Happy Valentine’s Day
Grab Bag Heart Tips:
Appropriately for The Day of Hearts, below are Consumer Reports’ top 10 heart health tips (with some of my personal comments); both what to eat and do, but also what treatments to possibly avoid:
1. Eat plenty of fiber and good fat.
High quality fiber counteracts systemic inflammation, thought to be a major player in heart disease. Best of all: the soluble fiber from barley, beans, and oats. As for fat, choose high-omega-3 but low-mercury fish such as salmon, sardines, and trout, and vegetable oils such as canola, olive, safflower, and soybean. Stay away from trans fats, which move cholesterol numbers in the wrong direction.
2. Lay off cholesterol and salt.
If you have an elevated LDL cholesterol count, try to stay under 200mg. of cholesterol per day: that’s 1 egg yolk, 8 ozs. of skinless chicken breast or 10 oz. of lean sirloin (note from LK: I would pick the egg, for various reasons). Salt…. if your blood pressure is elevated above norms, stay under 2,300mg. of sodium per day.
3. Lose the gut.
Belly fat IS different. Be diligent about these other tips and you will get rid of it. Cut your portions in half. Eat smaller meals, more often. ‘nough said.
I don’t think I need to explain the 45,000,000 reasons why exercise is important. Just Do It. (Don’t sue me, Nike.)
5. Calm down.
Again, no news flash here, but more research tells us stress is more important for us to control. Try yoga, tai chi, meditation. A woman once told me that even singing, or other pursuits, if you love them and get lost in them, can be meditative.
6. Drink a little, but don’t smoke.
One (women) or two (men) glasses of wine a day is positive. Beyond that…. negative. Smoking? Really? Just stop it. Right now. Or I’m gonna tell your mom. There are legions of programs and cessation techniques that can help with this addiction.
7. Know your CRP (C-reactive protein) number.
CRP is associated with that inflammation issue we discussed above. Ask your doctor to include the inexpensive blood test for CRP the next time your cholesterol is checked. And… FLOSS YOUR TEETH!! The chronic presence of certain oral bacteria are associated with higher levels of CRP.
8. Avoid CT angiography. Consumer Reports says this test rarely provides the right information for the patients it is prescribed for, and the radiation exposure is 325 times that of a chest x-ray. OK. Not a fan.
9. Hold off on angioplasty. Really? Well, here’s what CR said: “If an angiogram reveals severe narrowing in more than two major coronary arteries, you will need bypass surgery. If blockages are less severe, immediate angioplasty is not a good idea. It triggers a heart attack in 1 to 2 percent of patients (Note from LK: that doesn’t seem that high a risk if the upside is good, unless you’re the 1 to 2 percent, I guess). Instead, treat the angina with weight loss, exercise, and stopping smoking, and with cardiovascular medications. Research suggests that for most people, those measures are as effective as angioplasty for relieving angina pain, while lowering the risk of heart attack or stroke. (However, angioplasty is a lifesaver for people who have just had a heart attack or who have heart pain increasing in severity and frequency, or occurring at rest.)”
10. Know your symptoms. “Almost everyone knows that chest pain and shortness of breath are symptoms of heart attacks, according to a survey published in February by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But in this survey of 71,994 adults, only 48 percent knew that pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back can be a heart attack symptom. Only 62 percent recognized another symptom, feeling weak, light-headed, or faint. Eighty-five percent knew about the fifth symptom, discomfort in the arms or shoulders. If you experience any of those symptoms, call 911 for an ambulance to the emergency room; getting treatment within an hour can greatly increase your chances of a good recovery. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, chew and swallow one 325-mg regular aspirin or four low-dose (81 mg) aspirin to prevent blood clots from forming.”
Grab Bag Cyber Conscience:
Quantum Mechanics and Egypt’s Revolution:
Recent events in Egypt have showcased a shift in geopolitical function that affords us the opportunity to ask ourselves some pretty weighty questions. It really makes one think… have we moved into the age of “Quantum Politics”? In quantum mechanics, the observer affects what is observed (particle vs. wave duality)… the observed can be either, depending on the observer (trippy, I know).
But so it seems with this recent revolution, as described in a brief piece by David Pell. In it, Pell describes his amazement years ago at realizing there were homes on hills overlooking a valley in which a Polish concentration camp conducted its appalling affairs. People were watching. But clearly their numbers were not enough to halt the Nazi genocide.
Pell wonders if the internet has multiplied those “homes on the hills” to a critical mass, as he explains in this excerpt about the revolution in Egypt:
Did the Internet cause the revolution? Of course not. Did it play a critical role in enabling the revolution? It might take a little time to answer that question completely. But it’s certainly worth noting that those who helped to light the fuse used the Internet to do so, and one of the first reactions of the ruling party was to turn the Internet off.
In an interview on CNN, Wael Ghonim, one of the voices of the revolution said: “If you want to liberate a government, give them the internet.”
Of course, there are countless other events in the world that we’re able to ignore even with modern life’s constant connectivity. But every now and then, a series of events in a corner of the world rises up onto our screens and into our communal consciousness.
This will happen more and more often. The more connected we are, the more we’ll see. This will have a dramatic impact on our own experience of world events. Will more be better? It’s easy to argue that we’re better off watching the streets of Cairo than American Idol. But living on those hills might overwhelm us. Every now and then, you might want to take off your virtual beret and focus on events across the living room, not across the world.
But our old living room might be gone. Once you live on that hill, it’s hard to close the curtains. It’s hard to deny that we’ll be increasingly confronted by a new question.
Instead of asking about god we’ll have to ask:
How could we let this happen?
I don’t pretend to have any idea if our watching will make a differnce in the course of world events. A few people on the hill didn’t make any difference to the victims of that concentration camp. Would hundreds of millions of people on the hill do the trick? Will we live in a better world because the world is watching?
I don’t know. But at least we’ll know who to blame.
Unwittingly, unknowingly, approvingly or disapprovingly, we may have played a part in this revolution. And…. what will be the next one?? I feel kinda radical just thinking about it 🙂
Grab Bag Timber Tip:
Certainly worth a try…. but I am wondering ….. what exactly was she doing in that dress and jewelry that would have given her a splinter??
Grab Bag Spoke-n For:
How cool are these? Chandeliers made from recycled bike chains and rims designed and manufactured by artist Carolina Fontoura Alzaga:
Grab Bag Sweet Stuff:
Grab Bag Sour Stuff:
Uhhhh…. This might make you pass on that next table at Costco with the hairnet lady doling out samples:
According to Albuquerque’s KOAT-TV, Anthony Garcia, an employee at an area Sunflower Market, served a yogurt sample to a female customer. After taking a spoonful, the woman noticed a flavor not yet offered by yogurt companies: semen. And she was right.
Albuquerque police have now confirmed that semen was found in the sample. Because DNA tests have not yet come back, they haven’t specifically charged Garcia with putting it there. But conveniently enough, KOTA reports, he had “an outstanding warrant for criminal sexual contact of a minor, kidnapping and bribery.”
As a result, Garcia was taken into custody, thereby preventing him from providing any more sperm swirlies to the market’s customers.
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Ya… it’s a game…. but it’s pretty close to real life, which makes it interesting. You are briefly shown a series of tasks with associated times, one at a time. Then you are presented with an hourly schedule, and when the tasks are presented, you have to drag them to the correct time on the schedule. The task appears in black if you drag it to the right time, red, if not. You are scored on time and accuracy.
I’m thinking lots of us can benefit from sharpening this skill!:
Grab Bag Funny Stuff:
For all you Schadenfreude (“pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others”) lovers out there – me included, truth be told, when stupidity is involved: