LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.
HOUSE # 1:
A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guest house all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and naturalgas runs over $2,400.00 per month. In natural gas alone (which last time wechecked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern "snow belt," either. It's in the South.
HOUSE # 2:
Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every "green" feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet [I've heard from other sources it's a lot bigger than that - THC] (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.
HOUSE # 1 (20 room energy guzzling mansion) is outside of Nashville,Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.
HOUSE # 2 (model eco-friendly house) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as "the Texas White House," it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.
So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you WON'T hear on CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC, MSNBC or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it's truly "an inconvenient truth."
I hadn't heard any of that before about the Texas White House.
I'm not exactly green, but like any reasonable person I am a conservationist. I'm also a general contractor (Florida certification GC C 059 250) and while most of my experience has been on the commercial side, I've given a lot of thought to houses. And this house is just wrong.
It belongs to former senator and Democrat presidential candidate (Has he formally announced yet? I confess I don't know) John Edwards. I think building that kind of estate says something bad about a person. How can anyone call themselves environmentally responsible if they've built a 28,200 square foot house for themselves?
I haven't blogged about architecture in a while, except for a little post-Katrina stuff here & there. John put this up the other day, without much in the way of comment. I'm practically speechless myself.
Wouldn't you just love to live in that building? Holy give me a break, Batman! If that monstrosity doesn't leak then the contractor who built it deserves an award. Big time.
Note to self: start buying stuff, especially more ammo. Mmmmmmm, ammo!
Underwear (4) and for girls, bras (2) Socks (4 pairs) T-shirts (4) Jeans (2) Sweatshirt & pants (1) Raincoat / poncho (summer) Overcoat, hat and gloves (winter) Spare pair of shoes / sandals / sneakers / boots Towels (2) (For my Readers in colder climes, I cannot recommend these boots highly enough: light, easy to put on / take off with gloves, and my feet have never been cold with them on. They last about 4-5 years—with heavy usage—and I’m about to order my third pair.)
B. Carry bag / backpack
Games, CD players and CDs Spare batteries – and when those batteries run down, that’s it 2 or 3 books + U.S. Army Survival Manual Laptop computer & car power supply
Toiletries bag (inside the backpack):
Toothbrush Toothpaste Deodorant Sanitary stuff (girls) Prescription medications Tylenol etc. + Toothache remedy Sunburn lotion Shaving gear (Our kids would also carry their handguns and ammo inside their backpacks, rather than strap them on.)
C. Survival Items (ours are in the Grab ‘N Go Bags)
Medical (in Ziploc bags):
Advil (sunburn, minor pains) Aspirin (“heart meds”) Tylenol-3 (Rx painkiller) Benadryl Antacids Immodium Potassium Iodide Neosporin 10% hydrocortisone ointment Antiseptic wipes or bottle of Curel Antiseptic soap in its own baggie Hydrogen peroxide / disinfectant Calamine lotion Band-Aids Small roll bandage Ace bandages (knee, ankle) Curved sewing needle Sewing needles & cotton thread 10’ nylon thread Scalpel blades Tweezers Tampons (for wound care) Sponges Eyewash / eye drops Soft earplugs
Large black plastic garbage bags Ziploc bags Insect repellant wipes and sprays Toilet paper
Signaling & Navigation:
Emergency radio Mirror Whistle (or one of these combos) Small compass Large Compass Maps (for the 100-mile radius around your house, get one which shows all the small backroads and country roads, because major highways are likely to be parking lots) Walkie-talkies & two sets of spare AA batteries Pencils / pens Sharpies Paper Flourescent orange or pink ribbon Red spray paint
100’ parachute cord 200’ twine Ropes Tie-downs Duct tape Zip ties Assorted rubber bands Safety pins Red electrical tape Superglue
Those of us who spend much time in a doctor's office should appreciate this! Doesn't it seem that more and more that physicians are running their practices like an assembly line? Here's what happened to one guy...
Bubba walked into a doctor's office and the receptionist asked him what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his name, address, medical insurance number and told him to have a seat.
Fifteen minutes later a nurse's aide came out and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So she wrote down his height, weight, a complete medical history and told Bubba to wait in the examining room.
A half hour later a nurse came in and asked Bubba what he had. Bubba said, "Shingles." So the nurse gave Bubba a blood test, a blood pressure test, an electrocardiogram, and told Bubba to take off all his clothes and wait for the doctor.
An hour later the doctor came in and asked Bubba what he had.
Bubba said, "Shingles."
The doctor asked, "Where?"
Bubba said, "Outside on the truck. Where do you want them?"
This is the first book of Katrina Cottages. This 80-page book includes a Principles chapter at the beginning describing several ideas upon which traditional neighborhoods are built. It also includes a Resources chapter at the end that includes FEMA details for building stronger and a listing and description of disaster recovery websites, among other things. In between are chapters that tell the story of the origins of the Katrina Cottage and also that illustrate the first seventeen Katrina Cottages. If you see a plan that you like, you can order a set of working drawings from the New Urban Guild, 1253 Washington Ave., # 222, Miami Beach, FL 33139. 786-276-6000.
It's true the PC Left have an orthodoxy for everything. They pretty much all agree on it, and they all know what it is. Which is strange, even remarkable, if you think about it, given how nutty so many of their ideas are. How do they know?
One common element -- look to see what choice gives them the most power over others.
I was at Home Depot the other night with my 6 year old daughter and, as usual, she was riding on the cart. She loves going to Home Depot with me because riding on the cart is fun. I like having her with me because she's fun, and she's interested, and of course, because I love her.
Then the well-trained Home Depot guy comes up to me and says she needs to get off the cart. And I say back to him "It's all right. She can ride." And he says, "No, sir, she really has to get off the cart." Firm, but polite. Not rude in any way.
And that's when I went off on the guy. Not sure what all I said, but I do remember saying "Weren't you ever a kid?", and "I don't care about Home Depot's lawyers!" I wasn't, remarkably, profane, but I was pissed and I think I had some Bill Cowher style spittle flying there for a minute. I shouldn't have been quite so forceful with the guy, who was just doing his job, but really!
I am the DAD. I will decide what level of safety is appropriate for my children.
If I say it's OK, then it's OK. Back off, quickly.
There are way too many lawyers and they need to be ignored and defied more.
There are too many risk managers and we've given them too much power. Take it back.
You might get hurt in life -- this does not give you any kind of legal standing whatsoever.
If I see that guy today when I go to get some ogee baseboard to replace the termite-eaten baseboard in my bedroom I'll apologize to him. I'll also tell him to tell his manager to back off on this one -- when we go back to Home Depot my daughter will be riding in the cart whether they like it or not.
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.