What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

– any desire at all to own a handgun

Sweet Jesus of Nazareth, why?



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My Starbucks Rewards

I don’t have a particular antipathy toward Starbucks. On the other hand, I doubt Leviathan will miss my morsel if I decline to feed it. At home, I patronize our local coffeeshops, but away, I appreciate Starbucks sometimes because I know what to expect from the experience. And occasionally I’ll buy a bag of their beans at the grocery store. But I used to do so more often.

Regular readers of WIST will, I hope, favor me with a smile at my admission I can be kind of cheap. I liked that, until the offer ended, I could turn in an empty bag at any Starbucks location and get a free tall coffee. No longer; now purchase of a bag earns a “star” in the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program. Well, I joined, entered a bunch of letters and numbers to claim my stars from coffee bags, installed the Starbucks app on my Android phone … somewhere in there unsubbed from the flood of e-mails I started getting … and have yet to earn enough stars for even one cup of coffee. It’s not much positive reinforcement. Consequently one of the postage-stamp-sized “star” coupons has lingered on my desk for weeks, waiting for me to open my password safe to retrieve the key to sign in to my account to enter a long string to take one more step to getting a coffee.

Thinking about it makes me tired. So today I’m shedding My Starbucks Rewards and gaining one fewer claim on my attention. —Wow, having less relationship with Starbucks makes me feel better about our relationship!

shedding style: refuse

Comments welcome … does any customer loyalty program really earn it?

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cancellations of daily supervised play

guest post by Muffin

I don’t mind being told, “Not now.” (Though I could gladly skip the foot awkwardly dangled in my face … as if that would stop me if I were a particularly willful cat!) I can bear up with the absurdly brief intervals I’m allowed contact with nature (though I never have time to visit and taste all my favorite grass clumps). It’s okay that the thumbed one follows me about, occasionally calling my name as if he’s afraid I’ll go feral if I’m not reminded of it. But the unjustified withholding of my supervised play must stop! My right to enjoy the yard at least once a day has been negotiated, it’s in the contract, it’s a fundamental feline right! I demand that the cancellations be shed immediately!

You don't understand. "No" is my word.

You don’t understand. “No” is my word.

shedding style: refuse

Comments solicited! Tell revdarkwater you support Muffin’s right to daily supervised play outside!

Update: Muffin wants everyone to see how exquisitely she behaves. After her daily tour of the wooded yard, she usually returns to the front porch and lies down.

"I could be trusted to be left like this for hours!"

“I could be trusted to be left like this for hours!”


stuff with somebody else’s name on it

The game goes like this: the Promotional Items Super Supplier says to the Small Ernest Entity, “I’ll sell you stuff with your name on it so cheaply you can give it away. You’ll never miss the dime this nice pen costs, right? And people will take it from you and thank you for it, because they love feeling like they’re getting something for nothing. But every time they use that pen, they’ll see your name. It’s advertising practically for free! So how many pens do want? Fifty? Ha-ha, you’re joking, right? We can’t supply fewer than a thousand. But remember, your cost per ‘touch’ is practically nil!”

So Small Ernest Entities are duped, and out of pity and politeness or addiction to consumption, we accept their embossed trinkets. Our desks and drawers grow cluttered with calendars, notepads, pencils, pens, bags, cup cozies, coasters, tubes of lip balm … and only rarely does such a “gift” save us from buying a product. Mostly they add to our collections of items we might need someday. But all of them have somebody else’s name on them, and that name says, every time we see it, “Regard me! Remember, and be loyal!” Yes, we learn to filter it out, but it’s still there, clutter in the sensory manifold, requiring tiny little decisions of us that, drop by drop, swell the ocean of decision fatigue.

Only the PISSers win this game. I wish the Small Ernest Entities would see that it doesn’t really work, that they lose what they put in, that most of these items drag down the general quality of life because they’re just one cut above junk, that when resources are wasted the whole Earth loses.

key rings and fly smearers

key rings and fly smearers

Here are four promotional items. Though I hold the Small Ernest Entity named on the key rings in kind regard, and bear no special ill-will toward the other, I won’t have them in my house any longer. I’m getting out of this game, much as I can. And I say to any who’ll SEE it, “Put your name only on what you make that’s useful or beautiful, that contributes to the common weal. Don’t spend it on what doesn’t satisfy.”

shedding style: refuse, throw away

Comments welcome … have you (like me) ever resorted to extreme force to get another “free” pen into your pencil cup?

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smugness about simplifying

Overheard this weekend:

“Prius owners are just so smug. Ask them, out of friendly curiosity, ‘How many miles to the gallon are you getting?’ and they puff up and say, ‘Sixty!’ Then there’s always a pause before they ask you, ‘And how many miles to the gallon are you getting?’”

“Yeah. I tell ’em, ‘Eight. But I can park my truck on your car.’”

shedding style: refuse

Comments welcome … shall we all keep in mind, as G. K. Chesterton observed, that “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly”?

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back to the garden

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

—Joni Mitchell, “Woodstock”

Due to a crowded calendar and abundant rains, I haven’t been able to spend much time lately developing our front-yard terraced garden. We got the lower and upper beds planted and mulched, but the middle terrace still needs the hand cultivation and weeding that will eventually manage the outbreak of bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon), yellow nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus), and purple nutsedge (Cyperus rotundus).

Georgia red clay ... sometimes it would rather be a brick than grow a garden, but I love it.

Georgia red clay … sometimes it would rather be a brick than grow a garden, but I love it.

“Ten more linear feet,” I told myself this evening. (I got its first ten cleared three weeks ago.) “Ten feet a day, and it’s done in four days.” It took about an hour. I loosen the soil with a digging fork, then grasp each stem between finger and thumb and carefully pull, taking care to remove as much of the roots as I can. If the middle bed responds like the upper and lower beds, a few individuals will survive, but I’ll get them with ordinary attention to weeding.

“Aren’t there chemicals for that?” someone asked me. Yeah, Big Ag will cheerfully sell you those. Never mind they’re only “moderately effective” on these species. Never mind they’re hardly selective in their effects, don’t stay where you put them, may persist for years, and combine with other compounds in ways no one expects—though they should. I’d rather shed my weeds by the sweat of my brow.

shedding style: remove, refuse
destination: a segregated compost pile

Comments welcome … what shortcuts do Big Ag, Big Pharma, and Big Oil offer that you’d just as soon refuse?


for one hour, the lights

Nimue and I are observing Earth Hour, a global event in which people voluntarily switch off their lights at 8:30 pm local time to, as the organizers say, celebrate commitment to the planet. (I might be cheating a bit by using the computer … yet raising our collective consciousness is at the action’s heart.)

I’ve had a full day, and I’m not done with “work” yet. I haven’t finished preparing for tomorrow’s occasions and duties. But this quiet hour in “the dark” has come as a great gift, reminding me of what I want to do (and not do) that will endure. Ama, whom we know in and through Mother Earth, have mercy on us … help us to have mercy on Earth and all her children.

shedding style: refuse

Comments welcome … what might you shed for the whole biosphere’s sake?

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Some stuff is no longer any use to man, woman nor beast (if it ever were), or looks so plum-ugly it should never have affrighted the sun. But we the frugal don’t want to incur the guilt of burning or burying it, so we give it to “charity.” That’s re-guilting: trying to foist one’s guilt off on someone else. I determine to avoid that self-deception. Today, I shed re-guilt.

shedding style: refuse

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?

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If I could shed anything at all today, it would be the Keystone XL pipeline project. But that’s President Obama’s job.

Georgia Climate Change Coalition and friends say "No!" to the Keystone XL pipeline at the Athens double-barrel cannon, another famously bad idea.

Georgia Climate Change Coalition and friends say “No!” to the Keystone XL pipeline at the Athens double-barrel cannon, another famously bad idea.

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direct mail from AT&T, concluded

Picking up from yesterday when I had to hit the “pause” button …

It’s normal business hours in the continental US now, so I phoned the number AT&T provides to request to be added to the Do Not Mail list (800-288-2020, should a reader likewise want it). After getting a rather warped version of the AT&T jingle, I furthered my acquaintance with the voice-recognition robot. He needed a couple minutes of patient replies to his questions to hit the end of his flow chart and figure he should refer me to someone with a bigger vocabulary and greater powers of fuzzy logic and pattern-matching (that is, a customer service representative). I didn’t have to endure much elevator music till one came on the line. She accepted my request and said she’d forward it to those who maintain the DNM list.

She had a script, too, it appears. At the end, sounding a little embarrassed, she said, “AT&T reminds its customers to please not text and drive. Have a good day.” I laughed and wished her the same. It’s sane advice.

I’m pleased with the interaction. Of course I’ll be watching in about a month for the flow of AT&T U-verse junk mail to stop. But I’ll stake this shed some hope and call it a success.

shedding style: refuse

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?

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