Posted in Tech

Ever So Pleased

Today I got a new toy–a wireless network for my house. For years, all at-home computing has been done in a corner of the living room, the corner where the cable comes up through the floor and into the cable modem. The corner of the living room is a fine place, but my house is small, so the living room is the family room is the “great room” (who made that word couplet up?). In other words, when you’re not in bed, in the bathroom, or in the kitchen, you are in the one L-shaped room that is living and dining room. And that’s where the tv is.

Maybe my Zen quotient is low, but I find it difficult to really focus on something else when the tv is on and making noise. “Mute” is my favorite button on the remote. Now, I will be able to escape to the bedroom if I want to surf in quiet. I will be able to go in the yard when the weather is fine.

It’s nice to be a Mac user. You can choose your level of geekiness, rather than having it be thrust upon you (PC users know what I mean). It was ever so easy to set up AirPort Extreme, that cute little flying-saucer-bundle-of-Internet-love, and I am ever so pleased to be sitting on the couch instead of my gawdawful desk chair as I post this.

Posted in Food & Drink

Java Jive

You know those financial people on tv–the talking heads that try to help you with your personal finances so that you’ll be able to retire one day?  They all keep trying to wean us from our morning coffee from our favorite coffee shop.  They keep saying things like “…that three dollars a day you’re spending on coffee could go into your retirement account…” 

I’ve listened to them for a long time, and dutifully made my morning beverage at home.  But yesterday I stopped by a local purveyor of java (yes, I am embarrassed to admit it was Starbucks…one of the ones owned by Magic Johnson–his head shot is on the wall).  I walked in and realized that I was seeing the morning answer to the question, “Where da party at?”  The place was packed, everyone was laughing and joking, and Jesse Jackson would have marvelled at the rainbow-ness of it all.

Those financial people are wrong.  The way to save for retirement is drive your car ’til it dies, watch your old tv ’til it dies, and try to save the old-fashioned way…by simply setting aside some money.  That coffee stop in the morning is all about community.  It’s starting the day with familiar smiling faces and a great cup of joe in your hand.

I think I’ve found a happy habit…and I’m sticking to it.  After all, those folks are my neighbors.


Posted in Uncategorized

Anachronistic Icon

Was just using MS Outlook via the web…and noticed that the icon for “save” is a floppy disk. Floppies have gone the way of the dinosaur and those old monitors that glowed green. At some point, some kid is going to wonder why the icon for “save” is an object that s/he has never seen.

What should a new “save” icon look like? Maybe like a travel drive, but unlike the floppy disk, those seem to come in several shapes and styles.

Any ideas?

Posted in TV

Super Bowl Commercials

The one thing we all want to see during the Super Bowl is funny commercials. Yesterday’s batch–they weren’t funny. They really weren’t funny the first time around, and seeing them again this morning I began to think they were kinda funny…but then I realized I was just feeling sorry for the advertisers. Sure, I liked the Dove self-esteem commercial–but the Super Bowl is the time to bust out with the humor. (By the way, why did Dove use the “True Colors” song…didn’t Kodak just use that a few years ago?)

The FedEx one was okay, but do we really need to see the guy get stepped on by the elephant after he gets fired? Ouch.

The magic refrigerator one…didn’t the guy who installed the magic refrigerator notice that some of his beer was gone the last time he switched the wall around? We the viewers know there was a last time because the guy on the other side yells, “Guys, hurry up! The magic fridge is back!” So why is the first guy still thinking his revolving wall will protect his beer?

I liked the Hummer one. I liked the Hummer one because something gross like a Hummer most certainly came from monsters…monsters who think they are in love.

I almost liked the Burger King one with the dancing hamburger patty and the dancing condiments. I almost laughed when the women/objects started to make a burger. By the time woman-in-costume #4 landed on the bun, I felt sick. A pile of women on a bun is not funny. Ironically, a bunch of guys dancing in costume then piling on each other would have been funnier. But just 30 seconds long please, not a full minute.

Better luck next year, advertisers.

Posted in Food & Drink

Have You Had Your MSG Today?

Below is a letter written by Anna Root. She’s sent it to The New Yorker…hopefully they’ll print it.

While there are doubtless many societal factors that contribute to obesity, consider this: When researchers want obese lab rats, they don’t use psychology–they use MSG. MSG is not a harmless salt substitute but a powerful nerve stimulant, an “excitotoxin” that affects every major organ, stimulating nerve cells, sometimes to exhaustion. More and more of it is being loaded into our food supply by manufacturers looking at the bottom line: MSG makes food seem to taste better, and it makes people hungry for more.

Doubtful? Check, a database of medical journal articles, for “MSG obesity.” You’ll find references to “MSG-obese rats,” as well as an article from 2005, “Obesity, voracity and short stature: the impact of glutamate on the regulation of appetite” that supports these claims. (Search “MSG” alone and you will find many toxic effects, including nerve damage, well documented.)

We are being supersized, and not just by our own bad feelings or lack of will power. What was the ingredient that had Morgan Spurlock hooked on McDonalds in a few days and ruined his health in less than a month? His doctors were amazed that fat could do such a thing, but it wasn’t just the fat. Not only obesity, but diabetes, asthma, behavior disorders, hypertension, even violence, are linked to MSG toxicity and have increased with the ever-increasing amount of MSG in our food supply. Is it a coincidence that diabetes, asthma and obesity are epidemic in the same inner-city neighborhoods where there are few grocery stores, and children are more likely to consume processed foods, even in school lunch programs?

Here are some links to check: cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=16132059&query_hl=1&itool =pubmed_docsum (“Obesity, voracity and short stature: the impact of glutamate on the regulation of appetite,” from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Aug 31, 2005) cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=9582101&query_hl=4&itool= pubmed_docsum (“Obesity induced by neonatal monosodium glutamate treatment in spontaneously hypertensive rats: an animal model of multiple risk factors” “Hypertens Res.” Mar 21, 1998. Notice that obesity is only one of the effects of MSG exposure, and also that much of this information has been known for some time.) (an overview of what MSG is, what it does, where it is hidden, and what diseases it is linked to.) (a more thorough examination of MSG and disease by a food scientist and former R&D specialist for some major food companies)