Daily Archives: 11 May 2014

Obamacare Liars Going to Hell

InfernoThe eighth level of hell is reserved for the Fraudulent, Malicious Panderers. This is where all the people who work in the right wing echo chamber are going to go. And this is clear in a recent poll by CNN, Should Obamacare be kept or repealed? But before we get to where in hell Sean Hannity will spend eternity, let’s go over what is overall good news.

According to the poll, 61% of Americans think Obamacare should be left alone or some changes should be made to improve it. Another 20% think that the should just be repealed and we should go back to the system we had before. This is bad enough because I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but for people who had insurance before, they pretty much have exactly what they had before. So their opinions are largely based upon the usual right wing propaganda that claims that Obamacare is a takeover of the the healthcare system. But I’m sure a lot of them are just people who have theirs and don’t care that the old system was terrible for most people.

What really bothered me, though, were those who thought the law should be “repealed and replaced with a completely different system.” What system might that be? I assume these aren’t the people like me who would like the whole system replaced with a single-payer system. These must be the people who have been fed a constant diet on Fox News about the “just about to be released” Republican replacement plan.

Over the last six months we’ve heard a couple of ideas for what the Republicans might get behind. One is a law that is basically just Obamacare with a couple of tweaks. The other is nothing but a bunch of typical conservative ideas that have nothing to do with healthcare reform and would, if anything, make healthcare in America worse. But they would manage to take money from the poor and give it to the rich, which is why the Republicans are for them.

I’m sure all the folks at Fox News and those producing hate radio feel very good about all the money that they are making by being Fraudulent, Malicious Panderers. But if they really are Christians and they believe all that nonsense about hell, they really ought to be worried about their eternal souls. It ain’t looking good.

How to Properly Chill Beer

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale“Get your ice cold beer right here!”

I remember that from the Giants games I went to when I was a kid. Now, of course, you have to walk to get your beer at the stadium—I assume it is to keep people from drinking too much and making sure that people can at least still walk. But I still remember those wandering sellers pushing their iced cold beer.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve wondered about that. If the water that comes out of your faucet doesn’t taste good, the thing to do is to create ice water. The colder a drink, the less of a taste it has. So what does it say that people sold “ice cold” beer? Does that mean the beer doesn’t taste very good? In a word: yes.

Last week, I had dinner with a neighbor and the only beer she had was Coors Light. I decided to take a can, because I’d never tasted it. And it wasn’t bad. I wouldn’t call it beer, though. And I can see why people like to drink it really really cold.

A good beer, however, should not be drunk really cold. Something like Arrogant Bastard is highly complex. If you drink it really cold, you miss its wonderful taste combination. I just came upon an article in The Kitchn (Yep, it’s spelled that way!), Why Chilling Your Beer Glass Isn’t a Waste of Time. Of course, that title is totally misleading. All they really mean is that using a chilled glass with a room temperature beer works perfectly for serving beer at the right temperature.

And what is that temperature? According to them, it is between 40°F and 55°F. Personally, I think it is better to get towards the high end of that scale. Beer as cold as 40°F makes for some tasteless beer. So chill your beer and put it in room temperature glass, or chill your glass and put room temperature beer in it.

Now if you like tasteless beer, buy your Coors Like, put it in your cold frig, and pour it into a frozen glass filled with ice cubes. Just don’t do it around me.

Be Careful With Cannabis Cookies

Cannabis CookiesIn my alternate life as protectors of drug users when I spent years trying to keep them alive (and still spend a fair amount of time helping people detox from drug addictions), I often pointed out an important but counter-intuitive fact about drugs: sniffing and eating drugs can be more dangerous than smoking and injecting. The reason is that these generally more benign drug delivery systems allow people to ingest far larger quantities. After taking one Percocet, the user doesn’t feel it right away, so he takes five or twenty. And before he notices it, he’s passed out and then dead.

This isn’t a reason to encourage people to inject drugs, which has its own problems that are usually even worse. But smoking or vaporizing drugs is actually a good way to deliver them because the effect is immediate at the same time that a very large dose can’t be inhaled at one time. But just to be clear: I’m not saying people should do drugs. But if they do, smoking (or better vaporizing) has the least downside.

The issue comes up today because we are seeing this issue with cannabis. German Lopez over at Vox reported on Friday, Eating Marijuana Is Riskier Than Smoking it. The wide and potent availability of cannabis “edibles” in Colorado has caused a couple of problems recently:

In one incident, a 19-year-old man jumped to his death from a Denver hotel balcony. Later reports revealed that Levy Thamba, the young man involved, had consumed six times the recommended amount of a marijuana cookie.

There is no doubt that this is a problem. Not only that, it was a predictable problem that I and others did predict. And the same thing happens all the time with pills. But because everyone is skeptical about the new cannabis law, people are on pins and needles about any cannabis related deaths, even though such things happen regardless of whether the drug is legal or not.

At this point, it doesn’t look as though people are using this small number of tragedies to justify invalidating the experiment. But it does point out the need to inform the public that care must be taken with drugs, even when they come in as benign a form as a chocolate chip cookie.

At the Academy With Jean-Leon Gerome

Jean-Leon GeromeThe French Academy painters have something of a bad reputation today because of their exclusion of the Impressionists. (That’s not true of all of them; some chose to stay out.) I’m all for as much variety in art as possible. But if I had to choose one group, it would be the Academy. The work is so beautiful and interesting, often with classical allusions. Luckily, however, I don’t have to choose because the Impressionists are great too.

On this day in 1824, the great French Academy painter Jean-Leon Gerome was born. Whereas William Bouguereau was mostly a figure painter (An insanely great one!) Gerome was more of a historical painter. He was also quite an accomplished sculptor, and would probably be important if that were all he had done. But I’m most impressed with his painting.

In addition to his artistic output, Gerome was one of the most important educators of his time. He taught some of the greatest painters of later generations. These include the symbolist painter Odilon Redon, the impressionist Mary Cassatt, and cartoonist Georges Ferdinand Bigot. That just scratches the surface, but it provides a good idea of the breadth of his influence.

Like many great painters, Gerome’s life was not that interesting. He showed talent early on and then he spent the rest of his life using it. Here is a really great example of that, The Tulip Folly. It is a representation of soldiers in the Netherlands trampling tulip fields trying to stabilize the out of control tulip market:

The Tulip Folly - Jean Leon Gerome

Happy birthday Jean Leon Gerome!