Thursday, October 30, 2008


It's no secret that I love cookies. You've all seen my mom's sugar cookie recipe (scroll to the bottom), and if you've had the pleasure of trying it, you must know that my family and I are not fucking around when it comes to cookies. Hell, I even had the nickname "Cookie" when I was in the marching band, back in the day.

But now I am here to tell you that cookies hold the key to our future. Just check out the results of the Busken presidential cookie poll. Busken is a bakery in Cincinnati that makes cookies with each candidate's face on them every election season (FYI, they do ship, though I don't know whether you can still order in time for election day), and according to this post, the Busken poll has correctly predicted the winner in Ohio in every election since 1984. Which is significant enough in its own right, but remember also that Ohio has gone for the winner of every presidential election since 1960. Yes, people, Ohio went for Bill Clinton both times, so quit acting like it will be such a miracle if Obama wins it too.

Returning to my earlier point about family pride, I just wanted to share the fact that my parents are both working for Obama in Ohio. On Monday my mom is going to go to the homes of people who've said they're for Obama to encourage them to vote and give them flyers with information about their polling locations and hours. And on Sunday my dad is going to go around to the local churches to see if anyone is putting nasty flyers on people's windshields during church (and, if so, to take them off). This is actually just his own idea (not organized by the Obama campaign) inspired by the fact that in 2004, the Bush campaign someone who I'm sure was acting alone and had nothing to do with the Bush campaign went to my mom's church the Sunday before the election and flyered everyone's windshields with a bunch of extremely nasty anti-Kerry flyers with gross lies and smears about how he's a baby-killer. That kind of crap worked last time, but it's not going to work this time.

Cookies, people. Cookies!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A cure for Depression?

Nifty article here by Steve Almond (author of Candyfreak, which I highly recommend) on "recession gardens" (soon to be upgraded to "depression gardens" if Sarah Palin is to be believed -- though I'd argue she isn't to be believed about much of anything).

The Admiral and I were just talking yesterday about whether people could (or *would*) grow enough food in their gardens to make a dent in their monthly grocery expenditures. I was thinking no, because I've been discouraged this year by the ratio of effort to yield in our own garden (we got some great stuff out of it, but not in large quantities, and lots of stuff either never sprouted or got eaten by birds and/or grasshoppers). It was so hot this summer that we had to water the garden every day, and even then some things clearly did not get enough water, and if we ever forgot or watered too late, things died. All things considered, though, we were pretty on top of things, so I was thinking that others who weren't willing to be as diligent about the garden or didn't know as much about growing stuff as we did (which admittedly isn't a ton, though I do pretty well with houseplants when I apply myself) would fare even worse.

But Almond's story is encouraging. He didn't know anything about gardening, but he was motivated by the high cost of groceries to research it and to get help and advice from others who do know about gardening to get his garden going. In the end, the garden was highly successful and yielded a whole lot of good stuff. He did admit that his house is on land that used to be farmland. But still, with enough compost and whatnot, anybody's yard ought to be able to produce *something*. So now I'm inspired. I'm thinking that next time we just need to (a) rent a rototiller, (b) install a drip system (we never got around to setting up our soaker hose, but people tell me they don't work that great anyway), (c) put up some nets around our tomatoes and maybe over the seeds to keep the birds out, and (d) think of some non-poisonous way to get rid of those damn grasshoppers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In ironic twist, animal advocacy organization beats dead horse

You guys are going to love this Newsweek article by Karen Springen about "flexitarians". Are we still seriously having a debate about whether it would be good if everyone reduced their meat consumption? Well, no, actually, *we* aren't having that debate -- *we* concluded a long time ago that of course it would be a good thing. *PETA*, on the other hand (as well as VegNews, I might add, but I'm not gonna go there today), isn't so sure. Their spokesperson thinks that being a flexitarian is like "pouring a pint of gasoline down a drain." Um... how's that?

Fortunately in the end Springen seems to come down on the side of common sense, despite giving a disturbing amount of space (and the subtitle of the article) to the PETA side. But on the topic of that subtitle ("Advocates call it flexitarianism, but critics say being a little bit vegetarian is like being a little bit pregnant"), a commenter on the original Newsweek post rightly points out that the analogy to pregnancy completely misses the whole point of the "little bit pregnant" concept -- namely, that it is *literally* impossible to be a little bit pregnant -- it's not just impossible if you're some asshole from PETA and you assert that pregnancy has to be an all-or-nothing thing. Of course, we don't know if the PETA asshole is the one who brought up the pregnancy idea or if it was Springen or just some moron headline writer.

But we do know that Springen is an unthinking zombie in at least one respect, namely, FAT = BAD... WEIGHT LOSS = GOOD... ARTICLE ABOUT FOOD MUST FIND WAY TO WORK IN REFERENCES TO WEIGHT LOSS AND "OBESITY"... Not just any reference to "obesity", mind you, but even better: "globesity"! For those who haven't heard of "globesity" before, this is the idea of "obesity" as a worldwide epidemic. You know, like that super-scary "obesity epidemic" we've all heard about, but even scarier! Because it's global! Get it? Global + obesity = globesity! This charming concept is mentioned in the article as a topic in a forthcoming book by Mark Bittman, which apparently discusses "how our diet affects global warming and 'globesity'." Is Bittman (and/or Springen) actually putting "globesity" on a par with global warming as a problem facing the world? Wow. I mean, wow.

Before a troll lumbers over here to inform me that "obesity" is in fact a serious health problem and I am responsible for it because I am spreading all these lies about how it's OK to be fat, let me just say that I don't deny we have a serious worldwide problem with food production and distribution, such that a lot of people in developing countries who aren't starving still can't eat a healthy diet, and that no doubt leads to a whole ton of serious health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. that are often what people have in mind when they refer to "obesity". But can we please, please just take fat out of it? Plenty of thin people have health problems caused or exacerbated by diet, and plenty of fat people don't have health problems at all and have a good diet. Guess what? There are even fat vegetarians. I know that's a shocker, so I'll just let that sink in for a second.

Got it? OK, good. Back to the PETA thing. I just want to say one last thing, which is that no good ever came out of a "purity" movement. I don't know if these PETA fucks truly believe that reducing meat consumption isn't something to work for or feel good about, but they sure sound convincing when they say it. I guess to them, the protection of animals from human exploitation is the very most important thing -- even more important than saving the planet from global warming (which, btw, is killing a lot of animals...). These are the same people who wring their hands over whether it is OK to eat honey since it exploits bees. They shouldn't be taken seriously. If you're a meat eater and you're thinking about reducing your meat intake, do it. If it helps to give yourself a label like "flexitarian" or even "vegetarian", do it. There are a lot more important things than taking what PETA considers to be the high road.