You know how at the start of meetings, there will often be some "housekeeping" issues that are addressed first? These are things that aren't always related to the broader topic, but they need to be brought up and dealt with, so they're usually bundled together under the umbrella of housekeeping.
I like to have a general "theme" for my blog posts (nerdy, I know) and I certainly try to think of creative titles that somehow encapsulate what my topic is going to be. Usually I just stick to alliterations, a fallback I constantly used in my undergrad when it came to writing essays (Machiavellian Motherhood...Vignettes of Violence...Voltaire: Voice of the Revolution?, etc etc...you can perhaps see why my flair for the dramatic title prompted one professor to note that I was more suited to writing historical romance than objective, critical essays!)
Anyways, today's post does NOT have a creative/alliterative title. It is going to be more of a "housekeeping post." However, I've realized that the title is not just figurative, but literal too. I need to do some actual housekeeping today! But in the spirit of procrastination, I'm going to tackle blog housekeeping first. So here are some things I've been meaning to write about/have found interesting:
1) There's this type of hybrid sled/stroller that I see parents pushing around on the sidewalks here. It's low to the ground, like a sled, and the parents plop their bundled-up child on it. But instead of having to be dragged through the snow, thus REALLY hurting your back as you pull on the rope or whatever is usually attached to sleds, these ones are pushed from the back. Since its a sled, it has runners instead of wheels, so this makes navigating through the snow a lot easier AND saves the parents' backs! I hope my description is more clear than I think it is...because I think this is such a neat thing and I've never seen one in Canada before!
2) If you've been wondering whatever happened to Baba Yaga and her magic books next door, the books have mysteriously disappeared but her antipathy towards me has only increased. I run into her about three times a week, unfortunately (and trust me, I will go out of my way to avoid her on the stairwell whenever I can!) and now the violence and hatred has escalated to her shaking her cane in my face and snarling Russian at me. I still have no idea what she's saying, so I've taken to just smiling kindly at her and saying things like, "My, my, what a lovely morning!" or "I do love starting off my days with such a pleasant little chit-chat!" This only makes her angrier though, I think. If you don't hear from me for awhile, its probably because she's knocked me out with her cane and I've fallen down five flights of stairs.
3) This has nothing on drunk driving PSAs back home. Leave it to Russia.
4) When it comes to chicken, there's a common belief that the white meat (breasts) is better for you, more healthier, than the dark, gamier meat (legs, wings). This is okay on a small scale, because you can buy packaged chicken breasts at the grocery store, but when you multiply this by however many people in North America choose white meat over dark meat, a major problem arises: what happens to the dark meat that nobody wants?
Well, it turns out that for years it's been sent to Russia!! Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia has been importing dark meat from the States in exponential numbers. In 2009 alone, Russia paid $800 million USD for 1.6 billion pounds of U.S. leg quarters. Crazy!! However, in January 2010, Putin banned U.S. chicken from Russia, and although the ban was later lifted, this past November a new law was created banning frozen chicken from being used in processed products like nuggets or cutlets, thus effectively making it impossible to continue importing from the States. Although Putin said that the new law was created because of health concerns, its much more likely that he doesn't want Russia to be too reliant on foreign imports. If Putin gets his way (and who are we kidding, he totally will), the plan is for Russia to be entirely self-sufficient in chicken production by 2012.
I thought this was very interesting on a couple levels. For one thing, I've never really thought about what happens to the parts of the chicken that nobody wants. Who would have thought that it would be Russia importing so much dark meat? It's interesting on a cultural level that dark meat is preferred here, whereas in North America dark meat doesn't have such a sterling reputation as the white breasts. (Indeed, McDonalds recently got rid of the dark meat in their chicken McNuggets, and they reported a considerable increase in sales once customers realized the new nuggets were all white meat...or at least the 35% of the nugget that IS actual meat is white!)
This also caught my interest because now that Russia has cancelled the imports, a new problem arises. What will America do with all its extra dark meat? Why is perfectly good, healthy meat treated as a waste product? Will they find a new outlet for their excess meat, or will it just go to waste? If you're interested in reading more about this problem, check out this great article: http://www.slate.com/id/2282473/pagenum/all/.
5) The days are getting longer! I'm writing this at 4:39pm and its still light out :) Dare I hope that the end is near, that Wiarton Willie was right when he predicted an early spring?
6) There was a bomb scare this morning and all the railways were shut down and trains were cancelled. Apparently it was just a hoax, but I'm glad to see that the authorities took it completely seriously.
Well, that's it for "housekeeping". Procrastination must come to an end now and real housekeeping begin!