The Tyranny of Low-Flow Showerheads & CFL Bulbs

Let me begin by saying that I like our planet. It’s a beautiful place, and I wouldn’t want to live on any other planet. Yes, I think God blessed us quite generously with this snazzy orb of ours, and I think we should take care of it. I don’t think we should dump harmful chemicals in our water, I think we should work towards finding a better source of fuel for our cars, and I think recycling is a good idea. However, there are many environmental regulations that I think are just plain stupid, and quite possibly harmful.

Take, for example, the low-flow shower head. In 1992, the federal government passed a law stating that shower heads could not use more than 2.5 gallons per minute. Really? Our government doesn’t have anything better to do with their time and our money? What about things like terrorism, border insecurity, human trafficking, drug smuggling, etc? Anyway, until this law was passed, most shower heads used about 5 gallons per minute – a much more comfortable and clean amount, if you ask me. While the law was largely unenforced at first, the EPA has been cracking down on manufacturers that dare to rebel by continuing to create shower heads people actually want to buy. These new puny water-dribblers are basically worthless. My apartment building installed low-flow shower heads in all the units because they pay the water bills for all of their tenants. The one in my unit is stamped with “1.5 GPM MAX,” which means it puts forth a MAXIMUM of 1.5 gallons of water per minute. Do you have any idea how hard it is to rinse the shampoo out of 20 inches of hair with a showerhead that’s basically spitting on me? To make matters worse, my hair is blond, so if I don’t get all the soap out, it’s pretty obvious, as my hair looks super greasy and unwashed. Highly attractive, and definitely the look you want for going to work or to job interviews. The shower head at my parents’ house, however, is like standing under a waterfall. It’s wonderful! My hair looks so clean and shiny after I use it, and I can take a shower that’s half the length of the ones I have to take at my own apartment. It makes no sense to me to install these low-flow shower heads that require you to spend 20 minutes trying to rinse the soap off, when I could just take a 10 minute shower with a regular shower head. Does it really save that much water? I think not. In addition, I would be willing to bet that the White House and the homes of our dear members of Congress do not have low-flow shower heads. If you pay $400 for a haircut, you at least want it to look clean, right?

Another “environmentally friendly” development that I don’t understand is the advent of the CFL (compact florescent) light bulb (the spiral ones). The goal here is to phase out the use of regular (incandescent) light bulbs, which have been deemed “inefficient” by the government, and replace them with more efficient ones by 2014. The problem is that CFLs are dangerous. They contain mercury, which means they require a special process to dispose of them. You can’t just chuck the burned-out bulbs in the trash, like you could with the old ones. At least, you’re not supposed to. But in all seriousness, how many people are actually going to take their used light bulbs to a special recycling center? With the possible exception of the people of San Fransisco, probably not many. Most are going to pitch them into the garbage and be on their merry way. And 50 years from now when we have mercury leaking into our tap water from all the CFL bulbs in our landfills, the EPA will start screaming about how we’re all going to die because of these stupid light bulbs. According to this article, mercury is extremely dangerous to children and unborn babies, and, one can assume (though it doesn’t say), pets as well. The article goes on to say that mercury was banned in the use of thermometers. So we can’t use it in thermometers, but it’s ok to put it in light bulbs?

A regular, burned-out CFL requires special disposal, but God help you if you break one of these suckers. If your mercury-laden CFL bulb breaks, you have to EVACUATE. Yes, as in leave the room. You must turn off your central heating/air conditioning unit so that it doesn’t suck up the mercury vapor/particles, open the doors and windows, gather up your children and pets, and go outside for at least 15 minutes. After your room is sufficiently aired-out, you must scoop up the broken glass with cardboard and gloves (don’t touch it! It’s got mercury on it!), then put it in a glass jar with a metal lid. Don’t use a paper or plastic bag – that won’t contain the mercury fumes. *palmface* For real? Are we expecting pregnant women to clean up mercury spills and put their unborn children at risk, just to save a couple of dollars on her light bill? And not only are these bulbs full of mercury, they can also short out and cause fires, as almost happened to this person. Yes, I can clearly see how these bulbs are superior to the old non-toxic, won’t-catch-your-house-on-fire bulbs. *sigh*

As I said before, I’m not opposed to measures to protect the environment. If our planet is healthier, we’ll probably be healthier, too. But I resent these nitpicking, nanny-state measures imposed on individuals by the government in an effort to control us or coerce us into a certain behavior. There is a very clear list of powers that Congress has been granted and they are outlined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution. Nowhere in that list is there any mention of shower heads or light bulbs.

Women Have No Sense of Humor

This is my second rant post for the day, but it’s because the world just seems extra ridiculous today. First we had the mouthy kid in Walmart, now we have this article. The article, for those of you who subscribe to the TL;DR philosophy, is about a milk campaign that was designed to draw attention to the fact that milk can reduce the symptoms of PMS. It features guys being terrorized by their hormonal wives/girlfriends, and apologizing for their supposed slip-ups during this sensitive time of the month. Then they offer them milk. The website for the ad campaign was http://www.everythingidoiswrong.org. All in all, a pretty funny (and often truthful) group of ads. Unless you’re a woman, apparently. Then it’s offensive and mean. So the milk people have pulled all the ads and apologized for being such insensitive, woman-hating jerks. *Palmface*

Before I state my case here, let me remind you that I am, in fact, a certified female who gets bear-like with hormones once a month. Now, having said this, I think it’s ridiculous that they pulled this ad campaign. First of all, it’s true – many women are damn near intolerable when they’re PMS-ing. I should know, because I am one. You can ask the Sloth. I’m pretty much a terrible, mean person for 3-4 days of the month. I’m sorry, but it’s true. I feel bad about it afterwards. Second, why is it not ok to joke about this? We have dozens of television shows that portray men as stupid, incompetent, or downright braindead. Homer Simpson? Fry from Futurama? Peter Griffin? Kevin James’ character from King of Queens? The list goes on, but they’re all examples of men who can’t function without the help of their smart, beautiful, competent female counterpart. And that’s just the TV shows. In between those, during commercial breaks, we are bombarded by more images of ignorant, knuckle-dragging husbands who do nothing but lay around the house and try to get out of doing housework or try to steal their wives’ dessert-flavored yogurts. Meanwhile, their beautiful, domestic-goddess wives just roll their eyes and then step in to help out their poor, incompetent husband.

This is not feminism. This is out and out male-bashing, but we don’t hear men complaining about that. Their treatment by Hollywood and Madison Avenue is far inferior to that of women, but women are the ones complaining about any tiny thing that could be perceived as even remotely chauvinistic. Perhaps that’s why they treat them better. Or maybe they’re trying to make up for past sins against women. But the women of today are not the same women of yesterday. We are highly educated (there are more female graduates from college than there are male graduates), working in almost every job that men work in (the only exception I can think of is Special Forces in the military, and that needs to stay male), and generally doing pretty well for ourselves (except for running off all of our potential mates by being so terrifyingly aggressive and dominant). And men of today are not the men of yesterday. They are more sensitive, more egalitarian in their relationships with women, and more willing to sacrifice and compromise so that the woman in their life can pursue her own career and other goals. And so their reward is for us to portray them as collectively dumber than a box of rocks. No wonder they think we’re crazy!

Is this ad campaign insensitive? Yeah, probably a little. But I’m not offended. You see I was blessed with this device called a “sense of humor” which allows me to laugh at myself and my gender and all of my/our idiosyncrasies and shortcomings. I think the milk folks need to unapologetically reinstate this campaign and let women learn to laugh at ourselves, and maybe women should go a little easier on the guys. We sure can dish it out, but it seems we definitely can’t take it.

Teach Your Children Well

It amazes me how some people let their kids speak to them. I was in Walmart today perusing the school supplies section in preparation for my foray back into the world of substitute teaching, and I heard a middle-school-aged kid arguing with his mom about school supplies. I think they were looking at notebooks, and he wanted one that was more expensive than she was willing to pay. So he said, in a very condescending and demanding way, “It’s $2.64, Mom. Just hike up your skirt and pay the extra money.” To her credit, Mom said no, but I couldn’t believe she didn’t turn around and pop him in the mouth. If I ever spoke to my mom like that, she would have grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the store, but not before we stopped off in the women’s bathroom for a sound verbal and physical spanking. And had this been my kid, I think I would have responded, in my own gentle, maternal way, with “How about I hike up my skirt and beat the snot out of you for talking to me like that?” followed by a swift, painful, and publicly humiliating smack on the butt. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t condone abusing your children, but I don’t condone letting them abuse you either. I’m not sure that all parents understand that children learn to respect adults by respecting their parents first, from a young age. So, if you don’t teach them to respect you, they don’t learn to respect their teachers either. And eventually, they may take that kind of behavior to the next level and speak to their bosses in a disrespectful manner, which will get them a one-way ticket to the unemployment line.

This was not an isolated incident. When I worked at Large Retail Store, I heard all kinds of hateful stuff coming out of the mouths of teenagers and pre-teens, directed toward their poor, browbeaten parents. And as a substitute, I’ve endured my share of backtalk. When I ask those kids if they talk to their mothers that way, they invariably tell me yes, or that their mothers don’t make them do XYZ. Obviously a lot of those kids are lying, but I know that a lot of them are being truthful, which is sad.

I think the problem is that our society has forgotten that parents are supposed to be just that – parents – not friends. Parents are so afraid of alienating their kids or of not being the “cool parents” that they are incapable of disciplining them. I think maybe some of this stems from reality shows where parents are portrayed more as friends, and ones that show kids acting outrageously bratty and spoiled and still getting everything they want (yes, I’m looking at you, “My Super Sweet Sixteen”). Obviously TV is not the only problem. Some people are going to let their kids run wild no matter what, and that’s really a shame. It reflects badly on them as parents, sets the kid up for failure later in life, and makes life harder for all that have to come in contact with their snotty kids.

So, bottom line? Discipline your kids. Spank them, ground them, take away privileges… whatever you have to do. But don’t forget to reward them every now and then when they’re good.

It Doesn’t Matter What Color Casey Anthony Is

The big news for today is that Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. Now, I haven’t been following this case in depth, but it’s one of those things that you can’t help but hear about. My Facebook News Feed has been blowing up with all kinds of comments about the trial and the verdict since they announced it this afternoon.The consensus among the general American public (aside from the 12 people serving as her jury, apparently) is that Casey Anthony was guilty, and from what I’ve heard about the trial, I’m inclined to agree. Anyway, after I found out about the verdict and whatnot, I decided to check my Twitter*. One of the trending hashtags was #notguilty, unsurprisingly. What WAS surprising to me is that when I clicked on the link for #notguilty, I was treated to tons of tweets about how Casey Anthony was only found not guilty because she’s white. I will copy and paste some of these tweets here for you (with all spelling and grammar mistakes left uncorrected):

DemaniClassic Demani Classic
Would the #caseyanthonyverdict still be #notguilty if she was darker?

doitlike_a_boss J’nae Mackenzie
sooo Casey #notguilty but yet if it was someone black iSwear this case would’ve been too OC . she would’ve been sent to prison

DOLLAsignRAFY Rafy
In corparet america if your white your #notguilty

l0wbaby Miss L.O.W.
I wonder how #NotGuilty Casey Anthony woulda been if she was a black woman.

TNiCE252 Terence Warren
Casey Anthony is #NotGuilty But Tiger Woods is hated by millions because he Cheated on his white wife? -____-

TNiCE252 Terence Warren
Casey Anthony is #NotGuilty But Rosa Parks went to jail for sitting at the front of the bus? …..What a fair world we live in -___-

(Mr. Warren – That was over 50 years ago, when America was (shamefully) still segregated. It was nothing to do with anything in the Casey Anthony trial.)

rn1814 ✔Verified® DaBoss
#notguilty for a white women, but would’ve been GUILTY for a black women, I GUARANTEE.

STEEZtheGREAT Steez
Casey Anthony #NotGuilty but Nelson Mandela went to jail for 30 Years for standing up for his rights

(Mr. Steez – DIFFERENT. EFFING. COUNTRIES. Nelson Mandela lived through apartheid in South Africa. Yes, it’s completely unjust, but it has nothing to do with this trial.)

What shocks me about this is that they took a trial that had NOTHING to do with race and made it into a racial issue AND they seem more concerned about the fact that she was white and got off instead of being concerned about the fact that she KILLED HER CHILD and got off. As if being born white were the bigger crime! How can we as a nation move past the scourge of racism if literally every event in the media is turned into a racial issue, even when it has nothing to do with race? Just something to think about, America.

To round out this post, here are the tweets that I’m inclined to agree with about this whole situation:

Natt_Smiler Natalia Lopez
Casey Anthony found #NotGuilty Of the murder of her 2 year old daughter Caylee, she murdered her child and everybody else know she did.

yASMiN37 Yasmin V ✔Verified®
Now we can move on, I bet you any money someone gunna say kus she white STFU !! NOT everything about if she was black or white #NotGuilty

JBibeliebinyouu вяεε ツ.♥
#NotGuilty? i guess Caylee killed herself, covered her own mouth with duct tape, put herself in a bag, and threw herself in the woods.

Mar4L Ronnie Spangler
Message from Anthony jury to young single mothers: Want to be able to party & have fun, just kill your kid. We will understand. #notguilty

CaLi_Dopeness Quan
Sooo if Casey Anthony is #notguilty shouldn’t she be asking the justice system to find the REAL killer instead of celebrating tears of joy

*Yes, I am guilty of having a Twitter. I got it for my Etsy shop. If the spirit moves you, you can follow me at @SheepsBeads.

Why America is A Cool Place to Live

Last night, as I was watching the fireworks display put on by the City of Clarksville (yes, they did it a day early – no, I don’t know why), I started thinking about how odd it is that most things we consider “American” are really imports from other nations and cultures. Fireworks, for example, are Chinese. Apple pie is a creation of the Dutch, and hamburgers and hot dogs are both of German descent. Jazz music, created in New Orleans, is considered by historians to be the first real example of truly “American” music, but even jazz takes cues from other cultures, mainly those in Africa. Our language, American English, is a blend of the Queen’s English and borrowed words from dozens of other languages (especially Native American languages). Even that most American of sports – baseball – has its roots in English and Scottish folk games (at least according to Wikipedia).

The more I thought about it though, the more it occurred to me that this absorption of other cultures is the very basis for American cultural society – one of those basic history lessons you get in elementary school about America being a melting pot. People moved here from nearly every other country on Earth and in doing so, they brought their traditions, food, languages, etc. They absorbed some of the habits and cultures of their neighbors, and their neighbors did likewise. The end result is a national culture that is distinct in the fact that it is so INDISTINCT, if that makes sense. But, that’s not a bad thing. I think our unique heritage of so many different cultures makes us an interesting place to live. No other nation has such a diverse populace living in relative peace with each other. It’s one of the many things that makes the US the best place to live. We’re not perfect, by any means, but I still don’t think I’d want to live anywhere else.