Hard to Stay Focused


How does one stay focused on the important stuff (#NoDAPL #WaterisLife #StandwithStandingRock #StopthePipelines #DivestfromDAPL) when the DT brigade is working the insane train?

Top trends on Twitter today:

#DumpKelloggs. The breitbart puke-fest is frothing a backlash at Kellogg’s today. Talk about food for thought! I’m trying to imagine reading “the news” over a frosty bowl of corn flakes. Kill the brain AND body in one fell swoop!

#BigMac pays homage to the creator of the Big Mac, Michael Delligatti, who passed on at the beefy age of 98. Seriously, that’s a good life, hope he ate his veggies along the way. I know, nothing to do with the DTs, but a leading twit-get none the less.

#Sarah Palin rounds out the list. Fully fathomable return of…her. Speechless, but certainly NOT surprised.

And then, there’s THIS. Big oil talking heads vs. historical context, regarding stuff like LAWS and TREATIES with our #NativeAmerican First Peoples. Thank you, Francesca Fiorentini (@franifio) for enlightening us with satire. It’s the ONLY way to stomach the fight forward. Cuz it’s gonna be a hell of a fight.

And who cannot love the Kellogg’s photo caption: “Here The Tiny Hearts Of Golden Corn Are Rolled Out Into Thin, Filmy Flakes.”

‘Nuff said.

Photo credits: thanks to Wystan: https://www.flickr.com/photos/70251312@N00/



Here We Go, Dalrymple Style


Under the guise (uh, ruse) of safety and security, ND Gov Dalrymple signed an executive order to force the evacuation of thousands of @NoDAPL protesters who are peacefully organized to protect clean water from dirty oil and sacred land from thoughtless destruction.

As his signature ink dried, ND law enforcement announced, effective immediately, a land blockade of food, building materials and emergency supplies into the Standing Rock campsite.

Typically, as @MarkRuffalo tweeted, “this is how you treat an enemy not citizens.” We’ve all read in our history books (or current day news re Israel’s Apartheid #Palestine) about blockades, starving or controlling the enemy, etc. Today, within the borders of our United States, we are witness to the power of the state coming down on OUR FELLOW CITIZENS. These are our original citizens, our sisters and brothers, fighting peacefully against the Man.

Ironically, Dalrymple states in his EO that “winter conditions have the potential to endanger human life” while his state police, and hired security / military personnel spray water cannons on the protesters, at night, in 23 degree temps. Work with me on that logic. Yeah, me too, I can’t get beyond the abuse of power, nor the hypocrisy. Dare I mention pepper spray, rubber bullets, and concussion grenades?

I’m gratified to all who stand in solidarity with @NoDAPL. A newly formed group of military veterans are joining the fray. Veterans Stand for Standing Rock will arrive en masse to act as a human shield against the violence unleashed by our government. The latest count of participants is in the thousands.

It’s brutal that we have to arrive at this point in our country’s young history. But the ugly reality of our past and present wrongs has a new masthead, orange pompadoured and pouty.

We must stand in our truth, and fight for progress.

‘Nuff said.

Photo: Kait Thomas, CanyonLandsNPS, “Land Of Standing Rocks,” taken May 30, 2014


Problem? I Don’t See a Problem


A photo like this says, “What problem? Water is everywhere.” And that’s part of the problem. We don’t see the 100+ year-old pipes leaking billions of tap water each day. Until a water main bursts in the neighborhood, we’re all good.

The city of Boston, MA had their water wake up in March 2010. Today, residents pay more for their bright & shiny NEW water works. On average, the monthly bill is $90 per single family household, if said family can survive on 180 GPD (gal per day). This is nearly double the cost prior to March 2010. And interestingly, water consumption went DOWN as costs went up. Funny how that works.

Imagine what would happen with a tax on carbon?

There are similar results in California during the recent (and ongoing) mega-drought. As awareness, monthly bills, and the threat of hefty fines rose, water consumption dropped 23% in one year. The 6th largest global economy also has enough wiggle room and common decency to offer low income rate assistance. Score a subsidy win for the actual need!

Speaking of need, the HPR article highlights some key numbers regarding our national water infrastructure:

  1.  The collective total length of municipal water and sewer pipes approximates 1.5 million miles.
  2. The ASCE* estimates an annual waste of 2 trillion gallons, 15% of treated water, due to seepage and breaks of pipes that are beyond useful capacity.
  3. The bigly dollars needed (yeah, I trumped you) for infrastructure investment is estimated to range from $30 to $50 billion annually over 20 years. Current Federal expenditures do not come close.
  4. Sorry to say, water safety monitoring is also inadequate. Let’s ban the EPA altogether, shall we? Somehow, 60-million people might agree.

And the cost of doing nothing will increase over time. This problem isn’t going away. Yet most people, and I highlight politicians, don’t see it that way. Water isn’t sexy, and will not score PAC dollars for an upcoming campaign like chatter on terrorism or taxes. So the problem stays buried, like the pipes that are bursting. Hope it doesn’t happen in your neighborhood any time soon.

‘Nuff said.

*ASCE = American Society of Civil Engineers

Photo Credit: Wout Daenen, “DSC_0234,” taken December 25, 2008 at Croton Dam https://www.flickr.com/photos/woutster/

Thankful, Arms Full


Beautiful, amazing walk during low tide today, which adds 30 yards of USACE-certified, post Sandy beach (I’ll leave that topic alone for now). Everything feels good and thankful, with squawking gulls and a few salty fishermen wading deep into the low breakers, casting for stripers. ‘Tis the season.

Then the pileup begins:  I notice an unnatural blue hue protruding from the sand as tiny wavelets lap over it – a half-gallon ziplock bag, way out of place. This becomes my receptacle for periodic plastic bottles or styrofoam packing peanuts (hate those) that I always find along my stroll. But today is VERY different, and very disheartening.

I see the shredded ends of some clear plastic blowing in the breeze, figure it’s another bag. I pull on it, and it yanks me back. Pull harder, and begin to loosen plastic sheeting from the sand, 8ft x 2ft. I find 2 of these. I come across the shrink wrap to a case of bottled water and home insulation plastic packaging. Then a 6ft strip of heavy duty rubber is floating at water’s edge, like an eel, only a casting length away from a group of fishermen. I got it, you stay there.

Understand this trash trove would be, during high tide, under the water’s surface, potentially decomposing for centuries.

Sorry, it’s annoying. By the time I finish my walk, I’m carrying POUNDS of debris. With permission from a few home construction guys, I toss the weight into a big dumpster. Feel good about my efforts, yet I have no idea the final resting place of all that waste.

Today’s photo caption speaks volumes about our abuse of the ocean:

“Remember that garbage compactor scene in ‘Star Wars’? Yeah, it’s something like that.”

‘Nuff said.

Photo: Thanks to Beatrice Murch! https://www.flickr.com/photos/blmurch/

Got Shit?


Yup, I said it. Taking it down a notch, to lift others up. So really, why are we westerners so sheepish about discussing our natural necessities? We use the term frequently, descriptively, when giving or receiving trash talk, or lamenting (with gusto) when stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge (thanks, Christie).

Check out a great article by Jay Peters, Sanitation Soldier, that arrived in my inbox this morning via LinkedIn. Imagine, he writes, that 4 in 10 of your neighbors do not access indoor plumbing. Not in my backyard, dammit.

It’s time to get real. While 60% of the global population access sanitation infrastructure, 2.5 BILLION people defecate outdoors. That’s women lifting their skirts hoping no one can see, a child peering over a bush, men dropping their drawers wherever. Sit on that for a minute.

Now that I have your attention, a must read before bed is “The Big Necessity” by Rose George, available at your favorite bookseller.  With facts, humor, and wonderful prose, Rose George will open your mind and HEART to the disaster of open defecation, and the solutions we must, as global humans, act upon.

Had to take a short writing break. Prescient timing. I feel great now, a little lighter.

‘Nuff said.

Photo by Dennis Jarvis, Halifax CA. Follow him on Flickr

Humpbacks Feeding Off Jersey Coast – Today’s Pleasing Post

9660851285_82c600cedd_zYessir, a break from the noise, but only momentarily. I commit to staying informed and activated. At the end of this blog is a video link that will amaze you, bring joy and wonderment to your day. Sit back and watch this stunning videography of our mammalian brother and sister, the humpback.

Then, get back to work.

What’s going down on our watch in Standing Rock, #NoDAPL, is really bad news. What’s going down in Washington, DC and, over the weekend, in Bedminster, NJ, is disgusting and truly frightening news.

I choose peaceful activism to impede the Trumpian trampling. I stay true to myself and my beliefs, I highlight the wrongs, of which there are many. These next days, weeks, and months will not be easy, because I choose to keep my eyes and heart open. We cannot let ignorance or any of the powerful “Bigs” have their way.

On Friday morning, I witnessed a bunker fish feeding frenzy while standing onshore in Beach Haven, NJ. Just beyond the breakers, the water surface looked to be boiling in the glistening sun. Two humpbacks, blues, stripers dined on their prey.

A fisherman-friend was out there on his boat. He told me that it actually looked like you could step out onto the water because there were so many bunker trying to avoid becoming breakfast.

This video brings you up close and personal. Watch and enjoy!

‘Nuff said.

Video by Nik…Thanks, Nik!!!

Photo by Gregory “Slobirdr” Smith…Thanks, Slobirdr!!!

Not My Tap


Water knows no boundaries, except those it carves on its own. Whether hurricane or 10-minute downpour, water meanders wherever it likes, dykes and storm drains be damned.

The same holds for poisoned water. The key distinctions are its cause(s) and “economic geography.” Just ask the folks of Hindman, KY.

Never heard of Hindman? You’re not alone. How about Hoosick Falls, NY? I’m sure you’ve heard of Flint. Fundraiser focus is always a good thing. But how’s the water now?

Fascinatingly frustrating NYT article published yesterday, check it out here. The people of Hindman know Flint’s dilemma well. They understand the plights of those sickened or dead in Hoosick Falls, too.

Coal, cars, teflon: Hindman, Flint, Hoosick Falls. Turns on the lights, gets the kids to school on time, eggs over easy.

Powerful companies deliver the goods that slake our insatiable demands. They have the ear and the pocketbook of our blue and red politicians. When demands for clean up and reparation are voiced, nothing a deft bankruptcy or lengthy litigation can’t solve, legal as the water is brown. How’s the stock price?

And notice WHERE these toxic production sites are located, certainly not a 3-wood’s distance to the Park Ave penthouses, Rodeo Drives, or Pennsylvania Avenues of the decision-makers.

“…the rest of the country treats us like we’re the cost of doing business in America.” Thank you Daile Boulis. Truth cuts right to the heart of the matter. We’re all responsible.

‘Nuff said.

Photo credit: iLoveMountains.org