Somebody Else Has Got Mine

A member of the grass family, bamboo is hated as a pesky growth that crawls under your neighbor’s fence into your yard.
Courtesy Photo

CASH CROP: Some people are so dumb they can’t see a cash opportunity in their own backyard. Like me.

I just learned that people are wearing clothes made from (yes) bamboo. The works: pants, shirts, shoes, diapers. My wife, Sue, just pawed through her bureau and came up with some red underwear made from (you guessed it) bamboo, soft as a baby’s butt.

Barney Brantingham

I knew, of course, that bamboo flooring has been popular for some time, meaning that we don’t have to cut down so many trees. We can resort to something that grows like a weed, is harvested, and keeps on growing. Luckily, the floor doesn’t keep growing.

Weed or not, bamboo is a member of the grass family. It’s hated as a pesky growth that crawls under your neighbor’s fence into your yard. I know of some ugly neighborhood feuds over bamboo.

We lived near a Goleta creek years ago, and shortly after we moved in, bamboo from the creek did, too. The stuff secretly moves underground and then sends up tough shoots. Finally, to save the yard, we hired a bunch of young guys to eradicate it.

It was hot, demanding work. And I suspected that after they hacked the stuff down, it would soon reappear, stronger than ever.

One guy was having a birthday, and we baked him a cake to celebrate. They broke for lunch and never came back or got the cake. We got someone else to finish the job. We eventually moved, and I never went back to see how the bamboo forest was doing, whether it was encroaching on the house.

But now I see a whole darn missed opportunity. I could have sold the annual crop for cash money, selling something that grows without watering or tending. We could have been rich, ahead of the environmental curve, sent the kids to college, been hailed at Earth Day. I’ve been swindled!

YAY-BOO: In honor of Earth Day, here are a few choice items from the current Sierra Club magazine, Sierra:

Asia Pulp and Paper, one of the continent’s largest paper companies, has agreed to stop clear-cutting Indonesian forests. (Let’s check on them.)

President Barack Obama has made California’s Pinnacles National Monument the nation’s 59th national park.

When it couldn’t be kept away from human settlements, Switzerland’s last wild bear was shot and killed.

More than 40,000 people rallied in Washington, D.C., to press President Obama to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

When winter inversions trap pollution in Utah’s Wasatch Front, the city of Provo scores 172 on the EPA’s air-quality index. Anything above 150 is considered unhealthy. And anyone planning to visit Beijing should be aware that it hits 755 on the Cough-o-Meter.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes that wolverines be classified as “threatened” due to climate change, a classification that would ban hunting them.

Increased use of natural gas and renewables, together with energy-efficiency policies, has reduced carbon dioxide emissions from the U.S. energy sector to the lowest level since 1994.

Mississippi seeks to ban “human-animal hybrids.”

CAMERATA: Can anyone born in a place called Himmelpfortgrund ever accomplish anything? Well, Austrian composer Franz Schubert, one of 14 children, managed to write about 1,000 pieces of music, including the “Unfinished” Symphony, before dying young. One of his best, the String Quintet in C Major, received a zestful treatment by the Camerata Pacifica at Hahn Hall.

FEMME: Santa Barbaran Emmanuel Itier’s latest film, Femme: Women Healing the World, will be screened Sunday, April 28, at 3 p.m. at the Marjorie Luke Theatre. It’s being presented by the Santa Barbara & Tri-Counties United Nations Association chapter.

ADIOS, NOEL: Noel Greenwood, who, with fellow reporter John Hurst, made the old Goleta Gazette weekly a lively, tell-it-like-it-is newspaper in the late 1950s and early 1960s, is dead at 75. He went on to become a senior editor at the L.A. Times.

CONGRATS TO SBCC JOURNOS: Cheers to the S.B. City College Channels newspaper for winning 27 awards at the recent Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention in Sacramento.


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