I figure its about time for another grab bag of a post updating everyone on whats going on at Casa Eades and throwing up a few interesting articles and websites.
The Verdi Requiem
The Santa Barbara Choral Societys Verdi Requiem was a triumph last weekend. As you can see from the photo above, MD was pretty whipped when it was over. Apparently, its pretty demanding on soloists, orchestra and chorus. And, as you can see from the photo above, the listeners dont have the same burden. Other photos here. A recent review of the concert here.
The concert was pretty well attended, although not as well attended as it would have been had the entire city not been consumed with worry about the fire from the week before. Santa Barbara is just now returning to normalcy. The receipts from the door covered a little over 40 percent of what it cost to put on the production. When I heard that figure, I thought the whole thing was a financial disaster, but I learned that that figure is typical for non-profit arts productions. Around 40 percent of the cost comes from the people who buy tickets the other 60 percent comes from patrons who sponsor the event. In other words, the ticket prices are subsidized by the nobless oblige of the wealthy, a large number of whom consider it their obligation to support the arts. So, next time you go to a great performance that costs you $25 to see, thank a rich person that you didnt have to pay $60.
As anyone who has followed me on Twitter knows, I spend a lot of time reading and posting to Twitter since I first posted about it. Its a great way to do mini posts because users of Twitter are limited to 140 characters, so its tough to get too verbose.
I was pretty clueless about Twitter until I started using it, so I assume others are clueless as well. If you are not in the know about this social networking tool and would like to keep up with these mini posts, there are a couple of ways you can do it. You can sign up for Twitter and follow me (and anyone else you would like to follow). It takes maybe one minute to sign up for Twitter. All you need is a working email address and a username and youre in. Once you are a Twitteree (or whatever theyre called), and sign up to follow me, you can read these mini posts as I put them up. If you want to sign up, click here and get started. If you do start, you will probably find that a bunch of your own friends are using Twitter, so you can keep up with them as well.
The other way you can access these mini posts is by clicking on the little blue bird logo that says FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER. If you click there, you will go to a page that gives you all the latest mini posts, but youll have to keep going back to get the updates as they come in. Here is a link to the page you will find.
I occasionally Tweet (a Twitter mini post is called a Tweet, a loathsome word if there ever was one, at least when applied to activities of grown humans) on personal stuff, but mainly the Tweets are mini posts on medical articles or other news articles that I think are of interest along with anything else I find that strikes my fancy.
For those of you who do follow me on Twitter, I apologize for any Twitter faux paux I may have committed. One of the things that most appealed to me about Twitter was the notion that I could put up these mini posts without anyone responding. But, alas, I was wrong. I discovered a few days ago that people can respond and several hundred have. I was taking time from feverishly mini posting by looking around my Twitter home page when I found a highlighted link that said: @DrEades. When I clicked there, I was appalled to find several hundred responses to Tweets I had made. I learned that when people respond to Tweets, it ends up in that section. So, I wasnt off the hook. But I couldnt possibly respond to several hundred people even at 140 characters a response. So, if you replied to something I wrote and I didnt respond, you now know what happened.
I did have a couple of interesting experiences in responding however. When I discovered the @DrEades section and found the zillion responses to my Tweets waiting there, the most recent one was from a lady who took me to task for one (or several) of my political Tweets. She wrote that she had always liked my nutritional writing but that my political postings had alienated her. I decided to reply to her just to see how the whole reply thing worked. I sent her one of my favorite Thomas Jefferson quotes:
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
Then I watched her site and found that she had deleted the Tweet to me, which is how I learned that one could delete these things once they are up. They cant be changed, so if you make a grammatical error (which, sadly, I have done a few times) it cant be fixed, only deleted. Then she deleted me from her list of people she follows. I guess the Thomas Jefferson quote alienated her even more.
People are really strange. I posted a Tweet about an email that I had received a dozen times about how George Bush has a state of the art, energy-efficient ranch house in Crawford, TX while Al Gore has a giant, energy-gobbling house in Nashville. I always ignored the email because I thought it probably was an urban legend kind of thing. Then someone sent me a link to the Snopes report on it, which said that the email was true. I posted the Snopes report on Twitter. Then I started to wonder what makes Snopes the last word authority on everything, so I started looking into that. I discovered that Snopes is a husband wife team, who live in a double-wide house trailer on the outskirts of Los Angeles. They do all the checking themselves. I was stunned. I always figured that Snopes was some kind of outfit with a staff of hundreds that checked out all these things. The notion that the ultimate authority on everything was just a mom and pop operation who make their living by ads on their snopes.com website. Now that I know the situation, Ill be more careful when I accept snopes as the last word on everything.
I put up a Tweet that said basically Who wouldve thought Snopes was a mom and pop operation? Some guy signed up to follow me on Twitter, and immediately sent a nastygram to @DrEades that said If Snopes is a mom and pop outfit, what does that make the Protein Power blog? A ‘Pop’ outfit? I replied that the Protein Power blog is a ‘Pop’ operation, but isnt considered by anyone to be the last word on everything. He then deleted me from his list of people he followed. As I say, a lot of bizarre people in the weeds out there.
The whole experience has been very strange indeed. But Im still working my way through it, probably alienating people right and left. So join up, follow me, and watch the fun.
Upcoming travel plans
MD and I are leaving late Sunday night for Hong Kong, then to Guangzhou, back to Hong Kong, then to London. Sadly, the entire trip will be a working trip. Were hard at it in our efforts to change the world, and this trip is all about that. By the time we get back, I should be able to write about what weve been working on.
I will take a lot of photos and continue to blog during the trip. And Tweet.
Comments on the blog
I continue to be mired in comment woes. I just checked, and I have 78 comments in moderation, some of which have been there for weeks. It has kind of become a comments graveyard.
Ive whined about the comment situation for that last two years. Ive said that I wasnt going to continue to answer questions and was just going to post the comments as they came in. My resolve would last for about two days, then I was right back answering all the questions. Now, Ive gone into a funk over the whole thing, and have devolved into just ignoring the comments that require answering and letting them stack up, which I hate doing. But, Ive been so busy lately that there isnt much else I can do.
I was reading a book titled Economic Sophisms by one of my heroes, Frederic Bastiat, when I came across the following paragraph that, in a way, applies to the comment situation.
We must admit that our opponents in this argument have a marked advantage over us. They need only a few words to set forth a half-truth; whereas, in order to show that it is a half-truth, we have to resort to long and arid dissertations.
Its easy to pen a comment that says, Hi Doc, what are your thoughts on this article? and attach a link. I have to read the article, pull the actual study, read it, think about it, then write an answer that is considerably longer than the original comment. What takes a commenter 20 seconds to write ends up costing me an hour or two to come up with an intelligent answer or even an ‘arid dissertation.’
Im also getting a lot of comments asking for my ideas and recommendations on personal health issues. People send me lab results and want to know what I think. Without treating a given individual as a patient, medico-legal restrictions prevent me from answering these kinds of questions.
I never read the comments on blogs that I read, so I must assume that many people dont read the comments on this blog. But I end up spending way more time dealing with the comments than I do writing posts. If I didnt have to deal with the comments, I would write more posts.
I noticed that Mark Sisson, whom MD and I had lunch with yesterday, has started making posts out of some of his comments in a Dear Readers section of his blog. He takes several comments that he thinks may be of interest to all his readers, posts them, and throws them out for the combined wisdom of all his readers to deal with. I may start doing this myself and weighing in along with the readers. If anyone out there has any advice for me on this issue, Im all ears.
Soda tax in New York
I just read this article this morning. Was going to make a mini post out of it, but thought it would be better here.
A New York state senator (Ill leave it to you guess from which party) says that by adding a measly one cent tax to each can of non-diet soda sold, the state of New York can add $100 million per year to its coffers. If this is true, it means that citizens of and visitors to the state consume 10 billion cans of non-diet soda annually! The population of New York state is a little over 19 million. Dividing 10 billion by 19 million calculates out to about 525 cans of non-diet soda per man, woman and child in the state. Thats almost 90 six-packs per person per year. Wow! There have got to be some low-carbers who live there who drink zero six-packs per year, which means that some other poor slob is drinking 180 six-packs per year. Thats a lot of high-fructose corn syrup.
To my way of thinking, this is an onerous tax. It moves $100 million from the pockets of the citizenry and puts it in the coffers of the bureaucrats to spend. And, despite the fact that it sucks off 100 million bucks, the tax isn’t high enough to discourage consumption, so it really has no societal advantage except for transferring funds from the citizens to the government.
Where does your beef come from?
I dont mean what part of the country. I mean what part of the cow. Here is a great site created by the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida showing way more than I (and probably you) need or want to know about beef anatomy. But if you really do wonder where a flank steak or some other piece of beef comes from on the cow, click here to find out. A lot of work went into this site.
Gradient gel electrophoresis
For those who hate to pay big bucks to have a lab tell you how much small, dense LDL you have, heres how you can do it yourself. Thats right. With a drinking straw and a few other simple ingredients, you can make your own electrophoresis equipment and test your blood anytime you want for minimal expense. Warning. This is a real geek site. I doubt that many will want to put together their own equipment, but at least it shows whats involved in making a primitive version and how complex the testing process is. May make you not feel so bad dropping the money to get the test done professionally.
Feel better immediately
And, finally, here is your feel-good YouTube of the day. Watch this huge prank (if thats what you would call it) played on the people in the train station at Antwerp one morning. Really delightful. Watch the faces of those watching.
Remember, dont forget to help me out on this comment issue. All suggestions will be appreciated.