To make the Thanksgiving centerpiece a sure triumph, go heritage — and reach for the deep-fryer

Fry ya later, alligator. In the 11 years between the Declaration of Independence and the ratification of the Constitution, arguments raged over the future of the nascent nation. One involved the naming of a National Bird. Writing to his daughter on the subject of his choice for the symbol in 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Eagles have been found in all Countries, but the Turkey is peculiar to ours.” I’ve often wondered what effect there would have been on our national character had Mr. Franklin prevailed. Nonetheless, thanks to America’s best holiday, the turkey has earned an honored place in our …

Quantum of greenness

James Bond a not-so-secret green agent

The new James Bond flick Quantum of Solace, which opens this weekend, has an eco-theme. I wrote about it in April: Quantum of Solace continues the storyline that began with Casino Royale and finds Bond shaken (not stirred) by the death and betrayal of a loved one. He wants revenge, and he points a (Gold)finger at "eco-entrepreneur" Dominic Greene (the man with the green gun?). Played by Mathieu Amalric, the French star of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Greene is the owner of an eco-hotel in the Chilean desert — an oasis aimed at luring rich and powerful folk …

Umbra on cookbooks

Dear Umbra, I am trying to eat local foods within the seasons, but most of my cookbooks include ingredients from multiple seasons in a single recipe. Can you offer any cookbooks or advice for finding more seasonal recipes? Yours locally (and in season or preserved), Katie Somerville, Mass. Dearest Katie, Good for you — and good for you. Isn’t it too bad Gristmahanukwanzakah comes after Thanksgiving? Cookbooks make great gifts, but we need them in advance. I feel thanksgiving for the library, where we can test drive before committing to a wish list. Cooking local: easy as pie? The eat-local …

Green is universal ... again

NBC back at the green thing

Next week throughout the broadcast world of network NBC It’s “Green Is Universal” time, so forced programs you’ll see: From Kath and Kim describing what our ignorance has lost us To musings from the Peter Pan of big-time sports, Bob Costas. A mayor will clean up a waterfront on soapy Days And PSAs will hammer home the word in different ways. It’s tempting to poke fun at this, but I’d sound like a dink — So I’ll just turn to you instead, and ask: What do you think?

‘Hypermiling’ is the word of the year

Beating out such worthy contenders as “staycation” and “CarrotMob,” “hypermiling” has been crowned the 2008 Word of the Year by the New Oxford American Dictionary.

How to green your bathroom

No need to go all ape sh*t, greening your bathroom is easy.   Splish splash, I was takin’ a bathLong about a Saturday nightA-rub-dub, just relaxin’ in the tubThinkin’ everything was all right. Poor Bobby Darin — there he was, thinking everything was all right, when he really should have been taking a four-minute shower under his low-flow showerhead. Of course, rewriting his movin’ and groovin’ ditty would be a musical crime. But water and energy waste (and their associated punch to the pocketbook) are also a crime of sorts. Luckily, they’re avoidable. It’s tempting to think that what happens …

The shipping news ...

UPS to deliver by b-i-k-e?

The president of the Salem (Ore.) Bicycle Club got an e-mail from someone purportedly at UPS looking to hire seasonal drivers to make deliveries by bike — and thus to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Wowie! If this is for real, it means that all those with admiring eyes for the buff men and women in brown have even more to look forward to — buffer men and women, with a healthy glow from biking around to deliver goods. Hope this is real. Anyone heard of UPS doing this anywhere else?

Mo' money, mo' problems

Pearlstein: ‘A Detroit bankruptcy beats a bailout’ — but what do you think?

I’m quite interested in hearing your thoughts on two questions: How much of your money, if any, should the government give to Detroit? What should we get in return ? That is, of course, beyond the $25 billion already promised the Big Three (Medium Two?) U.S. automakers to retool their factories (in theory) to make fuel-efficient cars. Worth noting at the start is that anyone, including the feds, could buy GM right now for about $2 billion, its current market capitalization, which is about one-third the market cap of the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group. My biggest concern with giving them …

E-waste scandal on 60 Minutes

60 Minutes will be airing a segment on the global toxic trade in e-waste tonight. Here’s a preview story and video.

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