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Interview :: Environment
Interview with Captain Ozone
17 Nov 2004
Modified: 06:03:50 AM
A candid, unedited Exclusive interview with the elusive Captain Ozone
Ozone - chicken wing.JPG
Red Heart.JPG
Red Heart Arrow.JPG
Red Heart MOM.JPG
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If you plan to interview Captain Ozone, good luck! He has no address or phone number. He camps out in the woods and only checks his e-mails once in a blue moon through the public library systems.

During my quest for an interview, I contacted several sources, including Environmental Media Northwest, until the Captain finally contacted me via e-mail. The executive director of Environmental Media Northwest actually had me blindfolded and we drove to Captain Ozone’s secret campsite.

Once at the campsite, my blindfold was removed. I expected to see a man in a super-hero costume. Instead, I met a plain-clothed man wearing a hat, sunglasses, and an obviously fake beard. The campsite was cluttered with vintage electronics, including a two-way shortwave radio. A small hydrogen fuel cell was powering the vintage equipment. The encampment was surrounded by giant old-growth trees, if that’s any clue to our whereabouts…


Captain Ozone: “Hello Vanessa. I’m Captain Will Ozone.”

Vanessa Jefferson: “Hello there. So why aren’t you wearing your super-hero costume?”

Captain Ozone: “It takes almost a half an hour for me to suit up in that costume. It only takes a few seconds for me to put on this cheap disguise.”

Vanessa Jefferson: “I understand…but I went through a bunch of malarkey to get here, and I brought my camera all this way…”

CO: “I’m sorry about all the malarkey, but consider yourself lucky. I rarely do personal interviews. If I do interviews at all, it’s usually through e-mails.”

VJ: “Then why did you let me come here in person?”

CO: “Because you were very persistent in trying to track me down. I also saw your photo in your e-mails. You look like a very intelligent and attractive young lady.”

VJ: “Thank you. Can I take pictures of you in your cheap disguise?”

CO: “You certainly may.”

VJ: “How did you find this place? These old-growth trees are just magnificent. How old do you think they are?”

CO: “That one over there, next to my tent, could be seven-hundred years old. There aren’t very many of them left here. Most of them were cut down about eighty years ago.”

VJ: “It’s a plain shame, isn’t it? So what kind of ancient equipment is that under your canopy?”

CO: “Some of it’s used for communications. Some of it’s used for scientific research.”

VJ: “Where is the electricity coming from to power all of that stuff?”

CO: “A hydrogen fuel cell, over there. I also have a solar panel equipped with a battery for a backup, over there, but I haven’t used it yet.”

VJ: “What kind of scientific research are you doing?”

CO: “I can’t talk about that right now. Let’s just say it’s top secret for the time being.”

VJ: “Yes, your team of scientists in your documentary had the same answers. Someone in your documentary also mentioned that you’re a time traveler from the future? Is this true?”

CO: “Would you believe me if I told you I am from the future?”

VJ: “No.”

CO: “Well…there you have it. Why don’t we move on to a more tangible subject matter—like hydrogen fuel technologies?”

VJ: “Sure, but first I brought you this bottle of Stoli’s vodka. I saw in your documentary how your tattoo visually changes when you drink hard liquor. I’d like to see this for real.”

CO: “Well, thanks for the Stoli’s. I normally don’t drink this early in the day, but since this is a special occasion, I think I will.”

VJ: “I also brought you a double shot-glass.”

CO: “You set ’em up, Vanessa, and I’ll knock ’em down. It takes about six shots altogether for my tattoo to work.”

VJ: “I know. I counted them in your documentary. Here, I’m going to pour you one right now.”

Captain Ozone grabbed the double shot and swilled it down in one gulp. He curled his right arm and flapped it up and down like a chicken wing.

CO: “Iiiiieeeeeeehh! Nit, nit, nit, fik, fik, fik’n Indians!”

VJ: “Excuse me, but do you have Turrets syndrome?”

CO: “No. I was just doing an impersonation of Jack Nicholson in the movie Easy Rider. One of my favorite counterculture movies from the 1960’s.”

VJ: “I’ll have to see that movie again. Okay, let’s get started. First of all, I just wanted to state for my readers that you assert hydrogen gas can be made from water, and when it’s burned, it turns back into water.”

CO: “Yes, that is correct. Hydrogen gas can be cracked from water through a process called electrolysis.”

VJ: “You also assert that hydrogen fuel is 100% pollution-free and 100% renewable. Is this true?”

CO: “Only if hydrogen fuel is made from pollution-free and renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydro power.”

VJ: “Okay. You also claim that hydrogen fuel, or hydrogen fuel cells, will eventually replace all fossil fuels in the future.”

CO: “That’s right. Hydrogen fuel will eventually replace coal and petroleum as a major fuel source in the future. Part of my mission is to make certain that this conversion to hydrogen fuel happens in the next decade. Not in the next half century. Fossil fuels are the major contributors to global warming, and believe me; we don’t have a half a century to spare.”

VJ: “Okay, but today, virtually all hydrogen gas production is being made from crude fossil materials. Worldwide, 48% of hydrogen is produced from natural gas, 30% from petroleum, and 18% from coal. These are not pollution-free, renewable energy sources that hydrogen is being produced from, and they do produce greenhouse gases.”

CO: “Very good. I see you’ve done your homework. There are advanced technologies being developed today to ensure that any greenhouse gases released in the process of making hydrogen from crude fossil materials does not escape into the atmosphere. There’s also the option of making hydrogen from nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gases. However, I’d like to see the process of making hydrogen fuel from crude fossil materials or nuclear power to be a very short-term plan.”

VJ: “What do you foresee the long-term plan to be?”

CO: “Like you said, natural gas, petroleum and coal are not pollution-free, renewable resources to make hydrogen fuel from. Neither is nuclear power. The long-term plan is to make hydrogen from pollution-free and renewable resources such as wind, solar, and hydro power, or even biomass.”

VJ: “Yes, but can these pollution-free and renewable resources, at present, create enough hydrogen to power the 600,000,000 automobiles around the world today?”

CO: “Of course not. At present, there are not enough wind turbines, solar panels and hydroelectric dams to produce enough hydrogen to power that many automobiles. But, more of these pollution-free and renewable resources can be built worldwide”

VJ: “You’re talking about a gargantuan task.”

CO: “Yes, somewhere at the tune of over a trillion dollars, worldwide, spent over a period of a decade.”

VJ: “That seems very improbable.”

CO: “During WWII, almost a trillion dollars in 1940’s currency was spent on mass destruction, worldwide, in just six years. You can’t see all of our nations, today, spending a trillion dollars on mass productivity, in just ten years?”

VJ: “Yes, I can see that, but only if there was some sort of global emergency.”

CO: “You don’t consider global warming to be an emergency?”

VJ: “I don’t perceive it to be an emergency, quite yet. But I can see it becoming an emergency in the near future.”

CO: “It will become an emergency thirty years from now if the world continues to rely on coal, petroleum and natural gas as primary fuel sources.”

VJ: “Thirty years from now? How do you know this?”

CO: “I have seen it.”

VJ: “Oh, I see…uh-huh, uh-huh.”

CO: “Even if the rest of the world does not convert to pollution-free and renewable energy sources, our country must so that we can be energy self-sufficient. Depending on the Middle East for oil weakens our national strength. With hydrogen, the U.S. could be energy self-sufficient. Also, changing to a hydrogen-based economy will create thousands of new industrial and scientific jobs. Building plants, manufacturing parts and selling equipment will all be investments that stimulate jobs and growth.”

VJ: “You’re still talking about a gargantuan task. It would take America at least a half a century to build enough solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric dams to produce enough hydrogen gas to power all of our ships, planes, automobiles and factories. Let’s try to be realistic here.”

CO: “I am being realistic. During WWII, our nation, aided by a huge governmental effort, retooled every major factory in order to manufacture ships, planes, tanks and guns for the war effort. This was all accomplished in only 11 months, and our aircraft industry in WWII grew to become the largest industry in the world. If America accomplished all that back in the 1940’s, in only 11 months, don’t you think America, today, can convert to a hydrogen-based economy in ten years?”

VJ: “Yes, I do. Only one problem, Captain…”

CO: “What?”

VJ: “There are still enough crude fossil materials left on Earth to last the whole-wide-world another 150 years. That doesn’t give all our nations, including America, much of an incentive to change to a hydrogen-based economy—especially in just ten years.”

CO: “I agree. But our country is spending billions of dollars each year defending access to oil in the Middle East, and billions more financing oil explorations. We can spend the same amount of money towards a hydrogen-based economy instead. Call me a crackpot, idealistic dreamer if you will. But it’s feasibly within our price-range to build a hydrogen-based economy within the next decade. Incidentally, in the not-too-distant future, there’s a good chance that Paul Allen will generate some historic progress for the hydrogen fuel industry.”

VJ: “Paul Allen? How do you know this? Oh, never mind. Incidentally, I saw in your documentary that you’re a notorious prankster.”

CO: “Indeed, I am. But if you notice when it comes to hydrogen fuel technologies, I don’t joke around.”

VJ: “I also read on the Internet that you starred in the first hydrogen fuel PSA to be televised in America.”

CO: “That’s right, Vanessa. The PSA was written and directed by two seventh-grade girls from Seattle, and the US Department of Energy pooled resources with us. I also helped write and direct another hydrogen fuel PSA which featured a ten-year-old boy that was filmed in my laboratory. If you go to 4hydrogen.com, you can view these PSAs. You can also make a tax-deductible donation through this website to Environmental Media Northwest—the non-profit organization that produced the PSA’s.”

VJ: “Okay. I’ll go there and donate fifty bucks—what the heck.”

CO: “Good. We need all the help we can get.”

VJ: “Why do you feature school kids in your hydrogen fuel PSA’s?”

CO: “Well, the hydrogen industry needs to build public support and a wide constituency. Hydrogen is the fuel of the future and our children are the future. Plus, kids are a large percentage of the general public and act as a gateway for messages about new technologies. That is why Environmental Media Northwest has focused on children as the proactive agent of change in our television PSA’s.”

VJ: “Do the school kids enjoy working with you?”

CO: “Of course. I’m a colorfully costumed super-hero. You saw my documentary; the kids were having a riot. I also created the Children’s Ecology Program (www.emnw.org/school.htm)—an exciting workshop that gives school kids the opportunity to write, direct and star in their own television PSA’s. Maybe one of their next PSA’s will be about the conservation of old-growth trees.”

VJ: “I think your Children’s Ecology Program is a great concept. It gives school kids a powerful voice, enabling them to become environmental educators on a large scale.”

CO: “That’s right. Today’s children are the leaders of tomorrow. So far, our school kids’ PSA’s have received millions of dollars worth of television airtime for free.”

VJ: “Wow. That’s outstanding.”

CO: “I think that ecological studies should be a required class for middle-school and high-school students.”

VJ: “I agree. By the way, I really liked the rock-music video in your documentary. Who was the band that performed in it?”

CO: “A band from Seattle Washington called Bows & Eros (www.bowsanderos.com). Some of the background music in the documentary was also performed by another band from Bellingham Washington called The Stinkbugs.”

VJ: “Very groovy. By the way, can I see how your tattoo is doing?”

Captain Ozone pulled up his right shirtsleeve, revealing a tattoo of a red-colored heart.

CO: “My tattoo hasn’t changed yet. I need another shot of that Stoli’s.”

I poured another double shot of Stoli’s for the Captain and he swilled it down in one big gulp again.

CO: “Eeaahhh! So what else do you want to talk about?”

VJ: “I think it’s awesome that you helped produce and also starred in the largest media campaign to save our Pacific Northwest salmon. I’m a huge wild salmon advocate myself. There’s just one thing that puzzles me, though.”

CO: “Yeah, what’s that?”

VJ: “You mentioned earlier that pollution-free and renewable hydrogen can be produced from solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric dams.”

CO: “Yes?”

VJ: “Aren’t hydroelectric dams partially responsible for reducing the population of our wild salmon?”

CO: “Yes, that’s true with some dams. But over the last thirty years, fish ladders and highly developed turbines have been created which enable wild salmon to swim safely to and from existing dams. Dams built in the future that generate hydrogen fuel will be equipped from the very beginning with these new salmon-saving technologies.”

VJ: “That’s good to hear. In that case, I’m all for hydrogen generating dams in the future.”

CO: “Good.”

VJ: “I saw in your documentary how you powered an antique chainsaw with hemp oil at the Seattle Hemp Fest and—”

CO: “—Wait. Sorry to interrupt, but I did not power that chainsaw with hemp oil.
I lubricated it with hemp oil. Essentially, I did a demonstration on how hemp oil can be used as an alternative lubricant to petroleum.”

VJ: “Oh, I see. Does hemp oil make a better engine lubricant than petroleum?”

CO: “No. Hemp oil can be used as cooking oil and is also a tasty ingredient in salad dressings, but it does not contain all the complex hydrocarbons that petroleum does. The complex hydrocarbons in petroleum are necessary elements for making strong, durable and long-lasting engine lubricants.”

VJ: “Then why did you demonstrate hemp oil as an alternative lubricant to petroleum at the Seattle hemp Fest?”

CO: “A hemp enthusiast friend of mine kept rousting me to do it, so I did it on a lark. However, if it’s of any importance, I used virgin hemp oil in the chainsaw’s engine. I also lubricated the chainsaw’s chain with virgin hemp oil. Everything worked just fine.”

VJ: “One of your scientists in your documentary mentioned that plastics can be made from hemp oil. Can hemp oil make better plastics than petroleum?”

CO: “Hemp oil can make high-quality soft plastics, like plastic bags for sandwich wraps, or plastic bottles for water. But hemp oil cannot make extremely hard, high-heat-resistant plastics. Again, this requires the complex hydrocarbon elements found in petroleum.”

VJ: “Do you consider yourself to be a hemp enthusiast in general?”

CO: “To some extent. I think that hemp makes long-lasting, high-quality textiles. I own a pair of pants that are 100% hemp. The pants cost me $85 bucks, though.”

VJ: “This shirt I’m wearing is 100% hemp. Feel it.”

CO: “Hmm. It feels pretty soft. It’s not virgin hemp, is it?”

VJ: “No. It’s polished hemp, and it only cost me $40. Can I see your tattoo again?”

The Captain pulled up his shirtsleeve again and this time I saw a faint, black arrow piercing through the red heart tattoo.

VJ: “Oh, yes…I see the black arrow now…faintly. Where on Earth did you get this tattoo?”

CO: “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

VJ: “No, really, where did you get it? I want to get one.”

CO: “You can’t get one in this time period. This kind of tattoo ink won’t exist for another fifteen or twenty years from now.”

VJ: “Uh-huh, uh-huh. You’re a silly, silly man.”

CO: “I just need one more shot of Stoli’s for the rest of my tattoo to work.”

I poured another double shot for the Captain and he swigged it down in two gulps this time.

CO: “Eeeuugh! That one didn’t go down too well. I haven’t eaten anything yet today.”

VJ: “I’ve got some hummus with bread in my bag. Do you want some?”

CO: “No thanks. I’ve got a top sirloin steak that I’m going to barbeque later.”

VJ: “So Captain Ozone the ecological super-hero is a meat eater, huh?”

CO: “That’s right. I even have a couple of wild salmon fillets in my ice box.”

VJ: “Shame on you. Have you ever considered being a vegetarian?”

CO: “I tried being a strict vegetarian for three months. I felt very weak and low in energy the whole time, even though I ate a lot of beans and rice. I’m one of those people that need amino acids from meats. Besides, I love every kind of seafood there is.”

VJ: “That’s okay. I won’t lecture you on the subject. I’m not one of those self-righteous, moralizing vegans.”

CO: “Glad to hear it. So what else would you like to talk about?”

VJ: “Actually, I’d like to ask you a personal question.”

CO: “Shoot.”

VJ: “Are you an alcoholic?”

CO: “I drink one day in the middle of the week, and one day on the weekend. I don’t smoke marijuana or do any other drugs. Does that answer your question?”

VJ: “Yes, thank you. I have another personal question. Why don’t you want anyone to know your true identity and where you live?”

CO: “A real, costumed super-hero never reveals his true identity. The main reason why I am hiding out here in the woods is because there are some people who would like to silence me.”

VJ: “What sort of people would like to silence you? Oil barons…?”

CO: “You’re getting very warm. There are certain entities that have tried to sabotage me in the past. The petroleum industry is the second largest industry in the world. I am, after all, promoting hydrogen fuel over fossil fuels.”

VJ: “That sounds a little scary…but I think you’re being too paranoid. Have you ever resorted to violence in order to protect yourself?”

CO: “For the most part, I’m a nonviolent super-hero. I don’t carry a gun or any licensed weapons. However, I did hit someone in the head with my toilerang in self-defense once.”

VJ: “Toilerang?”

CO: “It’s an open-end toilet seat that I carved into a boomerang. It’s in my documentary.”

VJ: “Speaking of toilets, tell me about Eco Art Day—your outdoor toilet art festival. That was one of the more bizarre things I saw in your documentary. How did you come up with that idea?”

CO: “Well, I started thinking about common household products that end up in landfills, and how they could be recycled. Since millions of used toilets end up in landfills every year, one of my scientists came up with the idea of recycling them into fine works of art. She also thought that we could do this in homage to my time latrine.”

VJ: “Time latrine? What’s that?”

CO: “My missing time machine. You saw it in my documentary, remember.”

VJ: “Oh, that’s right—the Flash Gordon commode you were traveling on. Uh-huh. But anyway…”

CO: “So my musician friend from Bows & Eros and one of my scientists collect abandoned, used toilets sitting next to garbage dumpsters in back alleyways. Then they organize a clandestine group of artists to refurbish the toilets into fine works of art. The toilets, late at night, are then covertly put out on display on business street corners on the 24th of November every year.”

VJ: “Where did you first display the toilets?”

CO: “At a quaint and hip little district in Bellingham Washington called Fairhaven.”

VJ: “Is there any political message involved?”

CO: “Sort of. The themes for most of the toilets are based on endangered species, toxic waste and outer-inner space environments.”

VJ: “Where do the toilets go after they are publicly displayed?”

CO: “Well, since the toilets are made into artsy flower pots, candle holders and ashtrays, people take them home and use them.”

VJ: “Very nifty.”

CO: “Yes, and I would like to see other artists all around America copy Eco Art Day in other cities.”

VJ: “Why are your commodes publicly display on the 24th of November?”

CO: “Well, we—”

Captain Ozone’s two-way shortwave radio made a hissing noise followed by a loud “pop”. The Captain jumped from his yard chair and grabbed the microphone.

Radio: “Seth here. Over.”

CO: “Will here. Over.”

Radio: “We blew a core memory plane. Over.”

CO: “Was any important data lost? Over.”

Radio: “Yes. Sixty-four kilobytes worth. Over.”

CO: “Shit. Okay, I’ll be there right away. Over and out.”

VJ: “Do you have an emergency on your hands?”

CO: “Yes, as much to be expected from a fifty-year-old Univac computer.”

VJ: “I’m sorry.”

CO: “So am I. We’re going to have to cut this interview short. I have to leave right away.”

VJ: “That’s okay. Can I see your tattoo one more time before we leave?”


The Captain rolled up his shirtsleeve again and the black arrow through the red heart was well defined now. The word ‘MOM’ also appeared in the middle of the heart. I wondered if the Captain missed his mother. After all, his mother was somewhere faraway in the future, right? ?

Captain Ozone hopped on his Harley Davidson and left. I forgot to ask him if his motorcycle was powered by hydrogen fuel. The executive director blindfolded me again, escorted me into his car, and drove me home.

I made a deal with the Captain that I would not give out his e-mail address, so if you want to get in touch with him, you’ll have to find your own sources.

To see Captain Ozone's documentary, go to www.captainozone.com
See also:
http://www.captainozone.com
http://www.emnw.org

This work is in the public domain
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