Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Podcast Review - Crimes Against Food

So I've decided that I'm going to be something of a podcast reviewer. Podcasts are a relatively new thing for me, so I'm very much on a journey of discovery. I'd also be very happy to receive YOUR recommendations for good podcasts to listen to.

I'll listen to anything twice before I review it.

So! Today, a review of Crimes Against Food.

The facts:
Who: Gloria and Mia, two ladies from Leeds
What: Gloria and Mia talk food and the hideous things that people do to it. That, at least, seems to be the intent
How long: Just under an hour
Format: Audio

Each episode of this podcast delves into a "kind" of food; for example, the two episodes I've heard so far have explored Pies and Curry, respectively. First thing that you should know about this podcast is that it is about British food. So, for example, the Pie episode was only about meat pies, not about "Tarts." Initially, I was a bit disappointed, because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to relate to the topics. But the ladies do such a good job of putting the food in context for non-British listeners that you can't help enjoy it, whether or not the information is directly relevant to your own culinary experience.

Crimes Against Food is very funny and very charming. Their exploration of food is filled with honest, visceral and passionate descriptions of food, both good and bad. There are moments when they both dissolve into laughter, which did make me feel a little bit like I was an awkward listener to an inside joke, but those moments are not frequent.

The "Crimes" part of their mandate gets lost a little bit in their own excitement about all the great things there are to say about food. That, at least, was true of the curry episode. The pie episode contained a terrifyingly memorable sequence involving a Goblin meat pie in a can. I can't even really describe it, other than to say that there was a lot of gagging (theirs and mine).

Not for children this one (language, off-colour humour), but good fun if you like foodie types of things and/or British types of things.

Rating... 3.5 out of 5

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One of those stories...

... that seems to me, completely incomprehensible. I heard this story on the radio this evening on my way home and I didn't take note of the woman's name, so the story is articulated here more impersonally than may be ideal. In addition, I've really only heard one side of the story, as told by the woman's lawyer to the interviewer. There is, of course, the possibility that there is more to the story that I simply haven't heard.

The subject of this story is a 21-year old cook in the American armed forces. She is also the single mother of a 10-month old son. She received notice that she would be deployed to Afghanistan for a year. Her mother offered to take care of the boy for the period of her deployment so the boy was moved to his grandmother's home in advance of the deployment date in order to give him some time to adjust.

Unfortunately, due to a variety of circumstances in the grandmother's life, she decided that she could not, in fact, care for the boy for the year. The armed forces informed the mother that she could delay her deployment date in order to have additional time to find a care arrangement for her son. When the boy was returned to his mother, a week before the original deployment date, she was informed that there would, in fact, be no extension and that she was to report for deployment as originally scheduled.

With no place to take her son, she missed her deployment flight.

She reported to the base the day after the scheduled deployment to meet with her superiors and explain her circumstances. She was arrested and placed under supervised confinement at the base. Her son was placed in the care of child protective services. Charges have not yet been filed, but there remain a number of possible scenarios, including that she will face a court martial and jail time. Fortunately, her son has been returned to her grandmother and will not remain with protective services.

Telling this story is not intended as a criticism specfically of the American military, as there are certainly other employers out there who do not provide adequate family-related support to their employees. But I have a hard time understanding how it could possibly be excusable to ask anybody, no matter the import of their employment, to abandon their child without other option. How does a decision like that get made? What on earth did they expect her to do with her little boy?!

Has anybody else heard about this story? Have any other information?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Combatives Room

I was rushing through the Faculty of Physical Education at Colourful University the other day and came across The Combatives Room.

Immediately, my mind goes to what I think a Combatives Room should be for. I should be able to take whatever issue, person, situation or conflict that is causing me grief into The Combatives Room, beat it into submission and come out with resolution. Yeah!

Miscommunication with coworkers? Combatives Room!
Get in there, people who don't show up for choir rehearsal!

Doesn't that sound ideal?

Anyway, turns out that the room is for teaching karate and judo and other combative sports. I GUESS that makes sense.

But I think think my idea is more useful.