Bruxelles to Paris to Lausanne, Traveling Girls Make Tracks

18 07 2009

en route

“Two Long Travel Days…”
Posted by kiki under Switzerland

But all in all, now that we are in beautiful Lausanne, Switzerland, we could not be happier.

We won’t bore you with the details of our travels but when we finally reached Switzerland, we were amazed by just how beautiful it really is. I mean, people tell you that it’s beautiful, but it’s REALLY beautiful.

My friend Val’s parents so graciously offered to lodge us in this paradise, and Yvonne met us at the train station when we arrived, babbling about the beauty of a country surrounded by the likes of the Alps looming in the distance, their peaks shrouded in mist. We walked the short distance from the train station to their impeccable apartment with an indescribable view.

Lausanne Gare (train station)

Lausanne Gare (train station)

After watching the arrivée of the Tour de France on TV we went to the golf club (Club Domaine du Brésil) of which Gérard is the president. They’d held a tournament that day and we arrived in time to watch all of the participants come into the club house and then the subsequent awards ceremony. Of course there was then an “apéro” which featured meat platters, gourmet vegetable pizza, fabulously spiced filo dough creations, and tartes raisinées.

Gérard then quickly grabbed my attention by asking if I would like to hit some golf balls Read the rest of this entry »

“How Food Makers Captured Our Brains”

25 06 2009

School is to Food . . .
so is resistance futile?

What do you think “control of the cookies” means? — how we can and must control the cookies, or how the cookies control us, iow control BY the cookies? Maybe the former because of the latter?

(Can cookies give me a headache?)

Three years ago during Snook’s opening run, I felt the food headache coming on in Mindless Snacks Are to Mindless School and Mindless Eating.

Those were previews of coming attractions I guess, because today comes How Food Makers Captured Our Brains:

He left the house, and the cookies remained uneaten. Feeling triumphant, he stopped for coffee, saw cookies on the counter and gobbled one down.

“Why does that chocolate chip cookie have such power over me?” Dr. Kessler asked in an interview. “Is it the cookie, the representation of the cookie in my brain? I spent seven years trying to figure out the answer.”

The result of Dr. Kessler’s quest is a fascinating new book, “The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite” . . .

Food like sex is literally human power. It gives us power and has power over us. It is at once visceral and sublime, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health. Food is life and death and everything in between, so human institutions like Family, School, State and Church naturally covet and try to control its power over us for their own ends. You name it, food’s got it and we need it.

Would you believe a public official (heading her state house committee for children and families, no less!) powering her own twisted ideology of parent rights through food’s power, misusing it through Family, School, State AND Church all at once? See Read the rest of this entry »

While We’re Debating Who Deserves Humanity. . .

8 01 2009

As Darwin jotted down in a notebook of 1838, “He who understands baboon would do more towards metaphysics than Locke.

Not to learn about how the baboons think, but to learn about how WE think.

In the December 30th, 2007 issue of the [New York Times M]agazine, animal columnist Charles Siebert published a touching tribute to two of the most memorable contributors to communication studies: Alex the parrot and Washoe the chimp. With respect and admiration, he honors their place of distinction in our human sciences, while acknowledging the imposition we humans placed on them. His obituary is entitled: “The Communicators.“

See also Creature Comforts from last Sunday, and food journalist Michael Pollan’s 2002 piece about the evolution of how humans think of and treat animals, caused by our needs and changes more than theirs, just as robot theologian Anne Foerst teaches and preaches.

Her philosophy is that everything really is all about us, but unfortunately that means NOT that we should dominate and subjugate when we can get away with it, but that we hurt ourselves spiritually (and often practically too) when we do, and thus we’re the ones who must learn and change, to improve things for ourselves. Not self-sacrifice, enlightened self-interest! Read the rest of this entry »

Only Brains Innocent of Sex Hormones Can Learn??

14 07 2008

“Shortening childhood means a shortening of the time before the brain’s complete re-sculpting occurs,” says [ecologist Sandra] Steingraber. “Once that happens, the brain doesn’t allow for complex learning.”
She adds that the brain can only build the connections used to learn a language, play a musical instrument or ride a bike before it gets flooded with the sex hormones that come with the onset of puberty.

Cock of the Snook to this blog for printing Steingraber’s learning science, but not for just swallowing it whole without even chewing on it a little . . .don’t see a citation though surely she got this idea somewhere, and she might even have impeccable sources that would make me think twice. Without that to go on, I can mock it freeform without qualm. 🙂

So she’s ecologist and mom but not a cognitive psychologist, right? — nor can she speak from experience (yet) as a mother of children who’ve actually arrived at puberty, early or any other way, only to be tragically rendered learning disabled due to this mind-addling sex hormone flood (??)

And if puberty really makes complex learning impossible, why don’t we just cancel school beyond age 10 or 11 (never mind college and grad school!) and save ourselves all the taxes and grief? Is she writing a book advocating that, now that her chemically protected, television-untouched tykes are in School all day learning only goddess knows what?

I guess we all ride our own hobby horses. For me it’s so obviously our Tyranny of Time — you know, SCHOOL and its associated SLEEP DEPRIVATION causing so many of our culture’s interconnected education, family, social and health pathologies. (More on sleep research messing with learning here.) Funny to read in her own words, that this oh-so-careful mother of an ecologist isn’t bothering to create an alternate ecology for her own children healthier than School.

Probably I should go back to the Teresa Heinz Kerry blog tour collection and see what we can spring forward with . . . more on that here, thinking about the “body burden” we put on women and children and also here, about educating our own “parents’ palate” to help improve the health of learning environments at home and school.

UPDATE – I just decided this would make a provocative response for this fortnight’s Thinking Parent essay: “Does Every Child Need to Go to College?”

Powerful Aroma of Home and History In Hot Cross Buns

22 03 2008

Young Son is learning to play the bagpipes, with a Scottish family of professional performers. So I chat with the mom and drink tea twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as the dad and Young Son play their pipes.

This week she mentioned her plan to search local bakeries for traditional hot cross buns, for Good Friday.

I only remember hot cross buns from the nursery rhyme we girls jumped rope to, once upon a time. And I never thought they were any more “real” than four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie . . .


Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns
If you have no daughters
Give them to your sons
One a penny
Two a penny
Hot Cross Buns

This power of story in this bakery specialty remains hugely popular in the UK (actual Christian devotion, not so much? ) And taking the hot cross bun historical perspective in a whole different direction, one of the links warns families that these days, “finding hot cross buns made to ‘Slow Food’ principles can be quite difficult. . .”
Has anybody got a hot cross buns story to play here for our entertainment?