Friday, April 24, 2015

Where's all the money going? AKA the GMO/Organic Food Post

OK, this post is a little different than usual. I've come to the conclusion that, as far as GMOs, it really is "all about the money" - on both sides of the issue. Yes, Monsanto (and other "for profit" genetic engineering companies) are trying to make money. That's the general definition of "for profit" - "to make money." So, any argument that says, "Monsanto is only out to make money" - well, you're probably right. Yes, I'm sure there are some working for Monsanto who want to help feed the world (which the yield from GMO makes easier), but overall, they're out to make money. With that in mind, I submit the first argument against Monsanto making "people killers" - if you're a "for profit" company, why in the world would you make your product kill off your customers? I mean, say you were a movie company, making a chainsaw killing movie, and decided to go "really live action" on it and have chainsaws in the seats that killed the viewers near the end of the movie... you wouldn't have much of an audience for "chainsaw killing 2" now would you? Similarly, if Monsanto wants $$$$$, they probably want the largest customer base buying the food produced by their genetically modified seed; killing off the customer isn't the best way to increase your market share.

But it's true on the other side of the fence, too. Anti-GMO and Organic are becoming HUGE cash cows to everyone (except me, it seems). Websites devoted to Anti-GMO or Organic that are about 75% advertising cover, usually cross-posting the same articles (with little or no supporting evidence, just various claims about how horrible the stuff is, how you died yesterday and it's your ghost that's currently reading it and really needs to warn your family and friends and post to every social media site you can log into, and pictures of some guys in hazmat suits in a corn or wheat field that, more than likely, was a publicity stunt by an Anti-GMO lobbying organization). And which are promoting all sorts of (highly overpriced) books by (supposedly) world renowned subject matter experts. GMO is big business - but so is Anti-GMO and Organic. Organic foods are typically significantly costlier than "regular" foods (by 25% or more), and the yields from farms raising "organic" foods are generally smaller as well (meaning the farm can feed less people per acre than a "normal" farm). So, your support of Organic and Anti-GMO is, in fact, making food more expensive and making it harder to feed the overall population, and making it harder for lower income families to afford the food they need as well (since the shelves which otherwise might have had larger varieties and quantities of lower cost items. I'll post some articles later on for you to do some further reading on.

Speaking of those Hazmat suit pics, check out this article, which includes a picture (see on left) of a farmer driving a tractor wearing a hazmat suit while spraying something on his crops. Thing is, that picture "was taken from a video about an organic cauliflower grower in California" who was spraying his crops with a "natural soap spray." Yep, that's right - "organic" and he's using a hazmat suit while farming it.

But what's the point? Are Organic and non-GMO foods safer and better for you than "normally" produced foods (i.e., non-Organic) or GMO foods? As a general rule, I offer "no" as the answer. Now, if you don't agree, and you have the income to support the non-GMO or Organic lifestyle you choose, go for it! Seriously, I won't say, "You shouldn't be doing that," and I won't mention the fact that, per one research study, organic meats eaten during the winter actually increased the likelihood of illness due to Campylobacter infections. Oops, sorry, I think I just mentioned it. I won't mention it again, but you can hear about it in this video:

"No significant differences." That's the general outcome of all these studies - "no significant differences." In fact, the risk of e-coli bacterial infection was slightly higher in the organic vs. the "normal" foods (although it was, really, statistically insignificant). But what else?

What about the "Bt toxin" in genetically modified Bt corn? That's a "bad" thing, right? Well, it seems that "for many decades, conventional and organic farmers have sprayed their crops with a bacterial solution containing Bacillus thuringiensis without any safety issues. These bacteria produce a toxin that kills a certain very specific range of harmful insects leaving other animals and humans unharmed. To make this method more efficient and less time-consuming, researchers inserted the gene for this toxin into the plant itself, so now the plant produce the toxin" (see this article as my reference source). The toxin used - which the Bt corn produces itself, while organic corn might have it sprayed on the corn externally - doesn't affect humans - our stomachs do not provide the right environment for this "toxin" to affect us. And just because something affects insects does not mean it will affect humans. In fact, "natural" insecticides are often made from dish detergent or Ivory liquid soap. I'm not saying you want to go drinking bottles of dish detergent, but you do wash your dishes with it (and then put your food on it), or your hands with Ivory or other soaps (and then eat with your hands), and I'll bet that you could probably eat an entire bar of Ivory soap or drink a bottle of Dawn or Ivory Liquid soap and probably not get cancer (maybe some diarrhea or something, based on the National Institutes of Health page about "swallowing soap" which says that "most bar soaps are considered harmless"). (No, you won't go blind from Soap Poisoning, despite the wonderful bit in A Christmas Story.)

Another point about the GMO plants and insecticide use: from the prior article, the amount of insecticide use and the type of insecticides used have improved (lessened the amount and reduced the harmful nature of) since GMO plant use increased. There's lots of talk about glyphosphates on GMO crops, but this increase of glyphosphate insecticide accompanies a decrease in use of more toxic insecticides.

There's lots more good info at the article - worth a few minutes to review. Things like the fact that "Golden Rice was developed to combat vitamin A deficiency that makes a half a million children go blind each year and kills nearly half of them. The patents were negotiated away in order to provide Golden Rice seeds free of charge to poor African farmers. Current research into Golden Rice is largely being funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation."

Not enough words in my blog post this time? I can help! Check out these articles for more info about the "cash cow" that Organic foods has become:

Another point, more related to various "ingredients" that are called out from time to time (usually in relation to processed foods or fast foods): just because something has another use besides food doesn't, by itself, mean it's bad for you. For instance, baking soda and vinegar are good cleaners, but they're not necessarily toxic (well, sure, if you take in too much at once, they probably are; most anything is in excess). Vegetable oil can be made into biodiesel.

And let's not really talk about artificial sweeteners (which, it turns out, Saccharin may end up being a cure for cancer!). I'll just leave you another video from the Healthcare Triage YouTube channel related to artificial sweeteners:

So, until next time... a topato!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Posts Are Marching On

OK, so that's a lousy, punishing title. And a lousy, punishing opening sentence, too. Stop me if you don't want any more punishment. (In case I've lost you, I'm playing on the word pun in the first two sentences, and punning on the fact that this is a March post in the title. Sorry about all that.)

So, I don't really have anything to write about, but it's about time for another post based on my recent one per month frequency. I suppose I could talk about walking, which I'm trying to do on a regular basis, but that's probably boring. I could mention my song entry into the original songwriting competition, but that's probably boring, too (but go vote, every twelve hours, if you don't mind!).

So, what to talk about? How about Android? I have a couple of android phones, but they're starting to annoy me. One is an LG Lucid 2 (that I'm actually using right now to write this blog post), the other is a Motorola Droid RAZR m. The lucid has a decent battery, but was just flaky in other areas, and kind of slow. The RAZR m has battery that's starting to lack, and seems to get bogged down and has issues with running the GPS and Bluetooth simultaneously, or something, as it would frequently lose GPS signal while I was out walking (OK, so I'm talking about walking inadvertently!). Incidentally, I use Endomondo to track my walking, which has improved from about twenty minutes per mile when I started to about fifteen per mile these days. I'm on Verizon, so phone selection is kind of short- I really wish T-Mobile worked in my area, and I'd buy a Sony Xperia Z3 Compact, but it won't work on Verizon. I'm really liking the smaller form factor of the lucid and RAZR m, but they don't have the RAM and horsepower that I'd like.

So, I figured maybe a custom ROM would help, like CyanogenMod. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find CM for the lucid; I did manage to find XPerion (which I'm running now), which helps some, as it removed the bloatware that Verizon installs by default, so that helps. But it's still a slightly older version of Android. CM is available for the RAZR m, but unfortunately the RAZR has the most recent Motorola update on it, so I can't seem to root it or unlock the boot loader to install the custom ROMs. In other words, it's stuck with the bloated manufacturer version. I really like the feel of the RAZR, nice and compact, and it has slightly better specs (other than the battery) than the lucid, so I wish I could load CyanogenMod on it, especially since they have a 5 version of android available, but no luck.

Anyone have any thoughts on unlocking the RAZR, or newer versions of android in custom ROMs for the lucid?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Literary Journey - 3rd Grade

Last time (over a month ago, sorry for the delay!), we started a literary journey through my elementary school days. Today we'll continue that journey, with 3rd grade writings, both fiction and non-fiction (the first entry is a report about a trip to Moundville, AL). Once again, I will not correct any spelling or grammatical errors, but faithfully reproduce my 3rd grade writings. And with that introduction, let's begin.

[report about Moundville trip]

Dear Dad,
    Thank you for driving us to Moundeville. I especially enjoyed the museum. The trip was also very fun. Thanks for buying my brother and me a play knife for one dollar each because they are fun to play with.
                                        Your son,
                                        Tony Moore


On Halloween October 31, 1960 I found a map. I had a key. I started off. I found the house. It had a sign that read: Danger Haunted House! I did not care. I went in. I heard "I mummy dumbell!" I got scared. I took my knife out of my pocket. Then somebody or something took my map. I killed whatever it was. Then I saw shadows. I saw a couple of bats too. I just kept on going and stayed out of sight. I finally found the right room. I took the key and unlocked the chest. I opened it and got the treasure.


I told a lye one time and the electric wiper came out. It whiped me so hard I went thru the celing! I came back 20 years later. I had gone thru the galaxy! I had moonrock, Marsrock and a mouthfull of Jupiter! This story is not true but I usaly get whiped!

The Suprise

I got a package in the mail. I wanted to go get it, but it was raining. Then I heard a meow. I opened the door. I was suprised! My package read, "handle with care." It had walked to the door. I took it in. I sat down and opened it. There I saw two kittens and an envelope. I opened the envelope and read the card. It was from grandmother. I called her, told her thank you and told her the kittens names Whitepaw and Whitetail.

If I Could Fly

If I could fly I would fly to Texas and get me a home where the buffalo rome so I could get refreshed on a hot day. I would sit out at night and stare at the beautiful sight.

Cobra K

We have no cars so I rode on my king cobra named Cobra K for protection. I rode thru the jungle Cobra bitting other dangerous animals. We left the jungle and started on our way home. Cops came after us on bumblebees. "Pull him over," they said to me so I did. "Let's see your animal lisen," they said so I let them. He gave it back. "Five cence please," he said I gave him a nickel, and he flew off.

Cobra K.

We have no cars so I rode my cobra named Cobra K. thru the woods. He bit other dangerous animals. We started back home but the cops said "Pull him over," so I did. "Let's see your animal license," he said so I showed it to him. He said "Five cents please," so I gave him a nickel, and rode home.
I guess I had to rewrite this one for some reason - probably the lackluster effort in the original version of "Cobra K." - but whatever, it was in there twice, so it's here twice as well.

The Wish

A fairy gave me one wish. I wished I was grown-up. Automatically I was 22 years old! I joined The Pepsi-Cola co.
a third-grader's idea of "grown up?" 22 years old, apparently! I wish I was "grown up" again right now! haha


I see a dinosaur. He eats weeds
um... let's ignore this one and go on...

Thanking God

I am thankfull for my parents, clothes, food, shelter, friends, reletives, farmland with farmers, animals and my pets, church, school and brother. I thank God for all he has given me. On Thanksgiving we usually eat turkey. We should even thank him for turkey. I thank God just to be alive. I go to church, read my bible, and say my prayers. If you like to watch t.v. or listen to radios, you should thank him for letting people invent them. Thank God for Thanksgiving. You would be suprized at God for giving us all these wonderfull things and ask us only for a little bit. God gave to us but we only take and not give back. Give to God, don't just accept.

I Am Frosty

One day Frosty, I, went to the store to by a freezer. I did this because Spring was almost here. I did not want to melt. I looked and looked, but none were big enough. Then I saw a good one. It's size was 63 cubic feet long and 80 inches wide. It worked so I bought it for 638 doller bills. I said to the maneger, "I will keep it here," and jumped in. My pipe blew out, but I didn't care. One of my eyes poped off, but it did not hurt because I had no nerves. It was cold enough. I really liked it. I said that I liked it. My wife bought one too. She liked hers. When Wenter came, I went back outside. When Spring came, I went back inside my freezer.
OK, so I didn't understand measurement so well in 3rd grade ("cubic feet long"), but I apparently had a grasp of biology ("no nerves")!

Me, Santa?

One snowy Christmas morning I heard my alarmclock. I got up right away and said, "Mrs. Clause! Mrs. Clause! Where's my breakfast?" she answered, "Right here sir," I went to the to table and ate. "Elvis, Handlin, Mayder, get the elves to work." When I finished breakfast, I started loadin. "Let's see now. The toy boat for......... um, Oh yea! James. The Sweety Face for Amy. The Santa costum for..... who? Oh, Andy. Jill gets the makeup kit. Jeanie Plot gets the Barbie Fashon Face. For Misti the pair of glasses. The two electric trains go to Greg and Spencer. Frizt gets a pair of boxing gloves. Brad gets the Cris Cros Crash and Sid gets a play Mork egg. When I get back from my trip I'll get a good nights sleep.

My Dad

My dad is nice looking. He has black hair, brown eyes and is partly bald. He is tall and wears glasses. His building and office are nice too.
He is nice. He takes us out to eat and to movies.
He works for Author Young and company.
My family likes him.
One time he broke an axe handle cutting wood. Then he bought a log splitter. It was made by putting an axe handle and a wedge together and it really works!

My Mother

My mom is nice. She got me my Bandit car and Snoopy car. She got me a brother. She gives me an alowence. I like her just because she is nice.
One Saturday, she jut took it easy. She took one Saturday hard. She did a lot of work.
She has brown hair, and she is five foot six I think she said.


On Halloween I will be Dracula. I will go trick-or-treating. I might make a haunted house. (With my house though.) I will go to my grandmom's house and Peggy's house. Then I will go trick-or-treating in my own neighborhood. If I do make a haunted house, it will be scary. I hope I do. I usually get a lot of candy. I always go with mom or dad. We don't always have a light though. "Happy Halloween!"

William Tell

Switzerland is a pretty country found in Europe. It was captured by Gessler and his men. Gessler finaly got the Swiss to bow to him.
After a few days passed, Tell, came by. Tell or his son did not bow. Tell got into trouble.
Gessler made Tell stand 100 paces away and split an apple on his son's head. Tell did not want to do this, but finaly agreed and split the apple. 

I am the President

"I really am the president? Good!" I said. I am the president. Jayme, my little brother, is vice president. The first thing I did was get a new desk. I say it looks better! I needed $6000.00, so the vice president gave it to me so I could bye a Datsun. I shall make two new laws. Law 1, "No capturing in U.S.A" Law 2, "No threats or drugs." Later I shall make a law, "No babies can be born so we can save energy." "I want a new house!" I said, but the vice president said, "No, I like this house. Lets keep it.

Christmas Morning

On Christmas Morning I woke up at 6:30-7:00. I woke Jayme up. Then I woke mom and dad up. Daddy got the camera ready. He told us when we could come down so he could take our picture.
When Jayme and I got downsairs, we were surprised. I got a big tonka truck, a big glider and two books. In my stocking was an umbrella, buble bath, soap and underoos. 
well, guess I finally learned to spell "surprise" !

Look Out

"Look out!" I shouted. A volcano just erupted. The lava started to melt our desks and books. Next, the lava went outside and I did too. I took my knife and cut the water pipe. The water spued out, but pushed the lava out of our state. That's how I was the state hero.
maybe that's how I made my bid for the presidency, on the basis of my state-saving heroism and quick thinking!


Hi! My name is, are you ready for this?, Cupid! I go, like all other Cupids, naked. One day I saw Jeanie P. and Jason quarreling. I shot both of them. They both said, "Ow!" then they got maried and I liked it. I said that I would shoot Tammy and Andy. I did as planned, and they fell in love, and the very next year, they got married.

My Clothes

My favorite outfit is a pair of blue jeans, sneakers, and Alabama shirt, light or dark blue socks and a ford cap. I especially like to wear them in the Summer. I just forgot to put in belt.
I have a favorite pair of Winter and Summer pajamas too. The Winter pair is made of red flannel. The other pair is blue with cowboys on. I also have a blue and red robe. It is also made of flannel. 

Easter Bunny's son

I'm the Easter Bunny's son. I like to go hipp-i-ty-hopp-i-ty hop. My name is Easter Bunny II. I help my father decorate eggs. (I like that the best!) I like to put faces on the green ones. One time I put a whole back on one, but my father made me erase it. I decided to go hide Easter eggs. I ate one egg. Then I hid nine-thousand Easter eggs the children found sixty, the animals ate the rest. My mother gave me some Hi-C. I drank it and fell asleep.

Rofer ☺

One day a witch turned me into a robot and put me in a toy store and a boy bought me. I tried to escape, but it was no use. He took me home and put an Alkaline Energizer in me. He turned the switch "on". He said, "Go get the paper, Rofer." I went to get the paper. He said, "Let's go play baseball." I went with him. I made 60 home runs before the pitcher threw the ball and blew me to bits. then the spell wore of and I was a boy again.


One day I saw a leprechaun. I watched him very closly. He said, "Let's go to the end andgt that goweld Ok?" "Ok," they answerd. I wrote what I thought they ment. Let's go to the end of the rainbow and get the gold. "I will folow them," I thought. I did as planned, and I hid. I saw the black iron pot. I grabbed it, but it was too heavy, so I hid again. He put it in a wagon, so I stole the wagon.

Trojan Horse

Once, the Greeks captured the King, Menelaus. He was my father, so I got mad. My name is Prince Paris. I called every male and female together. There were 600 in Troy. We got in my one and my fathers two ships and went to atack. I forgot to leave guards, so the Greeks took over Troy. I sailed on. We finally got to Greece. We started to atack, but just when I told my army to back of, a big wooden horse roled over my leg. It was good because a spear mised my head. I crawled to the ship and sailed away.

And there you go, 3rd grade literature. Hope you enjoyed this, and hopefully it won't be quite so long before my next post.

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Literary Journey - 2nd Grade

I thought I would treat you all to a literary journey through my childhood. I will be posting several articles composed of stories that I wrote during my childhood school career. 1st grade was mostly "Book Reports" (including a book report about Are You My Mother? - quite possibly one of the greatest works of literature ever, nearly as good as Where the Wild Things Are - the movie doesn't do it justice - or the poem Eletelephony, which I have had in my memory since 2nd grade), so I won't bore you with those. Instead, we'll start in 2nd grade, where the stories are just about all illustrated, so I'll include the photos as well. Note: I will adhere strictly to the 2nd grade prose - no corrections of grammar, spelling, or anything else. Here we go...


I am a leprechaun. I have black hair to match my pot of gold. I wear green. I hide my gold. I usually hide my gold at 12:30 P.M. I live in Japan. I hide my gold in my hat. There they won't find it. The vallans have red hair. I am very clever.
no, I don't know what "vallans" are - I assume I meant "villains" - but I don't recall writing this story, so I can't comment any further on that word

The Uglyest Thing

The uglyest thing I ever saw was a prikly bush. I saw it in the yard at my house. It was green, brown and ugly. I felt ow!
uglyest, prikly, felt ow - how awesome! this one is my boys' favorite of my old stories

 Drop Kite

One day Don decided to fly his kite. He got it out and up. The wind was so strong it blew him off the ground. He shouted "Drop kite!" and he was never seen again.
no illustration on this one, sorry; the teacher, Mrs. Worthington, probably my favorite teacher because my 2nd grade self thought she was pretty, commented, "Gee, wonder where he went!"


Monday I went to Judy and Jill's. The rest of the week I went to the hospital. Saturday and both Sunday's were the only times I had fun except when I saw Lady and the Tramp. The End.
no illustration on this one - well, there is one, but it's mainly just scribbles supposed to represent a hospital - and I don't recall this "trip to the hospital" - quite possibly related to my broken left foot from a bicycle accident, which probably happened around that time frame; I actually had to crawl across the road with that broken foot!

Rosa and I at the Library

Last Saturday morning Rosa and I went to the main library downtown. We took our own newest raceing roller skates. I skated down a very narrow hall. I axedentely knocked over a high shelf of books. The librarian started running after us. We left very quickly.
 lots of spelling errors in this one - but, hey, I was in 2nd grade!

The Dog's Adventure

Once there was a dog who had many adventures. It's name was Sisy. She brought a man binoculars to see down the mountainside.
ok, ok... "its" not "it's"!!! I still got an A+ and wasn't dinged for the incorrect wording

The Wind

I am the wind. Sometimes I am naughty but sometimes I am good. I like being the wind. I blow down houses and trees. I make waves in seas. I blow clouds and rain. People hate me.
not only an A+ on this one, but also a "This is excellent!" comment!

Stuffed Turkey

It is almost Thanksgiving. I am a turkey. I hate this. I am scared. Last night I had a dream. It was terrible! I mean it!
 interestingly enough, we have turkey in the oven right now...


The ships Columbus sailed were Santa Maria, Pinta and Niña. He was born in Italy. Isabella, the queen of Spain, gave Columbus the ships and 120 sailors and wished him good luck.
yes, I used "the little mark above the second 'n'" in Niña, although it doesn't quite look as good as the one in the typed version. I was a very intelligent little boy :) .

The Bird

Once there was a bird named Blackeye. A boy called Dick came along. Blackeye was at the nearby falls. The boy had $20 in his hand. The bird swooped down and took the $20. The bird took the $20 and went to the pet shop. There he bougt food, water and a brass birdcage and lived happily ever after.
no, "bougt" is not a typo - it's a misspelling from my 2nd grade days. This story includes a comment that I'm "a great storyteller!" Yay, 2nd-grade me!

The 200 Year Old House

One day I went to the house we lived in two years. Nobody lived in it for 180 years. It was said to be haunted. I went in. The electricity was off. The only light was daylight. I saw my old chest. I opened the drawer with open me on it. When I did I saw my daddys spirit. Then I opened the other drawer. I saw evil spirits. I closed it.
obviously some grammatical or other errors in it, but this is the last of my 2nd grade literature. And it shows my intelligence - "close the drawer with the evil spirits!" haha

So, there you go. Hope you've enjoyed this little trip down my memory lane. Next time we'll visit some 3rd grade writings, with such great stories as "Lyers", "The Surprise", "If I Could Fly", two versions of "Cobra K", "The Wish", and more! Yes, Jane, I put the commas outside the quotes... didn't want them getting confused into the wonderful titles!