Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Great Food Debate

March's book pick (for the book club I am) was "In Defense of Food," by Michael Pollen. This book was selected by a genius..namely me! Kidding aside, the book was very informative about the eating habits of us Americans; how much we have changed our eating ways since the time of our ancestors, how so much use of processed food in our diets has been a calculated move by those inside the processed food industry and how we can improve our food purchasing behavior.

It was that last bit of the book that has got me thinking. Some of the author's suggestions about our eating ways was that we overeat much more than from the past. Also we eat more of the processed stuff because it is cheaper than the good stuff (the healthy stuff). What if we, in America, made our food more expensive? Perhaps if we made our food more expensive we would waste less, choose what we ate more carefully? Less junk and more healthy stuff, I found that to be the case while living in Denmark.

On the other hand, I would hate to make food more expensive since it is a staple and this would make it harder for those most in need to get this necessity.

Where is the middle ground? I really definitely want to end the overuse of processed foods, the overeating and the abject wasting of food in our culture but at what cost??

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Vegas Musings

I'm back from Vegas, about $100 poorer (not from gambling but from shopping). Everyday there was full of working but the evenings were mine for play (which really just meant shopping or eating out).

Staying five days in Las Vegas gave me some time to ponder the sin city. It is VERY different from any other city I have been to - mind you these musings are only on my observations as a tourist. But what is the real Las Vegas? I read joeinvegas blog and feel like I gain a bit insight but even Joe is not a "native" Las Vegaian - does such a thing exist? A person born and raised in Las Vegas. I guess that is what I noticed markedly about the city, it feels like everyone is coming from somewhere else versus other locations where people are steeped in the culture of that city. And is there a culture to this city? Does that make sense? Sometimes I felt, walking on the strip or even riding the bus to the downtown area, that Las Vegas is a city of lost souls, people who want to leave their past behind, that they are running away.

On the flip side I have to say the people of Las Vegas are incredibly nice! Everywhere I went, from the Premium Outlet Center to the downtown bus depot, people were not only helpful but patient, this is a city that did not seem to begrudge its tourists (unlike New Yorker's who clamour for tourist dollars but treat tourists like crap). Also it is a very diverse city, independent thinkers abound, which is a good thing, I think.

Now I am back in DC, where the weather is cold and the people are a bit cranky because of it.

ps - if you haven't seen the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, what are you waiting for?!!

pps - did anyone watch the Obama speech on Tuesday night, isn't it great after eight years, we finally have an articulate intelligent president?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Vegas Baby!

Returned from my two trip visits to Rochester, Minnesota (home of the Mayo Clinic) and Cleveland, Ohio (home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). Both interesting places I had never been too, amazingly though Cleveland is bigger, I liked Rochester better. The people were nicer and the town was easy to navigate. Everyone was so friendly, guess what they say about Minnesota is true, those people can not be boxed into one category, hence their perpetual swing state status!

Now I am off to Las Vegas for a workshop conference - I can't complain, it is warmer in Vegas and I like that city, its fun! For this workshop conference I'll be away till Wednesday, February 25th.

Can't wait for the Oscars this weekend, I'm rooting for SlumDog Millionaire all the way - yay baby!! Also, I'm especially rooting for a real Indian home grown boy (who is huge!), musicial composer, A.R. Rahman, he not only deserves but SHOULD win! If you haven't heard his stuff, go youtube these:
AR Rahman - Chayya Chayya
AR Rahman - Kehna hi kya
AR Rahman - Tera Bina
AR Rahman - O Mitwa
AR Rahman - Ishq Bina
AR Rahman - Jodha Akbar

Monday, February 16, 2009

Off to Work...

Hundreds attend Global Warming Protest in Indiana.

I'm off this week for work, traveling to Minnesota and Ohio for school site visits. Hope everyone had a great Valentine's day and a lovely President's day holiday!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Mother of 14...

This made me laugh out loud for a very long time, thank you Jon Stewart and company for continuing to point out the absurd that surrounds our federal government!

Alright I am completely guilty of following this whole mother with 14 kids story. This story hits particularly close to home because I have a good friend of mine, who I love dearly, but due to her very strict religious beliefs continues to have children (expecting baby six in a month). She and her husband are not rich, all the kids are under age 10 and they live in a three bedroom home. I guess what bothers me about this story out of California and of my friend, is it fair?

I don't want to regulate anyone's uterus but at the same time I don't like the idea that I would have to pay for someone's irresponsibility.

I am torn, the children of these parents should not suffer, but shouldn't there be some consequences? Is it fair for society to take the burden on of these children, because someone just wants to have a ton of kids? And in both of these cases no one is saying that these children will be on any government aid, but there is that possibility, no? Certainly in some form, we as a society will be paying for them.

Also, I don't think having this many children is fair to the kids in question - attention and resources so thinly divided between them.

I don't want to tell anyone how to run their life but there is just something off about the whole situation and wrings me the wrong way....

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Greedy People

"A day after Macy's announced layoffs of 7,000 workers and slashed its quarterly dividend, top executives revealed they had received a final installment on $1.39 million in bonuses granted in 2004" (, Cincinnati News, Feb 4, 2009).

I heard about this Macy's thing on the radio during this evening's rush hour commute (which btw sucks!). I have only one question for these people who got the bonuses, how do you sleep at night? I am so tired of the abject greed of people, is there not a point when someone has TOO much money? If your company is failing so that you have to lay off people, do you really believe that you deserve a bonus? Its kinda like making an "F" on a test and still getting a sticker on the sheet.

Do those who get these bonuses honestly think that they are worth more than those who do not, therefore justifying the larger salary? I also heard that some of the bank executives are mad that President Obama (does't that have just an awesome ring to it?!) wants to cap salaries of CEO's who have received federal aid. Give me a break, what exactly do CEO's do anyway? Lots of schmoozing and meetings but the meat of the work is done by other underlings, at least that is what I saw at non-descript airlines

Lest we forget the French Revolution was prompted, in part, by the conspicuous consumerism of the noble or elite classes despite the growing financial burden of the working classes.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Azan - Muslim Call to Prayer

Why, oh why, do almost all stories involving something remotely Islamic, do they have to use the Azzan, the Islamic call to prayer, in the story?? Even when the call to prayer is not vaguely related to the story, as in the above link (which is for an NPR story about the Iraqi elections).

As a Muslim, I have to say it is rather annoying. This addresses a larger problem, the linking of cultural with religion (which are NOT the same thing!!).

In the above example, the story was largely about the Iraqi elections and the reduction of power of Mutaqada Al-Sadr, that is an Iraqi cultural/social thing, NOT an Islamic thing. There should be a difference made. And it is not only this instance but many times I've seen it, stories on Arab cultural items or worse, on Islamic terrorist pieces, but there goes the Azzan, playing in the background as the reporter narrates. I get that the Azzan makes for a great listening piece and it is very powerful to hear (especially if you are foreign to Islam and are hearing this call to prayer for the first time while covering a story), but truly I think this scared part of Islam, our call to prayer should only be inserted into a story when it is part of the story somehow. Thank you.