Today’s Facebook Find – add weight to lose weight?

June 22, 2016

Worked for this guy in China — although, what he added was a 40kg rock he could carry on his head for years, via Mashable:

A 54-year-old man from Jilin, China, is making waves in his hometown, for his Iron Man-worthy exercise routine: daily walks with a 40kg rock balanced on his head.

According to CCTV News, it’s a common sight for locals to see Cong Yan walking on the streets with the heavy burden. He told reporters that he’s been training this way for the past four years.

Cong adopted the routine when he hit 115kg — an unhealthy weight for his 1.63 metre tall frame.

He worked his way up to the current rock weight and says that it’s been helping him slim down. I’m not sure if it’s “healthier than taking diet pills” as he claims, because isn’t he doing some potential damage to his neck and back that way?

In the first year, Cong walked 1.5km each day and managed to lose 30kg.

Now, he can walk for up to 3km and has even added boxing and running laps to his exercise routine — all while carrying the rock on his head.

Wouldn’t the commitment to walk 1.5km a day have helped by itself? I lost a lot of weight when I walked every day, too. Why add a rock on your head? Cheaper than wrist or ankle weights maybe..

Whatever. Whatever works for you, I guess. Kudos, buddy.


Photo opportunity.. because I’m lazy

June 22, 2016


Banned Book Club reads Fahrenheit 451

June 21, 2016

I got tricked into thinking it was a longer book; the 60th Anniversary Edition I snagged from the library is 2/3 story and 1/3 commentary and essays about the book and author, Ray Bradbury.

Montag lives in a future where the purpose of his job as fireman has less to do with saving lives and more about saving people from the ideas in books. After a chance meeting with a young girl who questions his purpose, Montag starts to consider the possibility that Clarisse was right. She knows pieces of their cultural history that she could have only gotten from books and she’s a stark contrast to his wife, Mildred, who spends every waking moment either hooked up at the ears to what passes for the internet in this dystopia, or watching the reality tv programs on every wall of the house. Clarisse vanishes and Montag steals a book he’s supposed to burn. This helps set off a domino effect of problems for himself and those he knows. He winds up escaping into the woods before bombs obliterate his hometown, finding a possible future among men who’ve also committed the crime of wanting to learn from the past and agrees to devote his life to memorizing the book he read, which turns out to be a piece of the Bible — Ecclesiastes.

Full of irony, that bit he remembers — here’s part of Chapter 1, bits bolded by me:

1 The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

“Meaningless! Meaningless!”
says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.”

What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.
All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
No one remembers the former generations,
and even those yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow them.


The book is filled with allusions and quotes to literary history – most of which went over my head on reading. I’ll quote this one from Heliweb:

First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), statesman and philosopher, is said to be one of the fathers of the American Dream and famous for his Autobiography . At the same time he is the founder of America’s first fire brigade, which came into being in Boston in 1736.

— at which point I simply must point to The Dollop podcast, which did an excellent rundown of the history of firefighting in the States. Amazing, crazy shit and totally worth a listen.

More from Heliweb:

Bradbury was obviously haunted by the idea of an atomic war: when he wrote his novel it was a few years ago only that the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Yet, the novelist is somewhat optimistic, if not naive, concerning the possibility for mankind to survive such a catastrophe: this seems to be possible for the so-called book people in the end, who live just a few miles away from the city which is destroyed by atomic bombing: however, they do not care about their being exposed to nuclear radiation.

And I never got the sense at the end of the story that it was atomic bombing that went on; I just thought whatever enemy blew the crap out of the town did so for no particular reason beyond there being a war going on. Which reminds me, wasn’t it Nagasaki that wasn’t even the intended target, but it was too cloudy for the first choice hit? (“Lucky” Kokura.)

I felt like I had read it before, but most of it still took me by surprise. What I did remember reading was a piece by Bradbury from the Coda about schools wanting to include the book in the reading syllabus but also wanting it heavily censored. From Villanova University:

Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953 by Ballantine Books, immediately captured the reading public’s imagination. A shorter version in novella form, “The Fireman,” had appeared in 1951 in Galaxy, a science fiction magazine. The novel takes place in a society that bans books which, if discovered, are then burned by firemen. The protagonist, Montag, a fireman, progressively becomes a believer in the value of books.

Ironically, Fahrenheit 451, an indictment of censorship, was itself censored by its publisher for thirteen years before Bradbury himself became aware of that. In 1967, Ballantine published an expurgated version of the novel to be used in high schools. Such words as “hell,” “damn” and “abortion” were eliminated.

In a novel of approximately one hundred and fifty pages, seventy-five passages were modified. Two episodes were actually changed. In one episode, a drunken man is changed to a sick man. In another, cleaning fluff out of a human naval becomes, in the expurgated version, cleaning ears.

Thus, part of the reason we include it in our banned book reading lists. Also, for content in general and the idea that the ideas in a book may be dangerous to read and share with others and may cause mass hysteria or confusion or trouble.

Makes me want to re-read Margaret Atwood’s classic, A Handmaid’s Tale, which we did as a banned book title some years ago. That was similar, at least in terms of creating a world where people were actively discouraged from learning anything. Same I suppose for 1984 and Brave New World, though in different ways, all books we’ve previously tackled as a group, which is why those links lead to previous posts of mine. Plug plug plug…

Question of Atheist Scruples – real life edition

June 20, 2016

An ex reaches out with this suggestion — what would you think of donating sperm?

A bit of anonymous backstory —

Relationships can be complicated and long lasting, even if the participants aren’t really in each other’s social circles anymore. A ten year anniversary apart, in this case, with several years in there of little to no contact at all.

But, this girl’s been involved for some years with a guy who has a history of putting off (and continues to put off) the notion of starting a family due to work or education or whatever may be the reason of the day. They’ve been rocky for this and other reasons from the sounds of things. It also sounds like the girl may just cut her losses and go on alone.. sort of.

She texted the 10 year anniversary guy to pose the question. The Man, being the sweet and honest man he is, let me know what had been going on in his messages yesterday regarding this. We had a good discussion.

I knew the girl briefly; we’d worked at the same place for a while. Saskatoon is smaller than it seems. I didn’t know she knew the Man until I’d known both of them for a while. Different social circles.

Life is fun.

Anyway, obviously nothing of this magnitude should be – or would be – agreed to in 5 minutes by text. It seemed more like “what if” kind of thinking, a contingency plan maybe.

On the topic of thinking, he already has one son from a previous relationship but we have no plans on adding a sibling ourselves. Anything he and the girl may decide to do winds up being between them as an arranged and legal contract agreement stipulating to whatever rights or the waiving thereof that they collectively would agree to.

There’d still be their folks and the Little Man to consider, though. Not that they need parental permission, being in their thirties, but would anything be said – or need to be said – to LM about his big brotherness here? It’d be shocking to discover later that a half-sibling’s in the world, though, wouldn’t it?

I’m reminded of some family history now, of a cousin whose kids learned their dad had a second family in town because those kids were going to the same damned school. The cousin didn’t know about it either but she was married to (or at least living with) the Sperminator at the time. It sounded like a hell of a mess, though.

The girl got her Master’s degree in some kind of biological science, I think, which doesn’t matter per se, except in terms of demonstrating her ambition. She’s no slouch. I’m sure she’s thought about what kind of impact single parenting would have on career prospects. Or at least, easy opportunities. She also has a history of “issues” to use a description that isn’t very explanatory. I can’t elaborate since I have no details, and should just leave it out, actually, but won’t. Everyone has issues that affect how they think or behave in certain situations. Thinking things out in this Q of S kind of way can’t prove you’d behave that way if that situation really happened to you.

I’ll leave it here. Thoughts?

Question of Atheist Scruples – trust in the workplace

June 20, 2016

You think you are a trusted employee. But after a theft, you are asked to submit to a lie detector test. Do you?

The point of a polygraph machine is to measure physiological changes. It’s not catching lies so much as it’s measuring reaction based on previously established baselines for heart rate and other things. Via Live Science:

When you’re taking a polygraph test, the machine first registers the baseline of your vital signs. Examiners then trick you into lying by asking you a series of “control” questions that are only distantly related to the issue they’re investigating, such as “Did you ever lie to get out of trouble?” or “Have you ever committed a crime?” Most examinees will answer “no” to such questions they’re trying to come across as honest but examiners assume that the answer to at least one control question will really be “yes” (after all, you’ve probably lied at some point or another, and jay-walked). As soon as the examinee tells such a white lie, it puts a blip on the polygraph machine that serves as a signature of that examinee’s lies.

Must be a pretty big theft to be bringing in experts. I’d probably wind up admitting to bringing a pen home and maybe not paying for a bit of personal photocopying (yet), but whatever kind of big ticket thing went out the door.. wasn’t me…

But now I’m reminded of my Walmart days. Fuck, I hated that job. (Meeting the Man there is the highlight of the years of long service.) Well, more I hated it after I got booted out of Electronics into Fashion. Why was I moved? I suspect it was (partly) because of this:

The video games were kept in cabinets for obvious theft reasons — although personal DVD players weren’t and many empty boxes were found in Infants’ Wear, a popular spot for people to hide their thieving because many days/nights nobody would be working in there. I digress…

I’d opened the Playstation cabinet (I think it was) to get a system for a guy and (yes, this was against store policy) handed it to him while I locked the case, probably because someone else needed into another one, but I don’t remember anymore. The game area was always busy.

He wandered off and I, Honest Minion, assumed he took it to the till to pay for it. Most people would. I find out later that he actually did a runner. Huh. How ’bout that.

I get called into a meeting with my assistant manager a few days later, having already forgotten that happened, and he asks me if I know why I’m there. I say I don’t know. He reminds me. “Oh, that,” I said. I guess I wasn’t contrite enough. I didn’t grovel enough or flog myself or kiss his boots and beg for mercy.

Shit went missing there all the time. There wasn’t proof that I was in cahoots with the dude. I honestly assumed he’d gone to pay for the thing.

Anyway, back to the question. I’d probably be annoyed to be wired up but hopefully everyone else would also be getting questioned, that all the suspicion wouldn’t be centered on me. That’s all I got, really.

Pop culture stress and theft — Sliding Doors did a neat thing as a movie, featuring a scene where Gwyneth Paltrow’s character gets fired for “stealing a bottle of wine” she intended to replace. The movie is set so that the audience can watch two futures unfold, one where she catches the train home after getting sacked, thus catching her boyfriend in bed with another woman and one where she misses the train and has no idea what’s going on without her knowledge. I thought it was pretty well done.

The from The IT Crowd:

Sounds of Sunday – a little Leonard Cohen

June 19, 2016

Not stopped, just busy

June 19, 2016

I don’t know what I have for readers anyway, but I’d gone to an auction this weekend for my uncle’s farm/house things.

Vinyl & 8-track combo

Vinyl & 8-track combo

I've only read some of these, they didn't sell

I’ve only read some of these, they didn’t sell

I loved this picture but not enough to bid on it

I loved this picture but not enough to bid on it

apple crates and other antiques sold well

apple crates and other antiques sold well

Note the fixed wooden pedal. So much riding of this.

Note the fixed wooden pedal. So much riding of this.

Nifty boot puller thing

Nifty boot puller thing

I spent a big chunk of my childhood in that yard, a 10 minute walk from my own yard. So many cousins around every summer from all corners of the country, and so much fun. Those were the days…