Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Fashion Sense Says Clean Coal is as Unreal as Santa Claus

There have been some memorable images of Santa Claus this holiday season, including Santa Claus as murderer, but one Santa who tried to bring sanity rather than mayhem was the one who gave coal to the board members of the Tennessee Valley Authority and a message about the terrible consequences of using coal as an energy source. A few days later, a huge spill of toxic slurry into the Tennessee River emphasized the message that there's no such thing as clean coal -- even if it is possible to scrub away the greenhouse gases, the current method of extracting coal destroys whole mountains and coal's byproducts poison our waters. [Click on the image for a larger version of this cartoon. The text reads: 'The day after Christmas I was at Virginia's house giving her a leech therapy treatment, and the TV was on so we saw some news about that murderer who dressed as Santa Claus, and before I could say anything about the victims she said, "I'm really getting upset about people who make Santa Claus look bad because I love him, and I worry about his image," and I said, "I agree that he does have an image problem -- he flies all over the world every year giving out loads of consumer crap, and some people say he overworks those poor elves and abuses the reindeer," and she said, "Oh, I hope you don’t believe everything you hear. Poor Santa is a major celebrity, yet anybody who wants to can dress like him and impersonate him," and I said, "Did you hear about the the holding pond that broke recently and dumped millions of gallons of toxic coal slurry into the Tennessee River?" and she said, "What's that have to do with Santa?" and I said, "A few days before that happened, Santa Claus brought lumps of coal to board members of the Tennessee Valley Authority to tell them it’s bad of them to burn so much coal because slurry spills are polluting our water (which is where leeches live, you know), and coal creates huge environmental problems like the destruction of whole mountains when it’s extracted and the emission of greenhouse gases when it’s burned, so I was happy about what Santa did, though he ended up in jail, and then this latest disaster occurred," and she said, “See? That’s what I mean. Anybody can pretend to be Santa and use his good name to call attention to their cause, which ought to be illegal. Besides, I don’t think there’s any such thing as global warming, do you?" and I said, "Yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as global warming. And clean coal is even more of a fantasy than Santa Claus!”']

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fashion Sense Says We Need an Auto Industry that Respects Workers and the Environment

Republican Senators turned down the Big 3 auto bailout, citing excessive labor costs. But the figures used to justify this decision are bogus. The U.S. auto industry has far more serious problems than labor costs, and there are only green solutions. [Click on the above image for a larger version of this cartoon. The text reads: 'Yesterday I was riding my bike, and I saw Tiffany going into the bank, and I stopped to ask how her designer Christmas cookie business is doing this year, and she said, "Because of the war on Christmas, people aren't ordering a lot of cookies," and I said, "Maybe it's the economy," and she said, "No, there's a war on Christmas! Stephen Colbert had a whole special about it, which was great, though I didn't like the part where Willie Nelson was a wiseman bringing marijuana to the baby Jesus," and I said, "But people are really suffering this holiday season. And as if things aren't bad enough, Congress just told the autoworkers that their jobs aren't worth saving unless they make huge concessions," and she said, "Well, I understand that. I had to go to school for a long time before I started my designer Christmas cookie business, and even so I don't earn $73/hour," and I said, "Neither do the UAW people. That's a bogus figure that factors in all the retiree benefits," and she said, "Well, those UAW workers get way more in health benefits than any cookie designer I know," and I said, "If the U.S. had universal health care, companies wouldn't have such enormous health costs," and she said, "I would think you'd be against bailing out big corporations, especially car companies," and I said, "I don’t even own a car, but if we lose the U.S. auto industry, this country won't make anything any more!" and she said, "As a designer Christmas cookie maker, I resent that!" and I said, "How will people be able to afford upscale items like your designer Christmas cookies if they don't earn decent wages?" and she said, "People have to learn to live within their means! This year I have a generic line of Christmas treats that suit even the most modest and economy-stressed budget," and I said, "Like what?" and she said, "I say, if they can't afford designer cookies, let them eat fruitcake!" and I said, "My gerbil nibbles on everything, but even he won't eat fruitcake," but her cell phone rang right then, and she didn't hear me.']

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fashion Sense Comments on James Bond, Coca-Cola, and Eco-villains

The latest James Bond movie, "Quantum of Solace," features a villain who pretends to be an environmentalist while trying to steal water resources. Ironically, Coca-Cola, which came out with Quantum of Solace Coke Zero to coincide with the movie's release, also pretends to be environmentally responsible while using up other people's water. [Click on the image for a larger version of this cartoon. The text reads: 'My younger brother is a huge James Bond fan and he has a big collection of Bond memorabilia, and when he came to see me today he had two black bottles with him, and I said, “What’s in the bottles?” and he said, “Limited Edition Quantum of Solace Coke!” and I said, "I didn't know James Bond drank Coke," and he gave me one of those exasperated looks and said, "He drinks martinis, but this is Coke Zero, and Bond is Zero Zero Seven, get it?" and I said, "Isn't the villain in Quantum of Solace trying to steal Bolivia's water?" and he said, "Yeah, Dominic Greene pretends to be an environmentalist, but he really wants to control the water supply," and I said, "So Dominic Greene is kind of like Coca Cola," and he gave me another exasperated look and said, "In what way?" and I said, "Coca-Cola claims to be very concerned about the environment, but they earn huge profits from soft drinks and bottled water and end up stealing people's drinking water in places like India," and then he said, "Speaking of water, your aquarium is ridiculously huge. If you were a Bond villain, you'd be the guy in The Spy Who Loved Me who wants human civilization to start over again under the ocean," and I know that when my brother is mad at somebody he starts comparing them to Bond villains, so I waited a while and then I said, "Critics are saying that Quantum of Solace is more like a Jason Bourne movie than a Bond movie," and my brother happily spent half an hour telling me why those critics spew total crap, and he finished by saying, "Besides, everybody knows Jason Bourne movies are complete fantasies!"']

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fashion Sense Thinks Michael Vick has Paid a Bigger Price for Animal Cruelty Than Most

On Thanksgiving I thought about how few people ever pay any price at all for their cruelty to animals. Maybe Michael Vick deserves a second chance. (And speaking of animal cruelty, here's a little info about how that Thanksgiving turkey was slaughtered.) [Click on the image for a larger version of this cartoon. The text reads: 'My sister and I wanted to avoid the big family get-together at Thanksgiving, so I invited her to my place for a quiet meal, and as soon as she got here she said, "I just heard that Michael Vick might get out of jail early and might not have to serve his full sentence for dogfighting," and I said, "Yeah, but he did lose a lot of money, and he's been in Leavenworth for a while, so maybe he's paid for his crimes against animals," and she said, "I think he should spend a year in prison for every dog he tortured," and I said, "I don't think that would be fair at all! The people who own factory farms torture billions of animals so people can eat cheap meat, and they never spend a day in Leavenworth," and she said, "Those are business practices, not crimes," and I said, "I'm opposed to cruelty to animals, whether it's for fun or profit," and she said, "OK, whatever. How's the goose?" and I said, "He keeps asking, 'If Americans can put a man on the moon, why can't they get everybody to eat tofurky on Thanksgiving?'" and she said, "Oh, god, I forgot that you’re a vegetarian now. Don't tell me we're having tofu turkey for lunch?" and I said, "It's in the oven now. It's delicious," and she said, "Um... well... um... I forgot to tell you I'm going to Grandma's house for dinner, and there'll be ham and pot roast and chicken and turkey and all the trimmings, so I'll just have a cup of coffee and watch you enjoy your lunch," but she kept saying "Ick!" under her breath while I ate, so neither of us enjoyed ourselves very much.']

A Fifth and Final Ekphrastic Essay About Our 2022 Road Trip: the Prairie and the Dust Bowl

  Erosion No. 2, Mother Earth Laid Bare by Alexandre Hogue When Greg and I were planning our 2022 road trip, our goal was to visit friends a...