Saturday, July 10, 2004

In America (and Africa)

Just finished watching a marvelous movie, In America . The story of an Irish family coming to NYC in the 1980's and trying to cope. Wonderfully acted, with 2 marvelous little girls (who happen to be sisters in real life). 5 Stars. Bring your kleenex box. One of the best movies I've seen this year , made so in particular by these wonderful kids.

#1 Ladies Detective Agency - A great series of books by African born author, Alexander McCall Smith, this being the first one in the series. A fat African woman opens a detective agency in Botswana - lots of bush tea and great stories. This first novel in Alexander McCall Smith’s widely acclaimed The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series tells the story of the delightfully cunning and enormously engaging Precious Ramotswe, who is drawn to her profession to “help people with problems in their lives.” Immediately upon setting up shop in a small storefront in Gaborone, she is hired to track down a missing husband, uncover a con man, and follow a wayward daughter. But the case that tugs at her heart, and lands her in danger, is a missing eleven-year-old boy, who may have been snatched by witchdoctors..... This series, about delightful people in the beautiful country of Botswana, is simply one of the very best new literary series in decades .......The humour is gentle and the characters are beautifully portayed. Especially Mma Ramotswe herself who confidently eats fruit cake as she does not need to worry about such things being a woman of 'Traditional African Build'. If you like audio books, this is one to listen to, as it is superbly narrated by South African, Lisette Lecat, who also narrated on "Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight". Check out the ad at the top of the page for audio books - they really combine the best of a book with the best of theater - 2 for the price of 1. :)

Just when I mentioned the new Maha charger C204W as an excellent new charger with worldwide voltage regulator built in (so you can use it while you're in Botswana :) ) , my C204 bites the dust after 4 years of use - most likely from too many power surges on our lightning prone mountaintop - next time will have to plug it into a decent surge protector. Though the 204W is their newest, I went with the 401FS which has a lifetime warranty and charges each cell individually. I liked the thought of that lifetime warranty. :)

Tungsten T3
Still loading software onto my new T3 Palm Pilot - this really is a very handy device. Getting (2) 256mb SD cards for storage (only $60) was a good move, as I can put lots of audible books, mp3's, and additional programs on it, that won't fit in the 64MB of built-in memory. So now I have an audio book device, a tape recorder(very handy), ebook reader, a photo and movie viewer, a master organizer, ability to connect to a Bluetooth enabled cell phone and surf the Net anywhere, game player, and a mega load of additional applications should I wish to install them. Not bad for free - thank you Ameritrade! (Just downloaded and installed "Naked in Baghdad", Anne Garrols (an NPR journalist) acclaimed book on Baghdad and the run up to war. Very nice display on the T3, better than my little Otis player I normally use - will be interesting to see what kind of a drain on the battery occurs from listening to an audio book).

Olympic Track and Field Trials
Just a reminder to tune in tonite for the Track and Field Trials - 8 p.m NBC (Eastern Time)


Why Fat Hips are better than Fat Stomachs

From Gabe Mirkin's newsletter - A new study from Queen's University in Canada confirms that storing fat primarily in your belly, rather than your hips, increases your chances of suffering heart attacks and diabetes (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, March 2004). When you take in more calories than your body needs, your liver turns them into fat. People who store fat primarily in their bellies are called "apples," while those who store fat primarily in their hips are called "pears." Fat cells in your belly are different from those in your hips. The blood that flows from belly fat goes directly to your liver, whereas the blood that flows from your hips goes into your general circulation. The livers of those who store fat in their bellies are blocked from removing insulin by the extra fat and therefore do not remove insulin from the bloodstream as effectively as the livers of those who store fat in their hips and have less fat in their livers. So "apples" have higher blood insulin and sugar levels. You need insulin to drive sugar from your bloodstream into your cells, but insulin is also a harmful hormone because it lowers blood levels of the good HDL cholesterol that prevents heart attacks and raises blood levels of the bad triglycerides that cause heart attacks. Being shaped like an apple and having a beer belly increases your risk for a heart attack and diabetes. People who store fat primarily in their hips and are shaped like pears are less likely to have heart attacks.

Quote of the Day
"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
Dale Carnegie

Word of the Day
refractory \rih-FRAK-tuh-ree\, adjective:
1. Stubbornly disobedient; unmanageable.
2. Resisting ordinary treatment or cure.
3. Difficult to melt or work; capable of enduring high temperature.

Usage: 1. And even those most refractory infections of all, those caused by viruses- 2. Bauxite is mined in only a few places. It is used to make aluminum, iron, copper and dozens of refractory products such as the bricks used to line blast furnaces. 3. It's a head shot of Lucien Bouchard peering out of the dark, openmouthed, teeth showing, eyes glittering and appearing not to have shaved in a week. In another age, the shot might have been held up to a refractory kid with the warning, "The boogeyman will get you if you don't watch out."

Monday, July 05, 2004

Palm Pilot and USDA Food Database

If you want to know the nutrient content of a zillion foods and want it handy, then you can download the entire USDA food database into your palm pilot. Incredible amount of info on each food - if you're dieting or counting carbs, this is extremely handy.

Digital Toys
If you need a good charger for your rechargeables, look no further than the Maha C204W I've used one of these for years with very good results - now they've improved it, especially for those of you who might be traveling overseas.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Happy 4th of July!

More on Joe
For an interesting web site with lots of good interviews on the main protagonist of the book and movie, "Touching the Void" (winner of the outstanding British film of the year), you should check out Joe's own web site . He pulls no punches. A rather amusing quote from one of his Interviews/excerpts - I also have fairly strong views about climbing and children but they are purely personal and I have no criticisms of those who combine family and mountains. It is their choice and their conscience.
It has never been a problem for me since I have no desire whatsoever to have children, nor do I understand them. They are a mystery I never wished to delve into as well as being desperately expensive, life consuming and ambition compromising. I’m quite happy to live a lonely old age after a lifetime of fun (if I get the chance) than breed on the off chance that any of the little buggers will be around when I need them. A little selfish perhaps, or maybe just honest. Apologies to all parents out there.

I would suggest, however, that you watch the film first, without reading his web site, then watch the extra footage on the DVD, then read the book if you have the time. I think watching the film with no idea what will happen is worth it.

If you are low carbing it, check out the low carb soups made by Walmart. About 7-9 grams of carbs per cup of soup. Suprisingly -very tasty - some of the best canned soup I've had. Some are also fairly low on sodium ((550mg). They say they contain no trans fats, but the contents labels indicate partially hydrogenated oils, so how they claim the 0 transfats is a question.

If you use Smart Balance as a 0 transfat butter substitute (and it is a very good one), then you might also want to check out Smart Balance cooking spray (like Pam) - no transfats - that's gotta be a good thing.

For an excellent web site on the glycemic index, carbs, and the consequences of a crappy diet and potential diabetes, check out David Mendosa's site . (He used to go by Rick, but changed his first name to David - don't ask me why). Loaded with excellent information - it doesn't get much better than this. I notice much of the info on his site leads to further info by him on the sites, which have to be about the best general web site on the Net - if you want info on damn near anything, go to

Looking for a low carb pasta that really tastes like pasta without all those soy fillers? Try Dreamfield Pasta. Check out what David Mendosa had to say about it by clicking here .

Quote of the Day
"If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?"
Harry Shearer