Jenny Kratz (that_will_do_pig)

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"Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond

I second the nudge that all of you with "Guns, Germs, and Steel" sitting on your shelf, collecting dust, should pick it up and read it. It's not as daunting as it looks, promise. And then when you're done, read "A Short History of Nearly Everything" by Bill Bryson. This is a sort of bible for me. Then again, I am a Bryson-aholic. But in tandem, these two books made me feel a lot better about my knowledge of the world around me, AND made me infinitely better at trivia!

July 22, 2009 at 9:17 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kindergarten, or, God Help Us All

I don't have children, nor do I like them or want them, so I suppose my opinion on this might not be too valid, BUT--I loved every minute of public school I attended, K-12. I'm serious. All of it. And the stuck-up, entitled, asshole kids that I knew growing up here in Lawrence were honestly the ones whose parents put them in fancy Montessori preschool, then the private/catholic schools. I mean really... if you're worried about what kinds of kids your child is going to meet, it seems far more likely to me that the kids whose families can afford to send them to the fanciest schools are going to be the ones with bad attitudes, bad manners, and no respect for authority.

I also remember a kid who came to public high school from being homeschooled his whole life, and honestly, he was really awkward. Nice guy, but I don't necessarily think it's fair to shelter children from everything you get with public interaction--the good and the bad. And if you don't think that the education that she's getting is good enough, then you could always just practice other things with her at home, right?

But as I said, I know nothing about what it feels like when faced with educating your own child. I only know that I wouldn't have traded my public education in Lawrence for any amount of private school. Yes... I even loved junior high. It IS possible.

June 27, 2009 at 10:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )


I've been eating a lot of eggs lately, as part of the easiest answer to my gluten-free diet I'm struggling with, and this has become one of my favorite new dinners:

I put a fried egg or two on top of fried polenta cakes (or one big cake, as it were), and put both of these on top of a bed of crushed tomatoes, sauteed onions and garlic, and fresh basil (cooked together in a skillet to make a quick, chunky sauce). And occasionally, I throw in some mozzarella or gruyere cheese. I eat this for dinner at least once a week. I swear by it. Also, I have started buying garlic & basil polenta pre-cooked in a roll from the Merc. I just slice off pieces like you do from pre-made cookie dough rolls and fry 'em up in olive oil, or even in whatever you're frying your egg in.

My friends and I also use the fried polenta-egg combo in lieu of english muffins for eggs benedict with a good hollandaise sauce.

I'm getting very, very hungry now. Guess I know what i'll be making for dinner...

June 22, 2009 at 1:58 p.m. ( | suggest removal )


yes yes yes... you give all of us scared-of-the-hat kind a little bit o' hope. Especially with the sandals, that is a killer hat.

June 12, 2009 at 7:21 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Michael Pollan is coming!

Michael Pollan is incredible. If you have ANY interest at all in our food production, gardening and farming, mass agriculture... GO hear him talk.

Here's a preview, he was on The Colbert Report last night, talking about "In Defense of Food" which he will talk about Wednesday night in KC:

You can get tickets from the Rainy Day Books website by ordering "In Defense of Food" and in the notes field, specifying if you want one or two tickets to the talk, and you can also specify that you want to just pick them up at the event, rather than at the bookstore.

Also, for anyone who's looking to read something (albeit quickly at this point) before the talk, "Omnivore's Dilemma" is good, but my favorite of his is "Botany of Desire" which explains our history through the "eyes" of four plants: tulips, potatoes, weed, and apples. It's fascinating and great summer read.

May 14, 2009 at 11:41 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Go Global

I have to second both comments here... meaning that yes, there are plenty of very stylish, cute things at Urban Outfitters, but many of the things I've purchased from there I've had to mend and repair with my sewing machine. I should also point out that finding a pair of trousers like that for $10 at UO is a STEAL (nice job Katy!) but probably shouldn't be expected.

May 13, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

On the Futility of Bailouts, Part Deux

It makes me wonder if there's a possibility to rework what it means to have technical training... because I hate the thought that by the time I finish my PhD, nearly 10 years of collegiate academics, and tens of thousands of dollars in debt, that my monetary worth in society is far less than someone working on the auto line... I think that's where it gets me every time. Good point though.

May 12, 2009 at 1 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

On the Futility of Bailouts, Part Deux

Sometimes true. I deleted and retyped that sentence many, many times before I posted because I knew somebody was going to say that. But I still think it's important. Notice that I wasn't arguing that a college education necessarily brought intelligence but rather "advanced thought and interpretive and social skills"... and if our officials aren't "supremely educated," I still maintain that the smarter our population is the better, no matter what our brute strength is.

May 12, 2009 at 10:56 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

On the Futility of Bailouts, Part Deux

Man.. I just had this debate the other day with a friend. It's all a little relative, but certainly always frustrating. For instance, my 5'4" frame can't even fathom the amount of physical exertion some factory workers put out every day. There's no way my body would handle it. But then, say, I didn't have a degree, wanted to make a lot of money still... could I be a car painter? A precut adhesive vinyl coater? Work with car fabrics? Snap little pieces into place on an assembly line? Because the thought that I could be making $54 an hour doing any of those things, with little to no education, is absolutely ridiculous.

But my biggest concern with the discrepancy in pay here is that though it might not be fair to say earning a college education is "harder" than not (though really? I worked damn hard for my degrees and am continuing to work hard for my master's...) and instead performing physical labor, it's not the point. In MY opinion, the more educated people we have in our society the better. Encouraging citizens to pass on education options because frankly they don't need it to make a good buck is a horrible policy that seems to give incentives for a lack of advanced thought and interpretive and social skills. Further, I think these things are crucial in selecting the right policies and officials that govern us, even on the smallest of local levels. I mean... our country is run by supremely educated individuals. We wouldn't elect someone who passed on a college (or even a doctorate) education but sure is strong and made a lot of money in the auto industry.

May 12, 2009 at 9:07 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Read It and Weep


I agree, and apologize if it I came off close-minded to change. Certainly not. Yet I still don't agree that we have to completely do away with the "paper" paper... but I don't have the answer.

Though it almost makes me wonder how much the optometry industry benefits, seeing as how in the past few years, due to staring at a computer screen all day long at work, 40 hours a week, my eyewear prescription has nearly tripled (and I've been wearing corrective lenses since 7th grade). Maybe it's a romantic notion, but I'm going to yell and scream and fight to the very end til print dies and we all spend our days, every last minute of them, staring at computer screens.

May 8, 2009 at 10:55 a.m. ( | suggest removal )