Saturday, January 12, 2013

Some Questions For A New Year

I haven't posted in a couple of weeks, and since then we've begun the year 2013. The last post dealt with a very emotional topic, the arming of teachers to prevent school shootings, and I didn't want to throw my usual tongue-in-cheek attitude "out there" when the Sandy Hook shootings were still so fresh. Not that the conversation around arming the whole country decreasing gun violence is over. The gun crazies, and I know that all gun owners are not crazy, but the mics are going into the faces of the complete gun psychos right now, and I'm fairly glad. These guys are absolutely confirming the point for the people who are applying some rational thought to this question. But I digress...there have been some things I observed recently that made me ask myself questions. Maybe you have answers, maybe not. Maybe you find these things amusing, as I do. If so I'd love your comments!!!

I realized that the economy is really bad when I saw an Infinity SUV delivering pizzas on the day I did my Christmas shopping. Yup. This person had one of those magnetized pizza signs on the top of the vehicle. I'm guessing it costs more to gas that sucker up than the guy will make in tips in a day. Or could it have been a repo that someone like me, strictly working class, got for a steal and is using for a part time job?

Could we make elocution lessons mandatory in scholarship athletes? I'm not talking about "coach speak," as in "We went out there and didn't execute. We just didn't get the job done." Or, "The momentum was on our side, and the other team just played better." That's just meaningless drivel that sports fans expect. But when a sportscaster puts a mic in a player's face, and I hear marble-mouthed, repetition of the phrase, "You know..." (I don't know! If I did know, your comments would be unnecessary!) it annoys the hell out of me and makes me want to slap the coach for letting these guys speak to the public. We've tamped down the over use of the word "like." Can we also learn to speak eloquently again? No, that's too much for our pop culture. Could we make it a priority to be understood, not repeat phrases, and not sound like a moron?

For Thanksgiving I was asked to make my pumpkin cheesecake. When I got to the grocery store, the graham cracker crumbs were gone, so I bought a couple of those ready made graham cracker pie crusts, that I was planning to crumble up and make my crust the way I normally do. Now, my recipe for graham cracker cheesecake crust uses graham cracker crumbs, a tiny bit of flour, butter and some cinnamon. The store-bought pie crust contains twelve ingredients, including hydrogenated oil, which is a known contributor to heart disease. Sugar AND high fructose corn syrup. It also lists leavening and corn starch. What for? I don't want it rising underneath my cheesecake, which, I admit, isn't something one who is concerned about heart disease should be eating anyway. I'm just questioning the purpose of all those other ingredients. And this is from the company that advertises its cookies are made by elves, in hollow trees? I think not.

Speaking of my frequent rants against advertising, I have another one, but let's start with a definition:

Gluten (from Latin gluten, "glue") is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grain species, including barley and rye. Gluten gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise and keep its shape and often gives the final product a chewy texture.

Some people have a digestive problem that makes them highly sensitive to gluten. Not many people have this, but it has become the "disease of the week" for those in the advertising game. "How do you know?" you may ask. Well, as in the definition above, gluten is made from wheat and flour products. Not meat. But I was buying groceries and saw a package of SMOKED SAUSAGE that was labeled as "gluten free." Well, hoodathunk!!!?

There is a sitcom that uses the term "cougar" for an older woman dating a younger man. This is a pretty common term, and I guess it isn't too sexist since philandering men have been said to be "catting around" for many years, and are sometimes referred to as "tom cats." My question is to the young men who date these women. Or to the women who are "cougars," as well. One of the things that happens to us as we get older is that the motility of our gut decreases. The fermentation, therefore, of food in our guts, not moving through the sausage skin that is our intestines sometimes creates unpleasant gas. This is just a part of getting older-I'm not trying to be funny. There is a lack of control over this feature, and I'm wondering what happens when one of these couples is, um...together, and this happens. It can create moments of great humiliation, and I'm married, so I am just wondering what happens. It seems to be one of the things that they don't address when talking about He's May, She's December relationships.

I live where there are hundreds of oak trees. This is not an exaggeration. Hundreds of oak trees create thousands of acorns. I love the look of acorns, and never knew until we moved here that there is such variety in them. My question is this: Acorns are the seed of oak trees, and they make so many to assure the passing on of their genes. So, when I'm out walking and I step on acorns, am I creating an oak abortion?

Now, to share an "Aha!" moment that I had during the Christmas season. Now, anyone who has ever read me knows that I am an atheist. I do not believe in the purported meaning of Christmas, but I celebrate it for many reasons. It is an important part of my family and my Northern European cultural mythology. As is the pagan Saturnalia, Solstice, etc. I've said here before that the attempts of Christians to deny any other tradition a celebration at this time of year are disingenuous because even Christian scholars admit that Jesus could not have been born in late December if the stories about him are to be believed. Christians incorporated pagan traditions of a celebration of light, or the solstice and the daylight beginning to return, in order to make it easier for pagans to accept the Christian myth of Jesus being the light before Christians began killing and torturing anyone who did not accept or dared to question their religion. But once again, the talking heads on Fox News whined and whined about the War on Christmas, and some of the patients I talk to on the phone took obvious offense and corrected me with a STERN "Merry Christmas" if I wished them "Happy Holidays." Now (one of my short rabbit chases) I love language, and I frequently go look up the roots of words when I learn a new word. But the root of the word "holiday" is clear. It is a shortening of the two words "Holy" and "Day." But the commercialization of the so-called "Celebration of the Birth of Christ," and the horrible behavior of some Christians toward other humans and other life forms has moved this day so far away from the realms of "HOLY" that the word no longer applies in our "gotta get more material stuff" culture. So now it is clear to me why so many Christians take offense at the phrase "Happy Holidays." But I hope all my readers, whoever you are, had a Happy Holiday season. I wish you a peaceful, prosperous and healthy new year.