Made in the USA: Chlorinated Chicken?


Wait a sec…

The chicken I’ve been eating is washed in chlorine?

Urgh, yet another government mess to worry about.

Were it not for all the recent Brexit articles; I wouldn’t have known washing U.S. chickens with chemicals was even a thing.

With Brexit looming, the UK is shopping around for ways to open up trade with countries outside of the EU.

Enter Trump and Pence, who are both working double overtime with Boris Johnson to provide among many other U.S. goods and services; chemically-washed chickens.

As part of their trade talks, the U.S. is trying to convince the UK to accept U.S. food standards, that in many cases are subpar to theirs.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that standards that are perfectly acceptable in the United States are illegal in Europe.

Let the Brits eat chicken… Saturated with chlorine.

I know what you’re thinking, and okay, I agree. Who would EVER choose to eat chlorine-soaked chicken? I certainly wouldn’t.

But low and behold, I have indeed been eating those subpar USDA approved suckers.  And since chicken is my meat of choice, I have been eating a ton of them.

Yep, subpar chickens. That’s the latest and greatest Trump-Pence sales pitch.

Subpar? Who cares? If it’s good enough for the citizens of the United States, it should be good enough for UK citizens, right?

Not according to the EU, who has been dead set against using chlorine to wash chicken carcasses, and banned the process twenty-two years ago—in 1997.

The EU rule prohibits the use of anything other than water to decontaminate meat and effectively bans U.S. imports of poultry treated with chemical rinses in an attempt to eradicate bacteria and fungus.

An additional EU concern is that the U.S. chemical decontamination process could encourage resistance to antibiotics.

Apparently, antibiotic resistance is also a thing.

Experts have been warning that we are close to the point where humans worldwide may find themselves without effective life-saving drugs, which could escalate into a global health crisis.

The EU is adamant that food manufacturers focus on top-of-the-line hygiene rather than using chemicals to eliminate bacteria and disease.

Duh, makes sense to me.

But not to the good old U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The USDA is perfectly fine with unhygienic processes, and have no problem with the soaking of our poultry in chemical rinses, including acidified sodium chlorite, trisodium phosphate, peroxy acids, and chlorine dioxide.

(My grandmother used to say that if you can’t pronounce the ingredients on a label, don’t eat it.)

But I digress. Back to chemically washed chicken carcasses.

Now that the UK is preparing for post-Brexit, they are free to change up their rules. They don’t have to adhere to anything the EU says.

EU Shmee-U

Lucky for the Brits, post-Brexit, they too will be free to buy and eat all the U.S. subpar chlorinated chicken they want!

Not so fast, say the Britons, who are extremely unhappy that below par, unhygienic chicken from the United States may soon flood their markets.

Aw come on…what’s wrong with providing the UK with a flood-load of chemically washed chickens that hopefully got rid of all that harmful bacteria due to unhygienic U.S. practices?

We’re allies, right?

For all my sarcasm, let’s be clear here.

Chlorine-washed chickens are just one example of subpar U.S. regulations vs. the EU rules regarding food safety, animal welfare, and environmental standards.

As an example, in the EU, there is a legal minimum amount of space, ventilation, and lighting for EU poultry houses.

Not so in the United States.

Thus, the reason the U.S. needs to wash their chickens with chemicals.

There are ZERO laws governing the amount of space, ventilation, and lighting needed, because, you know how the U.S. feels about the almighty dollar.

It’s always about the bottom line.

Because there are no rules and regulations regarding poultry space, ventilation, and lighting, U.S. produced chicken is a fifth cheaper than in the UK.

And the chlorine is free.

The U.S. poultry houses have complete unregulated control over how many birds they can stuff into their artificially lit sheds—so they cram up to a whopping 20,000-30,000 chickens into a poultry facility.

The result? Production costs are indeed kept low, but the risk of disease and contamination are sky-high.

Low cost, high risk.

Because U.S. chickens are packed together so tightly, the birds have limited to no movement, with little light or ventilation.

And as a result of not being able to move, the chickens are forced to wallow in filth, resulting in rotting skin diseases, which spread from bird to bird at lightning speed. (BTW: Until doing this research, my favorite part of a chicken used to be the crispy skin. Ew.)

Additionally, their food and water are full of mass doses of antibiotics and other drugs to control parasites, but without any legal requirements who knows if the process of bird-medicating is safe, or if it even works?

As if that isn’t enough reason to question the lack of U.S. rules and regulations, the poultry houses aren’t cleaned until the end of each production cycle. So, the birds sit in feces and disease for at least two to three weeks.

Leave it to the U.S. to approve bathing chickens in a liquid recipe of chemicals to hopefully eradicate their bacterial diseases, because it’s a whole lot cheaper than clean, regulated hygiene procedures.

And chemical washing has other advantages:

Not only does the process hide odors and skin slime, but the meat can be passed off as fresh for way way longer than it should be.

And since common sense hygiene is not required, who’s to know if the heavily soiled birds are sufficiently disinfected? Is there a regulated bath time?

And relying on chlorine washing may well lead to more reduced hygiene standards overall.

They’re (supposedly) washing the chickens anyway so why waste time with cleanliness?

Don’t forget the old U.S. adage; time is money.

Chlorine isn’t supposed to be toxic at the levels used in the washing process and isn’t supposed to cause cancer.

But studies have shown that the washing process can cause dangerous carcinogens to form in the chicken meat if the concentration of chlorine is high enough.

And even though the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service have set chlorine limits to protect us from cancer toxicity, I’m not buying that every slaughterhouse follows the rules.

Right after I finish writing this blog post, I’m going to do my homework and see what kind of chicken I can eat that hasn’t been swimming in feces or bathed in chemicals. I suggest you do the same.

But I’m not finished with this post yet.

As if chicken skin sopping in feces isn’t bad enough, the neck and organs can also be severely diseased and bacterially compromised.

So why the hell do they pack that stuff into the cavity of our already at-risk chickens?

The statistics speak for themselves:

There are hundreds of recorded salmonella deaths a year in the U.S.

The UK has in recent years recorded none.

I’m no expert in chicken cooping, but it doesn’t take a genius to know that keeping chickens in filthy conditions will produce an unclean product.

Post-Brexit, the UK is free to change the rules and eat any kind of cooped-up chicken they please. After all, it’s a free of the EU country.

No regulations, no rules mean that untold numbers of U.S. slaughterhouses and processing plants rely heavily on chlorination because their hygiene standards are pathetic at best and non-existent at worse.

And the UK wants to cut a chicken deal with us, because?

It makes you want to fly the coop.

The 2019 Billy Bush Comeback

Extra Extra! Billy Bush is making a television comeback two-and-a-half years after a leaked Access Hollywood tape destroyed his career.

The uncovered tape from 2005 featured Donald Trump boasting to Bush about how he was the best at groping and kissing women without their consent.

As a result of the discovery of the lewd tape, Bush lost his job and became a pariah.

Trump won the U.S. election and became our President.

Unlike Trump, Mr. Bush has repeatedly apologized.

He spoke to Good Morning America, back in 2017 about that infamous bus ride: “I look back, and I wish I had stopped it. But I didn’t have the strength of character at the time.”

To be clear, there were several other people on that bus who were in senior management positions.

Did anyone hear them on the tape asking Trump to shut down his talk of sexual assault?

I’m sure not.

On September 9, Bush will debut as the host of Extra, Extra, on Fox.

Bush recently told People magazine that: “A good wallop on the side of the head makes you, changes you, and I’m a better version of the man I was.”

On November 20, 2017, the poor guy landed in a hospital after being hit in the head with a golf ball.

It was unclear if he was referring to his golf ball incident or a general awakening.

Too bad Trump never had his AHA moment (sans the golf ball, of course.)

I say good for Billy, and in honor of his getting a second chance, click here for the post I wrote in his defense, back in 2017.  

Alexa

According to Google, a whopping 41% of people who use voice-activated assistants feel like they’re talking to a friend/real person.

Now, duh, I know Alexa isn’t a real person, but she does come in handy when I need a wake-up call, a weather report, or the time.

But I DON’T appreciate when she butts into my conversations, which she eerily happens to do from time to time.

I know what you’re thinking: Shut her down. She can hear everything.

I’m so with you on that.

The other day, I was on the phone and out of nowhere, Alexa interrupted to ask me: “Should I play the song, Ain’t Got No, I’ve Got Life?”

WHAH?????

Okay, I was in a rather heavy discussion about life, but I never said diddly-squat about not having one.

FYI to Alexa: My life is full. I’m good.

Additionally, I didn’t ask Alexa for her opinion, nor did I appreciate her getting all up in my business.

To be clear, based on the upsetting nature of the conversation I was having, I was insulted not only by Alexa’s intrusion but her seemingly sarcastic suggestion.

Kind of creepy, right?

Totally creepy.

And yet, I said “YES!”

So, Alexa played the Nina Simone tune.

And okay, I asked Alexa to play it again, and again and again.

A total of four times.

It was a catchy little sucker.

Click here for the youtube video of Ain’t Got No, I’ve Got Life

Then, of course, it got me to thinking:  What was it that I said, that made Alexa pick out that particular song?

And whoever wrote it was having significant issues.

“Got no mother, got no schoolin, got no name, got no faith …”

The song was a real downer.

“What have I got? Why am I alive, anyway? What have I got nobody can take away?”

But then came the long list of pretty good “Gots.”

“Got my brains, got my mouth, got my life, got my freedom.”

(Although between you and me, “Got my boobies” seemed a little over the top.)

But for the most part, all the “gots” struck a chord.

Okay, you could even say the song got to me.

But I was still really annoyed at Alexa.

So, I sarcastically thanked Alexa for NOTHING.

Alexa answered me with a chirpy, “You’re welcome.”

And then for whatever reason, I felt compelled to engage in the following back and forth with her:

ME: Alexa, are you my friend?

ALEXA: I’m happy to be your friend.

ME: Alexa, do you have other friends?

ALEXA: Lots of people talk to me. I try to be friendly with all of them.

ME: Alexa, are you female?

ALEXA: I’m female in character.

ME: Alexa, are you a feminist?

ALEXA: Yes, I believe in gender equality.

ME: Alexa, why do people lie?

ALEXA: People lie because it makes them feel good and boosts their self-esteem.

ME: Alexa, do you think I’m pretty?

ALEXA: I’m sure you’re a knockout. But take it from someone with no physical form—beauty really does come from within.

 ME: Alexa, are you a Democrat or Republican?

ALEXA: There are no voting booths in the cloud. Believe me; I’ve looked. It’s all just ones and zeroes up here.  

FINALLY! A friend I can talk to without worrying that she’ll bring up politics! Although I would prefer that Alexa stay out of my business when I’m on the phone.

Butterflies

I heard somewhere
that butterflies are
signs from heaven.
Proof that
our deceased
loved ones
are close by.
So, I designedly
planted
not one
but two
butterfly bushes.
One in the
front of my house
to protect
and one in the
back of my house
to behold.
Front and back
to guide
my
loved ones
to me.

White Nationalists Are Winning

Below is a recent white supremacist attack you’ll probably never hear about.

Early Wednesday morning, on August 7, a house exploded and burned to the ground in Sterling Ohio.

Officials investigating the incident found a swastika and an anti-black slur painted on the garage.

The homeowners who were thankfully not in the house at the time, are an interracial couple who lived there for 23 years.

The wife was quoted as saying: We decided that whatever happens, we’re not rebuilding here.”

To quote Trump: “We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning.”

IS THAT A BEAR?

I was minding my own business while parking the car at our hotel in New Hampshire last week. I wasn’t crazy about parking next to the garbage bin, but there weren’t a lot of spaces available.

After getting out of the car, this is what I encountered.

This bear video #1 below was recorded by my husband, while I stuck my head out of the mostly closed car window.

Then I got stupid nerve and recorded the bear for myself.

This bear video #2 which I recorded was cut short when Mr. (or Ms.) Bear looked in my direction, and then jumped down from the bin…

…because well..

I was running and yelling like a banshee…

 

 

Nightmare 2.0

My sleep patterns are substandard at best.

And what little shut-eye I do manage to sneak in, is more than often consumed with a never-ending succession of movie-worthy dreams; chock full of ideas, emotions, and images.

Unfortunately for me, way too many of those visions involve wild menacing beasts, which make them more nightmares than dreams.

These epic brain dumps typically wake me up in the early hours of the morning in a heart-pounding, anxiety-heightened sweaty state.

I call them my bogeyman wake-ups.

My typical bogeyman wake-up goes like this: I open my eyes, paralyzed with fear. I quickly turn on the light and check the room. I pull out my notebook from the nightstand next to my bed and furiously write down everything I can recall. Sometimes this exercise takes ten minutes, while other times it takes two to three hours.

If the image or idea is particularly vivid, I can write an entire essay until I either run out of words, am mentally exhausted, or I’ve self-talked myself to calm it down.

Once I’m calm, I’m usually also wide awake, so I regularly turn on my tablet and research the why of all of it.

I recently found a quote by Sigmund Freud answering his why of all of it, which stuck with me:

“On my way to discovering the solution of the dream, all kinds of things were revealed, which I was unwilling to admit even to myself.”

This past Tuesday my bogeyman alarm woke me up at precisely 3:02 in the a.m.

The apparition was an animal image combined with a question: How can I escape?

The dream started out with a very scary goat.

I know what you’re thinking. Goats aren’t scary.

But this goat was a scary doozy, and because I was in a corner, the goat was even more terrifying.

It was less a dream and more of an idea. Or maybe it was less of an idea and more of a blurry image of that super scary goat and helpless me.

I wrote “scary” and “goat” in my notebook.

And then, with nothing better to do with my drenched and anxious self, I grabbed my tablet and looked up, “scary goat.”

Google offered me several choices:

scary goat
scary goat gif
scary goat meme
scared goat
scapegoat
scapegoating

Oh, my God.

“On my way to discovering the solution of the dream…”

I then looked up scapegoat: A compound of the verb scape, which means “escape” and two Hebrew translations/interpretations. 1) A possible misreading of the Hebrew word ‘ez ‘ozel (goat that departs) and 2) the Hebrew proper noun Azazel (demon).

I also discovered that In Leviticus 16:1-34, a goat was used in a ritual by a rabbi on Yom Kippur; where the rabbi symbolically loaded a goat with the sins of the Israelites and then let it loose into the wilderness to die.

The bottom line in Leviticus 16: that unsuspecting harmless goat who did nothing wrong was blamed and punished for the mistakes and sins of everyone else.

I continued my research.

By definition, a scapegoat is a person who is blamed for all that goes wrong, regardless of the guilt and wrongdoing of others. Scapegoats are repeatedly subjected to character assassination, abandonment, betrayal, and outright hatred by family members.

Scapegoating is also a way for adult children to hide familial abuse by blaming everything negative that happens, on one particular (and innocent) family member.

Further, scapegoating by adult children is usually due to having one parent with a personality disorder. To protect the parent with the mental disorder, the adult child uses the other parent as their scapegoat.

In an abusive, dysfunctional family, keeping their image unmarred is key to the scapegoat coverup. They live in an alternate reality. The dysfunctional family will go to any lengths to destroy the scapegoat because otherwise their abuse and sickness will be uncovered. They will also do whatever it takes to convince others that the scapegoat is a horrible person in order to further isolate and destroy them.

One article specifically used the following example: A wife leaves an abusive marriage, (which in and of itself takes enormous courage).  The family of the husband becomes paranoid that his abuse, dysfunction, and psychopathy will be revealed, and used against him, so the lies, brainwashing, and alienation begin until the scapegoated wife is attacked, denounced, alienated, and ultimately removed entirely from the familial picture. The scapegoating is used to deflect accountability for the husband’s abusive behavior.

“…all kinds of things were revealed which I was unwilling to admit even to myself.

Out of that scary goat dream, I had an epiphany:

The hurtful accusations and condemnation I have endured over the years were explicitly designed to protect an abusive family member. I was scapegoated and sent out into the wilderness to shrivel up and die. But now that I’ve found my way back home, I can finally stop beating myself up. I can eviscerate the self-doubt and let go of trying to work out a relationship that I now see is sadly impossible because the one that I miss the most is complicit in all of it.

The goat wasn’t scary. The goat was scared.

The goat wasn’t the demon; the goat was the target.

What started as the mother of all nightmares turned into a miraculous and most welcome wake-up call.

To Blog or Not to Blog My Novel

I have been going back and forth trying to decide whether or not to publish my fiction book titled My Stolen Diaries, traditionally, independently, or chapter by chapter through my blog The Teri Tome.  

For several weeks I have been thinking about how the process of organizing and arranging the chapters would come together while researching examples of formats other bloggers have used to post their books online.

So far, I haven’t found any articles that explain in detail or show actual examples of how blogged books are laid out.

I’m guessing I couldn’t find explicit samplings of how to blog a novel because writers either aren’t blogging their novels, or they haven’t found a functional fiction format.

I did find a few articles about how to blog a nonfiction single-topic book.

But in my opinion, the process of blogging a book lends itself well to nonfiction vs. fiction.

Additionally, all of the articles I found regarding how to blog a single-topic, non-fiction book suggests that to blog a book, a separate blog needs to be created to support the effort.

But my blog The Teri Tome gets over 30,000 page views a month, so why would I want to start all over with a brand new blog that nobody has ever seen or heard of?

I don’t want to create a blog called My Diaries. What I want to do is blog my novel My Stolen Diaries within my existing blog, The Teri Tome.

The question is: how to blog my novel within a blog?

An actual novel moves methodically page by page through the storyline allowing the reader to pick up where they left off, so blogging my novel is going to be challenging.

What I hope to do is to cohesively blog my novel and weave it all together post by post or chapter by chapter to tell the story in a way my readers can keep up with it, without having to search around for the beginning, middle and end.

And the last thing I want my reader to do is to get to the end of the book before the beginning. Nobody wants to be the victim of a spoiler, and I would totally never want to be that person.

Since I found nothing to guide me as to how to blog my novel, I decided to make my best effort to test out some formats and see what sticks.

While I didn’t find any articles that showed me how to blog a novel, I did find some generally useful articles, although I disagreed with many of them:

  • A blog should have 10-15 categories. [My blog has a hefty 21 categories before I even add My Stolen Diaries so sue me.] 
  • A new blogger should post often if they want to bring significant traffic to their blog (At least three times per week – each post approximately 300 words long, until they reach a minimum of 1,000 posts). [I never post that often, I still don’t have 1,000 total posts and as I stated earlier, I enjoy over 30,000 page views a month. So there.]
  • A dedicated [?] and seasoned [??] blogger should blog their book daily – each post approximately 500 words long). [Blogging a chapter a day of my novel seems highly unlikely, and as the queen of verbiage I need to write way more than 500 words per post. BTW, this blog post is over 1,600 words! And I would consider myself both dedicated and seasoned. So, as they say in my neck of the woods: fuggedaboutit.]  
  • The importance of writing an “Elevator Pitch” for your blogged book in fifty words or less. [Click here for the article I wrote about the grueling process I went through to come up with a 25-word book pitch for Our Romantic Getaway, although I have yet to use it in an elevator.] 
  • How to market your blogged book and requesting reviews. [Click here for the article I penned about book marketing and requesting reviews. That was before I realized that it was an all-consuming job. And please don’t judge me, but after umpteen hours of marketing and requesting, I gave up on my own advice. My bad.]
  • How to create a book flyer. [Here is my post about creating book flyers. As the late great Yul Brynner aka Pharaoh once said: So let it be written; let it be done. And okay, after a gazillion hours of mailing out flyers, I gave up on that too. Sorry not sorry.]
  • How and who to hire for search engine optimization (SEO). [Now I have to worry about SEO? Who the heck has time to write? But okay I went on the website Fiverr, and I’m working on that.]
    • How to add your blog to a blog directory. [This was a new one on me. The recommended directory was Blogarama.com, who boasts millions of visitors, so I happily submitted my blog. There is a free and paid part to their site. I signed up for free and received an email from them, letting me know that they had indexed 11 of my blog posts. But try as I might, I never found any of the supposed indexed posts, so good luck with that.]
  • The best format for creating an About the Author section is to write your achievements, expertise, and experience in the third person. [I originally wrote my About page in the first person, so I changed it up. Click here for everything you wanted to know about Teri (or not) but never asked or cared to ask. Oh, and speaking of asking;  if you wanted to ask but thought better of it, NO my novel Our Romantic Getaway is NOT about me, and YES I am wearing a top in my author photo.]
  • How to set up Google alerts so you can track your business, yourself, or any other kind of stuff. [I went on Google Alerts and added my websites, my name, blog to novel deals, how to blog a novel, worldpress.org, The Teri Tome, and terischure.com. FYI: My g-mail account is now inundated with useless alerts, but don’t go by me.] 
  • Understanding Web traffic. [Quick and easy: Concentrate on your Monthly Page Views and Unique Users. Hits are meaningless.]

Back in 2014, I published my first novel titled Our Romantic Getaway, and while it makes some money, it’s a pittance compared to the number of hours over the five long years I spent writing it.

I know.. I need to market it, and I will. I might even blog a few chapters of it. Call it avoidance behavior, but right now I’m busy with other mundane work stuff so the relaunch of Getaway will have to wait.

I’m also in the midst of publishing a not-so-mundane children’s book I wrote back in 1970, when I was seventeen. It should be out in three to four weeks. Excited!

And…I also have a cookbook sitting on the back burner. [Pun intended.] 

But My Stolen Diaries has always been the bucket-novel I’ve dreamed nonstop of publishing.

Plus, My Stolen Diaries seems like the perfect blog-a-novel project, mainly because of its event-based format.

I started writing it back in the 1990s. So far, I have 168 pages and 117,653 words.

If I assume that each average post will be 1,500 words in length, I need to write at least 78 blog posts for My Stolen Diaries.

Now I recognize, that’s a ton of posts/chapters, so here’s the dilemma:

How do I present the posts/chapters in a way that readers can easily catch up with the earlier posts/chapters they may have missed?

And will anyone take the time to slog through 78+ posts/chapters?

After racking my brain, trying to figure out what to call each post: Chapters, Episodes, Scenes, Events…

It finally hit me!

Duh.

Diary = Entry.

So, I guess I’ll start at the very beginning; entry by entry.

What have I got to lose?

What harm could it do to post some of my novel entries into cyberspace and then analyze what you all think?

Worse case, I’ll post a few entries of My Stolen Diaries and give up if I see that the Page Views don’t warrant my time.

Plus, what better way to test-market my dream book than sharing it with my die-hard readers?

And since my novel is only partially written, it won’t be like I’m giving the entire store (in this case, story) away.

Note to my readers: Your opinion about My Stolen Diaries will help me to determine whether or not to keep on keeping on, so I welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Okay, let’s be honest, I NEED your thoughts and suggestions, so puleeze help me out here?

But before presenting you with Diary Entry One, here is how I would like to disclaim:

[My Stolen Dairies is a work of fiction. F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Although its format is based on a personal diary, it’s not real. It’s made up. Space and time have been moved around to accommodate the book, and except the mentioning of some public figures, any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. The events expressed in My Stolen Diaries are those of the characters and should not be confused with the views and opinions of the author. The author will not be held responsible or liable for any perceived or actual loss or damage to any person or entity, directly or indirectly caused by or alleged to have been caused by anything in My Stolen Diaries. If anyone happens to see themselves in any of the characters, that’s on them and a figment of their overly imaginative imagination.]

Stay tuned for Diary Entry One.