What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

My Photo
Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


I haven't laughed so hard since...

The violin might be real, but the rest of this eBay listing is a tall tale worthy of Paul Bunyan.

My own version of March madness

I have a soft spot for small colleges. I'm from a small-college town. I grew up and moved away to a big town, but I still went to a small college. So when it comes to the NCAA basketball tournament, I don't really have a dog in the fight.

Unless, of course, we're talking about the NCAA Division II tournament, where this year my alma mater, Seattle Pacific, reached the Final Four. And since, in a transformation only slightly more plausible than an elephant dancing a lead role with the New York City Ballet, I've become a sportswriter for said alma mater's alumni magazine, I got the privilege of writing about the team's coach, Jeff Hironaka, and one of its star players, Tony Binetti.

That Final Four piece displaced this story about SPU's sixth man, Mike Bushmaker, which was written just before the team's remarkable postseason.


You know you're famous when...

your name is one of the multiple-choice answers in a trivia quiz.

As to whether it's the correct answer or not, I have no comment.


Produce wash: who's really getting soaked?

So yesterday I paid a rare visit to a Whole Foods Market in Seattle. Rare not because I dislike the place, but because it's so far from my home. I don't travel that far for groceries, but in this case I was on my way home from church.

Whole Foods Market, in case you didn't know, is a high-end supermarket chain specializing in organic produce and "sustainable" business practices, and it's proven remarkably successful. A recent piece in Slate, though, peeks behind the curtain at Whole Foods and questions some of their practices. For instance, is it really "sustainable" to import organically grown produce from Chile instead of buying it locally? Doesn't the fossil-fuel cost of transporting that produce from South America essentially negate the reduced environmental impact of organic farming?

Good question, but I saw something even more puzzling in the produce section at Whole Foods. It's a $4-a-bottle product called "produce wash." It's loaded with fancified, organic-sounding emulsifiers and other goodies meant to eradicate dirt, wax, and chemical or pesticide residue from the surface of your fruits and veggies.

Leaving aside the question of what's wrong with good old-fashioned tap water and a scrubbing brush, I'd like to know what such a product is doing on the shelves at Whole Foods at all. Because, you see, if the produce there is organically grown, why in the heck would I need to wash it with something designed to remove pesticides? Isn't it the point of organic agriculture that the growers don't use pesticides in the first place? What's next, an umbrella shop in the Sahara?

Lots of stores sell us stuff we don't really need; Whole Foods is hardly unique in that respect. But that's the problem: the appeal of Whole Foods is based on the idea that it's different from other stores.

I did go ahead and spend $49 at Whole Foods. I bought some produce; I'm just not sure whether I should wash it.