Saturday, 27 July 2013

Decriminalizing grass

As much as I would like this post to be about weed, I feel like the internet's already beaten that decriminalization topic to death, and I have nothing to add to the discussion. So I'ma talk about some other green stuff instead: grass.

This is something I can't quite bend my head around, and is something I've become more attuned to since moving to a small town. What do people have against grass? Its not like you're doing anyone any serious harm when your lawn gets a little higher than your neighbor's. If anything, your neighbor out with his lawnmower at the asscrack of dawn when you're trying to rest yourself up for a long day at the office is more emotionally and mentally damaging than your grass is to him.

Nevertheless, many places have strict bylaws regarding lawn maintenance (and frequently those without formal bylaws have informal regulations (read: Law of Conformity)). Typically, the way this works, is some goon from a town office wanders by with a ruler (I have no idea if this really happens), and if your grass is higher than the length allowed in the bylaw, they'll send in a town maintenance man to mow your lawn (read: trespass) and then charge you too much for the service ($200-ish). 

I mean, I get it. There is some logic to it. a) long grass is more likely to attract pests that the town might not want to harbor. b) long grass just doesn't look as nice and looking nice is frequently the only thing shallow people and places have going for them. c) (reaching now) in a drought season long grass could be considered a fire hazard??

But at the same time, its grass. As a species, we have spent the majority of our time knee deep in it, and not really giving two craps. When did we start caring so much? When did grass become so important that our ability to keep it became a reflection of our capacity as human beings? When did a green lawn become a symbol of wealth and good community standing?

You could point at the postwar world of suburbia, when keeping up with the Joneses was a secondary religion. You could go back a few centuries to the courts of those like Louis XIV who had elaborate gardens kept as an example of his power. I don't really have an answer, but I do know that this grass obsession is becoming a frightening thing.

Example: One day, you are sitting out upon the soft (not at all prickly) longish grass of your back lawn. The grass has grown just long enough to cushion you as you lay on your back looking at the sky. You hear a crunch of wheels and turn your head to see a black car move slowly past your house. The elderly woman behind the wheel wears sunglasses, making her expression inscrutable save for her pursed lipsticked lips.  As she drives by, her head turns to continue looking at you upon the lawn, and you feel a strange chill, an itch between your shoulderblades not caused by the grass. The car turns the corner, and you, thinking you are alone again, go back to your contemplation of the sky. A few minutes later, you hear it again. Same car, same woman, same pursed-lipped look of disapproval. This goes on for awhile, and the next thing you know the whole town is on your doorstep with torches and pitchforks demanding that you mow the lawn or pay the fine, but not before you've experienced a public shaming via tarring and feathering and a stint in the stocks at the village square.

In my opinion, everyone needs to relax. Maybe smoke a little green, sit back, and enjoy the grass. We're Canadian . . .its not like the grass is around forever. Why waste our time cutting it down?

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Captain Planet

That's right, I revisited this eco-centric cartoon from the nineties. Surprisingly, it wasn't as bad in retrospect as I thought it might be. The quality of animation is high, and while everything from the voice acting to the themes to the villains and storylines is a bit over the top (read: beating you over the head with green ideology), its solid. I mean, its a cartoon, aimed at a younger audience--not really looking for subtlety.

So, some observations from those first two episodes:

1) Mother Earth (Gaia) is of indeterminate race, but talks like a black woman just shy of ghetto (voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, in fact--a few big name actors and voice actors on staff, not sure how they wrangled that . ..) and dresses like a Greek goddess. She also enjoys napping, and has a huge rack.  This photo doesn't do it justice. 
2) There's a Yu-Gi-Oh connection:
Wheeler: The comic relief Planeteer with a temper, Wheeler is a  fire-wielding lad from Brooklyn, complete with accent. Voiced by Joey (note: Joey) Dedio

Joey (note: Joey) Wheeler: The comic relief best friend with a temper, he is a fire-breathing-dragon wielding lad from Brooklyn, complete with accent. People have said that Joey's (Jounouchi in the Japanese) dub-name is an intentional nod to Captain Planet

3)Bad guys are usually deformed, and the environment is being destroyed by villains (not by regular people). 
4) Mullets are heroic. For reals. Lets take a look at the heroic mullet hall of fame here: 
Captain planet's mullet is not just a mullet. I would classify this as an Epic Mullet, spit curl included. 
More hero mullets: 

Superman circa 1993
Chuck Norris

Wednesday, 10 July 2013