Thursday, July 31, 2008

World's Shortest Personality Test: Oh yeah!

Your Personality Profile

You are dependable, popular, and observant.

Deep and thoughtful, you are prone to moodiness.

In fact, your emotions tend to influence everything you do.

You are unique, creative, and expressive.

You don't mind waving your freak flag every once and a while.

And lucky for you, most people find your weird ways charming!

(H/T to Big Fat Dynamo)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Family Home Visits : Nanny State, here we come.

Sandy has a good post here about government nanny-state-ism.
Personally, I really don't think the government is going to be able to make it work. Social workers have more on their plates than they can handle now, and are totally understaffed and underpaid/underfunded. The government can mandate all it wants, but coming up with the funding for this is going to be next to impossible. How do I know this? Been there done that 32 years ago, when I was on welfare and my son was a baby. Welfare caseworkers used to have to make home visits twice a year to every person in their caseload who got Aid to Families with Dependent Children (that's what it was called in Illinois, anyway). I was on AFDC for about 4 years (and got food stamps and medical assistance after I started working and didn't qualify for AFDC anymore). My caseworker made two home visits in 1977, and then the state quit mandating home visits because caseworkers didn't have time to do home visits AND their paperwork AND interview prospective clients in the office.
Supposedly, those home visits were to prevent fraud and show that you actually lived where you said you did, and that only the number of people who were supposed to be living there were actually living there. Most home visits were unscheduled and you never knew when the caseworker was going to show up (you would know the month, but the specific day and time, nope, no way, not going to let you know that, you might get rid of your roommate/spouse/whatever).
Now if states can't afford to have welfare caseworkers do home visits anymore (and haven't been able to afford it for 30+ years), and child protective service caseworkers have more work to do than they have time for, how in the hell does Congress (or anyone else in government) think they can afford to fund something like this? Especially since they are taking funds away from social service programs. Does this mean they are going to give additional funding for health care for those poor people that they think are too fat? How about more funding for schools so kids can actually learn to read and write and spell and do math and science? Those are the things we need, not someone to tell us how to raise our kids and how to feed them. For fuck's sake, how long have we been raising kids without government nannyism? And the majority of kids have turned out pretty damned decent without the government's interference.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mrs Hughes - A woman after my own heart

My aunt sent me this video, and it's funny. I can so relate to most of what she had to say.

Lane Bryant at Mamma Mia premier in London

Received the following email today, so am posting it for anyone who's interested and hasn't already found the YouTube videos. Enjoy........
Hi Mariellen,

I thought your readers would like to watch these fun videos from the Mamma Mia! the movie premier in London. Sherri and Brianne from Virginia won the Mamma Mia/Lane Bryant sweepstakes and the company put together three short videos about their trip. Fun! Sherri even got her ears pierced. You can watch the videos on YouTube: You can also learn about new contests and sales on Lane Bryant's MySpace page at

Enjoy! Let me know if you have any questions...

Erin Tonks

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fruit or Veggie?

Interesting read here. And the point of this post? Well, it makes me wonder how nutritionists can say you need to eat a certain amount of fruits or veggies a day, when some foods that are considered veggies are, botanically speaking, actually fruits. Does this mean that we could actually add the number of servings of fruits to the number of servings of veggies we're supposed to eat, and that it doesn't really matter if you get 4 servings of fruit and 4 servings of veggie, as long as you get 8 servings in some combination (1 and 7, 2 and 6, 3 and 5) and it meets your requirements of what you like and what your body wants?
I can say that I knew tomatoes are a fruit, but I didn't know that cucumbers, avocadoes, string beans, squash, eggplant, green pepper and okra are all technically fruits, too.
Totally lost?

OK, in the world of botany, a fruit is the structure that bears the seeds of a plant. It is formed in the plant's flower. In the center, the female parts of the flower include the ovary. The ovary has structures inside that become the seeds when fertilized. So the ovary will develop into the fruit.

To the plant, fruits are basically a means of spreading the seeds around, generally by wind or animal poop. In the latter case, fruits such as raspberries become thicker and accumulate sugars and bright colors, thereby attracting birds or other animals that eat and then "we say, they deposit the seeds in a package of fertilizer," Litt said. In other cases, the fruit dries out and opens and the winds carries the seeds to their next home to start the cycle over again. A good example is cotton or a milkweed pod.

How about vegetables?

The term vegetable has no meaning in botany, which is the study of plants, Litt explained. Instead, the other produce is also classified, like the fruits, by whatever part of the plant they are. For example, rhubarb and celery are the stems, albeit very enlarged and juicy stems, of a leaf.

Lettuce, kale, spinach and cabbage are the leaves of a plant.

What about legumes? They're easier because that is one situation where consumer lingo mirrors botany's. Legumes are family of plants and they all have the same type of fruit - a bean , actually, that is technically called a legume. Examples: snow peas, string beans or sugar snap peas. All fruits (of the legume variety).

Peas (also kidney beans, chick peas and fava beans) might fool you. They are fleshy and don't look like stems or leaves, but they are not fruit. The pea (or bean) is the seed. They all grow in the same kind of pod that is the fruit, and are very high in protein. The plant, the pod and the vegetable are all called legumes, Litt said.

So maybe nutritionists should recommend that we get a certain number of servings of produce a day instead of saying you need X number of veggies and X number of fruits. It would be a lot easier than trying to remember what is considered a fruit and what is considered a veggie.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Drive-in movies

We went to the drive-in last night (yay for there still being a drive-in movie near us). We saw The Incredible Hulk and Baby Mama.
I wasn't that big a fan of The Hulk when it was on TV, and I didn't read the comics much when I was a kid either. And while he was the wrong shade of green, it was still a pretty good movie. I especially liked seeing Lou Ferrigno in the movie, and the chemistry between Liv Tyler and Edward Norton was amazing. It wasn't the same as the original Hulk, but it was still good, in my book.
As far as Baby Mama goes, it was funny as all get out, but rather predictable. DH liked it, and had seen the previews for it and had wanted to see it, so that was good.
Two weeks ago, we saw the new Rambo and Jumper. I liked Rambo, even though it was pretty gory (but also, from all the books I read that were written by the soldiers who had been in Viet Nam back in the 60's and 70's, very realistic). Personally, I thought the missionaries were fools for going up-river in Myanmar. It's all well and good to want to help, but when that help makes the lives of the people you're trying to help even worse (and can get you killed or taken hostage), well, I don't know what the answers are, but I'm just not altruistic enough to want to take those kinds of chances. The movie certainly made me think about oppression and military juntas ruling a country with an iron fist.
Jumper was a total change from Rambo. I can say that I wouldn't mind having that ability (to visualize a place and be able to translocate to it). There are jumpers and then there are paladins, who are out to kill all the jumpers they find (because "only God should have the power to be everywhere"). Some of the action was hard to follow because the jumping from place to place in the fight scenes happened so fast, but the special effects were pretty good. All in all, I enjoyed it, and wouldn't mind adding it to our DVD library.

How many people have your name?
LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

The above was for my maiden name. Below are the results for my married name. I guess I'm a unique snowflake (actually, I think it's because there are fewer than 1523 people named Mariellen in the USA).
LogoThere are
or fewer people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

via Big Fat Dynamo

Sunday, July 6, 2008

New direction in weight loss: Trick brain and turn appetite off

This seems to be another dead end in the war against fat. It's another one of those "solutions" that is a temporary fix for weight loss, meaning as long as you have the implant, you will lose/maintain weight, but as soon as it's removed, you're more than likely to start gaining it all back. Why do I say this? Because it's mainly based on the stereotype that fat people constantly eat too much and don't know when to stop eating.
Scientists have long suspected that some people overeat because of a faulty connection in the brain. They don't get the message that they're full, so "they just don't know when to stop eating," said Knudson.

What percentage of fat people have this kind of problem? How many of those fat people have been on and off diets for so many years that they no longer trust their bodies to tell them when they're hungry and when they're full? How many of those fat people have a disease that prevents them from knowing when they're full?
But none of that seems to matter, because ending fat at all costs is what needs to be done, and re-educating your brain is the next new thing they've come up with. And guess what? It's another money-maker for the companies making the VBlock gastric pacemakers (about $35,000, the same as gastric bypass surgery, surprise surprise).
He estimates the overall cost will be comparable to bariatric surgery: about $35,000. But he admits there's no way of knowing how long the pounds will stay off.

Yep, looks like it's going to be just as successful as WLS in making fat people permanently thin. We all know how well that's working, but hey, even if you only get thin for a while, it's all good, right? Even though doctors will tell you that yo-yoing isn't good for your health. And people are lining up for this, in spite of it being experimental, in spite of not knowing what the risks/complications may be, simply because our society is so focused on thin=healthy, never mind that that has been shown to be so not true.
More than 80 potential recruits showed up this month to hear about the experiment at the University of Minnesota, one of 15 sites testing the device (the Mayo Clinic is another). "The room was full each time," said Ikramuddin, who hosted three information sessions. "Everybody wants to lose weight. The issue is, how?"

When are these people going to learn that fucking with a perfectly well-functioning digestive system is not going to make a naturally fat person permanently thin? Our bodies know what we need to survive, and messing with that system does nothing but create more problems, problems we would never have had if doctors and researchers would just leave well enough alone when it comes to being fat.
Now if they were touting this as a treatment for something like Prader-Willey syndrome, I would say "go for it", it might make life more bearable for those people and their families. But to say that this is a treatment for something that isn't even a disease - well, I'm sorry, but I'm not buying it (been there done that and it didn't work then, it won't work now). And I don't care how many people think being fat is a disease, it's not, it's a natural variation in body type, just as being thin is, just as being any other size is. There is a reason Mother Nature made people a wide variety of body sizes/types, and messing with that, well, to paraphrase a commercial from years back "It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obesity may offer some protection after stenting

Why is it always a paradox when doctors/researchers find out that being fat can be beneficial if you have a catastrophic illness?
Paradoxically, obesity may offer some protection against heart-related "events," like heart attack, in people who have a stent placed to prop open a clogged coronary artery, research shows.
In a study, researchers found that obese patients who had stents placed in diseased arteries had a lower incidence of adverse cardiac events than their normal-weight counterparts.

Could it possibly be that when something requires surgical intervention of any kind, it's helpful to have those fat reserves to call upon? If you don't have those fat reserves, your body is going to go after your muscles (and your heart is a muscle, your body doesn't distinguish between leg muscle, say, and heart muscle, it just goes after muscle if there's no fat to burn).
Khattab's team analyzed the outcomes at one year for 607 patients with coronary artery disease who were treated with stents that release the immune-suppressing drug sirolimus.
The group included 176 normal weight patients, 289 overweight patients, and 142 obese patients
At 30 days, the incidence of adverse cardiac events was 3.4 percent in the normal weight group and 3.1 percent in overweight patients, compared with just 2.8 percent in obese patients.

So yeah, TEH FATZ is going to kill us, but it looks to me like it's more dangerous to be normal or thin if you have blocked arteries and need a stent placed.
At one year, the combined cumulative incidence of death, heart attack, stroke, and repeat angioplasty or other "revascularization" procedure was higher in the normal weight patients (10.8 percent) and the overweight patients (11.8 percent) than in the obese patients (7.0 percent).

Ya know, I think I'll take my chances with being "super morbidly death-looking-for-a-place-to-happen obese". At least if I have a catastrophic illness, my odds of surviving it are a hell of a lot better than if I were thin (which ain't happening anyway).