Saturday, October 27, 2007

I Was Quoted About Medflies

I've been busy working extra hours over the last couple of days. Why? Meditterranean Fruit Flies, or "Medflies" for short. It's a non-native pest that agriculture professionals want to keep out of California. There is a long, heated history when it comes to that fight, so when fertile Medflies are found, the news media takes note. Most people, however, would never notice the present-day methods used to eradicate this pest.

Megan Bagdonas of the Daily Breeze talked with me about the situation yesterday. Here are quotes from her article:

“The chances of a fertile female finding a fertile male is extremely small once there’s hundreds of thousands of these sterile males flying around,” said Ken Pellman, spokesman for the county Agriculture Commissioner’s Office.


Adult Medflies are not harmful, but the eggs they lay inside fruits and vegetables hatch into hungry larvae that destroy agricultural crops. Officials say they don’t know where the South Bay invaders came from.

“We have inspectors at the airport and the port that examine for pests, but it’s possible they got through when a cargo door was opened,” Pellman said. “That’s why we tell people traveling not to bring in fruits or vegetables, especially from Hawaii,” which has a Medfly infestation..

“If this fly gets a foothold in the state, prices of fruit and vegetables will skyrocket and organic farmers, especially, will have a lot more crop loss,” Pellman said. “An ounce of prevention is cheaper than a pound of cure.”

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I Was Quoted About the Wildfires

Yesterday, I talked with an Associated Press wire reporter, Juliana Barbassa, about the impacts of the recent wildfires on agriculture in Los Angeles County. As a result, I was cited in this story, which has appeared on news sites (and, I'm presuming, in newspapers) all over the world.

Here's my section...

Even in Los Angeles County, where agriculture has been pushed to the margins by decades of development, small farms that linger among Malibu's million-dollar homes are reporting losses, said Ken Pellman, a spokesman for the county's agriculture commissioner.

One ranch in the hills above Pepperdine University lost 80 percent of the avocados grown on a three-acre plot, five trucks and all 52 goats they kept to abate weeds and prevent the spread of fire.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fatherhood Changes Your Brain

I had a period in my life when I questioned, partially based on my history and behavior, if I really did want to get married and have kids after all. I knew I had to figure that out, because:

If I married and had kids and really didn't want to, I'd be making a lot of people unhappy.
If I really did want that life, but didn't go out and get it, I'd end up unhappy.

So, for my own happiness...

If I really didn't want that life, I needed to avoid it.
If I did want that life, I needed to take the steps to get there.

I came down on the side of wanting a wife and kids, knowing that it would completely change my life - a life that with which I wasn't dissatisfied. I had seen how the lives of others were changed. I saw the tradeoffs as far as freedom, time, money, and energy, but I figured having a family and the husband-wife and parent-child relationships was worth it.

There must be some sort of brain chemistry that changes when a man becomes a father, especially if he did it intentionally. I think back to finding out we were expecting, and the ultrasounds, and feeling Keelie kicking. I'm still shocked over the profound feelings I had during the delivery and seeing Keelie for the first time. And now, as she isn't so fussy, as she straddles my leg and watches football (she really seems to like football) and makes soft babbles, I realize that I too have been hit by the magic crazy parent spell, where I'm not getting anything else done and not going out anywhere and I'm spending money all over the place... and I don't mind so much because I have this little expensive attention-hungry dependent poop machine in my arms, warming my heart. I would die for her.

I would die for her mother, too – the woman who carried her and gave birth to her, and takes care of her around the clock. I’d heard how much this experience would boost my awe of and love for my wife, and that didn’t seem possible before. Yet, that’s exactly what has happened.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Burger Continental Fire

Egads! Fire at Burger Continental in Pasadena.

I hope they're up and running again ASAP. I love that place. Have you been there? Their menu is huge, and if you don't see something on the menu, you can probably order it anyway. It's been too long. We need to go back.