I wanted to make sure to link to the article, "Why Bother?" by Michael Pollan in last week's New York Times. The title says it all, and it's required reading if you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the state of the planet. I'm a big fan of Pollan's work. His 1998 article, "Playing God in the Garden" was one of the things that inspired me to write about genetically engineered potatoes in "All Over Creation." I ended up incorporating a description of the article in the novel, where one of the characters, Elliot Rhodes, a PR flack for a biotech company, comes across it, much to his dismay. In 2002, when the manuscript was finished, I felt I had to contact Pollan to let him know that I'd appropriated his factual article into my fictional novel. He was extremely gracious and told me that he had been reading "My Year of Meats" when he was writing his article "Power Steer," about a steer he purchased in order to learn about how modern, industrial steak is produced in America. That made me very happy.