Saturday, April 22, 2006

Split CA? TX? VA? Fix the flag first!

See the Dvorak Uncensored blog re: splitting California up into 2-3, or even more, smaller states.

I suggested that the U.S. flag be redesigned first, to *allow* for state boundary changes more easily. If we separate the flag issue from the addition or removal of states from our Union, things could proceed much more easily.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Celebrity babies: TomKat vs. Brooke Shields & hubby

Like many a female, the Mistress thought Tom Cruise was really something back in the day. Now he's pretty wacky and seems desperate for attention. Katie Holmes seemed snottily appropriate in Ang Lee's "The Ice Storm" (1987). Now she elicits pity.

So what did they name their (supposed) new baby, who just happened to be born along with Brooke Shields' second daughter Grier (which sounds awfully preppy but at least many people have heard of actress Greer Garson)?


They claim it's Hebrew for "princess" and Persian for "red rose"; commentators give some less-appealing translations from other languages: "pointy nose" in a South Indian language; "pickpocket" in Japanese.

If you type "Suri" into the Google search engine, you get many listings for alpacas such as this one as well as links to various pages about people with the surname "Suri".

Sky News gets into this discussion as well, with readers sending in additional meanings.

At least it sounds pretty in English. L'chaim, baby Suri! May you not out-weird your parents.

Read the original articles about this particular oddly-named celebrity baby:
One Down: World Awaits Pitt, Jolie's Baby
Cruise-Holmes Baby: Day Two

4/24/06 addendum:
Get outta here! Cruise baby name puzzles Israelis

A Poem A Day The Fibonacci Way

More-regular blogger Gregory K. has given himself the exercise of writing Fibonacci sequence-based poems to stretch his mind: "a six line, 20 syllable poem with a syllable count by line of 1/1/2/3/5/8." Readers of his blog are invited to post their own.

I write
one? Because
I might as well try
to learn this sequence right away.

you write
one? Because
it's not all that hard,
so suck it up and start typing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Super 'Shrooms!

Mushrooms Are Unlikely Source of Vitamin D

Nah, not *those* mushrooms. Just your plain ol' bland ones from the food store.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Mug me! (no, not the crime way)

This Sunday's Washington Post's shopping section pointed out a new Global Warming Mug. Watch the continents vanish under water! It's available online at Wacky Planet.

The company (with which the Mistress is not affiliated other than as a potential customer) has some other fab items for sale, including a Vanishing Civil Liberties Mug. See which parts of the Bill of Rights the Patriot Act does *not* excise!

Out with the old, in with the new (if you have room in your cabinets or on your trophy-mug shelf)!

A Taxing Nation

In honor of Tax Day, I refer you to two online articles and have movie suggestions for when your taxes are done.

The first is about politicians who are so confused by their own tax laws that they hire accountants to do their filing for them:
Tax Law Authors Have Pros Do Their Returns

The second begs for a flat tax. The author?
Dick Armey.

For your viewing pleasure, the Mistress strongly recommends that you rent the highly intelligent and amusing 1987 Japanese movie
A Taxing Woman (Marusa no onna) and its 1988 sequel, A Taxing Woman Returns (Marusa no onna II). Make yourself some popcorn, turn down the lights, and celebrate the end of Tax Day... This year's, anyway.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Corn syrup once more: Mott's' tricky packaging

We're still seeing tons of sweetened applesauce, both at Baja Fresh and at the food store. The packaging on some is so confusing that extremely careful label-reading and comparison is required. My husband went to the store this week for more of the kids' favorite single-serving applesauce, Mott's Healthy Harvest Strawberry (which has no sugar added), among other things (regular shopping trip here - not a run for just one product). No, I don't get any money from Mott's. I just want to make sure there's no brand confusion here. I wrote "flavored applesauce (small)" or something to that effect on the shopping list. I didn't specify Healthy Harvest because he doesn't buy things with corn syrup if he knows it's there, and I figured he'd seen the packaging - and had bought it - often enough.

He came home with an almost identical-looking package - and it was strawberry, and it was Mott's. But it wasn't the unsweetened Healthy Harvest, and it had high fructose corn syrup (and Red 40 for good measure and an odd pinkish-red color).

I went to the Mott's web site to look up their single-serving applesauce options and wrote them a note. Go to the full post to see the text of my message to them...

I don't understand why you feel the need to sweeten applesauce with high fructose corn syrup (or color it with Red 40, for that matter). Applesauce is naturally sweet, especially strawberry flavored. There are enough kids with weight and/or dental problems without going to a restaurant and asking for "healthy" applesauce instead of chips or fries, only to be given your applesauce with corn syrup for your kids! Baja Fresh is one place that serves kids your sweetened applesauce.

Also, for truth in advertising purposes, you shouldn't put "Hand-Picked Goodness" on products that contain high fructose corn syrup. Since when was high fructose corn syrup hand-picked?

Finally - and very important - you need to make your packaging much clearer in order to allow consumers to easily delineate between your types of applesauce. More than once (including this week) either my husband or I have gone to buy small packages of applesauce, only to have to carefully scrutinize the label to be sure we're getting the unsweetened kind.

For everyone's health, why don't you just offer all of your great flavors only in the unsweetened variety and, whenever possible, as an organic? This would probably save you enough money on packaging and shelf space to balance out the added cost of going healthier.

If families really need sweeter applesauce to get their kids to eat it, they can easily add their own sugar or corn syrup, whether at home or at a restaurant.

Thank you!

A very concerned mom,

[signed my name and location]

So, if you're also concerned about calories and/or cavities, please get involved! Contact restaurants that serve sweetened applesauce and companies that make applesauce sweetened with anything other than fruit or fruit juice and ask them to CUT IT OUT already. The few of us (myself not included) who really need the extra calories can surely find their own sugar packets.