Hot Air: Nuts & Bolts

Nutella Nuttiness

Do you love Nutella? I do. Or did. I was intro’d to it decades ago by a pal who’d visited Seville, Spain and came back with the news that everybody — he stressed everybody — had Nutella on their toast for breakfast.

Well, hell, I figured, I’d better jump on that bandwagon. Even when I found out the stuff was laced with hydrogenated fats, I played devil-may-care and kept cramming my Nutella’d toast into my facehole.

Then, after my taste buds and salivary glands were zapped into near nothingness during last year’s chemoradiation episode, my cravings for sweet chocolate things vanished. I haven’t had Nutella in almost two years now, so I haven’t known about the big news.

That is, the Ferrero Group, maker of Nutella, has changed its recipe. And the sophisticated among us who crave the spread have gone bonkers over it. Ferrero did not announce the change at first. It was discovered by a German food watchdog gang called the Hamburg Consumer Protection Centre. Then there was a social media storm and, finally, Ferrero had to admit it’d upped the percentage of powdered skim milk as well as its sugar content. Both increases meant the total amount of cocoa in Nutella has gone done. Now, the percentage-increases of milk and sugar seem minimal at first glance — 1.2 and .4, respectively — but connoisseurs swear they can taste the diff. Ferrero says they’re nuts.

Speaking of nuts, Ferrero developed Nutella during World War II when there was chocolate rationing in the US. They’d been making a chocolate spread prior to that and, when the US gov’t slashed the co.’s chocolate allotment, it decided to mix in hazelnut paste to stretch the stuff out. Consumers loved it and Nutella’s been a fave every since.

The lesson in all this? You can steal health care coverage from people, funnel the world’s wealth more and more into the pockets of the 1%, and continue to burn fossil fuels at a rate that’ll turn us into Venus or Mercury within a few months, but don’t — repeat, don’t — fuck with their breakfast confection.

All Attitude

It isn’t often that I leap to the defense of our town’s city council but I’m doing so today. Tuesday night’s meeting featuring city planner Terri Porter talking about Bloomington’s draft comprehensive plan was a doozy. She took longtime councilbeing Chris Sturbaum to task.

During the confab, Porter said Sturbaum was “fearmongering” re: the plan’s density proposals. “You’ve taken this in a direction that is not intended,” she finger-wagged. “Worse, you’ve actively promoted division.”

Sturbaum had claimed the plan is contradictory. The plan, acc’d’g to him, calls for both protecting single-family ‘hoods and adding density to same.

Porter said Sturbaum was way off base. Her scolding seemed awfully in keeping with the current mayoral administration’s attitude. Sort of a We know what we’re talking about and you don’t kind of thing.

Sturbaum raised issues that may or may not be valid. It’s Porter’s responsibility to put his and his constituents’ minds at ease. Is he using scare tactics? Search me. Then again, one only has to look at the history of development and redevelopment in these parts over the last, say, 15 years to realize, scared just might be the only reasonable response to talk about the future of this sprawling town.

HOPE Chatter

Tune in this afternoon for this week’s Big Talk. My guest will be Assoc. Prof. Theresa Ochoa of Indiana University’s Dept. of Education and founder/director of HOPE Mentoring. Her

Ochoa

org. connects volunteer undergraduate mentors with kids doing time in any of the state’s three juvenile correctional facilities.

The kids in stir rarely, if ever, think about what they’re going to do with their lives after they’re sprung. If they think at all of what work they might want to do, acc’d’g to Ochoa, they talk about being big movie or music stars or astronauts — the kind of pipe dreams six-year-olds entertain. Ochoa’s volunteers helped steer the kids toward more realistic goals while serving as adult role models and confidants.

Ochoa’s one of the biggest cheerleaders you’ll ever hear. Spin your radio dial to WFHB, 91.3 FM, during today’s Daily Local News at 5pm. Big Talk usually runs at about 5:14 or so. And, as always, I’ll post podcast links here tomorrow morning.

And, hey, in case you missed them, check out this fine pair of articles on Theresa and HOPE that ran earlier this year in the Limestone Post (the pieces weren’t written by me — nevertheless, they’re top-flight).

Non-profit Plutocracy

Did you catch that Democracy Now! piece yesterday AM about the various corporations and uber-wealthy individuals who are parking their millions and billions offshore in a Bermuda tax haven?

It turns out our very own Indiana University, via its foundation, is stashing some of its billions there as well, so as to dodge US taxes. It’s all legit, natch, but gosh dang, it stinks to high heaven when a state institution that purports to be a non-profit and brags every chance it gets about how its sole purpose in this universe is to serve the highest and best interests of the general public involves itself in a scheme like this. Dodging taxes sure as hell doesn’t fit that suit, babies.

The IU angle was a WFHB News exclusive yesterday.

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