Saturday, June 28, 2008

Emerald or Jade or Maybe Even Olive

I am green with envy. Perhaps even chartreuse. And I deserve to have my NPR-groupie credentials taken away from me. All because Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me was filmed right here in Seattle this week, and I didn’t go. Oh, I tried to go, in a wishy-washy way. I think back in September some time I realized they were going to be here and found out tickets were already sold out and never thought about it again. But my friends A, R, and M were not so dismissive. They had foresight. And they also checked the website in August and bought tickets. Last night on our way to see Joshua Roman’s last concert with the Seattle Symphony (we’re also Joshua Roman groupies – such nerds) the three of them told me all about it. I believe M is writing about it in his blog so I’ll post to that as soon as I see it, but the short version: it was really cool. Karl Kassel had a bodyguard. He also apparently manages to do all his impressions without moving anything below the neck – a true radio professional. Apparently there was quite a bit of lewd humor, which the three of them assume will be cut out of the real show. And the show must have been good, because this morning while J was “running errands” he ended up spending most of the time in his car listening to Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me instead. So the moral of the story is – if you hear that Wait, Wait is coming to a town near you, don’t delay. Green is not a color that goes well with most outfits.

*Update: M's blog post can be found here. He says he or A may write more about it since he just covered a couple specific bits, but at least you can get a bit more detail.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Milk Madness

In more catch-up blogging, Sasha Khokha did a report on Marketplace a couple weeks ago about raw (unpasteurized) milk. He discussed a growing trend for people to spend $12 a gallon buying raw milk for its supposed health benefits, and quoted a mother who'd been giving her daughter raw milk since infancy saying, "I knew if breast milk is all natural, there has to be another all natural way to feed your baby." Obviously if it's "natural" it must be okay (see previous rant about "natural" radiation).

Statements like this are so disappointing - it's clear that well-educated people are being deceived by so-called “experts” who prey on their skepticism or disappointment with real science and medicine. Somehow they don’t start thinking that there was a reason Louis Pasteur invented the process named after him - people were getting sick from bacteria in their milk. Why on earth would drinking raw milk be healthier? This is the same false logic that people use when they get conned by vitamin salesmen or “doctors” selling a treatment with no scientific backing.

I feel a bit hypocritical in that I've always thought the fact that we don't allow unpasteurized cheese in most states is silly, but then (a) I am a bit cheese-obsessed and (b) I’m sure you can get different flavors from unpasteurized cheeses, but I certainly don't think they're healthier. And now that I’ve heard this story, I might have to reconsider my stance. As proven by the pasteurized La Tur I had this weekend during my visit to Berkeley, you don’t need to raw milk to get some exquisite flavors.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Sci-Fi Story in our Midst

Pickings have been slim on NPR recently – few things have stood out enough to make me want to take a break from all the hecticness (to coin a word) and catch-up sleep I've been indulging in recently. But I did want to catch up on a couple stories that made it through the noise.

I’ll start today with a story on Weekday a few weeks ago. I came into it part-way through, as I was heading to work from the gym in the morning, and assumed that Steve Scher was interviewing a sci-fi author. They were discussing these clearly fictional communities where the local newspaper only prints happy news (which reminds me of this site) and children need visas to visit because only older people are allowed. But then I realized something horrifying – this wasn’t actually fiction. Apparently these communities are real, and springing up all over the US. They’re geared towards retired people who want easily accessible social activities and clean, well-maintained neighborhoods, which is fair enough. What’s creepy is that they want this with no children around. Andrew Blechman, who was the guest on the show, suggested that in addition to the obvious reasons for not wanting children (lower noise, crime, etc) there are more devious ones – you avoid having to fund school districts with your taxes, and you’re less likely to have minority families because they tend to live in multi-generational households, which wouldn’t be allowed. I think many would agree that this society does not generally treat our elders with the respect they deserve, but is this really the answer?