Archive for October, 2008

At Last!

In yet another affirmation of how great my new job is, my boss gave us the holiday party details:  he’s taking us to Restaurant Eve’s tasting room in December!


All on his own, too, I haven’t even been hounding him and slipping notes in my reports about the place.  Perhaps I mentioned it at one of the corporate lunches.  Anyhow, what with this and midterm grades, it appears that I am on Santa’s Good list.

I really can’t imagine why: I’ve been awful this month about posting for you in general and my volunteering goal in particular, I’m eating chocolate pie for dinner, and it’s over an hour past my bedtime.

Leftover Big Boxes

The NPR show On Point did a great story Thursday on the reuse of malls and big box stores left behind by expansion and contraction of retail behemoths.  Tom Ashbrook interviewed a guy talking about returns to clustered urban community design, a lady who’d written a book on reuses of big-box stores as schools.  It was good listening and everybody brought up some seriously world-bending trends and ideas that could change the wa we live and buy.  Give it a listen at the show’s website.

I Wish This Was A Review

A thoughtful commenter on this blog tipped me off to Restaurant Eve earlier this year.  Not that it’s a secret, it’s got four stars from the Washington Post and was featured in Food & Wine magazine.  I was obviously too busy making myself (organic!) mac and cheese to pay attention, oops.

But now I know!  I know, and I desire.  This place is run by a lovely chef/manager couple, is named after one of their kids, and has lunch and dinner and prix fixe menus I’d like to drool on.  Topically, though, they buy local, cook seasonal, grow vegetables, and compost!  They even want to start selling you cooking oil for biofuels. Yeah, doesn’t it sound wonderful?

Anyway, this is not a review because it’s anniversary-after-you-win-the-lottery expensive.  They have a really inexpensive lunch menu, actually, but that’s only Monday-Friday, when I work.

I am saving up for you, Restaurant Eve.  I hope to dribble red wine on your organic cotton napkins one day soon.

Check out the profile on the place and their new garden in the Washington Post today.

When The Money’s Gone

Now that nobody believes in our faith-based economy anymore, we’re out of pretend trillions!  No use trying to figure out what’s wrong, we can just drown this bear market in more fake money!

This is obviously working, since the Dow Jones was up today.  Do you believe again yet?  Try harder.

Some countries in the EU are lobbying to back off their climate goals with the financial crisis as an excuse.  Not that they’ve really been meeting these goals before the crisis, but hey, now they need to buckle down and make all that money back.  We don’t have time for the environment.

The response to this financial crisis is like a bad dream.  I’m hoping I can wake up and get back to a sober, reality-based reality if I just yell at the news hard enough.

At least some people are thinking about ways to rebuild this whole rotten system.  Check out the Huffpost interview with Van Jones, green jobs advocate and new author.  His arguments make so much sense, it’s like I actually get to wake up when I’m reading him.  Then, dig this bit on natural vs. financial capital, and how putting real value on natural resources could reshape the world economy.  Feel better?  I do.

Not enough to turn the nightmare off yet, but we won’t ever leave this crisis if we don’t remake our finances to reflect our role on this planet.  Suggestions welcome.

Yearly Green Drycleaning

I dropped off my winter coat (wrinkled and stained, what was I doing last year?) and a few other items at the Green Earth drycleaners on North Quaker, and was reminded how much I like them.  They’re just north of the trisection with Braddock and King St., and they have really nice, helpful staff, and an older gentleman named Buddy who appears to make the place tick.  He saved me $40 on cleaning my leather coat (apparently they have to send out leather and suede because cleaning them fully can mess up the dye), but since I just wanted it sanitized and to smell less like a thrift store, they can do it right there for way less.

So yes, I like them, and you should check them out.  Here’s the store story, and a wikipedia article on what they do.

Here, It Matters

I’m late finding this, but check out this article from the WSJ from a couple weeks ago.  According to the McKinsey consulting firm, American consumers directly or indirectly influence 65% of the greenhouse gas emissions our country produces.  That’s over 20% higher than consumers in other countries.  So when we make choices about the way we consume, or change our habits, it’s a bigger deal.

Awesome.  Keep up the good work, it’s helping.

Pesky Kids?

The NYT published an article last week about how some parents stay green because their kids hound them about it.  This is characterized in the article as cute, noble and totally annoying behavior.  “Heh heh! Those little rascals!  Now stop making me feel all guilty and eat your dinner.”  What particularly struck me about this article is how the parents tend to complain that their kids are really good at remembering to be “green”, sharing what they’ve learned, and expressing their convictions.  One telling bit:

Liz DiVittorio, of Raleigh, N.C., a mother of three, recalled walking with her 10-year-old son, Michael, this summer after a rainstorm and seeing a neighbor running his sprinkler.

“My son looked at him and said, ‘Why are you watering your lawn? It just rained,’ ” said Ms. DiVittorio, who works for a software company. “I sat there and cringed.”

Cringed?  Seriously?  Kid, that was a good question.  Do not listen to your mother; keep asking questions.  Just because you know that overwatering is a bad idea, both for grass and the planet, does not mean that these things occur to other people.  Go ahead, push them outside of their comfort zone- and after they stop being appalled at your “rude behavior”, they’ll come to their senses.

One interviewee does get to the heart of the matter.

“One of the fascinating things about children is that they don’t separate what you are doing from what you should be doing,” Ms. Bovey said. “Here’s this information about how we can help the environment, and kids are not able to rationalize it away the way that adults do.”

Yeah.  So the next time your kids or anybody else asks you why your actions don’t conform with your ideals, be prepared to admit your hypocrisy.  Maybe you have a good reason.  Explain it, but don’t excuse it.  We’re all hypocrites about something.  Don’t blame the tiny messengers.  Sheesh.

PS.  In what I assume is an attempt at journalistic unbias, the article helpfully points out that some people think “turning children into stewards of the environment is an inappropriate use of taxpayer money.”  Who are these people, these citizens who honestly think that it’s a bad idea to instill a respect for their environment in schoolchildren?  Will one or more of these people please get in touch with me so we can have exchanges of opinion?  I’ll refrain from telling them what I actually think of them if they give me one good reason why they make any sense at all.

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