Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wednesday morning roundup

DR is deporting Haitians-- and other darker-skinned refugees.

Over-preparedness is not something to complain about.

The history of the globalization of food is another reason for locavores to go easy on the preaching.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday evening roundup

Julian Assange is a douche bag, but we knew that.

The Affordable Care Act recovers billions.

Safe or not, does it not freak you out that processed food consists of so many ingredients from all over the place?

Racial profiling at its most absurd.

Drezner close-reads God's meteorological message.

Tuesday morning roundup

For the second time in months, the Post's health columnist throws me into a fit of rage. I could slam her (again) for the same issue as before, i.e. downplaying the importance of food with regard to supplements/additives, but that's what her column is about and she gives the issue a fair analysis. But she does, again, make a false statement. B12 is not naturally occurring in animal protein. It's naturally occurring in animal shit.

Great quotes are awesome regardless of their source, so let's quit misattributing them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday morning roundup

I haven't yet seen the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, because it's difficult to get to, but hopefully the postponed date of the dedication is one I'll be able to make. But I digress. Charles Krauthammer surprises me sometimes. MichaelGerson surprises me, too (although the continuing disaster in Eastern Congo, sadly, does not). Jennifer Rubin never surprises me, or anyone else.

Philanthropy is a wonderful thing, but schools mustn't depend on it.

People sure do love Steve Jobs.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursday evening roundup: culture wars edition

Yeah, DC isn't an easy city to evacuate.

This guy is hilarious. Is there an award for wackiest birther.

Frank Bruni on the culinary culture wars.

The New Yorker on the anti-obesity culture wars, by way of a silly and misguided children's book.

Some of these Edinburgh Fringe jokes are funny (some are not).

I don't actually care what the Times thinks are essentials for fall, but the opening paragraphs here are interesting. Has 'impeccable' given way to 'slightly off'?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wednesday evening roundup

Best writing advice ever: don't get people thinking about picking up paper towels.

This article about service in restaurants is based on an interesting assumption: status somehow influences service. Waiters wait on customers, according to this assumption, because they are worthy, not because they are customers. I'd kind of thought that they waited on customers because it was their job, and that no determination of worthiness was required. I know that when I do my job, my esteem of the customer doesn't enter into the picture. I don't think, "this person's a jackass, so I'm not going to try very hard." I bring this up because I've recently read not one article that expressed, either directly or in the retelling, a sense of superiority over people in other professions, as if that one profession in question is there to save the world, is somehow more enlightened, etc. Could we all just get over ourselves and be real? There's really no basis to go slamming other people's career paths.

On a lighter note: popular and unpopular celebrities.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday evening roundup and ramble

What a great day to bike to work! The Metro was apparently a big clusterf*, and by the time I left the office, there was very little traffic. Besides, I was caught in a Metro clusterf* just over a week ago when the station flooded, and Metro demonstrated its ineptitude at crowd management. I was in the city (two hours later) before I found out what had actually happened. But I digress: no clusterf* for me today, although it was a bit scary when the building started shaking--we were all really confused--but we got to chill outside until they assured there was no structural damage. I was happy to come home to find everything intact--a few things had fallen off their shelf, but nothing broke.

I was initially going to just post about inconsiderate movie-goers until I saw the rest of these complaints. The standers-on-the-left will always be an irritant to commuters everywhere, and I may add clueless Mall tourists who don't look around before they walk right in front of your bike. But I agree--representing mom here, too--about water wasters. Can we talk about food wasters, too? And yes, I hate charity solicitations at the supermarket, and tip jars in all the wrong places. There was one at the bike shop, and I thought, are you f*ing kidding me? I'd reverse-tip you if I had the opportunity, given that I've had to make four trips instead of two because you didn't actually test my bike before giving it back to me the first time, and then, when I came back to deal with the new problem, the person who could fix it on the spot--and he insisted that they'd fix it on the spot--wasn't there. So take that tip jar and shove it.

Dave Letterman turns a death threat into great copy.

I think philosophical therapy is an awesome idea.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Phone call (again)

A.: Hello?
Mom: What, are you asleep?
A.: Why are you calling me if you think I'm asleep?
Mom: Really, you're asleep at this hour?
A.: Are you calling just to ask whether I was asleep?
Mom: I'm just wondering. You didn't answer the phone immediately.
A.: No, I'm not asleep.
Mom: My Skype disappeared.
A.: No it didn't.
Mom: Yes it did.
A.: Remember this happened last time and I fixed it, easily, over the holidays? But I can't fix it from here.
Mom: No, this is different. It really disappeared.
A.: It can't have.
Mom: It's asking me for a password.
A.: Then put in your password.
Mom: I never had a password.
A.: You had to have a password.
Mom: Then it says it can find my password, but it doesn't. It asks me questions.
A.: It has to make sure you're you.
Mom: Well, I don't know.
A.: Mom, I can't fix it from here. Find your password. I know dad writes them down.
Mom: We never had a password!
A.: Yes, you did.
Mom: I don't know. I think this is more serious.
A.: I don't think so.
Mom: It's just not starting up.
A.: Mom, what do you want me to do from here?
Mom: I don't know.
A.: Okay, then. Tell dad to find the password.
Mom: Fine. Goodnight.
A.: Goodnight.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Phone call

Have I mentioned that my mother (1) often calls at the worst possible time on a Sunday; and (2) exacerbates the bad timing by adding unnecessary layers to the conversation. Lest it sound like I'm being unfair, she knows that it's a bad time to call. She knows that Sunday night is when I'm getting stuff done. And the unnecessary layers are really f*ing unnecessary.

So tonight, she called a few minutes ago, while I was folding my laundry and watching the last episode of the last season of Mad Men. We'd spoken earlier this afternoon--they called while I was waiting for a train, but we only talked for a few minutes because the train came. They wanted to talk more later about the show I'd gone to see--a one-man show about said man's stint in 1989 Poland. Even the moment I mentioned it during the first call, mom came out with her standard response to any mention of the country: "Poles are anti-Semites." The actor-playwright saw that one coming, talked turning the show about how American Jews love to dismiss Poles as anti-Semites. But the show broached the issue with much more nuance. But I digress.

Mom: So, what was it you saw?
A.: It was a one-man show--one actor playing seven parts--
Mom: Huh? [Corrected the way I said parts, and not concisely.]
A.: Got it, mom.
Mom: No! This is important.
A.: I don't have time for this, mom.
Mom: Fine, go on. Why was he playing different parts?
A.: He was describing his time there from various perspectives.
Mom: Perspectives? What perspectives?
A.: For example, an elder in the Jewish community in Warsaw.
Mom: [Corrects the way I said elder.]
A.: Okay, elder.
Mom: Poles are anti-Semites, you know.
A.: Well, he was delving into the nuances of that.
Mom: They're anti-Semites. Long tradition of anti-Semitism.
A.: Yes, I know. But it's also complicated.
Mom: Whatever.
A.: Okay. Goodnight.
Mom: Goodnight.

Sunday morning roundup Part I

Britain's immigration policy and immigration contractors have blood on their hands.

Jews in Britain have a delicate identity to balance.

Julie Salamon doesn't go here in her essay about secrecy--Wendy Wasserstein's secrecy in particular, extrapolated to secrecy in general, but I have to ask how much of it, both in the Wasserstein family and in Ms. Salamon's case, is Jewish/Eastern European heritage. The gem in that article I posted earlier this week about that horrible reality show was someone refusing to have his or her name printed, the explanation being the Soviet legacy. My parents, also, are very wary of public disclosure. My dad was obsessed with shredding before it was cool, and he's very careful about personal information. I have some of that as well--it's probably at least partly why I'm not on Facebook. I don't know that that's the case for the two families in the above-linked article, but it's something to think about.

Is the farmer's market market becoming saturated?

Let's get clean energy to Alexandria.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Skype call

Mom: What's up with your hair?
A.: Who cares?

[Other conversation.]

Mom: Have you gained weight?
Dad: I don't think she has.
Mom: I don't know. I think she has.

Thursday evening roundup

Washed out Playboy models aren't the only threat to vaccines.

Some choices are a no-brainer.

Oh you ridiculous Washingtonians. Martha's Vineyard is not part of Cape Cod.

Decision fatigue is very real.

Thursday morning roundup

China's wealthy embrace conspicuous consumption.

The mennonite rape epidemic is exceptionally disturbing.

Hershey is using a foreign exchange program for cheap labor.

The independent book store lives.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wednesday morning roundup

I don't know why it surprised me to learn that the Russian government has a chief ideologist.

A Colorado school is one of many going back to cooking from scratch.

Regardless of the realities of dairy in general, you've gotta appreciate this Dairy Queen's giving back to the community.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Wednesday evening roundup

Suicide bombers are hard to come by these days.

Speaking as a fan of both Harry Potter and post-conflict reconstruction... this is so unnecessary.

Sigh. More political fed-bashing.

Tuesday morning roundup

In China, the public's emphasis on stability at all costs is dwindling, and people are demanding transparency and responsiveness.

Russian Dolls on Lifetime is horrifying.

There are five fast food joints for every supermarket in this country.

Nature preserves are priceless.

Lots of kittens are up for adoption, especially in LA.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday morning roundup

Chicago makes strides against sex trafficking.

The faux-controversy over the Peace Cafe makes me very sad as a Jew and as a theatergoer.

Corporate social responsibility's evolution toward a focus on shared value.

A stomach cancer survivor on enjoying food.

A dissident Chinese filmmaker talks about his art. This line may not be article's most relevant, but it makes a lot of sense:
“The Russians, that culture, they really respect knowledge, they respect art,” he said. “You can feel that the intellectuals of that culture are tough. They have backbone. They really are thinking of their people.”
It's really true--it's a society-wide appreciation.

I was horrified by Ryan Lizza's latest profile, but then, this morning, realized there were situations when it's good to consider whether a law is unchristian.

Can we get over women's clothing? Why is she distracting? How does that language shift the responsibility for the distraction. What was the point of this column on wardrobe malfunctions? Who the f* cares?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday evening roundup: food and cute edition

Sometimes, in counterterrorism, weak is strong.

Whatever else this faux lobster scandal says about us, it screams that we don't read ingredients.

Cheese has a high carbon footprint.

Why the healthy-food-costs-more study is bull$hit.

Would you eat bugs?

That was your dose of ick; here's your dose of cute.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday evening roundup

Societies can change for the better fast.

Ruth Marcus nails it with her analysis of the Newsweek cover.

I'm not ready to cede the word "feminism" to the haters by coming up with a replacement. Speaking of haters, check out the really bitter dude's comment.

Thursday morning roundup

There's no excuse to keep testing on great apes.

The Economist calls out some unsubstantiated umbrage over Americanisms.

I'm not above getting worked up over offensive ads, but this Tide commercial just doesn't do it for me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Monday evening roundup

There's a lot at stake in managing the Indus.

When in doubt, go with the dart-throwing chimps. In all seriousness, that is a very interesting and important article on how experts are often wrong (even more so when they're absolutely convinced they're right).

Facebook makes your kids underachieve.

Monday morning roundup

Forgive the cliche, but it's just too fitting: London burning.

Is Grandpa Wen getting sidelined?

The Cape is seeing more break-ins and other crime as addiction to painkillers grows.

Where does S&P get off?

A hundred-billion cut we can all believe in.

Quinoa is best prepared with something acidic, like lemon or vinegar. It worked really, really well with lemon basil--I'd inadvertently let mine dry, and it worked perfectly to mix the dried herb with the quinoa.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Buyer Beware: Trader Joe's soy cheese

Trader Joe's soy cheese is not actually vegan. It's made with casein, a milk protein. I'll let you decide whether or not that's deceptive: on one hand, the package is not marked vegan, and the casein is explained in the ingredients in case you don't know what it is. And most vegans (and people with dairy allergies) are very good at reading ingredient labels.

But to whom is Trader Joe's marketing this soy cheese, if not to vegans and people with dairy allergies? People who are cooking for those two sets of people, who aren't as careful about reading ingredients? Surely not people who just like the taste of soy cheese.

WTF, Trader Joe's?

Phone call

Mom: Where have you been? Why haven't you called until now?
A.: I haven't had time.
Mom: How have you not have time?
A.: Well, I didn't get your first message until 11pm last night and didn't want to call that late, and today I've been scrambling since the morning.
Mom: Well, okay. As long as you're home. Are you home?
A.: No.
Mom: Where are you?
A.: In the lobby of a museum.
Mom: Why the lobby?
A.: I'm waiting for a friend.
Mom: Okay, as long as you're safe.
A.: I'm safe.
Mom: Good. Have fun at the museum.
A.: Thanks. Bye.

That was preceded from a (second) message from my mother, saying I'd better call or she would be so worried that she'd have to take "radical" measures.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Saturday morning roundup

The Gaman reflect on the past and present, on eerily similar sentiments now, on the irony of sushi being served, without irony, on the ferry to and from the island from which they were once evicted.

Solid candidate for headline of the year.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday evening roundup and rant

Hibakusha have been rethinking their acceptance of peaceful nuclear power.

Thanks, Ernessa, for drawing my attention to these literary tattoos. That Anais Nin quote is one of my favorites of all time.

Lots of beautiful things to be seen around DC this summer. I'll need to check out that exhibit at the Renwick, as well as the Kate Moss tapestry at the Portrait Gallery (so blessed to be surrounded by so much art, especially given the free admission).

The press around that ridiculous "study" on the costs of healthy food is making me angry. I'm going to share with you what I've been eating this week, with the associated prices.

Breakfast: (rolled) oatmeal ($6 for a f*load, Costco) with cinnamon, lemon ($1.99 for 2 lbs, organic), and flaxseeds ($3.00 for 2 lbs).

Morning snack: brown rice (maybe .50 a serving) with sunflower seeds ($1.50 for 16 servings).

Pre-gym snack: roasted sweet potato ($3.99 for a week's worth, organic; almost half that if you go conventional).

Lunch: quinoa (Costco) infused with lemon basil (farm share), with tofu (about $2 for 5 servings) and roasted vegetables (maybe $10/week); apple (.70, organic).


-Homemade hummus (yum!) from chickpeas ($1 or so per bag, 14 servings), tahini ($3-$6 will get you months of hummus), lemon, garlic, and a roasted red pepper ($1)--a single one goes a long way. You can also leave out the pepper and/or use whatever you have on hand. Serve with carrot (farm share, but you can get a pound, organic, at TJ's for less than a dollar).
-Braised diakon (pennies per serving, if bought at an Asian market; more elsewhere).
-Pasta (.60 per serving, whole wheat/organic) with olive oil and fresh basil.
-Grapes or other fruit (maybe .50-$1 per serving).

Add a soup or salad for not much more.

So maybe that dinner costs more than a big mac, but what does that say about that big mac?

Friday morning roundup

Official baby theft is horrifyingly common in China. Seriously. That story only gets more f*ed up as it progresses.

This bullshit about the cost of healthier food pisses me off on many levels. I mean, read the methodology: calling a bunch of people and asking them how much they spend on food, and also whether they eat healthily? Really? I agree--fresh fruit and vegetables are not inexpensive. If there were a way they could be more affordable without impinging on the wages of people who grow and pick them, awesome--that would be a great use of farm subsidies. But even if you ate few fruit and vegetables... just get very inexpensive ones like kale. You're still going to pay less for that, and other healthy staples (say, dry beans, brown rice) than for processed food.

I'm usually very disappointed with Shouts and Murmurs. I'd say there's a good one once or twice a year, and this week we're in luck, because God's Blog is awesome.

Go see the Ramayana at Source/Constellation. It's quite the show.

Dana Perino is an idiot.
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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thursday morning roundup

Man, Gracie would hate to be called a non-dog. But she'd also likely hate Kabul.

I really need to read Jane Ziegelman's book, but just based on the article, I can say this: don't let the chicken nugget reversion undo the pickle revolution.

Luxury is making a comeback.

Women are doing okay, at least in sports and movies.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wednesday evening roundup

Apple in China. On that note, if The Agony/Ecstasy of Steve Jobs comes to a theater near you, go see it.

India needs that SlutWalk.

Another story about how American fast food is making inroads in the developing world--in this case, Russia. It's funny, if you read through the article, what Russians actually want on their pizza. But I wonder why there's not more indigenous fast food. I don't think I ever saw street food in Russia, apart from ice cream trucks. But I didn't see, say, perogi sold as street food.

Food companies aren't going to regulate themselves. I'm of two minds about stuff like that because I believe the onus is on parents, but I'm also aware of the nutritional illiteracy plaguing the country. I think I told you about my friend who was hospitalized for pancreatitis, brought on by obesity. I saw her in the hospital, and then at her house shortly thereafter. On her table was a big bag of brown sugar--a friend had brought it for her to help her eat more healthily. Yes, you read that right.

I know I go on about how being a vegan (at home, anyway) is very doable and even awesome, but that's only true if you prepare, unlike this woman. Don't neglect to plan ahead and than bitch about how there's no joy in vegan food.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Wednesday evening roundup

I agree with Gulliver that this article on women business travelers is neither here nor there. I mean, it's always good for everyone to be on alert in public places, and there are always anomalous situations. Then again, I certainly don't spend a lot of time in hotel bars (unless I'm waiting for or hanging out with the people I'm traveling with), so there might be people out there who find the article more valid.

Wow, I officially love Lady Gaga, and that means a lot considering the meat dress. But she's awesome for saying what she did, and I'm quite disappointed with Tim Gunn. What he said was just so tacky and catty--I thought better of him.

Even though this is mere spectacle, I think it would make for awesome bike lane policy.

Tuesday morning roundup

Arts funding is being slashed nationwide.

The debt deal isn't quite as bad as it seems.

Chinese-made pearls are getting better but still don't match the quality of salt water pearls.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A very bad deal

Krugman and the Times' editorial board lament the direct consequences of the deal, but there's also what this says about our political system and what it means for the future of the country.