Joining a Gym? Why? Stay Home Instead

paleo gym

It's that time of the year, when new and uncomfortable jelly rolls and muffin tops prompt New Year resolutions to be a slimmer, fitter and more better human being.  Joining a gym seems the right thing to do, doesn't it? Please, stop it. Do yourself a favor, and step away from the best of intentions.  There's whole roads paved with them, all leading to fairyland where shiny happy people with perfectly toned arms and razor-cut six-packs frolic in leafy glades. We've heard this song before: the first quarter of the year is filled with grunting and straining 3-4 times a week, with middling results--maybe 10 pounds or so shaved off that rear end. Q2 is maintenance, and Q3 and Q4 are back to well-meaning intentions, but gosh, we're so … [Read more...]

Swiss Health Care – Just The Facts

Not a Swiss Doctor ...

 “What are the facts? Again and again and again — what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what “the stars foretell,” avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable “verdict of history” — what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your single clue. Get the facts!”  - Robert Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long, from Time Enough for Love Who knew that Swiss folks were notorious for so much more than being extremely punctual chocolate-loving yodelers? Turns out that the Swiss healthcare system is an almost utopian mix of public support and private insurance.  There's enough free market … [Read more...]

Cheetos In China: You Are What You Eat

Somewhat typical canal in China -- water might be used for irrigation and/or fish farming and/or laundry... and as a dump for old bikes

  Goodness gracious, who knows what's in that candy bar. Stay away from that hamburger, and don't even think about those Doritos. It's all going to make you fat, give you diabetes, rickets and high blood pressure, you know. And yet, in Shanghai, Chinese shoppers might actually consider Cheetos and Ding-Dongs and pork rinds as health food. China's toxic harvest: Consumers flock to imported food When Yuri Valazza started a small imported food shop in Shanghai eight years ago, his target consumers weren’t Chinese. "At that time it was almost 90 percent foreigners," recalls Valazza, sitting at a small table in shop in the city's former French Concession neighborhood. Not anymore, thanks to a rising consumer class … [Read more...]

Thirty Year Mortgages and Fish Oil

  Confusion reigns, needlessly so. Interest-only, balloon, 5/1 and 5/5, two-step or fixed home loan rates. Thirty year mortgages, fifteen, or ten. LIBOR and teaser rates, reverse mortgages and investment-backed. There's about as many choices as there as types of cheesecake on a casino dessert buffet:   not a huge number, but enough to confuse and befuddle, and have you end up with what you didn't want, because the red silk cheesecake with whipped topping looks so frickin' delicious, but what would your date think, you'd totally look like a hog, so you settle for the teeny-tiny slice of low carb, and then go home to pig out on Sara Lee Chocolate Fudge Delight, eaten straight from the box standing up at the bar counter... but … [Read more...]

Stupid Friends Are Expensive

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"Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company." ~ George Washington "Stupid self-destructive friends will sink you faster than concrete shoes" ~ USA Financial Service DUIs and Speeding Tickets Earlier this week, I did my spousal duty by escorting Mrs. 101C to traffic court. The Mrs. had been clocked doing a heinous seven miles over the speed limit in a school zone. Setting aside the fact that this was on a speed trap five-lane road outside a high school, where no youngsters *ever* walk or cross the street (they all drive, the spoiled brats), Mrs. 101C was in a bit of a state, having been informed by the sadistic helpful officer that this traffic offense carried a … [Read more...]

Stupid Labeling Tricks

Good wholesome delicious whipping cream and kefir

    What's not to like from organic whipping cream and kefir? Kefir will keep your gut well-populated with new lactobacillus and saccharomyces probiotic bacteria. Be like Turkish an Greek shepherds, drink a daily glass of kefir with your morning bread and olives, and live well into cantankerous old age (without getting into a border war over a little island.) Organic whipping cream is delicious in coffee, whipped up on strawberries, and guaranteed to come from happy cows.  Or mildly contended or even irritated cows. Hard to know what they're thinking as they're getting  their boobies yanked on milked by humans. Whatever. Labels are confusing though.  On the heavy cream from The Fresh Market:  "Our … [Read more...]

Minimalists Make for Lousy Neighbors

A chaotic shedful of hand tools

  Live next door to committed minimalists, there's more than an even chance they won't be the ones lending you a shop vac or lawn trash bags should a dire need arise.  More likely, they will be the supplicants at your door, mooching and beseeching. Then again, if you own a home in a typical suburban neighborhood, cheer up.   Chances are also good the neighbors won't be modern minimalists:  minimalists typically live in sparsely, yet tastefully furnished urban apartments. Generally Speaking... More sweeping, totally baseless generalizations about hard-core minimalists: + Relatively young and childless + Urban apartment dwellers + If not in apartments, couch-surving or RV-living + Work in a service industry (or blogging … [Read more...]

Losing Weight Slowly, part 1

Losing Weight Slowly, Starting point, July 2012

Spend enough time desk-jockeying, dozing in meetings, or business traveling, and next thing you know you're shopping for larger pants in the plus-size section. The modern-day sedentary lifestyle is hard on the waistline and the arteries. Inevitable, really.  More energy acquired, less energy expended, more energy stored, where energy=food=cookies-n-cream, and storage=fat=jellybelly.  Simple. After our last vacation to Italy in May/June, and the gross -- and wonderful -- overindulgence during the 4th of July festivities, enough was enough.  I was heading north towards 200, about to cross the Rubicon of a new pant size. Time for a plan of action. Getting Fat Slowly Weight doesn't just balloon. It sneaks up like a stalker on a … [Read more...]

Political Entrepreneurship, or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love Obamacare (Part II)

Top Accident and Health Insurers

  Continuing on with a two-part series on what defensive strategies to take in dealing with the new or modified reality of Obamacare. Part 1 can be found here. Definition of political entrepreneurship, by author Thomas DiLorenzo as quoted on Wikipedia: "a political entrepreneur succeeds primarily by influencing government to subsidize his business or industry, or to enact legislation or regulation that harms his competitors." He says, in contrast, the "market entrepreneur succeeds financially by selling a newer, better, or less expensive product on the free market without any government subsidies, direct or indirect." Cui Bono? In the context of political entrepreneurship, or entrepreneurship alone, it's just about the … [Read more...]

Investing In Fatties, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Obamacare (Part 1)

"Doctor's Visit" - Jan Steen, 1663  (not that we'll ever see house calls ever coming back)

Obamacare is on its way, no two ways about it. In fact, let's just stop calling it Obamacare, and call it for what it is, GovCare.  Purported conservatives in the political swamp are learning to defend this provision or that measure or this footnote within this mammoth thousand-page (or two-thousand page, whatever it is) piece of ordure legislation, cherry-picking as it suits.  And for good reason, from the logical perspective  of the politician.  Whatever the majority of the people want, give it to 'em:  shovel out the pork and bacon drippings with both hands, lard it up, baby! And people do want it, apparently.  Maybe not all of it, maybe only this bit or that bit, but in the end, it's like getting only a selective part of a … [Read more...]