The kid comes to Aus

I did a live radio interview in Coff’s Harbour at a hockey tournament, and actually stumbled because I knew Australians are not fond of the word kid.

My youngest of 4 Canadian kids is now boarding a plane in Dallas for the 17-hour flight to Sydney, then Brisbane, with her boyfriend.

It’ll be an adventure.

Qantas, if you screw up the meals, i’ll be after you.


Say it loud, say it proud, blow dryers suck

Daughter Courtlynn – the 14-year-old – arrived from Canada last night for a last-minute weekend bonding session with Sorenne. And Amy. And me?

While waiting for Courtlynn’s plane to arrive in Kansas City – it’s not her plane, it’s Air Canada’s plane, but she was on it – we killed some time at the Zona Rosa outdoor mall near the airport. We found the restroom with the diaper-changing facilities and saw the biggest, eco-BS hand drying sign I’ve ever seen.

The friction from rubbing with paper towel is far more effective at reducing microbial populations than dispersing the bugs everywhere with a blow dryer that doesn’t really dry hands. The County health inspectors may want to check this out.

Children and barf bags

The most awesome thing I ever did as a parent – according to Amy – is when we were flying back from Florida last year with daughter Courtlynn (right, with Sorenne).

As the plane touched down in Kansas City, Courtlynn had that 13-year-old look of nausea that I recognized far too well.

I knew she was going to spew.

I deftly retrieved the barf bag from the seat pocket in front of me, Courtlynn filled it, and I nonchalantly deboarded the plane, barf bag in one hand, daughter’s hand in the other, and deposited it in the first available garbage receptacle.

Amy was awestruck.

Marlene, otherwise known as Momma, is apparently awestruck by people who edit blogs containing the word barf. She sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago flogging her oversized, fully disposable barf bags that come complete with sanitizing wipes for quick clean-up. And in three logos — one for pregnancy, one for travel, and one with a college-style logo — puke university.

Thanks for the swag, Momma. The three types of barf bags were at the homestead when we returned on Sunday. Who doesn’t need an appropriately adorned barf bag?

Hamburger ads go skanky

Daughter Courtlynn graduated from elementary school last night and begins the teenage angst of secondary school in September (that’s grade 9, freshman for Americans)

As a 14-year-old who outgrew the nonsense of the TV show, The Hill’s about 6 months ago, Courtlynn’s miles ahead of the marketing geniuses at Carl’s Jr., who have decided to use Audrina Patridge’s bikini body to promote its Teriyaki Burger.

"My one indulgence is the Carl’s Jr. Teriyaki Burger. I seriously crave it." reports that Carl’s Jr. and its sister chain Hardee’s, which are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Carpinteria, Calif.-based CKE Restaurants, also are hosting a contest for female consumers to show how they eat the chains’ burgers by posting videos to

This is worthy because I threw up a little bit in my mouth while writing this. And Courtlynn thought Audrina was the skanky one. Smart kid.

Microbiologically safe food – regardless of farm size

Daughter Courtlynn spent her spring break with daughter Sorenne in Manhattan (Kansas).

Which is the only lede I got into foodborne illness, conspiracies and shameless exploitation of children.

The conclusion is this: Michelle Obama should use the White House garden to endorse microbiologically safe food, from around the corner or around the globe.

Phillip Brasher wrote in The Des Moines Register yesterday,

“In recent years, the federal government and the food industry have taken some significant steps to improve the safety of fresh produce. Those measures include stringent inspection standards for farms that supply schools and supermarket chains. The standards sometime restrict the use of compost and manure to fertilize crops and restrict how close cattle can be to fields.”

Stringent standards is not the descriptor to be used in the wake of the Peanut Corporation of America-AIB auditing fiasco. Worse, associations representing small-scale farmers have taken to the Intertubes to whine and conspiratorize about the end of family farming; that somehow standards for producing safe produce shouldn’t apply to small farms, or my garden.

The group that keeps getting cited for its threatening analysis of proposed food safety legislation is the ponderous Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, which is run by the folks pushing raw milk. And some of those folks have, uh, interpretations of food safety that are not only wrong but dangerous to public health. Epidemiology does work, but not everyone likes the results.

Back to my kids. Or Mason Jones, the five-year-old who died in the 2005 E. coli O157 outbreak in Wales. Or Barack’s kids, since he cited them in a food safety chat. The food safety goal, for me, is to have fewer people barfing and dying. There is some microbiology and food science available to help achieve that goal. There is a lot of speculation, fairytales and unknowns about the providence of nature and immunology which can get in the way of that goal.

Michelle Obama, you are embracing local and fresh and natural foods and whatever that means. As I asked March 11, 2009, use the White House bully garden to embrace microbiologically safe food.