Friday, January 30, 2009

Why Be Healthy If Your Spouse Isn't?

This evening, I overheard a conversation in which it was revealed that an obese man had lost several dozen pounds in a bid to be healthier. His wife (a frequent smoker and also obese) has no mind at all to change her ways. This got me to thinking: if the man goes on to be a healthy weight while his significant other remains the same, one could reasonably assume that the man would outlive the woman, perhaps by a half dozen years. This wouldn't be true in every case, but it certainly is a reasonable supposition.

Many couples talk about wanting to die together so that neither has to be alone for an extended period of time. But wouldn't striving to be healthy while your partner falters lead to more heartache down the road for the lower BMI'd person? If you knew that reforming your bad habits would only lead to you being alone longer in your 70's or 80's, would you still do it? Or would you hope that one day your partner catches on and does the same? Or have you the belief that if the other goes first, you'd have no problem obtaining another life partner?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ghost Hunting

Don't you hate it when one of your favorite TV shows had its season premiere weeks ago and you missed it? Such was the situation I fell into Wednesday night when I saw on the on-screen menu that "Ghost Hunters International" was gonna be on at 8pm (a quick look at told me it was "GHI's" third ep of the season). Now, how to catch the two I missed. The second one was going to be shown after the 3rd aired, so I was fine on that front, but to see the first, I would have to go to and watch it on my 'puter.

On Friday night, I did so and the experience was much better than I expected. First of all, the ep was presented in widescreen (my TV is full). Secondly, there were no commercials, so it only took 44 minutes to watch. Next, there were no alerts on the bottom of the screen during the program saying what was coming up next on the channel or that the Loch Ness monster movie was airing the following week (there was a TurboTax icon near the bottom of the screen, but I blocked it with a T-shirt). Being just over a foot from the screen (as opposed to more than six) allowed me to pay much closer attention to what was going on. I also wore headphones which drastically reduced outside distractions.

It was one of the best "Ghost Hunters" episodes I've ever seen. The "International" team usually has better luck finding things (probably because there is so much more history in Europe than in the U.S.)

That's not to say the domestic crew doesn't catch things, but exploring a small house in New England doesn't typically have the potential that investigating a 500-year old fortress (with a dungeon) does. If you care to check out the ep I watched, click here, then on "Ghost Child of Peru".

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Why I Love Winter

A warm bath feels much better after one has been out in the cold.

The dog doesn't bark as much since there are less people goofing around outside.

I don't have to feel guilty about not playing outside with the dog as it's simply too cold to do so.

I needn't concern myself with doing poop patrol as all my pup's droppings descend into the snow.

I don't need to worry about seeing fat people in tank tops and shorts.

If I gain a few, no sweat. Who's gonna know if I'm wearing five layers?

The nights are much quieter.

There's not as strong an impetus to go out on the weekends.

It's always an adventure going into the driveway when there's just barely enough room for one car to get in. If I misjudge, a 6-foot tall block of snow rubs against the car giving me an idea of what it must've been like on the Titanic.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Instant the Earth Stood Still

"Not since Klaatu landed in a flying saucer on the Ellipse has Washington been so mesmerized by an object whirring through the sky.

But this one was departing, not arriving.

As W. ceased to be president, he flew off over the Capitol and across the Mall en route to Andrews Air Force Base, and then back to Texas.

I’ve seen many presidents come and go, but I’ve never watched a tableau like the one Tuesday, when four million eyes turned heavenward, following the helicopter’s path out of town. Everyone, it seemed, was waving goodbye, with one or two hands, a wave that moved westward down the Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, and keeping their eyes fixed unwaveringly on that green bird.

They wanted to make absolutely, positively certain that W. was gone. It was like a physical burden being lifted, like a sigh went up of “Thank God. Has Cheney’s wheelchair left the building, too?”

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009


While in Oregon, I went to a dive called the Pita Pit. It was there that I had my first Pita (it's just a sub with a different covering, right?). I ordered the turkey and chuckled as I saw on the menu board that one could get extra hummus for $.75. Why was this so funny to me? Well, I went to Adam Sandler's "You Don't Mess With The Zohan" this past summer and it had at least a half dozen gags which involved hummus. Here's one (check out Sandler's face at :20):

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Telling Dream

I had a dream last night that revealed a great truth about me. I was dining in a two-story restaurant with friends and family. A picture of my sister was on page 2 of the local newspaper which had many excited. I chuckled at a commercial on the TV for Sacha Baron Cohen's new comedy disc (something to do with magnets). At one point before we received our food, I lowered the table we were seated at from the second floor to the first. People started looking at me. I was joking around a bit at our table before feeling the grasp of a woman's hand on my arm. What follows is our conversation:

Woman: "Why are you doing this? People are watching".

Me: "I don't care what people think of me".

Woman: "Well, I do".

Me: "Why?"

After a pause, she strode away.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Wintry Evening at Wal-Mart

Even though we were getting a decent amount of snow, that didn't stop me and the Mrs. from going out to eat and to the world's most popular store last night. I typically stay home when the weather's bad, but with Obama's inauguration almost upon us, I'm feeling a tad more frisky.

We first headed to my favorite pizza joint in town. Since my wife is trying to lose weight, she didn't order anything at all which is kinda cool since our bill was only half what it typically would be. I don't know about you, but I'm more likely to eat more in the evening if I've had significant bowel movement earlier in the day.

Next, we headed to Sam's Place. I know I probably shouldn't, but you can buy 160 Fiber Capsules there for a paltry $4 (that's translates to about 50 cents per BM). It was cold enough that I wore my black ski mask as we walked from the car to the store.

I like to wear it a little bit farther into the store than I should. Not only do I keep it on when I go through the first entrance (where all the carts are), but also several steps into the second entrance. I noticed a cashier looking at me, probably wondering if I was going to rob the place. Other patrons waiting in line were most likely thinking the same thing. Imagine their disappointment when I took the mask off. I bet some were secretly hoping I was going to pull a job just so they could tell all their friends about it.

With the snowstorm causing havoc outside, the aisles at the store were relatively barren. In fact, I don't recall ever seeing a Wal-Mart so bereft of people, so quiet and I didn't mind it one bit. There was a downside, however: as we checked out, I grabbed an issue of Country Weekly to see what was going on in Country Music these days. I got about three sentences into one article before our stuff started getting rung up. Doncha love it?!

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Spent New Years Eve in the 1920's

December 27, 2008

The night manager of the Columbia had left our room keys in an envelope at the front desk. The hotel was quiet as we entered room number five. As I brought our bags in, my wife looked at me disappointedly and said, "Honey, there's no television". I found this somewhat hard to believe, so took a look myself. She was right, no telly. I said that we probably wouldn't have much time to watch, anyway. She asked if the lounge had a boob tube. I walked out there and again, no luck.

I was a tad bummed because I had been looking forward to seeing the Vikings and Giants play the following afternoon. I figured I'd look around town when I woke up and hopefully there'd be a bar showing the game. The reason why the Columbia doesn't have TV's is because it's meant to be a trip back in time to the 1920's (there are also no phones in the rooms and you have to go down the hall to take a shower). And, of course, the effect wouldn't be complete without a number of doilies. Here's a picture of the room we stayed in:

the infamous clawtub:

and (can you believe it?) a day bed:

It was probably no coincidence I dreamt about my grandmother that night (the smell of the hotel had done the trick). If I had smelled a pack of Bazooka Joe the night before, I'm sure I would've had a dream about my childhood.

The next day, as I passed the front desk to get a bite to eat, I noticed the clerk was working on a laptop. I said to him, "Isn't that cheating?". He said, "What do you mean?" I said, "Well, this is supposed to be like we in the '20's and you're on the information superhighway". He smiled and said, "I've got the best of both worlds".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why Do You Believe What You Do?

Since returning from a holiday retreat in Oregon, I've been thinking a bit about what I believe and why others believe what they do. I look at my parents who each subscribe to different Christian religions (ones they wouldn't be in were it not for their significant others). You'd think being twenty years older than I, with more real-world experience, they'd be in a more enlightened belief system than the one I subscribe to. But age, apparently, doesn't matter. A 10-year old could believe in something more soul stirring than what your average 75-year old does.

In the 90's, while on a city bus, I overheard an older lady say she does the things she thinks God wants her to in order to avoid going to "the bad place". I shook my head and thought, "What kind of God could ever send a sweet woman like you to hell and more importantly, why do you choose to believe in such a God"?

We are free to believe in whatever God we want or none at all or that all is God. I just don't see how millions (billions?) can choose a belief system that restricts them, that says you must do this, that you must never do this. Some say that if one doesn't believe in God, all morals go out the window. I disagree, as evidenced by the following quote from Michael Shermer:

"If you agree that, in the absence of God, you would commit robbery, rape, and murder, you reveal yourself as an immoral person, and we would be well advised to steer a wide course around you. If, on the other hand, you admit that you would continue to be a good person even when not under divine surveillance, you have fatally undermined your claim that God is necessary for us to be good.”

What really blows my mind are people who have belonged to the same religion all their lives and say it is the best in the world, without ever giving the other ones (or having none at all) an honest try. It's like Americans saying the U.S. is the best country in the world without ever having been overseas.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Airport Security

I went on vacation last week which is why I took a break from blogging. Here's the first of several notable things I experienced while out of town:

Upon our arrival at the Minneapolis airport, we checked our baggage and headed through security. Just after I went through the checkpoint, the TSA representative said he'd been afraid my belt was gonna set off the alarm, but it just missed doing so. My wife wasn't so lucky: she was wearing a pair of jeans that had a couple small metal rings on them. The TSA dude padded her down, but since the mechanism was still going off, he asked her if she could take the heavy sweatshirt she was wearing off. My beloved replied, "I'm not wearing anything underneath this". I was sitting down tying my shoes as I observed this and couldn't help chuckling a bit. They ended up letting her through without having to disrobe. A moment later, she cursed under her breath at the perceived offense.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Wine and Spirits

A couple weeks ago, while waiting to pick a friend up, I spent about 20 minutes parked in front of a liquor store. Despite the temperature being 22 degrees (and much colder with the wind chill), quite a few people entered the business to obtain some "spirits". They typically went in with an intent look on their face. As they exited a few minutes later, I noticed they appeared a bit more relaxed. In my mind, they were thinking one of two things: "One less errand to worry about" or "In 60 minutes, I'll be partying like there's no tomorrow".

One conclusion I reached is that those 24-packs look pretty heavy. If I was a regular boozer, I'd get, like, 200 cans so that I wouldn't have to keep going back every week for reinforcements. One of the reasons I don't drink beer is because having to urinate every 45 minutes just doesn't justify the buzz I would get from it. Maybe if I could just get the alcohol without all the barley and shit.

There's a reason why straight alcohol doesn't taste good: because it's not good for you. I'm of the belief that years of alcohol use leads to one gradually becoming, well, less smart. If you go to a bar, what is the average IQ, I wonder.

And if it's low, is it because the people were less smart to begin with or did the use of booze lead to a steady decline in smarts? Perhaps this view is rubbish, but the body sure doesn't seem to like having booze in it: as alcohol acts upon one's brain, the body is furiously working to remove it.

A decade ago, I worked with three developmentally disabled chaps who, when given a can of O'Doul's, started acting drunk within ten minutes of their first sip. This makes me wonder: if you gave people in a bar non-alcoholic drinks that smelled like alcohol, would the power of suggestion make them think they were drinking the real thing?