Posts filed under ‘entertainment’

Smokey’s New Look

smokybearHave you seen Smokey the Bear lately? He had a CGI makeover. The US Forest Service has a new ad campaign to educate people about preventing forest fires (sorry, the call them “wild fires” now), and instead of bringing out the traditional, fatherly, cuddly Smokey, they made a whole new cyber Smokey, with a sexy new look, deeper voice, a snazzy website (, and even a tag line: “Get Your Smokey On.” A far cry from the quaint, hand-painted PSA ranger bear that we know and love.

The whole thing makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but I guess it’s all well-intentioned. The campaign aims to reduce the incidence of wild fires, the large majority of which are caused by humans, and it’s definitely a worthwhile cause, considering much of southern California has been on fire for years now and several other regions of the US have experienced record droughts within the past decade. Smokey’s website offers all sorts of info on preventing fires, plus it has a nifty feature on its home page that tracks how many acres of land have burned so far in the US this year (about a half million last time I checked), and a map that shows everywhere there’s a wildfire burning today. Kind of scary, but really quite cool.

The best part of the campaign, of course, are the TV ads featuring our new and improved sexy CGI Smokey. You can see them on the home page of And just in case you miss the old Smokey, there’s a section on his new website called Smokey’s Vault that offers lots of history and classic images from the 60-year Smokey the Bear campaign.


January 31, 2009 at 6:14 pm Leave a comment

Read This

urbanhomesteadbookI got this book as a christmas gift and it’s turned out to be the best present I ever received. It’s called The Urban Homestead, and it was written by an LA couple -Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen – who have a real knack for sustainable living in the urban environment. They cover all sorts of things, from making your own homegrown booze to city bike travel, but my favorite parts of the book are the sections on growing food. These guys have a full-fledged food forest in their back yard, and have also cultivated all sorts of crops on the road median out in front of their house. The book offers a slew of tips on mulching, container gardening, irrigation, and is a great place to start if you’re interested in growing some food but don’t have tons of experience. It’s been a pleasure to read this time of year, while I make decisions about what seeds to buy and daydream about digging in the dirt.

The authors also have a blog, which I recommend checking out, too – the web ads a layer of interactivity and accessibility to the authors that I can really appreciate. These guys are real pros – and they can write, which is always a plus. And they have chickens, which I’m kind of jealous about (for some reason I’m finding myself increasingly draw to animal husbandry – unfortunately I think my cats would torture and perhaps even kill a chicken if given the chance).

Big props to Kelly and Erik – you’re an inspiration! And if you ever find yourself in Brooklyn, you’re welcome to stay at my house and help me make my yard into an urban oasis.

January 31, 2009 at 5:41 pm 4 comments

Second-Hand Reads

book2I just wanted to take a second to make a shout-out to a long beloved but oft overlooked entity: the used book. In a time of economic and environmental woe, the used book is a cheap and green way to entertain yourself and reward others throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Yesterday I picked up my mail and was pleased to discover that my expected delivery from had arrived. Just a week earlier, I went online and paid $3.50 for the book ($7.50 with shipping), which happens to be a 1977 paperback edition of John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath“. This is a classic piece of American fiction that I’ve never read before, but have recently been compelled to pick up after reading another book, “Stuffed and Starved” by Raj Patel.

“Stuffed and Starved” gives an informative and well-researched overview of our ailing global food system, and although it’s not as artfully written as some other works in its genre, particularly those authored by Pollans, Schlossers and Lappes, it is a must-read for anyone who cares about food, nutrition, environment and social justice. But more to the point, Patel’s book regularly quotes Steinbeck, and inspired me to read “The Grapes of Wrath” (which I will, starting today).

A new copy of “The Grapes of Wrath” will run you at least ten bucks, so I really scored with my $3.50 copy. Plus, my copy has a nice yellow coloration and some lovely coffee (or maybe chocolate?) stains on the cover, which give it character and a light fragrance. I am a strong believer in judging books by their covers, and I can tell that this is going to be a good read. And new books are tainted with carbon footprints and the blood of happy young forests, which is simply awful.

So if you’re planning to buy a book (or anything else, for that matter), try and get it used. I promise it will be better for your wallet, better for the planet, and it will look cuter on your coffee table.

December 10, 2008 at 4:54 pm 1 comment

Modicum of Greenness


This weekend beheld the box office opening of the latest James Bond oeuvre, “Quantum of Solace,” a film that millions of Americans are turning to in an effort to escape the reality of an economically repressed November. I was among the hoards participating in this mass delusion, and waited in line for nigh an hour to get good seats, anticipating an entertaining hour of mindless action, violence and sex. Little did I know, in addition to this triad of Bondyness, I was also in store for a light dose of environmental commentary.

That’s right, James Bond is the latest of many hollywood hits to bring eco-consciousness to the big screen. And unlike “Wall-E,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” and “An Inconvenient Truth,” which unabashedly shovel the greenness into your face, “Quantum of Solace” subtly spoons it to us like a mom who doesn’t want her kid to realize that he’s actually eating brocolli. (more…)

November 17, 2008 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment

Super Repentance


Yesterday was perhaps the most American of days (excluding Xmas, 4th of July, and this coming Thursday, which I’m sure I don’t have to remind you is the first day of Chinese New Year). My friends and I gathered around the TV and put on the game, and treated ourselves to a feast fit for about 300 sumo wrestlers. There were ten of us.

Now, it’s not like I eat this way every day. The Superbowl is a special day, where we’re all given a free pass to binge on salty, fatty, orange-colored foods. It’s part of what makes America great. Right?

No, not right. Aside from the crippling stomach situation that resulted from my 8-course meal (consisting mainly of chips, cream, cheese, cream cheese, salt and beer), the feast left me with a soul-ache. This had a lot to do with the fact that most of the food I procured for the event wasn’t seasonal or organic (except for the salsa and some of the chips). And it had a whole lot to do with the sheer amount of food that my cohorts and I stuffed so willingly into our faces. (more…)

February 4, 2008 at 10:39 pm 1 comment

Story of Stuff


I highly recommend checking out this video and passing it along. It’s about 20 mins long, so you should set a little time aside to watch it, but it’s highly worthwhile and very informative.


January 22, 2008 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

Give them Greentertainment this Christmas


Yesterday 20th Century Fox released the “Futurama: Bender’s Big Score” DVD, touted as the first “carbon-neutral” DVD ever. The studio apparently did all that it could to reduce waste during the DVD production process, and bought carbon offsets to balance out the remaining “unavoidable” energy use. The feature-length film also includes a cameo appearance (does it count as an appearance if it’s really only his voice?) from Al Gore, preaching the word of Green.

I’m not a huge fan of Futurama, but I have been known to chuckle at the show and I highly recommend buying this DVD for yourself or a loved one this holiday season. But if you and your loved ones aren’t into futurama, here are some practical and ways to give and receive greenly this year. (more…)

November 28, 2007 at 5:23 pm 1 comment

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