Bath Salts Shorties

Bottom line: “Even healthy oils are not calorie free.”

“You only think you need medication for that”: 5 psychiatric disorders with probable genetic basis.

Ancient Sea Creature: “The fossilized animal, an arthropod called a fuxhianhuiid, has primitive limbs under its head, as well as the earliest example of a nervous system that extended past the head. The primitive creature may have used the limbs to push food into its mouth as it crept across the seafloor. The limbs may shed light on the evolutionary history of arthropods, which include crustaceans and insects.”

Unintended Consequences: Keep up the fight, Karl Rove!

Bonnie Franklin isn’t even buried yet and she’s spinning in her grave: “[I]f [a single mom] wants to increase her take-home pay, what does she do? She has another child out of wedlock, right?… If she wants to lose it all, she finds somebody to support her and she gets married.” Right. You just keep saying that in public, Senator.

Mostly, it’s the sugar: Salt Sugar Fat author speaks. So does Stanford.

Great Beaches: I’ve only been to #6 and #8. I think #8 is far superior.

Bad news for the economy: Personal income and savings suck.

Bad news for the future economy: The student loan bubble sucks harder.

This is not new, people: The IRS doesn’t care if you got your money illegally, you still have to pay tax on it.

And yet look for it to be in the immigration “reform” cramdown: eVerify is like a no-fly list from the depths of hell.

To the Lady in Workout Clothes ahead of me at the Grocery Store

Hey dear, let me tell you why you’re never going to lose that 10 to 20 pounds around your hips and waist and why your hubby is never going to lose the gut unless you change your ways.

I’m not going to put all the blame on the expensive whole wheat crap that you think is good for you, even though you should probably only eat half that at most, and even though there is a case to be made for that being your biggest problem. Many experts think that’s good stuff, but you still should put some of it back on the shelf.

I’m not going to be too hard on you for the gallon of frozen yogurt. Again, you think you’re doing the right diet thing, even though it’s still got far too much sugar in it to be truly healthy. Maybe you only eat a tablespoon a day? Maybe I wasn’t close enough to see that it was one of those fat-free or sugar-free chemistry sets masquerading as real food?

I’m not going to put all the blame on the plentiful sports drinks in your cart, even though there is simply no way you are working out hard enough for them to be beneficial to you. Have you ever looked at the nutrition panel? It’s probably replenishing every calorie you “worked” off, and many of those drinks contain corn syrup. If you seriously worked out hard enough for these to be a good idea, you would never dream of wearing your disgusting sweaty workout clothes to a grocery store — even fresh out of the wash!

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the 3 boxes of different kinds of crackers. For pity sake, if you want to eat something that goes crunch, try an apple or a carrot! You might get some vitamins out of the deal.

I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the fact that the only protein I saw in your cart was a pound of ground beef. Come on, that’s going to last a week? If you don’t eat some protein, your body is just going to steal it from your muscles. In case you didn’t know, muscle is what keeps you from looking like a complete blob.

But the one thing that I think is your biggest problem was the stack of 6 frozen pizzas. That proves that you only give the faintest lip service to eating healthy: pizza is neither low carb nor low fat. Ever. Just, please, tell me that’s not a one week supply. Lie to me if you must. You want a pizza? Learn to make that stuff from scratch. I can guarantee you’ll eat less of it because it’s harder than stuffing that frozen crap in a hot oven, it will be better tasting because you’ll use better ingredients, and healthier. Why healthier? You’ll actually burn some calories kneeding the dough, shaping it, and putting quality stuff on top!

Want to make that gut vanish? Try eating real, minimally processed food. Sure, you’ll have to spend more than 3 minutes preparing it, but you and your husband will both be better off.

I’d like to say at least your dog eats well, but you didn’t buy any dog food.

In Closing: would you like to play a game?; playing it safe; poverty tax; ever wonder what the numbers mean?; duh; travel tips; “let’s just take these laptops with no anti-virus to a hacker’s conference! What could possibly go wrong???”; parks; make “the PillOTC, prevent abortions; we don’t need “administrators” with no common sense having any authority over children, ever, for any reason.

One heck of a life

Sad news today. Andy Griffith has passed away. Maybe you knew him from television? The man only had two monstrous TV hits and 6 decades of acting credits! What I didn’t realize is that he had a degree in music.

Rest in Peace.

In Closing: it’s more than a “sex” scandal; the bad idea of a national ID card is back; common sense on diet selection; hmm; let’s not confuse the issues with a bunch of facts; free ebooks; the very idea of stranger danger is dangerous; turns out drivers have to pay attention when driving a stick shift; I’d like to see this poster hanging in every high school in America; Reagan; racism and food stamps; they needed a study to say “gluten free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy”; sounds like a neat place; what’s illegal in Vegas stays in Macau; not a bad idea; and I thought I’d seen a bunch of these around town (just think if the dealership weren’t so teeny and there weren’t construction out front for most of the last year).

Music Monday: Everybody Knows a Little Place like Mexico

I like that it’s fun, playful, and displays a level of knowledge you wouldn’t expect from a song whose lyrics include “pack your bags real good”.

It does strike me as a modern, urban version of Kokomo….

Unfortunately, the place described by the Beach Boys (and Kermit The Frog) doesn’t actually exist. Fans of the Beach Boys will be happy to know that a new album is under consideration.

I don’t think Rudolph would approve


Personally, I don’t know whether Sniper Rifle Santa is creepier than Football Hero Santa, but it’s got to be close.

In closing: So much for Republican hating on Romney; screw the TSA, everyone’s driving; on domestic oil; flat population growth; picky!; a fun game.

ShortWoman’s Musings on Travel

Last week, I was out of town. Having grand adventures. You know, the usual. I’m home, and things are back to normal, so let me tell you what I think about travel.

On Packing: Pick your battles when it comes to your quart zip-top bag of liquids. Would it kill you to use the shampoo you’ll find in the hotel? Don’t forget to pack sunscreen. Really.

If it’s big enough or heavy enough to need wheels, it is by definition not a carry-on.

Rolling pants and most other garments takes up less room and means fewer wrinkles.

Think carefully about how long you’ll be gone and what you’ll really need. After all, you’re going to have to carry it.

On Airports and Airlines: Do everyone a favor and have your ID and boarding pass ready to go when you get in the security line. Already be prepared to go through the probe-u-later. Be polite as long as feasible. And seriously, don’t even joke about terrorism or bombs.

No, U.S. Air, I am not paying for your overpriced food.

The Airbus A321 has the worst overhead storage I have ever seen. Somebody decided that it’s more important for a 6′ tall man to be able to stand than for anybody to have a carry-on bag. The more I travel, the more I like Boeing.

The only thing I like about Phoenix Sky Harbor is that it’s called “Sky Harbor.”

Cancun, on the other hand, has a very nice airport. Clean, well laid out, plenty of room near the gates, huge duty free shop, decent food. Oh yeah, and a Margaritaville.

On Mexico: I understood Montezuma’s Revenge before I even made it through customs. The sink in the airport bathroom was labeled “NON-POTABLE WATER. DO NOT DRINK.” In English, I might add. If a sink is not labeled “POTABLE,” don’t drink that water. It’s simple.

I’ve come to the conclusion that if you are willing to stick to areas frequented by English speaking tourists, you will need very little Spanish. This may hold up in other countries as well.

The Cancun Hotel District looks a lot like the Las Vegas Strip: lots of luxury resorts, lots of palm trees, high end malls, the occasional convenience store that looks like it’s been there for decades. However, the big difference is that Cancun has more pyramids.

Lots of shopping, yes. I think the only things I could have bought there that I can’t get here are Cuban cigars and Cuban rum (which is yummy stuff). And since I can’t bring either one home, not worth bothering.

Going out to Isla Mujeres was much more like visiting a foreign country. Be aware, the shopkeepers will see you getting off the boat.

Step out of your comfort zone and eat what the locals do. You’ll be glad you did.

Tip well around your resort and you will be remembered for it.

And one last thing: You never know who you will run into when you travel. Be aware of opportunities to meet people, or at least say hello to people you know.

In Closing: hilarious; small Mercedes coming soon; must read explanation of “not in the labor force”; Occupy Ports; a battle that was lost by 1978; and Jesus approves this message.

The End of the BAMTOR Principle?

Alas, I can only hope. However, I do know better.

Somebody’s actually going to jail for fraud at a mortgage company that caused another bank to collapse. I’m quite pleased that finally, somebody is actually being punished for a crime. But frankly, we need a lot more bankers being escorted off premises in handcuffs. The only way to break the BAMTOR Principle is to make it so Joe Banker tells his boss: “I can’t do that! It’s against the law! Don’t you remember that they arrested Bob for that?”

Elsewhere, Bank of America and Wells Fargo are whining that they may actually have to pay “material fines” for breaking the law in foreclosures. Poor babies. B of A may also have to pay investors a few hundred million dollars for delaying foreclosures because it turns out that some pesky activist judges wanted them to follow the law! It seems like the only way to make a bank pay up is when it’s paying another financial institution. Gee FDIC, I hope you’ve got a plan for what to do when one of these big boys finally collapses.

Finally, some pesky activist judges are finally saying to big institutions “Just because it’s standard practice doesn’t make it legal.”

In Closing: Americans without passports; a recap; another reason to quit smoking; Bring It; no TSA required; stagflation; the center is way off here, no, a little more to the left; worth reading; budget cutting their own throats; stop manipulating me!; that sounds easy; free in Tokyo (did you know Tokyo is 4 syllables long?); and you know I don’t generally do celebrity news, but this sounds like the setup for a re-make of Weekend at Bernie’s. What could possibly go wrong??

Shorties in the Sky

Impressive: America needs roughly $2,200,000,000,000 in repairs to things like roads, tunnels, bridges and the like. You don’t suppose doing something like that might result in some kind of fiscal stimulus?

Stick to feeding the poor and preaching peace: young people increasingly turned off by the hateful political crap spewed by many churches.

Do Not Grope the Pilot: He would also like you to not take naked pictures of him, and moreover he would like you to assume he is not a terrorist.

Is it time to resign yet?: Senator John Ensign (the guy who isn’t Harry Reid) raised a whopping $18,000 last quarter. Unfortunately he had to shell out over a half million dollars in legal fees.

Color By Numbers: There are more black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850. You don’t really believe that’s because the overwhelming majority of crimes are committed by black people, do you? You don’t suppose that there could be just a wee tiny bit of racism going on?

I Dare you?: D.A.R.E., encouraging children to put their parents in prison and themselves in foster care, all for the unworthy goal of the long since lost “War On Drugs.” Heck, we couldn’t even win the “War On Drugs” by re-destroying the #1 opium producing nation in the world!

Go Ahead, Make the Case for Medicare For All: Some insurance companies are threatening to stop writing policies if they are forced to follow the law in 2011 instead of a largely theoretical future date of their choosing. Yeah, you just go on and do that, suckers. In the meantime, the Feds are taking on Michigan Blue Cross for stifling competition in a way that raises prices. Nice to see them the Feds actually giving a darn about normal people over corporations for a change.

Obligatory Items on the Economy: Reich’s Perfect Storm; donations down 11% at the top 400 American charities; the problem with the economy so that absolutely anybody can understand it.

No Woman Should Have to Put Up with This Crap:Some students and the Yale Women’s Center board complained after pledges were videotaped last week, chanting about necrophilia and a specific sexual act.” Pledge activities have been suspended, but as far as I am concerned, some wealthy young [insert offensive plural noun] needs to get suspended or expelled. Let them explain to their daddies and mommies what they did on videotape and why. “Boys will be boys” my ass!

Password protection for your internet connection is a good idea: “Deputies arrested Candice Miller only after they raided the wrong house. Investigators busted into the neighbors’ house suspecting they were sending child porn. Turns out Miller’s neighbors didn’t secure their wireless Internet connection.”

The Difference Between Theft and Piracy: boils down to what you’ve got afterward.

If Only: Myth Busted! Can we move on to where you were born?

Smart people drink more: Alcohol consumption correlates with intelligence.

I guess I know what I’m wearing tomorrow: purple. Relevant.

It’s less annoying than air travel: record number of riders on Amtrak.

No I don’t really need this: but a pizza cutter shaped like the Enterprise is still pretty cool.

I promise it’s the only thing I’ll say about it here: (But expect a post over at about foreclosures later) Ladies and gentlemen I present the dumbest thing anybody has said about a moratorium on foreclosures! “For instance, in Cleveland, where there are over 18,000 vacant homes, lives Millie Davis who recently earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Cleveland State University and just bought her first home – one that had fallen into foreclosure and sat abandoned for years. Had a blanket moratorium been in place, that sale would have fallen through — not only deferring her dream of homeownership but leaving neighbors on the block to stand by and watch as their property values continue to plummet.” Now then first of all her Master’s degree couldn’t possibly have less to do with the situation. I’ve got one of those myself and a fat lot of good it’s done me. Second, I don’t think anybody is talking about going back and examining the paperwork on homes that “sat abandoned for years.” That is all water under the bridge. The priority right now is to make sure that the banks or other entities that are foreclosing on homes a) have the legal right to do so and b) follow all the applicable laws when they do it (and they probably don’t). Failing to find this out now could result in millions of homes that can’t be sold at all because nobody can prove who really owns them. Oh, and c) “vacant” and “foreclosed” are two different things, which is something I would have expected the Secretary of HOUSING and Urban Development to know.

And one last thing: great descriptions of things on TV.

What I did on Summer Vacation

You probably weren’t aware that I spent most of the last week in San Francisco. Something that few people will mention to you is that takeoffs and landings from McCarran in 110+ degree heat can be a little, um, bumpy. When we arrived at SFO it was substantially cooler. I do have to give Virgin America points for having really nice seats on their planes and a nifty in-flight entertainment system. Oh, and just a little word about air travel in general: if it’s big and heavy enough that it needs wheels, it is by definition not a “carry on“.

We rode the subway from the airport into downtown and from there walked to our hotel, the Westin St. Francis. It’s a great hotel on Union Square that actually survived the Great Earthquake. The Clock Bar in the lobby is a very nice place to have a drink, but it does fill up in the evenings. Pro-tip: you don’t have to leave the building to get to Victoria’s Secret but you do have to go outside to get to the Pink boutique.

I know this sounds dumb, but riding BART gave me a new appreciation for 20th Century music.

After settling in, walked to Chinatown, wandered through some shops, and ate at Sam Wo’s. This place has been there over a hundred years now, and there’s just no way it would ever open today. Here. Let Conan explain it to you:

In any event, we recommend the pork rolls and the chow fun. And try not to look like a tourist. Just go up the stairs, find a place to sit down, and pretend you’ve been there a million times.

In the morning, it was back to Chinatown for the kind of treat you just can’t get in most neighborhoods, dim sum for breakfast! Ask about where to get dim sum in San Francisco, and a lot of people are going to start telling you about Yank Sing, a wonderful little place that you have to know exactly where it is to have any hope of finding it. It’s always packed and frankly, kinda pricey. We bagged that in favor of the Hang Ah Tea Room, off one of Chinatown’s historic alleys. The food was just almost as good, but a third the price.

Then it was back onto BART towards Daly City, where friends picked us up at the station to go to a little place called Montara. Last time we were out there, we got to see whales breaching, but no such luck this time. It’s still just gorgeous out there. A great time was had by all, even their dog.

The next day was a bit of a hike. After some yoga in the morning, we walked to the Ferry Building, had coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee, and a late breakfast of sandwiches at Il Cane Rosso. From there, we walked down the waterfront, occasionally distracted by interesting things, until we arrived at Pier 39, or as we like to call it, Admiral Ackbar’s Pier. It’s a tourist trap! The smell of sugar and fried stuff is overwhelming, and you’re on the ocean! Just about the only thing you can do for free is see these guys, the famous sea lions of Pier 39:

A bit further down the waterfront is Fisherman’s Wharf, from which you can easily see Alcatraz:

But wait… what’s this?? A World War 2 Liberty Ship and a submarine! We went ahead and toured the sub, the USS Pampanito. By chance, there happened to be a gentleman touring with his grandkids who had actually served on such a vessel. Nothing exists on a sub that doesn’t have a purpose. Oh, and there’s no way Tony Curtis’s character on Operation Petticoat had private quarters.

Now, I haven’t the faintest idea why I decided to put a couple bucks worth of quarters in my wallet before leaving town. Perhaps I was thinking of vending machines? In any event, I was happy to have them when we arrived at the Musee Mechanique. Free admission, and an amazing array of picture viewers, player pianos, mechanical plays, pinball machines, music boxes, and even old video games, all operational and taking quarters.

Once we got down to the Cannery, we started back towards Little Italy. Not as famous as Chinatown by any means, but it has a special place in American History. Specifically, the history of banking in America. By this time it was mid-afternoon, and a great time for a snack! We stopped for pizza (and a bit of the house Chianti) at Panta Rei Restaurant. We wandered back through Chinatown to the hotel to chill out.

Dinner was at John’s Grill, home of the Maltese Falcon. The original. Honest. It’s one of those places that people have told us we just have to try. I don’t think the menu has changed much during my lifetime — seriously, you can still get the lamb chops with baked potato and sliced tomatoes that Sam Spade ordered in the book — and under normal circumstances that makes for an episode of Kitchen Nightmares. However, they pull it off perfectly. And don’t be afraid to order a cocktail; they serve all the classics in that department too.

Now, for those keeping track, that was all on foot. No rent car, taxis, buses, streetcars, trolleys, bikes, or boats. Over 5 miles of hilly sidewalks.

After our workout the next morning, we headed back to the Ferry Building. Moar Coffee! The farmer’s market was open and that meant plenty of tasty little food vendors. Pastrami burger for the win! Fresh organic peaches for dessert.

Again we went down the waterfront, but not too far. Next to the famous Fog City Diner is a peaceful spot called Levi Park:

Back behind the park, there’s this stairway. It’s a big, big stairway. And if you turn around at the landings, you get to see some spectacular views. Keep going all the way to the top — as if there’s anyplace else to go — and you end up on Telegraph Hill at Coit Tower. For $5 you can take the elevator to the top and get a truly spectacular view of the whole city.

Getting down from Telegraph Hill is almost as fun as getting up there in the first place. Remember that although pedestrians may have the right of way there are certain laws of physics that can’t be changed: cars are heavy and hills are steep. On the way back to Union Square, we stopped at Sam Wo’s for an afternoon snack. We’ve got to get our Chinese food when the getting is good. And so that’s why we ended up walking back to Chinatown for dinner at the Far East. Somehow we had trouble making our waitstaff understand that yes, we understand that certain dishes are spicy, and moreover we like it that way!

Another 5+ mile day. In the immortal words of Tony Horton, “It’s fun to be fit!”

Unfortunately, in the morning we had to start getting ready for the trip home: pack up, get breakfast on the go, walk to the train station (realize that yes you can get into the mall from the subway station), back to SFO, figure out what terminal we need (the international terminal? Really?), get through security, go home, do laundry.

More of the usual stuff later this week.