July 24, 2008

Are we just too sensitive?

Let me start by saying I don't know who Michael Savage is. He's apparently a radio talk show host somewhere, but I've never heard of him. Anyway, this guy stirred up controversy by claiming on his show earlier this month:
In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That's what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they're silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, `Don't act like a moron. You'll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.

Since then, he's been fired, and parents of autistic children all over the place have been decrying his insensitivity. In response, Savage says he made the statement as a way to shine light on the problem of numerous children being inappropriately and wrongfully diagnosed as autistic.

What I find interesting about this situation and other similar situations where people say stupid things in a public forum (think Don Imus, Jessie Jackson), is how frothing-at-the-mouth crazy people get in response. Is this guy a douche? Probably. Were his comments insensitive? Yeah. Do I care? Not really. Now don't get me wrong. I absolutely think people should voice their opinions and displeasure when something like this happens. But do I really think it's appropriate to see people get fired because they've said something ignorant or unpopular? I'm not so sure. When stuff like this happens, I get nervous because I see it as a chisel that chips away a little bit more at our First Amendment right to freedom of speech. Somewhere in this country, I think we've managed to convince ourselves that if someone says something we don't agree with, then they must be punished and silenced. That's a troubling trend, as far as I'm concerned.

July 15, 2008

Not as good as I remember

Yesterday my daughter wasn't feeling well, so I stayed home with her. Anyway, it's been awhile since I've done a decent grocery run, so lunchtime rolls around and I realize there's nothing really quick and easy around the house for me to eat, or that I want to eat, I should say. I'm routing around the deep recesses of my pantry when I come across a can of Chef Boyardee mini-shells and meatballs that never made its way into my daughter's lunch bag during the school year, so I think, "Cool, Chef Boyardee."

When I was younger, I used to really like Beefaroni a lot and, generally speaking, I always liked any Chef Boyardee product well enough while I was growing up. I can't tell you the last time I've eaten Chef Boyardee, though, because I normally think of it as kid food. But I used to always save meatballs for last because they were the best part of the meal, that much I remember. So I dump the can of shells and meatballs into a bowl and nuke it. When it's done, I sprinkle a little parmesan on top and grab a spoon to dig in. After my first mouthful, I realize the meal does not live up to my expectations. I mean, it wasn't good. I ate it because I was hungry, but it was bland and generally not good. Granted, it wasn't beefaroni, which might still be as good as I remember. But how different can the shells and meatballs be in taste from the beefaroni? It can't be that big of a difference. It comes from the same company. How different are they going to make their various pasta and meatballs meals taste? There was also a faint metallic aftertaste to it. Truthfully, I only ate until I didn't feel hungry anymore, and then I pitched the rest.

I have to say it's sad when you start realizing you just don't have a taste anymore for childhood favorites. Like I used to LOVE Captain Crunch cereal. As an adult, it's just not as tasty to me. I'd really rather have my All-Bran bran buds. It's the truth. I mix the bran buds with vanilla yogurt and fresh blueberries. It's trés delicious. Sigh.

July 03, 2008

Good for what [f]ails ya.

Scientists: Watermelon yields Viagra-like effects

By BETSY BLANEY, Associated Press Writer

LUBBOCK, Texas - A slice of cool, fresh watermelon is a juicy way to top off a Fourth of July cookout and one that researchers say has effects similar to Viagra — but don't necessarily expect it to keep the fireworks all night long.

Watermelons contain an ingredient called citrulline that can trigger production of a compound that helps relax the body's blood vessels, similar to what happens when a man takes Viagra, said scientists in Texas, one of the nation's top producers of the seedless variety.

Found in the flesh and rind of watermelons, citrulline reacts with the body's enzymes when consumed in large quantities and is changed into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.

"Arginine boosts nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels, the same basic effect that Viagra has, to treat erectile dysfunction and maybe even prevent it," said Bhimu Patil, a researcher and director of Texas A&M's Fruit and Vegetable Improvement Center. "Watermelon may not be as organ-specific as Viagra, but it's a great way to relax blood vessels without any drug side effects."

Todd Wehner, who studies watermelon breeding at North Carolina State University, said anyone taking Viagra shouldn't expect the same result from watermelon.

"It sounds like it would be an effect that would be interesting but not a substitute for any medical treatment," Wehner said.

The nitric oxide can also help with angina, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems, according to the study, which was paid for by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

More citrulline — about 60 percent — is found in watermelon rind than in the flesh, Patil said, but that can vary. But scientists may be able to find ways to boost the concentrations in the flesh, he said.

Citrulline is found in all colors of watermelon and is highest in the yellow-fleshed types, said Penelope Perkins-Veazie, a USDA researcher in Lane, Okla.

She said Patil's research is valid, but with a caveat: One would need to eat about six cups of watermelon to get enough citrulline to boost the body's arginine level.

"The problem you have when you eat a lot of watermelon is you tend to run to the bathroom more," Perkins-Veazie said.

Watermelon is a diuretic and was a homeopathic treatment for kidney patients before dialysis became widespread.

Another issue is the amount of sugar that much watermelon would spill into the bloodstream — a jolt that could cause cramping, Perkins-Veazie said.

Patil said he would like to do future studies on how to reduce the sugar content in watermelon.

The relationship between citrulline and arginine might also prove helpful to those who are obese or suffer from type-2 diabetes. The beneficial effects — among them the ability to relax blood vessels, much like Viagra does — are beginning to be revealed in research.

Citrulline is present in other curcubits, like cucumbers and cantaloupe, at very low levels, and in the milk protein casein. The highest concentrations of citrulline are found in walnut seedlings, Perkins-Veazie said.

"But they're bitter and most people don't want to eat them," she said.

I find this story interesting mainly because I once had a fraternity brother tell me and another little sister about how he and his friends used to screw watermelons in the field when they were boys. He told us how the watermelons made wonderful fuck toys because they'd get nice and warm from baking in the sun. So these inventive kids would bore holes into the melons and then insert their penises for some sexy times. Apparently, it's almost like the real thing. However, not as much as the real thing as the time he screwed a cow. After that story, I pretty much stayed as far away from that dude as possible. After all, what if there's a dick version of mad cow disease. I didn't need to see that shit.

July 01, 2008

The show is over.

Here's the cast photo from A Flea in Her Ear, which I just finished. I'm the maid...again. I don't know why I keep ending up as the maid. At any rate, it was a really fun show with lots of door slamming and sexual innuendo. Just the way I like it. The cast was a great bunch of people, except for one person who found the need to try and direct everyone. My general thought is if you want to direct, then volunteer to direct a show; otherwise, keep your half-wit pie hole shut tight as a seal's anus. However, even that didn't keep most of the people from enjoying themselves. Next time I'm in a play, I will contrive to kill the maid.