Saw this photo in the NYT this morning. Made my stomach lurch. The height of that wave is approximately 100 ft. And yes, that is a surfer, one Garrett McNamara, in the middle. The wave is off Nazaré, on the central coast of Portugal. Who knew? Photo by Tó Mané via Reuters.
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and last week’s tragic shooting, unsurprisingly, I have found myself online. More than would be considered healthy. Through some weird roundabout search I ended up on a whole host of sites “promoting” (this is a gentle word for the methods they employ) the purchase of long term food survival kits. The kits provide nutritional needs for as short as a few days, or for as long as a year or more. The buyer can choose enough provisions for a single person, and up to a family of 6. The food itself has a guaranteed shelf life of 25 years, but doesn’t come cheap. In addition to meals, there are other dimensions to these sites: there are survival kits that include shelter, water and weaponry. And there are medical supplies and navigation equipment to boot. In a more paranoid and despairing moment, I can easily see how one could succumb to the marketing of such preparedness. And then I consider the lives of those affected by disaster, and how, in hindsight, an investment in one of these packages might not have been such a horrible idea. If you really want to see more, go here, here and here.
I always eat breakfast at home (far less out of virtue and more out of the desire to have coffee in my pyjamas), so I don’t usually skimp on buying decent fruit or healthy homemade bread. Although I recognize that this eating and spending habit is a luxury, the total still couldn’t possibly rival a daily latte at Starbucks. Well, not so fast. Last night, at our fancy local grocer, I knew something was amiss when I paid up for a basket full of food. I was embarrassed at the total, but instead of being responsible and backing out of the purchase, I did a quick tally, amortized out the excess cost over the number of items in the cart, and figured that I should definitely shop more judiciously in the future lest we go broke. I tend to look at price tags on everything (habit picked up from my father!) and find myself returning products to the shelves – although not often enough – if they are too expensive. But I didn’t see an amount on the fruit. I know from experience what the normal price range is, so I blithely added both containers to my array. The tags were scrunched up and hidden, and now I can see why. $11.99 for the strawberries and $7.99 for the blueberries. You read that correctly. The perils of eating fruits and vegetables out of season are legend, but yikes. I am ashamed for so many reasons. The strawberries are a little more than .38¢ a pop and those pretty little blueberries top out at .11¢ each. I had 6 strawberries and 26 blueberries. $5.14 worth of fruit. This doesn’t even begin to take into account the rest of my meal: the piece of toast with almond butter or my coffee with milk. So very very wrong.
These are decidedly creepy. I know. But I find it fascinating that so much trouble (likely to our benefit) has been taken to make these models so thoroughly life-like. All of them are used in medical and surgical training. As you can guess, there is an entire industry devoted to making these models, many of which I deemed either too weird or graphic to post. But if you want to know more, go here and here.
Before I touched anything in the rusty package that arrived the other day from the Devil’s Rope Museum, I called my Doctor to make sure that I was up to date on my tetanus shot. After getting the A-Okay, I proceeded, delicately, to open up my bundle of 55 different kinds of barbed wire. If I had more cash I might have sprung for the “Super Bundle” containing a whopping 215 different varieties of barbed wire. As it is, 55 is just fine. In fact, more than enough. Knowing that there are over 450 patents and over 2000 varieties of barbed wire found by collectors is enough to make one dizzy. To read more on the history of barbed wire go here, here or here. Original kernel of barbed wire visuals Via Partners & Spade. I think a trip to the Devil’s Rope Museum might be in order someday real soon.
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