Monthly Archives: April 2011


English muffin and Velveeta. Like an egg mcmuffin without the egg. Probably good with certain kinds of fruit on top of that.

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Just FYI.

During Holy Week when I was nursing this cough, I couldn’t understand why I kept getting so drowsy and groggy. Usually I have the opposite problem — daytime cold medicine can make you hyper.

Well… it turns out that I didn’t read the labels well enough.

Since I was desperate, I grabbed some herbal tea from the Yogi brand (which I don’t usually buy). There are various brands of herbal tea which have teas which are supposed to help colds or help breathing and the throat, and most singers drink ’em. Yogi Cold Season tea was advertised on the box as “Supports Respiratory Health”. It had eucalyptus and peppermint, which was all to the good, and it was also supposed to be “warming”, with pleasant herbs like cinnamon, ginger, pepper, cloves, and licorice. Now, pepper and ginger can be a little irritating to the throat, so I wouldn’t want to drink them on a singing day, but they’re great when you’re fighting a cough. So I grabbed it.

But I didn’t read far enough on the actual ingredient list. It turns out that their Cold Season tea includes a decent chunk of valerian, not very far down. And valerian is well known for helping people fall asleep (although, just like with some antihistamines and with other sleep-herbs like linden, there are people who react to it as a stimulant). It’s definitely an “active ingredient” that you need to know you’re ingesting.

Now, I’ve reported here before that linden works on me as a stimulant (ie, to the point of heart palpitations), probably because we have a ton of linden trees growing in my town and I’ve gotten a little allergic to the pollen. But I’m apparently a total groggy-queen with valerian, at least when I’m taking cold medicine too. We don’t know enough even about regular drugs to always predict this sort of crazy split in reactions, and sometimes people’s reactions change with age. What’s more, there are common brands of herbal sleep tea out there which include both valerian and linden, and other stuff besides… and linden is apparently a common ingredient in home remedies for colds in certain parts of Europe. (Tila, tilia, and tilio are other words for linden.)

I’m not saying people should fear this stuff. (Heck, lettuce is a sleep-herb when concentrated, and we all eat that.) I’m just saying that, just because it’s “natural” and “herbal”, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch yourself. Pay attention, and don’t do anything crazy. Read the labels, even on things like tea — even when you don’t think they would include anything unexpected _to you_.

Oh, and valerian has a strong odor to it. My nose must have been truly dead not to smell it when I was sick, even with all those other strong-smelling herbs in the tea. Keep any valerian-based teas wrapped up in plastic or in a tin, or people will think you have stinky socks in your pantry when the weather turns warm. I spent a lot of time trying to track down that strange under-smell in my kitchen, wondering what had gone bad. 🙂


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Ferry, Cross the Mersey

Music video with actual ferry and Mersey.

Via Ghost of a Flea.

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Easter. Priests. Confetti. Rifles.

Awright, let’s everybody do a field trip to Spain next year.

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Lawrence Miles (one of the inbetween Doctor Who novel writers) gets mad at Jar-Jar, explains why, and then points out the most important flaw of the current Doctor Who show.

“….curiosity isn’t a criterion. The Doctor never explores; he just changes the timeline until the universe suits him. The Doctor never discovers; he knows all the answers, so that he can make flip comments without having to think about what he’s actually saying. The Doctor never investigates; he disposes of monsters because he’s the Doctor, and therefore wins by default.”

Yeah, that’s a lot of it. Even though the old Doctor Who show presented us with a very smart, very resourceful, very knowledgeable alien guy, he was always starting at zero when he arrived on a new planet. If he showed up on a planet he knew in a time he knew, what he knew always turned out to be wrong in several respects. If there was a natural disaster brewing, he was just as endangered by it as that non-intelligent space-squirrel back in the bushes. So he had to find out what was going on, had to look, had to talk to everybody.

In practical terms, this meant that every show was a new little drama piece. The same thing obtained for the old episodes of Star Trek. Being smart and knowledgeable meant you might just barely have a chance to survive. It didn’t mean that you could be smug.

If you ever have a feeling that the writers are on the characters’ side, making them always be right (or only wrong in a non-embarrassing way), or if the characters in a show ever become smug without being smacked down by life, there’s not much point watching the show anymore.

Adding a character who’s more smugly right than the other characters doesn’t help the problem. (See GUINAN; see LORIEN until smacked down; see RIVER SONG.)


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That Crazy Etymology for the Seven Cities of Revelation

Our buddy St. Beatus of Liebana’s commentary includes a group of etymologies, probably from patristic authors, which aren’t at all like the usual etymological/poetical interpretations of the names of the Seven Churches in the Book of Revelation. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the authors were thinking, because it’s not like Greek or the usual “meanings” at all.

Well, I think the method to their madness is that they interpreted the Greek city names according to Hebrew!

For example, “Smyrna” is supposed to signify “their song”. In Hebrew, “zamiyr” means “song accompanied by an instrument”. “Sardis” is supposed to signify “the beginning of beauty”; “shaphar” is beauty and “dasha” is sprout, beginning. And so on. It seems to be the usual sort of poetic interpretation — not really so much about language as about using language to draw pictures. It would be interesting to find out if this was a non-Jewish Christian thing, or something that the Jewish residents of the cities came up with.

Of course, I’m sure the critical edition tells all about this, and the article somebody wrote about it already, but it’ll be a long time before I can take off enough daytime hours to hit the special collections that are only open 8-5 on weekdays. 🙂

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Nooooo… St. Blaise, Pray for Us!

I can’t believe it. That little bit of throat gunk has turned into a lot of gunk. I think it’s just drippage, but… ack! I gotta sing tonight and tomorrow night! I gotta hit high notes! Nooooooo!

I guess it’s a good thing I took off from work today, huh? Lets me nurse my throat and sleep.

Tonight after folks go to bed, we’re supposed to get another 3 or 4 inches of rain. Today we just get thunderstorms. Ouch. Hope the folks down in Cincinnati at the steps keep warm and dry.

UPDATE: Mucinex — St. Blaise’s little helper!


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