Tarheeltalker

Don’t Tell Me What to Eat!!!!

They are at it again, by they I mean the food police. In this they are represented by Michelle Obama who is continuing her crusade to dictate what people should eat or not eat. I have no problem with people being encouraged to eat healthy or make healthy choices when they purchase food. But her ongoing efforts seem to have proceeded far beyond encouraging and are perilously close to being dictates.

The First Lady spoke  to the National Restaurant Association today and  “encouraged” them to make healthy eating easier. How to do this? Well, cut down on the butter and cream when they cook, make vegetables the default side dish on children’ s meals ( no nasty fries for the little ones, although it is one of her guilty pleasures) and just make easier for parents to make the  right choices for their children. And don’t bury those healthy choice items on the menu so no one can find them. Most of her speech seemed  to be aimed at childhood obesity. Guess the theory is to stop obesity early and adult obesity will be well on the way to being conquered.

This next is  a quote. “We have to do more, we have to go farther, and we need your help to lead this effort.” Now a bit of analysis. We know that the they in that statement was her audience of restaurant execs. What has me  puzzled is the identity of the  “we” in her statement. Could it be the Democrats, the food police, those who know what’s best for you even when you do not? I just cannot decide. Go farther how, actually tell you what you can eat, only at  a restaurant of course? They can’t do that, they won’t do that. Don’t bet on it.

Better yet, couldn’t she first focus on getting her husband to stop  smoking? It is far more dangerous is it not? Wonder who she considers more dangerous, McDonald’s or Wendy’s? You know that fast food establishments are one of the most  evil entities in our country. I have read the statement from a couple of sources ( and I fervently hope that both sources were  not serious) that  McDonald’s has killed more people than terrorists.

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September 13, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Health, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Secretary Robert Gates Calling

I wrote  on Thursday about Pastor Terry Jones from Gainesville, Fl and his threat/plan to burn copies of the Koran on 9/11. For the moment that plan has been cancelled although there are others expressing a willingness to take over. This event has been so confusing on so many levels it reminds me a little of  Bizzaro superman in whose world everything was opposite or perhaps like Alice in Wonderland when she follows the White Rabbit into a strange universe all its own.

Let’s see, what else? Thus far I have only seen a comment from Michael Bloomberg that defended Jones’s actions under the aegis of religious freedom, no matter how distasteful they may be.

I wanted to lead with a  this is what we know approach but I am uncertain as to what we really know. For starters, the president weighed in during a press conference with his main point a defense of  Islam. He also confirmed that he ordered Sec Gates to call the Florida pastor  which seems to be  a bit of an unusual approach. He has since been questioned about what role the White House may have played in escalating the situation. Predictably, none at all was the response.

So now  a little time has passed and Jones was true to his word. He burned no Korans. There was an unidentified person who did and some others who shredded pages of the Koran. There were reports of demonstrations in Afghanistan but nothing of any consequence .Unsurprisingly, the misguided folks of  Topeka’s Westboro Baptist Church proceeded with their Koran burning as well as an American flag. The quite apropos headline on The Topeka Capital Journal website said  that the church’s flames produced little heat. No phone calls, no comments from celebrities, no demonstrations,etc.

So, are there lessons here worth learning? Michele Malkin  produced a post entitled  the ” Eternal Flame of Muslim Outrage” which detailed current and past examples of events that have stirred passions among Muslims. Some were silly, others were scary in their escalation. Ann Coulter wrote an article way back on Wednesday entitled ” Bonfire of the Insanities” which also seems well titled, even more so in retrospect. There were good points vis-a-vis Gen Petraeus comments on threats to American troops as well as the  wingnuts right to burn a  Koran, stupid though it may be.

Is there a bottom line yet other than an obscure pastor gaining unneeded notoriety? Probably not.

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Media, Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Moment of Silence

Today is as we know all too well, the 9th  year since the tragedies of 9/11/2001. There were many observations of that day, the president of course, others  involving people who were profoundly affected by that day and then those  by others like me, simply  paying their respects. At 8:45  am today, as is the norm  there was  a  substantial amount of noise at my place of employment.. There were various conversations taking place, machinery in operation and any number of routine noise making events that we take for granted. Suffice to say that we almost never have complete silence.

But today, at 8:46 am, for a moment, there was complete silence. For some reason, I was quite affected, perhaps  because  it was the  subdued sounding of the alarm on my watch that indicated for me, even before the “official” announcement, that it was time for quiet. I was quite glad that all complied in the observance. I remarked to someone afterward how really quiet it seemed as opposed to the norm. The ” Sound of Silence”  it was!

I hope that our annual observances will be meaningful not just on Patriot Day  but  beyond. History is  quite a good  teacher when one has  a willingness to learn from it.

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Culture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Third Half of Your Brain

Most of us are aware that our brain is divided into 2 parts or hemispheres, often known as the left brain and the right brain. This division is brought about by something known as the great longitudinal fissure, which is in essence a deep grove. We also are familiar with studies that show the two sides of the brain  contain different functions.

But what if we were not quite correct all this time into thinking there were just two halves? What if there could be a third half ? Mathematical impossibility you say? That  is what I would have said before yesterday when I read an interesting article about  the previously unknown half.

From whom does this information come?  The source is none other than Sergey Brin who as you well know is half of the dynamic Google duo that wants to take over the world, own the world, be the world’s only search engine or as Brin put it  yesterday  at a big Google shindig, ” We want Google to be the third  half of your brain.”

The statement was made at the event announcing  the latest search innovation that according to  Google’s Marissa Mayer will have you wondering how you ever did without it. Doubtless, Google investors and potential investors will be/are thrilled. I’m just not so sure. When I  think of Google, I often hark back to  a Ray Stevens Christmas song from  a few years ago. These lyrics might just fit our friends at Google.

  •                            Be careful what you say and do
  •                            ‘Cause Santa Claus is watchin’ you
  •                            He’s everywhere , he’s everywhere

         Just so you know.

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Technology | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Un-Christian behavior

Never been to Gainesville,Fl before although I have been nearby. I also have never met Pastor Terry Jones who leads a small church of about 50 folks named the Dove Outreach Center. Remarkably, Jones has managed to make himself notorious  on an international level, quite  a feat in itself. He has received a number of death threats and has started carrying a gun himself. So, what has this heretofore unknown person done  to draw attention from  Gen David Petraeus, Hilary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Eric Holder , Rush Limbaugh, ( who appropriately  calls him a lunatic) Robert Gates, Angelina Jolie and countless unnamed but now angry Muslims worldwide?

He has for some inexplicable reason announced a plan to burn many copies of the Koran on of all days, 9/11/2010. How many copies seems  to depend on how many gullible people send  them to him. That is by far the easier of the questions involved. Based on some earlier actions, Jones seems to think that Islam is evil. I will agree that there are followers of  Islam have done some evil things and alas if his plan goes through they will probably do more of those things. ( Gen Petraeus is quite concerned about that.)

I have given  a lot of thought about why Jones is doing this. Publicity, notoriety, name recognition ? He has gotten all of those to be sure. But , assuming he is a legitimate Christian minister, which I have no reason to doubt, what is doing for the furtherance of his ministry or for the “image” of Christianity or for that matter his native country. Oh, just a qualifier. He actually has the right to do this but for me it’s one of those “rights” that just because one has it, one does not need to exercise it.

Cannot  imagine the potential damage he can carry out, unless by some miracle he chooses to call a halt to the event. At this point, that looks unlikely.

Some words from a song came to mind today that at least from a Christian perspective define my feelings quite well. The artist is Wayne Watson and the song  came from his 1988 album The Fine Line. The title is “That’s Not Jesus.” I will just relate a line or two that seems to fit what is happening with pastor Terry Jones.

  •                                     That’s not Jesus, he doesn’t carry on that way,
  •                                    Just some flesh and blood like you and me
  •                                    Somehow gone astray
  •                                    That’s not Jesus, no matter what they say 
  •                                    He doesn’t  need us to defend  him
  •                                    He just wants us to obey

                                       

                       Shalom and amen         

September 8, 2010 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Mr. Edelweiss”

Emma Thompson at the Nanny McPhee London premiere.

Image via Wikipedia

I would never be accused of being a frequent moviegoer, since I average about one per year. That would  make this year an anomaly since with over 3 months to go, I have seen three already. What in the name of Cecil B DeMille could be happening? Perhaps  Hollywood is making better movies or better yet it could be the old even a blind pig finds  an acorn concept.( If that needs explaining the reader must be somewhat younger than this writer.)

Anyway, the most recent of the three was “The Return of  Nanny McPhee” which featured  the talented Emma Thompson in the title role as well as writer)  with an excellent pair of supporting actresses in Dame Maggie Smith and Maggie Gyllenhaal. There were a number of young actors and actresses with prominent roles as well. Quite a feat to have two Oscar winners onboard.Jackdaw at home in London

However, as is often the case with yours truly and movies, I picked out  a quite different character as my favorite. He was important of course, but more as comic relief and  maybe, maybe a bit of a role model. His name was “Mr Edelweiss” from the legendary Rodgers and Hammerstein song that we all remember from The Sound of Music. Almost forgot to mention that Mr Edelweiss is  a jackdaw.

At first, I was debating on him being either a crow or a raven, to which he is related, of course. The Independent has a wonderful article on the movie on March 24 accompanied by a video where Ms Thompson talks about the use of the bird(s) in the movie. It was intriguing to learn that 3 jackdaws were used in the making of  the film and that all 3 were rescue birds.

She also gives a bit of background on the naughty bird. It seems that Mr Edelweiss had done something  quite wrong in the past and was forever attempting to return to Nanny McPhee’s good graces. Ergo, the use of the phrase, “you know what you did”  and being banished from  Nanny McPhee’s shoulder, a  place of honor indeed. The interaction between the two was delightful and indeed according to the movie’s producer the bird was a very important character. Perhaps an illustration for the children with whom she was working.Even his penchant for burping after eating his favorite snack of window putty becomes crucial in the end. He is able to peck through the putty on the poential deadly bomb and thus assist in preventing its explosion. Thus he redeems himself and is perched securely on Nanny McPhee’s shoulder  as she  disappears in the distance at movie’s end.

Athough this is not a movie review per se, I must  share a quote from Ms Thompson in closing.”That’s the whole point of  a really good movie,isn’t it? Something to be shared.” Indeed, whether it be human or jackdaw!

September 6, 2010 Posted by | Entertainment | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Self-appointed Kitchen Cabinet

It is no secret  what “objective” journalist Chris Matthews thinks of President Obama. I almost hate to mention the “tingles” episode that occurred during the 2008 campaign, although I have seen the word used quite well as  a nickname for Matthews. Not so long after Obama took office, Matthews proudly admitted that it was his job to make sure that Obama succeeded.( Remember for a moment that Rush was roundly criticized for hoping that Obama failed.) I cannot  recall any approbation at what  Matthews said.

But  at least  Matthews is consistent. He remains firmly on the Obama/Democrat bandwagon. In a  recent interview with Democrat senatorial candidate Joe Sestak ( from  Matthews’ native state of  Pennsylvania) who is running against Republican Pat Toomey, Matthews openly longed for Sestak and the Democrats to do well in November by saying this.” I hope your party gets organized and wins this thing.”

But, there is even more. Matthews seems to be moving beyond the cheerleading/publicizing phase into the advising stage. I actually watched the video clip with Matthews providing this advice, so I am not making this up. His first piece of advice was to replace Def Secretary Robert Gates with, guess who? You will never get this one, so I’ll just tell you.  It is  Hilary Clinton. Wait, there is more. He has two options for New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg; either Treasury Secretary of Chief-of-Staff. No mention of who would succeed Mrs Clinton ( Bill maybe) or what would happen to the current hatchet man,Rahm Emanuel.

This advice brought to mind something used by a number of former presidents, the “kitchen cabinet.”  I believe Truman actually coined the phrase for his group of informal advisers, although it was quite popular with Jefferson and Jackson among others. Guess the only difference is that Matthews is self-appointed. But just think of the benefits. The Democratic National Committee could pay Matthews annual salary  of  $5 million and he could continue his tv show just like it is and work for the White House on the side. Better than Obama accepting Michael Moore’s offer to replace Emanuel, huh?

September 4, 2010 Posted by | History, Media, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Slowest Foot in “Sports”

Perhaps it is stretching the definition to call our subject a sport. But I have hard of many strange events falling under this  broad  umbrella and so will borrow the term for this post. What we shall discuss  has been occuring for 25 years so it has tradition on its side. Besides it takes place in a quaint English village known as Congham.  The little town  is located in the eastern part of the country and has a population of  less than 500 folks.

But inJuly  have the world championships of snail racing, an event which is theirs and theirs alone. Somehow, this strikes me as something Rick Reilly, late of Sports Illustrated and now with ESPN,  could include in his next book about unusual sporting events.

The latest champion in the world of  mollusks is Sydney who won the title on July 17 with a time of 3 Grapevine snailminutes,41 seconds. By the way, that  is for a distance of 13 inches. Lest you scoff, Sydney triumphed over a field of 200  of his molluskan challengers. Lest Sydney feel over-confident, he did not match the world record set by Archie in 1995, who set a slime laden pace of 2 minutes. Archie, you are the king  of the gastropods. May Sydney be forever delivered from National Escargot Day, celebrated every May 24th in these United States. Hope Sydney never hears about that!

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Culture | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NCIS – The Cartoon?

It’s less than 3 weeks till the beginning of season 8 for Gibbs and company. Seems like  a good time for some random thoughts. Many folks were quite fond of Kate Todd, played by Sasha Alexander and were sad to see her go, as was I. But Cote de Pablo has done agood job at filling that place and bringing some very different elements to the fore. Just in case you  had not noticed, Ms Alexander has resurfaced as the costar of a new series, along with Angie Harmon, called Rizzoli and Isles. Admittedly, I am not exactly sure which actress plays which role since I have not watched the program.

I did read an interview with Ms Alexander talking about her former series and her new one. She liked NCIS  although she inexplicably compared it to a cartoon. Didn’t get that comparison though. She added that she was looking forward to her new series since it had te chance to be an “edgier” show since it was non cable.

Anyway, a few wishes that I have for NCIS, as the new season approaches. If anyone is listening, get rid of M Allison Hart. I cannot express what an irritating character she has become. If Shane Brennan is looking fora new Gibbs love interest, Col. Hollis Mann would be better and I did not care for her either. Not sure if my next wish is remotely possible, but, Director Vance needs something in the way of, shall we say, humanity. He doesn’t have to be touchy-feely but he too is grating. Having said that, maybe he is what the writers want.

On a lighter note, a bit more insight into Tony and Abbey outside the office. We have seen where all  the other guys live and it seems time for  a peek inside the domestic side of these two, much as was  done with JAG.

Anticipating the premiere and what loose endss will be tied up and which will be unraveled.

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Television | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments