Thursday, September 20, 2018

Box in a Box packing: Many a pitfall...

We just received a box from Amazon. Inside the box was a smaller box, protected by a little rapping. I opened the outside box with care, because it had a "This side up" symbol.

The inside box also had a "This side up" symbol. It was pointing at the bottom of the boxes.

The particular product we bought was not perturbed at being carried upside down. Thank goodness.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

My first "Impossible Burger"

I ate my first "impossible burger" (I'll call it the IB) today, at Shelly's Cafe in Teaneck, NJ, USA. The IB is a veggie burger that most remarkably imitates real beef, both in taste, and, so they say, in its suggestion of gravy. Here is its website.

So, how good was it? Well, my burger was delicious, partly because of the many additional ingredients inside the bun. In fact, it was hard to separate out the taste of the IB from its surroundings.

My wife asked, "How far are you willing to go out of your way for another one?" I would say, certainly fifteen miles. But next time, I will look for a simple cheese burger treatment of the IB, just so that I can focus on its taste. I think that it still does not come close to feeling like real meat, but it does better than the many other veggie burgers I have enjoyed.

Impossible Burger!

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Mind Cards, a fun iPhone game:

I am enjoying the very straightforward game of: Mind Cards. It is free in the IOS app store. My FAQ/advice page to help you play it is here: http://ravensgift.com/mind-cards-faq-guide.html .

The game is rather simple at first. The initial challenge is to develop a clean technique, to avoid making horrible blunders. Gradually, as you card deck increases, Mind Cards becomes a game of real skill.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

It's Hard to change New Habits...

It was time to recharge my iPad. Whenever I attach the charging cord to the device, the screen turns on. Consequently—duh—I should not turn the screen off just before I plug the iPad into its charger.

It has been remarkably difficult for me to remember this, but I got my payoff today, courtesy of another totally unrelated habit that should have been irrelevant.

I walked over to the charging cord and stupidly began to press down on the on/off button. Now bear in mind, this is a physical button. As I pressed, I remembered that I did not want to turn the screen off, so I slid my finger off the button. Why did I slide it off? Because, if you click or tap a button on a computer screen and decide you really did not want to press it, you can usually avoid the press by sliding your finger off of it. (You should have noticed by now that most computer screen buttons activate when you let go of them, not when you press them.)

Well, what do you suppose happened when I slid my finger off the physical on/off switch? It didn't activate!!

I can't understand it, but I'm happy with the results.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Djokovic, Edmund, 2018: Double bounce: Lots more to say…


I watched short clips of the incredible moment at Wimbledon 2018, where the umpire gave a point to Kyle Edmund after he hit a ball on the second bounce. I was sure there was more to it than that brief clip, so I watched the fourth set in which the incident occurred. Adding some background makes this triple, or maybe even quadruple umpiring error even more interesting.

For those of you who have not seen the clip, Djokovic hit a soft ball to Edmund’s forehand when Edmund was moving away to guard his other side. Edmund desperately shifted course and scooped under the ball, hitting a nasty cross shot that Djokovic could not possibly reach. Edmund’s cross shot, however, was out (it was not called out). Edmund dropped his racket in the followthrough, and his momentum took him to the net. Edmund wound up with both hands on the net as Djokovic began to argue with the umpire. The commentators believed the umpire was claiming that Edmund had gotten his racket under the ball before it bounced, and the ball came off the edge of the frame. Djokovic said later he simply argued that Edmund’s shot was impossible unless he hit the ball after the second bounce. (The video shows clearly that the ball bounced twice before Edmund hit it.)

Quite amazingly, this umpiring error cost Djokovic two points. The umpire assessed a penalty for delaying the game while he argued. It’s a good thing for that umpire that Djokovic managed to win the match.

First of all, why didn’t Edmund concede the point? It is possible, as he insisted afterwards, that he had no idea what had happened. But on the previous point, Edmund’s sense of injustice must have risen to astronomical levels. Novak Djokovic had hit a serve that the linesman called out (a long ball), just as Edmund swung at it. Edmund’s return was long. The umpire overruled the line judge (correctly, I believe) and called the serve in. Edmund asked to replay the point. The umpire ruled that even if the ball had been called in, Edmund failed to return it, and gave Djokovic the point. Edmund argued that he would have hit the ball better if it had been called in.

This is an umpire’s judgment call, and you could see it made Edmund furious. When he went after that ball on the double bounce, I would not blame him for feeling that the universe owed him one point. Now it is clear that Djokovic won the point, because:
  1. The ball double-bounced
  2. Edmund hit it out (Djokovic could not see this, and he did not challenge; the Hawkeye showed it was out)
  3. Edmund dropped his racket hitting the ball. He could have been called for throwing his racket.
  4. Edmund’s forward motion took him into the net. The umpire should have noticed this before Djokovic occupied his attention.
Why didn’t the linesman call Edmund’s shot out? The commentators on TennisTV believed the linesman stopped paying attention as soon as the ball double-bounced. It was obvious to the linesman that the point was over.

What fascinated me most was the aftermath. If you have a chance to see a replay of the rest of the match, you will see two incredibly angry players fighting every point. Usually, players impress me with their deep concentration, but here, they both felt unfairly treated and furious.
Kyle Edmund is a British player, and this incident occurred on his home ground in Wimbledon. Before this point was played, the crowd seemed almost divided in their applause. But the crowd had no patience for Djokovic’s argument with umpire. After play continued, they roared with approval every time Edmund scored a point.

I can’t wait to see the aftershocks from this incident. Some people called Edmund a cheater for failing to concede the point. (But please note, it is possible he really did not realize what he had done.) I personally think Edmund should have conceded the point for touching the net.
The umpire is going to be awesomely criticized. And please note that the bad call just happened to favor the home player.

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Learn a lot about architecture while howling with laughter

Kate Wagner has created a website about the atrociousness of McMansions, called McMansionHell. Hers is a rather deep website. While you read her sendups of the awful aesthetics of McMansions, you will learn a lot of terminology and a lot about architectural principles of style and beauty. And you will laugh.

She demonstrates that McMansions not only look funny on the outside. They tend to be weird inside, expensive to maintain, poor investments, and often bad for their surroundings.

Her Certified Dank™page takes us inside some of these McMansions, for some of her funniest observations. A number of McMansions apparently have a "Great Room", a room with a very high ceiling and a great deal of misproportioned space. Commenting on one of these rooms, she points to a small fan hanging, oh, maybe eighteen feet from the floor, and says, "if you think your job is futile, imagine being this fan."

I am definitely a fan of this website, and I look forward to her search for the worst McMansion in every state.

Monday, July 02, 2018

But it feels like...

I checked the temperature at my favorite weather web page today, and it told me the temp was 99 (Fahrenheit), but it felt like 97. I wondered how the air could feel like 97. I suspect that, just as there are people with extraordinary taste, who can tell us when there is a hint of raspberry in coffee, or a hint of chocolate in a whiskey, there must be natural experts who can feel the temperature.

I imagine a conversation between one of these experts, Herb, and a weather scientist named Candice.

Candice: The temperature gauge says 99 degrees, Herb, what do you think?

Herb (shakes his limbs a bit, taps the back of his left hand with two fingers, and take a deep breath): I'd say it feels like 97.

Candice: Amazing! That's just what the computer predicted. We must be right on.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Shelby Lyman's chess column has been pretty accurate lately, but...

Here is one needing correction. I read this column in the Times of Trenton of June 10, 2018. The problem is:


Lyman gives 1... Re6, but despite what he says, it does not threaten mate. Please enjoy the pretty positions in which black wins after 1. ...c3 !


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Security advice for Apple:

I don't want to opine on Facebook anymore, so, once again: I'll blog here.

On my iPhone and my iPad, from time to time, Apple requires me to type in my password so that I can go back to using my fingerprint. Quite obviously, the screen into which I am required to type my password consists of nothing but a keyboard.

It is a keyboard in relatively light lettering, probably close to invisible in some lighting, but much worse: it is an ordinary Apple keyboard, in which you have to do a lot of shifting to get numbers, upper case and punctuation. Now Apple, and in fact all security advocates, want us to use interesting passwords, right? Not just a bunch of lower case letters? So why not give us a password keyboard with KEYS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING. Go ahead, give us seven rows of keys. There's plenty of room on the screent.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Great physical Therapy

I just completed a series of Physical Therapy sessions at Activcore in Princeton, NJ. I brought a knee problem to my therapist, Jason Goncalves. He did a thorough initial evaluation, determining that by favoring the knee for two months, I had weakened many muscles on my left side. He treated my whole body and improved my knee, some recent back problems, and even a problem with cramps in my neck that turned out to be related.
Activcore uses a system called "Redcord" in which your body is lifted and supported in a variety of ways to enable exercises to focus on specific muscles, without triggering reactions caused by one's weak spots. In the hands of a competent therapist like Jason, Redcord produces rapid results.

I'm doing much better now,  and hope to preserve my gains with regular exercises at home. But I will miss all the support that Redcord gave me, to enable me to focus on my worst muscle groups.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

"Way of Life" is a terrific app for managing my daily responsibilities

I use Way of Life to track matters as mundane as brushing my teeth, shaving and taking my vitamins. I use it to make sure I've taken out the garbage and done my 3-per-week exercises. The red blots on my progress charts gently prod me to do better. I know I could not remember my daily tasks without a program like this, and I can't imagine an easier way to enter my list of tasks. Way of Life is a winner!


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

DailyArt PRO - An app with a daily view of fine art and more:

I'm writing today to recommend an app called DailyArt PRO. (There's also a free version called DailyArt Free).  Each day, the curator chooses a good image of a fascinating work of art. It is likely to be a painting, but it may be ancient, modern or anything in between. Excellent commentary accompanies the picture. I've been enjoying this app for a while. It informs me and brightens my day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

USAF Drone Pilots Probably need a Union:

Slashdot points to a NYTimes article about how the airforce people who pilot drones in our theaters of war are burning out. They are probably being overworked, but in addition: the stress of switching back and forth between being a killer pilot and a family person, every day, is horribly wearing. See: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/15/06/17/0315219/usaf-cuts-drone-flights-as-stress-drives-off-operators

This story reminds me of a Phil Ochs song about the Thresher submarine, a US nuclear submarine that vanished under water, taking its entire crew with it, before it ever saw battle. Ochs' song says:
Oh, can't you see the wrong?
She was a death ship all along
Died before she had a chance to kill

Read more: Phil Ochs - The Thresher Lyrics | MetroLyrics
http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-thresher-lyrics-phil-ochs.html

Here's a quote from the NYT article:
“Having our folks make that mental shift every day, driving into the gate and thinking, ‘All right, I’ve got my war face on, and I’m going to the fight,’ and then driving out of the gate and stopping at Walmart to pick up a carton of milk or going to the soccer game on the way home — and the fact that you can’t talk about most of what you do at home — all those stressors together are what is putting pressure on the family, putting pressure on the airman,” Colonel Cluff said.

And that reminds me of a fine Shel Silverstein cartoon that shows a manager leaving work to go home, looking incredibly angry. Once out of the office, he opens a box he's carrying and switches heads, putting on his "nice" face.

Bottom line? When you create a new kind of workplace, maybe you want human factors people and psychologists to study it before you do too much damage to the workers.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Google: Please help me to remember why I set up "alerts":

I have a suggestion for Google.
I like to use Google Alerts. I will read a news story and wonder how it's going to be followed up, so I often set up an alert to track it. Weeks later, Google will give me alerts, and what if I have forgotten why I set up the alert in the first place?

Here's my suggestion: Google should allow me to write a note to myself for each alert, to help me track the alerted story.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A good kosher restaurant in Manalapn, NJ

I recommend Capri Kosher Italian Cuisine Restaurant, address 335 Route US 9 S, Manalapan, NJ
(Summerton Plaza). We are eating out more that usual just now, and we recently ate three good meals at Capri.

The restaurant's website is caprikosher.com . There's lots of delicious food on their extensive menu. They serve Italian, some American food, and there is fresh Sushi. The portions are enormous, and the staff is very friendly. You can eat well for less than $20 per person.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

MiniLegend: What the Hell?

I'm trying to play an IOS RPG/Card game that is so new, it seems to have no reviews yet (as of Oct 14, 2104). Well, here's a short comment:

I opened the game and went to the register screen. I carefully typed in my desired account name, my long password (twice) and my email address. Then I tapped "Register". I got an error message:
Account or Email not found.
Well, why should they be found? I haven't registered yet!
I tried again, very carefully (which means I had to retype everything), and I got the same error message.
The developer's website is http://www.pocketriver.com.

What the hell?
What the hell??
What the hell???

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Don't Tailgate!

Here's wonderful technology: Don't you wish you could call a nearby driver's cellphone by dialing their license plate number? (I'm just talking about you and me; we wouldn't want anyone else to have this capability.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Re: the influence of Frederic Bazille on Norman Rockwell

If art interests you, you are going to hear about this new computer program that can discover influences among artists. The program has discovered some well-known influences, and it has also discovered some previously unremarked influences, such as the link the algorithm makes between Frederic Bazille’s Studio 9 Rue de la Condamine (1870) and Norman Rockwell’sShuffleton’s Barber Shop (1950). See this page at Medium.com.

I would like to add an observation about this claim of influence:

Bullshit.

Both pictures have an angled line setting off a subset in the lower left. I'm sure that is unbelievably rare in paintings, oh sure. Both pictures have an old-fashioned heating stove (and they are quite different.) I never imagined that people would want to keep warm in paintings, these must be the only such examples.

Bazille has a violinist playing with a pianist in the main room. They are remarkably far apart. Rockwell has a few musicians playing in the back room. They are acting more naturally, with the clarinettist(?) and the cellist sitting down while the violin stands, and they are all close together.

The computer program also found that both pictures use a wall-corner to divide up the picture, and both have a low "front" area that is not—as in many paintings—loaded with tchotchkes. Otherwise, one can see tons of differences in the pictures. I'l say it again? Did the Bazille painting influence Rockwell? Bullshit.

Monday, June 02, 2014

EA To Pay College Athletes Up To $951 Each ...

EA will pay college athletes up to $951 for using their likenesses - without permission - in computer games.  Their lawyer seems happy with this settlement, saying that it rights a "huge wrong".

Well excuse me, but if the athletes are being PAID, they are no longer amateurs, right? The colleges who utilized these professionals in their games ought to forfeit them all.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Tyrwhitt's lovely shirts: no nasty pins!

I'm not a squeamish person, but I fear shirt pins. Every time I buy a shirt, I know that I will get pinstuck if i fail to hunt and hunt and find every last oe of the 5, 6, 7 or even 8 sharp pins.

But not now! I have been buying Tyrwhitt's shirts, and they come beautifully packed with nary  a pointy pin. What a pleasure they are to unwrap and wear. I recommend them: good quality, and good for the price. You can deal with the online store, or find their brick&mortar stores in the USA, the UK (especially London) and at a few international locations.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Talisman, the fine board game, has arrived on the iPad!


I was lucky to receive a copy of the IOS Talisman game that I can review. There is already an informative and positive review at BoardGameGeek, so I will not repeat what their reviewer covers. And here's a link to the iTunes store, if you are ready to buy. (To be precise: there exists a "Talisman Prologue" game that we are NOT discussing here. The good news is that we get an app for the full Talisman.)

Talisman is a remarkably imaginative treatment of RPG in a board game, and that game has been faithfully reproduced in the IOS app. As usual, the app frees you from a lot of counting that the board game requires, and the app prevents you from making illegal moves. Also, there is a tutorial built into the game, so you do not have to know Talisman to enjoy playing the app.

Talisman belongs to a category of games that I’m sure you are familiar with: it is a game of skill (considerable skill in fact) with a large element of luck. Almost every game turn offers a chance to make a tactical decision, and there is deep strategy in deciding whether you are ready to go for a win.

Games of this type are wonderful to play in social settings. Everyone has a good time, and none of the novices notice that you are playing the game better than they are. They have a reasonable chance of winning, but that won’t bother you, because you know that in the long run, your skill will carry the day.

A Talisman game can last a long time. When the iPad first came out, one of my first reactions was: Wouldn’t it be great to play Talisman on my iPad? I imagined the iPad Talisman game saving the state of the game so that I could return to it several times a day for some rounds of play. Talisman on the iPad allows me to do exactly what I want, while the game’s AI plays one, two or three oponents. (Of course, several actual people can also compete, using this app.)

There is already an expansion set (and apparently, more coming) that I expect to buy, with – among other things – many more fascinating player characters. Talisman, among RPG games in general, is highly unusual in offering a stupendous variety of different kinds of characters to play with. There’s much more variety than the usual human/elf/dwarf+fighter/mage/thief.

Talisman, I’m glad you’re here!

A simple way to fund the U.S. Post Office:

This afternoon I collected all the junk mail (and even a piece of real mail) that the postman had left for us, and realization struck:

Suppose the Post Office threatened to triple the amount of mail I receive unless I agreed to pay them one dollar per week. That's a significant amount of money, but I would cave in if I could possibly afford it. Many of us would.

Think of it this way: snail mail comes to us through a sort of conduit, and the USPO could establish a slow lane (choked with ever more junk mail) and a fast lane.

Monday, May 05, 2014

"Three, please!" (I'm afraid you had to be there.)

I blogged recently about my feeling that an elevator that moves between only two floors needs one less button. I entered the same elevator that inspired that blog entry today (on the second floor), along with two women deep in conversation. The woman nearest the control panel pressed the button for floor #1 while they continued talking.

I could not resist saying, "Three, please!"

The same woman turned to the control panel and extended her finger to press the nonexistent button. And then, fortunately, both women laughed and laughed.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

There ought to be a word: Literally!

Now that the word "Literally has come to mean "figuratively", it would be nice to add a word to the English language that literally means: literally. Here is my suggestion:
Li2terally.

The digit 2 is added to the word in place of using the word twice. Compare:
My friend literally died laughing last week; literally!
My friend li2terally died laughing last week.

Li2terally is pronounced the same as Literally. In speech, we can generally rely on emotion and context to decide which word is intended.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Word Clues (Word Clues 2):

I've been playing Zynga's Words With Friends (a juiced-up version of Scrabble). There's a site called WWFSTATS.COM that ranks WWF players and makes it easy to find opponents. One of my current opponents (he's a good player) goes by the handle GL-13. GL-13 happens to be a game designer (see the Kindred Games website). I just had to try out his current game. It is called Word Clues 2, but in the iTunes store, it is simply titled Word Clues. You can find it in the iTunes store here.

The game has a clever mechanism. You are shown part of a word with some blanks, like this:

 _ _ _ _ _ bank

You score a lot of points if you can guess what word the game is hiding. If you can't, the game shows you another partial word with the same missing letters. Now you have two clues, and if that's not enough, you get more clues to the missing partial word.

That missing partial word doesn't have to be five letters. So far I have also seen 3, 4, 5 and 6.

There are also "bonus" rounds in which you decide how many points to risk in order to see more letters, and then you get one guess at the word.

If you are good at games like Wheel of Fortune, I think you will find this game a pleasant challenge. If you are, like me, not very good at this sort of game, then it becomes an incredible teaser. On a half-mile walk, I thought hard/hard/hard, and was happy to figure out one of these words with only three clues.

Check it out!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A lesson in Proofreading:

I am currently proofing a page-proof of my second novel. This is not nearly the last page proof. My current efforts to proofread include such matters as checking for conflicting or illogical plot elements or actions, and making sure that my characters always stay in character. I am proofing backwards (starting at the last page), but there is so much on my mind as I proof, that I know I will not catch every typo. I expect, in the next round of proofing, to look only for typos.

Here’s an example of how thinking about my character’s speech almost caused me to miss a typo. On one page, I read this line of dialog:
“Why did she do that?”
I decided that in this situation, my character ought to say:
“Why would she do that?”

I took out my pen, preparing to cross out ‘did’ and replace it with ‘would’. However, I found that I could not cross out ‘did’. Here is the line's actual text:
“Why she do that?”


What a convincing way to remind me that many typos remain to be found.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

TSA Wants Armed Police Stationed At Airport Checkpoints?

The TSA wants armed guards at their checkpoints. There will be a considerable expense: to hire, background, train, and manage all these guards, to buy their equipment, and to keep replacing all that ammunition. And every dollar of this expense can be avoided. Let’s all stand up against this total waste.

All we have to do is encourage states to keep loosening their gun-carrying laws. Some states have recently voted to allow people to carry their guns inside airports. We need every state to pass such laws.

Then the TSA will simply ask for volunteers. Who won’t want to spend time toting his gun at LAX or EWR, or any fine airport? And what a deterrent they will be.


Terrorists will know that the moment they are detected, bullets will fly from every direction. They will have no cover, and their dying wish will be that they had chosen instead, to rob a bank.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The IOS SSL Flaw: Hard to Spot? Bad Programming?

Bruce Schneier asks today whether the recently discovered IOS SSL programming flaw might have been intentionally inserted to cause a security weakness. This is a legitimate question, although the error is likely to have been caused by an accidental extra keypress. Apple should be able to determine exactly who inserted the error, and chances are that they will clear the developer of malice.

As a software developer, I wish to take issue with one of Schneier’s comments. He felt that the error would be hard to spot. I disagree. An experienced programmer ought to see the error at once. The only question is whether the code would ever be reviewed.

But this error could also be flagged by a program that examined source code for unexecutable lines. There are many such test programs, and they might, while checking millions of lines of source in Apple’s repository, notice this problem. It ought to be routine to run such a test.

Here is the source code. (I’m quoting it from the Guardian, and my formatting might not match the original.) Below, the duplicate “goto fail” lines stand out as a stark error. (I aded the red to make it easy for you to find it.) The “if” statement below the duplicate “goto fail” lines, which is needed, will never be executed.

static OSStatus
SSLVerifySignedServerKeyExchange(SSLContext *ctx, bool isRsa, SSLBuffer signedParams,
uint8_t *signature, UInt16 signatureLen)
{

OSStatus err;

...

if ((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &serverRandom)) != 0)

goto fail;

if ((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &signedParams)) != 0)

 goto fail;

 goto fail;

if ((err = SSLHashSHA1.final(&hashCtx, &hashOut)) != 0)

goto fail;

...

fail:

SSLFreeBuffer(&signedHashes);
SSLFreeBuffer(&hashCtx);
return err;

}
There’s another issue. I showed this code to my wife, who has suffered through my life-long romance with software development. She knows little about programming, but I thought, correctly, that she would understand this error. She did, and she had another comment:

“I thought ‘goto’ programming was a thing of the past.”

And she’s almost right. “Goto” programming has been recognized as bad, hard-to-read and hard-to-get-right. Most programming languages offer much better alternatives. But in many programming languages, the “goto” continues to be supported because it is still the best way, even the clearest way, to unravel some complex progamming situations.

The “goto” statements are completely unnecessary in this case, and if the developer had written the code in a gotoless way, it is more likely that the result would have been error-free. For example:
if (((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &serverRandom)) != 0)

|| ((err = SSLHashSHA1.update(&hashCtx, &signedParams)) != 0)
|| ((err = SSLHashSHA1.final(&hashCtx, &hashOut)) != 0)))
{
// process the fail here ...
}
          ... etc...



Friday, January 24, 2014

Cuisinart Compact Juice Extractor: The Pros Are the Cons!


Please read my previous blog entry first. It is also about my Cuisinart Compact Juice Extractor. Thanks.

The juices I have made in my new juicer taste delicious, and – so far – they seem worth the effort. The most remarkable thing about my Juice Extractor is that whatever you might consider a Con is also a Pro:

CON: The ingredients are more expensive than I bargained for. PRO: I can afford them in my current budget by not buying cookies.

CON: I need time to use the juicer. It’s not a five minute snap. I’m sure I’ll get better at it, but I need 15 to 25 minutes to prepare my ingredients and clean up. PRO: I’m pretty sure that spending time preparing food is an aid to dieting. When food requires time to prepare and eat, I'm sure it seems more satisfying. But CON: Who has this kind of time in the morning? PRO: I often do, because I’m retired. But seriously: CON: Often, my morning is a rush, like everyone else, and I won’t have time to juice.

CON: All that pulp is a terrible waste. PRO: I fry the pulp with a few other veggies, some cheese and/or a veggie burger, and I eat it. The pulp shortens the time I need to make my fried veggie dish. There’s no waste at all.

PRO: This juicer is easy to clean. Many of the reviews say so. But they don’t tell you what that means. CON: There are seven parts that are each easy to clean. Those easy-cleaning times add up.

PRO: One of my goals in buying a juicer was NOT to use our wonderful hand-held blender. That blender is 250 Watts (hard to find these days), and my wife requires it for some recipes. Using the juicer will extend our irreplaceable blender’s life. CON: No more banana shakes for me! But PRO: When I get hungry later, a banana plus a glass of soy milk makes a healthy snack.

Here's to Juicing! For now, at least.




Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Bought a Juicer. Lifestyle change?

I’ve been thinking about a Juicer for a few months. Good juice extractors cost around $100, and there’s a mighty chance that after using it a few times, I will exile it to a forgotten shelf. But when my diet is working, I start off the day with a plate of fried veggies and protein, with a milkshake. The base of my shake is soymilk or buttermilk plus a banana, and I add many ingredients and spices for variety. I thought that a juicer would enable me to add kale and other healthful tastes to my milkshake. But that fear of wasting $100 held me back.

Last week, the local supermarket offered the $100 Cuisinart Compact Juice Extractor for a mere $40, and I bought it. My lifestyle has changed. I wonder if I will soon abandon the juicer, but for now, I am definitely enjoying it.

In my next blog entry, I will assess the Pros and Cons. But to give you a heads up:

  1. Apparently, I cannot put bananas in my juicer. No recipes call for them. I might experiment with a banana, but I suspect it will goo up and gum up the works. I’m making delightful juices, but I have to eat the milk and banana separately.
  2. The veggies and fruits that I want to juice cost money! I think these are the most expensive parts of a decent diet. I did not consider this cost when I dreamed of buying the juicer.
  3. The juicer produces an extraordinary amount of pulp waste. It’s painful to look at all that $$pulp$$.

Tomorrow I’ll show you how these concerns fit into the Pros and Cons, which – for me – were full of surprises.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Fedex Seemed Creepy Today:

Fedex notified me that a package would arrive at a bad time, so I went to their website to put a hold on the delivery. In order to do that, I registered an account at Fedex.

The first registration screen asked for the usual info: address, phone number, password, etc. After I supplied all this, the website explained that I had to verify myself. I think this is a good idea. I would not want someone, impersonating me, to hijack my deliveries.

In order to verify me, Fedex asked me a series of multiple choice questions, and this is where things got creepy. I had to identify a town my son had lived in. Many of the questions concerned an address that I have not lived at since 1974. I even had to identify a person, not related to me, who had lived at that address for an overlapping period of time.


Fedex, you know too much about me! I hope you are keeping this information well-guarded, because a person who wanted to steal an identity would love to have this kind of in-depth info. (By the way, I had to select an answer for a security question during the registration process. I know how to answer when Fedex asks for my mother’s maiden name, but my answer has nothing to do with my mother.)