Is that the best you can do?

Today I came upon this image:

I agree that the news media often choose not to report things that are important in favor of things that get ratings. However, the list of “what you should know about” is focused on environmental issues and barely gives lip service to other important things the media isn’t covering. Here’s a few things you should know about that might not make your evening news:

  • The TPP isn’t dead yet; if it gets ratified, you will have fewer rights and corporations will be more powerful. Heck, you might not even know the TPP was a thing if you relied on the evening news.
  • The cops can use devices that force your cell phone to tell them where you are — unless a judge catches them.
  • You aren’t imagining. You are working harder for less.
  • Those politicians out there trying to earn votes for an election over a year from now are mostly bought and paid for by special interests.
  • There’s probably a kid that died in your metropolitan area, too.
  • There are multiple humanitarian crises going on in the world right now.
  • Over 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year. That works out to one every 13 minutes, and one a day in my city. You might be able to do something about that.
  • Since the list was a bit food centric, here’s a food item: Congress doesn’t think you need to know where your meat was raised.

And that’s just a short list.

In Closing: Liverpool; ramen; resume; then she should find a job that doesn’t require her to do things that conflict with her religion (oh, you thought I was talking about that marriage license thing?); not having the desired effect on his image;

A Couple More Random Things I Learned

I’ll keep it short but sweet.

So, I go to a Jewish school: I only recently learned that for purposes of kosher cuisine, fish is not considered meat. I should have figured this out when I was 3 and learned the joys of bagels, lox, and cream cheese. However, I grew up in the kind of household where kishka might well be served with pork roast.

On Diversity: Your eyes don’t look like mine. My hands don’t look like yours. That’s pretty obvious, right? What might not be obvious is that our other parts probably don’t look the same either. Most students learning anatomy use drawings and models that are somewhat idealized. Sometimes what you see in reality isn’t what you saw in your textbook. Not everyone realizes this until they are confronted by it.

A very very random thought

Ok, so it’s been pointed out multiple times that the Starbucks Trenta holds more than a typical human stomach.


In Closing: keeping the average man down, or rather beating him until he’s part of the underclass who knows his place (and spy on him if he seems like he might think about doing something illegal about his predicament); arguments against TPP (which will only make the previous point worse).


Some years ago, I read a book called the Inner Game of Music. In a manner of speaking, it was about getting out of your own way. Oddly enough, one of the things that stuck with me about this book was a peculiar concept: giving yourself permission to fail. Apparently many people have learned this lesson from many sources.

So yes, it can be a good habit to permit ourselves to fail. And although I am far from the first person to explore the concept, I would like to share why I think it is so.

Paying attention to failure teaches how to succeed. Of course, this only applies when we pay attention, and fail “mindfully.” The truth is that most of us fail a time or two when we are learning something new. One anecdote from the Inner Game of Music relays how when a pair of musicians tried to isolate when their duet went awry, suddenly it was perfect! When we pay attention to how, when, and why we fail, we come up with solutions.

Failure teaches us about ourselves and about reality. How we react to failure can give us insight to who we really are — but again, only if we are willing to pay attention. But more importantly, failure can be the beginning of discovery! Or, as Isaac Asimov put it, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka’ but ‘That’s funny…'” Consider Alexander Fleming discovering that the “contamination” in his bacterial culture was actually exactly the exact bacteria-killer he’d been looking for. If he hadn’t been willing to learn, he might have thrown away that specimen and never discovered that antibiotic.

Sometimes, our failures fail spectacularly! No, I’m not talking about all those online videos we’ve watched many times of people doing stupid things on skateboards or motorcycles. I’m talking about a failure that turns out for the best. My favorite example occurred in the original Iron Chef series. Chen Kenichi was the chef who specialized in Chinese cuisine (a footnote, his father invented “shrimp in chili sauce”). A French challenger chef decided to take on Kenichi-san rather than the show’s French specialist, perhaps thinking this gave him an advantage. The secret ingredient was yogurt, unused in Chinese cuisine. You can see for yourself: between 8:30 and 9:00 minutes into the video, Kenichi-san gives himself permission to fail. After all, he’s never used this stuff, never even tasted it. But freed from the need to succeed, he experiments and innovates his way into one of his most memorable wins.

There’s nothing wrong with failing now and again, as long as you aren’t doing something colossally dangerous.

In Closing: milk fail; chart fail; vax fail (don’t do this one); wedding fail; jobs report fail; weight loss fail; just, fail; patient confidentiality fail; accidental paleontology win!

Eat It

Today’s question:

Do you tend to order the same thing at restaurants? Or do you like to jump around the menu?

Answer: yes. It depends where I am. There are places where I just want the one or two things that I know are awesome. There are other places where I am busy trying new things. Remember, Vegas is a world class food city! Sorry, I don’t have much more to say about the issue than that.

In Closing: no regard for the Supreme Court; catching the cold; one Indiana lawmaker doesn’t think you should have a choice whether you raise a child with severe disabilities; cybersecurity; doing the same thing and expecting different results; finally somebody said it out loud.

The Good, the Bad, and the Habitual

Today’s question:

Do you think you have more good habits or bad habits?

I thought about going a little zen on this question and simply saying “yes.” I have good habits, I have bad habits, I don’t know that I ever bothered comparing the two. I suppose I’d like to think I have more good than bad, and there are people who might disagree.

Sorry, not the best post. But hey, yesterday you got a good rant!

In Closing: Stingray; the London Stone; Women of the Senate; with more people identifying as liberal, I wonder when politicians will stop fearing the word; climate denial; policy; and the Real Johnny Appleseed.

Ok, Let’s Talk about Food

You know what would be a really good habit for 2015? Eating a better diet. Most of us could stand to do better. Furthermore, the cold hard reality is that 2 out of every 3 Americans need to lose some weight; one out of three needs to lose a lot of weight.

There are a handful of diet and nutrition tips that the overwhelming majority of experts agree on:

  • Fruits and veggies are good for you and most of us could stand to be eating more of them. Deep fried veggies don’t count. Come on, even these guys agree on this much.
  • Water is one of the best things you can possibly drink; green tea comes in second.
  • If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight (and that’s easy to do).
  • Too much refined sugar is not good for you.
  • Olive oil is pretty good stuff.

I’m going to close with what 2000 calories looks like and what 200 calories looks like. Oh yeah, and these guys may have some useful information (come on, the Food Pyramid was retired quite a while back). Whatever you decide to make for dinner, be safe.

Update! Here’s a “study” showing that fast food portion sizes haven’t actually changed that much between 1996 and 2013. Well, just based on this reporting of the “study”, I see at least two problems. First, much of the portion size creep started long long before 1996. Heck, I remember how the 20 oz. drink at Wendy’s seemed absolutely huge when I was a kid, and now I think they call that size a small. Second, the items that researchers compared included “2 oz. and 4 oz. cheeseburgers.” Well alert the media, 4 ounces is still 4 ounces. Never mind that these days, there may well be a 6 ounce and an 8 ounce burger on the menu! In short, it is possible to eat moderate portion sizes at a fast food restaurant, but you’re going to have to read all those little calorie count numbers carefully.