Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NY Times Front Page News: "$(-)!^, But Not in the Pot - Pack It Out!"

Normally, I don't notice the news as it appears in papers and other media; I get my news from help me) and Supertopo(where, at least the "top stories" don't all boil down to teenaged-boy homophobic attitude railings within 20 posts). But I am a dog-walker, and the summer season has ended. Pepper and Mocha, two cute-as-can-be Havanese, and their family have returned to their posh UWS home from the summer city exodus, and I am back on schedule with their 8am P & P (Poop and Perambulation).

I had to be up and at 'em at eight, but apparently the Pepper/Mocha People had forgotten vacation was over, and I found the front door locked. I quietly knocked, expecting the HUGE Barking Brigade to begin.


Eventually, I rang the bell, and it took two more rings, and about 10 minutes before a fresh outa bed Dad opened the door. I guess the girls will be late for school today....

At any rate, in the interim, I tried to amuse myself, and noticed the morning paper at my feet.

I hate looking at front page news. It's propaganda, no matter which viewpoint you come from. Ben Franklin probably cries himself to sleep at night, up in heaven, at what hath been wrought to the press' freedom.

And so....I scanned the page, just for something to do. I had plenty of time....they were really z'ing away in that house. Even the dogs didn't wake up! Below the crease(where news without corporate sponsorship can occasionally be found), I saw an article entitled "No More Privies, So Hikers Add a Carry-Along". Probably my eye was first caught by the photo, of real earth, but I'm able to process info fairly quickly....

Anyway - the story's about the removal of toilets on Mt. Whitney and how, instead, hikers are being given poop bags, in order to reduce the cost/grossness/cleanup labor associated with the traditional park tourist's commode.

I think it's an interesting idea, though of course fraught with plenty of political sidings. We've all heard about the legendary $2500 toilet seat purchases our government makes. How much do you suspect we(taxpayers) are shelling out per WagBag?

First hit on the search engine gives me a retail price of $1.85 to a little over $2 per bag. How much you wanna bet our "official designated procurer" has contracted a near or higher unit price than that for industrial quantities? Maybe; maybe not. But probably.....

In the article there's a quote where a lady says “There are so many indignities on the trail anyway. And people do that all the time with their dogs in the city.” (Aha! A link to my lead-in paragraph! Dogs.....).

Indignities? What indignity is there, on the trail? Do you think she's referring to being one of over 300 people who will trammel the same wilderness highway in a single day(as the article mentions? Sure gives new meaning to the term "Parkway".....).

Or maybe she means the way US citizens get double-billed for actually using lands they already support? Wonder if the mining and timber companies pay an entrance fee when passing national park boundaries.....

I dunno, but I get the feeling not(I mean, the 'indelicacies' thing). I suspect she refers to the possibility of actually having "the world" know your shit might stink, just like everybody else's(or at least everybody who eats processed foods with stink-producing after-affects).

Anyway - there's a video included in the article, where a Times reporter is talking about a changing environmental ethic. I have dialup service, so that's off-limits to me. But it might have some interest to you.

Personally, I like the idea of people taking more personal responsibility. But I can't help but imagine the repercussions. People won't want to carry their crap out(the horreur!) and so they'll toss the poop bags("Bombs Away!"). The term "Mud Falcon" is part of Big Wall lexicon; I wonder what these olive drab birds will go by....Keep your eyes open - "Outside Magazine" will probably clue you in sometime in the next year or so...).

Or, people will leave the filled MicroSquatPots right where they squatted...Unsealed, most likely. And then we will be paying yet again, for the professional picker-uppers to go in and remove the hazardous waste - at how many dollars per hour?

Oh...I could go on, and perhaps you have something to say about it. I'd be interested to hear other's takes on the issue. Feel free to post a comment below. If discussion gets going, someone can start a thread over on my discussion forum.

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