Thursday, March 26, 2009

My faith in humanity is restored!

Someone has invented a vending machine that bakes fresh pizza while you wait! Sometimes, I wonder if the world is getting better. At least for today, that question is answered. I hope they do make it to the States soon ...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Carmina Burana

Saw Carmina Burana tonight at the Heymann Center in Lafayette. Was quite lovely, especially the soprano, Esther Heideman. Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to have any vocal samples of her work to link to, but if she happens to come near where you live, it's worth the drive.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gardening to save money? Maybe you should do the math.

Here's the deal with gardening - unless you are springing for some serious greenhouse equiptment, whatever you grow and eat will be seasonal. Seasonal = cheap at the grocery store.

Let me give you an example. In November, I bought 6 cabbage plants, for about $3. At the time, cabbage was a dollar or more a head, so it looked like some savings. However, now when it is time to harvest, cabbage is selling for 39 cents a head at Winn-Dixie. So I lost money on my cabbage, big time.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am not advocating giving up gardening. There are plenty of reasons to grow your own cabbage. It may be healthier, it is definately fresher, and I know where it came from and what it was grown in. Also, it got my husband out for a little excercise to weed it. So I am not sorry that I planted it, I am just suggesting that all those articles on the web about "saving money by growing your own food" can be misleading.

Of course, had I planted the cabbage as seed, it would have been much cheaper. Unless you happen to have farm equiptment for plowing lying around like I do, though, you are looking at a lot of spadework to prepare a bed for those puppies. Or you can plant seeds ($2-3) in those cute little peat moss pots that they sell at all gardeing stores, in potting soil. ~ $2-3 for the pots (although you probably get >= 24 for that) and ~$5-10 for the potting soil. So you'd be planting a lot of cabbage to get a decent return on investment ("roi"). And maybe you can eat that much cabbage - more power to you, if so. But, quite honestly, I don't know anyone living in an urban or suburban area with that much space for gardening. So to get a decent roi on cabbage, you need (1) a lot of land (2) a lot of time or farm equipment.

Now, I think cabbage probably has a pretty low roi, compared to say, tomatoes. But I was looking at a "tomato growing kit" in my local Tractor Supply today. It came with seeds, potting soil, a galvanized bucket, and a cute little mini spade and rake. For $19.99. Let me tell you, you are going to need to get a lot of tomatoes to break even on that. Remember that, even though they are going for $3/lb at your grocery store today, when they are in season, they'll be 99 cents or so. A good outdoor tomato plant will easily give you 20 lbs of tomatoes (depending on the variety you choose). But tomatoes grown in a windowsill in a galvanized bucket?

If saving money was my number one concern with vegetables, especially if I lived in an urban or suburban area, I'd take that time I was planning to spend gardening and use it to drive to my local farmer's market. Whatever is seasonal will probably be even cheaper than at the grocery store, and it has most of the health advantages of doing it yourself. If you don't know where your closest farmer's market is, try looking at eatwild or local harvest. As a bonus, you may even be able to find local meat, poultry, eggs, or milk.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Phish pays for their fans to be arrested

According to Yahoo! News over $1 million in drugs was seized at the first Phish concert, and 194 fans were arrested. So far, ho hum. The amusing part of the story, though, is that Phish paid for the police presence at their concert.

What, exactly, was whoever made that management decision thinking? Sure, maybe they saved some dough over private security, or they needed cops to seize counterfeit or something, but if I were a Phish fan, I know I'd feel a but betrayed this morning. After all, they are supposed to be the heirs of the Dead. Did the Dead get their fans arrested for doing drugs?