Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Public university" doesn't mean publicly aware

It's a little (if not extremely) sad that I'm in a university where I'm bombarded by people asking me to register to vote (some guy came by my Journalism class today and gave us a 20 minute spiel about it) but I still have to get my news from Time Magazine/the internet/my dad (recently). Why is no one talking about the financial crisis?! 

I wonder if all universities are like this. Or is it just Michigan State? *waves to college readers out there* If you're reading, comment and tell me whether or not your campus is buzzing with morbidity over the onset of the next Great Depression. 

Now I'm being morbid!

So why aren't we talking about it? Is it because we're scared? Isolated? Or do we have better things to worry about? If it's option c, that's scary: the future of this country lies in the hands of 30,000 students more concerned about this weekend's football game than the economy's meltdown. 

Thursday, September 25, 2008

(Wall) Streets paved with gold (it's really plastic, but who cares until the paint chips?)

My mom called me yesterday. She said my dad was stressed out because Merrill Lynch declared bankruptcy. I was driving (please don't hurt me mom). I almost hit the guy in front of me. I felt the need to confirm. My mom repeated: "Dad's really stressed out." Me: "THAT'S nothing new, I meant the other part." Mom: "Merrill Lynch declared bankruptcy." scccreeeeeechhh (my brakes).

Of course, my mom, being the bread maker instead of earner in the family, got it wrong. Merrill Lynch did not declare bankruptcy...they were bought by Bank of America. I guess I can see how that works: bankruptcy, Bank of America, what's the difference? A lot less than first meets the eye. 

So I rushed back to my apartment, called my dad. No answer. Called again. No answer. Called again. Got yelled at by my dad. Realized there were other places to get information. Turned on the computer. Internet was broken (serves me right for trying to get free internet). Screamed in frustration. Picked up my Time Magazine. Thank God for Time Magazine. On the cover, in bold letters, were the exact words I wanted to see: How Wall Street Sold Out America. I read the article. I didn't understand very much, so I read it again. I'll let you read it for yourself because it's too much to explain here.

Basically, add hubris to greed, pinch of ignorance (or handful, really) and bake it all in a governmental laissez-faire plan and you've got the heart of the current financial crisis. The government bailed AIG out, but watch Lehman Bros. collapse. How far are they going to let this go? Who's the next one to fall? More importantly, who's the next one that's going to get bailed out and how much is it going to cost America this time around?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

From houseboat to mostly house with a dash of boat

There's a new trend emerging in Holland. Thanks to, yours truly, global warming (*frustration* it's climate change!). These new houses, currently small in number, are, quite possibly the houses of the future because they solve the problem of flooding. According to many climatologists, if we stopped producing all carbon right now, we would still be underwater-eventually-but, if we continue to live the way we do ("business as usual")...let's not go there (think Noah's Ark -- times 30). But I digress.

The main point, that we can either change our lifestyles or change our coping strategies, is what Holland is focusing on. Since the probability of drastic globally social and economic change in the next x number of years is, um *opens calculator, realizing it is unnecessary* zero, the only option is to change our coping strategies (or move to Mars, but who wants to be dissected by aliens or become morbidly obese like in Wall-E?)

So how do these "floating houses" work? They're built on a foundation, already underwater, that's made out of buoyant materials. That way, when it floods, the houses still float, just higher up. But, wait! Don't hop into your SUV guilt-free just yet! What about all the developing countries (like India and Bangladesh)? Or, more importantly, what about the US: New Orleans didn't have floating houses and I highly doubt Florida's getting them anytime soon, not to mention that floating the Toys 'R' Us in Times Square (complete with ferris wheel) is really going to raise the price of those cheap plastic toys your kid/dog/deranged aunt is chewing on right now.

What do you think? Is this a better idea than decreasing our consumption of grocery store bags and increasing our recycling efficiency? Is this really where scientists' and innovators' energy should be going? Or is there something better that can be done? 

Check out the npr article: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=18480769

Monday, September 22, 2008

A little reassurance

I can't remember who said this, but it gives a little hope in a world full of people who smile while pulling the trigger:

Be nobody but yourself in a world that's doing its best to make you just
like everyone else.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Global Warming, no, wait, I'm sorry, "Climate Change" and fat people

That's a big pet peeve of my journalism professor. "It's not global warming! It's climate change!" Okay, well, I'm sorry...but I guess that comes with the professional territory. 

All political correctness aside (did I ever say I was politically correct?), I just ran across a little known study done by a professor at the University of Illinois that said...wait for it...

wait for it...

obesity causes global warming (it's climate change!)

So not only are fat people hated by Allah (see The Medicine of the Prophet, a supplement to The Koran), but they are also causing climate change *is proud for remembering the politically correct term*

So if you're looking for another reason to go around and promote Obama, you can tell people he causes significantly less climate change than McCain does. 

In case you don't believe it (I wouldn't!), here's a link to The New York Times article discussing the study and it's "implications": http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/29/weekinreview/29kolata.html

Friday, September 19, 2008

Why don't more people vote?

That was a bumper sticker on facebook. So true. 

Naturally, being a college student in Michigan (which has somehow become a "swing state" what?!), I can't walk more than 20 feet without being assaulted by someone asking me if I have a) registered to vote; b) would like to register at that very moment (although it should be quite obvious from my panting that I'm already late); and c) how I could be such an anti-American, pro-whatever the opposing candidate is rallying for. All as I'm missing very important lectures on elephants, "alien" boxes, and $100/hr minimum wages (but that's another story). 

This is the main problem with campaigning. I always want to stop, look at those people and say one of two things: a) go jump of that bridge over there and leave me alone or b) what if I voted for *insert opposing candidate's name here* (so tell the Obama recruiters I would vote for McCain)? But that would just be mean. 

And a waste of my breath.

So what is it about this election that makes me NOT want to vote. I think it's mainly that I have a choice between Mr. "Change" and Mr. I'm going to pick a vice based on her appearance (I swear, that was the only comment my mother gave when she saw Palin -- at least she's pretty). 

Then there's this whole thing about Brittany or Bristol or whatever the hell her name is. No, New York Times/USA Today/TIME/*insert newspaper/periodical name here*, I don't really care if Sarah Palin's daughter had a kid. Unless you're going to sit up there (God forbid McCain is elected) and give Congress parenting lessons, it's not really going to be an issue for me. 

Now your policy on oil drilling...that's another story.

Flax Wraps

I love these things. They're perfect for dieters: low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat...whatever bandwagon you've hopped on. Diabetics. Sandwich-freaks. And people who hate destroying the environment with Ziploc bags. 

And the best thing is *pause for dramatic effect* 
they're edible. (I know, amazing, right?)

My favorite way to eat these is as "nachos," five minute nachos, to be exact (or 10 if you obsessively measure everything like I do).

Mekkie's 5-minute nachos
1 flax wrap (or two, or three, whatever)*
paper towel
nacho toppings (I like bean dip, fat free cheddar, 0% fage yogurt, and salsa)

Take a flax wrap, put it on a paper towel, microwave it for 1 minute (in my microwave anyway), flip it over, microwave it for another minute until it's hard. 
Break it into pieces and arrange on a plate. 
Put whatever toppings you want hot/melted on the broken pieces.
Put the rest of the toppings on.
Eat. Chew. Digest...you get the idea
*Note: this works with any tortilla as well. 

That was me trying to make a pathetically simple "recipe" seem worth being called a recipe. 


If you've ever been to England, I'm sure you've heard of Boot's Pharmacy, i.e. the pharmacy on crack. Why crack? I don't know, you'll have to ask the person who said that to me. 

Anyway, while I was there studying this past summer, I, in all my wisdom, decided I didn't want a meal plan (who wants to eat Cambridge dorm food anyway?) so I was forced to, every day for two months, go hunt down 2 meals "in town". 

This is where Boot's comes in. Boot's, unlike the famed CVS or Walgreens, has sandwiches (and a better name, if you ask me). Not only are these sandwiches vegetarian, low-calorie and just all around delicious, but for a measly *gasp* 2.99 pounds, one receives a sandwich (or salad or something else that wasn't worth getting), a "snack" (pineapples with coconut-mango dip for example), AND a drink (diet coke, of course). I was addicted. 

Just like crack. 
Or diet coke. But that's another post. 

So, in an effort to make sure I was able to recreate an exact replica of my pharmacy sandwiches, I ripped the ingredient labels off of all three (there were three vegetarian varieties) and, attempted, rather obsessively, to calculate the exact amount of each ingredient (based on the percentages listed by weight). It didn't go so well. 

But, just in case anyone else wants to try to get the perfect balance, here're the ingredients for one of the more exotic sandwiches:

Thin Lizzie (what a fun name)
bread (obviously)
smoked tofu
chili jam (which is depressingly hard to find, unless, I hear, you live in the south)
rocket (arugula, which very few people at the grocery store can actually identify)
alfalfa sprouts

If anyone ever wants to meet me for lunch to help me figure this out, that would be really great. We'll go to Boot's.