Tuesday, June 01, 2021

You're Still Wrong: Mykel's June Blog... Recycled


You’re STILL Wrong


June 2021 Blog/Column


by Mykel Board

It’s been awhile since I’ve been under the sink. Long-time readers know that there is a cabinet under my sink. There is a door in back of the cabinet that allows me to travel to other places. I used to often squeeze myself in… Lately it’s harder to fold these old bones in to a compact package.  I’m going to try again. My travel guide, George Metesky, is always waiting for me on the other side. He shows me around. 

My urge to see an alternative, amazingly enough, has nothing to do with the COVID plague. It’s something that hits me as I’m bringing a paperbag full of empty beer and whisky bottled to the basement. What hits me is three of those bottles… fallen through the bag onto my bare feet as I carry that bag from in front of the sink to the door of my apartment. The glass doesn’t break but the pain of the clunk on my naked foot makes me wonder if this recycling shit is really worth it. 

I’ve long suspected that the energy used to melt old glass, press old plastic, grind old paper is more than the energy saved by not making new glass, new plastic, new paper in the first place. And that’s not counting the fuel spent in transporting this trash... and the land wasted in storing it. Recycling clearly takes more energy than not buying so much crap in the first place. 

I suspect recycling is a corporate scam to ease the guilty conscience of consumerism…. Something that makes it okay to buy stuff you’ll never use in containers that do nothing when bought except stuff up the garbage pail. 

Dozens of sources (see notes at the end of this blog), point to the failure of recycling. But my friends say no, it CAN work if done right. The failure isn’t in the IDEA of recycling, but in how it’s done. We’ll see.

My quest is to find if recycling can work... if it can be productive… a way that capitalists and communists can appreciate. The perfect recycling solution. 

I know where that solution is and how to get there: The cabinet under my sink. 

Squeezing my COVID-fattened body into the cabinet, I fetally push myself in… moving aside the Clorox and the Glade. I close the outside door and feel for the wall. Using my head for ballast, I slam my shoulder into the piece of plywood in back. Once… twice…. BLAM… It tumbles outward and so do I... feeling the sun on my face. 

“Right on time,” says George, who somehow knows when I’ll appear.

“George!” I shout, pushing myself up to standing, giving him a hug and a kiss on both cheeks. “It’s been a long time.” 

“Welcome,” he says. “Let me take you to my place. You’re free to stay there as long as you’d like.” 

“Sleeping on a couch filled with recycled plastic?” I ask.

George frowns thoughtfully, then smiles. “I keep forgetting you come from someplace else,” he tells me. “The couch isn’t filled with recycled plastic. It IS recycled plastic. Top to bottom, squeezed into and out of a mold.”

“Doesn’t sound comfortable,” I say.

“Well,” he answers, “if you sleep naked, you’ll stick to it.”

“I usually don’t sleep naked in other people’s houses,” I tell him. “Unless I’m sleeping WITH them….” I look at his thick glasses… and his thicker nosehair... like sprigs of clover... sprouting from his nostrils and merging into his mustache…. “And, I’m sorry to tell you, you’re not my type.”

He laughs. I brush the dust off my trenchcoat, and follow George to the center of what at first looks like a typical suburban town. Then I see the sheen... the waxiness... of the identical off-white houses in front of identical bright green lawns. 

I point to them.

“Recycled?” I ask. 

George nods, “From spray-can lids,” he says. 

“The recycling factory collects the can tops, melts down the plastic, colors it with mucus scraped from tons of retrieved kleenex. Then, they press it into pre-fab parts…. Roofs, walls, floors… The windows are recycled Scotch tape, processed in a different plant.” 

“But all that specialized equipment… and the collection and processing, doesn’t that use more energy than…” I start.

“Energy, shmenergy,” says George. “We don’t care about energy. We care about recycling. Using energy creates jobs. Jobs are good. Anyone can make a few extra bucks at the power plant… look at this.” George pulls up a pants-leg to show me his huge calf. 

“From the power plant,” he explains. “I ride a generator-bike at least two hours a day. And that’s not unusual. We got power out the ass.”

“Beans?” I don’t ask. 

As we walk, I notice green balls… about the size of softballs... scattered on the lawns. Every house has at least one, some have several. They seem randomly placed over the lawn. 

“What are those balls?” I ask George.

“They’re recycled,” he says. “Made from the plastic windows of utility and credit card bills. Then they’re dyed using millions of Whole Foods logos harvested from bags, boxes, and cans.”

“What do they do? Those balls, I mean.” 

“Do?” answers George, “They don’t do anything. They just sit there. If you’re a good recycler, you’re allowed to buy them… and they ain’t cheap… to show that you recycle… that you’re a good person. Doing stuff isn’t the point. They’re recycled! That’s what counts.”

Inside George’s plastic palace, I’m surprised to see a huge TV. It takes up most of one wall in the living room… wider than I am tall. 

“That can’t possibly be recycled,” I tell him. 

“Of course it is,” he says. “Old cell phones… they pull out the wires, melt down the cases, take the electronics, run them through who knows what, pay some Chinese guys to put them together piece by piece. The screen too: old iPhone screens pasted together… thousands of them… Yeah, the quality isn’t so great… but it’s recycled… that’s what counts, right?”

He turns on the set. It’s like watching a mosaic... gives me a headache. 

“I think I’ll just get some sleep,” I tell him.

“I got porn, if you want,” he says with a grin.

“Sure,” I tell him, “Since we’re on a recycle kick, you got anything with Kip Knoll or Sharon Mitchell?”

George walks over to the wall… perpendicular to the TV. On that wall hangs a single picture… a photo that looks like it’s been clipped from a magazine and framed… Al Gore.

George presses Al’s nose.

It’s like a mystery movie, where the safe is hidden in the wall behind a painting, but here, with a sound like a skateboard on cobblestone, half the wall slides behind the other half. 

Then there are shelves… maybe a hundred… maybe twice that… filled with DVDs.

“Don’t you stream?” I ask. “Why the fuck do you have DVDs in a recycletopia?”

“The only streaming I do,” answers George, “is into the urine bottles for pharmaceutical recycling.” 

I say nothing. 

“Stream?” he continues, “If you mean electronic transmission of sound and images… Of course not! You can’t recycle that… it’s electrons… ones and zeros… What are you going to do with that? You need something you can melt down, press into something else, repackage, and keep until you’re ready to melt it down again, press it into something else and repackage it. That is RE-cycling, boy. You need something to cycle in the first place.”

Again I say nothing, despite being called --maybe for the first time in my life-- BOY.

George takes a small step stool from an aisle between the shelves and climbs to examine the DVDs. 

“For Kip Knoll,” he tells me, “I can give you Boys of Venice or Greece Monkeys. For Sharon Mitchell, I got The Boxer and the Stripper, Knockout, or Kamikaze Hearts.”

“I saw Kamikaze Hearts,” I tell him. “That is not a film to jerk off to. In some way, I think it’s anti-porn... like Boogie Nights.”

“Oh,” answers George, “I didn’t realize you actually wanted to choke the chicken. I’ll give you Pacific Coast Highway... that should get you where you want to go.”

From one of the DVD shelves he takes a small carton that looks like a mini Saran Wrap box. He opens it slightly then tears off a small plastic bag with a built-in twisty at the top. 

“You’ll need one of these,” he says. “It’s a Semen-Saver. Just take care of business in the bag here, and I’ll put it with the recycling that’s picked up every morning at 8.”

Falling asleep soon after depositing a few drops in the Semen-Saver, something wakes me up.  It sounds like a massive belch… almost like a bullfrog with a megaphone. It repeats. And again. 

I hear George stir, then say, “Hello?” Then, “No, when??? How did it happen?? Shit, this is awful!” Then, “I can’t believe it. I have a guest I was going to show around, but this is….” His voice cracks. I can’t make out the rest of what he says. 

George returns to me, his face ashen… eyes watery. 

“Mykel,” he says, “I’m so sorry. I just got some horrible news….”

I can hear him breathing harder, or trying to hold back sobs.

“I just heard my grandfather died,” he continues. “We were very close. His mulching is this afternoon.”

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I say.

“It’s not a loss,” says George… almost in anger. “That’s the beauty of recycle culture. There is no loss. Grandpa will be in Whole Foods in less than a month… the frozen sausage section…. I’m afraid you’ll have to fend for yourself for a bit. Help yourself to anything in the refrigerator. Don’t worry about waste. It was all something else before.”

George leaves the house… hops on a skateboard… made from ground and pressed coconut shells… and disappears from sight. 

I check out the kitchen: In the cupboard: a package of Picked-from-Turds Corn Kernels. In the refrigerator: a box of Twice-Used Broccoli Stems…  and a lot of sausage. I lose my appetite and decide it’s time to return to my sink. 

But a souvenir! I need something to bring back with me... to remember this place. The balls! I’ll take them off the neighbor’s yard… but I’ll have to disguise them. Everyone knows the green ones… Ah, right here… next to George’s sink… a can of yellow paint… I check the ingredients label: recycled from children’s rubber ducks and mustard scraped from discarded McDonald hot-dog rolls.

Looking both ways, I run out, grab some balls from the neighbor’s yard, bring them into the living room. I set some newspaper on the table, set the balls on the newspaper, and using George’s paint… change the green to yellow. 

While waiting for the paint to dry, I fill another Semen Saver®  with Sharon Mitchell. 

I grab the newly yellowed status markers and walk out the door… two in each hand… head down the road to the plywood opening that looks like an old-fashioned cellar door. 

There it is… about 3 minutes away… I hear running behind me. It’s the recycle cops… come to get me for stealing the round recycle balls without having earned them. I run faster, but these are cops, and even in this alternative world, I’m still pushing 80 years old. 

I know, turn the tables… I turn around… throw the balls at the cops… jump up… make a few fake karate jabs, 

“YEEE--- HAH! HEEE-- YAH!” I shout.

The cop backs off slightly. It’s enough for me to just reach the plywood door. 

“Hey,” shouts the cop when he sees what I threw at him. “Who’s the kung fu comedian with the yellow balls?”

I open the door, and shout back at the cop, “JACKIE CHAN!” Then I enter, and find myself back under the sink. 

See you in hell, 

Mykel Board

ENDNOTES: [You can contact me on facebook or by email at mykelboard@gmail.com. Through the post office: send those... er... private DVDs..or music or zines... or anything else (legal only!) to: Mykel Board, POB 137, New York, NY 10012-0003. If you like my writing, you can be notified when anything new is available. Send me an email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line. Back blogs and columns are at https://mykelsblog.blogspot.com]

> As promised here are some links to stories on the failure of recycling.




–> Hard to Imagine dept: Of all the places in the world, Chicago must be the hardest to imagine in a corruption or crime scandal. But there it is… and a recycling scandal at that! 
According to bettergov.org an investigation has found that most (by a large percentage) of Chicago’s recycling is handled by a very few private companies who dump the goods in landfills. Somehow, It’s hard to believe Chicago is the only place that happens. 

–> Giving the finger dept:
The Maricopa Monitor (yeah, THAT Maricopa) reports that police arrested a man after he left behind an obvious bit of evidence when he slashed two of his neighbor's tires. A woman found flat tires on her car parked in her own driveway. She also found a severed finger lying on that driveway, Police said a trail of blood led to a nearby home. The night before, the finger owner had allegedly become drunk and belligerent at a neighborhood get-together. He shoved and threatened the car owner and her husband before being asked to leave. The cops caught him… er… red-handed.

> I’m at a loss for words dept: The Mirror reports A middle-aged French woman claims to be in a sexual relationship with a rollercoaster.

Gaëlle Engel, from France, says she shares 'kids' with the theme park attraction. Engel said she had been sexually attracted to objects since her teens, and as an adult, she became fascinated with rollercoasters.

Half a dozen years ago, the artist found herself developing a strong romantic bond with a German ride. She became fixated on the Sky Scream rollercoaster at Holiday Park in Southwest Germany.

Her attraction to the Sky Scream is so strong that Gaëlle believes it's true love. "You could say that I'm sexually drawn to rollercoasters but since I met the Sky Scream, I understood what love was," she said.

> Eco-friendly dept: CNN tells us that the Kentucky Coal Museum has decided to work to lower its electricity costs. How? By installing solar panels on its roof. “Coal comes from nature,” says a museum founder. “Sun rays come from nature. So it all works out.”

See you in hell, redux,



I read that the search engines like lots of links... and it's also nice to support my friends and enemies in their blogs. So facebook me or email me if you have a blog, webpage or something else to connect to. I add you. You add me.

Here's a start:

Here’s Richard Goldberg: goldberg.wordpress.com

Poetry and humor fans will like Justin Martin in The Latency

And my friend Mike R has a nice site with recipe hits from the past! (He cooked for me once... great stuff.) Check out Yesterday's Recipes.

And here's one by a member of ANTI-SEEN... a tour diary of sorts.

Andy Shelton has an interesting blog here.

Savage Hippie is a guy who has been YouTubing for a long time. Our opinions largely overlap... but he complains that I'm a Communist. I'm not! I'm a communist.

Chris Stecher publishes a zine called PRECIS. You can see the back issue links there... and he promises a new issue soon.

George Fertakis has a very nice graphics-heavy blog... with music and books featured prominently. If there’s no link here (I can’t find it temporarily), then Google… er… Duckduckgo him for information.

And my long-term pal Sid Yiddish contributes with his Mishegas Master Blog.

And connect to TRUST Zine, a long-running German punk zine… that STILL PRINTS!!! Yeah, they have a website too… of course! It’s here.

Here are a couple video links.

And this one from my very long-time friend Roger Armstrong.

Jim Testa moved his long running zine, Jersey Beat, to the blogosphere awhile back. You can read it here. Jim also recommended a kind of unique album… in a style you don’t see to much of these days… or any days. Neo-Hassidic Rock Opera. You can stream the album here.

Kyle Nonneman is in prison in Portland. At least he can’t be kidnapped by the secret police… I think. I post his blog for him, he can’t do it from the klink. Lots of stuff about noise metal… and some very weird politics that will either fascinate or repulse you… or both.

Oh yeah, then there’s me. I have a blog of stuff I’ve written mostly from last century. You might enjoy it. Then again, you might not. It’s here.

Let me know if you have a blog… or a print zine… or a YouTube and want to be added to the list. You show me yours… you’ve already seen mine. god@mykelboard.com

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