Thursday, November 10, 2011

Can you resist the "schweddy balls"?

With the end of the semester in clear sight, I have been spending many nights with papers and books spread over my desk. It’s an arduous cycle for sure, so one night I decided it was time to make it a little sweeter… and bhat better way to do that then with ice cream! As I perused the ice cream cooler in City Market my eyes fell upon a pint of Ben & Jerry’s turned on its side on the bottom shelf: “Schweddy Balls” it read.
Yup. That’s right. I ate schweddy balls and it was delicious.

The name itself can intrigue just about anyone with a sense of humor, but what intrigued me more is the fact that there has been so much controversy surrounding this ice cream flavor. I wanted to know more.
First I went to the source: Ben & Jerry’s website. The name is in reference to a popular Saturday Night Live skit featuring a parody of NPR with actors/actresses Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon and Alec Baldwin. The conversation topic of this fictional radio broadcast is about the holiday season and the different foods or “Season’s Eatings” that surround this time. Pete Schweddy, played by Alec Baldwin, explains his love for his seasonal balls in saying, “No one can resist my schweddy balls.”

Because of its humor and punny-ness (get it?!) the flavor designers at Ben & Jerry’s decided to make a flavor of ice cream based on the SNL skit. The result: Vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum flavor, chocolate covered mini rum balls and malted milk balls mixed in. My verdict: delicious, however the crunchiness of the malted milk balls was a little off putting because generally I don’t chew ice cream. But overall I thought it was quite good.

Other venues are enjoying the humorous ice cream flavor too. For example, The Talk dedicated an episode to the flavor and shared many laughs as the different hostesses made lots of sexual comments.

Some people find the new flavor insulting and are trying to get it banned from being sold in stores. In a TIME news piece, a member of a Christian group states, “The vulgar new flavor has turned something as innocent as ice cream into something repulsive.” The article goes further in saying, “The group dubs Ben & Jerry’s repeat offenders; referencing a previous special edition release of Hubby Hubby, the flavor intended to pay tribute to gay marriage.”

Personally, I think it’s just a joke in the form of ice cream. As far as fearing for the innocence of children, I would say that this kind of stuff goes right over their heads anyway. Middle school kids will chuckle a bit and anyone older than that will get a few laughs too. So what if it’s vulgar?! If you don’t like it, then don’t buy it. The rest of us will happily sit at home with a spoon and a pint of delicious Schweddy Balls. Yum.

Other interesting articles:
Entertainment Weekly: Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls not being sold in some stores: Have you had a taste yet?
TIME: Some Supermarkets Shunning Ben & Jerry’s ‘Schweddy Balls’

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ocean Pollution: Let's help in the solution and not be the problem

For my Project Censored story I chose to research #12, about the Pacific Garbage Dump. I remember hearing about this for the first time during my first year of college and I remember how shocked I was when I saw the pictures⎯a mass of trash that is twice the size of the state of Texas. Unfortunately, the heap that lies in the Pacific Ocean is merely one of the five “trash islands” that have formed in our world’s oceans.

Essential Facts concerning this story:

1. The 5 different gyres (spiral/vortex) are located in the North and South Pacific, the Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.

2. There is an estimated 315 billion pounds of plastic trash in these heaps.

3. The trash ends up in the ocean because people are careless when it comes to disposing of their plastics. Much of the plastics consumed in the world do not get recycled and in turn they end up in the ocean, which carries them in the currents to one of the five heaps.

4. The pollution in the ocean has a negative effect on both marine life and the human race.

5. estimates that there are 46 thousand pieces of trash floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans.

This is a YouTube video describing the size, location, etc. of the Pacific Garbage heap. In addition, it depicts a wide variety of pictures.

Project Censored 2012 cites oceanographer Fabien Cousteau as a source of information for this topic. His video is shown below.
Fabien is highly informed on this issue and very passionate about it as well. He points out how important it is that we clean up our world's oceans in describing them as our "circulatory system" because the ocean is the home of 99% of the world's biodiversity and 95% of the world's life.

"We have to start seeing human beings as the potential solution and not just the problem... We need to educate, and empower and have us restore the health of our one, and only, life support system." - Fabien Cousteau
For my LexisNexis search results I got a total of 999 topics that relate to the Great Pacific Garbage dump in one way or another. I believe that in terms of censorship, this topic is not being talked about enough. There are certainly plenty of things to read and consult online about the topic, but not much is being covered by the news media. There are dozens of commercials and television programs that discuss the number of plastic bottles that are thrown away and new products that are supposedly biodegradable. My question is how do we know that any of this information is true? Is there any way that the trash can be eliminated? Will we ever stop using plastics? My hope is that we as a race take into consideration the words that Fabien Cousteau has said on this topic: be the solution, not the problem. We have to promote the awareness of this serious pollution problem or there will never be enough action to stop it. I do want want to live in a world, or my future children, grandchildren, etc., that is polluted to the extent that it is unsafe to be outdoors.

Some other sources of information on this topic are the following:
1. The 5 gyres project.

2. Mother Nature Network

3. Tracking Ocean Debris

4. Pollution of the Marine Environment

5. Leatherback turtles

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


I’ve known a lot of people who say, “I love all kinds of music… except country.” I laugh about it now, but I used to be one of those people. I would go off about how country music is all twang, honky tonks, and whatever nonsense the artists cared to sing about. One of my good friends is an avid country fan and I ended up listening to the music while with her. This is when I started listening to country⎯really listening. Country is some of the most heart-felt, down to earth and soulful music I’ve ever heard. Listening to this music is like getting a shot of endorphins; so much of today’s popular music is full of negative subject matter and country is full of the simplicities in life that make living a beautiful thing.

My name is Kaisa Jarrell and I am a country girl⎯A damn proud country girl at that.

This summer I watched a show on CMT (Country Music Television) that did a countdown of the top country artists: Top 20 Guys and Top 20 ladies. So I decided I would list my Top 5 of each.

5. Lady Antebellum – Hillary Scott She's got a voice like American honey.

4. Carrie Underwood Though I can not do her justice by singing along to her songs, Carrie Underwood is the epitome of girl power music. Her song "Undo It" is my personal favorite.

3. Sara Evans Like Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans is definitely about the girl power, but she has a softer side to her style⎯her voice and music are perfect for a sunny day drive. Born to fly is a good one.

2. Sugarland – Jennifer Nettles She is Sugarland's lead singer. Her song "Stuck like glue" is what originally got me started on my country kick. Her voice is twangy, but she's full of soul and I love her for it.

1. Miranda Lambert is my girl. Hands down she is my favorite female country artist. I can listen to her music no matter what kind of mood I'm in: happy, sad, angry, whatever. There's a song for everything. Some of my favorite songs are "Heart like mine," "Famous in a small town," "Kerosene," and "The House that Built Me."

And now the guys...

5. Chris Young - strong and deep. His song "Voices" is the one I like best because it makes me think of my family.

4. Brad Paisley - The first time I ever heard him was when the song "Whiskey Lullaby" was released several years ago; it is a beautifully tragic duet with Bluegrass singer Alison Krauss. He also does a duet with Carrie Underwood called "Remind Me" which has a similar quality to the duet with Alison Krauss.

3. Josh Turner I loved his before I loved his genre. I think that's because he has a blue grass feel to his songs, but regardless he made it to the top five. My mom is the one who introduced me to him. The song "She'll go on you" has become our song. It takes you through the stages of life; a tear jerker for sure.

2. Jason Aldean His song "She's Country" is one of my all time favorites. All I want to do when I hear this song is drive really fast with the windows down.

1. Blake Shelton - He is married to my favorite country girl Miranda Lambert and is also one of the judges on the hit NBC show The Voice. Watching him on this show made my love for him increase so much more because he was such a great coach throughout the season. His song "Who are you when I'm not looking" was one of the songs that got me into country. Lastly, I love his ability to blend with other genres of music. The following video is a perfect exampe:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Artsy Fartsy!

I mentioned in my introductory post about how I love art. Well it’s still true. I am madly in love with art.

This semester I’m taking Intro to Drawing with Professor Geebo Church. As a senior design student I would normally not be taking this class now, but I kept pushing it off semester to semester and landed in it now. But honestly, it’s the best class I could possibly be in right now because with capstone and all of my other 300/400 level courses, ART 110 is like a breath of fresh air⎯and sanity!
Painting is a fairly new endeavor for me. My comfort resides in pen and ink drawing, photography, collage art, etc. But now that I’m doing it in class I feel much more comfortable with it. I’ve been doodling with card sized paintings and a few on a large scale.

When I paint I think about my friend Kaisa-Leena. She is a family friend from long before my time. Both my Uncle Bill and my mother spent time in Finland during their early twenties and Kaisa-Leena is a mutual friend of theirs as well as me. We share a name and a passion for art. The first time I visited Finland a year and a half ago she taught me a little about watercolors; she taught me that you use the water to control the paint and a little paint goes a long way. I know I still have much to learn, but I’m having a great time while doing it.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Name change

I took this picture while working at my uncle's greenhouse last summer. Hummingbirds are my favorite. They fascinate me.

I realized that my current blog name wasn't fitting at all. In truth I just slapped the words "I use my brain sometimes" because at 8am on a Thursday morning I couldn't think of anything better. The url is semi fitting at the very least: "coffeebrainz." I drink a lot of coffee and it determines my ability to function on a day to day basis.

Anyways. I'm going with "Photo bird" for several reasons. "Photo" because of my love of photography, especially nature photography. I plan on posting lots of pictures in this blog.

This little guy was saved from an untimely death by my cat Frodo. My stepdad fished him out of Frodo's mouth. I took this picture shortly afterward. He looks very tired.

"Bird" is the name I gave to my car. I drive a 1993 Volvo 850. She's an old lady. Like my blog, I realized that I had not named her properly in the 3 years I had owned her. While brainstorming possible names for her with my friend Jordan, I explained that my car was "an old bird." And so, she's bird. The bird is the word.

This concludes the story of "Photo bird."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

[Insert catchy title here]

I am Kaisa Jarrell and I’m from Keene, NH. (photo taken by RJ Hale)

I love art in all forms, which is why I decided to pursue a degree in graphic design. I also love photography, coffee, agriculture, and traveling. As far as my professional future is concerned, I sometimes think that I have too many interests/possibilities. I could see myself doing freelance graphic design while pursuing photography (my photography facebook page is here)on a more professional level.

The digital world annoys the crap out of me sometimes... too many screens and not enough authentic interaction. I referenced this video in a paper I did during my sophomore year. I still think it's genius.

"We live in an amazing, amazing world, and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of spoiled idiots."

It's people like Louis CK that inspire me to pursue a more authentic field of work, which is why I’d love to take after my parents and continue farming, particularly in the field of floral design. Lastly, it would be incredible to have my own coffee shop where I could also host an art gallery.

I guess I have the next nine months to get a better sense of what I should pursue right now⎯there’s plenty of time to explore my possibilities. In the meantime... I try not to forget to smile:

(photo taken by me; Western Ireland)