Wednesday, December 14, 2011

History rewritten

There's an iconic picture circulating around the web of a group of female firefighters at Pearl Harbor, supposedly taken on December 7, 1941. [It wasn't and here's an article about that.] Nevertheless, the picture, shown below, strikes me as amazing for a couple of reasons.

First, it's of female firefighters at a time when women were still considered the fairer sex. Sure the war changed things, and women who had to step into traditionally male roles proved they could do more than bake cookies and make babies. Nevertheless, it's humbling to see these courageous women at work doing something so few women even do today.

Second, the ethnic diversity strikes me. There is a black woman, a Hawaiin woman and several Caucasian women, all working together during a time when diversity wasn't embraced or mandated as it is today. There's another new perspective for me of a time when I thought things were a certain way, and it turns out maybe they really weren't.

The third thing I notice about the picture also tells me that some of the historical facts we're bombarded with today, just may not be true. The 'fact' I question is that all those years ago people were slim and healthy because they ate fresh whole foods and exercised more. I look at these women, and I see courage and strength, but I don't see bony physiques and slim silhouettes. They're not supermodel shaped, thus evidencing the fact that back before the standard "American diet" took effect and began making everyone fat, women still weren't skinny.

In this related photo you can see it clearly. None of these women is slender. At a time when the fashion was the cinched waist and flouncy hips, these women didn't have an hourglass shape. I wonder how Dr. Oz or all the other weight loss and "health" gurus would deal with them. Eat less and exercise more? Who's got time for that when you're busy protecting the country? Seriously.

I have no doubt there are plenty of photos from this time of the ideal woman with perfect measurements, but I have the feeling she was no more 'average' than the size 0 supermodel is today. This picture shows women living life as it should be lived, not munching rice cakes and sweating on a treadmill or dancersizing. That's how to stay healthy and be real - do what needs to be done. Stop counting calories and fat grams and striving for the perfect BMI and go put out some fires. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Are you ready...


I mean Thanksgiving?

I've been a fan of Black Friday for years, but not because I'm one of those people who gets up at 4:00 AM to go stand in line at the mall and spend the day hunting bargains and trying to get all my holiday shopping done in one day. In fact, between Thanksgiving Thursday and Christmas Eve [whatever day of the week] I don't go near any of the malls in the area. And that's not easy to do where I live since there's a major shopping mall within five miles in any direction.

I like Black Friday because it's a non-holiday. Most offices and schools are closed, yet there's no federal or religious reason for it. It started out as just a nice way to get a much needed four-day weekend. Now it's a thing. It's become a day of sanctioned insanity, one that I avoid by purposely staying home.

But in case, like me, you opt out of Black Friday shopping hysteria, you can now particiapte in
Small Business Saturday for those of us who hate the mall any day of the year, and after Exhaustion Sunday [my own creation] you can enjoy Cyber Monday, the official on-line shopping holiday.

While all these special days are cute and quirky and they probably offer a much needed boost to the retail economy, I think they're mostly a symptom of our society's love affair with material wealth. We've venerated shopping to a holiday experience [holiday coming from the concept of holy day] - and turned days for shopping into traditions - and the beginning of a new type of holy week dedicated to that which we are cleverly manipulated in worshipping, money.

However you spend Retail Weekend, have a good one and I hope you enjoy your Turkey Day or whatever you plan to do with the next five days.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Eating Plan, plan to eat!

Part III of my Trouble losing weight? Lose weight series

I went to the dietician yesterday and was pleasantly surprised to speak to someone who was intelligent and knowledgeable. It’s funny how what a supposed doctor can tell you about weight loss while they’re looking at your blood work is very different from what a dietician can tell you about how to take better care of yourself.

Here’s some of the differences between doctor/PA and dietician:

PA: Cut bread out of your diet

Dietician: Eat two slices of whole grain bread with breakfast and lunch. You need carbs in your diet.

PA: Insulin resistance will turn into diabetes, you must lose weight.

Dietician: Insulin resistance doesn’t always turn into diabetes. You can improve insulin resistance.

PA: Keep a food diary.

Dietician: You don’t need to keep a food diary.

PA: Cut out snacks between meals.

Dietician: You must eat a morning, afternoon and evening snack.

PA: Avoid cheese.

Dietician: With your low cholesterol you can certainly have cheese.

PA: Switch to skim milk.

Dietician: Drink 1% milk, it has less sugar than skim milk.

PA: Change your life to accommodate your diet.

Dietician: Let’s create a food plan that fits into your life.

Now, armed with some sensible and doable ideas to tweak my eating habits, I hope to improve my health, not just drop pounds while I starve myself in order to fit into an ‘ideal’ weight category.

My ultimate advice: Trouble losing weight? Lose your doctor, and find a medical professional who understands health.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Evil Avocados

This is part II of my Trouble Losing Weight? Lose Weight – Series

Yesterday in the mail I got my follow-up paperwork from my farce of a doctor visit this week. Included with my test results was the ubiquitous DIETARY MANAGEMENT PAGE.

The notation at the bottom of the page tells me this list was printed up in 2001 – or maybe 1901. I can’t really tell.

Below the GOALS, which include the specific and intelligently worded: Reduce weight to ideal body weight [because everyone must be IDEAL at all times], is an exhaustive list of BAD FOODS to be avoided.

As expected, I’m to stay away from things like Whole Milk [how’s 40 years away from it, good enough?], Butter, Lard [cause I love a could scoop of lard now and then], Organ meats, [brains anyone?], Fish Roe [cause I can afford caviar], Honey, Candy, Chocolate [never giving that up!] and of course, the dreaded, evil Avocado!

Yes, to lower our fat intake we need to cut out that nasty avocados, which we find scandalously slipped inside dozens of different health food sandwiches. It’s heartening to realize the horrifying obesity epidemic could be solved if only we lowered our intake of avocados, those high fat fruits! I think I may go to the food store today and slap the avocados out of everyone’s hand and tell them how bad, bad, bad avocados are for us. We’re a nation of guacamole guzzlers, and it’s starting to show. We need to stop this frightening dependence on fatty fruits and get out there and start drinking more diet soda!

Stay tuned for Part II of Trouble Losing Weight? Lose Weight, where I plan to document my visit to dietician. Let’s see if she can tell me something I don’t already know about ‘healthy lifestyle changes’.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Trouble losing weight?

Doctor solution: Lose weight

I'm disgusted right now, having just come from a follow-up visit with my psuedo-doctor, [a physician's assistant, since, as a woman, I don't rate seeing an actual doctor].

I visited three weeks ago with a couple of concerns: a feeling of generalized anxiety, a fluttering in my chest at times that made me anxious, a tiredness, a feeling of being overwhelmed, an inability to lose weight despite numerous 'healthy lifestyle changes', and just a general not well feeling.

Psuedo-doctor's first step was to prescribe vitamins, calcium supplements and Claritan [for a mild sinus irritation.] She then ordered blood and urine work, which I went for and today I went back for the results.

Well, my bad cholesterol is amazingly low!
My good cholesterol is also low. [How do you fix that? More exercise!]
My blood sugar is a little high [egads, I'm pre-diabetic - so now no other symptoms or concerns are of any importance. I could have had a broken leg and it wouldn't matter - I'm overweight and I have high sugar [9 points above normal] so therefore nothing else is of any value other than I LOSE WEIGHT!

Hold on, wasn't an inability to lose weight despite years of dieting and lifetsyle changes ONE OF MY COMPLAINTS?

Why, yes, it was.

What does the psuedo-doctor say? Here's a brief, disheartening transcript between me and the skinny little medical robot:

Her: You should cut out starches, pastas, sweets, white bread, white rice etc,.

Me: I explained to you already that I've done that. It made no difference.

Her: I'm sending you to Weight Watchers, people have lost 70 or 80 pounds on that. You should go with someone for moral support.

Me: I've been on diets since I was 17. They DO NOT work. I've counted points, calories, fat grams, etc. I've cut soda, white bread, salt etc. out of my diet and seen no weight loss.

Her: It's not just for weight loss, it's for a healthy lifestyle.

Me: I'm doing healthy lifestyle changes. They're not making a difference.

Her: How often do you exercise?

Me: I was doing it every day, it made no difference.

Her: But how about now?

Me: I'm TOO TIRED to excercise. That's my problem!

Her: Well, you can't just give up.

Me: Why not? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting diffrerent results is the definition of insanity.

Her: I can send you to a dietician. Maybe they can tell you something you're not doing.

Me: Fine. Whatever.

Her: I'd like to see you in three months and let's see if we can get that weight down, because we don't want you to become diabetic.

Me: I thought it wasn't about weight, it was about a healthy lifestyle.

Her: I'll see you in three months.

Me: No. You won't.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

And Gays can't marry?

My husband told me this morning, there’s been a new measure of time established. It’s called the Kardash. Definition: a period of 72 days.

All the jokes at the expense of celebutante Kim Kardashian and her apparently unemployed basketball star soon-to-be-ex husband Kris Humphries are well-deserved, but I think there’s a darker side to this celebrity-marriage-go-round.

There’s so much debate and animosity about the issue of same-sex marriage. States that allow it are applauded, states that don’t are trying to say the people don’t want it. Religious groups want to convince us that same-sex unions somehow undermine the institution of marriage and family – and yet when celebrities spend millions on highly publicized nuptials, then months, weeks or even hours later decide they made the wrong decision and want out [or decide they haven’t gotten enough publicity miles on the wedding and need more attention] we’re supposed to just laugh it off.

I have to be honest. It’s not funny. If we’re supposed to care about the integrity of marriage so much that we need to stop any given set of two people who are in love and committed to one another from getting married just because they have matching chromosomes, why should we just blithely accept the uber-rich and dubiously famous will marry for fun and profit and divorce for the same reason even before the magazines bearing their wedding photos have been taken off newsstand shelves?

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten canned mechanical phone calls polling me about my stance on same-sex marriage. Should marriage be between one man and one woman?

No, I always say, but they never leave me space to add: Marriage should be between one grown up and one grown up [or two or three even – we can discuss plural marriage another time], but the operative words should be ‘mature individual’ and ‘mature individual’ – and not ‘Botox glory hound’ or ‘talentless publicity seeker’.

Maybe all those activists out there campaigning to deny same sex marriage should focus their efforts on something that does need to be stopped instead – ‘same celebrity marriage’. Two famous people shouldn’t be allowed to get married in any state of the union. Clearly they can’t handle it, and the effect on the institution of marriage is too devastating for us all to have to witness. Over and over and over again.

They should put that to a vote – in a Kardash and every Kardash from now on until we can change the laws and make marriage a safe and sanctimonious haven for people who are truly committed to more than having their airbrushed images plastered underneath the headlines.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Is your dog sick as a human?

I guess it’s not enough that people everywhere are urged to get a flu vaccination every year, now we have to worry about our dogs as well.

I just received an urgent e-mail written in large text in various shades of RED, urging me to vaccinate my dog against canine influenza due to an outbreak in my county.

I’m not worried. First, because unfortunately my dog passed away almost a year ago, and secondly because, according my research:

Canine influenza is a disease of dogs; no evidence exists that people can catch it. Like human flu patients, dogs with canine influenza develop respiratory symptoms such as coughing and sometimes runny noses. And like humans, most dogs that contract the flu will be only mildly sick and recover on their own.

I’m not downplaying the problem of having a sick pet, and I realize respiratory problems in creatures who rely heavily on their noses to detect danger, food, friends etc, can be serious, but I sort of get the idea that, as with people, someone who makes money on selling and administering the vaccine wants to make sure everyone is too scared not to get it.

I had a dog for 12 years and never ONCE even heard of canine influenza. Now, all of a sudden, it’s a thing and pet owners need to be acutely aware of it. Yes, I discovered dog adoptions in the County have been suspended due to an outbreak, and obviously no one wants to take on an already sick pet and be on the hook for medical care that should have been provided and paid for by a shelter, but can we all say it slowly together – OVER RE ACTING?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against vaccines at all, and I don’t want to see any pet become ill any more than I want to be ill myself, but just as with myself, I’m less than enthusiastic about running to the doctor to get shot full of chemicals as a reaction to a panicked e-mail.

Let’s stop all this hyper-awareness and fear-mongering now while we still can. That’s something I’d be willing to be vaccinated against.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Oh well...

Since the world, so surpisingly, didn't end on Friday, I thought this bill board, borrowed from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, might be appropro.

Maybe next time...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Big dose of reality on the horizon

According to three-strikes-you're-out televangelist Harold Camping, today is the absolutely official without a doubt painstakingly calculated and researched day the world will, in fact, end.

This article [complete with scary photo of Mr. Camping] details some of his wild ass predictions, which have become decidedly less wild since his May 21, 2011 debacle during which he had a bunch of his loyal followers so convinced they'd made it to Rapture day that they gave up all their worldly goods to drive cross country and sit at his compound to await the beginning of world-pocalypse.

They were disappointed.

The rest of us went about our lives, apparently effortlessly living through the Rapture which occurred invisibly on that predicted day. Now, with a bunch of months to churn around and really gear up for a good kaboom, the world is now fully cooked and ready to pop like a dried out corn kernel in hot oil, so pull up a slab of butter and get ready for the show.

Unfortunately, you may have to watch really closely, because not only does Mr. Camping feel  "Probably there will be no pain suffered by anyone because of their rebellion against God", it's highly likely all this world-ending business will be largely invisible as well.

On the really off chance he's finally right this time [excuse me while I LMAO], I'll see you all in heaven or hell or wherever all us fun people end up. I suspect wherever it is, we'll be having a hell of a better time than Mr. Camping.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Need a little exercise?

Try jumping through hoops! That's what I've been doing today while trying to set up a retirement account.

The concept of saving for retirement is one that is drilled into us incessantly by banks and financial advisors. We must put money away for the future because the government can't afford to take care of us anymore, after paying them to do so for our whole working lives, we're just being selfish to expect any of that hard earned money back one day. So get an IRA - but don't put away too much money [the government regulates how much you're allowed to save] - we don't want any one to be too rich when they're old. No, no.

I'd like to save money for retirement [soon to be a fantasy concept the way things are going] just as much as the next person, but I have some far out requirements that pose unique problems for banking institutions.

1. I'm not already rich. I know - how dare I want to save only pennies a day? It seems most places I've looked have minimum balance requirements for opening an IRA. The most reasonable - $250 - the most outrageous $25,000 [I laughed at the woman over the phone when she told me that.] Honey, if I had $25,000, I'd be paying off my bills with it.

2. I want to make contributions. Weird right? I mean, employer run IRAs make contributions for you, put what happens if you're self employed? Some instutitions want to open a new account every time you make a contributions, so you end up with hundreds of individual accounts with small balances - way to save on paying interest, right?

3. I don't want to trade stocks, bonds, pig belly futures or commodities. I'm not interested in day trading. All I want is to put my money somewhere safe until I need it.

4. I don't want to pay someone to hold my money. This is the biggie - I mean who am I to expect a financial instiution not to try to bleed me dry, right? If I'm already losing money in a stock based account, why wouldn't I also want t see my balance trickle away with maintenance fees as well? Losing money a little at a time is almost as much fun as hiding it under the mattress and hoping moths don't eat it.

Ah well, back to my work out. At this rate, I may not have any money for retirement, but at least I'll be really skinny from jumping through all these hoops and since skinny people never get sick, I can just keep working and forget about retirement completely.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I am, therefore I think...

...or, let's put the cart before the horse.

It seems a group of esteemed researchers have made the fantastic intuitive leap that taking birth control pills leads women to choose boring men as mates. [Read the simplified version here.]

That’s sort of like saying … hmm, I can’t even come up with a similarly dumb analogy for that one.

Apparently, a study of 2500 women bore out the conclusion that those who take birth control pills tend to look for more stable, less exciting men to date, marry and have children with. They also report a higher satisfaction with their relationships.

So, ladies, if the exciting bad boys you’ve been dating just aren’t cutting it in the husband department, for heaven’s sake, go on the pill! You’ll be better able to, and apparently more interested in, a regular, down to earth, not so pretty, less macho, well employed provider type. It all has to do with hormones.

Apparently it never occurred to these researchers that perhaps, just perhaps, women who tend to be attracted to stable, intelligent, hard working, dependable men may also have the innate desire to better control their own reproductive lives, and be smart enough to choose men who will provide them with longer lasting, durable relationships. Or, let’s turn that around, women who give a crap about how many children they have and when, are more likely to choose men who are good husband material.


Sure we’ve all drooled over the hot, macho guy who can bench press a semi, or wrangle a shark or put out fires with his bare hands, but is it really a little pastel pill that suddenly gives women who would otherwise be dating cowboys and daredevils the desire to settle down with a guy who has a steady paycheck and no dueling scars? Please. Give the female race a little credit, shall we?

I’d make a bet these researchers also think it was the chicken that came first.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The take or leave it century

You hear a lot of speculation about how the world can recover from this global recession, and I have a bunch of my own theories but I’m starting to think we may never pull out of this if we don’t bring back some good old fashioned accountability all across the board.

How can anyone make money or forge a lasting business if they just don’t care?

I ask this because I’m so tired of seeing the laissez-faire attitude from businesses, banks, doctors, etc. No one has the gumption to put their best foot forward anymore. Is it any wonder no one’s making money?

A case in point, I hired a supposed professional several weeks ago to fix a leaky gutter on my house. After the work was done, for a reasonable $30.00, I was told if there were any problems to call the company and someone would come back to fix it. Well, the next rain storm produced a waterfall from the gutter which had previously only been dripping. I called. It took several phone calls to finally get someone to return, repair the leak a second time and leave. The next time it rained the gutter went back to dripping, so I was right back where I started. Several more phone calls only served to irritate the company manager who ended up telling my husband never to call again.

Naturally I did what I do best. I left reviews of the company wherever I could. We contacted the Better Business Bureau and put in a complaint. The manager called to complain to us about this because he couldn’t understand why we were making such a big deal over a $30 job.


Clearly the man has no business sense. No one ever told him that the $30.00 customer should be treated the same way the $30,000 customer is treated because you never know when one can turn into the other. His feeling was, we were supposed to excuse poor service, rudeness over the phone and a reluctance to fix the problem because, after all, we’d only paid $30, the price quoted to us by his own technician. Now the company is annoyed because the Internet reviews are out there tarnishing their reputation. Boo hoo.

Do a good job and you won’t have to worry about your reputation.

As a writer, I have to put my work out there and take the chance someone will give a trashy review. A bad review will hurt my business, it will impact my book sales. I know this because I’ve changed my mind about buying books after reading poor reviews. I don’t whine about those bad reviews. I don’t moan and say, what did they expect for a $0.99 book or a $4.99 book? If they’d been willing to pay $29.99 for it, I might have done a better job. That’s BS of the highest magnitude. My book sales are driven by the good reviews, the ones I get because I care about what I produce. In the information age, if you do crappy work, the world will know about it in a heartbeat. Welcome to the 21st Century, put on your big girl panties and deal with it.

Yet this attitude seems to prevail. I see it among writers who do whine about their bad reviews and engage reviewers in arguments. I see it in businesses that relegate small, inexpensive jobs to lesser skilled workers and provide less customer service to the ‘little guy’. I see it in banks that charge fees for low balance accounts and not for higher balances, in doctors and medical practices that give better service to patients who pay their own way as opposed to those relying on insurance [or sometimes vice versa depending on where they think they’ll get the most money]. I see it in government where budget cuts lead to lack of service which punishes the communities rather than the higher government that imposes the budget cuts to begin with. There seems to be a resentment of the everyday working person, the person who doesn’t just want to save money but HAS to in order to survive. We’re not supposed to complain about higher taxes, increased fees, lower compensation for health insurance, cuts in our salaries, higher gas prices, higher food prices, less service everywhere. We’re just supposed to shut up and accept that no one can go the extra mile anymore because we can no longer pay for it.

I guess the old adage is true: Money talks and bull shit is the new gold standard.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Shed your kids – for weight loss?

Here’s a clunker of an article by Emily Leamon at Be Well Philly, which provides us with the snippet of wisdom that having kids makes us fat. Ye Gods! So the only way to stop the dreaded obesity epidemic may be to simply stop the human race. If we can avoid having kids, maybe we can avoid packing on the pounds later in life.

The tragedy of this article isn’t that it quotes useless BMI statistics, [which is does], or this ridiculous quote:

Fathers gain more weight than mothers, on average, likely because their lifestyle choices—smoking, drinking—are impacted most. As fathers give up those habits, they turn to food, researchers suggest, which leads to more pounds over time.

slyly suggesting if those dads just kept on drinking and smoking they would stay thin, but that Ms. Leamon’s only solution to the ‘problem’ is to “try, oh try to stay in shape before you dive into parenthood.” Such sage advice! Especially when the article itself touts the magical age for childbearing to be 26 – pick a different age in either direction and you’re doomed to pork up apparently.

I could have saved the researchers a lot of time and effort and told them why parents gain more weight than childless people. The answers are simple and clear to anyone with kids. Stress! When you can spend all your time smoking, drinking and doing recreational drugs as the source article mentions prominently as being the reason why fathers especially gain more weight, and you don’t have to be responsible for the life of another human being, it’s a lot easier to stay thin. Having less time to cook and shop and less money to spend on those suspiciously more expensive “healthy foods” is also a contributing factor.

Let’s face it, kids are expensive and time consuming and they impact a person’s ability to stay focused on the all important weight of their bodies. The takeaway from both of these articles is – if you want to stay thin, forget kids, stick to the smoking and drinking and substance abuse ‘cause lord knows it won’t help you after you have them.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Product Review: Sally Hansen Salon Effects

I got back into nail polish in a big way this year, after years of not having the time or the patience to mess with a manicure. I decided one day that I needed more color in my life and went hog wild buying new colors.

Then I remembered all the reasons I gave up nail polish in the first place. The smell is headache inducing. The bottles can spill, and you can’t clean nail polish off of most things. You have to sit around waiting for your nails to dry and if you don’t, they get smudged. After a day [or five minutes] the polish chips. The nail polish remover stinks, and lastly, if you’re not coordinated, one hand looks good and the other one looks like a first-grader painted it.

I ran across Sally Hansen Salon Effects nail polish strips at CVS where they cost about $10.00 for a set that will do one manicure. Pricey, but if you compare – there are some bottles of nail polish that cost at least that much, and a trip to a salon for a live manicure would cost even more. I decided to spring for a pack in purple and I tried it out.

The effect is actually pretty cool. You get a very shiny look that stays shiny. You have, as the package says, no dry time, and you get some very cool patterns to choose from as well as nifty, bright solid colors. The set comes with a three-surface emery board and a cuticle stick as well as 16 strips. My favorite part is, once you apply a strip, the nail is done. You can stop in the middle of a manicure and answer the phone, dig the remote out of the couch cushions, pet the cat, whatever and it will have no effect on your nails. No sitting around blowing on your hands or waving them around just so you can go to the bathroom.

Those are the highlights. The con column is a bit more populated.

For the price, you get ONE manicure. A bottle of polish ranging from $1.99 to $9.99 can do multiple manicures and last for years.

You get 16 strips, which seems like a nice amount. In case you screw up the original 10, you have six more to play with. But why not 20? The application of the strips is fairly simple, so it’s hard to screw one up. Both times I’ve used the strips, I’ve had six leftovers.

The leftover strips are useless. You can’t save them. After a time, they become somewhat brittle, you can’t peel them off their backings, and they rip if you try. You could use one of the two packaged sets of 8 – and do an odd nail on each hand to get two manicures out of the pack, but once you open the foil pack they come in, those strips are done.

There is a mess. Once you’ve peeled your polish strips, shaped them to your nails and pulled off the excess, you have thin cellophane strips all over the place and torn pieces of nail strips that are still sticky on the back. Granted they’re not too hard to clean up, but there’s a pile of little pieces that can be a nuisance.

The polish does chip, just like regular polish. And of course, with no bottle of that color, you can’t do a touch up. I solved the chip problem by cutting my nails after a couple of days, which made the manicure last another week, but don’t be fooled. You’d be hard pressed to get 10 days out of the manicure as the package promises.

There is a faint smell. It’s nothing like when you open a bottle of polish, but there is some mild chemical odor. Not enough to be a deterrent, but it’s there.

Removal still requires regular nail polish remover [which stinks] and the strips come off in layers, first the color, then the white base, so it takes some work to get your nails completely clean, more so than with most liquid polish.

Overall, I’d give Sally Hansen Salon Effects a C+ - they’re fun to work with, it’s a different process than applying nail polish that circumvents some of the nuisance of liquid polish, but the price and the chipping problem take away from the idea that this is a perfectly convenient alternative to liquid polish.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Get your finger off that button!

An open letter to door-to-door salespeople

Dear Representative of X Company,

I hate to be rude. I really, really do, but when you stop understanding nice, I have to bring out the big guns. While I appreciate that you need to make a living, and somehow you got the idea that working on commission will fill your coffers and allow you to pay the rent, I really don’t care. I’m sorry for that. I have no doubt the day will come when you realize all the hours you spent hiking through my neighborhood and neighborhoods like it are largely for naught. You do have my sympathy.

However, you need to understand that I’m not sitting in my house, twiddling my thumbs, just waiting for the doorbell to ring – any more than I’m sitting anxiously by the phone waiting to hear the voice of a telemarketer. When you show up on my doorstep at 5:45 PM, please don’t look disappointed or shocked or hurt or offended when I tell you, “I’m making dinner right now, I cannot talk to you.” I’m really not kidding. When I tell you, “I have something on the stove,” it is actually not a lie. Asking if you can come back in 15 minutes is…well…STUPID, because in 15 minutes I will be sitting down to eat that which I now have on the stove. Assuming it’s not burning while I’m trying to get you off my porch in the nicest way possible.

Please try to understand that I can’t just set up a future appointment with you while I’m hanging out my door trying to keep my pets from bolting outside to greet you or eat you as the case may be. I need a calendar to make an appointment and I don’t have one in my hand at the moment. I have no intention of inviting you in, so I’d have to close the door while you wait for me to locate my calendar, and the chances that I’ll open it again are slim. You must realize that if I wanted my driveway repaved, or my roof reshingled, or a better cable service, I would be calling a company [maybe even yours] and lining up a consultation, but I’m NOT, so chances are, I’m also NOT in the market for your services at this moment in time, while I’m making dinner, or taking a nap, or cleaning my kitchen floor, or working, or reading a book or talking on the phone.

If you want my attention, leave a flyer in my mailbox. I’ll probably throw it away, but the chances are better that I’ll glance at it and maybe even file it away for future reference.

So, for heaven’s sake, get your finger off that door bell button. Step off the porch and proceed down the walkway until you reach the sidewalk. Then GO AWAY. I don’t want any. I’m not interested. Don’t call me, I’ll call you. I’m busy. And while you’re at it, look for a different job, because there’s no future in door-to-door sales. Really. There isn’t.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Complaints are lies...

…and bad manners besides.

During last week’s episode of Dr. Who on BBC America, I was treated to a commercial for a miraculous new weight loss product called Lipozene.

According to the commercial, Lipozene is the answer for people who have had problems losing weight and finally want something that works. Oh goody!

I decided to look up Lipozene and find out what the hype was all about – the very hype that the Lipozene people don’t want us to believe.

I won’t post a link to the Lipozene site, but I will tell you that Lipozene claims to be an ‘all natural remedy’ used for generations in Japan that ‘acts as a sponge in your intestines.’ That’s so much better than all those nasty lifestyle changes that can be damaging to your system.

Don’t worry, Lipozene has no side effects! It’s been clinically proven to work and best of all, if you come across any complaints or negative reviews on the Internet don’t believe them because [and here’s a quote]:

• Many people who submit complaints to these supposedly unbiased review sites say they were ripped off or that the product didn’t work. The fact is that most of them never received the product because their credit cards were declined, or they never ordered it in the first place. Our customer service department has done the research to prove the facts behind these Lipozene complaints.

Yep, anyone who has a bad report about the product, probably never really bought it in the first place! They’re just lying. Isn’t that rude?

Obviously you can trust someone who tells you all complaints about them must be lies. So there you go. A new and effective way to lose weight, safely and naturally. Stock up while the lies supplies last!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Got side effects?

I was leafing through the September 19th issue of People magazine, and halfway through I had to ask myself if I was looking at an entertainment magazine or a medical journal. Every few pages, I was bombarded with another drug ad, and not just little blurbs, but three-page spreads designed to entice readers to ‘talk to their doctors’ about medicines that ‘could be right for them.’

What shocked me even more than the size of the ads were the lists of side effects they all included. Once again, I have to ask myself, is the cure [or the treatment] worse than the disease?

Here’s what I found:

A three-page ad for Focalin XR – for ADHD –this drug is for children over age 6 – and the side effects include sudden death, stroke and heart attacks, increased blood pressure and heart rate, slowing of growth in children and [among many others] nervousness.

A three page ad for NuvaRing – for birth control – one of the side effects is weight gain and in addition you should worry about blood clots, stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, gallbladder disease, liver tumors and inflammation of the pancreas

A three page ad for BOTOX ® - nothing like injecting yourself with botulism which can cause life threatening side effects

A three page ad for Enbrel – for plaque psoriasis – a host of side effects include: tuberculosis, fatal blood problems, heart problems and new or worsening psoriasis

A three page ad for Seroquel XR – for depression – side effects include weight gain, seizures, neuroleptic malignant syndrome and cataracts

A two-page ad for Boniva – for osteoporosis – the ad includes a correction about misleading information in previous ads – side effects include severe jawbone problems, osteonecrosis [that means bone death], spasms, numbness and thigh bone fractures

Is it any wonder Americans are so sick? We’re being bombarded with drugs to fix our problems, all of which can cause serious other problems, not to mention the same problems we’re trying to get rid of.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Got milk? Oh no!

I’m of two opinions on this article by Paul John Scott at DETAILS – one, kudos for an article that highlights the controversial truth that diets don’t work and calorie and fat restriction are not the answer to long-term weight loss. A raspberry for the tired cliché that you can blame your weight on one thing – [ur doin’ it wrong] by drinking skim milk.

As someone who was taught from an early age to revile whole milk, I’ve often wondered if my relationship with dairy products has been a good one or a bad one. Years of lactose intolerance led me to avoid milk for a long time and feel guilty about it. ‘Milk does a body good’ you know. Learning about milk’s dark, dirty secrets – the hormone and antibiotic abuse – assuaged a lot of that guilt and allowed me to reduce milk to nothing more than an occasional cooking ingredient. [Ice cream doesn’t count in my book – I don’t care what it’s made of].

Regardless of the findings of any study, I don’t plan to add milk [whole or skim] back to my diet in a big way because the dairy industry is, for the most part, vile. I don’t see legions of skimmers making the switch either because our society is too terrified of fat to embrace whole milk again after decades of believing it was the root of all evil.

I wonder how long it will be before whole milk makes a comeback as a weight loss secret.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Draw your own conclusions

That’s what this article by Sarah Klein at basically expects of readers.

The title presents one hypothesis – that the Super-Moms [or women striving to be] can become miserable. That’s a no-brainer. We’ve all known for a long time that society’s expectation that a woman can be a perfect employee and a perfect mother at the same time is damaging to everyone involved. The article, of course, presents this like it’s news.

What’s interesting is, as you read the article you find that the first line:

Working mothers are less likely to be depressed than stay-at-home moms, a new study suggests.

Which sounds like the antithesis of the title, is contradicted by the results of the study.

The women who supported combining motherhood with a career had a greater risk of depression later in life than those who thought women should stay at home to raise kids.

In fact, the young women who were the least likely to support the idea of blending home and work life had the fewest depression symptoms when they were actually working moms at age 40.

[Emphasis mine]

So, to follow so far – Super-Mom wanna bes are not happy, but working mothers are happier, except for those who think being a working mom is a good idea. Ultimately women who don’t think mothers should work are less depressed later in life when they DO work.

Say what?

This is why the results of studies conducted by graduate students don’t really need to be published. Or then again, maybe the study draws some amazingly pertinent conclusions which Ms. Klein simply couldn’t communicate effectively in her article.

Either way, I’m confused. The article concludes that it’s best to accept the fact that you can’t do it all and not to feel guilty if you’re a working mom.

Thanks for that, because all those guilty-feeling working moms out there can now rest easily. We all know the best way to make someone feel better is to tell them to feel better.

I really don’t mean to attack the author here, but it stuns me how often these health articles contradict themselves and draw conclusions that anyone with a modicum of common sense has known for years. While a study that reinforces the conclusions of other studies may be helpful, presenting it with contradictory conclusions based on the same study is not.

My overall conclusion: Reading health articles on the Internet is bad for your health.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back with a vengeance

I’ve seriously neglected this blog for a lot of reasons, chief among them the feeling that it was becoming just a place to rant and I wasn’t sure how much negativity I wanted to spout into cyberspace.

On the other hand, I do need a place to vent about things that irk me, especially the things in cyberspace that irk me. So I’m back.

What got me started on the need to vent was this puff piece I stumbled across by Susan Cheever of SELF magazine, who opines that being nice can make people fat, because apparently her lack of assertiveness resulted in weight gain and therefore everyone should learn to be mean in order to lose weight.

Like most of the media-drugged masses, Cheever thinks she’s found that simple trick everyone craves in the race to weight loss. She’s noticed that the nice people she knows are overweight, the jerks are skinny – hence, ipso facto, being nice must make one fat.

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Isn’t it?

She goes on to explain how learning to say ‘no’, and subsequently being a bit rude and self-centered shaved 25 pounds off her, and also got her invited to fewer parties. I suppose it’s better to be thin than to be liked.

What’s interesting is that Cheever let’s her readers in on the real reason for her weight problem in the beginning of her article. It has nothing to do with her kindness or sensitivity, but her dysfunctional family attitudes about food and weight.

Everyone is so busy blaming obesity on the wrong things – we’re too nice, we have fat friends, we watch too much television, we eat too much fruit, blah, blah, blah. Let’s face it, we all know the real reason the population is gaining so much weight – it’s because the diet industry wants us to. How would they make billions of dollars if we were all as thin as they promise us we can be?

Diet books, diet shakes, diet gurus, diet reality shows – all encourage dysfunctional eating. Lose weight, gain it back, starve yourself, gorge yourself, strip out nutrients from your diet, overeat to compensate, fill yourself up with pills and shakes and bulking agents, rice cakes and Slim Shots, and when you gain it all back, someone else is there to tell you the only reason you failed was because you did it wrong and you just have to follow THEIR diet plan for lasting success.

I’m tired of it all, so the gloves are off. I’m done being nice – not because I expect it will help me lose weight [it won’t] but because there needs to be a counterpoint to all the blathering about how easy it is to lose weight if you just know the right thing to do or the right way to be.