9:31 PM Comment0 Comments

Is he REALLY ugly? Or is he just misunderstood? That is the question the top European Commission for Agriculture had to ask themselves. Starting this July 1st, 20 year old food laws will be lifted in the EU meaning that irregular fruit and vegetables like Mr. Cuddly the tomato (above) will begin being sold again.

The change in laws is welcomed by market operators all over Europe as they get more freedom to sell fruits and vegetables with a little more, character and pizazz. I'm sure market vendors and market shoppers alike will be glad to see more curvy cucumbers, gnarly carrots and lumpy tomatoes for sale in weeks to come.

It was getting to a point where people would walk down the aisle and see the same vegetable over and over again. They never even had to squeeze their fruits to check for freshness, shopping was no longer a challenge or even remotely interesting. With the laws in place for 20 years variety was falling off the shelves it would not long before certain vegetables such as bell-peppers were deemed to wild to be sold by European Agricultural Standards.

Aside from the inherent cost benefit to selling these foods and not letting them go to waste and the benefit of seeing more variety in the stores there is also a clear environmental benefit to selling deformed fruits and vegetables. In a time of economic and environmental struggle this is the only choice, allowing farmers to produce more cash-crop and allowing consumers to purchase "ugly" veggies for less. If you ask me, there's nothing ugly about these fruits. Okay, maybe Mr. Cuddly but come now, we all have limits.

8:08 PM Comment0 Comments

I was reading a friend's blog
little sour apple and an article he had written about New Orleans. He was repeating some projections predicted by scientists saying that New Orleans and large parts of Louisiana would be underwater by 2010. One comment on the post suggested that the facts are questionable and therefore should not be taken seriously but my friend suggested something that reminded me of this video that I once saw along much the same topic. Its the old worse case scenario climate change idea. We act, and we're wrong we suffer economically, we don't act and we're wrong, we suffer far worse fates. Anyway the guy in the video, who has now written a book about the topic, describes the theory much better than me, so just sit down, eat some rhubarb pie and watch the video. You'll be enlightened. And don't forget, spread the word about Column A. Its time we stopped debating the truth or severity of climate change and started acting to prevent disaster by default.

3:00 PM Comment0 Comments

What is the Party Prophet? The Party Prophet is that guy or girl at a party who thinks they know everything. That person who grabs everyone's attention with their stories. They are that person who everyone is drawn to because they know just what to say to satisfy each individual interest in the room. The Party Prophet is the epitome of charisma. But a small minority of people see through the Party Prophet.

Some of us can see that the Party Prophet knows no more and is no wiser than his drunken disciples. In fact, most of what he says, he makes up on the spot. NASA is not actually designing a weapon capable of blowing up the moon, the Chinese government is not actually putting lead into childrens' toys for world export in order to make America's next generation more stupid, and Elvis Presley is not actually living in Tom Cruise's basement. The Party Prophet's knowledge is just the same as party magic. It is not a gift from god but smoke and mirrors and trickery.

The Party Prophet is not to be disrespected though, because he provides entertainment, and a sense of superiority to his disciples, like they've just come to realize something no one else in the world can know. It's conspiracy, entertainment and politics that drives the Party Prophet and leads his Foolish Followers from darkness to "enlightenment."

The Party Prophet walks among us all. They come and go, and always have something to say, they know when to speak, and when to reserve themselves. They know when to argue and fight and when to enlighten. Whatever they say, people are listening, it is the doctrine of the prophet. We all know them we just never had a name for them. Are you the Party Prophet?

10:20 PM Comment2 Comments

He was an iconic figure in infomercials. Everyone recognized his gruff, powerful voice as soon as it came on the air. Whether he was selling Oxi-clean, Mighty Putty or even the infamous Orange-Glo his in-your-face sales techniques were something to marvel at. Mr. Mays was undoubtedly the most beloved of TV infomercial personalities over other characters such as the "Shamwow Guy." Although sometimes an annoyance, as all infomercials tend to be, Billy Mays fought his way to the tops of our hearts becoming a cultural icon. Jokes surrounding Billy Mays' sales expertise had become almost as common-place as jokes about Chuck Norris' beard.

On June 28, 2009 he was found dead in his Tampa home by his wife. He was pronounced dead at 7:45 AM. Many have speculated that on a routine flight it was a blow to the head from his suitcase that brought about his unsuspected death. However, it has become more evident that, much like Michael Jackson's sudden death last week, it was heart disease that brought him down, the blow likely having little to do with his death.

Many tributes have been made to Mr. Mays since his passing. This blog is my tribute. While it is tempting to make suggestions about mighty putty and fastening carry-on luggage, truly my heart, and many more go out to those closest to Mr. Mays. May he rest in peace.

3:26 PM Comment2 Comments

The top electoral body of Iran has finally completed it's partial recount of the ballots cast in the June 12 presidential election. It confirmed President Ahmadinejad's re-election also demonstrating that there were no voting irregularities in the election process. Despite calls from the opposition and a large minority of voters for a total re-run of the presidential election the Guardian Council has made its final decision to swear in Ahmadinejad as the president of Iran. It is likely, despite clear voting irregularities that Ahmadinejad did actually win a majority of votes in the election.

After weeks of protests and 17 dead it raises questions. If the Guardian Council were to decide to re-run the presidential election, whether or not the first was free and fair, would such a landslide victory occur for Ahmadinejad in light of the government's treatment of the protesters? Do people who supported Ahmadinejad before the election still support him now? The president's opposition cites international condemnation of his foreign and internal policy as a huge issue and through the past 17 days Mr. Ahmadinejad has only invoked more tensions in already strained relations with the West.

Before this election, relations between Western nations and Iran seemed to be mending. It was beginning to look as though both sides were on speaking terms again. There was a flicker of hope as the United States extended a token 4th of July invitation to Iranian diplomats. Now it is all up in the air as the blame is thrown around.

If the election were to be run again, freely and fairly, would you expect similar results? A closer vote? Or a loss for Mr. Ahmadinejad?

1:00 PM Comment4 Comments

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