King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Pciture of Video ArcadeI thought the days of video gaming on console machines were over, but it is not a lost art. King of Kong: a Fistful of Quarters is a truly entertaining documentary about an underdog challenger to the Donkey Kong high score title.  After being laid off from Boeing, Redmond resident Steve Wiebe hones his Kong skills with his free time and reaches the high score.  After sending his high score video results to Twin Galaxies, the official electronic games referee, his score is eventually disregarded due to interference from Billy Mitchell, the current Donkey Kong Champion.  Later Steve “challenges” Billy to a live arcade Donkey Kong showdown.  I won’t spoil it for you. Watch it yourself to see who wins the King of Kong title.

Frances Moore Lappé and Local Food Policy

My local eating adventures have led me to think about issues such as who has access to local food, how housing developments are eclipsing nearby farmland and if another flood like the one in Lewis County is apt to destroy more farms and dairy herds anytime soon.  I’m certainly not the only one.

lappe.bmpFor decades Francis Moore Lappé has been an advocate for the hungry and has questioned food production politics with scarcity, inequity and sustainability in mind.  Building upon her first best-selling book Diet For a Small Planet (1971) she has written many more including Hope’s Edge: the next diet for a small planet with daughter Anna Lappé and most recently Getting a grip: clarity, creativity, and courage in a world gone mad.  

Francis Moore Lappé will be in Seattle on Friday, April 11 to talk about the importance of local food policy in conjunction with a City of Seattle Local Food Action Initiative that is represented by Resolution 31019.  She will speak at Seattle City Hall at noon and 5:00pm.  She will also be speaking, along with other local and national sustainability advocates, at the Seattle Green Festival on April 13th. 

Dear Farmer John

For Valentine’s Day I made dinner and invited friends over to watch the documentary The Real Dirt on Farmer John.  It’s the deeply personal story of John Peterson, a creative northern Illinois farmer who suffered from the near loss of his family farm and exclusion by his neighbors. The film narrates the history of the Peterson family and explains how John ended up running the farm at a young age.  During that time he was able to balance running the farm with going to college and enjoying his playful life. Then came the 1980’s and, like so many other farmers at the time, John was in financial trouble.

The film brilliantly conveys the emotional burdens that John bears after inheriting the family farm: the pride of three generations of farmers as well as the shame of having to make great sacrifices with his land. One of the most personal moments in the film is when John communicates his dread of having to tell his mother about the farm’s financial problems.  His expressive mother brings the family’s memories alive and becomes the reason for John’s persistence with organic agriculture.  Farmer John’s Angelic Organics is wildly successful now due in part to Community Supported Agriculture.  I loved The Real Dirt on Farmer John because it’s a story of small farm success in the age of corporate agriculture.

TV Terror: Feb. 17, 2009?

I was part of the TV panic.  I heard the warnings that my TV would not work in 2009.  Patrons called and asked the same question.  Do we have to throw our televisions in the trash and buy a new one?  Don’t panic! The truth is that you will be able to use your analog TV in 2009 with a digital-to-analog converter box available from electronics stores and major retailers.   What is more, the U.S. Government is currently subsidizing the cost of converter boxes by issuing coupons to applicants. (All households are eligible at this time.)

To make TV transmissions more efficient and free up frequencies for services such as emergency services and new digital data services, Congress ordered the elimination of analog TV channels.  In 2009, television stations will broadcast in digital from a different part of the spectrum.  The spectrum occupied by analog TV signals will be auctioned off.

At this time, the converter boxes are necessary for the 16 million Americans who watch free TV with an antenna and are not needed for satellite and cable subscribers because those services convert the signals.

For a more thorough explanation and information on the voucher program, check out this article.

Goats do roam…in Seattle

Why is our book Home Cheese Making : Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses so popular?  Perhaps because it’s authored by home cheese making superstar Ricki Carroll.  In Seattle,local artisan cheese is readily available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores.  Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival takes place each year, even though we are far from Wisconsin.  It’s highly likely that some Seattleites have chosen to take their adoration for cheese a step further and make it themselves, with milk from their own goats.  If you haven’t already heard, last September the Seattle City Council voted unanimously to allow miniature goats to be kept as pets. They are an urban sustainability dream: they can mow a lawn or eat a blackberry bush and produce milk without use of fossil fuels. So yes, Seattleites can now make cheese with milk straight from their own backyards!

~posted by Judy A.