Friday, 21 February 2014

Food As A Time Machine

The home my father grew up in still stands on the corner lot at 1 Campbell Street. City maps from the 1870s show the home essentially the same as I remember it as a kid before the carriage house was removed.

The 'back yard' was a postage stamp of grass with the rest being a massive raspberry patch growing in a profuse tangle which my grandmother mined faithfully. Most pints of gathered treasure were sold to Brewer's Market for extra money but the berries were plentiful and there were a lot to be eaten in pies and as 'birds nest' and by bowl full after bowl full sprinkled with sugar and covered with milk. In winter there were raspberries in the freezer which were taken out for special occasions and turned into goodness.

There are many fond memories of fishing for tinker mackerel off the dock at Reid's shipyard and when there were enough for dinner returning to grandmother's house. She would call my parents to come for dinner and then she would head for the raspberry patch to gather dessert. Boiled potatoes, spinach, fried mackerel and fresh raspberries. A simple meal, perhaps, but far tastier than many I have had in 5 Star restaurants in the years since my youth.

Grandmother's raspberry patch had more red ants per square foot than any other place on earth. Fiery bites to ankles and shins and the accompanying scratches from the canes were the payment for the bounty. The raspberries were the reward.

My contention is that raspberries grown on the coast of Maine, fed with sun, rain, fog, salt in the air and even the eau de rotten fish wafting from the Cold Storage are richer and tastier than elsewhere but I cannot prove that.

The weather forecast here indicates we will be returning to 20 and 30 below zero weather again starting Sunday. It has been a harsh winter in the interior of British Columbia. We have no mackerel here or, at least, none that we will eat. West Coast mackerel are oily and tasteless. The salmon is fine, however, and plentiful although it just isn't mackerel. Raspberries can be grown even in our shortened summers but our patch has long since been dug up and turned to lawn.

Fresh raspberries in the market in summer are priced by the ounce like gold. That, perhaps, owing to their being so delicate. Most often a taste of raspberries comes from the frozen food section of the food conglomerate and is doubtless coated in pesticides and other chemicals. Still, it is raspberries.

Last night bowls of raspberries were liberally sugared and laid out to thaw and were eaten as breakfast this morning. I quickly discovered two things I hadn't known before.

Firstly, and most Mainers probably know this, Maine has a taste, at least summers do anyway, and durned if it doesn't taste like raspberries. Secondly, food can act as a time machine. This morning, eating those berries, I was transplanted back more than 50 years in time and 3000 miles away to a sunny Boothbay Harbor summer day. My grandmother was bustling around the kitchen. mackerel were sizzling in the cast iron frying pan and there were a bowl of strawberries on the counter.

Man, there are times I miss home so much. You can take the boy out of Maine but you can't take Maine out of the boy.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A Terrwible Told In Your Noth

Young Silas, 4, usually spends his days in daycare as both his mom and Dad work and his sisters are in school, of course.

This morning, bright and early, he called.

"Can I come to your house today? I have a terrwible told in my noth."

I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. He sounds terrible.

I told him that of course he could come here. He is never a bother at any time. He'll fund a chair, curl up with a blanket, and watch cartoons for the day.

It is not fun having a terrwible told in your noth.

On another cold fron, the forecast is calling for the mercury to drop to minus 23 again on Sunday and stay there for the next 7 days. What is this? It is near the end of February and this deep freeze is still coming around to visit?

The never ending winter.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Kick It Up

Kick it up.

2 cups of cooked macaroni (hot)


3/4 cup old cheddar cheese (orange)
3/4 cup extra old cheddar cheese (white)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

150 grams of fried pancetta

Stir together until cheese is melted.

Add bread crumb topping.

Bake 1/2 hour at 350.

Eat and listen to arteries hardening.

It Ain't Spring Yet

It snowed again last night. Oh, not anything like people are getting elsewhere. Just a couple inches. Just a reminder that while we have had a couple of warm days it isn't spring yet. It isn't going to be spring for a long time. From the feet and inches of the white crap we have on the ground it is going to be a long, slow, cold spring. Again.

I am tired of winter this year. I am old. I am cold. I ache for blue skies and a bright sun. I ache for warmth.

Tess' mother leaves for the coast some time next month for an indeterminate amount of time. I am hoping not for a year. I know that sounds odd but if she is gone for a year it means she will be back here for a year. A year with Nanay is too much for anyone. At a minimum it should be a 6 month on, 6 month off schedule.

And, hopefully, this year Tess and I can have a vacation by ourselves. I don't care where it is. Just as long as it is just the two of us. I just want to get in the car and go.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Another Pot Myth Busted

Yes, I know this won't be popular with all of you who want to smoke yourself brainless (and in some cases are long down that road).

Pot Fuels Surge in Drugged Driving Deaths

by Bill Briggs

During each shift at her drive-through window, once an hour, Cordelia Cordova sees people rolling joints in their cars. Some blow smoke in her face and smile.
Cordova, who lost a 23-year-old niece and her 1-month-old son to a driver who admitted he smoked pot that day, never smiles back. She thinks legal marijuana in Colorado, where she works, is making the problem of drugged driving worse — and now new research supports her claim.

"Nobody hides it anymore when driving," Cordova said. "They think it's a joke because it’s legal. Nobody will take this seriously until somebody loses another loved one."

As medical marijuana sales expanded into 20 states, legal weed was detected in the bodies of dead drivers three times more often during 2010 when compared to those who died behind the wheel in 1999, according to a new study from Columbia University published in the American Journal of Epidemiology .

“The trend suggests that marijuana is playing an increased role in fatal crashes,” said Dr. Guohua Li, a co-author and director of the Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention at Columbia University Medical Center. The researchers examined data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), spanning more than 23,000 drivers killed during that 11-year period.

Alcohol remains, by far, the most common mind-altering substance detected in dead drivers, observed in the blood of nearly 40 percent of those who perished across six states during 2010, the Columbia study notes. (That rate remained stable between 1999 and 2010.)
Cannabinol, a remnant of marijuana, was found in 12.2 percent of those deceased drivers during 2010, (up from 4.2 percent in 1999). Pot was the most common non-alcoholic drug detected by those toxicology screenings.

“The increased availability of marijuana and increased acceptance of marijuana use” are fueling the higher rate of cannabinol found in dead drivers, Li told NBC News.
Researchers limited their analysis to California and five others states where toxicology screenings are routinely conducted within an hour of a traffic death. They note that California allowed medical marijuana in 2004. Since then, California has posted “marked increases in driver fatalities testing positive for marijuana,” Li said.

"The number of deaths will grow," Cordova said. "I'm scared."

Minutes after the crash that killed Cordova's niece, Tanya Guevara, and Guevara's 5-week-old son, police arrested the driver who struck Guevara's car. Steven Ryan, then 22, admitted to smoking pot earlier that day, according to court records. Ryan later pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2012.

That same year, Cordova testified before Colorado lawmakers about a proposed impairment limit for stoned drivers. Under Colorado law today, drivers who test positive for 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC — an active ingredient in marijuana — can be charged and punished as drunk drivers.

That law has not, however, led Howard Myers to feel safer on local roads. He, too, takes the issue personally: In 2002, his three children were seriously injured when their car was struck by a driver who, Myers said, had smoked marijuana a short time earlier. (A police record provided by Myers showed that oncoming driver was charged with vehicular assault). Myers' children were returning from school to their home near Colorado Springs.
All three now are adults and their injuries have become chronic, Myers said. His daughter, who was driving, receives physical therapy for neck and back pain. One of his sons is recovering from a traumatic brain injury. Another son had a leg partially amputated.

"The attitude here is it's safe," Myers said. "So more people are driving under the influence.”
But marijuana can be detected in the blood for one week after consumption, perhaps leading chronic consumers to be wrongly arrested, critics of the law assert.

A separate study — also based on FARS data — found that in states where medical marijuana was approved, traffic fatalities decrease by as much as 11 percent during the first year after legalization. Written by researchers at the University of Colorado, Oregon and Montana State University, the paper was published in 2013 in the Journal of Law & Economics.

Those authors theorized pot, for some, becomes a substitute for alcohol. They cited a recent, 13-percent drop in drunk-driving deaths in states where medical marijuana is legal.
“Marijuana reform is associated with … a decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely due to its impact on alcohol consumption,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a trade association in Colorado.

Overall, though, drugged driving is closing the gap with drunk driving.

The rate of traffic deaths in which drivers tested positive for non-alcohol drugs climbed from 16.6 percent in 1999 to 28.3 percent in 2010, according to the Columbia study.

Among dead male drivers, 4.0 tested positive for narcotics in 2010, up from 2.2 percent in 1999. Among female drivers killed, 7.6 percent tested positive for narcotics, up from 4.3 percent.

“If the current trends continue,” Li said, “non-alcohol drugs, such as marijuana, will overtake alcohol in traffic fatalities around 2020.”

I Wonder

I wonder how he wound up in that wheelchair in the first place?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Angry Much?

These pictures could go on forever. Search it yourself. There is something wrong with this man.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The Most Beautiful Female In Canada

Granddaughter Gracey

Americans For the Promotion of Mental Illness

recently posted a blog containing links to several scientific studies on the dangers of using marijuana. These studies were conducted the National Academy of Sciences, the National Institute of Health, and several other equally prestigious institutions. Indeed, the day after I posted it another study came out on the links between marijuana and psychosis.

For my efforts I was solidly attacked. None of these studies proved anything I was told.

I know. Never come between an addict and his drug of choice. None of this is to mention that if you have become a mental whack job because of your drug usage, how would you yourself know? Denial runs deep.
A short while ago the President of the United States, a former pot smoker and cocaine user, assured us that marijuana was no worse than alcohol. Well, that may be the new mantra but it is out of tune with the facts. Today the White House web site has an article saying the exact opposite of what the president said.

Frankly, I can understand the liberals wanting pot to be legalized. They can then dumb down a few million more Americans, make them dependant on government, and get them to vote Democrat. And let's face it, the taxes would help tax and spend liberals offer a whole new raft of entitlements.

I can spot a pot smoker a mile off. I can spot them even quicker in a work environment. Ask Tess about this if you dare get her going.

Tess works in the restaurant industry and the use of pot is rampant. On a near daily basis she winds up sharing her lunch with some hungry co-worker who cannot afford to buy food because they spent it all on pot. A good part of her day is also spent cleaning up the fuck ups of people who have the attention spam of a guppy.

Yes, legalizing marijuana would be a real boon to society.

If this blog or the other one offends you then suck it up, Buttercup. Science is not on your side.

Here is great listening on this very subject from January 29th's VCY America program with Jim Schneider interviewing Dr. David Stevens. Download the podcast and give it a listen

Brisk. Very, Very Brisk

It is a balmy minus 23 here this morning. That is an improvement over last night when it was this temperature with a brisk wind taking it down to minus 34.

Bowron Lake Provincial Park

It seems we will be getting real winter here for the rest of the week as night time temperatures are supposed to go down to between minus 27 and minus 30. I am bringing the brass money in for the duration.

Legion Beach

There was a pea soup ice fog in the river valley this morning. That is odd for this time of year. It made driving treacherous. I wouldn't see the road.

Now I am having my first cup of amd wondering which grandchild will call needing something today.

Beautiful B.C.

I finally found an OTC medicine that appears to be helping with this cold. Buckley's is as uniquely Canadian as apple pie is American. Their cough syrup is the most vile tasting substance on the face of the earth. The company slogan used in advertising says, "It tastes awful and it works." Awful is much to mild. But, people who take is says it does work. I tried it once and will never put that in my mouth again.

These days they also make cold pills. I switched from the Sinutab I was taking which didn't work to Buckley's which did. "Buckley's, you rock."

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Pretty Darn Cute

Pretty cute.

On other fronts, I was feeling better earlier today. Was being the operative word. Holy crap I feel like dog shit. I want to bang my head against a steel post because I am sure it would feel better than the headache I have now.

I went to the pharmacy and got some sinus crap. Maybe that will stop some of the pain.