Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Flamingo?






Instead of a turkey, I will eat a flamingo for Thanksgiving.




I hope it is a lean meat.




Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Peanut Butter: The OK, The Scary, and the Sham

Peanut prices have gone up, so let's talk peanuts. We talked about peanuts before, but now I want to talk more about heart health, and less about flavor.


The OK
Natural peanut butters whose only ingredients are peanuts, salt, and possibly a sugar are OK for your heart. The ingredient list does not show partially hydrogenated oil. Partially hydrogenated oils give your heart nightmares. They increase the amount of LDLs ("Bad" cholesterol) in your blood. LDLs that contain trans fats are more sticky and clog better in your arteries. 




The Scary
Beware. These are most peanut butters. Example: regular Peter Pan creamy. The ingredient list shows partially hydrogenated oils. These are trans fats. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, hydrogenated oils aren't as bad as partially hydrogenated oils are.


Look out: if the product contains less than 0.5g of trans fat per serving then the Nutrition Facts box can show 0g Trans Fat, and this can be advertised on the front of the label. Sneaky.


The Sham
These are natural peanut butters that contain added (and highly processed) oils. Example: Peter Pan natural. The oil that's added is fractionated. This is palm kernel that has been processed to separate and use only the saturated fats for texture. (Saturated fats in high amounts increase LDLs in your blood too.


I know there is a big debate and blurry lines in the food industry regarding calling things "Natural," but this one should be a no-brainer.


Read your nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Make sure your peanut butter does not contain any added oils.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Movie Rating Rubric


1 through 5 (5 being the best). Occasionally I'll have a decimal to the tenths place.

1. Congratulations! You made a movie. You rounded up actors and either shot it yourself, or hired a camera crew. Either way, I watched it.

2. This movie was scarcely watchable. If I hadn't spent all that money on a ticket, I'd surely put an end to this viewing. The movie does not know which way it wants to go. Is it a shameless comedy? No. Is it a tear-drawing drama? Not really. The story has not been thought out. The overall viewing experience has been overlooked.

3. You worked really hard, and made an appealing movie by excellent visuals, or great acting, but the story is weak or full of holes. Maybe the story is a cliche that leaves me saying, "I can't believe they made that comparison." Overall, the movie is awkward.

4. With the exception of Iron Man (the first one) most comic book movies go here.

5. This movie was incredible. The visuals were appropriate. The casting and acting were impeccable. Maybe there was a twist, maybe there wasn't, but I said "Ah ha!" at the end, or "Ohmygosh, I didn't see that coming." The events of the story led us to the conclusion. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's Been Ten Years. How Could We Have Built Differently?

It's great that we have a nice memorial at ground zero. But wouldn't it have been better to rebuild the twin towers bigger and better than before? Now we have a perpetual site of mourning where we could have had two giant middle fingers for all the world's terrorists to see.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Contagion 2011. Too Many Big Names For a Movie To Suck As Hard As It Did

Marion Cotillard, Matt Damon, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kate Winslet: a list of actors who are hated by their agents.


The movie contained three separate strains of the same story. We followed three story lines scene-by-scene as experts, a few lay people, and a journalist deal with the effects of a fast-acting virus. The stage was set for a heart-pounding thriller.


Looks like that compelling plot is just out of reach, isn't it, Matt? Generally speaking, if we are forced to follow three divergent plot lines at some point they converge, and we say, "Ah-Hah!" as the we find the movie's conclusion at the bottom of a twisty turny waterslide. Instead, bad stuff happens, and the film stops.


The film's potential was wasted.


There was no villain. There was no climax, which means no resolution. Not even a lousy chase scene.


My score: 2 out of 5


Contagion movie review 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Power of Reason

The power of reason is the power to see logical implications: of similarity and difference, of cause and effect, of relationships in time and space, of quantity and quality, of the subjective and the objective, of importance and unimportance. 
-H.A. Overstreet

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Radio Show. First Episode.

I'm beginning to take over the UWSP Employee Wellness radio show. I'll be doing weekly shows for the rest of the summer until the next person takes over (who starts in the Fall).


Anywhoo, It's on 90FM at 6:30pm Wednesday night (July 27). Don't want to putz around with a radio? Use this link, and click "Listen Live."
http://www.uwsp.edu/stuorg/wwsp/


It will either go pretty well, or I'll humiliate myself :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Look out, Egypt! Here Comes the USDA =O

As many of us know, the USDA has done away with the food pyramid. Pity. I'll miss it.
A few years ago they tried improving it, but it just became more confusing.


As such, they've taken a wrecking ball to the pyramid, and have flattened it into a plate. They call it My Plate. You can read more about it at choosemyplate.gov


It seems easier to understand. This way we have a visual representation of what our daily portions of food should look like. Instead of interpreting the information from the food pyramid, we can more clearly see our recommendations.


Here is a link to a song about the food pyramid. Now it is a dirge.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Peanut Butter: Taste Tested and Discussed

Peanut butter is a tasty food and a staple for many. There have been new modifications to the peanut butter field over the years. Maybe you prefer a natural peanut butter that you have to stir. Maybe you like the convenience of a peanut butter that is blended with partially hydrogenated oils that requires no stirring. Apparently ConAgra Foods has made a new Peter Pan peanut butter that is "Natural," but incurs no oil separation. I decided to taste test and review the three pictured peanut butters.
Taste Test: Smucker's Natural Peanut Butter, Creamy
There is a certain "weightyness" to this peanut butter. It has the distinct flavor and aroma of peanuts. Its only ingredients are roasted peanuts and salt. It is delicious. The fats are not scary for your heart. There are more unsaturated fats than saturated fats, and it contains no trans fats.
Taste Score: 100/100

Taste Test: Peter Pan Peanut Butter, Creamy
This has a light, almost "microfluff" texture. Its aroma and flavor are pleasant. Its fats are scary for your heart. It contains partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil.
Taste Score: 80/100

Taste Test: Peter Pan Natural Peanut Butter, Creamy
Apparently, they tried to gain the best from both worlds: The no-stir convenience along with the "Natural" name. Sadly, they forgot to include the good flavor of either. What we have here is a brown, peanut-flavored paste.

It is called "Natural" because its oils have not been hydrogenated. Instead, it contains fractionated palm oil—the most saturated fats from palm kernel oil. Not as scary for your heart as partially hydrogenated oils, but not quite a relief either.
Taste score: 68/100

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'm trying Google+





Today I received an invitation to field test Google+. It's the Google's new social networking matrix. I am looking forward to checking it out in depth.


However, I approach this new social network dubiously. On one hand, I don't want another facebook.


On the other hand, Google+ will perhaps make their strengths out of facebook's weaknesses.


On the other hand, now we have two forces competing for awesomeness. We may not have to powerlessly accept Facebook's ungustatory changes (I think most of their changes are ok).


Myspace can just go smoke their crack.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I'm Sure the Google Is Not as Scary as It Is. Right?




Recently, the Google unveiled a new visual theme. It put in a black bar with a touch of red.


I remember when the Google used to be a benign search engine that would direct you to where you wanted to go. No frills, just a clean user interface. Sort of like a friendly librarian.


Its new look is sharper and more sleek. I now think the Google trying to perform surgery on me to install a CAT5 port so it can download me to Hell. Sort of like an evil robot teddy bear. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Alaffia: Bad Customer Service. Nice Skin Care.





This past Christmas I bought some skin care products for a couple of ladies (my family members), and some unscented moisturizer for myself. Shea butter is a nice thing for the skin; and you can't go wrong when you buy skin care items for ladies. The company was Alaffia.


Moisturizer Rating 85/100. Pass.
Like I said: shea butter is nice for the skin, but Alaffia's lotion occludes the pores. I can tell because when I break a sweat during a workout, I could feel the pores on my body getting all "prickly." It has to be the emulsifying wax, because pure shea butter does not do that.


Customer Service Rating 40/100. Fail.
The pump on my bottle was defective, and did not work from day one. I contacted the customer service department, who promptly sent me a new pump in the mail free of charge.


However, this came with an unintended caveat.


Alaffia's Blunder
Mistakenly, they did not put enough postage on the envelope. I had to pay the Postal Service $0.51. When I asked for free shipping on my next order for Alaffia's unprofessionalism and my inconvenience, they replied that they would give me $1.00 off the shipping of my next purchase.


Really, Alaffia? On the customer service level, is that a smart thing to do? Your customer was inconvenienced on two counts. The first was your faulty pump, and the second was my postage hassle. As a general rule, companies give their customers some kind of a token for hassles even smaller than this—tokens such as a free shipping coupon. Companies generally don't want their customers patronizing their competitors.


You saved one dollar, Alaffia. Is it worth the patronage?




Alaffia shea butter lotion review
Alaffia poor customer service

Monday, June 20, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles reviewed





I'd give it a C.

The effects were very nice. The story didn't have any holes. It was a straightforward hack and slash.

Basically, the aliens have come to take the earth (or at least the resources). They're hard to kill. The humans have to take out the alien aircraft drone command centers which have been dug underground. Finally, the group of heroes learns how to kill them, take out their command centers, and use a the aliens' strategy against them.

Yay.

It's good this movie came out. I was starting to get tired of Independence Day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I Don't Believe in Humans



Stephen Hawking said the following in an interview with The Guardian regarding the afterlife:


I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.
link


Well, irrespective of whether you believe in a God or an afterlife, I think it's appropriate to say that a brain and a computer are not the same. (I contend that there is a God and an afterlife.) The brain is so astonishing that the only way we can appreciate it is to compare it to the most sophisticated technology of our day: computers.


Let me cite John R. Searle (1932), who said, "Because we don't understand the brain very well we're constantly tempted to use the latest technology as a model for trying to understand it. In my childhood we were always assured that the brain was a telephone switchboard. (What else could it be?) And I was amused to see that Sherrington, the great British neuroscientist, thought that the brain worked like a telegraph system. Freud often compared the brain to hydraulic and electromagnetic systems. Leibniz compared it to a mill, and now, obviously, the metaphor is the digital computer."


We make computers. More specifically, engineers and computer scientists make computers. There is no afterlife for computers, because we haven't made one for them. (Really, how would we make one for them?)


Point: Stephen Hawking can't say that there is no afterlife for human consciousness, because he is not a human consciousness designer or manufacturer. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Camping Trip. Day 4

Well, today is the day we're packing up. I hope I had a nice trip, and had fun with everyone else. 
I'm coming home to civilization; but with it comes a certain measure of boredom. At least I'll be able to take a dang shower and wash the mosquito spray off me. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Camping Trip. Day 3

Woo Hoo. It's Saturday. I'm having so much fun camping!
At least, that's what I hope I'm saying. There is no internet where I am, so I posted this entry to the future (the now present) earlier this week. For all we know, I could be dead =o


I'm going hiking, and then swimming in the lake. I'm not going to drink the water, because fish have sex in it.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Camping Trip. Day 2

Mmm K. Second day of camping predictions. It's Friday. This is a pre-scheduled post, as I don't have any internet on this camping trip.


Last night, I ate my weight in s'mores after mourning the cutting of my CAT5 umbilical cord. I'm stuck out in biology looking at things through meat-eyes. I'm a Health Promotion and Wellness major, so I'm supposed to be enjoying this.


At least the scenery is hi-def.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Camping Trip. Day 1

I'm going camping. I want to tell you all about it while I'm doing it—but I can't—because I'll be roughing it. This post was automatically scheduled to let you know, because I'm sure you care.
Those going are some friends, my parents, and me. My only brother is staying home like an iodine deficient cretin LOL. 


I will keep you abreast with my pre-scheduled predictions.


From what I hear, there is no electricity, and no running water. Aw, crap. How am I going to make it?


Today, we're driving to the campground, and getting set up (and whatever else we feel like).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dear Nabisco, Enough is enough.

To whom it may concern at Nabisco:

You have delighted me since childhood with your graham crackers. I have heard some complaints that you have shrunk your crackers over the years. I've never taken a ruler to them, so I have no idea about their size. However, this past Memorial Day I partook of the campfire delicacy known as s'mores, of which your graham crackers are a staple component. I tasted something "off" in the flavor. I tried each of the three ingredients separately, and concluded that your graham crackers must have undergone a recipe change.

The flavor of your Honey Maid graham crackers was dull, and the texture took more tooth to break. 
For your reference, here is the date code (which appears to serve as a lot number):
08OCT1MM10709:30B

The point that I am trying to make is this. If you are going to cut corners, please put fewer crackers in the package instead of raping my and so many others' childhood memories and campfire delights by sacrificing flavor on the altar of lies.

Sincerely,
Joseph Metallo

Monday, May 30, 2011

MiO Liquid Water Enhancer. Apparently They're Serious



Have we climbed so high on Maslow's pyramid? Have Americans reached the top, realized it's not good enough, and started building ladders to get higher?


Apparently water, the thing we need to survive, is now so boring that we need to liven it up with the flavors that MiO offers.


"Oh, I don't like to drink water. It's icky and boring"


No.
If it is what you need to survive (or improve your health) it's delicious.


I am saying NO to MiO.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bread of Woe. A (not so) Happy Song About Getting Fat

Here is a song from charlieissocoollike on youtube. It looks all too familiar. This is part of the reason I'm in Health Promotion.





I just thought I'd pass this along.
It's pretty catchy.
(Pretty sure it's whole wheat bread)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tuvan Throat Singing



This video is rather amazing. It's simple. It's authentic, and the tune is mesmerizing. The aesthetics are perfect. It's just two friends singing in their regular coats, against an icy river as a background, while strumming a banjo-ish thing.


I heard about throat singing a while ago. The demonstration at the time was kind of an ugly one. I still don't know enough about throat singing to satisfy my interest. If someone could recommend some videos or an album that they like, it would be awesome.



Friday, January 28, 2011

Spyderco. Sharply Whimsical


When I was about six, my dad bought me an appropriate thing to buy any six-year-old: a sharp Spyderco Ladybug pocket knife. Spyderco is the knife that has the characteristic "Thumb hole." This feature makes opening a snap–literally. The people at Spyderco are nonstop innovators of design and utility. (I remember not being allowed to carry it until I was older).


Since my first mini-knife 19 years ago, I've bought three Spyderco knives for myself. My latest is the Native, and it just arrived at my house a couple of weeks ago. It's an amazing piece.




In addition to it being apparently designed for my own hand, the blade lists all pertinent information. One side displays the blade material; the other lists the place of manufacture.
Earth. What a bold flight of whimsy indeed. Clearly, I chose to stick with the right knife people.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kill Bill: A Pro-life story


If you are pro-life, you're against abortion–and I'd venture to say euthanasia too.
If you were pro-life, would you massacre a crowd of people to save a fetus? The Bride in Kill Bill vols. 1 & 2 did (more or less*).


Sure, both the films have a tremendous amount of violence and killing. Uma Thurman's character, The Bride, described herself as the "deadliest woman in the world." She was an assassin. The second she found out she was pregnant, she decided to give up assassination, and raise her child in a safe environment.


It sure doesn't seem like a pro-life film–what with all the killing. But, it is. Defenseless lives in utero must be protected. Everybody else killed knew what they had signed up for. That is the message The Bride conveys.


Coming Soon: How The Bride is the epitome of motherhood


*actually, she didn't know she was defending her baby. She was getting revenge upon all those involved with killing her entire wedding party at the rehearsal, shooting her in the head, putting her in comatose (while pregnant), killing her baby (who was actually safe, and came to full-term [she didn't know she had given birth in comatose]). It was her pro-life decision that she was defending.