Readers Respond

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Common sense

From LAURIE GROVES / Farm Bureau

I've decided that I'm NOT going to go outside ever again. I'm also going to throw out all my Tupperware, any and all products containing corn or "corn syrup", my microwave and my cats. I have to, or else risk the peril of death... or obesity. That's what you'de believe too, if you read the same headlines I've seen at the grocery store.

You know the ones I'm talking about: "Plastic Baby Bottles Responsible for Early Maturation in American Girls," "Microwave Food Causes Cancer," "U.S. Corn Subsidies Linked to Rising Obesity," "Woman Overcome by Fumes While Cleaning Cat Box."

Okay, so I invented the cat box headline. But I wish I had invented the others... especially the corn headline. There are a growing number of media who are trying to tie Iowa's number one crop to obesity, and (ignoring record corn export numbers) to starvation in Haiti. Huh? This defies common sense.

It's confusing being a consumer in this internet age. Armed with the best intentions, anyone can Google "corn" and "ethanol" aimed at scaring the Stove-Top stuffing out of well-intentioned, otherwise reasonable folks. (Does that have corn?)

I remember a time in the '80s, when thrill seekers like me jumped behind the wheel of a racecar to get an adrenaline surge. Now, if I was to believe those headlines, I can take a walk on the wild side by eating a corn dog and a funnel cake at the Iowa State Fair. Somehow, some way, it would still be the fault of the Iowa farmers if I die, or gain five pounds. In fact, in my search, I even came across a web site that blames my cat's obesity on corn. Excuse me?

Although Iowa lacks decent weather eight months of the year, we all choose to live here because we share a common quality, common sense...

It is high time we use our good ole' Iowa common sense and sensibility to realize that the person wielding the fork has more to do with our health, weight and lifestyle than the Iowa corn farmer wielding the plow. And the real cause of hunger is political, not agricultural (consider the delay in food aid to Myanmar.)

If you or I gain five pounds, it's not from the corn syrup or corn products in our food. It's not just what we eat; it's that we choose to eat too much of it. American portions are huge; eating is a social sport that serves us too well during the eight months out of the year when the weather is intolerable.

I, for one, believe that my daughter's 14-year-old Disney heroine Miley Cyrus posing provocatively on a magazine cover has more to do with her generation's advanced emotional maturity than the milk I microwaved in her baby bottles 11 years ago. I believe $125 for a barrel of oil and energy costs have more to do with my rising food bill (44% more, says the USDA) than the price of corn in Iowa.

And, as for my 18-pound cat whose exercise demands have been reduced to staking out the fishbowl and moving from one sun spot on the carpet to the next? Well, I've decided that he is good for catching bugs, so he stays. Hey, I just had a thought - maybe the bugs have been eating corn dogs, and they are the ones making him fat. Hold the presses!

Smoking complainers

From MEL SUHR / Storm Lake

Smokers complain that their power of choice has been taken away from them by the smoking ban. But second-hand smoke could kill me and other non-smokers. So if I went into a smoking establishment, my choice to live might be taken away from me against my will.

Maybe smokers could use this as an opportunity to get rid of this deadly habit, both for themselves and others.