For Real Things I Know

For Real Things I Know

Fine-art digital photography, liberal hard left-leaning politics, and personal mindspace of Solomon

My Photo
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Stay In An Abusive Relationship

Anyone who shakes their head in disbelief at someone staying in an abusive relationship should read this: Why Do They Stay? As one of the commenters said, "While I've read a number of articles that provided an intellectual framework for understanding abusive relationships, this is the first that gave me a gut-level understanding that 'there but for the grace of God go I'."

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Bonnie Bassler: The secret, social lives of bacteria

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


See, I read all over that you're not supposed to write or text or blah, blah, blah, when you're intoxicated.

This is a public world now.

Yeah, yeah, someone could look at this tomorrow or years from now and say, "AHA! Look at what a fool you were!" But, c'mon, I'm a big enough fool that I'm gonna do enough foolish shit that this isn't going to be the worst of it.

So, yeah, I'm intoxicated. Tonight, on cherry wine from a little winery called Pentamere Winery in Tecumseh, MI. [which I should probably link to just for the etiquette of it all, but frankly linking isn't as fun as typing when I'm drunk.] [Now, if I was high on pot, that would be different, then I would find the most mundane things interesting. But I'm not. . . . sigh... I haven't been high on pot for a long, long time. Damn responsible parenthood! :) ]

Now, I do feel a need to explain that I don't usually get drunk on wine, and I don't usually drink cherry wine. In fact, I blame the fact that it's cherry wine on my getting drunk. Pentamere makes a few actual wines and then two fruit wines, an apple and a cherry. Now, I'm sure the cherry wine is fine cherry wine and all, but there's a reason why grapes have the position they do in the world of alcohols; complexity, nuance, varietal differences that are AMAZING... cherry wine tastes like, well, cherries. Nothing wrong with cherries, but I don't want to think about them, I just want to drink them. That's why I couldn't buy the apple wine, it was fucking apple juice. I mean, it was good apple juice, but I would have chugged the whole bottle. If something isn't rich or complex or ponderable when I eat it, and just tasty, then I want to eat a lot of it, in big bites or drinks.

So... damn cherry wine... it was tasty, now I'm drunk.

I like being drunk. As long as I don't get all weepy or think too much, I'm a pretty fucking happy drunk. It really breaks down those social barriers that I have left inside; those defenses that have hardened like arteries as they've aged. And since I'm a pretty happy person inside, when the social barriers go down... tah dah! Happy drunk!!!

I wish I had more alcohol really. Not enough to get wasted, but enough to keep the buzz.... Oh, wait. I have rum! (from Thailand, I think)

I'm back.

Why'd I start this? If I had just wrote what I was thinking of when I started, I wouldn't have forgotten... but a couple glasses of cherry wine and a swig of warm-tummy rum later... can't really remember why I started typing.

It could have had something to do with work. That's what I think about a lot. Well, I think about food a lot. Not eating it, just food. I think about food. When I see a piece of food, I start comparing it. I compare it to other foods that are just like it. "hmmm... cherry wine... wonder how this compares to other cherry wines... how's it compare to the taste of a cherry... how do different varieties of cherry taste... what flavors of the cherry only come out because of alchohol vs. what flavors only come out because of the process by which the wine was created... how does the process affect the final flavor... what could I do with this, how could I cook with it, what could I add to it to make it different, what could I add it to to improve a dish or a drink... and i think and i think and i think.

And nothing in the world, not cheese or wine or miso or anything makes me think as much as olive oil makes me think. I love olive oil. Olive oil makes me think, it draws out questions upon questions upon questions... they just never stop.

There's this thing called Cha Cha, it's an 800# that you can call and ask ANY QUESTION to, and they'll send you a text with the answer. Free. All you have to pay for is the text messages that you receive (which have a little ad attached to them.) I get unlimited texts through my plan, so I'm having a ball with it. It hasn't gotten an olive oil question right once, though. It's gotten close, very "what the layman might think" in it's responses. But in the scheme of things, just plain wrong; and I won't bore you with examples of it's olive oil ignorance, because almost everyone is olive oil ignorant--it's not Cha Cha's fault. It might get wine answer right more often since there might be some people knowledgeable about wine answering the questions instead of people saying, "What the fuck, another olive oil question?"
The number is 1-800-2CHACHA and it really is free.

I will let you know the questions I've asked it so far, though, so you can know what it got wrong:
"What's the chemical that causes the burning in the back of your throat with olive oil?"
"What are the main 3 or 4 olives used in the region of Puglia in Italy for their olive oil?"
"What month is late harvest olive oil picked in Provence, France?"
"What is the earliest month of the year you can harvest olives for olive oil?"

That was a ramble, wasn't it?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kamal Meattle: How to grow your own fresh air

Romantic Comedies Destroy Relationships

A study blames romantic comedies for ruining marriages and giving people unrealistic expectations. "They found fans of films such as Runaway Bride and Notting Hill often fail to communicate with their partner."

One of the expectation that changes is, "he should know what i'm talking about or what i'm concerned about without me telling them."

The university's Dr Bjarne Holmes said: "Marriage counsellors often see couples who believe that sex should always be perfect, and if someone is meant to be with you then they will know what you want without you needing to communicate it.

"We now have some emerging evidence that suggests popular media play a role in perpetuating these ideas in people's minds.

"The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dan Ariely: Why we think it's OK to cheat and steal (sometimes)


Friday, March 13, 2009

Gervais + Elmo = Hilarity on 'Sesame Street'

Outtakes... hilarious

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Incantos Foie Gras letter

In recent years, the attention focused on this issue has caused many of those who enjoy eating foie gras to regard it as a guilty pleasure.  We do not. We believe that dispassionate examination of the practices of the handful of small American foie gras producers supports the conclusion that their methods are neither cruel nor inhumane


Much of the outrage being stirred up over foie gras production centers around the practice of gavage, the use of a funnel inserted into the duck's esophagus to force-feed grain to the duck over the final 15-21 days of its life.  Those who oppose gavage assert that the ducks choke, vomit, and suffer greatly because of this process.  This sounds reasonable. After all, how would you like to have a tube stuffed down your throat three times a day?However, this approach is the crux of the problem with an argument meant to play upon human empathy: it anthropomorphizes an animal whose physiology is fundamentally different than ours. Ducks and geese are waterfowl. Their digestive tracts evolved to accommodate swallowing of whole fish, the occasional amphibian, and rocks for the gizzard to assist in digestion. They lack a gag reflex and their esophagus is lined not with the delicate mucus membrane found in humans, but a thick cuticle. Their windpipe opens in the middle of their tongue and they do not breathe using an abdominal diaphragm as humans do. Air passes through air sacs located in the upper torso, prior to entering the lungs. Ducks are able to breathe, even during the brief 10-15-second process of gavage. Dr. Jeanne Smith, an avian veterinarian who investigated Incanto's foie gras supplier, Sonoma Foie Gras, in 2004 testified before the California legislature that tube feeding is the medically accepted way of feeding ill or injured ducks and geese, a practice she regularly teaches her clients to perform for home care of their birds. The principal difference between the feeding she saw at Sonoma Foie Gras – compared to her clients' injured tube-fed birds – was that the foie gras ducks were unstressed by the process.


The only way to understand this issue is to regard it for what it truly is: naked political opportunism


the anti-foie gras movement is – at best – founded upon a shrewd political calculation in which the professed indignation of a few is used to harness the indifference of the many to the inherent political cowardice of elected officials, in order to achieve a desired political outcome.  In essence, it's a confidence game in which participating meat-eaters, by agreeing to condemn something that they don't care about, receive the equivalent of a get-out-of-jail card, i.e., the right to feel slightly less guilty as they bite into that factory-farmed McNugget.  Guilt and moral superiority are tradable currencies; the anti-foie gras camp exploits this to the hilt. And we let them


Our (naïve) hope is that someday our country will have a constructive dialogue about food, in a calm adult voice and considering our food systems in their full context.  We hope that more people will be in a position to consider the impact their food choices have on the world. We recognize that the cynical political choice to use a wedge issue like foie gras to divide and conquer public opinion is easier, faster, and more effective at promoting a bigger cause.  But it's a mistake to confuse success in a political campaign with being on the right side of an issue. If the argument against foie gras and against the consumption of meat in general boils down to "the ends don't justify the means," then for goodness sake don't prove your point by the backwards manner in which you achieve your political victory.