Greetings and welcome to the Fat Tuesday Edition of You Are What You Read.
First, yet another PSA BEGGING all you sick people to STAY HOME. We mean it. This flu is nothing to play with. In the state of Connecticut, our death toll is up to 52. I have seen some of you in here with your red noses, rheumy eyes, shuffling-head-down gait, and wad of Kleenex the size of a softball wandering around, touching stuff, pretending you’re as well as can be. Well, you’re not and you’re putting everyone around you at risk. Please for the love of all that is holy, STAY HOME! This also applies to the under 15 set. If your children are sick they also belong at home. Remember you can Library from home and we will be happy to help you with that. Over the phone. Not in person. Mean it. Not kidding.
For those keeping the Rodent Score Card I think this week decidedly put a W in the Phil column. It could have been more miserable on Wednesday but I don’t know how. I declare the Official Rodent Score is Phil 1- Chuck 0.
Tuesday is Fat Tuesday which sort of mind boggling how fast THAT happened. I mean, doesn’t it feel like we all just dismantled the tree and made Lemon Pig? Fat or Shrove Tuesday, as we all know is the last day of the week-long festival that is Mardi Gras. This is the last day we can enjoy our indulgences before giving it all up for Lent, should you be the sort that does this. A day filled with doughnuts, pancakes, King Cakes and other excesses if you are over 21.
It is also a day that creates fear in the hearts of the Sanitation Workers of New Orleans.
Without going into too much detail, I am sure we can imagine the horrors that lurk in the storm drains of Bourbon Street. I have only been to New Orleans once and it was at the end of June. It wasn’t even Mardi Gras and they still had to hose the streets down in the morning and evening.
That’s something you don’t want to think too hard on. I call this part of New Orleans, Disney for Drunk People and it is not a stretch. Instead of Ears, Consenting Adults wear beads and boas and substitute a toddler’s sippy cup for giant plastic containers filled with Hurricanes or whatever their Adult Beverage of Choice happens to be. People, giant plastic containers filled with Adult Beverage is NEVER your best life choice.
This past August, New Orleans experienced some pretty heavy flooding which caused the Public Works Department to look hard at the efficiency of the storm drains. Thus began an almost 4 month cleaning project where they cleared about 15,000 of the city’s 68,000 storm drains. In doing so they came to a shocking discovery.
The shocking discovery of 7.2 million pounds of trash that needed to be pulled from the catch basins along a five block stretch of parade route. This figure is crazy enough. But when you factor in that 93,000 pounds of that is Mardi Gras beads? The mind reels.
That’s right People. 46 TONS of Mardi Gras beads were clogging the sewers of New Orleans along a 5-block stretch.
46 TONS of purple, green and gold plastic beads.
The only thing I can come up with is that being drunk, baked, or a bit of both, half naked and trying to hold on to a boa and a giant plastic cup of Adult Beverage impedes your ability to catch cheap plastic trinkets that rain down from floats and balconies and your trinkets end up in the gutter. After all, you wouldn’t want to spill, would you?
Going forward the city is considering using a sort gutter covering to catch beads before they go down the drain. But in the meantime, if you are headed down to the Big Easy for this annual Bacchanalia, please make sure that you respect the gutters. The City of New Orleans thanks you. If you want the 411 on the rest of this you can read it on Reuters.
You Are What You Read will be on break for the next two weeks while The Traveling Companion and I chase some sun. Pray that we find it, please. And no, we will not be on Bourbon Street. If you happen upon us make sure you say hi.
This week we have some finances, sleep, philanthropy, and fantasy.
And guess what Peeps? DJ Jazzy Patty McC is here from That State Up North with the much-missed Playlist! Welcome back Pats!
Let us begin!
James is getting his financial house in order. “Last year, I got to participate in a group discussion about personal finance facilitated by Chelsea Fagan and Lauren Ver Hage, two of the women behind the blog,The Financial Diet, and now the author and designer responsible for the book by the same name. In no small part due to their regular insistence on the blog, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to make monthly budgets. I had previously let apps create my budgets for me, and month-to-month they would automatically adjust based on the previous month’s spending, and I was never particularly invested in whether I stayed within the budget or not. I feel substantially more accountable and knowledgeable about my finances as a result of following their blog and reading their book. In addition to outlining the basics of personal finance, it succeeds in tackling the more ephemeral topics that surround finance like how it’s tied to our self-image, affects our relationships, and how to talk about it."
Pat T has a new resolution! “As I was shelving the book, Why We Sleep, By Matthew Walker, I thought it would be a great subject for me to read up on since I love to sleep! The basic drives in life are to eat, to drink, to reproduce and to sleep, yet sleep is the first thing we give up when we need to get more done. There has not been a lot of research on the subject of sleep by the science community, so no one has been promoting the benefits of a good eight hour of sleep each night, until now. This book gives the reader a better understanding of the astonishing benefits of sleep that service our brains and our bodies; sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize and make logical decisions; sleep re-calibrates our emotional brain circuits; sleep restores our immune system, regulates our appetite and sleep is tied to the fitness of our cardiovascular system lowering blood pressure. Dr. Walker states, ‘sleep is the single most effective thing we can do to reset our brain and body health each day.’ Another good resolution for 2018 is to SLEEP MORE!”
The Always Fabulous Babs B finished Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict this week. “Clara Kelly is a poor farmer's daughter from Ireland who immigrates to America in the 1860's for a better life. She is hired as a lady's maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie and his demanding and domineering Mother. Clara becomes close with Andrew and helps him become America's first philanthropist. Fans of Downton Abby will love this tale of fateful turns, the Civil War period and the unsung role of women in history."
Virginia the Tall Cool Texan is dwelling in Fantasyland with The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert. “If you enjoy fairy tales with happy endings, enchanted forests and prince charming then Melissa Albert’s novel The Hazel Wood is not for you. But if you like the dark side of fantasy (think Brothers Grimm) then this is the story for you. ‘Tell Alice whatever happens, don’t go to Hazel Wood.’ That is the last message seventeen-year-old Alice receives from her mother who is kidnapped from their home. Hazel Wood is the estate of Alice’s mysterious, and recently deceased, grandmother who penned the cult-classic The Hinterland. Although Alice has never read The Hinterland, which is a book of dark fairy tales, she has heard enough to know that the tales are nightmarish and the characters are cruel. Now Alice is running for her life from the very characters her Grandmother created and the only way she can save her mother is to make her way back to where it all began at Hazel Wood.”