The Power of Change

Yesterday, I wrote about the sexist (or perhaps it is stereotypical) themes in the 1905 2nd Oz novel, “The Land of Oz”. Today, while we chat over lunch, I’d like to explore something more positive: some interesting reports of positive change:

  • More Than Fried Chicken. It turns out that Harlan Sanders had a secret. No, not his recipe for artery-clogging chicken. Rather, his desire for a celebrity cook book, chock full of homespun anecdotes and life lessons from Sanders, who struck it rich late in life… as well as a heaping helping of his favorite personal recipes. These include personal recipes for omelets, pancakes, casseroles, pies and many more dishes that he said reflected his affinity for “real old-time country and farm cooking.” Now, you would think KFC would want to sell this and make more money… but they don’t. KFC plans to publish the manuscript online, probably sometime next year, said Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for Yum Brands Inc., the parent of KFC. The Colonel’s insights on hard work and giving it your best will be available for free, she said.
  • Keeping Communities Alive. You would think with the way Fox News spins things, hispanics and other immegrants are destroying America. They aren’t. They are saving it. No where is this better seen than in the small communities in the plain states, where the hispanics are reviving towns on the verge of death. For generations, the story of the small rural town of the Great Plains, including the dusty tabletop landscape of western Kansas, has been one of exodus — of businesses closing, classrooms shrinking and, year after year, communities withering as fewer people arrive than leave and as fewer are born than are buried. Offsetting this trend are the Hispanicsm who are arriving in numbers large enough to offset or even exceed the decline in the white population in many places. In the process, these new residents are reopening shuttered storefronts with Mexican groceries, filling the schools with children whose first language is Spanish and, for now at least, extending the lives of communities that seemed to be staggering toward the grave.
  • Saving Soap. Hilton Worldwide has partnered with Atlanta-based nonprofit Global Soap Project to donate discarded soap from its 3,750 properties to be recycled for use in impoverished communities throughout the world. Global Soap Project, founded by Uganda native Derreck Kayongo, uses a process of sanitizing, melting and remolding discarded soap from hotels throughout the country. Since 2009, the organization has sent recycled soap to 20 countries on four continents, including Afghanistan, Ecuador and Haiti. According to UNICEF, which on Oct. 15 held the fourth annual Global Hand-washing Day, washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by nearly 50 percent and respiratory infections by up to 25 percent.
  • Tuba Time. Quite a few years ago, we were good friends with a tuba player (we’re still good friends with his ex-wife, who I’ve now known for almost 25 years!). He used to do things like go to “Tuba Christmas”, an all-Tuba holiday music concert. So an article in today’s paper made me think of him, as it noted the resurgance of the Tuba in Mexican bands. The tuba had gone from a lowly instrument in the back to a place of prominence and a star attraction.
  • Girl Nerds. Lastly, the SF Chronicle has an article on the resurgence of girl nerds on television these days, and muses that this is inspiring more women to go into technology these days.