Sunday, September 26, 2010

And so we start yet another week....

Post 562 - Here are some data to start another week:

In 1957, United Airlines advertised its “executive” service between New York and Chicago, promising comfortable slippers, a steak dinner and “no women on board except for two stewardesses.”

The cost of the typical American wedding has risen to about $28,000 from $11,000 between 1980 and 2007 after adjusting for inflation.

Only 26 percent of US adults eat vegetables three or more times a day - and no, that doesn’t include French fries. These results fall far short of health objectives set by the federal government a decade ago. The amount of vegetables Americans eat is less than half of what public health officials had hoped. Worse still, it’s barely budged since 2000. According to a new report, Eating Patterns in America, only 23 percent of meals include a vegetable. (Again, fries don’t count, but lettuce on a hamburger does). The number of dinners prepared at home that includes a salad is 17 percent; in 1994, it was 22 percent. At restaurants, salads ordered as a main course at either lunch or dinner has dropped by half since 1989, to a mere 5 percent today.

According to a recent report from the Center on Education Policy, substantially more boys than girls score below the proficiency level on the annual National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test. This disparity goes back to 1992, and in some states the percentage of boys proficient in reading is now more than ten points below that of girls. The male-female reading gap is found in every socio-economic and ethnic category, including the children of white, college-educated parents. However, there is no literacy gap between home-schooled boys and girls! Maybe because these parents pay considerably more attention to how their children spend their time.

Drink featured heavily in the life of George Brown, a British Labor foreign secretary in the 1960's, who is once said to have stumblingly invited a guest in flowing purple robes at a reception in Peru to dance. But it was not to be. "First, you are drunk," the guest is said to have replied. "Second, this is not a waltz; it is the Peruvian national anthem. And third, I am not a woman; I am the Cardinal Archbishop of Lima."

The unexamined life is typically one where we're living the life of others. Truly examining our lives and paying attention to the truth within is one of the most valuable pursuits. However, it takes real courage. Winston Churchill once said, "Most men, when encountering the truth, shake it off and walk on as if it never happened."

6 February, 1946
To the Editor of The Times.
I have just written you a long letter.
On reading it over, I have thrown it into the waste paper basket.
Hoping this will meet with your approval,
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
A. D. Wintle

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