Other things I've been meaning to share but not gotten around to yet:
- In February, Doctor Mama wrote a post called "Why Ask Why?" that I loved. It's about our constant need to try to find reasons for things, and how we handle it when there is no reason to be found.
- Also from February, Dr. Barbara Ehrenreich's take on "think positive, be passionate, smile all the time" advice given by business gurus. I have liked Barbara Ehrenreich since I read her For Her Own Good: 100 Years of the Experts' Advice to Women (written with Deirdre English and first published in 1978) when I was in high school. It was an interesting book and my first real exposure to gender studies and its application to history. I didn't read her book Nickel and Dimed, but I read the January 1999 Harper's Magazine article on which the book is based. I found the article to be thought-provoking and the book is probably only more so. The premise is that she tries to live on a minimum wage and finds it basically impossible.
- Speaking of how easy or difficult it may be to live as a poor person in America today, here is the blog of a woman in San Francisco, named Rebecca Blood, who is trying to eat all organic food on a food stamp budget. She's not actually on a food stamp budget; she's just doing it to see if she can. I know that I wouldn't be able to.
- Speaking of spending minimal amounts on food but still trying to eat decently, here is a post from Half-Changed World about one woman's attempt to feed her family on the USDA's Thrifty Food Plan in January 2005. (Here [pdf] is the 2006 version, published in April 2007.) In case you hadn't heard of it (as I had not), the USDA's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion website says of the plan: "The Thrifty Food Plan, the basis for maximum food stamp allotments, is a nutritious, minimal-cost diet." For background, here is Half-Changed World's introductory post to the problems of poverty and obesity.
- Huh. This is turning into a post about poverty and food, under the guise of sharing a Manhattan co-op with chickens. Interesting. So, while you're at it (or even before you read all of that stuff above), read Michael Pollan's column ("You Are What You Grow") from the New York Times Magazine on April 22 about the upcoming US farm bill and the way groceries are priced in the US, due to corn subsidies and other nefarious practices. He does an excellent job of answering the question: "So how is it that today the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight?" I know from my own experiences, that when I went to buy cranberry juice in the grocery store, it was either $5-$6 for a little bottle of 100% juice, or $3 for a bottle of "juice" in which the very first ingredient was corn syrup. (I ended up not buying it at all.)
- Here is an old news story from January about hareidim in Israel burning what they deem to be immodest women's clothing. It's old news, but I didn't get a chance to write about it before. The photo is disturbing. Is that a hareidi guy using a havdalah candle to burn women's clothing? That seems particularly sick. Can't they sew up the slits, give clothing that's tight to smaller women or pre-teens, etc.? Add material? Kick pleats, anyone? I mean, is burning clothing really the best way to handle this? SephardiLady over at Orthonomics said this much better than I ever could awhile ago. I want to write more, much more, about tsniut [the Jewish concept of modesty] sometime, but don't have the guts/energy/oomph to do so now.
- Finally, on a lighter note, go to cringebook.com if you want to:
Share [your] old diaries, journals, letters, notes, songs, poems... anything you wrote during the crushing misery of adolescence and then saved in a hidden box at your parents' house all these years. Top secret no more.Oh, it looks like they are no longer taking submissions. Oh, well. The book will be out in Spring 2008 and you can then revel in the knowledge that other adolescents (and pre-adolescents) also had crushing, miserable experiences growing up.
The more dramatic, embarrassing or excruciating the writing, the better. A good test to determine whether or not your material is Cringe-worthy: when you read it to yourself, do you physically cringe? Then for the love of god, it needs to be in this book. Seriously. You are going to be so glad you did this. Cheaper and better than therapy.
Special thanks to everyone who voted for me in the JIB awards! It looks like I came in third place (bronze?) for Best Personal Blog. Yay!