Monthly Archives: February 2007

Keeping up with the recalls

In case you haven’t heard, Peter Pan peanut butter (also packaged as Great Value peanut butter) has been recalled due to a suspected Salmonella contamination. I know no less than three people who have found the exact lot number, the one beginning “2111” in their house.

Oscar Meyer is recalling some ready made chicken breast, which may cause listeriosis. And, just in case fellow crunchy health food store shoppers are feeling a little immune right now, there is also a recall on Earth’s Best organic baby food, specifically the apple peach barley variety. No sickness has been linked to it, but it may be contaminated with Clostridium botulinum, a bacterium which can cause botulism.

Beware of your groceries!

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She don’t lie, she don’t lie, she don’t lie

An apparently patriotic company is marketing a new energy drink called “Cocaine”. Branding an energy drink full of sugar and caffeine as a dangerously addictive controlled substance – well, I don’t know if you can get me to argue too much about that. However, I am not worried about Redux Beverages simply sullying caffeine and sugar’s good reputations.

I am not the only one who does have a problem with their name choice because it makes light of cocaine use. Redux Beverages has created a MySpace site to defend themselves against the attacks of the “liberal media”, which is apparently ABC News. (I think complaining about the “liberal media” qualifies them to put an American flag behind an energy drink named after an illegal scourge.)

If you skip “Dealers”and “Wired Science” and click on their “Rumors” link on their main site, you can read that they answer the question: “Does Cocaine contain cocaine?” with: No, we don’t advocate drug use. What you do with your drink is completely up to you!” While they make a point to tell people to avoid drinks with high fructose corn syrup, apparently drug use is “up to you”.

Advocating drug use can take other forms than sneaking illegal drugs into drinks. For example, wearing a shirt with a picture of a marijuana leaf, even if the shirt isn’t made out of hemp, can easily be considered advocating drug use. Calling a song “Cocaine” like Eric Clapton, “Hits from the Bong” like Cypress Hill, or “Heroin” like Velvet Underground was and is easily argued to be promoting drug use. The interest groups who complained about these songs weren’t typically labeled liberal.

Apparently even being more blatant about not actively promoting drug use isn’t good enough, although it isn’t hard to beat a MySpace account created after the fact. The United States Government Accounting Office released an official report stating that the current administration’s anti-drug campaign actually encouraged more drug use in the group of children that viewed the ads than the group that did not. In their report clearly entitled “Contractor’s National Evaluation Did Not Find That the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign Was Effective in Reducing Youth Drug Use” the government investigators conclude that these ads “may have promoted perceptions among exposed youth that others’ drug use was normal.” The only statistically significant results they found was increased initiation of marijuana use among groups that watched the ads.

So, if anti-drug ads seemed to imply that others doing drugs is normal, what does naming and marketing an energy drink called “Cocaine” say? Redux, wave the flag, say the “L” word and defend free speech if you want, but please admit that your free speech is encouraging cocaine use. But, that’s “up to you”.


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The green ones make you feel different

Does anyone remember hearing that the green m&m’s would make you horny? I remember this from the playground, before I was even sure what horny meant. I just knew it was something that made the older kids giggle, and would be VERY embarassing if it happened to me.

Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I eat the green m&m’s, if you know what I mean. (Not often I use an artificially dyed candy as an example. I am partial to the plain ones, if I am going to cheat.)

My friend passed along a fantastic late Valentine’s Day link with tips on how to green up your sex life.

This page is very very informative and detailed. I didn’t know there was so much to discuss! Who knew there are phthalates and PVC in sex toys? Who knew there was milk in latex condoms? Who knew there was a site like Treehugger I hadn’t come across yet?


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How Doctors Think…and Don’t Listen

Dr. Jerome Groopman has experienced first hand (no pun intended) the pain and hassle, and potential danger, of an incorrect medical diagnosis. He got four wrong diagnoses on his hurt hand out of six surgeons from whom he sought opinions. Even worse, on another occasion he and his wife were sent home with their sick infant son repeatedly by their pediatrician, dismissed as neurotic first-time parents. And he was a doctor! A trip to the ER later proved his baby had a serious and possibly deadly intestinal blockage.

I am eagerly awaiting his new book How Doctors Think, which is coming out later this year. According to advance interviews, his book discusses one of my biggest pet peeves with some medical professionals. They don’t listen to their patients or value their thoughts.

A good friend of mine was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. I went along with him and his wife when they met the surgeon for the first time, as a sort of medical translator. Although they were very relieved to work with someone so well regarded and confident, I was blown away by his aggressively arrogant and dismissive treatment of my friend during the meeting. (Which I noticed quietly and did not mention until much later, when they had doubts in retrospect about his personality). After the operation, which went well, he NEVER visited my friend on rounds. Not once. After major brain surgery.

What’s worse is when your concerns are dismissed as a parent, as happened to the author of this forthcoming book. There are many heart wrenching stories out there, but here is the one from my family. An ophthalmologist told my mother that my younger brother had “always been like that” and she just hadn’t noticed when she brought him in for an evaluation when one of his eyes STOPPED MOVING. Turns out he had a brain tumor too. Who knew? Not the ophthalmologist. Good thing my mom didn’t wait very long to get a second opinion.

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Send me a sign

Who loves it?


Mothering Magazine, one of my favorite publications, sponsored a contest to create a sign showing support of breastfeeding. Not only did I see it in my weekly Mothering email, but I also saw it covered in several of my blog subscriptions, including Belly Tales and Women’s Health News.

I could have used this sign when I had to pump at work. There is nothing like hearing the site manager’s keys in the lock when you are strapped into to your Pump in Style, cowering in the corner of the empty conference room, with full letdown happening and milk pouring out. Sometimes a locked door and a “Room in Use” sign is not enough.

I won’t go into a rant (OK, not much of one) about how it is incredible that public breastfeeding is still a controversy. (The article in last link almost turned me off to Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! entirely. I still listen, but whenever Roxanne “Breastfeeding in public = hairy man wearing a speedo” Roberts is on, I make sarcastic comments that make me feel better about it.)

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Just snort it up, why doncha?

I am taking a break from transferring blog entires from my old site (boo! hiss!) and writing a new entry. I have a few bouncing around in my head to write, but this one needs to show up now to say:


We have avoided sending out cheap crap commercial Valentines with some TV or movie character on them to S’s class for three years going with this cute little idea! Take the picture, paste it on construction paper, and we are set to go.

So, the people who only know me online get used to my rants and liberal use of the word “crap” when it comes to junk food. Twice today on a board I frequent people made jokes about me judging them for discussing eating / giving their kids crap food. OK, so I am building a reputation. I feel like Julia Child when she said (I am paraphrasing) that everyone thinks she eats quail eggs constantly, but every now and then she is in a hurry and drives through for a burger.

Case in point: My sons are fighting over S’s Valentine’s Day candy as I type. My 2 year old Z asked me to open up Fun Dip for him. Fun Dip! (I didn’t let him have it. I may throw it away if S doesn’t eat it in a few days.) I haven’t eaten that since I was in college, and my hair was purple at the time, if that was any indication of my judgment.

S’s new favorite candy is Pixy Stix. Someone gave this kiddie crack candy out to his second grade class. He keeps on pouring stick after stick down his throat and exclaiming “Wow! I reeeeeeally like this!” with a crazed, glazed look in his eye. I half expect to find him cutting it in lines and snorting on the dining room table after dinner tonight.

So, point is, yes, I complain, but I am a hypocrite. I value healthy food, but I know what it’s like to have a sweet tooth, or to have kids who get handed crap at school once a week for one reason or another.

Don’t worry, no judgment here. I don’t hate the player, I hate the game.


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Reopening the measles vaccine and autism link discussion

Thank you, eager posters of the Pregnancy, Alternative and complementary health forum for renewing my research into the scary world of autism and vaccines. Tempers and controversies can run hot when discussing this topic, and you don’t have to go farther than our board to find that out.

Nothing fills the paranoid and distrustful parent’s heart with more fear that a pharmaceutical company with a gleaming syringe and a new vaccine, except for maybe the prospect of having a child with autism. Or a devastating contagious disease, caused by getting a vaccine (it happens!) or by avoiding one. Or having child services pick you up for not immunizing your child, or having your child refused admissions to schools or a medical practice for not having all of his or her vaccinations.

As one of my favorite posters maxlou said, “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” And trust me, parents and health professionals are lining up on both sides to wag their fingers at you.

New parents should be handed a tinfoil hat with their baby, to be worn during immunization discussions. So many forces are trying to brainwash us in one direction or another, an extra layer of protective cover couldn’t hurt.

Just to throw some more research/fuel to the fire, major medical institutions are still researching the autism measles connection. There is a theory, substantiated by two small studies, that the measles vaccine mutates in some susceptible children to a gastrointestinal manifestation of the disease.

In other words, some autistic children may have a form of vaccine-induced intestinal measles. This was seemingly substantiated by a new study from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Not a fly by night operation.

The head researcher urges people not to leap to the conclusion that this absolutely proves that the measles vaccine causes autism. No, it does not. But it does open the door yet again to a needed dialogue about vaccine safety, and true risks and benefits.

(By the way, this has NOTHING to do with thimeresol, the dangerous – but – not – conclusively – linked – to – autism mercury preservative finally being removed from vaccines).

Case not closed.


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But officer, I didn’t know the rice was illegal!

I hope some of you have been keeping abreast of the latest chemical and technological threats here at my not-so-obviously named blog “Mom’s Tinfoil Hat”. (Our tech team promises that making the title of our blog actually visible on our blog is “on the list”. *edit* It is such a joy to be using a FREE service like Blogspot that can give me better technology than all the money at Viacom!)

I have already covered conspiracies against our health and peace of mind have been hidden in the seemingly innocent form of rice.
Well here’s a new one: the recent discovery of an illegal, unapproved, genetically-modified rice called LibertyLink or LL601 from the US firm Bayer on the international market. According to Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Richard Bell, LL601 has been detected in virtually all milled long-grain rice supplies that have been tested.

No wonder the Bayer homepage has the quote “We want to more intensively exploit the opportunities for growth in the areas of innovation, new technologies and seeds” on it no less than twice.

This has prompted many international markets, including Japan (no, they don’t eat a lot of rice!) and the EU, to refuse some or all of our rice at the border.

So, what does the USDA do? Reprimand Bayer for knowingly selling an illegal and unapproved new technology disguised as food to the global markets? They claim they didn’t knowingly release it into the food chain. Well, one of the biggest complaints about GMOs is how easily the altered genes can irreversibly contaminate the regular food supply. Hmm, maybe we weren’t just paranoid after all.

Are they going to recall the rice? Are they planning on fining Bayer for not taking efforts to prevent its experimental and unapproved genes from spreading to the international food supply?

If you answered, none of the above, in fact let’s just retroactively rubberstamp this all as OK, you are our tinfoil hat winner of the day.

The USDA is inviting public comment on this decision. If you would like to comment, you can go through the simple process of going to, you have to know the name of the document is “APHIS-2006-0140-0001″, and you can either click on the little speech balloon and make a comment (which is not readily apparent), or mail your forms in QUADRUPLICATE to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Too bad Bayer didn’t jump through hoops like this to get their Frankenrice approved.

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Scary spinach!

(Originally posted September 15, 2006)

Grrrr&emdash;.I hates it when they tell us to stop eating something healthy.

OK, I’ll stop talking like Popeye.

The FDA has advised for us to stop eating bagged raw spinach because of an E. coli outbreak that has already killed one person. Too bad a lack of eating spinach or any other vegetables in significant amounts is killing Americans every day.

So, for the time being, don’t eat the killer spinach. Let’s hope the next outbreak is on pork rinds or French fries&emdash;

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The next insurgents

(Originally posted Sept. 11, 2006)

Ahhh, September 11th. A fruitful paranoia day.

The horrific events of September 11th, 2001 have upset the calm of the nation for five years. My generation used to feel invincible. Now, we have seen jets plummet out of the sky and crash into buildings. Anthrax showed up in office buildings and in post offices.

Where is the next sci fi threat coming from? Nukes from North Korea? (Or Iran?)

Smallpox? A meteor?

Or…..rebellious robots?

Check out “How to Spot a Hostile Robot” and “Fight Back.” If 9/11 taught us anything, it is that we need to be prepared.

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