Monday, July 30, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

First the News-Press, now this?

Many, many years before becoming a News-Press subscriber, I fell in love with the gray, pulpy paper and the grainy photography of the black and white tabloids. I bore the inky smudges on my hands like a badge of honor, and proudly papered my high-school locker with articles clipped from my favorite paper.

Over a year has gone by since I cancelled my News-Press subscription. As much as I loved the paper it was, I don't know that I treasured any of the articles the way I cherished those early clippings from the Weekly World News. It was in the Weekly World News I first learned to fear mermaids. It provided the only reliable source of political critique from the extraterrestrial perspective. News that mattered.

I still mourn the loss of my morning News-Press, the lesser of my journalistic loves. Dark vales of regret cast shadows on the road ahead of me as I learn that the Weekly World News is ceasing publication.

Woe is me. Thank you, Marty, for letting me know that our dear friend WWN is fading out of print, hiding in exile online. I like to think that there's a little Bat Boy inside each of us, plotting a triumphant return.

Friday, July 20, 2007

That sinking feeling

Bus riders are a captive audience, a fact that has not escaped the MTD. Posters line inside of each bus. Some are advertisements, many are public service type ads, often in Spanish, clearly targeting lower income riders: "Stay in School," "discount health services available at...," "Bargain Network has great benefits for single moms," etc. Myself, I'm partial to the posters with local kids' poems...

And then there's this one (with apologies for the poor quality phonetography):

The text is "What You Buy Today... Was On A Ship Yesterday" and "Moving Ships...Drives America's Economy"


I'm having a hard time with the logic behind this ad. And who would sponsor such an odd message? I figured it must be the Ship Captains' Union, Order of the Ancient Mariner, or maybe the Pirate's Club.

But hey, it's Uncle Sam! Specifically, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Apparently from the Committee to Encourage Consumption of Imported Stuff. Golly, what could be more American than that?

Actually, I can think of quite a few things. Buying less, buying local, and buying American all spring to mind. What the heck is this campaign really about? Is this an effort to spread some good PR after all the damning reports that showed how much ships contribute to smog in our area?

Does anyone have any theories?

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Missing Link

We're sorry to see Santa Barbara Newsroom disappear from the list of Fuller Headlines. I know it's not to supposed to feel like they're giving up, but... it kinda feels like they're giving up. We've appreciated SB Newsroom during it's brief life, and we'll miss it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Who to Woohoo Wednesday: Dave!

Wednesday is supposed to be about the good. Today started badly, as I checked in for my daily Edhat News and read about a savage attack on a pet tortoise. It was one of those "What kind a sick world do we live in?!?" mornings.

As I headed to lunch with my pal Dave, I remembered Woohoo Wednesday. I remembered I was supposed to find some good. Ugh. But I realized, as I was walking with Dave, that we were didn't have to look far. Right in Dave's hands were ceramic bowls for our lunch.

The BYOB-Bring Your Own Bowl Campaign is something Dave and I have talked about for awhile. It grew out of our observation that despite the abundance of cheap student labor (read: dishwashers), University Meals are served on plastic or styrofoam. All the food at the UCen, the Arbor, the Coral Tree, even the brand new Courtyard Cafe--all served on a little slice of petroleum. The Faculty Club is an exception, and I don't know about the residence halls, but for a "green campus" the amount of waste in food services is pretty appalling. I did hear a rumour that the Office of Sustainability was considering biodegradible plates, etc... but face it, those may save a little landfill, but they still require resources in production, distribution, etc. For some reason, the "disposable is better" seems to have spread through much of Isla Vista as well, including one of my favorite places, Naan Stop.

The idea to BYOB isn't entirely without precedent--lots of people bring their own mugs to coffee shops, and I have a reusable Blenders mug at home and at the office (I cringe--and maybe drool--a little to think of how many styrofoam Blenders cups I've thrown away over the years).

So, today, my pal Dave walked up to the guy at Naan Stop and handed him a ceramic bowl, and asked for his lunch to be served in the bowl. Naan Man was confused at first--suggesting that we get our lunch in their styrofoam bowls then pour it into our own bowls, but when Dave explained that the goal was to avoid using and wasting the throwaway bowl, Naan Man finally got it. He dished up some delicious food--I swear it tasted even better than usual.

So here's to Dave, for following through on BYOB, and making a difference every chance he gets. Woohoo Dave!


Help. That's all that comes to mind, reading about the kidnap and mutilation of a pet tortoise last weekend. I can't stop thinking about how easy it must have seemed to torture a mute animal, one that doesn't scream or yelp, though he certainly struggled.

It was broad daylight. There were witnesses, and more than one assailant. The witnesses are coming forward now, calling the sheriff to report what they saw.

I'm so furious, it takes effort to keep typing. You know what Bob needed more than witnesses after the fact? He needed HELP, someone to shout out that it's wrong to stab a living creature, wrong to drop him, wrong to roll him down a hill. He needed someone to call the sheriff as is happened, not days later.

HELP, people. HELP.

African spur-thighed tortoises are social creatures, more than one might expect. Bob was social enough to coax an autistic child to communicate with the outside world--I suppose a "coming out of his shell" image really works here. I've been lucky enough to share a home with a tortoise like Bob for 14 years. The idea of someone trying to pry him out of his shell, slice off his head and legs... I hardly know what to do with these feelings. One little thing I can do is help Bob's family, the Sullivans, with their veterinary expenses. Generously, Jeanie Vaughan of Turtle Dreams is covering Bob's immediate expenses with a loan, which the Sullivans will pay back. I guess writing a check is all I can do to help. But it doesn't make me any less angry.

Bob Sullivan
c/o Turtle Dreams
2298 Feather Hill Road
Montecito, CA 93108-1542