Can anyone explain it costs $100 to get a passport? It probably is more than that, if you include the cost of getting your photo taken. Last November the Senate discovered that a $30 portion of that amount - the so-called "execution fee" - is roughly double what it should be. What about the rest?
Got our first water bill today. We used 6,200 gallons in a 45 day period, for an average of 137 gallons per day. Looks like we're a little below average, but I'd like to cut back on our numbers. The bill comes out to a cost of about nine-tenths of a cent per gallon, which sounds pretty good to me, considering a 16oz bottle of water can run you over a dollar. I was surprised at how much water we use though - those showers, toilet flushes, and dish washings add up, don't they?
Two examples of extremely lucky people: First, this article about a window washer in Manhattan who plummeted 47 stories. His brother was killed, but somehow he survived. After a few surgeries and some rehab, he should be able to walk again in about a year.
Second, this story about a drunk driver who was ejected from his SUV after hitting the guardrail, then landed in the middle of the highway and was run over by a tractor trailer. Why was he lucky? The truck passed directly over top of him, leaving him untouched.
Drunk drivers have an uncanny ability to survive crashes. They'll ram directly into a van full of people, killing everyone, but the drunk driver always seems to walk away unscathed.
I'm undecided on presidential candidates, but I like what John Edwards has to say in this Wall Street Journal editorial (link may require registration). A few excerpts appear after the jump (click below). I still wouldn't vote for him in a primary - too politically inexperienced, and he didn't look too good in the 2004 general election - but these are good ideas.
Sometimes a marketing attempt is so bald, so obvious, and so cynical that you just have to recognize it for what it is. When it also relates to a topic I'm interested in - food and the food industry - I can't resist weighing in on it.
This book review in the NY Times caught my eye today. The book, called Skinny Bitch in the Kitch, is presented by the authors and publisher as a vegan call to arms by a couple of authentic, well-meaning animal activists, but it smells like a marketing tool to capitalize on (a) women afraid they're not skinny enough, (b) vegetarians and vegans eager to reaffirm their beliefs, (c) fashion types who buy $100 doggie outfits, (d) wanna-be feminists who think use of the word "bitch" makes them cutting edge and assertive, and (e) people who feel guilty about eating meat.
A few of the clues:
Full title? "Skinny Bitch in the Kitch: Kick-Ass Recipes for Hungry Girls Who Want to Stop Cooking Crap (and Start Looking Hot!)"
Authors' culinary training? None. A "cookbook consultant" helped write the recipes.
Authors' diet and nutrition training? One of them studied "holistic nutrition through an unaccredited school for alternative health."
Authors' previous experience, besides writing another "Skinny Bitch" book? One was a model, and the other was a booker for models.
In a sign that the marketing attempt is working, the review notes that one boutique in LA has sold 2,000 copies of the original "Skinny Bitch" to people who probably don't even know it's a vegan book. From some quick research, it looks like the original book may have been an honest manifesto against the food industry and the way women eat. This follow-up, based on the review at least, sounds more like a cheap attempt to extend the brand and cash in on readers who don't know any better.