May 28, 2009

Fort Collins, speak your mind

Filed under: Politics,Publications — grahamophone @ 5:50 pm

Politically active Fort Collins residents, you have a chance to speak your mind twice this week. Unfortunately, you’ll mostly be talking to state legislators, who are not in session until January. Still, it is a chance for the airing of grievances outside of Festivus season. (more…)


May 26, 2009

Mac or PC rage

Filed under: Green living,Publications — grahamophone @ 4:03 pm
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I am frighteningly close to getting kicked out of the cool Mac owners club. First, I trashed Apple on my other blog for their lack of sustainability. Then I wrote a story about choosing a Mac or PC for a digital photography geek. In writing the story, I learned more about Mac rage and PC rage than anything else.

First, to end the suspense, the shocking conclusion of my article: Use whichever one you like best. With popular software available for both Mac and PC, there are really few substantial differences. Apple is closing the gap on cost, and Microsoft is closing the gap on ease of use. This Mac or PC ad is funny, but it’s mostly hyperbole. (more…)

May 22, 2009

My own articles are making me feel guilty

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 1:57 pm

Bright Hub just published my story about veganism vs. vegetarianism. My own writing is now making my feel guilty. I could be celebrating 10 years of vegetarianism at the end of this year, but I have become very flexetarian, and I never even tried veganism (except maybe for a couple of days unintentionally). I eat fish about once a month, and I am only slightly more more conscientious about refraining from chicken. Sorry little animals.

May 21, 2009

Simplify, (strong) man

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 1:44 am

Like “Brian” on the cross in the Monty Python movie, I’m trying to look on the bright side of life in this nasty recession. It’s hard to find work and many are struggling, but I really hope the resulting penny-pinching makes for permanent lifestyle changes.

One tiny, simple example is homemade protein shakes. Bodybuilders and vegetarians who are trying to save on the grocery budget might turn away from expensive, overly packaged protein shakes and decide to make their own. They’ll save some money, drink some healthier shakes and we’ll all have a more sustainable planet.

Here are some tips on making your own protein shakes. You can even add some local fruits and vegetables and local, organic milk. Mmmmmm, eco-licious.

May 19, 2009

Another Colorado newspaper to fold

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 11:16 am

Don’t expect to see national stories similar to the coverage of the Rocky Mountain News’ demise, but Fort Collins Now will cease publication this week. The weekly newspaper has feature stories, news and columns about my fair city. It’s another sad day for journalism, leaving only one widely distributed print newspaper covering the city of Fort Collins.

Having only lived here for six months, I do not have a personal connection to Fort Collins Now, as I did with the Rocky Mountain News (I wrote this piece about the demise of the Rocky Mountain News). Still, the closure of pretty much any real newspaper is unfortunate.

As a former weekly newspaper reporter and editor, and an avid reader of weekly newspapers, I understand the importance of the such publications. They do not cover every community story and issue, and they sometimes falter in their coverage, bias and grammar, but they serve an important function to communities. They also do not have the budget of a large newspaper, and an individual advertisement can make a big difference. If you work for a small local business or non-profit, please consider advertising in your local newspaper.

May 17, 2009

Palestine question affects us all

Filed under: Politics,Publications — grahamophone @ 2:55 pm

I just wrote this piece about the Middle East crisis in advance of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington this week. I didn’t write this because I have all the answers or because I consider myself an expert. Far from it. But I do have a personal stake in resolving the Middle East crisis.

I think everybody does.

If you have ever worried as a friend studied or worked on a Kibbutz in Israel, you have a stake in peace between Israel and Palestine.

If you have any Arab Muslim friends, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. Their families would be safer and their home countries could inch toward democracy if their governments could no longer maintain power through threats about Israel.

If you worry about Iran’s nuclear weapons, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s nuclear bluster is only strengthened by harsh U.S. criticism. His arguments would be deflated by a peaceful resolution between Israel and Palestine.

If you have a son, relative or friend serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, you have a stake in the Middle East crisis. The militant insurgents wreaking havoc in both countries use the Palestinian cause as a rallying cry.

My stake in the Middle East crisis is about an uncle and cousins in Lebanon. I was born in Lebanon in the first month of the long and misnamed civil war. To a large degree, the Lebanese war was a proxy fight between Syria and Israel. My beautiful birthplace was caught in the crossfire. My cousins are all younger, and they have lived with war or the threat of war for their entire lives. One cousin will soon have a baby and decide if that child should grow up near family or in a quieter, more peaceful country.

Lebanon s relatively peaceful today, but even in peaceful years, Lebanese citizens have their movements restricted by militant Islamic groups training and preparing for war with Israel. They also listened for years to the daily flyover of Israeli jets breaking the sound barrier in the airspace above Beirut as a loud reminder of their large military presence just south of the border.

May 13, 2009

Lobbyists winning on health care

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 6:22 pm

I wrote a piece this week on my sustainability blog about how to get involved in your democracy. Here’s your chance to practice. A poll in January showed 63 percent of Americans want a single-payer universal health-care system. On the other hand, 0 percent of the health care proposals under discussion by the U.S. Senate and President Obama contain a single-payer universal health-care system.

It’s time for the 63 percent to speak up. A few protesters interrupted Senate hearings on health care reform. They were tossed out of the room, but invited to meet with the senators and offer their opinions. Let’s all take them up on the invitation.

Here’s my story published today about my state representative’s attempt at universal health care in Colorado. He tried. My federal representatives aren’t pulling their weight.


May 11, 2009

The best foods to eat

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 3:46 pm
Tags: ,

This rambling entry is about finding the best foods to eat without forcing yourself to eat Brussels sprouts or foregoing meat and sugar (though I will explain how to wean yourself off Coke). I’m not going to tell you about five superfoods or the 10 herbs that fight cancer.

Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan

I am going to tell you what to read — “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and “In Defense of Food” — and what the books mean to me. Berkeley journalism professor Michael Pollan created something of a personal cottage industry largely by railing against industrial food. And Pollan is winning. I would guess Pollan’s book sales are growing faster in the current economy than Pepsi’s soda sales. At least I hope so.

I just published this column about Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and why his book was three years ahead of its time. The book remains on bestseller lists because he unwittingly foresaw the exploding homegrown food movement that is growing out of economic woes as well as health and energy concerns. If you want a more thorough explanation, read the column. Instead, I want to talk about his marginally less popular but possibly more important “In Defense of Food.” It solves his omnivore’s dilemma for all of us, including those who have no interest in planting, foraging or hunting their own food. Again, he doesn’t tell you the best foods to eat. Rather, he gives simple rules for finding your own broad harvest of the best foods to eat. I’ll explain with three quotes, the first from my wife:


May 7, 2009

David Simon tells Congress what I’ve been saying — only better

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 12:30 pm

Former Baltimore Sun reporter David Simon delivered a harsh indictment of corporate-owned newspapers during a Senate hearing on the future of newspapers. He belied the argument that bloggers and citizen journalists can replace traditional reporters and eloquently explained why unrealistic profit expectations did more to kill journalism than the Internet and other new media.

Print journalism, he said, became a money-making tool for national corporations and slowly surrendered its ability to do important, expensive investigative reporting.

“Where family ownership might have been content with ten or 15 percent profit, the chains demanded double that and more,” he said. “And the cutting began, long before the threat of new technology was ever sensed.”

He said what I have been saying for years about the state of journalism, and made arguments about local journalism that mirror my arguments in this piece about the Rocky Mountain News.

Read on for the text of his testimony, and a link to a video of the same.


May 6, 2009

Death penalty bill an argument for single-issue legislation

Filed under: Publications — grahamophone @ 10:47 am

The Colorado state senate passed a death penalty ban yesterday, except it now has nothing to do with the death penalty. The senate stripped the death penalty provision out of a house bill on the issue. I think the proposal points to the need for single-issue legislation at the state and federal level.

The Colorado bill would have repealed the death penalty, which is widely considered more costly than life imprisonment. (more…)

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