The Electric Can Opener List

I don't have a bit of use for New Year's resolutions--as a matter of fact, i really don't have much use for New Year's at all. Even when i was drinking i thought it was a pretty goofy holiday. It would be much better if we celebrated the new year on an occasion that wasn't totally artificial: Like we should do it on one of the solstices, for instance. That would give us something real we could sink our teeth in. That's probably why resolutions never actually stick: they're done on a non-occasion.

Anyway, today, following a short rant about my parents, is a list of New Years resolutions i'd like to see taken for the sake of the environment--resolutions that, while not even very hard to keep, wouldn't stand a glacier's chance of actually happening. It's a bitchy list and has been inspired by spending the last few days in Nashville with the folks: my parents are like your parents: you love 'em but you pretty quickly remember why you don't live with them anymore.

In the case of this list, my parents inspired me to write it because they are very wasteful people. For instance, they now live, just the two of them, in a giant house of 5,000 some odd square feet. They heat and cool every bit of it 24 hours a day. My dad uses 1,700 watts of electricity just to light his driveway all night long (it's okay, he tells me, they're fluorescent!) They throw their garbage and their recyclables interchangably into both the garbage and recycle cans. Don't worry, they tell me, it's separated downtown. My parents have seven televisions.

Not necessarily related to this is the idea that my folks are also obsessed with neatness. This morning i'm alone here at the house i grew up in and i was making myself breakfast. Nothing is out of place. Or dirty. Or even old. One time Alison and i came in and Mama and Daddy were all dressed up in work clothes and out of breath--they explained that they had just washed all the ceilings in the house with ammonia. And it really needed to be done, too: it hadn't been done since last year. Anyway, part of this neatness obsession extends to the kitchen counters. Everything is put up when you're finished with it: cutting boards, coffee makers, toasters, etc. Pick em back up and put em in the cabinets. This morning i couldn't find a cutting board because it was tucked away somewhere in a cabinet. And then i noticed something: Why would they put up a useful thing like a cutting board when i see there! right there on the counter top an electric can-opener?

We've had an electric can opener as long as i can remember. I gotta tell you folks, i think the electric can opener is one of the most ridiculous machines there are--right up there with the electric knife--but my folks have got one, and when this one breaks you can bet they'll go out and buy another one.

So, with that petty annoyance in mind, i've compiled, in the form of New Years resolutions, an Electric Can Opener List, or some things that needlessly use power that we could easily do without. Here goes:

* Any professional ballteam that uses an outdoor stadium needs to start holding its games during daylight hours just like they did back when America was the greatest country on earth.

* Call a moratorium on the "drive-thru window."

* Rid the world of door-less refrigerators and freezers in grocery and convenience stores. Additionally, if the working man needs a cold beer that bad when he gets off work, then let him carry a working man's cooler in his truck. We need to stop bragging about 9,000 linear feet of the coldest beer in town at all these quickie marts and grocery stores--hey, we're not supposed to drink and drive.

* End the automatic glass of ice water at restaurants.

* Compulsory use of minimally supplemented natural light in big box retail stores during daylight hours.

* The supernaturally green suburban lawn has to go.

* End light pollution created by the gillion types of outdoor advertising that now exist, namely billboards and illuminated signs along the suburban commercial wasteland strips.

*Retailers should be asked to give up their efforts on trying to cool/heat the entire outside environment by leaving their doors open. It's not working (well, at least not the way they want it to).

* Hockey should not be played south of the Mason Dixon Line. Making ice to skate around on in Florida makes as much sense as the Jamaican bobsled team (and is not near as charming).

* And finally, rediscover the zen glory and fresh smell of the clothes line. (Out of everything on this list, this is my favorite. Here are some of the possible benefits from this simple change: You may get to talk with/know your neighbors better. Fresh air and sunlight are exceptionally good for humans. You will be using the free and clean power of the sun, not the dirty and expensive power of the utility companies. Your clothes will smell spring time fresh without the use of some toxic dryer sheet. Your clothes will last 10 times longer.)

Happy New Year!


Maig said...

I'm all about the clothesline. Good post.

Bookninja said...


Everyone knows that electric can openers are primarily used for summoning the kitties for their pills. To make this work, open one can of tuna, once, with the electric can opener. The cats will appear as if by magic for years after.

The Mom said...

Actually, my kitty comes running when I open the drawer that has the manual can opener!

Quiche said...

That was the Biffle's driveway? I thought it was one of the extra runways for Nashville Int'l Airport! Lowes and Home Depot have those nifty solar operated, timed driveway/walkway lights. I thought my mother was extreme about cleaning, but putting the coffee maker, toaster and cutting board in the cabinets??? Sounds like a bigger mess to me. Great ideas Walt.
Infinite blessings for the New Year to you and Alison, and everyone reading this.

Anonymous said...

the clothesline is great if you don't have sensitive skin. I'll stick with my wonderful drier. It leaves my clothes softer and less itchy. =p

Dred Scott said...

Your thinking makes sense, but is based more on casual observation than in sound economic or statistical reasoning. The major problem is that the bottom 95% of the population consumes way to much energy, not that the top 5% consumes too much.

Think about it this way: if we are able to get 95% of the population to consume almost no energy, this will lead total energy consumption equal to what 5% of the population consumes. 5% of the population [roughly 15 million people] could never consume as much energy as 285 million would otherwise. The top 5% of income earners are also the most able and deserving of energy, and are entitled to its use.

Luckily, rises in energy costs and decreased real wages are driving the bottom 95% to consume less. A hefty tax on energy would help this, along with a tax credit to not hurt the deserving 5%. The deserving 5% will also best determine how much energy they will give to let the bottom 95% get by. As most people realize, government welfare IS responsible for the increased population of the inept and wasteful bottom 95%.

Of course, all this stuff about wasteful energy, global warming, etc. is democratic and feminist propoganda to socially engineer society. Do you think it is coincidence that the rise of democracy and feminism are unrelated to the major problems the world faces? Think goodness that God and capitalism are resilient enough to resist your dangerous thoughts and actions!

Biffle said...

dude, you are like WAY weirder than me.

Anonymous said...

Drive-thru windows actually conserve energy. The amount of energy it takes to get babies & toddlers out of the car, not run-over in the parking lot, through the door, and into the line without running into anyone or licking the floor is beyond anything you can imagine if you don't have children.

Anonymous said...

I partially understand your frustration with the mindless and wasteful practices so many of us have. but I also detect a rather clear "lets stop destroying this planet!" sentiment. The problem with that is we (collectively) already irrevocably destroyed this planet in it's very first millennium. It's a done deal awaiting nothing but for the last of the elect to be brought into the Kingdom of God and then for that inevitable prescribed day to roll around. In the book of Daniel God told him "seal up" this message till the time of the end, in other words it has been hidden in plain sight throughout the texts of the Bible ... hidden until NOW. The date in question? It begins May 21, 2002 when Christ returns to receive ALL of His people, then for 5 months God demonstrates His righteous wrath on the inhabitants of this world (for the "Principalities and powers" which apparently are all the other created beings who are witnessing this whole thing) While there actually is no eternal "hell" as the churches have described hell (for our merciful God would not torture the unsaved for all eternity) there will be an AWFUL 5 months of hell on earth beginning May 2011 and ending with the total destruction of the world. Why? Because people WILL NOT trust God's Word. The world is RIGHT NOW being warned about 2011 but except for God's elect no one will TRULY heed the warning. They will either scoff totally or else try to take some sort of neutral "wait and see" position which all adds up the same finally. Just like Noah's neighbors, people will laugh and mock or else think to themselves that if they SEE it happening, THEN they will get on board. In fact just as this warning is going out now, so Noah gave one last warning 7 days prior, but no one heeded save Noah's family and when seven days ended the water started coming. BUT God SHUT the door literally, the wooden door of the ark was closed and all the weeping and gnashing of teeth would not help anyone ... And EVERYONE was destroyed save EIGHT people only! That was a tiny preview. Then there were what maybe a million people total alive? Now there is 6 or 7 BILLION! And now rather than only 8 people there is in all likelihood 200 million which while a lot of people is only 3 percent of everyone alive today...97% are DESTROYED! How AWFUL! How can we intentionally remain so very ignorant? Such mercy IGNORED! God to Familyradio.com and find all the MANY Bible time lines and irrefutable PROOF given from the BIBLE ALONE ... check it out yourselves in the Bible and beg for mercy while there is still this fully ample advance notice!And FORGET about asking any church about this! God has given the WHOLE of ALL churches up to Satan. The church age is OVER! Just like God abandoned Israel, He has now abandoned the congregations. In this final phase God deals one on one with the individual. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found! Call upon Him while He near..." "Let God be true and every man a liar...." So moderator block this comment at your own peril, or leave it until YOU have checked this out!