Monday, October 31, 2016

Are Metabolisms Gullible?

October 30, 2016

There was another article in the paper about how your weight-loss can plateau after a while, in part because your metabolism slows to compensate for the reduced number of calories you’re eating.

The article recommended, among other things, kicking the exercise into higher gear; adding 15 or 30 minutes more to your routine.

15-30 minutes more? Who are they kidding?

I say, sneak the increase in. Start your weight-loss regimen with minimal exercise instead of a full-blown workout, then increase it gradually. So as your metabolism slows from decreased calories, maybe you can gradually increase your exercise to compensate for that without having to spend an hour or more a day doing it. Sort of trick your metabolism into thinking you're really going all out.

If anybody tries it, let me know how it goes.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Life Imitates Art

October 30, 2016

Since the 2015 James Bond movie “Spectre” featured such a dazzling Day of the Dead parade in Mexico City,

Mexico’s tourism board decided to actually throw one this year so as not to disappoint the tourists who might be expecting one.

Until this year, Mexico City had never had one.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

A Simple Trick for Halloween

October 29, 2016

Since so  many parents have to be careful about what their kids eat, trick-or-treating can be really stressful.

Some people are putting teal-colored pumpkins on their porches to signify that the treats they give out won't harm kids with allergies, diabetes, celiac disease, etc. 

I'm a big fan of simple solutions, so I loved this. No muss, no fuss.

Enjoy, kids. (And parents.)

A Helpful Hint for Other Bloggers

October 28, 2016

If your blog is set up to give you revenue by the number of page views you get, use the words "Hillary Clinton" in a blog.

I mentioned her in a post the other day, and the number of page views went up astronomically.

The majority of the views came from Poland. Not sure what that's about.

I don't get revenue, but I'm going to try it again today to see what happens.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Maybe I'll Stage a Sit-In

October 26, 2016

I saw an article the other day on “9 Ways Your Desk Job is Killing You.”

Shorn of the drama, it means get up and move around at work. We were designed for physical labor, and moving around helps your circulation.

Now, I do a lot of my desk work standing up. I like it. But they make it sound like sitting still at all is a death sentence. Move, move, move, they say. (I assume they want you to read their online articles while standing at the computer.)

Well, before you throw out your chair in an effort to stave off certain Death from Sitting, here’s a reminder: Every time a health craze reaches the point of hysterical headlines, it’s a pretty sure bet that somebody’s going to be backtracking about it in the not-too-distant future. Furthermore,

If we weren’t supposed to sit, our bodies wouldn’t bend this way.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hacking for the Greater Good

October 23, 2016

Teams of hackers have been invited to St. Louis to come up with their best ideas on how to tackle homelessness. I think it’s a great idea. When they’re done with that, maybe they can work on something that has been puzzling me for a while.

We spend tons of money reclaiming neighborhoods and property that have deteriorated so badly that demolition seems to be the best way to deal with them. Taking into account such factors as rights of the citizen (no forced relocation or Eminent Domain tactics), economics (not pouring money into subsidies), etc., how can we identify and shore up neighborhoods that are starting to go downhill?

I’m curious about whether they would be able come up with anything.

Rolling with the Punches

October 23, 2016

After Hillary Clinton referred to some supporters of Donald Trump as “a basket of deplorables,” columnist Dana Milbank mentioned seeing a Trump supporter wearing a “Les Deplorables” T-shirt and pin.

Hey, I thought it was cute.

Monday, October 24, 2016


October 24, 2016

For the third time in recent weeks here in St. Louis, a parent has gone into a convenience store for just a minute, left a baby or a toddler in the car with the keys in the ignition, and the car has been jacked with the child inside.

All the kids have been recovered safely (but not always in the best circumstances). But, who does this—leaves a kid in the car with the keys in the ignition, even for a minute? Who even leaves the keys in the ignition without having a kid in the car?

Do we really need to spell it out for people?

Take the kid, take the keys.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

There’s a Right Way to Spend Their Money?

October 22, 2016

I read a puzzling article today. It says that today’s generation (the Millennials) focus more on experiences—travel, hobbies, meals, etc.—than buying “stuff”, so they’re not contributing to the economy as much as previous generations.

That argument doesn’t make sense to me—they’re still spending money, even if it’s on restaurants or travel instead of big TVs. They’re just not spending money in the traditional way—buying houses. The article even says that Millennials are one reason restaurants have been doing so well, and hiring so many workers.

So just because they’re not buying what other people have bought in the past doesn’t make them economic drones. They’re just not tying themselves down.

Frankly, I’m with them, as long as they keep enough to pay the rent and not sponge off their parents.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Thanks for the Thanksgiving Break

October 18, 2016

I was steamed a couple of years ago because so many stores were opening on Thanksgiving and not giving their employees a chance to celebrate the holiday with their families.

This year, Mall of America and several other malls have decided to close. (Some stores never did open on Thanksgiving, which I thought was swell.) So I thought I'd just give them a pat on the back and say "Thanks." It's nice to write about people being considerate of each other.

I hope this trend toward employee-friendliness catches on and becomes the norm.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Behavior Modification

October 12, 2016

Donald Trump asserted that he could grab a woman’s crotch with no consequences.

I only hope he tries it on a woman who knows the martial arts form Pyung Ahn Oh Dan. It has two moves that would decisively discourage a repeat performance.

New Invention: The Anti-Grope

October 12, 2016

Recent news items have convinced me that we need an invention that will squirt mace at anyone who gets handsy. Kind of like those water-squirting flowers that clowns wear. It would have sensors that would react to pressure in certain places. One wrong move and, whammo!

I can’t wait.

How Many Tapes are There?

October 12, 2016

I’ll bet that there are lots of people—politicians and regular folks alike—who are praying that their comments have not been and never will be recorded.

Think of how many fewer politicians would hold office if they were.

Think of how many people would be sleeping on couches for weeks.

It Has Come to Our Attention…

October 11, 2016

Donald Trump was caught on tape bragging about groping women. Now his fellow party members, reeling at the idea that someone in politics could be a sexual predator, are disavowing him.

Because they had no idea that he had ever behaved inappropriately. (Apparently the party’s vetting process had some gaps.)

Seriously: Are they appalled at his behavior, or appalled because now they can’t get away with pretending that they don’t know about it?

Remember Mark Foley, and how many people in Congress turned a blind eye to his behavior before somebody leaked the e-mails? Only then did the outrage and disavowals begin. And he was preying on minors!

The Missouri legislature had its own problems with sexual predators. But as long as nobody went public with them, no politicians were outraged and nobody was called to account.

From now on, maybe our politicians should be a little more pro-active, and stop criminal behavior by their peers before it becomes public, and before people realize that they were complicit.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

October 9, 2016

I like the phrase, “It’s a sign.” It usually means, “I’m glomming onto this coincidence to bolster the decision I’m making.” But not always. Sometimes signs really are signs. Last week I got a bunch of them.

On Wednesday I was debating going to class. I said, “If I finish getting dinner ready before it’s time to leave, I’ll go.” (This dish usually takes forever.) That food cooked in record time. So I went.

The next day I was going to go to class when the handyman was finished working at our house. But he was running late and didn’t even get to the house until it was long past time for me to leave. A definite sign that I shouldn’t go. (But why two conflicting signs about going to class? Hey, I never said it made sense.)

The morning after that, I said, “I should probably start looking at that Facebook issue from last summer.” (I’m not a swift mover.) “If I have time before work, I’ll get to it.”

I didn’t have time; but as I was going downstairs to grab my lunch and go, I got a call: “The computers are down, don’t come in to work.”

So I headed straight back up the stairs and worked on Facebook. I mean, is that a sign, or is that a sign?

When I went shopping later that day, I found a blouse that was a great style, of great quality, and on super-sale. “A sign.” But they didn’t have my size. “Oops. Bad sign.”

Other malls in the area had it in my size, but I wasn’t interested enough to start traipsing around after it, so I let it go.

But on Monday… “The computers are still down, come in late.”

And that gave me time to go to a mall near my job that just happened to have the blouse in my size…

What could I do? It was a sign.

It's All in the Presentation

October 5, 2016

On my morning walk I passed a house that had a charming Fall decoration on the porch: tucked in the corner was a two-tiered plant stand, with a mum on the top tier and a pumpkin on the bottom one. It was very simple, but it looked great, and I marveled at how some people just have a knack for that sort of thing.

Farther down I passed a house where, in the spirit of the season, the homeowner had plunked a pumpkin on the front porch.

I think I’ll keep an eye on the first house to see what else they come up with for the various seasons.

And, since we have the same style of decorating, I wonder if I should introduce myself to the homeowner of the second house and see if we have other things in common.

Credit Where Credit is Due

October 10, 2016

Ya gotta give The Donald credit:

Ever since he became the front-runner, we haven’t heard that tired old cliché about voting for a candidate who believes in Family Values.

So I guess we owe him one.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

One Fewer Obstacle to Voting

October 3, 2016

There was an article in yesterday’s paper (the St. Louis paper, no less!) about mobile polling places in Ada County, Idaho. Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane said that the voting trailers give voters the advantage of not having to figure out where their regular polling place is located.

This might sound silly to anybody who hadn’t had to deal with the strange system of polling places in Ada County; but to those of us who have suffered through it, he makes perfect sense. (See “Only in Idaho—I Hope”, May 2010).

Monday, October 3, 2016

If Only They had Used the Past Perfect Tense...

July 15, 2016

I keep seeing books—library books, published books, books which have presumably been somewhat edited or proofread—whose authors write, “If I would have known, I would have done it differently…” It drives me nuts.

For all you budding authors, please note: It’s

“If I had known, I would have…”

“If I had seen her, I would have avoided her.”

“If Mom had known my friend hated broccoli, she wouldn’t have served it.”

The first part of the sentence uses the Past Perfect tense, and the second part uses the Conditional Perfect.

I’m not going to lie to you: I didn’t remember they were called the Past Perfect Tense and the Conditional Perfect Tense until I looked it up; but I did know how to use them. (Thanks, Mom.)

And now you do, too.