Food waste is a huge issue. Combined, Americans and Canadians throw out almost $200 billion of food each year, equal to hundreds upon hundreds per person.
We do this for many reasons. Food is plentiful and relatively cheap, and yet at the same time our need for value means we buy in bulk for a discount even if we actually lose money by throwing out much of it. The media shape our standards to only want “perfect”-looking food, meaning lots of perfectly-fine food goes unsold at the grocery store. Inconsistent and often-flawed guidelines confuse when food is still edible, with “best by” dates benefiting manufacturers more than customers.
Last week, Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal released a comic called "You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you," on how our brains can reject information that conflicts with our worldview. People kept sharing it, and I saw it enough times to finally check it out. It's a great look at why, contrary to our expectations, we can cling to our beliefs, even when they're proven wrong. Near the end, Inman confides that there's no easy solution to the backfire effect, going so far as to say "there are ways of changing people's minds that are more effective...
“Just you tonight?”
So many ways to take that question. Most often, I’m gracious. Sometimes, though, I pick up the unspoken sentiment, the suggestion of something missing. An incompleteness. (A Forbes.com post last year had the headline “Is There Anything More Pathetic Than A Table For One?”) This is the apparent plight of the solo diner.
Some restaurants bury single patrons in the least desirable geography of the room. Others direct them to the bar, regardless of the tumbleweed rolling by the tables. Not every restaurant creates this estrangement, especially no worthwhile one, but eating alone can feel like the bottom of the totem pole. That’s too bad, because it can be — and, for me, often is — a wonderful experience.
Icons understand the power of telling their story. They craft their legend through reciting the details of their journey. They give shape to their lives through recounting hardships and triumphs. And few icons have harnessed the power of myth-making quite like RuPaul.
“Supermodel (You Better Work)”, the hit song that introduced the world to RuPaul, tells the fable of a “little black girl from the Brewster projects,” who is discovered at 15 by a modelling scout and then leads a glamorous life of fashion shoots, replete with big hair, sophisticated outfits, and over-the-top costume jewellery.
While the Brewster-Douglass housing projects are real – the largest in Detroit before being demolished in 2014 – RuPaul did not grow up there. (It was, however, the home of Motown legends Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard.) Instead, RuPaul grew up in San Diego before moving to Atlanta with a story every bit as interesting as the one in “Supermodel.”