Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Don't Get Earth Day

Really, I don't.

It only makes economic sense when you can re-use things, or if various products degrade easily once used. It costs money to deal with trash that doesn't go away. Lots of things can be incorporated into other materials used for building or whatever. It is nothing new.

The general tone of earth day seems to be self righteous sacrifice which is often meaningless. That is not to say things that can supply heat or power without buying consumable material like oil aren't desirable. But I do not sit in awe of those who have sworn off toilet paper or who want to use taxes to change behavior and skew the market.

The logical progression of things is toward methods and designs that get more use out of a unit of fuel and such as that.

I still can't help but remember when people who wanted to produce their own power by water power off the creek out back and by other means were once characterized and right wing militia types and forbidden from dong those things. Mills which once used a waterwheel to power the looms, then later used the wheel to power a generator were forbidden from doing so. They were required to buy the power from the utility companies.

Keeping those examples in mind, it could be said that government involvement and support of one group or company over another has actually slowed the progress of the development of renewable cheap energy. Why, now, would I want people who can't design anything to control the progress of such art? It has become an emotional movement which gets passionate and militant, often using half baked studies and dubious conclusions in a campaign against technology in almost any form.

The aspect to the day which induces goody-goody wannabes to behave in that "look at me and praise me, I'm picking up trash and not using toilet paper much", leaves me cold. Then again, most intentionally conspicuous "service" does that.

I saw a Mexican man in Alpine walking toward the corner where they gather in case someone wants to hire labor. Maybe illegal, maybe not. His garb, hat, and genral body characteristics left now doubt as to nationality. He was cool.

As he was walking, he would stop, wait for a clearing in traffic then go into the street and pick up trash he saw there. he also picked up plastic bottles and fast food bags off the sidewalk. There were no trash bags so he bundled it together and put in sort of off the sidewalk in a neat clump where it could be picked up by whoever might have a bag or something. It was an improvement.

I found it interesting that he did this as he went on his way. No sign suggesting everyone look at him. No group effort. No in your face approach looking for a pat on the back. Just a reasonable effort because he must have found the idea of trash in street aesthetically offensive. Now that kind of guy elicits more respect from me than those who try to tell everyone else how to live.

Information is good and I guess some use the earth day thing to disseminate some good knowledge. It is the political aspect that turns me off. And the self martyrdom for attention. There is a line that is usually politically incorrect to point out which often gets crossed "for a good cause", or "for the greater good". It always involves minding the business of others, or some sort of pushy tactics that suspend respect for personal territory, and usually promote more rules and regs.

I'm all for cheap energy, maximization of resources through better design and invention, but not through force of government which ends up promoting one person, group or company over another.

Anyway, I am usually suspicious of large groups and crowds pushing anything. I wonder if they'd get together and roll cars powered by a V8 or other huge power plant. That would be fun.

I saw a banner on a site asking what you will do for earth day. One example was not print out anything on paper. Geez. It must be like Lent. Later in the week that person will print out what did not get printed today, but it sure felt good and warm to refrain today.

I take the fun out of everything.

I snatched this off of an earthday site. These are comments in which people boast about their wonderful efforts to Save the Earth. I'm sorry. What these people should be worshiping is not the earth but the people who invent better ways of dealing with it. Without them, humans would have a much shorter life span and a far more painful existence. Of course many people use good invention to promote pain and worse. I credit the worship of government and its resistance to performing its proper functions for much of that
Here you go:

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I'll use my outdoor clothes line from spring to fall and set up an indoor one in the basement for winter.
When I walk along trails, beaches, rivers, lakes, or parks - I pick up trash others have left, and I yell at smokers who throw their butts on the ground or in sewers.
I will use a reusable water bottle ...
stop banging so many girls :D
gathered greens from the flower shop I work at and composted them

Saturday Benefit Gig

Bands do benefits primarily because they aren't booked elsewhere, and to see if a crowd who is otherwise occupied will receive them well. Then there is the matter of actually wanting to contribute to whatever effort the event is promoting. The motivation is generally ranked in that order.

All those acts you see in various high profile benefits are primarily there for the recognition. That is not bad, but it is fun to watch them pretend altruism. I'm not positive there actually is such a thing as altruism. You may feel it is the right thing, and the right thing satisfies a desire which is based on some form of reward; eternal life, parental approval, self esteem, something positive that involves the individual.

I play whatever the band wants to play. I'd be hesitant to play a political rally and unlikely to play a particular candidate's picnic, although if the person was as radically inclined as I am, I would consider it.

The gig Saturday is a benefit for a type of cancer and specifically to raise money to help a young person afflicted in that town. These are horse people and the festivities include an equestrian event. I'm predisposed to a fondness for horse people and ranchers. My great uncles were ranchers and I've found something in that culture to be uplifting and honorable. It feels like a lost part of me even though I don't care to eat cows and I have rarely ridden horses.

I just hope that by the time we play the horses are secured where the harmonica won't freak them out. I'd hate to be responsible for a thrown rider, stallions and mares all of a sudden finding themselves driven to mate in uncontrollable frenzy, or other inconvenient behavior. Then again, maybe some of that would be cool. If the humans were so affected, I'd have done my job quite well.
Perhaps I can get some of it on video. The trouble is I have yet to find anyone who doesn't get bored or confused to the point of poor result when filming. Either the visual is primarily of the sky or the ground, or the sound is bad because they park themselves off to the side or behind the speakers so all you hear is them talking on the phone or conversing with passers by.

This little group has become better, I think. We are sort of countryish folkish. I used to not like folk at all but I've found some is good and allows for interesting back up playing. It has been quite a challenge to adjust and not go the wrong way when anticipating chord changes. It is a diferent way of playing than rock/blues, and I am sure it has expanded my scope.

The fun thing for me is that we are now doing a song I wrote for the Memphis band, but we do it as an instrumental. Mostly I just play a long and unusual solo with guitars trying to manage the rhythm. They've been doing well with it and I appreciate how they have found good parts to put in. They wanted to come up with something that allowed me to get as crazy as I want. Finally, I have a chance to let go in a minor key and play whatever I want. I'm never overly happy with what I do but it seems to go over well.

Otherwise the group is vocally oriented. The other three have good voices and make interesting harmony. The singing is rather good. I also like their guitar work and the girl's use of shakers and tambourine to create good rhythm help. I'm too erratic to make a shaker sound right. She's got it down. I get to play background and accent--my preferred role. Being a front man has not been my goal unless I was the guy doing the crowd chatter between songs. That has rarely happened, but it should have.

Another satisfying thing about that song is that I heard the old band is still doing it. In their case I doubt it is much of a harmonica based lead situation. No doubt the guitar carries it and now that they have a keyboard, he probably rocks it. I'd like to hear their current take on it. The bass player filled me in on the info that they have done it lately to great crowd response. If they were making any real money from it I'd be demanding a cut.

The picture up top is off of an equestrian place in Ramona. Maybe that is where we'll play. It will be something similar. It has to be because Ramona is not a huge place.

I'll bet they have had some snow the past couple of days. I'm hoping the weather service is right that it will be sunny by Saturday.

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Ballistic Mountain, CA, United States
Like spring on a summer's day


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