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Other People's Dead Relatives
Patti Davis bitchslaps George and Laura for choosing religion over science -- and, in turn, death over life for a whole lot of people:

I wonder if President Bush could look into the eyes of Christopher Reeve’s family and tell them that it’s because he values life so deeply that he is preserving clusters of cells in freezers—cells that resulted from in-vitro fertilization and could be used for embryonic stem cell treatment—despite the fact that more people will die as a result of his decision. I wonder if he could stare into their grief and defend the fact that he has released only a few lines of stem cells—lines that are basically useless because they have been contaminated. Or brazenly point out that he has authorized funding for adult stem cells—which do not hold the same miraculous potential as embryonic stem cells.

The sad fact is, the president probably could. After all, Laura Bush went on national television during the week of my father’s funeral and spoke out against embryonic stem cell research, pointing out that where Alzheimer’s is concerned, we don’t have proof that stem-cell treatment would be effective. It wasn’t too long after that interview that she gave a speech in which she chided people for offering “false hope” to the families of Alzheimer’s patients. In a sweetly patronizing tone, she said it’s terribly unfair to all of those who are vulnerable and in pain to suggest that a cure is just around the corner.

Memo to Mrs. Bush: I am one of those poor, vulnerable souls who you think has been misled. I speak for many others when I say that none of us believe a cure is just around the corner. We believe it’s around a very wide bend, which we can’t get around because your husband has put up a barrier to further research. And as far as false hope, there is no such thing. There is only hope or the absence of hope—nothing else.

What's your prediction? How many years will it take before people look at this sort of thing and say, "Gee, how primitive!"?

Posted by aalkon at January 1, 2005 8:47 AM


The best news of the year so far is the report by UCLA medical researchers that curry spices are an effective guard against Alzheimers.

Make mine a vindaloo...

Posted by: Stu "My other car is the commuter train service" Harris at January 1, 2005 8:58 PM

This brings up a new issue: How does one protect one's fragile nasal passages from people eating a lot of curry to protect themselves from Alzheimers?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 1, 2005 9:12 PM

This'll probably make you roll your eyes Amy, but the Indians are (in my opinion) the greatest cooks in the world. Then the Italians. Poverty inspires great cooking.

Posted by: eric at January 1, 2005 10:28 PM

Poverty inspires one to never eat Indian food again, if possible. I ate Indian food in New York out of necessity, during my starving writer days. I was so under-financed at a certain point that I used to go out to dinner with friends, but eat and drink at home beforehand, order only a glass of water (the variety that pours from the tap) and leave a dollar for tip.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 1, 2005 10:35 PM

I bet I could change your mind... if Nancy is the best cookie maker in the world, then I am the Raja of Indian delights.

Posted by: eric at January 1, 2005 11:29 PM

> Poverty inspires great cooking.

Rotten meat inspires great cooking -- to cover up. Hence, curry!

Posted by: Stu "I drive a Prius" Harris at January 2, 2005 1:03 AM

Eeeeeuw! But you drive a Prius? I'm so impressed!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 2, 2005 1:45 AM

Amy, I've loved your site longtime, and by extension you, but you've finally made a mistake. You're wrong on the science here. It is widely accepted that adult stem-cell research holds some promise, while fetal holds none. That's why nobody is putting any money into it, excepting the hair-brained ninnies of the Cali electorate of which Patti Davis is an example.

You're right about the curry though. It's not food. It's something one avoids stepping in on the sidewalk.

Posted by: Casca at January 2, 2005 1:59 AM

About the poverty-cuisine connection: I've heard that spicy foods are common in poor countries because they make your stomach feel fuller with less. I guess it's kind of like Ben Gay ointment: the burning sensation distracts you from the pain.

I do like good Indian food (not the over-cooked glop that looks like it was farted out of an Alpo can). I love curried garbanzo beans and all the lovely breads. Fantastic sauces and condiments.

Posted by: Sri Lena at January 2, 2005 3:04 AM

I must admit, though, it's kind of funny how we went from talking about dead relatives to Indian food.

Posted by: Night of the Living Lena at January 2, 2005 5:07 AM

Thats the taste of Kharma, you spicy bitch!

Posted by: eric at January 2, 2005 5:16 AM

PS- After just feeding (2) 150 pound dogs. "farted out of an Alpo can" continues to blow a nice Zin up my nose.

Posted by: eric at January 2, 2005 5:20 AM

You won't find Alpo in my kitchen, Eric. Tonight I made brussel sprouts, pancetta, and golden raisins simmered down in a nice, peppery chicken broth. Before that, I had spinach salad with roasted pine nuts and yogurt/chive dressing. It's a tasty Saturday night at Lena Cuisina's place.

What are your dogs' names?

Posted by: Lena at January 2, 2005 6:49 AM

Lola (St Bernard mutt)& Hoggle (Great Pyrinees mutt). Lola is your peanut butter friend. Ape (Akita\Chow) died last year. :-(

Spinach salad- my favorite. Do you have Lighthouse Dressings down there? They make a killer honey & bacon mix for spinach salads.

Pancetta y melon- yummy. Nothing good can ever come from a brussel sprout. Golden raisins (sultanas) are a staple of Indian cooking.

Heres a freebie for everyone out there I came up with one night, and everyone seems to go crazy for: steam jumbo prawns with honey and old bay seasoning. Simple as simple can be, but nobody ever seemed to try these 3 ingredients together. Goes great with citrus basmati rice.

Posted by: eric at January 2, 2005 5:49 PM

What's "old bay seasoning"? The prawns sound great (though expensive).

Brussel sprouts are fabulous in the hands of a master transvestite chef like me. Fabulous texture.

Posted by: Lena at January 2, 2005 6:11 PM

If you are from anywhere east of the Mississippi, asking what Old Bay is is like asking what salt is. They put it on everything. Most gourmet stores have it, as do most major supermarkets. It is a seasoning mix of mustards, chilis, peppers, cloves, allspice, paprika, and some others. It comes in a little yellow can, and is usually by the fresh seafood secction. Its about $4 a can, which lasts forever.

It is also great in corn chowder, with frozen kernels and onion slices added. Instant gourmet in about 3 minutes!

You inspired me to make a spinach/avacado/strawberry salad tonight.

Check it out:

Hey- are we supposed to be talikng about stem cells?

Posted by: eric at January 2, 2005 7:24 PM

Old Bay is second only to garlic on the list of spices I reach for first. It's absolutely fantastic on chicken, as well as on seafood.

Posted by: Alan at January 2, 2005 8:24 PM

What is that, Old Spice for food?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 2, 2005 8:26 PM

Well, I'm gonna get me some of that Old Bay. Does it come complete with a sexy old black dude (of the Chuck Berry vintage) on the side?

Posted by: Lena, horny and middle-aged at January 3, 2005 2:18 AM

Absolutely. Think Fried Green Tomatoes.

Posted by: eric at January 3, 2005 7:00 AM