The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Month: March, 2005

We’re Doomed

I just saw a link for an in-depth article in the Worcester Telegram that says “Household Dust a Health Concern.”

Uh oh.

I read a little further, and learned that my shower curtain could be killing me. Well, okay, not in so many words, but the chemicals used to make it are linked to asthma and male infertility. And the dust in the house contains traces of these chemicals. Same for the chemicals used in non-stick pots and pans. Now I’m not a reactive person, but if this is an excuse for me to replace my 13 year old T-Fal set with the stuff coming off with a brandy-new set of Calphalon anodized pots and pans to match my Everyday Pan, well, I’m going to start those wheels turning. I don’t want to eat or breath scraped-off non-stick coating.

Of course, most of the toxic chemical dust in our house comes from cleaning products. So then there’s the age old dilemma – do I avoid cleaning and keep out chemicals, or do I clean to remove the toxic dust? (I know, I know, there are chemical free products. But the smell of Simple Green gives me the dry heaves (literally) so it’s not that easy. Actually, I like Kaboom, which is supposed to be low-chemical. I think. Maybe it’s time for more research.)

All joking aside, one thing a woman in the article says that actually shocked me is that “There is a high incidence of autism, asthma and autoimmune illness in our community” and “about 28 percent of the children in Leominster are experiencing learning disabilities.”

Whaaaaat? I have never heard this, and I don’t know what research out there backs up this statement. I know about the unbelievably high incidence of autism, especially in children whose parents who grew up in the vicinity of the old Foster Grant plant. I heard specifically the neighborhood of my old elementary school, which had a stream running behind it that may have had factory runoff, making the kids playing near it the equivalent of the 3-eyed nuclear power plant fish in the Simpsons.

But 28 percent have learning disabilities? I’d like to know where this number is coming from, and when it all started. Because I grew up here and I’d say that the number was nowhere NEAR that when I was a kid, and I don’t personally know of any other kids (via daycare, preschool, kindergarten, baseball, soccer, etc.) with those problems. Not that the kids aren’t out there, but 28 percent would indicate that I’d have run into quite a few of those kids by now.

Anyway, back to the main point – I have to decide whether or not to let the dust in my house continue to pile up. I’m leaning toward “yes.”


Tastes Like Summer

Sunday night we were passing through Littleton and stopped at the Donelan’s on the main drag down near the center of town (what is that, 2A, right?).

Junior spotted watermelon in the produce area, and I agreed to buy some for him. We cut into it tonight, and I would be lying if I told you I’d bought better watermelon at any time last summer. This was AMAZING and it took all our willpower to not demolish the whole thing tonight. This was seedless too, which means I can just give him whole slices to take with his lunch tomorrow.

If I lived closer, I’d run back over there and buy them out, I swear. Here’s what this baby looked like when it was almost all carved up. Just looking at this makes me want to go grab another piece out of the fridge.


First Day As Your Voice

Okay, so now that I am officially an important voice of my generation, I would just like to welcome you all here and offer you some leftover Girl Scout Cookies. I know what you’re thinking. “What is a leftover Girl Scout Cookie?” Right. Because such a thing does not normally exist in our universe. But I swear, they are GSCs and they are leftover. Actually, what happened is last year I hid a box and I didn’t actually find them until recently. I think it was last year. It might have been 2003. But I think they’re still good, because they aren’t green.

Okay, so now that we’re all cozy, I suppose I should take a poll about some of the things you find important, because as your official voice, I should know those things and be able to speak about them. Right? That’s part of the job description, no? If the list is good, maybe I’ll give it a whole chapter of my groundbreaking book of humorous essays that you are all going to be buying and distributing, along with the 2006 Magnetic Poetry Calendar with the June page proudly featuring my poem. So really, what I’m doing for you, in addition to being your voice, is helping you do all your holiday shopping 9 months early. No need to thank me, I can just see the gratitude in your smiling faces.

Whew. This is hard work. It’s a lot more responsibility than I thought. Can you guys pass the cookies?


What’s Lacking in My Life

You know what is seriously ticking me off right now? That nowhere, and I mean nowhere, am I referenced as “an important voice of [my] generation.” What the hell is up with that oversight? What do I have to do to fix this problem, anyway?

I’m going to write a book, and damn it, each and every one of you is going to buy 10 copies. You will send them out to people you know who live in foreign places west of 495 (like, even maybe Indiana or someplace freaky like that). Do you hear me? You people are just not holding up your end of the partnership!


What Was I Thinking?

You’d think I’d learn by now…every time we buy something new for Junior, he becomes obsessed with it. So maybe we should have given it a little more thought before we kitted him out in full rollerblade gear. Because he has hounded us non-stop since we bought the stuff.

I would just tell him to go out in the driveway, but our driveway is a hill (I HATE THAT) so no-go. So we’d have to go somewhere (even further down the street) to actually use them, and quite frankly, my world doesn’t revolve around rollerblading.

Yet. Cause I bought some cheap ones for twenty bucks at Target yesterday, along with all the pads, but I need to find a helmet before I can put these things on. I think I’ll be able to handle them, ones I get my skate legs. I learned how to rollerskate when I was a Brownie, and we all took lessons at the Whalom Roller Rink. Man, was that a long time ago, or what? I can still picture every little detail of the inside of that place, including the “control tower” with the big organ in it. I’d love a chance to go in that building and look around right now. I assume it’s gutted, as they used it for Flea Markets for a while after closing the rink. I’d also love a chance to walk around inside Whalom Park – peek in the buildings, take some pictures. I know that’s not possible, unless whoever owns it (I’ve lost track) reads this and wants to be my hero. You call me, I’m ready to go on a moment’s notice.

Anyway, funny how we all skated with NOTHING to protect us and now we have knee, wrist and elbow guards to go with our helmets. What I think I’m going to need is a butt guard. Anyone know where they sell those?


Threatening Email

Note to the person who sent me a private email regarding a post I made last fall:

I consider what you sent threatening email. As such, I am considering sending it to AOL’s abuse department (I have already called them about the process, but did not forward them the email so they can act on it) and the local police department. I am not sure why you think it is okay to write to me personally because you don’t like my opinion about a politician. You know what? In America, people are allowed to voice displeasure over elected officials. You, on the other hand, are not allowed to email veiled threats against that person and their family. Trust me when I tell you that one of the only ways I will NOT contact AOL (who do not take kindly to this sort of thing), the person you are “defending” and the local authorities is if you apologize and use your REAL NAME when doing so.

I’m sure you weren’t thinking rationally when you sent it, and this is your opportunity to put an end to this before it gets escalated.

[Update: Oh honeybunch, I know who you are now. You may want to consider my kind offer.]


How To Celebrate 45 Degrees

It’s going to be 45 tomorrow! Can you believe anyone on earth is excited about 45? Tells you what it’s been like around here. I’m going to ignore the fact that WXLO told me there might be snow Sunday because I’d have to go put a flaming bag of dogpoop on the weatherman’s front steps, y’know? Sunday is the first day of Spring. Leave us alone! Go away with your snow!

So I am soliciting ideas for fun things to do on a warmish day when the ground is still covered with snow. I have cheese money, so any suggestion is a valid one! Except for maybe something like swimming at the beach. Because we aren’t insane, okay? But hmmm. Maybe a nice cup of chowdah in Portsmouth?


Links! We Got Links!

Okay, it’s been a while since I posted links to sites that have earned my praise.

These are all work and family-friendly (well, the first one is unless you enter a search term that gets questionable results. But that would hardly be my fault.

Grant Robinson Online – He’s got a link to a project that makes a montage out of images it finds from a Google Search of a term you enter. (This is the one you need to think about before you choose your term. Mr. Dump Tried “Staples” as in the store and got a lot of images of post-surgery wounds. )

J B Brown’s Serious LEGO – Extreme LEGO creations, including one that will, if you can believe it, solve a Rubik’s Cube. I’m bummed because the link to the video is broken. I wanted to see it in action, but you can view notes and pictures.

How Much Is Inside – the website that dares to ask the question “How Much is Inside?” (Could you see that coming?) You want to know how much toothpaste is in a tube? How many CDs you can label with a single Sharpie? This is the place for you. Also, do not blame me if you lose hours of your life wandering around this site reading things like how he created a Jenga Halloween costume. I will not be responsible for you losing your job or your dinner reservations.


Well, How Do I Top That?

Yesterday’s post about the DaVinci Code was a barn burner. 11 comments at last count, which may be a new world, er, dump record. Especially because none of them were spam. Another dump record.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day today and crisis was averted when Junior realized he wasn’t wearing any green about 2 seconds before we left for the bus stop. You see, if I forget to wear green, well, nobody cares. But when you are in first grade, this is the kind of thing that can ruin your day. That’s the cool thing about elementary school, if you ask me. That love of celebrating anything and everything (as long as it isn’t Halloween, Easter or Christmas, because, well, we won’t go there, right?). I’m sure there’s going to be something green to eat and drink today. And stories about pots of gold and lucky clover.

Here at work? Not so much.


What Part of Fiction Don’t You Understand?

[Warning: Rant ahead]

Nothing gets the old heart pumping faster than reading about Cardinal Bertone with his knickers in a twist over a work of fiction. Apparently, Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code is dangerous to idiot Catholics all over the globe who are confusing fiction with truth. Instead of ranting and raving about Brown and his book, why don’t you worry about things that are actually important, sir? I can think of many MANY things going on in the world today that you should be focusing your energy on. It’s FICTION. To call it “rotten fruit” is subjective at best, but to actually take the stance that it is a “sackful of lies” is well, um, er, *cough* sort of how one might choose to actually define fiction. So way to pick something to take a stand on. It’s right up there with Dan Quayle attacking the sit-com Murphy Brown for glamorizing single motherhood.

But you go, sir. You fight the good fight, and all the people dying of starvation, and the ones dying of AIDs (cause heaven forbid they be allowed to use condoms) will just take care of themselves.