SELL-BY DATE

I found an open half gallon of pomegranate blueberry frozen yogurt in the back of the freezer. I hadn’t seen it in a long time. It was about three-fourths eaten, with ice whiskers well advanced and hanging down from the lid (but those are easily rinsed off). It smelled fine.

“You’re not going to eat that!” Charles said.

(Charles was 1,200 miles away, but I heard him anyway.)

“Well, let’s see,” I said, checking the sell-by date. “Oh, good!”

It said it had to be sold by June 2008 and, judging from the length of those ice whiskers, it clearly had been, so I was good to go. It was delicious.

The I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter/Light sell-by dated August 26 – and merely refrigerated, not frozen – was primo, as well.

(As long-time readers know, I am engaged in a life’s work experimenting on the refrigerator-shelf-life of various foods. Fresh apples, I discovered in one of my signature breakthroughs, only look bad after several months – they get crinkled – when in fact they are fine to eat. If this column ever mysteriously disappears, you will know I have pushed the envelope just a little too far. But not this time.)

FIREFOX TIP

Now that some of us are trying Firefox (so far so good, at my end), Gary Diehl wants to be sure we don’t miss this: “Yesterday I fired up my browser when my girlfriend was standing there. She was surprised to see that my ‘homepage’ was my five favorite sites, each in its own tab. She has used Firefox for quite a while and didn’t know that your homepage could be multiple tabs. All you have to do is open your favorite sites and then: Click Tools. Click Options. Click the Main tab. Click Use current pages. Click OK.”

SCHWARZENEGGER

Hats off to Governor Schwarzenegger for his leadership in this interview with George Stephanopoulos yesterday morning.

I particularly like the “cancer patient” analogy. From the transcript:

. . . I feel very strongly that I think that President Obama right now needs team players. He — this is why we’re here in Washington right now. We have, you know, more than 40 governors coming together here in Washington, and our idea is to get together with the White House, with this administration, and to work together, to have Congress, the White House, and the governors, and everyone work together, because it’s a very difficult time now, where we have to play together, rather than using politics and always attacking everything…

. . . You’ve got to go and say, “What is right for the country right now?” I mean, I see that as kind of like, you go to a doctor, the doctor’s office, and say, “Look, can you examine me?” The doctor says, “You have cancer.”

What you want to do at that point is you want to see this team of doctors around you, have their act together, be very clear, and say, “This is what we need to do,” rather than see a bunch of doctors fighting in front of you and arguing about the treatment. I mean, that is the worst thing. It creates insecurity in the patient.

The same is with the people in America. That creates insecurity when you have those two parties always arguing and attacking each other, rather than coming together and saying to the American people, “Here’s the recipe. This is going to be tough, but this is what we need to do for the next two years. And we both believe in that.” That will bring calmness to the market and stability to the market. . . .

☞ Meanwhile, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal went on Meet the Press to criticize the just-passed $787 trillion stimulus package. Not enough tax cuts, and the wrong kind; too much spending, and the wrong kind.

. . . GOV. JINDAL: Well, let’s be clear. The best thing that Washington could do to help Louisiana and all of our states with our budgets is to get this economy moving again. I think we just have a fundamental disagreement here. I don’t think the best way to do that is for the government to tax and borrow more money. I think the best thing they could’ve done, for example, was to cut taxes on things like capital gains, the lower tax brackets, to get the private sector spending again.

☞ Yes! That’s why we’re in trouble! People think of the 15% capital gains tax they’d have to pay if they made a big gain and figure the 85% sliver they’d get to keep if they doubled or tripled their money, just isn’t interesting when they can get 2% from a Treasury bond (taxed at ordinary income tax rates).

Predictably, I think Republicans like Schwarzenegger (and Florida’s Charlie Crist, who took a similar approach) have a better vision for our future than those like Governor Jindal (and the all-but-three Republican Senators and Representatives who voted against the stimulus package).

AND THANK YOU TO . . .

America, for being the kind of country in which a movie like Milk could do so well last night. To think that in 40 years we could have gone from this topic being all but entirely taboo to acceptance speeches like this one (screenwriter Dustin Lance Black) and this one (best actor Sean Penn) – it makes one proud.

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