Category Archives: News

Two K-cup Waste Alternatives

Since Keurig was bought by Green Mountain Coffee Roasters in 2006, the K-cup waste issue has been a long and local one. Here are two alternatives that work. Aside from, obviously, not using them at all.

Problem is, many workplaces have this as the only coffee maker. And I’m pretty sure it’s one of the most re-gifted items ever. People get one as a gift, re-wrap it, pass it on, and on and on, until it finally makes its way to someone who says, “Okay.”

First, if you’ve got a bunch of K-cups you already bought, you can cut the lids off with this little baby and recycle the plastic housings. Not perfect, because recycling is a dirty, energy-consuming process. The recycle a cup® , available all over the place, is fun to use:

recycle-a-cup

Second and better, the reusable  Solofill Cup® vastly improves the “coffee cage” that had in past incarnations brewed a terrible cup of coffee. Available all over the place. Brew on.

solo-fill

 

The Other Energy Potion

energy lgEvery young person I meet lately at a cash register or whatever is, like, all shaky. I think they’re pounding that bottled 12-hour AWAKE chemical crap.

Try this, kids. Slopeside Syrup. You won’t get rattled and it tastes good, too.

How to Tell Your Guests to Conserve Water

water disciplineWith wells, you never know what’ll happen. I’ve known more than one family that has had to carry buckets of water inside from a brook for various purposes, including toilet use. No fun at all, esp. in winter.

This summer, groundwater levels are not a problem. But when they are, my friend’s father’s advisory, printed and mounted at every sink, conveys the message with a distinctive and poetic economy of words.

And Let’s Not Forget the Amateur Craftspersons

flugencrafter…whose work brings untold joy to All, including this piece lovingly crafted by an amateur New Hampshire Flügenkrafter in good standing.

What, pray tell, is flügen? Go here.

Learn it. Love it. Live it.

One Woman’s Rebellion

Sniff awn THISSome of us have had it with people pounding on each other all over planet Earth century after century. How can this be? What gets into their heads — and stays there?

By way of passive resistance, I placed this humble dahlia on my front porch facing the symbolically violent road work going on just yards away (loud, chaotic, foul-smelling, with big machines). Dahlia shines her pink face at the mess, “Mornin’, perpetrators. Sniff awn this.”

A little Kent State-y, maybe, but sometimes a posy is the best you can do.

 

The Sane Need Not Apply

reb schubMy neighbor Rebecca, a no-nonsense Iron Woman tuffie, once emerged from her apartment with cuts and bruises like she’d lost a round with a threshing machine. No, she said, it was the Death Race. She’d been asleep for two days.

One of Vermont’s crazier offerings, the upcoming Death Race is a twisted, punishing exercise in x-treme sport nutterness. For one thing, particpants are not told until the last minute when it will actually begin. Articles detailing it appear here and here.  Its competitors mystify regular folk; they also entertain. Thank you, nutters.

I say: know when to give up.  Also: barbed wire is not your friend. Good luck!

Total nutter.

Total nutter.

The Devil is in the DEETails

greenbaywi.gov

Litterbug, per greenbaywi.gov

A normally wry friend recently told me how his ex had pointed out his faults on her way out the door. This had made him especially dejected. I asked, “What faults?” and he explained. “You know, the disorganization, the forgetfulness, the keen desire to have my picture taken with political celebrities. . . .” I replied, “Those aren’t faults. Those are endearing traits, charming to those who love you.”

It’s been said that what attracts you to someone is what later drives you nuts. Likewise, qualities you have that delighted someone can devolve into vile faults demanding extirpation. But it’s a puzzle when someone who is leaving you feels obligated to express exactly why you’re not good enough. Why do that? Isn’t it bad enough they’re abandoning you? I once received a 13-page Dear Jane letter, detailing all I had done wrong. I see, I thought. Yes, it’s clear now. Thanks so much.

What became clear? My shortcomings? No. That the devil is alive and well. He enters people and makes them romance you, leave you, and tell you how you failed. The devil was in the details: in this case elaborately illustrated criticisms. The devil also invented call waiting, data mining, and other vexing details of modern life designed to make us willing to swap with him our souls, for just a few moments of blessed peace.

He also recruits Litterbugs. When I’m behind someone that throws a cigarette or Big Gulp out a car window, I become possessed. I honk, flash my lights, and make impolite gestures. I know this is wrong, and both Litterbug and I could rightfully say (nod to Flip Wilson), “The devil made me do it.”

Discussing this in church, a wry southern friend says with vehemence, “I want to know. What does a litterbug look like?” I know precisely what they look like but the words I’d use to describe one cannot be said in church. We work ourselves into a lather over it. Then, pews away, I hear a Vermonter of many years (90+?) say to her companion, “It always takes me by surprise, spring. It’s such a lovely transformation, especially after a hard winter.” That this woman could still be awed by how our area is like a different planet in spring, after nearly 100 of them, drives the devil right out of me.

mud from N

Gone fishin’.

I give a wry friend a candy bar named Chocolate Interlude which she promptly renames Chocolate Intervention. Then I think how in these blasted modern tymes how they add an “e” to things (e-billing, e-commerce) and how we can add our own e’s for the heck of it, to our e-underwear and our e-moxy and our e-breath. And how a wry Vermont friend said in Connecticut, “They call these pot holes?” And how nude season is nigh, and the mighty Goliath of mud has been subjugated by gravity and slender blades of grass, and nothing but nothing smells like flowering trees.

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

sugarandspicedkitchen.com

Then I attend, despite this column’s deadline, the local Legislative Breakfast. Our state senators and representatives articulatewith intelligence and fairness issues that are ridiculously complex, e.g., the GMO labeling bill just passed—and how VT will be sued by corporations. That the Governor’s so-called “Food Fight Fund” is being established, smartly, with the help of non-Vermonters, is cheering. Someone half my age pays me a compliment. I spot a granny on a riding mower. Finally—get this—technology proves heartening. I choose truelove as a password and it is denied for being “too common.” That its selection as a password is too common says something huge about humankind.

Yes, there is plenty of hard evidence of the devil’s existence, including but not limited to black flies, BP, and the Disgraceful Home Printer Ink Scandal of Modern Tymes, wherein (pricey!) ink tanks mysteriously dry up and your (infernal!) printer won’t even scan without ink. Sometimes we choose between two devils, say, black flies and DEET. A Mainer I know says you can’t go fishing without it. I use it when the biters are so vicious I don’t care if it shuts down my brain, bladder, and kidneys, though I know DEET to be compressed devil in a can.

Some days, the devil’s around every corner, seems like. Yet somehow, with an overheard “lovely transformation” and a too-common password and grannies riding mowers and a posse of wry friends, we remain eHopeful. We soldier on. If you feel disheartened, I’ll give you part of my heart, that as yet unaffected as yet by DEET and other devilment. Good luck. Good day.

Calling All Readers: Book Suggestions Needed

Gone Girl pngFriends, your nominations are requested for the Valentine’s column on suggested reading. Please send your top picks with a 10-wordish pitch as to why we must read them.

Spelling counts. No it doesn’t. But as I’ll be ripping your referral word for word,  packaging counts. And in a world where beauty matters, I admit that book covers can sway the Decider, me.

Nepotism Allowed. Only you have to pitch it, ‘kay?

Examples courtesy of Lynn-O and Stonehenge:The Goldfinch

Gone Girl — Gillian Flynn — Annoying because the characters are SO unlikeable.  Despite that, you can’t help but sticking with it to figure out what’s going to happen (and ultimately you care).
The Goldfinch — Donna Tartt — post-modern David Copperfield + Holden Caulfield rolled into one.  MUST READ!
NOTE: Whoever writes the best pitch, subjectively and arbitrarily selected by the Decider, will receive (eventually) a very good book via Media Mail.

“10 surprising things you may not know about Martin Luther King Jr.”

MLKMLK’s 1963 March on Washington speech is as stirring as the first time you heard it. Favorite parts include “When will you be satisfied?” in the middle and “Go back!” after that. His transcendent oratory backed by tireless work! His beautiful face!

Here are some fakts with the video of the speech. Listen this time with an ear to the church-style MLK Man of the Yearencouragement from listeners near the mike (“Yes!”  “Uh huh.” “Amen!”). Video of the crowd is great.  Mahalia Jackson’s interesting contribution noted here with stills of that day.

Today I will write a check to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Morris Dees’ outfit does sooper cool stuff, like (legally) taking a white supremacist compound and turning it into a summer camp for disadvantaged youth of color. Oh man, that is justice, baby. Amen.

If You Can Report Colder Weather Than This

18 below…I hope you don’t have a dog to walk.

The ReelFeel® here will be 44 below by 4 AM—bad, per AccuWeather®, for kite flying, swimming, and breathing. Not to worry…it will soar to 12 below by 8 AM, when you can resume normal activities. Like hacking away at ice formations on your car, calling in sick, and going back to bed.

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