Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Parasite Update

I was extremely tired when I got home from work yesterday. Too tired to even eat dinner. I went to bed early without eating my pumpkin seeds or drinking my cranberry juice. But I ate my Activia yogurt at work, so I'm still on track with that. Today I've got the day off, so I ate the seeds and drank the juice.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Economic Recovery: My Two Cents

I've been following the president's efforts (a little bit) to come up with a stimulus package that will please the most politicians while doing the most good. I live in a "red" state, and there are republicans all around me, so it's no surprise that most of the opinions I hear are against anything the president wants to do, or does. I live smack-dab in the middle of Bush country, and these folks are not happy that a democrat now holds the highest office in the nation.

I've also been thinking about the last stimulus package - the Bush stimulus package - the one that gave each taxpayer a rebate. It supposedly failed because most taxpayers (myself included) either put the money into savings or used it to pay off bills.

I think I've found a way to create a stimulus package that will work.

First, the rebate idea was almost a good one. The problem, as I said, was that few people actually spent the money. At about the same time the government quickly implemented a program to send out coupons that could be redeemed for digital converter boxes, so those who needed them could get them free or, at least, cheap.

So let's combine the two ideas.

Issue coupons that help people buy cars, or new digital TVs, or anything else that might stimulate the economy. Appliances, home repair projects, farm equipment - whatever.

Say I need a new car, but can't afford one. I get a government-issued coupon good for 10% of the price of a new car - but not over, say, $2,000. A simliar coupon could be issued for a used car, or that LCD TV, or farm equipment, or services. Paper coupons would probably be best, since the description and value of the coupon would be unique in many cases. I take the coupon to the store, or the dealer, or the contractor, and they/he "validates" that it was used and for how much (signatures of both customer and seller/provider required), and sends it off to the government to get paid. Or "deposits" it in a bank, said deposit to be made by the government.

The same system could be implemented on a larger scale for corporations and companies that need to buy (american) steel, for example.

Sure I don't have all the details. We don't need details unless someone wants to get serious about the idea.

You think there would be too large an opportunity for fraud? Maybe. Crooks will be crooks no matter what. We have a lot of systems in place now that allow a lot of fraud.

I think it might work.

Just for the record...

I started the cranberry juice and pumpkin seeds yesterday. I did't start the Activia yogurt until today. I'm eating roasted, salted pumpkin seeds. The article didn't specify. I could have bought some pumpkin seeds that I think were labeled "natural," which to me means raw. I was willing to try the pumpkin seeds, but not to go to the "raw" level. I don't have a problem with salt so that's what I bought.

First Signs of Spring

The first cranefly in my house and the new windchimes at H•E•B.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good News

The pumpkin seeds don't suck. After eating about half of them I noticed a sort of strange taste, but I was drinking the cranberry juice, too, so that washed the seeds down!

A Consumer Test

If you read my blog, you know that I've been suffering from something I call "chronic fatigue." I don't know if that's what a doctor would officially call it or not. I just know that that phrase is a concise way for me to describe the problem.

I read an article in the 2/16/09 issue of First magazine that described my symptoms perfectly: extreme tiredness; rapid weight gain; intestinal, um, irregularities. The article suggests that I might suffer from intestinal parasites. Ewww, you might think. I'm trying not to go there.

Why parasites? Well, I have dogs, cats, and fish. I don't suspect the furry critters as much as the finny (!) critters. I know that aquariums can have lots of little creepy things that can make people sick, and I'm not real careful about keeping the aquarium clean or how I clean it. I syphon the dirty water out and have occasionally had a bit in my mouth! I also stick my hands in the aquarium a lot, and don't always run over and wash up right away. So I don't think that parasites is much of a leap.

The magazine goes on to give a "treatment" for those who have "mild symptoms," one for "fast results," and one for "stubborn infestations." I won't go into a lot of detail, but I went out today and bought cranberry juice and pumpkin seeds (fast results). I also bought some Activia yogurt. Thought I'd give that a try, too, although the article didn't really mention yogurt. I just figure it can't hurt.

I've also ordered part one of a two-part treatment for "stubborn infestations." It's something called Verma-Plus. You take it until the bottle is finished, then you take Para-Key. (If you're curious, you can find them both here.) They're both herbal supplements that cost more than what I'd normally be willing to spend, but my quality of life is in the toilet.

I was thinking about that - quality of life - after watching something on TV. I'd say on a scale of one to ten, mine is about a two. Maybe a three. I do nothing I don't have to do. I'm too tired. Energy drinks used to help. They don't anymore. Even the five-hour energy shots don't help anymore. I could drink either one and take a nap. Honestly. Coffee with an espresso shot helps me have a little more energy when I'm at work. And that's why I'm now willing to spend nearly $100 to buy herbal treatments named in the magazine.

And that brings us to the title of this post: A Consumer Test. I plan to report on my progress as I try these different things. I'll let you know what I consume and if I'm feeling any better.

Tonight I will consume 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds. I've never had them before and I'm hoping I like them, of course! Or just that they don't totally suck! I will also drink some cranberry juice and eat one Activia yogurt. I'm also going to eat a steak, but that has nothing to do with this!

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sick Again

I heard on TV just recently that there are 106 cold viruses. Once you've had one, you're immune to it from that point on. So every time you catch a cold you can subtract one from that list of 106. It sure seems like I've had that many colds in my life, but I guess if I think about it rationally, there's no way. I'm 55 years old. I'd have to have had nearly two colds each year of my life to exhaust the list. And when you think about it that way, you see that it's almost impossible to have 106 different colds in a lifetime. I know there were years when I caught a couple of colds. There were many years when I didn't catch any colds. So I'm going to estimate that I've now suffered through - maybe - 25 of the 106 cold viruses. That leaves 81 left for me to catch, if exposed.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Movie: The Visitor

I put this movie on my Netflix queue because the star, Richard Jenkins, who has been nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, appeared on The View. I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Now, I suspect that whether or not you like this movie will depend on your political leanings, since it is about "illegal" immigrants. It would be nice if we could just put aside those politics and judge the movie on a theatrical basis rather than a political one. But it does bring to light the recent workings of U.S. Immigration. It was a good movie. Politically, my feelings are mixed. While I don't necessarily agree with how illegal immigrants are treated, I do have to take into consideration that they are "illegal." And that's all I'm going to say about that. Watch the movie.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Movie: The Station Agent

This is a cute little movie that I enjoyed, in spite of a questionable ending. I guess you could describe it thus: three 30-somethings find each other and become friends. They're not "needy," but if there's a word that sort of means needy but that isn't as strong, then I'd use it. They're definitely alone, but not necessarily lonely. Like I said, it's cute. I'm pretty sure women would like it more than men would. Probably. I'm stereotyping.

From now on when I write about a movie, I'll link the blog title to the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) page, so you can learn more about the movie by clicking on the title.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Obamicon yourself!

Go here to make yourself look somewhat like this:

Or do something like this:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Corinne Bailey Rae

In case you haven't heard Corinne Bailey Rae, and my previous post didn't inspire you to go find out more about her, I've decided to post a short bit of one of her songs here. This one is called Put Your Records On, and it's my favorite.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Movie: Children of Men

This movie was good. The only thing I really wanted to point out about it is that, in spite of the fact that it is "science fiction," there really isn't any science fiction in it, other than the setting/situation. A woman who is a refugee, and apparently the lowest form of life, finds herself pregnant in a world where the youngest person alive is a teenager. She is about eight months pregnant, and some radical underground people are trying to get her to a place where she can have the baby and be treated like a human being.

No space ships. No laser guns. No robots. So, if you don't like science fiction, you might still like this movie. It stars Clive Owen, and includes in its cast Michael Caine and Julianne Moore.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Another thing about "Venus"

It's rated R, and for good reason. There's profanity, and very "mature" themes. Be prepared!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Seems like linking one's blog to one's Facebook account is the thing to do, so I think I've done it. I'm not sure how I did it, but if this blog post shows up on my Facebook page, then I'll know for sure that's it's happened. And that's the only reason I'm posting.


I just finished watching this movie from 2007. It's one I didn't hear of until Netflix recommended it to me. It looked cute so I put it in my queue. I liked it a lot - four stars out of five. It stars Peter O'Toole, which may be reason enough to watch it, since he's such a great actor. I recommend it highly. Click on the title and it will take you to the IMDB page for the movie, if you want to know more about it.

I also recommend the music of Corinne Bailey Rae, which can be heard in the movie. I'd never heard of her before, and don't think I've ever heard her music before, but I fell in love with it immediately. In fact, I went to Amazon.com after I watched the movie and downloaded three of my favorites.

To think I procrastinated watching this movie because I wasn't sure I'd like it. Man was I wrong!! What a pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

How's your socks life?

I've had this sock problem for awhile. I guess a lot of other people have this problem, too. My socks tend to disappear somewhere between the laundry hamper and the clothes dryer, devoured by some invisible monster who lives for the taste of toe-jam and wool. Well, now I think I've found a way to beat the sock monster. You see, the sock monster will only eat lone socks. There's strength in numbers, and that holds true for socks, too. So what I've started doing is putting my dirty socks into a "lingerie bag." A dozen or so socks at a time. So far, I haven't lost a single sock!! I hope the sock monster doesn't start eating my underwear.

Sunday, February 1, 2009