Impressions from a Traveling Circus at Maine’s Skowhegan Fair
After a few moments of loitering in front of the tent’s entrance, a pregnant
woman who worked for the circus instructed me to sit down or leave. I was
indignant, so I left, but the up-tempo music and audience applause lured me
back. The stands were fairly crowded, all the good seats occupied, so I
settled for a position behind a post.
The music ended and the performer left, replaced by the troupe leader. He
began a spiel about traveling costs.
“There is no obligation, but if you want to buy a light sword [sic] like Mark
Hamill had in the movie, it would help us out. They are ten dollars. That
young man over there will be coming around now.”
The young man with a green saber lit up and several more in plastic bags
began his march around the tent. I started thinking.
So this is how they are handling rising fuel costs - buy knickknacks and sell
them at absurd markups. Buy some useless thing that took energy to
manufacture, sell it, use the money to buy the energy needed for
transportation, travel someplace new, repeat.
I didn’t buy a light saber.
A few minutes later I left the tent to survey the circus’s petting zoo. In
addition to the usual petting zoo fare of goats and donkeys, there were two
adult giraffes. One was animated, bobbing around its head like a billboard to
attract carrot-bearing youngsters (the zoo was selling carrots to feed the
animals). The other reposed on a bed of hay with either a dazed or
embarrassed expression, I couldn’t decide which.
I wonder how much it costs to ship giraffes.
A boy stretched a carrot-clinching hand through the bars of the cage to the
dazed/embarrassed giraffe who regarded him with an indifferent, almost
vegetative gaze. Only it wasn’t gazing directly at the boy, more over him.
Someone next to me said that she felt sorry for all these animals in cages.
Why treadmills are evil
(Subtitle: Feel The Burn… OF FOSSIL FUELS!)
Treadmills waste energy from two directions; the obvious energy input is into
the machine itself; treadmills require electricity to run. About 1500 watts of
electricity. Unless you are powering your home with a legion of solar panels
or another renewable energy producer, that means you are buying your
energy from a power company which, if it like most power plants in the US,
generates its electricity through burning fossil fuels. At the same time, you
are using your energy, the energy you have stored in your fat cells.
Fat cells can be thought of as the energy star appliances of evolution. They
ensure that any excess energy in the food that we consume does not go to
waste. Every person with fat (which is to say all of us) is like a human battery
pack. How you discharge yourself is your decision.
One way to exercise that is preferable to using a treadmill is to use an
exercise machine that does not require electricity to run. Or cut out the
machines altogether by running, doing pushups, crunches, etc..
While these forms of exercise do not require additional energy input, they fail
to capitalize on your stored energy potential. Why not do something useful
with your energy? For example, find chores around the house that one would
ordinarily use electricity to accomplish, and do them yourself with the power
in your fat. Sweep rather than vacuum or clothesline dry rather than drying
machine dry. Such tasks will burn off calories to accomplish something
useful, and replace fossil fuel power with fat power.