Human Cheese?

I at first thought that the vague wonderment that crossed my mind a few months ago was simply a silly idea that happened to pop into my head for unknown reasons. It crossed my mind that human milk, being no more or less biological and nutritious than the liquid sustenance produced by other forms of mammalian life for their young, could be manipulated in similar ways to manufacture other products. Most specifically I pondered whether or not human milk could be used to make cheese.

Don’t judge me. I had no intentions of acting on my ruminations and was actually a little disturbed that I had ruminated about it in the first place. Still, I happened to mention it to some co-workers. I enjoy the looks on their faces when I spout off randomly about the “bizarre” things I think about. On this particular occasion the ploy backfired and a co-worker, in an attempt to bewilder me as she had been bewildered, alleged to have found online a restaurant that served cheese made from human milk. It seemed perhaps the strange thought I’d had may be more than just the wonderings of a mind bored with the mundane.

I began to look into it a little further and found a few accounts of cheese and even ice cream having been produced from human milk. I didn’t research it enough to be able to confirm that any of these were true accounts. I didn’t read any reviews on taste or texture or any such things as that. All I did was confirm that the thought didn’t originate with me. Afterwards I began to develop some serious concerns.

Let’s assume that there exists a restaurant that serves human cheese. The first concern of such an establishment is to locate a lactating woman willing to sell her milk. Such a request must be extremely meticulously worded, especially in our country’s prevalent politically correct environment. Once such a request is satisfactorily devised and successfully deployed, many more concerns come into play. Chief among these being how do you compensate someone for such an odd and certainly uncomfortable endeavor. When the issue of pay is settled, many strictly culinary concerns come into play. How many years must be devoted to discovering how the diet of the woman providing the milk affects the taste of the cheese? What wine pairs well with it? How much makes up a serving? Is it a small dab on the side of a main course or is it in itself a dish? How much time and money are you willing to spend to answer these questions?

Then we get to the human aspect of it. Many people like knowing where their food comes from. Many restaurants use locally produced meat and vegetables and this goes a long way in building trust between eating establishments and eaters concerned about the quality of food they’re served. Would this not be much more the case when their food is made from a human by-product? How is this accomplished? Would the woman providing the milk be required to include her medical records with the menu? Would she personally greet those that had ordered her dish and inquire as to whether or not they are enjoying her cheese? And what diner wouldn’t experience some discomfort when confronted with such an inquiry?

I suppose an easier way to go about it would be to get a research grant and then develop some sort of human cheese in a spray canister. All personal aspects are thereby removed from the end recipient making it more likely that a higher number of people will try the product. Milk would also be easier to come by, I assume. It seems to me a woman might be more willing to donate some milk for science than to make a career of milking herself for a restaurant.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…be adventurous when you eat…to an extent you are comfortable with.

A don’t…get a research grant. Please. It wasn’t a suggestion. It was my way of ridiculing the idea of using human milk for anything other than it’s intended purpose of nourishing babies.

Living Jack-O-Lanterns; In Answer to Why I Say Why Not.

The picture above is of a budding pumpkin. It is the first to have appeared in my garden and is of a variety that boasts the ability to grow to upwards of half a ton if properly cultivated. I don’t hold any misconceptions about my first attempt being successful at growing it to maximum size, but my research shows that this variety of pumpkin consistently produces fruits that weigh a few hundred pounds. If I can successfully grow just an average pumpkin of this variety, which I now realize I haven’t mentioned is called Dill’s Atlantic Giant, it should be sufficient to satisfy my goals.

Goal one is to make a living Jack-O-Lantern. I’ll hollow it, carve it, coat the inside with something to control the slime factor, then place my kids inside with flashlights. Not only will I have the first ever (as far as I’m aware, anyway) living Jack-O-Lantern with the potential for responsive lighting, I’ll also have the first Jack-O-Lantern that I know of with intuitive sound effects. I think that the kids will enjoy this greatly. They can pop out and scare people and just have a generally entertaining Halloween experience.

Goal two is to figure out what to do with the pumpkin shell after the holiday. I need an idea that doesn’t involve carrying it anywhere. So far I’ve entertained a few ideas for using it as a planter. I could either coat it with some sort of resin and attempt to make a permanent pot or just fill it with dirt and let it serve as a planter that will also provide some food to the plant I plant in it as it rots away.

Perhaps, if my neighbors don’t begin to complain, I can turn it into some sort of time lapse art project. Or it could serve as a combination bird bath/street side urinal for the homeless. This is the least desirable of all, so I hope one of the other ideas will work.

I likely wont have to worry about any of this at all because my green thumb is more brown with a greenish tinge.

I bid you adieu…and a don’t.

Adieu…try new things even if you expect only very limited success.

A don’t…pee in my pumpkin if I am somehow successful.

Cast Iron, Why and Why Not.

It goes without saying that children shouldn’t be left in hot cars unattended.  Since I don’t need to say that, let me instead say that despite being my favorite cooking utensil, cast iron confuses me.  I used to read a lot of Louis L’amour western novels. Perhaps I should instead say that westerns confuse me.  Louis wrote a lot about his characters’ carrying bacon across the desert.  Perhaps antique bacon was more well preserved than today’s bacon.  Or maybe it was some sort of bacon jerky or pre-cooked bacon.  But….he also wrote about how his characters were cooking the bacon over a fire in the morning.  Usually as a peace offering to a traveler they’d met in the desert.  Scenes usually went something like this:

Drifter: “Hello, the fire!”

Cowpoke: “Come on in if you’re friendly.  If you ain’t, don’t bother.”

Drifter: “I am!  I’ve got coffee!”

Cowpoke: “And I’ve got bacon!”

And then they’d have bacon and coffee and talk about where the gold was or what tribe they’d come across and how hostile they were or some such.  For some reason I always pictured them cooking their bacon in cast iron.  I suppose this is because I don’t think the technology existed to make inferior quality products yet.  It had to be cast iron.  And carrying cast iron through the desert makes about as much sense as carrying bacon through it.  Bacon spoils and cast iron is so heavy that it’s impractical even if it’s all you have.  Sometimes I have heat stroke just moving my cast iron skillet from the cabinet to the stove top.  But I still do because it makes me feel like a cowboy.  The heat stroke and the cast iron both invoke that sensation.  I don’t know why I like feeling like a cowboy. Neither do I know why I like bacon or cast iron.  All I do know is if I’m ever stuck in the desert I’ll hope to have a heavy antique skillet with me.  Even though it’ll slow me down and contribute to my dehydration and eventual death, It’s dual purposeness will come in handy.  I can use it to set a deadfall trap and then cook my prey in it as well.  Forget that I’ll have to lug it around the desert.  Cowboys are tough.

I bid you Adieu…and A don’t.

Adieu…cook with cast iron.  The powerful feeling it imparts is quite nice.

A don’t…actually take cast iron on a camping trip.  Cowboys only did it because it was all they had.  Invest instead in inferior, lightweight aluminum.  Not only can you not club an animal to death with it, it won’t last nearly as long.

About Pants; For No Good Reason.

I’ve heard people mention the fact that it is odd to call one item a pair of something.  More than just pants are included in this. Pliers, scissors…perhaps other things.  Anyway, since I’ve heard it mentioned before, I hereby disclaim that this isn’t an idea that originated with me, it is rather an exploration of an idea I’ve heard.  And here it goes:

Logically, if we are going to call one pants a pair the indication is that pants have more than one of whatever it is from which the name is derived.  Therefore, since pants have only one zipper and more than two belt loops (fancy pants excluded, I refer only to simple, frill-free pants) the only truth we may deduce is that each leg of a pants is a pant.  That being apparently true, I wonder why they chose to name them by the pants.  Why not a simpler name such as below-midriff-concealing-device?  Or a maybe there was a more complicated name which has been shortened to “pants”.  Something like a-left-pant-and-a-right-pant-attached-to-a-gluteus-cover-with-built-in-loin-cloth-suspended-by-a-waist-band-with-included-loops-to-aid-in-retention-by-belt.

I think I just seriously digressed.

Have you ever noticed that every name ever applied to pants is plural?  Trousers.  Britches.  Drawers.  All plural.  So pant legs have also been known as a trouse, a britch and a draw.  Its a very bizarre thought to think. I wish I knew who it was that determined that pants are plural.  Some bureaucrat I suppose.  A stone age predecessor of the modern day, well, whoever decides the plurality of things.  Or maybe there is no such person.  Maybe it has already all been decided.

I bid you Adieu and A don’t.

Adieu…take the time to consider things not worthy of consideration. Sometimes it’s fun.

A don’t…judge me.  I’m not as strange as I sound.

On Time Travel, Murder and Suicide; A Bemusement

I bid you welcome. Consider with me, if you please, the following hypothetical scenario.

Let us imagine, and it likely isn’t much of a stretch, that you have a deep dark secret. It could be any of a multitude of things. A vice. A lie. A recurring unsavory activity or even a one time event like a murder or killing a pet by accidentally running it over with a lawn mower. You may pick for yourself. Whatever it is, it is very personal and if another human ever learned of it you’d be humiliated and ashamed. Perhaps you’ve hidden it so well from others that you’ve forgotten it yourself or it lurks in a cobwebbed corner of your psyche that you rarely visit.

Now we imagine that, wonder of wonders, time travel has been perfected and one day you are visited by future you. You know what future you knows and you know that he/she (depending) knows that you know that he/she (depending) knows. The question I put forth is this; does this constitute an awkward moment? An independent poll shows that one out of one of my co-workers feels it wouldn’t be awkward at all.

I think I disagree. Future me is a separate entity. He knows more than I know and has had more life experience. Perhaps he has moved on from whatever it is that shames me. I already judge myself rather harshly. How much more would an older and wiser me judge the current me? Would I lecture myself? Perhaps this is pointless because future me, assuming he’s moved on, knows that I will move on, the knowledge of which renders a lecture quite moot. Maybe he thinks he can help me move past it sooner than he did so he lectures me anyway. Or maybe this visit from the future is the very first in my timeline and therefore future me doesn’t yet know that the lecture is moot.

How would I react to a lecture from myself? Would it be like wrestling with something inside my own head with the only difference being that the voice of my conscience is now coming from outside of me? Would I heed my own advice or would I think that I am smarter than me? These questions drive me crazy.

Imagine that whatever is being hidden will soon cause disastrous
consequences and future me chose this exact moment to visit in order to avoid much pain and strife. Is this a smart choice for future me to make? How does he know that altering his past and my present won’t cause even more dire circumstances? Or maybe this isn’t his first trip back to my present. Maybe he’s seen what happens both ways and in his present he notices that something isn’t right and this tips him off to the fact that I haven’t followed his advice and he’s come to make another attempt.

What if he’s suicidal and he’s experienced so much pain between his then and my to be that he’s decided that it would be better to go back in time and off himself/myself before we have to go through all that. Would I defend myself from myself? And if so, how would I do it. What if I killed him? Would I, in his past, disappear? Or would I simply know how and sort of when I die in the future? I could judge by my future appearance my approximate age at the time I decided to come kill myself. Would I be able to kill him and then decide not to kill my past self when my present self gets to that point in the future?

If he killed me, he’d have to die also, but if I killed him would I be a murderer? Would it still be a suicide if I killed myself and lived to tell of it? Would I have a guilty conscience? And which of my selves would possess my soul? Could he continue to go back to different points in our timeline killing ourselves and populating the afterlife with many iterations of us/me? Or would all of our souls converge on one single death point as my finality? If that’s the case the only way he could end us would be to kill us in his own current timeline, however, that may not end us because current me could choose to kill myself at any time. I suppose that if I did that it would erase him. Is he living now or is he nonexistent until current me gets to his time point?

This is confusing. How do we know if we are at the very leading edge of our timelines or if we are simply past versions of the future we haven’t lived yet? Is future me already living? Am I ruining his future? If so, is he cross with me?

Now I have a headache. I’m going to bed. I bid you Adieu and a don’t

Adieu…make careful decisions. You could be causing your future self undue stress.

A don’t…walk on egg shells for fear of offending your future self. It seems highly unlikely he/she (depending) will ever come to visit.

An Environmental Fallacy

I’ve had an epiphany about ranting and raving. It’s a hobby of mine and one that I feel I’ve very nearly perfected. I used to worry that my rants were nonsensical and usually they are. I went through a period of trying to rationalize my rants but today I realized I’ve been doing it all wrong. The whole purpose of ranting and raving is to relieve stress and it doesn’t make a bit of difference whether or not the thoughts you’re having make sense or even if they are fair. It’s all about going on at length, making illogical and ludicrous arguments against whatever has upset or enraged you until you feel better. Now let’s get to it before I suck all the magic out of this wondrous pastime.

Before I begin, allow me to set the mood. I’d like you to picture something for me and I’ll give you two options. Option one is to imagine me in a clear dome on top of my house wandering aimlessly while I shake my fist at the heavens and mutter incoherently. If you don’t understand the reference or would prefer not to imagine that, you may instead envision a man in front of a computer with streamers of slobber slung haphazardly from the corners of his mouth. His lips are frothy with a rabid foam and he snarls randomly as he types, occasionally hitting a key much harder than is really necessary.

If you don’t care for either of those, please stop reading now. Those are the only two images I authorize you to imagine while reading this. Anything else is a violation of blogger – blogee trust and while this cannot be prosecuted criminally, if I ever learn of anyone offending this boundary it may well prompt another rant. So basically what I’m saying is that the entire paragraph preceding this sentence is supremely pointless and I needn’t have wasted my time writing it. But I did.

On to the ranting and raving. The topic for this rant is reclaimed wood wall art. It may not seem like anything that could ever upset anyone to the point that they’d need to express anything to anyone on the subject. In time I hope you’ll come to understand my frustration.

Before we get to the issues underlying the folly of reclaimed wood wall art, allow me to define reclaimed wood wall art as I understand it. Essentially is it scrap wood that has been painted on and hung on a wall. There’s nothing wrong with that that I can see. Certainly there is nothing there to cause any sort of angst or strong negative feelings in a human being. The problem I see is in the way that reclaimed wood wall art is sold. I saw some in a catalog and the caption said, and I paraphrase, buy this and save the environment. Ok. Surely I am not the only one that sees the fallacy of that advertising technique. It should be obvious to all but the most air-headed of environmentalists that such a transaction does nothing for the environment and may even do Mother Earth a slight deal of harm. Let’s break this down.

First of all wood is a natural organic substance. It is part of nature. If it is abandoned in nature, nature will take care of its disposal. Nature has all kinds of means with which to do this. Bugs eat it and that’s a big one. If you really love nature you’ll leave the wood where it is. By painting it and hanging it on your wall you’re robbing bugs of food and that is just cruel. Also, why on earth would you want bug food hanging on your wall? Rotting wood is also a nursery. Grubs and termites and many other species of pest raise their young in beautiful chunks of tree that have been softened by a mixture of water, sun and the bacteria found in healthy soil. If you aren’t concerned that you’re starving bugs, maybe the thought that you are depriving little bug babies of a comfortable home in which they may grow into strong, irritating pest as nature intended,will tug at your heartstrings a little.

Perhaps you’re a pragmatist. Perhaps there is no room in your heart for the plight of the pests. Perhaps the preceding arguments haven’t persuaded you. If you see yourself in the preceding sentences, the following points may benefit you. I’ll start by pragmatically pointing out that wood is renewable. Or how about the fact that as the wood breaks down, it returns to the soil the nutrients young trees need to thrive and grow and become the next generation of wood that may one day be reclaimed to be used as wall art. So we see that not only does reclaiming the wood harm the bug community, it also harms the wood community in that for every piece of reclaimed wood art on someone’s wall, there’s one less piece of nutrition for the trees that still live. I don’t know if anyone else has noticed but trees can’t walk. They can’t drive down to their favorite garden center for a nice steaming bag of fertilizer. THE LIVING TREES RELY ON SCRAP WOOD AND OTHER SUCH ORGANIC MATERIALS IN ORDER TO BE HEALTHY! QUIT ROBBING THEM OF LIFE BY HANGING THEIR GROCERIES ON YOUR WALL! AND IF YOU FEEL YOU MUST HANG RECLAIMED WOOD WALL ART ON YOUR WALL AT LEAST DON’T DELUDE YOURSELF BY THINKING YOU’RE DOING ANYONE OR ANYTHING ANY GOOD EXCEPT FOR THE GUY WHO SOLD IT TO YOU! Ok. I’m calm. I know that some of the reclaimed wood may perhaps have been destined for a landfill. Some may argue that reclaiming it for art saves space in the landfills. To this I say PURE BALDERDASH! Yes, it does save space. However, perhaps it is a fact that no place needs organic components more than a landfill. If we are worried about the amounts of waste in our landfills, perhaps we should focus on the manmade junk that is constantly replacing natural materials and simply won’t break down. As I’ve mentioned before, wood will rot. As it does it will encourage the rotting of other organic materials. Scrap wood in our landfills reduces the amount of detritus in our neighborhood dumps! Reclaimed wood wall art is the antithesis of environmental responsibility!

I hereby bid you Adieu and a don’t.

Adieu…buy reclaimed wood wall art if you find a piece that speaks to you. There is no shame in enjoying art.

A don’t…allow yourself to be drawn into the corporate money making scheme that would like you to believe that it is something other than detrimental to the environment to purchase reclaimed wood wall art. It is one succubus of a scam that steals the lives of trees and bugs and denies landfills the material they need to promote space saving rot. Save Mother Earth! Let reclaimed wood wall art remain unreclaimed!

Of Keychains and Pocket Holes

Once again my plans have met befuddlement. The thought I mentioned two posts ago was slated for this evening’s post, however, I had an experience this morning that bumped that thought yet again. It’s still floating in my brain and provided that the next few days are fairly mundane it will be the topic of my next entry. But on to today’s dilly-o.

My key chain made me late for work. This aggravated a pet peeve. It’s the one where you get angry when things don’t work well for their intended purpose. I’m sure I’m not alone in this one. I don’t get mad about much, but little things like this enrage me.

It’s a small metal piece shaped like the batwing. It has many sharp metal points that neither give nor forgive. Kneeling with it in my pocket is a horrid experience. And when you have a hole in your pocket this keychain acts similarly to a fish hook that’s stuck through your clothes. The thing simply wouldn’t come out. It felt like I was doing one of those weird puzzles you find at the old timey general store type places. Anyway, I only had two minutes or so to get in the car before I’d have to do that driving five miles an hour over the speed limit thing to get there about on time. I don’t like doing that because it means I’ll get to work sooner which means that my drive will be shorter which makes no sense because getting to work sooner is the whole goal of driving five miles an hour over the limit.

So, as my mind wrestled this puzzle my fingers wrestled the puzzle in my pocket. I had my pocket turned out and my keys were just hanging there and I was fiddling back and forth between trying to get my keys without damaging my pants and just yanking the thing through the hole. Both options were fraught with hardship. Or at least my panic stricken brain thought so. If I made the hole bigger maybe my keychain wouldn’t get stuck in it anymore. Maybe it would just hang through and scratch my bare leg with its ridiculous-on-a-thing-that-lives-in-your-pocket sharp pointy edges. But if I took the time to work it out easily I’d have to do the driving thing. Decisions, decisions…

I ended up deciding to avoid making the hole bigger and go ahead and drive the speed limit even though it would mean being a few minutes late. In situations such as that I’ve found honesty is the best policy. When I told my boss that I was late because of my keychain he looked, at best, mildly enraged and horribly appalled. Taking his silence as an invitation to continue speaking I began to relate to him the tale of my early morning hardship. I had only just enough time to finish before he rolled his eyes and walked away. There was another time at another job that I forgot to put my work shirt on. I went to work in my regular, around the house T-shirt. When my boss asked me about it I stated simply “I forgot to put it on.” This entertained a co-worker of mine. He said “At least he’s honest. Most people would say something like it’s in the dryer. This man forgot to get dressed!” I just didn’t feel like an excuse like that would be sufficient. As a manager my response to such a statement would be something along the lines of “Be more responsible with your time.” Or “Why did you leave it in there? You knew you had to work.” How do you argue with someone who forgot to dress for work? I don’t know and apparently my manager didn’t either because she rolled her eyes and went to the office to get me a new work shirt. This worked in my favor because I had to wear it home so I could wash it. I never took it back unless I was wearing it to work, so basically I then had three work shirts which cut down ever so slightly on my laundry bill and the time it took to do laundry. I never did much with those accumulated moments and cents but still, I had them and that’s what counts.

I notice I have seriously digressed. I have run off topic. Mainly the point I’m making is that things should do what they’re designed to do and do it well. This keychain didn’t. My keys are coming off of it and maybe I’ll get a nice squeaking rubber chicken key chain instead. But I doubt it. I don’t like those ludicrous things. Anyway, Adieu and a don’t.

Adieu…let me know if you run across a keychain that is stylish and performs well.

A don’t…strain yourself, it isn’t that big a deal.