The Politician’s Pharmacy.

Politicians, like the rich, are different. In some respects, dangerously so. Those on Capitol Hill have their own on staff physicians, and whatever drugs they want, at any time, all for the very low cost of around $600.00 a year. There’s a nice deal for you.

Nearly every day for at least two decades pharmaceutical drugs have been brought by the carload to the Capitol – an arrangement so under the radar that even pharmacy lobbyists who regularly pitch Congress on their industry aren’t aware of it.

The deliveries arrive at the secretive Office of the Attending Physician, an elaborate medical clinic where Navy doctors triage medical emergencies and provide basic health care for lawmakers who pay an annual fee of just over $600. Every one comes from Washington’s oldest community pharmacy, Grubb’s.

Mike Kim, the reserved pharmacist-turned-owner of the pharmacy, said he has gotten used to knowing the most sensitive details about some of the most famous people in Washington.

“At first it’s cool, and then you realize, I’m filling some drugs that are for some pretty serious health problems as well. And these are the people that are running the country,” Kim said, listing treatments for conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

“It makes you kind of sit back and say, ‘Wow, they’re making the highest laws of the land and they might not even remember what happened yesterday.'”

Having already dealt with the fallout from having a sitting president who had Alzheimer’s disease in office (Reagan), it would probably be right good idea if a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s barred one from the political workforce. Most diseases are manageable, but leaving those who have Alzheimer’s disease in place while making extremely serious decisions about policy…uh, no.

The handy dandy pharmaceutical stock was news to me, however, I can’t say I’m surprised or shocked. There are a whole lot of reasons that people won’t give up such a cushy job, and this would be one of them. There’s much more to the story, you can read about it here.

The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book.

C. Ford. Click for full size.

I have a number of old ‘enquire within’ type books, which covered everything from food, to medicine, to road making and more. One thing which stands out, foodwise, is just how radically our eating habits have changed. Way back when, people ate pretty much everything, and it was rare for any bit to go unused and wasted. Food preparation was also a constant, demanding, unbelievable amount of work. There are many recipes for sauces, relishes, preserves, and so on, which were made in very large quantities, to be made every year and put up. And so on. Many of the meat recipes started with “First, catch your ____”, as hunting was still the primary way to obtain meat, fish, and fowl. As you can see from the above photo, in one my books from 1885, sandwiches were given short shrift. Not much there. Which leads us to 14 years later, and the 1909 book, The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book, by Eva Green Fuller, who provides 400 ways to make a sandwich.

The ethos of no food waste is still very clear in the 1909 book; and many people wouldn’t consider some of the sandwiches to be food at all, such as one of the tomato sandwiches:

Tomato and Onion Sandwich

Mix in a bowl some tomato catsup, season with pepper and salt and a pinch of sugar, add a little finely chopped onion, mix and place between thin slices of buttered white bread, with a crisp lettuce leaf between.

One thing that is a bit difficult to get used to is the ubiquitous use of butter when it came to bread – it didn’t matter your filling, more than half the time, the acceptable bread spread was butter. Although I have never prepared my own catsup (and boy, do I ever have recipes for it, tomato, walnut, grape, currant, gooseberry, green cucumber, pepper, green tomato, and mushroom catsups!) and I have never made a catsup sandwich, I have made sandwiches out of bread, mayo, and crisp lettuce. Maybe not terribly nutritious, but they fill the belly.

So, if you’re out of sandwich ideas, or just curious, you can have a journey of sandwiches here.

Minecraft and The Middle Ages: All About Teaching.

Chang’an from John Miller on Vimeo.

The simple architectural elements of the game make Minecraft ideal to be used in teaching about the Middle Ages. One example can be found in the recently published book Minecraft in the Classroom: Ideas, inspiration, and student projects for teachers – one chapter examines how John Miller, a history teacher based in California, made use of the game for Grade 7 classes learning about medieval China. The students used the game to recreate the Tang Dynasty capital of Chang’an.

“They were highly motivated and inspired by the work done by previous classes,” Miller explained. “They challenged themselves to learn more and to be better and more historically accurate builders. They created choices for building materials and debated which blocks to use for greater authenticity.”


He now is planning on enlarging the project so that students “could pass through the gates, travel north on horseback, and encounter the Great Wall. Beyond that be Genghis Khan and the Mongols. As student progress, I’ll create a pathway west that would take them along the Silk Road, with building options to support the study of trade and commerce. They would eventually end in Constantinople and then travel to Florence and learn about Renaissance Italy.”

Other teachers and educational companies have established lesson plans making use of Minecraft. At Wonderful World of Humanities on, detailed resources are offered that allow one to use the game to do things like explore Ancient Lighthouse of Alexandria or live in a medieval castle.

With access to data, the possibilities with this game even grow further. Last year the Danish Geodata Agency used official topographical data to create a 1:1 facsimile of Denmark, including  historical places, buildings, roads and monuments. “You can freely move around in Denmark,” the agency explains, “find your own residential area, to build and tear down as you can in whichever any other Minecraft world.” Meanwhile, the New York Public Library has made it possible for users to turn one of the library’s 20,000 digitized historical maps into a Minecraft world.

There’s much more to read, and many more videos at Medievalists, have a wander!