Of Chickens and Noodles

I’m not feeling well today, so I skipped work and have been following the unwritten behavioral rules for sickly Americans:

  1. Sleep in.
  2. Watch The History Channel.
  3. Eat chicken-noodle soup.

It’s this last item that has begun to bother me. Never have I questioned the restorative powers of chicken-noodle soup; after all, my mother — a vegetarian, mind you — always extolled the virtues of warm chicken broth when I was a sick child. She kept a few packets of instant soup on-hand at all times. So today I fired up the electric range and dumped my Lipton Noodle Soup (with Real Chicken Broth) into 4 cups of boiling water and stirred occasionally as it simmered uncovered.

But as I stirred, I happened to glance at the nutrition facts for my lunch. First problem: each 1-cup serving provides 720mg of sodium; since I consumed about 3 cups of soup, this works out to a massive 90% of my recommended salt intake for the day. My blood pressure is so not okay with that. I then checked the ingredients… Corn syrup is inexplicably second in the list (after egg noodles), followed by partially hydrogenated oil, a dash of the neurotoxin MSG, and — how appetizing — chicken fat. One suspects that the benefits of chicken-noodle soup are purely psychological, because this stuff certainly isn’t healthy. Another childhood misconception corrected!

Welcome, Guest

Hear ye, hear ye! I am guest-blogging this week for my friend Darryl of Hominid Views; he is away in the Grey Havens or possibly the Himalayas and has entrusted me with the keys to his online kingdom. We are both hoping I can generate enough new material to keep the masses happy.

UPDATE: For posterity and the lazy, my posts were Drinking Liberally (4/4/06), Dispirited DeLay (4/5/06), Squeezable (4/6/06), and Dick’s Rider (4/7/06). Much fun was had. Thanks for the opportunity, Darryl!


Atheism has been in the news. Kevin Drum has repeatedly touched on this topic recently. Then today I read Liberal Girl’s post about Atheism and it especially intrigued me; I’ve been considering how it applies to me ever since.

I don’t believe in God, but I don’t call myself an Atheist. Humanist much more closely describes the way I see the world and the guidelines by which I live. The connotations are positive rather than negative, not only in American popular culture but also in the very definition of the word — an Atheist denies the existence of God, while a Humanist celebrates the existence of people. Basically, a Humanist’s philosophy is to love, respect and trust humanity. Who could possibly fault that? In contrast, Atheists have long been maligned in America, unfairly or not, and for that many of them seem bitter. So I’ll stick with the camp that’s got a healthier outlook and a better reputation.