The Lorax-A Review-The Only Bad Thing Was It Needed MORE of One Thing; Guest Writer Michelle Wrestles With Water

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Thank God It Wasn't a Liberal's Wet Dream

I was a bit skeptical about this movie although I totally adore Dr. Seuss.  How well I remember reading his books when I was in the third grade, how I loved his play on words, how I adored the pictures.

Still there are those among us who wrest all that we once held sacred and use it for advancing their own agendas.

I feared it would a movie about global warming or some stupid liberal thing and I wanted to avoid exposing my granddaughter to this kind of propaganda as long as possible.  On a more acceptable, but still wary, note, I also feared the movie would be delivering a message about the fiction of "green jobs" or the nonsensical horror of using fossil fuels to power our lives.

The movie did, to my great relief, deliver a message of kindness to our environment and examples of the consequences cruelty of our natural world might bring.

I might be of Conservative idealogy but no mind that the liberals like to depict Conservatives as mindless of our world, I am a trained Backyard Wildlife Habitat Steward with a yard certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation.

Indeed I am very conscious of my environment, every year creating a grand compost pile of my yard leaves, adding vegetable peels and such all season until a dark earth is formed that I then spread over my happy gardens.  I provide food, shelter and places to nest for the bird fellows and I live by a rule of thumb to recycle EVERYTHING, at least once.

Thus I am not averse to teaching the environment and love of same to granddaughter.  But I don't want her to hear claptrap about global warming or any lesson that it's somehow against natural law for humankind to use the bounties of nature.

Human beings are creatures of God, as are the insects, birds and other mammals of the planet.  Destroying the surround is against every natural law that can be conceived.  Without the earth and its bounty all animal life would cease.  I get this, all animals get this on some level.

The story of the Lorax involves a pretty community that hasn't seen a genuine tree in many, many years.  As the story unfolds, we learn that a somewhat selfish entrepreneur destroyed all the trees in the surround.  No trees, no oxygen released as is the natural pattern of the plants.  The plants also absorb our exhaled carbon   dioxide.  The disappearance of the trees, though replaced by newer plastic models, some with remote control, makes the air a bit crappy.  Enter another entrepreneur who makes a fortune in Thneedsville selling fine bottled air.

I didn't have a single problem with the movie's message although really, it would be an almost impossible result to remove all the trees from the surround.  Trees have seeds, they grow AFTER they are chopped down, they do a fine job of spreading their seed and pollen, indeed.  Still and so, the world would be sad and unstable if a large generation of trees were suddenly yanked from the earth.  Sure they'd  grow back, unlike the depiction in the movie of a dead forest that never re-generates.  But plenty of damage would be done;  birds and other animals depending on the trees would move away. 

The problem with the movie that I DID have was that there was not enough music.  The music that was featured in the movie was quite good, especially the song of the movie climax "Let It Grow".  I expect to hear that song at next year's Academy Awards.  The song was sang at the movie's ending but by me it could have been presented in a much grander fashion and lasted a bit longer.  I think it should have been  presented like the scene in "The Grinch That Stole Christmas" when, at the end, all the village people sang the song, the grinch joined in.  In that movie, the grand finale song become very much a part of the experience of the movie.  I felt a bit let down with that finale in "The Lorax".  It needed to be way longer and grander.

But if the only problem you have with a movie is not having more of a good thing, that should say it all.  "The Lorax" is a movie telling a good, believable story.  We have some famous narrators in the movie such as Betty White and Taylor Swift.

I never did much think it mattered all that much who was the voice of the characters but I'll mention it.

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Drivel: Wet

On and off and on again rain has turned my world into a wet wonderland.

I love rain and I know it'll be 110 degrees way too soon, so these last few summer storms have been wonderful for me. One day we couldn't get our mail because the mailbox stood in the middle of a small lake. The deck in the backyard was surrounded, too, and when Guia tried to run around it, she found herself hock-deep in marsh. Our lawn is suddenly green and lush.

In the reflected grey of a cloud-covered afternoon, the neighbor's flooded field looks like newly poured asphalt. The drive to El Dorado Hills is full of overnight rivers and pass-the-night ponds where ducks and even a few geese play. The cattle gather tight-packed under the trees, tails facing the wind. None of them notice me.

The afternoon clears and the sparkle of sun on roadside water is blinding, winking at me as I drive home. A hopeful crow searches a sodden pasture for nest-building twigs and a red-tailed hawk pounces on something in the grass - perhaps a mouse whose home has flooded. Sorrow amid the joy. Along with the aquarium, just more proof the many days of rain don't make it a wet wonderland for everyone . . .

The weekend was wet on Saturday and pretty dry on Sunday, so Harry and I decided to do a water change on the aquarium. The fish and shrimp (and snails; where do those come from, anyway?) have been doing pretty well, although our nitrate levels are a bit high. Consequently we're fighting an algae infestation, but we'll have that under control soon.

Harry had bought a bigger machine to make good water; this one has standard hose flow and we can hook it up to a faucet with hot and cold water so we can put the right temperature water in the first time. I think it's a reverse osmosis machine, but I'm really unclear on the difference between that and a de-ionizer.

Harry hooked it up to the garage sink and it promptly sprayed water everywhere. The fittings were a bit leaky. We captured some of the water fountaining from it and tested - good ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and one hardness test but it flunked the other hardness test. Harry got some other fittings and reconnected everything so we could move it into the house without washing the walls when we changed the aquarium water. That done, he put it into the hall bathroom - no leaks. We tested the water again and all levels were good.

A length of hose helped us drain old aquarium water into the kitchen sink, and then we carefully modulated the temperature of the machine water to keep it close to the 79.5 the fish are used to. All good, we filled the tank back up. When I flipped the pumps back on, I noticed one Congo tetra wasn't swimming so well. The other fish were racing around the tank.

Since the timing was "dawn" for them, this wasn't a good sign. A quick test showed the pH had dropped to 6.0 (or less; that's as far down as the test goes). As Harry and I shut down the pumps and did an emergency drain of some of the aquarium water, more and more of the fish succumbed to the sudden change in levels. All were toward the top of the tank, many being pushed around by the current without any sense of balance or up or down. It looked like we'd managed to take a pretty nice day and kill every fish in the tank.

One of the big shrimp tottered out onto the golf course and fell over. Make that "kill everything in the tank."

I managed to suck two of the disoriented fish into the draining hose. I felt terrible about it, but my focus was on saving as many as possible and they weren't swimming away like normal when warned from the hose. It didn't look good; my heart sank as we stopped the drain and switched to putting our crappy tap water back in. We knew it would bring the hardness problem back, but the suddenly low pH would certainly kill everything.

 Adjusting the tap water to keep temperature as consistent as possible, we replaced about half of the water we'd originally removed and refilled. As the water level came up, some fish began to look better.

 By the time we were done, all but a few fish were doing okay, and the shrimp on the golf course had gotten up and gone back into the bushes. That night, all the fish were doing well enough to eat when I fed them. Both big shrimp were out and about, too.

We had three known casualties, but I'm sure there were others whose bodies I'll never find. Apparently the water poltergeist curse is still in effect in alaHouse . . . but I do wish H-2-Uh-Oh would stay away from my aquarium.

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