LeighA
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    • LeighA

      It’s definitely not too dark to not be soda. That’s the exact color of iced tea. And the bubbles seem to only be around the ice cubes, which any liquid will do. And while I’m sure there are schools that serve soda, it’s definitely not true that “most” do. Your claim that it’s the “cheapest” option doesn’t hold up, because federal nutrition standards require schools to have milk, so the cheapest option would be to only have milk, not to offer both milk and soda. Even then, there are plenty of things just as cheap as, if not cheaper than, soda (like, well, iced tea). The only schools I’d expect to have soda (not counting vending machines) are the same ones that are set up more like mall food courts than standard cafeterias.

    • LeighA

      Kids definitely aren’t fat because of school lunches. Federal guidelines require that elementary school lunches have no more than 650 calories (700 for middle school, 850 for high school), and most kids don’t finish everything on their plate—a lot of fruit cups, milk cartons, side salads, and various unappealing sides and entrees end up getting thrown out. The limits are a bit above what the average kid needs, but first, they’re maximums, not minimums, and second, factoring in the likelihood of them not finishing it all and the fact that many kids don’t eat breakfast (and the unfortunate fact that many also don’t get enough for dinner), they’re pretty reasonable. In fact, plenty of people have suggested the max is too low for athletic kids, particularly high school boys.

    • LeighA

      That looks pretty close to what we got (sometimes) when I was in school (public school, PA, a decade ago), except there’s way more meat and cheese. When they gave us nachos, there was like 1/4 cup of taco meat and a medicine cup of shredded cheese. Most people’s favorite at my school was “Thanksgiving dinner,” which was a scoop of mashed potatoes covered in gravy with chunks of turkey, with a side of crouton stuffing and a little cup of (canned) cranberry sauce. Another favorite, for reasons I never understood, was the horrible rectangular pizza with doughy crust, plasticky cheese, a ton of grease (some people would pile napkins on to soak some of it up before they ate it), and two pieces of pepperoni.

    • LeighA

      There absolutely are people who are too poor to bring lunch. Money doesn’t magically appear in your bank account or pocket just because someone feels poverty is “no excuse” to not feed your kid. I grew up in an area where many people were poor (the average household income was just above the poverty line). Many people’s money ran out several days before payday, leaving them with only whatever tiny amount of random foods they had left and no ability to buy more. It’s hard enough to come up with dinner for several days at that point, how exactly do you propose also packing lunch for your kids?  You know what you end up with in that situation? The “lucky” kids getting a ketchup sandwich with a single slice of stale bread, and the unlucky ones getting literally nothing to eat, at all. And some kids, especially older ones, will deliberately not bring anything so they can make sure their younger siblings have food, or because they feel like taking any of what tiny amount of food they have in their house is an unfair burden on their parent(s).

    • LeighA

      Even in public schools, it would be impractical/impossible in much of the US. In rural areas, many kids live miles from the school—where I grew up, quite a few lived 8-10 miles away, and almost everyone (literally, all but a handful of kids) was at least 2 miles away. In urban areas, most kids live within a couple miles, but there’s also traffic to contend with. Moreover, the US (and presumably some other countries) places a strong emphasis on always having food available at school because for so many kids, it’s some of the only food they get. That’s why children whose families earn less than a certain amount get free breakfast and lunch. If all kids were expected to go home for lunch, the poorest kids simply wouldn’t get lunch.

    • LeighA

      Unless you have a heart condition, the vast majority of people don’t have to worry about how much salt they eat.  Actually, the amount recommended in the US is probably too low. Not only was its original implementation a misinterpretation of the data, even more recent studies have shown that eating less than a certain amount of salt is just as detrimental to health as eating too much, and the “recommended” amount is below that threshold, whereas the average American’s sodium intake falls within the ideal range.

    • LeighA

      “Do your research, folks.” Okay. Having researched it (briefly, just now), it seems that some studies show a slight cancer risk at very high levels, and others show a slight preventive effect against certain types of cancer (note that these are not mutually exclusive, so long as they are different types of cancer), plus a few other benefits, with the general conclusion being that it’s unlikely to be harmful to humans at normal levels and may even be useful in helping treat certain disorders (including leukemia) alongside other medicines. So much for that “proven to cause cancer” thing, I guess.

    • LeighA

      Most of the Evol meals I’ve had are actually pretty good, as far as TV dinners go. The only exception is that the “street tacos” ones were super mushy. But the burritos and bowls are decent. They do cost more than most TV dinners, though. If I remember right, they’re about $4, while most of the rest are $2-3 and a few (ahem, Banquet) are only $1. But I was thinking the same thing for a lot of the snacks. The popcorn and chips look like they’d be horrible (I’d try them, but only if someone else bought them). And I can attest to the fact that most Lean Cuisine meals are at best “meh” (that’s one of the main reasons I even bothered to try the Evol ones).

    • LeighA

      Because gummy worms are real worms, Swedish fish are real fish, lady fingers are real fingers, candy cigarettes are real cigarettes, Mountain Dew is real dew (from real mountains), and Bloody Marys are real blood (and don’t even get me started on screwdrivers, so hard to drink). All kinds of foods have names that don’t represent what’s in them. From an official, legal standard, packaged foods and restaurant menus are allowed to call non-chicken slightly altered versions, like Chick’n, the same way they use “krab” to refer to things that aren’t actually crab. But they’re also allowed to straight up lie about some other things, like wasabi. And people posting random recipes on the internet are allowed to call them whatever they heck they want.

    • LeighA

      #8 Just don’t be stupid. Snacks at the dollar store often cost more than they do at, say, Walmart. Yes, everything is “only” a dollar, but remember that other stores have things that cost less than a dollar (most candy bars are about $0.75 at Walmart). Plus, sometimes Dollar Tree’s food is well past the expiration date—probably still fine for most of it, but not worth paying extra for.

    • LeighA

      If it involves an animal dying—meat, some cheeses (rennet), gelatin (animal bones)—it isn’t vegetarian. If it comes from a living animal—other cheeses, honey, milk—it’s vegetarian but not vegan. There are vegetarians who don’t adhere very strictly to a vegetarian diet beyond avoiding meat itself, but that doesn’t make those foods vegetarian, it just means those people are making an exception for some reason (maybe they don’t realize how something is made, or maybe they think it’s too much of a hassle to avoid every dead-animal-based product, or maybe they just really really like marshmallows and figure once in awhile isn’t too terrible).

    • LeighA

      Ignoring the entire argument about whether or not people should tip, you know what else helps supplement an income as a barista? People buying coffee. If less than half the people going to Starbucks tip, that means that if everyone who doesn’t tip stopped going there, Starbucks would lose a ton of money and would probably have to fire a lot of their employees. A job where only half the people leave tips is almost certainly better than no job at all.

    • LeighA

      Even for Americans, there are several reasons why. One, it isn’t customary at all to tip for services that don’t require any particular amount of time. You don’t tip for fast food, and most people either don’t tip or tip far less for take-out. Depending on what you order at Starbucks, it could less than a minute for you to get your drink. It may never even occur to someone to tip for 30 seconds of work. And most people aren’t really sure who is and isn’t supposed to be tipped, in general, beyond waiters at sit-down restaurants (based on what I’ve seen, the answer is “practically everyone”). Two, the price of drinks. I know people like to make fun of Starbucks for being expensive, but I actually mean the reverse—unless you’re ordering for multiple people, you’re probably spending less than $5. A lot of people aren’t really sure how to handle tipping when the price is that low, because even a 20% tip is less than $1, and that seems like an almost insulting amount to leave, maybe even worse than no tip, but leaving more seems a bit silly (especially considering, as previously stated, that it was for about a minute of work). Three, and most importantly, they don’t have it set up in a way to encourage tipping. I’ve been to other counter-service places (coffee, ice cream, boba tea, etc) where they give you a receipt with a tip line or ask for a tip on the card machine. Starbucks doesn’t. Some might have a tip jar, but a lot of people don’t use cash. So it’s actually difficult to leave a tip at Starbucks, even if you want to.

    • LeighA

      It’s not that hard to just say small, medium, or large, either, and they’ll give you the size you want if you do. Same with Coldstone’s ridiculous “like it,” “love it,” and “gotta have it” sizes—they don’t actually care if you just order a medium. And it’s not even remotely the same as ordering McNuggets at a place besides McDonalds, because that is the title of the actual food (same as the Big Mac), not a size that is normally the same everywhere. It would be the equivalent of McDonalds making up names to use instead of just saying 5 pc and 10 pc nuggets.

    • LeighA

      How is it unbelievable? The way hereditary power structures work is that when the person in power dies, the power goes to the next in line, regardless of how old they are. There have been child kings all through history, and surely far more child heads of houses. Usually they just have advisors help them make most of their decisions until they’re old enough, which she clearly did. Tutankhamun was almost exactly the same age as her when he became king. The only improbable thing is that it was a ten year old girl, but the rules concerning female rulers in Westeros have never been fully fleshed out (at least in the show, maybe there’s more in the books). Considering Daenerys considers herself a viable contender, it’s obviously not an impossible thing. If you mean the way she spoke, remember that she was raised to potentially fill the role she’s in (if at an older age), and she very obviously spends most of her time with advisors. She would’ve received tons of instruction on how to speak like that.

    • LeighA

      The first book is called The Golden Compass in the US. It was originally published as Northern Lights in the UK. According to Wikipedia, it wasn’t a Philosopher’s/Sorcerer’s Stone kind of decision. Apparently, Pullman was originally going to call the trilogy “The Golden Compasses” as a reference to Paradise Lost. The US publisher took it as a reference to the alethiometer, and used it as the title of the first book even after the series title was changed to His Dark Materials.

    • LeighA

      I don’t know if you’ll see this, but here are a few ideas: Barnaby — from Barnaby Rudge
      Brom — a variant of the (nick)name of the author of Dracula (“Abraham” conjures up images of Lincoln, and I don’t know if “Bram” by itself would work very well, but Brom seems pretty solid)
      Silas — from the bible, Silas Marner, and The Da Vinci Code
      Dorian — from The Picture of Dorian Gray (may be a little too soft-sounding now for a boy’s name, especially since it starts with “Dory”, but it could certainly work. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not go with Gray itself?)
      Finn — from Huckleberry Finn, among others
      Cyril — from A Passage to India
      Winfield — from The Grapes of Wrath
      Moriarty — from Sherlock Holmes; obvious, but far less so than Sherlock
      Gatsby — from The Great Gatsby, obviously, but be aware that it stings of missing the point of the book
      Havisham — from Great Expectations
      Lennox — from Macbeth and The Secret Garden (probably not great with Lopez, but a nice option in general) Requisite Shakespeare list:
      Antony (Julius Casesar), Balthasar (Romeo and Juliet, and others), Cornelius and Yorick (Hamlet), Vernon and Warwick (Henry IV), Griffith (Henry VIII), Lysander and Oberon (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Nestor (Troilus and Cressida), Kent (King Lear)

    • LeighA

      Names cycle. Usually, we think the names from our parents’ generation sound dated and the names from our grandparents’ generation sound old. But our parents and grandparents thought the names from their parents’ and grandparents’ generations sounded dated and old too, the names from our great- and great-great-grandparents generations have gone largely unused for decades (aside from the more timeless classics, like John and Elizabeth), so our generation ends up using those because they sound unusual and cute. For example, the name Evelyn is super popular right now—it was the 15th most popular girl’s name in the US in 2015. But from 1954 to 2001, it wasn’t even in the top 100. Sixty years later, it’s fair game again. Don’t be surprised if in 20 years, we have a bunch of little Lindas running around. That said, Hansel and Gretel are unlikely to become popular anytime soon, because they’re “harsh” sounding names, and for quite awhile Americans, at least, have preferred more soft, flowing names. That’s why Evelyn has caught on, but not Mildred or Gertrude. (Not just for girls’ names, either. The most popular boys’ names right now are Noah, Liam, Mason, and Jacob, and Jacob.)

    • LeighA

      Not all brands have them, and not all of Kleenex’s tissues have them. I use a lot of tissues (usually Kleenex), thanks to allergies, and I’ve never owned a single box that did this in my entire life. It looks like it’s mostly (maybe only?) for boxes you’d get either through a business or maybe at Costco or the like. Besides, if I got to the bottom of the box and the tissues became off-white, I’d probably assume they were something wrong with them, like they were old or something, unless it was made clear that they were supposed to be like that. It’s not that non-white tissues can’t be good, but when 90% of the box was white, you expect the last 10% to be white, too. And it would certainly never occur to me that it was meant to indicate something that the almost-empty box already indicates perfectly well by itself.

    • LeighA

      If you have the box above a certain height (like on a shelf), you pick it up to make it easier to get a tissue. If it’s below a certain height, you can see into the box through the plastic on the top. Either way will make it obvious when they’re almost gone.  The only reason I can think of that you’d ever not know is if you keep it in the small window between those heights (right about eye level), but even then, it feels different pulling the tissue out when the box is almost empty. In a mostly full box, you can feel the other tissues “pull” back, whereas in a mostly empty box, the tissue comes straight out. Once it starts to feel different, buy more tissues. Or, if you don’t notice that, there’s the fact that the pop-up almost always stops working right with about 5 tissues left. When that happens, buy more tissues. If you have a cold or something, that’s cutting it pretty close, but usually 5 is enough to make it a day or so, at least.

    • LeighA

      So if you’ve relied on the completely common sense notion that the box is almost empty when the box is almost empty and never consciously noticed that the bottom few tissues are a different color, or if you’ve never seen a box that does this, or if you’ve only seen it someplace like school or work where for all you know it could just mean the box had been sitting around for years and yellowed, you’re a moron? Okay. Also, if—as you said—your “hand is deeper in the box,” you’re using the tissues wrong, because Kleenex boxes pop the next tissue out of the box and you just pull it the rest of the way out. Your hand is never in the box unless that fails, which usually only happens on the last few tissues (another clue they’re almost out!). But do go on about how everyone else is an idiot.

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