Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three New Diets for 2006

This year, like the last several, my New Years resolution has been to lose weight and eat healthier. In keeping with tradition, this lasted part of the first day and has since been ignored. Now that I'm getting back on the bandwagon, I've been researching weight loss methods and am forced to conclude that they are all inadequate. So I've developed three new plans which are sure to revolutionize weight loss as we know it.

The Induced Coma Diet
In this radical diet plan the body is put into a medically-induced coma while a watered-down glucose drip helps maintain hydration. This eliminates the element of willpower involved in most diets. At least the depravation of calories is hard to notice when one is in a comatose state. For those who just can't bring themselves to eat another carrot stick or spend another minute on the treadmill, this is the ultamite weight-loss plan.

There are risks, of course. Problems reviving someone from a coma must be considered. You shouldn't worry about this, however, because this plan results in guaranteed weight loss. In the end, you may not be conscious, but you will look good.

The Flu Diet
Every year the Center for Disease Control examines the strains of flu going around to determine which is the most likely to strike the population that year. Is it going to be the Austro-Asian Fevoid Flu or the Euro-Atlantic Grossiod Flu? The process is long and difficult and, in the end, millions of people get their flu shots hoping to stave off this sometimes devestating illness. This year, I'm rethinking this plan. Every time I get the flu, the resulting listlessness and vomiting make it nearly impossible for me to want to eat, let alone hold down food. Once I regain my ability to eat I'm excited by the culinary delights offered by a can of broth. I usually lose several pounds, all without excercise.

In this diet plan, we allow the CDC to solve the weight problems of faced by our increasingly obese nation. The problem is, once you come down with a strain of the flu, it's unlikely you can be striken again. However, the CDC must have thousands of different flu viruses stored in their big freezers. By creating an arsenal of various flu strains to which dieters can be exposed, we virtually eliminate the possibility of immunity to the devestating effects and create the possibility of amazing weight loss. So forget the flu shot and bring on the Martian flu!

The Online Gaming Diet
This year most of us in my family have become hopelessly addicted to the game World of Warcraft. While I can avoid turning it on and spend days without even playing, once I do play, I get totally sucked in.

"Hello? What do you mean pick the kids up from school? I just dropped them off!"
"But it's 5:00 and, by law, we have to send the kids home from school before their bedtime."
"O.K., I'll be there just as soon as I kill off the Horde infiltrators..."

As long as I'm gaming, I forget eating and sleeping. Somehow they become less important than the triumph of good over evil. "They're just pixels" I tell the kids when their computer time is over but I don't mean it, not really. Online games are compelling and can easily replace eating. This is the basic principle behind the Online Gaming Diet.

When you are examining your life, looking for ways to lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle, consider an addiction to online gaming. It's a logical choice. It's hard to change long-standing eating habits so start an entirely new habit to replace eating altogether. Once you've lost the weight, you can break the habit. There's probably a 12-step program out there somewhere. It's got to be easier than changing your diet and exercise habits, doesn't it?

Friday, January 6, 2006

My Kingdom for a Mug

I received this mug as a Christmas gift. It is the perfect mug, one worthy of a thorough examination. First of all, it holds 16oz when full. This is not precisely to the rim -- no! The measurement is accurate given a standard gap of space between the top of the liquid and the rim. The color is quite nice as well. It's not one of those smack-you-in-the-face bright sunshiny yellows. This is, for lack of a better phrase, a "mellow yellow."

The shape is probably the most compelling quality of my new mug. Perhaps "compelling" seems like a strong word considering that I'm talking about a small piece of very utilitarian pottery but I've come to really appreciate this mug and I'm certain others would feel the same if only they would simply EMBRACE THE MUG.

Back to the shape. The egg shape creates a sense of stately elegance while imparting an important practical value. This somewhat mutated spherical shape takes advantage of the well-known concept of maximum volume to surface area ratio which is a quality of spheres. Heat transfer from the contents to the air is enhanced by greater surface area. A square mug would make the coffee cool faster. But not this mug. Even the rim, which is narrower than the widest portion of the mug, contributes to this slower heat loss.

The rim is quite an interesting feature in and of itself. The rounded surface inside the mug, created by the narrow rim, means that gravity is working in the coffee's favor, keeping it in the mug and allowing a slower release of it as it is tipped or simply knocked around. Because of this, coffee is less likely to spill should I walk around and slosh my coffee or tea. I can bow to my clutsy nature and know that I'm protected. I can even be a little over enthusiastic about drinking my morning coffee (and who wouldn't be) because the rim protects me from simply dumping coffee all over me.

Alas, there is one characteristic which renders this object slightly less than perfect. Nothing is totally perfect, truly, and this mug is no exception. It's the handle. I have very small hands -- even my 9 year-old's hands rival mine for size. I can only slide three fingers through it, leaving the runty pinky finger to fend for itself. A mug handle that extends from the bottom to the top would accommodate larger hands. Most mugs have very small handles, like mine. I don't blame the mug though, I blame society. By looking the other way as mugs with inferior sized handles are manufactured, society has all but given its stamp of approval to small-handled mugs. It could simply be a matter of tradition overriding modern thinking. I still prefer my mug to any other, however, come coffee, come tea, come hot buttered rum!