Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dammit! I'm hooked on Organics!

Seattle has kind of a lefty, organic reputation. And for good reason.

I plead guilty to the lefty part, for the most part, in that I think unmitigated capitalism leaves key issues undealt with (health care, anyone?) and key populations unprotected. And I think that the Republican view that we live in a true meritocracy is either hugely naive or hugely cynical. (George W. Bush ascended to his current post based on merit and skills? Really?)

But up to this point in my life, I've resisted the organic part. I'm my parents' kid, in that I'm very cost-conscious when it comes to things like meat and milk and produce. And I always thought that our food production/protection system was the most advanced in the world, and that what the system didn't catch, as far as pesticides, etc., our livers would process out.

Partially true. We do have one of the best food protection systems in the world. But it's been gutted in recent years, and was never as effective as presumed.

But I was still a holdout. Organics seemed so...pretentious.

But a couple of months back we joined a cheap, monthly health club that just happens to be beside an organic store that specializes in local food. Very pretentious, very expensive... But any other grocery is several miles in the opposite direction from my house. So when I finish working out and want to grab something for dinner...

Resistance is futile. I have been assimilated.

The thing is? This food is GOOD. The meat, even the low-fat stuff, if juicy and flavorful. And the fruits and veggies? Yum. I roasted some broccoli the other night with my favorite recipe (olive oil, hot chili oil, season salt and onion powder, broil for 10 minutes on each side) and it tasted so sweet I thought somebody had added sugar. I'm not kidding. Even the stalks were good. And I normally find Gala apples bland, but these? Words fail me. (I am salivating like Pavlov's dog right now.)

I'm not seeing myself doing all my shopping here, but for some stuff?

Dammit. I'm hooked on local organics.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

How the Other Half Lives

For three days, up in Vancouver, we had this view. Thirty-ninth floor, ceiling-to-floor windows, panoramic view running from west to northeast. Gated parking garage activated by a magnetic key tag.

Inside there are two TVs, and a full-body-length jetted tub, plus shower and his-and-her sinks. Bedroom, office, full kitchen. It's a condo that's attached to a hotel, so people who live there have all the hotel amenities, even including room service. And the maids didn't come while we were there, but they were scheduled in after we left, so we didn't even have to clean up, beyond the basics.


It's kind of a long story how we got here. A co-worker of my husband is establishing a practice in Vancouver. He moved to the city separately from his family several months back, and the company wanted him to have a showpiece abode where he could take clients. So they paid the rent on this place. His family moved out to Vancouver in August. They bought a house, and the rent on this condo was paid up till the end of the month with nobody staying there. Voila, my husband and I got a couple-only vacation.

We heard a rumor that the place rents for $5,000 a month. Just a little bit beyond our price range. We got it for free, though. (Or for the price of a couple of nice bottles of wine. That's more like it.)

The clientele is mostly of Asian descent. There is a lot of Asian wealth in Vancouver. I heard somewhere that right before the Hong Kong hand-over from England to China, Canada offered citizenship to anyone from Hong Kong with assets above a certain amount. A fair number of them seemed to have purchased places in this condo tower.

Most of the fellow residents we met looked under twenty-five.

Would you get jaded, growing up with this? Would you ever get bored with this view?

Our second day in, we met another middle-aged couple in the elevator. They were polite, but there was a certain...tone to their "We've never seen you here before."

When we explained the situation that brought us there, the woman said, "Well. How nice for you, then."

In other words, Ahoy, polloi.

It was amazing and beautiful. I'd love to visit again.

But I wouldn't want to live there.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

An Open Letter to Charles Gibson

To Charles Gibson, ABC Commentator, who will be interviewing Republican VP choice Sarah Palin:

Dear Mr. Gibson:

I was hugely disappointed in your moderation of the Democratic debates. At a time when our country is facing some of the biggest crises in our history, you filled the debate with petty, pointless questions. You let us down.

You have a chance to redeem yourself.

You have been chosen as the sole interviewer of a woman who -- as the VP choice for a 72-year-old presidential candidate -- could well be serving as the president of the US. As this sole interviewer, you can make a difference for our nation. Or you can continue to fill the airwaves with the same kinds of drivel as before.

We are living in a country in crisis. All of our problems -- like the National Debt, rogue nations with nukes, the crisis in our health care system, the looming and inevitable bankruptcies of Social Security and Medicare, the recession and the mortgage crisis -- are very serious issues. We need to know what she would do about them.

I don't care about whether or not Sarah Palin wears a flag pin, or how many caribou she's shot, or how she feels about juggling work and family. I care about what she'd do in Ossetia, and what she'd do in Iran, and how she would fund Social Security and Medicare through the boomers' retirement without bankrupting the country. I care about what she'd do about the housing crisis, and the national debt, and the trade imbalance, and the abuse of our troops by repeated overseas deployments. I care about what she'd do about an economy that is shedding jobs faster than my labrador sheds hair.

It appears that Governor Palin is the only one of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates who won't be making the rounds of the news shows to tell the country what she would do about the issues facing this country. This means it's up to you.

In short, Charles, you have a chance to redeem yourself. Don't insult our intelligence this time. Ask the hard questions and let us make up our own minds.



To Everyone Else:
The interview begins Thursday. Please, please please send your own email to Charles Gibson expressing your desire to hear answers to questions about the real issues facing our country.