Walking, Water and Weighing

Since we are the most obese country in the world per the World Health Organization, I was seeking some alliteration to serve as a reminder of three things we each could do. Walking, Water and Weighing. Each of these things would not be difficult to do, but could make a difference.

Walking to better health has been discussed for years. As a former jogger with an up and down history of such, I have resorted to walking and hiking. It is far easier on the joints and can accomplish  many of the same benefits – weight loss, cardio-vascular work, better digestion and improved psyche by being outdoors. And, when you miss walking for a few days, it is much easier to pick back up than jogging.

Drinking more water is the one of the best diet techniques around. I am not advocating drinking water all the time, but try to drink at least a couple of glasses a day. In addition to zero calories, drinking water helps flush out your kidneys and lessens the risk of kidney stones. Plus, staying hydrated is beneficial to good health. Lastly, if you are on a budget, drinking water in restaurants and fast food places is a big saver.

Finally, know your numbers, a key one of which is weight. Weighing once a week is good to know your progress and will encourage you to get that extra walk in or avoid more fried food, bread or desserts the next week. Yet, weighing is a metaphor for knowing your blood pressure and cholesterol counts. These are two examples that can be treated with prescription drugs and better regimen.

I recognize these three things are not earth shattering revelations. But, they are three habits that can easily be implemented and will provide some benefit. Please check with your doctor, if you feel you must, and start slow with the walking.

 

 

 

 

Something interesting is going on

Several of my well respected blogging friends have done a lion’s share of work around the need to audit the 2016 Presidential election results. There have been countless concerns expressed in academia that the very surprising result should be verified. Plus, there has been enough noise around hacking threats following the alleged Russian involvement in the email hacking, that verification is essential.

Well, thanks to Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, there will be a review of the election results in three key battleground states that surprisingly went to Donald Trump, the President-elect – Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton’s campaign has notified the states that she will have legal representation during the process given its importance.

This news does not sit well with the President-elect, nor does the news that he has lost the popular election by over 2 million votes. He has claimed that the general election result includes millions of undocumented aliens offering no evidence. One of the conservative websites that is long on wind, but short on substance, has said something similar, so in Trump’s mind it must be true if it is on the internet. But, this claim has been noted as unproven.

Yet, what is interesting is Trump is now claiming that there is voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, again without evidence. Why would he do that? The simplest explanation is distraction, a technique which he used throughout the campaign. If a news items looks, feels or could be bad, distract the audience with a sleight of hand. In other words, if there are problems here, then they should look over there and why isn’t anyone reporting on it, as if it is a conspiracy?

If he feels there is a problem in those three states, he can file a claim to have the votes recounted. To me, he fears there maybe some bad news in the three states in which Stein has raised an issue, where the vote differences are less than 120,000 votes in total. I would welcome any recounts, where concerns exist.

I am not here to say there is definitely a problem, but I do feel the results should be audited. My reason is the Russians have influenced other elections and went to great trouble to hack two separate email systems releasing the emails to the public through WikiLeaks. And, per a news report from several security experts on PBS Newshour a few months ago, they firmly believe the Russians would alter some emails, as well before release.

These security analysts also reported that some entity has been probing various voting machines over the past many months, mostly unsuccessfully. Yet, while one source could not change every machine, due to the distributive nature of the process, an entity could affect select voting machines. So, my thesis is why would the Russians be satisfied with just hacking and changing emails?

Will this change the outcome of the election? I don’t know. But, I do think the American people are owed a clean and fair election, regardless of the outcome. So, I support an audit, as should any candidate. Yet, I do think it is interesting that the so-called winner is using his distraction techniques at this juncture, as if he suspects something is amiss himself. To be frank, nothing seems to surprise me about this election, as everything has been surprising. This could be just one more thing.

 

 

Movies I must admit I like

People who read my posts or comments know I like to quote movie lines. They also know I have written several posts about favorite movies or movie quotes.

Taking a different approach, I want to mention a few movies I should not like as the plot is very thin, but I do.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure – This movie is about as stupid as they come, but I cannot help liking it. It mixes interesting historical characters in a silly setting with the classic advice from two non-studious high schoolers, “Be excellent to one another and party on dude,” words even Abraham Lincoln repeated.

The Inlaws – Starring Peter Falk and Alan Arkin this movie will leave you in stitches with some of its inane scenes mixed around an unbelievable espionage story. Richard Libertini, who passed away earlier this year, plays a hilarious over-the-top dictator. The funniest part involves the proper way to evade bullet fire, even after you successfully do so – “serpentine!”

Zombieland – My boys wanted to see this comedy movie about zombies starring Woody Harrelson and Emma Stone. Seeing everyone was turning into zombies, they referred to each by where they were from. Harrelson’s character was Tallahassee, eg. The best scenes are during an extended cameo by Bill Murray, who pretended to be a zombie.

50 First Dates – Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore star in a second movie that qualifies for this list along with The Wedding Singer. Sandler must make Barrymore fall in love with him each day, as her short term memory goes away each night. Dan Akyroyd, Sean Astin and Rob Schneider add additional color with their characters.

The Wedding Singer – Sandler and Barrymore star in this one as well, which immortalizes a Spandau Ballet song and makes Billy Idol a hero in the end. Sandler, the wedding singer, falls in love with the bride-to-be Barrymore, who is maltreated by her jerky groom-to-be. Seeing the hip-hop granny in the credits is worth the wait.

Major League – Tom Berenger plays a washed up catcher, Charlie Sheen a wild pitcher who can’t see very well, and Wesley Snipes, plays a base stealing wizard who can’t hit, who all make the team so that they finish dead last. With that failure the new owner can move the team to Miami (the movie was made before a franchise was placed there). It has a predictable plot, but the characters make it fun. Baseball announcer, Bob Uecker, is a key addition to the movie with calls like “Ball Twelve,” after Sheen walks three batters in a row.

So, I Married an Axe Murderer – Mike Myers and Nancy Travis star in this movie about a couple falling in love and getting married. The groom finds out the bride’s previous husbands have left her mysteriously. Charles Grodin does a deadpan cameo where he refuses to yield his car to a police officer, Anthony LaPaglia, in chase. Myers also plays several relatives of Scottish descent which add to the hilarity.

There are too many to choose from, so I left off several questionable favorites. Many romantic comedies don’t dive too deep on plot, so you have to sit back and enjoy the hilarity, no matter how inane.

What are some of your favorite movies that you don’t like to brag about? Any reactions to my list above?

 

 

 

The best way to save

I could not think of a better day to state the obvious way to save money. Don’t spend it. There, now it is out in the open.

Being a retired old fart on a fixed income, I have learned that I don’t need the latest and greatest thing, if what I have is working just fine. I also don’t value my worth by what I own.

Yes, my IPhone is four years old, the same age as my laptop. They are working fine for my purposes. Yes, I am driving the same car for over nine years and will keep it longer, as will my wife with hers. And, no I don’t want to sell my house, even though I get requests from realtors monthly to do so. Nor do I need another credit card.

I recognize people want our money. They will market consistently, often aggressively, and sometimes fraudulently to get me to buy something. Yet, we can choose not to give it to them.

So, on this Black Friday, choose not to spend. If you must, consider this option. Move Christmas back a week and buy after Christmas when retailers are looking to unload inventory.

Shop wisely, or not at all. Happy holidays.

Let’s give thanks

My favorite holiday is upon us, one that brings families and friends together. We have a crowd of twenty-two joining our feast and fellowship this year, which is more than ever.

Especially nice will be seeing some new faces with our niece and two of our children each inviting a friend. It brings my wife and me joy to see them feel comfortable enough to invite a friend.

We will also be meeting the son of one of our nephews for the first time. They live in California and he has not had the opportunity to bring him east until now.

Of course, we are excited to have everyone here. My daughter asked how long ago did we start this tradition. When my grandmother passed away, going to her home for Thansgiving passed away with her. So, we remember her by making her cornbread dressing and continuing her  tradition.

Please enjoy your Thanksgiving and travel safely if you must. Hug everyone a little longer this year and share plenty of stories.

Life lessons from an astronaut

The other day, I saw Miles O’Brien of PBS Newshour interview astronaut Mike Massimino about his new book Spaceman: An Astronaut’s Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe.” What was moving about this interview is Massimino tells the story in his book how becoming an astronaut was not easy for him.

He notes he had to apply to be an astronaut four times before being given the opportunity. When O’Brien asked him what he would be doing had he not become an astronaut, he said “applying for a fifth time.” Here is a man who is still afraid of heights and cannot swim very well, yet he became one of the very few people who have ever flown in space. He saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon and decided that is what he wanted to be and did not let his shortcomings stand in the way.

He also notes he had struggles all through training, which he highlights in the book. Here is his response to O’Brien about his question on dealing with his setbacks.

“I think you’re right, yes. It’s not a question of being the best at something or things coming easy to you, but it’s being a person that can work with others and not give up. And, for me, that was part of it too.

At every step of the way, when I had trouble, there were people that came in, in my life that helped me. It’s important to go seek help when you need it, and to give help when other people need it. And that is really more important than coming in with a gigantic brain into the astronaut program.”

To me, there is no better life lesson than what Massimino says in these two paragraphs. Just because someone is not the best at something or that things do not come easy to him (or her), does not mean he (or she) cannot be successful or achieve a goal. The second paragraph is telling as well. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The only price is to pay it forward and help others.

A link to the entire interview follows: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/setbacks-failures-shaped-improbable-astronaut/

Big Issue #2 – Confronting Climate Change

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