Peter King is a writer for Sports Illustrated who specializes in covering professional football. He has a short column near the back of each issue of the magazine which is entitled, “Things I Think I Think.” I like his musings but, better yet, I like the title, indeed, I am a bit envious of the title. At least, I thing that’s what it is. I would like to have some sort of regular thoughts, nothing profound, just a bit thought-provoking; about something. Obviously, I am not expert enough on any subject to be as specific as Mr King.
He is not the first member of the media to have a regular feature with a catchy title. Paul Harvey had more than one. I well remember, over my shoulder a backward glance and partly personal. There was Charles Kuralt and over the road. And there was President Roosevelt with his fireside chats which was the first great presidential use of the media.
Reagan was known as “The Great Communicator” in some circles and in many instances President Obama has excelled in that area as well . But, alas, I know my sights need to aim more in the Shetland pony than the Palomino or Clydesdale.
From my category list, politics would seem a good area on which to focus, or sports or the media. Withing those areas, there are any number of popular tags that reappear often- Democrats, the media, Israel, among others. Better yet, there are others who desperately seek to provide fodder- Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden,Madame Secretary,etc.
What I shall seek is to provide a wry but not sharp look at folks and things from time to time, not quite like the quotes section of The Limbaugh Letter, but perhaps down a similar path. So, we shall consider this as the first installment of the Grounds from the Percolator and see where the aroma takes us.
As a young sprout, I wasn’t a big fan of vegetables, unless you count potatoes which you probably can’t. However, as one of the many unexpected benefits of marriage, Mrs THT showed me the error of my ways and I learned that there was more than one food group. I doubt that I get my minimum daily requirement of the green and yellow leafys, but I have significantly improved. ( Do coffee beans count as a vegetable? Shucks!)
From what I have learned in recent days, I may be in real trouble if I do not significantly increase my vegetable intake. According to an article in the UK Telegraph by Murray Waldrop, we might all need to become vegetarian to save our planet from the ravages of global warming.
Waldrop quotes global warming expert Lord Stern of Brentford who authored the Stern Report in 2006 on the cost of tackling global warming. He believes that in the future eating meat could become a socially unacceptable as drinking and driving. He is of course not the first to address this issue. There have already been questions raised about the cost of raising livestock in terms of the resources expended. Also, methane from pigs and cattle is a source of greenhouse gases.
Listen to Lord Stern.” Meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources. A vegetarian diet is better. I think it’s important that people think about what they are doing and that included eating.”
Lord Stern is a former World Bank economist and believes that the Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Copenhagen should call for an increase in the price of meat and other foods that cause climate change. Presumably this would cause people to consume less of these products.
Shockingly, the British National Farmers Union did not agree with him.
Let us just say for a moment that Lord Stern is spot on and he among others holds sway in this area. What about the untold millions whose livelihoods would be affected? What happens to them? Could one buy carbon offsets and continue to eat meat? Looking down the road, could socially unacceptable become , shall we say, not legal? Sounds really far-fetched, I know. I guess we shall wait for Copenhagen and see.
The breaking of the fast, aka breakfast, has long been my favorite meal. Give me my coffee and an egg mcmuffin or dounts or just regular muffins or any one of an almost endless number of choices, always including coffee of course, and I am content. Alas, it has not always been so. As an elementary school student, my sisters had quite a difficult chore persuading me to eat before school. Probably because I had yet to discover coffee.
Were I an elementary school student in Philadelphia today, I would be in trouble according to an article by Philadelphia Inquirer writer Alfred Lubrano. It seems that the City of Brotherly Love will now hold its school principals accountable for their students eating breakfast. Currently, only 33% of the school district’s 165,000 students eat breakfast, although it is free regardless of family income. The numbers vary widely from school to school , with some scoring 98% success rates and others as low as 18%.
Listen to those who are happy and those who are not. Kathy Fisher, PCCY family economic security associate, Michael Masch, school system chief financial officer, Jim Weill, President of the Washington based Food Research and Action Center,attorney Jonathan Stein with Community Legal Services ( he says it’s an exciting thing) Superintendent Arlene Ackerman, Wayne Grasela, sr vice-president of food services for the district, These folks are all on board. Principals were not quoted in the article. But, can you imagine your job status being affected by whether or not a sufficient number of children eat breakfast?
Ah, but what about those who ate at home? The target numbers, which will vary from school to school, already have made reasonable allowances for that. Wonder how number crunchers arrived at that?
So, for the systema as a whole, the goal in 2 years is to go from 33% to 43%. Not much of a goal it doesn’t seem. But, remember, this is all for the children. Studies show that a child who eats breakfast learns at a better rate. I bet I would work at a better rate if my employer provided me breakfast. Guess I shouldn’t hold ny breath waiting for that to happen though.
Two final comments and these are good ones. The Pennsylvania Department of Education ruled earlier this year that if students eat breakfast in class with a teacher present, it counts as instructional time. Learning about food groups and caloric content, I guess. Finally, from the afore-mentioned Mr Weill, “School breakfast is so important that it makes sense to hold people in the system accountable.”
The nanny state wins anther one!
My upfront apologies to those of you who are Wal-Mart fans and that seems to be most of the world, civilized and otherwise . I made the mistake of going to what my daughter-in-law allows me to call ” the evil place ” which is supposed to prevent me from always proclaiming a litany of reasons why I dont like to go there or why I’m sorry to actually be there .
Well, today for the sake of saving a fistful of dollars ( bonus points for remembering who starred in the movie ) I made the long arduous trek . Should have sensed the bad vibes when on the way I heard a mom profanely berating her child for her attitude ( imagine that ) and threatening to return all her presents . I know , I know should have made a hasty retreat but no .
Finally , I made my purhases and proceeded to spend an interminable time in line with actually only 2-3 people ahead of me . Here’s the most interesting part of the evening . On the way out I kept seeing more and more law enforcement personnel of assorted kinds for no obviously discernible reason . When driving away , I observed probably 15 of their vehicles parked in the euphemistically named no parking zone .
Conclusion, major crime ongoing or a really big sale on doughnuts and coffee. Just kidding . Ha ha . Probably just Christmas shopping together .
Old Mother Hubbard went to her cupboard
To fetch her poor dog a bone
When she got there, the cupboard was bare
And so her poor dog had none
I know you are familiar with the above nursery rhyme . My wife might very well say that it represents my philosophy of grocery shopping . Not quite true but there is an element of accuracy there . As I get older , I find that I dont necessarily eat as much so I dont ‘” need ‘” as much food , so less shopping . Voila ! At this point my beloved and I part ways . I have a shorter list, shall we say , of food stuffs ( used in a broad sense of the word ) that I would consider essentials than my wife .
My list would probably be somethimg like this “
- Tea bags
- Mello Yello
- Something quick for breakfast ( poptarts, Quaker Breakfast cookies )
- Utz chips
- Good Bread
To run out of one or more of these items is just crazzzy !! My wife on the other have would have a more extensive list of essentials, not there is anything wrong with that , I probably accept some of her list , but more as optional / I realize how risky it is to list for her , so I will just suggest some of what might appear.
- Kashi or horsey food
- Bathroom tissue ( isnt there duplication here )
- Vitamin C
So let the games begin.
At long last the time has come for an ode to coffee , a paen to that morning or afternoon or evening cup or multiple cups of good ole Joe . Those who know are aware that it is the crucial element for getting one’s day off to a ( great ) start of any kind . Without it, how unfortunate we would be indeed . Those of you who are not blessed with the taste bud to enjoy coffee have my undying sympathy . Thankfully, my adult children and my beloved wife all share in enjoying this delightful beverage . We do not all drink the same flavorings or quantities but that is not the main factor, we all comsume the brew. We indeed owe a debt to those who lived in 9th century Ethiopia where the lowly bean was first cultivated . And hats off to Juan Valdez and his burro for their modern day efforts . Whether you enjoy it by dunking a doughnut which is how I started before I learned better or with pie or cake or whatever , I raise my mug and salute ( health benefits or lack of same yet to be determined for certain so until the next study or two or three , drink on ) Hear ! Hear !
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