Gourmet Goddess: (Mis)Adventures in Cooking

Musing on food and cooking ...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Obesity and the Rhodes

Today, I am writing a letter of endorsement for a student applying to the Rhodes Scholarship. Like most scholarships, it has specialized criteria: excellent grades, leadership skills, moral character. But the Rhodes has another standard by which it judges applicants:

"(2) energy to use one's talents to the full, as exemplified by fondness for and success in sports..."

The guidelines go on to state:

"Participation in organized sports is not essential if applicants are able to demonstrate in other ways the physical vigor which will enable Rhodes Scholars to make an effective contribution to the world around them."

Mr. Rhodes was certainly within his rights to establish his scholarship with the criteria he desired, and the Selection Committee is - of course - required to honor his vision. But I wonder who out there is not applying who should be applying because they fear their weight automatically disqualifies them from contention.

When I think back on myself, at the age when I could have applied to be a Rhodes Scholar, I certainly had the grades. I had the leadership skills. I was interested in bettering society, and I had good moral character. But I was also fat and not an athlete. I highly suspect my earnest statements about walking and hiking and camping would not have made a very positive impression on the Committee. Because there is this false belief in modern society that moral virtue = vigor = a slender, athletic body. And while I dearly hope there are individuals who can see beyond that equation, I suspect that there are very few who will.

Today, when I advise students about fellowships - especially those students who are not involved in sports or who are overweight or obese - it hurts me to have to discuss the above listed criteria with them. The students I talk with have the ideas, passion, and, yes, the vigor needed to change the world for the better. But I fear most of them won't have that chance ... either through the Rhodes or through other opportunities who have the same beliefs about the body but don't address them as forthrightly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blog Update

So, if you are actually still checking in here once in a while, you might have noticed that I have not posted in a while. I am not going to apologize, but wanted to let you all know where things stand and what is likely going to be happening.

1. I got a promotion and took on more duties at work, including advising the student newspaper. So I am swamped and really stressed out.
2. I also started a doctoral program. Going full-time. In addition to working more than full-time. So, I am having very little freetime, of which a large portion of it is currently enthralled with BSG.

If you feel like you need more than occasional blog updates from me, go friend me on Facebook. At least there is some chance at connection over there.

Otherwise, continue to watch this space. As I get adjusted to my new schedule and actually start to do some of my own writing instead of assignments, I will start to post some of my ideas, thoughts, etc., about my EdD program. Which, by the way, is in adult and higher education and where my dissertation is likely to be on some sort of obesity and higher ed issue.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Check This Out

My friends Tammy and Timi got a great grant to undertake "an ongoing and collaborative documentary project about founding bluegrass musicians Frances and John Reedy and their impact on their family, regional community, and the contemporary Bluegrass/Rock-a-billy music scene in Dayton, Ohio."

Coolest thing ever. Check out their blog. Link is to the right - Remembering the Reedys.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Today's Episode, in Which Heather Eats Pancakes Two Days in a Row

I ate pancakes two days in a row. Dear Readers who know me know that I normally will not eat pancakes at all, let alone two days in a row. What the hell is going on?

Well, it was all for a good cause, and provides a light on why the people who are most likely to oppose universal, single-payer health care are those who really need it the most.

Boxer and I went north for the holiday to visit with mia madre and various and sundry kinfolk. And on the day we left, we joined mia madre for a pancake breakfast benefit for a local small business owner who had a horrific illness, poor or no health insurance, and desperate need of funds to help her with her care. We could also have attend a pig roast earlier in the weekend for another individual in the same situation. And certainly, a health care fundraiser was held on behalf of my uncle and his family when he was dying from brain cancer.

This is what happens in these small, rural towns. When someone is sick and in need, everyone joins together. And everyone gives what they can. Because - for certainty - most do not have insurance. When people get sick in these areas, it is disaster. Homes are lost, families can be torn apart, and the debt just keep growing.

And yet, these are the same folks who would be ashamed to go on BadgerCare or any other publicly provided medical assistance - despite paying taxes. These are the same folks who think only "welfare queens" and "damn immigrants" can get access to public safety nets; yet they would never want to take advantage of those safety nets themselves, even when they can and should do so. Why? Because it admits to being poor, to having failed in some strange way at the grasping the American dream, because people and communities should take care of their own, because government is a bad thing?

So, individuals suffer. I imagine many die as a result of money to pay for health care or being forced to have substandard care because it is all they can afford. And, they continue to speak out against universal, single-payer health care despite the fact that it would dramatically improve their lives as well as the economic situation of their communities.

We often talk about the damage high medical bills and lack of insurance can have on the individual, and yet we don't often talk about the impact on communities. I cannot imagine how much money has come out of the community to pay for various medical fundraisers in recent years. In most cases, this was money individuals really could not afford to give, tottering on the edge of financial oblivion themselves.

It makes me wonder if the way to get single-payer health care passed in this country is to actually work on helping people understand that we are one big community. There are no people from Catawba, Wisconsin. There are no people from the state of California. We are all from the community of America, and our buying power - when put together - is way more powerful than it ever can be if we are all trying to buy a critical service in our own little worlds. If we work together, we can take care of everyone who is here, no matter what, so that everyone can have the basics of care needed to live healthy lives - not cut short by access to quality medical care.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Seeking Name for New Car

Yesterday, with the help of Rosen Honda, I purchased a 2010 Honda Insight hybrid in a dark dove grey color. I got a great deal and am already getting 12 mpg more than I did with the Eggplant.

Ah, the Eggplant. Farewell and good riddance, o Eggplant!

The new car needs a name. My first car was named NED. I have also had the Rollerskate as well as the aforementioned Eggplant. So, I am soliciting name suggestions.

What I know about the car thus far: when I sit in it, it seems like it is masculine, except for its horn, which is decidedly soprano. It doesn't seem to have any personality quirks. It is a dark grew color that sparkles in the sun. It is very futuristic looking.

Suggestions anyone?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why Do You Make Things So Hard?

Dear Readers will remember our last year problems with the purchasing of a new stove and frig from Sears - what with the major delivery problems and cancellation problems etc ad naseum. Anyway, things were finally delivered and I pay every month via the Sears online bill center. Or I did until this month.

I went to log in to pay my bill and was informed that the service no longer exists for my account.

Say what?

So I sent a note to customer service, who wrote back and said call a specific number and we will help you out. I call and I get a very nice Indian woman who tells me I have to call the number on the back of the actual card instead.

Um, you told me to call this number.

She gets very flustered and transfers me to a customer service specialist. Where I get the most amazing explanation for why my online bill pay is no longer in service.

Seems Sears sent me a new credit card, without my approval, and unless I activate that card, I can no longer pay my bill online. Despite the fact that I have been paying online since last year.

Since I do not want to activate the card, I now have three choices:

1. Pay via mail. This is a dicey prospect as sometimes I don't get the bill until three days before it is due. And mailing anything from Chicago is always problematic in terms of timing.
2. I can pay via phone. Which costs $15 extra, natch.
3. I can troop to the Sears store and pay in person every damn month.

So insane. And yet another reminder of why I will never, ever do business with Sears ever again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

For Brave Sir Robin

Because, yeah, people should just get over Twilight already, and Buffy kicks ass.