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40 acres and a llama
Forgive me, LJ; it has been 6 months since my last confession.

I confess (see) that I usually think of eating locally produced foods as something I (try to) do for mostly environmental reasons; I tend to think less about the plight of the laborers who grow food that I eat when it comes from far away.

This article shook me out of that complacency: The indignity of industrial tomatoes
(thanks to rimrunner for pointing me to the article.

When I asked Molloy if it was safe to assume that a consumer who has eaten a fresh tomato from a grocery store, fast food restaurant, or food-service company in the winter has eaten a fruit picked by the hand of a slave, he corrected my choice of words. "It"s not an assumption. It is a fact." [longer excerpt under the cut]Collapse )

To be clear: he's talk about real slavery, here in the United States. It's 150 years since the start of the Civil War, and we haven't abolished slavery in this country, we've just made it illegal.

Eating local is surely a drop in the bucket compared to the scope of the problem; we need more than that to change how our food system works. But it's where I know how to start. What is the next step?

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Do you have any idea how thrilled I am right now? Well, let me tell you...

Years ago, my friend Celia (songstress extraordinaire, comedienne, etc.) started to write a song for/about me. This week, she finished and recorded it. I am tickled (pink, how else?)

The song is performed here by The Trestle Foote Faerie, who brought you such smash hits as "Dr. Bronner's Makes Your Hoo-hoo Tingle" and "The Tickle Break Song":



Thank you, thank you, Celia and Trestle. Glee!

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Current Mood: delighted

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Fates willing, Emily and I will be adopting a kitten tomorrow. That means we need a name for the cat.

She comes to us with the name Rhoda, but the naming conventions of our house dictate a change -- we tend to favor mythological names the suit the personality of the cat. (Previous names: Bast, Cuchulain, Inanna, and Uzume)

This is frisky kitty -- not just kittenish, but someone who seems like a running-jumping-climbing-trees kind of cat. A little adventuresome. Tiger-stripy grey with calico-ish patches of gold.

So, our question to you, the Vast Unpaid Research Department: got any ideas?

Our top thought so far is Atalanta
There is also some thought of Diana/Artemis.
Any others?

As you can see from the sibling names, we are not attached to any particular pantheon. What think you all?

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I had dream this morning that I was hanging out with a woman named Elena Kagan. I realized upon waking where the name had come from, but in the dream she was not a candidate for the Supreme Court, though was briefly the focus of national media attention.

I was just hanging out with her because she was fun and interesting -- I didn't realize that she was at the center of a media storm. She was young, gorgeous, incredibly witty, 2 PhDs from Columbia, political commentator, supermodel. She also turned out to be the daughter of the Spanish Prime Minister, who was some sort of charismatic despot who'd been in power for 20 years and yet about whom I new nothing. I was surreptitiously emailing my dad for the political backstory (Dad used to teach modern Spanish history), despite the fact that he was right there.

Also: she was dating Kermit the Frog.

Nothing really happened in the dream, but it was pretty darn vivid upon waking.

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I've been brewing a bunch lately (a honey ale and a British-style "Real Ale"), which means I've been prepping lots of bottles to put beer in. You can buy clean new bottles, but with enough foresight its cheaper just to wash and re-use commercial bottles of the right sort. But you don't want your beer in something with a Sam Adams or a Guinness label, so there's some scrubbing of old labels to do. Which leads me to introduce a new way of rating beer:

The Beer-Label Glue-Removability Scale!

Ridiculously easy to clean: Columbus Brewing Co
Super easy to clean: Sam Adams
Pretty easy to clean: Bass Ale
Moderate: Magic Hat
Pain in the Ass: Great Lakes

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We wish you a happy birthday (or two)
A joyous and celebrated birthday (or two)
To our dear otterkin and kriskitty --
We wish you a long, long life!

And as an added bonus: love, health, prosperity, knowledge, and great sex =)

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My tea speaks to me; but lately, the messages have been mixed.

I've been making big pots of tea, which require multiple tea bags. Each tea bag has something different written on the tag. The current pot of tea instructs me:

"Let your heart speak to others' hearts."
"Let your manners speak for you."

Does this mean that I should let my manners speak to others' hearts?

Although there are lots of little sayings on the Yogi Tea tags, they always seem to come in matched pairs like this.
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Hey all you Seattle-ites

I'll be in town visiting skarlettvixen next week (Wed Feb 10-Wed Feb 17). We'll be out and about, and I'd love to see you.

Tentative plans include:

Wed 2/10: Celia's concert, Soul Food Books in Redmond

Thur 2/11: The Grind @ The Wet Spot, until late

Fri 2/12: Bone Poets Orchestra concert, also at Soul Food

I hope I'll see some or many of you at some or many of these places!

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Current Music: "All Souls Night" - Loreena McKennitt

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Mssr. Pollan caught people's attention on The Daily Show the other day, stating that Americans get 20% of our calories from HFCS, and that we eat 240 lbs of sugars every year, and I can't make his math add up. USDA says (see esp. tables 50-53) that we eat a total of about 140 lbs of sugar every year, something like a third of which is HFCS -- about 180 calories of HFCS per day.

Here our math becomes complicated by how many calories we eat. If we eat 2000 calories a day, that's about 9% of our calories; but if we're eating 3600 or more, it gets into the <5% range.

Anyone (jocelmeow? otterkin?) have any solid stats on U.S. caloric intake? I'm trying to find out how many calories Americans eat every day, and all the stats I find seem weird. They are framed in "calories available" or "dietary energy supply" (see U.S.A. p.13), as if perhaps that's a different number than "calories consumed". Americans are near the top of the charts -- 3500-3800 calories a day. But are we eating all that, or does that figure include what we throw away?

However we slice it, I don't think we're eating 20% of our calories as HFCS.

Other perspectives? I'm sure Pollan's not making this up, but I do wonder where he gets his numbers.

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I ran across this while working on a reference question today. Name the date! Ted Kennedy's no long with us, but much of the rest of it looks like 2009. It's not.

The rising cost and unsatisfactory state of medical care has finally got just about everyone impatient for a change. During the past decade, medical fees in the U.S. rose twice as fast as the general cost of living, and hospital costs shot up five times as fast. The nation's total medical bill grew last year by 11%... and there wasn't enough good care to go around.

President _____ has now submitted to Congress a program to relieve families of major medical costs by greatly expanding existing insurance plans.... Senator Ted Kennedy is holding hearings on the subject....

Both [the president] and Kennedy recognize that the answer to America's problem is not just to spend more money. The U.S. already devotes a bigger share of its gross national product to medical care than such "healthier" countries as Sweden and Britain....

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