This news today had me instantly flash to that peculiarly-titled solo album by Ron Nagle: BAD RICE.
The back cover had a photo of a creepy guy with a missing tooth...which some thought was Mr. Nagle. Actually it was just a kind of warped mascot (sort of like "Old Velvet Nose" the skull that always adorned Warren Zevon discs).
Who was going to buy this weird "Bad Rice" album by this unknown "Ron Nagle" guy? Years later, Nagle went on to form The Durocs, co-write for The Tubes ("Don't Touch Me There") and Streisand and the movies...while maintaining a day job as a ceramics professor and artist.
But let's not get too far from the story of the day. BAD RICE!
According to Consumer Reports, if everything gives you cancer (uh, Joe Jackson song reference!) then don't be surprised that RICE is high on the list: "white basmati rice from California, India and Pakistan, as well as U.S. sushi rice, has about half the inorganic arsenic amount of many other rice types...(rice with) a label from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas or just the U.S. had the highest levels of inorganic arsenic."
Think you can get away from this by eating brown rice, which is actually harder to digest and for some, much more of a health hazard? "It has 80% more inorganic arsenic than white rice...Brown basmati from California, India, or Pakistan...has about a third less inorganic arsenic than other brown rices."
Jack La Lanne, the original television exercise guru who nearly lived to be 100, gave sage advice: "If man makes it, don't eat it."
Of course even if you have a diet of raw vegetables and fruits, and maybe some cooked fish (or chicken if you can stand killing one) you're still dealing with the huge amount of chemicals and pollution in the air and soil these days.
What problems are associated with bad rice? Bladder, lung and skin cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes."
Consumer Reports is not telling people to avoid rice, but they aren't happy with the stats, or the food industry's lax and apathetic view of this and every other problem with heavily processed foods.
Since there's no actual track called "Bad Rice," your sample for the great Ron Nagle is the rockin' "Marijuana Hell," with Ry Cooder sliding around on guitar. Like Zevon, Randy Newman and a few others, Nagle has the ability to stick his tongue out, or in his cheek. Is he laughing at the anti-marijuana bunch, or does he see the dangers? Or both?
America has lately been wobbling closer toward legalized marijuana in every state. So far, there hasn't been much of a problem with legalized pot in Colorado, for example. But are we setting ourselves up for a marijuana hell where people are willing to rob to pay the high price? Will they get lazy and addicted because there are powerful varieties? Will we see more synthetic versions and wiseguys sticking it in food WITHOUT letting a friend know? Oh, it's hell, folks!
Any good news? Well, yes. Ron Nagle is promising a CD release of his album, with bonus tracks. He's also put out a few new solo albums that have been under the radar (sold only on his own website). Ron's DUROCS Capitol album from 1980 was re-issued with bonus tracks. Good news? Listen to Ron Nagle! Bad news? Don't eat too much rice!
RON NAGLE Marijuana Hell w/ Ry Cooder