Blathr Wayne Lorentz

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Showing blathrs with the tag “U.S. Army.”

Overlooked brook

Thursday, February 9th, 2023 Alive 18,916 days

I went to a new place to find a slice of nature: The Trinity River Waterbird Rookery

Itʼs right off of Interstate 10 near Wallisville, Texas, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Brown sign marks the spot

Itʼs great because the entrance is adjacent to a bridge over the Trinity River, so most people donʼt see it and itʼs inconvenient to get to, so hardly anyone ever goes there. The bad part is that the wildlife viewing platform is so close to the freeway that you canʼt hear whatever birds might be busy rooking up in the preserve.

Cormorants cormorants cormorants!

Itʼs not formally a nature preserve, itʼs a flood control project, which is why it was built by the army. But when I was there, the foliage was recovering nicely from the Christmas cold blast, and there was a big fat painted turtle in the shallows looking at me with an angry face like some kind of swamp bouncer.

Spanish moss swaying in the breeze
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Moo, yʼall

Thursday, March 3rd, 2022 Alive 18,573 days

A comparison of various milks

Iʼve never understood the appeal of what are called “alternative” milks. In ordinary life, I try to avoid processed food, and with the exception of fake meat, pretend milk is probably the most processed food on the planet.

I have a fasination with farms, so I like to watch the farm life demonstrations at the rodeo that are intended for children, but instructive for those of us who grew up playing on concrete and asphalt.

This demonstration was about how to milk a cow, but I was drawn to the banner nearby that compared cowʼs milk with various nut milk. Itʼs a little hard to see in the picture, so Iʼve reproduced the information here:

If you're viewing this on a mobile phone, you won't be able to see the table until you hold your phone horizontally. That's because tables look like absolute pants on phones.

Cowʼs milk Almond “milk” Oat “milk” Soy “milk“
Calories 110 60 130 110
Protein 8 grams 1 gram 4 grams 8 grams
Fat 2½ grams 2½ grams 2½ grams 4½ grams
Carbohydrates 12 grams 8 grams 24 grams 9 grams
Calcium 30% 45% 35% 45%
Phosphorous 25% none none 25%
Potassium 10% 1% none 10%
Riboflavin 25% 30% 30% 30%
Vitamin B12 20% 50% none 50%
Vitamin A 10% 10% 10% 10%
Vitamin D 25% 25% 25% 30%

What's interesting to me about the table is the highlighted numbers. The highlights indicate that those nutrients occur in the milk naturally. In cases where a nutrient is not highlighted, that means itʼs added when the food is processed. So while the nut milks have five percent more riboflavin than cowʼs milk, the cowʼs milk has it naturally. Itʼs not added at a factory.

Why does it matter? Some people think that the body absorbs nutrients better if they come from nature, not a pill. Which may explain why my doctor encouraged me to eat certain foods, rather than take a supplement, when I was found to be a bit short on a particular vitamin.

I wonʼt pretend that cowʼs milk is the perfect food, but itʼs good to have information to compare, especially if youʼre more worried about carbohydrates than calories. Or potassium instead of fat.

On the other hand, the U.S. Army thinks the cowʼs milk is almost the perfect food. When I was in R.O.T.C., we were taught that if we were ever trapped behind enemy lines, try to find a cow because with cowʼs milk and iron tablets, you can live for a very long time.

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Sir, moo, sir!

Saturday, March 13th, 2021 Alive 18,218 days

Darcie and are both Pfizarians now. I got my first shot a couple of weeks ago when Nevada expanded eligibility to “health care support” people. Darcie got hers a few days ago when it was expanded to “retail workers with prolonged/sustained public contact.”

Iʼd heard lots of nightmare stories from people in other cities about the process being difficult and unpredictable. But for us, it was super fast and easy. I was able to make a same-day appointment. Darcie was able to get in the next day.

That said, the whole scene was like something from a 1970ʼs end-of-the-world movie. Iʼve never seen so many soldiers in my life, and I was in college ROTC. People in FEMA vests were herding everyone around, making sure people got in the right lines. The pedometer in my watch says the line was just under a mile long, but it didnʼt feel awful because, like at Disneyland, they kept it moving to keep anyone from getting antsy. Iʼm not sure it was necessary. Everyone had their faces buried in their phones anyway. I suspect just seeking some kind of comfort under the glare of the arc lights.

The Army, and whatever federal doctors could be rounded up were giving the shots. Darcie got hers from an Army doctor out of D.C. I got mine from a vet in the USDA Foreign Disease Surveillance Service. She said she was ordered to come here two weeks ago. She was vaccinating cows at the time. I asked her if I should moo when she jabs me. She said if I did, she might have to give me a rabies shot, too. So I told her, “You havenʼt met my wife; I might need the rabies shot.” That made the supervising soldier laugh, and broke the tension, which was good because I was pretty freaked out.

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