From the Bar – Spodee Wine

Spodee (photo from their website)

Sometimes my redneck heritage gets the better of me.  I don’t have a “sophisticated” palate by any means, pretty much liking what I like.  And I like Spodee, all the red-neck, prohibition shine runner, Whiskey Rebellion (right at home in western PA) silliness of it all.  My dad was given a jar of moonshine from one of his customers.  Mom promptly put a Mr. Yuk sticker on the pickle jar of clear liquid. 

I suppose it’s appropriate to have Spodee on a website that fancies itself based on a club of the 30s and 40s.  That’s my excuse anyway 🙂

Spodee is in the fortified wine category, like port, sherry, marsala, etc.  Regular wine is upped in proof by the addition of spirit and is preserved by that at the same time.  However, with us using champagne yeast, we usually get awfully close to 15% even without adding any hooch. 

Number one thing,  it has the most freakin’ annoying bottle ever.  Not big enough for someone who likes her wine, and that damned cork is a pain in the ass.  Makers of Spodee, we get it. It’s a milk bottle, how “rustic” &) .  Now put the stuff in a 750 ml and be done with it. That said, the website does have a video on the best way to get that cork out without harming yourself….too much

After wrestling with the bottle, it better be worth it.  Well, it is.  Spodee  tastes good.  The flavor is similar to the various chocolate flavored wines out there, like Chocovin (basically tasting like Yoohoo and wine) and  Chocolate Shop wines.  As you might guess, it’s sweet and thus goes with things that work with sweet alcohols. Good in OJ since it picks up the chocolate flavor.  Also is palatable in their version of kalimoxto, the Spanish mix of red wine and cola (which is pretty much all over the world in some version or other).

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What the Boss Likes – Science websites

A smattering of science websites I like:

What if? physics questions answered by the folks at XKCD:  http://what-if.xkcd.com/1/  Includes “what if you had a mole of moles?”

Phys-Org – recent articles on all sorts of sciences: http://phys.org/

Discovery Magazine’s blogs; http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/ 

Various geology blogs: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/rosetta-stones/

http://theaccretionarywedge.wordpress.com/

En Tequila Es Verdad: http://freethoughtblogs.com/entequilaesverdad  a blog of a only technically amateur geologist who got me loving geology again with her passion about the silly rocks.

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Ann, Ann, why do you think other women are idiots?

This is where we come from. We’re not going back to where Ann wants to take us.

Ann Romney is doing her best to help her husband with his problem with women voters.  It’s nice that she’s trying to help him but it’s not nice when she evidently thinks women are idiots and that she can lie to them with every intention of trying to take their right to a informed decision away.  

A CNN article had some of these quotes in it:

“”Women, you need to wake up,” she told the largely female audience at a “Women For Mitt” rally in Findlay, Ohio. “Women have to ask themselves who is going to… be there for you. I can promise you, I know that Mitt will be there for you, he will stand up for you, he will hear your voices, he knows how to fix an economy, he’s a can do kind of guy, he’s a turnaround guy.”

Sorry, Ann but this is nonsense.  Your husband is not there for women, nor is the Republican Party.  Have you been deaf and blind to the repeated attempts to take our rights away from us, Ann?  It seems so.  You would have us believe that your political party has the right to force women to have unnecessary medical procedures, that women should go to jail for making their own choices, that women should have less protection under the law than a zygote, and that women should be paid less than a man.  You say “He will hear your voices”.  Will?  It’s clear that he hasn’t *yet* and will never do so.  And supposedly fixing the economy on the backs of women who are intentionally paid less is no fix at all.  Your party voted against equal pay for women, Ann. Please do try to remember that and not lie to us anymore. Your utter cluelessness makes the Free Wood Post spoof of you seem not so unlikely. 

“My husband was being demonized, lied about,” she said, “and now we’re really getting it, as you know.”

Ann, if this distresses you so much, you should tell your husband to stop lying about others, especially President Obama (the work requirement for welfare, the “you didn’t build it” statement, the pathetic quote mining of a speech that used a quote used for emphasis as something Obama meant, etc). It’s a shame that he evidently can’t.  Also, if you are being lied about, show instances, don’t just whine.  But I’m guessing you can’t.  It’s a shame that you have to either intentionally lie too or feign ignorance about such things, and be too much of a coward to call Mitt on it. 

“I am so grateful that people are now standing up and saying this is the guy that has integrity, decency, goodness. And this is the guy that cares about you and that is why we are running,” she told the crowd mainly comprised of women. “We are not running to make our lives better. We are running for you.”

Hmm, Ann. How does lying repeatedly make anyone decent, honorable and good?  Because that’s what your husband, his running mate and your party have been documented doing.  The facts are there, Ann, they won’t go away if you pray hard enough.  You aren’t running for women, you are trying your very best to manipulate them as dishonestly as you can.

But happily, we, at least most of us, aren’t the idiots you obviously think we are with such shoddy attempts. Pick up your game, girl!  I’m guessing that might be a problem, because if you know that lies are being told, it’s harder to present such nonsense with a straight face.  

The Democrats aren’t that much better, with their pandering to whiny Republicans.  Obama was a monumental nitwit for signing the NDAA.  But, and this is an important but, they aren’t trying to create a theocracy, built on the highly bemusing alliance between those Christians who hate everyone who isn’t like them and who want to return to Old Testament values (those pansy New Testment ideas of helping others aren’t anywhere to be found), and Mormons, who want to gain as much power as they can, so they can have those magical planets promised to them.  Both of these ill-met bedfellows want women to be no more than property, restricted to what “daddy” knows best.  And well, Ann, that ended back in the early 1900s and we aren’t going back.    

Many of us have woken up, Ann. We know that there is a concerted war on women waged by the Republican Party, to return us to some delusion of women in aprons waiting obsequiously on men who deign to allow us what freedoms they choose. We are not going to be limited to church, kitchen and children as your party would have us be, chained to primitive notions.   We are not satisfied with “pin money” anymore.

What the Boss Likes – Taking a stand because you dissed one of my heros

Angry kitteh

I’ve been watching, and occasionally kibitzing on, the misogyny on various atheism blogs and then watched the misogyny get carried over into the atheism plus discussion, which gets its own flak.  It seems that some people, self-described atheist or not, self-described skeptic or not, sure get their panties in a wad when they don’t get their way and the external validation they evidently desperately need.  (BTW, I post on the freethought blogs as hexidecima since for some weird reason some of the blogs won’t accept my wordpress credentials).  What I’m writing now is based on 10,000 foot view of what the situation seems like to me, not one in the trenches.  I may be wrong on exactly how things started but where things have ended up is pretty clear.  And when it comes to seeing a hero of mine dissed and dissed carelessly, I do love to get my teeth into the issue.

First, we had some atheists getting in a snit over someone being called on their various bad behaviors and the request for policies standing against sexual harassment at real world events (this post seems to be a good rundown on how things started).  You know, in the 21st century, I’d think we’d at least be having more of a clue on how to treat people, even if we still don’t have personal jet packs.  If someone doesn’t like you, or does not want your attentions, and tells you to stop, that’s what you do. You don’t whine that the person has no right to tell you want to do or no right to complain; you admit you are wrong and learn from it.  Maybe next time, you’ll act like a human being and not have such trouble getting positive attention that you must revel in the negative.  I got enough of this crap in the gaming and historical recreation communities. Continue reading “What the Boss Likes – Taking a stand because you dissed one of my heros”

Not So Polite Dinner Conversation – Ignoring science at a cost

Science! – Microsoft clip art

While watching the rather breathlessly done “Dark Matters: Twisted but True” (link to the episode if you’d like to watch) on the Science Channel, I got a reminder on just how stupid people can be when clinging to false beliefs that support their feelings of self-worth and I started ruminating on how this still happens now. The show does do a service in showing that science and its very human scientists aren’t perfect.  Anyone who knows research understands this.  

Back in the very early 1900s, people were dying of a disease called pellagra (fair warning, the photos are a bit much for the squeamish) by a particularly nasty set of symptoms: dermatitis (not a rash, your skin was coming apart), diarrhea, dementia and death.  We know now that it is most often from niacin deficiency, vitamin B3, which is part of the protein processing in the human body.  It was caused from the ignorance of human beings when it came to eating maize (what you call corn….).  The Native Americans used lye to break down the grain so the proteins in it were available to us without 4 compartment stomachs. The Europeans who came to the Americas ignored what the “uncivilized natives” were doing, sure that their ways were superior. Their willful ignorance became a problem in any place that was eating a lot of maize but wasn’t processing it correctly. 

In the early 20th century American South, this was a big problem, and the United States federal gov’t, through the United States Public Health Service, supported a research project on what was causing this awful disease.  It was widely thought that it either was communicable or it was caused by a toxin in the corn.  Joseph Goldberger, by experimentation on prisoners (and we’ll get to that), figured out that it was diet that was causing a deficiency in something and that a return to a diet with meat, fruits and vegetables cured the ravages of the disease (he also figured out that brewer’s yeast also worked; it has those important vitamins in it).  Goldberger never found exactly what caused pellagra but humans did, and in 1938, Time Magazine hailed them as Men of the Year.  Hard to believe that the United States suffered a huge number of deaths due to malnutrition, but we did.  Here’s a fascinating bit in the Kentucky Medical Journal from May 1921 about the scourge of pellagra.  

One of the issues with this disease is that prisoners were used as lab rats to figure it out.  One can take into consideration the time and place, long before antibiotics, and no standard labs at all to do work in.  It’s still questionable, even though the prisoners were promised their freedom for their participation and were given it when they were through.  Unlike many other questionable human tests, this did come out with beneficial ending.  However, this is not the focus of this post. Google “medical ethics” if you want more on this topic. 

The other issue with this disease is that the medical community and the federal government resisted the answers that the scientific method gave them.  It was demonstrated by Goldberger that it was diet that was the culprit, but if this was true, then problems with social equality was the root cause. Few wanted to hear from a “New York Jew” that their ideas based on narrow religious interpretation and on social Darwinism were wrong.  No one wanted to hear that the poor weren’t being somehow “punished” by a god or that they were not “inferior” beings *choosing* to live in squalor and getting germs.  They preferred those answers, were sure that talking about such things would cause the south to lose popularity,  and thus made the path to a cure that much harder to navigate.  

Regrettably, in the 21st century, we have much the same attitudes about the much the same things. We went through this with AIDS and now with women’s healthcare.  Rep. Todd Akin is now the poster child for willfully ignorant conservatives when it comes to science, but he is scarcely the only one.  The Republican platform for the 2012 presidential race also clings to beliefs that support the very human desire to believe that those who need protection, that need help are only the “inferior” and the “punished”. It removes any responsibility to help. The presumptive presidential and vice-presidential nominees Romney and Ryan evidently also go with this platform. They have done nothing to demonstrate otherwise and no matter how much Reince Priebus insists otherwise in the face of overwhelming evidence, the platform of the Republican Party *is* the platform of Romney and Ryan.    

They wish to claim that women have some magical biology that would prevent a “virtuous” women from becoming pregnant from rape, even though science has shown this to be a lie.  It’s easy to then declare that anyone who is so “bad” should not be helped and protected.  It reaffirms that their narrow interpretation of one sect of one religion is the only “good” one. 

They wish to claim that the poor and destitute are completely at fault for their position.  They ignore the data that demonstrates that much of the problems the poor have are rooted in the lack of spending on infrastructure, the lack of equality, the lack of education, the lack of health care, etc situations that most Republicans encourage with their constant and continued attempts to defund such things. Their ideas of religion and class reaffirm that wealth and power do not come with responsibility or with assistance from the rest of the community, that it is a “gift” for the “righteous” to do with as they will. 

As we’ve seen in the case of pellagra, such attitudes are harmful and it should make anyone ill and angry that this still goes on. It’s up to everyone to resist these comfortable lies and take a stand against them.  

Post Script: On the same show I also saw just how damn stupid intelligent people can be when they are disregarding the consequence or just showing off, see Louis Slotin and criticality accidents (yes it seems that this happens far far too often). I knew about an accident thanks to the excellent movie “Fat Man and Little Boy” (the scene an amalgam of the two accidents) but that they did it *again*, nope didn’t know about that.  I have a fascination about radiation. Yep, too many X-Men comic books at a tender age….