It's a spectacularly sunny day in Wallingford, and I'm surrounded by children. They're shouting, laughing, crying. This isn't a "party" party. There's no drunkenness, no nakedness, no belligerence, no debauchery. It's just a down-to-earth Earth Day party.

In the backyard, the kids (and maybe the adults, too) have gone wild with sidewalk chalk. Messages of peace and love abound on the stones of a short, mossy walkway. The host, Doug, greets me as he saws away at a glorious, party-sized hunk of tri-tip steak. "Are you a vegetarian?" he asks. "No, not at all," I say. Doug gives an approving nod. "Good." The steak is tender and drowning in delicious juices; I could care less if it's earth-friendly beef. As I masticate my meat and sip pale ale, I spy it: what we've all come to the party for—the Earth piñata made from last week's Stranger issue, swaying in the wind. Doug unhooks it and announces it's time to destroy Earth.

The party moves to the front of the house, and Doug slings the piñata over a tree branch. The kids line up, ready to take a swing. They're handed a wooden bat branded with the McDonald's logo. Children battering a facsimile of Earth with a McDonald's baseball bat—that's almost too many layers of irony to wrap your head around. After a few spirited swings, the piñata splits in half, raining candy onto the sidewalk. Earth has been destroyed, and our Earth Day party ends. recommended

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