Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Thoughts on 2005 Part 1

Well, another year has almost come to a close and of course this means I need to post a semi-obligatory diary about the events and news of 2005. I feel that major news outlets have pretty much run coverage of the major events (Katrina, Libbygate, Schaivopalooza, and so on) into the semi-frozen ground, so I will instead pontificate on a few things I've learned this year.

1) Jennifer Weiner is correct. If you are a writer, you need a dog. For that matter, if you breathe, you need a pet of some nature. Myself, I go for dogs. Some go for cats. Some go for snakes. Whatever flips your skirt, folks. Why, just today I realized how wonderful my dog is for me. For example, if not for her need to defecate and exercise outside, I would likely be a stinky shut-in for great stretches of time. She reminds me that daylight and fresh air are important components of a well-balanced lifestyle. Also, she gives me something to worry about other than myself. For example, two nights before Christmas, Daisy ate a full ounce of organic milk chocolate. I seized the opportunity to obsessively monitor her for signs of toxic overload: tremors, vomiting, rapid heartbeat. Luckily, terriers are pretty hardy and nothing happened. Her puppyhood bout with coccidiosis certainly seems to have toughened her up. (If you don't know what coccidiosis is, bless your innocent little heart. Let's just say that this condition is Cupid for words like "projectile" and "bloody diarrhea."

Anyway, if I didn't have Daisy, would I have seen my neighbor's new sign: "Re-elect Hillary 2008"? This completely cracked me up. Nothing like getting a jump on the 2008 election season.

2) Yes Struggling Writer Virginia, it is possible for you to be published. Just keep writing, keep reading, take notes on the world around you, develop a thick-ass skin, get feedback on your work from brutal critics before you send it out ... and get a dog.

3) I can buy a car all by myself! (Thank you, Vans Honda!)

and, the fourth major thing my foggy brain remembers learning this year as I try to write this entry,

4) before purchasing any type of cosmetic, toothpaste, or hair product, vet it for safety at this website: www.safecosmetics.org Healing Garden brand products? Not so healing, it turns out! And Blistex, and Lubriderm, and Dove, and Clarins, and on and on. Even seemingly "healthful" names are deceptive: Cornsilk, Nature's Bounty, and Naturessence have verrrrry little (if anything) in common with a wildflower-filled meadow, based on their Skin Deep safety score. Up to 70% of beauty products (and a surprising number of plastics, even those designed for use by babies) contain phthalates, industrial chemicals linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, and birth defects.

Also, ditch your Teflon-coated pots! The EPA just announced that the chemical used to make Teflon is a "likely carcinogen." (And when the EPA uses words like "likely," you can feel pretty safe substituting words like "100% most definitely.") This chemical is also found in Gore-Tex, pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers, and microwave popcorn. It's present in the blood of 9 of 10 Americans. And recently, the London Times reported that claims against DuPont, which makes this chemical, could total $40 billion. Sounds like a lose-lose situation for everyone.

Hmm...a painful and possibly deadly cancer diagnosis or sticky omelettes...what to choose, what to choose...I guess I'll have to go with the sticky omelettes.

I don't mean to scare the shit out of you, but we lost a dear and close family friend to cancer this year (non-smoker, non-drinker, daily walker), and I'm becoming more and more paranoid about the always-growing toxic loads we all carry. Sure, one non-organic apple won't kill you...it's the 5,200 apples and attendant systemic pesticides you've consumed by the age of 50 that might.

I really don't want to go to another funeral in the near future, so to my friends and family reading this, please take care of yourselves. For more info:

Gay Daly's "Bad Chemistry," excellent cover story of the Winter 2006 issue of OnEarth magazine. The last paragraph is particularly powerful.

I promise my next entry won't be such a downer. But for God's sake, throw out your Estee Lauder Youth Dew Moisturizer.

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