On Good Habits

Today’s question:

Do you have any good habits that were hard to start but you’re happy you worked to build them?

Well yes, I have a lot of habits that were hard to start. For example, it was very hard to get started working out regularly. Sadly, it’s much more fun to hit the snooze button than to get up and sweat. It’s more fun to go out to breakfast than to go to yoga class when you’re starting. But you know what? I’m stronger and more flexible than I was the day I graduated high school.

I also had a hard time getting in the habit of keeping my nails polished. Let’s face reality, I’m not one of those naturally-girly girls but rather one who has to work at it. So finding the time to give myself a manicure (and a pedicure) is something I do in the name of feeling more feminine. Sure, I could pay somebody to make this happen, but this way it happens on my schedule.

So yes, good habits are worth developing.

In Closing: New antibiotic; calorie myths; a pound of fat a day; ok I promise my last weight link of the day; wasting no time. See everybody tomorrow.

It’s time for Things I Learned This Semester!

That’s right, another semester is over! If you’re curious about things I’ve learned in the past, please enjoy some links to other posts. So let’s get going with the latest revelations:


  • Eventually, the staff in charge of cleaning bathrooms will notice the graffiti on the back of the bathroom stall door.
  • The kind of high school student who takes college classes is motivated to succeed.
  • An alarming number of undergraduates don’t even know there’s a difference between viruses and bacteria. Come on people, take the whole run of antibiotics and never take somebody else’s meds.
  • Parking on campus gets easier after midterms.

Child Psych:

  • Because of a quirk of how children learn language, most children can relate to Ramona Beasley or Amelia Bedelia misunderstanding what they are told.
  • We adults might not like to think about it, but children are aware of sexual issues much earlier than puberty. Put CCSD’s issues in context.
  • The most messed up thing I have ever read for a class — any class — is the story of David Reimer.


  • I knew that “You can’t out-train a bad diet”. I didn’t know this was mathematically provable. Go ahead and plug some numbers into a calorie calculator and an activity calculator. You can eat a lot more calories than you can possibly burn in a day!
  • The Food Pyramid is gone, and good riddance. Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, and don’t worry too much about grains.
  • You don’t have to pay Carl Daikeler to put together a workout and diet plan for you, but it’s better than what many people would put together for themselves.
  • A lot of people apparently take Nutrition as an easy class.


  • In a college Spanish class, there are likely to be one or two people who speak Spanish ok but want to learn better grammar and spelling.
  • A Spanish professor from Spain and a Spanish professor from Central America have some fundamentally different ways of doing things.
  • Public speaking is more difficult in a foreign language.
  • Spanish doesn’t actually have a “past tense.” Instead, they have a “preterite” that serves the same function.
  • Don’t be afraid of the Hispanic grocery store. Odds are very good that the employees you’re likely to encounter are bilingual.


  • Fun and danger in a chemistry lab often go together. It’s important to have a good lab partner and follow directions.
  • The chemical reactions that let antacids work often create gas. If you know how to do the math, you can figure out exactly how much acid you’re neutralizing and exactly how much gas you’ve burped.
  • Some guy actually built a periodic table.
  • Even though the pH scale familiar to swimming pool owners goes from 0 to 14, a pH of less than 0 is possible. This guy won a Nobel Prize for it.

That’s it for today. I’m skipping the closing bits. Have a great weekend!

A Bucket of Shorties

Department of Education: It looks like textbook publishers have decided to call a Texas-sized bluff and print science books that only have science in them. Elsewhere, Arne Duncan has realized that insulting “white suburban moms” might not be a winning strategy.

Defiance: Apparently you have to be ready to retire from Congress to actually work for We The People. That’s funny, because I have yet to see a corporation vote!

Poor Little Prince: Apparently it’s all our fault that Blackwater oops that’s Xe wait no now it’s Academi is not wildly successful. Couldn’t have anything to do with all the bad things they did.

It will do in a pinch: Cooking with nothing more than a coffee maker.

NSA, DHS, Snowden, yadda yadda yadda: I don’t think anybody really believes that they need all that information to catch terrorists (they’re “solving” the needle in a haystack problem by collecting more hay!). There is international concern over the security of banking data (hey, if they can get it then so can a Bad Guy). But at least it is raising concern among Americans, who are flooding the NSA for FOIA requests. Even the courts are saying “hey, wait a minute” to the DHS.

Turnabout is fair play: What happened to “If you’ve done nothing wrong you have nothing to hide”? Well, Boston PD?

The Old Fashioned Way: 200 pounds down through mundane diet and exercise. Perhaps Beachbody should start making Spanish editions of P90X.

Social Security: Does not have to be cut. Period.

Low Wages, Everyday: Robert Reich on Walmart employees who can’t afford Walmart prices.

Not Down With TPP (Yeah, you know me): Why did it have to be “leaked“? Because outrage would ensue. Remember that international treaties effectively force national laws to change.

And Finally, Food for Thought: In the most well off of states, 7% of the population is on food stamps. In the worst off, it’s 1 out of every 5. Random group of 20 people, children or adults? 4 of them on food stamps. Remember, Thanksgiving is next week.

Shorties of Chuckie

Ok, let’s start with the NSA data dump: boy howdy and I do mean dump. Big mean dookie here and the administration keeps adding to the pile. Advice to the White House: sunlight is a good disinfectant.

On Republicans: And a possible shutdown of the government (because that worked out so well for the Republicans during the Clinton Administration). But remember, they know better than 97% of scientists about climate change (and for those who are religious? Rush is wrong and if Jesus does come back he’s gonna be honked about what we’ve done with the planet). Oh, and alert the media, I agree with Roger Simon.

On Computer Literacy: Most people aren’t. Even those kids we think are so much better on the computer than their elders. At least many of the elders are aware of the things they don’t know.

An Accidental Invention: The teabag.

On the Labor Force: There is no labor shortage, duh. Alien workers — including the undocumented ones — are sought after because they are easily exploited. Interns are free labor (which means it can be a challenge for young workers to accept the so-called opportunity unless Mummy and Daddy pony up cash). Modern Capitalism looks a whole lot like Feudalism.

Real Life MacGyver: Snakes on a Catapult and 9 other great tricks.

The Truth about Eyeglasses: pupillary distance, and adjusting your frames.

Petroglyphs: Over 10,000 years old.

On a Happier Note: Steinway sold for $512,000,000. Interestingly enough, the C above Middle C should be tuned to 512 hertz.

No Credit isn’t Bad Credit: the unscoreables.

Accurate Title: Yes, Vaccinations Save Lives.

I Question Their Criteria: Edmunds.com’s list of “best” cars for short drivers doesn’t even mention adjustable belt points and properly proportioned seats.

Hmmm: Childhood obesity linked to school lunches and TV watching.

Scientists having a pissing contest: On de-extinction.

And finally: Goodnight iPad.

Would You Shorties

What is Problem?: Putin sees no problems whatsoever with Prism.

Interesting Statistic: Young children with guns have killed more people than terrorism in the United States this year. Maybe we need a law prohibiting little kids from owning guns… um, yeah never mind.

Wake Up Call: Boomers, this is the future calling.

He swears he doesn’t know where his son could possibly have learned such language: Sure Dr. Heck. Stick with that story.

A Few Items Buried in the Immigration “Reform” Bill: No health benefits (as someone who has heard about multiple reports of tuberculosis in the community in the last 6 months, this strikes me as a recipe for an epidemic); Real ID back from the dead with a side order of a government list of people allowed to work (right, what could possibly go wrong).

A Few Items on Wages, Wage Inequality, and Wealth Inequality: Gatsby Curve; temps; wages for normal people are dropping; and wages vs tuition.

Food Myths: the truth about salt; and 7 other things.

Let me fix that for you, hun: before

These girls can’t get their ears pierced, they can’t take an Advil at school without parental permission. Yet, they can go into a pharmacy in this Brave New World of women’s equality and — quote — reproductive health and get a morning after pill.


These girls can’t get their ears pierced without a parent’s consent, they can’t take an Advil at school without parental permission without risking expulsion under zero tolerance policies. Yet, they can go into a pharmacy in this Brave New World of women’s equality and — quote — reproductive health and get a morning after pill that will keep them from having a baby they can’t take care of and that their body isn’t really mature enough to give birth to.

It’s not a boon for pedophiles. It’s a boon for girls who are mature enough to realize that babies having babies is a bad idea. And yeah, I think maybe schools ought to revisit policies for high schoolers on OTC meds such as Advil and Maalox. But that’s another issue.

Music Monday: I Love Trash

Thank Jukkou for this one:


In Closing: Must see pictures from Turkey; Always Low Wages; Four Horsemen; Duhpartment of Research shows young people are generally progressive; right, because I totally am going to go to a drugstore for sushi and a makeover</sarcasm>; food stamps are a good thing (heh); tax breaks; I kinda like this lady’s style; and how lazy do you have to be for this to seem like a good idea?



Trying to Trick Me

It’s important to read labels: IMG_20130512_103726


Hmmm, a whole section of oatmeal! Unless of course you want plain old fashioned instant oatmeal. In that case, enjoy your grits!

In Closing: Crap like this is one of many reasons Congress should read out loud every bill they vote on; I guess the sequester is working =/; for pity sake, do not jaywalk in Vegas (all those pedestrian overpasses are there for a reason!); if I may use a one word answerno; this sucks; Rolling Jubilee is back in the news; and inspirational.

Now see, this is what I was talking about


Just the other day, I was mentioning that a weight loss diet should include avoiding most food that comes out of a box. I did not yet know that this abomination of a product existed. Now, pay special attention to the fact that this “Beef Stroganoff” includes a “creamy cheese sauce” that is “made with real cheese.” Let’s just leave aside for the moment the potential nastiness of cheese that doesn’t require refrigeration.

Here’s the ingredient list to Paula Deen’s Stroganoff recipe:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed round steak, cut into thin strips
  • House Seasoning, recipe follows
  • All-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can beef broth
  • 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • Cooked egg noodles

Notice something? No cheese. The can of soup is suboptimal but alas almost standard in American casserole cooking. Oh look, here’s a similar recipe from the Campbell’s Soup Company!

Here’s what Betty Crocker thinks goes into Stroganoff:

1 1/2 pounds beef sirloin steak, 1/2 inch thick
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced (2 1/2 cups)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 cups Progresso® beef flavored broth (from 32-ounce carton)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3 cups hot cooked egg noodles

Hmm, no cheese there either. Points to Betty for using broth as the base for the sauce.
Ok, what about Epicurious:
  • 1 2 1/2-pound piece beef tenderloin, well trimmed, meat cut into 2x1x1/2 inch strips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 pound small button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 cup canned beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac
  • 3/4 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 12 ounces wide egg noodles
  • 1 tablespoon paprika

Ok, crème fraîche instead of sour cream. Still, no cheese.

And just to round out the entries, a less Americanized version:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef tenderloin, sliced into thin 2-inch-long strips
  • 2 finely chopped onions
  • 4 ounces butter
  • 4 ounces sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • Pinch dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 6 ounces white wine (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

Hey, you know what’s missing from that recipe?? Paprika! Ok, just kidding the answer is cheese.

In fact, if you look at the Wikipedia article on Stroganoff, you’ll find sour cream mentioned 5 times and cheese mentioned zero times. Anybody who eats this boxed concoction and then orders the real thing in a restaurant is going to have a big surprise! Whatever this stuff in the box might be, the one thing I am sure it won’t be is Beef Stroganoff. Heck, I’m not really sure it’s food.

In Closing: assassination; special; chicken; payrolls; and FUNCTIONAL STRENGTH!