We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Saturday, September 20. 2014
Apparently this sad old line was met with nothing but guffaws from the group.
Friday, September 19. 2014
What are the things which most emotionally engage ordinary Americans? I think love and family, sex, God, money, freedom from government - and death. Two deathy links:
Wednesday, September 17. 2014
The calculus of contagion - In the battle against disease, the difference between a raging epidemic and a passing fever comes down to a single number.
There is some good history of medicine in the article.
Monday, September 15. 2014
Where would we be without scientific studies to demonstrate what humanoids have known for almost a million years?
Thursday, September 11. 2014
Wednesday, September 10. 2014
Tuesday, September 9. 2014
Why Is It So Hard to Stop Sports Concussions? Human behavior conspires with the complex mechanics of head impacts to keep injury rates high. New helmet technology could help.
I have heard the argument that helmets make people more reckless.
Wednesday, September 3. 2014
Many years too late, the MSM and the government are getting the obvious message which docs have known all along. Unless you do manual work all day and are skinny, you don't need hardly any carbs to be fit and healthy. What carbs to eat very sparingly, if at all, to be strong and lithe? See below the basic list of the bad things which few Americans need to thrive:
All fruit (except strawberries and blueberries). Fruit is just flavored sugar, as are fruit juices
Carb-produced fat on your body is the worst thing for your heart, your joints, some cancers, your sex drive, and your youthfulness, vigor, and energy. If you are skinny and fairly muscular, ignore this.
Unless you are too skinny or healthily-skinny, I suggest one to one and a half smallish meals per day, mainly meat, eggs, greens, and vegetables. Why Westerners decided three meals daily was needed is a historical mystery, and very wrong unless you were a farmer or a growing child: most people used to be farmers, who worked until they dropped and their little kids helped all day too. Being overweight was a sign of wealth, and now it sort of functions as a sign of poverty and the underclass.
OK, a sugary dessert once weekly as a special treat. Alcohol as desired. Your hunger and your stomach will shrink quickly, as will your burdensome lard.
You will feel better and more vigorous, if that is what you want. Some people want that, some do not. Our current prosperity gives us that free choice, in the Western world.
Sunday, August 31. 2014
Against happiness: Why we need a philosophy of failure
Thursday, August 28. 2014
Wednesday, August 27. 2014
In my view, of course not. Science cannot even answer science questions but can only offer up their best theories du jour. Just ask Feynman. That's what he always said. Science is a method of pursuit, rarely gives us permanent facts.
About Sam Harris’ Claim That Science Can Answer Moral Questions
Posted by Dr. Joy Bliss in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 15:50 | Comments (7) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, August 26. 2014
I always figured that it was because my friends are friendlier, wittier, and more fun than I am.
Thursday, August 21. 2014
Sunday, August 17. 2014
We have had a decade or two of some experts preaching that fat and salt will kill you. Many of us docs have been debunking those old claims, to little avail.
Pour on the Salt? New Research Suggests More Is OK
Saturday, August 16. 2014
The Lobster Roll is right up there with Clambake as classic New England summer cuisine. Clambakes have to be made by you, on the beach in a hole in the sand just like the Indians used to, but every New England seafood joint has its own recipe for the simple Lobster Roll.
Here are a few recipes.
Other classic Yankeeland coastal dishes? Fish and Chips (with fresh-caught Cod in a light beer batter), Stuffed Baked Haddock, Shellfish on the half-shell, Chowder (clam or fish), fried clam bellies and fried oysters. 15 Classic New England Seafood Recipes: Clambakes, Lobster Rolls, Chowder
Saturday, August 9. 2014
If you grew up in Yankeeland, along the coast, clam and fish chowders have been one of your staples. They are seafood cooked with milk or cream, and whatever else. Real simple comfort food, served with hunks of good bread or those cute little Oyster Crackers.
Everybody knows Clam Chowder, for which there are 54,612 different recipes (not including the revolting "Manhattan Clam Chowder" which is poisoned with tomato. A good Yankee Fish Chowder is very similar to clam chowder. One of the best ones I ever had was on Grand Manan Island, where the chunks were huge - quartered potatoes, big chunks of onion, and 4" square hunks of fresh Cod.
The key for chowder is the stock: fish heads and bones, a few lobster shells are good, low-simmered for a couple of hours with some chopped onion and celery, pepper, etc. You do need to use the salt pork. The actual fish (like clams in clam chowder), you only add at the last minute and cook briefly - just until it flakes. Haddock or Cod are the only fish you can use. Scrod is just small Cod. Some use Monkfish, but I disagree: Monkfish is not a tasty fish, and it has a poor, chewy texture. Bacala - salt cod - works fine for any cod dish if it is handled properly. I prefer fresh.
Bermuda Fish Chowder bears no relationship to the Yankee version. It is from England, has no milk, but is wonderful in its own way. I have never tried to cook it, but have enjoyed in on countless occasions on lovely Bermuda. FYI, Bermuda Fish Chower's history here, and recipe here.
Image: Atlantic Cod. Overfishing has been a major problem - the wonderful Atlantic Cod is in trouble, and has been for many years.
Tuesday, August 5. 2014
Handling money is almost, or more, complicated than handling love and sex. People want both so much that it often scrambles their brains and incites irrational or self-destructive behavior (see our morning links today).
Money is difficult to obtain, all too easy to get rid of. Romance and sex are easy to obtain, difficult to get rid of. Having some money put aside means security and power over a crazy world, and love and sex mean, well, whatever they mean to you.
I once lived beyond my means, and made all sorts of rationalizations for it (eg turning wants into needs, like shoes, luxurious impulses, and "therapeutic shopping"). I learned from that, and some discipline from a financial spouse helped. I was smart about love, but dumb about money even though, before I married, I worked for every penny.
This is right: Self-Control Makes for Savvy Saving. Wealthy people hate to spend money.
Re spending saved money, Actually, Some Material Goods Can Make You Happy
Sunday, August 3. 2014
"Self-esteem", "amoure propre", is a strange concept, self-respect is very hard-earned, and self-hatred, whether deserved or neurotic, is a big challenge.
Friday, August 1. 2014
Dr. Bliss' Blissful Fish Stock (Fumet)
Clam chowder is very good, but cod chowder is great. Here's how I begin:
Chop up a hunk of salt pork into 1/2" or 1" pieces. Bacon is a poor second choice. Plus some butter. Chop carrots or parsnips, onion, garlic, celery - easy on the celery, one or two stalks. Sautee in the pork and butter until soft. There's your mirepoix.
Toss that into a stewpot, then a pile of fish heads and/or bones (from lean fish - no salmon, trout, tuna, bluefish etc. Heads are the best - your fishmonger has 'em and will happily give them to you). Add black crushed peppercorns, a bay leaf, some parsley, and one clove. A sprig of thyme is good. Cover with water and a cup or two or three of drinkable white wine, and simmer, covered, for an hour or two, while consuming the rest of the wine.
Cool it, strain preferably through cheesecloth but I use a strainer, chill in fridge then remove any fat on the surface. Some people like to find some bacon or salt pork in their chowder, so you can salvage them from the strainer, or make new.
You can reduce it or use as it is (I always thicken chowder with corn starch), as the base for fish soup or fish chowder. Don't use it as a base for New England clam chowder, though, because the fumet will overpower the delicate clammy flavor.
Clam Chowda requires a different recipe.
I've been preaching this ad nauseam but everybody has his own food religion based on superstition, old wive's tales, antiquated misinformation, and various quackeries.
If ignorance floats your boat, then go for it and be happy with the placebo effects, but just do not pretend that it makes sense.
There is no reason at all to avoid dietary fats, and this has been well-known for over a decade. I was wrong - we should be feasting on fat, says Dr. Mosley.
If your triglyceride numbers scare you or your doc, take some statins.
Eat all the carbs you want, too, unless you want or need to lose weight. If you wish to be more slim, trim, and muscular, quit the carbs and exercise hard. And, for God's sake, quit with the stupid organic stuff. It's just marketing. Marketing genius for sure, just like the people who sell water in bottles.
Wednesday, July 30. 2014
I don't know what practicing clinician has time to write guidelines for other docs, but guidelines are nothing but trouble. The best medical care is both art and science. Knowledge is always incomplete, patients are individuals with unique situations, and all docs have their own preferences and points of view. Guidelines end up being little more than fodder for tort lawyers and time-wasters.
Worst of all, young docs feel as if they have to follow them. Many things go wrong when practicing by the book. Medicine is an art and a science.
Tuesday, July 29. 2014
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