Well fancy seeing you here...

Hello and welcome to the rambling rollercoaster of useless ponderings, strung together in what the internet calls a "blog," and the voices call a waste of everyone elses time.

Please check your sanity at the door (along with your dignity, logic, principles, good taste and prejudices against daftness.)

"I am here to seduce you into a love of life; to help you to become a little more poetic; to help you die to the mundane and to the ordinary so that the extraordinary explodes in your life." -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Sexy Chickens and Cheese-Blindness

I was still awake at 6am this morning and had the TV on. Flicking through the channels I discovered a "BBC OddNews" bulletin. Had I known that the BBC produced any especially special 'odd' news before, then I would have made more effort to watch it. Until now, if I wanted strange or useless news then I'd just tune in to Channel 5.

I think I am going to like BBC OddNews. I've always enjoyed that very last news story of a bulletin where they say "and in other news..." It's invariably a cat that can sing Waltzing Matilda, or a badger that was arrested for drinking Tyxilix in Boots. (To the best of my knowledge, neither of those news stories actually happened, and neither FaceBook, the BBC - nor anyone else with a shred of sanity - endorses any allegations made against the badger. …But if anyone does know of a badger that was arrested for consumption of cough-mixture, then please let me know.)

Today's most interesting OddNews was about a man called Alex Lenkei from West-Sussex, who hypnotised himself before an operation on his hand. I don't know how he managed to focus. Hospitals are so noisy, it's hard enough to relax after an operation - but must be a near impossible feat before you go under the knife. I had had three anaesthetics as a teenager, and hated them each time. I could feel the anaesthetic as it spread up my arm, and it made my neck ache seconds before I went under. The last thing I tended to say was "I can feel it now, it's going to work any second." I get the same neck-achy reaction with IV morphine.

Anyway, the man having the 83minute operation was a skilled hypnotist, and he said he was fully aware of everything going on around him during the procedure but was free from pain.

From the BBC Website:

The operation at Worthing Hospital involved removing some bone in the base of the thumb and fusing some joints in an attempt to improve his arthritis. Consultant orthopaedic surgeon David Llewellyn-Clark said he was happy in agreeing to the unusual sedation on Mr Lenkei, a registered hypnotist who has been practising since the age of 16. Mr Lenkei said Wednesday's surgery "went amazingly well". "It took between 30 seconds to a minute for me to place myself under hypnosis, and from that point I felt a very deep relaxation. I was aware of everything around me, from people talking and at one stage a hammer and chisel was used as well as a surgical saw, but I felt no pain." Throughout the operation, an anaesthetist was on standby to administer an anaesthetic if necessary. Mr Llewellyn-Clark said he had been confident that Mr Lenkei was a skilled hypnotist and was "delighted all went well".

I don't know if I like the notion of hypnotists. The idea of someone else being able to control a mind that half the time even escapes me, seems unfair to say the least. Equally, it intrigues me that destructive or addictive behaviour can be modified/treated with hypnosis - and I think it is an under-exploited resource as a complementary therapy. I don't know if I would have hypnotherapy (though have considered it for this cursed insecurity,) but think smokers deserve to risk being turned into a chicken at the sound of Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy."

In less official - but equally odd - BBC happenings, Lauren Laverne was sitting in for Russell Brand and Matt Morgan on Radio2 this evening. (That's not the anomolous bit, but I'm getting there.) I can't usually bear her lacklustre performance as a DJ, but I listened to the first few minutes in case there was a reference to next weeks show with the boys. I mention it because she said at one point that: "A friend of [hers] nearly went blind eating cheese." She justified this by stating that cheese contains a chemical similar to opiates, which is why it is addictive.

I instantly thought she meant 'cheese' heroin, which is a heroin/Tylenol recreational drug. A small amount of heroin is mixed with crushed Tylenol or Benadryl tablets, which are snorted. I love the medical term for snorted: "insufflated." Having a father who works in Drug/Addiction related Social Work can be quite interesting, but I hardly get to use any of the things I learn without sounding like a junkie version of urbandctionary. While I'm still excused for narcotic-trivia: 'Cheese' is often known as a 'school-boy drug' or 'kiddies heroin,' because it is how a lot of children (particularly in America) are introduced to recreational drugs.

Ms Laverne, however, appears to have been referring to the actual dairy product. In that context, "Cheese is like morphine and will make you go blind," is a very weird thing to hear on the radio. Or rather, it's a weird thing to almost hear - as I wasn't really listening. (Which is the reason why this might all be complete tosh.)

As knowledge goes, this is pretty much the equivalent of something I overheard in a pub.

I've just googled the question "Is cheese addictive?" Apart from confirming what I already knew about the narcotic version, it also provided a link to an American website containing an article about a book by one Dr. Neal Barnard. He's the author of 'Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings and Seven Steps to End them Naturally,' which 'explains why people are addicted to cheese, meat, sugar and chocolate.' According to Dr Barnard, "Cheese is particularly addictive because it contains small amounts of morphine made in the cow's liver. When the dairy protein breaks apart in the stomach, it releases the opiate molecules."

So maybe Lauren Laverne isn't an idiot. (Though I think this will probably be the most positive review of her stint as host, because it appears that her recent substitution for Messer's Brand and Morgan is considered to be as lamentable as her last.)

Does this mean that people are also addicted to liver pate? Do duck livers produce the same chemical, and have they created a generation of foie-gras junkies, force-feeding game birds for their fix? More importantly: why as a child could I not counter the instruction "eat your dinner, liver is good for you," with the insistence that if I imbibed so much as a mouthful, then I would have just cause to dial childline and report my parents for feeding me smack? ...This is maybe an exaggeration, and I should probably let go of any residual bitterness from childhood food-wars with my folks. It was a long time ago, after all. (I will never forget being given tongue sandwiches, though. That is an unforgivably evil foodstuff to foist unknowingly upon an innocent.) I'm pretty sure there's no link between the casomorphins in dairy products and the consumption of cooked liver, and that science would completely nullify my insomniac ponderings if I actually had the where-with-all to research it.

Sometimes knowing the answer is quite tedious, though, I find. Having a head full of daft queries is more entertaining than a mind stuffed with dull answers. I was asked once how I would feel if I found out that I only had a few hours to live. I said that it would be overwhelmingly tragic - not simply because of the affect on my family - but because it would be so unbearably wretched for my life to end when there are still so many questions I haven't yet thought to ask.

Incidentally, here are a few of the answers I gave to a myspace quiz this morning:

Have You Ever:

Been Drunk: No
Been Stoned/High: Yes (medically, I must add!)
Eaten Sushi: No
Been in Love: Only with myself ;)
Skipped school: Yes
Made prank calls: No
Sent someone a love letter: Not since reception class, and then it was hardly a letter...more of a scrawled deed indcating ownership of the poor boy.
Stolen something: Yes, lipstick (as a child)
Cried yourself to sleep: Yes, when my Grandfather died.

Other Questions:

What annoys you most in a person? Ignorance
Are you right or left handed? Right
What is your bedtime? I don't sleep
Name three things you can't live without: Words, Dreams, Moments
What is the color of your room? Cream (boring eh?)
Do you have any siblings? One sister
Do you have any pets? Cat, Dog, Tortoise
Would you kill someone you hate for a million dollars? I hope not
What is you middle name? Susann
What are you nicknames? None that would pass the swear-filter
Are you for or against gay marriage? I am undecided about the institution in general, but have nothing more against gay marriage than any other kind.
What are your thoughts on abortion? That termination of a foetus is better than neglect of a child.
Do you have a crush on anyone? My first crush was on Robin Hood. I fear I may never get over it. ;)
Are you afraid of the dark? No. I adore the night.
How do you want to die? Unexpectedly.
What is the last law you’ve broken? Piracy/downloads.

In a Member of the Opposite Sex:

Hair color: Dark
Eye color: No preference to colour
Height: Tall
Weight: Slim
Most important physical feature: Eyes
Biggest turn-off: Apathy

Lots of philosophy regards "man's quest for knowledge," as a driving force of humanity, but I think people now focus too intensely on the goal and not the journey.

I would much rather live my life questioning everything, than already know it all.

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