Facebook, stuff and Sorenne edition

There’s been some changes in technical stuff at barfblog.com, and I don’t really understand what’s going on, I just write for free to delay the inevitable decay of my brain.

If you want to follow us on facebook, you need to sign up to the barfblog group, because that’s where the postings show up.

I don’t know if subscribers are receiving posts in a timely manner in their e-mail — I’m not, but I’m just a writer — but you can let Chapman know because he’s in charge.

But I’m still barfblog and barfblog is still me, so here is Sorenne, who scored the winning touch to take the final in their inter-school division this afternoon (they call everything grand finals here, and they’re not grand, they’re finals; no one calls the NHL Stanley Cup the grand finals), and a couple of recent pieces of art.

As I said when I started the other newspaper at the University of Guelph in 1988, you don’t like it, start your own paper and stop complaining.

What to be of barfblog? Salmonella outbreak linked to Caito foods fresh-cut melons

When Chapman and I started barfblog.com on an airplane flight in 2005 (name credit goes to former student Christian), we thought it would last a couple of years.

It was supposed to be a mix of the personal, the pop, and evidence-based research.

I’ve quit many times, because, that’s what I do, but with my brain going, writing is about the only thing to keep me sane.

A month ago I said I’m out.

I say the same thing to Amy every few months.

I’m an idiot.

Amy told me to start a separate blog, dougsdeadflowers.com, and write whatever I want, but barfblog.com has become part of me for the past almost 20 years.

And then yesterday I saw a get-well message from a Canadian public health inspector who said, “you are our hero.”

Sure, I’m that vain.

I’m confused, and my brain ain’t working, so in the name of transparency, I throw it to my readers who have been there for 26 years:

  • should I stop writing
  • should I focus my available energy on a book
  • should I have a separate blog for personal stuff (which means barfblog.com would die, because Chapman is not a writer)
  • should I mix personal stuff in with the food safety stuff, or is that too narcissistic?

My inclination is to follow my Welsh roots and not go gentle into that good night, but that is hard on those I love.

And this is why Australian retailers should stop selling half-cut cantaloupe-rockmelons and others.

As soon as melons are cut, bacteria go to town.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state and local partners, is investigating a multistate outbreak of Salmonella Carrau illnesses linked to pre-cut melon products. These products contain cantaloupe, honeydew, or watermelon, or may be mixes of some or all of these melons and other pre-cut fruit.

Caito Foods, LLC, of Indianapolis, Ind., has recalled products containing pre-cut melons because they are potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Additionally, Caito Foods, LLC has temporarily suspended producing and distributing these products.

FDA worked with CDC and state partners to trace the distribution of pre-cut melon mixes from individual case patients back to Caito Foods, LLC. FDA is also continuing its traceback investigation to identify the specific source of these melons. Salmonella Carrau is a rare type of Salmonella but has been historically seen in imported melons. Reports from Caito Foods LLC indicate that imported melons were used in the suspect pre-cut melon mixes. FDA’s traceback investigation is examining shipping records to try to determine a country and if possible, a farm of origin for the melons.

FDA and Indiana authorities are currently inspecting and investigating, to include collecting samples for laboratory analysis, at the Caito Foods LLC processing facility where these melons were cut and packed.

Caito Foods, LLC was linked to a similar outbreak in 2018 involving Salmonella Adelaide in pre-cut melon products.

Dreams are weird, so is the brain

I had this dream, where I was coaching on the ice in Brisbane for a few hours, helping do evaluations of kids – male and female – and running them through drills.

As the kids got changed and the girls were mixed in with the boys, I explained we had enough girls in Guelph that they had their own league, and as a coach, I wouldn’t go into the dressing room until they were all dressed, and after the game would debrief for a couple of minutes, and then say good bye outside.

After 3 hours of on-ice training I said I’m going home for an hour and would be back.

I started to put on my street clothes, realized it was dark outside, looked at my iPhone and saw it was 2 a.m.

I miss coaching, but my brain is doing too many weird things.

And in real-life I fall a lot.

I’d post this to my other blog, dougsdeadflowers.com, since it has nothing to do with food safety, but still having technical difficulties. Chapman has not figured out how to put a link on barfblog.com, and what’s left of my identity that I can remember is barfblog.

Not dead yet: Future of barfblog.com

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

That famous quote, often wrongly ascribed to Albert Einstein, is believed to have originated with Narcotics Anonymous in 1981 (the same year I began university).

In addition to helping raise five daughters, providing endless relationship entertainment to the folks I played pick-up hockey with back in Guelph (that’s pre-Amy, who is playing pick-up as I write this), helping teach lots of kids how to skate, influencing lotsa students (good and bad, not much in-between), pissing off lotsa bureaucrats and industry types, publishing lots of peer-reviewed stuff that still gets cited daily and almost 15,000 barfblog.com posts, I did news.

Food Safety Network news, long before wannabes.

For 26 years I’ve done news.

And always referenced the evidence, or lack thereof.

Until others do the same, they’re just plagiarists.

I combined my background in molecular biology with some journalism experience, and I carved out a path in food safety.

The vision I always had for food safety information, all those years ago, was what I heard about daily – and often directly: How the hell was I supposed to know?

We mined the world (I used Compuserve to get access to the AP wires and others back in the days before Google, when the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s MMWR would take six months to arrive by mail, when those who needed to know should have had the information as soon as possible).

I am intensely loyal to the kids, er, students, that flourished and maybe we’ll write a book; or maybe not.

I did my best, even when my best wasn’t good enough.

I still love it – I haven’t been paid in over two years — but someone else should be in charge.

I have early-onset dementia, I have other health issues, so rather than submit any more family members to, I’ve got to do news, I am going to step away while I can.

Of the 15,287 barfblog.com posts, I authored (or cut and paste) 13,070 since 2005. That’s 86 per cent, or an ice hockey goalie save percentage of .8549, which isn’t great (should be over .91) but doesn’t exactly suck, because this isn’t hockey.

It’s something different.

And time for me to do something different.

I may still write, maybe about food safety, maybe about other things, maybe about the probability of monkeys flying out of my butt.

But for now, I’ve got other priorities.

Ben can figure out what to do and what he wants to do.

It’s been an honor and a privilege to share your computer screens, maybe even your brain space, and improve food safety, one tip-sensitive digital thermometer, one less serving of raw sprouts, and one calling out of bullshit advice, at a time.

Peace and love.

dp

Curiosity, not assumptions, makes life interesting

I get lots of barfblog.com fan mail like the piece below.

Normally I just cc Chapman on my reply, so someone can take over when I die (me in the hospital last week with gall bladder issues, my partner and daughter bought me a nice light robe for the Australian summers, and I was with Larry, my portable IV unit I shared a shower and bed with), or get tired of doing this, or my brain sufficiently rots, but this was too ripe, so welcome to the daily insults of an unpaid blogger.

Hello Doug I trust all is well.
I have a question for you.
Do you (brilliant Scientist, food safety guru) really think the Fox host has not washed his hands in 10 years
Doug you used a pile of E.  dung to purposely smear the President of a country that you are not a citizen of. 
I ask you to please rebuke your political opinions and stick with what has and always will help advance food safety – you!

I am an American citizen. I worked long and hard for that distinction, given my Canadian prison record. I voted in the last election, and not for Mr. Trump. The Fox News dude is now saying his lack of handwashing was a joke, but given the discourse on Fox, I kinda doubt it. More like covering his ass (like a HACCP plan).

I am a citizen of three countries and have three passports – Canadian, American and Australian. So does Sorenne. Amy has two. It’s not a secret and could easily been discovered, but you chose to assume rather than ask. That’s a problem for science and journalism: People making up shit.

Others might call it fake news.

To paraphrase what I told sceptics in 1987 when I started the University of Guelph alternative newspaper, if you don’t like my blog, don’t read it, start your own, and stop wasting my time.

Peace.

And here’s a video from another citizen of Canada and America.

The silliness of academia: ‘I’m excited for the vivid dimensionality, impactful synergies, and collaborative challenges of this meta-disciplinary discourse opportunity’

I despised Mike Souliere.

He was sieve Souliere, I was porous Powell when we played as goaltenders for AAA peewee hockey in Brantford, a lifetime ago.

He was better than me.

And now Mike and I exchange notes on facebook.

Mike, and Amy, both pointed out that my facebook messages were getting weird.

I hate facebook.

I hate text.

I’m one of those cranky old guys who wonders how a whole generation missed e-mail.

I’m done. My brain is mush.

I’ll try to write a book or two, but I need to pay attention to myself and my family.

Marler hiring Joe, telling me to fuck off (not that I cared about that) and me not getting paid for 18 months, translates to, I give up.

I’ve been doing this for 25 years.

And I never met a lawyer who couldn’t appropriate a good idea.

I’ve got grandkids to go see.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool. … Be honest and unmerciful.”

I need to be honest, with my failings and successes.

Bonhomme Carnival: Pee wee hockey in Quebec

About 45 years ago, I got to play in the pee wee tournament at the Quebec winter carnival.

In 1974, as a pee wee (ice) hockey goaltender, I boarded a train, with my parents, from Brantford, Ontario to Quebec City.
Today, I’m reading the messages of Australian parents who have sent their Ice Crocs to the same pee wee tournament in Quebec City, as part of the winter carnival, or as the French prof would say, Bonhomme Carnaval, or I would say, Quebec Winter Carnival (and not by train, it would sink).
The pee wee hockey tournament has been a cornerstone of the Quebec Winter Carnival for, forever.

Coming from the town of Gretzky, great expectations were thrust upon the kids from Brantford, and about 10,000 people showed up in the arena where the Nordique used to play (it was probably 500, but great storytelling sometimes requires great imagination).

I let in 4 goals in two periods and was yanked.

My friend Mike (who I used to fear as a better goalie, but now we’re facebook friends) went in for the third and let in two goals.

We lost 6-0.

I have tried to bring these humble homilies to my years of coaching, teaching, and whatever else.

The experience though, was fantastic, hanging out with our host family, walking around in -20C weather, and awestruck by the 30-foot snow piles at the end of driveways.

We lost the game, but learned so much.

This is my way of telling hockey parents — especially the Australian ones —  chill out.

My parents were and are awesome, driving me to the rink, going to Quebec City, getting on a plane when I needed them.

 

Stick it in and get it safe

Our contractor warned us the house would like a missile site for a few weeks.

It does, after Canadian daughter 4-of-4 and her boyfriend moved in.

Aussie time.

What I do notice is the builders are always shouting out measurement in millimeters.

120-this, 280-that.

So why wouldn’t anyone expect the same precision in cooking and use a tip-sensitive digital thermometer instead of some food porn adjectives.

We expect bridges to stay up when we cross them, house to stay intact when they are reinforced with steel.

We should expect food to be safe when we cook it.

That requires data, not porn.