YellowXCUExcept for “Sleepy Hollow” and my newest oh-so-guilty pleasure, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” *, I don’t watch much TV.

Look, I’m a backyard farmer. Between chores and a child, I don’t get a lot of downtime and, to be honest, I’d rather curl up with some magazines and the cats than sit in front of a screen, HD or otherwise. Cats purr; televisions don’t. (Google may be working on that.)

And since I don’t watch many shows, I don’t get to watch many commercials either. Which means that when I do see them, I’m often appalled fascinated by the sheer audacity of Madison Avenue’s pitches, not to mention the stunning array of dubiously useful products propped up with pricey marketing firepower.

OK, maybe it’s just me. (Probably!) But after so many years in the media arts, I can actually feel the audio-visual puppet strings yanking on us right through the pixels.  (Ouch!)

Which brings me to the subject of lawn care ads. You know, the ones sprouting between episodes like so many interstitial weeds. With their suite of post-production fireworks and matter-of-fact voice-overs, we the couch-surfing public are supposed to believe that Green Perfection (based on the visuals, defined as “professional golf course-level”) is just a pound or two of space age chemicals away.

But, my fellow lawn-owners, have you read the fine print on those product labels? Have you smelled those home & garden aisles at the box store? Is there not a reason they have those little yellow warning signs on people’s lawns after they apply that stuff?


I mean, what the freaking ducks are we doing here, folks?!!  And how much time are we spending on those lawns anyway? Is it all just for show? (Possibly.) Are we paying all that money, disseminating all those polysyllabic compounds into the water supply (or the wildlife? or us?!) just so we can Instagram our modern moats rather than actually walk on them?


Where was I?

Oh, right. Lawn chemicals. So, peeps, now you know three things: 1) why I avoid watching TV, especially at this time of year; 2) why I generally remove my shoes in the house and definitely after walking around a pesticide-treated neighborhood and 3) even we gentle souls here at What the Ducks! get hot under the collar every now and then.

As long as there’s no ring around that collar we’re good, right?






*Rad update of a 30-year-old comix classic, BTW!

**She shrieked in her best Amy Adams as a piping mad princess kinda voice.


Further reading:

“The Toxic Brew in Our Yards”, Diane Lewis, New York Times

“Dogs Absorb Lawn Chemicals”, Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News

Reduce All Pesticides but Eliminate Those Used on Lawns, National Audubon Society


Copyright 2014, Lori Fontanes