Archive for December, 2008


December 30, 2008

This is an open letter to anyone who will take the time to respond.  What do you think the United States should try to become this year.  I’m not looking for a ditzy “world peace” response.  I’d love to hear a few well thought out responses.  Be fairly warned: I will not allow anyone to post anything that is foul.  My disagreeing with your perspective will not denote what I consider foul.  Thus, if you say, “I think global warming is real and castles is a big dodohead.”  I’d post that.  If you take issue with my heritage being partially Jewish, save it for your autobiography or your psychiatrist, cause I won’t post it here.

Here’s mine.  I’m reading a bit about Monsanto.  I don’t quite know what to think of this business yet, but I will tell you that one thing in particular worries me about the direction my country and my fellow citizens are headed in right now, we are becoming unwilling to demand science.  The studies that have been released for public view on various Monsanto products by FDA are woefully lacking.  There is a serious appearance of evil in the moving of personnel from Monsanto to the FDA.  That may be easily explained by the fact that the pool for folks who can actually do this work being very limited.  If that’s the case, certainly, they should recuse themselves from working on research from their former employer.  We have to demand this as citizens, else, all of FDA’s research becomes useless.  The last thing we need is ANOTHER useless agency.

NASA funded research dealing with global warming was proven wrong by a blogger.  The blogger proved the data was a y2k glitch (see  After proving the researchers wrong, the researchers came back and re-released their data saying they had corrected the error.  When the blogger requested the algorhythm the researchers had used to correct their data, the researchers refused to release it.  Basically, they said, “You just have to trust us.”  Hello!  NASA belongs to the public.  ALL of your research should be open source.

I realize that I’m the least scientific person you’ll probably ever meet.  I am also the most serious Libetarian I know.  IMHO, though, if your research is funded by federal dollars, it should be open source.  If you take government grants, your research belongs to the public.  If the US government underwrites your corporation by giving you massive tax incentives, your research belongs to us.  If you are taking money from the American Cancer Society for research, the research is open source.  Thus, if you discover an amazing cancer drug, guess what?  You’re only going to make a fair profit from producing the drugs.  This would also enhance competition for pharmeceuticals.  It seems to me that if my employer gets to keep anything I discover while I work for her, the same rule applies to you anytime you are working for the US.  Yes, I understand that this takes away the profit motive for research.  It should force companies to decide between working for profit OR working for the government.  You wanna cure cancer and charge $6k for each pill?  OK, don’t ask me for handouts.

So, in summary, I believe the United States needs to become a transparent nation in more serious scientific ways.  We need to really embrace the concept of demanding what our tax dollars pay for be returned to us.



December 16, 2008

Lots of snow out here this week.  Sadly, my chard did not make it.  My garlic, however, is still growing away.

So, here’s a recipe I used for my garlic greens today.  Apparently, you can use the tops of garlic just as you would use chives.  Their flavor is strongly garlicy (is this a word?  aaah, well, you get it…) and a bit spicy.  Because my family could swim in garlic, we love this.  If you have a strong streak of vampire in your bloodline, you might want to skip it.

I made bacon for breakfast for the kids.  Then you just take the bacon grease when it’s hot and scramble an egg in it.  Then you move the egg to a plate on the side and chop it up a bit.  Then you add two cups (or more) of cooked rice.  After you fry the rice in the bacon grease, you add a bit of sesame oil and whatever veggies you have on hand ( you can add greens, celery, onions, chives, etc…) except tomatoes.  Then add whatever leftover meat you have on hand or beans, if you like a nice veggie meal.  Then add some garlic chives, or regular chives and the egg from earlier.  Just toss this a bit to fry the whole thing.  Then remove to a plate to serve.  I top this with a couple pieces of crumbled bacon but I’ve eaten it without it.  There you have it, a quick, easy meal out of leftovers.

What Obama Didn’t Do

December 11, 2008

Sorry, yet another political post.

The governor of Illinois (Blagojevich) was caught on tape attempting to extort bribes in exchange for the appointment of Barak Obama’s empty senate seat.  Excerpts of the tape seem to suggest the only defense the governor can raise is the “alien possession defense” of Star Trek fame.  Pieces of the tape make it appear that when offered the opportunity to purchase the seat on behalf of their candidate, the Obama representative politely declined.  Every article I’ve read about this seems to suggest that clearly, that means the President Elect (caps?  like a formal noun?  not sure, please forgive) has clean hands in this affair.  May I politely disagree?

There are 100 US Senators.  The senator from the state of Illinois will enjoy a rare position that is unelected.   A single person has a right to appoint that person.  This was an enormous responsibility.   Blagojevich blew it.  The day  he was arrested, I should have woken to the headlines “President Elect Turns in Rogue Dishonest Governor”.  Instead, the headlines I read all seemed to say, “Hey, isn’t it great our future President didn’t play ball?”  I guess that’s ok, if you have low expectations, but my expectations are considerably higher.  So, why didn’t Senator Obama tell someone about Blagojevich?  I think anyone who has watched the political climate over the last several years knows how that dance would go.  “Crazy President Elect Accuses Perfectly Innocent Governor of Wrongdoing: Democrats Embarrassed at Weak Attempt to Influence Senate Decision” (I suppose he underestimated the strength of the love the media bears for him). 

Is it really asking too much of a politician to turn in others who are behaving inappropriately?  Are you kidding me?  The presidency is the executive branch, that’s what they are supposed to DO.  Look, Obama has stated that he wants to begin a public service corps.  He would like for me and my kids to join this corps and give our time to our nation for free.  He is asking to expand our government in fairly unpopular ways.  That’s a tough request for the people of the US.  I guess, in my opinion, Obama doesn’t have the right to ask hard things of me if he doesn’t intend to do hard things, too.  Regardless of the twenty-four hour lovefest between the media and President Elect Obama, our future president did NOT comport himself well in this affair.

Just My Opinion

December 11, 2008

Sorry for the sort of political diatribe, but I have been convinced by recent events that I should speak out.  If you have political burn out (as does most of my family now), skip this post.  Another friendly garden post will soon follow.

Apparently the state of Washington has decided to allow an anti-G-d rant that is insulting to Christians to be posted on the capital grounds next to the manger scene.  I’m a born again believer.  I suppose as evangelicals go, I have the creds that go with the name.  If I lived in Washington, I would have been out on Sunday protesting…

in support of the atheists sign.  Look, I deplore people who insult Christianity, and frankly, this WAS intended to insult Christianity because it was right next to the Christmas scene.  Though, it WAS an insult to all believers in a deity.  Still, the US constitution guarantees us a right to freedom of speech, not to freedom from insult.  Let’s look at it this way: being insulted is a small price to pay in order to get all ideas on the table.  Let’s listen to everyone, even if they’re being jerks. 

I’m not sure if you guys saw the footage of the guy hitting the little old lady with the cross at a demonstration in California?  Here’s this little old lady holding a cross, marching to oppose gay marriage.  And this guy whacks the cross out of her hands.  If you see the look on the guy’s face, it’s pretty chilling.  I suspect that if you caught that guy in other circumstances and asked him what he thought of folks who brutalize old ladies, he would have said that such people should be jailed.  My secret suspicion is that he is so passionate about his feelings for his cause, that he momentarily forgot what he was doing (at least I hope so…most folks take a dim view of bashing old people…).  He forgot that his view is certainly not the only view and we would all do well to listen to alternate viewpoints.  I note that most of the liberals I know are astoundingly bad at listening and considering alternate viewpoints.  When I worked at UCSF (as a receptionist, no grandiose positions here…), I had a discussion with a grad student.  I explained to her why I had rejected her viewpoint and then explained my viewpoint, at which point she said, “I can never consider that [idea here].”  Then I responded, “That makes you quite closed minded.”  Her mouth opened and closed for a few minutes like a dead fish having a ram error, and then she said, “I was thinking you are closed minded.”  I said, “Oh, because I’m a Christian, I’m closed minded?”  Her head started bobbing before she even thought it through, but I could see her blushing as she thought the conversation through, but I couldn’t help making it plain.  “So, I’ve considered your viewpoint and explained why I think it is incorrect.  You will not even consider my viewpoint, but clearly, you are open minded simply because you disagree with me?”  She said faintly, “You’re right.” and left crestfallen.  People on the left believe that they are open minded simply because of being on the left.  I think that those of us who are conservatives would do well to allow the left to expose their folly over and over again to the public.  The press has decided never to allow alternate viewpoints these days, because they are expressly liberal.  The amusing part of that is that bloggers have prospered because the press has refused to be open minded (or even journalists, for that matter…).  Frankly, when my grandkids are talking about the death of print press, I’ll have to explain to them that it was suicide.

In any case, I say, though I disagree with what the atheists have to say, I will fight for their right to say it.  I challenge liberals to attempt to regain this ground.  Let the little old lady have her cross, and you’d be smart to listen to what she has to say.  Although you may not agree with her, she has lived forty years longer than you have and she has some wisdom to put on the table that you haven’t even considered yet.

Book Report: Do Hard Things

December 8, 2008

I didn’t like book reports when I was in school and now that I’m out, you can bet your last dime I wouldn’t write one if I didn’t think it was important.  I just finished the book Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris.  If you have a teenager, run and get this book, quickly.  This website called is the website kept by these teens who speak nationally about our national tendency to downplay the importance of teens and their abilities.  I bought the book for my young sister in law and I try to read anything I send to youngsters.  This book talks about how teenagers are being told that they are waiting for their lives to begin.  Reality is that teenagers throughout history have been accomplishing amazing things.    An endless list of historical figures from King David to Sacagawea were teens when they first were in power or did their first historical work.   Benjamin Franklin wrote his first political works at the age of fifteen.  San Martin joined the army at ten.  There are literally hundreds of examples. 

So, as we head into one of the most challenging times of our nation’s history, I fully intend to embrace the tenants of this book.  I want to teach them to my kids.  I want my kids to understand that we, as a people, always move forward.  Because, we do hard things…

Cool Blog Review

December 5, 2008

In case you didn’t realize that I’m stark, raving mad, here’s my mandatory post to prove my level of insanity.  I am an avid believer in food, not lawns.  This is a teeny, tiny group of people who have decided that lawns are irrational.  Two years ago, I had an epiphany while I was paying my water bill.  I suddenly wondered why I would be paying money to water my lawn.  I have two young kids, so I totally understand the benefit of having soft, run grass to romp on.  Yet, when there is a woman in Haiti watching her child slowly starve, is it really a fair use of resources to pay for something so, um, superficial?  I hate to bring up starving kids, since there seem to be so many of them and so little we can do to impact it, but if I profess to care for the poor, I feel hypocritical not living a life in keeping with my beliefs.  So, I decided to start a garden in my yard and start making  donations to World Vision (subliminal messaging, “Go to, you are feeling very sleepy, make a donation and then take a nap…”)  We have also decided to make the attempt to live smaller.  We are going to try and grow thirty percent of our food intake in our yard and try to sell our extras to begin a one family campaign to help enslaved children in Haiti. 

Thus, I have found a really cool blog that goes in that vein:

I actually found it while I was searching for information on these cool seeds I just bought called cassabanana seeds.  It seems I have no real chance of growing them, rofl.  I chuckle because last year when no one around me got a ripe tomato, I filled seventeen quart jars of tomato related products.  Yet, when everyone said it was so stinking easy to get a lettuce garden going, I had a spectacular failure, sigh.  So, if you have a few extra minutes, take a second and read this cool blog!!  It rocks!

Climate Changes

December 3, 2008

I tend to not get as excited about alot of things I read about climate change.  I guess I’m a victim of watching too many of those disaster movies.  If you haven’t watched any, let me save you the time.  This is the plot:  something truly aberrant is going on meteriologically in this town (let’s call it “anytown”).  It’s a volcano or an uber tornado or a giganto lighting storm or “killer” fog.  Typically, we are lead to see how some kind of extreme avarice on the part of corporate culture has caused this weird aberration (I haven’t ever seen one that portrays protesting hippies as the cause of the problem).  Then one lone scientist of impeccable credentials figures out what is going to happen.  This scientist has been spurned by all the other scientists for his refusal to bend to corporate greed (and no one ever supposes the other scientists don’t like to work with him cause he’s a jerk…).  The scientist sounds the alarm, but Anytown residents refuse to listen to him, and only because the scenario he posits is so shockingly improbable that citizens have been lulled into a false sense of security.  The watcher is brought to the point of thinking “Why, oh why don’t they clearly see that fog/volcanos/tornados/lightning can kill large groups of people?  The horror of it all.”  At the end of the movie, the lone scientist has gained a love interest by saving large groups of kindergarteners from the killer fog/volcano/lightning/tornado.  The scientist is a super hero because she/he KNEW that a volcano/killer fog/lightning/tornado would hit and because she/he proves that a little life saving can make a super model interested in an uber geek.  The townspeople are all imminently grateful to the scientist and realize that they will take his crazy ideas a bit more seriously next time and they pass ordinances banning all greed within a five hundred mile radius. 

There’s such a chunk of cash in the scientific community right now, it’s hard to believe anything they publish on this topic.  And because of the Hollywood take on so much of this, many people are just rabid about what they believe about Global Warming, etc…  Indeed, the very graphs that Gore used in his climate change movie proved him wrong on the statements that he was putting across.  Fortunately for him, the Hollywood crowd isn’t big on graphs anyway and just believed everything he said in the movie (surely easier than thinking).  I have read several interesting articles regarding sun spots as a motivator for global climate and I felt those were as convincing as anything else I’ve read on the topic.  There is also a fantastic article in the Farmer’s Almanac discussing climate change (although, it quotes NY Times talking about some stats that have since been proven incorrect, sigh).  As far as I can tell right now, there are two warring scientific factions regarding global temperature.  One group suggests that we are about to undergo a global cooling phase because of sun spot changes.  Last night I watched a documentary that suggested that the way we could really tell that global warming was real is if global temperatures drop.  No joking!  Here’s the thesis: we could undergo a tidal change that could force colder temps on the northern half of the globe.  Here’s the one thing you can count on from all this scientific mumbo jumbo: if temperatures drop, scientists from both sides will claim they were right.  If temperatures go up, global warming type scientists will say they were right.  Talk about hedging your bets!!

If you want more technical information from someone who isn’t as ignorant on this topic as I am, I encourage you to do a google search.  The bottom line that I took from this is: global warming scientists as well as most other scientists seem to be placing their bets on a global cooling phase.  Oddly, this will cause serious droughts in most inland communities in the US. 

Since this appears to be a uniform assessment in the scientific community, I would advocate that everyone start growing a garden.  If the climate starts going all nuts, at least you will have some nuts you put away for the winter.  Also, the worst thing that can happen is that you will get some good exercise and grow some nice food.  This is sort of the unprofessional version of the global warming guys: grow a garden and if it gets bad, well, at least you were prepared.  If it doesn’t get bad, look at the way your tan has improved!!  Hedging your bets is the way to go!