Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Updates, two and a half years on the Shangri La Diet

For posts on the diet, click on Shangri-la Diet

The diet still works for me. That is my "after" photograph, taken when I reached 189 pounds. I've been at (or below) that weight for two years now, down from about 245. It still works. The only real lasting change I've made is that I've quit eating sugar with my yogurt. While losing weight, I would eat three cups of non-fat yogurt a day, flavored with sugar -- between half a cup and a cup of sugar a day. After reading Taubes, I suddenly found myself unwilling to eat sugar, so I've been doing without it since. Does not seem to have made a difference, and I've learned to like the flavor of unsweetened yogurt.

I take a couple ounces of water and three or so tablespoons of extra light olive oil once a day. No flavors for an hour before or after I take it. It depresses my set point and my weight and appetite take care of themselves. If I exercise at a high intensity two-three times a week, I drop the oil back to two tablespoons a day. I had some "failures" in taking the oil in the middle of the night, but all of those occurred on vacations. Since then I've discovered that in normal life the middle of the night works as well as any other time. The water just makes it much easier to drink the oil without gagging.

Before SLD (Shangri La Diet) I ate probably three times as much food as I do now and enjoyed it less. Taubes-style eating is low carbohydrate, but not ultra-low carbohydrate (i.e. I'm basically skipping sugar and white flour and replacing it with mixed salads and low glycemic index fruits).

For people who are interested in trying SLD, I recommend that they pick up a large container of extra light (less flavor) olive oil (referred to as ELOO) at Costco or SAMS. Pick up a measuring cup at a pharmacy or find a tablespoon measure at the house. For the first week, pour an ounce of water in a cup and a tablespoon of ELOO. Drink some water before bedtime and when you wake up in the middle of the night, swirl it and then drink it down, go back to sleep. If you start losing weight, you've hit the right dose. If not, in week two add another tablespoon. Keep adding until you start losing weight.

There are lots of other ways to approach it, different oils to try, lots of things that you can do. However, olive oil improves your cholesterol, will help with your triglycerides and has other health benefits. It is also easy to find and reasonable in price and doesn't require any strange gymnastics to drink (people are out there who use fresh pressed flax oil, nose clips and such in order to take it without any flavor -- the same with fish oils, coconut oil, etc. ELOO works well and is good for you).

If you take the slow approach your body will adjust to the ELOO (it takes different enzymes for your body to digest different oils. Just because you have a big mac and french fries every day -- and get more oil than three tablespoons of ELOO, don't think you can switch immediately).

Anyway, that is how the Shangri La Diet is working for me. Pretty much an automated part of the background in my life these days. So if you were wondering if it was like the usual diet people blog about (i.e. lots of excitement, success, and then it fails and they quit talking about it and move on to something else) or if it had just gotten boring (hey, it works, but after a year or two of "it works" and my weight is at a good place, what is there to say), the answer is "it has become normal" so blogging about it almost feels like mentioning that I was breathing today.

Old news. Unless you are trying to lose weight. Then I'd suggest you give it a try. Nothing I've ever done was as simple or as effective -- or worked long term, year after year.
"A McDonald's large order of fries is 30g of fat. Add one of the big sandwiches, such as the Quarter Pounder, or the Big Mac, and you're adding another 25 - 30 grams of fat. So one of these meals is more than twice what you'd get in the 2 T. ELOO you take on SLD. And that doesn't even address the quality of the fat. Tell your mom to relax. Good luck!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"I'm not afraid to die," she said

My buddy about died when his wife broke it to him that she needed more tests with that phrase. She thought she had metastasized ovarian cancer. Turns out it was a false positive and she is fine.

He asked me about it, and honestly, I'm not sure I disagree with her approach. Glad they are ok, she was awfully young (guess she still is rather young).

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Call the judge, I'm going to be late, my car is on fire

That was me to my office today.

First I get rear-ended (I'm in the middle of a five car pile-up, stopped for traffic).

Next, after the delay for the police and the information exchange, as I drive off, my car starts on fire.

Then, someone calls in and gives the dispatcher a "better" address -- one eight blocks away from where I just told them I was.

So, I call back and insist that I, watching my car burn, have a better idea of where my car is than the mystery caller.

Sigh. Who would have known that rear-ending a Volvo could cause it to catch on fire.

My knee hurts, my back hurts, I'm ok, but I'm going to bed.

At least the judge was understanding. Oh, and the legal file survived, though it is kind of wet and smells of smoke. My tolltag got cooked, so it is being replaced. I suspect that my car will not be revived.

/Sigh. At least it makes a funny story.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An establishment of religion?

Now, we understand that the FLDS prayers are to be monitored by members of the LDS (Mormon) Church. This betrays the Court's absolute and oblivious ignorance of the faith and cultural idiosyncrasies of the families it is so forcibly displacing. It would be like having a Catholic priest monitor the prayers of the members of a Jewish synagogue. (The LDS Church doesn't want anything to do with modern day practitioners of polygamy, actively excommunicates its own members who practice polygamy, and has categorically denied that "Fundamentalist Mormons" even exist.)

I'd say it is rather like requiring all Lutheran prayers to be supervised by a Catholic Priest (not that I haven't known some good ones, including my aunt's brother).

I think she has it right, one religious group ought not to be supervising the prayers of another.

I remain terribly conflicted.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Restless Heart

About twenty years ago or so (in 1990) I bought my wife a CD.
Wheels by Restless Heart

This last Friday we were able to see them in concert (they've done a reunion tour). How close did we get to the band, someone asked, when I said we were close enough to touch the stage. Close enough to get a "high five" from a band member, close enough that the thump from the base came from behind instead of in front. It is actually not as loud that close as it is far away.

It was so much fun to be with my wife. I'd wanted to catch them in concert, and it was nice to have the chance. When I realized that the parking was comp'ed I almost felt like I was stealing (the tickets were $20.00 each).

Nice to be out with memories and someone I love so very much.

As an aside, Jessica had the bluest eyes in Texas. That song always makes me think of her.

Listen 7. The Bluest Eyes In Texas

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I can be conflicted at times. The recent FLDS in West Texas story, for example.

On the one hand it is a genetic mess, from the DNA up. Inbreeding, incest, and all the rest. I feel an atavistic horror for what they have created when I think about it.

On the other hand, in the past the mass raids resulted in many of the people returning to the lifestyle or leading broken lives. I know from having served as an ad litem that there are many, many hardworking and good CPS people. At the same time, I also know that once a kid is in the system, the chance that they will be exploited, sexually abused and turned into a displaced person can be very, very high.

In addition, huge parts of the culture in Texas (and other places) now feature "Baby Daddies" -- that is an older man who has impregnated someone, but who doesn't have much of a relationship, probably pays no child support. The girl (most are younger teens) will often have children by several baby daddies before she is old enough to graduate high school. The men, all older by almost a generation, will have multiple mothers of their children.

Nothing is being done to end that cycle. Laced with drugs, exploited girls, broken family units and multiple STDs, it looks even worse than the FLDS mess.

But does that mean that the FLDS should have a free pass to exploit and discard children? As Paul would say, God forbid. But is this the best way to intervene or the fairest?

I'm at a loss for a bottom line, other than to be terribly sad.

I may be a lawyer in Texas, but that doesn't mean I have any answers that are better than what others have had to say. Sometimes all I know is that I don't at present know the best answer.

For others writing on the topic:
See also Beds and Temples from an ex-FLDS member.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

12,000 hits a day

My website runs 12,000 hits a day (well, averages somewhat more, before correcting upward for caching, but rounding down is always safe). My blog runs 4.5k page views a month at its absolute best (closer to 3.0k on a normal month).

But the blog seems to reach some people that it helps, the website just kind of runs along. Glad I'm not generating revenue, so I find that hits don't matter as much as they might, it is more about who I reach that needed it.

Interesting, because when I started blogging, I saw blogging as a once a month or less endeavor, a way to taper off a hand coded blogish sort of thing I started September 16, 1997. I was pretty ragged then, I often consider going back and cleaning up the entries, but smoothing them out seems as if it robs them of the immediacy and the reality that they had.

Interesting to look back. In 1997 I never would have imagined I'd be blogging like I am now. Heck, the word blog wasn't around yet, none-the-less the Bloggernacle.

The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[39] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog in April or May of 1999.[40][41][42] This was quickly adopted as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog").

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Poofs, Snoofs, Loofs and Plosers-- advice


A loof is a cross between a loser and a doof.

Example: I definitely don't want to be a loof.
(A good alternative term seemed like Ploser, since I don't see it registering much in search engines, except that with an umlaut it is a name.)

Some people are so pathetic that when they are hostile, or attempt to be cruel, or say terribly stupid or callous things, all I feel is pity for them.

I used to call them poofs, as in terminally lightweight. Unfortunately, the word has a more common meaning (which I learned in my forties -- I should have watched more Monty Python), so I've been looking for a replacement. I was going to steal the word snoof, but I discovered it had some well established meanings as well.

But loof, which I ran across while looking at the other words, "a cross between a loser and a doof" pretty much catches it.

When your child has just died and someone comes up to you and says "It seems bad to you, but while I have a seven figure income, my second wife just left me, my life is much worse and you should spend some time being sorry for me rather than wasting your sorrow on your loss" (which really happened to me), instead of getting angry or upset or taking it to heart, you should think to yourself, "What a loof, he is right, if he is that shallow and self-centered his life is much worse than mine."

Some people can find that by realizing that most people are "children of God" -- not rational, responsible adults -- and by thinking of them as just having made a mess in their diapers whenever they do something terribly insensitive, it just doesn't bother you any where near as much. "Don't take him seriously" I said of one such guy, "He's just a poof."

Now that I know about the other meaning of the word, and have a good replacement, when someone comes to me in anguish, I can say instead "Don't take him seriously, he's just a loof." With a full diaper.

BTW, loof has a secondary meaning, it is the Israeli equivalent of spam, canned mystery meat, but Kosher. I don't think the secondary meaning hurts it at all.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

My faith in piercings continues ...

For what it is worth, I have always gotten better than average service from people with piercings.

The latest was at the Apple Store. My iPod died after a number of crashes. I suspect a lose internal coupling (since it came back to life in the middle of their checking it out when it got dropped on the counter). But they took excellent care of me, replaced it with an identical, but new, iPod and were professional and polite. As such things go, an excellent experience.

Strange, but everyone on the service end had lots of piercings, which actually made me feel calmer, given my experiences.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Best April 1 post I've seen so far:

Page is very slow loading.

DIAMOND BAR, California (AP) -- In what some may consider an unexpected move, rap artist "Snoop Dogg" has reportedly converted to Mormonism after nearly a year of study with the fast-growing, Utah-based faith.


Snoop Dogg says he "can't get enough of the Book of Mormon."

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Snoop Dogg -- whose real name is Calvin Broadus -- said he considers himself extremely fortunate to have discovered such a deep sense of spiritual fulfillment at this stage in his life.

“Mr. Broadus is also very pleased to find that his family is as enthusiastic about attending church services as he is,” the spokeswoman said.

However, Snoop Dogg has not been enthusiastic about publicly sharing his experience and declined to be interviewed by CNN for this article. In fact, he reportedly informed producers of his E! reality show "Snoop Dogg's Father Hood" that this particular aspect of his family's life was off-limits to the cameras. Still, he left open the possibility of addressing the subject in future episodes.

According to the Associated Press, Snoop Dogg was first introduced to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as the Mormon Church is officially known, after attending a Gladys Knight concert in an LDS meeting house in Los Angeles.

Knight, who very publicly discusses her conversion to Mormonism several years ago, invited Snoop Dogg to what is known to the Mormon faithful as “Family Home Evening,” a church program that encourages families to set aside Monday evenings for gospel-centered lessons and family togetherness.

Though Snoop Dogg has been hesitant to publicly discuss his recent spiritual journey, he commented on the experience of attending his first “Family Home Evening” in a recent interview with People Magazine.

“I was hooked from the start,” Snoop Dogg said. “We talked about the purpose of life, played Mousetrap, and ate brownies. The kids thought it was off the hook, for real.”