Sunday, June 29, 2008

Pull My Finger

This is the post that I had prepared for last week before I was so rudely myself.

With Father's Day, my son's birthday, and my daughter's birth all happening in the past few weeks I have found myself thinking more than ever about what it means to be a father. Being a father today is very different than it was when our dads raised us and light-years away from when our grandfathers raised them. The resources available to us and the challenges we face are worlds apart. The idea of what is expected of us has changed. We take paternity leave. We adopt flexible work schedules to hang out with the kids. Our wives have careers of their own. Here are a couple of pictures of my little ones, Jax and Syd. I hope I don't screw them up too badly.

Sociologists say that fatherhood is affected by a process of detraditionalization, whereby fathering has increasingly become a response to personal biography and circumstances rather than being modeled on traditional ideal types of what it means to be a father. Their discussion uses some of the ideas developed in debates on reflexive modernization to suggest that fatherhood is becoming progressively individualized. It uses these theoretical interpretations as a tool in understanding the way that societal change in all its complexity impacts on the role of the late modern reflexive father. Did you get all of that? I think that sounds like a load of over-complicated B.S., personally. To me, being a dad means showing up...every day...trying as hard as you can with the resources that you have, and leaving it all on the field. To some extent, as men, we have been raised to be in control of situations and solve problems as they arise, but as fathers we need to give ourselves room to not know all of the answers because there are definitely no manuals or D.I.Y. guides (not that we would read them anyway). So, like seemingly everything else I do, I'm making it up as I go.

There is one frightening and surprising aspect of fatherhood that I have discovered. I haven't done the research to determine if it is passed down from father to son through generations or weather it is a trait that is tied to the “Y” chromosome. It's probably both, I think. Of course I'm talking about the inability to avoid using embarrassingly bad puns in normal conversation. I just can't stop myself from saying things like, “How’s your chicken? Mine is fowl.” Or “Who pea'd on the floor?” when my son drops a pea off of his plate. These buggers have even started to creep into conversation with grown-ups. The other day my boss asked me what time it was, and I told him it was time to go to the dentist because it was “tooth-hurty.” A friend of mine wondered why my bike wasn't working so I told him that it was “two-tired.” I feel like I have G-rated Tourette's. I'm not the only one with this problem, am I? Please tell me I'm not. Leave a comment with your favorites below, and hopefully by talking about our issue we can avoid perpetuating this evil disease. And remember to eat your fruit, it’ll help you live to a ripe old age...heh, heh...ahem....

The guys who fear becoming fathers don’t understand that fathering is not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man. The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent. - Frank Pittman

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Intermission Time!

I had an entirely different article prepared for this week, but something came up that I feel has a sense of urgency to it. I'm having a hard time even bringing it up since I have selfish reasons for keeping it quiet. It's sort of like that secret parking space that you know of downtown or a really good small restaurant. I never want to tell people about my ace-in-the-hole spots so I don't have to look for a place to park or wait for a table. I don't know, though. Somehow this one seems pressing so I'm going to break my code of secrecy and let you in on it.

So what is this compelling matter? What warrants interruption of Daniel P. Daniel's blog? Well, I took the family to the local drive-in this weekend. Sounds silly now that I've written it down...but, since we're here we might as well talk about it. We loaded up the kids in the Pilot and headed to the Holiday Twin for a double feature - “The Incredible Hulk” and “Iron Man.” I remember when I was a kid my parents used to take me to the drive-in in the summer. It was an older theater in the Chicago area with a playground and extra outdoor seating. The only actual double feature I remember seeing was: “Friday the 13th” followed by “Prophecy.” Really nice for a third grader, right? I couldn't sleep in the top bunk for about a month, and I still have a fear of hairless, aquatic, radioactive bears. Still, there's something about going to the drive-in that is just plain cool. However, they are getting harder and harder to come by, and I find that sad. Especially since the venue is the only way that a family can realistically go to a movie without pissing everyone else off.

The first drive-in theater was created by Richard Hollingshead at his house in New Jersey. He mounted a projector on the hood of his car and used it to project onto a screen he had nailed to trees in his backyard. By early 1942 drive-in theaters had started their spread across the U.S. At that time there were 95 drive-ins in 27 states. During the war years pretty much everything in the U.S. came to a standstill unless you worked at a steel mill or a tire plant, but by 1948 there were 820 drive-in theaters across the U.S. When the Baby Boom hit most theaters found a new use for that area between the front row and the screen, adding a playground. People started to arrive early so their kids could play, and after a workout on the playground a trip to the concession stand was in order. The drive-in boom was under way, going from less than 1,000 in 1948 to close to 5,000 by 1958.

As the size and number of drive-ins increased, many went from having just a
playground to installing miniature trains, pony rides, boat rides, talent shows, miniature golf courses, and animal shows. Theaters would open the gates hours before the movie would start so customers could bring the kids early. The theater we used to go to would show cartoons and “The Three Stooges” while we waited for the initial feature and ate junk food. A few theaters combined the car hop with the movie and gave the customers the ability to order concessions from their car. Coincidentally, we stopped at the A&W in Berthoud on the way this weekend which still has the car hop system. To increase sales the intermission trailers were invented. I love how crappy the food looks in these old trailers.

In the 60's and 70's the number of theaters dropped from about 5000 to around 3500. Everyone was apparently too busy dropping acid and doing coke. Plus, the movies sucked. The hay day was gone, and many theaters even pulled out their playground equipment since few families were attending. Real screen gems like "TNT Jackson" and "Car Wash" start to target the teen and adult audience so less family films are available.

The 80's started out fair and got very bad before the end...and not just for the drive-ins. Low attendance almost kills the drive-in (and high-schools for that matter). Numbers drop from 3500 theaters to 900. Cable TV and VCR's bring movies right to the living room so nobody leaves home anymore, and the burbs start encroaching everywhere.

In the 90's, the number of theaters closing slows down. The crowds and the families return. The crowd is filled with mostly families with young children, just like the crowd of the 50's. Some drive-ins reopen in the late 90's.

We are still loosing some drive-ins, but the numbers are stable. Now, the land is sometimes worth more to developers so the lots are sold in order to throw up more cookie-cutter houses and condo complexes. The burbs have encroached all the way to the property lines of the theaters, and the new jackass neighbors complain of the noise. Hollywood charges almost excessive rates for the film reels. Thankfully, some of the old theaters are hanging in there. After all, where else can you slug down some beers while watching two movies with the kids for $6. I encourage everyone to visit their local drive-in in order to save this piece of American nostalgia. So get out there, let the kids play, stay up past your bedtime, feel up your girlfriend, and have some fun.

Don't know if you have a drive-in nearby? Click here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

My Name is Erl

NOTE: Throughout the course of this adventure I am going to try to spend a little time occasionally explaining some of the day-to-day things that I find confusing, interesting, or frustrating. I consider it an exercise to flush the details out of topics that are sometimes intentionally shrouded in mystery or just not explained very well. I hope they turn out to be interesting. Please let me know.

I thought today we’d talk about something that’s been on everybody’s mind lately. Namely: Why is it so hard to find a decent nude picture of Gillian Anderson on the web? Sorry, I’m looking at the wrong page of my notes here. GAS PRICES! Right. I wanted to talk a bit about gas prices this week.

It seems like every time I turn on the radio I get loaded up with more information than I ever wanted to know about the price of crude oil per barrel and what's happening in the Middle East. I generally try to tune it out, but sometimes I’m too busy putting on my make-up on the way to work to be bothered with switching stations. So, what does the price of a barrel of oil have to do with anything? I have never bought a barrel of anything in my life, except one time I bought a jug of pickles the size of my torso from Sam’s club that one of the pimply-faced, mouth breathers had to wheel out on a dolly. Turns out that you really don’t need that many pickles…for anything…ever. But I digress. So what’s a barrel of oil, and how does its cost effect the price of fuel (which is what we really care about)?

A barrel of oil is 42 gallons. Depending on who you ask, about 50% of the 42 gallons gets refined into gasoline. The rest becomes a jumble of other fuels, oils and lubricants (wink wink, eh?). The price per barrel of oil is hovering around $130 this week, and the price of gasoline is around $4.00 per gallon. How are the two related? Although it seems like this should be straightforward, finding the relationship between the price of gasoline and the price of oil is a bit like Rosie O’Donnell’s vagina. You know it’s there, but you really don’t care to look for it. Well, that’s what I’m here for...{shudder}.

The price of gasoline depends heavily upon a couple of major factors. We’ll look at a chart in a second, but for now I’ll just break down the big hitters.

Crude oil: As of today, this is the largest piece of the gas price pie. Around 73 percent of what you pay for each gallon goes to crude oil suppliers. The factors determining the price of crude oil are pretty nebulous: supply, demand, speculation, political instability, economic instability, war, peace, strife, malice, general malaise, and, surprisingly, the price of tea in China. Basically, OPEC looks at all of this and pulls a magic number out of their striped pajamas.

Taxes: The reason gas prices vary from state to state is primarily because of the way the states decide to levy taxes. On average, about 12% of the price of gas comes from taxes. These taxes are a combination of federal, state and local fees, underground storage tank fees and other environmental fees. Europeans pay over 50% toward taxes, which is why they are paying around $8.30 per gallon right now.
Refining: Refining costs for crude oil account for about 10 percent of the price of a gallon of gas. The refining process varies with the grade of gasoline that is being made, so prices vary along those lines as well. Incidentally, did you know that many states require specific formulations of gasoline? Right now there are 18 separate gasoline formulas for different regions of the country. Don’t ask me why, I’m sure it has something to do with Oprah, though.

Distribution and marketing: The oil and gas must be delivered to distribution points and gas stations (obviously). Transportation costs are part of the price of fuel because the trucks and ships that deliver the fuel…run on fuel. Kind of a snake eating its own tail, isn’t it? Also, oil companies actually believe that they need to spend money on marketing. As if we could ever forget that their product exists. Ever notice that gasoline ads are kind of like douche commercials? They never show the product or how it is used. Thank god for small miracles. These advertising and distribution costs together account for about 6 percent of the price of a gallon of gas.

There are a bunch of other extenuating factors, but these are the biggies. Here’s a graph of the how these factors have affected gas prices over time.

The percentages are scaled on the left, and the price of gas is scaled on the right. The graph shows that gas prices have been pretty stable over the past decade even though the influence of oil prices has been steadily rising.

You want to get really pissed off? Take a look at this:
Notice anything? The profits of the major oil companies (with some peaks and valleys) were fairly stable until 2000. Hmm, what could have happened in 2000 that would have made such a big difference to the oil companies? I just can’t figure it out. We may never know…Anyway, in 1999 they made a net profit of ~27,000 million dollars, and by 2006 they were up to 120,000 million dollars - an increase of 444%.

These numbers are so large, they are hard to fathom. 120,000 million is 120,000,000,000, or 120 billion. As a reference, I am a little over 1 billion seconds old, and I’d have to live another 3800 years to see that many seconds pass. If the oil companies were a country, it would rank at about 50th worldwide just below New Zealand. They would earn more than the last 69 countries on the GDP list combined. I was thinking more doggy-style than 69, but either way they don’t have to look you in the face. In their defense, they only make ~8% profit per unit they sell, which is still almost three times what they made in 1999. I’m still not sure what could have happened in 2000, though. 8% is actually equivalent profit to any other product manufacturer. The problem is that they sell so many more units, and the world economy is centered around what they peddle.

Where does this leave us? I’m spending about $200 per month on gas right now, which isn’t a huge burden. I look at it as a $200 a month bill for going where I want whenever I want. I expect to add ~$50 per month per $1 increase per gallon of gas. Although this is not a huge burden to me, it is a burden to many, which puts a strain (real or perceived) on the economy, which then becomes a burden to everyone. Gas prices will not be going any lower. I already know what to do to lower my costs (drive less,get more fuel-efficient vehicles, work for an oil company, etc.). Now, at least, I have an idea of where my money is going.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Life by 100 Cuts

I got this idea from, TJ, a friend of mine (his blog is linked below), and I thought that it would be a good introduction to the blog and serve as a good exercise to stretch my writing muscles. The deal is to list 100 things that you like, in no particular order, including 10 songs that you’re really digging right now. So here goes nothin':
  1. My son. Alias “Thor” and “The Whacker”. I don’t believe in reincarnation, but, if I did, I’d be certain that he’s been around for a very long time. I look forward to every day with him. I could go on for hours, so let’s just say that I want to be like him when I grow up.
  2. The World-Wide Weird. I love being to get information about the formation of the universe and how to purchase a sex slave without leaving by desk. Brilliant.
  3. The early Looney Toons cartoons. You know, the ones where Daffy was totally insane, and half of the plot didn’t make any sense. There’s something to be said about filling up a kid’s show with WWII references and background music that had to be composed (do a web search for Carl Stalling).
  4. The Rat Pack. Not only were they cooler than any other group of guys in modern history, but they were funnier and could sing better, too. There will never be another Rat Pack.
  5. The Beatles. I love everything about the Beatles. One of the best bands ever. I’ve deliberately left them out of the 10 songs requirement of this list, because I could literally pick all 10 from their catalog.
  6. “Eminence Front” by The Who.
  7. A good conversation. I mean a really good conversation in which the people involved actually have thought out their positions on the topic, not just recite the dogma that they have been presented with. Preferably sober, so I can remember it, but the other way is fine, too.
  8. My wife. She saved my life, constantly keeps me on my toes, and keeps me moving forward in life. She makes me want to be a better man. Enough said.
  9. Slugging back a pint with friends. There’s nothing quite like ordering a fresh round of beers and starting a fresh round of lies…
  10. Pushing people’s buttons. Especially when they are on the brink of loosing their shit already. I don’t know why it cracks me up so much to watch people loose their cool over nothing, but thank god it does.
  11. God. Capital “G” God. If he weren’t around to kill each other over, the world would be horribly overpopulated and culturally advanced, and nobody wants that. Plus, I would have to search a little harder to find some peoples’ buttons. See above.
  12. Putzing. Holy crap, do I love putzing, and I am a pro. Some days it could take me two hours to change the battery in a flashlight. Of course, I would have to clean the garage to get to the batteries then I’d find the lawnmower blade that needs sharpening then I’d have to mow the lawn to test it…you get where I’m going with this?
  13. “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys
  14. Rugby. It’s the best, most team-oriented, exciting, and physically grueling sport ever created, and, when played properly, it’s beautiful to watch. Elegant violence. Top marks.
  15. CAD. Yeah, I know it’s nerdy, but I love the idea that I can design literally anything in seconds.
  16. Music. I love listening to tunes wherever I am whatever I am doing. Any kind of music will do…except rap…and hip-hop…oh, and trance…and that Top 40 bullshit that passes for music nowadays…and forget about soft rock, too.
  17. Living in Colorado. Where else in the world can you ride your motorcycle to a ski resort? Great recreation opportunities, great weather, great people, great beer…do I need to continue?
  18. My daughter. She’s only been around for a couple of weeks, so I haven’t had time to get to know what she’s all about yet. Still, it’s amazing how much hope you can pour into such a small thing.
  19. George Carlin. I wish he was my neighbor, so I could crack a beer with him every once in a while.
  20. My grandpa. He is the quintessential grandfather figure of all time. He cracks me up whenever I talk to him, which isn’t enough. If I make it that far, I hope to be like him. I’m 100% certain of that.
  21. Cajun food. Oooh, hoo, Man. They wondermous! I ga-ron-tee!
  22. Going to a ballgame. I really hate baseball, but there is something about going to the game and getting a cold dog and a warm beer that just feels right.
  23. Journey. There. I said it. I’m out, and I’m proud.
  24. “Handlebars” by the Flowbots.
  25. Cooking. I love to cook. I said “cook” not bake. Just because I like Journey doesn’t mean I’m gay.
  26. Jaws. One of the best movies ever made. I still look twice before I jump in the hot-tub.
  27. Naked women. A wise man once said, “Once you’ve seen one, you pretty much want to see them all.” No truer words have ever been spoken.
  28. Kicking my own ass. Every once in a while I need a good ass whippin’, so who better to do it than me? Long hikes, falling off my bike or down ladders, or having a junk sale on my skis, any way will do.
  29. Don Rickles. The champion of all put downs. Cracks me up every time.
  30. Cosmology. Something about thinking about how life would be very near to a black hole, or what things would look like if I was traveling 99.99% of the speed of light really gets my juices flowing. No? Just me then?
  31. Being a misanthrope. It’s just so much fun…and surprisingly easy.
  32. My dog. He puts up with a lot of shit from me, and he’s always excited when I get home.
  33. A good joke. I mean a good one, too, not any of that knock-knock B.S…unless it’s funny.
  34. “The Star Spangled Banner” by F. Scott Key. Now, I’m not the most patriotic guy on the block, but whenever I hear that song it makes the hair on my neck stand up.
  35. “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger.
  36. Con-artists. I don’t necessarily think that it’s OK to milk people out of cash or resources, but the fact that some of these cons were even thought of to begin with is genius.
  37. “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd.
  38. A good meal at a restaurant. This is getting harder and harder to find since most people are alright with being served the plastic that passes for food at places like Chili’s and Applebee’s. You can keep it. I’m tired of paying too much for garbage at “good” restaurants. I’m not afraid to upper-deck your asses, either.
  39. Trying something new. It never gets old.
  40. A good movie. This is getting harder and harder to find as well, since most people are happy to settle for anything that resembles rapidly blinking lights.
  41. Roasts. I love watching people come up with creative ways to rip on each other. The Dean Martin Roasts knock this out of the park.
  42. Any “early” cartoon. Popeye, Tom & Jerry, Woody Woodpecker, etc. Basically anything before the mid-80’s when corporate execs started cutting down on the quality of the animation and the writing.
  43. Weirdos. There’s something comforting to me about knowing that there’s a guy that lives on the train and eats his yogurt out of his shoe. I love that guy.
  44. Clean getaways. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I don’t have to use three-quarters of a roll of TP and a Tyvec suit during clean-up operations.
  45. “Old Man” by Neil Young. It always makes me think of my Grandpa. See #19.
  46. Silence. . . . .
  47. Hiking in the Rockies. I love being able to go for a long trek, sit next to a snow-melt creek, take a nap, and be home for dinner.
  48. Naps. I'm coming to rely on these little bastards more and more, and I love it.
  49. A bad joke. The more awkward the better. I like that awkward moment after the telling is done and nobody knows how to react. Priceless.
  50. Civil disobedience. Stick it to the Man, people…
  51. B-movies. Campy movies with no budget and bad editing are a bit like necrophilia…at least you know it’s bad going in. GOTCHA!
  52. Camping. It’s the perfect combination of hiking, naps, and living in Colorado. See above.
  53. Civil War era facial hair. Those guys obviously didn’t give one rat’s ass what their wives thought. You think even one of them asked “Honey, what do you think of this?”
  54. Horror movies. Classics, new stuff, thrillers, creature features, give me them all.
  55. Sex. That’s an easy one.
  56. A good book. I don’t have any patience for poorly thought-out, badly written junk even if it is considered a classic…you can stuff “Walden” up your a*se.
  57. Learning. If there is something that I don’t know or something that came up in conversation that sounded interesting, I love to learn about it. “It’s great to learn, ‘cuz knowledge is power.”
  58. Speaking of which: Schoolhouse Rock. Conjunction Junction, Three is a Magic Number, My Hero Zero, Interjections, Lolly Lolly Lolly…all awesome.
  59. Family Guy. Genius. Pure Genius.
  60. Being a skeptic. I said skeptic, not cynic. Get it straight, Jackass.
  61. “Steady as She Goes” by the Raconteurs.
  62. The Godfather Parts I and II. Easily in the top five best movies ever made.
  63. Sandwiches. Any type, especially the giant Cliff Huxtable variety.
  64. Monty Python’s Flying Circus. To this day, I believe it’s the silliest, most genius thing I’ve ever seen.
  65. The movie “The Aristocrats”. Hilarious! If you haven’t seen it, you definitely need to…probably not good for watching with your kids or on a first date, though.
  66. Bluegrass. There’s something about some fast-pickin’ hillbilly music that just gets me fired up.
  67. Hunting. I love walking through the forest, following a faint trail and sitting in silence for days in the woods. Who cares if I ever shoot at anything?
  68. A good pair of boots. Give me a comfortable pair of waterproof boots, and I can walk around the world.
  69. Logic Puzzles. Yeah, I know they’re foolish and boring, but there you go.
  70. Opera. I know this looks bad, but, seriously, I’m not gay. I love to turn down the lights, close my eyes, and listen to the pain/ love/ suffering/ joy that a genuine vocalist can pour out into the microphone. Beautiful.
  71. Living in the 21st century. I’m so glad that I don’t have to brush my teeth with a stick, worry about going insane from rye ergotism, or dieing from an infected sliver…not to mention the fact that things smell a whole lot better now.
  72. “All the Go in Betweens” by The Silversun Pickups.
  73. Watching my son play. Simple pleasures…
  74. Cruising through the mountains on a motorcycle. Scraping the floorboards on hairpin turns, driving way too fast, dodging wildlife, it’s all good.
  75. Living in the US. Again, I’m not a flag-waving maniac, but I think we’ve got it pretty good even when we’ve got it bad.
  76. Meeting people. I like to guess what people are all about based on those first meetings and see how things play out in the long run.
  77. Bullshitting. As far as social grooming goes, bullshitting is sooo much better than picking the fleas off of each other and eating them.
  78. Making donations and giving gifts. I love the idea that a simple act of charity can actually help someone out of a spot.
  79. Good pizza. It’s like hunting for an ivory-billed woodpecker any more. That shit that passes for pizza is gross. Admit it. You don’t like it either. I’d rather eat a bag of hair.
  80. Mark Twain. Smart, funny, a good writer, and a jacked-up moustache. What else could you ask for?
  81. People with unfortunate names. Your name is Mike what!?! Litoris!?! Mike, I’d like you to meet Barbara Seville. Awesome.
  82. The word “balls”. It gives me a good break from saying the “f” word all of the time.
  83. “Voi che sapete” performed by Fiorenza Cossotto. If there is a heaven, I’m pretty sure this is what it sounds like.
  84. Silly inventions. Don’t like your weed wacker? Why not practice your swing while you work with RonCo’s weed cutting golf club? For just $14.95 you’ll get our new bowling ball sight, too. That’s great!
  85. Albert Einstein. I’ve looked up to him since I was little even though he dropped the ball on quantum mechanics.
  86. Playing Euchre. Preferably with a grouchy Midwestern couple.
  87. The Marx Brothers. Except that Zeppo jerk.
  88. The truth. I wish more people would search for it and use it in general conversation and public speeches.
  89. “Tarzan” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. It’s one of the first books that I’ve ever read, and it is still good.
  90. Musicals. OK, I might be gay.
  91. Subtle perfume. I said subtle, Lady! I don’t need to taste it when you walk by.
  92. “Give Me Love” by George Harrison. I had to sneak one on the list.
  93. The Lord of the Rings movies. I could watch them all in one sitting…with naps in between of course.
  94. Being bald. Hey, it’s one less thing I have to worry about.
  95. People watching. If I have to be around them I can occupy my self for hours.
  96. Swimming. I know I live in the high desert, but I really feel at home in the water.
  97. Seafood. I could eat it breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  98. Dramatic failures. Not only are they fun to watch, but I often learn more from my failures than my successes.
  99. The Outlaw Josey Whales. The book and the movie. ‘Specially the movie, ah rekkin’.
  100. Writing. This is definitely something that I don’t do often enough.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Toxic Avenger

Are you ready to be enlightened? This next bit of knowledge is for everyone who cares to read it, but I told a friend that I'd put together some information for her about how we constantly expose ourselves to toxins. So, let's start with the word "toxic." When most people think of something that's toxic, they think that the substance has to melt off your lower jaw and dissolve most of your internal organs. The truth of the matter is that the toxins we expose ourselves to every day have a cumulative, perpetual toxic effect. Using hair spray isn't going to cause your lungs to turn inside out or make you grow insect hairs on your back, but it will give you cancer over time, if you don't burst into flames like Michael Jackson at a Pepsi shoot.

So let's begin with deodorant. Most deodorants are laced with toxic chemicals and heavy metals that are known to be bad for your health. Chief among these are aluminum compounds. Antiperspirants, toothpaste, dental amalgams, baby powder, cosmetics, and cigarette filters all contain aluminum. Aluminum concentrates in your bones and brain, and is a known contributing factor in osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and a host of other diseases. But at least you don't stink...maybe that's why the French live longer.

What next? How ‘bout hair dyes. Hair dyes contain at least two chemicals (para-phenylenediamine and tetrahydro-6-nitroquinoxaline) that have been proven to damage the body’s genetic material, cause cancer, contribute to arthritis, and harm unborn children. A USC study found that women who use hair dyes at least once a month were three times more likely to develop bladder cancer. One third of all women in the US over the age of 18 dye their hair. Hair dyes also contain lead; maybe that’s why women are crazy.

Most cosmetics aren’t good for you either. Ever get a rash or acne from makeup? Most women do. There are 125 known carcinogens in cosmetics today. That’s known carcinogens, not suspect carcinogens. Twenty ingredients cause adverse effects on the nervous system. Twenty more can cause birth defects. For every one million cosmetic products purchased, there are over 200 visits to the doctor for cosmetic-related illness. A one-year study by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that in one year alone, cosmetic products resulted in 47,000 emergency room visits. Think of how many more cases went untreated or unreported. Ever been in a beauty salon…without a gas mask? Cripes! You can hardly breathe in those joints. People who work in those salons are exposed to massive amounts of those toxins, and because of that they are 50 times more likely to develop cancer than the rest of us. Read the labels. Most of the products tell you that they might give you cancer.

People forget that the skin is the largest organ of the human body. We get nutrients and excrete wastes through our skin. So, it follows that what you put on your skin ends up in your body. Antibacterial soaps and some skin care products are designed to kill bacteria. Guess what? Bacteria are made up of the same kind of cells that your body is. Would you shower in DDT? Don’t laugh, because they used to use DDT like that when it was considered “safe.” I won’t even get into the fact that more and more bacteria are becoming resistant to our antibacterial chemicals now, because of their widespread use in household products. I’ll probably die from an infected hangnail in 40 years because of this nonsense.

That toothpaste you’re using sucks, too. The active ingredient in toothpaste is sodium fluoride. Guess where fluoride comes from...(drum roll please)...It’s a waste byproduct of the aluminum and fertilizer industries. Yep, it’s industrial waste. Now let’s do a little multiple-choice quiz. If you were Dr. Evil and you were making millions of dollars a day processing aluminum and synthetic fertilizers that were unfortunately producing tons of waste that could kill people, what would you do:
a) Stop production at once, cancel your vacation to Rome, sell your fleet of Rolls Royces, pull your kid out of Yale and apologize to the citizens of your country for accidentally ruining their health and environment.
b) Bury the waste under your house in the cover of night.
c) Hire some “scientists” to claim on your behalf that fluoride is a beneficial compound and incorporate into toothpaste, dental treatments, and national water supplies.
Oooh, pick me! I know it! Without getting into too much chemistry, let’s just say that fluoride in your body acts as a calcium sequestration agent. It binds to calcium in your body. Your body needs calcium to build bones and move muscles (like your heart), among other things. A German research team made two studies by taking a random sample of all available data on tooth decay. Of the 48,000 individuals from 136 communities in 7 countries no correlation was found between cavities and fluoride concentration. Further studies have shown that not only does fluoride not improve dental health but it may cause decay. Fluoride actually dissolves your teeth; that’s what makes them whiter initially, but yellow when you’re older (or gone altogether, Dad). I won’t even get into the fact that fluoride is one of the worst carcinogens known to man. Oh, and the rest of what makes up your toothpaste is (drum roll please) sugar and saccharine. I thought Mom told me that sweets would give me cavities…lying bitch. Read the tube. It says that it’s poisonous and that you shouldn’t consume more than what you need to brush your teeth.

Again, remember that we’re talking about cumulative poisons here. Here’s another tidbit. One out of every two men and one out of every three women will develop some form of cancer in their lifetime. You might be wondering how all of the manufacturers got away with this kind of crap. Well, after WWII there was a huge manufacturing boom and a huge proliferation of modern marvels. Better living through chemistry, right? It’s only now, in our generation, that scientific analysis is catching up to the evil geniuses. We’re the first generation to use these products for our whole lives and throughout our development. It really is a grand experiment. We will be the ones to pay the price because the Boomers didn’t think to ask enough questions.

Don’t freak out and move to a hippie commune yet. Check out, there’s a lot of good information there. Read "Evil Genius in the Garden of Eden" by Vic Shayne. Try not to put anything on your body that you wouldn’t eat. If the label looks like an organic chemistry text, then it probably has some bad stuff in it. Avoid ingredients ending in "eth". Some other ingredients to avoid include: Urea, Paraben, Petrolatum, Propylene Glycol, PEG, PVP, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Stearalkonium Chloride, Synthetic Colors, Synthetic Fragrances, and Triethanolamine. And remember that any time you switch from one product to another there will be an adjustment period while your body flushes out the toxins. Also, try to pay attention to the companies you by from. Did you know that Bayer (the aspirin company) was originally the I. G. Farben Company? Know what they made? The Zyklon-B gas that was used in the Nazi death camps. Did you know that Phillip Morris (tobacco giant) owns Kraft, Pepperidge Farms, Miller, Nabisco, and a host of other large companies? You do now, but don’t get me started on food.

If you have any questions, or you’re just curious, drop me a line. If you want me to freak you out about food, just let me know. Feel free to forward this to anybody that wishes to eat from the tree of knowledge, even if they’re not that hungry.

Friday, June 6, 2008


Well, here we are, you and I. Now what? I don't really know either.

People create blogs for many reasons, and others read blogs for just as many reasons. Does it matter? Absolutely not, because, as I said, here we are. I don't really know what form this site is going to take, mostly because I don't believe anything should be forced into pigeon holes, but also because I don't really know what the hell I'm doing. Seems like every third grader in civilization has a blog. What the hell do they have to talk about? About how creepy the lunch lady is, about how Mary kicked Billy in the ding-ding at recess, about who would win a fight between a Transformer and a Bionicle...Come to think about it, that sounds way more interesting than some of the other garbage that I find on the web.

I believe that (most likely) throughout the history of the human species all of the thoughts that I've ever had have been already articulated by others and repudiated by others. However, I still love to re-think them, to agree and to disagree with myself. So, I guess the site isn't here to spill out something that I have to say. Rather, I think (I hope) it's going to be filled with things that you want to hear.

Thanks for stopping by.