Archive for the ‘chutzpah’ Category


On the side of a Waste Management garbage truck. (Taken at 65 mph on Highway 1. Sorry to the white minivan behind me.)

I can vouch that the whole rest of the truck is the same color green as visible on the margins of the sign. Among the many ways of describing such a paint job, one might use the term “greenwashed” without being in error. I’m just saying.

Apparently, as I learned online, some Waste Management landfills do set aside area for wildlife habitat, which they get certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council. Birdhouses get posted; poplar trees get planted; biodiversity is reported to increase. No word as to whether the set-aside land gets slated for the landfill to expand into.

The Wildlife Habitat Council was founded in 1988 as a joint effort between business and environmental groups. They claim World Wildlife Fund and National Wildlife Federation as partners. Also on the list: Anheuser Busch, DuPont, Ford Motor Company, ExxonMobil, G.E. and the United States Steel Corporation. Their newly appointed chairman is Monsanto’s VP of Environmental Safety, Health and Human Rights. Make of that what you will.

Here at Scribble Central, we firmly believe that businesses can do good for the environment – and in fact, that conservation won’t be widely adopted until economics require it. Where poplar-shaded, bluebird-speckled landfills fit into that scenario, we’re completely at a loss.

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pencilchew.jpgMaybe the occasional Scribble Reader has wondered just who in the heck this Scribbler is. But let me tell you, that ain’t nothin’ compared to how much I wonder who the heck you guys are.

But that’s the beauty of Web 2.0, ain’t it? No more agonizing over the wording of your letter to the editor of Omni Magazine in the hopes of seeing your name in print. Just hit the Comments button and fire away.

So here’s your chance to do some scribbling of your own and fill me in on one or more of the following 15 pressing questions:

1. How did you get here? (no need to get cosmic on this one)

2. Have you visited this site before?

3. Are you just here for the baby turtles? (you would not believe how many people search the Internet each day for baby turtles)

4. What kind of posts do you like the best? (a) ocean science (b) climate change (c) birding (d) surfing (e) other?

5. Are the posts (a) about right or (b) too damn long?

6. Would you like more coverage of (a) climate change (b) islands being devastated by rats (c) weird deep-sea creatures (d) earthquake-type stuff (e) celebrity feuds and/or adoptions (f) sex (g) atmospheric physics (h) other (please specify)?

7. How educated are you: (a) made it out of high school; curious about the world (b) still interested in most things (B.S.) (c) able to detect the infantile flaws in some stories; peripherally interested in all the rest (M.S.) (c) basically humoring me (Ph.D.)?

8. Do you wish the words I use were (a) longer (b) shorter (c) funnier (d) snarkier (e) less stupid (f) rhyming?

9. Do you occasionally wonder what possesses me to spend an hour or so writing about such obscure topics?

10. More pictures? (Of what?)

11. Are you not leaving comments because (a) the posts arrive fully formed and inviolable (b) you never make it to the end of a post (c) it’s interesting, just not that interesting (d) try writing about something that matters (e) you have a lingering feeling that even though only a tiny fraction of the world’s population will ever look at a comments page, you might come off sounding stupid and someone, somewhere, might snicker at you from the lonely confines of their poorly lit hovel

12. If scientists were to turn their collective intellectual power toward designing one and only one robot animal, what animal should that be?

13. I am an heir/heiress and I would like to contribute ___ million dollars to further the Scribbler agenda

14. Do I know you? How?

15. Setting aside the surfing and the birding for a moment, if there was one thing in the world you’d like me to write about, what would it be?

I’m really not kidding about this. Answer as much or as little as you see fit. Post a comment – or – if you don’t feel like going totally public – send aphriza at gmail dot com an e-mail. Thanks for reading.

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I’m on record as being happy that climate change has finally become an issue that regular folks can sit up and take notice of. People other than career climate scientists now seem to recognize ideas such as (a) sea levels are rising, (b) warmer waters are to hurricanes as gasoline is to a barbecue, and (c) the Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else.

Even the idea of unpredictability in future weather seems to be gaining traction – a major advance for a public who like to think that science is about making things more certain.

Case in point: I flipped open the new Eddie Bauer catalog (don’t ask) and hit upon this gobsmacker of a pitch:

Weather happens. Be ready. Spring weather patterns keep getting tougher to predict. But you’ve got things to do and you’re going to do them. Luckily, you know us.

For this, Eddie Bauer gets my newly inaugurated “chutzpah” tag. Judging by the catalog photo, protection from climate change can be found in a WeatherEdge Spring Parka (“will have you laughing in the face of spring showers”) for $78.

And look at the attractive middle-aged man laugh as adorable flecks of seafoam spray at him from a New Hampshire seawall! Secure in his breathable waterproofedness, he plunges one hand into his pants pocket (revealing natty yellow-plaid cuff of Patterned Long-Sleeve Oxford Shirt Relaxed Fit) and laughs at the sky. His perky, sky-blue-raincoated companion (no wedding ring) giggles admiringly next to him, as if to say “you choose the greatest vacation spots, you rugged, beautiful man.”

Behind them, a second woman approaches the seawall, cautious arms raised as if the earth may convulse at any moment and pitch her into the ocean. Her lips are parted; perhaps she is whispering “I don’t know, guys, New Scientist claims that weather is only going to get wilder.”

But they keep their windbreakered backs to her.

(image from the New Scientist article)

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