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Generally Recognized As True: June 2011

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I am really tired of foodies

Although I like food and highly recommend it, I'm not a foodie.

However, I do try to make a few decisions that might make a difference. For example, I buy free-run eggs. But, being honest, I have never really noticed a qualitative difference between these eggs and the allegedly evil eggs that come from battery cage chickens. I don't think keeping chickens in battery cages is very nice, but it doesn't seem to negatively effect the visceral quality of the egg, in my experience.

Well, that's not completely true -- the shells of the free-run eggs I normally buy seem thinner and more fragile than the eggs from the conventional source. Sometimes almost paper-thin.

For some time, I have been buying Rowe Farms's Green Valley eggs -- the ones with the occasionally flimsy shells -- but the other day I went to a different supermarket and needed eggs, so got some from another source -- Conestoga Farms, which looks like it's a label of the Gray Ridge conglomerate.

I was surprised to see how deeply orange the yolks of these other eggs were. Just like the foodies said, these are great eggs because the yolks are so orange!

These eggs contain 1mg of Lutein, the box said! Wow, I never knew I needed it. But it is a byproduct of their addition of marigold extract, which contains this substance.

They don't mention that marigolds are a deeply orange flower and that an extract would only concentrate this colour further, essentially making it a dye. So, my free-run eggs are deeply orange because the chickens have been fed natural food dye. I am not making this up.

What other foodies am I tired of? Jamie Oliver. I think he's a great presenter and I buy most of his cookbooks, which are always top-quality. But the Food Revolution series he's working on is incredibly dishonest and manipulative. For half of the statements he makes, I find myself turning it around on his own cause and asking another question, which is never answered.

As far as I got into the second series, he had somehow connected the formulation of a fast food burger patty with diabetes and suggested that using a homemade patty would be somehow reduce diabetes risk. Though he is leading in his presentation far more than he is direct, that is his implication. Really? Could he find anyone to back him up on that? I'd be surprised. In one demo where he fills a school bus full of the sugar consumed by some student population in the course of a year in front of horrified parents, I want him to do the same with the olive oil, flour, butter, and cream they'd be using if they followed his often pasta-centric recipes and see what they think of that sight.

And with all his talk of the "obesity epidemic", I'd also like someone to tell us whether Jamie Oliver himself is clinically obese or overweight according to the Body-Mass Index that categorizes us as such.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Inaccurate weather forecasting, and a few comments on car culture/pathology in Georgetown, Ontario

Although I shouldn't have been surprised, I went out for a long errand-running walk -- about 2 hours -- this morning with just shorts and t-shirt, foolishly trusting of The Weather Network's forecast of "isolated showers" this morning. It was "showering" when I left, but if that had been the worst of it then it would have been fine.

But by the time I was about halfway home, those showers had turned into a steady light rain. Three-quarters home and it was steadily raining. Within 5 minutes of home, it was a torrential downpour with significant thunder and lightning. I arrived home with leaking shoes, a see-through wet t-shirt, and a new hairdo.

It is still steadily raining as I type -- 3 hours since I set foot into those showers. Apparently, a severe thunderstorm warning cropped up while I was out, and the TWN forecast still shows a 40% chance of precipitation this afternoon -- the afternoon being about 15 minutes away.

One thing I should add about Georgetown that it is a car-insane place to live. At almost every opportunity for an altercation with a car (i.e. road entrances/exits), I had one. At some point, it starts to feel like a challenge. The main roads were steadily busy before 9am to the extent that it was difficult to cross without going way out of my way to use a "crosswalk" far off in the distance.

This car addiction really does come across as a mental illness when you spend a lot of time getting around town on foot. There is no excuse for it and I am certain that most of these trips are frivolous and redundant. If there is any politican that wants to hike gas taxes and devise a way to put a flat per-kilometre charge on driving -- period! -- I will to support him or her.

My main point, though, was going to be about weather forecasts. There have always been jokes about weather forecasts. People who aren't scientifically-capable have always joked about their inaccuracy. But these past couple of years have been different, I think. They are almost habitually inaccurate, unless a weather system is so large that it would be impossible not to get it right. I can't count on two hands the number of times I've been told this year of "isolated showers" or "variable cloudiness", only to find myself in the middle of a steady downpour.

Is this related to climate change, I wonder? Do the old models no longer work? We seem to be having problems like that with our economy at the moment -- past experience is no indicator of future experience. We were meant to be well into recovery mode by now.

The Weather Network's long-range forecast has always been a joke and I don't know why they bother publishing it (maybe it's that Web 2.0 tendency to force your customers to test your software for you), but even their short-range forecasts are unreliable lately and I am starting to distrust them. Environment Canada is not much better. On any given day, one or the other might be right, but one isn't consistently the one that gets it right so you can't pick a winner.

But I am only starting to distrust them. My experience today is evidence that I'm not all the way there yet.