About Me

My photo
My interests include veganism and vegetarianism, health, ethics, politics and culture, media, and the environment. I have three kids; I teach college part-time, study piano and attempt to garden. I knit. I blog on just about anything, but many posts are related to my somewhat pathetic quest to eat better, be more mindful of the environment, and be a more responsible news consumer. Sometimes I write about parenting, but, like so many Mommy bloggers, my kids have recently told me not to. :) Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 26, 2011

An "Oops!" at CBS News

This morning, I logged onto cbsnews.com, as I nearly always do, to see what was up.  Pictures of a bomb blast in Nigeria caught my eye.  The first picture was of three men carrying an injured woman away from the building.  I looked closer.

Was I seeing what I thought I was?

Had CBS *really* posted a picture of a woman, sans underwear, such that one could see her genitals?


The picture has since been edited -- it is an up-close shot now of her face and the men around her, and is now fourth in the gallery, rather than first --  but I cannot help but wonder if the original picture would have *ever* been posted by a major news network had the woman been white.

Somebody would have said, 'Gosh, I don't think we can post that picture'.

A friend in the business told me that that kind of picture is NEVER posted, regardless of race, that it was an "oops" and that surely some editor would see it and take it down.  (Which appears to be pretty much what happened.)

But, really -- race and gender seem to be at play here.  When is the last time you saw a picture of a white woman's naked crotch posted by a major news network?  Or a picture of a penis (of any race)?  Seriously.  CBS isn't TMZ.

I get that mistakes happen and that I probably cannot possibly understand how stressful it is to get the news out and be first.

But honestly, had I been in that newsroom, I would have said something.

I could post the cached version of the picture, but I won't, for the same reason it shouldn't have been posted in the first place.


Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sticks Can Fix A Car

The relatives were visiting last week from Boston.  So, we decided to take them over to dusty Central Oregon, since the desert there is scenic with reliably summer-like weather (unlike the rest of Oregon) and *totally* different from their usual city-and-suburb environs.

They wanted to go on a hike.  Lots of options -- mountains, streams, rivers, desert itself, lava flows, even a big Obsidian flow.  Thinking that it would be much too boring to take them on a hike (Benham Falls) we actually were familiar with (and knew how to get to), we consulted a book and found a few options near Sisters, OR which claimed that they were 1) scenic, 2) easy and 3) relatively easy to get to.

(The hike we didn't go on -- picture of part of Benham Falls, taken summer 2010.)

We piled into our two cars -- six people in the minivan; three in the Corolla.

We drove and drove and drove.  Kids started to complain.  Husband who brilliantly planned this adventure decided to make a last-minute change and seek a hike that was (according to the book he was still consulting) even easier and closer.  We did a U-turn to find said location.

We ended up on a gravel road.

A LONG gravel road.  Driving the considerably smaller car (and neither of our cars designed for off-roading), I mentioned to my husband that perhaps it would be wiser to abandon this brilliant plan.  I had just taken both cars in to be fixed and didn't relish the idea of having repairs to do again.

Husband said I was overreacting.

It'll be fine.

Don't worry.


Gravel road becomes a nearly impassable ROCK road.  We are now driving about five miles per hour.  Suddenly I hear a huge CLONK and then a disheartening BRRRRR.  I stop the car and look at the kids in the back seat.

My son has burst into tears and is screaming frantically "I WANT TO GO HOME!"  My niece's eyes are like saucers.  Feeling absolutely NOT confident, I say to them, "It's OK!  Let's get out and see what's wrong."

(I may or may not have said a few more colorful phrases as well; I may have even screamed at the husband.)

The entire exhaust system was disconnected from the engine and hanging down, nearly touching the so-called "road".  Though the car would drive, it was even more perilous than before to drive it, as the clearance under the car was now even smaller than previously.

Husband valiantly scoots himself under the car to examine the damage.

Like a tenured, chaired professor of political science has so much knowledge about the car in the first place.

"What do we have to fix it?"

NOTHING.  Not even a piece of rope (not that it would have been safe to tie rope to the underside of the car anyway).

"Do the cell phones work?"

NEGATIVE.  Lost cell phone connection about 10 miles back.

Husband says "We're nearly there; let's just park and go on the hike and deal with the cars later."

Well, since it is promised  to be such a "spectacular" hike, complete with a marvelous waterfall, that does sound like a wise idea.

Off we go.  Trudging uphill for a LONG time, seeing a bit of a racing stream and some admittedly pretty views of the mountains.

(Mountain lilly.)


We never found it.

(The tired and exasperated children.)

"I shouldn't criticize the hiking book," my sister-in-law quipped.  "It's a GREAT book!  It's a work of PURE FICTION!"

The kids were tired and cranky and it was obvious that the idea of this hike taking only half a day was going to take the whole day.

We had to find a way to drive the car, at least until we could park it and use our cell phones to call a tow truck.

My brother-in-law found two sticks of Ponderosa pine, rolled himself under the car and reattached the exhaust system.

(The brother in law and the sister in law.)

Oh, that'll work.

It did.  We drove as slowly as before, stopping about every half mile to check on the car.  We drove it 25 miles (to Bend), until we found a garage and some extremely friendly, generous souls who fixed it for free.

(The husband who planned the trip.)

In case you ever need emergency car repair in Central Oregon, The "Good Guys" in Bend should be renamed the "Great Guys".

(Not at all from the hike, but I decided to share this all with you -- from earlier this summer -- me and the kids.)