Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mystery Vegan

This weekend, Mark and I braved the Valley to attend a friend’s 30th birthday dinner in Tarzana at a quaint little vegan restaurant called Madeline’s. This frightened me because it meant I was going to be both eating vegan food and driving in the Valley. I’ll say upfront that the meal was not bad and I have no cause for complaint. However, I was completely puzzled regarding the menu. It was filled with items such as “Spare Ribs,” “Chicken Seitan,” (which I had) and “Cheese Platter,” none of which came with descriptions of what was actually in the food you were ordering. Why the hell would anyone order a cheese platter at a vegan restaurant? Do vegans want to pretend they’re eating meat so badly that they can’t even acknowledge the textured vegetable protein patties that actually make up the faux-chicken? I think this is odd. Towards the end of the meal a bug landed in my water glass, and I seriously considered eating it just to spite the restaurant.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I Worry About It

I worry about it too Sue....

You know feces?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

American Idol [un-Spoiler]

For those of you living in a cave and reading my blog for current event info, that girl won American Idol. Yeah…

What really inspired me to write today, however, was the old time reality show Jeopardy. I generally hold this show’s contestants in high regard, but tonight I was shamed by their ignorance in one particular category—Africa. Three pillars of American awareness came up completely empty when asked to name the official language of Ghana, to locate Sudan on a map, to name any of the countries that border Ghana, and to locate the Gulf of Guinea (the only African gulf). The media incessantly asks how we continue to allow genocide and famine to continue in Africa, but it doesn’t seem as surprising when you realize that even the most learned Americans are still oblivious to the entire continent. How many courses did you take in college that focused on Western Europe? How many focused on Sub-Saharan Africa?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

On the Road

The great void that has been my blog for the last month has been secretly filled with term papers, grading, and moving home to Los Angeles. There are numerous things I missed about Los Angeles, but the one joy that has been unparalleled since my return is driving.

Navigating a car through the boulevards, avenues, and twelve lane interstates of LA is an art. It envelopes your senses and engages your mind. Strategy is necessary; timing is everything. And the rhythmic weave of cars between lanes, riding inches from your bumper, is like a ballet of steel. I am a four door black ballerina with leather, back on stage.

Monday, May 14, 2007

This Is Why I Want to Teach

The second best thing to really shooting sixth graders:


MURFREESBORO, Tennessee (AP) -- Staff members of an elementary school staged a fictitious gun attack on students during a class trip, telling them it was not a drill as the children cried and hid under tables.

The mock attack Thursday night was intended as a learning experience and lasted five minutes during the weeklong trip to a state park, said Scales Elementary School Assistant Principal Don Bartch, who led the trip.

"We got together and discussed what we would have done in a real situation," he said.

But parents of the sixth-grade students were outraged.

"The children were in that room in the dark, begging for their lives, because they thought there was someone with a gun after them," said Brandy Cole, whose son went on the trip.

Some parents said they were upset by the staff's poor judgment in light of the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 students and professors dead, including the gunman.

During the last night of the trip, staff members convinced the 69 students that there was a gunman on the loose. They were told to lie on the floor or hide underneath tables and stay quiet. A teacher, disguised in a hooded sweat shirt, even pulled on a locked door.

After the lights went out, about 20 kids started to cry, 11-year-old Shay Naylor said.

"I was like, 'Oh My God,' " she said. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out."

Principal Catherine Stephens declined to say whether the staff members involved would face disciplinary action, but said the situation "involved poor judgment."

Monday, May 7, 2007

It's Star Trek II for Real

This made me throw up a little in my mouth:


ALBANY, Oregon (AP) -- These guys were not exactly Snap, Crackle and Pop.

What began as a faint popping in a 9-year-old boy's ear -- "like Rice Krispies" -- ended up as an earache, and the doctor's diagnosis was that a pair of spiders made a home in the ear.

"They were walking on my eardrums," Jesse Courtney said.

One of the spiders was still alive after the doctor flushed the fourth-grader's left ear canal. His mother, Diane Courtney, said her son insisted he kept hearing a faint popping in his ear -- "like Rice Krispies."

Dr. David Irvine said it looked like the boy had something in his ear when he examined him.

When he irrigated the ear, the first spider came out, dead. The other spider took a second dousing before it emerged, still alive. Both were about the size of a pencil eraser.

Jesse was given the spiders -- now both dead -- as a souvenir. He has taken them to school and his mother has taken them to work.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

God Hates Me for Yesterday

"And I was greatly terrified because of the wrath and anger, because the Lord was provoked with you utterly to destroy you."
Deuteronomy 9:19

This is as true today as it was when it was written, nearly a hundred years ago. Yesterday, I may have provoked the wrath of God with my mocking of fall-down boy (who may or may not have be seriously injured). Today, the Lord brought upon me three plagues:

1. I bore witness to the mowing down of an innocent baby squirrel. A large pick up truck clipped his furry little back legs as he was darting across the street. The squirrel was, however, not was not quite dead and lay helplessly in the gutter waiting to die--fluffy tail still twitching. I wanted to cry.

2. I endured a dancing stag. It was pouring rain today, and as a result traffic was at a standstill on Lindsey. I was trapped driving behind a large SUV with a plastic stag sitting on its hindquarters affixed to the rear hitch. Disturbingly, the buck had a red and white bull's-eye painted on its ventral side. More disturbingly, the plastic suicidal animal DANCED when the driver braked. Its legs worked front to back vigorously as if to shout, "I'm over here! Point the gun this way!" I wanted to vomit.

3. I talked to an ombudsman. After pulling into the parking lot at the bookstore, a small, white-haired lady of around 80 years tapped gently on my window. I was concerned, due to her age, that she might be senile or having a heart attack, so I reluctantly rolled down the window. This was a mistake. Once down, a thirty-minute "conversation" commenced. It seems that Agnes (her real name) was a fan of the Volvo and herself had owned many Volvos [note, I drive a Volvo as well]. She told me how her last Volvo had 360,000 miles when she sold it. She told me how she bought her two sons Volvos. She told me about her mechanic who fixes Volvos. She told me about her newest Volvo. She told me lots of things, and eventually I stopped listening. Sometime during her diatribe against American cars I noticed her nametag (Agnes) and realized in horror that she was an ombudsman at the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History. Mark and I recently had a bad experience with another ombudsman at the museum when he tried to get in our car and go home with us, citing extreme loneliness and neglect at the museum. I realized it was best to just stay quiet and let Agnes extol the virtues of Swedish auto engineering until she stopped talking or dropped dead--whichever came first. She eventually thanked me for talking (ironically, rather I let her talk) and departed, having successfully shared the Word with me. I imagine tonight she'll go to her temple of Volvo and recount her proselytizing to an eager but small crowd of followers.

The point is, "Sorry God."