WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

About sixteen years ago, I was watering my plants when one of those poor college saps who got suckered into going door-to-door to get signatures on environmental issues wandered into my yard looking both lost and bright-eyed at the same time. I like to think he’s get his bright-eyed enthusiasm, but the going door-to-door collecting signatures has a way of beating enthusiasm down with a stick. Anyway, he was collecting signatures to get a bill passed that would help end the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. I told him I thought that was a wonderful idea and asked what the proposed solution was. Nuclear? Too dangerous. Wind? Too dangerous for birds. The answer, according to him, was solar.

Now, bear in mind, this was in the early 2000s when solar tech was nowhere near where it is now and nowhere near ready to take over even New Mexico’s energy needs. He dug in his heels and said it was solar or nothing.

In a way, he was onto something. But, just like the guy putting raw ground beef on a burger bun, he was way too early. The technology was nowhere near mature enough. The ability to kind of power a house didn’t translate to powering a state even in a part of the country where we have something like 300+ sunny days a year. That was bad enough, but he was adamant that the only thing that would work was a complete switch over to solar. No incremental fixes for this guy, he was just going to throw a shit-ton of cash at the problem and flip a switch when it was all said and done and everything would be perfect.

Much as I love the idea of solar power, I couldn’t get behind an all-or-nothing solution, so I bid him good day and didn’t sign his petition; it seemed like it had disaster written all over it.

Back in World War II (and trust me, this will make sense in a few minutes), Japan suffered such heavy bombing that its infrastructure was basically destroyed. Electricity, gas, water, everything. Even phone lines were toasted. Being the Japanese, they rebuilt everything better than it was before and even eventually build the most advanced cellular network in the world. That was partially because they didn’t have to shoehorn it into an existing system; it could be anything they wanted it to be so they made it totally badass.

Or at least that’s the story I’ve heard. It may or may not be true, but last time I was in Japan, their cell system (and cell phones) were light years ahead of anything else I’d seen at the time. Theirs could launch space shuttles, my phone could very slowly play Tetris on a 2″ black and white screen.

The US power system (and its attendant reliance on fossil fuels) is very much a thing and any new things that get added have to be shoehorned into that thing or it’s all gonna fall apart or not even make it to the adoption phase. Fossil fuels are so entrenched in our culture that even the thought of doing something else leads to screams of “socialism!” and “dirty hippies!” Even though getting rid of fossil fuel reliance would be an amazing thing, it’s going to have to be an incremental process that will likely involve bribing no end of Congress critters. It’ll happen eventually – there’s too much public outcry over pollution for it not to – but it ain’t gonna happen all at once.

Interestingly, in emerging nations, that’s a non-issue. They don’t have to worry about shoehorning new tech into old or paying off the old guard to let them do it because there’s just not that much infrastructure there to replace. As a result emerging nations are the ones driving innovation in renewable energy technologies like solar while the developed parts of the world are stuck using decades or centuries old technology. Just like the Japanese after World War II, they’ve got a mostly clean slate to work with.

That means that things like wind a solar energy are much more viable systems and their utilization is driving down the cost of the technologies and improving them at the same time. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we’re still debating about clean coal and whether or not climate change is a thing.

So, hats off to innovation. It would seem that necessity really is the mother of invention. Read the original article here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena and Damyanti Biswas

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

lukegonnahavecompany

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WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

All around you are invisible people. The toilet paper doesn’t magically refresh itself any more than the dirt on the floor disappears on its own. There are people that scrub toilets and take out trash and clean floors, doing all the shit jobs that people don’t want to do and it’s amazing to me how many people completely ignore them when they pass in the halls. On a good day, your average janitor might get a nod from a suit or a muttered good morning as they breeze past.

This is unfortunate and, frankly, pretty cold-blooded.

Fortunately, it’s not always the case. In Tullahoma, TN, a group of kindergartners not only told their deaf janitor, they learned to sing the entire “Happy Birthday” song just for him. The result of this is obviously a good thing for the janitor, but also a good thing for the kindergartners who learned a valuable lesson about why kindness can be a wonderful thing. So, while the immediate benefit went to a guy who spends his whole day cleaning up after everyone, the long-term benefit went to a group of kids who might be able to change the world for the better in some small way.

Go check out the original story. Your homework is to notice a janitor and give ’em a happy, “Good morning” tomorrow. Just remember the only philosophy you really need to make the world a bit better:

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Roshan Radhakrishnan

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

I just realized I managed to post absolutely nothing during the month of September. This isn’t because I hate September – I’m actually ambivalent about it – it’s because I’m lazy and didn’t really have anything interesting to say. Also, I figured I had more time. In my mind, it’s still mid-September, not almost October. Some would call that being behind the times, but I prefer to think of it as being fashionably late.

Then, of course, I get that monthly reminder from WATWB High Command, reminding me that there are things in the world that aren’t me and I have to suddenly fast-forward myself to the present day. Anyway, I’d apologize for missing the entire month of September, but let’s face it, this ain’t exactly the most hip-hop-happening blog in the world.

So, in the midst of all the wacky hijinks going on in the world these days, it’s good to see there’s still some stories out there that don’t suck or make you want to carve your brain out with an ice cream scoop.

I’ve always been a proponent of equality. In my eyes, either everyone is equal or everything we’ve built our societies on is a lie. Inequality of any kind chips away at the structure of society and the next thing we know, we’ve got tyrants running all over the land pointing at people and saying, “You know what, all those problems you have? It’s because of those guys over there.” Doubt me? Ask history about all the times equality has broken down and holocausts have happened.

That’s why, every time I see someone treat women as second-class citizens (this post was almost about FGM) or refuse to bake cakes for gay people and hide their bigotry behind religious freedom, I shudder a little. I’m not saying it’s a slippery slope to Nazi 2 – The Electric Boogaloo, but it ain’t exactly helping things, either.

It’s nice to see that not everyone is a bigoted fuckwad, though. For instance, there’s a church in Scarborough that has a digital sign out that’s controlled by a company that refused to post a gay-friendly message. St. Paul’ United Church terminated their contract over the fiasco. Another church in the area has also terminated their contract with the mobile sign provider after the sign provider refused to post a message that basically said “Be cool to your Muslim neighbors”.

Bad press and losing customers has got to sting.

So, it’s beginning to look like the best way to handle bigoted assholes is to stop giving them money. Don’t order the cake, don’t pay for the sign messages, and don’t give them your vote.

Check out the original article here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Sylvia Stein and Peter Nena

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

The normal process for WATWB is to find a news story that shows off good people doing good things, talk about it a bit, and then hand you a link for more information. It’s a good way of doing things and supporting the little bit of good news that’s floating around out there, and it’s always nice to show that world isn’t populated entirely by complete dicks. Surprisingly, it’s not hard to come across something good during a normal week of perusing the news. Take, for instance, this picture of witches protesting racism.

Given the state of the world, you might think it’s a dicey proposition at best to find one positive news story a month, but it’s actually pretty easy. All too often we tend to perseverate on the negative stuff out there and ignore the good stuff, but all that does is harsh our collective mellows and give voice to the assholes of the world. Trust me, the assholes have enough of a voice as it is, don’t give them any help speaking louder.

For all the crazy, racist crap we’ve had this year, we’ve also seen counter-protests dwarf Nazi rallies, bad guys getting locked up, and all manner of folks helping out after the devastating Kerala floods. So, the world’s not all bad, it’s just a little tweaked right now and will eventually work itself out. We sometimes just need a little nudge in the right direction to remind us that it only looks like the world is going to Hell in a handbasket. With that in mind, I’ll remind you of two important things: 1). not everyone is a flaming asshole. Most people are actually pretty good if you give them a chance. And 2). There are still dogs in the world.

So, I’m not going to post a link to an uplifting story, you should be seeking those out on your own if you want to maintain your sanity. Instead, I’m going to show you what I get to come home to every night and remind you that there are plenty of dogs out there and they’re all pretty good critters to have around, even if one of mine is snoring on her chair right now.


So, share ’em up, folks. Drop some dog pics in the comments and brighten someone’s day. Also, I’d like to remind everyone, there are plenty of great dogs out there that needs homes, so check out your local animal shelter and find a furry friend who’ll always be happy see you. Doubly so if you have food.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Simon Falk,
Andrea Michaels,
Shilpa Garg,
Sylvia Stein, and
Belinda Witzenhausen

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Here’s a fun factoid for you: It can take up to 200 years for a plastic straw to degrade on its own. So, in other words, that five minutes of tasty beverage means we’ve got to find some place to stick that sucker (no pun intended) for a couple hundred years.

Plastics are the bane of the environment. They’re usually engineered to be used one time only and then tossed aside like a bad prom date. We chuck them in the trash and then it’s someone else’s problem and we can get back to the important business of watching T.V. and bitching about politics on Facebook.

Those things don’t go away, though. The plastic straw takes centuries to return to the Earth and the plastic the damned thing is wrapped in takes decades to go away.

I get it, convenience is a cool thing to have. A sterile, plastic-wrapped straw just feels safe in a world where diseases are getting sentient and everyone has conveniently forgotten how to wash their hands. But there are better ways of dealing with this problem that don’t suck so much.

No, I don’t use coke, so don’t ask. The joke is, this is a real thing: a double-barrel coke straw that used to be available on Amazon.

By now, I’m sure everyone has seen the turtle with the straw stuck up its nose. If you haven’t, you can see it here. It’s pretty unpleasant, so be forewarned. The problem, though, isn’t a single turtle with a single straw up its nose. For all we know, that turtle was a coke addict and things got out of hand. The problem is the sheer amount of crap we use once and toss out. Americans alone toss out 500 million plastic straws every day. That’s enough to fill 125 school buses with single-use straws every fucking day.

Think about that for a moment. And then multiple it by 365. And then realize that 182.5 billion straws are getting thrown out each year. That’s a lot of trash for something that doesn’t even need to be used. While I’m sure the plastic straw industrial complex will fight it tooth and nail, there are alternatives: paper straws, reusable steel and plastic straws, or not using a straw at all. Even coke-heads know enough to bring their own straw.

So, how is this news that doesn’t suck? Well, for starters, there’s no such thing as suck. Sucking changes pressure and in order to equalize pressure, nature pushes liquids (and cocaine) forward. Also, more and more companies are looking at plastic straws and saying, “Take a hike, dipshit”. Some of this is public pressure, some of it stems from sea turtles with stuffed up noses, and some it comes from trash found at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

The good news of the day? The Walt Disney Company is getting rid of plastic straws (and other things) by 2019. Starbucks is doing the same thing. Eventually, plastic straws will be a thing of the past. Don’t worry, I’m sure there will still be some for those of you that want a “real goddamned straw”, but the rest of us will have moved on.

Then, in only a couple hundred years, plastic straws will vanish for good. And that, my friends, is a good thing. Personally, I’m going to forgo straws entirely, but in the rare instances where I feel I need one, it’ll be a cubic zirconia-encrusted straw with “Pimp Daddy” written on it. That should make me look classy.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Peter Nena,
Inderpreet Kaur Uppal,
Shilpa Garg
Roshan Radhakrishnan
Sylvia McGrath
Belinda Witzenhausen

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

Don’t hassle the Hoff.

#WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

The normal way this monthly shot of good news is supposed to work is I say some witty things and point at a story I found in the news that’s uplifting and then everyone goes away happy.

I’m going to shake things up a bit this month because reasons.

I don’t have  feelgood story to share this month. That’s not necessarily because there’s nothing good going on in the world, I’m sure plenty of people had great days, many kisses were exchanged, and at least one person decided to not scream at that jackass in the Prius who was going way too damned slow and get in the slow lane that’s what it’s there for jerk. Instead, he took a deep breath, turned up the music, and sang along with the Hilltop Hoods.

I’d like to point something out. There’s this prevailing philosophy among Americans that things were better in “the good old days”, back when everything was shiny and new and things were just better, gosh darn it. It’s utter hogwash, if you ask me. The “good old days” were really only good for a certain pale-ish, male-ish segment of the population; everyone else got the shaft. Those days were marked by a lot of social upheaval and violence. Go back even further and you’ll find pestilence, war, famine, crime, disease, you name it.

The point is, it’s easy to look around and say everything sucks. There certainly is a large amount of suck still lurking in the alleys and under the beds of the world, but there’s less suck now than there was. So, why do people pine for the “good old days” when things really aren’t that bad right now?

When I worked at Kinko’s (yes, I did once answer the phone with, “Thank you for calling Kinko’s, your new way to evil), we had to go a week-long brainwashing training session in the basement of the main Albuquerque Kinko’s. I remember two things about that: 1) I hate basement corporate brainwashing events, and 2) people tend to focus on the negative things.

That’s why we like to think things suck ass nowadays, because we perseverate on the bad stuff and ignore the cool stuff going on all around us. We live in a magical time where you can access all the information in the world from your phone, or reach out and communicate instantaneously with people on the other side of the planet, or learn a new language in your pajamas.

So, to help focus on the good things, here’s a list of bad stuff that’s not as prevalent as it used to be. Sure, the world’s not a perfect place, but it gets better bit by bit as long as we let it.

Just to shake up WATWB a bit further, you’re gonna get some homework. Spend a little time thinking about some good stuff and leave it in a comment. Rather than finding the traditional feel-good news story, let’s create our own feel-good stories.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our co-hosts for the month are the lovely and talented:
Peter Nena, Andrea Michaels, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Shilpa Garg and Damyanti Biswas

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

#WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

To truly grasp the spectacular awesomeness of this story, you first have to understand a few things. If you’re an American reader, most of this will be old hat and you can happily skip down a bit, but you’ll miss some snark and a few cheap shots at Alabama. If you’re international (or a ferriner, as we like to call y’all), you might want to stick around a bit.

Alabama has a reputation in the U.S. as being that special person you don’t like to have around when company comes over. It’s not that every person in the state is gun-toting, semi-literate degenerate, but they have quite a few of them. Remember, this is the state where the leading candidate in the recent special election was accused – multiple times – of liking his girls young. Like early teens young. And, amazingly, he still nearly won the election. Thankfully, enough people came to their senses and decided that an accused child molester might not be what they wanted to represent them and Roy Moore – who showed up to vote on horseback – had to ride his horse home in defeat.

In Alabama, men are rated by how much horsepower their trucks have.

It’s a state that sticks to its traditions, even when those traditions are insane and should be left by the wayside.

Speaking of traditions that should probably take a long walk off a short pier, we also have our annual Miss America competition where young women display their value to society based on how well they look in bikinis and evening wear. Again, it’s a traditional thing that probably needs to go away. I may be getting on my soapbox here, but I like to think there’s more to women than beachwear, and Miss America doesn’t exactly hand out awards based on smarts, eloquence, or capabilities. Look good, smile, and wave, and you can win even if you don’t have much going on upstairs. To all the Miss America contestants reading this (I have a huge supermodel following, too), I’m not talking about you, I’m talking about the other girls.

Congratulations, you’re pretty! You might have some other qualities, but the important thing is how you look in bikini.

So, if you combine Alabama (home of the not-so-bright traditionalists) and the Miss America competition (congrats, toots, you’ve got a great pair of knockers even if you aren’t too bright), what do you get?

Oddly enough, you get Deidre Downs Gunn, winner of Miss America back in 2005. She represented Alabama and won the diamond tiara or whatever it is they give out there.

But that’s where the story breaks the mold. Deidre Downs Gunn went on to become a practicing medical doctor and recently married her girlfriend in a traditional Southern wedding complete with mini chicken and waffles and probably some other stuff, too. Honestly, anything after mini chicken and waffles is superfluous.

So, why is this a big deal and good news? Well, in addition to breaking the molds of both Alabama and Miss America by being smart enough and dedicated enough to become a doctor, Deidre went onto break another much beloved tradition and marry her girlfriend rather than pretending to be straight. A few years ago, that wouldn’t have even been legal. A few years before that and she would have been lynched.

Equality is a big deal and marrying whoever you want is an important part of that. I guess the whole story just made me happy because it goes to show not all stereotypes are true – even the ones about Alabama and Miss America contestants.

Plus, I found out that mini chicken and waffles are a thing.

Read the story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our co-hosts for the month are the lovely and talented:
Dan Antion, Mary Giese, Michelle Wallace, Simon Falk and Shilpa Garg

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.