When the oil runs out

James Howard Kunstler's latest book.

James Howard Kunstler’s latest book.

Americans are ignorant about energy policy. Oh, they can tell you who the panelists are on The Voice, or recite a litany of pop culture references and answers to sports trivia questions, but knowing about peak oil, and even the seriousness of climate change seems lost on a nation that’s grown up with cheap, abundant petroleum.

When I was born, gas was 30 cents a gallon. Cars were big and bulky. No one thought twice about jumping in the car for a trip the IGA for a gallon of milk or a loaf of Wonder Bread. Gasoline was abundant and Happy Motoring was an American birthright. Continue reading

Baby, it’s cold outside!

Hovering slightly below 0 (Fahrenheit)

Hovering slightly below 0 (Fahrenheit)

We are in the midst of a good old-fashioned cold snap, common to those of us native to northern regions. January has always been the coldest month.

Oddly, the cold is now big news, at least if you watch local affiliate news. It’s part of my morning 5 AM routine that I can’t seem to shake. WMTW-8 sticks their second-string weatherizer out in some live location where this pale and shivering meteorologist tells us that “it’s cold outside.” Yes it is. Continue reading

Blue Mondays, Peace Pilgrims, and three day resolutions

I wanted to cover this yesterday, given that it was actually Blue Monday. But since it was Inauguration Day and even a national holiday, I decided to save it for Self-Help Tuesday, today.

Apparently Blue Monday is the most depressing day of the year. Actually, until last week, I’d never heard of it.  Someone I was talking to mentioned the term and when I asked her what “Blue Monday” was she said, “It’s the day when most people bail on their New Year’s resolutions.” Continue reading

Inauguration Day and MLK

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day across the United States, a national holiday. I’ve written a number of MLK Day posts over the years. This post is the best of the lot, at least the one I’ll hang my hat on as to what I think about Dr. King and the day in general.

This is also Inauguration Day. The Constitution says new presidential terms start at noon on Jan. 20, but President Obama and predecessors have deferred public events when the date falls on a Sunday, citing religious reasons as well as the fact that courts and government offices are closed on Sunday. Continue reading

Another year older (almost)

The Baumer family meets up in Providence, RI

The Baumer family meets up in Providence, RI

One year ago, I was in New York City celebrating my 50th birthday, a surprise getaway weekend arranged by Mary. This year it was less about Broadway and Times Square, and more about local foods, farmers’ markets, books (of course) and time spent hanging out with our son. We were headed south to another urban environment, but this time the destination was Providence, Rhode Island.

Parenting might be one of life’s hardest tasks. We step into the role with little to prepare for it other than our own parents’ example. We usually vow to be better, and most of us are determined to put our own stamp on the process. Somehow we manage to get our kids to adulthood, or maybe they get there despite our efforts. Continue reading

Remaining vigilant

The longer I remain on this path of personal growth, the more aware I am of all the snares and pitfalls that seek to sidetrack and detour me.

I’m convinced that we live in an extremely toxic and dysfunctional culture. Our food, our ethical lapses, the way we look to blame everyone for our what amounts to our own lack of personal responsibility–all of these things pull and tug at us, pushing us in a different and unhealthy direction. Continue reading

The Twitter in five easy steps

The Twitter

The Twitter

I really like “the” Twitter. It’s better than “the” Facebook and many times, it rocks a lot harder than “the” Linkedin.

Is my use of “the” annoying you? It’s how my sister and I talk about “the” social media networks and many other things. It’s a long story and it involves too many sordid details to represent here, but let me tell you, Mister Man, it’s a cocker of a tale that I’ll tell you about in some later post, so don’t change that channel, chummy! Continue reading

Taking that first step

A few weeks ago, I had an interesting discussion with a friend about dissonance. In the course of our conversation about boundaries and having the courage to say, “enough is enough,” the topic of dissonance came up and whether the presence of turbulence or dissonance in our lives was an indicator of something bigger and more important. Continue reading