Friday, April 20, 2007

in which the last two posts achieve gestalt under the heading, "big money owns your brain"

I've been reading much about food the last couple of days: natural foods versus the over-processed junk that makes money for a few fat cats and is more poison than nutrients. Of course I already knew a lot of it, but recently I ran into some new examples that turned my stomach.

First, the grocer where I frequently bought meat has started injecting all its beef with "up to 12% of a flavor-enhancing solution." Excuse me? You're charging me $8.99/lb. for saline solution? I knew they already did it to the pork and the chicken, but I bought organic whenever I could. There is no alternative for the beef in that store. And I'm not buying it. I don't want to eat it and I'm not going to pay for it.

Second, the raw-milk fracas that I stumbled across. I had no idea what kinds of chemical changes milk goes through when it's Pasteurized. I like milk and I think Pasteurization is generally a good thing, but then when I read how that catch-safe allows the farmers to degrade the care and treatment of their cows, thereby letting God-knows-what kinds of hyperbacteria to flourish in your milk, it all seems.... well, wasteful seems a weak term. Dishonest? Slovenly? Low-minded? (Those used to be pretty strong words.) You could say, "Where's the harm?" but the fact is there's always harm when you cut corners in the name of profits. In this case, the harm is put on the cows and the human customers, both.

I've sensed myself becoming less tolerant of milk as I got older. I thought perhaps it was my age, and I've considered it might be the hormones in the milk. The raw-milk proponents claim it's because Pasteurization kills the lactase that helps you digest milk. So some Big Dairy companies make products with lactase added back in so lactose-intolerant people can eat them! Talk about doing things the hard way! (Incidentally, one happy side-effect of this outrage was my learning about kefir. It's a fermented milk product, basically drinkable yogurt, with some added fiber. Boy is it yummy! I can't wait to get it in a blender with some fruit.)

Advocates of raw milk claim that the Big Dairy people have bought off their politicians and terrified the public with the dangers of non-pasteurized milk. I believe it's illegal even to sell it in most states. I found contact information for a few farmers in my area who will allow you to "time-share" a cow, so you're not technically buying the milk from them, they're just storing and caring for the cow on your behalf. I haven't decided yet what to do about it; I just like knowing that the option is there. I certainly don't need the government to tell me what I can and cannot eat--if you want to regulate something, go tighten the leash on your dairy farmers.

Now, what does all this have to do with my difficulties exporting a PNG image? Well, I'll tell you. When I learned that I needed a raster-based program to build my images, my first thought was to brainstorm all the ways I might buy, borrow or steal a copy of PhotoShop. Then AJ very sensibly suggested I obtain an open-source program, which left me smacking my forehead in chagrin. I just installed that open-source WP a month ago, and that worked fine, so why didn't I think to try it again?

Because Microsoft doesn't want you to, honey. They (and Adobe, and Mac, et al) are so omnipresent that unless you've got backstage access to the programming world, you may never know that open-source software exists. I didn't--I'd heard the term but didn't know it came in flavors other than SameGame. That makes me a little sad, because I taught myself html a few years ago and enjoyed it; I wish I knew more about programming, but there are only so many hours in the day, and one can't be an expert in everything. Hey, I make my own clothes, I can cut up a chicken and start a sourdough, and I'm living in a house that we're remodelling ourselves, so climb out of my nose, okay?!?

Seriously, I've very grateful to the code-monkeys who think it's fun to sit on their asses and reverse-engineer programs all day, then have the grace to share their efforts with the public as their own little way of giving the finger to the Man. I'm equally grateful to the folks who take time to research the deviousness of food manufacturers and then share their findings.

These folks keep poking holes in the propaganda screen. It's up to the rest of us to walk up and put an eye to the hole.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just googled up raw milk. Its sale is legal in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, but not in Iowa.

In the '50's, and perhaps even into the mid-60's, my GrandDad Garten sold raw milk to folks in the small community in northcentral Missouri near his farm. For many years, his son, my Uncle Howard, had a dairy farm. For several of those years, his product could only be graded B, since he didn't have concrete pads in the lot adjacent to the dairy barn.

Since 1951, I have been drinking pasteurized milk. It ain't kilt me. I do buy acidophilis milk for the most part now. Mainly, I use it with cereal-no presweetened crud mind you, and no sugar. I outgrew the sweet tooth in the last century. Besides, all the sugar goes to the bottom anyway if you eat Cheerios.

I was about to leap to AJ's defense over on his blog, but he has requested that we stay out of the fray. Rats!!! I was itchin' to tear that devil's advocate a new orifice. AJ could emulate the ancient pharoahs in this case-strike the offending one's names from all the obelisks by using a blog filter.