Tomato Design Goes Green!

Surviving the Recession, on 23rd Street
January 3, 2009, 6:05 pm
Filed under: What happened to fun??

My roommate, Brigitte, and her friend, Alix, had a bake sale to raise cash today, January 2. Here are the photos of their enterprise (they had fun, but nearly froze their noses!) They also made a decent profit, considering that it was late on a very frigid Saturday afternoon.

It’s my turn next! Anyone want to join me?

Here come$ the money!

Here come$ the money!

Brigitte (L) and Alix (R) with their customers (at left)

Customers (at left) eye the goods, while Brigitte (L) and Alix (R) prepare to grab their dough

The goods!

The goods!

Wild Wild West
January 1, 2009, 6:45 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized


As we head into 2009, the “Bernie Madoff Fire Sales” continue (see image above), and pretty well sum up the greed and financial meltdown of 2008. So much to change; so little time.

We are also up to our eyeballs in yet another Middle Eastern war, where (in W. B. Yeats’ words) “ignorant armies clash by night.”

I have just taken on a wonderful new client, a Palestinian-American who sells fabulous olive oils, intricate wood carvings, and other goods at excellent prices [see his beautiful site:]. He lives, of all places, in a small town in NW Wisconsin, with an office in nearby Minneapolis, MN. Surrounded by deer hunters, he’s managed to blend reasonably well by being (in the past) a cop, among other occupations.

Now you’d think his major problems would come from the Israelis when he travels to Palestine to buy his goods (and he has had a couple of brushes with them.) But the real problem seems to be New York Americans!

For example, he recently imported 10,000 bottles of top-grade extra-virgin olive oil and had it in a warehouse in Minnesota. Somehow, a customs office from NYC managed to show up on his doorstep, informing him he “couldn’t sell” his oil, because it had the word “Palestine” on the label, a country that “doesn’t exist” (according to the official.)

Abe protested: Palestine had been recognized by everyone — including Israel — since the Oslo Accords. However, the man was adamant.

When Abe asked what would happen if he didn’t change the 10,000 labels, the guy told him they would confiscate the shipment and send it back to “where it came from.”

“How could you?” Abe sensibly asked. “Palestine doesn’t exist!”

At this, the official became very threatening. So Abe and his friends held a “relabelling party” and changed all 10,000 labels to exclude the forbidden word.

How can we move into 2009 with this kind of ignorance running our government behind the scenes? And how can we avoid future wars in the Mideast if we don’t work hand in hand with these people, learning who they are and what the overwhelming majority of them really want (i.e., peace and prosperity, even as we do)?

Apart from this, we have to work together as Americans to get around the stupidity that seems to be victimizing all of us. Dr. Phil just had a program on amnesiacs, for example, and one of the men said he had contacted Social Security explaining he didn’t really know who he was in the past; but that he had been cleared by the FBI and was ready to work. When he asked for a new SSN, he was told that he could only get one if he claimed to be an illegal alien! As his accent has been solidly identified as being from the Indianapolis area, there’s no way he can regain his civil rights as long as he insists he is American!

I have stories of my own which, if space permitted, would demonstrate that the US government has arranged for me to die in the street, no matter what I do, unless I immigrate to another country and renounce my US citizenship. Yes, they are truly working for all of us!

However, that said, we can make a difference in this new century and this new presidency, and perhaps even turn around some of the circumstances that have made the past 8 years so terribly destructive for our country and our people.

I am looking forward to finding new ways to do business and new ways to provide us with carbon-free energy, as well as boost up others who want to get on their feet and build successful businesses and careers.

Let’s do it! This could be the year we really come together!