Dreaming about a relaxed picnic in the rolling hills of Provence…

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon. After a few weeks of intense cooking at home (and eating it too) we feel obligated to take a pause for more refreshing and healthier alternatives like salads. After a visit to the great Whole Foods supermarket in Miami, we decided to prepare a stuffed salad, reminiscent of the ones we had duly enjoyed in the rolling hills of Provence. Ah!

Ensalada Provenzal I

We prepared a lettuce, tomato, carrots and onions’ salad with plenty of ricotta cheese, avocado, cashews and walnuts. Deliciously crunchy and also a good tonic for our bodies.

Let us close our eyes and imagine that we are in a relaxed picnic with our dear friends. Dreaming awake is a fundamental step towards a more humane environment for all.

Ensalada Provenzal II

Bon Apétit !

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

Is the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic starting to slow down?

In New York City, the number of new cases of infected people with SARS-CoV-2 and the daily death toll have been dropping for the past five days. The gory spectacle of health care personnel hastily talking to the reporters while they are sweating profusely in their Mertian protective gear is fortunately gone from our evening news programs. So are the makeshift hospitals to take care of the patients and the refrigerated trucks holding the bodies of the victims. Some of the hardest hit hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital in Queens and Brooklyn Medical Center in the homonymous neighborhood have much lower Emergency Room visits and less admitted patients for the infection, an unexpected phenomenon that has puzzled Public Health experts and hospital administrators.[i]

Today in an unusually optimistic article in Les Echos—the most respected financial daily of France—Yves Bourdillon affirmed: “the pandemic wave is coming to a close, apparently. The new cases of the Covid-19 atypical pneumonias and the associated deaths decrease in absolute number in al the countries of the world during the past few days. This daily flux only represents no more than 1.2% on average of the total number of the registered cases and 0.5% of the deaths, according to the reference sites of John Hopkins University and Worldometers.” [ii]

Amongst the developed nations most affected by this pandemic, the daily rise of new cases has been 0.5% in the USA,  0.3% in Germany and 0.2% in France, Italy and Spain. Even though they register almost two-thirds of the deaths, their daily rate has significantly slowed down, except for occasional peaks—like yesterday’s surge in the USA that tallied 1500 deaths. We must consider that there must be many more cases than the officially counted ones, but the trend is unmistakable and gives hope.

There have been many hypotheses about this phenomenon, including the benefits brought by a change of weather with the arrival of summertime; however, in New Zealand located in the Southern Hemisphere, the same trend is observed, with hardly any new cases. The Social Distancing and Isolation have certainly contributed to the betterment of the statistics but this trend occurs in countries with differing policies; it is observed in countries like Switzerland and Norway that have enacted a light version of Social Isolation and countries like Japan and South Korea with more draconian versions.

Some scientists are wondering if this “ralentissement” [iii] is really an expression of a mutation of the virus to become a different infecting agent. Less infectious or more? Veteran physicians and administrators are warily watching the sudden decline of clinical activity in their now eerily vacant hospital beds and the spreading calm. Is it just a temporary reprieve before a second wave hits them? Nobody really knows.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

References

[i] https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/20/us/coronavirus-live-updates.html?campaign_id=9&emc=edit_nn_20200520&instance_id=18629&nl=themorning&regi_id=57802664&segment_id=28532&te=1&user_id=459dba66f3e7ac37fa87a73994317eab#link-598d056

[ii] https://www.lesechos.fr/monde/enjeux-internationaux/la-pandemie-sessouffle-presque-partout-dans-le-monde-1204511

[iii] Term in the French language that means: “slowing down.”

Leftover victims of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic

On May 8, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor issued its monthly employment report, which showed that the national unemployment rate jumped to 14.7% in April, its highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s; it said that 20.5 million people had suddenly lost their jobs due to the country’s lockdown, erasing a sustained rise of employment of the past ten years. A more detailed analysis of those that are abruptly working part-time instead of full-time and those that are not counted showed that the unemployment rate might even be higher. Moreover, the tightening of the federal, state and county budgets will inevitably furlough many more people.

In the previous recession of 2007-2009, the majority of lost jobs belonged to men, as the construction and manufacturing sectors ground to a halt; but this time the real losers are often women as thousands upon thousands of their positions as clerks, secretaries, hairdressers, health care aides, travel consultants, stewardesses, airplane and ship chandlers, restaurant servers and cashiers, dry cleaning employees, etc., evaporate. Once the lockdown is finally levied, albeit in various progressive stages according to the local public health characteristics, many of the once thriving small businesses that used to predominantly employ women will be gone. And there will be hardly any credit for entrepreneurial initiatives as the banks will be reluctant to lend.

Not only did women hold most of the positions offered in the Education and Health Care realms—the hardest hit sectors—but they were also furloughed in greater numbers than men. In a Washington Post article, Heather Long and Andrew Van Dam said: “Before the pandemic, women held 77%of the jobs in education and health services, but they account for 83% of the jobs lost in those sectors…Women made up less than half of the retail trade workforce, but they experienced 61% of the retail job losses. Many of these women held some of the lowest-paid jobs.” A large proportion of those workers are single women with children and members of the Latino and Black minority groups.

These disadvantaged single women usually lack a strong social or family support, for which they disproportionately rely on their children’s school services for their care, instruction, and meals. If they cannot take their kids to school, they will not be able to resume their previous positions, even if they are asked back to work.

In order to re-start our economies we must first help the women that sustain it.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

Happy Sunday with spinach and cheese agnolottis in a Dotta sauce with veggies, minced meat and burrata cheese

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good afternoon and Happy Sunday. Today we prepared one of our favorite pasta dishes with the unique Rana agnolottis and Bel Gioiso burrata cheese. Of course this is what we usually call “bolognese asauce” that bears the name of the prestigious university town: Bologna  (the second oldest college in the Eastern Hemisphere, after La Sorbonne) But as we are inveterate snobs, we used its Italian nickname: La Dotta, the Doctoral one.

Petates para la salsa bolognesa

We used these articles from our latest visit to the Mary Brickell Village Publix, which amounted to approximately U$ 50, which is quite reasonable for a Sunday dinner for 4. Cooking healthy and delicious dishes at home is not only entertaining but also thrifty.

Agnolotti alla Bolognesa con frmaggio burratta

The burrata cheese is in fact a ball of traditional mozzarella that contains cream inside (see the elongated ball on the left hand side of this picture) When the dish is ready, you must put one or two balls in the middle to heat it up; once it bursts open ( the one on the right hand side) it spews all that delicious cream all over your pasta.

Isn’t this luxuriously, impossibly, guiltily decadent? Well, we only live once, folks.

Agnolottis listo pa'l morfi

Bon apétit! Buon apetito! Buon apetitto!

Tonight’s menu: sautée salmon with a spaghetatta in a Bechamel sauce of Mascarpone and Hearts of Palms

Spaghetatta con salmon y salsa Bechamela de palmitos

These are the basic elements for the deliciously creamy Bechamel sauce with Mascarpone cheese and Hearts of Palms that we bought at the Mary Brickell Village Publix last week.

Elementos para la spaghetattaAnd this is the end result. A simple dish with just four easy stages. Ideal for the dummies in the kitchen like moi. Unfortunately we had to postpone the launching of our You Tube page about homemade cooking due to the logistical débâcle provoked by the pandemic. However, we are already making all the preparations in stride for sometime in the Fall.

Bon apétit! Buon apetitto! Buen apetito!

Spaghetatta con salmon y salsa Becahmel de palmitos

Masturbation during Social Isolation – part II

No possibility of any social encounters. Not even the platonic kind. What to do?

After almost two months of Social Distancing and Forced Isolation, we are all fed up. With perturbed nights and never-ending weekends, we might feel entitled to a little fun.

Pour quoi pas? 

For such obvious reasons, people are recurring more often to “the company of one.”  

However, it has always been too difficult to get reliable data about Onanism due to the timidity or hypocrisy of respondents that, even though they practice it in earnest, deny it vehemently in written and oral surveys on this subject. But times are changing…

Under the auspices of the Trojan company—makers of the famous condoms—Dr. Robin Milhausen, a sex investigator of the University of Guelph, conducted a survey with his colleagues to find the incidence and prevalence of Masturbation now. They found that:

a) Men engaged in that practice at least once a week at a rate double than women (65% to 35%) but women reported a pleasurable experience more frequently than men did (38% of women to 29% of men)
b) 43% of women that did it on a regular basis reported that their latest one was more pleasurable, compared to 27% of women that did it occasionally.
c) Men who considered that their last practice was pleasurable were more likely to be more emotionally stable in their couple relationships.
d) 47% of women and 39% of men who liked their latest drill were more likely to say that they were satisfied with their sexual lives.
e) 54% of women used a vibrator to boost pleasure; of those 46% of them said that their latest drill was more pleasurable compared to 35% of those that did not use it.

The Japanese company TENGA—makers of sex toys—conducted surveys worldwide about the frequency of Masturbation to prepare a 2019 Self-Help Pleasure report. In the particular case of the USA, they found the following:

a) Americans ranked fourth in this agitated sport—84% of respondents—behind Germany (89%), the United Kingdom (91%) and the world champion, Spain (93%)
b) The three more common reasons to do it were: sexual satisfaction (31%), reach sexual climax(25%) and relief of stress (21%)
c) Heterosexual and LGBT Americans were more likely to drill on a regular basis—91% and 94% respectively—compared to women (78%)
d) Men are more likely to start at a very young age—13 years old on average—and women usually start several years later.
e) Contrary to men, women find the practice more pleasurable than the real act; 37% of women considered that the solo practice was better than sex, compared to 33% of men.
f) Non-LGBT individuals consider than sex is much more pleasurable.

Dr. Julie Richters, investigator at the University of New South Wales, conducted a survey of almost 20,000 Australians to study their solo practices. They found that:

  1. 72% of men and 42% of women had masturbated in the past year.
  2. Half of the men (51%) and a 24% of the women had done in the past four weeks.
  3. In the past year, two-fifths of respondents—63% of men and 20% of women—browsed some pornography material in various presentations.
  4. 21% of women and 15% of men had used a sex toy.
  5. 19% of men and 15% of women had practiced digital-anal stimulation.
  6. 7% of men and 4% of women had engaged in oral-anal stimulation.
  7. 7-8% played sexual roles or engaged in cross-dressing.

We will prudently give our distinguished readership a few days to digest this data; in a follow-up article, we will discuss the possible benefits of Onanism for all genres.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

(This article was based on our upcoming new book Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague)

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.

 

Thanks for your fabulous service

Dear readers and fellow bloggers;

Good afternoon. As a physician that has worked uninterruptedly during this terrible pandemic (even though we follow the Social Distancing protocols enacted by the City of Miami and State of Florida authorities) we must acknowledge that our dedication has been buttressed by the countless workers that have stood their ground and helped us.

Today we are introducing the beautiful Ms. Bre Wyche, star cashier at the Publix Supermarket branch at Mary Brickell Villlage in downtown Miami; last week she took care of us gracefully and diligently when we staged a quick foray to do our monthly shopping spree there. Today we went back for a refund and to buy certain items, for which we insisted on taking the opportunity to get her picture. (she is a very shy girl)

Beautiful Bre

Isn’t that smile bewitching?

After our incursion last week, we felt obligated to send an email to Mr. Todd Jones, CEO of Publix, to let him know what an outstanding service she had gently provided to us. According to his biography, Mr. Jones started in 1980 at the very low-end of the ladder (he was a front service clerk, a.k.a. bagger of groceries, in the New Smyrna Beach facility) and worked tirelessly until becoming the top executive of the largest employee-owned grocery chain in the USA. He should know a thing or two about merit-based progress.

We wrote to him: “when we were almost done, I suddenly said:’Oh, I forgot to pick up the garbage bags.’ You know what she said:’Don’t worry…I’ll go get them for you.’ And took off…She asked me what the specifications of what I wanted where and went out to get it. Can it get better? Yes, indeed. She came back with five variants of the perfumed Glad bags AND laid them out for me on the conveyor belt to chose from. I chose the lavender. This is what I call outstanding service. Please nominate her for employee of the month.”

Mr. Jones kindly answered my message, thanking me for sharing the anecdote as they love to hear that their committed employees are doing a great job every day of the week. As a front-end employee, Miss Bre is relatively exposed as she touches what we do.

Thank you very much to all the employees and administrative personnel of Publix Supermarkets for showing us, with big and little details, that they care for our families.

Stay distant.Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

Multi-system inflammatory disease in Covid-19 infected children

On April 27, 2020, The Sun, a British newspaper with an American edition, published an article about a National Health Service warning about a new presentation of the Covid-19 infection in children; it even had flashy pictures of the new syndrome. The alert was sent to general practitioners in North London where the chiefs of health care delivery said: “there is growing concern that a Covid-19 related inflammatory syndrome is emerging in children in the UK…Over the last three weeks, there has been an apparent rise in the number of children of all ages presenting with a multi-system inflammatory state requiring intensive care across London and also in other regions of the UK.”

On April 27, 2020, the Pediatric Intensive Care Society of the United Kingdom issued a statement warning health care providers and parents that there was “an increased number of novel presentations of a multi-system inflammatory disease in critically ill children infected with Covid-19.” They recommended parents to seek proper professional help if their children had any of the following symptoms:

  1. Becomes pale, mottled and feels abnormally cold to the touch
  2. Has pauses in their breathing (apneas), has an irregular breathing pattern or starts grunting
  3. Severe difficulty in breathing, becoming agitated or unresponsive
  4. Is going blue round the lips
  5. Has a fit/seizure
  6. Becomes extremely distressed (crying inconsolably despite distraction), confused, very lethargic (difficult to wake) or unresponsive
  7. Develops a rash that does not disappear with pressure (the Glass test)
  8. Has testicular pain, especially in teenage boys

On May 4, 20220, the New York City Department of Health issued its Health Alert #13 stating that 15 children in New York City hospitals have been identified with a multi-system inflammatory syndrome that resembles Kawasaki disease and/or toxic shock syndrome. The NYC experts said that: “clinical features vary, depending on the affected organ system, but have been noted to include features of Kawasaki disease or features of shock; however, the full spectrum of disease is not yet known. Persistent fever and elevated inflammatory markers (CRP, troponin, etc.) have been seen among affected patients. Patients with this syndrome who have been admitted to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) have required cardiac and/or respiratory support. Only severe cases may have been recognized at this time.”

On May 9, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York informed in his daily update that three children had died of this multi-inflammatory syndrome in the New York area hospitals. Moreover, they had already identified up to 75 children with the syndrome. They were initially admitted without any respiratory symptoms but they all tested positive either for the virus or its antibodies. He warned that it is a developing serious situation.

Sadly, the emergence of this Kawasaki-like syndrome might just be the tip of the iceberg.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

 

Bel dimanche avec une Choucroute Garnie à la Nouvelle Alsatienne

Dear readers and fellow bloggers:

Good evening and Happy Sunday to all of you. We hope that you are well and in good spirits, most likely bearing this forced Social Isolation (how many days already? Can’t remember….) with your loved ones. Today we prepared a traditional dish, from that fabulous gastronomic region straddling the French and German borders: Alsace. It has perhaps, with Bretagne, Bourgogne, Provence and Le Pays Basque, some of the very best cuisine that we can find in l’Hexagone. They use hearty meats and the finest produce.

Choucroute Garnie - Io

To make this dish more healthy, we did not use the traditional slabs of bacon to sautée the potatoes and vegetables but a dollop of Extra Virgin Olive Oil; also to give it more flavor we added some mushrooms, artichokes, garlic, ginger and jalapeño peppers. Of course we added the classic sauerkrraut on top. We used less meat, just some bratwurst  that we grilled separately to take out all the excess fat. We hope you enjoy our recipe.

We will sit down with Gian Luca momentarily to enjoy this dish with some Jack Daniels whisly to celebrate in style his excellent semester grades from the Creative Writing program at Florida State University. Even in Social Distancing, we must keep good rituals.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

Bon apétit à tous mes amis et toutes mes amies!

Choucroute Garnie- Giani

Emotional toss-up during Social Isolation

“Doctor…I never had so many fab orgasms—not going back to same old.”

Wanda X. is a lovely middle-aged entrepreneur that had the misfortune of being surprised by the “staying at home” order in a business trip to a distant state. Fortunately, she had an old friend from college that gladly welcomed her to bunk. Unlike her, she has been single and childless, which gave her a lot of sexual leeway.

One of the little perks of her friend’s lifestyle is to unabashedly recur to the use of a dildo whenever she had the irrepressible urge for satisfaction of her sexual needs. Reluctant at first to try it, Wanda X. eventually relented, after a month of seclusion. Slowly she learnt how to practice with a sexual toy in a responsible, adult way. When she would be able to return to her home, she will sit down to chat with her partner. She will tell him that she finally had it enough of her culturally-assigned role of a passive giver of love and that she demands the urgent addition of a more fun dual role of receiver too. Holy mackerel!

The emotional toss-up of the Social Isolation will shake up many conventional couples.

One of the most disregarded aspects of the mandatory Social Isolation that we have been enduring for more than one month already is its serious emotional toll on us. Like the young women and men that went into isolation in a Florentine villa in the Decameron, those coming out of this seclusion will not be the same ones that went in. At the civic level, there will be multiple changes in our societies, especially for labor opportunities.

The economic analysts are predicting that, besides the contraction of consumer spending due to loss of jobs, there will be a two-speed labor market. On one hand there will be persons that can work at a distance and with little physical contact. But on the other hand, there will be those that will be dangerously exposed to contagion. This will bring a generalized angry mood in the street like we have never witnessed before. No longer will we be able to count on the help of a smiling barista at our Starbucks; she might be too worried about being infected while mulling about her son’s day care. After her shift is over, she might be too stressed out to even consider going out with her girlfriends.

I‘m a single Mom working long shifts with hardly any toilet breaks for the barely minimum to pull my kids and I a few inches away from the always menacing edge of the poverty pit.

And you expect me to smile? About what? Com’ on. Grab your latte and move on, Buster.

Next customer in line!

The same anxiety and depression that pervades the working environment will be translated in a creeping loss of libido and eroticism in many blue collars’ bedrooms. Those lucky enough to have a privileged spot in the New World order will be less amenable to servile attitudes in loving, especially because many will be women.

The ladies will demand equal rights with their partners, which is a positive outcome. The manly partners that are out of a job will have to stay home to take care of the kids. And if they want to keep their women happy, they would have to learn how to cook nice meals. And be more attentive to their “little details”, including listening to them and bringing them flowers regularly (a bouquet once per month will not break the family budget)

Only with the combined effort of all the genres, will we be able to cross this junction.

Stay distant. Stay safe. Stay beautiful.

(This article is based on our upcoming new book “Emotional Frustration – the hushed plague.”)

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.