Food for Thought 2

I have a confession.

Dave and I are restaurant junkies.

We have a lot of different excuses and justifications for this habit:
  • Dave works from home and a lot of times that only reason that he may leave the house in a day (or few days, for that matter) is to go out to get something to eat.
  • Monday nights there is a great steak special at the Timber Creek Grill. (15 ounce ribeye for $14.95... And it is a pretty darn good steak!)
  • We have friends (ahem... Dr. Mike and Paula) who drag us out to eat, whether we want to go or not.
  • Although we have a ton of food in the house, it never seems to be enough to create a full meal.

There are lots of other reasons, but you get the picture.

We do (sometimes) try to choose items that are healthy (kind of) to eat while we are out at restaurants. For example, when we go to McGurk's, we get salads as our entrees with the small order of herb-dusted chicken wings as an appetizer. (Just thinking about them makes my mouth water!)

Anyway, I saw this article regarding restaurant menus yesterday. It talks about how the Center for Science in the Public Interest wants restaurants to begin putting nutritional information on the menus about the food that people are about to order. As much as I think that this probably is going to add some guilt to my eating out habit, I think that it is a good idea.

The article points out that some items that are on menus at restaurants have huge calorie counts that the diner is usually oblivious to when they order. For example, Ruby Tuesday's "Fresh Chicken and Broccoli Pasta," which sounds like a relatively healthy option, has 2,060 calories and 128 grams of fat!!! Personally, I would like to know that if the item I am about to order has more calories in the serving size that the restaurant is going to give me has more calories than what the average person should have in an entire day!

The article also points out that Ruby Tuesday's piloted a new menu a few years ago that included nutritional information on it. They pulled the menu when they found that patrons didn't really want to know how many calories were in what they were about to eat.

Is ignorance bliss? I think that if food companies that provide food to grocery stores for sale are responsible to disclose the nutritional information about their product, restaurants should be asked to do the same. I am not saying that it is the fault of the restaurant industry that Americans don't make more healthy choices about what they eat, however I do think that it is their responsibility to give their customers the information that is needed in order to make an educated decision.

What do you think?

UPDATE: Click here for an interesting article that I read in this morning's USA Today. It reports that TGI Friday's is leading the way in creating a more balanced menu by including smaller portions (at a smaller cost). It also contradicts the article that I linked to above, saying that 79% of consumers are concerned about the fat content in food that they order at restaurants; 73% like information about the amount of calories.


Statistical Analysis

Blogarita posted a great new recipe on her cookin' site... This, in itself, is not unusual.

However, the fact that she included information about the state from which her recipe originates, which happens to be New Mexico, on the same day that I happen to post about the state of New Mexico is a bit odd.

She pointed it out, I analyzed it.

At first, this seems like not much of a coincidence. But, when you figure that neither Blogarita nor I live in New Mexico, it becomes a bit more interesting. I mean, it is like a 1 in 50 shot that we would both choose the same state to include in our blog entries....

When I thought that to myself, something didn't seem right. So, I thought about it a bit more. There is a 1 in 50 chance that if I were blogging about a state that any other person also blogging about a state would choose the same one. However, for Blogarita and I to both choose the same state randomly, you have to use find the permutations of a factorial... Meaning you have to multiply the the number of possibilities by the number of possibilities.

(I.E. If you have five different types of liquor and you want to figure out how many different ways you can mix them, you would have a factorial of 5, written as "5!," which mathematically equals 5x4x3x2. That's 120 different drink combos, for those that want to know.)

50 states for me to blog about x 50 choices for Blogarita = 2500 total combinations.

The chances of Blogarita and I both choosing to blog about New Mexico is 1/2500.

But, think about this: How often do either Blogarita or I post about states in the first place? After looking at the most current 100 posts of my own, I posted only once about a state and it was my home state. Do you see what an amazing statistical coincidence this is? What does this all mean in the grand scheme of the universe?

Okay, I realize that it really means nothing. I apologize for wasting your time with this post. But, yes, I really am that much of a dork that I think about stuff like this... and, actually, find it the tiniest bit interesting.

Pardon me, I need to go adjust my pocket protector.


Freedom Ties...

In my opinion, the New Mexico State Senate apparently has a bit too much time on its hands.*
Men who choose to wear neckties or bowties in New Mexico will find their plight even harder in the future, thanks to a new law passed by the state senate this week. The vote designates the bolo tie as the "official" tie of New Mexico.

In the past, businessmen in New Mexico who have chosen to wear a tie other than the bolo tie have been ostracized from the general society. They are stereotyped as "outsiders" and prejudiced against when they walk into a meeting. Now, in a move that equal opportunity activists are up in arms over, the state senate has legalized this facist fashionism, saying that the bolo tie is the preferred neckwear within the state boundaries.

I say, "What next?" Will leaders in states across the nation follow New Mexico's lead? Will the tube top become the official shirt of trailer parks in Arkansas? Will lawmakers in Florida vote to put in the books that the "socks with sandals" look is eternally in vogue?

Hopefully, these types of laws are not a trend that will continue. New Mexico has other frivolous items that are officially part of law, such as the state cookie (the bizchocito) and the state question ("Red or Green?"... referring the type of chili a person prefers). But at this point, somebody needs to stand up and say "Enough is enough!" Just because a person chooses not to wear a bolo tie does not make him a second-class citizen!

*Okay, I think the general consensus is that most state legislatures have too much time on their hands. But, this one was just too good to pass up!


Where's tech support when you need it?

At my place of employment, I share an office/room with a colleague. We'll call her Vera. Vera has some interesting habits that make it very difficult to share a space with her.

For example, Vera has a tendency to hoard things. We have a mini-fridge that is filled with unused ketchup, mayo, mustard, and coffee cream packets... You know, "just in case." There are also half-eaten fruit cups from lunch that she takes home with her at the end of the week. The room is so cluttered that I constantly have bruises up the thighs of my legs from bumping into all the furniture that is shoved towards the middle of the room because the perimeter is stacked with boxes and boxes of "stuff."

We also have some OLD computers that are in the room on one of the tables that are NEVER used. Finally, Vera conceded to getting rid of the computers that are never used. A small success! The space that will be vacated by this ancient technology will hopefully make it seem like there is a lot more space in the room than there actually is.

Another co-worker, who we'll call Jackie, has asked to take the computers to her room. God knows what she plans to do with them; not a single one of them actually is fully functional. Some are missing Microsoft Word. On another, you can't access the Internet. The tech department has been less than helpful with these issues, to say the least.

Jackie apparently came to the room to collect the computers yesterday after Vera and I had both left. In the process, she unplugged everything under the tables where the computers were kept. The computers, monitors, surge protectors, router, printer, etc. were disconnected, yet the only item she took at this time is one of the monitors. I don't know why she didn't only unplug the items she is planning on taking, or only the one that she actually took for that matter, but there was nothing but a messy tangle of wires dangling beneath the table when I arrived this morning.

I attempted to print a spreadsheet this morning, at which point I realized the printer was no longer plugged into the outlet. I went over to sort out which cord went to the printer. In the process, I had to move this big basket that had somehow also gotten shoved underneath the computer table. In the process of reconnecting the printer, the basket snagged my nylons and I got a HUGE run in my pantyhose, from mid-calf all the way up to the top of my thigh.

And then, I was pissed right off. And I plan on staying that way all day.

P.S. I took an actual photo of the run in my nylons and tried to e-mail it to myself, but my phone is being a bitch, too, which gives me more justification to be pissed off. And it woulda been just in time for Half-Naked Thursday, too. Jerks.


Let The Games Begin!

First of all, F#CK BLOGGER! I just typed this whole blog entry and it disappeared, "Recover Post" button be damned. So, here, let me recreate the entire thing. However, I warn you: The first post was genius and there is no way that this one will measure up.


So, tonight is the official start of the American Idol season. I say the "official start" because tonight marks the first episode that people get to vote on which contestans go on to the next round.

Dave and I have been hosting the weekly Tuesday night ritual this season, inviting everyone over to watch Idol and then House, MD. Some nights, the gathering is as small as Dave, me, and Mikey... other nights there are as many as nine or ten people here, like tonight.

Tonight, Dr. Mike and Paula brought Dave and me a gift. It was partially a thank you for babysitting Ella a couple week ago and partially a thank you for hosting Tuesday nights. It was a matching set of the official American Idol perfume/cologne.

That's right. Now, even if Dave and I can't sing like American Idols, at least we can smell like them.
The other interesting part of our Tuesday night has to do with the gambling that we've managed to integrate into the mix. I mean, what is reality television if you can't find a way to make money off the whole deal? I am in charge of the American Idol pool at work and apparently am now in charge of the pool with the friends, too.

If you want to start your own pool, let me know and I'll e-mail copies of the information to you. We are using a whole tiered point system to determine the winner this year. I think it is going to work out pretty well. I was going to try to figure out a way to make a link to the entry form and rules, but it is too much of a pain in the arse. The only rule is that entries must be turned in before the Thursday night elimination episode begins.

I have to admit that I found that tonight's episode was a bit lackluster. I wasn't all that impressed with too many of the guys, but maybe some of the girls will rock it out tomorrow night.

For those of you that aren't die-hard Idol fans, don't worry... I promise not to turn this blog into a weekly update of the show! As a matter of fact, I (probably) won't post about the show again until we have a finale party at the end of May.


Just Catchin' Up...

Sorry for my recent neglect of Blogger. I haven't posted/commented on anyone's blog in (gasp!) almost a whole week. I was beginning to fear that the Blogger Officials would come banging on my door with a warrant to pick up my laptop and block me from the blogging, but then I remembered that there are bloggers out there like Dr. Mike who only post about once in a blue moon and very rarely comment on others' blogs, so I quit worrying about it so much.

I did change the template of my blog, although I admit it looks very much the same. I am now able to use the features of the Beta version. Before, I could use the labels, but if I wanted to make any changes, I still had to do it via the HTML coding. I was scared about making the jump because I didn't want to lose anything, but luckily, I only had to go through and make a few small changes to keep it looking like the same blog. How great is it that I don't have to manually change the font and color on every single post anymore? Woo-hoo!

I'm afraid to do any big changes to my blog... Kind of like my fear of getting my hair cut short. What if I don't like it? And what if I can't ever seem to get it back to the way I like it? You know what I mean? I'm sticking with the theory: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"


With Valentine's Day just past, the chocoholics of the world are beginning to come down off their holiday high and realize that swimsuit season is just around the corner.

Maybe it is just me, but it seems that every other week there is some new study out that touts the wonderful, healthy benefits of eating chocolate. This story is on the front page of the Yahoo! site today. I mean, okay, we get it! Eating chocolate is not ALL bad! But, perhaps the people who munch on Hershey's as a vice just feel really guilty about it and need constant justification for their sweet tooth. The "doctor's" who, in the '50's and '60's, cited smoking as healthy have since given up their fight to convince people that there is any good side to the habit; when are the chocoholics going to do the same?

(Sidenote: Did you know that more people are on diets in the month of March than January? New Year's resolutions don't last; the beginning of warm weather and the fear of flabby thighs lounging at the pool is a great motivator!)


Last week, I didn't work on Monday because I was sick; the snow storm let me off the hook for working on Tuesday and Wednesday; today, I'm off for President's Day. Realization: I need a job that allows me to take a nap every afternoon, sleep in every morning, and work in my pajamas. Anyone hiring?


Poor Regis... He is still walking around with that stupid collar thing on his neck because even though his stitches have been removed, he refuses to leave it alone and it still isn't completely healed. It seems to be practically tortuous. I mean, imagine having an itch or something, but having your hands tied behind your back so you can't reach it! I would go absolutely crazy. But, Regis, being the good, patient dog that he is, simply endures without complaint.


So, I'm doing laundry today. Dave and I have this great deal worked out. He does the dishes and I do the laundry.

I love it! I am not a big fan of doing laundry, but I have a bad habit of putting dirty dishes in or next to the sink. Dave has this "thing" about having a clean sink. With this negotiation, he gets to keep his sink as clean as he likes and I don't have to feel guilty about putting my dishes in the sink.

Personally, I think I got the better end of the bargain. I only have to do laundry once a week and Dave ends up having to do dishes pretty much everyday. Plus, when I cook, the last thing I want to do is have to clean up all the dishes after dinner, too. But, Dave seems to think that I got the short end of the stick since doing the dishes only takes a few minutes every day while the laundry can be rather time consuming. What do you think? Who got the best deal?


Word of the Day: Confabulation - (Noun). Familiar talk; easy, unrestrained, unceremonious conversation.

Lesson to learn... Confabulation can cause all types of problems if you aren't aware of who is in your audience. Your confabulation can easily become somebody else's gossip.



It is good that we live in a society full of idiots... I mean, who would the rest of us make fun of if we didn't?

One of the benefits of being surrounded by vacuous individuals is the compensations that the world makes for them. On Christmas, when my little brother opened his [insert name of trendy video game system here], we noticed this picture on the packaging:

Apparently, it no longer suffices to say "Keep bag away from small children." No, we have to have a picture of a toddler suffocating to get the message across.

This only goes to reinforce the theory that there needs to be some kind of test or certification before people are allowed to procreate. If you need pictograms to tell you that it is unsafe for a child to place a plastic bag over his head, then you may not reproduce.

Here's another example:

I guess "Please keep children off chairs" wasn't sufficient. We needed a visual representation of a child incurring a head trauma to understand.

Here's one for adults:

Interpretation: Don't touch, dumbass!
And, finally, for the people who can't grasp the concept of cleaning up after their pets:

Nice, huh? Perhaps a bit graphic for me. I mean, the only thing missing is the steam rising up from the big pile of dog dung. The only time I've seen a sign like this was when I was up in Quebec. I think maybe it is a Canadian thing...?


Links and Such...

Several of you mentioned that you were interested in a copy of the recipe for my Low-Fat Roasted Corn and Crab Soup. Instead of posting it here, Blogarita has been gracious enough to post my recipe in her Kitchen. This is a fabulous website with great recipes and stories and photos to go along with most of the food featured. Go on over, check it out!
Speaking of checking things out, I've finally posted the discussion questions for Icy Sparks on the book club website. I've also changed the web address to: http://checkthisoutbookclub.blogspot.com. The site kind of morphed from reviews by me to a book club format, and I'm pretty excited to see how it all works out.
If anyone who didn't get in on the Icy Sparks action, the next book we will be reading is Fall On Your Knees by Ann-Marie MacDonald. We'd love to have another person to jump in on the discussion with us, so go on over and see what the website is all about, then pick up a copy of this next book. You've got plenty of time; we probably won't end up "discussing" it until the beginning of March at the earliest.
And, a link, just for fun!


Internet Inaction*

Well, I tried to post the video of the Super Bowl Snickers commercial on my blog, and although YouTube told me that the video would show up as a post on my blog "shortly," it still is not here. Yet, I write anyway. (SiteMeter is being slower than everything lately, too. It hasn't updated anything since yesterday at 9 p.m.)

Everybody is up in arms about this commercial. The religious asshats are offended. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (They're GLAAD they're gay!) is pissed right off.

But you know who we haven't heard from? The car mechanics!!! What kind of stereotype is Snickers trying to show here? That all car mechanics are greasy, "manly" men? I think the car mechanics of the USA better stand up for themselves and get a piece of the "Screw Hershey" action, while the gettin's good.

Just sayin'....

*Sorry for the general offensiveness of this post. I'm usually not this blatant. But, it has been a loooong day. Just chalk the un-PC of this post up to a release of frustration, okay?


SOUP-er Bowl

A Picture Story

So, yesterday we all gathered at Bill's Garage 2...

...to watch the Super Bowl. For food, we decided that everyone would bring a different type of soup for a soup cook-off.
Dave and I decided on bringing a new recipe that we found: Roasted Corn and Crab Soup. It was mmm-mmmm good.
Mikey's entry wasn't quite as gourmet, yet great tasting just the same.
I lost the "Overall Best Soup" by one vote... That one vote would be Dave's. He thought it would be funnier to vote for Bill's "soup" instead. It wasn't even really a soup.
We did one of those grid football pool things. How much B.S. is it that the first and second quarters both went to the same square? Then, the wife of the guy who won the first two quarters won the third quarter. The fourth quarter went to Dr. Mike, but I think the "must be present to win" rule takes effect here, so I'm keeping his money!
The night ended with Bill and Dave doing shots of Ten High. I drove the Hummer home.

And they all lived happily ever after!


Brought to you by the CETPD**

What's wrong with this picture?

A bunch of fat, old, white guys... Dressed up in top hats... Harassing a freakin' ground hog in the dead of winter... To find out if it will be an early or late spring this year?
At what point is the church going to take this pagan ritual and turn it into a Christian Holiday? I mean, they did it with Christmas trees and the Easter bunny. I'm sure they could come up with something... Like, this is the day that Christ spoke to the ground hogs and designated them as holy animals that foretold the upcoming Mardi Gras festivals and the following Lent season.
Probably, the Pope won't make it a full Day of Obligation... Maybe not even a Day of Consideration... But, I think it is at least worthy of a Day of Suggestion.
As long as we decide that February 2 needs to be a federal holiday and I don't have to work, I'm fine with it!
Speaking of federal holidays, when is the Super Bowl going to be made a national holiday? I mean, seriously. I think more people in the U.S. celebrate during the Super Bowl than Christmas. There is nothing worse than trying to party on a Sunday evening and knowing that you have to get up early and work on Monday morning.
I'm voting for the next president based on who is willing to make Super Bowl weekend and full three days long!
**Coalition for Equal Treatment of Prairie Dogs