Archive for May 2007

Sharon Post Script

May 21st, 2007 — 6:19pm

I haven’t seen Sharon, the homeless woman I befriended (see previous posts) for several weeks. She told me that she turned 65 in May, would start getting Social Security, and that she prayed the check would help her get off the street.

I hope that’s what happened. I hope I never see Sharon again.

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The Twinkie Defense

May 17th, 2007 — 12:45pm

I celebrated Mother’s Day in a truly weird way. I bought a package of Twinkies. Not for me. For my kids.

I’m a certifiable Berkeley foodie. I write about organics and sustainable agriculture, so what gives?

Just the old Buddhist theory to continually test your ideas against the truth of experience.

I’m happy to report that Twinkies are even worse than I remembered. It’s like eating a vat of chemicals that stick to the roof of your mouth, courtesy of all that partially hydrogenated oil.

I’m also happy to report that my son Jack spat it out after his first bite, as did Matthew, after his third (he’s a scientist that one). I do hear, though, that deep frying them improves the flavor.

Maybe next Mother’s Day.

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Vanity Fair Fact Checking – Not!

May 9th, 2007 — 10:36am

In the June issue of Vanity Fair, there is a gorgeous 20-page spread of the luminaries of the yoga world. Most of the teachers photographed teach at the Yoga Journal conferences, where I work: BKS Iyengar, David Life, Sharon Gannon, John Friend, Rodney Yee, Shiva Rea and others.

As the communications director of Yoga Journal, I am thrilled with the piece. Yoga is (still) chic! Vanity Fair says so! And Yoga Journal’s “Yoga in America” survey (a name I coined), is mentioned in the piece, with stats including 16.5 million Americans practice yoga.

One figure they use is that yoga is a “20 billion dollar a year industry”. That stat did not come from our survey, in fact, when the, um, fact checker called, I told her our survey’s figure was 3 billion (see for the survey’s press release). I sent her the backup data as well.

And yet, Vanity Fair still ran the 20 billion dollar figure.

Now I’m guessing their reasoning was as follows: We’ve already shot the photos. And we’ve already laid out the 20 page spread. How can we justify 20 pages for a 3 billion dollar a year industry? So, 20 billion it is. And besides, who would know the difference anyway?

Now just watch. You will see this false 20 million figure meme out into the world. Problem is, it’s not true, however good it sounds.

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Bush – Forever a Child

May 8th, 2007 — 7:36am

Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, was recently feted at a White House dinner, complete with a 21-gun salute. During his welcoming remarks, President Bush said, “You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 1776 … ” He then corrected himself by saying, “1976.”

After the crowd burst into laughter, Bush added, “She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child.”

Is that funny? Or does it describe accurately, in a nutshell, describe our President’s character — that of a naughty boy, stepping on the wisdom and knowledge of his elders? It wouldn’t matter at all if he were, say, running a mid-sized company in Midland, Texas. But he is our President, our Commander-in-Chief, sending 20-year-olds to their death in Iraq.

The naughty boy is getting away with murder.

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Obama the Inevitable

May 7th, 2007 — 1:24pm

Yes, I know. It’s a long way until November 2008. But I’ve got a feeling, it’s going to be President Obama.

I’m beginning to get the earliest whiffs of inevitability. Could it be because Oprah is going to endorse him for President? Hey, she can make bestsellers — why can’t she make a President?

I like Obama. But he’s young and untested. While I give him credit for thinking big, I hope he surrounds himself with an intelligent, sane, seasoned staff.

It’s been such an abysmal past 7 years, I can hardly believe I’ll survive to see the Bush Administration gone.

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Local vs. Organic Produce — “The Final Smackdown”

May 3rd, 2007 — 8:26am

I read Andrew Leonard’s wonderful blog today on the media contrived false competition between local vs. organic produce. Here’s what he has to say:
Bonehead headline of the day:

“Eat local movement competes with organic craze.”

“Let’s nip this in the locally-grown, organically-fertilized, bud, right now. The organic movement and the slow food movement are not at cross purposes. The organic movement is not “losing” followers to a rival. The most you could say is that organic acolytes, distrustful of federal organic standards that are constantly under pressure from agribusiness interests, are striving for a higher standard, one that incorporates organic goals with sustainability and the enrichment of local communities.The ideal solution, I would bet, for most people who are interested in either the slow food lifestyle or the organic movement, would be to eat organic food grown locally. That’s the goal. Synergy, not competition.”


What? Organic and locally grown produce isn’t sexy enough for the media without creating a mud-wrestling match between the two? Astonishing…

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