practices, neither of which include Kleenex?

This would never have been an issue of tissue before, since dads all carried hankies and women kept a dainty hankie in her purse, until convenient purse packs for tissues came along.

This was just a quick welcome-to-my-brain. Had to get it out. I know, I think too much. Would that the vast majority of people had that problem, rather than too few. Thanks for being part of the few with me.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Trouble with Balloons, AGAIN

We see them pretty much every day. We don't really even register them; they float in our periphery. If we do look at them, we think they are pretty. Fun. Festive. "Oh, I should get that one for so-and-so's next whatever-event," we think.

It's kinda funny, because so many articles have been written about them that I hesitated to write yet another. This is a subject I have covered before. But, as we still don't get it, as we still dwell in a lot of ignorance about this, I'll say it again. And again. And again until we finally get it: Balloons are Bad. Let us all repeat after me. Balloons are Bad.

This is one of the hardest messages to get across, for no good reason I can fathom. But, but, but balloons are FUN! Don't take away our FUN! What do you have against FUN?


Not likely. Oh, Irony. U funny. 
Yes, balloons are fun, yes, balloons are pretty. And that's where it ends. Balloons get let go, balloons pop, balloons are short-lived all around. Moments of happiness, and for what? The latex doesn't break down, and neither does Mylar. Balloons kill unsuspecting animals and sea life that eat them. Mylar knocks out power by getting caught in lines. (Look it up, happens ALL the time.) And is it time to talk about Helium? If you can't think around the pollution part of it, if that's not bad enough (it should be), if you (and when I say you I mean the people you talk to about this) need yet another reason to shun this "habit" - and that is all it is, we CAN live without them - then realize that Helium is an element. It sits there on the Periodic Table of the Elements, yes it does, right there in the inert column. Do you know what that means? It means it exists here and we do not make more. What is here is it. When it's gone, it's gone. No more. None. We don't have Helium manufacturing companies. Helium makers won't lose their jobs if we give up balloons. You know where they *need* Helium? MRI's. Yes. Helium is necessary for that basic medical procedure that is sometimes crucial to a diagnosis. Oh but nosiree Bob, I need pretty balloons at little Susie's party. Wait, not Susie anymore. Little Zoey. Zoey will be scarred for life if she doesn't have pretty balloons at her 6th birthday party. She might cry and demand them and I have to say yes to her because otherwise she'll throw a tantrum. And when Zoey's best friend's mom had a party, she had HUNDREDS of balloons. I can't be outdone. And if I don't put balloons on the mailbox, how ever will people know which house? What if no one shows up because I didn't put balloons on the mailbox? I'll be ostracized from popular parents because I am no fun. I'll be known as That Mom Who Didn't Have Balloons. Oh, the horror.

Meanwhile Zoey gets very ill at age 11. But sorry, we depleted the Helium, because when Zoey was 6, you had all those balloons. It was so worth it at the time, wasn't it? You just couldn't NOT have them there. We'd love to help her, but we just don't have the Helium to run this test that would save her life. Sorry.

Scoff now, go ahead, we can say we told you so later. When WE get denied those tests too, because YOU couldn't give up your balloons.

Seems a little silly and selfish when ya think on it like that, dunnit? No? Just me?

Please help me pass the word around. Sure, sure, people look at you like you're crazy and laugh at you behind your back. It's OK, you get used to it. And you get the last laugh. You know, when we're all crying.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Simply Potatoes. Oh, and Chemicals.

"Stop peeling, dicing, and boiling. Start enjoying."

"We here at Michael Foods know you are FAR too busy with every little thing to be bothered to actually COOK anything, you know, because it's so important for you to have a family and children and don't have the time or desire to actually do things the right and healthy way, so here: be convenient. We'll help. Don't pay attention to the additives and crap we have to put in it to make them stay white and fluffy and whatever, because we're really just potatoes. Simply Potatoes. In plastic. We say the little trays and the cardboard are recyclable, but they aren't, really. Because the cardboard has crap on it and the tray is a #7 that doesn't have an audience yet to call to be recycled. But it's OK. You're busy. Shh shh shh... don't think about the fact that our products have an expiration date, and that there is no way all of them will ever get sold all by that date, because we make enough so that no one ever runs out, and then all those packages of Simply Potatoes are now Simply Garbage. In plastic. It's OK. We know you don't have time to cook REAL potatoes. You know, those thing that really ARE simply potatoes? Potatoes? And potatoes that go bad can be tossed in the compost. Oh... that's right, we forgot, you don't have time to compost either. It's OK! Just buy another bag of our product! Because with all that time you are saving by not actually cooking real potatoes, you can... you can... well you won't be composting, ha ha ha! Oh, chuckle. You can spend more time in front of your computer ignoring your kids, who are in front of their computers! Or, oh hey, shopping for more stuff you don't need to try to make yourself happy because you are soooo empty inside! There ya go! Ain't progress grand? We love it. We love your microwave, and, shucks, we love YOU, because we know you are hooked on the ease of our products, and our shareholders are so happy. They love you, too. Keep on keepin' on, you!"

Do I blame Simply Potatoes, Crystal Farms, A Michael Foods Company? Of course not. I blame us. Someday, maybe we'll open our eyes.


Banning Things - Foie Gras Fighting

You may not be aware of this, but California is set to impose a ban on a HUGE problem... foie gras. Yes, this massive, far-reaching problem on all of humanity has been addressed by LAW.

Wait... what?

Have you even HAD foie gras? Ever? It's not something I have had more than, hm, let's see, once. Yes, once. This is an extreme delicacy for rich people. This is rich-people's problems. You don't hear "regular" peeps complaining about how the foie gras market is just terrible this week. And  yet, this is an issue we felt the need to pass legislation on. Yes, there is a BAN on something that is barely register-able in everyday life. We have taken time and energy and used it on... this. Not plastic bags choking the world. Not BPA. Not formaldehyde in Brazilian Blowouts. Not - oh no don't even think it - junk food that killing us and our kids... Nope, we choose to bad a food that is barely eaten by anyone but the richest of restaurant patrons and snooty parties catered by snooty high-falutin' people with too much money anyway. No once have I heard anyone say, "Oh, foie gras? No, we just had that for dinner yesterday!"

Is the way they produce foie gras terrible? Yes. It is. Do I approve of this treatment? Of course not. There's a reason I eat meat but not veal. I don't approve of methods for raising veal, personally, and I wish it wasn't like that, but do I try to ban veal? No, I try to educate people and get them to think about maybe not eating it as much. With what they do to ducks and geese, we should educate the public and let them decide for themselves to stop encouraging the industry. But... oh, wait... the people who actually consume this product are not exactly the kind who care about un-bathed tree-huggers, right? (Oh what wonderfully sweeping generalizations in this post! Love it!)

What I'm saying is, what I'm asking, is WHY are we expending this energy and time passing laws on things like this? By all means, get the word out there, lobby for the animals to not get treated that way, but ban this? WHAT exactly is the point? It is SUCH a tiny market that the effect you are hoping to have... you know, I don't even know. But come on. Foie gras?? You are creating a black market for this where the birds will probably be treated even worse. It's greed that makes them force-feed them anyway. The liver has to be as fat as possible... a normal bird witha  normal liver won't do because the upper echelon need their foie gras to

You know, I can't even continue that thought. This whole thing is so bizarre to me. Standing outside shops and restaurants with pictures of force-fed ducks would do the trick. But banning? Really? Ya missed the mark on this one. WAY big time.

"Hey, look, there's a cancer victim over there who lost their health insurance and is dying alone on the street." "SHHH!!! Someone's eating foie gras! That's so terrible! Quick, pass a law!"

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don't Touch - It's Filthy

Your kitchen. That's what's filthy. Don't touch ANYTHING. You're spreading dirt and filth EVERYWHERE. Let's let Lysol tell us how it is: "You keep multiple products around the sink to tackle all of your cleaning tasks–from greasy dishes to messy surfaces and germy hands. However, the more cleaning products you touch, the more dirt can spread around the kitchen." Yeah, so apparently, YOUR kitchen is DISGUSTING. How can you even stand it? You mean to tell me you COOK in there??? Wow. You are soooo gross. How can you even stand yourself? You should go out to eat. Or get take-out. Cleaning your kitchen might be hazardous to your health.

But wait! Never fear! This latest no-touch battery-operated plastic thing aimed at germophobes who don't want to touch anything in their own home claims to be "one solution for a clean kitchen and healthy hands." This one product, which I find completely contrary to the line of marketing they have help to heretofore that you need several different products for every little job, says it powers through grease, cleans tough messes on surfaces, and kills bacteria and gently cleanses hands. They are so caring over there, aren't they? They care about the cleanliness of your home and the safety of your hands. Such a great company.

So, let's break it down. You can buy this plastic machine that comes encased in plastic, so you can buy plastic-encased batteries to run it, and plastic bottles to refill it. And when it breaks, you just buy another encased in plastic, because after all they aren't THAT expensive and you can't FIX it... It's OK, just buy another. It's so fun to use that we use more cleaning product and have to buy more bottles of it. That's fine. It isn't that expensive. And it's so darn convenient. Oh, and go get more batteries while you're out. Those rechargeable ones are a nice idea but darn it we forgot to put them in AGAIN and now we have none charged and I need some soap NOW!

One day, I will just give up, you know.

I love that Lysol's slogan is "Mission for Health." Uh huh. Got it.

Scents of Nature, Now in Chemical Form!

I can't make this stuff up, I swear it.

The good people at Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Air Wick, have a wonderful new product based on a partnership with the National Park Foundation, to preserve national parks and "bring home the vibrant scents inspired by Nature." I didn't realize Nature needed help from chemicals to make Home smell good. Right now, the honeysuckle outside is in bloom, and wafts in my open windows quite nicely. Or, some perfectly natural cinnamon always works nicely. Nature is not some chemical concoction out of a can, or worse, a plastic THING plugged into the wall that lasts for a whole 45 days!!! (Then you need a new plastic thingy while you throw the old one out because there is nothing else to be done with it...) I'm not even sure what the National Park Foundation does.

Now, I understand why the National Park Foundation would team up with Air Wick. It's awareness and support and of course money. I can't really say shame on them for that. Well, I could, but there's no point to it. Gotta get them money from somewhere.  Here's a good scent: Yellowstone Wildflower Valley. Doesn't that sound lovely? "Bring outdoor freshness into your home with Wildflower Valley, inspired by the green grass and summer meadows of Yellowstone National Park's unspoiled natural habitat." I really am curious as to exactly WHAT that actually really smells like. I'm thinking it smells nothing like Yellowstone. And what kind of malarkey is that anyway? What ad exec thought THAT up? "Unspoiled natural habitat"?? sure, if you ignore the plastic bottles left behind because, ya know, gotta have convenient water at hand to drink. This stuff is classified as a HAZARDOUS CHEMICAL. What about that brings to mind "outdoor freshness"? Glacier Bay Serene Waters... "Inspired by the oceanic grandeur of Glacier Bay National Park, Serene Waters captures the clean, fresh and soothing fragrances of this Alaskan wilderness." Uh huh. Because, last I checked, fresh air smells EXACTLY LIKE chemicals out or a can.

RB, who make Air Wick and other things, swears it is a company committed to a healthier planet. Balderdash, I say. Do they come around and collect the billions of plastic containers left from their spent products? No. Do they use chemically-derived fragrances? Yes. Are they selling us things we do NOT need in our homes? Yes. So, any claims they make FOR the environment are, in my eyes, pure Greenwashing.

But, Greenie, you say, we can't open our doors and windows and just let real actual AIR in. We have allergies. The smell of real grass will make us sneeze.

How do you THINK we got such allergies in the first place??? We exposed ourselves to too many chemicals. We polluted the air out there until we can't stand to breathe it anymore. But we don't think like that. We think we have to spray crap all over the place and coat every surface and air particle in our sealed and air-conditioned homes with toxic chemicals so that we can smell something pretty. Something that resembles in no way shape or form what it is supposed to be "inspired by."

All we can do as consumers is NOT buy this stuff anymore. Just stop.


Friday, May 11, 2012

But What If I Never Throw It Away?

Sad news on my New Favorite Thing, my stone paper.... I was told it is NOT recyclable. I thought it was. But.. but... I SO love to write on it. It's so smooth. Now, am I a giant hypocrite for using it? It's still compostable, right? I mean, it's stone, it will take forever, but it's at least natural, right?

And that's all it took to send me into one of my brain-spins. Ok, yeah yeah yeah, I know, it doesn't take much most days. But here we go. So, this stuff can't be recycled, but it IS natural, but trees are natural, and that's recyclable, and that breaks down pretty quickly, But it takes too many trees to make paper and isn't it better if we are making paper out of something else that is a waste product and natural and BESIDES - what if you never throw it out anyway? I have notebooks from COLLEGE. I don't get rid of them. Sure I'll die someday and they'll get tossed eventually, not put into some Good Green Witch Museum for all time to come. But...

What's right, what's wrong? I think I am OK using my stone paper. I think I am OK with my plastic Neti pot. I have a very anti-plastic friend who had that conundrum in her life. They make ceramic Netis which are awesome, but then it's slippery trying to use it in the shower and you drop it and it shatters and now you are using resources to buy another. They are made of stainless steel too, but ouch doesn't that get hot? A plastic Neti will last the entire life span of your showers, will it not? Does that make plastic OK in this instance? Just this once? If I have it for years and years and years and no new resources are being used to replace it? Does that expand to other things that I would avoid? Plastic things break and cannot be fixed. A Neti will likely not break or wear out. But cups? Plates? You know, those ones that are meant to be used again and again but that I say to avoid anyway for other materials?

It's enough to make a poor little witch fly right 'round the bend.

Thoughts? I don't consume very much. I don't buy a lot. I try to conserve and reuse when I can. I don't avoid plastic as completely as I would like. But I try to use the hell out of everything I have. Does that count? I'm the Good Green Witch, not the Perfect Green Witch. I'm not asking people to be perfect, just better. Just be good, too. We live, we learn, we find out not everything is as good as we think it is, we find out about BPA, eggs are good for you / eggs are bad for you no they are good.... oatmeal will save you no it won't...

Life is a work in progress. A journey.

I think I'll write that down in my stone paper notebook. You know, to save it for later.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How Many Are in YOUR Home?

"The safest cleaning products are cheap, widely available and have been around for centuries: baking soda, water, and vinegar along with some elbow grease. The EWG says these ingredients can be used to clean everything from countertops to hardwood floors to ovens."

Funny, I have said this over and over and over and over. And again. And yet, most people I know will STILL have one or more of the products on this list in their home, check it out:

Remember this guy??
How many of those can you dig out RIGHT NOW from your cupboards? In your bathroom, your kitchen?

Do you have to run out of the room after using your cleaners, so you can breath? Do you have to wear rubber gloves? Do you have to wear clothes you aren't afraid to ruin? does this NOT seem like a problem to you?

I was scrubbing my Pyrex dish and thinking about commercials where women hold up stuff that has "baked-on stuck-on" messes. I was thinking, really, nothing actually STICKS to glass. It comes off. Sure, it might take a little muscle. So.... so what? Are we too frail to use elbow grease anymore? Was that for our grandmothers who didn't have the luxuries we have now?

All those commercials... those companies do not CARE if your nails look good because you don't have to scrub a pan. They don't CARE if their product, used too much or improperly, is actually bad for the environment. They don't CARE if it's bad for our health. They put the warnings on it they need to, then happily take your money for their shareholders. If you think for one second that they want YOUR quality of life to improve, you are sadly disillusioned. I don't know quite where you got that idea. Get rid of it. And if you think everything should magically float off your pots/pans/bathtub and you shouldn't have to work on it at all, get rid of that, too. Life takes a little work. It should. We shouldn't be replacing a little bit of actual work with toxic cleaners, just because we can't be bothered to do the right thing. Don't have time? Tough. Our planet doesn't have time. Our kids don't have time. WE are killing time for them with what we have done and what we have become.

You ask, "What do you mean, what have we become?"


Let's rewind and go back to the better way. Simple, frugal, hard-working. Just because we get a little dirt under our fingernails doesn't mean life is hard. It means we appreciate Life and will do what we can to preserve it.

And let's stop thinking that "clean" means we have to run outta the room so we can breathe again. I mean, really.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Something Fishy About My Seaweed

Yes, it tastes just a little... fishy. But day-yum I am hooked on roasted seaweed. Love the stuff. I could eat it all day every day. Like the SeaSnax brand says, "Strangely Addictive!" It really is. When I open a bag of those, it takes restraint to not eat the whole thing in one sitting.

What I do not love are the "grab 'n' go" packs that every single company insists on making. If you've seen these snacks, you know exactly of what I speak. The packs are amazingly inexpensive and easy to just pick up as you head to check out. And they all have those stupid plastic trays in them. Every last brand. Is that really necessary? Is it that if they weren't in cute little trays, they would get too crushed?  SeaSnax makes a wonderful bag of larger flat sheets. Love them. Sure they come in a bag still, but no plastic tray. Oh, sure, not nearly as convenient. I see the problem.

I got to meet the guy in charge of SeaSnax. The Chief Cook, as it says on his business card. Yes, at the Natural Products Expo. Great event, have I mentioned it before? I flat-out asked him why those silly trays were necessary. Couldn't we do without them, or use some other product than plastic? Or do without them? (Yeah I know I already said it, it just seems like that is a feasible and reasonable thing.) He seemed... sad. I don't think he was expecting that question from anyone at the show, but seemed like he had wrestled with the same question. See, these guys are just a small outfit from right here in Los Angeles. It's a niche food, for sure. They have to tow the line, do what they need to do to sell their product amid hearty competition. He indicated that no matter what he might thing is good and might want, he has to go with what the almighty marketing people say. He has to do what the consumers want, and the marketing people say the consumers want the cute little trays. It would actually save them money to not use them, BUT...

I find this beyond sad.

I think we are lost. I think we are not going to see the light. I think it's too late and that not enough people are listening.

Meanwhile, I got the impression from this great guy that they were indeed working on something and that I would like it but that he couldn't quite talk about it yet. Trade secrets, and all, I think. So, I'm waiting. I hope I like it. I love these things but generally do not buy them, because I refuse to buy those trays, no matter how great a deal they are. 99 cents? Oh so tempting! What a price! but I will NOT. I just can't and so I won't. I'll be waiting to see what they come up with for my new favorite snack. Meanwhile... kale chips? Yeah, I can try that! You? If you must have these, please get the larger SeaSnax sheets (http://seasnax,com), stay away from those senseless useless plastic trays. Them SeaSnax are yummy.

You know, until the radiation from Fukushima makes this food impossible to obtain...

Waste Not, Want Not

Feeling the need to continue on the theme of waste.

Is it because we have too much? If things were a little more scarce, would we care more and waste less? If things were as precious as they really should be? If things cost more? The fact that we CAN walk in to any store any day mostly any minute and have everything at our fingertips, is that making us somehow feel that it's OK to waste? (Cuz it's not.) Are things too easily accessible, that we have forgotten the value of all things? And things we break are so cheap and replaceable, we end up not taking care of them as much. Eh, so what, go get another.

Are we clear?
Having a massive surplus of *stuff* is a sign of prosperity. We're doin' OK. The economy is crap, people don't have jobs, but darn it the shelves are stocked so we feel safe. We aren't going to run out of stuff. Warm fuzzies. Comfort. Having just enough isn't good enough. Wanting and not being able to have... very bad. That would be a sign that we can't have everything we want when we want it, and being left wanting means we are not safe. We're not OK. Kids crying because all their immediate needs aren't being met. But we're adults. We can realize we are OK even if the sheer inconvenience of a store being out of my favorite dressing should happen to me. I'm OK. I move on. Is it ok for us to stop making SO much stuff? So we stop consuming and wasting so much stuff? Can't just enough, be enough?

How did we get here? Is it the commercialism from the television era telling us to want more more more? If we can't have it all, then our lives are empty? I'm reminded of the show Hoarders, which, for some reason, and no reason that I can explain to my husband, who just shakes his head, is my favorite guilty pleasure to watch. We know why people hoard: they are trying to fill something they cannot inside themselves, and usually avoiding FEELING something. It's like, "Oh no! I'm about to feel bad about this! Quick, buy something so I feel better! Safer! I don't want to have to feel bad!!!" Stuff makes us feel like everything will be OK, but it's not. It's not OK. And you know what? It's OK to NOT be OK. We get past it. Shit happens. Our worlds will not end.

Will gaps or a few empty shelves in stores make us uneasy? Pop our little bubble of the American idea of progress and prosperity? Make us think we're in Russia? That collapse of modern society as we know it is upon us? I don't have an answer. this is just something that has me thinking. Can we stop to think about it? We have, buy, consume, waste too much. How do we stop it? How do we get back to simple frugality that made sense and was so much better all around? Do we need to have some large-scale disaster fall upon us to make us change?

I hope that's not what it takes, but I just don't know what else has to give. I just don't.

All I know is we have to start treating things, all things, as much more precious than we currently do. Does that mean higher prices, so we don't dare waste as much? Do we waste because stuff is cheap and we can?

Can we stop?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Don't Drink Oil

It's a cute video in support of "plastic" made from corn... check it out in preparation to read, if you will. It's short!

Red Solo Evil
I have a problem with this, though. Oh, don't get me STARTED on Red Solo Cups and the accompanying stupid song that was written in praise of drunkards and plastic... but let's talk about cups made from corn. Or sugar. Or potato starch. Forks and spoons and plates and even these clear cups for our beverages. These things are great, right?


Compostables are coming along, but it's not quite right yet. I feel like unless we can replace every single piece of plastic picnic-ware etc with compostables all at once, like, tomorrow, then we have problems. One, these things require high-heat composting. You can't just toss these things in your bin out back. Not all communities have that. YET. These thing will come. But as of now...

How many people do you know that pay attention to where they are throwing what out? Are you at a gathering where you can announce, hey, these cups have to go into a special bin! Hell, you can't even get people to recycle regularly most times! I can't count the times I go down to our trash bin which has the blue recycle bins (3 of them) RIGHT next to it and there is recycle stuff in the trash. With that, we expect people to know they need to put this here special cup in a special place? See, just one of these will ruin a regular batch of recycling. And don't think recycling centers have the manpower or ability to go through every single piece of trash that comes their way. (Americans don't want THAT kind of job. Ew. Yucky. We're above that kind of labor, dontcha know. We need jobs, but not THOSE jobs. Eww.) So, these things are actually dangerous to the system as we have it now. It's not good. I sure don't trust people's knowledge enough. Do you?

Also, making these things out of, say, corn, encourages mono-cropping and GMOs. This is not good. Is it worse than the oil it takes to make plastic?? I don't know. No? No. I don't know. It's a BIG topic. Yes, I think they are better, but no, I am not sure we are ready for them. We have to get there. We aren't there yet.  And I know mono-cropping and Monsanto are right up there with Big Oil. This is not simple. My brain is in a twist just typing this.

You know what I do know? The best way would be to not use any of these things at all anymore. just stop. We lived without them quite well and easily before. Did we not have parties and picnics before Red Solo? Did we suffer? Oh, but Good, glass breaks. Kids can't use glass. It's too dangerous. We HAVE to use plastic! You don't want our kids to get hurt, do you? What kind of person are you?? We can't live without plastic anymore!


Never mind. We're already lost. Forget I said anything.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wasting Waste

Have you ever just paused to take notice of just how much STUFF is in stores? It's staggering. Staggering. I don't really wander into very many stores very often. I don't buy a lot of clothing right now, and when I do, it's usually in my favorite thrift stores. My husband handles a lot of the grocery shopping... So the rare time I get to a "big-box" or whatever you call them store, it's like culture-shock all over again, every time.

That stuff all has expiration dates. Think about it.

There is more stuff in most stores than can possibly be bought. What happens when it all expires? It gets thrown out. It's not like last year's out-of-fashion fashions; this stuff goes bad. It doesn't get sent to the needy, it doesn't go to feed some third-world country... it just gets tossed.

I would rather see grocery stores run out of things than throw so much away. I mean, sure, you see them run out of stuff in emergency situations, like major snow storms - oh, wait, we didn't have many of those this past winter, did we? There's no such thing as climate change - and the battle hymn of "Bread-and-milk-bread-and-milk" - because, yeah, when was the last time you were snowed in so long in most civilized areas that you were in danger of starving because you were out of bread and milk? That always ALWAYS made me crazy. Headline: "Family of 5 Runs Out of Bread and Milk, Found Starved to Death After Roads Were Cleared One Day After 6-Inch Snowfall." Yeah. That doesn't happen. (Wow, that was a bit of a brain barf just then... thanks for being there for it.)

Yet, what would shelves emptied of product say? That the store was poorly run? Bad stocking, and you won't go there again? If a store runs out of something you want, you leave and go somewhere else and never go back to that one again. So they better stock up, even if it means wasting stuff, because gods forbid we can't have absolutely everything we want at our fingertips at every second of every day. What has happened to us? What is it that we value? Would we value things more if we ran out of stuff once in awhile? Or is it the ruin of modern civilization to think a store would run out of anything?

I'm stymied. I got nuthin'. This one isn't going to go away any time soon. We need to overhaul our whole way of thinking. I feel another blog coming up for this one... it's too big.

And that's our problem. Too big. Everything. It's all too big, too much...