May 27, 2004
Cilantro. Killer. (of bacteria).
Too bad I hate it. And I do mean hate. Tastes like dish soap. (Don't ask how I know).
Indulge if you like it, though. Could stop Salmonella, purveyor of severe vomiting and dehydration.
I was convinced long ago, but today's Surgeon General's report pronounces even scarier repercussions of bad personal choice.
Average years lost from a smoker's life - 13 or 14. Damn. But, hey, if you want to stand militant with your bad choice, emotionally challenged (read: substance addicted and proud of it because it's your RIGHT, dammit) smoker, at least your arteries will stay open longer after vascular surgery. What a benefit! (As this article says, smoking's a likely culprit to cause one to NEED the surgery in the first place.)
Here's your disease list, courtesy of the CNN article.
The surgeon general's report concluded that smoking causes a number of diseases not previously attributed to smoking.A not-so courteous reminder to drop the habit if you have it from the angelweave resident cancer survivor. It ain't that difficult to catch. Why try?
They include: acute myeloid leukemia and cancers of the cervix, kidney, pancreas and stomach; abdominal aortic aneurysm, cataracts, periodontitis and pneumonia.
The report said current evidence is not conclusive enough to say smoking causes colorectal cancer, liver cancer, prostate cancer or erectile disfunction.
The evidence suggests smoking may not cause breast cancer in women overall but that some women may increase their risk of getting breast cancer by smoking, depending on genetics, the report said.
Diseases previously linked to smoking include cancer of the bladder, esophagus, larynx, lung, mouth and throat. Smoking also has been linked to chronic lung disease, chronic heart and cardiovascular disease as well as reproductive problems.
About 440,000 Americans die of smoking-related diseases each year. The report said more than 12 million people have died from smoking-related diseases in the 40 years since the first surgeon general's report on smoking and health was released in 1964.
That first report linked smoking to lung and larynx cancer and chronic bronchitis. Subsequent reports, like the one released Thursday, have expanded the list of diseases linked to smoking.
if i were 13 or 17
but not so buried
deep waiting for my dog-day
not-quite wing song sung
by chance another plague
would you call me a locust?
wrongly feed me inedibles
and shut your screened-in porch?
i rub my stomach
in the thicket and
would curse but
we women make no sound.
May 26, 2004
The St. Louis area, specifically Creve Coeur (where I work), has been ravaged by storms. Yesterday at about 2:00 p.m., the sky turned a whitish gray and spat out its first hail - dimes. It progressed to quarters, and then it treated us with assorted random golf balls. My coworkers and I watched from the window as the ice balls pinged our cars. (But not our bodies, thankfully - OW).
Oh, but that wasn't all. Soon, the weather turned violent instead of pissy, shredding most of the parking lot trees' leaves (and depositing them on our hail-stricken cars). The power went out, too, of course.
As soon as it was safe, I left - about 2:40. Home - which is 4 miles away, missed the hail storm. My car, with its new coat of leaves, probably scared the neighbors.
At approximately 4:30, a transformer blew (quite loudly) at the house. No power all night. No power in the home is good for my health...the gym had power. I spent the evening at the gym.
So this explains the no Noggle blogging for last evening. The power returned just before midnight. We had not turned off some of our lights, so the power's return was quite abrupt and shocking (to sleeping Noggles). The laundry picked back up again, the bedroom light illuminated, and various household electronic sounds occurred.
Today looks like more of the same - at least in terms of water falling from the sky and drenching the ground. And we're very, VERY lucky. The ground isn't saturated like some of the Wisconsin land we drove by over the weekend. I've seen pictures on the news of flooded neighborhoods in different parts of the midwest. Granted, the parking lot at work here DOES look like a forest floor in spots. Who says parking lots can't be parks? They share so many similar letters.
Good week to have the bike in the shop for a tune-up, too.
May 24, 2004
Service Dogs and Schools
Victor sent me this link - a newspaper article from my hometown Springfield News-Leader about a young woman with chronic hip displasia who is not allowed to bring her specially trained service dog to school.
The girl's mother believes that the school's refusal to accommodate Karen's condition is in violation with the Americans With Disabilities Act. I tend to agree. Here's why.
1) Service dogs are not disallowed in this school. Animals are not disallowed in this school. The article makes both of these points.
2) Although the article does not mentioned how the dog, Zeus, was obtained, a sidebar contains an interview with a professional service dog trainer. I'm going to go ahead and make the leap that Zeus is appropriately trained and that the organization that oversaw his training found him to be a good match to aid the young lady's condition.
3) The law. I'll just quote the section of the article.
Under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, any public entity — which includes schools — is guilty of discrimination if it does not make reasonable accommodations for the needs of the disabled.Karen's case isn't very clear cut. I'm fairly sure that if she were visually impaired, this would be a non-issue. The school's response seems knee-jerk - as if the dog would disrupt school, but I doubt that would be the case for more than a day.
The law's provisions include permitting a person to be accommodated by an assistance animal, which is defined as "any guide dog, signal dog or other animal individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items."
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a school would be in violation if it had a blanket policy restricting students from using necessary methods to aid with their disability, said Cecilia Callahan, director of advocacy for Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services, a watchdog group based in Jefferson City.
Klatt said the school does not have a policy prohibiting animals from being brought onto district property.
If no such policy exists, an accommodation plan must be constructed, ensuring that students with disabilities have the same access to a quality education as other students, Callahan said.
Another law that may apply is the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination by a school district because a student is disabled. According to the federal act, disabled students are defined as those who have a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities such as walking, learning, hearing, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, speaking and breathing."
Michael Jungers, an assistant dean of students at Southwest Missouri State University, oversees the university's office for disability services. He said if a case like Karen's arose at the university level, officials would confer with the physician to determine whether a student was qualified to use a service animal.
If school officials agreed such an animal was needed, it would be permitted to be used in all aspects of university life, Jungers said.
"The law would pretty much apply at the elementary and secondary levels," he said.
One last thing - one of my favorite childhood books was about a boy who was injured with a firecracker and lost his sight. Follow My Leader - worth checking out.
May 20, 2004
Heather N. the Cereal Killer
Special K pisses me off. The website uses words like "nutrition" and markets itself as this wonder for anyone who's got a few pounds to drop. I've got a few words for Special K.
WHERE'S THE FREAKING FIBER?
It dances right around that with marketing text.
It's the cereal that started it all. Special K® lightly toasted rice flakes have just the right amount of crunch and substance to start the day off right. One serving holds eleven essential vitamins and minerals your body needs with a generous taste that satisfies. Kellogg's® Special K® is the cereal that puts you in a healthy frame of mind that includes eating smart all day long for a healthy way of life.Oh, and it makes you click a nutritional info link TWICE before it gives you the reading. Here, click and click again.
Less than 1 gram of dietary fiber? What a crock.
Remember Total and it's "you'd have to eat 4 bowls of blah blah blah" to get the fiber in one bowl of total? You'd still have to eat 3+ bowls of Special K to get the whopping minute number of 3 grams in Total's new low-carb touted Total Protein. Uh, chances are that if you're living in America, you don't need more protein. But, perhaps I'm wrong and vegans are dancing everywhere with their milkless cereal.
Best two I've found so far are Post Raisin Bran at 8 grams per serving (Kellogg's has 7)and Kashi Cinna-Raisin Crunch (buy 10 boxes now!) at 10 grams per serving. We need fiber, people. Study after study has shown that fiber fills (and keeps that pesky colon cancer at bay). 25 grams per day - fiber recommendation.
We eat whole wheat pasta at the Noggle household. I prefer the texture of it, and, wow, what a benefit - 5 grams of fiber per serving. In a typical 2.5 serving dinner, check it out - that's 12 grams of fiber. (And then, of course, burn those carbs - that's what they're for!)
If you know of other high fiber cereals, tell me. Has to be at least 8 grams per serving. When I've got some spare time, I'll put a fruit/veggie fiber count per serving chart up.
I am the #1 Google hit for sultry babe. It links to my About Me! page, wherein I do not use either word.
Check the source code if you doubt me. It's not hidden in the meta tags or anything.
(No wonder I get all that porn comment spam. Grrrrrrr.)
If you want to lose weight, eat slower. If you want to eat slower, take smaller bites. (This from the woman who can make a piece of cheesecake last for 30 minutes).
Why? Because the slower you eat, the simpler it is for your "full" mechanisms to kick in. Drinking a bunch of water with dinner will aid you, too.
Why on earth does Heather feel she needs to state the obvious at 7:00 a.m. on a Thursday? Because now there's a "device" to aid you with the smaller-bite quest.
How silly is this? It's pretty silly. You see, the problem can be solved with a knife and fork in most cases. CNN gives you a good pun, though.
But Scientific Intake believes its DDS System is more palatable than a strict diet or surgery. The company expects to begin selling its devices Wednesday for about $400 apiece.More palatable. Yeah, I think I could buy a lot of good knives for accurate small bites for $400.
Chew on that.
Cicada frenzy is upon us. Time has an article. Yahoo from Reuters talks about Brood X.
But that's not the whole story.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The first cicada of the season sat on the doorstep like a mutant bumblebee, with red eyes and yellow legs.They're ZERG! That's the unspoken conspiracy. Ask Steven den Beste. He knows. That Newsweek certainly has the story buried somewhere therein.
But, apparently alarmed by the appearance of a human, it tumbled off the shallow step, landing helplessly on its back. Its yellow legs wiggled frantically to no effect.
How could anything so stupid and clumsy survive, and prosper in such huge numbers? Billions, probably trillions, of cicadas are emerging this month across the eastern United States in a monster swarm known as Brood X or brood 10.
Of course, I'm glossing over Mr. Wong's article (that's what's quoted on USS Clueless) to make my own silly point. But it's well worth the 5 minutes it takes to read.
May 14, 2004
Good News is Always Welcome
I just got off the phone with my ENT's (ear, nose, throat) nurse. I'm as healthy as can be, which was the best news possible and not what I was expecting.
A week and a half ago, I had my normal check-up on the parotid area. I mentioned some ear ringing and, more annoying, some "ocean ear" - what I describe it as anyway - a vibration of some sort that makes noise within my ear but doesn't actually hurt. This has been an off-and-on thing for a few months.
They ran a hearing test and determine that in my right ear I have moderate hearing loss in the top two ranges. Then, the doctor ordered an MRI to make sure there wasn't a tumor in the general area causing the hearing loss and the ringing/ocean. The doctor was pretty sure it's caused by the radiation, but the question is, I guess, whether it was caused by a tumor caused by radiation.
My body just lovvvves to make tumors. I've actually had 4 (if you don't count cysts, and if you do, it's up to 7). Only one was malignant, but with that kind of track record, the likelihood of a tumor seemed pretty real to me.
But no tumor. That means I can be something other than a ball of stress figuring out details of how to deal (like how would I wear my hair if it had to be shaved for surgery? How long would I be out of work? Would my muscles atrophy? Is there enough money in savings? Is hospital food healthy enough for me, blah blah blah). I don't have to deal with anything today but work. Phew.
Only point of contention now is whether I need a hearing aid. Audiologist said "no" when I had the appointment. The doctor seems to think otherwise. So there's still a bit of drama to unfold, but it's no longer the sort that a tv show might want to film.
May 13, 2004
Arch Madness, a Nutrition Rant
Everybody knows about "Super Size Me", which is out in theaters now. I'll Netflix that someday, so a review will have to wait. Coming soon, though, will be another film from Soso Whaley who also spent 30 days dining exclusively at McDonald's. And guess what? She dropped 7 pounds in the first 15 days.
Anyone shocked? Not me - it all goes back to the choice factor. Morgan Spurlock, the Super Sized One, gained 25 pounds. Can you gain 25 pounds at home in a month? Sure. It's hard work to take in nearly 3500 extra calories a day, but it can be done. I think good soda and beer infusions would help. Lots of cake, lasagna, turnovers, pork steak, bratwurst, and fried chicken would give you a good boost. Full-fat cheese, bacon. Oh, and don't leave your chair.
(My source on the second film is old - meant to blog this a couple of weeks ago).
We are human beings, capable of many amazing things. We make many choices in our daily lives. What we eat and how much of it shouldn't be all that difficult, especially when something as objective as weight gain surfaces. We all do have to eat. Food is not tobacco, and I scorn the people who try to lump them together.
Somehow I manage to avoid the McDonald's across the way from work and the one right by the gym about 364 days out of the year. On that 365th day or so, I usually eat a medium fry, grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo, and drink either water or lemonade. This is 450 - 650 calories, depending on what I'm drinking and how much BBQ sauce I put on my fries.
I found an article on CNN.com from last Friday that set me off. Most of the article is about the issue as a whole, including proposed legislation to block silly lawsuits. But what's the title? Advocate: Lawsuits viable obesity weapon. What do you think CNN thinks?
Yes, people are fat. Whose fault is that? In most cases (yes, Heather is making a few exceptions for medical anomalies), it's the individual's fault. While I agree with the end of raising awareness and bringing about more healthy alternatives, the lawsuit means are not acceptable. No one forces you to visit a restaurant, and no one forces you to order off of a restaurant's menu if it doesn't contain healthy food. And that's the heart of this - we have free will. It's not irresponsibility of the food industry for giving consumers what they want. The responsibility lies with the individual. You, potential sue-r, you're a freaking sheep! Baaaa!
"Trial lawyers and (state) attorneys general can be extremely helpful," said Michael Jacobson, head of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest, by "filing innovative suits" that prompt foodmakers to produce healthier foods.
CSPI is behaving like PETA here. The end does not justify the means. So put your clothes back on and get out of the cage, Jacobson. (That'd work better if he were female).
Video Games and AO Ratings
Brian and I throw an Atari party every year. We mentioned it in our blogs last year - think it was in mid July. At AP III in 2002, we actually pulled out the Playstation and hooked it up to a work-provided projector. One of my coworkers who had never played Grand Theft Auto III was tooling around switchin' radio stations, getting shot at, and being dissed (six times no less) by prostitutes.
And it was absolutely hilarious in a group environment. Can you imagine a bunch of your coworkers chiding you because your ride's not good enough to land a hooker?
So don't color me so surprised when CNN Money reports "raunchy" video games, as it says, two years later.
Nekkid people are coming to a video game near you. Some will be funny. Some will be sexy. And some will be just plain raunchy. At least three games on display at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (better known as E3, the annual trade show of the gaming industry) feature characters frolicking au naturale – with two of those introducing sexual elements.The rest of the article's content centers on the fact that most retailers will not carry AO-rated games. Well, most retailers, save speciality shops, don't contain the equivalent print materials (magazines, specifically), either. What's the big deal? If you don't like it, don't buy it. Decry it even, and keep your kids away.
Where you'd expect to see this, of course, is "Playboy: The Mansion." The first game built around the Playboy license is due out this fall from developer Cyberlore and co-publishers Arush Entertainment and Groove Games. But what might surprise you is "Playboy" is the tamest of the nudity-enhanced games.
Sure, polygonal Playmates will strip down to their birthday suit for your character to photograph – and you may even be able to access the actual Playboy photo archives (Cyberlore hasn't yet decided). As far as sexual content goes, though, it's pretty tame.
The racier stuff will come from publishers Eidos and Vivendi Universal Games (V: Research, Estimates). Each plans to take a different approach to including mature content in their games.
While "Singles: Flirt Up your Life" (which Eidos is publishing in the U.S.) bills itself as a reality simulation of the single life, "Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude" sticks closer to the "Animal House"/"American Pie" formula.
Both are likely to push the Electronic Software Ratings Board's limits on what it allows in a M-rated game. (The M rating is the gaming equivalent of the film industry's R.) The next step up the ratings ladder is AO (essentially, an NC-17 or worse). Most retailers will not sell a game with that rating.
Of course, with the adult entertainment industry, if you build it, they will...wait, I really didn't mean a double entendre here, but the truth remains in this industry. It's capitalism, and if it strikes people's fancy, it'll do well.
One last remark: A software tester working on this would be, well, you know, getting the kinks out of the program. Or back in.
May 12, 2004
Headline of the Day
Smoking During Pregnancy Leads to Testicular Cancer
Really? And exactly how does that sex change occur?
Vague headlines. I love 'em.
"The chicken doesn't do mainstream." - attributed to Burger King spokesman Blake Lewis.
This is an article about the Subservient Chicken website. It didn't do anything for me - probably because the chicken moved too slowly and bored me. Not sure.
But he doesn't do mainstream. So don't expect skinless chicken breasts with just a bit of salt. No, sir. Demand chicken kiev or something.
May 11, 2004
CNN has a thing today about kids and bike helmets. I have a few things to say, but CNN can have its say first.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Fewer than half of all U.S. children wear helmets while biking, skating and riding scooters, a survey by safety researchers said Tuesday.Somebody want to find the main idea for me? <sarcasm>Make a law!</sarcasm>
Many children observed in the survey who were wearing helmets were wearing them improperly, leaving them vulnerable to head injury, the nonprofit Safe Kids campaign found.
The researchers found that helmet use was lowest on residential streets, although that is where most accidents occur because that is where children play most frequently. Only 33 percent of children watched on residential streets were using helmets, the campaign said.
But in states with mandatory helmet laws, 45 percent of child bikers were seen wearing helmets, as opposed to 39 percent in states with no helmet laws.
First, what's the purpose of the helmet? No, first, did you know that you should only "use" a helmet once? Yes, really. If you smash your noggin while wearing the helmet, that helmet's fin for the scrap heap. Or it should be. Back on track. What's the purpose of a helmet? Does kid riding fall under that purpose?
I rode a lot as a child. I never, and I mean NEVER, wore a helmet. On my kid bike and my sportin' 3 speed that I had in junior high, I'm pretty sure I never exceeded 12 mph, too. If a kid's clipped in, that kid should be serious enough to wear a helmet. If not, guess what...kid's probably smart enough and possess enough reaction time to land on a different body part.
Adults need helmets more than kids, and many organized rides require them so as to reduce liability. And this is smart. If I'm careening down a poorly paved road at 30 mph, I need a helmet. It's usually a sign of a serious cyclist; you know, a sign that the person obeys traffic laws and doesn't run over kids pedalling on the sidewalk...because that cyclist is ON THE ROAD.
Okay, that turned into a rant. Yes, CNN, the brain is fragile. Kids, if you're planning to do some serious riding, you'd be wise to acclimate yourselves to bicycle helmets. CNN, shhhhhh. Can't you focus on slamming Big Food or something? Tomorrow? Ok.
GMO Wheat Postponed
Roundup Ready wheat is in a holding pattern.
St. Louis-based Monsanto has been doing field tests of Roundup Ready wheat, which has been genetically modified to tolerate applications of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, for six years and spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the project.It's an instance of of what the market will bear (which is good) driven by the perceived (and probably likely so) lack of demand by foreign countries. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know here.
The company already has successfully commercialized Roundup Ready corn and soybeans, key feedgrains, and had hoped to spread its herbicide-resistant technology into the vast wheat-growing industry, starting in the United States and Canadian markets.
But the company's efforts have ignited an outpouring of opposition by environmentalists, farmers, consumers and religious groups, as well as foreign wheat buyers. Concerns include worries about possible human health hazards, increased weed resistance and fears that Monsanto is gaining control over key world crops.
What materials do Europeans and Asians use to form opinions about biotechnology? The Canadian Wheat Board is administering an ad campaign to oppose GMO wheat. I see packaging on some of the foods that I eat that proclaims said products to be GMO free. No print ads, though, and nothign in the limited television I watch. Suppose I should wait for the GMO-bashing pop-under ad. And then Brian can mock it.
Wait...I know why it's far less of an issue here. Nobody eats wheat anymore. But that soy...
May 10, 2004
I'm at the grocery store yesterday (Schnuck's - the one at which I refuse to buy meat now), and because I had only a couple of items, I decided to use self-checkout.
I have a six-pack of Black Cherry Propel and 3 cans of Hunt's Tomato Paste. I set my purse by the plastic bags (offered so that consumers can self bag their self-checked out goods). The "attendant" yaps at me that the purse is on the scale and is throwing off the computer. I yap back, "where does it go?"
She points to the left of the contraption. There's a metal shelf affixed there.
I don't know about you, ladies, but I'm happy to leave a can of corn or some tic tacs out of my line of sight for a few moments while I'm completing a transaction, but my purse is one big other story. No can do.
Not likely to use self-checkout at that store again.
(I think the only reasons we still go is that it's very close to home and offers cheap cat food and cheap cat litter.)
The first long ride of the season was Saturday. Six of us took off from U City and rode around Mid County and out west. My total for the day was 33.5 miles, though a few others rode more like 50 and 60 miles.
Must ride more. Hilly = very slow right now.
There are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evening rides as well as sponsored weekend rides (this one Saturday was a coworker ride). No softball this summer, so over the course of the next few months, I should lessen hill hell into hill torture.
May 07, 2004
I struggled with this for a category. Geek? Cycling? Geek cycling.
A dude in New York put an iBook and antennas on his ride. This takes "cycling computer" to a whole new level.
Yury Gitman, a self-described "wireless and emerging-media artist" in New York, has outfitted his bicycle with an iBook laptop and Wi-Fi antennas so that everywhere he goes, a cloud of free, high-speed wireless Internet access follows him.I don't want to be distracted while I'm driving, and I REALLY don't want to be distracted while I'm riding. And who needs extra weight on the bike?
"I'm interested in exploring the Internet physically, in motion," said Gitman, who calls his vehicle the Magicbike. "It's not on our radar screen, even though we're obsessed with mobility and wireless. But in the future, we're going to do that a lot."
Gitman's antennas tap open Wi-Fi networks whose signals are too weak for ordinary laptops to pick up. He essentially extends them through his Magicbike, and when those hot spots fade out, he relies on the cell phone network.
Demand for wireless Internet access in automobiles has been picking up, and plans are on the drawing board to offer it in airplanes.
Why a bicyclist would want Internet activity is a question Gitman called "a very fun proposition to think about." Navigation help and communication with other bicyclists--"bike-to-bike communication," in Magicbike parlance--are two possibilities, he said.
May 03, 2004
Killer App Request
Hey, someone want to whip this one up for me? I'd like a browser emulator. I've got some complaints that a charity site I did doesn't look right in Netscape 4.5 for Mac and Netscape 6.0 for Mac. Seeing as I have neither of these browsers and have no Mac, wouldn't it be grand to pop open this program and have it render a web page as though it were a certain browser? Every web developer would kiss you if you were to develop such a thing (not enough motivation for me to undertake it, though).
Here are some attempts:
Wonder Woman Season 1 is coming to DVD
I could never figure that lasso thing out. Stopping bullets with bracelets seemed to require less dexterity. I do remember watching Wonder Woman, which came on at 5 sometime during either my 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade year. (Reruns at this point) just about every night. So, silly 30 something me is all excited about the chance to do it again.
There's something about first run television that really turns me off. Not sure why...perhaps I'm too impatient to "wait until next week." But syndication and DVD - I'm a pretty big fan. I caught almost the whole series of MacGyver in the early 90s when I was sick. And I used to watch Airwolf on USA when I was in high school.
So - June. Wonder Woman. I think I need a prominent Amazon Wish List.