Monday, May 25, 2009

book life 8: the beginning of a plan...

I am straight-up jacking this idea from editorial ass ( Project Fill-in-the-Gaps)...there are so many books that I want to read, and if I don't set myself on some sort of schedule, I never will. the list is forthcoming...translation: I haven't started it yet. I will though. Swear.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We poor people are pissed off for a reason...and here it is

Courtesy of my more-well-read-in-news-than-I friend Meghan, there's this article on poverty in America:

The High Cost of Poverty: Why the Poor Pay More

I definitely agree with Meg's facebook posting note: "
read this. and then reread it and reread it and reread it and forward it to anyone you know who does not understand what it means to be poor." There are soooo many people running around just fsu that have no clue whatsoever what the true meaning of poor is. They think that poor means being unable to go shopping every weekend. I would not wish poverty on anyone, but they should at least have to really learn what it means to be truly poor. And this is not a phenomenon limited to spoiled college kids. Unfortunately, most adults have no real idea either. Until everyone understands this, there is no hope for any substantial and lasting help for people living in poverty or near poverty. And Goddess knows it is needed.

For those of us who are or ever were in the category "poor" or "near poor", this article is nothing new. What is so sad to me is that all of this needed explaining at all. I know that many people never grew up wondering if the lights were going to be cut off or if the rent had been late enough times that you'd be moving again soon, but one misguidedly hoped that as people got older, they saw the true face of the bulk of the U.S. Apparently not. My only serious critique of the article is that it, like almost everything in this subject, is focused on the urban poor, who in some cases actually have much better options than the rural poor ever hoped to have. Rural poverty is overlooked all the time, and as someone who calls a rural area well below the poverty line home, this disturbs me. Look into it might be surprised.

where we can all buy furniture

Just as an interesting diversion, you really must go watch this:

At the reeeed house

It's a commercial for a furniture store in High Point, North Carolina, and the theme song is literally "At the Red House...Where black people and white people buy furniture." This thing is hilarious! And what's the funniest thing is that it's a REAL commercial. It almost makes me wish I lived in North Carolina so I could go to this store. There are apparently t-shirts available somewhere, ostensibly for black people and white people lol...You know, I think this is exactly what Martin Luther King Jr. was talking about in "I Have a Dream".

ocd and me, or jerkface does the museum

So, Emily and Brandy decided to come down to Tallahassee and get us rather than us driving home in a rental. A fabulous lesbian mafia jamboree reunion was had by all, and we decided to go to the Tallahassee Junior Museum Wednesday morning. Anna and I have been there twice and love it. The animals are awesome, and the scenery is beautiful. Well, near the beginning of the trail, it splits off two ways, which are actually just the two ends of a big loop that takes you around to all the animals. In my universe, the one ruled by the evil king ocd, you must always travel a circle from left to right, or clockwise. (After all, they wouldn’t have named it counterclockwise if it weren’t counter to how you are supposed to do things, now would they?) As Anna and I always do, we missed the trail turn and ended up back at the beginning, so the four of us had to schlep back to the loop. Brandy went to the right past the incredibly adorable otters, and everyone followed suit--except jerkface the magnificent psycho (that’s me, by the way). I could not bring myself to step onto the boardwalk headed that way. I literally felt a panic attack welling up and started crying at the thought of having to go that way. So, because everyone had already trekked that way, I walked the path clockwise by myself. Anna offered to go that way with me, but wasn’t it already bad enough that I was so crazy as to not be able to walk with Em and Brandy? I wasn’t gonna create more mess, so I went alone. It isn’t a long walk, but that isn’t the point. I couldn’t make myself walk the freakin’ boardwalk from right to left. Something that simple and ridiculous.

The problem is that the only solution I can come up with is medication, and I don’t really want to do that. The last time I took Zoloft I felt twice as crazy as when I didn’t. I did get a lot of cleaning done though…Not to mention the side effects that I have heard horror stories about, especially if you get off the meds. Behavior modification therapy and therapy in general are not exactly the direction in which I feel I want to go. So what the hell am I supposed to do? There isn’t really a lesser of the two evils, honestly. I either deal with chemicals everyday, which aggravates and worries the crap outta me. This is not totally related to my ocd chemical thing…more of a distrust of the entire medical profession and pharmaceutical industry in general. I mean, I’m not going all Tom Cruise-Christian Science or anything. I still take ibuprofen and vitamins and stuff, but the idea of taking a mood-altering substance every single day for what would probably be the rest of my natural life is unsettling to say the least. There is also the problem of not really feeling like myself while on the meds. Now, it could be that I am just so used to feeling crazy that normality in my brain was bizarre and that’s what caused it, but I dunno. Yesterday was a pretty bad ocd day, and they seem to be getting closer together. All I do know is that I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Multicultural Musings

This summer in addition to the aggravating Spanish class, I am also taking Global Women's Issues with one of my favorite professors. In reading the first couple of chapters for this week's class, I came across a discussion that is stuck in my head--multiculturalism. I have no problem with the base theory. I do think that other cultures need to be viewed in their own context without the imperialist biases of our own society. But I must agree with Ayaan Hirsi Ali's critique of multiculturalism at least in part. Accepting it completely allows turning a blind eye to certain practices simply because they're traditional or cultural.

I started thinking of this because of the recent development in Sweden (see earlier post: "yo, Sweden, wtf?!"), which Anna and I have been sort of debating over the last few days. Quite rightly, she says that by denying sex-selective abortions, you open the door to denial of all abortions. This is very true. However, I don't think that a liberal, pro-choice society has to accept them as valid just because we are a liberal, pro-choice society. Human rights are never negotiable. This is the line we have been repeating to the rest of the world for years, and it is unconscionable that we would ignore this in our own societies at the same time we are promoting it in others. Just a thought...

Book Life 7: Beam Me Up, Chocolate, Armageddon, and OCD in Paris

I won’t say a lot about these books--just random observations mostly--but they were all fabulous.

Mr. Monk is Miserable by Lee Goldberg

It should come as no surprise that I love Monk--both the show and the books. The producers do a better-than-average job portraying his ocd and how it can affect his life. There have been bad guys that got away (at least initially) because of various obsessive compulsive intrusions, for example. I would recommend these books to anyone who loves monk or mysteries--awesome on both counts. This one has Monk and Natalie in Paris and has some awesome tangents into the city's sights and subcultures.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Resistance by J.M. Dillard

Trekkie alert (and no I do not think that Trekker is a better name, nor do I think Trekkie is derogatory): ) I love all Star Trek books, fiction or not. I have a greater affinity for TNG-based (The Next Generation, for those out of the loop) plots, but all are welcome on my shelves. I also have a thing for Borg plotlines, which this one happened to have. All the Trekkies/Trekkers know that Capt. Picard was briefly assimilated at some point, and this book uses that extensively. Great read, but then aren’t they all?

Star Trek Destiny: Book I, Gods of Night by David Mack

For those who don’t like books that jump back and forth from plot to plot, this isn’t for you. Not only does this one jump from plot to plot (though they are ultimately all linked), it jumps back and forth hundreds of years in time. I happen to have no problem with these plot devices and loved this book. The Federation is in the midst of a Borg War (in Picard’s time), and an interesting parallel story develops through the past into Picard and Riker’s time. There is also an upsetting development with Riker and Troi (who are now on the Titan). My main HUGE problem with this book is that it’s part of a trilogy, and I couldn’t afford to buy all three when I bought this one. It ends pretty bluntly, so if you pick this book up, buy the other 2 at the same time if you can. Otherwise, you are gonna be pissed on that last page. (Book 2-Mere Mortals, Book 3-Lost Souls).

I’m Perfect, You’re Doomed: Tales from a Jehovah’s Witness Upbringing by Kyria Abrahams

Given that I am spending half of my time in college studying it, it isn’t a shocker that I’m interested in religion. I’ll read memoirs all day long, especially if they’re no longer part of the religion. But I was particularly interested in this one because my wife’s family is Jehovah’s Witness. I have been to a Kingdom Hall, people, and I tell you now that it is effin WEIRD. Anna verified many of the stranger tidbits in the book, and I still have trouble believing some of it. It is all very true, however unfortunate that may be. A great aside in the narrative was Kyria’s ocd. I really wish she would have gone further into it and maybe explored the link between her religion and the ocd, but still, interesting.

Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America by Steve Almond

Unlike most of the food books I read, this one didn't make me afraid to eat things. Almond is a self-professed candyfreak who travels the country in search of the history of some of his and America's favorite candies. I have never heard of a lot of them, as candy is stilll a much more regional thing than I thought. He also discusses how the big conglomerate candy companies are running the mom-and-pop operations out of business or at least absorbing them. Fabulous read, especially if you are as obsessed with food and food history as I am.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

yo, sweden, WTF!?

I have taken to reading the Huffington Post through their fabulous app on the iphone. Today, I stumbled across this: "Sweden legalizes gender-based abortion". It's actually from, and as it is not very long, here it is:

Don’t like Your Baby’s Gender? Sweden Rules 'Gender-Based' Abortion Legal
Posted by Cole Gamble
Now, according to a Swedish medical ruling, if a mother or couple discover the gender of their baby and decide “that’s not what we were hoping for” they can get an abortion on that basis.
Here’s how it broke down. A Swedish mother of two girls requested two abortions in a row after learning the gender of her fetus. It became apparent to doctors her decision to abort was based on the discovery of gender, which obviously was not the one she was aiming for. Doctors at Mälaren Hospital expressed concern and asked Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare to draw up guidelines on how to handle requests in the future in which they "feel pressured to examine the fetus’s gender" without having a medically compelling reason to do so.
The board found such requests cannot be refused, and neither can abortions, thus medical staff cannot refuse to perform an abortion based on gender.
Now the idea of isolating a “gay” gene in fetuses and therefore “eliminating” it has been bandied about by rather tacky political pundits. But before we get to that moral maelstrom, pick-and-choose baby gender is already here. Sure, the day when doctors can fudge your baby’s DNA to increase the probability of a boy or girl is possibly coming sooner than later, but for now, if you don’t like what you got, scrap it and start again.
Does this already happen discreetly in America? I can’t imagine anyone would ever openly admit to their doctor or otherwise that they want to abort the baby because “I really had my heart set on a girl” but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Do you think this is more common that people are admitting?

Okay, so women's studies majors and feminists worldwide have been arguing for YEARS against this very practice in India, China, and other "non-Western" nations who are supposedly not as "enlightened" as we are. Now, Sweden has gone and fucked the curve. No self-respecting "western" feminist can talk to gender-based abortionists from any sort of high ground any longer. One of our own has gone to the dark side.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am pro-choice to the hilt. Whether you wish to terminate your pregnancy because it is a health risk, the result of a rape, or simply because you know full well you can't raise a child right now, I will walk you through the clinic doors. But there is a limit to everything, and this is it. I understand that this legalization would make it just as easy for someone to abort a boy as a girl, but...What started this was a woman who had two abortions because she didn't want another GIRL. I am all for the rights of the woman first, but where does common sense begin? As a pro-choice feminist, it's hard to talk about something that would in all technicality limit abortion rights, but if this is wrong for women in India or China or wherever, it is wrong for women in Sweden. The argument is that they do it because of how their societies devalue women, but just what do you think is the reasoning of a woman in Sweden? The "West" may have slightly better views of women, but that does not equal truly valuing them. And this just proves it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

duct tape those puppies down: a response to the modesty survey travesty

So, my dear friend Meghan sent me this link : the rebelution modesty survey a while ago, and I finally got around to digging through it. Basically, it was a survey given to Christians about what constitutes modesty and what constitutes a "stumbling block" (an obstacle to one's faith). They called it "an exciting, anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls who care about modesty". I call it a hot mess. Let me first say that I do not think this survey is a crock because it promotes not dressing like a skank. I myself do not care for the skank phenomenon among young women just on personal taste. This could be due to the fact that I was raised by an older woman from the hills of Alabama. I don't know, but I digress. My issues with the survey stem from something much different...

Exhibit 1, a 24-year-old's response to the open question, "If you could say one thing to your sisters in Christ about modesty, what would it be?": "Sisters in Christ, you really have no concept of the struggles that guys face on a daily basis. Please, please, please take a higher standard in the ways you dress. True, we men are responsible for our thoughts and actions before the Lord, but it is such a blessing when we know that we can spend time with our sisters in Christ, enjoying their fellowship without having to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they sometimes dress. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul presents believers as the members of one body - we have to work together. Every Christian has a special role to play in the body of Christ. That goal is to bring glory to the Savior through an obedient, unified body of believers - please don't hurt that unity by dressing in ways that may tempt your brothers in Christ to stumble."

Honestly, I don't think a detailed response is necessary for anyone with any good sense, but here goes: WTF! So, even though the guys are ultimately responsible for their thoughts and actions before God, it is STILL the woman's responsibility to make sure he doesn't find her attractive in the least. Some may say to this first example, "well, dressing skankish is a bit wrong for a good Christian girl"...okay...

Exhibit 2, "It is a stumbling block when a girl reaches into her shirt to adjust a bra strap." You try wearing one of these things all day and see if you don't need to adjust. We're not talking about reaching down the front of your shirt to adjust the girls in their respective cups...just reaching into the shoulder of a shirt to adjust the strap is a problem.

Exhibit 3, "Showing bra straps, even unintentionally, is a stumbling block." I will admit that I don't like seeing bra straps, not because I think it's "immodest", but just because I don't like it. But they aren't talking the intentional use of a regular bra under a racer back tank top. They include the accidental showing of a strap. Things like this actually have very little to do with being "sexy" or anything of the sort. This is a ridiculous regulation designed to keep women constantly worried that they are being a "stumbling block" to someone. You can't worry your pretty little head about individual freedom if you're freaking out about bra straps.

Exhibit 4, "Seeing a girl's chest bounce when she is walking or running is a stumbling block." I don't know if these people understand the female physique very well, but the girls move when you freakin breathe! Let alone when you walk. If your chest is large, there is not a lot you can do to hold it down all the time. There are bras that help a lot, but short of duct tape a la christina ricci in now and then, they are not going to stay put one hundred percent of the time. Why don't they just suggest double mastectomies at baptism and get it over with.

And finally, a few of the ones that made my jaw drop with consternation:
*"It is a stumbling block to see a girl lying down, even if she's just hanging out on the floor or on the couch with he friends." I wonder if it's a stumbling block if they're in a hospital bed?
*"Nude colored nylons are a stumbling block." But it is also a stumbling block to wear skirts that show the calves, so ankles are apparently uber-sexy...can't even look at them through panythose...
*"Skirts made out of many layers of semi-transparent material
to form an opaque skirt are a stumbling block, regardless of length."'s opaque...what the hell, it the dance of the seven veils thing or what...
*"Jeans are generally immmodest even of they aren't tight." I dare them to tell me that huge baggy jeans are immodest...prove it, seriously.

I will leave the rest for you to discover, but I think you get the idea...None of this is really about women's faith. It's about men not wanting to be held repsonsible for their own thoughts and actions. This is unfortunately not found only in the Christian community. Any time a woman is raped, her clothing, location, and purpose in being in that location are autmatically called into would not surprise me in the least to find that a majority of men who think along the lines of this survey argue that it is a woman's fault if she is raped. After all, she may have been wearing jeans...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

wtf phizer

okay so phizer is going to provide about 70 of its prescription drugs for free to people who have lost their jobs and insurance. this is a great idea. what pisses me off is that viagra is one of them...would they be providing birth control? i think

Saturday, May 9, 2009

bloggity blog on the go

i just got a blog app for the iphone, so we'll see if that means i blog more often or not...

Friday, May 8, 2009

damn the man

okay, can we talk about elitist corporate waste for just a minute...on magnolia and park avenue there was this little house that anna was obsessed with...and honestly, it was a perfectly nice little didn't appear to have anything seriously wrong with it, but it was apparently someone bought the property and TORE THE HOUSE DOWN...they're building something as yet unannounced, but the point of the matter is that it was a perfectly serviceable house. there was no functional reason to tear it down except that it didn't fit the layout of whatever useless redundant corporate crap they wanna put just irks me no end to see something that so many people need destroyed for no good reason...*sigh* i hate waste

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are you kidding me?

Late at night on the local channels, there are commercials for local phone dating lines and sites. While Quest and are icky enough as it is, there is a new low in strange and fucked up dating services--enter The commercial opens with a women sitting in a restaurant with a man. The voiceover asks if you have ever been on a terrible blind date and then says "what if it lasted forever?". The man mimes her getting fat from dessert and gets up to go, saying "happy anniversary". The woman begins making eyes at a guy at the bar and the logo comes up, ", when divorce is not an option".

Okay, let me lay this out for you...there is a website devoted entirely to setting up married women with affairs, apparently this is okay enough that there's nightly commercials. AND ANNA AND I CAN'T GET MARRIED. Someone please explain this to me. The right-wing morons claim that allowing gay people to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage. And what exactly does this Ashley Madison thing do? Exalt it? I will spare you the ten page ranting and cussing about the complete idiocy of this would be redundant. They do it for me.

Hoarding Intervention, Part 3: Semi-Panicked at the Lake

So, we finally did the major room purge. Truthfully, we did not get to the corner between the bookshelf and the dresser or what I call the pantry shelf, but it was more an issue of time than anything else. We started around 11 am, and I dropped off the donated stuff at about 7. That closet was waaay more packed than I assumed. Anyway, I did okay. I spent most of the day fighting off panic attacks, but I think I did pretty good. The pen hoard was emptied, as was the office supply stash, and the purse and wallet bins. I unfortunately succumbed to the rising panic late in the day and snapped at Anna, but all in all, it wasn't nearly as terrible as I thought it would be.

I have yet to decide if the relative ease of this purge was due to some letting up of the hoarding part of the ocd or if my brain is simply too fractured at the moment to really panic about it. The office supplies are still in the house, as I intend to give them to one of the local elementary schools, but I haven't once tried to look in the bags to "just make sure" I haven't gotten rid of anything "important". The books are also still here, but that's mainly because I haven't remembered to box them up and we haven't been to the used stores lately. But I also haven't been digging through those. In fact, I haven't even thought about it, and it isn't like they're hidden away somewhere. I would like to think that this is a sign of the ocd getting better, but we'll see.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Book Life 6: "I didn't imagine that loneliness had a scent."

fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

Surprisingly, a lot of people I’ve spoken to have never read Octavia Butler. She was one of the most wonderful sci-fi/speculative fiction writers EVER. I have read both the Patternist and Xenogenesis series, though I haven’t gotten to a couple of the stand-alones yet. Xenogenesis is more traditionally sci-fi in that you’ve got aliens, etc. The Patternist series, whose events begin in Wild Seed, though that was the next-to-last book in the series to be written, is less traditional but one of the most amazing series I’ve ever read. This book, Fledgling, was her last novel.

First, let me say that it’s about vampires, but not any vampires you have seen. These are not Anne Rice’s urban beauties or Stephanie Meyer’s ridiculous creatures, but something new and fabulous. They do remind me a bit of the creatures in the Mayfair witch novels, though. If you’ve ever read Butler, you know that a short overview is not possible. Suffice it to say that it is a complex and complicated tale, and if she hadn’t passed on in 2006, I’m sure this would have been the beginning of a new series. Her stories are never just about vampires or aliens or whatever. It’s always about race and family and free will and sexual politics in strange and wonderful ways, though she isn’t so heavy-handed as to make it unreadable to those who simply want a good story. If you love sci-fi or speculative fiction of any kind, do yourself a favor and pick up one of her novels or stories. Oh, and if you’re already a fan, there are two uncollected short stories online that I just discovered. The links are at the bottom of the page at (“Amnesty” and “The Book of Martha”).

Book Life 5: Beautiful from Beyond the Grave

Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut

I never knew the man personally, but I miss Kurt Vonnegut terribly. When he passed on, a small void opened in the world that I don’t think will ever be filled. I have never read a word he wrote that I did not absolutely love. This book is no exception. Armageddon is a collection of previously unpublished bits and a few of his sketches. As anyone who has read Vonnegut knows, there is much of World War II in his ramblings. It left an indelible mark on Kurt and is visible in everything he wrote. His despair over the realization that humans can do these things to one another bleeds through all his work. I don’t have a lot to say about this book except that I loved it, and it saddens me greatly to know that there will be no new Vonnegut to read ever again. So I will simply leave you with a thought from the man himself and two from the introduction by his son Mark.

“Where do I get my ideas from? You might as well have asked that of Beethoven. He was goofing around in Germany like everybody else, and all of a sudden this stuff came gushing out of him. It was music. I was goofing around like everybody else in Indiana, and all of a sudden stuff came gushing out. It was disgust with civilization.” KV

“He couldn’t help thinking that all that money we were spending blowing up things and killing people so far away, making people the world over hate and fear us, would have been better spent on public education and libraries.” MV on KV

“Reading and writing are in themselves subversive acts. What they subvert is the notion that things have to be the way they are, that you are alone, that no one has ever felt the way you have. What occurs to people when they read Kurt is that things are much more up for grabs that they thought they were. The world is slightly different place just because they read a damn book. Imagine that.” MV

Book Life 4: Are you sure that's safe to eat?

Twinkie Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated into What America Eats by Steve Ettlinger

Why do I read these things? I have a vague idea what the truth behind what I eat is, and that vagueness is what allows me to keep eating it. But I have this fascination with and obsession for books explaining food. Fast Food Nation, of course, is near the top of this list, and for those who have read it, you know that you never, ever look at fast food the same again. Twinkie has the same effect. There’s only one problem though. While this book is based on the ingredients label from a Twinkie, the ingredients the author tracks for us are in everything. So, not only will I never look at twinkies the same again, all food labels have become suspect, as I am beginning to think they should have been all along.

What I think is most important to take away from Ettlinger’s book is the need for everyone to understand what they are putting in their bodies and the bodies of their children. We all eat so many processed foods, and yet how many of us actually know and understand what things like polysorbate 60 are? Or even how oils become hydrogenated and flour becomes enriched what that means in terms of resources and effects on the earth and us. I would wager to say very few. Even I of the food book obsession had heard very little of the information in this book. Petroleum plays a MUCH bigger role in food production than one would assume. In an age in which we understand some of what our dependence on such products can do, it is beyond irresponsible for us not to learn exactly where we are most dependent and work to reduce that dependence.

Eating local and organic is one solution, but going one-hundred percent or even partially local and organic is not a feasible option for many people. I can tell you from experience that the rural poor in most areas don’t have a farmer’s market just up the street. Some are lucky enough to have access to some locally grown produce through friends or family (my father-in-law grows the best tomatoes and corn on earth), but there are many more that do not. Food stamps have to stretch, and most times that means ramen noodles and frozen pizza rather than fresh fruit and vegetables. I know that in Tallahassee, there are certain farmer’s markets (such as the sellers at the Park Avenue market) that take vouchers from people who live on food stamps so that they can get local fruits and vegetables. But there is also a bus system and taxis for people to get to these markets. However, even if there was such a system in many rural areas, a lot of people would be unable to take advantage of it because of lack of transportation. To me, this is unacceptable. Eating organic and local is best for your body and the environment, we know this by now. Why should that be available only to the more affluent or only to people living in certain areas. I am certainly not an affluent person. We live as we always have--paycheck to paycheck. But I do my best to buy organic, recycle everything that will stand still long enough, and pester the crap out of my mom to do the same. This is only possible because we live where we do. Back home in Alabama, the only local and organic we ate was from Anna’s parents. If there was a store or market that had provided us with the option, I would have been all over it. But there wasn’t. This needs to change…

“…the point of processed food is to have no direct link to a place, or even to time.” p. 3

The quote from Ettlinger above is important. Eating locally isn’t just about your health. It isn’t just about saving the earth for ourselves and future generations and just because we should. It’s about community. Now, I am not the kind of person that feels the need to know every single neighbor I have (though that is generally the case in Alabama whether you want it to be or not), but…When people are attached to a community by more than just an address, they are more likely to take care of it. If you have a vested interest in where you live, you are careful to treat it well. Think about it: are you more likely to care about your house or a random hotel room? Just a thought…

I will step off my soapbox for now and say that despite what this book will do to your shopping list, I learned, as I said, a long list of random but interesting facts. Here are my favorites:

*The disease beriberi gets its name from the Sinhalese word that means “I cannot, I cannot”, because a victim is too sick to do anything due to extreme stiffness of the lower limbs, pain, and even paralysis. (p. 37)
*Twinkies are no longer kosher because beef fat is now a common ingredient in the shortening blend. (p. 91)
*Morton salt uses the little girl in the rain as its logo because they wanted to advertise that they use an anticaking agent that keeps the salt flowing when it’s raining or otherwise damp. (p. 177)
*One food chemical used to make ingredients in twinkies is a highly explosive known carcinogen and was used in the Vietnam War in tunnel-busting shells. (p. 195)
*Vanilla was not the original flavor of the twinkie filling--banana was. (p. 201)

“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
-Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste

After reading this book, that scares me--a lot.