I can’t try everything. I am only one person after all. And so it is with great delight that I present to you three experiments lovingly conducted for your pleasure/shock/horror by other people.
Puffer Fish and Real Life Zombies
You may remember me asking if you would try eating a puffer fish – called “fugu” in Japan where the cuisine originated – knowing that there was a small chance it could kill you. Most of you said no. Some of you were more colorful but managed to convey the same message. And then there were a few who said they might if given the opportunity. But one of you actually did. I will let Dr. John Farr speak for himself:
And so, we come to the puffer fish – you’ll probably have guessed – which I’ve eaten on several occasions . Where did you get that statistic of 1 in 1000 from ? It’s way wrong . [charlotte’s note: I got that stat from my Japanese friend who first told me about the fish. I’m guessing he made it up. I was going to fact-check it but… didn’t. Really opinions are way more entertaining when I don’t base them on actual fact.] The fish is called fugu in Japan, and it’s considered a great delicacy. Fugu chefs have to have seven years of training before they can be licensed to prepare it in a restaurant, peculiarly enough, because of General Douglas McArthur . From ’45 until ’49 the people of Japan were literally starving and finding whatever food they could . They went through waste bins outside restaurants and scavenged what they could find, including the discarded remains of fugu .Fugu contains a neurotoxin called teterodotoxin, concentrated in the liver and sex organs of the fish, but also exists in lower concentrations throughout the flesh . One milligram is sufficient to kill – by some estimates, teterodotoxin is a thousand times more potent than cyanide . The chef discards the most toxic parts of the fish, and that is what was retrieved from the restaurant bins to kill a lot of hungry Japanese . McArthur introduced formal licensing because of this, and since the ’70’s there have been only two or three deaths a year, most of those due to people preparing fugu at home . The art of the chef is to prepare the fish so that there is sufficient teterodotoxin in the served fish to produce the fugu frisson, but not enough to harm the diner . If the consumer overdoes intake, the toxin produces gradual paralysis culminating in respiratory arrest and death . Providing respiratory assistance is the only treatment . The poison wears off over a period of six to seven hours, so , of the ten to fifteen cases that occur in restaurants in Japan annually, most survive .Fugu is usually served raw as a main course . The flesh is often still twitching – a tad offputting – and it is quite chewy unless finely sliced . It tastes like sushi (a bit of an acquired taste) and after about fifteen minutes your lips start to go numb with a slight tingling sensation in your mouth . you tend to develop mild tingling in your extremities . If you can handle the oddness of the sensations, they are quite enjoyable, but not everybody’s cup of tea . The effects wear off in about five to six hours .Funnily enough, there’s an arcane connection between the puffer fish and zombies . Voodoo priests use teterodotoxin obtained from puffer fish as part of the potion fed to the poor subject to turn them into zombies – I’ll bet you thought zombies were purely fictional – and we are investigating the use of the toxin to produce suspended animation, in rats at the moment, with a view to using it operatively in humans in the future.
PS> For any of you ladies who are now suddenly intrigued by a man who both writes like an encyclopedia and has the nerve to eat (minorly) death-defying cuisine he answered my third question about flying to meet someone off the internet by saying, “Not yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out.” You’re welcome.
The Delayed Fat Affect
My good friend Personal Trainer D (whom I will NOT abbreviate to PTD both because she does not cause me post-traumatic distress and because the last time I abbreviated “personal trainer” as “PT” I almost caused an anonymous commenter to have a hernia and I cannot be responsible for that kind of turn-your-head-and-cough nonsense) was explaining something to me this weekend that she had noticed about herself. Being an observant kind of girl and having inhabited her body past her teen years, she has discovered a sort-of delayed consequence of her eating habits. To sum it up, when she eats crap it takes about three weeks of daily bad eating to make a change on the scale. Similarly, when she wants to lose weight, it takes about three weeks of daily healthful eating to produce a loss. The cool part about it is that she can literally schedule her treats. “Hmmm… I’ve got nine days left before my three weeks in chocolate heaven are up.”
It is not this way with me. One bad meal (“bad” seems harsh here but “inappropriate” seems pervy and as a teacher I’m morally opposed to “cheat”) doesn’t affect me too much but even one day of mis-eating (ha!) shows up on the scale within 48 hours. Weight loss can be similarly quick for me, if I behave myself.
Of course all this time I thought everyone was exactly like me which it turns out you’re not. So now I’m wondering how long it takes that strawberry cake con tres leches to show up on your hips?
Reason 7,631 Why Steroids Suck
To conclude our round of other-people experiments, I give you this man. A 21-year-old professional body builder took steroids “within the doses that are used among bodybuilders” which resulted in horrific scarring. For any of you reading this in the a.m. you might want to put down your coffee mug or finish your oatmeal now because this will haunt you.
Here he is before, fairly chiseled albeit with slightly strange-looking pecs.
Here is the acne. (Can you even call it acne anymore at that point??)
And because his “skin problems” weren’t enough to deter him, the poor man didn’t stop until “it was found the steroid abuse had also caused a low sperm count and shrunken testicles.”
The real tragedy is that his scarring is so severe that he may never be able to return to weight lifting. So many morals, so many inappropriate punch lines…
Thanks to Turbo Jennie (or not, depending on how queasy you are now) for the tip!