Category Archives: culture

aisle of shame.

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Aldi shoppers are not birds, but they sometimes sound like they are.

meet the proud shoppers of aldi’s ‘aisle of shame.’ this aisle has its own subculture and fan club.
(the ‘caw’ sound you may hear is one fan calling to another)

The “Aisle of Shame” is the unofficial name Aldi enthusiasts have given the store’s middle aisle, home to a weekly rotation of curious edible and non-edible products available only while supplies last. We’re talking everything from vegan lasagna made from lentils to a churro maker and apple cinnamon latte-flavored dog biscuits. The recipe for the Aisle of Shame’s surprising cult status combines the joy of a bargain, the thrill of discovery, the allure of the unusual, and the satisfaction of snapping up a limited-time offer.

“It’s something that you can use to express yourself and add fun and joy to your grocery shopping,” says enthusiastic  shopper Brenna Bazemore of its odd assortment of products. “I hate grocery shopping, but I love to go to Aldi and shop, because I know I’m at least going to get something that I can use outside of food and that’s always exciting to me.”

Plus, she can share her excitement with a million other AOS fans in the Facebook group where members share more than recipes, reviews, and Insta-worthy pics. With an evolving lingo, hashtag trends, and a propensity for random acts of kindness, the Aisle of Shame community is a unique food culture inspired by a grocery store. The Aisle of Shame’s edible advent calendars contain beer, cheese, and more. “It started as a fan group and it has become so much more,” writes Stefanie Fleming, the creator of the  Aisle of Shame website and Facebook group.

While each week’s AOS items can often seem like a compilation of randomness, a method exists. Since Aldi keeps prices low by stocking about 1,400 products (mostly staples) compared to a conventional grocery store’s 40,000, the AOS introduces more excitement and variety for shoppers. The aisle, which each week is split 50-50 between edible and non-edible items, often has a theme, whether seasonal (pumpkin foods in the fall; pool products in the summer) or regional (many AOS enthusiasts plan meals of schnitzel, spätzle, and strudel around the aisle’s German Week). Nils Brandes, a retail consultant who has co-written a book on Aldi’s business strategies, estimates that 20 percent of all yearly sales come from these products.

The Aisle of Shame is also where the grocers test new products to gauge their popularity—the vegetarian and vegan Earth Grown and gluten-free LiveGfree product lines, for instance, advanced from the AOS to the main aisles. “It’s crazy to think this is a grocery-store community,” Bazemore says.

After some thought, McKillip observes that Aldi shoppers might be more down-to-earth, their need to make a dollar stretch giving them both a healthier perspective about the products and more joy when they have room in their carts and budgets for the AOS’s more quirky products. Ultimately, though, she offers a simpler explanation: “It’s fun.”

“you’ve got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-eleven.”

-dennis miller

credits: gastro obscura, sara murphy, photo: stella murphy

indigenous people.

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According to the United Nations, there are currently more than 370 million Indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide. In total, they belong to some 5,000 different Indigenous groups and speak more than 4,000 languages. Many of these groups have distinct social, economic, and political systems, as well as distinct culture and beliefs. Sadly, they are often marginalized or directly threatened by more dominant powers in society — despite having been the original inhabitants of the land they occupy.

Indigenous peoples often have a strong attachment, understanding, and respect for their native lands, be it the great plains of the United States, the Canadian prairies, or the Amazon rainforest. This connection is frequently apparent in the wise words of Indigenous leaders both past and present. Today, with many Indigenous communities on the frontlines of the battle to protect our natural world, this wisdom is perhaps more important than ever.

“Even though you and I are in different boats,

you in your boat and we in our canoe,

we share the same River of Life.

What befalls me, befalls you.”

-Oren Lyons, Onandaga Nation Chief

and member of the Indigenous Peoples of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures. On October 8th, 2021 President Joe Biden signed a presidential proclamation declaring October 11th to be a national holiday.

 

 

– credits: Penobscot History Museum, United Nations

 

russia!

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russian festival day

a little taste of everything

lots and lots of happy dancing

 traditions, tea, wine, beer, language, music, religion, art, history

loved experiencing this culture

 the people so passionate about it

and all so new to me. 

“a nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.”

-mahatma gandhi

holy flume ride.

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The Onbashira festival is held only once every six years, (next one will be in April 2022), to metaphorically revitalize the Suwa shrines. The historic and lengthy event has been performed for over 1,200 years in Japan, and consists of two month-long components. The Yamadashi takes place in April, during which four very large tree trunks are felled by hand axes in the cemetery of a shinto shrine. They are wrapped and adorned in red and white, and then dragged by teams of men towards the Shinto shrines, who test their courage during the trial by performing “kiotoshi”: dangerously riding the logs downhill on rough inclines. The Satokibi, in May, sees these logs used as symbolic support structures. They are raised in the shrines by hand, while one man straddles the top, singing. When it is fully raised, and the man on top balanced many feet in the air, success is declared. A remarkable spectacle.

“to celebrate a festival means; to live out,

for some special occasion and in an uncommon manner,

the universal assent to the world as a whole.”

-joseph pieper

 

source credits: mental floss magazine

to the poets.

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Wole Soyinka, playwright, poet and Nobel Laureate, reads an original poem written for children at the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Celebrating the linguistic expression

of our common humanity

Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.

In celebrating World Poetry Day, March 21, UNESCO recognizes the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.

A decision to proclaim March 21 as World Poetry Day was adopted during UNESCO’s 30th session held in Paris in 1999.

One of the main objectives of the Day is to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

The observance of World Poetry Day is also meant to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art, but one which enables society as a whole to regain and assert its identity. As poetry continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.

“poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words.”

-robert frost

 

 

 

credits: photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten, UNESCO

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