Weird news: witches work as life coaches

by Rhode

Professional witches?

In The Land Of Dracula, Witches Work As ‘Life Coaches’ Of The Supernatural

Pathway to success for the non-STEM-loving kid?

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Weight management and exercise

by S&M

Several people here have lost significant amounts of weight in the last couple of years, and some are concerned about spouses or in-laws. I thought the gender differences focus of this article might be fun to talk about. One issue I notice with it is that it seems to be about number of pounds, not percent of body weight. The metabolism point, however, probably holds true for most people.

The other article is my current interest. I have replaced the weight bench in our living room with a drawer of smaller, lighter-weight equipment: a Swiss ball (it *did* fit in the drawer before I inflated it), mini bands, suspension gear (Jungle Gym) that can go over a tree branch or on a hook or behind a door, yoga mat, blocks, and strap, and an ab roller. This variety lets me be more flexible in what workouts I do, which I think leads to me working out more often, even when I can’t get in “the whole thing”. The exercises are nearly all body-weight based. I’m also trying to roll out muscles more often, but am not doing as well with that—it doesn’t feel like “work” so I tend to devalue it. I’m curious how others’ workouts have changed recently, and if anyone here is focusing on body-weight movements. Also, I’ve given up on the balance disk—I could never do anything other than flank from one side to another, without ever really slowing down to catch a moment of “balance”. I can do a great tree pose, but am wondering what there might be in-between these two extremes.

Do Men Really Lose Weight Faster Than Women?

10 Essential Bodyweight Exercises

When ideology trumps science

by WCE

This NY Times post on reading instruction reminds me of the disagreements my Mom had with her professors while she was getting a master’s in reading during the whole language movement. She had taught infantrymen who hadn’t learned to read in school during the Vietnam War, and she was a strong proponent of phonics instruction, which resulted in some poor grades in graduate school. Eighty percent of her students passed the GED, compared to 40% rates for comparable literacy teachers with the same soldier population, so she clearly did something right. That was true even when soldiers switched from a teacher with low pass rates to her class, so she didn’t cherrypick students.

What current ideologies do you think will change in 20-40 years time? Why is conformance to the reigning ideology so important in academia? (Industry is less rigid, IMHO, because we have to make money.)

Fast food and income levels

by Lauren

The percentage of adults consuming fast food on a given day differs by family income level for 2013–2016.

This section is from the CDC study and I was surprised to learn that the numbers rose with income because I would have expected the opposite result.

The percentage of adults who consumed fast food increased with increasing family income level (Figure 3). Overall, 31.7% of lower-income (less than or equal to 130% of the federal poverty level [FPL]), 36.4% of middle-income (greater than 130% to less than or equal to 350% of FPL), and 42.0% of higher-income (greater than 350% of FPL) adults consumed fast food on a given day. A similar pattern was observed for both men and women. Within each income level, there was no significant difference in the percentage between men and women who consumed fast food.

I looked at the numbers in detail and I realized that I did not consider pizza to be fast food when I thought about my own household. If I consider pizza to be fast food, our numbers are also high because of the number of times we eat pizza at parties, meetings and just last minute dinners.

How many of you have similar results in your own families?

Politics Open Thread, Nov 18-24

Let’s talk politics.  Here’s a starter topic from WCE.

The Working Hypothesis:

…But what if people’s ability to produce matters more than how much they can consume? That ability cannot be redistributed. And what if smaller losses for those at the bottom of the economic ladder are much more consequential to them than the larger gains for those already on top? Under those conditions, rising GDP will not necessarily translate into rising prosperity.

Such considerations have deep implications for society’s longer-term trajectory. Even if gains exceed the costs initially, what happens if the losses undermine stable families, decimate entire communities, foster government dependence, and contribute to skyrocketing substance abuse and suicide rates? Such considerations have deep implications for society’s longer-term trajectory. What if the next generation, raised in this environment, suffers as well—perhaps reaching adulthood with even lower productive capacity? What if, in the meantime, cheap capital from foreign savings has fueled enormous increases in government and consumer debt, while the industrial policies of foreign governments have left the American economy with fewer opportunities to create well-paying jobs for less-skilled workers? Such costs show up nowhere in GDP—at least initially. Sadly, they appear to have been much more than hypothetical, and have proved much costlier than anyone imagined.

The explanation for why economic piety steered the nation off course, and the roadmap to recovery, are encapsulated in what I call the Working Hypothesis: that a labor market in which workers can support strong families and communities is the central determinant of long-term prosperity and should be the central focus of public policy.

Alongside stable political institutions that protect basic freedoms, family and community provide the social structures necessary to a thriving society and a growing economy. Those institutions in turn rely on a foundation of productive work through which people find purpose and satisfaction in providing for themselves and helping others. The durable growth that produces long-term prosperity is the emergent property of a virtuous cycle in which people who are able to support their families and communities improve their own productivity and raise a subsequent generation able to accomplish even more.

full essay can be found here.

The Working Hypothesis

Taking care of your kitchen

by S&M

This may speak to the many cooks in the group. I’m sure many have thought about the unifying effect of food, or felt what the interviewer describes in feeding his daughter (note: it’s become familiar to me again recently, as my son’s tastes have widened. Last night he happily ate chicken and yellow rice I made. The first few times that happened, a month ago, I literally cried.). But the interview also has a “things to teach your kid before they leave home” list that comes from a different slant than the very pragmatic perspective of other lists we’ve discussed. My favorite part of it is the following exchange, which connects global and local, personal and political:

FL: Right now, we are in an intense moment, maybe an existential moment, in our politics. You are obviously very busy because of that. This is a weird question to be asked, because we asked you onto our food show, but does it feel trivial, in this moment, to be talking about baking pies?

CR: We’re all human beings. We have to live through this period, and I actually think it’s really important that we retain our humanity now. One of the things that has been interesting to me – and I feel like people are recognizing that – is that at a moment in which the message out of some politicians is so divisive, they speak about fellow human beings in ways that dismiss their very existence or their right to exist, I think it’s really important that we have other things that can begin to bring us together. One of the things I have felt so strongly about and why I’m traveling around the country now talking to women is I think we haven’t been listening to each other very much. I think a lot of politicians are telling us what we should believe, they’re not really listening to people. Cooking meals, eating, sharing food, is something that is so basic to our humanity, and I think folks are retreating to some of these tried and true methods of being people together. So, I love it; I think it’s important. Probably the most special times of my lifetime are ones where I remember being around the table with family or friends, cooking and enjoying food together. There’s something that is just a common thread that runs through all of us.

Pie and politics: Cecile Richards on the unifying power of food

I think this interview on “taking care of the kitchen that takes care of you” went a bit awry—think she was more after things like how to refresh your cutting board by oiling it, and he was more into the food– but the topic (from both interviewer and interviewee’s perspectives) is an interesting one.

The best thing I’ve done for my kitchen recently is ditch half of it. I decided a few years back that I like a pattern on some china I have from my grandma better than what I chose at my wedding, and I started buying pieces to complete the set. I also have lovely mixing bowls from my grandmother, but one has a crack, so I asked for similar ones for Christmas a few years ago. What my sister got me, a set made of plastic that can go in the freezer, with lids that seal well, that have an ugly shape, just irritated me every time I used them. So the china went to Replacements.com, and the plastic bowls, along with a lot of hand me down odds and ends all went out. The things that are left are things I intentionally chose. I don’t want to get all Kondo here, but that little pang of love and happiness I’ve always gotten from using the original bowls (which I have kept) shows up a lot more often these days, when I pull out something I decided to keep.

What about you? What do you do to take care of the kitchen (or other spots) that take(s) care of you?

What stands the test of time?

by Rhode

[I’m giving this potentially contentious topic a try in our regular section.  You all can decide if it can be discussed without too much politics involved.  Let’s see how it goes.  —  July]

I saw these two articles and thought they’d be interesting to discuss.

“The Breakfast Club in the age of #MeToo” (stolen from the New Yorker)

These are two accounts – one a review of a live script reading of the Breakfast Club and a personal account of the Brat Pack films (by Molly Ringwald) in the #MeToo era.

Rediscovering ‘The Breakfast Club’ With … Jesse Eisenberg?

What About “The Breakfast Club”?
Revisiting the movies of my youth in the age of #MeToo.

What iconic movies from your life stand the test of time? Could they be made today exactly as they were? What movies don’t stand up? Do you still enjoy those films and forgive them their transgressions? Or do you boycott them because they don’t stand up to our current societal “moral code”.

This could move to other things – renaming of places, removal of monuments, etc. But that could get very political very fast.

Tuesday open thread

Our Tuesday open thread is open for business.

Since we currently seem to have a backlog of topics (a good thing!), we will not have an open thread this Thursday.  Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  What stands the test of time? (Rhode)
Thursday  —  Taking care of your kitchen  (S&M)
Friday  —  The TMI post  (Houston)

The Portion Paradox and the Half Cookie

by Finn

A recent study looked into the effects of portion size and consumption of all vs part of those portions.   Of particular interest to totebaggers, they specifically investigated consumption of entire cookies vs. partial cookies.   The article suggests it may be preferable to eat smaller cookies than to eat half of cookies that are twice as large.

 

Do you eat, or serve your kids, half cookies?    When you go out to eat do you bring home doggie bags?  What strategies do you have to avoid overeating, whether eating out or at home?

Politics open thread, Nov 11–17

Today we honor and thank veterans who have served in our armed forces.

The day the guns fell silent
At 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, bugle calls ended the ‘war to end all wars.’ After four years of carnage, you could hear the ticking of a watch.

Sgt. Robert Cude remembered that the bugle call, “Stand Fast” — cease fire — sounded across the foggy landscape of the British lines that morning.

The American motorcycle courier Leon George Roth noted that in the sudden quiet, he could hear his watch ticking.

Near the Moselle River in northeastern France, recording equipment that had been tracking the thunder of artillery flatlined.

It was 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918 — a century ago Sunday — the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

Armistice Day.

Now called Veterans Day in the United States, it was the end of World War I, the Great War, which had killed and maimed millions of people and turned parts of Europe into a wasteland.

It was the end of four years of unimaginable calamity.

What else is on your mind this week?

My paternal grandpa’s middle name?

By Cassandra

I just set up another online account and struggled through the security questions. I had to pick four questions, and I could only come up with answers for four questions and at least one was pretty shaky. I am not sure I’ll be able to remember it. The questions seem so off base and hard to answer:

What was my second pet’s name? I am not even sure which animal was my second pet.
What is my favorite pet’s name? I’ve had a number of dogs, and there were some pretty good ones. My favorite? I don’t know.

I have no idea where I was on New Year’s Eve for 2000. I don’t know what hour I was born and I’m not real sure of my grandparent’s occupations.

Am I the only one who has difficulty with this? Who comes up with these questions.

Jury Duty

by Finn

I don’t think we’ve ever discussed jury duty here.  I’ve had some recent experience, having been called, and sitting through a trial as an alternate juror.  This was my second experience with jury duty; my first was over 20 years ago, when I was seated in the jury box, but was the defense’s first peremptory challenge.

What has been your experience with jury duty?  Do you think it is something to avoid, or to you look forward to serving?  Please share your jury duty stories.

My Mom’s jury duty story:

My mom had never been called to serve until she was retired.  One night, a sheriff’s deputy drove over to her house to personally serve a jury summons, to which my mom responded along the lines of, great, I’ve always wanted to serve on a jury, and now that I’m retired I can serve as long as it takes, which totally flummoxed the deputy, who’d never had that sort of reaction.

So she shows up for the trial, makes it through the preliminary screening, gets seated in the  jury box, and…  was the first peremptory challenge.    She was never called for jury duty again.

Open thread

This week we’ll start the new format we discussed last week of having only three specific topics per week and three open threads.  Here’s the plan:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday — specific topics
Tuesday and Thursday — open threads
Sunday — politics open thread

Mon-Wed-Fri topic discussions can carry on to the next day to make it easier for more participants to chime in.  Tues-Thurs posts will allow new discussions to start without creating excessively long threads on the other days.  Sunday posts will remain as a place for hot-button topics to be discussed all week long.

We can tweak this format as desired, so keep your comments and suggestions coming in.

Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  Jury Duty (Finn)
Thursday  —  Open Thread
Friday  —  My paternal grandpa’s middle name?  (Cassandra)
Monday  —  The Portion Paradox and the Half Cookie  (Finn)

The Workplace – Annual Review

by Louise

This is the time of year when it’s time to take stock of different things related to our jobs. It’s open enrollment season, getting ready for performance reviews. It’s also time to look at changes in culture – impact of the MeToo movement (the Google walkout was notable), diversity efforts, different working arrangements and spaces.

We could also discuss impact of individual company performances (trouble at GE).

Totebaggers the company town hall or water cooler is open for discussion.

Politics Open Thread, Nov 4–10

Our starter topic comes courtesy of Rocky Mountain Stepmom.

Is Multiculturalism Bad for Women?

(Spoiler alert: Yes.)

By Susan Moller Okin, one of the very best Anglo-American feminist theorists of the late 20th – early 21st century. I just learned today that she died in 2004 at age 57, and I am sad about that. The article is rather long, but very readable and clear. She was always a clear, thoughtful writer.

Favorite Limericks

By WCE

Pelicans can hold up to three gallons of water in their bill, but only 1 gallon in their stomach, which is the equivalent of about 24 lbs in the bill to 8 lbs in the stomach. If the pelican catches more fish in its bill than it can fit in the stomach, then the excess is stored in its esophagus.

Dixon Lanier Merritt wrote this poem in 1910 about pelicans.

Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!

His bill holds more than his belican.

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week.

But I’m darned if I know how the helican.

This made me smile. Do you have a favorite limerick or other memorable story or phrase that makes you smile?

Controlling kids’ internet use

By tcmama

I realized tonight I should be monitoring what my kids are doing on their iPads. They are in second and third grades. Is there a way to monitor what websites they visit? Is there a way to block/restrict web access? What limits do you put on your kids? I am very lazy in some ways in regards to parenting, so I know that I have a blind spot in monitoring web activity