ADD for the Hearing Impaired

Back by popular demand! Our local comic genius Christine Alexander translates for the hearing impaired as Cliff Roles interviews me about Attention Deficit Disorder and The Rucksack Letters.


The Real Deal – A Hat for a Real Man | Modern Hippie Mag

Though fashion is usually not my forte, every now and then I run across and item that is just too cool to pass up. Like most fashion fads, this one again comes via Hollywood. And although it’s pretty green, I never imagined I would get so excited over something made popular by zombies.

Woody Harrelson

Woody Harrelson

My wife sent me an article from Ecorazzi the other day about Woody Harrelson. It mentioned how the longtime Modern Hippie agreed to do his latest film Zombieland with the provision that the makers of the film take certain precautions to green up the set.  Even more intriguing was his request that his character wear The Real Deal Tarp Hat.

The Real Deal hats are hand sewn by villagers in Brazil out of recycled canvas tarpaulins. Whereas many hats are desired for their sleek appeal, the Real Deal hats are praised for their ruggedness. These hats have been driven through the Amazon rainforests. They have secured all types of cargo through all sorts of inclement weather. Then the villagers fashion them into some really charming hats. I assume they wash them somewhere along the line.

The Real Deal

The Real Deal

No two hats are the same. Some may look more tattered than others. Some may have Portuguese writing. Some may have variances in color. Some may even have patches. Each one is malleable enough to shape however you like the wear it. The website even offers about a half dozen different suggestions to get the look you want.

So if you’re looking for something to keep the sun off your neck and out of your eyes, these hats were truly made for protection. Be forewarned though. Since each hat is hand sewn, you never know exactly what the hat you order is going to look like. But then again, if you’ve got the cajones to order one in the first place, you’re probably not going to care.

Find The Real Deal at

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Harvesting Rainwater for Household Use | Modern Hippie Mag

Harvesting Rainwater for Household Use

From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk How can I make good use of the rainwater that runs down my roof and into my gutters? – Brian Smith, Nashua, NH

courtesy RainXchange

courtesy RainXchange

For most of us, the rain that falls on our roof runs off into the ground or the sewer system. But if you’re motivated to save a little water and re-distribute it on your lawns or plants—or even use it for laundry, dishes or other interior needs—collecting rainwater from your gutters’ downspouts is a no-brainer.

If it’s allowed in your state, that is. Utah and parts of Washington State have antiquated but nonetheless tough laws banning anyone but owners of water rights from collecting rainwater flowing off privately owned rooftops. Such laws are rarely enforced, however, and one in Colorado was recently overturned.

According to John C. Davis, writing in E – The Environmental Magazine, just about any homeowner can collect rainwater, given that the roof and gutters do most of the work. And since an inch of rain falling on a 2,000-square-foot roof produces some 1,200 gallons of runoff, one can harvest enough to supply all the water needs of a family of four for about two weeks. Of course, most of us would only use rainwater to irrigate our lawn or garden, and there should be plenty to go around for doing that in all but the most drought stricken areas.

Plants and grass actually do better when fed rainwater instead of tap water, which is usually treated with softeners that actually inhibit plant growth. And, reports Davis, the lack of minerals in rainwater actually makes it more effective than tap water for shampooing or doing dishes. Using rainwater for plumbing uses can also extend the life of pipes and water heaters, since the salts added to tap water facilitate corrosion. Homeowners should set up a water purification system if they do plan to use rainwater for interior needs.

Beyond the benefits to individual homeowners, rainwater harvesting can also be good for the local community, as it reduces the erosion, flooding and pollution runoff associated with heavy rainfall, and lessens reliance on public water supplies, alleviating some of the burden on utilities. Given these benefits, some states, including even drought-prone Texas, subsidize residential rainwater collection systems.

Many varieties of rain barrel systems, starting at just $100, are available for home installation. A typical set-up is simply a rain barrel positioned under a gutter’s downspout. “The barrel is typically fitted with a spigot at its base to fill a watering can or attach a soaker hose (which bleeds out water all along its length, providing effortless drip irrigation), and a filter or screen at its top to prevent a buildup of leaves and other debris,” writes Davis. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a single 100 gallon rain barrel can save up to 1,300 gallons of utility-provided water during the high demand summer months.

Handy homeowners can make their own water harvesting systems, but buying one pre-made is a lot easier. Most nurseries and garden centers offer a range of choices (as well as advice), but websites such as Aquabarrel, Clean Air Gardening and Rainxchange make it easy to order a system online.

CONTACTS: Aquabarrel,, Clean Air Gardening,; Rainxchange,

SEND YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL QUESTIONS TO: EarthTalk®, P.O. Box 5098, Westport, CT 06881; Read past columns at: EarthTalk® is now a book! Details and order information at:

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Posted 23 Sep 2009 by EarthTalk in Environment

Is anyone praying for the President?

Change the world by finding connections and common ground

I’d really like the world to change. In my lifetime, I would really like to see so many things happen that are currently stalemated by intolerance, bigotry, and ignorance. But I know that any change I’d like to see has to start with me. So I’d like to start by finding common ground and sharing it with others.

I think that essentially we must find the wisdom to respect one another and the differences that we have if we will ever be able to find our similarities. We each have different paths, different purposes, different traditions, and we are all at different stages of consciousness. Once we can accept that fact about one another, realizing that not everyone has to agree with us on everything in order for us to connect on anything, we will start to find harmony in our existence.

You cannot say to the Mona Lisa and Whistler’s Grandmother, “You are both paintings. You are both of women. You should really look the same. Change your colors. Change your images.” They cannot do that. They are the way they are for a reason. They are from different artists. They have different purposes. They elicit different emotions and find people at different stages of consciousness.

So it is with each of us. We cannot expect anyone to align directly with us if they have been painted by another artist. Each of us is from different cultures, different countries, different religions, different households, and different skin. None of us have the same path. Even biological twins have different personalities. It is a beautiful thing that we are all so different and combine to make such an eclectic portrait of humanity.

It is exciting to see the acceptance of diversity grow in this country and around the world. It is exciting to finally see us reaching the level of emotional and social maturity where we can respect the outlooks of another even though they are completely contrary to our own.

Each of us embrace different cultural idioms. Each of us identify with different societal norms. Each of us have our own favorite films for entirely different reasons. Each of us, even those of us who sit side by side on the same pew, have a different understanding of God. Once we realize that, respecting the fact that everyone has his own precious perspective, we will be more efficient in finding common ground. For although we will always have our differences we will also always have our similarities. And though our differences should be appreciated, it is our similarities which bring us connection.

Our differences are only connections which do not exist. Think about that. The things that we spend so much energy on, arguing, bickering, fighting, warring, conniving, and hating don’t even exist. What would happen to the world if we were to put that much energy into the connections that do exist? What astounding triumphs could we reach If we would realize one another’s goals as our own, allow the differences to be there, and simply strive toward the goal we know would bring us joy?

What a wonderful way to change the world.


Make Your Intent Manifest | Modern Hippie Mag

Make Your Intent Manifest

steve copyWritten by Steve McAllister

Daily we meet challenges as we strive to live out our purposes.  As we maneuver through these challenges it’s nice to have someone to cheer us on and encourage us.  It is with this objective that Mallika Chopra has launched The daughter of Dr. Deepak Chopra, Mallika states that her principle intent is to connect with others by sharing and listening to their stories and wisdom. That is precisely what this website does.

Mallika Chopra

Mallika Chopra

Filled with articles and blogs on Healthy Living, the Planet, Spirit, Success, and Relationships, the site also offers free memberships whereby users can post their intentions and receive support, encouragement, and advice on how to achieve their goals. The site also features podcasts and the ability for users to post blogs detailing their intentions or just to extol others. Users can also customize their profiles with a photo, bio, and email updates on who is supporting them and who they are supporting. Still in the Beta stage, the site works better with some browsers than others, but if we’re going to progress in our intentions, we might want to start by updating our browsers anyway.

Labeled as “My Path to Wellness,” offers those of us seeking for higher consciousness, better relationships, and greater success the opportunity to connect with people who share similar intentions and realize that we’re not alone in our journeys. Like other social networking sites, users are encouraged to make friends and keep up to date with how their intentions are being made manifest. Watching others achieve their goals is a surefire way to be encouraged in our own.

In a day and age where so many of us are looking more deeply at our purposes and setting new goals for ourselves as we move out of a recession and closer to a new decade, it is such a thrill to find a site devoted to relationship building and encouragement. Regardless of what background you come from or in what direction you are moving, you are sure to find someone in the same boat who is willing to help you maneuver through the rapids and share in the thrill of a journey well traveled.

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Posted 15 Sep 2009 by Steve McAllister in Wellness