Three, very unrelated, items pricked my ears this week. In no particular order:
- While motivated and caring individuals and chefs like Alice Waters, Ann Cooper, Jamie Oliver and even Mrs. Obama have been working for years to improve the dismal lunches that get served in our public schools, Congress is caving in to the demands of some powerful food lobbies. What’s new? Not much. But, if not for its sadness, it would actually be funny to see that, after pressure from the potato lobby, French fries are still on school menus under the heading of “vegetables” and pizza is poised to become an item that qualifies as nutritious. A slice will be considered to contain all the three required families of grains, meat alternative and vegetables – the vegetables being the couple of tomato paste spoons that make up the sauce. Hilarious.
- I don’t typically spend much time thinking about the housing conditions of murderers, rapists and the like. Like all Californians, I am aware of the overcrowding of our prisons and jails, even the Supreme Court said so and ordered the state to reduce the inmate population by 30,000. Said inmates are mainly being transferred to city jails, such as the Los Angeles Men Jail in downtown LA. Zev Yaroslavsky, our brilliant county supervisor for the third district, in his latest newsletter vividly depicts the typical condition of an inmate, be he a small time offender or a rapist waiting for trial. Basement cells originally meant for 2, now being occupied by up to 4, all sharing the in-cell toilet and basin. How can we expect to rehabilitate human beings if we keep them in sub-human conditions? For the full story and pictures go to Zev’s blogpost
- Unless you were sleeping (or not in my age bracket),you probably heard that R.E.M., after 31 years together, decided to call it quits (before succumbing to the Rolling Stones’ syndrome). I happened to catch a lovely interview on NPR with Michael Stipe and Mike Mills. On answering the inevitable “what’s next?” question, Michael Stipe replied he didn’t know. He then added he had attended a couple of shows lately and, while standing in the audience, he thought he will never again experience that inebriating feeling of being on stage, in front of thousands of people. In the folds of his gravelly voice, one could hear a touching vulnerability, even a tinge of regret. Until his band mate chimed in: “Michael, you will make music again. You have too much of a gift to let it go. It won’t be with us, it will be with other people. It won’t feel the same as with us, it will feel different but it will feel good”. Mike Mills sounded very much like the hen pushing her brood out of the coop. Never was there a more graceful underscoring of the fact that we have grown up. And it’s time to move on.