Saturday, August 11, 2007

Finish Your Wholesome Chinese Apple Juice

Have Another Glass Of Chinese Pesticide Sweetie

I was shocked to read how deeply the Chinese have made inroads into the U.S. food supply.

It turns out that half the apple juice sold in the U.S. is imported from China.

Just how did this happen?

(NYTimes) Tienanmen Square - Chinese Leaders Turn A Blind Eye To Pollution

China has four to five times the population of the United States. Half of China is desert. How is it that a nation which can barely feed itself cornered the market on apple juice?

Cost. But if cost is driving U.S. companies to import cheap Chinese apple juice then what of quality?

Chinese Skies Are Filled With Pollution

Who will protect us from apple juice contaminated by bacteria, or illegal pesticides - or worse?

Here's an article from CNN on the subject.

Bacteria can have an especially powerful impact on younger children and the elderly. Pesticides which build up within the body over the course of decades can cause cancer years after ingested. It's up to parents to ask if it is worth the risk.

(NYTimes) Urumchi of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Apple juice was once a safe and wholesome drink to give a child. Today only an uncaring ignorant idiot would give their children apple juice unless they're absolutely certain where it came from.

My recommendation: Buy only organic U.S. grown apples, and make your own apple juice!

Guang Zhou - Air Pollution Isn't Restricted To Cities In China

Chinese Air Pollution Facts (source)

  • China has 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities.
  • 750,000 Chinese die from air pollution every year.
  • 360,000 Chinese die from indoor pollution every year.


An Excellent Article From the NYTimes on Chinese Air Pollution

Thursday, August 09, 2007

School Uniforms Are A Great Idea!

These Kids Look Great In Their School Uniforms

The following list obtained from an interesting article at SJ-R

What not to wear

Springfield School District dress code for 2007-08 (excluding schools with uniform policies):

  • Clothes and grooming shall not contradict curriculum goals, educational objectives or “advertise, promote or picture” alcoholic beverages, smoking, drugs or violent or illegal behavior.
  • Clothes, grooming and accessories shall not display “lewd, vulgar, obscene or plainly offensive language or symbols, including gang symbols.”
  • No hats, caps, bandannas, sweatbands, sunglasses, pajama pants, slippers or shoes with wheels.
  • No pierced jewelry, other than earrings “worn in the ear.”
  • No spiked apparel “and accessories.”
  • No chains “that can be used as weapons.”
  • Shoelaces should be tied.
  • No coats and jackets worn inside without principal’s permission.
  • No clothing with: holes, ragged hems or cut-off hemlines, fishnet or transparent fabric.
  • Clothing shall not expose: the chest, abdomen, genital area or buttocks, legs above the mid-thigh.
  • No oversized, “extremely” baggy or improperly fitted clothing. Pants, shorts and skirts must be worn at the waist.
  • No sagging pants.
  • Tattoos that violate any provisions of the Dress Code must be covered at all times on school property or during school-sponsored activities.

  • School Uniforms Promote Purpose, Order, and Success

    My Take on the Issue of School Uniforms

    The list above addresses too many possible infractions, and ends up being ignored in the end. This could all be replaced with uniforms. Mandatory Uniforms for Springfield, Illinois high schools is a great idea. That and periodic, and random mandatory drug testing for all students would go a long way towards addressing long standing problems which have driven many parents to keep their children out of our city's public schools.

    This from the UK - Uniforms Are Simple

    School Uniform

    School Group

    Students are expected to wear school uniform on all school occasions. The uniform has been carefully chosen, in consultation with students, to be smart, practical and reasonably priced.

    All parents are asked to ensure that their child wears the complete uniform to maintain the high standards of smartness that supports the high reputation of our students in the community.

    Parents should note that no jewellery is allowed, except for a watch, 1 signet ring and a single stud earring per ear. No caps or bracelets are allowed except those worn for religious reasons. Nose piercing and extremes of hair sculpture are not permitted.

    Buying your school uniform

    Some items are only available from the school and others can be bought from the school or from Department Stores, giving parents as wide and competitive a choice of suppliers as possible. School uniform will be on sale at the New Year 7 evening and at the end of the ‘Practice Days’ and sports afternoon. All items of uniform should be clearly labelled with your child’s name

    Items marked with * are available frrom the school

    Black blazer -(with The King's School Badge *)
    Black trousers
    Black shoes(not boots)
    Blue Shirt
    Black school sweatshirt *
    Black socks
    The King's School tie *

    Black blazer- (with The King's School Badge *)
    Black skirt
    Black school sweatshirt
    Blue shirt
    Black shoes(not boots)
    Black trousers
    black ordinary tights
    The King's School tie *
    Black/white socks

    A strong school bag is also needed for carrying books and equipment.

    Individuality Is Bunk

    Children, and teens need a sense of purpose, and a sense of belonging. Gangs, and drugs, and the culture of death have filled the void of American society over the last half century. It is time to restore what was once a compact between one generation, and the next. Tradition is a good thing, and schools are one of the few institutions which can instill a sense of social inheritance, and tradition in children. Uniforms are the physical manifestation of tradition, order and purpose, and should be made mandatory for use in all elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States.

    Wednesday, August 08, 2007

    Barry Bonds Before And After Steroids

    Barry Bonds Before Steroids

    I remember walking up to my personal trainer and friend Linda a few years ago. She was reading a Lifting magazine (one which allegedly featured only natural body builders). I browsed through the pages over her shoulder, and I noticed all the incredibly well built men, and women.

    I knew that some of those who came to the gym were more dedicated at lifting than I was, yet they didn't have anywhere near the muscle mass as those featured in this "Natural" body building magazine had.

    I asked my trainer, "Linda, how do they do it? I mean they achieve this incredible level of muscle development naturally?".

    Linda looked at me with a smile, and said, "Do you think they could get there without enhancers?", to which I replied, "Well that magazine's title says it's for natural body builders - you know those who don't use steroids".

    Linda let out a little chuckle, and began to flip through the magazine and said, "Listen, I used to compete, and I'm telling you these body builders featured in all these advertisements in this Natural Body Building Magazine all use steroids. There's no way to get to this level of Muscle Mass, and have that little body fat without using enhancers".

    Linda herself was in remarkable, but steroid free shape.

    I realized why it was that those who lifted far more than I at the gym weren't that much bigger than I was despite their incredible efforts.

    Is it worth taking all the enhancers and risking cancer, and a host of other maladies associated with taking roids? I don't think so, but some people do.

    We see how Barry Bonds has achieved his home run record, and to him I guess it is worth the risk. Yet I can't help but wonder how many years has Barry Bonds cut from his own lifespan in pursuit of his place in the record books?

    Here's a link to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle which details (compares) Barry Bond's baseball record before, and after steroid use. It's quite telling.

    Barry Bonds On Steroids

    Tuesday, August 07, 2007

    Can I Play With Your iPhone?

    How to Play With An iPhone

    Monday, August 06, 2007

    Springfield's Bad Parents Make It Tougher

    Many Parents Use Children as Rights of Passage Props

    Several of my daughter's best friend's parents are essentially overgrown children.

    When I was my daughter's age I was always envious of those kids whose parents were "cool".

    The parents that were very liberal in their application of rules - if they even had rules.

    These parents didn't seem to get upset with their kids, and their kid's friends coming in reeking of pot, and smelling of booze. These parents seemed either to be just arriving back from a party, or leaving for one themselves.

    Today I know these parents just didn't care as much about their kids as they should have.

    Many of them had money. In fact some of the worst parents were those who lived in the finest homes in Springfield - or might I say - Leland Grove.

    Some of the kids I felt sorry for, while partying with them of course, had parents whose careers kept them from being home, or engaged in their family life.

    Even though I was a teenager, and was partying hardier just like these kids, I knew that at least my parents were around for me, and I knew they'd be upset with my experimentations.

    My parents were conservative in the sense that they attended church every Sunday, professed a belief in God, and believed that there was a real difference between right behavior, and wrong behavior. That doesn't mean they were perfect - far be it from the truth - but they did care.

    Peter Pans - Many Parents Never Grew Up

    Things haven't changed much over the years. In fact they're probably far worse. Many of the kids who were sucking in the smoke, and boozing it up back in high school when I was kid never outgrew this lifestyle. While it eventually dawned upon me that there were better ways to spend my time, and money - these people really never reached that same conclusion.

    And now they're parents.

    When children are very young just keeping the smell of pot out of their kids rooms at night was probably enough for them to think they were being good parents. But as their children grew older these folk found it impossible to give a convincing speech, and convincing "life lesson" about the futility of depending upon drugs for enlightenment, and true happiness.

    I sometimes ask my daughter, "Where's so-and-so's parents?", and sadly my daughter will respond, "They're hitting the bars". "You mean no one's there?", I ask, and she'll respond, "No". And I believe her, because I've been to their homes, and I've seen, and talked with these kids.

    I've seen over the years the way these same parents end up dumping their kids into the status of Emancipated Minor. The parents simply can't deal with the conflict involved in putting their foot down, and saying there's a limit to acceptable behavior - to themselves, or their kids. So they try instead to be their kids "friends", and bale out as soon as the job gets tough.

    The same kids that found it hard to find their parents away from the bars are now living as young adults holding never ending parties of their own. These same kids probably won't be making it to college, and will end up living on the east side, north side south side - the poor side - just like their parents - working in minimum wage jobs.

    My daughter suspects that there must be something wrong with my wife, and I because we don't get slammed every night at some bar. And she believes we are too strict because we are committed to raising a drug free kid.

    So and So's Parents Let So and So do what she wants!

    That's because So and So's parents are horrible parents - and there are so many horrible parents out there.

    I'm tempted to believe that it's because our kid goes to South East High. That East Side poor folk are self destructive. Maybe that's true to some extent, but then I think back to all those rich kids whose parents seemingly suffered from some never ending Peter Pan syndrome in which they too seemed too damned busy partying themselves to care about their children.

    I doubt it has much to do with money. I suspect it has more to do with values.

    From the time I began raising my daughter I always had a plan for her. I wanted her to have more than I have myself. I wanted her to go farther than I have gone. I knew that studies on drug use show that parents who provide their children with ambiguous messages about drug use fail to steer their children away from drugs.

    I have tried to emphatically state that drug use is not acceptable.

    And now I hope that my daughter has the sense to say no when surrounded by overgrown children raised by peter-pan-parents who should never have been parents - the one's who are more interested in hitting the bars - and even doing drugs themselves - rather than steering their kids in the right direction.

    Parents that try to be their kids best friends - suck. They make it hard on parents who actually care about their kids.

    In my hope of hope's I dream that in some of the white flight palaces in Springfield, Illinois such as Lutheran High, Sacred Heart Griffin, Pleasant Plains High, and Cavalry Academy are drug free schools in which drug free kids come home at the end of the day to concerned parents, but I know better. I've talked with too many parents, and too many kids associated with those schools to know that drug use, under age drinking, and premarital sex are rampant high school activity in those schools too.

    Which brings us back to values. From the very first days in which my daughter attended South East High School she was being offered drugs. She shared with me how kids would sit around in the commons area and smoke pot right there on campus. I was happy that my daughter chose to say no. But the frightening thing was that she warned that all the older kids were doing it.

    I recall back in High School - Griffin High to be exact - that pot was being smoked right out front of the school, and in the parking lot. It was a game of cat and mouse. I also recall all the kids getting off of the city buses blocks before they had to so that they could smoke pot right before they walked into Springfield High School. And yes it was rampant back then.

    Pot itself may not be the killer weed it was portrayed to be in the 1930's, but it does dull the mind, and makes one mentally lazy. It's effect upon academics are similar to what girls go through in the seventh grade when suddenly they decide in mass that they can no longer raise their hands in math and science class. It's similar to what black male youth experience when they realize they can't seem to appear too academic or else lose their status as home boys. Pot is just another way of being dumb - of pushing that adult awareness farther into the future - possibly after it's too late.

    Dulling the pain of the growing realization that life isn't filled with fairies, and unicorns, but instead is filled with non-stop work, and sometimes nasty bosses is something we'd all seek, but it's parents who have the responsibility to teach their children early on that running away from problems only makes them worse.

    This is a difficult lesson to teach when a parent hasn't a clue as to how to confront their own problems. In in other times, and places there were answers, and there were guides to those answers. Religion helped human beings grapple with finding their way toward how to think, and deal with their problems - with life's challenges.

    Today, in the modern world - a world in which God is dead - or so we are told - a world in which few trust government to act in their best interest - we act as men thrown into a darkened dungeon struggling to find our way. Being a good parent is harder than it ever has been for those who actually care. But despite this those who love - and know what real love is - continue to sacrifice clenching onto their hope that they can point their children onto the right path in a society in a state of moral decay.

    email jp






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