Showing posts with label Current Events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Current Events. Show all posts

Friday, August 5, 2011

Salmonella-spiked Turkey

(Hello! I'm working on a post to share some vacation pictures with you. Unfortunately, all my pix are enormous -- as in 4320x3240 pixels. Anyone know if it's possible to mass reduce the size of whole folders of photos? 'Cause doing it one pic at a time is going to put me over the edge... In the meantime, here's a random current events entry.)  

In an attempt to re-acclimate myself with the regular grind (as my switch is stubbornly stuck on Vacation Mode), I ventured to the grocery store yesterday for milk.

The drive to the nearest store is literally 3-1/2 minutes from my house, which is why I try not to shop there. At any time in the store's 24-hour day I am sure to bump into at least two neighbors; and during peak hours, I find myself leaning on my cart five to eight times and chatting up an extra hour or so that I hadn't allotted to errand-running. Time management is NOT my friend, to start with. So I often shop in a food store farther from my house.

However, since yesterday was just an excuse to get out of the house, I went to my neighborhood Kroger. At the register, I was surprised when the cashier handed me a receipt for milk that was long enough to categorize a week's worth of groceries. She explained the extra type dealt with the ground turkey recall.

Since I use my Kroger card when I shop in the store, the computer was able to spit out all the dates and UPC codes when I bought now-recalled ground turkey. I learned that since February 20, I bought fourteen packages of potentially tainted turkey. I guess I shop at Kroger more often than I realized.

I searched my freezers but found none of this turkey, which means we ate all of it. That's a lot of bullets to dodge.

But here's the thing I'm most struck by: The recalled turkey came from one processing center. "On August 3, Cargill recalled 36 million pounds of fresh and frozen ground turkey products produced at the company’s Springdale, Ark., facility from Feb. 20, 2011, through Aug. 2, 2011, due to possible contamination with Salmonella Heidelberg." (Source) That same turkey has been sold under the following brands:

Honeysuckle White
Giant Eagle
Aldi’s Fit & Active
Fresh HEB
Shady Brook Farms
Natural Lean
Bulk packed ground turkey

So though I've often suspected, I now know for sure that when I pay $1.50-2.50 more per pound for Honeysuckle or Shady Brook Farms turkey, I'm getting the EXACT SAME product as if I spent less money on the store brand.

Friends, I've helped fund those name brand companies' marketing campaigns for the last time. Lesson learned!

Happy Friday!


Friday, August 13, 2010

The Truth Is in the Eye of the POV

I'm a fan of stories told from multiple viewpoints.  

(Note: To clarify, I do not enjoy omniscient POV.  When I say multiple viewpoints, I'm referring to novels where there is a clear shift in POV, ie: at the beginning of a new chapter or scene.  Head-hopping causes me to throw the book across the room.)  

For me, a central conflict is infinitely more interesting when I'm able to sympathize, or at least understand, different characters' interpretations of the situation.  In the end, there are very few truths in life.  Perceptions, ideologies, right verses wrong: all are highly subjective and relative notions.

I was thinking  this morning about it while watching Good Morning America.  The show highlighted yet another side to what's becoming the multi-faceted story of "modern folk hero" Steven Slater.  He is the Jet Blue flight attendant who lost his cool on August 9th, cussed out the entire plane of passengers, grabbed his carry-on luggage and a couple brew-skis, deployed the inflatable emergency exit slide, and used it to deplane.

The original story, told from Slater's POV, alleged that upon arriving and taxiing to the gate, a passenger stood and opened the overhead luggage bin before the fasten seatbelt light was turned off.  According to Slater, the passenger argued with him and her luggage fell from the bin, striking him on the forehead.  He snapped, fed up with a career of dealing with rude, unruly passengers, and acted out the climactic scene of his original production "Take This Job and Shove It."

Today, Good Morning America interviewed a passenger from that flight, who told a different story.  As the GMA website recapped, "Witnesses have also told police that it was Slater who was rude to passengers, and the cut on his forehead came at the beginning of the flight, not during an altercation with a surly passenger after the plane landed, as Slater has claimed."

What's fascinating about this story is the incident took place within the tight confines of an airplane, yet it's very difficult to sort out what really happened.  How could one person claim the suitcase conked Slater on the head, and others claim it didn't happen?

And around the globe, news audiences are interpreting this unfolding story according to their own past experiences and  personal codes of ethics.  Flight attendants have been quoted as applauding Slater's actions, understanding how much they have to put up with in their service-oriented careers.  Others feel dealing with rude customers is part of the job and those in service industries have to handle themselves with professionalism, at all costs.  Whether Slater is a hero or a villain is becoming a lively debate.

In fiction, we should remember that no conflict exists in black and white.  Life is like that: complicated, subjective, and messy.   By allowing the reading into the minds and hearts of different characters, we explore the shades of gray in every incident.  In turn, the emotional impact on the reader will elevate, and the story with ring true with authenticity.

So what do you think?  Is Steven Slater the hero or the villain of his story?