Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Learned in the Service

You don't have to know everything, you just have to know where it's written down.

That's what we were taught. We crammed four years worth of electrical engineering training into ten months. We were over our heads. We had data overload before the phrase existed. We couldn't remember a fraction of what we were being told, and we knew it. The instructor knew it too, and he gave us this expression. It has served me well for years.

Now, in dealing with health issues, this expression is invaluable. I have figured out why I now find health care people difficult to engage. They are trained to treat me, and for very little else. But I don't want to be treated. Not by someone other than myself. Not just yet. I want information. I want answers to my questions. I have never approached health care people in this way before, and I can see it is completely alien to them -- so alien that they are incapable of it. It's disappointing to me. They have all the information I need, but they are unable or unwilling to share it. They want only to treat.

So It's back to the books again. It's hard for me to read. My eyes are burning, and I suffer from fatigue. I'll have to read though. The books I ordered yesterday will be good, I'm sure. But if they are not good enough, I have found better. I have found the two textbooks herbalists use in school, and refer to in their practice. If I need them, I will get them.

Books took us out of the Dark Ages. If we fail to cherish them, we will return to mud huts.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Long Time No See

Are you still here?

I used this site as a "Take The Piss Out of Me" site after I lost my job. I knew no one would hire me again. I was too old for the buyer's market. I'm done with that now. Well, mostly.

I lost the sauce too, since I was here last. Alcoholism draws a dark curtain over your eyes, and you swear it is real. If you have ever known an old alcoholic, you know the negative attitude that comes with it. Alcohol is a depressant, after all.

My "Things That Suck" list has grown since I was here last. It's more all-encompassing now. Sadly, I have more perspective. A review and update of this list is forthcoming.

Overall I am the same critical thinker I have always been, a bit less curt perhaps, and more diverse, but just as observant, and just as opinionated. And the world we live in has gotten worse. That means there's plenty to write about!

See you soon!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Is Cooking Welded to Gender?

Sometimes I google on my own site name just to see what turns up. It always gives me pause to see what a gender-related issue cooking is. As far as I know most of the online users are still men, but women come out in force to give their opinions about cooking. In publishing a site like mine, I've sometimes wondered if I'm walking into a wind.

A surprisingly large number of women believe that if a man cooks dinner for them they are being courted, or at least seduced. In the first 20 search results I found these titles:

  • The Seductiveness of a Man Who Cooks
  • Is A Man Who Cooks The Ultimate Turn On?
  • Why is it sexy when a man cooks?

You get the idea. It reminds me of a particular episode of a well known TV game show. They asked all the women in the audience how many times in their life a man had proposed marriage to them. The average answer was 3. They asked all the men in the audience how many times in their life they had proposed marriage to a woman. The average answer was one. The women believed something was being offered that was not being offered.

You might think that men who cook are swarming with amorous young ladies. This sarcastic post doesn't bear that out.

In a few cases women took rather imperious positions. One tried to make a case that women were somehow genetically predisposed to be superior cooks. There were also a few examples of women ridiculing men in the kitchen. Although a few men deserve this ridicule, many women richly deserve it as well.


The above foolishness aside, the great majority of duty cooks in the US are still women. They aren’t all good at it, and they don’t all enjoy it, but for what it’s worth they do it. Understandably, most of the thousands of cooking sites are authored by women. Most are focused on quality, craftsmanship and pride, as it should be. A few sites are able to combine cooking and health, as I hope to do myself in a low-key way.

There is an undercurrent of “girly food” – women writing recipes that women like. Some of it is stuff I would spit out, like Fried Zucchini Flowers Stuffed with Ricotta Cheese. Most of it is sugar – cakes, cookies, ice cream and candy. What’s up with all the sugar?


So here I am, a man incurring on a woman’s world. Ladies, I am not here to court you. I am not here to seduce you. If you think your gender makes you a better cook, show me. But step on it. I’ve been waiting a long time and I haven’t seen anything yet.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Mourn for Lemons

All the lemons now are GMO, from California. Florida no longer exists. They have a skin half an inch thick. You can hit them with a hammer and they won't be damaged. You can set them in a sunny window for a month and they won't soften. You need three lemons to get the juice you used to get out of one. And you need a pair of pliers to juice one of them.

The shipper no longer needs to incur any losses due to shipping damage. These lemons could survive a crash landing on the Moon. The shipper's profits are up. The supermarket no longer needs to incur any losses due to spoilage. These things will look the same in a month as they do today. Supermarket profits are up. The losses have been passed along to you. The only thing that's down is the quality of the product.

Thanks a bunch Monsanto! May you soon rot in Hell!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

On Medicare

A woman sent me a letter saying she wanted to help me select a Medicare “plan.” It sounded like she was after money, but since I will need to enroll in Medicare this year, I called her to learn anything I could. I was shocked and angered at what I learned.

In short, the only thing I can get from Medicare is hospitalization coverage, and even that has a deductible. Everything else – office visits, medicine, dental, eyeglasses – everything – requires a “plan.” In other words, you have to pay for it. The cost for the “plan” is pretty much the same as paying cash to the doctor. Medicaid is a joke. It is only made available based on income level. In my town, you would need to live in your car to qualify for Medicaid.

I began to get upset. I’ve paid FICA taxes my whole working life for this. I actually thought I’d have health insurance, real health insurance like we had on the job 30 years ago. Instead I will go on paying for just about everything. Right about here, the woman told me our government was in the insurance business. I recognized the same “fiscal conservative” bullshit I’ve heard for the past 20 years. We live in a “welfare state.” Social services are “entitlements.”

I was seeing red. The woman could tell. She said she didn’t want to go on with the conversation. I said I didn’t either, I was upset enough already.

I guess I’ll have to actually sign up before I know all the facts. Maybe I’ll sign up with the Veteran’s Administration too. I’m concerned they may want to replace my doctor, which I will not allow. Who can know what will happen. For all the cock and bullcrap we read in the paper, and for all the braggadocios blowhards in our Congress, nobody actually knows the whole story.

And so I’ll be using the same plan I’ve had for quite a while - Pay or Die.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Social Engineering Über Alles

I read this headline today:

US Submariners Learn to Live Without Smokes

I felt sorry for these sailors. These men volunteered to give their lives, if necessary, in defense of our freedoms. And how do we say thanks? We take away one of the few freedoms they have.

Even Hitler, a notorious anti-smoker, did not forbid his troops to smoke.

I openly apologize to all our armed forces for the lack of respect they are shown by their ungrateful country.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

How Not to Cook

Scalloped Potatoes and Ham is a dish my mother made, and that I liked, that I have not yet learned to cook. I found a half ham, sliced, on sale at the grocery store this week, and now I need a good recipe. Good is the operative word. You can easily find 100 recipes in a minute. But wait till you read them.

"Add one box of [brand name] potatoes." Box??

Instant potatoes came around in the 50s, along with Kraft Dinner and Tang. These things were marketed to housewives coast to coast as a way to "forget about the drudgery of cooking." My mother never liked cooking very much - it was obvious to me even at 10 - and she tried every new convenience product on us that came along. If she could get us to eat it we had it over and over. Instant potatoes were on my short "This Sucks" list. Fortunately her Scalloped Potato dish recipe called for real potatoes.

"Add one can of Cream of Mushroom Soup." Don't.

We learned to eat canned food at times when it was the only food available. Later we learned that all those added chemicals probably would not kill us. I cooked with canned soup until I was old enough to want to know what those mystery chemicals were. When I found out, I didn't want them anymore. I especially don't want any MSG.

Where do you think MSG comes from? Do you think it comes from a mine, like salt? Or maybe you think it comes from a tree. Actually, it comes from a chemistry lab. People say, "It's salt, right?" MSG tricks your brain, people. Salt doesn't do that. MSG is suspected of being a carcinogen. Salt is not. You can read about MSG, if you want to.

The web is very democratic. The voice of the artist and the voice of the imbecile are equal. Don't trust every recipe you read.

Don't trust Paula Deen either. Not only does she exaggerate her drawl, but she cooks with canned junk food and claims it is "Southern." I know better than this.

Just use real food, that's all. It is not expensive. It is not difficult or time consuming to prepare. Just read a little bit. If you are not willing to do this you disrespect yourself and dishonor those you feed.

Cook right.