Meal Replacement and Digital Thermometers

Diary, 5/1/22 continued: Caitlin Johnstone and our Ministry of Truth; suicidal children; how much do you want to know? Organic shake problems; thermometers that take batteries; longevity diet; The Haunting DVD.

The Haunting (1999): meh

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{5/1/22} Continued.

Caitlin Johnstone is an acquired taste about which I run lukewarm and cold.  But she works hard for little return, and this article about the installation of our very own, red-white-and-blue Ministry of Truth reveals a silent shot across the bows for “independent media,” in other words, the very sources I pay attention to.

We are already the most propagandized nation in the world, according to Noam Chomsky—a voice you should trust.  Think about it:  what is the single most important issue facing the human species today?  If you’re thinking “climate catastrophe,” well, you didn’t learn that from MSNBC, CNN, or Fox, or Joe Biden, and bravo to you for having your head on straight.  If you answered anything else, you just haven’t been paying attention to the subtext.

If you’re on Twitter, as I am not, you may already know about this.  We are so doomed.  I found on YouTube a bit from Richard Medhurst that has part of the video from Nina Jankowicz with the sound (which is essential here).  Medhurst produces usually very long videos which I rarely watch—I saw one good one early on and subscribed, but I am neutral about him overall.  The linked video does not sit well with me:  instead of sensible analysis we get crude mockery.  Which has its place, but this announcement is chilling.

If you don’t know the origin of “Ministry of Truth,” please go read George Orwell:  1984, so you can understand the conversation.

“Look at what Puppy is doing!”  This is code for, I’m going away now to distract myself like mad, because reality is “too many for me.”

Photo by Torsten Dettlaff on

I made the “mistake” of looking at my email before distracting myself and found this cheerful item from Neuroscience News:  “Summary: The risk of self-harm presenting to emergency rooms is three times higher for boys with ASD compared to those not on the autism spectrum. Additionally, researchers found a four-fold increase in self-harm behaviors for both males and females with ADHD. Children with less than 80% school attendance also had a three times higher risk of self-harming behaviors.”

In case you don’t know, suicide by children in the U.S. is way up—and why shouldn’t it be?  By which I mean, “the end is near, and nobody is talking about it.”

Understand, I don’t work at this stuff.  I am about as irresponsible and self-indulgent as anybody (though I suppose I exaggerate).  But my habits are such that I am exposed daily to alternative media and other sources that I have self-selected, because I haven’t trusted the government, or much of anyone, since the Vietnam War when I was drafted and told to carry a gun.  Learning later that the war was “excused” by a lie just showed me I was right.  I started reading Bertrand Russell, Noam Chomsky, and Howard Zinn, and the die was cast.  How much do you want to know about the society you live in?  And when you’ve decided that it’s going fascist, how much more do you want to know?

I sure hope Family Guy is on today…

The four episodes I found I’ve seen recently.

So I had a kind of breakfast, starting with a banana and venturing to mix a scoop of my new protein powder with almond milk.  It turns out that “mixing” doesn’t work.  I stirred and stirred, took a sip, and got a mouthful of powder.  So more stirring, another sip, more powder.  I kept trying and failing—apparently it’s necessary to put the stuff in the blender to get it to mix, never mind thinking of it dissolving.  Most of the first batch went down the sink.  Add a granola bar and a measured serving of Cheetos, and that was breakfast (along with the ten or twelve pills I take each morning).  I’m happy to say, however, that the chocolate flavor is actually pretty good.  As a reminder, the protein powder is:  Garden of Life “Raw Organic Meal organic shake and meal replacement.”

In other bad news for me, the blender I bought is too small to mix this “meal substitute.”  That is, it doesn’t look like it will hold eight ounces, and I need something a bit larger (it’s eight ounces of milk or water plus a rather large scoop of fluffy powder).  Fortunately, Wal-Mart takes returns without giving you grief.  I kept all the original packaging and the receipt, being a wise old hand at such matters.

Photo by Jessica Lewis Creative on

Speaking of thermometers, I want a “fever thermometer” for my first aid kit.  I own a digital thermometer, but the tiny odd battery died and I haven’t been able to find a replacement.  Anyway, if I buy a replacement and put it in the thermometer, next time I want to use it it’s likely to be dead again.  This is looking like a scam.  I want the familiar old fashioned kind that has mercury or some red liquid in it, always ready to be used.  It’s from such experiences that old people become sour cynics.  The problem is, I’ve checked at three places:  Wal-Mart, Food Maxx, and Rite-Aid, and while they all have digital thermometers, none of them have sensible-for-home-use thermometers.  A rechargeable thermometer would be acceptable, and perhaps the ideal system, because if it’s dead, you can recharge it in half an hour to get a reading—and it will be easier to read than the old fashioned kind.  No, I know I wasn’t “speaking of thermometers.”  It was a joke.

A new report in Neuroscience News about a “longevity diet”; here’s the bottom line:  “[USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology Professor Valter Longo] described what eating for longevity could look like in real life: ‘Lots of legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; some fish; no red meat or processed meat and very low white meat; low sugar and refined grains; good levels of nuts and olive oil, and some dark chocolate.’”

Some fasting is also recommended:  “Ideally, the day’s meals would all occur within a window of 11-12 hours, allowing for a daily period of fasting, and a 5-day cycle of a fasting or fasting-mimicking diet every 3-4 months may also help reduce insulin resistance, blood pressure and other risk factors for individuals with increased disease risks, Longo added.”

If you’re interested, do take a look at the linked article.  Understand, I am in no position to recommend dietary changes to anyone, including myself.  My current diet, not that you asked, is very good except for the “low sugar” and fasting.  Actually, the “vegetables” are more intended than eaten, as I am mid-change to veganism.  So maybe not so “very good.”

Watched The Haunting (1999), after fast-forwarding through the unnecessary and tedious setup with “Eleanor” (Lili Taylor) beset by money-grubbing relatives.  The haunted house is impressive and huge, with huge rooms.  The cast is good:  Liam Neeson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Owen Wilson, and Taylor, who’s really the star but gets fourth billing.  The music and photography are good, the special effects are eventually grandiose, but as a horror film overall it’s a flop.  It could have used some humor in the script, though Wilson tries and generally fails to provide some.  The script is the real problem, that and a lack of taste and lack of sense.  Difficult, and finally impossible, to keep one’s “suspension of disbelief.”  The dismal scores of 17% from critics and 28% from audiences are well deserved, unfortunately.  The featurette is embarrassing and cringeworthy.  But I have provided an unfair review, because in fact I was somewhat anxious during the film, and finally moved by the “tragic” conclusion.  It’s just that I’m embarrassed to have been moved at all by this very silly film.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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