Thoughts on the new plans to rollback fuel efficiency standards…

As the US continues to drop bombs on its war against reason as it relates to climate change, consumers need to act.

If the market demands cars with improved fuel efficiency, or electric cars, whatever rollbacks the Trump administration implements on fuel efficiency standards will not matter.

Automakers will be forced to comply with market demands.

Our dollars and decisions drive the market, not Trumps war on science and reason.

Screaming on social media doesn’t help, especially if you go out and buy a gas guzzling SUV afterwards.

Gas prices are rising. The petroleum industry and car manufacturers win if these proposed rules go into effect. In the long run, auto-consumers loose at the gas pump and via continued environmental degradation. But that doesn’t mean we quit and blame Trump.

Buy smart if you care about climate change–and don’t get sucked into the noise, such as the argument about safety as it relates to cars with better fuel efficiency standards. That’s crap.

Oh, and by the way, fuck you EPA. Remember, you make the rules we make the calls.

Road trip to Pittsburgh

Just returned from a road trip to Pittsburgh, we were there to see the Arctic Monkeys. Driving from Media it was a long trip. Never realized how many trees Pennsylvania has. I didn’t count, but there are a lot – you’ll have to trust me on this.

The concert was fun. Although I’m not familiar with all of their songs, I feel I heard them all before somewhere–there music is instantly accessible and supremely catchy. I even bought a t-shirt that I will wear every now and then.

Had the opportunity to run through downtown Pittsburgh as well. It is a beautiful city. Trees and green are interspersed throughout in an organic way. I’d like to re-visit with some more time.

The road trip put Pennsylvania into perspective. Two football teams, one on each end of the state, and tons of green in between.

Back from Vacation

Recently visited Argentina for Spring break. We had a fantastic time, but it’s also great to be back. Below are some quick impressions on my experience there. I’ll have more to add in upcoming posts and photos are forthcoming.

Traffic

Traffic in Argentina is unbearable. A half hour drive in Buenos Aires can turn into a 2.5 hour exercise in patience. I like Septa (public transportation) – it’s relatively predictable and can be an easy scapegoat when late, as in Septa is having electrical issues again. But in Argentina, there really isn’t an excuse for being late. It’s just accepted, and I think traffic patterns have a lot to do with that.

Urban centers would benefit from having more bicycle lanes. Buenos Aires is flat and super congested. It can be a prime bike riding city. Making it more bike friendly would go a long way in taking some cars off the road. This is a quick fix that could go a long way.

Fruits and Veggies 

Fruits and vegetables taste the way they are supposed to taste. In the US, we get them imported, and by the time we get them they are frozen many times over. But there, an apple tastes like an apple, and carrots are wonderfully big and orange. And when cooked on a grill as in an asado, vegetables become the most delicious thing ever, especially onions.

Vegan in Argentina

It’s tough to be vegan in general, but in Argentina – wow, it’s really tough, especially for new vegans. In the US we are spoiled in that we can eat some foods from packages. There, mostly every packaged food (including potato chips) contains some form of milk. Tofu, tempeh, and plant based milks are all very hard to find. The fresh fruits are so good there, one can argue that packaged foods aren’t really necessary, however, if accustomed to comfort foods like Chao cheese, get ready for cravings. Oh, and no nooch!

I’ll post some photos of our trip to La Boca when I have a chance.

We also had an opportunity to visit La Ventana, which is a wonderful tango and gaucho show. Tango music is just lovely. Didn’t take any photos of that though, no cameras allowed.

Overall it was a blast. Thank you Argentina!

Morning Musings: 2018-03-14

Trying something new. A stream of conscience post. Content is hard sometimes, but daily thoughts aren’t. Maybe I’ll do these every now and then and see how it goes.

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Proud to say that Bernadette is walking out of school today in protest of gun violence. She is very serious about this. It seems that lack of action by our current congress regarding gun violence has lit a fire – the young generation might not be able to vote, but when they do it seems that there will be a reckoning. Don’t dismiss them because they live behind their screens. They will be more politically astute than we ever were. Where as we watched our parents discuss politics from the sidelines, this generation isn’t afraid to get out there.

RIP Stephen Hawking.

Recipe of the day: banana. Peel and eat.

More chaos at the White House (yawn). Tillerson out. A hard-nosed lunatic is new Secretary of State. I guess the war machine is being expedited.

Children asking other children for nudes needs to stop

I have a 13 year old daughter who has both an Instagram and Snapchat account. On both platforms, and on others she has signed up for, she has been solicited for nude photos from friends and strangers.

It’s easy to block somebody or tell them to, “fuck off,” but that’s not the right thing to do, nor does it make the pain go away.

Did you know that a child asking another child for a nude photo is considered a very serious crime? And did you know that if convicted, a child can have a sex offender label attached to their record? I didn’t until I did some digging and called the Delaware County sheriff’s office and was redirected to the internet crime division, or the CID.

To investigate, the CID must comb through the phone of the victim. Once they investigate, they can prosecute, and ultimately, the child soliciting photos will be charged with a sex crime.

I don’t really think kids understand that their behavior on these devices are considered a real crime.

I know that in my daughter’s school, Springton Lakes in Media, PA, they receive internet awareness training in school, and training on how to use their school issued Chromebooks. But asking for nudes, and what to do when asked for nudes isn’t covered.

Students should know where to go when solicited for nudes and not be made to feel helpless. Being a child with a device is difficult enough.

I contacted the school asking her counselor if an assembly can be arranged with the CID. I feel as if they are pushing me off on this. These aren’t their devices that are being used. But the thing is, these are their students. They have a responsibility to educate here and provide a safe zone for learning.

Remember the just say no campaign? Officers would walk into school with their drug sniffing dogs and show us drugs and scare the hell out kids with horror stories. I remember one story an officer told about a guy who did so much cocaine that they burned a hole through the nostril bridge inside his nose. This person was able to put their finger up their right nostril, and the finger tip would come out their left nostril.

The CID offers a similar assembly. They can go into schools and talk to children about these crimes. I don’t think they could tell such a cool nostril story, but they can get the point across about the sex offender label.

I want the school’s attention on this. These are their students committing these crimes, and the victim’s are their students as well. If I don’t hear something positive from them, next step for me is to pen something for the local papers or get in front of the PTG. Children asking their classmates for nude photos needs to stop.

If your child is solicited for nudes, and you live in Delaware County, PA, call the CID and report the crime. Their number is: 610.891.4717. If you don’t live in DelCo, call your local sheriff’s office and they’ll be able to point you in the right direction.

My 2017 Top Ten List

2017 was a difficult year in many respects. But for me, personally, I had a pretty good year. Below is a top ten list of things that happened or that I discovered in 2017. (And yes, I know that top ten lists are corny – but it’s an end of year internet tradition, and when in Rome…)

10.  Green Party Politics – I became the secretary of the Delaware County Green Party and have a taste of what real grass roots democracy looks like. It’s not easy. In 2018 the mission is to grow the party and for us to be a lot louder.

9.  Rise of vegan restaurants and vegan items on restaurant menus. Dining out in Philly is getting much easier as more and more vegan restaurants are popping up. And if you haven’t tried Dottie’s Donuts, put that on your bucket list.

8. Public Transportation – Public transportation is relatively predictable, it has considerably lowered my transportation costs, and provides a stress free commute. The trolley is warm and comfy.

7. Family clean Saturdays – we clean on Saturdays. It’s kinda fun.

6. Martindale’s in Springfield, PA – This place is fantastic. No longer do I have to order yerba mate from Amazon, I can pick it up here. And they have a bunch of other good, hard to find stuff as well.

5. Vegan Doc Marten’s and Vegan Birkenstock’s – I wear my Docs all day, and when I get home I slip into my Birks. Happy feet equals a happy day.

4. Tempeh – enough said. Tempeh is fantastic.

3. Yoga, Aikido, and Iaito – All three activities are new this year. They keep me out of trouble and off the streets after the school bell rings.

2. This blog – Owning what I put on the internet and not being followed by ads seeking some love has been refreshing.

Honorable mention:

A. Bach – Since this is the best of list, let’s focus on the love part of my love/hate relationship with Bach. I love listening to Bach’s compositions.

B. Nutritional yeast and liquid amino provides wonderful seasoning to any dish.

1. New job – Very happy at new job, and as a bonus, there are even other vegans that work here.

2018 should be very interesting. We might see an FBI investigation against the president heat up, a war, maybe some new tech–who really knows. I will try not to get to lost in that stuff.

My goal for 2018 is to be as present and as in the moment as possible.

Happy New Year!

Distractions from Space

In the past few months there has been chatter about space debris, planets, and UFO’s.

It’s impossible that we are the only planet with life on it. It’s just a matter of time before we make contact with other lifeforms–or rather, they make contact with us.

Powerful telescopes and technology brings us closer to what’s been there all along. And that is the greatest mystery isn’t it, what exactly has been there all along?

Here’s a funny thought, what if President Trump was the first to greet an intergalactic messenger?

Blog Update: 2017-12-19

Made a few changes recently to the blog. The biggest one being that I will now use Disqus for comments, and I’ve activated ad space above the comments. I wasn’t crazy about the native WordPress comment section so this is an improvement. I’ve used Disqus previously and it’s a good fit I think for this site.

The other update is that I’m going to begin migrating the content from the BlackBeansandBikes.com food blog here. The first was the chili recipe (which is an award winning recipe btw). Recipes will have their own category.

 

That’s it for now.

Peace.

Should the Attention Economy be Regulated?

The red notification indicator on our favorite apps, the “like” button, the downward refresh-feed sweep, all of these things are the backbone of what is now being referred to as, the “attention economy.” This new economy drives our national discourse, which is very reactionary, and has partly-created the dreaded feedback loop that drives social media interaction. At best, these queues let us know when grandma likes our most recent brain fart, but on the other hand, it has enabled an attention-seeking reality TV star to become a president. The Guardian has a nice article on the impact of the attention economy here, which is well worth reading. It discusses the dangers of this new economy and how it came to be. It also highlights what some of the well-meaning tech gurus responsible for the habit-forming queues we’ve grown to rely upon are doing to pull away from their own inventions, recognizing that they are dangerous. Ironically enough, like most monsters, it’s creation didn’t come from a place of bad-intention. And maybe it can be reeled in before things get even more out of hand. The question we might need to begin asking is, if drugs, alcohol and tobacco can be legislated and regulated, can code, and the application of it be as well? And if this is asking too much, those that are paying attention might need to deactivate a few things.