Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Trip To Whole Foods

Since the day John Mackey made his wonderful statement opposing socialized medicine, and the lefty wackos announces a boycott of Whole Foods, I've been meaning to go there and do some food shopping. Then, perhaps regularly. Finally, recently, I actually went to one of his stores.

Well, I was appalled! There was nothing at all I recognized, outside the meat and produce departments. No Cheerios, no Campbell's soup. Nothing! The word "organic" was emblazoned 'pon not only every aisle and every sign, but on every package. Now, as some of my friends know, I often quip, "I wonder what an inorganic food would be like?"

That's only partly in jest. I know that what the semi-articulate call "organic food" refers to food grown or handled in a particular way. Let's look at that, shall we?

The regular agricultural industry, which most of us grew up with, is the best on earth. Other countries have starving millions, America supplies an abundance of food for the entire country, as well as food for many of the countries unable to do the same. We're, in the aggregate, healthier than most of the peoples of the rest of the world. Food suppliers, understanding that such a vast growth, handling and distribution system find that handling large amounts of their products requires some innovation above and beyond growing food and off to market.

I don't begin to know all the tricks of the trade. Fertilizers are used to increase crop yield. Insecticides are used to mitigate destruction by pests. Preservatives are employed to extend the useful life of foodstuffs between the farm and your plate. Without these and many other processes, food would be much more expensive, if not scarce for the millions of us who occasionally find ourselves hungry.

"Organic" food skips several of these enhancements. "Organic" food is thus expensive, sometimes shows evidence of insect damage, and has a shorter shelf life. It sometimes looks quite gross. In my excursion through Whole Foods, I noticed that the apples were blemished with black spots here and there. The bananas were mostly over-ripe. On the other hand, the meat in the butcher shop looked scrumptious, but was expensive to the extreme.

Packaged food is generally in drab packaging, small package size and, those things I bought while I was there ended up largely flavor-free. I couldn't shop for brand, because there were no brand names I'd ever heard of or seen advertised. I suppose the small packaging was needed because the food would spoil if not eaten immediately.

It rankles that "organic" food producers don't give me my fertilizers, nor my preservatives, nor my colorful packaging; the stuff just doesn't look as good, and yet they charge more for it. Third world people eat what environmentalists call "organic food," all their short, miserable lives. They appear to be chronically malnourished and unwell.

All this is not to say that one shouldn't eat "organic food" if one happens to be wealthy or is so spartan as to eschew flavor and shelf life, but those of us with budgets can suffer with richer flavor and the ability to store food for lean times.

I intend to avoid what's erroneously called "organic food," and look for quality and value on my local supermarkets, and to supplement that food with selected vitamins, minerals, etc. from my favorite vitamin websites.

Deer have a place in Stalag California.....Next to the peas and mashed potatoes.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Monday, December 21, 2009

No Chance That There's Any Context In Which This Is A Good Question

"How did you feel as you gripped the trigger of that gun." --Paula Zahn, Fox News.

This is a question asked by Ms Zahn of an unknown (by me) person about an unknown (by me) event. The nature of the event doesn't really matter to my thesis.

If she asks the question of a person who killed an intruder to protect his loved ones and/or property, she's showing a disdain for defensive action. How would she "feel" if she walked into her apartment to see her daughter being raped? "How could he do such a thing to me?"

Screw feelings! Kill the bastard!

If she asks the question of a murderer in a prison setting, she's appealing to the mentally unhealthy ghoulish curiosity of a sick person who ought to be in a loonie bin. I can imagine the murderer smiling lasciviously, perhaps drooling a bit, and saying, "I wanted to watch her die, dude!" and Ms Zahn imagining the tenement dweller watching and saying, over his beer, "Awright!"

Get the widow on the set, we need dirty laundry.

It's part of a promotional ad for Ms Zahn's daytime show on Fox News, which is apparently designed to play off Ms Zahn's past fame, even at the expense of her credibility during the decline of her career. It's not a dumb question. It's a question that tells far more about the questioner than it ever could about the interviewee. Why would any serious journalist even think about asking something hideous as that?

Does Ms Zahn know that by asking that question she's expressing bias? Does she know that she's telling the world that she'd rather see a young woman lying dead, face down in the mud, having been raped and strangled with her own pantyhose, than see her standing, gun in hand, over the dead body of her assailant?

It goes without saying that one doesn't grip the trigger of a gun. Ever.

These are just a few of the bits of the ugly soul of Ms Paula Zahn revealed by that short question.

We report, you roll over and play dead.

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Technology is Still Scary to Some

Let me preface by saying that I, even to this day, observe that many people approach the common escalator with a degree of awe. One can watch them: Stop at the edge of the abyss, look down and judge the proper moment to step off. After these many decades of escalator use, one might think we'd find them second nature by now.

Today, I went to my neighborhood Target to pick up a few items. After taking care of business on the first floor, I took the upscalator to the second. I had to stand idly on the bloody thing, because the folks in front of me wouldn't move. A common thing. It seems as though very few people understand that, even though an escalator is moving, it's still possible to walk it like stairs to change floors more quickly.

On the second floor, I picked up a few items and had to return to the first floor to get one of the Items being prepared for me. That's when I learned that the downscalator was stopped, out of order and had caution tape over the entrance. I went to the two (and only two) elevators to see that there was a deep crowd waiting.

There probably is a regular staircases somewhere, but it isn't apparent, nor is it obviously marked. There is one out in the parking structure, but you can't go to the parking structure without passing through the checkout and paying for your goods, This, I was not yet ready to do.

Being the ne'er-do-well rabble rouser that I am, my solution was to duck under the caution tape and walk down the stalled downscalator. I picked up the rest of my purchases, paid for everything and went to the door, where I braced the security guard.

Does everyone know that the escalator is broken?"

"Yes. We have a call in to the repair shop."

"Do you know that it's possible to walk down a stopped escalator as if it's a normal stairway?"

"The escalator has been closed for safety reasons."

"Do you know that everywhere in the world that has escalators leaves them open when they're broken so that they can still be used as stairs? Your two little elevators ain't making it."

"We're sorry for the inconvenience, but we have to think of the safety of our guests."

"Well, I guess that'll have to do, if thinking isn't an option," I said finally as I headed for the parking structure. I didn't tell him that I just walked down the broken escalator, thinking that with him, I might face arrest.

I'm on the lam, but I ain't no sheep!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California