March 26, 2007

Bigfoot sighting

Or maybe it's just another Bill Whittle blog post.

Good news: Bill says that he's going to post twice between now and April 15. So start checking his site regularly again.

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March 23, 2007

Good music

I've been listening to a CD from some young musicians who go by the name Mountain Aires. If you went to last year's state fair in North Carolina, you might have had the pleasure of seeing them live. However, you can now listen to their music wherever you go. It turns out that they released a CD recently, Echo the Legacy. It contains a collection of bluegrass and folk songs, most of which you'll recognize immediately.

Maybe you don't want to buy music sound unheard. Fortunately, the group's CD is hosted here, and you can listen to 20-30 second pieces of each song on the album. You even have the option of downloading the album in MP3 format, or individual songs if you prefer.

Full disclosure: I know the band members personally and they're a great bunch of guys, but I don't get any financial return, no matter how rich and famous they become. I just want to see them do well.

Here's the album cover:


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March 21, 2007

Book review

Steve at Hog On Ice recently had a book published, The Good, The Spam and The Ugly, wherein he tackled those irritating Nigerian email spammers. I've read with great amusement his blog posts on this topic for a long time, so I expected a lot from his book. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. My story doesn't involve bathing in diarrhea, nor does involve the manly lifting of bedsheets via prolific manly wind.

Sorry to disappoint.

I started reading Steve's book, as I usually do, in bed next to my wife. Beloved spouse is a, God forbid, morning person, so she usually drops off long before I do. What this means is that I'm free to do whatever I like, as long as it's quiet and relatively motionless; waking my wife in an untimely fashion tends to rouse the Sybil in her, so I take pains to stay very still. Normally, this is pretty easy. Unfortunately, I was reading Steve's book.

I knew that laughing out loud would cause me lots of grief, so I tried to keep quiet. I succeeded in not making a sound, but I was unable to keep my body from responding, which, in turn, created the dreaded bedquake. The first couple of times I was able to convince my wife that the shaking had been caused by one of our cats. Pretty soon, though, I ran out of cats, which meant I had run out of excuses, so it was time sleep or move into a different room. Fortunately, the bathroom was close.

Don't say it: every woman I know wonders why men like to read in the bathroom, while every man I know doesn't understand the question. Regardless, I finally finished the book last night, which was too bad because I was laughing until the very end.


Good work, Steve. I look forward to your next effort.

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March 19, 2007

Terrible news

It appear as though Cathy Seipp will finally lose her battle with cancer. Her daughter, Maia, posted this entry. Her doctors are simply trying to make her comfortable right now.

Godspeed, Cathy. You will be missed.

Update: Cathy's fight ended yesterday afternoon. Her daugher, Maia, posted information about the service this Friday, as well as links to the Lung Cancer Alliance and the Humane Society, the latter of which is where Cathy requested that people send money, rather than spending it on flowers.

I'll finish this post by paraphrasing some words from George W. Bush:

"Now she belongs to the ages. We liked it better when she belonged to us."

Update: Okay, I had to link to Michelle's post, if for no other reason than the picture of just how pissed off Cathy could make some idiots become.

Read all of the obits.

Tangential update: Apparently Elizabeth Edwards is still struggling with her cancer. Please offer her your prayers and well wishes.

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March 15, 2007

Go strong

I assume that, by now, everyone has seen the Wired article about the Glove, which can be used to cool off you body between sets. Nomadlife has a theory of his own, which seems reasonable to me:

"You can increase your resistance training between sets by getting a bucket of ice in your gym and cool your body by putting your hand in the cold water. Give it a try."

Link via Sullivan.

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March 14, 2007

Happy chip and pi day

This is of no practical use whatsoever, but today happens to be National Potato Chip Day. Here's some history of the chip, which dates back to 1853. Thank you for your marvelous invention, George Crum.

March 14 also marks Pi Day, since pi is approximately 3.14. So if you haven't had lunch, I guess you could celebrate by buying some Doritos and discussing Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler. Sounds like a banner Wednesday to me.

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March 13, 2007

Bring out yer dead!

Animals, that is. Meryl Yourish reminded me that this Thursday, March 15, is the 5th Annual International Eat an Animal for PETA Day. More details can be found here.

I like Meryls' idea of givng her cat tuna as part of the celebration. I have 3 cats and 2 dogs, all of whom would love some tasty animal parts. Guess that I'll have to stop by the store tomorrow to grab us all some grub.

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I don't think it means what you think it means

When Dr. Ruth tells you, "I'd hit it", she might be referring to her skills as a sniper from her days in the Israeli Defense Force.

In a tangential note, reading about Dr. Ruth reminds me of Sam Kinison's little jab at her:

Who is this dried up old woman offering sex advice to people?

::mimicking Dr. Ruth:: First, you must take the man's penis...

Yeah, when's the last time you saw a man's penis? Were there cars back then, or did you suck dick on horseback, Annie Oakley?"

I had the pleasure of seeing Kinison live in concert, back before he became a household name. He was quite funny, and incredibly loud. I swear that they de-amplified his voice, because he sound quieter when yelling into the microphone.

Let me leave you with Kinison's appearance on Married With Children, part 1 and part 2.

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March 09, 2007

Sad news

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

  • Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
  • Why the early bird gets the worm;
  • Life isn't always fair and,
  • Maybe it was my fault.

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer Tylenol, sun lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

Common Sense took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason
He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I'm A Victim.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.

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March 07, 2007

Sun rises in the east again

Lots of people have linked to this article about the results of the Great Diet Off. Excerpt:

The largest and longest-running comparison of diet plans found the low-carbohydrate Atkins regimen produced greater weight loss than three other popular programs — the Zone, the Ornish and the U.S. nutritional guidelines.

The average weight reduction was small, and participants started regaining pounds by the end of the one-year study, according to the report in today’s Journal of the American Medical Assn. Still, Atkins dieters — who consume prodigious amounts of long-demonized saturated fats but shun carbs, such as pasta and breads — experienced significant drops in blood pressure and cholesterol.

The finding showed that even a small weight reduction can improve overall health, researchers said.

Atkins dieters lost an average of 10.4 pounds after one year, according to the report, compared with 5.7 pounds for those on a traditional balanced diet based on federal nutritional guidelines, 4.8 pounds for the high-carbohydrate Ornish diet and 3.5 pounds for the Zone diet, which calls for a set ratio of carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Let me state for the record my experience with the Atkins diet. About 12 years ago, I had stopped exercising and put on some extra pounds. I'd had tried going lo-cal, but my body absolutely hoards its fat reserves in the absence of heavy duty exercise. I stumbled across a copy of Atkins Diet Revolution book and decided to give it a try. Here's a brief synopsis:

1) I love meat in all its forms, except for haggis, although technically that contains meat the way Vienna Sausage contains "meat". Anyway, eating lots of high protein foods sounded great to me.

2) I also love baked potatoes, rice, pasta and bread, all of which were a complete no-no on the diet. That part sucked. A lot.

3) I learned to make sandwiches thusly: piles of meat stuck between two slices of cheese, slathered with mustard. A poor substitute for a great big hoagy, but it was better than nothing.

4) My kidneys worked overtime, nights and weekends, too. Since I don't add salt to my food, I became washed out due to the seemingly incessant stream of fluid being emitted by my body. Eventually, I started sprinkling a bit of salt onto my meals; I felt much better.

5) I lost a lot of weight, around 35 pounds or so. I lost 4-5 inches off of my waistline. I then started exercising and eating better because, let's face it, a diet low in fruits and vegetables just isn't healthy.

Anyway, I've read many articles from people, who should really know better, that Atkins doesn't work, that all of the weight lost is simply water weight. I read just such an article in Runner's World, which is a fine magazine, but was completely wrong in this case. Willful ignorance and self-delusion aren't pretty, especially when actual, you know, facts contradict you. Because Atkins works. You will lose weight, and quite rapidly I might add. But it's a sucky diet, especially for someone like me who likes to run long distances. Carbohydrates are fuel for the body, and a diet lacking carbohydrates is lacking in fuel.

For the record, I will state that a fruit, vegetable and pasta filled diet is the ideal, especially when combined with some vigorous exercise. But if you simply want to lose weight, Atkins will get you there. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or lying.

Update: I had forgotten that Ace was a proponent. He makes a pretty good point about the whole diet thingy:

Diet gurus similarly criticize the study as subjects seem to have cheated on their diets, too, and thus didn't really follow "their diets." But the piece notes that, in practical terms, a diet is not merely a plan, but rather a plan plus the most likely realistic implementation of that plan. And in that sense, Atkins seems to win -- it's simple, it's more livable than other plans (though pretty damn annoying), and easier to avoid cheating on.

Annoying yes, but effective.

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March 06, 2007

I resemble that remark

I'm one of those conservative nutters, but frankly I hope that Helen stays.

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I got nuthin'

However, I didn't want to leave all(both) of you with nothing, so I've decided to add a little cheesecake today, as I have from time to time in the past.

No beefcake, though. Sorry, Val.

Anyhoo, I was bumbling around IMDB to get some background on the new series that Nathan Fillion, captain of the long-lamented cancelled series Firefly, will be starring in on Fox.

Umm, after the way that Fox screwed the pooch with Firefly, I'm not certain how gung ho I'd be about signing onto another TV deal with them.

Where was I? Oh yeah: Drive, the series. Anyway, I checked out the cast and saw that Amy Acker had a part that, based on the last name of her characters, is probably the wife of the main character, played by Fillion. I clicked on Amy's link and saw some quite fetching photos of our beloved Winifred, which whet my appetite for some more Acker shots. My internet search engine immediately returned some even more appealing photos of Amy in a somewhat less covered state. Turns out that Ms. Acker appeared in FHM. Now I don't actually read FHM(not for the articles, anyway) on a regular basis, but I do occassionally check out the magazine rack while standing in line at the local 7-11, just to see who might be gracing the cover. I have no idea how I managed to miss Fred's issue, but I've decided that, as penance, I will post some pictures here.

Amy #1

Amy #2

Amy #3

Back to your regularly scheduled geeky posts soon.

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