Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fair and balanced

Don't you hate it when the articles you are reading do not tell you what you want to hear? I came across an article, "Our hand-cleaning paranoia," that I thought would be excellent support for my rant against our germ-obsessed culture, particularly in relation to raising young children. But no, the article is actually in favor of people washing their hands. I still think that some people's cleaning habits do border on paranoia. (Apparently a relation of mine, while visiting my parents, constantly wipes everything down with Clorox bleach wipes.) But perhaps there are some simple habits that we need to adopt. However, I still think a trend towards outright cleanliness paranoia may end up harming consequent generations more than it will help.

Look at that: I gave a viewpoint that wasn't exactly in line with my own beliefs, and didn't completely belittle it. Just like how Fox News does it...

Speaking of trends, and quality news sources, I was doing some high-brow reading the other day in Reader's Digest. (Give me a break. I'm in the middle of Cloudsplitter and I recently read A Confederacy of Dunces and some Salman Rushdie.) In an article about "Fads that have to go," the RD was right there with me on some things: I'm looking at you, Mister Talking-on-the-cellphone-in-the-public restroom. But some of the fads (not all are listed in the online version) just seemed a little to ranting-for-the-sake-of-ranting. Really, you're going to complain about flatbread? Without it, how could I make my homemade cheesy gordita crunch, which makes the Taco Bell version seem like dog food? Of course, I support ranting--it's one of my favorite hobbies--but I at least want a logical foundation to the rant.

Lastly, I'm sure we all know that Big Brother is watching us, via our cell phones and the Google. But it still unnerves me how much information can be learned through technology about our personal lives. Soon it might be time to go off the grid.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feel the burn

I love spicy food. I dump or sprinkle hot sauce or chili flakes on most of my meals. Almost everything I cook for myself is spicy, and I have a strong predilection for cooking Thai, Indonesian, Indian, or Mexican food. My cooking habits have adjusted quite a bit while I've been home, since some of the people I'm now cooking frequently for cannot handle any spice. (Certain individuals have tried arguing with me, saying that they do like spicy food, but no, they do not. A twist of the black pepper grinder does not make a dish spicy.)

A recent article, "Why do we eat chilli?" (also, why do the Brits spell chili with two Ls?), examines why humans, unique amongst the animal kingdom, seek out and enjoy something that is technically--from a physical receptor standpoint--painful. Is it conditioning, the fact that we've actually worked to build up a tolerance? Or some human psychological flaw, a form of masochism? Masochism, tolerance development, I'll just call it delicious and let the scientists try to figure out why.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My ADD is acti...Squirrel!

The Onion recently published a video skewering Time. The gist of the critique: Time lacks in-depth coverage; its short-form journalism lacks intellectual rigor and is geared for short attention spans.

But I like Time, I thought to myself. Is it true that I, like so many others in my generation, lack the ability to focus on a single topic for more than two minutes? Do I need to immediately track down some Ritalin to save myself?

This train of thought got me thinking about Twitter, that ultimate purveyor of small-burst thought. I briefly considered starting my own Twitter account. I waited several days, making note of things I would post if I had such an account. Four days later, I realized my postings likely would have amounted to two things:
1) Seeing a picture of his newly born grandson (my nephew), my father exclaimed, "Look at the hair on that kid! He looks like a drug addict."
2) Peanut butter pie is a breakfast food, isn't it?
Not exactly world changing, stimulating stuff.