Birthday Cake Ban

I hate being one of those crotchety old people who hears a story, shakes his head in disgust, and says, “When I was a kid…”

grumpy-old-man-with-caneYet, I find myself in that position (hopefully I am not crotchety however).

“When I was a kid…” I don’t remember parents bringing birthday cakes or cupcakes to classrooms. I just don’t think it was done way back then; maybe they melted on the stagecoach ride over. Who knows? Yet, times change and it appears to be standard operating behavior for parents to do so nowadays — that is, unless you reside in Northern Kentucky.

Burlington Elementary School in the Bluegrass State revised its wellness policy.

The end result is a ban on food for school birthday celebrations. We’re not just talking about cakes; rather — in the interest of promoting healthier food choices — ALL other snacks are now verboten. Non-food “treats” such as pencils, balloons, erasers and book-marks are suggested. (“Happy birthday Johnny, now blow out your bookmark!”)

The intention is laudable; they’re actually doing some-thing to combat the ever-burgeoning obesity crisis and attempting to shift the focus of celebrations away from food. Good on them for that. And there are indeed health concerns involving food allergies; not to mention, I imagine it’s purt’ near impossible to school a child redlining on a sugar buzz.

Yet I have concerns.

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Video: God Only Knows Beach Boys Remake

I’m not much of a Beach Boys Fan.

I like their “big hits” but I could always take them or leave them. This video however is not only beautiful to watch, but it goes to a great cause. Big stars each sing one line of the classic song. (I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t recognize a lot of them – and I used to be a DJ!)

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Double Standards Anyone?

Recently, a male “news” commentator on a national “news” network was referencing Michelle Obama’s cause about better childhood nutrition and made a rather insulting remark — while sitting on a couch surrounded by four women no less. One of the female panelists berated Mrs. Obama’s initiative saying, we don’t need “the federal government projecting these standards upon us.”

The man augmented her opinion with,

“How well could she be eating? She needs to drop a few.” After a shocked reaction from the women, he went on, “No, let’s be honest…who are we taking nutrition advice from? There’s no french fries happening? That’s all kale and carrots? I don’t buy it.”

 

Okay, where to begin? Step one; reassemble my exploded head.

I’ve said before, and will most likely have opportunity to say again, that I don’t get the thing about putting down the First Lady’s attempt to make our next generation healthier. Sugar is still as aplenty as sand in the desert and shadowy men wearing trench coats do not yet sell chocolate candy in dark alleys. Can we have a reality check? Our kids are getting fatter; it’s undeniable. Something has to be done and whether your like her or not, the First Lady has propelled the conversation into the spotlight so that unto its own is already a success. You don’t like her ideas? That’s fine. Step to the plate and come up with something else, but we need to adjust the vector of this country’s future health, and we need to do it yesterday. All hands on deck.

Additionally, if hypocrisy were water, he’d drown.

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Yes, it Could Go Badly…

Two huge news stories rocked my world this week.

The first involved a powerful video featuring CNN’s senior international correspondent, Ivan Watson, as he reported from a helicopter flying to Mount Shingal in Northern Iraq. Their mission was to drop supplies to those trapped there. Upon touching down, the aircraft was besieged with hordes of people, so desperate to escape that they were throwing children on board in what Mr. Watson accurately described as “chaotic” and “crazy.”

As they flew back over the front line, with the rat-tat-tat of machine guns firing at the enemy below, the civilians on board were covering their ears, many sobbing uncontrollably, eventually changing to tears of joy as they reached their destination.

Roll forward a few hours.

My son texted me,

“I know you are a big Robin Williams fan. He passed away apparently due to suicide. Beyond sad.”

Again I was surprised as I felt tears well up. [Read more…]

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Upset About Bake Sales

The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act went into effect July 1, setting new, updated standards for calories, fats, sugar, and sodium for “competitive foods” sold at schools.

competitive-food

“Competitive foods” do not wear uniforms and engage in sports; rather that’s government-speak for vending machine snacks and bake-sale goodies. This regulation sets standards for calories, fats, sugar, and sodium, and is attempting to push foods with whole grains, lowfat dairy, fruits, vegetables, or protein foods as their main ingredient. It does require that food and beverage items sold during the school day achieve certain standards, but also allows for special exemptions for the purpose of conducting infrequent school-sponsored fundraisers. What the law does not do is define “infrequent,” leaving that to the states to set their own limits.

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