Saturday, October 17, 2009

Time for Miracles

Full version is available in Italy and Belgium via iTunes. (Youtube audio has been removed.)

Update 10/20/09: Now available on iTunes in the US here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jon Stewart on hypocrisy w/r/t Franken's anti-compelled-arbitration-for-rape bill

Sen. Franken, D-MN, has authored a bill amendment to the defense spending bill that precludes the awarding of govt contracts to firms that contractually preclude the right of its employees to sue said firms for their liability for rape. Hypocrisy ensues.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Gov. Perry defends the execution of Willingham

Willingham is the guy that Texas executed for killing his three children by arson. (Previously discussed here and here.) M calls my attention to this Chron article wherein Gov. Perry defends his actions and proclaims Willingham guilty and a monster.

Update: And another Chron story per M. This one includes two recent statements (one by the brother of Willingham's former wife and another by a neighbor) supporting Willingham's guilt. The story doesn't say when the brother-in-law's statement was made. His statement relates a conversation to which the bro-in-law would not have been privy. (I don't get why the statement wasn't made by the ex-wife.) The second one includes incredibly damning details about what a neighbor witnessed the day of the fire. The neighbor claims he told police about it at the time, but that he was been rebuffed. Given the import of the neighbors claims, it seems odd that the police and DA wouldn't have been interested in what he had to say.

Update II: Per M, Chron columnist makes the case that focus should remain on Perry's role in the violation of process, rather than on the monster qualities of Willingham.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Chili Recipe

2 pounds ground beef
1 quart water
2 medium-size onions (finely grated)
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
5 whole allspice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
4 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 ounce bitter chocolate
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large bay leaf
5 whole cloves
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)

Add beef to water in a 4 quart pot. Stir until beef separates to a fine texture. Boil slowly for 30 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, stir to blend, bringing to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for about 3 hours.

During the last hour, pot may be covered after desired consistency is reached. Remove bay leaf before serving. Chili should be refrigerated overnight so fat can be lifted from top before reheating. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Serve over spaghetti!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Please share your best chili recipes.

I always cheat for chili thanks to Carroll Shelby. But I keep meaning to do better.

Happy Anniversary, Alton Brown

Ezra commemorates 10 years on air for Good Eats by embedding a clip from the first episode.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Perfect boiled eggs

Here. With science and experiments.

LJ's Diagnosis

So since none of my doctors can tell me what caused all my problems in late July and August, I've come up with what I think was going on. The internet can be a dangerous thing, giving those of us with no medical background the ability to type in some key words and come up with a diagnosis that a trained professional wouldn't. That being said, let me introduce you to Labyrinthitis - descriptions here and here.

The symptoms fit, the exams and tests fit, and at least it helps with my desire to give a cause to what was going on, other than " a fluke". The ER doctor was asking about sinus problems or allergies, which was a clue to me. He gave me steroids and antibiotics to clear up a sinus inflammation that was picked up on my MRI. I started those medications on a Friday, had an episode the next day and haven't had any since then. Another clue was reading about fluid getting in the inner ear. I was doing a lot of swimming during the summer and it's possible that fluid got into my inner ear. Both C (who has a semi-medical background) and an aunt who is a RN talked about reactions to some sort of infection early on, which also leads me to my view.

I did bring this up with the ENT yesterday and while she didn't totally discount it, she didn't really support my theory either. Her big problem with my diagnosis was she would expect more "wooziness" associated with my episodes, not "dizziness". But she didn't totally rule out a reaction to some type of ear or respiratory infection.

So....the book is closed on the medical events of my summer. Yea......

Not a great week - Update as of 10/12/09

Finally, after several back and forth phone calls, I heard from specialist #1 - the ENT doctor. I went in for several tests a couple of weeks ago, mainly to check out inner ear issues. Got hooked up with electrodes to my head and had to watch moving lights and dots. Had ear plugs inserted and listened to clicks and stuff. Then had the hot/cold air blown into ears, then had to count backwards and then forward in multiples of 3's, with eyes closed then open, waiting for the spinning sensations. This last test wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, though the cold air was more uncomfortable than the hot air. The results....

everything looked normal. All within the expected parameters. Whatever caused my symptoms was not inner ear related. The only interesting comment was that "during a couple of the tests, there were 1 or 2 instances that were outside the normal parameters that were more brain related than inner ear related, but nothing to be concerned about." The ENT doctor said that whatever was going on "was probably some flukey, one time only thing that will probably not occur again." And that since I've had everything checked out, I should feel good about that....

which I do, but there is still a part of me that wants to know what caused all this, so if there is something I can do (or stop doing) to ensure it never happens again, I can do (or not do) it.

I'm not inclined to pursue 2nd opinions right now, since I haven't had any further episodes since mid-August. However, both the ENT and the neurologist said that if I have another episode, I should get with the neurologist ASAP, which leads me to believe that while they don't know what the cause was, the leaning is towards a neurological one. Or, it just could be that it's better to er on the cautious side, since the neurological issues would be obviously more serious.

So I guess I'm back to where I started - not knowing. Several tests, many $$ later - at least I know (to a better degree) that all the heart, arteries, inner ear and brain parts of me are OK.