Kiwano Horned Melons Look Ugly But Taste Awful


We are an adventurous eater, so we bought a kiwano horned melon in Safeway, based on an article in Parade magazine. It was esoteric-looking, which was surprising at a store that is so mainstream. When we were preparing a small plate of fruit for breakfast we were baffled as to how to eat it. The Web advised us to slice it open and spoon the pulp directly from the rind. We are brave eaters of new foods, but this fruit exceeded our limits. Other fruits such as cantaloupes have seeds and goo inside them, but people (including us) throw the seeds and goo away. Apparently, it is a popular snack in Africa.

Why can’t I Buy Bread in Stores that is as Good as I can Make Myself?

In yesteryears, there was a popular bread named WonderBread. Nutritionists said, “It’s a wonder it doesn’t kill you!” And there was a saying about the miracle of sliced bread. Today you can buy a variety of tasty and nutritious loaves—sliced or unsliced–from competent bakers or at farmers’ markets. But even those loaves don’t satisfy as much as ones that you have made yourself. We grew up next to our grandparents, and we loved it when our grandmother gave us a still-warm loaf (which was raised next to a wood-burning stove) for our next meal. In our case, we purchased a bread machine (ours is the Zojirushi), which does most of the work and ensures that our timing of the mixing and raising are correct. Most of our value-added is in choosing a recipe (we refer to The Bread Machine Cookbook, by Donna Rathmell German), assembling the ingredients, making sure that it is behaving properly in the early stages, and carefully removing the loaf from the machine (it doesn’t surrender its bounty without effort). The pandemic underscored the benefits of home baking.

 

Simple Exercises for Staying Fit During the Coronavirus Era


Many people have lots of time and need to stay fit. Some are walking every day. But they also need to do things to maintain their strength and flexibility. Pushups and situps are ideal because they don’t take much space or time. How effective they are depends on how many repetitions they do and how they do them. Pushups are simpler and the main technique consideration is how wide apart their hands are. How many one should do depends on their age and gender.  Situps use different muscles and there is a wider range of positions of one’s arms. How difficult it depends on where you put your arms. It’s basic engineering. Your body is like a bunch of chunks of meat: head, arms, torso, abdomen, legs. If you extend your arms over your head your situps will be a lot more difficult than if you keep them along your legs. Some people are fans of “crunches”, which are shorter and harder motions. Your choice is like choosing a religion.

 

Could Stay-at-Home Orders Cause an Increase in Alcoholism?

There are multiple reasons that people may increase the number of alcoholic drinks they consume. The overall stress of the current pandemic leads people to turn to alcohol for relief. The absence of one’s numerous healthy alternatives, especially social ones that have been discontinued because of the pandemic can result in drinking with your spouse or other members of the household. And sitting in front of a TV set longer than in the pre-pandemic days expands the opportunity to drink. Examples are numerous.

Staying Fit Carefully in the CoronaVirus Era

The millions of people with time on their hands can use that extra time to stay fit. We have noticed a big increase of runners and walkers in our neighborhood. We are fortunate to live in California, where the weather is usually good, whereas people living in areas with poor weather need to do their exercise indoors. Those who are already disciplined to do exercises like Pilates or Yoga may not need any extra gear, but others need equipment such as stationary bicycles. Whether or not you use such equipment, you need to be careful.

Being Overweight or Obese Makes You More Likely to Get Covid-19

Elderly individuals are more susceptible to dying from a variety of causes. These days it has become common knowledge that they are more likely than younger people to die from the Covid-19. But people of all ages who are overweight or obese have a greater chance of getting ill, and dying, from Covid-19.

The Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

The USA has become too dependent on the cheap products it gets from China. In the face of the high volumes of people stricken by CoronaVirus it was not able to supply enough face masks. In particular, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has in the past provided temporary shelters (e.g., trailers) and other products to victims of natural disasters, but the nature of the supplies needed to deal with the CoronaVirus was so different that potential suppliers were unprepared to provide sufficient quantities of appropriate items. To make matters worse, President Trump and 3M were feuding because he used the United States’ Defense Production Act to prevent shipments of US-made face masks to Canada or other countries. Fortunately, Trump and 3M changed their minds, though Canada and other countries might not be happy because they would be getting the less-effective face masks made by 3M whereas Americans would get the more-effective models imported from China.

Kudos to Stores for Using Internet to Serve Households

Grocery stores, in particular, deserve a lot of praise these days for their quick response to the challenges caused by the CoronaVirus. We personally experienced this in the case of using Instacart at our local Safeway. We actually were in touch with the staffer who was picking items from their shelves, and we could answer questions regarding the items he was choosing and make decisions in real-time

BladderMax is Fake News

A half-page article in my newspaper (The Mercury News (part of the Bay Area News Group)) on March 24, 2020 is headlined “New Bladder Control Pill Sales May Surpass Adult Diapers By 2021”. These fake news stories appear regularly in many daily newspapers.  It had the byline T.J. Roberts; possibly a fictitious person, since a Google search reveals no science journalist with that name. And it quotes Keith Graham, Manager of Call Center Operations for BladderMax, saying how it has exceeded their expectations. One would expect a quote from a noted urologist rather than the head of a “boiler room” telephone bank. fortunately, there are other watchers who are alert, such as Science Based Medicine. And there are legitimate bladder control pills, such as Myrbetriq and SagaPro (at a price one-tenth that of Myrbetriq). One wonders why a reputable newspaper would publish such an advertisement.