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Random Food Prön

April 28, 2016

Hey y’all.  Some mid-morning entertainment here.

I’m home today with a pair of bum knees (bursitis flying out of control) and — as I’ve compensated for my bad wheels — spasms around a bulging disk around L4 or L5.  I feel like an water heater with a ten year guarantee staring glumly at my eleventh birthday.

But it’s hard to complain (actually, it’s not) when these are actually minor and remediable dings.  So I’m getting on with things.  First task to do was to get a standing desk going.  I’ve got one of these at my office and it works fine, but at home it’s just the kitchen counter, which isn’t quite high enough.  So here’s my solution:

gourmet

For those straining to read my crap photo, that’s Vol. 2 of the Gourmet Cookbook from 1957.

My favorite recipe in this particular tome — and what I find to be something of a metaphor for this election? That would be his one:

Caneton

“Turn the pressure wheel and force the sauch and blood through the press…”  Sounds about right.

And finally, for a little bit of sheer madness, here’s something from Alain Ducasse’s Flavors of France.  I picked this up years ago at a used cookbook sale for something like five bucks.  I’ve yet to make anything out of it; I chose it for the utter decadence of both recipes and photos.  True “don’t know how to define it but know it when I see it” food prön from soup to nuts.  To keep within the bounds of my fowl obsession, here’s Ducasse’s ingredient list for boiled chicken:
Chix

I mean, whut?

What’s the most insane recipe you ever attempted (and what happened)?

Annals Of Grift, Chapter [n]: “Pastoral Medicine”

April 26, 2016

This story is a perfect example of a truly elegant con.  On one side, the marks:  suffering, credulous, and primed to both reject and crave authority.  On the other, the grifters, offering valiant rebellion against the establishment, all the comfort of faith, and the knowledge that the truly dedicated marks will become repeat customers.

Ladles and jellyspoons, I give you pastoral medicine!

You’ve probably heard of the credentials M.D. and R.N., and maybe N.P. The people using those letters are doctors, registered nurses and nurse practitioners. But what about PSC.D or D.PSc? Those letters refer to someone who practices pastoral medicine — or “Bible-based” health care.

It’s a relatively new title being used by some alternative health practitioners. The Texas-based Pastoral Medical Association gives out “pastoral provider licenses” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Some providers call themselves doctors of pastoral medicine.

V0011224 Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimentin Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Doctor and Mrs Syntax, with a party of friends, experimenting with laughing gas. Coloured aquatint by T. Rowlandson after W. Combe. By: William Combeafter: Thomas RowlandsonPublished: - Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

And how do these fine practitioners roll?

[Stephen] Barrett [a retired psychiatrist and founder of the consumer protection siteQuackwatch.org] says the Pastoral Medical Association functions like a private club. Patients sign confidentiality agreements, pay out of pocket and are prohibited from suing if they’re unhappy with the care they receive. Any disputes are handled by an ecclesiastical tribunal.

“They’re claiming that ‘Any advice we give you is pastoral in nature,’ ” Barrett says. “In other words, ‘If I give you health advice that’s not health advice, that’s pastoral advice.’

The article goes on to dig up one person who felt helped by her pastoral “advisor” — a woman who believed “heavy metal detox, special diet and herbal supplements helped her lose weight and gain energy.”  And good for her! I’d hope she’d derive some comfort from her ~$5,000 donation to what the Pastoral Medical Association calls “the Almighty’s Health Care workers.”

A closing thought.  In the deregulated paradise sought by the Republican party and its Koch and Koch-esque paymasters, there’s no problem with such charlatanism.  Let people put their money where they like, regulatory oversight be damned, and let the market (and morbidity/mortality outcomes) decide the matter.  That sick people might not be fully at liberty to exercise their function as a homo economicus is somebody else’s problem.

Which is to say — this particular grift takes the form of the familiar American religious confidence game that has taken in its suckers since before the birth of the Republic.  At the same time, it’s a pretty good proxy for the same long con being run on too many Americans by the folks who have come to use the Republican Party as its front.

Image:T. Rowlandson after W. Combe, Doctor and Mrs. Syntax and a Party of Friends Making an Experiment in Pneumatics, 19th c.

The Worst Person in the World

April 25, 2016

Think of this as a bookend to John’ Coles post at Balloon Juice.  This isn’t a problem of a few bad apples.  Police violence against people of color occurs within a culture of contempt for people of color.  How else to explain the head of the Chicago  [errr…] Cleveland* police union’s decision to rub yet more salt in the wounds of Tamir Rice’s family:

Cleveland Police Patrolman Association President Steve Loomis issued a statement on Monday afternoon saying that “something positive must come from this tragic loss.”

“We can only hope the Rice family and their attorneys will use a portion of this settlement to help educate the youth of Cleveland in the dangers associated with the mishandling of both real and facsimile firearms,” Loomis said in the statement.

Yo!  Officer Loomis.  There was some definite mishandling of firearms in the context of Rice’s death.  All of it by your cops.

Master_of_the_Karlsruhe_Passion_001

How about you take some of that taxpayer cash that pays your salary and use it to acquire a very rusty farm implement.

Which you can then use upon your nether regions.

Sideways.

Seriously.  How much of a stone racist asshole do you have to be to insist, again, that it is the Black kid’s fault that he interrupted a bullet with his body?  How much of just a miserable human being do you have to be to choose this day and this vicious line of attack to add to the pain Tamir Rice’s family will never leave behind?I can’t even. There is a personal cruelty there that is contemptible.  A civilized society would spit on the street whenever Mr. Loomis passes by.

*Because all those midwestern “C” cities sound alike when you’re so pissed off you can’t see.

Image:  Master of the Karlsruhe Passion, Capture of Jesus Christ, c. 1450.

I’m Not Saying Guns Are A Problem…

April 23, 2016

…But yeah, I am.  Guns are a huge f**king problem.

Kuniyoshi_Utagawa,_The_actor_17

Arizona

Two officers are in stable condition, with one in surgery, and the suspect is dead following a shooting Saturday at a Walmart in suburban Phoenix, authorities said.

Michigan:

Bell was found shot dead with another woman, Sacorya Renee Reed, at a home in the 2600 block of Ridgecrest Drive, The Flint Journal reported.

A one-year-old child, who was unharmed, was also found in the home and turned over to child protective services, but police did not confirm whether the child was Bell’s….

The case is slated to continue, with a representative to be appointed to represent Bell’s child.

Georgia:

A man who shot and killed five people during two separate shootings as part of a domestic dispute in Georgia was found dead in his home early Saturday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said…

The daughter of Georgia man suspected of shooting five people to death before killing himself says her father was a “ticking time bomb.”

Lauren Hawes told The Associated Press Saturday that she and her 1-year-old daughter hid in a neighbor’s house while her father, Wayne Anthony Hawes, went on a shooting rampage that killed five people, including her grandmother and cousin.

And, not that it’s a competition, perhaps ghastliest of all, Ohio:

All the victims were shot in the head, “execution-style,” and none of the deaths appear to be suicides, he said. DeWine said it appears the killings took place overnight while the victims were in bed, with one woman killed with her “four-day-old right there.”

These are just four reports of four wretched events — crimes — over the last couple of days, all gleaned from a single news site (Talking Points Memo).  As such, they’re just the gun miseries from Friday and today that rose to some kind of web prominence.  There are, certainly, many, many more lurking below that threshold of media attention.

All of these crimes, all of this woe, were done in their own contexts, their own sequence of events.  The guns didn’t decide to shoot themselves — I get that.

But the litany, the daily butcher’s bill, tells another story, alongside the too-common and too-comfortable one of “people kill people.”  People kill a lot fewer people when it’s harder to do.  Firearms make it easy.

Res ipsa loquitur.

Image: Utagawa Kuniyoshi, The Actor, before 1861.

Evil Infests Augusta

April 21, 2016

John Brunner said it exactly right in The Shockwave Rider:  “If there is such a phenomenon as absolute evil it consists in treating another human being as a thing.”

With that in mind, let me give you the latest from Maine’s governor, the utterly odious Paul LePage:

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a bill Wednesday that would allow pharmacists to dispense an anti-overdose drug without a prescription, saying that allowing addicts to keep naloxone on hand “serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.” [via Kerry Eleved at GOS]

That’s nonsense on its own terms, as the deeply valuable Maia Szalavitz — herself a former addict — has argued over and over again:

As with needle exchange, opposition to Naloxone distribution has mainly come from those who fear that reducing drug-related harm will lead to increased drug use.   Fortunately, also similarly to the data on needle exchange, the research doesn’t find this occurring.

But don’t let any actual experience bother you, LePage!

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage wrote, repeating a contention that has caused controversy before. “Creating a situation where an addict has a heroin needle in one hand and a shot of naloxone in the other produces a sense of normalcy and security around heroin use that serves only to perpetuate the cycle of addiction.”

It’s a strong word to use, I know.  But this is evil.

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_-_Christ_with_the_Sick_around_Him,_Receiving_Little_Children_(The_'Hundred_Guilder_Print')_-_Google_Art_Project

In LePage’s telling the addict isn’t a person.  He or she is rather just the worthless meat sack that locally reverses entropy between one overdose and the next.  He’s rather let those suffering an overdose die than live because, as he frames it here, the state of addiction robs the user of all other human attributes.

This is how a monster thinks.

I won’t say that this is the view that infects all of your modern Republican party, because on this issue it’s not.  But it remains a perfectly mainstream one — one that kills.

If you needed any more reason to go all yellow-dog Democrat on every line of your ballot, Governor (sic!) Paul LePage is exhibit (n)*

Last, to help wash the taste of tiny-minded misery out of your mouth, here’s Szalavitz again:

…one of the biggest misunderstandings we have about addiction is that tough love—is that being kind will fail and tough love will work. What really helps and why harm reduction, which is this idea that we will meet you where you’re at and we’ll help you whether you’re ready to stop or not—why that works is because when you have addiction, you tend to be very marginalized, self-hating. You might be homeless. You feel like a criminal. Nobody has any respect for you. And when somebody just hands you a clean needle or gives you access to naloxone and says, “I believe you deserve to live, regardless of whether you do what I want,” that’s a really powerful message of kindness.

And here a plug (full disclosure: she’s a friend) — here’s Maia’s new book on addiction.

*Where n is an arbitrary large number.

Image: Rembrandt van Rijn, Christ Preaching (The Hundred Guilder Print) c. 1649.

Palate Cleanser

April 14, 2016

Here’s some tunes I reached for this afternoon, all to get the texture of Kasich’s narishkeit in Brooklyn out of my brain.

First up: Itzhak Perlman’s got some swing:

 

Next, for a bit of joyous culture mixing, check out the Barcelona Gypsy Klezmer Orchestra, here doing a killer take on Djelem Djelem:

And last, because where would we be without people with too much time on their hands constructing glorious improbabilities, enjoy this (h/t @joi_the_artist):

And with that: top of the evening, all!

Texas, Jake

March 30, 2016

ETA: Annnnnndddd….always read the fine print.  I was taken in by a fake news story at a parody site.  Mea culpa.

I’ll leave this up as (a) a warning to self not to be an idiot, and (b) as a reminder of how hard it is (at least for me), in this election year of our discontent, to tell the difference between what should be obvious parody, and what is.

I’ll start by saying that no state could withstand a characterization drawn only from its most batsh*t crazy denizens.  So I apologize in advance for painting the great, diverse and fascinating state of Texas with a broad brush.

I’ll also note that it does matter a bit that so many of the most batsh*t insane Texans seem to end up in state government.  What this says about the too many Texans who put them there I’ll leave as an exercise for the reader.

Today’s Texan OMG S/HE SAID WUT???!!!! comes from TX state rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Planet Ten), who’s got a problem with the idea of one particular subset of her fellow double-X Americans doing their ladybusiness in public:

Rep. Debbie Riddle requested that the bill be modified to contain some conditions that not all mothers are going to like. Namely, the modified bill states, among other things, that “only women who possess the breast size C-cup or smaller shall be allowed to breastfeed in public areas.” Asked to comment on the discriminatory clause in the bill, Riddle simply stated, “Nature knows what it’s doing.”

I have to say that I really hope that this is somehow a hoax, that Riddle really didn’t say what she’s reported to said.  Because here’s where she is described as going next:

She also added, “It’s for the greater good. We already have more than enough distractions when walking the streets, and we don’t need this one as well.”

Lucas_Cranach_d.Ä._-_Madonna_mit_Kind_(Budapest)

You know that old line, “when you hit bottom, stop digging?”  Riddle apparently does not:

“…everybody knows what happens when a woman with a D-cup size breasts starts breastfeeding her child in the park or on the street. Everybody immediately stops and starts staring.

Riddle also added that“studies have shown that women with bigger breasts are not commonly associated with modest behavior.”

Alright.  If the Texan legislator really did say all that (and more! — check out the link!) I got nuthin.  Or perhaps, as our legal beagle friends might say, res ipsa loquitur.

Ladles and Jellyspoons, have at it.  For me, I despair of the Republic.  Or at least that part of it that gave us the Honorable Riddle.

Image:  Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Virgin Giving Suck c. 1515


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