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Life without caffeine, and good decaf teas to try

by Crowhill on 25 October 2016

I used to drink lots of coffee. Lots. And it never bothered me, even if I drank it in the evening. I’d drink coffee and sleep like a baby. But then God decided He didn’t like me any more, and I began my life without caffeine.

life without caffeine

Avoiding unnecessary details … it just didn’t agree with me any more. The doc said I had an irritated colon, and it would go away after a while. That was about 20 years ago. From time to time I’ve started drinking caffeine again, hoping the problem had gone away, but while it’s much better, it’s still an issue, so unless I really need the caffeine, I avoid it.

(Another doctor, who specializes in such things, said the first doc was wrong. Such things don’t go away.)

But I can’t spend my life boo-hooing, so I have to adjust. I’m stuck in a life without caffeine, which is a drag because I love coffee and tea. As my dentist has noticed.

Life without caffeine — Any decent teas?

There’s a difference between no caffeine tea — like peppermint, or camomile — and decaf tea. I’ve never been much of a fan of the herbal teas, with one exception I’ll mention below.

Decaf teas — where they start with actual tea and remove the caffeine through some ghastly process — are almost always terrible. They remind you of something almost, but not quite, exactly unlike tea. You’d be better off putting garden mulch in a cup of hot water.

But there are some good ones. The best two I’ve found are Barry’s and Yorkshire. They’re stronger than most teas so they actually taste like tea, although they do lack that caffeine bite.

You might be thinking that if it’s just a matter of strength, why not use two bags on those other decaf teas. Nope. It doesn’t work. It’s not how strong you brew it, it’s something else about the tea. The variety, I suppose.

If you want a flavored tea, Davidson’s bulk decaf Earl Grey is good.

The only non-tea tea I’ve found that’s worth considering is rooibos. Straight rooibos is fairly boring — it’s simply too mild for my tastes — but there are some interesting blends, the best of which is Good Earth Original Tea. It’s sweet and spicy and doesn’t need any sugar. It’s really good on a cold morning when you’re camping.

Life without caffeine — decaf coffee isn’t so bad

Coffee isn’t as much of a problem. Tea loses a lot of its flavor when you remove the caffeine, but coffee has enough other flavors that it’s still decent — especially if you drink a stronger coffee.

Decaf coffee is definitely not as good as regular, and … honestly, it’s somewhat embarrassing to drink the stuff. It’s like drinking no-alcohol beer, or wearing a clip-on tie. But … it’s not terrible.

I wish someone could come up with a replacement that gave the drink that caffeine bite without the caffeine. Who knows? Maybe when they invent replicators.

(And yes, regular readers, in case you’re wondering — this is an experiment.)

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-25  ::  Crowhill

Polls as propaganda

by Crowhill on 24 October 2016

You’ve probably seen the headlines. “Hillary up 12 points.” “Trump up 2 points.” “All tied up,” etc.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that there are polls and there are polls. Internet polls are useless, as are polls of the general public. Polls of “registered voters” are mostly useless. Only polls of “likely voters” are worth much, and then only if they are done well.

Any competent journalist or news site should know this, but … they keep citing these ridiculous polls. Why?

The general answer that applies to why news sites do anything has to apply here as well. I.e., to cause a stir, get eyeballs and sell advertising.

But I think it goes beyond that in this case. People aren’t reporting on polls to tell us what’s going on, but to push us in a certain direction.

3 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-24  ::  Crowhill

Should I should have scared her?

by Crowhill on 22 October 2016

Greenbelt Park is one of my favorite places. I spent a lot of time there as a lad, and these days I run the perimeter trail when I can make the time. I love it.

When I run the trail I usually take someone with me for a long chat. The “someone” is, of course, one of my inner interlocutors. The chat might be between the believer and the skeptic, or the conservative and the liberal, or just my mental reconstruction of a particular person that I know.

This morning on part of my jog I was joined by an old professional colleague (a liberal woman I’ve known for years) and we were discussing this and that. During out chat a young woman came running by in the other direction, and I smiled as nicely as I could and said hello. She beamed at me with a smile that would melt an igloo, and my jogging partner said, “Despite being a complete Neanderthal, you are a nice guy.”

I thought, “Really? If I was a nice guy I would have tried to scare her so she wouldn’t go jogging alone in the park.”

Of course I want to live in a world where everyone is perfectly safe no matter where they are. Children should be able to play with cobras and I should be able to leave my wallet in my unlocked car.

And some people — like perhaps this woman running alone in the woods — seem to believe that wishing the world is like that, and behaving as if the world is like that, will make it like that.

To some extent that’s true. Kindness breeds kindness — among normal, decent people.

Unfortunately, there are far too many people who are neither normal nor decent, which is why women should not be running alone in the woods. And no, I don’t believe I should have scared her, but if I had the opportunity to chat with her I would have tried to convince her to get a running companion. And not just an inner interlocutor. Maybe a dog.

8 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-22  ::  Crowhill

Rigged elections, and pre-accepting them

by Crowhill on 21 October 2016

In politics, it’s all about whose ox is being gored.

It’s not about issues or high-minded principles. It’s about power. Each sides flips and flops depending on whether it will help them at the moment.

For much of this year, Democrats have been warning that Russians hackers might be compromising the integrity of the election. (They probably hyped the story because they wanted a federal takeover of state and local control of the elections.) But when Trump says the election is rigged, somehow that’s going too far.

There is a distinction, of course. The complaint about Russian hackers has to do with outside interference, while Trump’s complaint implies corruption on the inside. But they are similar complaints in that they will cast doubt on the validity of the results. But somehow when Trump raises that doubt, it’s an emergency and a betrayal, but not when Clinton and her cronies do.

The other interesting contrast is all this business about pledging to accept the outcome of the election. As I recall, many prominent Democrats didn’t want Al Gore to accept his defeat in 2000. And many still don’t.

I, for one, have already accepted the outcome of this election. We will get an awful president.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-21  ::  Crowhill

Nothing you say or do is private ever again

by Crowhill on 19 October 2016

Marco Rubio is warning Republicans not to use the Wikileaks material because “tomorrow it could be us.”

Oh. So if Republicans don’t use it today, Democrats won’t use it tomorrow?

Yes, that is how stupid the Stupid Party is. It’s unbelievable.

We’re learning a lot from the Wikileaks material. First, how corrupt our government is, and second, how the lapdog media has snuggled in the White Witch’s sleigh and eaten her food.

But most importantly, we’re learning that you can’t consider any email to be private. Ever.

The same is probably also true with phone calls, your internet search history, … everything.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-19  ::  Crowhill

European socialism and the crappy stone work in the District of Columbia

by Crowhill on 18 October 2016

The sidewalks within a few blocks of my office in the District of Columbia are a disgrace. The stones are broken, uneven, and they wobble when you step on them. It’s very easy to trip on them, and when it rains the water pools up in the cavities underneath so that when you step on the wrong spot they send a little eruption of water up your pants leg.

The DC government clearly did not hire the right people to do this work, and it’s been like this for years. It’s ridiculous.

I just had coffee with a friend who is an advocate of European socialism. We discussed the messy sidewalks and she said this sort of thing would not happen in Europe. The government would hire competent stone workers and get the job done right.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-18  ::  Crowhill

Taking catastrophes seriously for a moment

by Crowhill on 17 October 2016

While I think Obama has done a lot of damage to U.S. power, and as a general rule I believe weakness invites attack, I still think no rational nation would be stupid enough to go to war with us. We’re still the big kid on the block.

Having said that, if we had to lose, who would you rather lose to?

  • Russia
  • China
  • Islam
  • Right-wing nationalists
  • One-world government bland secularism
  • ???

18 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-17  ::  Crowhill

The media will try their best to bury and discredit any Clinton scandal

by Crowhill on 17 October 2016

Most of the media is so in the tank for Hillary — or, rather, so in the tank for “not Donald Trump” — that they will hype any Trump scandals and try to bury and discredit any October Surprise scandals that could discredit Hillary.

It’s already happening with the Wikileaks stories, which the mainstream press is largely ignoring. And I’m sure there will be some other revelations before the next debate.

I predict that after this election there will be no point in referring to the “mainstream” media. It’s already somewhat of a dated concept, but their blatant partisanship is going to destroy what little credibility they have left. And they are rapidly losing their market share.

I’m worried that most of the media will become radical right or radical left, and the few surviving outlets that pretend to be objective won’t be taken very seriously.

9 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-17  ::  Crowhill

“Respect us because we’re people” is actually a step in the wrong direction

by Crowhill on 12 October 2016

I saw a Facebook meme that said this.

Destroy the idea that men should respect women because they are our daughters, mothers and sisters. Reinforce the idea that men should respect women because they are people.

This is wrong-headed for a few reasons.

First, it’s natural to have fonder feelings for your relatives than for strangers. Parents spend a lot more on their own kids than they do on someone else’s kids. Steven Pinker wrestles with this problem in one of his books. He wonders if it’s right for him to be giving his own children more than they need when other kids around the world have far less than they need.

From a “purely logical” perspective (if there ever really is such a thing), perhaps not. But that’s a short-sighted way to look at things. It’s good and necessary for children to have parents who look out for them more intensely and more carefully than anybody else does.

So changing women into just “people” from “mothers, sisters,” etc., serves to weaken rather than strengthen the bond we feel.

When groups want close bonds between their members they reinforce the idea that they are all family. The meme is doing the exact opposite.

Second, while it’s certainly true that we should respect all people, there is a special respect that we give to women. In a civilized society people treat women differently than they treat the general population.

So in both ways, calling women “people” actually hurts rather than helps women.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-12  ::  Crowhill

Don’t leftists hate “blaming the victim”?

by Crowhill on 12 October 2016

Aren’t our moral betters on the left always sniffing around for anything that even resembles “blaming the victim”? E.g., if you suggest that women shouldn’t jog alone in the woods to avoid being assaulted, the feminist hoarde will have a collective snit. “I should be able to jog wherever I want,” etc.

But isn’t “blaming the victim” precisely what Hillary Clinton did in her defense of that child rapist? She accused the child of fantasizing about being with an older man, among other things.

If any Republican had done that, his political career would be over. No question. Dead and done.

But in politics, principle doesn’t matter. All that matters is whose ox is being gored.

11 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2016-10-12  ::  Crowhill

2016-10-07 :: Crowhill // General
A quick Obama scorecard
2016-10-04 :: Crowhill // General
That Hideous Education