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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sugar and Obesity in America

I still remember my flight back to America after four months in Tokyo. It was a United flight, and it followed four months of eating a predominantly Asian diet. United, of course, served "American" food on the way back to the States (as a matter of pride, I suppose), and the dinner was accompanied by a rather large block of chocolate cake. After having a few bites of whatever entree they had that evening (I remember some meat-like product covered with a rather thick gravy that obscured the blandness of the overcooked vegetables, but was undercut by a saltiness that can only be equated with taking a sip of Dead Sea water), I gave up and took a bite of the cake. It was so overwhelmingly saccharine that I could only muster a bite or two, at which point I resigned to hunger for the duration of the flight. Yet I was intrigued - the cake was no longer even a food item, but instead a vehicle for ingesting massive amounts of high-fructose corn syrup and other sugars. How had I not n…

Counting out of rhythm is like fingernails on a blackboard to me

Some things just bother the heck out of me. Right up there with global thermonuclear war and bumper-to-bumper traffic has gotta be counting out of rhythm. I don't know why it bothers me so much, but I have an almost visceral reaction to it.

The worst offenders for me are large sporting events. At some point, there is always an audience clap-along with a song. For some unbeknownst reason, large crowds will inevitably speed up to faster than the actual rhythm, falling into a vicious feedback cycle that pushes them more and more off-beat. It's a curious phenomenon, because wisdom of the crowds says that they should average out to the actual beat.

In any case, eventually they fall so far off that they either lose an entire beat, or the arrow of time has mercy on their poor out-of-rhythm collective consciousness and shifts forward, allowing them to perfectly align with just one beat before again jumping ahead of the rhythm. I'm usually the lone holdout, clapping along to the actu…