10-4, Good buddy

This used to be the hottest technology:

Now you can get it for $4 at the thrift store. ($3 if you are age 50 or older on “Senior Sundays”… no, I didn’t buy it.)

As you gird your loins (i.e. change from your sleep PJs to your work-from-home PJs) for some CyberMonday shopping, keep this ol’ CB radio in mind. And read this New York Times opinion piece from Yvon Chouinard, the guy who founded the Patagonia brand, before you click “buy now.”

Cheap products, made poorly and thrown away quickly, are killing people and the planet.

from the article linked above

Obsession with the latest tech gadgets drives open pit mining for precious minerals. Demand for rubber continues to decimate rainforests. Turning these and other raw materials into final products releases one-fifth of all carbon emissions.

From the article linked above

Cheap stuff will wind up in landfills. The latest technology will get relegated to the thrift store faster than you can say “new iPhone.”

“Breaker one-nine, you got your ears on? If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Over.”

“That’s a big 10-4, good buddy!”

Water, water, (not) everywhere

You may refuse to believe — or just ignore — the facts about global climate change. But that won’t change the fact that the world is changing, in ways that will affect all of us, sooner or later. (And the way we’re tracking, it’s going to be sooner.)

The Amazon, the planet’s air conditioner, is on the fritz.

In Mexico City, they’re imposing severe restrictions on water use because the reservoir is so low.

In an area of Spain, the reservoir has already dried up, and residents there have to get their water by truck.

Here’s the good news: if you’ve got $7 to spare, you can help save the planet.

You can install this gadget (Home Depot has one too) in about five minutes (it goes in between the pipe and the shower head). Push the button and the water flow slows to a trickle — but maintains your current water temperature — so you’re not wasting gallons of water while you’re shampooing, lathering up, shaving, etc. Push the button again and the regular flow resumes so you can rinse off. Easy-peasy.

It’s not as dramatic as this:

But it’s just as effective.

For a mere $7, you could easily save about 10 gallons of water every time you shower. You won’t just be saving water, you’ll be saving the planet. I’ll drink to that!

The Fame Game

Folks who create comic strips for a living are funny.

But they can be deep thinkers too! And Dan Piraro, the man behind the Bizarro single-panel comic, an example of which is featured above, just published a very profound blog post about the “trap” of fame.

Matthew Perry’s passing prompted the piece, but Dan’s thoughts could — and do — apply to anyone with a modicum of fame.

To achieve lasting self-esteem and a feeling of belonging in the world, we need a more intimate connection with others than fan worship can provide.

The post is well worth reading. Even if you’re not “famous” by the usual standards, this thought rings true:

I began to realize the most valuable things in life are not wealth and fame but relationships and community. I started paying more attention to the 3-dimensional people in my life than the number of followers on my social media accounts and have found it a much more satisfying use of my energy.

Nailed it! Who needs the A-list when we’ve got 3-D friends?

See you in the funny papers!

Our Tears are all the Same

This may come as a surprise to you, Dear Reader (singular), but I’m not exactly a font of knowledge about the Middle East. In fact, my knowledge wouldn’t even fill a thimble.

This also may come as a surprise to you, Dear Reader (still singular… tell a friend about this blog), but I DO know how to read. And I’ve been trying to expand my knowledge of the Middle East conflict, and its history. (I’ve upgraded from thimble to shot glass… and now I need a shot to calm my nerves.)

I found this piece by David Klion and this one from Suzanne Schneider to be quite enlightening. Klion talks about the current Israeli-Palestinian situation and its parallels with 9/11, when America’s blind thirst for “vengeance” led to more senseless suffering.

Suzanne Schneider’s essay is extremely powerful – especially the final two paragraphs:

Nicholas Kristof’s headline from Saturday’s New York Times sums it up:

This probably won’t come as a surprise to you, Dear Reader (still singular… c’mon, just use the “share” link), but I really like music. And I keep replaying a song in my head – a track called “Background Noise” from Irish folk singer Luka Bloom that came out in 1994. Luka was writing about “The Troubles” in Ireland, but the sentiment is universal – and sadly just as applicable today:

You hear the cries of the different sides
The bullet hits again
Take a look in anybody’s eyes
Our tears are all the same
Our tears are all the same…

What the hell do I know –
Crying out for love
What the hell can I do –
Crying out for love
When every single child needs
To hear the voice of love
We all need a new speech –
The words of love

The World’s Still Burning, But The Tide Is Turning

More heat emergencies. More wildfires. The hottest ocean temps in recorded history. It can be easy to despair about the state of the world that we all share. Or give up hope completely.

But a recent New York Times article gave cause — causes actually — for optimism, and I’ll take all the good news I can get.

Sorry about the paywall thing… FWIW, cheapskates like me avoid it by using a free day pass from the public library. The Cincinnati Library one is here.

Here are a few choice excerpts:

Coal: it’s only for bad kids’ Christmas stockings.

Bob Dylan was right – the answer is blowin’ in the wind!

Without a doubt, we’re still in a crisis. The planet is in peril. But the winds of change are blowing, and we might be seeing the dawn of a new day (and capturing those solar rays in the process). Go Team Earth!

Nothing Compares 2 Sinéad

This is the story of a Prince, a Pope and a young woman.

Sinéad O’Connor was 23 when her second album I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got rocketed up the charts, mostly based on the strength of her cover of Prince’s song “Nothing Compares 2 U.”

She didn’t just cover Prince’s song… she made it her own.

Sinéad was just 25 when she appeared on Saturday Night Live and performed Bob Marley’s “War.” She didn’t just cover Marley’s tune, she made it her own… by changing the lyrics to reference child abuse. Oh, and as we all know, she did so while tearing up a photo of the Pope.

For doing so, she was “cancelled” before cancel culture was even a thing.

In a post-Spotlight world, when we know much more about the child abuse being committed by members of the clergy, and about the coverups by the higher-ups, I hope people can better understand the motives of Ms. O’Connor. She wasn’t just protesting clergy abuse either, but child abuse in general. It was something she had firsthand experience with.

The photo itself had hung on the bedroom wall of O’Connor’s mother, who O’Connor later said had physically and sexually abused her as a child.

Source: this New York Times article

At 14, Sinéad was sent to live at one of the infamous Magdelene Laundries in Ireland.

“We were girls in there, not women, just children really. And the girls in there cried every day. It was a prison. We didn’t see our families, we were locked in, cut off from life, deprived of a normal childhood. We were told we were there because we were bad people. Some of the girls had been raped at home and not believed.”

Sinead O’Conner in this Irish Times article

Nine years after she tore up his photo, Pope John Paul II sent an email apology to the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests and other clergy in Australia and the surrounding region, acknowledging the scandal for the first time in his papacy.

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said in an 18-page letter that he was “truly sorry” for the abuse suffered by victims at the hands of Catholic priests in Ireland, O’Connor’s home country.

Source: CNN article

Perhaps with the benefit of hindsight, we can see Sinéad’s protest as a clarion call… and we can see Sinéad as more prophet than pariah.

In a tribute to O’Connor following her death, Irish comedian and actress Aisling Bea wrote on Instagram that “everything she stood up for and against then, including racism in the music industry, has been proved to have been needed and right…She was the original truth sayer who wouldn’t go easy into the night.”

Source: CNN article

“Everyone wants a pop star, see? But I am a protest singer. I just had stuff to get off my chest. I had no desire for fame.”

Sinéad O’ Connor
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