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Wednesday, April 29, 2020

What PETA Wants

    I love animals...most anyway. Snakes and such aren’t on my list of beloved animals, but even so, I would never kill one as long as it remains in its habitat and stays out of mine. 
    I also like my steaks, bacon and fried chicken and I understand that while they might be packaged all nice and neat at the grocery store, they didn't come from a magical, happy place.
     That said, a recent article in American Military News was both comical and disturbing. According to the article the animal rights organization People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is urging the U.S. Marine Corps to stop eating animals during survival training and have taken their complaint to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. 
     They recently sent him a letter restating their previous concerns about Cobra Gold survival training, which involves troops eating spiders and scorpions and drinking the blood of cobra snakes, among other things. 
     The survival training was part of an exercise in March between Marines and the Royal Thai Marines in which they were taught survival techniques that included catching and preparing animals to eat. They were also taught how to make fires, find and identify edible plants and obtain alternative sources of hydration when water cannot be found.

     This time PETA also pointed to the coronavirus pandemic and health concerns such as troops contracting zoonotic diseases after consuming wild animals. The organization took this action after they saw what was to them a disturbing video of Marines and survival training instructors in Thailand killing chickens with their bare hands, skinning and eating geckos, consuming scorpions and tarantulas and decapitating cobras and drinking their blood. 
     PETA called these actions irresponsible and claimed they put troops at risk of contracting zoonotic diseases that can endanger them and the wider public. PETA also sees this as cruel to animals and could be replaced with more technologically informed survival training, such as “interactive video games with food procurement components, virtual reality methods that survival experts use to train Air Force pilots and instructional books and videos.” PETA’s letter urged that for the sake of troops, public health and animals that the Marine Corps ban the use of live animals and instead use more ethical training methods that don’t involve the use of animals.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Don’t Try This At Home!


     Regular readers of this blog (if there is any such thing) know that I have supported the office of the President of the United States, if not the man. To that end, on occasion I have defended the holder of that office, Donald Trump, against some of the egregious social media claims that have been made against him even if not always agreeing with him. That said, some things are just so shocking and funny that there is no defending them. 
     CNN anchor Chris Cuomo's wife, Cristina, has recovered after testing positive for COVID-19, but the treatment methods she said she followed are controversial. 
     She is the founder of the wellness website The Purist, and recently stated that she took Clorox baths and used vitamin drips (administered by a medical doctor) to speed her recovery.  
     The "drips" included a concoction of vitamin C, magnesium, folic acid, and zinc, among other things. Her bleach baths consisted of adding a half cup of Clorox to her bath to help "combat the radiation and metals in my system and oxygenate it." 
     She added, "We want to neutralize heavy metals because they slow-up the electromagnetic frequency of our cells, which is our energy field, and we need a good flow of energy.” 
     This came on the heels of President Trump’s conference where he said, “Supposing we hit the body with a tremendous — whether it’s ultraviolet or just very powerful — light, and I think you said that hasn’t been checked but you’re going to test it. And then I said, ‘Supposing you brought the light inside the body,’ which you can do either through the skin or in some other way, and I think you said you’re going to test that, too. Sounds interesting." 
     "And then I see the disinfectant where it knocks it out in a minute, one minute, and is there a way we can do something like that? Like injection inside or almost a cleaning because, you see, it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number in the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that.” 
     Then he added, “Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. I’m not a doctor, but I’m, like, a person that has a good you know what,” Trump said, pointing to his head.

Funny stuff...

Thursday, April 23, 2020


     During World War II rationing was part of life: gasoline, tires, sugar, coffee, canned and processed foods, meat, cheese, butter, fats, and oils were rationed. As a result, housewives also collected kitchen waste fats. 
     Shortages of butter and oils began early in the war. Most cooking oils came from countries in the Pacific that were conquered by the Japanese. 
     Fats were needed in large quantities for industrial and military use and the United States also provided the fats needed by many of the Allies. 
     By Christmas of 1942 a serious shortage of butter and other fats developed and the Office of Price Administration added butter, fats, and oils to ration list on March 29, 1943. Each person was allowed about 12 pounds of fats per year. Points were assigned to each type of fat and grocery stores posted the required ration points along with prices. 
     Lard was removed from rationing on March 3, 1944 and shortening and oils on April 19, 1944, but butter and margarine were rationed until November 23, 1945. 
     Because butter was harder to get than margarine, oleo margarine became popular. It was called simply “oleo” and its natural color was white...it looked like modern day Crisco shortening. Oleo came with a packet of yellow food coloring to mix in to make it look like butter. 
     In the United States, most glycerin came from the production of soap. When fats and lye are combined, soap and glycerin are formed. Glycerin is a crucial ingredient in the manufacture of explosives such as nitroglycerin. Other military uses included its use in lubricants, protective paint, hydraulics, in the production of cellophane for food wrappers and in dyes for uniforms. In addition, glycerin is used as a solvent, protectant and emollient in some pharmaceuticals. Glycerin use was either limited or removed from products such as beverages, gum, antifreeze, tobacco, cosmetics, lotions, soaps, and shampoo. 
     So much glycerin was needed that the country turned to housewives to provide more fats. Civilians were reminded among other things that: 

* One tablespoonful of kitchen grease fires five bullets 
* One pound of kitchen fats makes enough dynamite to blow up a bridge 

     In June of 1942, a program was begun to collect kitchen fats, but it was not working so starting on December 13, 1943, people received extra ration points and 4 cents for each pound of grease.
     The kitchen fats came from fats trimmed from meat, pan juices, skimmings from stews and gravies, even water from boiling sausage...the water was chilled then the fat skimmed off. It was up to housewives to make sure the fats were free of water and juice and strain them through a fine-mesh sieve. They then stored the fats in the refrigerator until a pound had been collected in a tin can. It was then taken to a grocer or butcher who would collect it and return the tin can. 
     Even in the 1950s there was still stuff called oleo. The white, lard-like stuff had to be turned into something that at least looked edible! 
     It came with a little capsule that you broke that had yellow liquid in it and you mixed it into the lard-looking stuff so it was yellow. 
     Actually, this fake butter had been around for years before World War II thanks to the French. Napoleon III, emperor of the country known the world over for its rich, buttery dishes, offered a prize to the inventor of a cheap edible fat that could supply the military and the lower classes. 
     In 1869 some guy named Hippolyte Mege-Mouries came up with a concoction of animal fats and other ingredients that he called margarine, from the Greek margarites, or "pearl." It was also known as oleomargarine from the Latin oleum, meaning oil. 
     Most margarine was made from vegetable oils, without any animal fats, which made it easier to spread and cheaper to produce. Margarine was popular in Europe and was brought to the United States in the early 1870s. 
     As production increased and prices dropped it looked like oleo might just be a replacement for butter. Because of that possibility the American dairy industry lobbied politicians for protection. They also launched a propaganda campaign that ran strong for decades. They were successful. 

   Federal and state laws varied from outright banning the sale of oleo to requiring it to be dyed black! Courts overturned many of those laws, but the ones that survived, taxes and coloring bans, did a lot of damage.
     The reason the fake yellow color was outlawed was because it was designed to fool consumers into believing they were buying and using real butter. 
     The real reason the dairy industry wanted the coloring ban was because they knew nobody was going to want to smear a white lard-looking product all over their food. 
     By 1895, 19 states had adopted laws forbidding the sale of yellow margarine and by by 1932, the number was up to 27. Oleo makers struck back with a clever way around the laws. The packaged artificial yellow coloring in capsules or wafers with the oleo. 
     Even so, it took World War II for sales of oleo to take off. By the time the war ended, people were used to eating the stuff and Federal and state bans, taxes and licenses began to disappear. By 1955, only two states had laws forbidding the sale of yellow margarine. The last coloring ban stood all the way to 1967. The lone holdout was Wisconsin, known as America’s Dairyland.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Whom Do You Trust?

   There used to be a CBS prime time game show titled Do You Trust Your Wife? Hosted by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, the show ran from January 3, 1956, to March 26, 1957. All the contestants were married couples chosen for their unique backgrounds. 
     After a brief chat with Bergen and his dummies Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Snerd and Effie Klinker the couples would try to answer four questions. The husband could attempt to answer or trust his wife to do so, hence the name of the show. 
     The revised show Who Do You Trust? aired from September 30, 1957 to December 27, 1963 at 3:30 pm Eastern. The revised title outraged language police, who preferred Whom Do You Trust? 
     This program was initially hosted by Johnny Carson and announced by Bill Nimmo. A year later he was replaced by Carson’s sidekick Ed McMahon. 
     In 1962 Carson took over from Jack Paar on the Tonight show and Woody Woodbury took over hosting the Who Do You Trust? and Nimmo returned to announce.
     Who are we to trust today among the news media? Which “expert” are we to trust. Even when researching facts for yourself, you have to deal with alternative facts. Who knows?!  And. there are, as they say, two sides to every story.
     Yitzhak Ben Israel of Tel Aviv University, who is on the research and advisory board for one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world (Teva), has concluded that all the lockdowns, all the shutdowns, all the closing of churches, schools, beaches, businesses, restaurants, and parks was nothing more than economy destroying madness. It has all been unnecessary because coronavirus runs its own course no matter what governments do or do not do. Read the rest of the story HERE.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Pinocchio’s Paradox

   A paradox is a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. 
     The Pinocchio Paradox arises if Pinocchio said, "My nose grows now." It’s a version of the liar paradox in philosophy and logic as the statement, "This sentence is false." 
     Any attempt to assign truth to this statement leads to a contradiction. If the sentence is true, then it is false, but if it’s false, then it’s true. 
     The Pinocchio Paradox was proposed in February 2001, by 11-year-old Veronique Eldridge-Smith, the daughter of Peter Eldridge-Smith, who specializes in logic and the philosophy of logic. 

   The paradox says if his nose doesn't grow he would be lying, so it would grow and if it grows he would be telling the truth, so his nose would grow when he told the truth, which is only supposed to happen when he lies. 
     That's not what would happen though. Scenario #1: For that particular scenario playing out you can prove his nose didn't grow when he told the truth because he said his nose would grow "now." 
     His nose not growing had to happen before lie occurred, so the lie and his nose growing would be considered after his nose didn't grow, which establishes a now and a later. 
     His nose didn't grow when he said it would, which was "now", and it grew later. His nose growing wouldn't mean he was telling the truth because he was referring to now and not later. 
     Scenario #2: The other scenario could be that his nose did grow when he said it would, but his nose is only supposed to grow when he lies, and his nose would grow even though he told the truth, and the paradox appears to exist again. 
     You can prove that's not true because he created a self fulfilling prophecy when he said his nose was going to grow bigger because saying that was saying he was going to lie. 
     In order to lie; he had to tell the truth, and say that he was lying, when he was really telling the truth, which would be a lie. He did say he was lying because he said his nose was going to grow, and even though he said he was lying, he was actually telling the truth; which means he was lying about lying, or lying about not telling the truth. 
     His nose did grow, and he did tell the truth, but he said he was lying when he was telling the truth, which was the lie that made his nose grow. Since his nose didn't grow after he told the truth, but after he lied about not telling the truth; the paradox doesn't exist. 
     That second answer actually works for both scenarios, where as the first answer only works for the first scenario, so the second answer appears to be  the correct one.

Wikipedia has about the best article on this paradox, so check it out HERE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Michigan’s Gestapo Governor

     With over 25,000 of COVID-19 cases in Michigan with at least 1,600 deaths Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s coronavirus stay-at-home order has been extended until May 1 and now includes prohibitions reminiscent of something straight out of Nazi Germany. 
     Many prohibitions are now in effect in a lot of places. Large stores must limit the number of people in the store to no more than four customers for every 1,000 square feet of customer floor space. In smaller stores, businesses must limit capacity to 25 percent, including employees. Stores have to create lines with markings to instruct customers on how to stand safely six feet apart while they wait. But, Whitmer’s latest orders go way beyond that. 
     Traveling to another home within Michigan, even to visit friends or relatives, or to go to a vacation home, is now banned. Large stores must now close areas dedicated to furniture, carpeting, plant nurseries, paint, and garden centers. You cannot use a motor boat on lakes and rivers in the state. 

"If you're not buying food or medicine or other essential items, you should not be going to the store," the governor said. “All public and private gatherings of any size are prohibited," 

Whitmer said. "People can still leave the house for outdoor activities…recreational activities are still permitted as long as they’re taking place outside of six feet from anyone else." 

     Most Michigan residents are not against necessary restrictions, but what they are against is that their very constitutional rights are being taken away and multiple protests against the governor are scheduled. Let’s hope the protesters don’t get machine gunned down.

     In Louisville, Kentucky, Democratic Mayor Greg Fischer resorted to Nazi tactics when he 
ordered Christians not to attend Sunday Easter drive in services at a local church even though they remained in their cars to worship. Fortunately U.S. District Court Judge Justin Walker reacted by granting a temporary restraining order on Saturday to block enforcement of Fischer’s order.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Dead Flies

     You can drown a fly and bring it back to life as shown in THIS YouTube video. Actually, a fly breathes thru tubes in the sides its body and like most bugs can exist for long periods with little oxygen. The fly goes into a homeostatic state in which it is conserving what little oxygen it had before drowning. The salt removes the water from its breathing tubes by a process of diffusion, or leaching. With the water gone from the tubes, the fly can start breathing again and slowly returns to normal. 
     Tricks aside, in the winter and early spring have you ever found a cluster dead flies littering your floors and window sills? If you live in a rural area, it’s common to see them this time of year. These are cluster flies, which can be found throughout the United States except in the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico as well as Canada and Europe. 
     Cluster flies are known for the way they tend to hibernate or “cluster” in wall voids or attics during the colder months. They can number anywhere from a few dozen to in the thousands. 
     They are a nuisance because they die all over peoples’ homes in the spring, but it’s the fall when the problem actually begins. All those dead flies have actually been living in the house all winter long, and now they’re trying to get out. 
     Cluster flies are not like the usual houseflies you see buzzing around rotting food and animal excrement. They feed on flower nectar and like to sunbathe outdoors. Because of this there is no worry about them laying eggs in your food or making you sick. 
     They’re more common near vast stretches of fields because cluster fly larvae are parasitic to earthworms! You will never see cluster fly larvae in trash cans because the adults lay their eggs in earthworm burrows! The larvae then infest and feed on the worms, and when they pupate into adults, they emerge from the ground. 
     Unfortunately, in addition to lady bugs, ants, stink bugs and hornets, cluster flies love the warmth of houses...they are attracted to warmth. On sunny days, you may see them on the southern side of your house soaking up some rays.
     When it cools down in the fall cluster flies squeeze through tiny holes in your eaves and siding and around your chimney and pipes in a home invasion. Once inside, they hibernate. They cluster together (hence the name) in corners of attics or in wall voids to stay warm. 
     On warm days in the winter and spring, they wake up and try to get out. But instead of going outside, because sometimes it’s still very cold, they buzz around until they drop dead, usually on window seals and floors. 
     There is no sure way to keep cluster flies out on your house. Trying to up every little hole will turn out to be a hopeless project The best way to prevent a cluster fly mess in the spring, is to have the outside of your house treated in the fall (around mid-September to mid-October.), but who’s going to bother with that? The best best is to just suck up the dead flies with a vacuum cleaner.

Friday, April 3, 2020

You CAN Train Your Taste Buds

     Our taste in food changes as we get older. As kids there were foods that were so repulsive we couldn’t stand them and there were those we loved. Today those likes and dislikes may have completely flip-flopped. Why? 
     Taste can transform over a lifetime. Taste, while experienced mostly in the mouth, is the product of activity happening, they say, in the sensors and cells of the physical body, neuro-chemical activation and memory, and it depends greatly on our sense of smell. 
     There are five basic tastes: sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami (otherwise known as savory). 
     Taste buds are the receptors that communicate to our brain what we’ve just placed on our tongues. They identify specific chemicals in foods, then analyze the overall profile, and send signals to the brain that are translated as sweet, salty, etc.
     Note that flavor and taste are not the same thing. Sugar, a taste, and strawberry, a flavor and they are detected using different sensory systems. Taste is experienced by the taste (aka gustatory) receptors which are the taste buds. Favor is experienced through the olfactory (smell) receptors. That’s why if you sense of smell is compromised it can impact your experience of a food. What that means is that if you’re, say, drinking fruit juice you might taste that it’s sweet, but be unable to recognize that it’s strawberry flavored. 
     Most of our taste buds are located in the bumps on our tongues, there are also receptors on the roof of the mouth, the epiglottis and in the throat. Recent studies of taste have revealed that a separate receptor exists to identify glutamate, an amino acid present in proteins, which gives food a strong umami taste. They think this is to make sure the body ingests enough protein. The average person has 10,000 taste buds at birth, which are in the papillae, those little bumps on the tongue. Each papilla can have up to 700 taste buds, with each bud containing 50-80 specialized cells that work in concert to identify tastes. 
     Taste buds vary from person to person, and affects the intensity of the taste one experiences. Someone who is extra sensitive to subtle tastes and chemical combinations, might have twice as many taste buds, while some people are below average. 
     While many taste preferences are genetically determined (i.e. how many taste buds you have) most are based on experience and culture. The shaping of taste preferences begins in the womb and continues throughout the rest of our lives, based largely on what we’re exposed to and how we associate with those early food experiences. 
     Taste buds that fire in groups and in certain combinations change as we age and they die off. Every two weeks or so, our taste buds die and regenerate like any other cells in the body. Around 40 years of age, this process slows down and as the taste buds, fewer grow back. 
     Fewer taste buds means blander taste and a different combination of activated cells. As a result, a combination that used to taste good to us might not be so great as we get older. 
     Another factor is that our sense of smell decreases as we age. In fact, smell is the sense most affected by aging and this changes how we interpret a food and whether or not we like it. One result is that sometimes we begin gravitating towards stronger, more savory tastes, as these will be more easily perceived and less likely to register as bland. 
     Pregnancy changes taste and preference. Studies have shown that pregnant women have a decreased ability to taste salt in food. In fact, they preferred foods with a significantly higher salt content than non-pregnant women. These studies suggested that the body has a specific mechanism to increase salt intake during pregnancy. If this is the case, other hormonal fluctuations or changes in the body’s balance might change taste, too. 
     Stress interrupts a variety of bodily functions, including taste. Stress can cause nutritional deficiencies, which may cause a change in taste to encourage the intake of specific foods. It can alter hormone production and balance and interfere with sleep and cellular regeneration. As a result taste preferences and cravings change during stressful times. 
     What we eat on a regular basis shapes taste preferences. Most Americans don’t prefer plain vegetables or unseasoned salads because the standard American diet is packed with processed foods, where sugar, salt and oil are used in excess. Excessive consumption of these foods can alter the body’s preference, raising our threshold for tastiness. The brain begins craving more intense taste.
     It is possible to train our palate to like just about anything, especially if there is a motivation for doing so. Some tastes are acquired meaning they are only liked with repeated consumption. You can train your taste buds to prefer different flavors and it will usually require five to 10 repeated exposures.
     Psychological factors also come into play. When we learn which foods are best and which are unhealthy we begin to base our food decisions on those factors. As we shift what we eat our tastes will adapt. For example, quit eating salt and many foods will begin to taste extremely salty.

How to retrain your palate to be healthier - READ
Take back your taste buds - READ

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Foolishly Tempting God

     Down in Louisiana they have one of the highest per-capita death rates caused by the coronvirus in the country. This lead Gov. John Edwards to ban gatherings of more than 50 people earlier last month and on March 22 issue a stay-at-home order. 
     On May 18, in defiance of the governor's orders, Pastor Tony Spell stood in the pulpit of his Louisiana church and delivered a message all while quoting Bible verses out of context. Spell also stated he believes the Covid-19 scare is politically motivated. 
     Spell is not alone as other pastors are foolishly testing God by defying government orders and good, common sense by continuing to hold services in defiance of authorities. Apparently they are ignorant of their own Bibles. 
     In Luke Chapter 4 Jesus was tempted by the Devil to jump off the Temple wall and was reminded that the Bible says God would command his angels to protect him. Jesus responded by saying, “The Scriptures also say, You must not test the Lord your God.” 
     I am told that the wall was 162 feet high and so Jesus understood that while he was in the flesh as a man such a jump would not be survivable. Deliberately doing such a foolish thing would be tempting God. Therefore he wouldn’t do it. 
     We live in a time when people’s opinion of those in political leadership is very low, but that’s nothing new. The Apostle Paul lived under the very evil and oppressive Roman government, but he had something to say about civil authorities in Romans 13 in order that Christians might better understand how God would have them relate to those in power. 
     Paul wrote, “All of you must obey those who rule over you." Paul added that it was God who, for His own reasons, allowed these men to come into power so opposing them is opposing God.
     What people like Spell do not get is that, as another wiser and more biblically sound pastor posted “...our obedience to (this request)...was certainly a wise choice in keeping our flocks safe. Especially keeping our seniors members in a more healthy environment...” 
     He also added, and this is important, that “nobody has asked us not to worship God, nor to worship another God. Nor have they demanded us to stop preaching in Jesus' name or praying to our Lord.” 
     This pastor (and others like him) has chosen to be in compliance with government orders and many of them have been preaching using social media. Those pastors are acting responsibly by helping to protect the people under their care while doing their part to help stop the spread of this virus in their communities...something that's beyond the grasp of pastors like Spell.