Big Loser 
...but I know that I am not the biggest loser. Even though I proudly watch no prime-time TV, I must admit am familiar with that television show and I must admit of all the reality TV out there, that show is probably the only one that encourages people to better themselves.

As I wrap up one year of a dedicated diet and exercise routine, one that has shed me 30 pounds, I will make a few observations.

1. Don't wait until you have a problem. Start a diet and exercise regimen today. Walking and cutting the salt and sugar are good ways to start.

2. Salt - cut salt from your diet. Whenever I tell people that I cut salt they usually reply "I never salt my food." Ha. Neither have I but I was taking in waaaay too much. If you do salt your food, that's nothing compared to the salt that's in processed, and all the frozen, foods out there. Let's not forget soup. A can of chicken noodle soup itself accounts for 80% of the recommended daily allowance. If you eat at restaurants more than once a week and never order off their 'healthy' (snicker) menu, fast food vs. sit-down makes little difference, you might as well as inject yourself with a salt IV. Salt is in everything that pre-packaged. Everything. Read the labels and cut the intake, now.

3. Sugar - cut that, too. Switch to wheat and whole grain bread. Start eating wheat pasta, too. Soda? Soda is instant weight-gain in a can. Diet? hahahaha yeah right; no sugar, maybe, but no sugar != instant weight gain. Trust me. I don't think I've had a glass or can of soda since August.

4. Stairs - if you have to go to the fourth floor lower, take the stairs. I have always adhered to this. It my not be much, but it does add up. I work in building that has four floors and I refuse to use the elevator and over four years, I'll admit that have used it a few times, but only if there is a reason, like a mild sprain or pain. The library is on the fourth floor and always hike it (and I always beat those to the top to who I see getting on when I enter the stairwell too).

5. Drink water. Drink a lot. Drink it with every meal. I do.

6. Beer/alcohol: my biggest weakness. Some people like candy, some like potato chips, I like my beer. I have noticed that light beer does make a difference but being kind of a beer snob I don't like light beer very much so I alternate - one case normal beer and then the next light beer.

7. Strive for the "five a day." Fruits and vegetables are good for you, to say the least. Potatoes and derived products don't count. Neither does ketchup.

8. Stay away from fast food. Not only is it a salt overdose risk, it's expensive. Regular restaurants, while usually better in taste and quality, aren't much better when it comes to salt and glop either.

9. Beef - I have significantly cut back the amount of beef I eat. While I love a good hamburger (we only buy 90/10), more often than not, hamburger night has turned into turkeyburger night. We use ground turkey or ground chicken for lasagne, sloppy joes, tacos, and so on. Ground turkey and ground chicken are more expensive than ground beef but it's worth the extra cost. Going vegan is an option, too, just not for me.

10. It's OK to treat yourself. Moderation is key.

11. I never thought that by the end of the year, I'd be running regularly and realistically looking and being able to run a 5K within six months. Your goals may be different but even if you start small, like I did, try it and build yourself up and see what difference a year can make.

Have a happy and HEALTHY new year.

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Print 
Earlier this year, I received a copy of Linux Pro Magazine instead of Linux Magazine. Linux Magazine ceased printing and went online-only and Linux Pro completed the subscription. Yesterday, I received the last copy of PC Magazine. They are going online-only too and I will have to pay for the online content.

Recently, it was announced that the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press were cutting delivery back to three days a week and readers will have to go online to get news on the non-delivery days.

I suppose some of this is inevitable but, honestly, online news and magazines hold nothing against a good paper or magazine, even if they are 75% advertisements. Of course, nothing tops a good tangible book. Ebooks? No way!

Some benefits to print over online content:

1. Once printed, the content cannot be changed. Good for holding people accountable and good for being used to prove that certain things were at one time considered true and undeniable and to disprove what's "true and undeniable" today will always be so. The fact that the news can constantly be updated, i.e. changed, is not necessary a good thing. We've always been at war with Eastasia.

2. They don't require electricity or other power source to work.

3. They are more portable than any portable device. They can be dropped and if they get wet they will work again once dry.

4. Book burnings are more difficult to organize than hitting the delete key.

5. Google, or any search engine, cannot selectively hide content from searches of old books, newspapers, or magazines that exist somewhere in physical form.

If everything goes electronic, and I fear someday it may, people's rights will be abridged and thoughts will be completely controlled by some other entity. We've already seen this in a similiar form on television during the most recent elections.

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The Runs 
I am now down to about 21:00 for 1.7 mile route I have mapped out for running. It's a simple run through my neighborhood with some downhill and uphill segments. I have no estimate yet as to when I think I can do it twice; twice being slightly more than a 5K. Initially, I was hoping to try a 5K in late spring and that is still be a viable goal.

I also want to extend that route to make it an even two miles. I would like to be able to get a two-miler done in under 20 minutes as well.

Overall, so far so good with the running. It's hard, yes, but it's good for you, physically and mentally.

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Gas Prices 
A bumper sticker I saw crop up earlier this year read:

"When Bush Took Office, Gas was $1.46 a gallon"

As it stands now, the U.S. average is $1.68 a gallon.

When Bill Clinton took office, gas was $1.06 a gallon. Mark that down as a 38% increase under Clinton and only a 15% gain under Bush as of today.

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Rod Blagojevich is Democrat 
Funny how CNN dances around this point and never actually mentions it.

However, CNN does offer this information:

Blagojevich, who turns 52 on Wednesday, is in his second four-year term as Illinois governor. His term ends in January 2011.

Before being elected governor, he served as a U.S. congressman for Illinois' 5th district from 1997 until 2003, according to his online biography. He and his wife, Patti, have two daughters.


But they can't tell us he's a Democrat. No MSM bias, right.


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Remember 
But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.


Taken from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address to Congress, December 8, 1941.

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Booting the Bum Out 
The people of Louisiana's Second District have given Cold Cash William Jefferson the boot.

From CNN

Funny how Jefferson, who has a litany of charges against him, just never seemed to get the amount of press that Mark Foley did.

Update NYTimes archive search:

"William Jefferson" -clinton: 364 hits
"Mark Foley": 5110 hits

Do it for the past 12 months:

"Mark Foley": 3350
"William Jefferson" -clinton: 12

All the news that's fit to outnumber 279:1 in print.

To be fair, "bill jefferson" yields 101 stories over the last 12 months, but that's still roughly 33:1.

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A Full Day 
Woke 3:35 am
Left house at 4:20 am
Arrive at Philadelphia Int'l Airport about 5:55
Park, get shuttle to terminal, get to gate at 6:20
Board plane for Pittsburgh at 7:05
Plane leaves 7:29
Arrive Pittsburgh 8:30
Meet my ride, grab a coffee at McD's
Arrive Heinz Field about 9:35
Meet friends for tailgating 10-11:40
Walk to stadium, enter, go to my seat 11:40-12:00 (kickoff was about 12:10)
Watch Pitt beat WVU, 19-15
Meet friend outside stadium for ride back to Airport
Arrive at gate at 4:45 pm
Board plane at 5:10
Take off for Philadelphia ~5:25
Land, exit plane in Philly about 6:20
Get shuttle to car, get on Schuylkill about 7:00
Drive towards home, stop one township over for another friend's surprise birthday party 8:45 (someone I haven't seen in about 15 years)
Home by 10:30 pm

Long day.

Pitt played well for the first 3 minutes and the last 8 with 49 minutes of futility in between; moved the ball ok but couldn't score - scored on opening drive and then twice in the last 8 minutes. Game was capped with an exciting finish: Pitt scores with less than a minute left to take a 19-15 lead but WVU got the ball back and got to about the Pitt 20 for a 4th and 1 pass play, as time ran out, that ended with an incomplete and an offensive pass interference call. Game over. (And worth the trip).

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Ab so lutely 
Vatican: Beatles music better than today's songs

Sensible and wise people, those Vaticans.

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Tiger Beat Media on the Prowl 
Jack Kelly Column: Not So Smart After All

Website: How Obama Got Elected

Zogby Poll: Almost No Obama Voters Ace Election Test

Tiger Beat Media strikes again! Of course, you can't blame BONED* entirely for people not keeping themselves informed but if that's all the news that's fit to print, then that's what the people will read.



*Barack Obama News and EDucation - the conglomerate of the media and educational system which carried BHO through the finish line.

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Run 
I decided to try upping my usual brisk walking pace and turned it into a light jog. I literally hit the road running and I ended up running one mile without stopping. I clocked it, loosely, at 12:00 which isn't bad at all since I don't think I have ever run a mile before without stopping. I continued on for another 1/4 mile or so before slowing down to a walk. Now that I cleared this major hurdle, I think that with a little work I can beat 20:00 in two miles; of course, I need to show that I can run two first. But, I think I can do two with no problem and I am even thinking long-term about a 5k by next summer.

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Fitness 
Since I haven't been biking as much, I've started lifting weights and doing sit-ups and push-ups to continue my pursuit to get in shape. Actually, let me amend that - to stay in shape. I also fit in a 1.5 to 2 mile walk a few days a week.

Bench press - usually do 5, 3, and 3 on the bench. Five sets of 10 reps followed by 3 of 10 and another 3 of ten; 80 lbs. I hope to up this to 100 by early January. All sets are 10 reps below, too.

Curls - 5, 3, 5; 10 lbs each arm

Legs - 5, 3, 3 of 40-50 lbs. I can do more but walking and biking make up for it.

[Thanks to my neighbor Steve for letting me use his weights]

I also measured myself against US Army fitness standards for someone my age. In my first timings, I did 38 sit-ups in 2 minutes and 50 push-ups in 2 minutes. The former just met the goal and the latter exceeded it. For my age, the standard for a 6.2 mile bike ride is 26:00 which I am sure I can do. The standard for a 2-mile run is 18:18 which I don't think I can do. I was never a runner; I get winded too easily and even as a teenager I never did well in running when we did it in p/e; even the smokers beat me and I was in fine shape then. I could probably walk 2 miles in less than 30 minutes so maybe a real brisk walk with some light running interspersed - maybe I could do 2 miles in reasonable amount of time but under 19 or 20 would be a stretch. But biking? Heck, 10 miles is no sweat. Maybe it's my feet because it's not my legs.

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