Saturday, November 17, 2012

Country Come to Town

My neighbor's chicken flock wanders into my yard occasionally in the mornings when he lets them range. This Plymouth Barred Rock rooster strutted his stuff up near my back door. (It's in HD if you want to bump the resolution up.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Great Video

If your computer will push 1080p at full screen, you will love watching this sample video taken with the newest GoPro HD video camera. (Adjust the resolution of the video to 1080p, or the highest your computer will push smoothly, and click on the full screen button. And the enjoyment factor multiplies with the quality of your speakers/subwoofer -- the soundtrack is awesome.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Fallacy of Redistribution

Sometimes Mr. Obama's economic naivete and lack of history is stunning—or scary. With the revelation this week of the tape on which he says he believes in economic redistribution of wealth to some (unspecified) extent, comes the need for a history lesson. Not from me, but from Dr. Thomas Sowell, African-American economist at Stanford's Hoover Institution. He schools Obama on what happened in the Soviet Union when government began taking over the agricultural output of the nation's farmers. Guess what? The farmers simply stopped producing and millions of people died of starvation under Stalin. Sowell points out that people are not widgets that can be moved around according to a plan. If people don't like the plan, they react with intelligence and emotion. And people innately don't like what they have produced being taken from them by people who produce nothing (i.e., government). 

Dr. Sowell, author of more than 30 books on history and economics, has the perspective that our president seems to lack. If you have any inclination to vote again for this president, I encourage you to read this short piece (and others) by Dr. Sowell. (This is not a pro-Romney article. It is an article about the lack of historical perspective relative to one of Obama's stated goals.)

Dr. Sowell's article is here

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Why Don't They Run Into Each Other?

Check out for a real time look at every plane in the sky, updating in real time about every 30 seconds.

Screen shot 2012-09-18 at 1.16.18 PM

Kruidenier Cadillac

Mike at came across a photo taken on Locust Street in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1914 (the year my father was born), and was kind enough to share a digital copy with me.

The photo is important to me as it features the sign for the Kruidenier Cadillac Company, founded by my great-grandfather, Dirk Kruidenier, in the early 1900's (on the right side of the photo). Dirk Kruidenier emigrated from Holland with his family as a six-year-old in 1854 and settled in Pella, Iowa, moving later to Des Moines where he engaged in business and ultimately became the Cadillac dealer in the region. His son, Edward, also worked in the business and my father and his two brothers grew up around cars as young men. I don't know what happened to the dealership, but am grateful for this photo. (More on Dirk Kruidenier here.)

Thanks again to Mike for the photo and the detail enlargement:



Monday, September 17, 2012

Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Others Are M.I.A.

Why have the organic and healthy food industry leaders failed to come out in support of Proposition 37 in California that would require labeling of GMO/GE foods? (Read about these graphics here.)




This week only (or perhaps they'll extend it) you can watch online a new documentary movie on the dangers of GMO/GE foods. Genetic Roulette contains the testimony of numerous scientists, doctors, farmers, and others on the increasingly abundant evidence of the impact of genetically altered foods—ESPECIALLY on children.

For all practical purposes, America's supply of conventional corn and soy is all GMO/GE food. This film has renewed my commitment not to eat any conventionally-grown food. But organic food is not free from danger either. Scientists have discovered that the Bt bacteria (bacillus thuringiensis) that is the mainstay of organic pesticide production for brassica crops, is harmful to humans. Bt, which has been inbred into GMO/GE crops, has been found to have harmful impact in the human gut when those GMO/GE are consumed. But that means that organically-grown crops with Bt residue might be something to care about when Bt has always been considered "harmless to humans." (Of course, in organics the Bt is not inbred into the crop and is subject to thorough washing, etc., of the organic crops.)

This is a powerful movie. If you eat anything with conventional grain, corn, or soy in it (especially soy-based infant formula), please give this movie a watch. It's over an hour long, but well worth the time. You can watch the entire documentary here.

Note: If you live in California, please vote "Yes" on Proposition 37 in November. If Prop 37 passes, food produces would be required by law to label their foods as containing GMO/GE foods, something they are not now required to do (in contrast to Europe where such labeling is required). The Cornucopia Institute has more information about the Prop 37 initiative. If this initiative passes in California, the nation's biggest food state, it will bode well for it becoming law nationally.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


(Narcissistic disclaimer: No, that's not a picture of me.)

BMI (Body Mass Index) has long been a measure of "health" because it correlates weight with height.

A new ratio—waist circumference to height, or the Waist-Height Ratio (WHR)—is being shown to correlate better with disease prevention. Short answer: Waist circumference should be less than half one's height.

For example, I am six feet (72 inches) tall and I wear a size 36" (waist size) pant. But my waist measurement is actually pushing 37". Therefore, I am over the maximum ratio of <1:2 (<36:72). Not good.

Obviously, I have known this for some time simply because I store fat in my belly. I can look at my belly and see that it is too big—not obese, but not trim. I don't know why, given my diet (very little fat), a vegan diet of whole foods, etc. Too few calories and too little movement, and the wrong kinds of exercises, have resulted in accumulated fat.

I have read several studies recently about the dangers of sitting—something I do most of every day as a writer/editor in a home office. I bought a pedometer a week ago to measure the number of steps I take every day and it averages between 2,500 and 3,000. Health guidelines say we ought to average 10,000 steps per day. When I was in another city recently on family business and was moving all day long, I discovered I had lost weight when I returned. So lack of movement in my daily vocation is a significant problem for me. (Studies show that people who sit most of the day live shorter lives than people who "move" most of the day.)

I began rowing on my Concept 2 rower two weeks ago (after a long layoff), about 5,000 meters per session to start, and am riding my bike less. An hour of stationary bike riding produces lots of sweat but very little abdominal or upper body stress, which rowing does. At the same time, I returned to exercises that will hopefully strengthen my core and gradually cut down on body fat. And have begun walking as well—I did 12,547 steps yesterday and am up to 5,578 today after a morning walk.

So, a WHR of <1:2 is my goal. Dr. Greger has a brief overview video on WHR here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Often Wrong But Never in Doubt

"Often wrong but never in doubt." That's how Dr. Thomas Sowell describes President Obama as he reviews the shallowness of the president's knowledge of history and his closed-mindedness to the broader world of ideas. Dr. Sowell is an African-American Senior Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institute and author of more than 30 books on economics, history, and policy. Read his September 4 article here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

What Year Is It?

Gee, one wonders what Obama has been doing for four years. Looks like he's just dusted off his previous speeches for this run:

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What a Way to Go

When three members of the New Zealand Defense Force were killed in Afghanistan recently, and their bodies were returned to New Zealand for burial, fellow members of the NZDF performed a traditional Maori haka in their honor. We've seen New Zealand rugby teams perform a haka on the field, but I've never seen this military version. It's spine-tingling. In addition to a tribute for their fallen comrades, the way these soldiers meet the hearse head-on is like a defiant challenge to death, angry that death has taken their friends. Who can't identify with that feeling? America is too young and civilized to have these kinds of passionate rituals embedded in our national DNA, but it's thrilling to see them where they exist. Though just for a moment at the end, it's comforting to see the Anglican (?) priest leading the hearse into the cemetery, representing the One who said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25-26)

The NZDF released this video on Aug 25, 2012. I've left the "related videos" option "On" -- following this video you'll see other NZDF military haka (plural is same as singular). If I met a demonstration like this on the battlefield I would immediately ask for terms of surrender. (If you have time, there are two great videos of the New Zealand All Black rugby team performing a haka before matches with Wales and France. The Wales team kept their distance, but give the French credit -- they went toe-to-toe with the All Black. Whew. )

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good for Them

BIOLA University is one of a growing number of Christian and Catholic universities that are suing the federal government over the forced funding of contraceptive and abortion "rights" of their employees. Good for them! The day has finally come when it is necessary for Christians to stand in the public square and defend their right not to have their consciences blemished by the dictates of government.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Das Kannonball

Friday, August 10, 2012

Go Nuts

Here's a good example of why I like Dr. Michael Greger -- the information is great, but his style makes it totally enjoyable (three good laughs in 2' 33"):

Stuff I Want 1.0

Pulled up next to this at a stoplight earlier this week. Welcome to North Califorlina:


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Financial Calculators

An amazing collection of personal financial calculators for help with financial planning and decisions. Link.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Sinking Ship U.S.S. America

This five minute analysis of the federal budget is a clear picture of why the budget cannot be balanced under present circumstances. When I see the image in the video of the combined House and Senate gathered for a State of the Union address, sitting in their positions of power, it's almost nauseating to think of how utterly incompetent they are as evidenced by their lack of action concerning the financial crisis we face. Though the presenter in this video is a career accountant, you don't have to be an accountant to understand the numbers he points out, and how they cannot ever equal a "balanced" position.