Spring is Here | Happy Monday, March 20, 2017

Today is the first day of spring here in the northern hemisphere. That is of course a matter of the relative angle of The Earth to The Sun, your individual weather experience may vary. Traditionally it’s a time for clearing out the cobwebs and looking forward to new beginings.

I’ve not been well lately, either physically or mentally. One most assuredly has to do with the other, though it is hard sometimes to tell which is the chicken, and which the egg. The details of this are not interesting to me in the least, so I won’t go into it I have been finding glorious unproductive solace in playing video games, which have long been a favorite on the escapism front. Now, by some small coincidence of time, I’ve decided to poke my head out of my den, examine what I am looking forward to and maybe shake out the clutter a bit.

I recently found it in my budget to finally replace the computer that died some months ago, which has facilitated my recent foray into Sunless Sea, and Long War 2. This also means that I am able to pursue my sideline interest in game development. I have been making a small hobby of learning a bit of C# programming and using the Unity engine for a while now, which got benched when the old computer crashed. Now I have in mind a long but, manageable project that I am quite excited about working on in the coming months.

A coworker purchased a large number of role playing game books, with the intention of getting into the hobby. He has, however, found it hard to find a jumping off point. I have been convinced/ magnanimously offered to run a short campaign for him to get his feet wet. So I can add that to the list of projects for the coming month. It has been a some years since have sat around a table menacing people with a set of dice, so it seems like it should be quite enjoyable. The group I’ve tentatively assembled is fairly in experienced in gaming so it should also be educational, as well as very geeky.

There are a scant few weeks left of the school year and, my daughter will start summer vacation relatively soon. My work schedule is opposite her school day and I don’t get to see her much most of the year. I’m thinking about a couple  of passes to the community pools and some ice cream dates to catch up with each other. Maybe we’ll get around to building some slingshots in the back yard too.

Lastly I am just glad to see the back of the cold, erratic, and sunless weather of winter. It will be nice to enjoy my late morning coffee and journaling from the comfort of my front porch enjoying the sunshine and warm breezes, watching the flowers bloom.

That’s what I’m looking forward to anyway. I am sure that I have plenty of upcoming things to dread, but it’s nice not to focus on those for a bit… For a change.

How about you?

Happy Monday.

P.S. As a bonus, because I’m in such a good mood I’ll leave you with one of my favorite spring time tunes.

 

 

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Bacon Is Bad For You and, Vegetarian Hot Dogs Are Made Of People!

It’s hard to believe it’s only Wednesday and I think the internet may have already spewed forth my favorite headlines for the week. On Monday while I was busy trying to fit a cup of coffee into my schedule, everywhere I looked, my news feeds were flooded with links and headlines that said things like:

Hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats cause cancer, World Health Organization declares 

or,

Bad Day For Bacon: Processed Meats Cause Cancer, WHO Says

At the time, all I could visualize was my vegan and vegetarian friends, with their arms folded across their chests and a triumphant little smirk on their smug little hippie faces. So delighted to be able to push the share button on that one. I mean here it was right, it’s science right? Who’s laughing now? I bet you don’t have anything smart to say about this one.

Relax it’s the internet, just wait a few minutes.

In those minutes we got:

Human DNA found in two thirds of vegetarian hot dog samples, according to report

and

Study Finds Pork And Human DNA In Vegetarian Hot Dogs

Leave it to a FOX News affiliate to cherry pick just the right info out of an otherwise pointless study to slant things enough to get it reposted into my social networks. I was a bit miffed to see the second headline from IFLScience, but I suppose it pays the bills. Usually by the same people who busy themselves with defending the confederate flag and spent a large part of 2012 worrying about the Twinkie Crisis. To be frank none of them seemed to notice that this report in question was about all types of hot dogs not just vegetarian ones. In fairness I’d like to note how skewed that first headline is by quoting the Clear Food, who conducted the study, so you can compare the two:

  • Hygienic issues: Clear Food found human DNA in 2% of the samples. 2/3rds of the samples with human DNA were vegetarian products.

The reason I got such a kick out of these is, none of it is new information. We have been studying and talking for years about how processed meats are bad for us. Even the staunchest of bacon lover knew that with each delicious smokey, salt laden strip we were hurtling that much faster towards the possibility of a protracted, ugly, and, agonizing death. If you’ve been in denial about that, you’re probably an idiot to begin with so this new declaration of fact may have come as some sort of surprise. To those of us who bother to pay even the slightest attention to the information available about what we choose to stuff in our consumption orifices, we’ll probably just shrug and just keep doing what we’ve always done. We’re a stubborn lot that way. Besides put into perspective, a WHO official said,

“For an individual, the risk of developing colorectal cancer because of their consumption of processed meat remains small, but this risk increases with the amount of meat consumed”

As for what is or isn’t in your hot dog. I’d like to remind you that you’re eating a GOD DAMNED HOT DOG! Even if you choose a meatless one it’s still probably just random parts swept up off the floor after they were done making real food, that’s thrown into the hopper of some industrial grinder by some schlub, who’s supervisor is on his ass about production quotas, and then extruded into a tube-like shape for your face cramming pleasure1.  I’d like to think that we all got the memo that said the FDA2 has set what it views as “acceptable” limits of things we’d all rather not know about in our favorite comestibles. I’m not going to get into details, you can just Google that stuff if you feel like being slightly mortified for the rest of your day.

All in all I am glad that there are organizations like the WHO and Clear Foods that apparently have our interests at heart, or are at least willing to make the attempt at convincing us they do. The problem for me is how we get our information dispersed to us; in little packets with flashy names, with very little of anything digestible inside.

Or, am I talking about our food again?


  1. This is partially conjecture on my part and largely an excuse to use the words “extruded”, “tube-like” and, “face cramming pleasure” all in the same sentence. 
  2. Insert the appropriate puppet agency that is responsible for making you feel safe about the food supply in your country, if you like.