Monthly Archives: July 2012

A couple of manly breakfasts

If you don’t have time for the omelette, try these:

(1) I do all of this in a blender bottle which you can get at any health food or vitamin store.  You could use a real blender but that’s overkill.  Maybe you have a little hand blender?

Pour in about 8 oz milk or Silk.  Add a scoop of protein powder, the kind that comes in massive bags or bottles and gives you 25g of protein per scoop.  You can get protein powder anywhere, from health food stores to grocery stores and Costco.  I think they are all pretty much the same but some brands taste better than others.  I found chocolate flavor works best with this recipe but anything is fine.

Add a scoop of clear fiber supplement, like Benefiber or the Metamucil Clear and Natural.  Bonus tip: if you use chocolate flavored protein powder and add orange flavored Metamucil, then you get orange chocolate, which is kind of like a Terry’s chocolate orange in liquid form… but I find the psyllium based fiber supplements get all clumpy.

Next, add a spoonful of hemp hearts for a little more fiber and protein, plus they add a slightly nutty flavor.  You can get hemp hearts from Whole Foods or any health food store (I assume).  They are kind of like flax flakes except softer in texture and milder in taste.

Shake up the concoction and drink.  You need to give the bottle a swirl before every swig or the hemp hearts settle to the bottom. You’ll get around 30g of protein and a few grams of fiber.  It’s almost enough to hold me ’til noon, but usually I need a few almonds at around 11 to get me through the morning.

Rinse out the bottle and put it out to dry.  Boy was that ever easy, and you get to feel like Rocky except with hemp hearts instead of raw eggs.  Progress.

(2) Here’s an even simpler one.  First, wrap two strips of pre-cooked bacon in a paper towel, then zap in the microwave for about 20 seconds.  Add a small dollop of BBQ sauce or HP sauce or whatever for dipping.  Restrict yourself to a wee dot of sauce per morsel of bacon.

Then add a generous blob of low fat cottage cheese and a small blob of low sugar strawberry jam.  Stir it up.  Voila!  Quick and easy.

It’s about 25g of protein but maybe 12g of carbs.  Oh well.  Live a little.  You can always cut out the jam and sauce and be miserable.

Say what it means

You know what has been really pissing me off this week?

Rhetorical question, of course you don’t.  But if you hang on a sec, I’ll tell you.

It’s when terms, important terms, are used incorrectly so often that people believe the new meaning.

Let’s start with a simple example: chaise longue.  This means “long chair” in French.  People started mispronouncing it “chaise lounge” because they didn’t know any better and were apparently suffering from mass dyslexia.  Rather than be correct, manufacturers of chaises longues changed the names on their product boxes to match the error (I’m not making this up).

Why is this a problem?  Because when I say chaise longue and some bozo corrects me, it causes me to grind another layer of enamel off my teeth.  Pick a language — If you don’t want to speak French, just call it a lounge chair.

Okay, maybe I’m making much adieu about nothing.  So let’s look at something more important: Y2K, the abbreviation for “year 2000”.  More specifically, it has come to mean “the computer glitch that almost ended the world in the year 2000”.

Since the world didn’t end in Y2K, the news media commonly refers to Y2K as a “hoax”.  In fact, you don’t even need to say “hoax” anymore, it’s implied.

Well, I can tell you as someone who spent two years on a Y2K project for a big telecommunications company, Y2K was not a hoax.  We found lots of stuff.  It was mostly cosmetic stuff, but it all needed to be fixed.

Why is this a problem?  Calling Y2K a hoax is wrong, and frankly, insulting.

It’s safe to say Y2K was overblown, but in 1998 we had no idea how bad it was going to be.  Plus once the Y2K ball got rolling, companies were charging huge bucks to go through your code looking for problems, and COBOL programmers were emerging from IT gulags to fill ridiculously lucrative programming contracts.  Thus lots of people had incentive to exaggerate the problem.  This does not mean it wasn’t a problem.

Here’s another example: UFOs.  What does UFO mean?  No, it doesn’t mean “flying saucer”.  That’s exactly my point.

UFO means unidentified flying object.  So when someone asks me if I believe in UFOs, I say, “well duh”.  Any object that is flying that I can’t identify is by definition a UFO.

I see UFOs all the time.  Are any of them alien spacecraft?  Probably not.  But I don’t know.  They are unidentified.

Why is this a problem?  Because you can’t describe unidentified flying objects as UFOs anymore.  So now you say, “I saw this thing last night, it was in the sky, I don’t know what it is, and it was flying.”

“Was it a UFO?” your listener asks, with a smirk that says, You’re an effing loon.

“No, no,” you respond quickly, “it was just a thing in the sky.  It might have been flying, or not.  I don’t know what it was.  Stop looking at me that way.  It wasn’t a UFO.  Forget I said anything.”

Bugger that, it was absolutely a UFO.  Check the definition.

Another example: global warming.  It’s the hottest topic around right now.  No other term causes more heated arguments.  This one gets me steamed too, but for a different reason.

Global warming means the world is getting warmer, and this is a fact.  The Earth’s temperature has been going up and down ever since it grew an atmosphere, and we happen to be in a warming period.  A few thousand years ago, the Earth was in an ice age.  Since we started keeping accurate temperature records in the last century, we have seen the Earth’s temperature rise over one degree.  We can compare pictures of glaciers from decades ago with pictures now, and they are unmistakably smaller.  Some are almost gone.

However, even the biggest deniers aren’t blind or stupid (I hope).  They aren’t denying that the world is getting warmer.  They are denying that humans have had an effect on it.  However, the media no longer makes that distinction, and so neither does the unwashed masses.

Why is this a problem?  You can’t have a debate on something if you can’t agree on the terms you will use.

People are confusing their hatred of Al Gore with rising sea levels.  One is an opinion, the other is a fact.  You can argue until you are blue in the face that your SUV isn’t contributing to global warming, but in the meantime, Venice and Tuvalu are drowning, and Miami is next.  Whether you should junk your Suburban for a Prius is a completely separate argument.

You can say climatologists are crying wolf so they will get bigger research grants.  Possible, but don’t you think the loudest deniers (e.g. energy companies and business friendly politicians) also have their own agenda?

Astute readers will have noticed I’m still using the term “global warming” over its latest incarnation “global climate change”.  Why?  Because that is another debate.  Does a warming Earth cause more hurricanes in summer and random cold snaps in winter?  Most climatologists say “yes”, but putting the two together means the unwashed masses see them as the same and throw them both out.

Damn, it’s good to get all that off my chest.  I feel better now.

A cavalier look at ideas

Ideas are cheap — in fact, they are free.  That’s why you can’t patent ideas, only inventions or processes.  It’s what you do with the idea that matters.

How many times have you said, “Hey, he stole my idea!”  Well, what did you do with it?

For example, how many people had the idea to fly to the moon and plant a flag in the dust?  How many of them actually did it?  Are all those left behind going to sue NASA for stealing their idea?

Also, ideas come and go.  If you get a good idea, immediately write it down… or not.  Really, if you forget it, it probably wasn’t that great an idea in the first place.  Plus another idea is already on its way.

The problem isn’t lack of ideas, it’s the lack of time, ability, or drive to make something of them.  Or in the case of planting a flag on the moon — money.

Plus what goes around comes around.  Maybe you have an idea you can’t put into action, but someone else could.  It’s not costing you anything to give it away, is it?

Of course, that’s the rational side of my brain talking.  The irrational side of my brain is always worried about running out of ideas.  So I write down every idea no matter how lame and they are all mine, mine, mine.

A couple of manly lunches

A manly meal has three main requirements:

(1) can be made during your average television commercial break, or a series of such breaks;
(2) can be eaten in front of the TV;
(3) is full of meat, because meat is synonymous with manliness;
(4) there is danger involved in its preparation.

Steak and burgers definitely fit these criteria because you can cook them during commercial breaks on a backyard grill.  A grill is fraught with peril because it can go foomp! and singe your eyebrows.  Not that it has ever happened to me.

Pizza also fits these criteria because you put it in the oven during one commercial break and pull it out during the next commercial break.  And really, an oven is almost as dangerous as a grill — you can burn your forearms pulling out your pizza, especially if your attention is still on the TV.  Not that it has ever happened to me.

To the above list of manly meal requirements, I’d like to add:

(5) low-carb, because obesity creates man-boobs which are decidedly un-manly, and fortunately low-carb diets work like crazy for men.

So here are a couple of low-carb recipes for lunch you can do in the microwave:

Hey! you scream.  How is a microwave oven dangerous?  Well, I’m sure you have seen The Mythbusters superheating distilled water in one.  Kaboom!  ‘Nuff said.

Manly lunch 1:

Dump a couple big scoops of Carolina BBQ pork on a plate, add lots of chopped celery, and a small scoop of Smart Balance mayo.  Optional: some bell peppers and tomatoes, and white cheese (cheddar doesn’t work here).  Roll into a ball, nuke to warm it up, and that’s it.

Carolina style BBQ is vinegar based, not tomato based.  This cuts out a lot of sugar and it means you can taste the celery.

Manly lunch 2:

Take pieces of cooked chicken, add some chopped onion, a big scoop of Smart Balance mayo to add flavor and moisture, and chunks of your favorite soft cheese.  Add random veggies like chopped peppers if you have them.  Mix with fork, nuke to melt the cheese, and that’s it.
If you try any of these, tell me if you like ’em.  Have any manly recipes of your own?

Internet balls: the nasty disease

There is a peculiar affliction raging through the internet.  It has been incubating for some time.  In fact, I have seen outbreaks since the dawn of the Web, but I have never seen it as bad as this.

I’m sure you have seen manifestations of this disease — we have all seen it — but I believe I am the first to give it a name.  I call it “internet balls”.

Internet balls afflicts mainly males starting from early adolescence and continues until near retirement age, presumably when testosterone production begins to wane.  Its base cause is the anonymity that the internet provides.  The primary symptom is the testicles swell from Raisinets to cantaloupes whenever the afflicted person logs on to an internet forum.

This disease causes a normally meek person to become aggressive and belligerent.  Adolescents who are normally sullen and reticent suddenly gain the ability to spout nonstop streams of profanity and insults.  Older sufferers suddenly become experts on current events and are convinced that everyone of a different opinion must be a moron.

Unfortunately the disease is highly contagious.  We saw evidence of this with the early internet phenomenon called “flame wars”.  Here, a patient zero, often called a “troll”, would seed a banal conversation with insults.  Patient zero instantly infected the other forum users who would respond with insults of their own.  The conversation rapidly degenerated into curses against “yo momma” with racial and homophobic overtones.

In advanced cases, internet balls can spill over into reality, in the form of bumper stickers and Tea Party rallies.  People who are normally friendly and reasonable become xenophobic and mule-headed when placed in groups of other people with like opinions.

Treatment options are limited, but effective.  The simplest option is for afflicted persons to act online the same way they act in real life.  The second option is for them to unplug their computers from the internet so they won’t be tempted to turn into assholes.

It also seems likely that the symptoms of internet balls could be alleviated or eliminated through the use of medical marijuana.

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