Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Q: What does an emu do?

A: Not much. But when it comes towards you, the ground shakes.

-- Neil Young

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Solar Decathalon

Check out this site on the solar competition that went on this month in Washington, D.C.: BP Solar Decathlon Blog » BP and the Solar Decathlon.

I'll step out of the way and let the amazing and brilliant design ideas from these students speak for themselves. Very very cool stuff; check it out! S

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Legacy of John Denver

Many critics out there have referred to his music as cornball or too mellow, and some of you may feel the same—and that’s okay—but in my opinion he’s a prophet for his stance on environmental issues.

He was a man ahead of his time, who embraced environmental causes way before many of us even understood what environmentalism is.

John Denver introduced me to the environment through his music.

In particular, he exposed me to the stories of the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains; a place which, shamefully, I still have yet to visit and explore. I'll get there someday physically, as I visit the place every time I put his music on.

My first exposure to Denver was probably around the age of six, when he was all over television in the mid-1970s. He was one of the first “tele-genic” pop stars, and very kid friendly, so my folks probably saw my interest and an opportunity to “culture” me, encouraging the matter by giving me John Denver’s Greatest Hits for Christmas 1975. I believe it was the first bona-fide record I ever owned—the one where he has his hand on his hat, with those nerdy specs and the sun in his eyes—how could I ever forget it...

...oh excuse me, my first record was one by Burl Ives, and it WASN'T the one with "Frosty the Snowman."


The most intriguing part of Denver’s music is the lyrics and themes, in that many of the songs deal with his very personal and spiritual kinship with the environment. Certainly they mean something different to a 6 year old kid than they do to an adult, but the imagery in his music definitely took hold back in the day. I saw visions of majestic mountains, grassy meadows, and mountain streams. I also took note of the concerns expressed in many of his songs; in that the environment is a living, fragile entity.

Looking back, I think I "got it" even at the age of 6... I guess I figured it's a no-brainer. Protect the planet to ensure it's longevity.


What’s so funny about all this is the fact that my mother, who once stated that “she has no connection with nature,” and is the only person I know who refuses to recycle—essentially representing the opposite of everything I value in this world—is the exact individual who pushed the music of John Denver on me as a child. That’s what planted a seed for a big part of the belief system, and the stewardship for the environment, that I carry around to this day.

Damn it, I digressed again... somebody stop me.

Shifting gears, this month marks the 10-year anniversary of his untimely death in 1997, when he died piloting an experimental Long-EZ aircraft which crashed just after takeoff from the Monterey Peninsula Airport in Pacific Grove, CA. He was 53 at the time.

After establishing his musical career in the mid 1970s, Denver used his celebrity to further the environmental sentiments expressed in his music. In addition to focusing on humanitarian and sustainability work, his main focus involved conservation issues—and he went after them aggressively—actually helping to create the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (I assume we all know the context of that locale).

Denver founded his own environmental group, the Winstar Foundation out of Snowmass, CO—which pursues conservancy and environmental causes in Colorado to this day, and furthers environmental education. You can visit their website here: John Denver's Windstar Foundation. Check out the site and offer some support!

If you ever want to know any detail of what was on Denver’s mind with the environment, just visit his music. I’ll warn you that much of it’s folk-based, and some of it might make you snicker a bit at first at what might come across as a cornball element—but if you give it a chance I think some of it should take hold. Try going to your local library and check out his Country Roads Collection, or try out the one above I mentioned having above as a kid (nerdy-looking squinting fella in the funny hat).

So the story goes… thank you, John Denver, for the inspiration and example you set. S

Monday, October 1, 2007

Absolutely poetic!

If you've read through my posts last summer, you'll see that I'm not a very big fan of Barry Bonds.

That's couching it very very very nicely.

From his doping, the man has tainted not one, but in my opinion THE TWO most sacred records in baseball; the single season home run record, and the career home run record---the latter of which he broke this last regular Major League baseball season, which ends today with a 1-game playoff between Colorado and San Diego to determine the National League wildcard team.

Well, it just so happens that something interesting is happening with the ball that Bonds broke the record with---check this out!

The baseball from Barry Bonds's much-debated 756th home run will soon land in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. When it gets there, it will be branded with an asterisk. Marc Ecko, the fashion designer who bought the ball for $752,467, asked the fans to decide how he should treat the memento.

After more than 10 million online votes, 47 percent of voters wanted the ball to be adorned with an asterisk, 34 percent said it should not be changed and 19 percent wanted it to be shot into space. The first two options included the addendum that the ball would be donated to the Hall of Fame.

While representatives of the Hall were thrilled to get the ball from the most hallowed record in sports, they said their acceptance of the asterisk-laden piece of history did not mean that they supported the inference that Bonds used performance-enhancing substances to achieve his home run total.

"As far as we're concerned, the asterisk represents the voices of the fans for this one moment in time," said Jeff Idelson, the Hall's vice president for communications and education. "For this one week, in September of 2007, this is what the fans wanted. We felt it was worth it to take it."

By accepting Ecko's soon-to-be branded donation, the Hall, which operates independent of Major League Baseball, has put itself in the unusual position of taking, and then displaying, a ball that has been defaced. Idelson said that the Hall "does not support the defacing of artifacts," but that this ball was too monumental to ignore.

Absolutely poetic---I couldn't have imagined a more perfect ending to an otherwise despicable situation. ...and it was brought to you in Giant orange even... ...with a little Mariner blue too... S