Tagged: consume and dispose

Bad Endings

I helped an old man load his groceries into the trunk of his car, which was parked curbside near the entrance to a 99-Cent store. He walked with a cane and seemed to have trouble handling his bags. A watermelon had fallen to the sidewalk, somehow escaping unblemished. But things didn’t look as though they...

Thanksgiving Thankfulness

We were once under the misapprehension that Christmas was the holiday that had become commercialized and drained of meaning. After witnessing the emergence of Black Friday as a widely understood part of the lexicon, we’re inclined to think that the Thanksgiving holiday has become just as bad. Never mind that the whole Pilgrims and Indians thing...

New Year’s Resolution

Consume less. Less oil. Less water. Less electricity. In 2007, our family managed to switch from a traditional water heater to a tankless one. We’re exploring solar panels for our roof in 2008. We went from the traditional two-car arrangement to one, augmented by increased bicyle use and forays on public transportation. We intend on...

Our American System: A Logic Problem

Given: In a capitalist economic system, profiting at the expense of others is permissible and encouraged.  Given: The surest way to business success is to eliminate competition. Given: Government is an institutionalized system of redistributing wealth. Given: American politicians are avowed capitalists, motivated by the same self-interested desires as other devout capitalists. Given: Many laws...

Learning from the Fires

Thanks to weather that’s more or less perfect year-round, not to mention the best looking waiters in the world, Southern California is a place where many people want to live. Probably too many. Even with the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage industry and foreclosures on the rise, LA and San Diego County still have some...

Size Queens

Despite our vigorous protests to the contrary, what Americans value more than “family” is quantity. We are a nation of super-sized dreck.  As our population eclipses 300 million — bigger and better every day — we are less inclined to appreciate (or even acknowledge) anything that is accomplished on a small scale. “Go big or...

Eats Like a Bird

Of all the inapt similes in common usage, “eats like a bird” is perhaps the most backwards. (“Could care less” is just mistaken English, and “smokes like a chimney” is sometimes right on and sometimes not, depending on what one is actually trying to say.) Trying to be pointedly descriptive, many of us employ “eats...

Moderation in All Things

The goldfinches that inhabit the trees in my back yard are some of the plumpest birds I’ve seen in the wild. Unlike Antarctic emperor penguins, these little creatures aren’t storing up enough belly fat to make it through a winter-long trek across glacial desolation. They live in Hollywood, and they’re just fat. It’s probably my...

Why It’s Important to Earn Lots of Money

Most of us toil at jobs were not crazy about, dedicating a large portion of our life on Earth to laboring at tasks that may or may not satisfy our spiritual hunger. We recognize that we have a finite amount of time to be alive — and that time may be shorter than we imagine...

Never Enough

Strip away the effective marketing campaigns that inspire Acquisition Lust, and what’s left? Remove the cultural conditioning that programs us like so many robots, the script that compels us to want-need-desire-require more, and what do you have? An illusion. Many of us find meaning in life through a maniacal pursuit of money and the things it can...