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Archive for July, 2008

Bye bye Kelloggs

Yum, Roundup-Ready beets for sugar. Because you always want to eat something with an adjective that refers to pesticide. I guess this means no more Corn Flakes, Rice Krispies or Coco Puffs for me.

The Organic Consumers Association has called for a boycott of Kellogg’s products because the company indicated it won’t have a problem using sugar from genetically modified sugar beets.

The issue grew out of a November New York Times article noting that farmers will, for the first time, be planting “Roundup-ready” beets engineered to resist Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. No one is using the sugar yet, including Kellogg’s, but the opportunity is on the way.

The interesting point to me is that Kellogg’s told the consumers group it would not use GMO sugar for products sold in Europe. All of its European products are “free of any ingredients derived from biotech sources.” But they don’t think U.S. customers care, and “consumer preference is the critical factor Kellogg uses in determining the products being provided in every market.” In short, if we objected to genetically modified food the way Europeans do, they wouldn’t put it on our food either.

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Today, I heard this great story on NPR about the origin of Rice-A-Roni. I haven’t made Rice-A-Roni in years, but I remember liking it. Of the woman who created the inspirational recipe, the story goes:

“Mrs. Captanian, I had a liking for her right away. So we moved in. Tommy would work until about 7 o’clock at the pasta factory and I was alone a lot,” Lois said. “I was only 18 and I was pregnant. And I had kitchen privileges. Well, I really wasn’t much of a cook. And here was this Armenian lady, probably about 70 years [old], making yogurt on the back of the stove, all day, every day. I didn’t even know what the word ‘yogurt’ meant.”

Mrs. Captanian taught Lois how to make paklava (baklava), soups and her specialty, Armenian pilaf.

“We would bring her Golden Grain vermicelli from the factory,” Lois said. “She wanted us to break it as small as rice if we could.”

During those long kitchen afternoons, Lois listened as Mrs. Captanian told her life story — about the Armenian genocide, her husband’s death, the separation from her two young boys and her trek from Turkey to Syria in 1915, along with thousands of other women and children who had been deported. Mrs. Captanian chronicled these events in her 1919 book, Memoires D’une Deportee.

There’s much more to the story if you click on the link.

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There are certain things in this world that give me the heebie-jeebies and I cannot explain why. Can I just say I’m so glad there is such a word as heebie-jeebie so that I can relate to you what gives me them.

Often it’s a word that give me them, examples being “squat” and “slacks.” I shudder just writing that. Another thing is the El Camino car model. God, those are so ugly and creepy and half car and half truck and…I’ve got to stop.

As for John McCain’s shoes, let me just say that loafers give me the heebie-jeebies. They are so gross. I especially can’t stand it when I can see the guys skin in the shoe although now that I’m imagining socks in the shoes I’m feeling a bit grossed out by that too.

I’ll add to the list as I think of them and by all means add your own heebie-jeebie items in the comments.

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The BBC has an audio slide show of the past 50 years of NASA. Check it out.

Photo via HowStuffWorks.

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I’m not sure why I thought of this memory. Something triggered it from the news.

I remember when I visited my relatives in Thailand a comment that my cousin made that made me uneasy. My relatives wanted so much from me. They wanted me to find a husband for my cousin, a good one they specified; they wanted me to help them out financially, etc. It was extremely overwhelming and I wanted to help them too.

I just agreed to whatever they said as is the American tradition of not being able to say no and just hoping everyone will forget. At one point, my cousin looked at me and said “Daranee is Santa Claus.” Ouch, I’ll never forget it. What a burden and a farce. If I was supposed to be their last hope, I knew I was incapable of doing that.

You want to help so much in this world, but sometimes you can’t.

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I found this article fascinating.

Advocacy groups and shelters across the country have stepped up efforts to register the 3.5 million people who drift in and out of homelessness in the United States.

“Just because we’re homeless or low income doesn’t mean we don’t have an opinion,” said Estelle Bearcub, who plans to vote for Barack Obama. “It’s our right to vote. And it’s our right to have our opinion count, too.”

The homeless have sometimes struggled to participate in the political process, in large part because of requirements in Washington and 39 other states that voters list a mailing address.

Volunteers encourage transient voters to use the address of the shelter or soup kitchen they frequent in order to receive an absentee ballot. In states that require a physical address, voters can list a park or intersection where they sleep.

Bearcub has an absentee ballot delivered to the soup kitchen where she eats lunch most every day.

“It works pretty well,” she said, standing outside Bremerton’s Salvation Army post, where a banner announcing a voter registration drive flapped in the breeze. “They keep it real safe. We’ve never had any problems.”

Inside the Salvation Army, volunteer Walter Washington acknowledged that some homeless people don’t care about politics.

“But others, they know what’s going on, and they have their views,” he said.

And not so far away.

Portland’s homeless pay especially close attention to laws prohibiting sitting or lying on sidewalks between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Anti-camping laws prevent them from storing bedding on public property.

Maybe Seattle’s Greg Nickels should be worried.

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Smart Girls

I love this scene from The Big Sleep. It’s playful, risque and the woman is well read. What more could you want?

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