Some people know them as panthers, mountain lions, pumas, catamounts, or painters. Where I’m from we call them cougars. Here in Washington alone it is estimated there are over 2,500 cougars in the wild. They are majestic, yet intimidating creatures. Even though most Washingtonians are surrounded by the woods, most people have never seen a cougar in person or given them much concern. My neighborhood is a dirt road so when word gets out one was spoken everyone on the street makes sure all their guns are out.
I have seen a cougar up close. One day me and my dad were driving to town and we saw one. We had just reached the paved part of the main road when a cougar leaped from one side of the road to the other. All I saw was a tail and a flash of tan fur. For a moment I thought I saw a giant monkey, as nonsensical as that sounds.
This year I’m spending my Thanksgiving all alone. I was going to go back home and had a round trip Amtrak booked to go to Washington and back, but my mom told me she thought it would be wise if I cancelled the ticket and stated in Oregon. She’s right. I’ve been busy and stressed out, with barely enough hours in a day and days in a week to stay on top of my homework. That train departed on Tuesday and I had a revision draft of an article due yesterday. Tuesday was also the day I gave a student presentation that forms 35% of my grade in that class, I hadn’t been scheduled when the ticket was bought.
I always found Thanksgiving break to be ill timed, since the semester/quarter is usually only for like two more weeks or so not counting finals week. During undergrad the break generally helped me charge my batteries to soldier through the last leg of the semester. Now that I’m in grad school I simply can’t afford to take almost a weekend off, let alone an extended one. Especially when home is a six hour train trip away, compared to a half hour car ride.
As for my Selfsgiving dinner I’m having turkey breast, cranberry sauce, Brussels sprouts, marshmallow yams, and stuffing.
Here in Washington State there is a bill known as Initiative 522 that would require the state to label all genetically modified foods on the the package, something which is already a reality for all my readers from any EU member. Many others such as Russia also require GMO labeling. I strongly support 522, as I believe that consumers should have the right to know what shit is in what they buy. We already have labels for high fructose corn syrup, fats, carbs, calory count, and so forth. Like any other bill no matter how reasonable, there has been a sizable opposition.
According to those ads 522 is just beaurocratic red tape that would hinder everyday people with excessive regulations. I’m sorry, I am not going to be convinced that a bill is bad because some third generation “family farmer” (who probably works on corporate subsidized land) on TV tells me its bad. God, these are the same people that lobby for the right to kill endangered wolves! Sure, the Rancher’s Association and Grocerery Manufactur’s Association oppose 522; but that should be obvious why. What the slick ads don’t tell you is that Monsanto is the top donor to the No campaign, and other major players inlcude DuPont, Bayer, PepsiCo, The Coca Cola Family, and Nestle. Rather, they use some astroturf commoners to spread their agenda. You need to dig into the No website to find out the corporate backers. Just compare those who back No: http://www.votenoon522.com/coalition/#other to those who back Yes: http://yeson522.com/endorsements/ . Painfull, isn’t it?