Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Kids Could Drink That Water & Get Wind In Their Brains!"

Unfortunately this is a pretty accurate representation of the quality of Sunday talk show energy discussions:

In The Know: Coal Lobby Warns Wind Farms May Blow Earth Off Orbit

Update: Post title changed by popular demand

Arlington War on Fun's Top General Quits

Arlington Zoning Administrator Melinda Artman, by many accounts the leading force behind Arlington's war on fun, is resigning according to

Will it lead to an armistice with local businesses? Leadership has to come from the County Board, and despite Chris Zimmerman's effort to reform Arlington's zoning ordinance, other board members haven't given the public impression that they think there's any problem.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thursday: Workshop in Arlington on Virginia's Uranium Mining Ban

Should Virginia let private companies mine for uranium in southern Virginia? That will be the focus of a workshop in Arlington on Thursday evening:
Join Keep the Ban coalition members Sierra Club, Virginia Conservation Network and Virginia League of Conservation Voters for the 2011 summer workshop in Arlington.

Want to know more about the toxic legacy that uranium mining creates? Or how to schedule a meeting with your local public official? This year’s Legislative Contact Team briefings will focus on the Keep The Ban Campaign giving you a chance to learn more about the problem and supply you with the tools you need to help maintain the current ban on uranium mining in Virginia.

5:30pm - 6:00pm Dinner (free of charge)
6:00pm - 7:30pm Presentation and Discussion

Arlington Central Library Auditorium
1015 North Quincy Street
Arlington, VA 22201

This event is free and open to the public. Register today.
Get more background on Virginia's uranium deposit at There will also be workshops in Roanoke on July 19 and in Harrisonburg on July 21.

Reduced Parking Subsidies Fail to Destroy Arlington

clarendon grillSometimes when a positive change happens, afterwards it seems so self-evidently a good idea, we forget there were people rabidly opposed to the positive change. The most obvious recent local example of the journey from the revolutionary to the mundane: Virginia's smoking ban, which opponents predicted would devastate Virginia bars & restaurants. Instead, smokers stepped outside, everyone enjoyed the cleaner air, and we all quickly moved on with our lives.

Arlington recently stopped subsidizing free parking at the former Department of Human Services garage at Wilson & Highland in Clarendon, where it's now $2 to park on nights & weekends. That rate is among the lowest in the neighborhood. The result? People continue to heavily utilize that garage, Clarendon continues to thrive, and the county is raising revenue while providing a nudge towards Metro/walking/biking.

It's worth remembering that while it was being debated, Arlington Sun Gazette editor Scott McCaffrey basically called the $2 fee an affront to humanity:
This proposal is a nickel-and-dime approach to governance that is beneath Arlington’s leaders to propose, let alone enact. County Board members can make quick work of this wrongheaded proposal by simply refusing to advertise it for a hearing.
Instead, the enacted plan has worked as intended, with side effects like increased parking in neighborhoods quickly addressed with zone changes.

Now the County Board is making plans to address tight parking in busy areas on nights & weekends, approving a long-term parking management plan that could extend meter times, generating much-needed revenue from a scare commodity that's currently subsidized as free. I know, revolutionary, right?

But McCaffrey has dialed up the rhetoric even further with this plan, predicting it will be nothing less than the end of Clarendon as we know it:
[F]orcing those in Clarendon or other commercial areas to pay for meters well into the evening, or on Sundays, is counterproductive and will place those areas at a severe competitive disadvantage. In the long run, it will reduce the county government’s revenue, not increase it.
The argument here is essentially that to avoid paying a couple of bucks in parking fees, people will:
  • Go to DC or Alexandria where they'll have to pay just as much if not more for parking
  • Pay just as much if not more in gas to drive long distances to places where parking is free
  • Tell their spouse, "Sorry honey, I was going to take you to Clarendon for dinner, but they're charging $2 for parking now, so instead I made you this Hot Pocket."
Look, I know people hate paying for something that used to be free. It's annoying. But that's not a good reason to keep policies that worked for 1990s Clarendon with its large surface parking lots but are outdated in 2010s Clarendon with its tall buildings in which people live & work.

All we're talking about is cutting the government subsidy for free & discounted parking and using the money to fund things like repairing roads and educating kids and fighting fires. Is that so controversial?

Update: Thanks to Arlington County for clarifying 2nd paragraph

Monday, June 27, 2011

Should Coal-Fired Pollution Get a Tobacco-Style Warning Label?

Ohio Valley VistaJust the particle pollution from coal-fired power plants kills 13,000 Americans each year through heart attacks, strokes, lung cancer, birth defects & premature death, according to the American Lung Association. That number doesn't even consider threats from other pollutants like arsenic & mercury or the dangers of coal mining.

And carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants is a prime driver of global warming, which is fueling more climate-connected extreme weather events that have helped turn 2011 into the Year of the Natural Disaster.

All that leads Tom Toles to ask in today's Washington Post: Cigarettes come with warning labels - why not coal-fired power plants?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cable Companies Don't Care How Much Of Your Money Their Crappy Boxes Waste

What uses more power, your cable box with DVR or your refrigerator?

Thanks to outdated, inefficient cable boxes that run 24/7 regardless of if they're in use recording, an NRDC study (PDF) finds your cable box with DVR is a prime source of vampire power - wasted electricity when your appliance is "off."

But what do cable companies care? They don't have to pay your power bill. So as the New York Times reports, cable companies give you the box that's cheapest for them:
“The issue of having more efficient equipment is of interest to us,” said Justin Venech, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable. But, he added, “when we purchase the equipment, functionality and cost are the primary considerations.”

But energy efficiency experts say that technical fixes could eliminate or minimize the waiting time and inconvenience, some at little expense. Low-energy European systems reboot from deep sleep in one to two minutes.

Alan Meier, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, said of the industry in the United States, “I don’t want to use the word ‘lazy,’ but they have had different priorities, and saving energy is not one of them.”
Cable companies make it clear in the article they'll have to be dragged kicking & screaming into the age of energy-efficient technology. But couldn't cable companies use the public relations boost that comes from a little greening? As The Atlantic reports this month:
Media-distribution companies, particularly in the cable and telephony markets, have among the worst customer relations in any industry: J. D. Power ranked the cable companies 18th out of 19 industries in service.
The easiest way to drive a stake through the heart of vampire power? Plug appliances into a power strip & turn that off when they're not in use. Discovery's HowStuffWorks has more details on vampire power:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gore: Obama Has Failed So Far on Climate

UPDATE: Here's the link to Al Gore's Rolling Stone essay.

Obama Gore Former Vice President Al Gore is fed up with President Obama's failure to lead on global warming. In a Rolling Stone essay to be published Friday, Gore is calling Obama out:
While Gore credits Obama's political appointees with making hundreds of changes that have helped move the country "forward slightly" on the climate issue, and acknowledges Obama has been dealing with many other problems, he says the president "has simply not made the case for action."

"President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis," Gore says. "He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community ... to bring the reality of the science before the public."
Gore is certainly not the first person to question whether President Obama is truly willing to take a stand for our public health and America's environment. But he's not just a big name - Gore has been a huge Obama backer.

It's gotten harder and harder to defend President Obama on clean energy & climate issues in recent months. Heck, he couldn't even be bothered to fulfill his promise to put solar panels back on the White House.

President Obama can certainly point to major accomplishments on health insurance reform, Wall Street reform, and making the Supreme Court more reflective of America. But on clean energy & climate ... would we really have accomplished much less if John McCain had been elected? And looking ahead, if Mitt Romney is the GOP nominee, doesn't the composition of Congress make much more of a difference in what we'll accomplish in the years ahead than which backer of tepid action on the climate crisis is in the White House?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Do Bland Vegetables Make Us Fat?

I was making my work lunch salads tonight and took a bite of the organic green pepper I'd gotten from Harris Teeter - so incredibly tasteless, it was barely a step above cold styrofoam. Then I tried one of the grape tomatoes - my mouth barely even registered that there was something in it. May be time to get off my butt on Saturday mornings & check out the Falls Church Farmers Market.

Are bland vegetables the reason restaurants pile fat, salt & sugar on top of their salads to make them more appealing? Fresh, local vegetables are more expensive than huge cans of refried beans. And the vegetables go bad faster & need to be refrigerated - terrible for profit margins.

So today, we salute you, Mr. Giant Taco Salad Inventor. America couldn't have hit an obesity rate of one in three without you.

Virginia League of Conservation Voters Releases 2011 General Assembly Scorecard

Some quick thoughts on the just-released preliminary 2011 Virginia League of Conservation Voters General Assembly Scorecard:

  • Great to see the House delegations from Arlington, Falls Church & Fairfax scoring so well - Brink, Bulova, Ebbin, Englin, Filler-Corn, Hope, Keam, Kory, Scott, Surovell all got 100%
  • Two GOP House members in Northern Virginia swing districts scored very low - Dave Albo at 45%, Barbara Comstock at 36%. Will be interesting to see how Albo challenger Jack Dobbyn and Comstock challenger Pam Danner use those scores.
  • On the Senate side, retiring Arlington state senators Patsy Ticer & Mary Margaret Whipple both fell short of 100%. Among others, Northern Virginia's Janet Howell and Dave Marsden, progressive champ Donald McEachin and even Democratic Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw all scored 100%.
  • I'm looking forward to seeing exactly which votes they used here - no one scoring lower than 33% raises The Green Eyebrow

Here's a link to the full 2011 VA LCV GA scorecard (PDF).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Netroots vs. Astroturf: Standing Up For Clean Air & Water

One of the most moving aspects of Netroots Nation for me is the sheer amount of personal capital in the convention hall. People leave their families, draw down their precious few vacation days, and invest hundreds of dollars to make the trip. That 2,200 people are here in Minneapolis is a testament to the passion of the progressive movement.

But in the battle of Progressives vs. Polluters, all that personal capital is up against massive amounts of polluter capital. AFP, founded & funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, invested some of that capital this week in bankrolling RightOnline, which shadows Netroots each year. Check out AFP's email to supporters offering subsidized trips, which begins like a used car ad - "We have a great deal for YOU":
From: Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:02 AM
Subject: Get on the Bus to RightOnline, Only $49


We have a great deal for YOU and our shared Conservative Values.

You can attend the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, MN– and WE WILL DRIVE YOU THERE!

Our RightOnline conference will be held at the same time and in the same city as the left-wing NetRoots Nation convention.

We want to show them who truly represents America’s values – and to teach people like you the most effective online advocacy practices around.

We have buses lined up in Wisconsin to bring activists like you to Minneapolis June 17-18. Overnight packages including transportation and lodging and start at just $49 per person by using the code "doublebus" and "quadbus." Click Here to Register.

Buses are picking up from:
Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Rancine, Waukesha, and Wausau!

Governor Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart, Senator Mike Lee, Reps. Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, John Kline and Thad McCotter, businessman Herman Cain, and many more will be there.


RSVP - AFP - Right-Online
Doesn't seem like many people took AFP up on their offer - Right-Online is notoriously poorly attended & a "Right Meets Left" happy hour inviting both NN & RO folks was at least 90% progressives.

But polluters have a long history of flooding groups like AFP with cash (annual budget: $40 million) to fund phony grassroots tactics, from busing in oil workers at rallies to forging letters from veterans groups. How do progressives combat that kind of buying power?

On Saturday at 1:30pm at Netroots Nation, I'll be moderating a panel talking about the best ways to fight back against just one angle of what I just heard Rep. Keith Ellison calls the GOP's attempted "dismantling of the social compact." How do progressives defend against a seemingly endless wave of attacks on the Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act?

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins & Grist's David Roberts will take on the topic. And with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) voting the wrong way, we won't spare Democrats, either.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Netroots Nation 2011: How to Cross Cultural Lines on Conservation Issues

The Green Miles arrived in Minneapolis today for Netroots Nation. Took the new Minneapolis light rail from the airport - clean, fast, cheap, and dropped me off two blocks from my hotel. Very happy to find that the downtown Minneapolis Westin participates in the Starwood Hotels Green Choice program.

At a panel on environmental justice, just heard a great example on how to reach across cultural lines on conservation issues. Refugio "Reg" Mata of Heal the Bay told the story of how his grandmother used to use a reusable bag when she took him to the market. It wasn't because she was some hippie treehugger, but because in Central America you have to bring a bag - small markets in Honduras don't hand out plastic bags like they're going out of style. Reg talked about how making that emotional connection to reusable bag use - remember how your grandma used them when you were growing up? - can be a much better motivator to action than facts & figures.

Definitely makes me want to learn more ways to broaden the appeal of conservation issues. Great way to start the conference!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What's Next for Metro in Virginia?

Vanishing PointFrom the Washington Examiner's Kytja Weir:
Metro officials are eyeing a Brown Line to join the system's existing palette.

The transit agency is planning for the future, looking at creating a train line that dips from Friendship Heights into the District and back up to Silver Spring and past White Oak. It's also studying a line along the Capital Beltway loop, diverting the Blue Line from its current route across downtown to create a midcity rail line, or running an offshoot from the Green Line to National Harbor.

None of the plans is funded or even firm. Engineering hasn't been done and land hasn't been set aside. But the transit agency is studying what it will need by 2040 to accommodate growth in the region and relieve pressure on the system.

Officials plan to discuss some possibilities with regional leaders Wednesday, then hold workshops in July to hear riders' thoughts. By next spring, Metro hopes to have a final plan identifying which projects it will consider developing.
In general, I'd support lines that get people into & out of DC's center (serving both transportation needs and security purposes) over loop lines. In particular, a new midcity Blue Line could fill in major Metro gaps in places like Georgetown & Thomas Circle.

So what would you like to see after the Silver Line is completed? Maybe a Gold Line down Route 7 as's Steve Offutt has suggested? There's also the long-discussed Columbia Pike streetcar project.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

White House Bashes Endangered Tortoise

Desert tortoise, Mojave DesertWhat did the White House do that so enraged former Wonkette editor Ken Layne that he had to come out of retirement to post on it?
Oh, just attack some low-paid government biologists for working really hard on an endangered species website that costs all of $125 a year — that’s a hundred-and-twenty-five dollars. Hmm, that sounds a little bit like a number Joe Biden loves to spend, but you need to add nine zeroes, because that’s what this administration spends killing American troops and robot-bombing random villagers in Afghanistan, every year: $125 billion. But spending .000000001% of that — about the price of the average household’s monthly cell-phone bill — to maintain a website about the endangered state animal of California and Nevada, the beloved desert tortoise, now that’s something Joe Biden doesn’t care for at all.
As the Los Angeles Times editorial board wrote recently, "It's possible for a president to so alienate his base that it fails to show up on election day. Something to keep in mind before November 2012 rolls around."

Photo via Flickr's man_of_mud

Monday, June 13, 2011

Arlington To Deem Old Strip Malls "Essential"?

Reports the Arlington Sun Gazette:
County Board members in early July are expected to formally designate 23 properties where preservation efforts are “essential.” But how far the county government will be able to go, beyond moral support and persuasion, to keep those 23 intact remains to be seen. [...]

Eleven garden-apartment complexes - some since converted to condominiums - are ranked as “essential” for preservation: Arlington Village (built in 1939), Barcroft Apartments (1939-53), Buckingham Village (1937-53), Calvert Manor (1950), Courthouse Manor (1936-55), Fairlington (1943-45), Fillmore Gardens (1942-48), Lee Gardens/Woodbury Park (1949), Lee Gardens/Sheffield Court (1942) and Wakefield Manor (1943).

Two shopping centers, Arlington Village (1939) and Colonial Village (1937), also are on the list, along with commercial buildings that range from the Arlington Cinema ’n’ Drafthouse on Columbia Pike to the G.H. Rucker Building on Wilson Boulevard.
Every community should strive to identify and protect things that help define its identity and if an iconic building like the Cinema & Drafthouse ever disappeared, I think we can all agree something would be lost. And as the National Trust for Historic Preservation points out, in many cases the greenest building is the one that's already built.

But to pick on just one of the glaringly questionable listed properties ... Colonial Village Shopping Center? Really? Sure, its current tenants are cool, what with Ray's Hell Burger and one of Arlington's few remaining non-Starbucks coffee shops. But is it really "essential" to have an old strip mall with a large surface parking lot on a prime spot on Wilson Blvd. between Rosslyn & Courthouse?

If a developer wanted to put an apartment complex there so lots more people could live close to Metro, with new space for Ray's & the coffee shop at ground level, would Arlington be worse off for it? Or would that be an improvement on how the space is currently used? Is it in the community's best interests for the County Board to be trying to persuade developers to keep their hands off our essential strip mall & surface parking lot?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Annals of Terrible Ideas: An Outer Beltway

DC, Friday afternoonThere's been revived talk lately of building an Outer Beltway, a large highway with a radius about twice that of the existing Beltway. There are plenty of reasons it would be a terrible idea, starting with how ludicrously expensive it would be. If adding HOT Lanes to the Beltway cost $2 billion, how much would a whole new Outer Beltway cost?

But as David Alpert writes at, the main reason an Outer Beltway would be a boondoggle is that it simply wouldn't ease regional traffic congestion:
The mobility problems outside the beltway are primarily about getting to and from the core, plus the local trips tied up by inadequate local street connections. Yes, traffic is bad for many people, and that's something planners need to address instead of dismissing.

However, more beltways will only accommodate a small fraction of the trips involved. Most people will still drive toward or away from the job centers at or inside the beltway, in DC, Bethesda, Silver Spring, Tysons Corner, Arlington, and Alexandria. An Outer Beltway or three doesn't help with that at all.
That "or three" is no joke - road advocates NVTA envision no fewer than six Beltways (PDF).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Washington Post's Romney/Climate Story Stiffs Science

romnyThe Washington Post has a story this morning about how Mitt Romney acknowledges the science, at least in general terms, that man-made carbon emissions are driving global warming.

Let's count the "experts" quoted:
  • GOP workers & activists: 3
  • Polluter-funded front groups: 2
  • Rush Limbaugh: 1
  • Climate scientists: 0
As Media Matters reported this week, when it comes to reporting on climate science, climate scientists are the last people the media seeks out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weiner Pic of the Climate Crisis? Weiner Pic of the Climate Crisis.

Yesterday, Grist's David Roberts tweeted, "I wish climate change would tweet a picture of its dick to someone. Then maybe it could get some attention."

Lucky for him, the weather in northern Virginia today is just right for a little Anthony Weiner tribute:

It was 90 in the shade. Only took a couple of minutes in the sun for the thermometer to max out at 125. And it's only June 8th.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If June Is This Hot, What Will July & August Be Like?

Off the Dock 2Before our planet's warming trend began showing up in full force around 1980, the DC area averaged about 7 or 8 days per year of 95+ degree heat. But as the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang reports, in 2011 we're likely to have had 5 scorchers by June 9th:
A huge dome of steamy hot high pressure - responsible for more than 600 high temperature records since Saturday - shifts toward the East Coast starting tomorrow, Wednesday.

Over the weekend, this sultry airmass brought historically hot temperatures to Houston, Texas which reached 105 degrees Sunday, its warmest June day in history. The Houston Chronicle reported new record highs were set there in five of the first six days in June. The Sunday records in both Houston and Galveston shattered old records by seven degrees. [...]

Here in Washington, D.C., we have already had three days at or above 95 degrees in 2011 and should tack on two more Wednesday and Thursday. Capital Weather Gang’s Ian Livingston indicates the long term average for 95+ degree days over an entire summer is 7 to 8, but that number has increased to 11 over the last 30 years.
Short-term weather patterns should never be confused with long-term climate trends - but in this case, they match. The first four months of 2011 were the 14th-hottest on record, nearly a full degree above our 20th-century average.

If we begin cutting carbon pollution now, we can avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. But how can we make progress when virtually the entire leadership of the Republican Party is committed to denying it's getting hotter, never mind finding solutions to the problem?

UPDATE: It's now forecast to hit 100 degrees in the DC region on Thursday.

Photo via Flickr's OakleyOriginals

Monday, June 6, 2011

Raping the Planet as "Green" TV

Why is the channel called "Planet Green" showing reality TV like Heli-Loggers and Extreme Loggers? I understand why the History Channel and Discovery Channel (Planet Green's parent) look to cash in by making cheap reality TV shows about dangerous jobs in beautiful places.

But shouldn't a channel that purports to be about sustainability draw the line at glorifying this?
This gripping series follows different types of loggers, from small family run companies to major corporations; mule logging to heli-logging, revealing the amazing stories of these remarkable men and their quest to log where no other man dares.

Extreme Loggers launches with a visit to remote swamps of North Carolina. When five different crews try and fail to log these wetlands, experienced logger, Bobby Goodson, is called in. With trees growing in mud deep enough to swallow huge logging machines, poisonous snakes and deadly spiders, Bobby has an immense challenge on his hands.

But with $50,000 a week up for grabs it’s a job offer he can’t afford to refuse!
I mean, for that kind of money, how could you NOT destroy wildlife habitat in a previously-untouched wilderness?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Take a Hike Week: Virginia's Great Falls North

River TrailOn the final day of Take a Hike Week here at The Green Miles, a note about picking the right day to get the most out of your hike.

Most people I know in the DC area grew up in other parts of the country, many of them in places like Boston, New York and Chicago that have cooler climates than the Mid-Atlantic. The weather there takes longer to warm up enough for outdoor activities and there's more time before summer moves into the dog days when it's hard to do anything outside without sweating.

Then they move to DC and keep that same mental weather calendar and wonder why they're practically dying of heat stroke on their Memorial Day hike because it's 95 and humid. But Memorial Day was always perfect for hiking in the Blue Hills!

Don't let the nice days slip past you. In the early part of the year, watch for those 60 degree days in March, then keep an eye out for them again in November - the times of the year when many people wrongly assume it'll be too cold to hike are in fact the best days to get outside. All you need is a little sun & a little warmth and if you're on a good hike, you'll be glad it's not warmer.

If you're looking for a really close, easy trail with great views, you can't go wrong with Great Falls Park. The trail to the north of the Virginia parking lot goes for miles, providing a good walk along the Potomac River and a chance to spot Great Blue Herons, Egrets, and maybe even a Bald Eagle if you're really lucky.

And on those first days of warmth, you can get a rare look at Great Falls' angry side. The melting snow can combine with spring rains to turn Great Falls into raging rapids:

One tip - the parking lot can fill up fast on really nice days and during prime fall foliage, so go early.'s Take a Hike Week
Friday: Virginia's Great Falls North
Did you know National Trails Day is Saturday, June 4th? DC, Maryland & Virginia are loaded with fantastic hikes just a short drive away. Find a NTD event near you at, or explore local trails & climbs at

Three Blogs You'd Want on a Deserted Island

Last night at a climate happy hour, I was asking people for their three must-read blogs, columnist, writers, Twitterers, whatever. How would you get the internet on the deserted island? Uh, well ... I guess you'd have a laptop. And a solar panel, and a satellite internet thing. Oh, and a tarp to keep it all dry. There! Showed you!

Anyway, here are my three:

  • Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo
  • Matt Yglesias of Think Progress
  • And for something non-political to keep me from going insane while eating what I presume would be a steady diet of raw fish & coconuts, Drew Magary of Deadspin

That list is of course subject to change at any time - ask me tomorrow and I might say E.J. Dionne Jr.Greater Greater Washington, Grist's David Roberts, Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones, or Joe Romm of Climate Progress.

What are yours?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Planet Earth to Humanity: "I Want You to Leave Now."

Mississippi Floods 2011Is it that we're polluting its air and water? Blowing up its mountains? Killing its other residents, both the tall & leafy ones and the small & furry ones?

Planet Earth doesn't say, but according to The Onion, it's had it with humanity, trying to force us out with a series of disasters:
"At this point, I think I've stated my wishes quite loudly and clearly," the Earth's statement to all of humanity read in part. "I haven't exactly been subtle about it, you realize. I have literally tried to drown you, crush you, starve you, dehydrate you, pump you full of diseases, and suck your homes and families into swirling vortices of death. Honestly, what more is it going to take for you people to get the message?"

"Do I have to spell it out for you?" the statement continued. "Get the fuck out of here. I want you to leave now."
And how do Congressional Republican leaders greet any environmental warning, be it the dangers of mercury, global warming or an eviction notice from our planetary landlord? Denial:
"What we're seeing here is the same old scientific mumbo jumbo and partisan rhetoric that the Earth has been spewing out for millennia," Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) said. "We're not going to be bullied by a celestial body that has time and again failed to deliver on its promise to glorify and reward mankind with its bounty."

Immediately following these statements from the human race, the Earth emitted a loud sigh, which shifted multiple tectonic plates and caused massive earthquakes on five continents.
Whether Planet Earth likes it or not, we're stuck together. You can donate to help victims of Planet Earth's hints that maybe we should try to get along better at

Take a Hike Week: Scott's Run Nature Preserve

If you're looking to take an easy trail walk to a beautiful spot, Scott's Run Nature Preserve in Fairfax is the place for you.

I visited Scott's Run last fall and got to see it near the peak of fall colors. While the walk wasn't very challenging and I didn't see any wildlife, the concrete post bridges were interesting. And the view of the waterfall where it meets the Potomac River was worth the trip:'s Take a Hike Week
Thursday: Scott's Run Nature Preserve
Did you know National Trails Day is Saturday, June 4th? DC, Maryland & Virginia are loaded with fantastic hikes just a short drive away. Find a NTD event near you at, or explore local trails & climbs at

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Better To Run Your Commute With Your Paycheck or With Your Biofuel?

What's worse than sitting all day at the office? How about sitting the whole time on your way to and from the office?

From Australian artist Peter Drew:

'This one runs on fat & saves you money' by Peter Drew of Adelaide

Via Andrew Sullivan

Take a Hike Week: Catoctin Mountain

The Green Miles recently made the 75 minute drive from the DC area up northwest of Frederick to Maryland's Catoctin Mountain. It was one of those days that thunderstorms were a constant menace, but surprisingly the rain held off long enough to make the full 8-mile loop around the top of the mountain.

Part of the Bull Run Mountains, a subset of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Catoctin's highest peak is only about 1,900 feet. But the hike provides a great range of views, from Cunningham Falls all the way up to the Blue Ridge Vista:
Catoctin Mountain's Blue Ridge Vista

Like Virginia's Old Rag Mountain, the peaks feature exposed ancient granite, providing some fun rock-hopping at Chimney Rock:
The Green Miles at Catoctin Mountain's Chimney Rock

I decided to start a new tradition this hike, bringing two beers for my friend Dan & I to crack open on top of the mountain. Of course, after lugging the beers up the mountain I then realized I'd left my bottle opener in the car. Fortunately, at the Hog Rock overlook Dan found a sign with some exposed screws that made a great bottle opener. After a long slog up & around the mountain, Dogfish Head Raison D'Etre had never tasted better:
Catoctin Mountain's Hog Rock's Take a Hike Week
Tuesday: Old Rag Mountain
Wednesday: Catoctin Mountain
Thursday: Scott's Run Nature Preserve
FridayVirginia's Great Falls North
Did you know National Trails Day is Saturday, June 4th? DC, Maryland & Virginia are loaded with fantastic hikes just a short drive away. Find a NTD event near you at, or explore local trails & climbs at