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Oh, You Need A Hug!
April 11, 2014
Hello......... oh, you need a hug!


Beverage Reviewbai5 Brasilia Blueberry

What I'm Drinking Now
March 28, 2014

I drink a lot of water. Water is good.

That, plus my memory, means I can think of a part of the country and remember what the water tastes like. Sometime I'll bore you with that description.

Today I bought a bottle of flavored water. It's new. It's called bai5.

Imagine watching yeast munching on glucose and (let's say) spitting out a liquid. Then you lick it. What you licked was erythritol, a sugar alcohol.
What does it taste like? Kind of like bai5, I think, because there is a sweetness without being sweet.

Erythritol is the second ingredient in bai5 after filtered water.

I'm not a fan of artificial sweeteners. Don't get me started on HFCS.

Erythritol was discovered in 1848. It occurs naturally in some fruits (grapes, pears) and fermented foods. It doesn't cause tooth decay. It doesn't affect blood sugar, and it is only partially absorbed by the body.

Not that it can really be called natural. A recent Cargill case drew a line in the granulated erythritol about how natural it is.

Look at the bottle on the right. See where it says 100% Natural? My bottle doesn't say that. It says, "Naturally sweetened."

Still, it tastes pretty good, except that's not my memory talking.

I'm still tasting it.

Music Associations: Bob Seger - Still The Same & The Archies - Sugar

TV Review
Marvelous Advertising
March 22, 2014

ABC is owned by Disney which owns Marvel. So last Thursday night there was this hour long advertisement for Marvel Studios on ABC instead of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Normally I don't watch TV or commercials, but I watched ridiculed the show.

Here were the messages:
1. We are a little studio with big plans. Yes, you are a mouse-sized studio, and the mouse's name is Mickey.

2.  Avengers is the center of the Marvel Studios plans. Iron Man is big. But people should really see our Captain America and Thor movies too because they are all tied together like comic book crossovers.

3.  Never mind that Marvel licensed away the movie rights to big chunks of their universe:
     •     X-Men, Fantastic 4, Daredevil, and related characters are at Fox.
     •     Spider-man and related characters are at Sony.
     •     Hulk had previously been at Universal, but Hulk movies tanked big time, so Universal was happy to sell him back.

4.  That's why you should see our movies but wouldn't it be cool if a really good Justice League movie were made?


Music Association:  Five For Fighting - It's Not Easy

The High Risk of the Ukraine
February 26, 2014

Up until recently, what I knew about Ukraine was that it was the breadbasket of Eastern Europe, that it was the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986, and that it was an uncontrollable location in the game of Risk.

Ukraine is the largest European country, other than the European part of Russia. Ukraine, which means Borderland,  has rarely been independent, more often it has been controlled by Russia or Poland or Germany or the Ottoman Empire or ...

The news says the protesters have won in Ukraine. The news can be idiotic that way. The battle for the country doesn't end. It's a fine line.

On one hand, Ukraine has a northwestern half (speaking Ukrainian) and a southeastern half (speaking Russian). Ukrainians have their work cut out to keep their country together yet democratic.

On the other hand, Ukraine owes Russia a great deal of money. Russia doesn't want a war-torn Ukraine. Russia also doesn't want a European Union looking Ukraine. Russia would like Ukraine to go back to being good ol' Ukraine, Russia's pal. Russia's Black Sea Fleet is located in Ukraine (Sevastopol). And Ukraine has the largest army in Europe, except for the Russian army. Russia has a tricky situation.

So Putin's answer is to order a surprise military exercise on Ukraine's doorstep. Hang on while I check which part of Ukraine is the doorstep.  (hmm, blah, blah, blah...) Ah yes, the northeastern border of Ukraine is the doorstep. That's why the Russians picked the doorstep instead of the backyard (the southeast border). Exercises in the backyard might scare the Russian-Ukrainians into becoming just Ukrainians.

map of Ukraine, with the Russian army on their door steppes

I hope the Ukrainians know what to do. And I hope the Russians know what they're doing.

Music Association: The Beatles - Revolution

If You Like Bill Murray...
February 24, 2014

If you like Bill Murray, then you've got to love Harold Ramis, who died today at age 69.

Harold Ramis was the co-writer of Stripes and acted alongside Bill Murray.

Harold Ramis was the director, producer, and bit-part actor in Groundhog's Day.

Harold Ramis was the co-writer and director of Caddyshack.

And he co-wrote and starred with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2.

But he may not star in Ghostbusters 3.

Music Association: Kenny Loggins - I'm Alright

Harold Ramis reacts to John Candy in Stripes
Harold Ramis (1944-2014)

Heart Health ♥
February 14, 2014

Last year at this time, we listed off some of the worst foods for your heart... like a steak dinner  with gobs of butter and salt and alfredo sauce over something fried, washing it down with a Diet Coke.

We're not going to do that again.

This year, we list the top heart healthy foods. Here they are:

1.  Oatmeal -- glop, mush -- best slopped into a bowl with a big ladle by some giant hairy beast.
2.  Salmon --  tastes great, but then I've never tried it on oatmeal.
3.  Black or Kidney Beans -- wow, this meal is sounding better and better. Let go of my legumes!
4.  Nuts -- it would be bonkers not to add walnuts or almonds to this mixture.
5.  Avocado -- here's where I have to hit the brakes. Avocado is great with salmon and great with beans, but keep it away from the oatmeal and the nuts. That's just not right.
6.  Olive oil -- mix up some refried beans with olive oil and kidney beans (spiced up with cumin, chile powder, and garlic)
7.  Berries -- this has gotta stop. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and cherries are all great. Plenty of people ruin them by putting them in oatmeal. Not me, uh-huh, no way. Mixing them with any of the rest of this glop? Forget it.
8.  Red wine -- now you're trying to get me drunk. Aren't you?
9.  Spinach -- Nuttin' is gonna keep me from my goil, Olive Oyl.
10. Flaxseed -- you read my mind. That's exactly what I wanted to top off this meal, a sprinkling of flaxseed.

Music Association: Kiss - Eat Your Heart Out

The Day We Fight Back
February 11, 2014

Today this page did not turn black to honor the passing of Shirley Temple Black (1928-2014) but to complain about the NSA domestic spying overreach. A broad coalition of activist groups, companies, and online platforms held a worldwide day of activism in opposition to the NSA's overreach.

Music Association: ACDC - Back in Black

TV Review
Superb Owl
February 3, 2014

Let's agree to mention last night's Super Bowl Superb Owl today and then never again. Here's how it should be mentioned.

How are you?
I'm feeling like I'm coming down with the Broncos.

How was that report?
It was perfectly Seahawkish. It couldn't have been more Seahawked.

Did you read the emails?
Yes, but they were as forgettable as last night's commercials.

How's the weather?
I like it as much as PETA likes Joe Namath.

Music Association: Elvis - One-Sided Love

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What I'm Drinking