Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stay cool, put the shades down

Yesterday, when my friend Laurie mentioned that she was in a rush to get some things done in the garden before the heat wave came, I realized that I haven’t been paying attention to weather forecasts. So, it’s going to be hot. I don’t want to know the number. I’ll just keep the shades down. I also have some left over reflective insulation I used behind the radiators last winter (it reflects heat back into the room instead of letting it be absorbed into the walls). I’ve already covered one window in the attic with it. Maybe it could be used elsewhere in the house?

To see how much of a difference shades can make, I measured surface temperatures with my handy little Black & Decker thermal leak detector, a birthday gift that might rival the View Master I got when I was a kid. This morning the shades on the south window were already down. However, one window on the east side was not shaded, letting a little bit of sun in to hit a chair. At about 9:10 a.m., the shaded part of the chair was 80.6 ⁰ F and the sunny part of the chair was 95.5 ⁰ F.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"Like" it to help Rachael "get" it - Compost is not Garbage

Recently, I asked Rachael Ray, the host of the very popular 30 Minute Meals, if she would please consider referring to her “garbage bowl” as her “compost bowl.” For convenience, Rachael keeps a “garbage bowl” on the counter to discard food scraps while cooking. It’s a good idea. However, it sends the wrong message. Rachael might be receptive to my request, especially if she could see there is a lot support for it.

So, I created a Facebook fan page that includes my letter to Rachael. You can help by clicking the “Like” button here:

Eventually, I would like to see every state represented in the support for this. Here is how it is shaping up so far:

I am a fan of Rachael Ray's and hope that she will take my suggestion kindly.

[Added June 22, 2011]

Here are some flyers you can post.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

If only big media shared small media values

Brian will banish himself to the basement or flee the house entirely before he would ever be subjected to an episode of The Antiques Roadshow or even five seconds of the local news. His aversion to the Roadshow is a mystery. But if he hates it the way I hate game shows, who can blame him for his abrupt departures? On the other hand, his animated grumblings about the “news” are easily triggered for a reason. Here are the teasers from WCCO yesterday:

Little Dominique makes a horrible discovery in the alley…

A zoo surprise! A Mexican wolf on the loose…

...What you need to know about sunscreen…

This MADtv clip is hardly an exaggeration.

Comparatively, MTN, the Minneapolis public access station, is far more useful. Who else is covering things like the 2011 Twin Cities Sustainable Communities Conference and making these resources available on the web? Instead, it’s murder, sports and weather with a dash of reality TV promos and a helping of product placements from the mainstream media. It’s hard not to imagine what the potential of our media infrastructure holds for building a strong sense of community and solving real problems, if only the resources were used for such an aim. Clearly MTN is making a stab at it.