Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To those Drivers on the Road Last Night

I’m writing you a message to remind you of some of the basic rules of driving, which obviously, you’ve forgotten:

1. Passing: It’s a difficult and complicated routine. I’ll walk you through it, step by step. First, turn on your blinker. Your left blinker. This should be done sometime well before the point at which you are riding my bumper, and you should slow down enough that you are NOT riding my bumper. Now, once you check to see that the LEFT (not RIGHT) lane is clear, you gently move into the LEFT (not RIGHT) lane, gradually pass me, turn on your RIGHT blinker, then move back into the lane in front of me- making sure that there are SEVERAL car lengths between us. You never, never, ZIP AROUND ME AS FAST AS YOU CAN IN THE RIGHT LANE AND THEN BARELY SQUEEZE IN BETWEEN ME AND THE CAR THAT IS IN FRONT OF ME. 

2. Exit ramps: Another difficult concept. Exit ramps are used when you are leaving the highway. Therefore, you move into them as you are about to leave the highway, and YOU SLOW DOWN. That’s right, there is a speed limit posted on the exit ramp. YOU NEVER, NEVER, GO 70 MILES AN HOUR ON AN EXIT RAMP. That is illegal.

3. Speaking of illegal, the posted speed limit is exactly that. A limit. Not the minimum, but rather, the maximum. Do you understand those large words? If I am going the speed limit, I am not going ‘too slow’. I am going just the right speed; in fact, if I go any faster, I would be breaking the law. Did you know that?

4. And speaking of laws, the pedestrian always has the right-of-way. No matter how much you honk, I will not run over the pedestrian that is crossing the street. That would also be illegal.

Thank you for taking my brief driving course, and if you forget these simple rules and once again endanger the lives of my family, I’m going to follow you home and beat you to death with a Missouri Drivers’ Guide.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Letter I wrote to Mother Earth News

On the topic of population control

Population control is indeed a quick, easy fix to our planet’s problems- and quick, easy fixes are hardly ever the best. Let’s think about the facts. In the last hundred years, both Chinese and Americans have severely decreased the size of the their families; in those same hundred years, both Chinese and Americans have exponentially increased the amount they consume and pollute. Raising one or less children is not the answer. Raising responsible children is.  One king can consume more than one thousand of his subjects. What population control may do, in the long run, is leave the earth with one million selfish, wasteful, lazy inhabitants who bring more destruction than the 6.7 billion of us did- simply because there are so few of them, and they think their actions won’t matter. Let us learn to live responsibly, to respect the resources and beauty around us, to respect our neighbors, and respect ourselves. This is a truly ‘sustainable’ lifestyle.

And more thoughts that I did not include in the letter for brevity's sake, but which you must put up with because a blog is about someone running their mouth off anyway:

My mother grew up in a family of twenty, on a small farm in Puerto Rico. Their carbon footprint was pretty much nil. What they didn't grow or trade for, they didn't use or eat. They consumed less & polluted less than the modern suburban family of 3. It's just so easy to shout at other people 'You're the problem!  Limit your family size! Reduce your usage!' without making changes in your own life. Is population control really about what's best for us as human beings and what's best for the creation, or is population control about wanting to regulate other people so we can have the freedom to do whatever the hell we want and not worry about the consequences? Considering the ingrained attitudes of most Americans (even 'green' Americans) that we 'deserve' this or that and we 'need' this or that, I believe the whole debate is more about protecting their own lifestyle rather than really loving other humans and loving the planet.

And I won't even begin to discuss the inherent racism and elitism that is the unspoken backbone of any kind of population control discussion....