Trump’s Bizarre Philosophy on Exercise

Trump dining on KFC
President Trump eating KFC with a fork and knife. How refined.

President Trump believes people, like batteries, have a finite amount of energy to expend in their lifetimes. Exercise, therefore, can actually be detrimental to one’s health — a notion substantiated misguidedly in Trump’s mind by examples of friends his age who face hip and knee replacement procedures after lifetimes of regular exercise. Continue reading “Trump’s Bizarre Philosophy on Exercise”

Fluoride and Tea: Should You Be Concerned?

Fluorite Crystals
Courtesy of Parent Géry

The truth about fluoride in tea (and water) is a topic too important to ignore. Tea consumption used to be something I would limit solely based on daily caffeine intake. Nowadays, I take fluoride content into consideration as well. Continue reading “Fluoride and Tea: Should You Be Concerned?”

Pete Best’s Life Lessons

John, Paul, Pete and George

One of music’s saddest figures has been the focus of my attention lately. There’s so much to learn from the story of Pete Best, I felt compelled to write about it.

Best was the drummer for the Beatles from 1960–1962. Blindsided by his abrupt dismissal from the band shortly after they landed a recording contract, Best lost three good friends — never to speak with any one of them ever again — and watched their blistering rise to stardom.

It certainly wasn’t the first or last time something like this happened. Many bands see personnel changes before finding the right combination. Pete Best just happened to the guy who got booted from the most influential band in rock ‘n’ roll history at the moment in time their train to fame was seriously picking up steam.

Although a myriad of reasons for Best’s dismissal persist, it should be obvious to anyone who considers the evidence that his band-mates found a better drummer and Beatle personality in Ringo Starr. Pete was, in a sense, a historical placeholder.

Best managed to irk out a 20-year career in the UK Civil Service. By all accounts, he is a happy husband, father, brother, grandfather, and gracious human being.

He returned to music in 1988, touring all over the world. His band, The Pete Best Band, put out an album in 2008 that rivals anything Paul and Ringo have produced in recent years. Sure he relies heavily on his Beatles connection to fill rooms, and why not? Paul and Ringo have been doing it since 1970.

Lessons applicable to modern, workaday life can be gleaned from Pete Best’s story. We can learn about what pitfalls to avoid and how to overcome the most adverse circumstances.

Practice your craft

Perhaps things would have worked out better for Pete had he worked on his chops, and maybe that other Liverpudlian drummer wouldn’t have entered the story.

Show up for work

Maintaining a low level of absenteeism is a good idea if you care about your job because somebody more talented may likely take your place. Pete called in sick one to many times, the band called on Ringo to fill in, and the rest is history.

Secure employment does not exist

Pete claims he was blindsided by his firing from the Beatles. Many of us have experienced the same in the corporate world. Don’t forget you’re expendable. Be prepared for a job loss.

Do your best (no pun intended) in the face of adversity

Pete was devastated personally and humiliated financially after being fired from the Beatles. He continued in the music biz for a while before quitting. He then worked at a bakery until he landed a civil service gig. The point is: keep moving forward even if you find yourself without direction. Do what is necessary to survive. Hang on to your pride.

Be your own boss

I’ve tried this two times and failed, but I don’t regret it for a minute. If you want to prevent yourself from getting fired, consider starting your own business and working for yourself. Pete has his own band now with his name in the title; they can’t give him the boot … without changing the name.

It’s never too late

Whether it’s learning something new or resuming a pursuit long ago abandoned, any time is the right time. Pete returned to music in his mid-forties and has been making a living at it ever since.

Does Adding Milk Reduce Tea’s Health Benefits?

Tea with Milk

Tea is loaded with healthy antioxidants. Green tea has more, but black tea has plenty. And antioxidants are believed to improve vascular function in humans and other animals. So all this time, I thought I was doing well for my arteries when I enjoyed a cup of black tea with milk.

If you like your tea with milk too, you may be disappointed to learn that a certain type of protein in cow’s milk may negate the benefits of the antioxidants. At least, this is the conclusion of a 2007 study conducted in Germany.

In the study, 16 healthy females were given tea, some of which contained 10% skim milk. A high-resolution vascular ultrasound was administered to the subjects right before and two hours after consuming the tea. Those who had tea without milk showed improved flow-mediated dilation (FMD) while those who had tea with milk showed no FMD improvement.

Despite this study’s results and all the negative things I read about cow’s milk lately, my staunch love for milk — by itself or in combination with tea — goes on. But I do limit myself to one cup of black tea per day (ok, sometimes two), opting instead for a green or oolong tea in the afternoon, which can only be enjoyed sans milk.

If this information regarding the relationship between tea and milk is a hard pill for you to swallow, just do a little internet research on fluoride levels in tea. You may find yourself giving up the Camellia sinensis plant (and the red bush) altogether.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease: A Survival Guide for Parents

Our son ate lots of popsicles during Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

Coxsackievirus A16, commonly known as Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD), is a virus that typically strikes children under 5 years of age. Symptoms include fever followed by an outbreak of sores on the hands, feet, genital area, buttocks, and mouth.

Speaking from experience, the most difficult part of this illness is the discomfort your child will experience from the sores in his or her mouth. These sores prevented my son from eating and sleeping well for a few days. It was the most miserable I’ve ever seen him — far worse than the colds, ear infection, pink eye, and teething he’s endured.

From the information we gathered online, my wife and I thought we were doing right by giving our son acetaminophen (Tylenol) every four hours. According to most of the stuff I read, there’s nothing you can do except give a child pain medication and wait for the virus to run its course. A quick call to the doctor’s office, however, proved to be extremely valuable. So here are some tips based experience and medical advice received:

  • Motrin (Ibuprofen) is preferable to Tylenol in this case because in addition to reducing fever, it reduces inflammation, which really aids with the throat discomfort
  • A mixed dose of 3/4 teaspoon of Malox and 3/4 teaspoon of Benadryl before eating can help with swallowing
  • Cold liquids provide throat comfort and maintain hydration
  • Normal eating rules do not apply, so keep the child as well fed and hydrated as possible by offering him or her various foods
  • Your child may become an extremely picky eater during this ordeal; keep trying different foods
  • Popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, pudding, milkshakes, milk (with some fat and maybe Carnation Instant Breakfast), and avocados are all foods that can be served cold and help a child maintain a decent caloric intake level
  • Be prepared to comfort you child throughout the night

HFMD is not common in adults; however, my wife was lucky enough to catch it. It was much milder than what our son went through. She had a few bothersome canker-like sores in her mouth (but nothing in her throat) as well as insignificant sores on her hands and feet. She didn’t allow the HFMD to ruin a long weekend trip to Austin, though we did avoid certain cuisines because of the sores in her mouth.