Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Official Hat of Summer 2011

I need your help.
I am in need of advice on which of the following hats I can declare the Official Hat of Summer 2011. As you may recall, I chose an Official Hat of Summer 2010 and as such, I wore that hat throughout my summer adventures, such as they were. But this year, I thought I would toss the choices out to the viewing public and see what they preferred.
So, here are the contenders.
Option A: First up is a hat given to me by my dad several years ago. It is a royal blue cap in the baseball style.The white lettering says South Georgia Seniors. This is the golf group that my dad is a part of and with which he was the treasurer one year. The emblem above the lettering shows rampant lions flanking the letter "G."

Option B: Next is a woven cowboy style hat with a simple black cord circling the hat. The material is probably a synthetic reed or something. Truth be told, the hat is slightly small for my head, but I include it for completeness sake. (I hesitate to admit this, for fear that it will sway the votes, but this is MY least favorite option for many reasons. As I said, it is a bit small and it is probably the least flattering choice and the one that provides the most difficult clothing accompaniment choices. Fair warning, then, that if this is chosen, I probably will go hat-less more often than not. You may waste your votes accordingly, if you wish.)

Option C: This faded, sweat-stained Ohio State visor has my tennis-playing lid of choice a few years ago when I was playing tennis every week. As you know, I haven't had much time to play in the last 13 to 16 months. The visor is scarlet with a grey (or silver) block O emblem in the middle. Underneath the visor is a notification to myself that I bought the visor in a recent year that the OSU basketball team won the Big Ten Tournament. (This was back several years ago when this was a less frequent occurrence.)

Option D: This is my latest Atlanta Braves hat incarnation. It is modeled after the early 1970s Braves uniform style that the team first wore when it moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in the late 1960s. On the back of the cap, opposite the "A" is the year 1974--the same year that Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's career home run record. This hat is very patriotically-colored and has often been worn on July 4th, as the non-sports fans might mistake the A to stand for America.

Option E: This baseball cap is another Ohio State option. I bought it at a local golf course several years ago. The scarlet and gray coloring on the front is contrasted with white mesh circling around the back of the head. The Velcro adjustment band on the back is stitched with Buckeyes. This hat, of course, can be worn without fear anywhere in the state of Ohio and might even be suitable for a state dinner with the governor.

Option F: This green baseball-style cap is one of many Pioneer Hi-Bred hats that I have worn over the years. This is much like many that were worn in the fields of South Georgia and across the corn belt as kids learned the ins and outs of controlled hybridizing and (so I'm told) de-tasselling. Though I prefer the all-mesh variety (which helps cool the sweaty head during the hot summer months, it is very old, very dirty, and not suitable for public viewing. This one is clean and not frequently worn. Perhaps now is the time to end that? It will be up to you to decide.

Option G: Finally, the yellow bucket hat that was the most recent (and my first) Official Hat of Summer. It could be so again. It has the casualness that says "Summer" and the sunny color that makes you forget the chills and overcast days of Autumn and Winter in Ohio.

So, what say you? Make your choice and leave it in the comments below. I promise to abide by your decision. I'll even leave the voting open until the kids elementary school closes in early June, close to the Summer Solstice.

Thursday, May 05, 2011


There was a sense of desperation as everyone left the office today. I'm sure it was because of the fact that, for once in what feels like a month, we had a nice sunny day. The sky is blue. There are no clouds in the sky, and you can see the green of the grass and leaves and you can feel the heat of the visible sun. There's no wind blowing and there is no rain coming down.

I mean everybody probably fled home to mow the grass, but still . . .

I am leaving the office so that I can meet up with the family. We are going to eat a picnic dinner while preparing for Sarah's softball practice tonight.

-- Posted From My iPhone (so, I apologize in advance for any typos I missed)

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

Image: & ABC Networks
Because I have liked Jamie Oliver's personality and cooking style for many years, I set my DVR to record "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" when it began airing episodes a few weeks ago. (I missed the first episode, but since reality television relies on repetition, I got a very good sense of what went down . . . and there was at least one scathing review of the evident problems that were edited for television to make it seem that successful chef Mr. Oliver is not yet ready to tilt this bureaucratic windmill.

So . . . all Jamie wants to do is teach us that we eat terrible food and that he knows a better way to cook and eat. And he is concerned for the future of American children who are obese and prone (if not doomed?) to suffer from childhood diabetes if they don't find better ways to eat.

And, I don't disagree at all.

Sure, we eat fast food at our house. And we don't utilize as much raw, whole food as would be best. But, compared to most, I think we do a fairly decent, thoughtful way of providing food for our children and making them aware of what are necessary eating habits. I certainly know friends and family that do a better job at it than we do, but many people do much, much worse.

So, as per usual, my family is somewhere in the middle.

But Jamie wants to take on the LA Unified School District. And they don't want this pushy British guy with his cameras and his kale telling them how they should eat. And they are skeptical that his designs on a proper culinary diet can be mass produced for hundreds of thousands of school children in a timely and economical manner. So, they have locked him out and put him off and kept him away from the kitchens and the kids and out of the schools.

This is the central drama of the second episode, seeing how Jamie can bring his healthy revolution to the people when the bureaucracy won't let him to where the problems are occurring. Jamie is being polite and following the rules, but the suits in the boardrooms want nothing to do with his rabble-rousing.

Jamie gets around this by hooking up with a charter school. (It figures, doesn't it, that the charter school system--who are already skeptical of the cookie-cutter philosophy of the public schools would be willing to let him in. Ahh, but there is a problem, because the school that lets Oliver on campus is a partnership school that is still connected to the the LAUSD. And the tension mounts as Jamie finds out he can be on the campus, but he can't be in the kitchen. Heck, he can't even look in the cafeteria windows without teachers beginning to worry that they'll get summarily fired for the affront. Jamie is a true revolutionary, whose every innocent move can bring unintended consequences.

But Oliver is allowed to serve as a teacher in one of the school's Culinary Arts classes (home-ec to those of us older folks). And here, he hopes, he can begin to make connections to the kids that need the education; here he can achieve in-roads to the parents that can make better food choices and possibly petition the LAUSD to loosen their bans.

Still, by episode's end, it doesn't look good for Jamie and his happy vegetables. At the start of day two in the school, he is threatened with police in the morning and not being allowed to talk to any student in the school about the lunches they are served.

What will happen next? I don't know as the series has been hard to find on ABC's network. It'll get moved to Friday's this summer, but you can watch the first two episodes repeated at the end of May to catch up on all the action.

Give it a go, as Jamie might say. It is good (well edited) drama that has the potential to teach a decent lesson that we can all be reminded of. And Jamie has a good personality and, if you discount the artificial televisedness of it all, I think he's got his heart in the right place.

Monday, May 02, 2011

What am I supposed to do?

So, as you doubtlessly know by now, Osama bin Laden is dead.

Located, attacked, and killed by U.S. forces after years and years of effort. And I applaud the effort and I acknowledge the need to find the man believed responsible for the terrible events of September 11. And I am glad that he was found as opposed to him remaining out there somewhere or maybe simply having disappeared, never to be verified again.

But, I am also not going to cheer and chant and thump my chest and be glad that someone is dead because we in the United States determined that he must be dead. Dead is dead and I am not a fan of death, no matter how justified you might believe the punishment to be. I couldn't do what the military asks itself to do. I couldn't willingly pull the trigger to end someone else, and I pray that I am never in a position to do so.

I've never been comfortable with the United States playing the role of judge, jury, and executioner to all of the globe's bad guys. I wish we had a functioning sort of World Court that could truly be relied upon to make these sort of difficult decisions and shift the focus from one country's need for vengeance to an indictment by the global community. But that is all kinds of Star Trek-y nonsense that just doesn't exist in today's reality.

So . . . I guess I have to be slightly relieved that a threat has been removed. And I'll quietly accept the fact that someone had to do something to ensure justice. And I'll think about how the rules are different in military situations.

But I won't be chanting USA! USA! USA!

God, no . . . I won't be doing that.

(Seems a little too fundamentalist/true believer to me.)