The Comfort Zone

I like the Comfort Zone. I don't want to admit it. I don't want you to know how much I enjoy the sense of safety and security afforded to me by living in one of the richest places on earth. It's comfortable, in fact, to be pretty rich (e. g. a hot shower or latte any time I want, access to almost any kind of education I want, academic or otherwise, all the free white-out I can use in a 10-minute frenzy at the copy place). But it's also comfortable to be not super-rich… always having to discern who are the best organizations to give your money to and always having to take time to let people pay you for the great ideas coming out of your head, constantly producing all this value. Value coming out of your pores. People are bottling and selling your sweat like in The Jerk. You're trying to get some peace and quiet and people are studying how you sleep and rest so richly.
It is comfortable for me to pretend that I'm outside of my comfort zone. But not to actually be there. Imagine if you will that I writing in an open field in Peru, tap tap tapping on a rickety tan keyboard as the sound of two llamas tussle over a cob of corn (do llamas even eat corn?). I don't know where I'll sleep tonight or where I'll travel to in the morning. The wind is picking up, and I'm thirsty. I'm not sure if the water's safe to drink here–I picked up a bug two weeks ago and lost ten pounds from all the puking (Grandma will be so happy I've lost the weight!). Anyway, I'm doing a little experiment here with comfort. It still feels too comfortable. I'm going to put some bugs in my shoes. But the bugs are too small to really pick out, they're sort of small and flesh-colored and burrow-y. That's good. Oh, and maybe the field is occupied by guerrilla soldiers who are kind of curious what this American is writing so intently. And one of them has a really annoying nasal-y voice and keeps sniffling and yawning. Let's call him Manco, which means "king". He gets made fun of by all the other dudes in the militia because he acts like a passive-aggressive whiny two-year-old, and they find it especially ironic that he's named king. If they were from the U. S., they'd call him "Your Heiny", but they call him a Peruvian nickname instead based on an idiom that roughly translates to "The King's Mother's Wetnurse's Handkerchief". Actually, this is still too comfortable. Let's make it Kashmir. The bugs are shiny blue scorpions, I don't speak the language, the dude with the gun's name is Manju, which means "dew drops", so you know he's pissed all the time, and I'm fake-typing this in mid-air, so I look even more suspicious.
Now, imagine that I've been tap tap tapping this whole piece on my new MacBook Pro, sitting inside the Starbucks on my block, sipping a half-calf double white mochaccino (a double half-caf equals a caf of one, no?), wearing a pair of $128 jeans from Banana Republic, having driven up in my Toyota Prius. Corrine Bailey Rae is telling me to "girl, put your records on." and its seems things could not be more predictable.
So what are we to do with all this? I am neither in Peru nor Starbucks. I am in fact in the unknown (not geographically, but otherwise) at all times. The mystery is veiled more thickly at Starbucks. Veiled with heavy whipped cream. It almost seems that my sense of feeling in control and feeling secure is kind of inversely proportional to my actual well-being. This applies especially to dancing and performing in my experience, but probably to everything.

Starting Your Very Own Sustainable Business

The Bush Administration is putting on a new environmentally friendly face. Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth just won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Environmental headlines are flashing across the cable news crawl every day.
After thirty or forty years of scientists' warnings, the media and the public are finally starting to come around to the fact that environmental issues like global warming, biodiversity, and human population need to be at the top of the agenda. And the business community is finally understanding that what is good for the environment is also good for the bottom line. Making money and contributing to the health of the planet: what could be better!?
So you want to get in on the action… I believe so deeply that new sustainable businesses are needed that I'd like to share with you a list of startup ideas you're free to run with!
The Gymdromat: Get a workout and do the laundry at the same time. Harness the energy generated by bike-riders, stair-climbers, and tread-millers to power the washers and dryers!
The Gourmet Encore: Tons of perfectly good, untouched food from the plates of gourmet restaurants is discarded every day. The Re-Eatery collects that food and turns it into delicious, epicurean meals for the environmentally hip!
The Postal Commute: Millions of letters get delivered around the globe by postal vehicles every day. Millions of workers commute to their jobs every day. Let's get those commuters on letter trucks and save some oil!
Not to worry! Perhaps the business you already operate is a cutting-edge powerhouse–a model of efficiency and value. But you're also realizing that you want to align your business with conservation and sustainability so that it continues to prosper for generations to come. Here are some innovative suggestions for the following industries to green your products and services that you can begin implementing immediately to truly demonstrate your shift toward environmentalism.
The Auto Industry: The SUV, protested by environmentalists for years for its ostentatious wastefulness, can now be a symbol of sustainability by developing a compartment completely devoted to the recycling of bottles and cans.
The Health Care Industry: Eliminate some of the waste created by millions of bureaucratic insurance forms and handbooks by denying patient care outright with a simple restaurant sign that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone."
The Fishing Industry: A recent study warns us of the health risks of eating fish as their mercury content rises to dangerous levels. If you've got a fishing business, why not consider developing the first fish-based mercury thermometer for scientists to monitor rising global temperatures!
Public Education: Develop exciting new video games to replace tired old photocopied worksheets and text books to save millions of trees. A win/win for both students and the environment!
Use and/or build on one of these innovative ideas, and let me know how it goes!

Fox “News” hosting a Democratic presidential primary debate

So this morning there was another email from Usually I click on the link and sign it and, well, move on. That's why they call it move on. But this morning I started typing a comment in the comment box, and this is what came out:
"As someone who works in the news, I know how difficult it is these days to speak the truth when the bottom line is always looming above us. More than ever, we need to stand for truth instead of fear, and we need the media to take that stand with us. I'm sick of Fox's sensationalism, fearmongering, hijacking of our language, and imposing their "truth" by brute force and loudness. Fox has created a Frankenstein with slickly stitched body parts of news, entertainment, horror movie, and unabashed partisan political aggression. And I feel broken-hearted and, sadly, jaded by the manner in which the rest of the news companies have followed Fox's lead into this dangerous laboratory.
Dr. Martin Luther King said that the arc of justice is long. He didn't mean, "Wait a while and we'll see what good things happen." He meant, "Persevere in your diligent work for justice; your action will yield fruit." Let us take that action today."
(And we can take that action, in an armchair-liberal sort of way, by signing this petition here that I happen to have linked right here: )