February 12, 2012

The Good, The Ban And The Ugly

Good morning and greetings, national park fans. I’m always amazed
when I drive along the freeways of life at how much litter I see on
the side of the road. The majority of it is usually plastic bags, bottles and George Bush ‘Mission Accomplished’ t-shirts.

It is such a visual blight and I always think, this isn’t a third-world country, this is America. How can this be happening? This is why I’ve always been in favor of capitol punishment for litterers, but perhaps that’s a tad extreme. Fifteen to life or having to read the Tea Party’s weekly newsletter might be more appropriate.

So that leads me to a story wriiten by Shaun McKinnon in the
Arizona Republic. In the very near future, when you visit the Grand
Canyon, it’s going to be BYOBA, as in bring your own bottled aqua, as
the National Park Service says it will no longer allow the sales of bottled-water. This is because millions of these discarded plastic containers are littering trails, filling trash and recycling bins while just making one plastic, fantastic mess in one of our nation’s wonderlands.

These new rules take effect in about 30 days, to coincide with the
start of March Madness. Visitors can still bring in bottled water,
Mountain Dew or Diet Snapple into this grandest of all canyons, but
no water will be available for purchase. The Park Service is hoping that hikers, tourists and surivalists will instead switch to reusable containers
they can top off for free at refilling stations at the South Rim, North Rim or the way I had hoped to live my life, above the rim.

Park officials claim that plastic bottles for account of 30 percent of the
Canyon’s recyclable trash and 20 percent of the overall trash, which I think is rubbish. The decision comes more than a year after they announced the no-sale of bottled water policy, and then backtracked after Coca-Cola, which sells the Dasani brand of water, went nuts and sought to block the ban. And we know that Dasani, which Coca Cola designed to make a difference, claims to be the most refreshing water you will ever taste. Personally, I prefer my chemical contaminants from out of the tap.

The ban is part of a new nationwide policy put in place in December,
instructing all parks to work toward halting bottled-water sales and
large foam fingers. The policy is aimed more at hikers than casual
visitors, who can still purchase Gatorade, Dr. Pepper and a variety of
tropical smoothies at the Canyon gift shops.

Park officials say that discarded bottles have become a serious problem along the trails on the rim and in the Canyon’s soft, chewy interior. The Park’s chief concessions operator says that because of the ban they will lose money, but right now “that’s water under the bridge,” and they will attempt to make up some of the difference with sales of Herman Cain campaign memorabilia.

I think it’s a great idea. And if I never saw another customer leaving
Costco with a flat of 100 bottles in tow, I think I could still sleep at night. The environment and the American Council for Pick up Your Damn Garbage thanks you.

On the photo front, the skies lit up last Thursday night with a sunset
for the ages. It was spectacular on two different fronts, with giant peach-colored clouds to the east with orange waves of grain to the west. Unfortunately, I viewed it through the windshield my car as I hurtled back through time and space on my way home from Hollister.

So although I did see it, I didn’t quite capture the moment. But
thank goodness one of today’s youth intervened and put the moment in perspective. My son Jason said, “Dad, the important thing is that we saw it,” I replied “Son, you’re absolutely right,” and then I made him ride home in the trunk the rest of the way.

So instead I’m showcasing a sunset shot from Stockton Avenue back on the evening of January 29. It pales in comparison to the stars and stripes extravaganza of last week, but it will work for this week’s post. It seems the fabulous sunrises and sunsets, much like my mother’s favorite show ‘Parenthood,” is closing down for the season and will soon be history.

I believe it was either Groucho or Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” John F. Kennedy said that “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.” But I like to quote another former president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who once said, “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future or the New York Giant’s defense to run over him.”

On to the late night. “Donald Trump announced he is building a new
hotel four blocks from the White House. And with any luck, that will
be about as close to the White House as Donald Trump will ever get.” –Jay Leno “It was a busy day for Trump, because just this morning, his hair popped out of the ground and predicted six more weeks of winter.” –Jimmy Fallon “Newt and Hillary are very similar. Both spent the ‘90s trying to figure out who Bill was sleeping with. And they have the
same tailor.” –Craig Ferguson

“One of the most talked about commercials was the one with Clint
Eastwood, where he said, ‘It’s halftime in America, and our second
half is about to begin.’ The bad news? China has the ball and we’re
down $15 trillion. Congratulations once again to the world champion
New York Giants.They played a great game. Eli Manning now has two
rings. Two! But that’s still one less ring than Newt Gingrich.” –Jay Leno

“Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is on the show tonight. If
you know anything about this guy, he dropped out. But he’s a former
governor, Ambassador to China, honest, kind, ethical, a good husband,
and a good father. He never stood a chance.” –Jay Leno “Rick Santorum was the big winner. He is feeling very cocky. He already is being fitted for an inaugural sweater vest.” –David Letterman “A mother in China gave birth to a 15-pound baby. Chinese officials say it’s so
big, it can do the work of two babies.” –Conan O’Brien

It was a wild week on the central coast, as a huge swell hit
last Wednesday, bringing enormous waves that smashed against the
cliffs in spectacular displays of spray and wash. When the ocean
displays this kind of energy, power and fury, it is a sight never to be missed. All part of the Magic Johnson at the edge of the continent.

And speaking of energy, I hope you caught some New York Knick’s action this week, because there was some something special happening in Madison Square Garden. Harvard was in the house. We’ll catch you hitting threes, twisting layups and 360 drives in the lane. Aloha, mahalo and later, Jeremy Lin fans.


  1. Love your humor even though you steal it from funny guys. Love the way you cleverly deliver it though

    Comment by boots — February 13, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  2. Ah the ultimate entrepreneurial idea – selling people something they can get for free – water – and creating tons of waste in the process – if that isn’t the American dream then what is? Viewing a spectacular sunset from the edge of the continent perhaps? Please keep up the excellent work for those of us who can’t be there…

    Comment by Iman Shumpert — February 13, 2012 @ 10:23 am

  3. Bottled water, one of the all-time greatest scams. Now waiting for bottled air.

    Comment by Linsane — February 13, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

  4. I don’t like the idea of Jason riding home anywhere but on the roof of the car. Trust me, they like it there.
    As Lin would say, ‘And Yuan!’.

    Comment by Mitt R. — February 13, 2012 @ 8:21 pm

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