Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Into the Wild

Was listening to Eddie Vedder on the way home from work. "Society!" From the soundtrack of "Into the Wild."

That movie really stuck with me. I'm going into the woods this weekend, for a week-long (nine days, actually) vacation. Don't be worried. I'll have electricity and water and food. But it's nice to get away.

Maybe when I get back I can get a sustainable job. Not just a job that keeps on paying every week, but a job that helps the Earth, that helps turn society around, that makes people care more about the world than they do about drinking a cheap Big Gulp and finding Cheez-Its on sale at Wal-Mart. No offense to Slurpees. I'm talking about our consume-happy "Society!"

Check out this survey done for Dow Corning:

" According to an international study on alternative energy trends conducted by Harris Interactive for Dow Corning Corporation, nearly 40 percent of companies globally have either implemented or are actively investigating alternative energy technology. "

Sounds like a better future is coming. But God, that Eddie Vedder song is depressing. Don't forget, Pearl Jam helped kill 80s metal. Blood is on their hands. Sorry, Eddie.

Let's listen to some Slayer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tricky Dubya Gets Stoned

Is this a trick? George W. Bush has endorsed the Great Lakes Compact? The one that protects the lakes against large withdrawals? The one that big business and the West wishes would go away? It seems so.

According to a White House statement: "The Compact will ensure sustainable use and responsible management of waters from the Great Lakes Basin and preserve the Great Lakes for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
I strongly urge Congress to provide rapid approval of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact."

It gives you the shivers. But it's a good sign. Or maybe a ruse to go to war with Canada? Who knows. They could attack us at any minute!

It's as weird as a metal tribute to Depeche Mode or the upcoming new movie, "W," from RNR Director Oliver Stone.

Have you seen the trailer? I still can't believe it's for real, but apparently it is.


OK OK OK. If AC/DC can do it, so can I.

I've been busy with summer (beer, sunbathing, bacon) and too busy to actually blog. Although I often blog in my head. Anyway, AC/DC is going back on tour in October. And putting out an album, after eight years. But they've made a deal with the Devil (Wal-Mart). We can't have it all.

But it's time for the Green Mullet to get back in the swing, after a hiatus of, oh, six days.

AC/DC has a section on its site called WWACDCD (What Would AC/DC Do?) Very Christian of them. But I thought it might be a green thing. Maybe those ol' Aussies are getting on the enviro bandwagon, too? Nah, WWACDCD is just a "This Day in AC/DC History."

But it's been a great week of discoveries for GM. Like stumbling across a great Swedish band still stuck happily in the great 1980s, called CrashDiet. Too bad their singer just left the band and their last singer killed himself. We can't have it all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

72 hours to rock!

That's three days, and one day more than Pretty Boy Floyd gave us.

The Environment Report has a story about employers allowing employees to work a four-day work week, to save on gas. It may not actually save on gas, but it makes you feel better, apparently (duh).

A transcript says working 10 hours straight can be tough (depending on your work ethic, I guess). I don't see why the solution is to make people work 10 hours a day for four days. Let me work from home, for God sakes. Or we can all just go on pretending that we all work every second of our shifts. God knows I do. I never get coffee, go to the bathroom, go for a walk, surf the Net. Never.

An economist tells TER that people might not want to stay home for the first day of their 72-hour weeken

"People are going to say well, I’ve got a third day off, so why don’t I drive around and do some errands and enjoy myself?”

Tell a commute. Telecommute.

Get ready to tip over?

It's bad enough that SUVs, good for pulling trailers, are top heavy. Here comes a fold-out trailer that appears to be worse.

A post on Treehugger touts the upright camper as more fuel-efficient. But why not just lay it on its side and tow it like a pop-up? Weird.

"This design is not without its share of problems, such as the lack of kitchen, washroom or any storage; most pop-out designs for trailers or prefab houses have a core of basic facilities. However I like the way it all folds up into a hard-sided suitcase that is narrow enough to go anywhere."

If you're going to tow this, you might as well just pack a tent. And a radio. Or maybe this camper is cooler than it looks, kind of like Tenacious D? None of the posts seem to address how you keep this thing from tipping over. Damn bloggers!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Camping with the penguins

Camping Rocks. Spend any time here, and you'll find out that The Green Mullet loves camping. Camping camping camping. It took a while to get his wife to go along (tent) but a travel trailer did the trick (bathroom). Sitting by the fire, drinking Coors Light, listening to Skynyrd, there's nothing better.

While reading The Economist today (right), I came across a story about declining attendance at national parks like Yosemite. It seems attendance has been dropping since about 1987. High gas prices. Wildfires. News Kids reunion. You name it.

"Visitors are staying for less time and camping less often, especially in the wilderness. And rangers are hearing less American-accented English. Were it not for British and German tourists enjoying the weak dollar, the parks would be desolate."

Hunting and fish also are dropping off. How sad. The story goes on and on, and eventually you'll lose interest. Go outside. But don't forget your radio. Play it softly, so as not to disturb the animals (furry and otherwise).

If you go camping, you might want to try the camping raft (not). Treehugger has a mention of this thing. Sounds like you'll need to bring lots of OFF. Camping right on the water? What if you drop your radio?

"The camping raft consists of sturdy logs, safely drifting on barrels."

One other thing: This is kind of cold (no pun intended), but wouldn't "Hundreds of Dead Baby Penguins" be a great name for a band?

- GM

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Dark Knight

The Bright Day is tomorrow. Going to a family BBQ, then dropping the kids off at their grandparents (wife's side). Then ... BATMAN!

It turns out bats like renewable energy. Like, they live in the shadows of hydrodams. I'm not a Joker.

Saw an ad for Consumers Energy the other day. It had a bat on it. How timely.

It turns out that 20,000 bats love the spillway at Tippy Hydro on the Manistee River. According to the ad:

"Temperatures a few degrees above freezing and moist walls with small pools of water at the bottom of the spillway chamber make it an ideal location for bats to hibernate. Brown bats, northern bats, a few Eastern pipistrelle bats and Indiana bats, a species listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, spend their winters in the spillway."

It makes me wonder. The dam is manmade. It began operating in 1918. How in the hell did the bats find it in the first place? I can only imagine that one bat wandered over, told his friends, and the rest is history.

In the summer, the bats take to the trees. Man-Bat used to scare the crap out of me as a kid.

See you at the movies.

Bush is the sh*t

Found this nice little item on CNN.

San Francisco voters have decided to put an important issue on the ballot for November. They want to rename their sewage plant after Dubya: The George W. Bush Sewage Plant. Not because they want to honor him, but because they want to dishonor him. How honorable.

The name stings like a Scorpion. The plant has a zoo on its roof, by the way.

"The job is done and I go out / Another boring day / I leave it all behind me now / So many worlds away ...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

We Are Super Perturbed

It's almost too easy. Warming temps are pushing more wasps up north, and Alaskans are being stung. Alaskans.

Blackie Lawless could not be reached for comment, but Crimson Idol is supposed to be pretty killer, according to some guy I met at a recent Ratt concert.

Nat Geo News reports that there have been steady increases in folks seeking medical care for insect stings. Two in Fairbanks died after being stung by yellow jackets --- the first time that's ever happened.

Some experts say Swarm II could be filmed in Fairbanks: the town saw 10 times more yellowjackets than normal in '06. All this from a spike of about 4 degrees since 1958, when Great Balls of Fire was on the charts.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rock 'N' Roll melds with enviro news

Lotsa rockin' enviro news lately. I've been busy starring stuff in Google Reader.

Like this: The Anaconda, a new invention that uses rubber tubes to capture wave energy and spin turbines. Think Snakes on a Plane, but with the plane underwater (sans the dead people and Samuel L). Each Anaconda generates about 1 MW, almost as much as those 300-foot tall windmills. I like big butts and I cannot lie.

From guns to roses: Villagers in Bulgaria have begun harvesting blooms for organic rose oil. The same village used to be known for making AK-47s. But they may have to go back to guns. Thanks climate change! Welcome to the jungle.

Eco-friendly concerts: Going green is so popular, bands are doing it when they tour. Organic beer, anyone? There's a list of the hottest 10 green music tours at The Daily Green (call me). Who's good AND green (Mullet-Approved if you will)? The pickings are pretty slim. But Motley Crue is on there. I missed Crue Fest tonight at Pine Knob, by the way, but at least I got to have a Flurry with the kids (Hello Reeses).

- GM

Monday, July 14, 2008

Un-Fortunate Sun

It ain't me. It ain't me ...

Dec. 31, 2008, is the end of the year, and the end of solar tax credits.

Back in 2005, the feds passed the Energy Policy Act, with 30 percent tax credits for systems placed in service between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 31 of '08. These tax credits have helped subsidy the industry for the past few years.

Dems in the U.S House passed legislation to extend the credits, by requiring Big Oil execs to downsize their yachts. No more marble toilets. But the Senate put that idea in the crapper (albeit a very fancy one).

Metallica summed it up before they sold out: Life it seems to fade away ...

There's still hope, I guess. Solar power companies say they'll be going overseas after the credits expire. That's outsourcing. In an election year, maybe the threat is enough for Congress to act. Some companies seem to be betting that the sun won't set on the incentives.

Consider this: "All the energy stored in Earth's reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas is matched by the energy from just 20 days of sunshine," according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tap into savings

Sounds like an advertisment, right? What would be a cool song to go along with this? Perhaps the intro to Wild Side (nice drum work there. Get it, tap tap tap?).

OK, Clean Water Action has some good advice on its blog. Wash away that pain at the pump with a nice glass of tap water.:

"If you’re looking for a place to trim your budget in order to afford gasoline, you might start by cutting out bottled water. In most cases, the water you buy is the same as what comes out of your tap. When it’s bottled, you pay anywhere from 1000 to 10,000 times the price of tap water."

I never thought about it that way. Sure, I know bottled water is a rip-off. But it's convenient. That's why people buy it. I try to shy away from it, because I hate the thought of all the plastic being made to be filled with water, and water companies (Hello Nestle) sucking water out of communities for big profits.

But I was in the bottled water aisle at Meijer last night. Going camping again. Bought a 12-pack of water for the kids. Yes, I recycle the bottles. What struck me was the number of people buying LARGE amounts of bottled water. Cases of it. I saw this several times while in the aisle and while passing people throughout the store.

I think it has something to do with our water here in the Saginaw Bay area. It passes all the tests, but the taste does take some getting used to. This Clean Water Action post motivates me to buy some reusable water jugs for trips. Now someone tell me how to keep my kids from losing one of these jugs every five minutes.

- GM.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Told ya --- drill baby

I wrote a while back (link) about 4 buck gas fueling people's urge to drill for more oil. See Obama and especially McCain's plans. Brrrrrr.

ENS has a story on a Pew study that says a higher percentage of folks now think it's more important to mine fossil fuels than protect the environment.

How sad. That's a change from a few months ago, when gas was a little less. So saving a few bucks at the fill-up is worth drilling in ANWR?

No, it's not. Full disclosure here: I pumped 19 gallons into my truck this morning at Kroger and paid $4.05 a gallon for a total bill of $78.

(Seventy-eight dollars. What did I used to do with all my money when gas was two bucks? Then again, I bought some plastic dress shoes at Payless tonight. They LOOK like leather!).

If gas were a dollar cheaper, I would have saved$19 (pretty impressive math skills, huh?). Is $19 a week worth destroying the environment? Please people. Get a grip. Pack a lunch once in a while.

I hope none of you out there agree with this survey. I also would like to see gas prices drop. But I'd rather see them remain high long enough for autos and sprawl to die a little, and to see the development of some mass transportation in Michigan.

Maybe the auto companies will lose enough clout to let that happen. High speed rail, right down the middle of I-75, connecting to all the airports along the way. Need some Pinconning cheese? Take a day trip. (I kinda stole the highway train idea from Gen-Expert. Apply it to your own situation).

Better yet, you could take the iTrain (listen up Apple) to a concert by one of those reunited 1980s bands! You could drink even more $8 beers at Pine Knob (now DTE, an outdoor music theater for the virgins).

At least Bush will be gone soon. Did you hear about his behavior at the G-8 summit? He ended a private meeting with other leaders by saying "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

Then he apparently pumped his fist in the air, shouting "Dio! Dio!" (Not really).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Highway to the danger zone

But just because I'm in the middle of another viewing of "Top Gun."

Someone has mashed up Google Maps to help motorists figure out how much gas money their next trip will cost. It's called Drive Pricing.

Which makes me wonder: How much to get to Graceland?

For now, it seems like the Drive Pricing site is down due to heavy traffic. Hopefully they can Patch It Up (Baby).

From Michigan, it's about 800 miles to Elvisville.

In my SUV (I use it to pull a camper, OK?), it's about $350, each way. Well worth it to soak up some greatness.

Roundtrip by air, if I leave tomorrow and come back Sunday is $865, according to Expedia.

The trip could be more fun in one of these new Ferrari Priuses.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keep on Rockin' ... in an old car converted to run on electricity?

Nah. That's not as good as "in the free world."

But it's what Neil Young is driving, a 1959 Lincoln Continental hacked into an EV1 (not quite).

They call it the Linc Volt. Take that (you foot dragging) developers of the Chevy Volt!

There's also a documentary being shot on construction of the Youngmobile, take that Al Gore!

Meanwhile, a U of Florida researcher is fabbing a flying saucer that practically runs on air, with studded electrodes (kinda like Judas Priest).

Saw a picture today of George Clooney posing next to a little electric car called the Tango. Not very rockin' and looks like it's about to tip over. Put James Bond in a Tango, with cool gadgets, then maybe.

Monday, July 7, 2008

At War With Water

Hi folks. I'm sunburned and bug-bitten and back from camping. And at war with water. (Almost as mad as Venom in the 1980s).

There's a leak in the front bunk of my camper (silicone is my friend) and my basement is damp. I blew $200 on a de-humidifier tonight.

People in the Great Lakes region are talking a lot these days about the need to protect and conserve "the freshwater seas."

From my perspective, water is causing me a lot of problems right now. I'm having a hard time being concerned. We have so much freshwater here (21 percent of the world's supply) and it can be so destructive.

I tried reading the new Dave Dempsey book while on vacation in the woods. Sorry, I couldn't get into it. Maybe it was foreshadowing.

Seriously, someone needs to get people excited about the Great Lakes Compact. But how?

Maybe if it had a catchy riff ... somebody call AC/DC.