Coverage of me and other train wrecks: my mama, subway nut jobs, sex and the environment.


You know you're in a recession when...

...there are 3 more people begging for money in your neighborhood than there were last month.

Taking a stroll around Jackson Heights I am amazed by how many people were asking me for money. About one person per block. Our homeless/beggars used to be limited to 1 sleepy and mentally-disturbed man; a woman on crutches; and an older gentleman parked outside the subway station. We've got and extra 3 now: a youngish man in sneakers and his female companion, and an older latino who seems to be a little off his rocker.


Burning Glades


The Everglades is burning. Mama's house is surrounded by a clouds of smoke and the temperature is in the 90's. She's having trouble breathing. There's been a severe drought in Florida, and in spite of water restrictions and these intense fires, people keep watering their lawns. Mama's yard is now brown and crunchy, but not all her neighbors have refrained from watering their grass. Many lawns are still plush and vibrant.

Another day suffering through South Florida's corrupt resource management practices and skewed priorities. There's just not enough water and land for people to be whetting their appetite for middle-class accomodations. Let the grass die, it's not that big of a deal. Come on, cubanitos, get with the program. Fidel Castro thinks you're a bunch of self-serving, ignorant money-grubbers. Prove him wrong by coming together to keep your water safe.


You know you're in a recession when...

Let's play a game. All you need to do is fill in the blank. I'll go first:

You know you're in a recession when...someone's fancy new car on your Queens, New York street is sitting on cinder blocks at 7AM and the tires have been stolen.

What's going on in YOUR neighborhood?


Go, Frisco, Go!

San Francisco recycles. A LOT! The concrete debris from construction sites (demolished buildings, for example) is recycled into sidewalks. The leftover paint people have after remodeling an apartment gets recycled into three basic colors and sent to non-profits in the US or Mexico. They've got an infrastructure in place for turning food waste into compost, which in turn gets sent to farms throughout California. That last one is especially important for other cities to emulate, considering how much food gets shipped into urban centers. Urban composting is the least we could do to give back to our small- and mid-sized farmers.

San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom, is determined to take it up a notch, though. The city keeps about 70% of its garbage from ending up in landfills, and he's bent on making it 75%. Now if only he could add more affordable housing to his city I'd consider moving (New York City is only at 30.6%--come on Bloomberg, ramp it up!).

Click here for the full article from the New York Times.



California and Oregon have banned ALL fishing of Salmon this year for the first time ever. There are almost no chinook salmon left on the west coast. The entire industry has collapsed. The Governator has declared a state of emergency so that fishing communities can receive government aid.

It's never too late to eat more veggies, folks.

Source: The San Fransisco Chronicle


Pond Scum

Hundreds of mallards migrating back to Canada this spring have died after landing on a partially frozen pond near an oil sands processing plant. The pond was filled with toxic chemicals.

Syncrude Canada Ltd owns the pond and the oil sand factory. Each year as migrating birds return, the company fires up noise-making cannons around the pond so that migrating birds won't be tempted to land there. This year the cannons weren't firing. (And if ya don't know, oil sands are pretty much what they sound like. They contain crude oil which will be turned into a bunch of stuff like gasoline, fertilizer and plastic.)

Really? A neo-petroleum company pollutes a bunch of water and all they gotta do is put up some noise-makers? That's it? Hundreds of mallards died. What happens when the company goes belly up I mean let's face it, most companies eventually move, abandon factories, or go bankrupt. So forty years from now there'll be a toxic pond surrounded by rusted noise-cannons killing whatever birds are left and possibly harming other wildlife including (gasp) humans. That's great. Really sustainable development there, Canada.

Note: in a typical year "only" about 24 mallards die. Now that's a number we can live with. Oh yeah!