Food Poisoning

October 7, 2008

So I had all these thoughts inside my head to write about.  More on the economy and those crazy credit default swaps, Zogby Research, the upcoming presidential debate, Geoge Bush’s recent words to soothe America (or perhaps himself; notice how the phrase “The fundamentals are sound” isn’t being said anymore)?

All that has been put aside while I recover from what I think is a bad case of food poisoning, brought on by my wife, the chaplain.  Actually, it was probably brought on by some Maryland crabs she bought while in Baltimore.  They were delicious, for about an hour or so.  Since then I’ve been dividing my time between laying on the couch in a fetal position and running to the bathroom to vomit.  Ooh; too much information there.  I won’t mention that that’s not the only bodily orifice that’s seen more than enough action for a while.

I can’t eat, and the general weakness that goes along with that is probably more a revelation than the nausea.  It’s only been a day since I’ve been able to digest anything and already the fatigue and inability to stay focused has set in.

Pity the many poor whose lack of a next meal is a constant, whose life under these conditions is not rare, but commonplace.


Obesity at the Airport

September 29, 2008

From my perch here at Reagan National Airport I can see Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Gorden Biersch Brewery, Ranch 1 Grilled Chicken, California Tortilla, Auntie Anne’s Preztels and a Dunkin Donuts (hmmmm, donuts).  It’s dinner time, and I’m stuck here for a couple hours waiting for my flight because the airport recommends I get here two hours early (or else).  Yet there is nothing here that I could consider healthy food.  I should’ve called my brother and asked him to bring me something.

We are flooded with blatant imagery – from TV commercials to magazine ads to at-store signage – and even though we talk a good talk about the growing obestity crisis (pun intended) we do little to change the social and economic principles that are driving it.

Like the sub-prime crisis, a “cure” will not be found until the problem reaches epidemic proportions.  By then it will be a multi-trillion dollar issue, requiring lifetime care for those unfortunate fat X and Y-genners.

This is the crisis that will bankrupt America.  The sub-prime problem is just a warm up.

Red-Cooked Fish

February 26, 2008

Red FishI wouldn’t normally blog about meal recipes, but this meal is so delicious that I had to write something about it, if for no other reason than perhaps to help guarantee that it will not be lost to history.

The following recipe is from  Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook, by Ellen Schrecker (1976).  It is one of the very best meals – perhaps the very best – I have ever had.  If you enjoy spicy Chinese food, then this recipe is well worth the effort required to prepare it.

  Read the rest of this entry »

Health Insurance

February 25, 2008

I am not overweight.

I am, however, paying significant health insurance premiums subsidizing many less-healthy people who are so grossly overweight that they are experiencing chronic medical problems.  The obesifying of America is only going to make it worse as deaths from weight-related illnesses like diabetes are increasing at alarming rates.  As an employer I grow tired of paying out $4K+ for employee health insurance premiums and then, as an employee, another $4K+ for the remainder of my health insurance premiums.

Getting health insurance companies to recognize me as a healthy, low-risk individual and putting me into a low-risk pool (as good drivers are able to do with auto insurance) is not likely to become an option in the near future, while I am still healthy enough to take advantage of it.

So here’s my idea.  Add a surcharge to every restaurant and fast-food meal that is based on the average “health rating” for that restaurant.  The health rating is simply the total number of calories of food purchased by the restaurant, divided by the number of meals served – giving an average caloric count per meal.  The surcharge is to be collected as a direct reimbursement to lower overall insurance costs.  If we can’t get insurance companies to lower their premiums or health care providers to reduce their costs, then we can at least come up with a more creative way to pay those costs than simply increasing premiums by 20% year after year.  Think of it as a cigarette tax on gluttony.

This is not to penalize restaurants but rather to force people who are habitual gluttons (or simply bad eaters) to pay more for the health costs that we will all eventually incur for their bad habits. I imagine that McDonalds will need to add hefty surcharges, as well any place that sells chicken wings, pizza or Chinese food.

The hefty taxes added to cigarettes were certainly one reason that cigarette use has decreased in America.  Maybe charging us for choosing unhealthy eating will have the same effect on our consumption of stuff that is not good for us.


Obesity Vs. Malnutrition

November 12, 2007

Obese childrenThere is a short but interesting article in today’s British press about obesity striking not just the U.S. but the rest of the world as well.  In fact, the article goes on to say that “There are more dangerously obese people in the world (over 1 billion) than there are people starving (800,000,000).”  This article backs that up with a reference to the World Health Organization’s web site, containing a plethora of reports and statistics.

In the midst of greed, politics, war and indifference the distribution of food is a real problem for those people lacking it, and barely on the radars of those getting fat.  [This should be yet another Pro-Life movement issue (see previous blog), since about 6 million children die from malnutrition every year.  Where are the Pro-lifers on this?]

Becoming fat, dumb and indifferent is no way to remain a world leader, and it appears that the rest of the world is learning some really bad habits from us.


Ethanol and the Economy

September 28, 2007

CornCorn ethanol production was subsidized $7 billion in 2006. That was about $1.45 per gallon of ethanol. Since it sold for around $0.38 more than the equivalent amount of gasoline, where did the other $1.07 go? To the farmers, ethanol producers and distributors, of course. ADM got drunk on it. ADM made a ton of money on it, for no good reason other than their ability to get Congress to create such a lucrative Ethanol subsidy in the first place back in 2003.

Corn is already, by far, the most subsidized grain in America. Yet Congress’ mandate to increase ethanol production (from corn, specifically) to 8 billion gallons by 2012 is showing nothing but ugly unintended consequences:

  • It is costing us taxpayers plenty because of the ever-increasing subsidy;
  • It is chewing up 20% of the available corn crop, causing demand to outstrip supply and increasing prices across the board for animal feed stocks, sweeteners and virtually everything else made from corn which we, as consumers, are paying for.
  • It is doing virtually nothing to reduce the cost of gasoline
  • It has done virtually nothing to reduce our dependency on foreign oil.

I am an advocate of ethanol production. However, I am not at all in favor of paying for it twice, which is what is happening.

Once again, Congress has provided a handout which has quickly become an entitlement. They will struggle to turn off that money spigot, even when it’s open far too wide to ever rationally justify.

The Left Bank

September 23, 2007

The Left Bank, on Rhode Island Street in Buffalo, is a phenomenal restaurant.  My wife and I struggled to select just one meal from the menu, which means we’ll be going back to try others that looked just as sumptuous.  Even though I thought that the Left Bank refers to a particular section of Paris, the food was mostly Italian with lots of other European/Continental fixings.

Portions are huge – way too much – but at least we got to take the leftovers home.  I had mine for lunch today.

Don’t go there if you’re looking for a hamburger.  Go there if you want food that challenges the pallette.

Five stars.