6.28.2007

Tastes like chicken


Just in time for the Fourth of July barbecue...

LINK

Zapped


The Greenneck spent Tuesday spewing carbon, as he jetted down to NYC and back to meet with Malcolm Bricklin.

If you drive a Subaru, you owe Malcolm (or perhaps he owes you); he’s the guy who brought the brand to the US (of course, he’s also the guy who delivered us Yugo…). Right now, Bricklin is in the middle stages of an effort to bring a Chinese made plug-in electric hybrid to US shores. It’s an unbelievably ambitious project, though it’s immediately obvious that the guy has no shortage of ambition: At 68 he moves faster than most, including the Greenneck, who found it slightly exhausting just talking to the guy.

Every time the Greenneck visits an urban environment (not often, but work calls), he’s astonished at the rampant waste of energy. For 30 minutes, he stood in line for a cab with perhaps 80 other travel-weary folk; most of the cabs sped away with one rider, heading to destinations that were surely often within spitting distance of one another. Most of the cars the Greenneck spotted from the rear of his cab carried only their driver, who was usually talking on a cell phone. The Greenneck would have loved to talk about this with someone, but his cabbie couldn’t understand him and he was, like most of the other cab riders, alone.

The Greenneck has studied plug-in electric vehicles in great detail and he is a believer in the technology. He likes Bricklin, who has a taste for psychedelic art featuring handguns, large breasts, cars, and himself. He hopes Bricklin can pull something off, thought the odds are daunting. But mostly, he doesn’t want to go back to the city anytime soon.

6.22.2007

Why Bubba Won't Bike

I read somewhere the other day that energy policy is the biggest issue of our time. True enough.

Thing is, transportation policy is the biggest issue of all time. Cave dudes and the wheel, Romans and their roads, Euros and their ships, and ... of course ... Americans and their cars.

A thriving and efficient transportation system is essential. To a growing economy. To a healthy society. To the little store down in the village as well as the mega-brand up in the big city.

But what makes a transportation system work is the willingness of the participants to keep playing along. In other words, it doesn’t matter how well your highways are built or how wide they are if people hate them, and if they just simply refuse to use them anymore.

Sad to say, that what’s happening with our sidewalk and path systems. People would just rather drive to work than rope up for a 5.11 scramble to the office.

Take my town for example ... a "healthy" place that openly markets itself as a recreational destination. The sidewalks and shoulders are simply pathetic. And when you've got poor walking systems, they don't get used. And when they don't get used, people find it more efficient to drive. And once they're behind the wheel, they’re more willing to look further from home for work opportunities, for grocery shopping, and for all their commercial needs.

And so it goes. As local transportation systems fail, so do local businesses.

Energy is important, but we have to keep our eye on the ball. A focus on core area transportation needs is something that should be front of mind. Today.

By denying our communities the fundamental right of coherent local transporation alternatives, we are handicapping ourselves even further in a time of soaring oil prices and weighty property taxes.

This is not a mission to Mars. Bringing core community bike paths and pedestrian walkways to a respectable, usable level is not only within our power ... It is within our reach.

North American Meandering Bear Leisure Association, or ...

LINK









From my buddy Kegger's back yard in AK.

6.20.2007

The Greenneck: Mere mortal after all?


The Greenneck spent this past weekend engaged in the tasks of country living. He ran fence, with the intent of containing his cows so that he might not spend any more of his evenings chasing them through the forest. He shoveled innumerable spadefuls of composted cow shit onto the gardens. He walked into the woods with a can of gas and a chainsaw, and walked out with an armload of cedar posts. He nailed rough cut spruce boards to the side of his barn.

He did one other thing: He attended a memorial service for a neighbor who died rather unexpectedly at the age of 52.

Do these things connect? They do. Because you cannot attend a funeral without considering, at least for a moment, what you want your mark to be on your little corner of the world. At least, the Greenneck cannot.

And this is what he thinks: We are no longer a nation of producers. By and large, most of us earn our living on the whims and wants of others. Very, very few of us make anything that is an absolute necessity. Most of the time, the Greenneck is no different; his words might occasionally entertain and inform, but they fill no one’s stomach.

But on this weekend – indeed, on most weekends lately – he actually makes something. He may not make it well, but even that truth doesn’t diminish the pleasure of it. Nor does it the diminish the knowledge that when his time comes, should it be tomorrow, or 50 years from tomorrow, he will have left behind something tangible, something that endures beyond the limits of his too-humble body.

6.15.2007

One less car


On my ride to work, streams of cars pass me every day, each with a single occupant. Dozen after dozen. After dozen.

Three dollars for a gallon of gas. Four weels. Six seats. One person.

Sometimes that person is in a rush. Sometimes, they're taking it slow with the window open and stereo blaring. And sometimes, they get angry at me. A sluggish cruiser moving less than 5 miles an hour that forces them to veer ever so slightly. They gun their engines as they pass me as a warning. They are inconvenienced, after all, and far more powerful than a guy on a yellow bike. And when you’re alone in a car, late for a meeting perhaps, a petty offense can easily grow into a major affront.

We are all at worst when we are alone in a car. Myself included. Behind the wheel, I do things without a second thought that I would never do on foot, or in a crowd.

I recognize that riding my bike won't change the world. But when I ride to work, I like knowing that I’m actually doing something, and that someday I’ll be able to sit down with my grown children, look them in the eye, and say with all honesty that I tried. I really tried.

Honestly, I don't feel like a better man for commuting on my bike. But i do feel better.

LINK: "Costs don’t stop drivers from going it alone "

Wicked Maori

Our top five Maori words, currently available for commercial use and licensing.

5. Uhi, meaning "Will blog for money."

4. Roa, meaning "Looks like Arcteryx."

3. Makutu, meaning "Fear of selling through Campmor."

2. Hongi, meaning "Relies on huge Fedex discount."

1. Aroha, meaning "One who will soon be acquired by Columbia"

LINK: Fast Company

6.13.2007

Wish you were here


It pains you to admit it, but you’ve been missing the Greenneck, haven’t you? Soon, he will be back. Soon, he will be finished running fence, chasing cows, and cutting firewood. Soon, he will have something new and groundbreaking and thought-provoking to say.

But for now, there is only this: He misses you, too.

How green is YOUR backpack?

More and more, I'm beginning to realize that Treehugger is the green-zine equivalent of a politician on the stump. Regardless of the good intent, regardless of the question, the answer is about an hour too long and meanders down a winding yellow road through fields of poppies. Oh Toto. My eyes ... sleepy .... so sleepy.

Today, TH takes a crack at how to green up the world of outdoor recreation. There's some decent stuff in there, but consider the audience. You've got your garden variety non-outdoor people (who likely don't care enough to click on the MORE link), and then you've got your basic outdoor junkes who already know most of the deal, inside and out, already. Go one way or the other, and you get traction. Straddle the middle ground, and be carried away by the current.

My personal hope is that the bar will soon be raised for the outdoors-in-the-know crowd. According to the big man down at Backpacker, their fall issue will take on the greening of the outdoor world in the most detailed, progressive, and eyebrow-raising angles seen to date. We'll see things like carbon ratings for outdoor products, carbon comparisons between natural and synthetic materials, and a sort of "state of the outdoor world" in the grip of climate change.

There isn't a title for the cover story yet, but in my mind there's one word that seems appropriate.

Witness.

6.12.2007

Birds gone wild!


Descending on the Mad River Valley like Canadian spring breakers, a barrage of totally out-of-place birds are making the rounds.

First, it was the icelandic godwit (spotted by none other than Carl "Daylight Savings Time" Bates. Then, it was a pair of Sandhill Cranes ... seen over the weekend. And now, a mysterious possibly-tropical yellowbird.

Got climate change?

6.07.2007

How are Americans reacting to higher gas prices?


1% ... Getting mad at people from Texas.

5% ... Buying Diesel jeans.

8% ... Supporting a mission to Mars.

10% ... Renting old Angelina Jolie movies.

18% ... Donating their bike to a poor person.

26% ... Blaming China.

32% ... Thinking really, really, really hard about solutions during commercials.

LINK: The Economist

6.06.2007

The Onion: Vermont secession linked to Subaru sales

"Hey Vermont, remember what happened the last time someone seceded? The army marched through their states and burned everything to the ground. And the South wasn't high all the time."

LINK

6.05.2007

Cover me


Sure, it's sort of like hiring "escorts" to hang out at your 4th of July bash ... but somebody's got to catch these fish.

LINK

6.04.2007

Reading between the lines


VPR reported this morning that JD is allowing 5 bills to become law without his signature.

The discerning eye reads between the lines. As such, WO offers unique insight into JD's backhanded approval of two of these bills:

One bill expands the state's medical marijuana law

(Last winter, at New Year's party, JD had to take a piss something wicked. Too many Coors Lights and all. Pushing his way into the Leahy's bathroom, he was momentarily - but only momentarily - stunned to find Bernie perched on the toilet seat with a face full of bong. In the spirit of reconciliation and starting anew, JD proceeded to sample of Senator Sanders's private stash and is now a fervent believer in the restorative powers of THC)

Another requires that naturopathic physician services be available in all health insurance policies sold in the state

(This spring, JD was have some minor issues with ED. Fearing the possibility of the uncontrollable erections that are a side effect of Viagra, he turned to an "energy healer" recommended by his predecessor, Howard Dean. Did it work? Have you seen the smile Dot's been sporting of late?)

Now you know.

The new food pyramid

Bottled water is the new Hummer

Individually packaged food is the new bottled water

Carbon heavy food is the new individually prepackaged food

But fortunately ... Icelandic vodka is safe, guilt free, and TASTY!

6.01.2007

Offset This


LINK

Forgive me father


For I have driven my truck today, and it felt good.

For I have coveted thy nearby golf course, and felt the shame that doth fall on all those who wear pleated front khakis treated with water resistant petroleum-based coatings.

For I have worshipped at the altar of a false idol, a Titleist 905s driver.

For I have used the Lord's name in vain several times, particularly on that nasty 6th hole that doglegs to the left.

For I have plans to use my driver on that hole today. Be ready to hear thy name again. And loudly.