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Interesting Information: Charcoal for White Teeth

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Interesting Information:  June 29, 2014

Charcoal for White Teeth

 

Some months back, niece Nancy Howser Gardner posted an article about using charcoal to whiten teeth.

Here’s what I bought.  The bottle is full of capsules.  You break one open (into a glass or mug), dip in your toothbrush, and lightly brush.

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I was SHOCKED at how black, black, black my toothbrush got, and my teeth, and everywhere I dripped–which is why I’m suggesting a glass or mug from the get-go.  My goodness, I thought, what have I done.

And then I rinsed.

I was SHOCKED again at how WHITE MY TEETH WERE.

The plus here is that the charcoal is highly absorbent, but takes away tea tannins, coffee stains, and the like–not the minerals from your teeth or the enzymes from your mouth.

No questionable chemicals here.  Just plain old charcoal.

Oh my goodness…

The remains in my toothbrush continued to clean, too.  And I’m thinking that the more one uses the charcoal, the more absorption of dark things takes place.

 

 

Written by louisaenright

June 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Turkey Tracks: My Bowl Runneth Over

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Turkey Tracks:  June 29, 2014

My Bowl Runneth Over

My strawberries are coming in!

Here’s the first day’s pick–Friday.  Something over two quarts.  The bowl is large.

These berries are, if I remember right, called “Sparkle” and are renowned for their taste.

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The second day was even bigger.  I took a bigger bowl out to the garden.  Got around three quarts.

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Today, Sunday, a smaller pick, but the berries are still large, and the bushes are loaded with developing strawberries that are still green.

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I also cut the garlic scapes (delicious!) and will make a soup with them.  I made a chicken bone broth over the past two days.  And, I picked the heads off of each of the broccoli plants–now they will bush out and grow more heads.  Or so I hope.

Our first CSA pickup out at Hope’s Edge was last Friday.  We got the loveliest sack full of lettuce, greens, herbs, green onions AND three pounds of wintered-over potatoes–a tasty treat.  Get out the duck fat for frying some up!

It’s swimming HOT today.  But not so humid.  It’s the first solid summer heat we’ve had.

Yeah Summer!

Written by louisaenright

June 29, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Interesting Information: Dr. Oz and Weight Loss Scams

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Interesting Information:  June 25, 2014

Dr. Oz Promotes Weight-Loss Scams

 

I’ll bet I got 20 to 30 emails or questions about Pure Green Coffee, raspberry ketone, and Garcinia Cambogia over the past few years.  Many from people who should either know better or were just sharing.

I kept responding that there was no science behind these claims.

None.

Zero.

And I repeated that I didn’t care what Dr. Oz was saying because he had clearly sold out in some fundamental way.

I’d like to follow the money with regard to Oz’s (let’s remove the title “Doctor” from his name please as he’s an entertainer) claims about these fake weight-loss product, and I’ll bet someone will discover  that Oz is personally benefitting from these fake products.  Why else would he behave in this shabby way?

I’ll go further and tell you that I think and have said to many that Oz is a megalomanic who is only interested in himself.  I watched the program one day as Dr. Kaayla Daniel was a guest speaker meant to discuss soy issues.  Oz allowed her one or two sentences TOTAL and ended that segment by passing out soy plants to the audience.  I thought then that he had sold out in some way to the soy industry.  Dr. Daniel is a recognized authority on humans eating soy and published an impeccably researched book on all the ins and outs of soy and the soy industry.

Dr. Joseph Mercola’s post today discusses this Oz issue.  Here’s part of what he wrote, and I hope you go to the url below and read the rest as false advertising is ILLEGAL.

 

Senate Hearing Puts Dr. Oz in the Hot Seat

The hearing featured testimony from Dr. Mehmet Oz, who ended up getting grilled over his role in promoting what amounts to fantasy.2 According to Senator Claire McCaskill’s website:

“Last month the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it is suing the Florida-based company, Pure Green Coffee, alleging that it capitalized on the green coffee bean diet fad by using bogus weight-loss claims and fake news websites to market its dietary supplement.

The FTC claimed that weeks after green coffee was promoted on the Dr. Oz Show, Pure Green Coffee began selling their Pure Green Coffee extract, charging $50 for a one-month supply.”

Senator McCaskill read off a number of statements Dr. Oz has made on his show, such as:

“You may think magic is make-believe, but this little bean has scientists saying they’ve found the magic weight loss cure for every body type: It’s green coffee extract.”

“I’ve got the number-one miracle in a bottle, to burn your fat: It’s raspberry ketone.” “Garcinia cambogia: It may be the simple solution you’ve been looking for to bust your body fat for good.”

“I don’t know why you need to say this stuff,” McCaskill said, “because you know it’s not true.” Indeed, Dr. Oz is quite knowledgeable and we agree on many things. Unfortunately, I think he may have fallen into the ratings game when it comes to pushing “magic” weight loss pills.

I personally disagree with his stance on hyping up weight loss supplements. I’m particularly against the idea that a pill would be able to take the place of eating right and exercising, and this is something Dr. Oz is likely encouraged to promote due to successful ratings.

In a November 2012 show, he stated: “Thanks to brand new scientific research, I can tell you about a revolutionary fat buster. It’s called Garcinia cambogia.” Meanwhile, the words “No exercise. No Diet. No Effort” were emblazoned on the screen behind him. Most recently, Dr. Oz featured a product he referred to as “my Rapid Belly Melt.”3 Part of the show involved audience members photographing their stomachs. The photos were then photoshopped into a slimmer version. This, supposedly, was the result you could glean from this “insta belly melt” product.

It’s quite clear to me that these kinds of products, and especially these kinds of fantasy-based promotions, devalue the supplement industry as a whole. This is tragic, considering the fact that nutritional supplements serve a critical function by helping to correct specific nutritional imbalances or deficiencies.

Weight Loss Supplements: Are They Worth the Potential Risks?.

 

Here, too, is John Oliver in a 14-minute clip completely destroying what Oz has done–if you want to see for yourself the claims Oz was making.

Watch John Oliver Verbally Pants Dr. Oz Over Dietary Supplements.

 

Meanwhile, note that the only way to weight loss and good health is eating clean, nutrient-dense foods that are, hopefully, locally sourced so you are eating them in season and at the height of their powers.

There are no magic bullets to undo that which we have done.

Turkey Tracks: “Songbird” Quilt

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Turkey Tracks:  June 25, 2014

Songbird Quilt

 

A baby quilt for a little girl!

Niece Lucy Howser Stevens was due in June with my great niece…

Here’s the fabric with which I started.  I fell in love with the large print last fall at Marge Hallowell’s Maine-ly sewing in Nobleboro, Maine, and knew I’d use it in a baby quilt.  Then, while at Maine-ly Sewing, at a January sale day, I saw these polka dot fabrics.  Of course they were NOT on sale!  As the large print was still in the store, I was able to determine that the polka dots would work.  Friend Gail Nicholson saw the BIG polka dots and said she was sure they would work really well with the little ones.  So I bought that fabric too.

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Here’s the finished quilt–which I sent off last week.  Five days to Wyoming…

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“Songbird” is a nice size, too–which you can tell when it’s on a queen-sized bed.

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Here are some close-ups:

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I like the low-contrast of many of the nine-patch blocks in this quilt as they allow the big print and some of the big polka dot fabrics to shine.

 

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Here’s the center:

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The backing is pink polka dot:

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And the pantograph was Anne Bright’s “12-inch Simple Feathers.”  I really like the soft, feminine curves in this pantograph.

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The quilting came out really nicely in this quilt.  I used a soft cream thread.

So there you have it:  “Songbird” quilt for a little girl, Willamina Grace, who, I hope, will sing through her life.

Written by louisaenright

June 25, 2014 at 10:57 am

Turkey Tracks and Books, Documentaries, Reviews

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Turkey Tracks and Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  June 23, 2014

Maine Summer Sky and Reading on the Back Deck

The Flame Throwers:  Rachel Kushner

 

For the past three mornings, I’ve spent a few hours reading on the back deck–drinking my early morning tea and moving from sun to shade and back as the heat dictates.

The morning sky has been that incomparable shade of blue that we get here in the summer:

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Around noon, the wind comes up and, sometimes, clouds blow in.  But the mornings…  Well, they are a delight.

In the late afternoon the temps start to drop–all the way to high 40s last night–which means glorious sleeping.

What have I been reading?

Our book club selection for July.

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I finished it today and will move on to something else.  For some reason, I seem to read more fiction during the summer.  Maybe that’s about slowing down and relaxing a bit.

This book is a New York Times bestseller–and for good reason.  It’s a dense, complicated, terrific read.

It was also one of the 10 best books of 2013, as picked by The New York Times.

And a National Book Award finalist.

The story takes place mostly in 1975-1977–in New York City and Italy.  Both were experiencing turbulent times, with a lot of labor unrest, anarchy, and pervasive challenges to “law and order” and the status quo.  Remember that 1968 was a year in which students all over the world (remember France?) famously protested  class inequities, the Vietnam war, loss of wages among the poor, and so on.  But that unrest continued for, obviously, a decade.

Reno thinks she is a “land artist”–which means she likes to create marks on the earth and photograph them.   What especially draws her are marks that chart speed/time and line–which involves motorcycles.   She falls into a company of very successful avant garde artists in New York City, but only in a “hanger on” sort of way.  Underneath is always already, the silencing of women and their reduction to sexual relationships.  The novel is much, much more complicated than these easy simplicities I am voicing here.

There are, in this novel, many riffs on language and the double meanings of words–or the loaded cultural baggage in words.  Here’s an example of one such riff–made and taped by one of the artists:

Home.  We say ‘home,’ not ‘house.’  You never hear a good agent say ‘house.’  A house is where people have died on the mattresses.  Where pipes freeze and burst.  Where termites fall from the sink spigot.  Where somebody starts a flu fire by burning a telephone book in the furnace.  Where banks repossess.  Where mental illness takes hold.  A home is something else.  Do not underestimate the power in the word home.  Say it. “home.”  It’s like the difference between ‘rebel’ and ‘thug.’  A rebel is a gleaming individual in tight Levi’s, a sneering and pretty face.  The kind Sal Mineo wet-dreams.  A thug is hairy and dark, an object that would sink to the bottom when dropped in a lake.  A home is maintained.  Cared for.  Loved.  The word home is savory like gravy, and like gravy, kept warm.  A good realtor says ‘home.”  Never ‘house.’  Always ‘cellar’ and never ‘basement.’  Basements are where cats crap on old Santa costumes.  Where men drink themselves to death.  Where children learn firsthand about sexual molestation.  But cellar.  A cellar is where you keep root vegetables and wine.  Cellar means a proximity to the earth that’s not about blackness and rot but the four ritual seasons.  We say ‘autumn,’ not ‘fall.’  We say ‘The leaves in this area are simply magnificent in autumn.’  We say ‘simply magnificent,’ and by the way, ‘lawn,’ not ‘yard.’  It’s ‘underarm’ to ‘armpit.’  Would you say ‘armpit’ to a potential buyer?  Say ‘yard’ and your buyer pictures rusted push mowers, plantar warts.  Someone shearing off his thumb and a couple of fingers with a table saw.  A tool shed where water-damaged pornography and used motor oil funneled into fabric softener bottles cohabitate with hints of trauma that are a thick and dark as the oil.

And on and on it goes.

Here’s the opening paragraph of The New York Times book review by Christina Garcia–followed by the url to the review:

In “The Flamethrowers,” her frequently dazzling second novel, Rachel Kushner thrusts us into the white-hot center of the 1970s conceptual art world, motorcycle racing, upper-class Italy and the rampant kidnappings and terrorism that plagued it. It’s an irresistible, high-octane mix — and a departure from the steamier pleasures of her critically acclaimed first novel, “Telex From Cuba.” The language is equally gorgeous, however, and Kushner’s insights into place, society and the complicated rules of belonging, and unbelonging, can be mordantly brilliant. None of the characters in “The Flamethrowers” are quite what they seem, fabricating pasts as nonchalantly as they throw together their art. Above all, they hunger to be seen, to distinguish themselves from the ordinary. One artist, responding to the question of why he invents, defends his florid lies as “a form of discretion.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/books/review/rachel-kushners-flamethrowers.html

Garcia finds the novel’s ending chapters…disjointed.  I did not, though I see what she means.  I think when Kushner’s characters move aside their imaginative lives and touch down to earth, something is lost–for them.  That truth (what else is there?  is this all there is?) is the hard truth we all must face as we face our own mortality.  The two main characters have to…grow up…amidst the disjointed facets of their lives which are made more disjointed by chaos and violence.

Written by louisaenright

June 23, 2014 at 2:58 pm

Books, Documentaries, Reviews: BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, Ben Fountain

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Books, Documentaries, Reviews:  June 23, 2014

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Ben Fountain

 

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It’s a prize winner–and it should be:

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

Finalist, National Book Award

Finalist UK National Book Award

Los Angeles Ties Book Award for Fiction

Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize

Texas Institute of letters Jesse H. Jones Award for Fiction

Pen New England Cerulli Award For Excellence in Sports Fiction

And, here’s the The New York Times book review:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/books/review/billy-lynns-long-halftime-walk-by-ben-fountain.html

BUT, 

while I think everyone in America should read this novel, I know that not all that many, in terms of total percentages, will.  Which is too bad, as this country badly needs a corrective in its national consciousness about the thing we call war. 

I will caution that this novel involves a group of Army soldiers who talk like soldiers and, often, act like the 19 and 20-something year olds that they are.  These fellows have been exposed to terror and fear and actual combat for some time.  In one encounter, an embedded cameraman captures heroic actions in a fight that gets uploaded onto utube and plays on the nightly news.  We now have the “Bravo Heroes” who have been brought home for a “victory” tour designed to make a case for the war.  This “vacation” from the war is undergirded horribly by the certain knowledge that they will be going back very shortly.

Fountain has mounted a devastating critique of a country of well-meaning nice folks who speak a cultural language ABOUT war (freedom, kick their buts, did your duty, Nine 11, terrorists) and enjoy violent games (football) and mindlessly send young men to war without really understanding what happens to those young men when the full impact of actual war with all its violence surrounds them.  Nor do these citizens understand the relative ineffectiveness of this (Iraq) war effort.  Nor do these same nice folks understand how these young men feel when they come home and encounter the fact that the country whose “freedom” they are fighting for is but a giant shopping mall with a country attached (as Fountain says somewhere in the book)–complete with wealthy industry captains (like the owner of the Cowboys football team who tries to win what he wants at all costs and without any regard for actual human beings and who behaves beyond despicably when he does not “win” what he wants from these soldiers.  The underbelly of that mindset is much like closing that bridge in New Jersey to get back at a local mayor.)

Here’s a quote:

Americans fight the war daily in their strenuous inner lives.  Billy knows because here at the contact point he feels the passion every day.  Often it’s in their literal touch, a jolt arcing across as they shake hands, a zap of pent-up warrior heat.  For so many of them, this is the Moment:  His ordeal becomes theirs and vice versa, some sort of mystical transference takes place and it’s just too much for most of them, judging from the way they choke in the clutch.  They stammer, gulp, brainfart, and babble, gum up all the things they want to say or never had the words to say them in the first place, so they default to old habits.  They want autographs.  They want cell phone snaps.  They say thank you over and over and with growing fervor, they know they’re being good when they thank the troops and their eyes shimmer with love for themselves and this tangible proof of their goodness.  One woman bursts into tears, so shattering is her gratitude.  Another asks if we are winning, and Billy says we’re working hard.  “You and your brother soldiers are preparing the way,” one man murmurs, and Billy knows better than to ask the way to what.  The next man points to, almost touches, Billy’s Silver Star.  “That’s some serious hardware  you got,” he says gruffly, projecting a flinty, man-of-the-world affection.  “Thanks,” Billy says, although that never seems quite the right response.  “I read the article in Time,” the man continues, and now he does touch the medal, which seems nearly as lewd as if he’d reached down and stroked Billy’s balls.  “Be proud,” the man tells him, “you earned this,” and Billy thinks without rancor, How do you know?  Several days ago he was doing local TV and the blithering twit-savant of a TV newsperson just came out and asked:  What was it like?  Being shot at, shooting back.  Killing people, almost getting killed yourself.  Having friends and comrades die right before your eyes.  Billy coughed up clots of nonsequential mumblings, but as he talked a second line dialed up in his head and a stranger started talking, whispering the truer words that Billy couldn’t speak.  It was raw.  It was some fucked-up shit.  It was the blood and breath of the world’s worst abortion, baby Jesus shat out in squishy little turds.

That newsperson sounds a bit like the one in the Hunger Games movies…

Doesn’t s/he?

You know, as long as we are distracted by the “bread and circus” of American life, we will not “see” what’s really going on in America these days.  And underneath this story, is a plea to follow the money, to reject the fireworks and stars at halftime, to understand the real costs being extracted from all of us…

This novel also resonates strongly with Stephen Kinzer’s The Brothers, which I discussed elsewhere on this blog.

 

Written by louisaenright

June 23, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Turkey Tracks: Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

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Turkey Tracks:  June 21, 2014

Making and Eating Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream

 

I am making Jennifer McGruther’s Vanilla Mint Ice Cream today.

If you have not heard about McGruther’s new book THE NOURISHED KITCHEN–or discovered her outstanding web site http://www.nourished kitchen.com–you are in for a treat.

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This homemade ice cream recipe uses real mint leaves, a vanilla bean, real cream, egg yolks, and so forth.  Here’s the url to Jennifer’s web site and this recipe.

Vanilla Mint Ice Cream — Nourished Kitchen.

I can’t wait to try the finished ice cream.  My cream mixture is upstairs cooling its heels in the refrigerator right now.

I’m not at all sure I had enough mint–when chopped it didn’t make a full cup.  I have had mint from my Georgia grandmother’s garden for over 40 years now–and brought the mint from Virginia to Maine when we moved ten years ago.  I almost lost it this winter, but have discovered a few sprigs coming along.  Thank heavens as this mint is unlike most I’ve seen–it’s really strong and full of flavor.  It used to be my job when I was little to run out to the garden to get sprigs of this mint for the iced sweet tea at dinner time–the main meal served at noon when we were at my grandmother’s.  For today, I supplemented with a package of mint from the store, and it was very disappointing as I think its “oomph” was long gone.   I also think I needed TWO packages…

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The long black strand is a vanilla bean cut in half and ready to go into the warmed cream.  You know, somehow I’ve never actually used a vanilla bean.  The smell in the kitchen after it steeped in the warm cream was…awesome!

I get local honey by the half-gallon, and it’s used as the sweetener.  There is no danger of using laundered, fake honey if you find your local bee keepers.  A recent story I ran across said that about 75 percent of the honey in grocery stores is laundered honey.  (See earlier blog posts on this subject.)  If you are buying honey in a store, look for these claims on the label:  raw, UNHEATED, and a geographical area that is inside the USA.  Be especially cautious if the honey comes from South America.

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Here’s my cream–after heating, it’s ready for the infusing ingredients, and after steeping, it will be strained and cooled.  Isn’t it the loveliest color?  It comes from local Jersey cows.  Wait until I add my egg yolks, which are soy free and a rich, deep color.

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I’m also adding a heaping Tablespoon of arrowroot powder as it’s good for you and helps make the ice cream even smoother.  That’s a trick I learned from Sally Fallon Morell, the recipe developer in the classic book NOURISHING TRADITIONS–a genre from which Jennifer McGruther draws, most likely, her title and nutrient-dense whole foods inspiration.

Hmmm.  Should I top this ice cream with a tiny bit of chocolate sauce???

YES!  And it was delicious!

So, see, making home made ice cream is not hard–especially when you have such a beautiful recipe.  Best of all, YOU control the ingredients and will be giving your family a nutrient-dense food that is beyond delicious as a special treat!!!

THANKS, JENNIFER McGRUTHER!