About 45 years ago, I got to play in the pee wee tournament at the Quebec winter carnival.
In 1974, as a pee wee (ice) hockey goaltender, I boarded a train, with my parents, from Brantford, Ontario to Quebec City.
Today, I’m reading the messages of Australian parents who have sent their Ice Crocs to the same pee wee tournament in Quebec City, as part of the winter carnival, or as the French prof would say, Bonhomme Carnaval, or I would say, Quebec Winter Carnival (and not by train, it would sink).
The pee wee hockey tournament has been a cornerstone of the Quebec Winter Carnival for, forever.
Coming from the town of Gretzky, great expectations were thrust upon the kids from Brantford, and about 10,000 people showed up in the arena where the Nordique used to play (it was probably 500, but great storytelling sometimes requires great imagination).
I let in 4 goals in two periods and was yanked.
My friend Mike (who I used to fear as a better goalie, but now we’re facebook friends) went in for the third and let in two goals.
We lost 6-0.
I have tried to bring these humble homilies to my years of coaching, teaching, and whatever else.
The experience though, was fantastic, hanging out with our host family, walking around in -20C weather, and awestruck by the 30-foot snow piles at the end of driveways.
We lost the game, but learned so much.
This is my way of telling hockey parents — especially the Australian ones — chill out.
My parents were and are awesome, driving me to the rink, going to Quebec City, getting on a plane when I needed them.
I’ve reached my American Beauty moment, and may I go on and have such a fruitful career as Kevin Spacey has since 1999.
I’m an unemployed former food safety professor of almost 20 years, who coaches little and big kids in hockey and goofs around.
I’ve enjoyed the last few months – despite the angst of moving into a house that may slide down the hill at any moment given the Brisbane rains – but with 80,000 direct subscribers and students and media still contacting me daily, I feel a connection.
I just gotta figure out how to get paid.
(If you see any adverts on barfblog.com, like Amy did this morning, it is not authorized. Chapman and I are quite happy to say what the fuck we want and call people on their food safety fairytales).
And I would like to publicly apologize to Amy for dragging me to Australia, and all the bitching I did about shitty Internet, and how I lost my career (at the mall).
It’s looking much better now.
Kansas State University took whatever opportunity they could to get rid of me, for the salary, for the controversy, for whatever. Wasn’t too long after that Kirk-2025-Schultz bailed for Washington state. The provost queen is still stuck there.
As full professor, Kansas had become boring and I hated doing admin shit.
And there was no ice.
When people in Australia ask me about President Trump (two words that never sound right together, like Dr. Oz – thanks, John Oliver) I say, look at Kansas, that is what will happen to America.
Kansas can only hope that reports are true that the Trump administration will let its governor, Sam Brownback, escape the disaster he created in Topeka for a quieter United Nations agricultural post in Rome. And global humanity can only hope for the best.
Mr. Brownback, a Republican first elected on the Tea Party crest of 2010, used his office as a laboratory for conservative budget experimentation. His insistence that tax cuts create, not diminish, revenues has left the state facing a ballooning deficit plus a ruling by the state Supreme Court that Kansas schoolchildren have been unconstitutionally shortchanged in state aid for years, with the poorest minority children most deprived.
The court ruled this month that they would shut the state’s schools if funding wasn’t made equitable by June 30. It found reading test scores of nearly half of African-American students and more than one-third of Hispanic students were deficient under aid formulas favoring more affluent school districts.
Mr. Brownback played no small role in the long-running school crisis by leading the Republican Legislature to limit school aid after enacting the largest tax cuts in state history, for upper-bracket business owners. Characteristically, the governor’s reaction to the court mandate was to further undermine schools by suggesting parents “be given the opportunity and resources to set their child up for success through other educational choices.”
If that’s the governor’s parting contribution to the school crisis before his flight to a Trump diplomatic appointment, Kansas parents and school administrators cannot be too surprised. They have been experiencing the deepening budget crisis firsthand in shortened school hours and resources as the state suffered two credit downgrades. Public protest led to a number of Brownback loyalists voted out last year, with legislative newcomers igniting a budget revolt against the governor. He barely survived a showdown last month, by vetoing a $1 billion tax increase.
The tax push seems likely to be renewed, since the state faces a two-year $1.2-billion deficit plus the school funding mandate. For that obligation, state education officials have estimated it might require $841 million over the next two years. The court fight was prompted by a slide in school aid that began in the recession under Mr. Brownback’s predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson, a Democrat. But it spiraled once the Brownback tax cuts drained state coffers.
It seems unfair that Mr. Brownback might abandon the mess he created, especially since Mr. Trump never ceases to renounce life’s “losers.” But Kansans have learned the hard way that they need to be free from the benighted Brownback era, and maybe Mr. Brownback has, too.
I wish nothing but the best for my Kansas colleagues, and a slow, endless angst for administration assholes who put money above values.
There was a time I thought being a prof meant something.
No longer tied to any sponsorship, academic or anyone.
(Chapman is, but he needs his job; I don’t).
I’m Canadian. Get used to the fucking swearing or get the fuck off.
A few years ago at the International Association for Food Protection annual meeting, I told the audience, after revealing my wife’s breast size because she asked me to shop for bras – which I did — that the audience of food safety geeks now knew more about my wife’s breast size than they knew about the food they were about to eat for dinner, where it came from, and how it was prepared.
A government-type said she couldn’t read me anymore.
Or the way 1.5 million attended my farewell blog.
But a few thousand have written in so:
After 25 years of food safety risk communication, nothing has changed.
A self-congratulating-largely-taxpayer-funded crowd to tell people food safety is their fault is not a movement.
Cut-and-paste press releases do not make a publication, regardless of medium – and I’ll take on anyone who wants to talk the medium is the message by University of Toronto prof Marshall McLuhan.
In an intensifying climate of scrutiny over food safety, the food industry is turning to “food safety culture” as a one-size-fits-all solution to protect both consumers and companies. This strategy focuses on changing employee behavior from farm to fork to fit a universal model of bureaucratic control; the goal is system-wide cultural transformation in the name of combatting foodborne illness. Through grounded fieldwork centered on the case of a regional wholesale produce market in California, we examine the consequences of this bureaucratization of food safety power on the everyday routines and lived experiences of people working to grow, pack, and deliver fresh produce. We find that despite rhetoric promising a rational and universal answer to food safety, fear and frustration over pervasive uncertainty and legal threats can produce cynicism, distrust, and fragmentation among agrifood actors. Furthermore, under the cover of its public health mission to prevent foodborne illness, food safety culture exerts a new moral economy that sorts companies and employees into categories of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ according to an abstracted calculation of ‘riskiness’ along a scale from safe to dangerous. We raise the concern that ‘safety’ is usurping other deeply held values and excluding cultural forms and experiential knowledges associated with long-standing food-ways. The long-term danger, we conclude, is that this uniform and myopic response to real risks of foodborne illness will not lead to a holistically healthy or sustainable agrifood system, but rather perpetuate a spiralling cycle of crisis and reform that carries a very real human toll.
He rarely eats in restaurants. When he dines at friends’ homes, he’s been known to peek into his hosts’ fridge and cupboards. “It’s an annoying habit,” he tells the Daily News.
Meet Doug Powell (right, exactly as shown, in 2005, dissenters to the left please) a former professor of food safety and publisher of barfblog.com, which is all about food-safety issues. There are plenty of them. Last year there were 626 food recalls in the U.S. and Canada. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that food-borne pathogens sicken 48 million Americans — that’s one in six — hospitalize 128,000 and kill 3,000. Powell, who was raised in Canada, lived in the U.S. and now resides in Brisbane, Australia, has been there. He wrote about that in barfblog. “More recalls are due to better detection and awareness,” he says. “The food is as dangerous as it’s always been, not more so.”
Between posting about recalls and E. coli outbreaks in the U.S. and beyond, Powell, 53, set the Daily News straight about everyday food-safety questions.
Now it’s okay to eat pork that’s rosy pink, right?
Nope. “Research has shown that color is a lousy indicator of whether meat is safe to eat,” says Powell. Same goes for requesting your chops or steaks “well done,” which is vague enough to put you in hurl’s way. “When I go to a restaurant and they ask me how I want my steak, I say, ‘140 degrees.’” He also carries a tip-sensitive digital thermometer in his backpack. He swears by one from Comark that’s around $16.
Raw sprouts are good for you, yes?
Maybe not. “I never eat them,” says Powell. And that includes ones he could grow at home. Warm and humid conditions ideal for growing sprouts are an Eden for growing bacteria, like Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli. In the past 20 years they’ve been connected to at least 30 outbreaks of foodborne illness (bring on your best shots, left, I got some new goalie equipment, 11 years later).
You should have two cutting boards in the kitchen — one for meat, the other for vegetables?
Powell uses one and “usually I use dish soap” to clean it. To sanitize, he uses a 10-to-one ratio of bleach to water.
(Nosestretcher alert: I already sent in the correction, which is somewhere between 250-400 parts water to I part bleach, or a tablespoon bleach per gallon of water.)
Is organically raised food safer than if it’s conventionally produced?
Nope. “Organic is a production standard and has nothing to do with microbial food safety,” says Powell. “Large or small, conventional or organic, safety is a function of individual farmers. They either know about microbial food safety risks and take steps to reduce or manage that risk, or they don’t.” Along the same line, “local” does not automatically mean safe, he adds.
Super-fresh sushi won’t make you sick will it?
“Raw fish houses an amazing microbiology profile that can make you sick,” he says. “It’s just not a good idea to eat it.”
Chapman says whenever someone calls him Ace, he responds with Ace of Spades, in a bad imitation of Lemmy’s voice.
Blogging used to be glamorous, sorta like airplane travel before 9/11.
Sorta before you knew that Bob Ross’ afro wasn’t all-natural, how things were normal until Harrison Ford started wearing an earring, sorta before you knew that people who run ice hockey in Australia are just as self-centered as the Canadians (they mainly are Canadians).
There’s a lot of behind the scenes stuff, and the pay sucks. Chapman is off in Japan (right, not exactly as shown) and barfblog daily ain’t working. For the 4,000 subscribers, we’re trying to fix things.
With over 70,000 direct subscribers to barfblog.com in over 70 countries, you’re getting the news, just a bit fractured at the moment.
And since so many of you comment on my music choices, I’m sending this out to my favorite and under-appreciated hockey coach, bus driver Chris. Gotta have soul.
We had lunch, hung out in his family’s apartment, toured old Paris and found out there really are other people in the world who have to have a couple of hours on the internet just to talk about food safety stuff.
Amy said the similarities were somewhat overwhelming.
I thought it was great.
Albert said France was terrible at public disclosure.
Online resources, such as blogs and sites such as Twitter and Facebook, have been shown to be useful research assets in several academic works. That’s us, Douglas A. Powell, Casey J. Jacob and Benjamin J. Chapman, ‘Using Blogs And New Media In Academic Practice: Potential Roles In Research, Teaching, Learning, And Extension’, Innov High Educ, 37 (2011), 271-282, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10755-011-9207-7.