Monday, May 28, 2007

The fatness formula |

(via The Ethicurean)
The Economist takes aim at high fructose corn syrup, which suggests that fructose, and not fat, is a major contributor to obesity.

It's an op-ed piece, so there's a lack of citations, but if it's true that there are good sugars (glucose) and bad sugars (fructose), there's even more reason for me to spend ten minutes in the bread aisle at Andronico's reading ingredients trying to find a loaf of bread under $4 that doesn't use HFCS.

Just reading about the hormonal effects of HFCS makes my innards hurt.

And in the last paragraph, I like the backhanded swipe at America's plan to produce biofuels from corn. "Misguided government policy" they call it. I'll have to do some more reading, because I'm not sure if they are calling it misguided because this country's agri-corn future will starve more Mexican campesinos, or because it will make corn even more dominant in our economy, or because it's a losing cause next to switchgrass as a biofuel, or because the Economist just assumes that since the US can't find its way out of a paper bag/land war in Asia, that it couldn't possibly execute a sensible energy policy.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Addicted to ladybugs

I can't stop playing this. Especially because of the strange between-game voiceovers.

Friday, May 11, 2007

a gripping read

From a review by Ralph Shorto in the New York Times Book Review:

Not long after the Pilgrims set anchor in the harbor they called Plymouth in 1620, the Wampanoag leader Massasoit paid them a visit near their makeshift settlement and made a wary offer of friendship. It took several months for two of the Pilgrims to venture into the wilderness and return the gesture. When they
did, they noticed circular pits alongside the trails, which, the natives told them, were storytelling devices. Each of these "memory holes" was dug at a place where a remarkable act had occurred; every time Indians passed by these spots, they recounted the deeds. The Pilgrims, Nathaniel Philbrick says in his vivid and remarkably fresh retelling of the story of the earnest band of English men and women who became saddled with the sobriquet of America's founders, "began to see that they were traversing a mythic land, where a sense of community extended far into the distant past."

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Helvetica at 50

BBC News Magazine profile of the Helvetica font on the occasion of its 50th birthday.

Also, birthday cake, courtesy of YouTube.

Ralph's World Rips It Up

(photo by something.from.nancy)
He looks harmless enough.
His first CD, Ralph's World, had melodic covers of the Winnie the Pooh theme, Roger Miller's "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Her," a toddler friendly version of "Shake Your Booty," and a couple of winning originals. He's ranked up there with Justin Roberts as heir to the King of Preschool Rock and Roll.

So when our neighbor passed on a pair of tickets won on-- of all places, our neighborhood college station KALX-- I said sure, why not go see Ralph's World?

After all, Deirdre was out of town. The boys deserved an adventure, and the Great American Music Hall was promising breakfast with this 9:30 am show! (I checked the web site: Rice Krispies is a co-sponsor of the tour, along with the House of Blues. I correctly guessed that breakfast would be a bowl of rice krispies. Actually, it was a beer cup full of rice krispies. So I had fed the kids beforehand)

So can Ralph Covert and his band pack the GAMH at 10 am on a Sunday morning?

Yes, yes he can.

Is the GAMH bar open at that hour?

Yes, yes it is.

Bloody Marys seemed the parents' drink of choice. And the kids bopped and clapped and hopped and swayed to Ralph's music.

The other kids, I mean.

Our kids?

Our kids stood frozen with their hands over their ears in dismay.

The GAMH sound techs had the sound turned up to eleven. It was louder than any band I've ever heard there, like "All Wrecked Up" (Granted, Ralph's World has a full drum kit, and an electric bass) (hmm. With the possible exception of Vise Grip and the Ambassadors of Swing). Ralph proudly announced to the kids that their parents were sharing with them the joys of a true rock concert, and he was happy to initiate them, presumably with steel-warping volume.

After three songs we ducked to the sides where we grabbed an empty table partly sheltered from the direct blast of the overhead speakers. The waitstaff helpfully offered earplugs, which Liam liked. Ro-Ro tolerated them for two songs, still with his hands over his ears.

If we had known more songs it would have been fun. Instead, it was kind of like being assaulted with sound. And wondering why all the other kids weren't huddling in a fetal position.

We left after 40 minutes, but we did learn one new song: one song, so peppy, so full of zest, we can't help singing it four days later: "We are Ants." (Link to YouTube video concert footage. Imagine this same song, eight times louder, and in the dark)