In Her Shell
Fun Quote Friday
“It turns out that the women in America aren’t finished yet,
and we can shatter that glass ceiling.”
-Sarah Palin, John McCain's newly announced running mate
Whew! We're not finished? Thank you America, thank you John McCain. Let me just make a note here by my computer: "Cancel suicide." Hear that, ladies?
In Her Shell Contest!
My cell phone took this picture while it was in my purse:
Can you correctly identify the subject of the picture?
Seriously, can you?
Why Is Europe So Much Better Than Us?
Reading the news that some university presidents want to lower the drinking age
put me in mind of the many, many students of mine who have written persuasive papers to this effect. I understand it and I agree with them; the debate is nothing new.
My students would make the "old enough to fight for your country" argument and the "forbidden fruit" argument, and sometimes they even pointed out that in countries with lower drinking ages, teenagers seem to have a more balanced perspective about drinking, or at least learn how to hold their alcohol better.This article
points out that stricter laws and more public transportation options make drunk driving less of an issue in France than it is here. It isn't expected that every kid will have a car. They don't all 'need' one, and really, they don't all need one.
So what the heck? Why is Europe so much better than we are? They have pervasive public transportation!
In grad school I mentored high school age foreign exchange students, finding them host families, taking them on outings, listening to their problems, etc. But they were pretty self-sufficient; they got here two weeks before 9/11/01 and on September 12 they sat around my dining room table and talked in a balanced way about world politics and international relations. Not one of them said they were scared and wanted to go home. All of them spoke at least two languages, none of them got into trouble while they were here, and they made me look back at my own self-involved high school days with chagrin.
OK, I know they were the cream of the crop and highly motivated and had been given the lecture about being embassadors and all that. I'm sure there are some tools out there in European high schools. But seriously. Why is Europe so much better than we are? What is it about their schools that makes them so mature, so far-seeing? Or maybe it's just that--are their schools not seen as the only major preparation for society (read: workforce) and so they are better able to see things outside their own doors?
I remember reading about how adolescence is this artificially created stage, because physically we're ready to start breeding and that's how we used to do it, before advances in industry and medicine lengthened our lives and changed our priorities. So here they are in this holding pattern, not quite adults but not children anymore, and here we are building the holding pens. It's not really working.
I always said I wouldn't let this space become my journal, but every once in a while I get off the couch and it's kind of fun. So here's what I did this weekend:
Had potluck dinner with some friends on Friday night. I made fried rice.
Went to the State Fair with Anthemsled
on Saturday, ate some meat on a stick, and saw some farm animals. Discussed the viability of backyard chickens, and goats.
This morning I gathered tasty local goods at the Farmer's Market, then went to the Tomato Festival with our neighbors. We sampled lots of varieties; these were my favorites:
Nearby was a Children's Garden; here was one of the homemade signs in a plot:
Came home and put my developing sewing skills to work making a bag out of a t-shirt. It came out OK:
Then I tried to re-create a pizza I'd had at someone's home, using strange German flatbread, carmelized onions, pesto, black olives, and mozzarella. Just finished eating it; not bad.
Now I'm back on the couch, blogging between online episodes of "30 Rock." All in all, a good weekend.
Food For Thought, And For Eating
"It's almost impossible to say that we're ever going to get totally free of all food contamination - hopefully we'll minimize it..."
-Jean Kinsey, co-director of the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota
"Rao [a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota] said if he were advising Whole Foods, he would tell them to follow Johnson & Johnson's example after Extra Strength Tylenol was tainted in 1982 and seven people died. The company quickly responded with an ad blitz and the biggest coupon giveaway in commercial history. Within four months, after recalling $100 million worth of product, Tylenol had regained its market share."
"The degree to which you rely on today’s artificial corporate structure determines the extent of your vulnerability."
See You At The Debates, Bitches
I know next to nothing about Paris Hilton and don't like her anyway. But her 'campaign ad' was funny. And I wish I could insert the above line into more situations.
PSA For Lactards
Attention my lactose intolerant brethren! The following animals produce dairy products that we can safely consume:
In related news, yogurt is OK too, because all those active cultures apparently break down the lactose for you. By extension, frozen yogurt is safe, since it is mostly reconstituted powder anyway. But I wouldn't recommend overdoing it.
My Place In The Compound
If the apocalypse came I might not qualify for the end of the world compound. I have been fretting for several years over this. I just don't have any useful skills; I don't know how to build things or fix things, I don't have any particular mechanical or gardening genius, and my cooking skills are not particularly standout. I couldn't even be the compound's minstrel, unless he/she needed someone to sing along.
With this in mind, and also in search of a creative outlet to focus on that does not involve my job or looking for a house, I decided to learn how to sew. I made a wrap skirt a few years ago on a borrowed sewing machine, using an existing wrap skirt as a pattern, and it was fun. It's totally uneven and weird-looking, but I enjoyed it and feel proud enough of my work to at least wear it around the house.
So today I bought a sewing machine. It was less expensive than I thought it would be, and I am looking forward to learning how to really use it, although I am somewhat intimidated by the bobbin.