Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Chick-Fila Cows Perform a Public Service

I love a cheeseburger as much as anybody--more than many folks, actually, if you take into account the vegetarian and vegan sectors. Grilled Angus beef on a sesame seed bun, with extra cheese, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, and Heinz 57. Yum. My mouth is watering and it's not nearly lunch time.

And don't get me started on grilled stuffed filet mignon. The moaning might disturb other hotel guests.

I'm a fan of the cow, is what I'm saying--always have been.

But, I'm also something of a...ahem...hypochondriac. Yeah, I  know, you're shocked and all.

So, when I read this article on page 2 of today's USA Today, I immediately started inventorying my symptoms. The article states that "A program set up to test beef for chemical residues is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for dangerous substances... The health affects on people who eat such meat are a 'growing concern.'" The article goes on to say that in 2008, "Mexican authorities rejected a U.S. beef shipment because its copper levels exceeded Mexican standards." The rejected meat was sold in the U.S.

Our beef wasn't up to Mexican standards, so it had to be sold in the U.S.???

It's not just copper. (I'm still not clear on how the copper gets into cows, but some of the bad stuff comes from pesticide residue in the cow's drinking water.) Also, antibiotics are a problem, among them PENICILLIN, which I am allergic to. The article gave a chart with contaminants, some of which I can't pronounce, and SYMPTOMS TO WATCH FOR. These include oxidative stress (wtf?), renal dysfunction, and death. And those are just the copper-related symptoms. Call me a quack, but death is a pretty serious SYMPTOM.

I had reconciled myself to living with the threat of Mad Cow, now this.

It's enough to make a girl turn to tofu.

Peace, out...


Thursday, April 08, 2010

Somebody Gets It

I accidentally turned on Dr. Phil yesterday. Nothing against Dr. Phil, I'm sure he's a great guy and all, but I  don't do daytime TV. But, I'd stayed up far too late reading, slept in, and, as is my custom, I flipped on the TV while I had breakfast. I was outside my usual time slot for breakfast. Typically the news is on. That's a whole nother rant.

I was fumbling--pre-coffee, mind you--with the remote, trying to turn the channel, when I heard this guy say, "I tried that low-carb diet. I snapped."

He had my attention. I have SO been there. Several times, in fact.

I squinted at the sign for the day's episode. "The Ultimate Fat Debate."

Oh. Dear. Tara.

They had my attention.

The guy who was undone by the low carb diet turned out to be a comedian, John Pinette. This guy is FUNNY, and he is so after my own heart. Talking about his personal trainer he says, "I don't do ups. Sit ups, push-ups, chin-ups... I do downs. I can sit down, lie down...gimme a cheeseburger, I''ll wolf it down..." Some of his clips are available online. In another clip from this routine, he says, (as I have often maintained to The Queen of Pain herself) "Ups defy gravity. Gravity is a law, and I obey the law."

Aside from the comedian, Dr. Phil had a panel, and I gotta say, they weren't nearly as entertaining. Although, there were a few places where I thought they were going to go all Jerry Springer. That trainer chick from The Biggest Loser, was on, along with some guy with a shirt that said "No Chubbies." They were squaring off against a group of VOLUPTOUS women from groups like The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. These women were (justifiably) NOT HAPPY with the chap in the "No Chubbies" shirt. I couldn't look away.

But, I did hie me to Jazzercise yesterday, and defied gravity one more time.

Peace, out...


Thursday, April 01, 2010

You Can't Tell That Here

I went home last week, to Faith, the little town of about six hundred, with one caution light, where I grew up, and where my parents, my brother and his family, and a slew of other relatives still live. I got into the whole ancestry thing about a year ago and was shocked to find out how many people in that town I'm related to and never knew it. I digress...

Dad is retired, and mostly he spends his days looking up imaginary symptoms on Web MD. He needs a hobby. Mom refuses to retire, mostly because staying home doesn't look all that attractive. Anyway, Dad and I went to The Faith Soda Shop for breakfast one morning--several mornings, actually. Side note: One would think that somebody who spends hours a day on health-related websites would stop ordering sausage and egg sandwiches with mayo for breakfast, but not my daddy. I'm just saying...

One morning, we walked into The Shop, and the couple who'd lived around the curve from us my entire childhood sat in a booth just inside the door. I graduated with their oldest son (and played in the creek with him, and fought with him, and love him like a brother). Their faces lit up when they saw me. You can't find that just anywhere...

I said, "I'd know these folks anywhere," and went over to chat. I hugged them, and they hugged me back, and it felt like I'd never left. There were a few other familiar faces in The Shop that morning. After we'd eaten, Dad and I made our way to the register to pay. We passed another pair of faces I knew well. This couple, parents of another guy I graduated with, lived a block and a half away from the house my parents still live in.

We exchanged the usual hey-it's-good-to-see-you kind of things. Then, Arlene patted my hand and said, "John just had a birthday, are you older, or younger than he is?" She was trying to pin down if I had already turned the same age as John, or if that was upcoming. She knew we were about a month apart.

I didn't answer immediately. Age-related chit-chat is not my favorite.

She said, "How old are you?"

I didn't miss a beat. I said, "Arlene, I'm twenty-four. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

She laughed out loud and said, "You can't tell that here."

Now, in Greenville when I tell people I'm twenty-four, they look at me oddly, like perhaps I'm Not Quite Right, but no one has ever called me on it. In Faith, most people have a general idea how old I am, and many can tell you exactly what year I was born.

My eyes misted up. There is something so compelling to me about being in that place where, even after I've been gone more than...err...a few years, folks know me. Makes me think of that Cheers song...

I love Greenville. I do. We have friends here, and a lot of Jim's family lives here. There's a beautiful downtown, with a river running through it, and restaurants of every description. There's culture. Diversity. Costco.

But, on any given day, if I walk into any restaurant on Main Street, odds are, there won't be a soul in the place who knows me, or can tell you approximately how old I am, or remembers the time I painted the old shed in the backyard five different colors (on the outside) and turned it into a weird sort of clubhouse where I could have hang out with my friends with minimal adult supervision.

Lord, I'm homesick.

Peace, out...


P.S. This is NOT an invitation for my Greenville friends and family to discuss my age. The official age of all Jazzercisers is 24. It's a rule.