Occasional Observer

Give it some thought: Sustainable housing design is attainable for all of us

I’ve been trying to promote sustainable design for decades. In addition to helping to protect the environment, it is practical and likely to save money for homeowners. Here are some suggestions for Northwest Corner residents applicable to individual single family homes, multi-unit housing projects, and most other buildings.

It usually is more economical and better for the environment to re-use an existing building than to build a new one (assuming a suitable candidate can be found).

The growing human population

“. . . and God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth...”


For millennia this anthropocentric view of the world from the Bible’s book of Genesis has dominated the attitudes of monotheistic religions and explains, as well as anything, our forthcoming existential plight. 

Ask your doctor about ... all those drugs

Direct to consumer (DTC) prescription drug ads in magazines, radio and TV are banned in every country but the United States and New Zealand. 

Crisis at the Mexican border

At last the situation at the Mexican border has become a crisis. But it’s in no way a security crisis, as falsely claimed by the president, but rather a humanitarian one. 
Immigration facilities along the U.S./Mexican border are now holding more than 80,000 migrants (and growing) with little or nothing being done to process them. In May, 144,000 refugees, the highest number since 2007 with nearly half from Guatemala, sought to enter the country, the vast majority through established legal points of entry. 

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The crisis at the Mexican border

At last the situation at the Mexican border has become a crisis. But it’s in no way a security crisis, as falsely claimed by the president, but rather a humanitarian one. 

Here are a few ideas for improving our villages

Our Northwest Corner towns and villages are more beautiful than most but a coordinated set of minor physical improvements could dramatically improve their appearance.

While the overall population of the Northwest Corner has not increased over the years, the considerable increase in part-time residents has caused development to spread out. More and more of the countryside looks suburban. At the same time, our villages have shrunk and some, like Lime Rock and Taconic, have nearly disappeared. 

Drain the swamp?

“I will make our government honest again, believe me.                             
But first I’m going to have to drain the swamp in D.C.”

Donald J. Trump, Oct. 18, 2016


To drain a swamp means to remove water from marshy areas to make that land more amenable to human use and also to remove mosquitos, alligators and other scary creatures that depend on the water. 

‘Better living through chemistry’

From 1935 to 1982, the DuPont Corporation used the advertising slogan, “Better living through chemistry,” to promote their products. By the late 1960s, a character in the film “The Graduate” delivered a one-word line about the future that remains famous to this day: “Plastics!” Both plastics and chemicals have become so ubiquitous that now most of us hardly notice them.

Remember the subjunctive mood?

“Brush up your Shakespeare, start quoting him now . . .

Brush up your Shakespeare and they’ll all kowtow.” 

From “Kiss Me Kate,” music and lyrics by Cole Porter