I had never heard of this comedian/impersonator, but his “Obama” is excellent and very funny. Worth a look all the way to the end. Courtesy of my friend Andre.
Montreal’s infrastructure is crumbling at a much faster pace than it can be shored up or rebuilt. Much of it was first constructed either for Expo ’67 or for the ’76 Olympics. Nevertheless, it hasn’t lived anywhere near its originally expected life-span, the government claiming the rapid decline due to “salt and the weather”; most of us know better, however…there was a very sudden and rapid increase in the number of country homes built for construction workers in those halcyon days – we know where the concrete and building material came from!
Here’s a very accurate and funny depiction of our current situation, sung by Montreal comedians Bowser and Blue:
Last night we were invited to a friend’s home for dinner. Just back from a holiday cruise to Dubai, the theme was Middle Eastern: Couscous with pomegranate and pine nuts and two-inch thick lamb chops slowly braised…in Coca Cola!!!!!
I must have been living under a culinary rock all these years because I had never heard of this technique, yet a quick Google reveals dozens of recipes for braising meat in cola. Apparently, the acidity of the cola helps to break down the meat proteins, while the sugar lends an ever-so-subtle sweetness (almost imperceptible).
The lamb was truly the most tender I have ever eaten….and I’ve eaten a helluva lot of lamb in my life. I can’t wait to try this technique; from the searches I did, it seems particularity favored for pork. Here’s a recipe for pork ribs braised in cola.
There was a time, only about 30 years or so ago, that the definition of mental illness was essentially a democratic one, i.e. the majority decided what a mental illness was or wasn’t, based on what was defined as “normal”, or what the majority of people did in a given culture. So, if you were gay, tough luck! Since gays represent about 10% of the population, the other 90% could decide that their sexual orientation was either illegal (it still is in many countries) or an “illness” that required treatment.
With the emergence of the Women’s Movement, the fight for gay rights, the rise of multiculturalism, the decline of established religions, etc., a new psychological ethos began to emerge: An essential feature for the classification of a “disorder” was that it had to cause distress to the individual or to those around him/her. So for example, if you wanted to howl at the full moon all night long, that was OK so long as it didn’t bother you or kept your neighbors from getting a night’s sleep. And if it did keep them from a night’s sleep, you were more likely to be charged with a disturbing-the-piece misdemeanor rather than be carted off to the mental hospital.
Overall, this was a pretty significant shift in the diagnostic gestalt. It meant that we all had to learn to be more tolerant of each others quirks. Mental hospitals no longer were prisons for those who simply didn’t fit the norm. On the other hand, it has also enabled a lot of freaky behavior that simply continues to escalate until it turns destructive. One need only think about recent mass murderers who were “on the radar” for years but no one could do anything because their behavior, while aberrant, wasn’t harming anyone.
Here’s a very cool web site that allows you to select any two cameras and compare them for size and weight, mano a mano. A very useful tool when you are thinking of buying a new camera and want to perhaps compare it to what you currently use, or to another competitive model.
Thanks to Mr. Dario for the find.
From the MIL. I remember some of these. She remembers most of them! Click on each ad to see the larger image version and read the text. Most are embarrassingly hilarious. We’ve come a long way, baby (or is that Ms, person, ????)!
It turns out that fried food, so long as it’s fried in olive oil, is pretty benign if not downright good for you. This may seem strange to those of us brought up in the dietary ethos of the last 40 years, but it’s not so peculiar to me. While the Mediterranean diet has long been promoted as a paragon of healthy virtue, growing up in a traditional Greek home, that diet often meant delicious foods fried in olive oil.
Contrary to popular belief, Science rarely advances through serendipitous, momentous discoveries (like penicillin). Most of the time, Science advances through many, often contradictory studies done over time, each study gradually improving its methodologies until consistent results can demonstrate a pattern that is acclaimed as representing “truth”.
Human nutrition is one of the most complex and difficult things to study because it is so replete with genetic, cultural, psychological, interpersonal, and ethical variables, that controlling for all these variables is virtually impossible. So, we have the Inuit living quite healthfully almost exclusively on blubber and seal meat, while the Asian diet produces astonishing health and longevity on a high carbohydrate, low protein regime.
And every day, the media produce another story emanating from the research and showing that what we previously thought was good is now bad…and vice-versa. Oat bran, Vitamin-E, Beta-carotene, and Vitamin-C have all come and gone. Fat was bad, now it’s good. Carbs were good, now they’re bad.
Thanks to Mr. Italo for the find.
It’s a common experience that when you see someone frequently, you are less likely to notice changes than if you see them infrequently. Hence, we don’t tend to notice changes in ourselves until we see a picture from several months or years earlier. And friends who we haven’t seen in months or years appear so much older and grayer, that we are socked by the change.
I have many food vices; fortunately, doughnuts is not among them. When I travel, I’ll eat at Tim Horton’s from time to time, but it’s the bagels that tempt me, never the doughnuts; I’m savory rather than sweet in my taste preferences. As a result, I haven’t had a commercial doughnut in about 10 years; since the Krispy-Kreme craze came to town and people lined up for hours to get one of their fresh confections (they eventually went pretty much bust in Canada, victims to the low-carb movement as well as Tim Ho’s dominance of the market).
Last night we took Roxie to the vet for her first check-up (she’s 15 weeks old and has gained 6 pounds in the 10 days we’ve had her, for a total of 36 pounds). Everything was good; staff at the clinic oohing and aahing her – Briards are pretty rare and she is only the 5th one in this large clinic’s practice history. On the way home, we passed a Tim Ho’s and I had a sudden desire for a doughnut. I fought the urge, but by the time we passed the third store in as many kilometers, I succumbed. Unfortunately, my wife is very indulgent of my whims and went along with the idea of getting one doughnut each.
I went into the store alone and emerged with a six-pack of assorted doughnuts. She glared at me disapprovingly in the car. At home we opened the box and looked at each other with surprise: Man, these doughnuts had really gotten much smaller in the intervening years! They were about half the size of a regular Timmy from the last time we had one. Believe it or not, we didn’t see this as a bad thing, especially when you already feel guilty eating one. But, if I were a regular doughnut-eater, this would qualify as a real example of “product shrinkage”; a classic marketing maneuver to squeeze out more margin by ever so subtly making products smaller over time.
But the move seems to also fly in the face of the “supersize” mentality so prevalent in the fast-food industry. Interesting. And, BTW, the doughnuts really weren’t very good…it’ll be another 10 years before we do it again. By then, the doughnuts may be the size of the Timbits “holes”.
I revised my title for yesterday’s post: I had titled it Dog Food Ripoff, but I realized that a rip-off is a type of fraud, and clearly, dog food, even if very poor value for money from a quality perspective, fulfills peoples’ needs for speed, convenience, low-odor, minimum time investment, etc. , when it comes time to feed their animals. So, it was a misnomer to call it a rip-off.
Many things that appear to be of poor value to some, are great value to others; fast food being an excellent example. In my opinion, it’s shit; but others love it for it’s speed, taste, convenience, and low cost. It’s all a matter of how you define “value”.
Roxie (the name is now finalized according to She Who Must Be Obeyed) was brought up by the breeder on BARF – no not vomit – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food. This is a huge movement in the world of pet feeding, based on a philosophy of feeding animals foods appropriate to their genetic design and evolution.
So, as descendents of wolves, dogs should be fed raw meat with fruits and vegetables (which would be found naturally in the entrails of their prey). No grains, no pasta, no pizza, no cheese. Hmmm…sounds a lot like the Paleo diet and its kin for humans, i.e. we should eat in the hunter-gatherer mode.
My own view is more moderate. Dogs evolved alongside humans. They are unique among species in that they are the only one known to have intentionally crafted a symbiotic bond with human beings, based on protection in exchange for food and affection. This largely also explains our unique attachment to them, unlike other domesticated species which were taken against their will and proclivities and held captive from man’s benefit.
Anyway, back to the feeding of dogs. We were concerned about making the transition from Roxie’s BARF diet of 14 weeks, to a more convenient one for us. Before her arrival, we bought a bag of premium dog food in the form of the usual dry pellets. This one is supposedly made from “freshly de-boned chicken” (sounds like marketing-speak to me), without grains as fillers. It cost $23 a bag.
As a scientist, I like to assess things based on the facts and not on some marketing gimmick. It also pisses me off when manufacturers specify servings in cups, but what’s in their bag on weight. This is of course purely intentional, the idea being to prevent you from knowing what value you are getting for your money.
The bag calls for 3 cups/day for a dog of her size. I weighed one cup and it came to 112 grams/cup, or 336 grams in one day’s serving. The bag contains 2.72 kilos of dog-food, so the math is quite simple: Divide 2270 grams by 336 grams per day for a value of 6.75 day’s worth of food in one bag. We would need almost 5 bags per month to feed the dog, or app. $115 worth of food based on $23/bag.
Next, I went to our local grocery store. They always have some meat on sale as a lost leader. Some enormous chicken breasts were on sale and I bought 4 for $12. Stewing beef was also on sale at $3.50 a pound, so I bought another $25 worth. Veal tails (the dog should eat cartilaginous bone) was also available and I bought $25 worth of that. In the end, for about $62, I bought a month’s worth of real human grade meat. True, I have to actually cook the chicken breasts (boiling them provided us with 10 liters of chicken broth for my cooking as a bonus), and I have to cut up the meat. That took about an hour, saving me about $73 in dog food. Not bad for an hour’s work.
And I’m sure the dog will be very happy too. She hoovers down the meat and leftover vegetable cuttings. With the occasional piece of pizza crust, of course.