Saturday in review: no oil, lots of corn

Saturday afternoon Megan and I made the mistake of trying to be all tough and self-reliant and change the oil in our motorcycles by ourselves. Step one is to turn the bikes on and let them run for a few minutes, so the oil is warm enough to drain properly, and to stir up all the sludge you’re trying to drain out. We did that OK. Step two was a little harder. On my bike we easily located the drain bolt, but it was screwed on so tight that it wouldn’t come off. I stripped a couple corners off it before giving up. On Megan’s bike there was, I swear, no bolt that looked anything like the picture in the manual. It’s supposed to be near a spring on the lower left side of the crankcase, but we didn’t find it. The only thing we ended up with was a burn on Megan’s hand when she touched the exhaust pipe while trying to look underneath the bike. At that point we gave up on her bike as well.

Then we went to the movies: King Corn at the Independent Film Festival Boston. It was excellent– it didn’t tell me a hell of a lot about corn that wasn’t in Michael Pollan’s book about American food systems, but it was very well made and included an interview with Earl Butz, the former secretary of Agriculture who masterminded today’s abundance of corn derivatives. One thing that was good was that the directors were there and they said that doing the documentary had changed the way they wanted to eat, but that it hadn’t changed the way they really ate much at all. To do that, we’d have to start subsidizing fresh vegetables at the expense of corn sweeteners– we’d have to make healthy food cheaper and more convenient.

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