Sunday, November 30, 2008

After Thanksgiving, it's time for some tough love

Joel Stein has some news for Americans: We're disgusting pigs.

Sure, there probably was some giving of thanks, but that's not what anyone remembers. What we remember is the ugly, vicious, annual Thanksgiving eating contests between me and my cousins. The kind that taught me, and perhaps now the scientific community, that if you consume enough calories, you will actually black out just like you're drunk. Drunk on pie.

We are a nation with a massive pie hangover, waking up after three decades of overconsumption. The great problems facing us -- the economy and obesity -- have the same cause: lack of self-control. We're eating more calories than we burn and spending more money than we earn. Only instead of doing it to impress our cousins, we're doing it in the hopes of getting a reality show on Bravo.

Our Long National Pie Hangover

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef!

The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef! The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef! The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef!

Celebrating Thanksgiving, no less!

It's the convergence of my entertainment universe!

The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef! The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef! The Foo Fighters are going to be on Top Chef!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Need Season- 2008

(This is an update of a post I did a few years ago. It seems appropriate to re-run it now. -Sharon GR)

I ran into a neighbor in the grocery recently. She asked, "Thanksgiving shopping?" and commented about how it was better to get this all out of the way now because the stores are packed close to the holiday. I agreed; yes, I was shopping for Thanksgiving, but not for me. I met her in the canned veggies isle. I was stocking up for donations.

Now, we all know times are tough. Gas and oil prices shot way up, the economy tanked and jobs were lost left and right. But somehow, my "tough times" rarely include making a decision of whether to feed my kids or pay the heat bill, which means it ain't so tough for me after all. If I can afford high-speed internet to sit here and talk to you nice people, I can certainly afford to buy extra cans of food for the local food bank. There are kids whose parents do have to make that decision, and they need a bit of help. More this year than ever, even.

It's also good for my kids to help us do this. I ask them to carry the bags in, put cans in the donation boxes, and stock the shelves at the food pantry. I want them to grow up knowing that helping others is a regular part of life. So, the food banks get cans of soup and beans, and I get a nice little parenting moment out of it. We're both winners there.

New Jersey is the best state in the Union. By far. We are one of the richest, most educated groups of people ever assembled. We should also be one of the most generous.

So, I've got a few cans and jars of food in the car to take to the library's food drive. I'm realizing that I need to buy a couple more. Or, more accurately, that someone else needs me to.

"It's the difference between thinking of oneself as an accumulator of objects and material wealth, and imagining oneself as part of the fabric of problems and solutions." - Tata from Poor Impulse Control.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Don't believe everything you read

Sarah Palin not knowing Africa is a continent? No one knows who from the McCain campaign leaked this anecdote, but we do know it's not Martin Eisenstadt.

Because he doesn't exist.

It's remarkably easy to fall for false authority. Even the news "professionals" do it sometimes, let alone regular people looking for info.

In a class I'm taking, we recently had to analyze and discuss two elaborate web sites: the Dihidrogen Monoxide Research Division, and RYT Hospital Dwayne Medical Center. Follow the links- they're both pretty cool. Each brings up an about important point about information literacy: one pitches absolutely true information with a wicked slant, and one is a slick, elaborate hoax/digital art project that may take even trained observers a few minutes to catch on to.

In the class we discussed several different methods for evaluating web page information, but it all boils down to two things: WHO is telling you this, and WHY.

Because you really shouldn't believe everything you read. As the police captain said to Nick Nolte in 48 Hours, "Just 'cause you say it with authority doesn't mean sh!t to me!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Local Libraries spared the ax

The Trenton library board has agreed to stagger hours and keep all its branches open. Jamesburg residents recently voted in support of keeping their small library, by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1.

Good news, that. In these economic times, people need their local libraries- for books, yes, but also for computer access, resume help, job searching help, computer classes, homework help, no-cost children's programs, free (or cheap) DVD borrowing... the list goes on and on. When economic times are tough, folks rely on their libraries even more than in good times.

Not everyone is so lucky. In Philadelphia, for example, Mayor Nutter has proposed cutting 11 branches of the Free Public Library- and people are protesting.

Now is when we need our public libraries the most. As Philadelphia resident A.J. Thomson noted, "In our community this is the only way to get computer use. We should never close a place where kids choose to go."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Homecoming for Marine Reservists

A Day to Honor Local Veterans

Never let us forget that the only reason we are the land of the free is that we are the home of the brave.

Thank you.

Here's wishing everyone comes home safe, sound, and soon.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Jersey 2008 Local Election Results

Our Fair State's election results, by county:

Cape May

NOT EVERY ONE WILL UPDATE TONIGHT. Some are links to newspaper sites where county election results aren't posted. The polls closed at 8 PM, so some counties may start updating soon.

Keep your fingers crossed!

Every one counts

I voted. #202 at my polling place, before 10AM today.

Did you vote?