Wednesday, August 20, 2014

CARTA Diaries: Finding a way out of Ferguson

When I walked up to the shuttle stop, there were three black boys in khaki slacks and white shirts, two in polos and one in a T-shirt with the logo for the Howard Tigers across the front. As soon as they boarded, the shuttle driver greeted them warmly. She knew these kids well. She started asking them about their teammates and what nights the games would be. Would she be able to come see them play? What numbers and positions would they have that school year? They were all laughing and cutting up, talking about their rivals at other schools.
It was one of those really great moments of observing community. I was happy for the kids that this grown-up, whatever her relationship to them and their families, was taking an interest and supporting them in sports.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It Happened to Me: I was a Nude Model at 18, and it Changed My Body Image For the Better

When my best friend described her life-drawing class, I was amazed to hear that there was a place where not only did all the usual beauty standards not matter, but that the opposites were actually coveted.

The whole nude modeling thing started with my best friend telling me a story about some guy’s junk. She kept drawing it too small. It was one of her first art workshops with a live model, and she must have been compensating for a little bit of embarrassment. The professor had finally come over to her drawing and corrected it to match the model’s natural proportions. “It’s alright,” he explained. “A lot of students downplay the penis at first.” 

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's too late for Michael Brown, but not to change our approach to similar tragedies

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown—an 18-year-old black man—was shot multiple times by a member of the Ferguson, Missouri, police force.
Much as in the Trayvon Martin case and the Jordan Davis case and most other cases involving violence against black men, the details of what really happened vary depending on whom you ask. Regardless of whether you believe the Ferguson Police Department’s official stance that Michael Brown was shot because he was trying to grab the officer’s gun, it is hard to understand how the situation escalated in the first place. Like Martin, Brown was on his way back from the convenience store. He was with friends. He was unarmed.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kitchen Intuition: Do you want fries with that?

You know you shouldn't. But you do.

There aren't many things as yummy as a french fry. But they're so unhealthy, right? Not necessarily.


You’ve probably heard all the negative stuff about french fries: bad fats, bad carbohydrates and trans fats. Fries win the trifecta of making us gain weight and feel terrible. And that’s just the fries! That doesn’t even take into account all the stuff we put on them, which is usually tons of salt and ketchup, adding a good bit of sugar and even more sodium to your already-toxic side dish.
But the fact is, you don’t have to give up french fries. As Marion Nestle points out in the sidebar, it’s not the potato that’s evil. It’s the preparation method that makes deep-fried potatoes unhealthy (well, that and the portion sizes). To reclaim the french fry, all you have to do is take over the processing, and it’s one of the easiest preps you’ll find in home cooking. Compared to making frozen fries from the grocery store, the cooking time is the same. The only difference is that instead of opening a plastic bag, you’re going to wash, cut and then toss a potato. The cleanup (washing the baking sheet) is the same. And your homemade fries will not only be far superior but also dramatically cheaper!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Robin Williams, Virginia Woolf and the undertow of mental illness

Robin Williams is for me, like many people, simply another celebrity, another comedian, another popular figure from the movies of my childhood. I enjoy his movies, the characters he played, the lines he delivered, but I am not intimately acquainted with his career. So why did the death of this man hit me so hard that I became quiet and distant during a night out with friends?
The answer is simple. In the suspected suicide behind Williams’ death, I see myself. More importantly, I see what I’m afraid will happen to me in the future.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kitchen Intuition: Breakfast quick and on the cheap


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was shocked when I realized that school was going to start up again this week. Already! And, of course, the start of a new school year has me thinking about breakfast. Summertime mornings can be loose and lazy, with plenty of time to make fun, yummy breakfasts. But school mornings can be frantic, and it’s way too easy to let breakfast slide.

So here I am with your back-to-school reminder: spend a few minutes of your day making sure the kids start their days with a good breakfast in them—preferably one that didn’t come out of a brightly colored box or from a drive-thru window. If you make everyone’s breakfast yourself, not only will it be much healthier, but you’ll be surprised how cheap it can be. And it can be done without all that much fuss.

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