25 August 2011

YD's Diet Plan

Well. Been a while since last I showed up here.

Been a lot of stuff I suppose worth writing about-a debt deal by the government which really isn't much of a deal; the fall of Tripoli and Qaddafi's regime in Libya-good riddance to bad rubbish; the incoming NFL season (the Bears still haven't improved their offensive line); the looming conclusion of the baseball season (Cubs in 5th in the 6 team NL Central-I'm surprised they're that good); the recently concluded International Softball Congress Men's Fastpitch Tournament here in Moline-some good ball played by some talented players from all over the world, and congratulations to the Jarvis Travelers from Ontario for winning the whole thing.

Hmm. Since we're on the subject of ballgames, let's discuss that staple of the baseball stadium concession stand-the hot dog. For me, part of the experience of going to the game is having a dog and a cold beer. I suppose if I were in, say, Australia, watching the footy, I'd have to partake of the infamous 'meat pie', which actually would be quite good if made from someone's recipe, in their kitchen, with identifiable ingredients. I shudder to think of its mass-produced counterpart. I actually had a bratwurst at the softball tournament from a stand run by a local meat market. It had real identifiable meat in it and it was to a mass produced bratwurst what a '59 Cadillac is to a Yugo. Outstanding!

Now I know that hot dogs are made of basically whatever's left from the animal du jour being killed at the slaughterhouse. They're full of fat, salt, and nitrates-which is why they taste so good. I eat maybe six or seven of the things a year. I know they aren't the best things in the world to build a diet around.

But nothing we eat these days escapes the Food Police, those organizations, which I suppose have good intentions, that tell us that anything that has, say, flavor-is going to kill us. And they may be right. But then, life is bad for the heart as well.

This billboard appeared recently, I believe in the Los Angeles area-

That has the subtlety of a mallet! I might be inclined to think that if one were to eat six or seven hot dogs a day-every day-for 20 years-then one might suffer adverse health effects. On the other hand, there is probably some 95-year-old guy out there who's eaten hot dogs every day since the end of Prohibition and is healthy as a horse. Who can say?

I've looked over a lot of studies and looked at the websites of a lot of different scientific and environmental groups, and I've been able to piece together a lot of nutritional and diet information. In the interest of promoting good health, I'm going to pass it along to you, the Concerned Citizen. Ready? Here goes:

Eat fish-Fish are full of good omega-3 oils and are generally lean and full of protein, and can be prepared in a lot of low-calorie ways.

Don't eat fish-Fish absorb a lot of the pollutants that humanity has thoughtfully placed in the world's waterways. Minerals like mercury accumulate in many species of fish. Fish should, therefore, be avoided.

Eat eggs-Eggs have a lot of nutrients and protein, and are portable and tasty.

Don't eat eggs-Eggs are loaded with cholesterol, which clogs arteries and contributes to heart disease.

Eat red meat-Most meat is loaded with vitamins and protein, which helps to make you feel full.

Don't eat red meat-Red meat is laced with fat, contains cholesterol, and, depending on how it's prepared, put a strain on the digestive system. Also, beef and pork take a lot of resources to produce. Red meat should be avoided at all costs!

Eat poultry- Poultry is generally low in fat, high in protein, and very versatile to cook. A must in your diet!

Don't eat poultry-Poultry in high in cholesterol and generally produced in 'inhumane' factory farms. Not to be supported with your purchases!

Drink coffee- Coffee has caffeine and seems to have some life-extending chemicals in it. Enjoy a cup!

Don't drink coffee-Coffee has caffeine, which can increase heart rate and increase the risk of a heart attack or disease. Stay away from the coffee pot..

Eat vegetables and fruits-Vegetables and fruits are high in fiber, and many contain vital antioxidants for cancer prevention.

Don't eat vegetables and fruits-Many vegetables and fruits are grown on huge truck farms and full of pesticides and herbicides. Eat at your own risk!

Drink a lot of water-Drink 8 8 oz glasses of water a day to replenish fluid levels and help flush the body's internal workings.

Go easy on the water-There have been cases of people literally drowning from taking in too many glasses of water. Also, most municipal water supplies are treated with chlorine and flourides, which can be harmful in large doses.

Eat grains and grain products-Grains are loaded with fiber and nutrients and are a good source of energy.

Don't eat grains and grain products-Grains are full of carbohydrates, which, if consumed to excess, can lead to diabetes. Give grains a wide berth!

Eat sugar-Sugar is a natural sweetening substance, unlike saccharine or aspartame, and is generally preferred over its man-made counterparts.

Don't eat sugar-Sugar is a veritable trove of refined carbohydrates, which the pancreas finds hard to produce enough insulin to break down. Can lead to diabetes. Avoid sugar.

Eat salt-Salt is a necessary component for the body to function, and has been infused with iodine, also necessary for the body's functions.

Don't eat salt-Salt conributes to hypertension, which, if untreated, can lead to heart disease. Put down the salt shaker!

There you are. That's easy to follow, isn't it? Sure it is! Enjoy your newfound health and vigor. Bon appetit!

yankeedog out.

07 August 2011

Vale Borders

So, Borders is finished as a chain. The local store up in Davenport has had a lot of traffic over the past couple of weeks. Actually, our store was always full and ours was one of the few that remained open after the initial filing for bankruptcy, but I think the business volume has doubled. Obviously, a lot of people are looking for bargains. The place is starting to get a definite 'picked-over' look.

I've picked up some stuff of interest fairly cheap that I wouldn't have paid full price for. Allen Steele's Coyote series-interstellar colonization in the Heinlein tradition. Not bad, but Heinlein would've wrote it better. The Great War in Africa. Interesting reading about WWI in Africa. Completely different style of fighting than in Europe. Robert Conroy's 1945- not bad alt-hist regarding the US invasion of Japan in 1945-46. Robopocalypse. Don't waste your money on this-either watch the Terminator series or read World War Z which is much more masterfully crafted. DVDs of the early seasons of The Red Green Show. Obviously people in rural Ontario live just like people in rural Northwest Illinois. Overall, not a terrible bunch of titles.

I'm going to miss Borders. I spent a lot of hours in their stores and put more than a little bit of money in their coffers. We still have Barnes & Noble, but a lot of times Borders had a bigger selection of titles to choose from. I guess they were a little bit late to get on the e-book wagon, and they couldn't compete with the colossus that is Amazon.com. Some of the employees have quietly said that perhaps the company had too many chiefs and not enough Indians. If so, some of the chiefs they had might have made some tactical errors in running the business.

I grew up going to Waldenbooks, which could be found in nearly any mall in America back in the 1980s. Most of the stores were small by today's standards, but when you grew up in a small town they looked like the Library of Congress. I believe Waldenbooks was absorbed by Borders, so they'll be gone as well.

In the 1990s, there used to be a smallish chain called Media Play. They had books, and videos, and music. AND video games. One stop shopping! What a concept! That WAS the place to go come Christmastime. A person could get everything on the Christmas list and be done in a couple of hours. But they got too much into items outside of their core business and they folded in the early 2000s.

Oddly enough, some of the small local bookstores are still hanging in there. I don't know how they do it, but they are. It's good to see. I can see the advantages to e-books. They're cheap (after the initial investment in the reader), and they take up NO space. But I still like having an actual book in my hands.

There is a campaign going to get Books-A-Million, which appears to be based in the southeastern US, to locate a store here in the present Borders. Yeah, I'll email the company to do that. I think the area could support a store. For some reason we appear to be more literate than the rest of the country or something. Plus, I like having a couple of major chains in the area to keep each other honest, pricewise. We'll see.

So long, Borders, and thanks for all the reading!

yankeedog out.

01 August 2011

And more rails

Tonight, a few more pics from Train Festival 2011.

First up, though...Steamboat a-comin'!

The Celebration Belle, our local dinner cruise/tour boat. Of course, nowhere near so old as she might look. In the fall, there's not much better than a cruise upriver, looking at the colors along the bluffs.

One of the more interesting engines that showed up was the newest:

Yes, that's right. The newest. This 4-4-0 was the mainstay of American railroads from the 1850s into the 1880s. This engine is actually a homebuilt project/replica of the Central Pacific Railroad's Leviathan. The CPRR was the western 'half' of the first transcontinental railroad. The owner did a fantastic job of recreating a piece of Americana. And since it's new, the engine is actually fuel-fired (instead of wood-fired) and has all of the latest safety gear. Leviathan could run on any road in the country. Now all he needs is an old combine car and a coach to complete the set.

Not Thomas, but a couple of tank engines. They were quite common around factories, lumbermills, and mines until the advent of diesels. Quite small and handy for working industry.

One of the 'stars' of the show was Nickel Plate 765. Officially, a Berkshire class 2-8-4 of the New York, Chicago, and Cincinnati Railroad, built in 1944 by Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio. 765 had a fairly brief career, hauling freights from 1944 to 1958. The railroad donated the engine to the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She sat in a city park, deteriorating away, until the local chapter of the National Railway Historical Society took it upon themselves to restore her to running condition. It took a few years and a pile of cash and labor, but today 765 is a star of the steam engine family.

If you grew up on the image of, say, Thomas the Tank Engine, or seeing small engines from the 1800s, it's amazing to realize the immense size of the final generation of steam locomotives. NKP 765 weighs 804,000 pounds (364 tonnes), has a driver diameter of 69 inches (1.75 meters), is over 100 feet (30.7 meters) long, and can cruise along at a leisurely 70 mph (113 km/hr). Not bad for pulling fast freights across the flatlands!

Next up-some diesels.

yankeedog out.