I really liked India, but I could still relate to what this author was describing. Maybe you have to have been there, but I was laughing pretty hard by the time I finished reading his weeklong journal, Trying Really Hard to Like India. I recommend the slide show.

Sentenced to be Raped

This Pakistani woman was “punished” for an alleged affair that her brother had. Because he supposedly had an affair, she was sentenced to be gang raped by the woman’s brothers. After the sentence was completed, and she walked home naked in front of the whole town, she was expected to commit suicide. Instead she charged the men with rape, won a settlement and built two schools. She still depends on round the clock police protection to keep her rapists’ families from killing her in revenge.

Sentenced to Be Raped

Talk about a strong woman!

From Good to Great

This book was a great conversation starter. I was reading it on a business trip and I had conversations with a large group of diverse people such as a UN representative from Malaysia, a manager from a German agrochemical company and a woman who works for a South African nonprofit. Everyone could relate how it fit into their business and lives.

The part I liked the best was the “three circles”. Jim Collins says you need to identify what you are passionate about, what you are good at (better than anybody else in the world), and then what you can make money at. Where those three circles overlap is where you should focus your efforts in order to be happy and successful. Here’s a short article written by Collins,
Best New Year’s Resolution? A ‘Stop Doing’ List.

Can You Keep it Off?

Here’s an article in the New York Times, Weight Loss Surgery May Soon Be Paid by Medicare, that also questions the effectiveness of dieting and losing weight. “The problem with weight loss, researchers say, is that the advice so often given, eat less and exercise more, has not been much help.”

There’s a national registry that tracks people who have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for at least a year. According to the NYT’s article, “People in a national registry of successful dieters – they maintained a weight loss of at least 30 pounds for at least a year – report consuming just 1,400 calories a day and walking, or doing equivalent exercise, for an hour a day.” Let me tell you that when I was eating 1400 calories a day I lost 20 pounds in a couple of months and I was not only starving but I would actually feel dizzy if I exercised hard. That’s not a way to live!

Chiropractic Care for Dogs Update

As many of you probably read, my dog Teddy has a slipped disk and I took her to a chiropractor who works on dogs.  It’s time for an update.  I took Teddy to the chiropracter three times, and I did not treat her back or her pain in any other way.  She no longer yelps in pain!  I haven’t heard a yelp in over a month!  To be conclusive that it worked, I think I would need to get another xray in a few months but if she’s happy and not hurting, I’m happy!

Other popular dog posts:

Need to Lose 10 Pounds?

If you think you have 10 pounds to lose, I recommend you read the "Obesity Myth".  I will not try to give you a summary or complete review of the book (check out the reviews on by clicking on the book image) but list the points that struck home with me.  For the record, I haven’t checked out all of Paul Campos’ claims about weight research studies, but as someone who follows any news about weight, his claims rang true.

Here’s what I learned from the book:

  1. Fat vs Fit.  We’ve all heard about the fat vs fit debate.  Can you be fat and fit?  Campos takes this one step further.  There is no proof that losing weight will make you healthier.  (Just because naturally thinner people might be healthier than you does not mean you will become as healthy as them if you lose weight.)  Exercising and eating well, i.e. becoming fit, can improve your health, but there is no data that shows that losing weight will make you healthier!  To the contrary, there is data that says that losing weight and regaining it is very bad for your health.  So,

    • Losing weight will not make you healthier. 
    • Being fit is good for your health. 
    • Being slightly overweight is much, much better for your health than being underweight. 
  2. Over 90% of “obese” Americans are dieting.  I’d argue that most American women are dieting.  It doesn’t work.  You can blame it on willpower if you want.  How successful have you been at losing and keeping those 10 pounds off?  For most people, dieting doesn’t work.  It doesn’t really matter what you blame it on, it doesn’t work.
  3. Does fat disgust you?  Do fat people disgust you?  Most likely you answered yes to both those questions.  Nobody wants to be fat and fat people are actively discriminated against.  (They’ve done studies that even sitting next to a fat person in an interview room decreases your odds of getting the job!)  So now you have to ask yourself why fat people disgust you.  Is it because you think they are lazy? They don’t have self control? You’re afraid you might become fat?  Don’t laugh, disgust is often driven by fear.  If that “fat person” can run a 6 minute mile, does that change your opinion?  Did you know that there are plenty of “skinny people” that can’t run a six minute mile?  Are they still better than those lazy overweight people?

The questions are just to get you thinking.  Campos closes his book with a really interesting point.  His premise is that the privileges that used to distinguish social rank are now attainable by the masses: high quality clothing is now cheap, restaurant meals are now affordable, exotic vacations are more accessible, etc.  So weight has replaced things like clothing, housing and vacations as a sign of wealth and social status.  In today’s world it can be very expensive and time consuming to lose weight, especially if you are trying to lose 10 pounds from an otherwise healthy body!  The time to plan healthy meals takes time – most fast food is not healthy or conducive to losing weight.  Personal trainers, time to exercise, healthy foods, diet planning, liposuction, will power, fat camps, nutritionists, etc all take time, money and energy that makes them expensive.  Because losing weight is expensive and time consuming, it’s obtained by fewer people, those that either have the resources through wealth or heredity, so it becomes a rare commodity and potentially, Campos argues, our new sign of the socially superior, the elite.  There is very good data that ties being overweight to being poor and being thin to being wealthy.  Just think about it for a while.  Do you respect people more because they are thin?  Is there any logical reason for you to do that? 

Why are you trying to lose weight?  (Remember, losing weight will not make you healthier and if you regain it, it will actually be worse for your health!)

So if you are trying to lose 10 pounds, think long and hard about why.

Crawdad Boil!

We’re having a “crawdad” boil! We have 70 pounds of crawdads! That’s good since we have at least 49 people coming and these are going to be good! I wish my grandmother could be here. She really enjoyed crayfish. She even posted about it in her blog.
Img_0624 Here’s one to give you a sense of scale.

Bidding for Work

I believe some day soon most of us will be paid by the job, the work we actually accomplish, rather than having a fixed salary. A new tool called eShift is bringing us one step closer. Hospitals needing nurses post the available shifts on the web with the maximum hourly amount they will pay. Nurses then bid on the shifts and the nurse that bids the lowest hourly amount gets the shift. Pretty cool as long as work is abundant. Work as little or as much as you need.

Our Weather is Changing

For those of you that have been speculating for some time that the weather has been changing over your lifetime, you are right. Attributed by some to global warming, the number of hurricanes, thunderstorms and tornados has been increasing. One statistic that caught my eye: “Iowa has already experienced a record high of 110 tornadoes this year, when its 30-year average is just 45.”

Wired News: Ivan May Just Be a Messenger

Saying Goodbye

I moved a lot growing up. I used to recite the list, like a song, in chronological order. Spain, South Dakota, Washington state, Alaska, Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Barcelona, … and that didn’t count summers. Or different cities or apartments in each location. People would ask what it was like to move that often and I would shrug. They’d ask me if I liked it and I’d say sure. In college I realized hundreds of ways it had been good for me. Recently, for good or for bad, I realized it has made it easier for me to get over goodbyes. It’s not any easier for me to say goodbye than it is for the next person, and I’ve been known to leave a party or even skip town without saying goodbye, but I think it’s easier for me to move on once I’ve left. If I’m not going back soon, I don’t miss it. (If I know I’m going back, I miss it with a passion.)

I remember once in sixth grade my best friend was crying at recess with her cousin. I asked the teacher why and she told me that my friend was crying because her cousin was leaving. I waited until I got home and asked my mom why my friend was crying because her cousin was leaving. My mom explained that my friend would be sad when her cousin left, that she would miss her. She explained that I had moved a lot so it was normal to me, and that in all my moves, my family had moved with me, so the people I cared about had been with me, but that my friend had never moved and she was scared that her cousin was moving. I remember it being quite a new idea. But Mom did a really good job of explaining it. (I haven’t done it justice here!)

I heard something on NPR the other day that said well over half of all children that move have behaviour problems. They must not have moved as often or they must not have had such supportive parents!

That said, I don’t mind moving at all, but I see no reason to move myself.