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...]

Tamales Will Make You Obese… or Will They?

world's fattest countries

  Based on simple observation from several trips south of the border, we assumed that the population of Mexico can be as portly as any populace, but not according to the headlines.  From breathless headlines, websites and blog posts, it seems that Mexico is breaking all records: This recent one from The Economist's website: Eating Themselves to Death:  Diabetes in Mexico ... Mexico has become one of the most overweight countries on earth, even more so than the United States; a quarter of its men and a third of its women are obese. Indecorously, the country has even come up with figures on figures: the Mexican Diabetes Federation says that among women between 20 and 49, the average waistline is 91.1cm (35.9 inches), more than … [Read more...]

Weekend Fish Wrap, Spring Cleaning Edition

Do this in Edmonton at your own risk

The Fish Wrap: an occasional grouping of interesting links, mostly centered around finance topics, largely from personal finance blogs. A carnival of sorts, curated in no particularly consistent fashion, and only loosely governed by editorial standards. Every once in a while, that Drafts folder has to be cleaned out.  Old post ideas, thought nubs and topic snippets that are just taking up space.  This week, it's the turn of: Obamacare,  Lodge Doctors and Fraternal Insurance Organizations Ambitious title, but precious little work done in it.  Inspired in part by Don't Quite Your Day Job's look at the economics of health care ("Health Care Is No Different Than Any Other Good"), it was going to be (and may yet still be) 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...]

Mid-Week (Organic) Fish Wrap: Whole Foods and Pricey Dates

 Welcome to the Fish Wrap, a semi-frequent collection of commentary, link, topics, served on a platter of fresh green-leaf lettuce with a garnish of cilantro.  How humbling is it to be neatly pigeonholed into a consumer category by a large corporation?  You're just not that special a snowflake. Whole Foods has market resarched  its customers into Conscionables, Organics, Experientals, and Foodies.  Nice little cubbies. The extract in question from Whole Foods' 10-K filing: Unlike shoppers at conventional grocery stores, we believe many of our customers connect with us on a deeper level because of our shared values and, for this reason, continue to shop with us even in uncertain economic times. Based on our research, we … [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...]

What You Know Ain’t So

The Norse god Odin enthroned, flanked by his two wolfs, Geri and Freki, and his two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, and holding his spear Gungnir (Any God with a pet name for a bitchin' spear is jus daring to call him a "myth".... g'head)

Or rather, what you know may not necessarily be so. Conventional wisdom has a conventional way of being frequently turned on its head.  Myths get busted, urban legends get Snoped, and "everybody knows" turns out to be a "hey, whaddaya know!" When your mouthy, know-it-all relative opines that fill-in-the-blank is true, check your facts. Coffee's bad for you, no it's good for you. Eating meat is bad for your colon and the planet, so go vegetarian.  Still much better yet, go vegan.  Or swing the other way, forget about grains and go paleo. Second Hand Smoke is BAD, heinously horrible, so lethal that some California town legislators, always at the forefront of legislative foolishness, are seeing fit to BAN its very presence in … [Read more...]