Thursday, August 29, 2013

2060 Gray Hooligans

As in many things, we need only look to Japan to see the newest trend coming down the pipe. From Hello Kitty to the strange fad of eyeball licking, Japan gets there first and the rest of the world can only stand in awe before rushing in willy-nilly to get in on the craze.

So it was with great trepidation that I read of the newest cultural direction Japan may be the vanguard of. Or maybe I should say the old guard. Because it's the Japanese seniors, not their teenage fashionistas, that are taking center stage. 

It's the silver shoplifters. 

Yep, turns out that because of cuts in welfare and pensions, Japan's surging senior boomer bulge is turning to crime, many of them stealing food to survive. Recent police records indicate that shoplifters are now more likely to be over 65 than under 18.

Offenses by over 65-year-olds have doubled in the last decade. Overall crime has dropped. Japanese prisons have had to install handrails and ramps to accommodate elderly inmates.

So look out America, with our own budget cuts, and big bankrupt companies and places like Detroit defaulting and wiping out pensions, our bulging baby boomers aren't far behind. And though it's easier to chase down a single senior shoplifter, it won't be long before they're traveling in gangs for support. The Gray Panthers back on the street and ready for arthritic action. Bluehaired Hooligans. 

The AARPocalypse.

Especially since we already have handrails and ramps installed everywhere. And with the ubiquity of motorized scooters subsidized by the feds, the senior gangs will be able to run rampant.  

Mark my words you young whippersnappers. When life's other pleasures have faded, food's all you got left. 

There's nothing more vicious than a hungry senior.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

2059 Scents of Disgust

As I age, I find myself more and more intolerant of other people's odors. By which I mean perfumes and colognes. Judging by the smells I smell on people, it's teenagers who find it most necessary to douse themselves with odiferous compounds. The smell of teen sprit is certainly quite pungent in the mall. 

But there's also been many a meal in restaurants that I've had ruined by older women, by which I mean older than teenagers, not elderly. Powerful colognes like Obsession and their like, permeating through the closed atmosphere of a dining room, totally disrupting any attempts by my nose to appreciate the subtle nuances of flavor in the dish in front of me. Restaurants should have not only "No Smoking" but "No Cologne-ing" sections. 

And, yes, I said flavor. Since your tastebuds can only distinguish salty, sour, bitter, sweet, and umami, it's your nose that supplies the subtleties of flavor. 

I've often wondered how much of the vaunted deliciousness of southern BBQ enjoyed in rural BBQ places is the smoke wafting out of the back room and making the meat on your plate seem that much more barbecuey.

Anyhow, what led me down this garden path was the bottle on my desk in front of me. It's the empty remnant of a hairspray bottle I used. It is, of course, labeled as "unscented." It only makes sense that adding scents to my body is bad for my digestion as well, so I seek out unscented body products. 

Imagine my disappointment when I finally read the ingredients list to confirm what my nose had all ready told me. The sixth ingredient on it was "fragrance". 

Huh. Must be the fragrance of unscent. 

Added to disguise the misleading marketing fact that something stinks here...

America, ya gotta love it. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2058 Ballet Who

I see things weird. Not long ago I went to a celebrity auction up in Bellevue. And they had valet parking. I saw something weird in the parking area. A guy reaching into his pocket for a tip. He pulled out a big fold of money and then licked his finger and used it to count off some bills. 


How gross is that? The poor valet now has to use money with that guy's cooties on it. I've read how tests on money say it contains traces of cocaine and stuff. From people rolling up bills and using them as snort straws. So that's bad enough. You got cocaine, nose gummies, and everyday dirty hands. Now you got spit too.  

Let's just hope the valet doesn't have a cocaine habit of his own. Cause now he'll be sticking that guy's spit in his nose. 

Another weird thing? I guess I never noticed the valet in valet parking was spelled v-a-l-e-t- before. Must be why I was surprised to be greeted by guys dressed in regular clothes and vests. I'd expected tights and tutus. 

Because I'd always heard it as ballet parking. 

Kind of made sense. You only get that kind of parking at hoity-toity places, why not have the parking attendants pirouette and leap and plie' and stuff? Class the joint up if you ask me. 

Plus, I sort of didn't trust handing my car key to the guy and letting him get into my car. He looked a little scruffy under his vest. I'm sure I'd have a lot more trust in a ballerina. If only because she'd be easier to identify when the APB went out. 

"All points bulletin---Look for a stolen gray Honda driven by what appears to be a large white swan."

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

2057 Two Wonders

Lately I've encountered a couple of things that made me wonder. Totally unrelated actually, except they had the misfortune to run across the crevices of my mind and fall in.

First, I was driving down the freeway. Ever notice have we go “up the road” and “down the freeway”? Anyhow, I saw a van coming up on my right. As it passed me, I noticed it appeared to have the logo of the triple-A Auto Insurance Company. You know, three capital A's arranged inside a sort of oval. 

"Emergency Batteries" it also said. Which led me to believe its function was more of less for roadside assistance. Perhaps to help those who had AAA insurance and whose batteries died when they were driving down the freeway or up the road. 

(BTW---I used to think AAA was insurance for people who were really really bad alcoholics.)

Unfortunately, the van's painters felt they needed to amplify the message about its function. Because in regular letters they'd written: "AAA batteries delivered and installed." 

Since the AAA wasn't enclosed in the logo oval, it looked like they'd be happy to change out the AAA batteries in your MP3 player.

My other observation also sort of had to do with roads, but in this case pavement generally. And the use seagulls make of it. I saw one dropping a clam on the pavement from a high height, breaking the shell open. The seagull then swooped down and slurped up the exposed gelatinous results. 

So my questions, what did seagulls do before man and pavement came along? Were they really accurate with rocks? Are we unwittingly countering the seagull population-reducing effects of six-pack rings? 

If their poop propellant accuracy on our cars is any indication, they apparently don't feel like it's enough.

America, ya gotta love it. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

2056 Dogged Determination

In the end it's about excrement. What to do with doodoo. Excrement has been plaguing man since before the plague, and was a plague in itself, fouling drinking water, spreading all sorts of nasties, and stinking up campsites.

Back when we were hunter-gatherers, and there weren't so many of us, no problem. We could just move on, preferably upriver. Given enough time the excrement would actually fertilize the soil and nature would go on. But these days not so much. We even have to deal with the excrement of our multitude of pets.

So we pack our pets' poop. Walk along behind old Rover as he roves for a place to plop and fetch the offering he provides, encase it in plastic, and toss it in the trash. All very tidy.

My brother-in-law, witnessing such an urban episode in my presence recently, commented on what may happen someday as a result. "I wonder," he said, "what future anthropologists will think when they mine the landfills of our generation and discover plastic-wrapped petrified poop."

A fine observation. What indeed? The study of coprolites, as petrified poop is actually called, is big science these days, helping paleontologists determine the diet of ancient creatures and key aspects of their environment. 

What a strange encounter that will be. "It appears to be some sort of ritual. For some reason they lovingly and carefully wrapped canine feces in some polymer-based substance. The canine skeletons found in other locations suggest there was some taboo about burying canids and their excrement together. 

"The fecal matter was religiously prized enough to be ceremonially interred with other special 21st century items, such as what appear to be human excrement-soiled lower body garments with elasticized legs and seagull heads trapped in six-ringed configurations made of stiffer polymer."

America, ya gotta love it. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2055 A lot of Alliteration

As you probably know by now, I'm hung up on words and how they sound together. Phrases like "know by now" for instance. They roll off the tongue with a puff of poetry and a little alliteration. Ah alliteration, cool combinations of words that start with similar sounds.

Like saying, "I enjoyed that novel, the well-wrought and wonderful War and Peace." It's literally a literary alliteration. 

Some words and phrases flow, like a snowboarder swooshing down a slope, while others completely trip me up. Like a skateboarder in flip-flops.

Which I saw recently. A young fellow, iPod buds in ears, a backpack bulging with what appeared to be beer, swerving his skateboard through streets and sidewalks, all the while wearing wipe-out inducing flip-flips. 

Looked like he was headed for a flip flop for sure.

Some words just make me wonder. A while back the spiritualist and psychic Sylvia Browne was appearing in the area. I'm not sure why she wasted money advertising to me. She should have known I wasn't coming. 

One the things I heard in her ad was that she was a spiritual teacher. Later in the ad, it said she was giving two shows. So can a teacher give a show? Isn't it a lecture or an instructional session?

Lastly, I saw a movie ad recently. It had two guys in it who were affectionate in a guy, not necessarily a gay, sense. As if it's necessary to distinguish. In any event, they called the movie a Bro-mance. 

So I'm wondering. Is there an equivalent term for a movie about women? Because one came out recently with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy and they called it a female bro-mance. Which just sounded weird. 

So. Sis-mance? Fe-mance?

I solicit your sagacious suggestions.

 America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2054 Powered Alternatives

I don't know where society is headed but it sure seems like it's getting weirder every day. I used to make jokes about not trusting the stock market after I lost my life savings investing in typewriter stocks. But now I wish I'd held on to them. After the recent revelations about NSA spying, Russia's secret service has ordered dozens of electric typewriters.

If even the Russian secret service is doing something about it, can the paranoids like me in our wired society be next? This could lead to a whole new era. Typewriters, communications on paper, and the revitalization of the US Mail service. 

Meanwhile, Edward Snowden will be put to work in Russia. Changing typewriter ribbons...

You gotta admit our electronic society has its issues. I worry about the next generation, raised on Ritalin and smartphones. I'm sure there's an advanced degree thesis already being written. So someone can get a PhD in OCD ADHD HDTV.

If you're still holding on to your manual typewriter because you're worried about powering electronic devices, worry no more. British scientists, ever intrepid when it comes to using scarce resources wisely, have come up with a unique solution. Literally.

They've invented a cellphone battery powered by urine.  

"It's about as eco as it gets," according to one researcher, noting that urine is a renewable resource. I'm glad he didn't say it's about as green as it gets. That would sound sick.

But he's got a point. I can hear the conversation now. "Sorry, my cellphone's breaking up. Hold on, I'm going to order a Pepsi and recharge. On second thought, this may be a long conversation. I'll get a Big Gulp." 

Bonus, you never have to worry about your smartphone's battery life running out---when you're streaming a movie.   

America, ya gotta love it. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

2053 Op PED

It's kind of sad when you hear about all the famous sports figures getting into trouble because they used performance enhancing drugs. I suppose it's a reflection of our society as a whole, and how often we'd much rather take a pill or an injection than find a natural or exercise based alternative. 

Not that the sports figures didn't exercise. It was the combination of drugs and exercise that changed their Bruce Banners into Incredible Hulks. One could say they exercised everything except judgment.

But it's hard to be too hard on them. When everyone is using drugs to enhance their performance, it's pretty hard not to yield to the temptation to do so yourself. If only to make it a level playing field. And the playing field is what it's about. When the whole playing field is filled with quicker, stronger, and tougher drugged players, who can resist? Do you want to be a high paid pro or a poor farm team wannabe for the rest of your healthy livered life?

Interesting that the word PEDs, meaning Performance Enhancing Drugs, has emerged to describe the drug usage too. I guess because one of them, human growth hormone, can't really be called a steroid.

And possibly because 'roids, the slang for steroids, also sounded like players were somehow benefiting from hemorrhoids. That's a 'roid rage I can understand. Talk about running around like your pants are on fire. 

But it came to me the other day that Alex Roid-riquez could make a good defense of his use of all those performance enhancing drugs. The pressure of his peers. The culture of expected high performance. Even the traffic signs were part of the overwhelming temptation. 

I saw one just recently. It said: "Yield to Peds"

America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

2052 New Imbalance

Recently a friend of mine was in the market for athletic shoes. She likes to buy products made in the USA whenever possible. And is often frustrated as a result. In the garment industry things made for Americans, also made by Americans, are few and far between. 

American involvement in Asia has turned from the The Concert for Bangladesh to the funeral for Bangladeshis. 

My friend heard about New Balance and went to their website to see if she could find a pair of good old Made-in-the-USA tennie-runners. And was happy to find a page labeled "Made in the USA."

Cool. Finally, a new balance of trade at New Balance dot com. Sorry, the branding copywriter in me made that phrase up. I didn't see it on the website. 

What my friend and I did see was this: "New Balance always has, and always will be, committed to making shoes in the U.S. For over 75 years, we have been committed to creating quality products in America. Join us and the thousands of other American Makers who understand that making things here matters."
Hallelujah, Yankee-doodle-dandy!

But wait, hold on to your flag, there was some fine print right after that burst of patriotic commercial fervor. 

It said: "One out of every 4 pairs of shoes we sell in the USA is made or assembled here. Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we label our shoes 'Made in the USA.'" 

So 70% or every fourth pair of shoes you buy is made in the US. Is it just me or shouldn't they maybe make a majority of their shoes here before they ballyhoo their commitment? 

Still you gotta admire their American ballsyness. 

And hey, there's nothing more American than a fine print disclaimer. Some Asian assembly required...

America, ya gotta love it.

2051 Dang Dongle

Sometimes just the names of things get me curious to learn more at about them. I always wondered when the Toyota Tacoma came out why there wasn't a car dealership in Tacoma named Tacoma Toyota. Would have been perfect. Think of how many people would come to Tacoma Toyota to buy a Toyota Tacoma. 

I'd have at least gone to look.

So recently when I heard of the new “Google dongle” I just had to check it out. It's real name is Google Chromecast, but everybody started calling it Google dongle right away. I guess because it sounds so fun to say Google dongle. Like twitter and tweet, and even Google itself, it seems to satisfy some basic American consumer need to refer to high tech products in baby talk. 

Goo goo don gah tweet tweet.

And the Google dongle is a great piece of technology indeed. Able to pick up WiFi from any of your devices and route it through your TV. All you have to do is plug it into your HDMI slot. 

Or as the techno-people put it, it will sling WiFi to your TV. Slinging WiFi. Sounds so medieval. Another of our techno-traits. Using medieval carnage terms to describe stuff. Nerd artifact from D&D and virtual reality role-playing games.

Anyhow, I thought, perfect, I'll get one. They're just $35. Now I can sling Netflix from my laptop. Except one thing. My TV's too old to have an HDMI slot. Wonder if the dongle comes with a RCA jack adaptor. Or better yet, an RF cable.

One thing though. I wrote a column recently about hackers using  USB chargers to hack your electronic devices. Can someone hack back to your device slinging a reverse WiFi signal? 

Ping and ding your dongle?


 America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

2050 Free Charge

One of the biggest problems with our electronic devices is that they need something to power the electronics. Power. That means battery life is a big issue. As is finding places to recharge when your battery goes kaput.

So when I encountered this ATM-like portable pawn shop contraption at the mall the other day, the one that gives you cash for your old cellphone, I noticed a lot of wires coming out of it that ended on a little platform. It was, I found out, a community charging station.

Offering, paradoxically, a "free charge."

Wow, I thought, how nice. These people are giving away power free to help others charge their dead phones. I wondered how much that cost the contraption company over the course of a year.

Then I remembered the computer/internet modern maxim. If it's free, you're not the customer, you're the product. When my suspicious mind saw the charging devices were mostly USB-type thingies, I wondered if those USBs could be used to hack into a phone.

The answer. Yes. I just read an article about Georgia Tech students who proved they could hack into an iPhone using a malicious USB charger attack. When the person logs into his phone after charging through the malicious USB, the attack commences and all sorts of nefarious things happen. A Trojan horse in a cellphone charger. Charger indeed. 

Now not only do you have to be careful about using community chargers, you have to be sure no one switches out your own charger  you leave lying around the dorm commons. Or your office or wherever.
 And be careful who you order your replacement chargers online from too. 

Maybe not a good idea to respond to the "Free Chargers" at ad on your Facebook page. 

America, ya gotta love it.

2049 CPAP

There's this new thing that's been advertised a lot lately. I actually don't know if the thing is new or old but their new wave of advertising has been impinging on my consciousness. 

The thing is called CPAP. I first thought it stood for Cardio Pulmonary Assistance Program but it actually means Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. For sleep apnea and such. 

The TV and Print advertisements advertise machines and supplies for this treatment. Unfortunately, in the font the advertisements use, CPAP looks a lot like CRAP. So the ads look like they're saying go here for all your CRAP supplies. 

If I were an advertising agency, I'd try to talk these people into a positive change. Maybe stick a hyphen between the C and the first P. Making it C-PAP. Like C-Span. Or better yet, drop the first P. In the public's mind there's not a huge difference between Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and Continuous Airway Pressure. Isn’t all pressure positive anyway? 

CAP is easy to brand and remember too. Best of all, when you try to buy CPAP supplies online, a typo won't end up getting you a load of toilet paper. 

Speaking of breathing, I saw one of those electronic cigarettes advertised recently. And I had a flash. A memory of this guy who once told me he tried an electronic cigarette and passed out. He thought the electronics in the cigarette interfered with his pacemaker. 

A wild hallucination I'm sure. Probably just vaporized more nicotine fluid then he could handle. A cantankerous guy though. Obvious had airway issues. And in denial about it. Wheezing between his rants about how the world was out to get him. 

I recommended a salesperson who sold that Continuous Positive Airway stuff but the guy said he wasn't taking any CPAP off anyone.

America, ya gotta love it.

2048 Holy Twit

Well the twitterverse was all atwitter the other day about a news item. It was something the Pope said. But before I get to that, I have another little twitter story.

One of the advantages of twitter is it allows for fairly quick updates. Updating status statements was what it was originally about. So for folks who subscribe to it, you can get those same quick updates from news services like AP. A friend of mine showed me one the other day. It said, "Correction: Bradley Manning not facing 136 years of imprisonment as earlier reported. It’s 128 years."

Well that's a relief. I'm glad AP is concerned with being so accurate. Even though those extra 8 years would probably not have been served by Bradley Manning. Because he’ll be DEAD!

Or in twitterspeak, his status will be void. 

Anyhow, the other big twitterstorm was promulgated by the Pope. In old newspaper talk, the dope on the Pope was this: When asked about homosexuality, his response was, "Who am I to judge?" 

The press is calling it those “amazing five words.” How they've opened up a whole new dialogue in the Church. How it's a sign the Catholic church is finally changing and rolling away the stone of misguided prejudice.

All of which may be true. And I'm glad to see it. I would hope women priests won't be far behind. 

But I still have to focus on the words, "Who am I to judge?" 

Um, the Pope? 

Aren't you supposed to be God's voice on earth? Isn't the entire thrust of the Catholic hierarchical structure that the Pope is the final earthly interpreter and arbiter of the divine message?

Go ahead, judge. Call up the Holy Spirit dove and give us a divine tweet. Yes or no?

America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, August 09, 2013

2047 Drive Tri

I have little observations I find mildly funny. Drive by observations I call them, as they often occur when I'm driving by something. Here's three of them. A Drive Tri.
One I actually had while I was walking at the mall recently. It was my first time in a mall in a number of years. The smell brought back vivid memories of my younger days, when I worked in one. Smells do that. Hit your inner psyche like no other memory trigger.
So it was with the odor of clothing sizing, international food court flavor mix, and teenagers doused in pungent colognes. The smell of the mall. The s'mall.
Then there was the observation I made when I drove by a popular local restaurant. So popular they have a food cart. When I drove by, I saw their food cart parked in the front of their restaurant. And it was open for business.
Wow, I thought, smart marketing. The kitchen's close if you need any ingredients you forgot to pack. There's not too much cleanup. You don't have to open up the main restaurant and pay extra service help. Best of all, when you drive in your food cart it has free parking.
A whole new spin on a restaurant drive-in. You drive in the actual restaurant.
Lastly, I saw this cool sign as I drove by a tattoo parlor. It was obvious the tattooist had keen insight into human behavior. Like the actor I saw on TV who said be careful of tattoos while you're drunk. They're a permanent reminder of a temporary feeling.
The tattooist's sign said something close: "Free ‘Tattoo Curse’ with Purchase of Girlfriend's Name."
A drive by that really drove the point home.
America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

2046 Phony Mail

Modern times carries its drawbacks, not unlike olden times. I always caution folks concerning whatever golden age they're nostalgic about. Important to remember those golden ages usually had more intolerance and not very good sewage disposal.
Still, modern cultural items often suck too. Especially things having to do with cellphones. Like that signature line in emails. I received such someone the other day. At the bottom of the email was this phrase, "Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse the brevity and any typos."
Really. You want built-in forgiveness for using your smartypants phone to communicate ineffectively? Shouldn't you instead exert the effort to be courteous and accurate in your communication? Not, "Um, pardon me. I bought this fancy new technology to communicate better so now I'll throw out 300 year's worth of communication’s foundations, spelling and grammar.”
Pardon my bad table manners; I don't want to go to the trouble of using a knife and fork.
Another annoying smartphone trait is the built-in branding at the bottom of an email. Like a Nike swoosh on your underwear. You know. The phrase, "Sent from my iPhone." Without the grammar disclaimer. I got this interesting variation the other day. It said, "Sent from my LG Optimus G Pro™, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone."
Really? What next? “Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Note II with 3G HSPA+21Mbps, 4GLTE-100Mbps, 1.6 GHz Quadcore processor, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, 140.9mm HD Super AMOLED display...”
How much advertising for the product will we tolerate in an ordinary email? It's like the US postal service stamping a branding statement on every delivery.
"Delivered by US Mail, Through Rain, Snow, Heat, and Gloom of Night for over 200 years."
All the way back to the golden age… when no idiots were using their smartypants phones to tweet while they drive.     
America, ya gotta love it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

2045 iFossil

Technologically, I continue to fall behind at an ever increasing rate. Though I have the satisfaction of watching those around me invest lots of money and fall behind too, I'm still surprised at how behinder I've got. It's like other folks are walking on a powered walkway at the airport and I'm walking alongside on the floor. Though our pace is the same, they're leaving me in the dust.
So it was weird when I encountered this ATM-like contraption at the Mall recently. I had no idea there was such a thing as an ATM where you could turn in your technology for cash. Like an automatic pawn shop, except for your old cellphone. As I have only ever owned one cellphone and still do, this concept hit me like a brick. Drop your phone in a slot, forever? And get money for it?
What if it cheats you? How will you call for help?
An even bigger surprise was coming. I started interacting with the machine to see how it worked. Eventually I got to the point in the question menu where it asked what type of phone I had.
Wow. I had no idea there were so many types of phones. Page after electronic page of models flashed before my eyes as I scrolled through, looking for my particular brand.
It was like the archeology of technology.
As I kept going through pages, and the shapes of the phones started looking more and more like the Star Trek communicator which is my own, I began to panic. Was my phone so old it was forgotten? True, it's so ancient and free of hidden spyware even the NSA can't tap it, but a living phone fossil?
I finally found it on page 19. Out of 20.
Page 20's phones were bricks.
America, ya gotta love it.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

2044 Huey Louie and Gooey

Let's talk gooey. Gooey is one of those great words that encompasses a whole range of tactile and taste sensations. When something is gooey it's a little bit wet and a little bit sticky.
Not sticky like your skin feels on humid day. But sticky like tacky. A more viscous and yet resistant sort of sticky.
Viscosity is a term that describes slipperiness. But a fluid's viscosity is actually a measure of its resistance to gradual deformation by shear stress. Which is to say that honey is more viscous than water.
So is motor oil. But it's better to use it in your engine than water since at high temperatures water boils away. Anyhow, while motor oil may be slick and sometimes sticky we rarely refer to it as gooey. Gooey is usually reserved for edible sticky things. Like honey. Or the hot fudge on a hot fudge sundae.
Gooey is also usually reserved for sweeter items. Honey is gooey. Gravy is not. One does not wax rhapsodic about the gooeyness of a lovely dish of mashed potatoes and gravy.
Likewise ketchup. Slow enough to challenge the patience of a fairbooth burger eater it's still not normally included in the list of preferred gooeys.
Remember too, that gooeyness has to maintain a certain liquidity. Slick stickiness alone is not the defining factor. Too much solidity and gooey becomes gummy.
So given those facts; sweetness, stickiness, a touch of runniness. Why did we name the largest clam in the northwest a gooey-duck? Yes, I know it’s spelled G-E-O-duck. But we don't pronounce it like a defunct Chevy division product. Only newbees to Washington call them Geo-ducks.
But we all should. Because the not-so appetizing picture I get of a gooey duck conjures up roadkill, sugar, and blenders.
America, ya gotta love it.

Monday, August 05, 2013

2043 Dub Prince

What's in a name? Apparently quite a lot. Stevens are straightforward, Jerrys are usually funny, and Johns are often anal retentive. We've all known kids who were teased mercilessly in school for their ill-chosen appellations. Especially if you were named something like Sylvester or Percival. Absolutely fine in Olympia. Not so good if you lived in Appalachia.
Percival is not a good Appalachian appellation.
So the world was abuzz awhile about the new future King of England. I don't think they should call him a "future king" by the way. It assumes too much. What if the future doesn't work out? Maybe England finally pitches the monarchy. Or the little blue-blooded bundle of joy decides he wants to pitch for the Kansas City Royals.
Prince is more like it. But it can't just be Prince. He has to have a name that he won't be formerly known as too. The world went through this consternation quite recently when the new Pope was choosing his papal moniker.
My friend Rick said we probably shouldn't hope the prince will be named Travis. Even less should we hope for Clint. Prince Clint. It does have a tough no-nonsense ring to it. Likewise I thought we could rule out Bubba.
I guessed they'd dip into the historic well. Like with Charles and William and Elizabeth II. Which meant Edward, James, George, or Richard. I voted for Richard. Prince Rick sounded cool. But it was George.
Personally, I was hoping for Francis, like the Pope. With a Pope and a King both named Francis, my own father's name would once again return to legitimacy. Didn’t happen though. Maybe because people shorten Francis to Frank and Frank is another word for a French guy.
Even with French fries the English have a chip on their shoulder.
America, ya gotta love it.

Friday, August 02, 2013

2042 Sweet Lies

I read an interesting article in National Geographic about the perils of the poison we know as sugar. Yes poison. It used to be a spoonful of sugar helped the medicine go down. Now it causes you to take medicine. Science has more or less concluded that the chief culprit in obesity is none other than sugar.
And not just obesity either. It's also thought to be the ingredient largely behind cholesterol buildup. Because the refined sugar that we consume is about one-half glucose and one-half fructose. The fructose part gets processed by your liver, and converted to fat. A lot-fat high-sugar diet will get you high fat results.
You'll get hypertension too. Which can cause heart attacks. Which lead the American Heart Association in years past to encourage a minimum level of salt in your dietary intake. Which means on all your food products you see a category for salt, which will have a recommended daily value for consumption.
But no such allowance existed for sugar until recently. Aha, you say, what does the AHA say now? They recommend no more than 20 grams of sugar a day. 5 teaspoons. The average American currently consumes 22 teaspoons a day. 88 grams.
Um...Major OD.
One cause? Here's what I noticed on a package of Cornuts. For that dread poison salt, it said 120 mg. Recommended daily value 1500 mg or 1 and 1/2 grams. But for the sugar it just said "less than a gram". And no recommended daily value. "Less than a gram" could mean 99/100 of a gram. So if I ate more than one small pack of Cornuts I'd be on my way to a couple of grams of sugar.
I'm just saying. If they can measure salt in milligrams, how about sugar?
That would be supercalifragilisticexpiallidocius.
 America, ya gotta love it.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

2041 Calorie Equation

An interesting study came out recently that helps determine the why of why we are growing into such an obese nation. And the answer may surprise you when all the information adds up.
There's been controversy for some time about whether the low-fat high sugar to replace the taste of fat diet has worked out. Since we're eating less fat and we're more obese than ever it looks like it's not the fat at all. Or at least not that much. It's the sugar used to replace its flavor.
In other words, it's not the donut, it's the frosting. A good example is fruit flavored low-fat yogurt. It has 6.16 teaspoons of sugar in it. Nearly six and a half teaspoons. In an 8 ounce container. And it's still not filling.
But that's not the only reason. They did a study about whether posting nutritional information at McDonalds helped people make better food choices. The answer? No.
For a couple of reasons. First off, I'm guessing that decision was made five miles down the road. Hardly anyone I know goes to McDonalds expecting healthy food choices. They go because they're craving a Quarter-Pounder-with-Cheese and a Cherry Pie.
And the "and" is important here. Because when the survey subjects were actually interacted with, and told they should eat no more than 2400 calories a day or 800 calories a meal they seemed to understand. They would see and order a 550-calorie burger. And then, thinking they were doing well, they'd order fries and a soft drink. Now their meal was over 1100 calories. All adding up to the big surprise at the bottom of the value meal. Obesity.
Conclusion. It isn't fat and it isn't sugar that's killing Americans.
It's math.
America, ya gotta love it.