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Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why the meat hate?

I was looking through the flyer for my local health food store, from which I purchase my raw milk cheese, and I was struck by how much stuff in there was touted as meatless. Not a problem really, I have nothing against people who choose not to eat meat. Totally your choice. What I don’t understand is the idea that meat is somehow unhealthy. Where did this idea come from?

Are all meats good to eat constantly? Well no, like all things, food needs to be eaten with great variety. Plants are in the same boat, there are plenty that you don’t want to eat in great quantities. Strawberries come to mind as they can give a lot of people the serious runs.

What really bothers me about this whole Vegetarian movement is the militant faction, who are set on taking meat away from the rest of us. Why? I would understand the humanitarian angle if animals were more humane in their killing habits that we are. And I’m not talking about the huge farming system America has, which is obviously a problem, thanks to government corn subsidies. Corn has changed normal ranching and farming into a hideous monster of disease and mistreatment. I myself purchase beef from a local who raises them on grass and only a small amount of grain. I don’t buy big beef. Chicken is trickier to find, but I get what I can, and I buy wild caught fish.

Have you watched a nature show? Lions aren’t exactly humane when they take down a gazelle. They go for the neck most times, but they don’t always kill cleanly. I have seen more than one big cat snap the spine of an animal, then start chewing on the back half while the front half is trying desperately to crawl away. So why is it okay for them to eat other animals? Because it’s natural?

Okay, let’s look at that a moment. Big cats are carnivores. They need meat to live. You can’t raise a healthy cat on veggies. We aren’t carnivores. We aren’t herbivore either. We can’t spend the day making grass into steak. We aren’t bunnies or deer or cows. We’re omnivores. If you want to talk about evolution, then we are evolved to eat both meat and veggies. Our whole system is designed to run on both. A diet of all one or the other can cause health issues. You can’t be a body builder, or even grow a lot of muscle on veggies alone. And there are a whole host of issues associated with not eating enough plants.

So why this slant toward no meat? Why is an all veggie diet considered the epitome of health? I have no problem with those who choose that lifestyle. I have a problem with the desire of some vegetarians to ban meat from all others. Those who are just plain obnoxious about people eating meat. The ones who have a fit if you eat meat around them, or constantly tell you how bad it is, and such. Why? I don’t demand you eat meat. I don’t spend a whole dinner extolling the vise of eating veggies. I don’t think you should be forced to eat meat by law. Can we just allow for some tolerance of other lifestyles? Be vegetarian if you like it, if it makes you feel good. Great! Everyone is different. Choice is the soul of freedom. Leave it at that.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Just to be Random

 

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The end is Nigh, and it’s name is Watson

My husband came home last night, quite excited because there was a computer system competing on Jeopardy. Being the fellow geek that I am, I was soon drawn into the drama, the new breakthrough in programing that would allow a computer to parse the questions and come up with accurate answers. It’s a fascinating topic and one I’ve always loved, but I’m of the mind that a computer will never be as good at thinking as a human. No Data in our future, which in one sense is a pity. On the other hand, I’ve seen enough fiction about sentient computers that run amok to be a little edgy about the idea. Yes, I know it’s a little far fetched, but perhaps not. Most new inventions have good intentions that can be applied in devious or unintended and unimagined ways. I’m in favor of thinking more carefully over the potential uses of all new things, but alas, that rarely happens.

So we sat down and watched Jeopardy live for the first time in years uncounted. It was night one of a three night challenge. The computer was called Watson. At first, it said and did nothing, leaving the first few questions unanswered. And then it kicked in, and I must admit, a shiver ran down my spine. It sounded like Hal, and spoke in complete sentences. It cleaned off half the board in very short order and left the humans, who are Jeopardy champions I might add, in the dust. One resorted to buzzing in before he’s figured out the answer just to get a chance to answer it. My husband and I speculated on when exactly the computer was given the question and weather that was quite fair or not.

From there we discussed the possibility of a truly thinking machine. My husband saw the documentary footage of how Watson was created, tested and improved. He sees Watson as a learning machine. I still disagree, seeing Watson as a very complex search engine, programmed by humans every inch of the way. Watson takes up a whole room, reminiscent of the first computers back in the 50’s. Every bit of knowledge it has was given to it by humans. It has been programed not to think, but to find answers based on keywords. Heck the entire contents of Wikipedia has been downloaded into it’s hard drive. I don’t see machines ever having the ability to think like we do. Our brains are simply too complex for us to simulate with any accuracy and how could a machine ever have that extra spark that marks true inspiration and innovation? How does man do it for that matter? Our subconscious minds are the super computers in which such thoughts are born. Still, I believe humans have something else, that part of us that is “in the image of God”, that thing that we have but can not create on our own. My husband thinks we can and that it holds the potential for disaster. We at least agree on that score. Thankfully, headway in the thinking computer department is very slow.

We will be watching the final two episodes of this little contest, but despite our differing opinions on the possibility of thinking machine that might spell doom for humanity, we were both still uneasy but utterly fascinated.

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Just to be Random

 

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Everything you eat will kill you

Seems to be the trend of the hour. Everywhere I turn, there’s an article telling me something I eat is bad for me and that thus and such is this weeks miracle food. Which will be next weeks spotlighted killer. There is evidence that red meat is bad for you and evidence that it’s good for you. The same thing goes for milk and wheat and sugar and grains and nuts and fats and the list goes on. It’s so hard to figure out what is true, when fear and drama sells the news. Not that this is a diatribe about the news, it’s not. It’s about common sense, something we seem to be loosing a lot of lately.

Everyone is different. Dairy isn’t evil, it doesn’t cause all the worlds ills. It’s good for most people, especially raw milk, which is the best source of natural calcium. It has in it the enzymes your body needs to break itself down and the other agents that allow you body to not only absorb, but utilize the calcium. A lot of people who are mildly lactose intolerant can drink raw milk. But here’s the catch, if you hate milk, if it makes you feel bad, then don’t drink it! Simple. Similar things can be said for most of the new ‘bad’ foods out there.

What I find truly amazing is the lack of moderation. It’s something I’ve seen happen over and over, we humans run from one extreme to the other, with no slowing for thought or breath. Well, if high fructose corn syrup in large quantities is bad for you then logically all corn is bad for you! What? Than makes no sense! There is nothing wrong with eating corn, the Native Americans lived on the stuff! Yes, it was a different breed than we use now, but just eat it in moderation. We don’t need to have a diet where that is the main carbohydrate, like they did. Why is this so hard to figure out?

The same thing happened to wheat. Too much overly processed and nutrient stripped white flour is not the best for your body, but having a piece of cake once or twice a week isn’t the end of the world either. Just use some common sense, the closer a food is to it’s natural state, generally speaking of course, the better it is for you because your body was made to process it that way.

And as I said, everyone is different. People have different metabolic types and some people function better on certain foods. I am a protein type, I like lots of protein and good fats with some carbs. I feel better and everything runs better on this type of diet. There are carb types out there that run well on more carbs and less protein. What’s good for them is bad for me and what’s good for me is bad for them. Listen to your own body, use some common sense and do a little research.

We are all going to die. Life is terminal and too much of anything is bad. Moderation is key. So eat some whole grains, have some grass fed beef and a bloody cookie and you’ll be fine. And I think most people have figured this all out, but it doesn’t sell news. What a pity.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2011 in Just to be Random

 

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Critters at war…

There’s a story behind this title. I like petits fours. A lot, but I don’t get them often for which my waistline and butt are eternally grateful. But Divine Delights make good petits fours and years ago they came out with a really cute box of cute animal petits fours. And I have wanted them since I saw them.

For my birthday, he had a box sent to me. Here’s the email I wrote to their customer service the night they arrived. In my defense, it was late and I was a bit punchy, but it still makes me chuckle. Is it wrong to laugh at my own stuff?

Hello, my husband had a ginormous box of your Critters sent to me, and they arrived today. As usual, you delights are indeed divine, but I think maybe you sent a box of very antagonistic frogs, as they appear to have spent the trip beating up on the poor bunnines. Not a single bunny made the trip unscathed and in proper proportion. I think they put up some resistance because a few of the frogs were faceless and a bit worse for wear themselves. One got here looking picture perfect, so either he was the general in command of the froggy forces or he’s the best fighter and not a blow landed upon him. The moose and gold fish appeared to be left out of the fracas, but cats being cats, one had to go see what was going on and got caught in the cross fire. Two of the chickens must have cracked under the pressure of it all, though they were furthest from the fight. But we all know chickens aren’t too bight, so it’s no real surprise.

They are all quite tasty, as I sampled one of each but the frogs, being worried they might take offense and deal out to me the same brutal treatment they dished out to the poor bunnies. Although, to be fair, the bunnies might have been egging the frogs on, but none of them are talking. I had to eat the most injured of the bunnies, simply to put the poor misshapen thing out of it’s misery, but if you would like pictorial evidence of the violent bunch, I’d be happy to provide it when my husband returns from his business trip tomorrow with the camera. The box looks pristine on the outside and I was unprepared for the critter casualties that I found. I was both shocked and at a loss, for my husband was on the phone when I opened the box, hoping to hear my delight over the contents. You see, he’s been promising me a box of Critters for the last three years and has only now delivered. I did not want him to be upset by descriptions of Bunny carnage and froggy face loss when he went to such trouble to make sure they would reach me while he was out of town. It would be heartless in the extreme to describe his present as “Well, they’re here, but they’re a bit smooshed…” Please advise me on what to do to rectify this slight problem. And you might want to keep the bunnies and frogs separated from now on, to perhaps avoid further outbreaks of frog on bunny violence.

Respectfully

This email went over very well, and they were wonderful. I got a replacement box of perfect critters in record time and they were all delicious. I did forget to mention the pigs when I wrote this, but they were fine aside from one cracked snout. I have no idea how that happened, but I assume he got in one of the cats way.

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2011 in Just to be Random

 

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Shadowfever by Moning Review

I was planning on writing this review right after I read the book, but I’ve been putting it off. I don’t like to write negative things about books, it tends to turn people off. Especially people who have a vested emotional interest in an author. There are a lot of people out there who love everything an author writes. I’m rarely one of those people. And if I am, it’s because the author hasn’t written enough for me to find something I’m only ‘meh’ about yet. Even my favorite authors write books that I’m not that into. It happens. I don’t mind saying it.

So, here we have the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning. It is the only series that I have read by her. I know she’s written a lot of romance novels, but I tried to read one and just couldn’t get through it. I really hate the gushy, flowery language used by a lot of romance novelists, it’s just a turn off for me. There are perhaps five to ten romance authors I like out there, so my not liking Moning’s romance isn’t saying much. Having said that, I loved the first three Fever books with a passion. The fourth was good but depended on the fifth for me to come to a resounding conclusion. And the fifth was a bit disappointing… It wasn’t as tight and snappy as the first three. It really felt like she rushed it, or was rushed by the publisher. It could have been a wittier, snappier book in 300 pages. It was 500 and change.

I also wonder if maybe she listened to her forum fans a bit too much. I say this because I have seen the fans that spend time on her forums and they pretty much make up one kind of reader. Nothing wrong with that, just saying the rest of us weren’t really represented to any extent and the squeaky wheel and all. The fifth book had little conflict in it compared to the other four, the romance was way over pronounced and didn’t really fit with the first three books at all. It felt more like a really long resolution sequence than a stand alone book. This is why I say the fans had too much of hand in it. They were the type to focus on the romantic/sexual relationships Mac had to the determent of the rest of the story. Honestly, she could have cut out most of the first 200 pages and it would have been better. This book just really focused on the love relationships and in the context of the overall story, part of that makes sense, just not the part about Mac’s love life.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad, just not what I was expecting. The world was great, the characters fun and she kept me guessing. There were some questions that were not answered, but I’m guessing those will come in later books about the same world. It was worth reading, but it’s not one I would read again, where as the first three are worth a re-read.

My only other major beef with her books are the cliffhangers. Yes, her books have cliffhanger endings. I call foul on any use of a cliffhanger in a book! It’s not fair to the reader, it’s demeaning to yourself and it belongs only in the bygone era of the serial, where it is fine, and TV shows. And even TV show cliffhangers annoy me. Your book shouldn’t need one to get people to buy the next book. It’s insulting to yourself because you obviously don’t think the next book will sell without it. So there you have it, my thoughts on the book with no spoilers!

 
 

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Better dress…

Here’s my two minute fix for the gown that January Jones wore.
And here’s what I think looks better.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2011 in Just to be Random