Source of Acne

This article on Reuter's claims that the source of acne is Western Culture.

The article says that the investigators looked at two non-Westernized cultures and found that they had no incidences of acne. The authors decided it was because of the food the cultures eat.

I think it much more likely to have to do with the genetics of the three groups. The Islanders and the hunter-gatherers have inter-married for generations, perhaps centuries. They all share the same gene bank. Their particular gene bank is not a carrier for acne. Western cultures have all inter-married and if we once had non-acne gene banks, they must have been recessive, for most of us still have acne.

But, if you want to give up food to see if it will cure your acne, the article identified cereals, sugars, bread, pasta, and refined foods as the problem. So if you eat all your food as it came from the source, fresh and un-processed, you have a chance, the article says, of getting rid of your acne.

Playboy girls go flat.

Just when I thought it was safe to be sexy and curvaceous, Playboy starts going to a more androgynous model style.

I would have thought that Playboy would be on my side, anyway.

The last time the US culture when flat and skinny was the roaring 20s, which collapsed into the Great Depression. Hope we're not going there again.

Art? Or terror?

An art student put forty black boxes all over Union Station with the word FEAR on them. His art shut the place down for five hours. Was this art? Was this stupid?

It might have been intended to be art, but overall I think it was stupid. If he was talking about Sept. 11, then he should have realized what the reaction would be. If he wasn't, then what was he talking about?

Art? Or terror?

An art student put forty black boxes all over Union Station with the word FEAR on them. His art shut the place down for five hours. Was this art? Was this stupid?

It might have been intended to be art, but overall I think it was stupid. If he was talking about Sept. 11, then he should have realized what the reaction would be. If he wasn't, then what was he talking about?

Day 18

Okay. I've been doing fairly well with BFL. So far this time my biggest problem is getting sufficient calories to not be in starvation mode.

I like doing weight lifting with my husband. (When he's doing curls, he gets totally naked. That makes it a bit hard to concentrate, but immensely more fun.)

I have really come to love my bike. Which is amazing considering I hadn't been on a bike since I was 12 years old until I started BFL in March. (For those of you who might wonder, that's 28 years ago.)

Today, however, I made a mistake. I had too many carbs with one meal and I crashed. I couldn't stay awake, which was bad because I was playing a game with my sons. I went to sleep and slept for 2 solid hours. UGGGH.

The meal was:

turkey chili, 150 cal., 20 g. protein, 2 g. fat

fat free cheese, 45 cal, 9 g. protein

quarter cup of beans, 60 cal, 3 g. protein

whole wheat bread slice, 60 cal, 4 g. protein, 1 g. fat

That looks like a good meal to me. But it wasted me. So… guess I can't have bread and beans together.

Or maybe I am staving off my husband's illness. (I would like to avoid it all together.)

When I woke up I had a tuna sandwich, half a can of tuna and one piece of bread and went on a bike ride. I still feel tired, but I am better.

Hijacked by the religious right?

Salon carried a story that says that Bush has contraceptive policies that have been hijacked by the religious right.

Being of the religious right myself, I went to read what I could get to of the article. (Can't get to all of it because I don't subscribe to Salon.)

Basically it said that at a UN convention in Asia the US guy said, “no abortion.” Okay, that's religious right. Then the article said the guy equated “consistent condom use” with “underage sex.” No, no. I know that's what the writer thought, but actually “consistent condom use” is equated with “sex outside of marriage.” Which is also not good.

The writer also mentioned that the US guy was having trouble with “promoting contraception use to adolescents.” Okay. That too is religious right. I don't want my kids having sex, with or without contraceptions.

However, the author of the article failed to note that Bush doesn't have to be “hijacked by the religious right.” He's part of the religious right. And as the president, that means his policies are our (the US's) policies.

So, no, the policies haven't been hijacked. They've been changed.

A man who doesn't “not have sex” with every woman anywhere near him is promoting abstinence. That's not a surprise. What would have been a surprise was if Clinton had been advocating anything like this.

Telemarketing.

Okay, I've had it.

When we moved here two and a half years ago, I was amazed at how many telemarketers were calling. It used to be that I'd get maybe one a week. Here I get two or more every day.

That was bad enough. But then when I wasn't home, the computers would record telemarketer messages. So I'm listening to them as “saved messages.”

In the last ten days, my cell phone has rung at least once a day with “Unknown.” I answered it the first time and got no response. So I haven't answered it since.

Today, though, I answered my cell phone assuming it was my husband.

It was a freaking telemarketer. They're calling my cell phone, where I pay for the minutes, to sell me something.

She said who she was and who she was calling for and I, original Miss Manners, interrupted her and said, “NO! No, I am not going to listen to you sell me something on my cell phone where I am paying for the minutes.” And I hung up.

I'm going to find the opt out program and pay whatever it takes to get off these lists.

Anthropological view of homeschooling

I received my weekly on-line newsletter from Homeschoolers Legal Defense Association. Included was a copy of an article for the Washington Times concerning homeschooling from an anthropological perspective. This article is an interesting one, since I homeschool.

I thought her “homeschool look” was fairly accurate. I often wait to put on make-up till my husband is on his way home from work.

She is right about homeschoolers not being so caught up in appearance, but homeschoolers still notice. I am fairly sure there are still “cooler” clothes for homeschoolers. They don't pick on folks for glasses, etc.

Homeschoolers don't talk about folks, except when they are talking about what to get the person for Christmas or whatever.

They do tend to talk about ideas and plans more. This can be very frustrating to a mother who isn't into her kids' hobby. My kids like to create RPGs. They don't like to play them much, but they love to create them. They're always asking me for suggestions for aliens, classes, beginning buildings, etc. Every once in a while I have an idea, but not very often. But they keep asking. I guess it makes me use my brain in ways I wouldn't on my own.

The author doesn't live at my house when it comes to dinner, though. My husband used to work from home and our family had every meal together. That was the calm time she is talking about.

Now, however, my husband is at work and comes home. The last hour to an hour and a half the kids get very fractious. They are hungry and want to eat. But I want us to have at least one meal as a family. They know this, so they don't whine. They do tend to get on each other's nerves during this time, though. So often, though the day has been totally calm, when my husband gets home at 6:30 we're all in a grumpy mood.

I've tried getting them dinner first and then letting them have dessert when their dad gets home.

There are two problems with that. One is that they haven't always earned dessert (at least 7 fruits and vegetables and 30 grams of protein). The second is that my husband and I aren't eating dessert and it's a bit tempting to see them slurping it up in front of us.

I've tried giving them a snack at 5, just an apple or some pretzels. But then they aren't hungry at 6:30. So, I let them eat until 4, but not after.

Overall, though, I agree with her on homeschooling. The caveat being that homeschool is what you make it.

Immigrants arrested.

INS has arrested possibly hundreds of immigrants who went to register as per the law .

INS won't release numbers. They say everyone has violated their green card or visa or is a criminal.

You know, I bet some of those folks really are criminals. I also bet some of those “violations” are ridiculous.

One of my friends from church was told by the INS that she would be deported from the country along with her two US citizen children because she came to the US on a student visa and it had expired. Okay. But she had married an American and had two kids. She'd been married for over five years when they decided she needed to be deported.

Is there anything citizens can do? Is there anyone with an accurate picture of the arrest whose willing to talk about it?

Sky marshals.

The UK has decided to have sky marshals on their airlines.

Sky marshals are law enforcement agents who will have a gun with them on the plane. Their purpose is to be a deterrent to terrorism. If a bad guy makes it on the plane, there will be a good guy to rescue everyone.

The airlines say that's bad. They say that guns aren't supposed to be on the planes. –Well, neither are the terrorists. But if they're on there, wouldn't you feel safer with a sky marshal on the plane?

Israel and Australia have sky marshals.

The US has had sky marshals in the past.

Back thirty years ago, my father-in-law was gone for over a year flying on planes from here to there to everywhere, not coming home. Sky marshals, in the US at least, had a terrible job. It wasn't a five day a week, then you're home undercover thing. You're not home for months at a time. If the airplane goes somewhere unsafe, like Vietnam at the time, the sky marshals go with them.

There were no incidents that I ever heard of in the US with the sky marshals. These folks are trained for bad situations. I would rather have someone trained taking care of a potential problem and not have to count on the heroism of a plane full of people willing to die to save some other target.

God bless the sky marshals.

Christmas newsletters

Some of you probably aren't old enough to get those. But once you know folks with families, you start getting more and more of them.

Some people don't like them. They consider them rude. I, however, think that they may be the last link holding old friends together. Even if we don't write often, we still care about each other. Some of us would move mountains to help if there were something to do.

So, in my mind Christmas newsletters are a side effect of the mobility of our society. And while I am not too fond of friends moving away or my moving away from friends, at least they aren't “lost.”

I've gotten three newsletters this week. One only had pictures, but I can't believe how much the kids have grown! One was an email newsletter, which was well-written. I enjoyed that. And one was a newsletter with the family picture Christmas card. I actually have a separate photo album for Christmas pictures, so that I can see how folks change each year and make sure that I haven't permanently lost touch with anyone.

Kid hacks system, lowers grade

I saw this on another blog at Blog-city and couldn't believe it. But it's true. A kid hacked into the school computer and lowered his grades .

That sounds fantastical till you read the article. The whole time (three seconds) I was clicking and waiting for the page to upload, I was trying to think of a scenario where a kid would want his grades lowered. The simplest reason did not occur to me.

Exercising too much. Gaining muscle.

One of the things that you can do when you are wanting to exercise and look great is overtraining. Overtraining is when you don't let your muscles recover before you stress them again.

I am sure you can overtrain aerobically, like the 700 pool laps the girl did in Mallrats, but that's not where I have my problem

However, it is easy to overtrain when you are doing strength training, even for relative newbies like me.

According to a study by some Canadian physiologists, it takes at least 36 hours for smaller muscles to recover to pre-workout levels. It may take longer for larger muscles to recover.

Body for life recommends three weight training days a week. These are in rotation. First week: upper, lower, upper. Second week: lower, upper, lower. And so on.

When I was doing this, I gained about four pounds of muscle. It was over a 12 week period, so I wasn't very impressed originally. But, you know, every pound of muscle you put on increases your metabolism. I should have just been thrilled to be going in the right direction.

But I wasn't. So I figured I could exercise every other day and still not stress my muscles. (That's longer than the 36 hours from the Canadian study.) I will tell you that my arms felt fine when I did this. However, my legs got so bad that I couldn't even do one squat or lunge set. I should have seen that as a sign that I was overworking them. Which I kind of did. But instead of going to weight lifting less often, I would keep doing them or I would wait one extra day for the lower body exercise.

I didn't gain any muscle doing it that way.

So the next challenge I changed up my routine. Which you need to do every so often or your muscles become conditioned to doing what you're doing and they don't continue to grow. But I was still training 5 days a week. Again I didn't gain any muscle.

I've dropped back down to the BFL recommendation of three times a week, and I am doing great again. Gained one pound of muscle in the last two weeks.

Thin For Life

Thin for Life is a great book by Anne Fletcher. In it she gives overviews of about six studies on people who lost weight and kept it off. Then she discusses her study with 160 “masters” at keeping weight off. I think the minimum was 30 pounds for 3 years. But there were people who have lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for decades. And people who didn't start losing weight till they were in their sixties.

It gives her synopsis of their stories through 10 Keys to Success, with each having their own chapter. She also gives a more in-depth profile of one master in each chapter.

I find it to be inspirational reading. It has really encouraged me. I've read it three times this year. Once every three months for the last nine months.

It has some good tips. Not all the stories were those I could relate to, but even if the individual stories don't help, there might be one “key” that will help you.

I highly recommend the book.

Being stood up.

Yesterday I was stood up.

An acquaintance and I made plans for her to come over for brunch. She had to leave by one, so I thought I'd make a turkey frittata and salad.

She never came. She never called.

It's not nice to do that to people.

If you can't make an appointment, call the person. Even if it's at the last minute because you forgot. At least let them know that there's no reason for them to finish cleaning the living room or whatever.

Day 16: BFL

Went for a bike ride again today. No attacking ducks though.

Yesterday I really tried to eat a lot more fiber, eat more calories (mine have been dipping low again), and make sure I had at least five meals. The BFL program recommends six meals, but when you're a woman looking at between 1200 and 1400 calories, you can't make six meals very well.

Had a tuna sandwich for breakfast. I know that probably freaks some people out, but I didn't grow up eating breakfast foods, so for me it's “normal” to have something that I would have for lunch or dinner.