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Lou Bendrick's Posts

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The unshelled story on the nutty side of our food supply

This post marks the launch of our new food-advice column Checkout Line, by talented, funny, and food-obsessed Lou Bendrick. Ever get confused in the supermarket, wondering which "all-natural" label is legit? Ever wonder what you'd actually say to a farmer at a farmers market, or whether organic is better than local, or how you can stretch your dollar when you're buying for the whole family? Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night by writing us at groceries@grist.org. Dear Checkout Line, I love nuts, but I am always wondering what their origin is, since it rarely says on …

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Can a crusade against crap toys ever succeed?

Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of fairies? Because personally I am sick to hell of wee folk and their tiresome fantasy ilk -- unicorns with rainbow horns, mermaids with cotton-candy hair, and tarty princesses. Oh, I'm especially sick of the princesses. Is there some unwritten law that princesses have to dress like down-market 1980s bridesmaids? Can't today's little girls take their cue from Camilla Bowles in her classic tweeds? Illustration: Keri Rosebraugh I know I sound grumpy, but the current fantasy-toy craze is making my job as an eco-mom more challenging. Try finding a poofy ball …

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Walton Ford brings testosterone to nature painting

Walton Ford. Photo: Jason Houston They, whoever the hell they are, say that great paintings work on many levels, and on the first, visceral level, a Walton Ford painting is gorgeous. Because his paintings are done on a large scale, it's an in-your-face gorgeousness: You can't miss the luster on a bison's hoof, the plump pinkness of a zebra's tongue, the detailed fur of a lion. I was a bit shocked to discover that Ford works in watercolor, a medium I'd always associated with washed-out seascapes. But this artist, who exudes a burly, masculine energy in person, does for watercolor …

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Don’t let catastrophic visions get you down … well, not all of them

We greens spend a lot of time obsessing about how life as we know it is likely to end: in a slow, painful miasma of greenhouse gases; in the violent cross fire of a nuclear gang war; in mass ignominy, dead and bug-eyed in our folding chairs after endless rounds of fruitless policy discussions. But what the heck do we really know? Before the car was invented, people worried that the whole world would eventually be knee-deep in horse manure. Really, they did. Keep it handy, just in case. Photo: iStockphoto. Environmentalism, by definition, is about life and death. But …

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So tell us … what’s your dirty little environmental secret?

I know this is going to come as a shock to you all, but someone needs to speak the truth. It seems that environmentalists have a bit of a reputation for being holier-than-thou -- even, dare I say it, evangelistic. In our zeal to save the planet, we both scare and bore our fellow citizens, who see us as righteous beyond reason. Spring is here -- is your conscience clear? This is bad form, and bad politics. So let's try something new: Let's share our humanity. Perhaps we can endear ourselves to the congregation by admitting our eco-sins -- moral …

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Yes, clothes really do make the activist

If environmentalism is dead, then that ratty sweater has to go, too. Ditto for sandals as everyday footwear -- only one man ever pulled off that look, and that was during King Herod's reign. One more thing: piling your dreads under that knit cap makes your head look like a Jiffy Pop about to explode. Yeah, I'm talking to you, environmentalists. It's time to keep up appearances. Suit up, don't give up. I'm sorry to be the one delivering the Carson Kressley-style bitch slaps to all you greens, but someone needs to broach this tender subject. Desperate times call for …

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