Dearest readers,

Bruce WillisDo you know what today is? Why, yes, smarty pants, it is Friday, March 19, but more to the point, do you know what momentous occasion occurred on this date 55 years ago? Indeed, my speedy Googlers, Bruce Willis’ birth! And to honor the day that brought us the star of such gems as Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and the now-in-development Die Hard 5, I’ve combed the archives to find some words of wisdom related to my pal and yours, Bruce Willis. I may have had to stretch just a smidge to make some of them work for the theme, but in the end, I do believe BW would be proud. Want to share your favorite Bruce Willis moment in history? Hit me up in the comments section.

  • Live Free or Die Hard
    Ah, nothing says Fourth of July more than Det. John McClane blowing up terrorists and Americans blowing up fireworks. Although fireworks do give off carbon dioxide, they aren’t egregious greenhouse-gas offenders. The more serious pollutant is potassium perchlorate, used as an oxidant in fireworks. Perchlorate, which messes with our thyroid glands, falls to the ground as the firework fades, and often into water. Is it toxic enough to stop once-yearly use? Meh, it’s your call. Get the full Ask Umbra answer.
  • The Sixth Sense
    Oh man, Haley Joel Osment scared the bejeezus out of me in this flick, with his, “I see dead people” stuff. I’m all like, can you see me?! Does that mean…? Nooo! The time will come when, yes, Haley Joel Osment will be able to see us all. And when it does, you don’t want to leave your carbon footprint hanging around. Traditional cremation is less polluting than modern burial. I know, you’re as surprised as I was. Modern burial involves formaldehyde-y embalming fluid, concrete vaults, and lots of lawn mowing and pesticides. Cremation is just the burning with no ensuing cemetery maintenance. However, if burial’s your thing, there is a Green Burial Council to aid in planning, and there are also pretty, green graveyards. Get the full Ask Umbra answer.
  • Over the Hedge
    Remember the sweet little cartoon in which BW voiced that wily raccoon RJ, who ventured into human territory with his other woodland creature pals? Ah, happy memories. So here’s a word on deer hunting (smooth transition, no?). Deer no longer have many predators, because we’ve killed most of them off through habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as hunting. Without human interference, deer would keep reproducing and stay healthy as long as food and space were plentiful. Starvation and disease would eventually slow their reproduction; then food would become plentiful again, reproduction would pick up, and the cycle would continue. But that’s hard for humans to watch and even harder for the starving deer, I imagine. Hunting is used by state fish and wildlife agencies to manage deer herds. Am I in favor of hunting? For food by people who can use the meat, yes. For fun to help “manage deer herds”? Sport hunting is in many ways a necessary outcome of the artificial habitat in which deer now roam. Wildlife managers are looking into sterilization as an alternative in communities where hunting is impossible (dense suburbia) or has been voted out of existence. Might I suggest deer condoms? Get the full Ask Umbra answer.
  • Garden State
    OK, fine, you movie buffs, Bruce wasn’t in Garden State. However, he did grow up mostly in the Garden State. He’s a Jersey boy! Thusly, I bring you a lovely letter from a fellow New Jersey reader, Patricia from North Plainfield, N.J., who wanted to know how to recycle a Color Me Badd tape (told you I might be stretching a bit). So here goes: Donate it to a thrift store or library, posse up with your friends in the same sitch and ship all the goods to a biz like GreenDisk, or head over to Earth911 and type in “cassette tapes” and your area code to see if there are any places to recycle tapes in your own ‘hood. Get the full Ask Umbra answer.

Yippee-ki-yayly,
Umbra