Saturday, December 22, 2012

Chemical Free--Free!

“The majority of the 80,000 [chemical] compounds the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] tracks have never been rigorously studied for human health effects. Most predate creation of the EPA and were granted automatic approval for use when the agency came into being in the 1970s. Even today companies do not have to prove that new chemicals are safe before putting them on the market; the burden of proof falls on the government to demonstrate danger.”
      --from The Everyday Fear Zone, by Emily Anthes, Psychology Today Dec. 2012, p. 81

Our brains ‘n’ stuff are made of chemicals, so we needn’t get overexcited. On the other hand: try reading the chemical data required at most work sites. Under sections like

“Effects of Overexposure:” and
“Ecological Information:” you discover

“No known applicable information.”
“Complete information is not yet available.”
“No information found.”
“Not available.”
“Not established.” And the most popular,
“None known.” (All from actual “Material Safety Data Sheets”.) Translated into polite hillbilly jargon:

“We have no freakin’ idea.”

At home, many of us own vast collections of similar powders, pastes, sprays, and goos, for painting faces and houses, taming or killing wild nature, keeping gizmos going, and the impossible elimination of “stains.” Never use any of these products as a snack food.

The Owners often use our world as their laboratory, and us citizens as ratty subjects. When people turn splotchy, frogs get freaky, or bee empires collapse, they might desist, if their “shareholders" still get a “dividend" (code words for “rich people getting paid to do nothing.”) Health laws sound nice, but where are the cops for that? If enough of us rats get sick or die, lawsuits ensue, and the no-guilt-admitting plague-makers pay lawyers until everyone shuts up and goes away. Our smiley-face, free-to-crap-in-the-market economy.

As school children we had nuclear bomb drills; like fire drills except we ducked under our desks to avoid the terrifying imaginary debris. That cloud still hangs over us. Chemicals are much less worrisome, with a quick fix: the Owners will quit selling when we quit buying. Try it!

A toilet that hasn’t been cleaned for many moons may tempt you to purchase Well-Advertised Deep Kleaning Ka-Pow Ka-Blam, the Dirt-Busting, De-greasing, De-scaling, Disinfectant Foaming Death Spray (Now With Fresh Lilac Scent.) My own experience is that everything gets just as bright with rags, brushes and warm water. With a Free Bonus: the healthy exercise known as “scrubbing”.

Disgust for smells has recently been found to be largely culturally determined, so another tactic is to simply accept the funk. Ignore society’s decision that we naturally reek, and skip the armpit stink-pretty. “Fabric softener"--are we really so pathetically delicate that our clothing must be chemically softened and scented? And an open window always clears butt stink, eventually.

One human is ugliest, and one most beautiful; the rest of us somewhere between. Accept your naked self and skip the industrial vats of face paint. Grow some gnarly “natty dreads" and toss all hair goo too.

Cooking with a cast-iron skillet means you’ll never eat teflon again, even after it makes its way into the “food pyramid.” To make your whole kitchen sparkle, use warm water, a rag, and a 10-year-old who can’t escape “chores.”

No home interior needs chemical cleaning or painting, unless there has been an overly frolicsome bloodbath, or the baby pukes pomegranate juice while being swung 'round by the ankles. If warm water doesn’t do the job, try a wire brush, then scrapers, then chisels, and for really stubborn stains, an axe. Remember, too: no matter how filthy, a well-placed match will self-clean your house right down to its foundation. This quick-clean is perfect for when the Owners are coming tomorrow to take it back.

Has a Sentence of Death been pronounced on every bug in every home and yard everywhere? Accept bugs as little friends, not necessarily annihilated. If you must kill, go “green” and smack them with a shoe.

Want to get rid of wax, grease, anti-freeze, battery acid, and oil stains? Sell the car!

Check food labels too--if you can’t read it, should you eat it?

Did distant ancestors clean hut often? If not, let us honor their wisdom by skipping it today. If so, let’s honor them by skipping the industrially-produced eyeball solvent.

No reason to panic, dozens of wacky chemicals are already in every human’s blood, yet here we are. No need to add to it, however. For inner peace, forget shiny perfect stuff and self. Life is often stained, dirty, stinky and ugly; get used to it and fear not!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Holibrate All Celedays!

A Cheap Dude Christ-mess: How We Don’t:

The Opposite Of Every TV Christmas Special

First off, no dead tree. Which Prince of Peace ordered mass tree-slaughter? Bigger stump don’t make a bigger saint, either. And fake trees are blasphemy against the real sacred: live trees. If you must decorate and display a dead plant, try a silver spray-painted tumbleweed, hung with (also painted) milk bottle caps and little red-and-white sugar sticks bent like handicapped-assistance devices. It’s been done. Merry Cheapness.

No twinkly coal-fired house-dressing. The Light of the World is not brightened by kilowatts. All festive glow is canceled by atmospheric spew.

No wasteful feast. Food orgies for Heavenly Father make Earthly Mothers sweat and fuss for thankless hours and days. The resulting pile of dirty dishes, by itself, is reason enough to cancel the whole thing. Screw it, have a sandwich, left-overs, microwaved burritos, or boiled hot dogs. Everyone wash your own dish.

No useless gifts. Too Cheap. Sometimes we buy each other something we were going to buy anyway, like groceries. TV ads showing a beautiful person being given a shiny car make us laugh--Holy Infant, does that really happen?! Besides, why not be generous always? As Y'shua the Wise once instructed a rich dude, “...sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven..." (Luke 18:22, KJV). One day of giving doesn’t cover the other 364.

No “greeting" cards. We receive nearly none, thankfully, having sent none for several years. Money spent on pre-decorated cardboard (another arboreal auschwitz), pre-written palaver, and postage, is not required to join the Newborn King Fan Club.

No day off work. I volunteer, it’s double-time-and-a-half on holidays. Yeah I miss the “family get-together,” boo-hoo; I cry all the way to the bank (the real King of Kings.) I see my goofy tribe often enough. If yours ain’t close-knit, a holiday won’t make it so; if they are, you don’t need it. Better to visit at random, less chaotic times.

No cheery prattle. I am not offended when folks wish me a “Merry Christmas.” I hope they’re not offended when I reply, “Whatever.”

Yule-tide tunes, however, affect me deeply. When choirs sing “Hosanna,” sleigh-bells rhythmically jingle, and sweet-spirited carols fill the air, my heart swells with overwhelming emotion, and I must cry out: “Turn that crap off!”

How does one become so cynically Cheap? At five years old I discovered there was no Santa, that my parents had “borne false witness”! Over time it became clear that Christ-mess, as advertised, was an annual blasphemy, completely backwards. Eventually I decided every day is Holy, even the crappy ones. Celebrate ‘em all, by Jove!

Every Christ-mess is the best, since I gave up. Apathy is far less stressful than anger. Let everyone else scurry frantically to spend money they don’t have.

Thank you for the precious and sacred moments you waste on the barbaric self-centered yapping of the Cheap Dude. My gift to you all: permission to be as un-festive, apathetic, and/or unpleasant as you feel this season; to do as little as possible. When your gang gets hostile, you can blissfully point out that at least you’re not as bad as the Cheap Dude.

My on-line shopping fave!

"...the great world religions...have become associated with the causes of the factions, as instruments of propaganda and self-congratulation....
   ...religious pantomime is hardly more today than a sanctimonious exercise for Sunday morning, whereas business ethics and patriotism stand for the remainder of the week. Such a monkey-holiness is not what the functioning world requires; rather, a transmutation of the whole social order is necessary, so that through every detail and act of secular life the vitalizing image of the universal god-man who is actually immanent and effective in all of us may be somehow made known to consciousness."

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces, Bollingen 1949, p. 389