News And Notes

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News and Notes from the past few days …

The (Brief) Farm Report:  Guineas Gone – Again

I’m pretty sure Chareva is ready now to give up on her plan to employ guinea fowl as bug-eating machines on our land.  As I reported in a previous post, our first flock of guineas decided to take a hike as soon as we moved them from the basement to the chicken yard.  We saw them waddling around the land for a couple of days, but then they were gone –probably eaten by some local predators.  Those guinea fowl were pretty young (we were hoping they’d bond with the young chickens and all sing Kumbiya in the coop at night), so we decided the mistake was putting them outside too soon.

For the second flock of ten, Chareva kept them in a big ol’ dog kennel in the front yard for two months, hoping they’d think of it as home and stick around.  That part of the plan worked.  When she opened the pen last week, they wandered around and ate bugs, but stayed pretty close.  She figured it was safe to let them wander because they were fully grown by this time and we’d read that guinea fowl are tough little birds who flock together and raise a ruckus to ward off predators.  They can also fly, which you’d think would save them from becoming a fast-food meal for foxes and coyotes.

So much for that theory.  As I was on my way to Chicago on Friday, Chareva called to tell me that we had one surviving guinea fowl.  She found bunches of feathers in various spots on the land and one headless carcass.  Something managed to attack and kill them in less than a day.  Whatever it was, the guinea fowl didn’t  fly to safety or bunch together and scare it off.  All we’ve done in two attempts at raising guinea fowl is provide tasty meals for some local predators.

The lone survivor is now living within the confines of the chicken yard.

College Bans Pork

Yeah, that’ll help … a college president has decided students shouldn’t be allowed to eat pork on campus:

A world without bacon may just be one we don’t want to live in, but Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in Texas, couldn’t care less. In an announcement on the college’s website this week, he banned pork and all pork-related products from his campus in an effort to steer his student body into more mindful food choices.

I don’t know what President Sorrell’s definition of a “mindful food choice” is, but  I’m quite mindful when I eat pork.  I say to myself several times per meal, “Man, this is some goooood pork!”  Perhaps he’s envisioning a scenario like this:

“I’m sorry, we’re not allowed to serve you bacon anymore.  Would you mind if we put turkey sausage on your plate instead?”

“Yes, I’d mind that very much.”

“Congratulations on your mindful choice.”

In an interview with Inside Higher Ed, Sorrell explained, “When you come to college, you come to be educated.”

Yes, President Sorrell, that’s exactly right.  I went to college to be educated, not to have some busy-body college president tell me what I could and couldn’t eat.

“We thought we could do more in the area of promoting healthy lifestyle choices and healthy eating habits.”

Well, sir, all you’ve done is prove that you’re the one who needs to be educated.  Half the fat in pork is monosaturated – like olive oil – and rest will raise your HDL.  It’s good for you.

Though the ban on pork was met with applause by students …

So some students are applauding because other students won’t be allowed to eat pork on campus anymore?  I fear for the future of my country.  The concept of individual liberty doesn’t seem to resonate with many people these days.

If you think pork is bad for you, don’t eat it.  If others choose to eat pork, that’s none of your @#$%ing business.  You shouldn’t be applauding this Big Brother nonsense, you student dimwits; you should be raising holy hell about it.

… others don’t find much merit in Sorrell’s beliefs that “the other white meat” is inherently unhealthy. According to Ceci Snyder, a registered dietician and the spokeswoman for the National Pork Board, pork tenderloin has the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast. “You can cook any meat incorrectly and add fat and salt.”

Geez, even the National Pork Board is falling for the low-fat nonsense.  Ms. Snyder, there’s nothing wrong with fat and salt … unless you prefer your meat without any flavor.

Progress on the knee

I’m mostly on one crutch now, trying to train the left leg to adopt a natural walking motion again, albeit with less weight on it.  I can do it, but the knee swells up after awhile.  I can push it into a totally straight position with my hands, but can’t pull it into that position with my own leg muscles yet.  The knee freezes with a few degrees to go.  The physical therapist tells me that’s mostly muscle panic … the muscles seize up around the knee to protect it, even though I consciously want to straighten it.

Going in the other direction, the knee will bend to 113 degrees.  That means I’ve still got a long way to go, but it’s 12 degrees more bend than I could manage last week.

Helpful Citizens

Dimwitted college students who applaud when college presidents forbid other students to eat pork notwithstanding, being on crutches has given me a positive outlook on people.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how many people have gone out their way to be helpful.  At both baseball stadiums in Chicago over the weekend, people held doors for me when they saw me coming, and a few actually trotted back to a door they’d already exited to hold it open.  At every elevated train or subway stop over the weekend, the people waiting to get on a train waved at me to get on before they did.  On the crowded elevated train heading to Wrigley Field, a woman insisted I take her seat.

If I find myself in a grumpy mood after the knee heals, I may dig out the crutches and go visit a few public places to remind myself how nice people can be.


47 thoughts on “News And Notes

  1. nonegiven

    They had my mom ice her knee for 20 minutes at a time to keep the swelling down. We put alcohol and water (1 part alcohol and 4 parts water) into gallon sized ziploc bags, double bagged and kept 4 in the freezer. Every time she finished with the machine they had her use and every time she finished her exercises, we’d put one under and one over with a towel between her knee and the ice bag and wrap something around and pin it to hold it on. She was on the machine 2 hours, two times a day and did her exercises 2 times a day so it was pretty much a full time job to get over knee replacement.

    I’ve become a big fan of icing. I’m supposed to go 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off. During my car trips to Chicago, I put ice in a ziplog bag and wrapped a big cloth around it to hold it in place.

  2. js290

    If Paul Quinn College is a private school, they can do whatever they want. If the students don’t like it, they can choose to go to another school.

    It is private school and yes, the school administration can impose the rules it chooses. On the other hand, the students are the customers who keep that school alive and can (and should) raise hell about a school president telling young adults what they can eat.

  3. Bullinachinashop

    His being still alive is proof that Texans aren’t as into gun ownership as we thought.

    At the very least, I’d expect a thriving black market in ribs and bacon.

  4. Jessica

    So where were your rottweilers when the guineas were being attacked and eaten? Sounds like they were slacking.

    The rotties live in the back yard, which is fenced in. They won’t have the run of the property until we get it all fenced off, which is a large and expensive job.

  5. mezzo

    That college president is just living proof of the fact that you do not need to ingest pork in order to be pig-headed.

  6. Jana

    I had the same experience when I used crutches. However, when I’m carrying a carseat (with a baby inside) or holding a baby in my arms, the reaction is not quite the same. People actually ignore me and act as if I can wrestle a heavy door by myself. Maybe it’s just where I live.

    That’s surprising.

  7. Rae

    I don’t eat pork for religious reasons, but I am still annoyed by the pork ban. I just can’t stand other people making decisions for me about what’s healthy or not – because they are often wrong! And it’s none of their business anyway.

    Bingo. Your choice is your choice, not something to impose on others.

  8. Beowulf

    I actually make a conscious effort to limit my bacon and sausage consumption to some extent. The stuff is SO tasty that I could have it everyday for breakfast. However, I respect that it’s a higher omega-6 meat, so I keep it to a few servings/week. I limit [though certainly don’t exclude] chicken fat (skin) for the same reason. I’m more than happy to chow down on fatty beef. I would raise hell if someone else told me how much of those two items I could eat, though.

    My school district actually does turkey sausage at the breakfast meals [when they have animal protein at all]. It probably started as a “health” thing, but it is convenient for the small but growing population of Muslim students in the district since they don’t eat pork.

    If your district is a public school, I don’t think they should be choosing menu items based on some students’ religious preferences.

  9. Ben

    You better applaud to whatever the college president says, or you may have bigger troubles than pork deficiency. So I’d say at least half of the applauding students aren’t dimwitted, but instead very intelligent, in a machiavellian way at least.

    Could be.

  10. Trina

    I’m going to stop reading the news (and ban my family if that’s possible). I finally (after months of work) convinced my mom to stop eating two slices of ww toast for breakfast and eat more eggs. This article came out Monday and she called right away – of course now she thinks I’m trying to kill her … all this nutrition “information” is beyond frustrating. It’s no wonder even the National Pork Board is confused … sheesh.

    Spence is one of those goofs who believe observational studies based on food surveys are actually meaningful.

  11. Elwin Ransom

    I’ll put on my conspiracy hat here and whisper quietly, “Maybe there’s another reason he banned pork. Maybe, just maybe, he banned all pork for another reason than ‘health’ – if you know what I mean. You know – like he wants the school to go – (wait for it) – Kosher.”

    That’s right.
    Paul Quinn College has secret plans to be the Hasidic Mecca of Dallas, Texas!
    (Wait. Did I just use Hasidic and Mecca in the same sentence? Umm… call it artistic license. Yeah, that’s the ticket…)
    Next thing you know, they’ll be instituting the full Kashrut!
    Just mark my words! I’m pretty sure I read it in a book called The Protocols of something or another…

    Wait. What were we talking about again? I forget.

    Anyway, all this conspiracy talk made me hungry.
    I think I’ll take off the tin-foil, throw together a ham and cheese omelet and surf the web some more…

    I’m not going to speculate on that one.

  12. AQ

    I’m uncertain if this is actually a new episode or a re-run, but I nearly fell out of my chair when my mom told me that it yesterday’s Dr. Oz he declared both “Fat makes you fat” and “A calorie is a calorie” are MYTHS!

    Apologies if you’ve already commented on this particular video already.

    That’s what’s frustrating about the Great Oz. He’s all over the place in his advice.

  13. Kim

    Sorry to sound conspiratorial, but could this be a secret way to get campus Muslims what they want rather than it being truly about health?

    I loved your last line. So glad to hear you were treated compassionately on your crutches.

    I hadn’t thought of that. I’m not sure how much of a Muslim population there is at the school.

  14. PJ

    That college president is a complete ass. I would love to organize a protest in which every student brought a pig with them onto campus and into every class until the idiot caved. I’m picturing the pigs with clever sayings written on them while the students munch on bacon, ribs and pulled pork. Where are the attitudes and the rebellion of the 60s when you need it?!

    Beats me. We had a near-riot on our campus in the 1980s when the administration tried to crack down on weekend parties.

  15. Don in Arkansas

    To Elwin’s conspiracy theory, I think not. 🙂 Especially since Paul Quinn is a predominately black college affiliated with the AME (African Methodist Evangelical) church. I think that if a ribs, bacon, & pulled pork place opened up just off campus, someone’s going to get rich.

    That does sound like a fine business opportunity.

  16. Justine

    I think I’ve mentioned it in the comments before, but you guys should definitely look in to getting some ducks. My mom hasn’t had many problems with hers being eaten or flying off, and they keep the bug population down really well. Plus, the high-fat duck eggs make a nice bonus 🙂

    That might work. Or we might just be providing variety to whichever critter ate our guineas.

  17. Don in Arkansas

    Shame about the guineas. My neighbor has guineas that roam free (so I have guineas too 🙂 ) He pens his guinea chicks with a hen as soon as they are born and leaves them caged for 2-3 weeks. The chick imprint on the hen and will stay pretty close to her and roost where she does. Any excess chicks he sells to the local Farm & Ranch store for $4 each.

    If you have a coyote problem you might contact your local game warden about trapping nuisance animals or see if there aren’t some varmint hunters in your area who would love to set up and try to call some in. I see them occasionally crossing my property and if I can get to my rifle soon enough I’ll take a shot at them. I’ve hit a few and scared a bunch as most of the shots are 200+ yards.

    I know we have coyotes in the area. I’ve heard them at night.

  18. Lauren

    1. The student-applauding thing appalls me. And scared the *%&$ out of me also.

    2. It was amazed, when on crutches, how helpful people were. I had bus drivers drive extra ways to let me off, doors open, strangers carry meal trays – it was amazing.

    Hope the knee heels soon! ~ L

    Thank you.

  19. Caitlin

    I wonder if you’ve been recognized in public yet, given the popularity of Fat Head? I mean, just by the man on the street or your average helpful citizen, not on the cruise or LC speaking engagement. I can’t imagine that hasn’t happened yet.

    It’s happened a couple of times now, yes.

  20. Bridget

    I am having a hard time believing that someone in Texas would ban bacon. I think I may have lost my faith in humanity just now.

  21. Trina

    Thanks @ Ted Hutchinson! I will look those up. My MIL saw the news and called here tonight upset that we had told my FIL (just diagnosed pre diabetic) to eat some eggs instead of bread for breakfast. They’re in their seventies and trying to explain this stuff to them is torture. Extra difficult when the diabetes dietician he was sent to poo poo’d my advice and told him “everything in moderation” and that we “need” some sugar for our brains. Frustrating …

  22. Merope

    “” a thriving black market in ribs and bacon”
    Oh, I really like this idea! It would be so much fun!”

    Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. In december 2011, in the middle of a “butter crisis”, when the dairy industry here in Norway couldn’t deliver enough butter and stores were empty right before Christmas, a Russian national living in Germany was caught trying to smuggle 90 kilos of butter into Norway over the Swedish border, to sell on the black market. No joke!

    I’m not sure HE was having fun, at least the getting caught part, but I chuckled when I read about it in the news…

    Who would have ever thought butter would be a smuggler’s dream?

  23. Kathy

    Being a native Texan, I hung my head in shame when I read about the pork ban.

    Since I learned how easy (and not messy!) it is to bake bacon, we have cooked bacon in the fridge most of the time. A paper towel and ~15 seconds in the microwave is all it takes. You can’t even cook the eggs that quick!

    For just a second there, I thought you were telling you’ve been cooking bacon in your fridge. That would be convenient.

  24. Liz

    But Tom, don’t you see how much healthier people are getting as a result of labels, laws, and bans? Oh, wait . . . they’re not? Never mind then.

    Well, that just means we’re not doing enough of them, at least according to the busybody types.

  25. Bullinachinashop

    Have you heard about this new “study” comparing consumption of egg yolks to smoking cigarettes? If its true, I’ll start smoking again 😉

    I’d suggest eating eggs instead.

  26. Amberly

    Helpful Citizens … that’s what I love about Detroit. I live in the suburbs with 4 kids under 7, but whenever I go into the city, people go out of their way to help me with doors, hold my kids’ hands when I’m crossing through busy parking lots, etc. I know that Detroit is the Murder Capital or something like that, but there are a lot of kind people that are helpful in a way you don’t see in the suburbs.

    Also, thanks for all your posts on statins and your stories about your dad. I just convinced my dad to go off statins. His cholesterol was only 157 … sheesh. He did most of the research that laid the foundation for icing injuries (as opposed to using heat), and I’m convinced that he retired a year or two early because he was losing his memory and didn’t know why. (You can curse him the next time you put that freezing cold ice pack on your knee.)

    Right now the cold packs are my best friends, so I’ll sing your dad’s praises instead of cursing him. I hope he feels better after giving up the statins.

  27. LCNana

    yeah, it’s all non-sense. I’ve just found a grass-fed beef and pork farm within a 30 min drive from me – I was so happy and all set to head on over. Trouble is their web site is all about how low-fat their beef, and PORK, is. Total bummer. They actually had their beef “tested” and bragged on how it was only 1% fat or some such silly number. So much for that. I guess I’ll stick with the good old super market. At least I can choose the fattier pieces if I look hard enough.

    Good on the crutch thing…too bad on the fowl thing. Get a donkey, Tom. The girls will love it, donkeys eat just about anything, and they are great for scaring away predators from hen houses.

    I’ve read that about donkeys, but also read that they don’t like dogs and will kick them to death. I don’t want to risk that with my rotties.

  28. Kathy

    “For just a second there, I thought you were telling you’ve been cooking bacon in your fridge. That would be convenient.”

    You got me there.:-) But on that note……….

    We have so many kitchen gadgets nowdays that only do one thing (other than take up valuable countertop/cabinet real estate), I’d certainly consider a fridge that would cook my bacon. Oh, yeah – I just chowed down on 3 freshly-baked pieces of thick-sliced pork goodness. Better put the rest in the fridge before – you know – it disappears.

    The bacon-cooking fridge. Insert bacon, press the “cook” button, then the bacon is automatically refrigerated when it’s done.

    I’d buy that one.

  29. Alan


    Do you have a target range of fiber that you try and eat daily? I eat about 4-5 cups of salad greens daily along with veggies once in a while with my low carb meals. I know the ‘experts’ say 30-50 grams daily but that seems high.

    I don’t count fiber grams, although I eat a fair amount of green vegetables.

  30. Firebird

    We just had a story here in New Jersey, where the town of Millville had a number of birds dying yesterday. They were just dropping dead in flight and dying. A couple died while eating at someone’s bird house. The investigators said they died because they were eating corn being grown by a nearby farmer. He was spraying his crop with a chemical that would kill the birds. He had all the permits and was within his legal rights to do so.

    The tag at the end of the story: “Officials say this chemical will not harm humans.”


  31. Galina L.

    Hey, Tom, it sounds like you suggest that smoking cigarettes is bad! How could you?! Famous Kitovans smoke and live healthy lives.
    They smoke, chew betel, live in a sunny location, eat once a day, eat fish and tubers, but the only thing they are famous for is their carbs consumption. Are they not a living proof of healthiness of smoking cigarettes?

    So are the Japanese. Their rate of smoking among men is nearly double ours, but they live longer lives. So apparently we should all take up smoking.

  32. Val

    Don already beat me to it – but I was laughing at loud at the thought of Paul Quinn being a Hasidic stronghold, considering that it’s a well-established black college in southern Dallas…

    However, I blame dogs for your guinea predation – coyotes tend to snatch prey w/out leaving any “residue”; they simply VANISH.

    Wishing you rapid rehab on your knee!

    If it was a dog or coyote, I’m surprised the guineas didn’t just fly to safety.

  33. Underground

    I’m sure we don’t have a confusion of correlation and causation.

    At the end of the “source” of that MSN blurb,
    “Spence added the effect of egg yolk consumption over time on increasing the amount of plaque in the arteries was independent of sex, cholesterol, blood pressure, smoking, body mass index and diabetes.”

    Independent of cholesterol? So by what mechanism exactly are these magical eggs causing this? Yeah.

    Apparently eggs bypass the digestive system and go directly to your coronary arteries.

  34. Kevin

    Tom, Next time you visit US Cellular on crutches try wearing a Yankees hat. See who opens the door for you then!! They can be a real pleasant bunch, especially near the outfield bleachers!

    That would be an interesting sociological experiment.

  35. Marilyn

    Two things on this pork ban thing:

    1. If, as I read in one version of the story, the president of the college has chosen — since this is an institution of education — to educate the students about the harmful effects of pork, then he’s setting a very bad example. He has clearly not researched the subject thoroughly himself.

    2. If, as I also read, he is trying to address the obesity problem, then this would be a perfect experiment. Weigh and measure all the freshman students now, feed them no pork for four years, then weigh and measure any of those same students who are still there at graduation. If eating pork contributes to obesity, then there should be some noticeable trend towards slimness among those students who didn’t eat pork for four years. (I’m not holding my breath for the report.)

    He’d probably reply that he’s trying to prevent them from developing heart disease.

  36. Marilyn

    Tom wrote: “He’d probably reply that he’s trying to prevent them from developing heart disease.” And, since few college age people who enter college without heart disease develop a heart problem while there, he could say, “See? that proves that not eating pork prevents heart disease.”

  37. Kathy B

    The college ban is an interesting look at how some people are becoming complacent in their lives. Bill Moyers interviewed Khalil-Muhammad “Confronting the Contradictions of America’s Past” on Moyers & Company on this week’s show. It had many examples of complacency. The episode may stretch beyond the scope of the college ban of pork but I see a correlation. Social awareness of historical continuity may be missing.

    Does the last sentence make sense or am I being highfalutin? Someone already mentioned the 60’s protests.

    Yes, at times I’m afraid we’ve become a nation of sheeple.

  38. Eileen

    I wish they’d ban corn products with as much gusto as they do the bacon, then maybe I’d think the college board had a brain between them. Three years into college, my body started rejecting corn products (violently I might add…) and I discovered then exactly how limited my options became. 80% of the food on campus makes me sick now. Meat and vegetables are my only refuge and I can only have real butter. Then I started losing weight and realized that in this case, being unable to have corn is not a loss.

    In a way, your body is doing you a favor by not letting you eat corn.

  39. mark

    Sorry I have to…

    Rae says:
    “I don’t eat pork for religious reasons, but I am still annoyed by the pork ban. I just can’t stand other people making decisions for me about what’s healthy or not – because they are often wrong! And it’s none of their business anyway.”

    So why let some BS religion tell you what you can or cannot eat?

    Now you’ve stepped in it …


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