Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Metal Deficit Disorder

Anyone who reads this blog regularly (and that's not hard. I don't post that often, so the commitment is minimal) knows that I hate Metallica.

I hate Metallica, and what they've become.

They started out strong, with great songs and one of the coolest names in thrash (as my brother once noted in a Burger King parking lot), but turned into one of the lamest, money-grubbing crap slingers in the music business.

First, they shortened their songs, then their hair. They started with videos and merchandised themselves to the hilt. Now, they're making our kids fat. (Oops, I almost forgot about the Napster thing = This link Not Safe For Work).

Anyway, back to making our kids fat. This is part of Metallica's latest sellout.

Just when I thought they couldn't sell out any further. When Metallica already rules the niche of sweaty jock anthems, they have gone and made themselves part of the Guitar Hero video game.

The point of the game is to stay inside the house as long as possible, staring at a screen, trying to sound like Metallica on a plastic guitar. That equals fat kids (being instilled with a taste in bad music, and probably being forced to listen to Lars).

So now Metallica has ruined metal and a video game. Is there a Whack-A-Downloader Bonus Level on the new Guitar Hero: Metallica?

There's something called Nature Deficit Disorder. Kids are spending too much time indoors, being deprived of nature and an appreciation for things of this Earth.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Last night, Eddie Vedder offered me a green job

Last night, I was at the campground, in my travel trailer, when I heard a familiar sound. Someone was playing a Pearl Jam CD. Or so I thought. 

I looked out the window and saw a sign at a bar across the street. "Eddie Vader," it said. Must be a tribute artist, or something, I thought. Pearl Jam meets Star Wars? But he sure sounded a lot like the real thing.

A little later, I was sitting outside my trailer when I heard someone playing an acoustic guitar and singing at the campsite next door. I walked over..

Lo and behold, the real Eddie Vedder was playing a song for the guys camping next door. 

They were sitting on a picnic table. Eddie was walking around, crooning. It was a familiar song. Can't remember which one, but probably something from the rich-boy-goes-green movie, "Into the Wild."

I'll say right now that I loved that movie, despite its problems. I loved the songs. I don't love Eddie Vedder. I blame him for the fall of 1980s hair metal. He "created" grunge, and grunge killed the music of my youth. But I digress ...

I walked over and sat down, and me and Eddie got to talking. The guys at the campsite asked him how he was making this weird, fluttering sound with the guitar. 

He showed them, taking another guitar sitting nearby and using a hammer to dent the strings. Sure enough, the second guitar began to flutter as he strummed it and pressed the fret board. 

I may be going on and on here, but bear me out. I, for some reason, picked up a third guitar and tried the same thing with the hammer. I proceeded to break most of the middle strings. They curled up like spaghetti. 

That's pretty much all I remember about the dream (if you haven't figured that out by now). I slept through the whole thing. 

I've been thinking about what it all means. Here's my analysis: Lately, I've been dreaming a lot about losing my job. More like nightmares. I'm really interested in this new green economy and the jobs that are supposed to be just over the horizon.

Eddie is the old school. He is the my current job. He's still good, but he's getting kind of old. Camping is a metaphor for moving beyond my current circumstances, "Into the Wild" so to speak. The broken strings represent the splintering of the media business. My short conversation (and friendship?) with Eddie represents my flight into the future. I'm excited.

- Green Mullet. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Green Hotspots in Michigan ...

according to someone far, far away. 

Plenty magazine, formerly made with paper, is now an online-only product. And it's been taken over by MNN, the Mother Nature Network, aka the green CNN. But MNN is not in Michigan, so allow me to help. 

An MNN/Plenty list of Green Hotspots throughout the United States includes four Michigan places (I've barely heard of): 

Wickwood Inn in Saugatuck, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour in Dearborn, Harbor Springs Antiques and Crosby Mint Farms in St. Johns.

I guess these are OK choices, but how about a list that features Michigan's unique and natural wonders:

1. Lighthouses: Michigan has more than 115, including some you can get to without a boat. You can spend the night in some of these. 

2. The Great Lakes. Recreation, fishing, serenity. Choose from Michigan, Superior, Huron and Erie (Ontario is actually outside the state).

3. Islands, like Mackinac and Beaver. Mackinac, no cars. Beaver, once ruled by a king. 

4. Iargo Springs, Iosco County. Just a personal favorite (pictured above). Take a long walk down a wooden staircase, and be transported to a wonderland. 

5. Add your personal favorites here, and in the comment section. 

- Green Mullet. 

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Go Go Girls, Tommy, Slash, why should we care?

So my taxes are done, and my refund has come in. And I spent some of it on a trip to Mexico. Wife, sun, beach, relax, far away from the depressing Michigan economy.

I have three books to read: Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse, Tommy Land and Slash. Two rock books, one Tarantino-esque thriller.

While I'm in Mexico, I'll probably be thinking about the environment. That's just how I am. How will the beaches there compare to Michigan, and how come I can't drink the tap water?

Which brings me to a recent write-up by Michael Nelson in The Ecologist magazine. (Oh yes, I rarely miss an issue).

Nelson, an enviro ethics prof from Michigan State University, argues that the green mindset needs to shift.

Don't reduce your carbon footprint to avert disaster, he writes, do it because you care about the Earth, period. Learn to live sustainably. Even if you're the only one who recycles, do it because it's the right thing to do.

This may all be pretty deep for a Sunday afternoon, but it's a good reminder that the green movement needs to work harder at being more practical and empowering and less trendy. Change and hope Obama-ites take notice.

There's even a chart (pdf, page 3) that totally belongs on your refrigerator.

- Green Mullet

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good livin' is green livin'

So I came across an interesting post on Lifehacker this morning about the most affordable (and least affordable) places to live in the U.S. 

I scrolled down the list and found a category of smaller cities (below 500,000). Four Michigan towns were in the Top Ten: Lansing/East Lansing, Bay City, Battle Creek and Saginaw/Saginaw Township.

The list, from the National Association of Home Builders, got me thinking. I drank coffee and kept on thinking. I wondered to myself, how much of this "most affordable" category has to do with the foreclosure crisis and record high unemployment?

But I thought of a more positive spin. Perhaps it's cheaper to live green, as in a low-energy, high-efficiency home. Low and behold, the Michigan cities on the affordable list are the same Michigan cities that are members of Green Built, a NAHB program.

Of course, this proves nothing, except that the next wave in homes is something to consider, for the cost-savings and piece of mind alone. 

Oh, what the heck. I have more proof. One of the first Green Built chapters was in Grand Rapids, Mich. From there, the program grew into a nationwide effort. 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Living the life I was born to live ...

Giving it all I got to give ...

The great, under-rated film "Rock Star" is playing on E (so the kids can watch it, too). I'm sitting by the fire in the living room. Drinking a sort of Long-Island Iced Tea (since we're out of the ingredients for a High Ball).

The movie
is based on articles by Andy Revkin, of the New York Times, one of the best enviro journalists out there (An NYT guy actually e-mailed me for an interview the other day, but that's another story).

Andy writes a lot about global warming on his blog Dot Earth.

So what's my point here? A pretty jarring post I saw today from Bill McKibben, a "Stand Up and Shout" column on protesting coal-fired power.

Bill, an enviro from Middlebury College, writes that he's willing to go to jail to protest the burning of climate change chunks. This is good old-fashioned civil disobedience. Just as good as old-fashioned rock 'n' roll.

- Green Mullet.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guns 'N' Roses 'R' Red

Sorry I've been neglecting you. But you might have heard, the weather has taken a turn for the better in Michigan. High temps last weekend, almost 60. The snow melted. Then it rained yesterday. Then there were some sewer overflows. Almost spring.

So I've been spending more time outside. The wife and I went to a Guns 'N' Roses tribute concert on Saturday. I looked for some Green Mullet material, but all I could think of was a rant about the guy on the soundboard who was apparently deaf, or at least tone deaf. I mean, I want to hear "Axl," not "Adler," so turn up the vocals and the friggin' bass.

Now, it's almost Valentine's Day. The wife and I are going out again on Friday, to beat the rush. For the folks out there who are celebrating, there are lots of green ways to go.

First off, shower with someone who love, or at least someone you like a lot. Right there, you're saving water and energy.

The other bloggers came up with a bunch of other ideas. Huff Post recommends buying eco-jewelry, abstaining from the holiday as a way of living more sustainably, making a vegan cake (yuck) or sending out naked digital pictures (yuck factor may vary).

I know the Huff Post is allegedly a liberal rag, according to my co-worker, but I've found its enviro coverage to be top notch. Maybe I'm a liberal? Maybe not. Maybe I just value good info. Huff Post has been delivering. Gotta tell ya. Welcome to the jungle.