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Friday, June 1, 2018


Day 30 of the Puna Eruption, and the latest USGS thought is that the current Puna eruption could well be the beginning of a totally new phase, and that the 35+ year reign of Pu'u O'o, the longest continuous flow in 500 years, could be over.  Meaning, this could go on for many years.

Earlier this month Hormel recalled 220,000 pounds of their canned pork and chicken products, including Spam.  So far, only minor mouth injuries.  However, Hawaii is said not to have received any of these defective products.  But I had to check anyway, and took the following photo:

Lot of Ziplocs, but the one canned product was Spam.  I bought it because I'd never seen the Jalapeno version before.  I actually don't remember opening a can of Spam in many many decades.  The 12-oz SPAM Classic with "Best By" February 2021 is the recalled  version.  Mine said...:

...November 2020, so I should doubly be okay.  In any case, I don't plan to actually use it until the next major hurricane overwhelms Honolulu.  As this has never happened in my lifetime, maybe I'll never experience Jalapeno Spam.

SPAM stories are legendary.  It has been around longer than me.  Hawaii consumes more Spam/capita than any other state.  However, Guam is even more addicted, by far.  All this has mostly to do with World War II.  Spam was the only meat generally available throughout the Pacific during that period.  Dwight Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher and Nikita Kruschev credited Spam for helping them win the second World War.  I didn't know Thatcher was around then.  Churchill and Stalin would seem more correct.

Want to know more about Spam?  Read this lengthy Mother Jones article.  You might stop eating this delicacy for humanitarian, sociological, psychological and physical reasons.  

  • Sodium nitrate in particular is key, for this compound acts as a preservative, while providing the bright pink color.  Otherwise, Spam would be brown.  
  • Unfortunately, sodium nitrate causes cancer.
  • Hormel says it has always maintained high standards in their products and insist they use pork shoulder.  Further, the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not permit pig snouts, lips and ears in lunchmeat.
  • However, shadow companies have been formed by Hormel, and they are the ones that supply products from the heads of pigs.  But this, apparently, is not illegal, for Spam is not deemed by this partnership to be lunchmeat.  Don't believe this?  Read that Mother Jones article.
  • Of course the pig skull is thrown away, but the brains are collected and sent to China.  For what?  You don't want to know.
I have avoided Spam at all costs.  That is, until this past week.  When I walk 18 holes at the Ala Wai Golf Course, my lunch is an apple.  I returned from my latest Japan trip last month at 167 pounds.   I today weigh 159 because of golf.  I just show up and usually am able to walk-on in 20 minutes, or less.  I join any three-some.  

This past week I twice played with especially generous partners.  At the 10th hole, someone came back from the snack bar and gave me a spam/omelet musubi.  They must have thought, poor old guy, let's get him something.  I had to eat them.  They tasted great.

Possible short-term side effects

  • abdominal pain
  • nausea / vomiting
  • water retention / dehydration
  • swelling
  • edema
  • dizziness
  • stomach cramps

Possible long-term side effects

  • inflammation
  • weight gain
  • increased cholesterol
  • increased blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes (children)
  • damaged blood vessels
  • decreased oxygen flow in body
One serving of Spam contains more than half of the daily recommended amount of sodiumAlso:
  • Might be so-called as a contraction of spicy ham.
  • Comes from Austin, Minnesota, where there is a Spam museum.  It is about 100 miles south of St. Paul.
  • Is the source of spam mail, inspired by a 1970 Monty Python sketch, meaning both of ubiqiutous and inescapable.  McDonald's serves Spam in Hawaii.
  • You don't need to cook it.
  • 7 billion cans/year are sold in 41 countries.
  • Hot dogs have more mystery meat than Spam.
  • Can be stored for a very, very, very long time.

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