Archive for January, 2015
Lots of wind, snow and ice makes for excellent book reading time.
I read my first Kate Shackleton British Mystery, Murder in the Afternoon [Minotaur/Thomas Dunne, 2011]by Frances Brody. Quite good, easy read but not too predictable so I intend to check out more in the series. Sigh. After all this time, I confess I still go by the Tony Hillerman collection and shake my head in sorrow. How I miss him.
I’m not much of a Biography genre reader unless it’s a WWII figure and I especially deign the light celebrity biographies. Be in a tv series for a year and write your biography? What about Barack Obama writing 2 biographies at a time when his highest achievement was getting elected to the Illinois state senate? I picked up the Bob Hope biography Hope [Simon & Schuster, 2014] by Richard Zoglin because a few glimpsed pages convinced me it was well written and well researched. Also, I remember Hope very well and what a giant figure he was in America. It’s an interesting and easy read. My only complaint is that is was seemingly written as a number of chapters loosely tied together into a book. Quite a bit of repetition and a few discrepancies in approach, e.g. in one chapter he refers to Hope losing his draw power at the box office and laments a certain film. In the next chapter, Zoglin discusses Hope’s eldest [adopted] daughter and her late role as a working partner with her dad in production and happily touts the same film as an impressive achievement.
Zoglin goes on to discuss the actor’s role in conservative politics and it’s quite even-handed but when he draws attention to the radicalized 1975 Oscars and the acceptance speech for the antiwar movie Hearts and Minds, I think the author paints Hope and Sinatra as out of touch old conservatives in contrast with the younger cooler likes of Shirley MacLaine and brother Warren Beatty. Not so sure about that. That acceptance speech by Bert Schneider sending regards from the VietCong and thanking the antiwar protestors was regarded by most Americans as disgusting, improper and radical, and recall that this time in history was the election and reelection of Richard Nixon. Most people thought Beatty was a pretty playboy and MacLaine was a nut. Pretty interesting for me to relive the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with Bob Hope in this book.
The most interesting book was Escape Room [Doubleday, 1970] by Airey Neave. When I think of Neave, it’s mostly in connection as a trusted advisor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher but every book on WWII escapes from Nazi prisons and concentration camps treats Neave as a real hero for his successful [third try] escape from the unescapable Colditz prison. What I didn’t know was Neave’s work back in Britain as an intelligence officer distinct but similar to the SOE. The SOE sent spies to Axis countries to glean information or assist various underground resistance groups in sabotage. Neave’s much smaller group – the London address was Room 900, War Room, thus the book title – was a much smaller but vital mission of helping grounded pilots, prison escapees or other valuable persons get out of Western Europe through lines established between Room 900 and various people in those occupied countries. Very dangerous work and under constant threat from traitors and Nazi tracking. I’d already read some of the books put out by different people engaged in different vantage points in different countries – the Belgian Dedee, e.g., and her Comet Line became very famous – but it was still interesting to hear from someone on the British end who was in charge of certain phases. The courage and sacrifice of these people taking Allies through the lines to Spain or Switzerland, usually was incredible. So many of them were tortured and killed but these people hated the Nazis; the number of Allies funneled through their lines was staggering.
One aspect of the D-Day landings I’d never heard of was the sheltering of hundreds of Allies – mostly downed airmen – hidden in forests with the organization of Room 900, who couldn’t get them out of the country with all the D-Day activities and struggled to keep them safe from the Nazi’s and ensure the Allied invasion force – who were unaware of the hidden airmen – didn’t inadvertently bomb them. Some of the forests, such as Foret de Freteval, were in France and housed hundreds but others were in Belgium. Operation Sherwood, as it was called, was the brainchild of Neave and he sneaked into France to aid the safe clearing of the forests. It made for an exciting read.
How much did the TOTAL shutdown financially hurt the city? The other important question is: if computer models cannot accurately predict an occurrence within a 12-hour period, how can they predict long-term climate for 100 years? The answer, of course, is they can’t, they’ve never accurately predicted any climate and this is the first thing you should look for in any article on global warming: was is done with computer models?
So the NYC blizzard is a big bust, although the weather is awful on the New England coast. Mayor Bill De Blasio seemed to be enjoying himself yesterday shutting down everything for the ‘historic’ NYC blizzard. I guess it makes him look important and all Big Daddy, looking out for his city, unlike his recent remarks vilifying the police for making his biracial son scared to go out on the streets at night, afraid some white cop will up and shoot him for no reason since evidently De Blasio’s too dumb to realize his son is far more likely to get attacked by a young black man.
De Blasio’s also a big AGW freak but at least he didn’t shame himself yesterday like his fellow liberal Democrat mayor in Bridgeport, CT, who called Al Sharpton during his MSNBC farce of a show to commend him for working against climate change. Now that’s dumb on numerous levels. http://www.breitbart.com/video/2015/01/26/mayor-thanks-sharpton-for-climate-change-work-during-blizzard-report/
Kate at Small Dead Animals [link on my blogroll, http://smalldeadanimals.com ] is drawing attention to an old movie during a previous blizzard that’s striking not only because it’s a real blizzard – you can see the wind blowing and the piles of snow – but also because there’s lots of action. Nobody shut the city down. Were New Yorkers tougher then or simply free from nanny-state leaders?
It’s a short film [1:39] and fun to watch. Be sure to watch it all
Today was day 22 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox Diet. At Kroger today my husband was gleefully picking up his beloved popcorn – not on the diet – and lots of breads and fruits while I just stood there thinking what I thought on my last significant birthday – ‘how in the heck did I get here?’ I was momentarily confused while I tried to assess what I can or should eat. Gluten free? Sugar free? Organic? Meat? Fruit? Ah, it’s a bit of a mess.
I mostly stuck to the 21DSD diet, breaking it 3 or 4 times – okay it was 4 – to have a diet coke but I limited it to caffeine-free [everything is -free] and smaller drinks. Other than that, I didn’t eat sweet but I had small sweet potatoes twice while eating out. I theoretically approve of reducing my carb load but truthfully, I was sick an awful lot on this diet. The other day I made some Buttermilk Buns from the official cookbook and had some mashed cauliflower and I was so sick I had to take lots of medicine and stay up all night. The buns tasted horrible by themselves but not too bad with mayo, sausage pattie and fried egg but it seemed to symbolize my efforts to eat paleo.
Here’s what I concluded. I will continue to eat meat, and more meat than I currently do, but I’m not beating myself up if I don’t eat meats I don’t like or cuts I don’t like, and I will eat a healthy vegetarian meal if I like. Also, I’m scaling way back on certain foods that are common in paleo but I still can’t handle. Sunday night I read a post from Paleohacks which listed foods that can trouble some people eating paleo and the list had my name all over it. Nuts/seeds? Even if I soak nuts, they are a problem. A half-dozen nuts every few days is a minor problem, a dozen nuts every day is a major problem. Seeds are out, especially sunflower seeds. Nut flours are acceptable in small quantities and not every day. Raw veggies are out, as are some cooked ones unless very small quantities, such as cauliflower or kale. Some fruits such as apples, especially tart ones such as Granny Smith, cooked or not, are out. I’m giving up on some spices, I don’t care how healthy, notably ginger and turmeric. Several recipes use a baking soda/vinegar combo that I simply hated, the baked product always seem to burn my tongue.
It’s clear to me that I’ve spent years using starchy carbs, e.g., potatoes, as a cushion for digestive issues, and used cola syrup in fountain cokes for the same purpose. I can be more careful of that but I cannot – at least not yet – toss them aside. I’m clinging to my full-fat dairy foods and soothing foods such as avocados. One thing I found very useful on the diet, simply giving up on the idea of having a sweet treat or pastry very often, no matter what the ingredients or how ‘healthy.’ My top criticism of the cookbooks is that they make allowances for certain dietary preferences but there’s no assistance to those of us who can eat dairy, no suggestions to substitute real buttermilk for soda/vinegar in the “Buttermilk” Buns, e.g.
Did I lose weight? I don’t know, I don’t weigh myself, only getting weighed at doctor visits but I’m less bloated and that’s all to the good. I drank more water and that’s a good thing, too. Here’s some other recipes I tried, all from the official 21DSD cookbooks:
Chicken Pot Pie was quite good, with a tasty crust that made crunchy tidbts when it fell onto the baking sheet. It was a pain to make but then all pot pies are pretty much a pain. The Cinnamon Cookies were sweetened with only mashed green-tipped bananas but they were a good treat one night when my husband desperately needed a diet pick-me-up. The Apple Chai Scones? They were quite good to eat – my husband liked them very well – but the combo of almond and coconut flours plus diced apples, coconut butter, and heavy spice made me very sick. I find paleo recipes use a lot of cinnamon to balance the blood sugar, but sometimes that’s all I can taste in recipes so I’m learning to cut back but not give it up.
So many vital speeches, here’s a couple. After being a political and national pariah – the Wilderness Years – for trying to warn the world and the liberal/socialist British governments for several years about the dangers of Hitler, the need to monitor his illegal military buildup, and the need to build up their own defenses, Winston Churchill finally came into power as Prime Minister on May 10, 1940 after Britain and France declared war on Hitler when his aggression could no longer be ignored as he invaded their treaty ally Poland. May 10, 1940 was a memorable day for another reason, it’s the day Hitler invaded France and the lowlands of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
That former PM Neville Chamberlain had been duped by Hitler was bad, that former PM Stanley Baldwin had ignored Churchill’s warnings to build up their national defenses and worse, to cut their defenses was horrendous. To his dying day, Churchill blamed Baldwin more for the plight of Britain than he did Chamberlain. Britain, which depended on imported food, oil, and other resources, was surrounded and attacked by air and water, and Hitler was preparing to invade the little island in Operation Sea Lion when he got distracted by the desire to invade the remaining Eastern European nations and Russia, and the realization that the Luftwaffe had not brought Britain to its knees and chose to punish Goring by delaying the invasion and letting their air force recover. France and the others quickly fell and from May 1940 till late June 1941, no one was fighting the mighty and professional Nazi military of submarines, air force, army,and navy except Britain. Britain wouldn’t have lasted a day without Churchill, without his indomitable will, his leadership skills, his previous government experience, his military experience both in fighting and administration – including Secretary of the Navy – and his vision.
Keep in mind that until Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941,Stalin and Russia provided great assistance to Hitler, providing resources from August 1939 [invasion of Poland, in which Russia invaded Poland from the east and Germany from the west, dividing it in half] until June 1941, resources directly used against Britain. When Hitler invaded Russia and Staling looked to Britain- there was no one else fighting Hitler – for assistance, some Brits were against helping Stalin but Churchill – who unlike the naïve FDR never trusted Stalin or Communism – saw that he would have to accept Stalin as an ally. Churchill was a visionary and a romantic but he was a realist when needed.
In truth, Russia had given assistance to Germany even in the 1920’s and accelerated that aid when Hitler gained power, even sneaking airplane parts and pilots into southwestern Russia to test Nazi military planes and train Nazi pilots. Russia also shared tank technology with Germany, all to help Germany violate of the Versailles Treaty.