Sunday, January 29, 2017

New York Times

Our illustrious leader warned us that the New York Times is failing this morning. Fearing the worst I subscribed immediately.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Fight Diabetes - Part I

Recently I read that diabetes is now the costliest component of the US healthcare system.

At work, one of my functions is to identify queries that cost the most and find ways to reduce that cost. This is orders of magnitude more complex, but nevertheless, as a concerned citizen I thought I’d try to find some information on how to combat this epidemic. And, full disclosure, having seen Robert Lustig and Fed Up already, I was looking for evidence that sugar consumption is implicated. I wasn’t disappointed.

Considering that we as a nation struggle so mightily to solve the problem of health care costs, it seems the kind of topic that we all should take an interest in. Here are some things I found:

How costly is it in the US?
·         Diabetes and prediabetes cost America $322 billion per year
·         $1 in $3 Medicare dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes

What causes Type-2 diabetes?
·         weight loss was the main predictor of reduced risk for developing diabetes
·         diabetes risk reduction efforts should focus on weight loss

So, obesity is the most important factor for Type-2 diabetes. What then causes obesity?
I’m aware that sedentary lifestyle and low quality foods are risk factors, but I believe the big elephant in this room is sugar. Plenty of reputable sources highlight the correlation between sugary drinks and obesity. Here are a couple examples:
·         link between weight gain and drinking sweetened beverages.
The CDC draws attention to sugary drinks in particular:
Eat fewer foods that are high in sugar, such as: 
·         Fruit-flavored drinks.
·         Sodas.
·         Tea or coffee sweetened with sugar.

Progress is Underway
Having connected dots from problem to proximate cause, I wondered what can one do to help in the fight against diabetes/obesity.

As it happens, action has been taken. Many of the public are aware of the problem. In fact Soda consumption has dropped for more than a decade. Big soda has been losing 1 percent of its market share per year in that time and the gallons of soda consumed per capita has dropped by over 10 gallons per year in that time.

Nevertheless, I personally feel that for a problem so costly to our health and wealth, we should accelerate that trend if we are able. A little outrage is I think appropriate here. After all the as it is well stated in the blurb for the book Soda Politics by Dr. Marion Nestle:
how did products containing absurdly inexpensive ingredients become multibillion dollar industries and international brand icons, while also having a devastating impact on public health?

Thinking of it this way causes some anger and outrage to stir within my breast.

Those feelings, if I can articulate them well, will feature in a subsequent post.

In the meantime, if you want more information, or if you want to learn how to take some action to reduce the harm that sugary beverages are wreaking on our society, consider these links:
·         Super Size Me

·         Fed Up

I may decide to buy and read Soda Politics.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Muling it Over

My wife and I had been discussing how exactly to schedule our holiday events. We both offered sensible options. Finally she said "Well, those are two good options to mule over"

"Mull",  said I.

"What?", said she.

"Mull, not mule. You mull over your options, not mule over them."

"But I don't feel like changing my mind."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

First Garlic

The heat, then prolonged moisture seemed to put some of the smaller French Rose garlic in danger of molding. So we picked it quickly. The larger ones have more green leaves and may benefit from the continued moisture.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sourdough Bread

Hey, check this an effort to eat delicious bread and save money I have been practicing bread-baking on the weekends. Here's a picture of some nice-looking loaves I made a month ago.

I've recently realized that sourdough bread is easier than I previously thougt. It's definitely cheaper and arguably better tasting than bread made with active dry yeast.

Sourdough Possibly healthier for humans

Egalitarian: the leavening is free
My favorite how-to video for making sourdough starter. It is SOOO easy!

Sullivan Street simple method

The simple Sullivan Street method is very compatible with sourdough because it is a slow rise bread.The only downside to sourdough is that it can take longer. I could debate if that is actually a downside, but I'll spare you.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015


Alternative to the theme of yesterday: music generation. Try it out at jukedeck.
Adele is in no danger of losing her job to this robot; the two tracks I generated were as soulless as you might expect. At the same time there's clearly something sophisticated at work here.

Sunday, December 06, 2015


Music, books, video games and movies are numerous and inexpensive. For these to be appreciated as gifts there are two options:
1. choose premium quality
2. curate a collection tailored to the recipient

Option two is exemplified by the mixtape.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Campfire Smell

Yesterday we woke to a hazy orange sunrise.
Trees 200' away were tinted
The morning air at the kitchen door
Was thickly laden with the scent a campfire makes
From the Cougar Creek fire
75 miles East

Last night the half moon was the color of a ripe peach
Today we are running the hepa filter and staying inside

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tragedy on Kelly Road

Crawling past the patrolman
The flares
The towtruck
I glanced briefly where
I knew the wreck would be.
A truck, new, shiny with chrome
And royal blue
Looked strangely whole
To occupy the center of that grim circus.
No shattered glass
No fender rumpled
No trunk caved-in and crumpled.
But under the truck's front bumper
All so new and shiny with chrome
A two-wheeled vehicle
That didn't make it home.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Kids will make you cool

Ok maybe it's just in my own mind...but after playing TF2 online with my boys I have been encouraged by 55zimfam55 who said I was becoming MLG pretty fast. That felt great because I always feel like a nub cake.
But while playing I noticed they also seem unimpressed by their own play though it far outstrips mine.
With each day I become more certain that most everyone feels like a nub cake, not just in gaming but in that arcane thing older folks refer to as "real life".
And I'm just as certain that the feeling is not justified...we are all pretty MLG...and could use more practice.
So yeah...I feel a little cooler today.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Race Eve

Tomorrow morning we begin the attempt to cross Washington by bike. My job is to keep the rider supplied with food and water.

As for now we are going to sleep at cycle.head.chair as defined by

People Waved

(on the train)
I was charmed.

As we passed a park
Some children
And their guardians

View from
 the train.

Big Trip

This is the start of a big trip. I'll crew for my brother who's cycling across Washington State, from North to South.

Currently I'm on tha Amtrak Cascade line from Kelso to Tukwila.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Two Haiku

Trees start conical

In windstorm branches are lost

Adding character



Hawk patrols the mice

Who hide beneath the grasses

They cannot grow large

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Transcendent Coffee

I made a cup of coffee today that was so good it transported me to another time and place.

One moment I was sitting in front of my computer with my bucket of pens a stapler, pencil sharpener and binoculars crowding around my mouse.

Then I lifted the cup to my nose and the sensation swept me to a tropical land where the first rays of morning sun delivered pitch, resins and floral perfumes from the jungle's edge to me on the most delicate morning dew and the slightest of breezes.

As I stood on the porch of my wood and thatch hut surveying the village and the surrounding jungle canopy lit by the honeyed morning sun, the villagers, as they passed by, looked at me with the fondness normally afforded to a beloved grandfather. I could only imagine that I must have served the village in some profoundly benevolent way in the recent past. Cured a dreaded disease, or saved the life of a revered villager.

Then I remembered the real reason they loved me. I had developed a means distilling the essence of grandmotherly love from the local coffee and freely shared the technique with them. They were so grateful they vowed to honor me always as a venerated village elder. And they were true to their word.

Yes...that is how good my coffee was this morning.