Sunday, June 29, 2008



The rules:
1. Post the rules at the beginning.
2. Answer the questions only about yourself.
3. At the end of the post, tag five people and post their names, then go to their blogs and leave them a comment so they know they’ve been tagged. Ask them to read the sender's blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?
Pretty much what I'm doing now, programming marketing research surveys for a living, helping out as much as possible with my kids involvement in school, sports, Scouts and other activities. I lived in a townhouse apartment instead of a house. My kids are older so the activities reflect their ages. I wasn't blogging then.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
I rarely make a list but today my priorities were/are: Get my son off to Boy Scout camp (done); take a good bike ride (done); do some yard work (partially done); complete this post (in process); cook some fried chicken (it's cooking now).

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. Trail mix that has only nuts and dried fruit, no chocolate.
2. Homemade smoothie with orange juice, bananas or strawberries, ice and a little sugar.
3. Ice cream/frozen yogurt, shakes and malts.
4. Fruit - especially peaches, blackberries, strawberries and bananas.
5. Popcorn.

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Fix up my house and sell it to a "deserving" person/family for below market value.
2. By some land in a rural area and live there. My house would be modest in size, no more than 2,500 sq. ft. I'd have a small lake for fishing and an area for hunting and camping.
3. Visit Maine and Alaska. Two places I've never been but have always wanted to visit.
4. Set up a college scholarship fund for "ordinary" people. I would focus on helping people from average circumstances but good potential get through college. Perhaps seek out the kids working at fast food joints and other part-time jobs who are making good enough grades but not great grades.
5. Leave a sufficient amount for my kids. More than Bill Gates is. I think it's rather cruel for Gates to leave his children so little after he, himself, got to enjoy so much wealth for so many years.

What are five of your bad habits?
Bad habits! What bad habits?
1. Putting off household chores.
2. Eating too much.
3. Telling too many stories about Tennessee
4. Singing songs in the car that my kids don't like
5. Not sending birthday cards on time

What are five places where you have lived?
I have to stretch this a little because I haven't really
lived in five different places.
1. Memphis, TN. I was born there, making the the first person in my family born and raised in Tennessee. I have an uncle born in Memphis but they moved away before he was a year old and never lived in Tennessee again.
2. Knoxville, TN. The reason we lived in Memphis when I was born was that my father was doing his internship there. When I was only 3-4 months old we moved back to Knoxville where my father finished his doctorate in psychology. Except for a short stint, I lived in Knoxville the surrounding county until I was 38 years old.
3. Alcoa, TN. This was the short stint. Yes, this is where Alcoa aluminum is made. We lived here for a couple of years. It is only about 15 miles from Knoxville and we moved back to Knoxville when I was 4 years old.
4. Maysville, KY. I moved here with my wife and son when I was 38. It took me about 10 years but I learned to love the area.
5. Aberdeen/Ripley, OH. This is the stretch. When I divorced I moved across the river from Maysville because real estate prices were lower. Maysville dominates the area commercially and my kids still go to school in Maysville.

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Survey Systems programmer. Primarily I program surveys for the Internet. And, no we don't spam people nor do any selling or political polling.
2. Graphic artist at a newspaper.
3. Sales person/consultant at a computer store.
4. Health club manager.
5. Juvenile probation officer.
I did all sorts of temporary jobs during college breaks. I consider these some of the most valuable experiences I've had. These include unloading boxcars and trucks full of bags of coffee beans and peanuts; construction work; working in a potato chip factory; working in an instant coffee plant; helping install safety deposit boxes in a bank and lots more. Mostly lots of heavy lifting was involved. It motivated me to finish college.

Five people I've tagged.
GM Roper who recently got some very good news.
Misguided Blonde

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Of Potassium and Interval Training

Neither of these are directly related to the other except in relation to recent events in my life and general fitness. Yahoo Health recently ran an article on burning more calories in less time. The process they describe in interval training. Interval training is "any cardiovascular workout (e.g. stationary biking, running, rowing, etc.) that involves brief bouts at near-maximum exertion interspersed with periods of lower-intensity activity."

Having been an avid cyclist in my earlier years and still cycling now, I've been aware of interval training for over 30 years. One interval training workout on a bicycle involves sprinting between every other telephone pole and pedaling comfortably between the others. Although in the areas I've always lived, simply riding on the available roads created a natural interval training workout due to the hills. Riding up the hills provides the intense, near-maximum exertion while riding down the other side enables lower-intensity activity.

During the colder months or when too busy to get in a day ride, I've ridden my exercise bike inside. I've always noticed that it never seemed to provide the same level of workout as riding outside. The Yahoo Health article explains why. While my home exercise bike doesn't have the computerized training courses, when I've ridden computerized bikes at the YMCA and health clubs, the indoor "bikes" still don't provide the same level of workout as outdoor riding.

I attribute this to the fact that on an exercise bike you can always slow down, lower the intensity level and such. When riding outside you can't make the hills any less steep. Sure, you can go into a lower gear but once you're in the lowest gear you either pedal harder or walk. I've always found the challenge of pedaling all the way to the top irresistible which creates a more intense workout.

I also love cycling because I travel faster than when running, can feel the breeze in my face and it doesn't involve the pounding that running does.

Potassium. A few weeks ago as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep I felt my heart beating irregularly. Having recently had an angiogram and other heart tests, my heart had been declared to be "that of a ten year old." As I lay there it popped into my mind that I had read that potassium helped control the heart rate and that my potassium had been low in a recent blood test.

The next day I looked up some potassium rich foods on Web and went to the grocery store. (USDA list HERE.) The best source I found was low sodium tomato juice and low sodium vegetable juice. But there are plenty of easily available, tasty sources.

Within hours of drinking a pint of tomato juice and eating a couple of bananas, my heart rate evened out and my blood pressure dropped 20 points. It turns out that in my efforts to consume more potassium I pretty much fell into the DASH diet plan. I also feel significantly more energetic. I mentioned this to a co-worker who also has hypertension plus is a diabetic. A few days later he told me he had began eating more high potassium foods and also felt more energetic, etc.

In my searches I also came across this sobering article on the greater risk of death for heart patients with low and low normal potassium levels.
"Our findings showed that heart failure patients with low to low-normal (less than 4 mEq/L) potassium levels were more likely to die than those with higher levels (4 to 5.5 mEq/L) of potassium," said Ali Ahmed, M.D., associate professor of medicine in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care and director, Geriatric Heart Failure Clinics, at UAB and the study's lead investigator. "These patients were not significantly more likely to be hospitalized than the higher potassium group, suggesting that most low potassium associated deaths were sudden deaths due to ventricular arrhythmias."

Additionally, Ahmed and colleagues found that what was previously considered an acceptable level of potassium may, in fact, be too low. A level of 3.5 mEq/L is often clinically considered as low potassium. However, Ahmed's group found that patients with potassium levels less than 4 mEq/L had increased risk of long-term mortality.
In my recent blood test, my potassium level was 3.1 mEq/L. Not good according to this article.

Since it was time for my annual check up I discussed my potassium level with my doctor. He seemed to think that while 3.1 was low, it wasn't that low. He did prescribe me a potassium supplement however.

I believe what happened in my case is that last fall I decided to lose some weight. I cut back drastically in drinking orange juice, an excellent source of potassium, for this reason. Before hand I would drink a gallon of orange juice every 2-3 days. I lowered that to about a gallon a month but did not add another source of potassium. Combine this with by blood pressure medication which can deplete potassium and you have trouble.

Tomato juice and vegetable juice work wonderfully as the low sodium varieties have about double the potassium per ounce as orange juice and about half the calories.

Still, I wonder if more attention shouldn't be paid to potassium levels. Most foods don't even list potassium on the nutritional labels. With so many refined foods which have depleted nutritional value, more information is invaluable. Also I wonder if doctors and researchers need to take a closer look at what is an acceptable level of potassium in the blood.

Friday, June 20, 2008


The Purpose of Business

While Congress fiddles while the nation goes down the tubes maybe we need a reminder of the purpose of business - to make a profit.

A not-for-profit agency I where I once worked had a poignant sign on the wall of it's main office.
Not-for-profit is a management decision. Non-profit is a management failure.
Congress needs to remember this when accusing the oil companies of ripping off the American consumer. Nobody rips off Americans like Congress. When was the last time they operated within budget, let alone made a profit.


Gore Proves Rohrabacher's Point

Just after I quoted Congressman Dana Rohrabacher yesterday.
Al Gore has his Nobel Prize, and the film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” its Academy Award. So shut up and get your mind in lockstep with the politically correct prevailing wisdom,...
Al Gore proves Rohrabacher's point.
As you know, this afternoon at 3pm Central time, we're scheduled to hold our Hot Air Tour event in Nashville, during which we hope to launch a hot-air balloon and float over Al Gore's house in an attempt to expose the high cost of global warming alarmism

A couple of days ago, a Gore spokeswoman ominously warned that they'd be working to block our event: We're making inquiries" to see whether the balloon launch violates any local ordinances, (Gore spokeswoman Kalee) Kreider said.
Americans for Prosperity were forced to move to a private location to launch their balloon although, according to the Metro Parks manual, launching is allowed in the park at which the launch was originally planned.
Hot Air Balloon launching shall be allowed in Elmington, Cane Ridge and Warner Parks.
It may behoove the powers that be at Metro Parks to remember that Al Gore did not carry Tennessee when he ran for president in 2000.

UPDATE: Hah! Right on the Left Coast points out that Al Gore is using more electricity than ever in his house despite renovations to supposedly make it more energy-efficient.
Since taking steps to make his home more environmentally-friendly last June, Gore devours an average of 17,768 kWh per month –1,638 kWh more energy per month than before the renovations – at a cost of $16,533. By comparison, the average American household consumes 11,040 kWh in an entire year, according to the Energy Information Administration.
But, of course, Gore is one of the few, the privileged. The rest of us are just commoners.


Cicadas and a Winery

The cicadas hit southern Ohio hard this year. On the radio I heard it was one of the hardest hit areas in the country. The picture above a a pile of dead cicadas at the base of a tree in my yard.

Signs for this winery popped up sometime during the last 2-3 years on I-75 about 25 miles south of Lexington, KY. We pass it whenever we drive to Knoxville to visit family. My son and I have decided this is the least imaginative name for a winery we've ever come across. It's the equivalent of "Square Floor Space Office Building." Maybe the owners don't have a cool name like Gallo or Mondavi, but Smith or Jones.

My son took this picture with my cell phone as we drove by. Not bad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Global Warming? Congressman Rohrabacher Gets It

Such an intelligent, logical, insightful speech that I'm surprised a person in Congress made it. But Congress Dana Rohrabacher did.
I am committed to a clean and healthy environment, to purifying our air, our water, and our soil; all of this for the sake of the people of this planet, including my three children, Anika, Tristan and Christian. I do this not because of some paranoid theory that humans are changing the climate of the world, but instead, I am very concerned about the health of the people of the world and, thus, committed to clean air, clean soil, and clean water.
Only 18 months ago the refrain “Case closed: Global warming is real,” was repeated as if the mantra from some religious zealots. It was pounded into the public consciousness over the airwaves, in print, and even at congressional hearings, “Case closed.” Well, this was obviously a brazen attempt to end open discussion and to silence differing views by dismissing the need for seriously contrary arguments and seriously listening to both sides of an argument. And rather than hearing both sides of the argument, this was an attempt to dismiss arguments even though the person making the arguments might have a very impressive credential or might be a very educated scientist or someone else who should be listened to.
But their views and those of so many more prominent scholars and scientists don’t matter. The debate is over. Al Gore has his Nobel Prize, and the film, “An Inconvenient Truth,” its Academy Award. So shut up and get your mind in lockstep with the politically correct prevailing wisdom, or at least what the media tells us is the prevailing wisdom. And no questions, please, the case is closed. We heard that dozens and dozens of times.
If one accepts this as fact rather than theory, this idea that man-made global warming is overwhelming our planet, then one would be expected to also accept controls, regulations, taxation, international planning and enforcement, mandated lifestyle changes, lowering expectations, limiting consumer choice, as well as personal and family sacrifices that are all going to be necessary for us to save the planet from–well, from us.
In a September, 2005, article from Discovery Magazine, Dr. William Gray, now an emeritus professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University and a former president of the American Meteorological Association, was asked if funding problems that he was experiencing and has been experiencing could be traced to his skepticism of man-made global warming. His response: “I had NOAA money for 30 years, and then when the Clinton administration came in and Gore started directing some of the environmental stuff, I was cut off. I couldn’t get any money from NOAA. They turned down 13 straight proposals from me.” This man is one of the most prominent hurricane experts in the world, cut off during the Clinton-Gore administration because he had been skeptical of global warming.

In fact, Al Gore’s first act as Vice President was to insist that William Harper be fired as the Chief Scientist at the Department of Energy. Now, why was that? Well, that’s because William Harper had uttered words indicating that he was open minded to the issue of global warming. So off with his head.
Read the entire speech.

Remember, politics is about the government having power and control over you. How much freedom are you willing to give up?

Saturday, June 14, 2008


Gender Bias in the Court Room

An excellent example of gender bias in a local court room in the same newspaper article. Two people apply for shock probation, a man and a woman.

First the woman.
Barber has been incarcerated since Dec. 5, 2007, after being sentenced to seven years on one count of manslaughter and two years on one count of criminal abuse. The two sentences were to run concurrently for a total of seven years in prison.

[Toni] Barber was arrested in November, 2006, and indicted on the charges in December, 2006, following the death of her son, 18-month-old Kaleb Davis, who was found dead inside a van near the family's home in Grange City on Aug. 2, 2006 . Barber's daughter, Rheanna Davis, then 2 1/2 years-old, was also found inside the van, but was unharmed.


[Judge] Nicholls acknowledged what he termed the "strenuous" objections of Commonwealth's Attorney Kathryn B. Hendrickson to granting Barber shock probation,...
Incarcerated in December, 2007, allowed probation in June, 2008. Ms. Barber served 6 months of a 7 year sentence.

Now the man.
In other court news, Nicholls denied defense counsel's request for shock probation for Randall Spencer, who was convicted in January 2008 on one count of reckless homicide in the death of William Bruce Buckler. Spencer is currently serving a two and one-half year prison sentence at the Kentucky Men's State Reformatory.

Spencer was arrested and charged on May 28, 2006, following the stabbing death of Buckler, 29, of Carlisle near Spencer's home on Pea Ridge in what Kentucky State Police described as a domestic situation. A Fleming County jury found Spencer guilty of reckless homicide instead of first-degree manslaughter after three days of testimony.
Mr. Spencer had only received a 2 and a half year sentence. It would be reasonable to assume that his crime is deemed less serious than Ms. Barber's. Yet she gets the shock probation and he stays in prison.

Monday, June 02, 2008


Don't Open This Pringles Can!

The designer of the Pringles can has been buried inside of one.
The designer of the Pringles potato crisps container was so proud of his accomplishment that he asked his family to bury him in one of the cans.

Fredric J. Baur, of Cincinnati, died May 4 at Vitas Hospice in Cincinnati. He was 89.

Baur's children honored his request by burying part of his remains in a Pringles can in his grave in a cemetery in suburban Cincinnati.
No mention is made of in which flavor he is buried.


More Red Light Camera Rip-Off

Cincinnati is considering installing red light cameras in which the payments for the cameras would be made from the fines from the persons caught by the cameras. Sounds like a sure fire way further create a police state in the land of the "free."

Fortunately, there is opposition to the cameras. Plus, the cameras may not prove to be profitable.
While the Cincinnati administration continues working on its package to council, a coalition of opposition groups led by the local NAACP and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes continues to push for a November ballot initiative to stop the city. The coalition, at, hopes to collect the more than 8,000 signatures necessary by July 4. NAACP President Christopher Smitherman announced in early May that the group had already collected 2,000. The initiative would prohibit the city from ever installing cameras.

"The momentum's good and we have a lot of people out there working," said COAST lawyer Chris Finney.

Organizers believe the cameras erode civil liberties, circumvent a defendant's right to face his accuser and are being put forth by the city as a way to make money, not to keep drivers safe.
Redflex included a testimonial from Columbus Director of Public Safety Mitchell Brown, who wrote that the city got $141,505 in 2006 from 6,085 violation notices, for a 64 percent pay rate. Columbus saw a 62 percent reduction in light-running, he wrote, at the seven intersections cameras watched.

In Dayton, according to a testimonial from police Det. Carol Johnson, crashes at camera locations declined 40 percent in the first 18 months that city's 10 cameras were in use.

After drivers became accustomed to the cameras, the number of violations dropped by about half, to about 80 a month per camera in June 2007.
Considering the small "profit margin" and the drop in violations, red light cameras may not be worth it.

There is also ample evidence that, while the cameras may reduce accidents in the intersection, they increase overall accidents, including fatalities. More HERE.

The use of red light cameras reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut's book, Player Piano, in which there were electronic devices everywhere to make sure the humans didn't jaywalk, cross against the light, etc. A mechanized world that kept the humans in line.

Of course, installing red light cameras is just a money grab and nothing more. All the fancy words are just sweet smelling crap to try and convince voters what's "best" for them.

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