Things That Are Trifling

Thoughts on Food, Gender, Race, and Popular Culture

Super Bowl Halftime Show

People need to get over Beyonce because let’s be real, MICHAEL was the original superstar AND the original Pepsi spokesman. (let’s forget about the hair incident..)

 

In the words of my fellow blogger, “MJ is legend! People also act like Beyonce is the first woman to assert independence and be unapologetic about it while singing and dancing. That other woman is also from the Jackson family.”

Environmental Racism at its finest

More gentrifiers are moving to the walkable cities and pushing low and middle income folks to the car heavy suburbs. That’s my overgeneralization of the day. Only then does urban infrastructure become a priority… when Capital Bikeshare can amass a following. (no one cares to notice the delivery boys on bikes. No one invites them to participate in Bike to Work Day.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/01/the-secret-to-losing-weight-according-to-my-new-high-tech-fitness-monitor-is-wait-for-it-walking/267395/

chocolate city is changing

Mayor Gray’s 2013 State of the District, which I watched from the balcony of 6th and I alongside probably the most diverse crowd I’ve ever been in, despite my hopes, really rubbed me the wrong way. (The Root agrees).

Here’s what he thought pertinent to address (all of this, excepting that the $100 million to affordable housing is great if he’ll actually do it)

-Cell Phone Theft on the metro as an area of concern. HARD LIFE

-Metaphors to sports teams. Were you trying to be funny? I’m sorry. No.

– MoveDC- the plan to make DC more bike friendly. Umm, how about you take care of metro and its shittiness first. (www.unsuckdcmetro.wordpress.com)

-Bringing more jobs to DC. Umm, most of these jobs are for well-educate white folks. Not for the folks east of the Anacostia who you are claiming to help.

Here’s what he didn’t think pertinent to address.

Raging income inequality. We’re #3 in the nation. How’s that for “major league city”?

The fact that people need a lawyer or below freezing temps to get into a shelter.

The 600 kids in DC general., the city’s sorry excuse for a giant homeless shelter. The place apparently has rats. Fun times.

The Uneven Spread of Urban Poverty- from the Atlantic Cities

Mmm. Farmers.

God made a factory farmer

 

This is great.

I’m not gonna lie

This article appealed to me because it says “no Teach for America recruits toil in their halls”. That’s right, they can turn themselves around without your ivy league idealism.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/the-secret-to-fixing-bad-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

I wish he had gone into a little more depth about what exactly spurred this transformation, how bilingualism is helping students and if that’s universally something to push for in ethnically diverse communities, and if there are any well-off families trying to join this school district – which I feel like inevitably happens when a neighborhood gentrifies; if this area isn’t gentrifying, well, more power to them.

I’m thinking specifically of how all the yuppie white families in DC want to get their kids into Oyster Adams Bilingual or CentroNia/DC Bilingual PCS. (See the front page article here, “Too few Spanish speaking families live within Woodley boundaries”) http://www.currentnewspapers.com/admin/uploadfiles/NW%2002-06-2013%201.pdf

I think lower income families should get a preference. If you really want your kids to learn spanish, send them to a latino-owned family day care center in Petworth or Brightwood or somewhere out of your way that forces you to ride public transportation like the rest of us. Notice I didn’t say hire a latina nanny. I hate that shit.

 

 

Sugar Washing

I’ve been getting riled up about food issues for about 12 years. First it was factory farming. Then it was industry lies about factory farming when people started to realize the jig was up. Then it was nonprofits. I was living in a world where everyone wanted to do this thing called “i-banking” and I was like um, yes, I bank, do you? (I didn’t get it). Then when entrepreneurs were like, I can start a nonprofit and make money at the same time while completely ignoring the broader issue of systemic oppression, I turned my attention to cause-marketing and the non-profit industrial complex. Then it was food paternalism. It’s still food paternalism, but more on that in a later post. For now, my target is sugar-sweetened beverages.

I’m tired of all this anti-soda talk coming from the public health community. If it’s not NYC, it’s some other state trying to restrict the food choices of low-income people by preventing them from buying soda with food stamps, in an effort to reduce obesity.

Everyone eats badly- obesity is rising everywhere, in every single country across the world, and the poor are supposed to have a better diet than the rest of us?

I heard something that the average american spends 40% of their income on food. Not the 10% figure that people talk about. The cheap food thing is a lie. But I digress.

But back to what really gets me riled up. Fruit juice. I loathe fruit juice. The conversation should stop being about soda, which everyone knows is bad for you, and focus on “healthy” foods that are *actually* bad for you but have been marketed to make people believe they are healthy and necessary to consume on a daily basis. Fruit juice is a sugar bomb.  It’s liquid candy with Vitamin C, that you can easily get from a variety of other sources.

If the public health community wants to get behind something to change in federal nutrition programs, frozen vegetables as part of the WIC package would be awesome in my opinion. Frozen fruit even. 

But more broadly, the solution is to regulate this type of marketing at the federal level. This marketing affects EVERYONE, and people eat foods that have sugar in ALL forms. I’m seeing the yogurt aisles being taken over by sugar-added yogurt. It’s hard to find a plain sometimes. More on that later.

 

 

 

 

Olivia Pope – A Criminal, a Whore, an Idiot and a Liar? (2.11)

This marks our very first recap of ABC’s Scandal!

Last week on Scandal, Vice President Sally Langston was sworn in under the 25th Amendment. Huck was tortured under the Patriot Act and later released in order to bring the real assassin out of hiding. The election rigging co-conspirators have finally realized that Hollis is out of control. Mellie forged Fitz’s signature and committed treason. Fitz awoke from his coma!

Spoilers Ahead:

In the present, Olivia arrives home to her apartment to find Edison. Seriously? This man is too at home. He’s getting mail delivered there and now he just shows and waits there until she gets back? Olivia promptly announces that she is changing the locks. Without wasting any time, Edison accuses Olivia of having had a relationship with the married President insisting that there is no possible reason that she would commit fraud and treason unless she were his mistress. An indignant Olivia replies, “In the last three minutes, you have called me a criminal, a whore, an idiot and a liar,” and lets him know that is the last time they will ever be speaking. It should be noted that while Olivia is absolutely guilty of everything Edison just said, her denial is something to behold. After Edison leaves, Olivia talks to Cyrus and discovers that Sally Langston is planning on presenting Mellie’s forged letter to the Cabinet.

In a flashback, Fitz is debating Governor Reston, who we met in “All Roads Lead to Fitz.” A  pollster recites statistics that suggest Fitz won’t have the electoral votes to win the Presidency. With a month left in the election, Hollis wants to stack the deck in Fitz’s favor. At this point the audience is already well aware that Hollis is an amoral sociopath with way too much influence, power and money. Mellie asks Olivia to convince a reluctant Fitz to allow his father, a former Senator, to help because he listens to Olivia. Poor Mellie. At times, I feel that Mellie has gotten the short end of the stick. Then I remember that she is a co-conspirator in a criminal fucking conspiracy and has committed treason, so she isn’t without her faults.

In the present, Fitz hopes to make a full recovery but it’s possible that he could experience loss of executive function and perception. Just as Sally is about to blow the whistle on Mellie’s fraud perpetration, Fitz, handsome as ever, strides in and announces himself. He reminds Mellie and Cyrus that he can’t back down until Sally accepts his reinstatement, which will save Mellie from a prison sentence.

Back before the election, Fitz is deep in debate prep when Papa Fitz (Barry Bostwick) shows up. He thinks Fitz needs more charm and less wonk. Later at dinner with Papa Fitz, Lil Fitz pouts a lot and generally acts like a spoiled brat. Papa Fitz asks Olivia to dig up dirt on Reston. Fitz continues to throw shade at Papa Fitz highlighting his dad’s numerous prostitution scandals that kept him from pursuing the Presidency himself. There is some irony here. Later, Lil Fitz, drunk and angry after dinner with his father, tries to force himself on Olivia in a hotel elevator. Let me pause here and to do a breakdown of my feelings about Fitz for a second. First of all, this veers dangerously into the sexual assault and violence category. Does Fitz really need this characterization? I feel that I have seen this with male characters who would otherwise be seen as “good men.” Writers often treat these incidents as a one off. They’re not. It’s sexual violence and incredibly troubling. Back to the episode. The elevator door opens to Mellie staring aghast at the scene. In a very sad and awkward exchange, Mellie profusely apologizes to Olivia and begs her to stay with the campaign. It would seem that at some point in the past, Mellie had a great deal of respect for Olivia and may have even considered her a friend.

In present times, Fitz is weighing the options of a military strike on East Sudan in the Situation Room when his words drop off and his vision blurs. The meeting adjourns after Sally finishes his sentence for him.

Back in the day, Fitz agrees to throw dirt on Reston using opposition research. The Conspirators Hollis, Verna, Cyrus and Olivia further discuss election rigging. Hollis being the delusional psychopath that he is insists that they would be doing a patriotic thing. Mellie enters and asks what the hell is going. During his debate prep, Fitz is yelling at people. Olivia takes him aside and asks him if he really even wants to be President. “Why? Why are you wasting everyone’s time and hopes and dreams? Who are you? Why do you want to be President?” This piece of dialogue highlights something that many viewers have noticed since the premiere of Scandal last year. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like Fitz even wants to be President all that much.

In a jarring jump back to the present, Olivia visits with Fitz and tells him never to almost die again. At the press conference about East Sudan, a reporter asks Fitz if there are any problems that could affect his judgment as Commander-in-Chief to which Fitz eventually responds, “No.” At the final debate, an audience member asks Fitz why she should trust him as Commander-in-Chief. Fitz responds, “Weakness is what makes us human. You can’t have someone protect you if they don’t know what you’re afraid of. Why? Because I’m afraid of it too.” Papa Fitz is a little more than disappointed in Lil Fitz’s response, but Lil Fitz doesn’t care. He calls his father cruel, petty and slimy to which Papa hits back with, “I’m a winner and that’s something you’ll never be.”

Back to the present: Sally congratulates Fitz and gives him a letter of reinstatement. She tells him that his getting shot was the scariest thing that has ever happened to her and that it’s not easy being President. I hope this isn’t the last we will hear from her even though Cyrus called the vice presidency a “political black hole.”

In another flashback scene, the Conspirators, now including Mellie, meet again. Cyrus says that that the decision must be unanimous, but Olivia still objects. She gets up and walks over to Fitz where he tells her that his father had a heart attack and died 20 minutes ago. After the funeral, Olivia finds Fitz chopping wood. He tells her, “I want it Liv. I want to win this election. It’s mine. Do you think I’ll make a good President?” Olivia thinks so, but in my opinion, he spends most of his time being petty, mean to Mellie and stalking Olivia. But whatever. Go with what you feel.

In the present, Olivia arrives home at her apartment and Edison is there again. It seems like neither of the men in her life have any sense of boundaries. He proposes to her. He sure went from “You are having an affair with the President!” to “Marry me!” fast! In the White House, Mellie rambles about their good fortune. She asks him what he wants and he tells her that he wants a divorce. Cold.

Flashback: There are 4 days til the election, and the election could come down to a few counties in Ohio and a town named Defiance. In classic Shonda Rimes fashion, Cyrus gives one last rousing speech to convince Olivia that if they want to put the right man in office, they must commit a crime:

We take care of the President because we are believers. We do it because Fitz can’t. People like Fitz go down in history. People like us create the history. We run this world so he can lead it…Does he deserve to be President? And if he does can he win on his own? And if the answer is yes to both, then we will never discuss election rigging ever again.”

Terrifying.

With one day until the election, Olivia finally breaks down and says that she’s in.

What did you all think?

Worst Breakfast Advice Ever

I came across this blog post this morning and I cannot believe that a registered dietician actually recommends this food.

Do you eat #breakfast every morning? 7 days of quick & #healthy breakfast ideas to keep you going. http://bit.ly/VkX3YE  pic.twitter.com/vyBG2C4Z

While I agree that some breakfast is better than no breakfast at all (which leads to overeating later in the day), I am particularly concerned because basically everything that she suggests has added sugars or refined carbohydrates. Putting this stuff in your body at the start of the day, for many people, makes them ravenous by lunchtime (or by mid-morning); these meals spike your blood sugar and, I believe, screw up with insulin regulation. I’ve seen many studies that compared people who ate eggs or other high-protein, low-carb breakfasts with those who had the traditional cereal and juice, and the protein eaters reported feeling more satiated until lunch. And don’t get me started on the nutritional travesty that is juice. I know we grew up with it but that doesn’t mean this form of concentrated sugar is good for you. Eat the fruit!

Because this is how I roll, let’s break it down.

Moms and nutritionists all agree: Breakfast is vital for focus, energy, and stamina throughout the day. It’s your body’s first chance to refuel. When you miss nutrients at breakfast, they’re rarely made up for during the day, which starts a vicious cycle of eating a larger meal toward the end of the day and not being hungry for breakfast the next morning.

To get the nutrients you need first thing in the morning, focus on a blend of protein and carbohydrates at breakfast. Hearty carbohydrates will give you a boost of energy to jump-start your day, mixed with protein for the staying power to keep your body going strong over the next three to four hours until lunch.

If you’re not hungry first thing in the morning, start small. Try a piece of fruit or half a carton of yogurt. Get ready for work and pack a breakfast to eat later. Select grab-and-go items you can bring to work or school, and when hunger hits, pull out your breakfast.

A Week’s Worthy of Healthy Breakfast Ideas

Try a new breakfast menu this week. Here’s some inspiration:

Monday: Whole-grain, high-fiber cereal with diced bananas and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: Many cereals use  words like “whole-grain” and “high-fiber” on their front-of-label packaging when they are actually just sugary crap in a box injected with inulin, which is fake fiber, and have some passing representation of whole grains. Bananas are high in potassium, but are super carby. And most cereal serving sizes & calorie counts posted on the side of the box are much smaller than what you would actually eat. Most people probably eat double the serving size. Finally, milk didn’t come out of the cow low in fat. Fat is good for you! What is the alternative here? This isn’t anywhere near as healthy as it looks.

Tuesday: A bagel with hummus or peanut butter and a piece of fresh fruit

My thoughts: Bagels have been known to be enormously larger than they once were, averaging 300 calories. Add 200 calories of peanut butter (are you really going to measure out the two tablespoons you should?)  Additionally, few bagels are made entirely with 100% whole wheat and most have at least some form of enriched flour in them.

Wednesday: A breakfast smoothie and hearty whole-grain muffin

My Thoughts: Breakfast smoothie…. for many is a recipe for sugar bomb. I hope nobody read this and thought “I should go to Jamba Juice”, unless they were in the mood for entering diabetic shock on their morning commute. Same as with bagels, muffin sizes have increased exponentially over the years. And nearly every muffin recipe I have seen, even if it’s gluten free, nut free, wheat free, whatever-free, is NOT sugar free, with the exception of the little rocks I have in my work freezer which have 4 packets of stevia in them and which I doubt any sane human besides me would actually want to eat on a regular basis. A kale smoothie and one of my rock-sunflower seed biscuits would be  a good alternative.

Thursday: Old-fashioned oats with dried fruit, sliced almonds and low-fat milk or alternative milk

My thoughts: The author must actually have eaten this breakfast on Thursday which prompted her to share as this is a relatively good idea. Also, she doesn’t mention oatmeal packets, which have tons of sugar in them. However, dried fruit in and of itself is often sugar-heavy. And again with the low-fat nonsense. At least the almonds have some fat.

Friday: A breakfast burrito with turkey sausage, diced peppers and tomatoes, shredded low-fat cheese, and salsa with 100 percent mango juice

Mango juice? at 27 carbs perserving? Please. And what is the tortilla made out of? My guess is that it’s a refined white flour tortilla.  The inside is good. How about turkey sausage, diced peppers, tomatoes, and cheese with some, oh I don’t know, EGGS?

Saturday: Low-fat yogurt with fruit and cereal

Saturday is the day that your hair falls out because you haven’t fed your body any nutritious fats all week.

Sunday: Frozen whole-grain waffle, toasted and topped with low-fat ricotta cheese and sliced strawberries

Sunday is the day that Kellogg’s sells you their bullshit about their “made with whole grains” waffle that’s probably 90% white flour, 10% whole wheat, and 100% bullshit good for you.

More Breakfast Ideas

Preparing a healthful breakfast is easier than you might think. Here are some tips and ideas to get you started:

  • Make mini loaves of pumpkin, apple, zucchini, or banana bread the night before, then serve with a breakfast smoothie.
  • Set out your bowls and cereal at night and you’ll be one step closer to eating breakfast the next morning.
  • Make a shopping list and purchase grab-and-go items at the grocery store, like individual cartons of pudding, fruit, applesauce, cottage cheese, raisins, oatmeal packets, string cheese, milk chugs, and granola bars. This is incredibly expensive and wasteful!
  • Buy bite-sized, whole-grain cereal.As opposed to giant-sized cereal? So I can eat it mindlessly out of the box? Good idea.
  • Keep whole-grain frozen waffles, bagels, and English muffins on hand. Earth to everyone: just because the package says whole grain on the front does NOT mean it is healthy! Trifling!
  • Make a yogurt parfait. Mix low-fat yogurt with crunchy granola, dried fruit, or nuts.
  • Top a pudding snack pack with 1/2 sliced banana and granola for a breakfast banana split. I just don’t like this one because pudding makes me gag. It also has artificial sweeteners and stabilizers in it. And granola serving sizes are like 2 flakes of oats. NO thanks.
  • Toast a waffle and top it with yogurt and a small sliced banana.
  • Serve canned fruit like pears or peaches with cottage cheese. Wow this is actually reasonable EXCEPT that canned fruit is often covered in oh, that’s right… heavy syrup.
  • Eat leftovers from the night before. Uh, what if your leftovers are cold shitty pizza? Or pasta? or some other terrible carb?
  • Create a breakfast smoothie. We’ve been over this.
  • Have a fruit pizza for breakfast. Hmmm… pizza…hmm…yeah no.
  • Toast leftover pancakes and spread with peanut butter. Better sell this one to IHOP, I see $$$ in the making.
  • Roll a tortilla wrap with diced avocados or low-fat shredded cheese. Uh, hope this isn’t meant to be eaten cold?!?!
  • Stuff a pita pocket with fruit salad. Ok,  this is just gross. I love soggy white refined bread in the morning.. Mmm..
  • Bake muffins or breakfast bars over the weekend or the night before. Freeze extras for future breakfasts. This is the type of advice that lures people into thinking that homemade food is good for them. No matter if you put sugar in it. Or chocolate. Or Icing. Or sugar. Or sugar… sugar.
  • Create a nontraditional breakfast like a homemade veggie pizza.
  • Take an apple and hard-boiled egg on the go with you. Oh, it finally got to her… the actual ONE GOOD, fast, easy, definitely healthy, whole-food, real breakfast on here. 

Fuel up, start the day right, and give breakfast a chance!

Benefit dinners

There is nothing more trifling than a benefit dinner for charity. The ultimate, however, are benefit dinners for hunger relief causes. Whether national or international, the point is to stuff your face to the point of no return to honor those who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Whether it is the “Empty Bowls” drive or the “Taste of the Nation” event coming to your city, or (my personal favorite) the sorority fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association selling you giant cookies during exam time.

I never understood the point of benefit dinner programs where corporate sponors pay to have a congratulatory message to the organization, the dinner honoree, or the cause. The point is that you get to dictate the terms of what the organization does right?

In Other News, a Netflix Member Abuses Review Privileges in Favor of Bigotry

Earlier this evening, in a sad attempt to avoid my schoolwork, I lazily browsed Netlix looking for new titles. I paused when I came across a review for a short-lived tv series, NYC 22. Having never seen the show, I did a quick internet search and learned it was a yet another show about a diverse group of individuals trying to provide order to the streets of NYC as rookie cops. However, the premise of the show wasn’t what struck me.

It was this “review” from a Netflix user:

I guess I expect too much. There just seems to be mediocre talent today. Acting and writing is just so-so. Networks take of really great, creative, interesting shows and put on crap. I don’t get it. Gone is the day of really good entertainment. It may not be very pc, but I am tired of the white guy going after the black woman or the black guy going after the white woman. I don’t think I am racist, but I just don’t like the entertaiment industry creating societal norms. I just don’t agree with cross racial romantic relationships and quite frankly I don’t think I am alone.

This “review” starts out with a mostly reasonable criticism of a show. I have to agree that Hollywood often lacks imagination and is too slow to take risks, instead relying on played out cliches and stories that have been told a dozen times. But then, the comments take a sharp turn towards bigotry. The user goes on to lament about the show portrays interracial coupling, much to this user’s distaste.

Here, I am struggling with the term “I don’t agree with.” All this means to me is that I have a deeply irrational hatred of interracial couples and probably people of color by extension. I am having trouble understanding interracial relationships as something to be “agreed” with. Contrary to the centuries of debunked bullshit science and laughable assertions, people of color aren’t animals and interracial relationships between people of color and white people isn’t the same as bestiality, so one can’t disagree with humans copulating with other humans.

I find it troubling that this Netflix member tries to rationalize his or her beliefs by referring to them as non-pc instead of what they really are: racist. At the end of the “review,” the user also tries to gain support from anyone who might agree by claiming that he or she is not alone in this thinking. I am not naive enough to believe that this person is alone. Just saddened that he or she isn’t.

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