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September 7th, 2006 - Phil's Rambling Rants

September 7th, 2006

September 7th, 2006
07:31 pm

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Adventure Spaghetti
Last night, Meijer had this deal where "all squash" was 3 lbs./$1.  Included in a pile of mixed squash under one of these signs was yellow summer squash so I picked up a couple decent sized ones, and then started trying to decide what I'd do with it.  I drew some inspiration from a can of spinach that's been sitting in the cupboard for a long time, and then decided to go with tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Ground beef seemed the most appropriate meat.  As I drove home, the final elements of the plan came together in my head with the decision to use tomatoes with green chilis, and to put it over spaghetti instead of my usual rice or sometime macaroni.

recipe enclosedCollapse )

Keeping a little more liquid, but thickening it with cornstarch, might produce a slightly better consistency.  This "sauce"  was plenty thick enough to eat straight with a fork, and tended to stick to itself more than to the pasta.

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08:43 pm

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Vegetative States
I heard on the BBC news just now that scientists using new-fangled brain scanning equipment have discovered that a woman in a persistent vegetative state is aware of her surroundings and can even respond to commands.  This is surprising, and does lead me to wonder how many people in such states actually still have a person inside the husk.  But what worries me is the likely reaction of the public.  I'm quite sure that most people will think that this discovery should lead us to be more aggressive about keeping their hearts beating and less ready to pull the plug.

Frankly, this horrifies me.  I don't know if it's that I have more imagination than most people, or just a different outlook on the world, but I think that being condemned to remain conscious trapped in a body that cannot move or communicate would be ghastly beyond belief.  I've long believed that if consciousness has departed never to return, the person is already dead even if their body is still maintaining homeostasis, and it's a foolish waste of valuable medical resources to keep it 'alive' -- but if these findings are born out, and it's found to be a common condition, I think it's even more important to terminate life support as soon as it's clear that the person isn't going to wake up.  I cannot accept keeping a loved one in a state I wouldn't wish on the most foul murderer as a moral act.  And I certainly hope that if I'm ever in such a state, someone will care enough about me to end my suffering -- and that they won't face criminal charges for it.

The one place I can agree with the "pro-life" lobby is that this finding does mean that removing the feeding tube from a vegetable* is not the right thing to do.  If there's someone alive inside there, starving them to death is cruel.  A large dose of IV potassium chloride is much more appropriate. 

*(Is it politically correct to call a human in a persistent vegetative state a vegetable?  Probably not, but do I care?)

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