Tag Archives: Miscellany

Miscellany

The Most Important Book Of The Century

I just finished How to Stay Out of the Hospital by Lila Anastas, and I don’t think I’m overemphasizing the book’s value when I suggest it could be one of the most important books of the century, if not the most important book!

How to Stay Out of the Hospital is a blistering – but not off-balanced – critique of the medical community and society’s current role with it.  The book concludes with the following mental model, which could have served equally well as a back-cover blurb: Primary prevention is avoiding the medical issue altogether, secondary prevention involves early detection of an affliction, and tertiary prevention is the fight against a full-blown medical malady.  Doctors receive almost all of their training in tertiary prevention, and it’s also where they stand to make the most money, but also where your odds are the worst.

We are all indoctrinated from an early age that one goes to the hospital to fix medical problems.  However that concept is outrageous-to-loony once you consider the flaws in any human enterprise, not to mention the fact that it’s the most inefficient possible way to further your survival – akin to hoping the fire department can prevent your house from burning down.  The scope of the inefficiency is hard to wrap your head around once you finish this book, but one of the most obvious problems with that medical model is that you are attempting to fix a medical problem by relocating to a building filled with sick people!

The book goes far beyond common-sense axioms (e.g. don’t smoke & don’t drink).  It’s filled with all different types of gems and food for thought.  Page 173 offers the following suggestion: “If [you know ahead of time that] you’re going to be a patient in a medical center hospital, avoid being admitted on or near July 1, because this is the traditional day when new interns and residents arrive at the hospital and begin training.”  I knew teaching hospitals obviously admitted new trainees, and it does seem like summertime would be the most logical time for that to happen, but I would never have connected those two dots if I hadn’t read this book.

Do not overlook this book!  You will not look at hospitals the same way ever again.  With such little fanfare and publicity, it would seem strange for me to keep heaping on the superlatives, but the truth is that this book is easily a seminal work from a survival point of view, right up there with 98.6 Degrees.

The book was written in 1986, so it’s slightly dated, but very, very far from obsolete.  Could the most important book of this century actually have been published in the previous century?

 

Miscellany

Spicy-Hot Concoctions With Flavor

This is an easy-to-make veg*n recipe.  The amount of added sodium is close to zero, and it goes great with anything.

Ingredients:

  • something like canola oil to help prevent food from getting stuck (this could potentially be left out)
  • 2 cups parboiled rice (some expert sources maintain that parboiled rice is nutritionally superior to whole grain rice; Walmart-brand has worked great)
  • 5 cups water
  • about 5 jalapeños, chopped and sliced however you like
  • about 5 tomatos, chopped and sliced however you like
  • 1 package of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 package of baby carrots
  • copious amounts of pure garlic powder (Kirkland Signature works great and usually has the best price)
  • copious amounts of curry powder
  • a very moderate amount of Dave’s Gourmet Insanity Hot Sauce, to taste and safe tolerance

WARNING: If you’re not used to working with these ingredients in a cooking environment, wear safety glasses.  Under no circumstances can you allow the hot sauce to come into contact with your eyes.  Stay clear of the steam and don’t splash the contents of the frying pan.

Directions:

  1. Put everything in a very large frying pan, stir well, and then turn the heat all the way up.
  2. When the water is clearly boiling, turn the heat down to the minimum setting and then cover the frying pan with a lid.
  3. It will take about ten minutes.  Check back and turn the heat off right before the water is used up.  If you’re a little too late, some of the food will be stuck to the frying pan.

And that’s it!  There should be enough food in there to last quite a long time, and feed quite a few people.

Miscellany

Reasons You Shouldn’t Kick Inconspicuous Tires That Have Been Dumped

bees-in-tire-1

It’s been said that bees love to find tires to build hives in.  The honeycomb in the picture above was built by extremely aggressive Africanized bees.  The tire had been dumped long ago and was sitting right next to a path used by pedestrians and also horse riders.

Dumped tires like this look like trash to most people, but they must look like mansions to bees searching for a home.  When you see a dumped tire, it’s best to assume the worst.

With full bee gear, we safely moved this tire to a much safer location.  The bees you see in the pictures and in the video below are mostly neighboring bees that came to harvest this killer bee honey after we moved the tire.

As for the killer bees themselves, believe it or not, it took three attempts to completely kill them!  Drowning first, then locally-controlled fumigation, and then finally soapy water.  And each time we figured we “must have got almost all of ’em”.

If you ever see or suspect anything like this, assume the worst and call a professional or the local authority responsible for dealing with something like this.

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bees-in-tire-3

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In the video below, more flying neighbors got into the action after we pulled out some of the honeycomb and put it on a flat surface.

 

We got 'er. The deadly colony's Ace of Spades.
We got ‘er. The deadly colony’s Ace of Spades.

Miscellany

The Perfect Double Bacon Cheeseburger

Hits The Spot
Hits The Spot

“Mostly-Vegan” Ingredients:

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Morning Star Griller’s Original Veggie Burgers (2)
  • Morning Star Veggie Bacon Strips (2)
  • Go Veggie! Pepper Jack Rice Vegan Slices (2)
  • Pepperidge Farm Italian Bread with Sesame Seeds
  • KA·ME Hot Mustard
  • Grilled with: Smart Balance Omega-3 Buttery Spread
  • On the side: Heinz “No Salt” Ketchup

The price is right.  This costs less than a typical double bacon cheeseburger, and the labor is minimal.

The biggest offender here is the sodium.  It adds up to about 58% of the recommended daily sodium (which some say is too lenient as it is!).  Just for comparison, a Bacon & Cheese Whopper from Burger King will set you back about 59%.

The sodium here could be scaled back with craftier product selection, as well as by not making everything a double.  Here the veg*n beef and bacon accounted for the most sodium, although these Morning Star products did have the lowest sodium out of the veg*n product selection that was available to me, so there isn’t much room for improvement there.  The bread added 10% sodium, and so there is definitely potential there.  It’s good bread though.

Miscellany

Dougles And Gripples

Sometimes I like to optimize the smallest of things.  For instance, what do you do when you want to compare products at Lowe’s and Home Depot?  This is what I do.  I type lowes homedepot on Google.com (my browser’s homepage) and hit enter.

Successful dougle.
Successful dougle.

The top two results are what I’m looking for.  I middle click on each and proceed with my comparison.  It shouldn’t be lost on the reader how incredibly stupid this optimization is, but just the same, what would we even call this optimization?  Has this phenomenon even been discovered by anyone else?

If not, we can throw some ideas out there.  A successful two-hit search (as in the above example) could be a Dougle (portmanteau of double and Google).  A successful three-hit search (extremely difficult) could be a Gripple.

And I would be shocked if there existed four search terms where a home run were possible.  I refuse to believe it can be done.  Remember, they have to be the top results.  They can’t simply be on the first page of results.  They have to be the very top results.