LECCO, Italy — Each morning, about 450 students travel along 17 school bus routes to 10 elementary schools in this lakeside city at the southern tip of Lake Como. There are zero school buses.
In 2003, to confront the triple threats of childhood obesity, local traffic jams and — most important — a rise in global greenhouse gases abetted by car emissions, an environmental group here proposed a retro-radical concept: children should walk to school.They set up a piedibus (literally foot-bus in Italian) — a bus route with a driver but no vehicle. Each morning a mix of paid staff members and parental volunteers in fluorescent yellow vests lead lines of walking students along Lecco’s twisting streets to the schools’ gates, Pied Piper-style, stopping here and there as their flock expands.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Click on the pics below to be brought to some dancing videos.
Fine dancing, I believe, like virtue, must be its own reward. Those who are standing by are usually thinking of something very different.
Jane Austen, Emma (1816)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I got sucked into the live journal of a photographer whose done some interesting projects, like photographing fantasy/sci writer's in their rooms, and gun owners in their homes, and Amanda Palmer dead. Here's an even he attended, and some pics--but go to his site to see all.
"a flash mob, or rather a FLESH mob: The idea is that we'll gather at the Philadelphia Art Museum, and scantily/flashily/fabulously clad self-identified fat folks will run, walk, skip, waddle, ride, saunter, sashay, etc. their way to the top of the famous stairs, Rocky style. Fat folks who don’t do stairs can be waiting at the top for the mob. All of this while allies are cheering, holding signs, and handing out fat liberation literature. This action is going to be filmed for our fat queer documentary. The key word here is FLASH, this is going to be very quick so don’t be late or you’ll miss all of the fun."
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
"Style is not about money. It’s not a funky hat or a suit and tie. Style is not
about rebelling against common threads. It is about personality. Style is not
what you wear, but how you wear it. And clothes do not make the man.
They either compliment or contrive. Let your style be you. If you do, then,
you will be stylish. Be it a fedora or a clean white T. Wear it well, with
genuine confidence, and always remember the details."
And here are some of their stylin' peeps: (go to the site if you want to see what exactly they liked about each Stylish Person)
Here's a no longer updated Montreal site, on a similar quest.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Have you heard about the case of the Harvard professor who was arrested for breaking into his own home? (Got home from a trip and his door was jammed shut. He and his friend were trying to push it open. He had disarmed the alarm and was on the phone with the rental company when the cops arrived.)
Having to break into your own home could happen to anyone (my brother and I did a little housebreaking a couple times in our youth). But what does NOT happen *to just anyone* is to have the police give you a hard time about it.
Kirstie Alley recently twitted about how she should have been born black or Italian--the kind of statement that drives a lot of Af-Americans nutty. For the simple reason that... when people say that, what it really means is they only want to be black when it's fun!
Here's the latest on the Gates story. I'm glad Obama spoke out about it right away--good for him. And I'm glad he also felt he should apologize if his choice of words were too harsh. Also good. But the arresting officer still insists he didn't do anything wrong. I gather the cops (one of whom was black) arrested Gates because for "disorderly conduct" even after finding out it was his house. But please... LOTs of people would act Disorderly in a similar situation. It just seems like ego and a waste of tax dollars to pull a citizen in for this reason.
Friday, July 24, 2009
(Actually I have Croc strappy sandals, and my White Devil Cat has chewed them to bits. He loves the texture so much, he can smell when you're wearing them.)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
And here's a bit of a critique of BMI measurements:
I couldn't tell you what my BMI is, because I don't weigh myself.
Writing in Friday's Lancet medical journal, the researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota, found that patients with a low BMI had a higher risk of death from heart disease than those with normal BMI.
This apparently perverse result, drawn from data from 40 studies covering 250,000 people with heart disease, did not suggest that obesity was not a health threat but rather that the 100-year-old BMI test was too blunt an instrument to be trusted.
"Rather than proving that obesity is harmless, our data suggests that alternative methods might be needed to better characterize individuals who truly have excess body fat compared with those in whom BMI is raised because of preserved muscle mass," said lead researcher Francisco Lopez-Jiminez.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
In this scene Bob's mother has gone through a lot of confusion since he brought home the girlfriend (despite his protestations that he's still gay!), and she's leading another of her activist protests, but this time... she's mad as hell, and she's not gonna take it anymore!
Mum - Are you coming Vicar?
Vicar - No, I, really, not...
Mum - Then go to hell.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Hmm... have you got a "life's mission?" I kinda like hers'. I wanna steals it!
Branlandingham, who is partial to dresses with plunging neck lines, says she discourages women from buying so-called goal outfits that are too small and instead pick out things that flatter their figures.
"I feel like my life's mission is to make the world safer for people to love themselves no matter what their differences," she said.
Monday, July 20, 2009
And I have to agree, just based on shopping. I don't shop anywhere fun, because I live in the burbs and usually just need a bunch of things fast. And I prefer big stores with a lot of choice (Reitman's, Zellers, Old Navy) so I can try a LOT of stuff and find what suits me, in one trip.
Since gaining more weight this past year, I've Crossed Over into +size clothing (I'm already 5'10'' so I've always worn medium to large sizes). And it's like crossing over into a Deathland of Fashion. It must be terrible for the 15 year olds, because as soon as you wear plus sizes, they'll dress you like a Conservative 30something year old, or an old lady. Now, I'm 36, so while the clothes bore me I can at least tolerate them; but 15 year olds should be able to find funky t-shirts and sexy dresses, you know?
[Above pic: Definatalie's LJ page.]
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Here now... what I like is a person with a well developed personal style, who doesn't care what anyone else thinks. As Wilde's Lord Goring said:
The Thing, Hastings? You think Poirot concerns himself with mere thingness? The turned-down collar is the first symptom of decay of the gray cells!You gotta admire a man with Style Principles.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Westerners already live long lives. Are we dying at such young ages that we need to make animals suffer in order to live a tiny bit longer?
This is the kind of bullshit science that gets funding because it's targeted at the wealthier people of the world and someone stands to make a shitload of money selling us more fucking diet products. HATE! HAAAAAATE!!!
The only Questionay of the Day I could possibly think up is: Do you also hate stupid motherfucking useless bullshit science experiments?
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
'Brad Woodside, 61, last week asked his Twitter followers why modern men insist on wearing neckties to the office.
"I don't think people realize even why they wear them anymore," he said, adding that the staple accessory, which originated in the 1600s, is out of date.
..."They're restrictive around the neck, they get in the way," he said. "Wearing one doesn't do anything to increase productivity. ...I think we should treat it like a tuxedo," he said. "When it's a special occasion, take out your best tie and show it off. ...I just want to be able to choose when and where I wear them." ' (Story at The Calgary Herald.)
Her opinion: If women have to spend time removing hair, putting on makeup, tottering on high heels, and blow-dying their hair for 40 minutes, then men can wear ties.
Well I don't think women *have* to do any of those things. But re the tie--I have sometimes wondered about work wear and how we end up with these business fashion conventions. Do they serve a purpose and are therefore worth keeping?
[For more excellent Mr T crafts, go to Geek Crafts.]
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"On the publicity tour of My Big Fat Greek Wedding I was asked over and over again, if, as the writer, I felt it was a fair depiction of real life to have someone of my below average looks, hook up with hottie John Corbett.
"I thought I was attractive when I shot My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Studio executives and movie reviewers let me know I had a confidence in my looks that was not shared by them. In other words, they labelled me with words like, overweight, unattractive, unappealing. Hey, just say fat. I love the word fat. I used it in the title. It’s actually not a naughty word." (Contactmusic.com)
(I came across this interview because of a posting on Big Fat Deal.)
Questionay of the Day: Did you ever think you looked just fine, and then someone *corrected* you? ;-) I never noticed I had small breasts until a friend turned to me one day and said (in surprise): Wow your chest is small! It didn't traumatize me because (a) I'd known her since grade 7 and knew it wasn't meant as a catty comment, and (b) I figured having a small chest was alright--if it hadn't bothered me before, no reason to start being bothered. But it did change my perception of myself.
Monday, July 13, 2009
If a successful novelist writes in a forest and there's no one around to see, is her unmadeup face still ugly?
Right now, I look like hell, which is okay because the dogs and the squirrels and the buzzards don’t care that I’ve put on even more weight, that my hair looks like Mad Madam Mim’s and that I don’t wear make-up. But generally speaking, you go into populated areas and stand up on a stage, people expect things like support garments and lipstick.
...I will suck it up and paint my face, but what I really want to know is, if we’re so damn evolved and liberated, why are we spending a fortune on goo that we don’t need? If we all went without make-up, wouldn’t the world get used to women without make-up and adapt? Or is make-up a good thing and I’m just too lazy to acknowledge it?
Most women responded with makeup tips (because Crusie complained about never finding a good foundation etc.) though there was one bus driver whose female boss told her she had to put on makeup and do up her hair. ?!! Her reply was--if the men'll do it, so will I.
Questionay of the Day: Wellll I'd be interested in any thoughts on the pics (or the others in the series, if you've looked at them.)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Working in a large format bookstore (and just reading health news in general) I've noticed a few health/diet trends emerging over the last few years:
1. local foods (The 100 Mile Diet)
2. whole/unprocessed foods (Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Mark Bittman, Barbara Kingsolver, Nina Planck, Marion Nestle)
3. veganism & raw food (Oprah, the Fireman diet, the Skinny Bitch series)
All of these are probably coming in part from disappointment with anti-fat anti-carb trends of the 80s and 90s. Despite the aerobics and counting calories, North Americans haven't gotten thinner (US report Canadian) and so the quest for the magic cure continues. Both the whole foods and veganism might be (as noted in Salon) coming from the mad cow scare, concerns about hormones in meat, the green movement etc. Orrr it's all Victoria Beckham buying Skinny Bitch.
I think local food is here to stay, if only because trend will become the reality of a low-oil world; but we're due for a backlash against the whole foods and veggieness, especially with the recession. Veganism for weight loss will go away once people experience how restrictive it is (raw food moreso.) The whole foods stands a chance to make some permanent inroads into our culture--it takes more time, but there is no one food group that you shouldn't eat.
Want to join the next bandwagon? My prediction is hormone diets:
* The Hormone Diet
* The Metabolism Miracle
* Master Your Metabolism
Questionay for the Day: What do you think of these trends? What's coming next? Should we all just give up and join the Cookie Zombie Army?
A fiction book, and romance, about how trends begin: Connie Willis - Bellwether
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
While I dislike the never-ending growth of cosmetics aimed at fighting aging (I can't imagine how much money gets spent in this part of the industry), I dislike cosmetic surgery even more. MSNBC has a good article about all the surgeries-gone-wrong, like the Perpetually Surprised Look of many face lifts.
I agree with this statement:
'Maggie Little, a bioethicist at Georgetown University, worries that our culture is in a state of denial about aging. ... “As a culture, we’ve developed this very narrowed view of beauty — only one decade, the 20s.” We spend adolescence gearing up for this peak, Little says, and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to reclaim it.'
What I can't believe is how women in their 20s are starting to get procedures:
'Last month, Rachel Cothran, 26, visited Alster for her very first Botox fix smack between her brows, where she was starting to notice the beginning traces of a furrow. “Nip it in the bud,” she says. “Why wait until you’re older and completely dissatisfied?” ...Cothran ... considers preventive Botox “a no-brainer — like wearing sunscreen."'
Oh. My. God.
If you're worrying about your looks--about tiny lines!!--when you're in your 20s, how will you feel about yourself in 10, 20, 30, 40 years? Like the song says:
'...trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.'
Questionay of the Day: Thoughts on Botox? Plastic surgery? Worth it if it will give you peace of mind?
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Questionay of the Day: Did you ever put off something you wanted to do until you lost weight?
They are apparently Z-coils, meant to absorb shock as you walk. Since I've returned to working full-time, much of it on my feet, I've discovered that I have sore feet a LOT of the time. Possibly this is an age thing, because I can't think offhand of any women my age who wear high-high heels on a regular basis. So I must say... I would totally wear shoes like this to work, if they really did help!
And some more Helenas...