June 17, 2007

Random Research and Rambling; Plus a Plea for Help

In keeping with the new laid-back weekend approach to Cranky Fitness, Crabby will just throw a few things out there and not worry too much about making this into a coherent post. Weekends are especially informal here. So take off your shoes, sip on a tasty ice tea, draft beer, or other favorite beverage, and get comfortable! You can even belch if you want. Crabby's being informal and sloppy; please join her.

First off, a recommendation for any parents who haven't already discovered it yet: Strollerderby is a wonderful blog! Smart and funny and informative. Lots of daily posts, too, (not just one like stingy Cranky Fitness) and all written by witty and likable bloggers. Crabby has a particular appreciation for Kelly, who is always amusing and has been very nice to Cranky Fitness, but there other great bloggers over there as well.

So this month's copy of Prevention magazine arrived, and after a quick perusal, Crabby thought she'd steal some interesting research tidbits from them:

Women's desks at the office harbor three times as many bacteria as men's do. Crabby would have totally guessed the opposite. Whats the reason? More snacks, lotions, make-up, and personal items at women's desks. Further googling revealed that the study was done by Charles Gerba at University of Arizona, and was commissioned by the Clorox Co. This may explain the startling conclusion: that disinfectant wipes should be used to address the problem.

Orange tomatoes contain more cancer-fighting lycopene that red ones. (Again, Crabby would have guessed wrong, since red seems like a more intense color than orange. Color intensity is Crabby's ballpark method of estimating Vegetable Virtuousness).

And surgeons who play a lot of video games make 32% fewer errors than other surgeons who don't play them. Another surprise! Does the ability to shoot down aliens on a game console really help when it comes to removing a pancreas? Apparently so. More info can be found here.

Finally, Crabby would just like to say thank you to all the great people who come visit Cranky Fitness, and especially to those who take the time to comment! Unfortunately, it seems to be getting harder to find the time to respond to each one individually every time. And ironically, it is often the discussions that generate the best comments that Crabby is the most likely to get behind, panic, and just cop out with a big group thanks at the end.

At some point, Crabby will have to figure out some sort of system for intermittent responding that isn't completely arbitrary and obnoxious. She would love to be a blog like Tennessee Text Wrestling, for example, where Thomma Lyn responds personally and graciously every time someone comments. But Crabby is neither as nice nor as efficient as Thomma Lyn, and she's already falling well short of this ideal.

On the other hand, there are many fine blogs where the hosts don't tend to dip down into the comments section at all, or very rarely, and no one seems to mind. Crabby's not sure she wants to be this hands-off, however.

So is there a way to be in-between? How does a blogger answer some comments and not others without offending people? If any seasoned bloggers out there have helpful suggestions, Crabby would love to hear them!


  1. Women's desks at the office harbor three times as many bacteria as men's do.

    This doesn't tell us how much bacteria are on men's desks, only that women's desks have 3x more. So we could be talking anywhere from 3 measly little germs to bajillions of them.

    It also doesn't tell us what kind of bacteria it is. Some bacteria, like acidophillus, is good for you!

    Furthermore, one tends to adapt to the bugs in ones own environment, so the presence of bacteria at one's own desk (or home, etc) isn't necessarily cause for alarm unless one is getting sick from it.

    And yeah, wouldn't you just know Clorox had a hand in the research?

    I'm all for cleaning stuff (or even better, having someone else clean it), but there's no need for the media to get all alarmist about something that's obviously not harming anyone. I've never heard of anyone ending up in the hospital on a vancomycin drip because they sat too long at their office desk, although it wouldn't make a half-bad excuse for calling in sick.


  2. Hi bunnygirl!
    You make some really good points.

    And yeah, there's always some article telling us how many Evil Germs are somewhere we had no idea--yet I think exposure to daily "germs" is probably actually pretty healthy. I think sitting at a desk all day is problematic, but not because of the germs!

  3. Oh for dog's sake. Germs and bacteria are good for you. Not all of 'em, of course, but if you keep everything too clean you have no immune system left. Not to suggest that we wallow in filth, mind you, but too clean is sick, sick, sick.
    Oh, and disinfectant wipes are the root of all evil.

    As for the comments trail, well Crabby, you've spoiled us. It might be best wean us slowly from responding to every comment like you so kindly and wittily do, but we will understand. Through our pain and yowls,we will understand.

    Perhaps a blanket thank you and a few personal responses here and there when you feel moved to do so. After all, your responses to our comments keep us coming back.

  4. I am a disinfectant wipe user *gasp!!!*. Only on the bathroom though. In my experience soap and water in most other rooms does the trick. To me, the bathroom is a whole other ball of wax. That study just feeds off the stereotypical notion that women fear illness and germs more than men do.

    I like your individual comments, but I understand that there isn't always time to get to them all.

  5. Hi leah,
    Oh cool, you discovered the root of all evil! (I thought it was twelve year old children, but that was just a wild guess).

    And I sure don't plan to stop responding individually entirely. Because I really like doing it. It's just when I've been away for a bit and I get a whole bunch of comments backed up that I think, Yikes!

    Hi goinggone!
    Gasp indeed! (Actually I've sometimes even been known to use antibacterial soap, even though I know we're not supposed to, but I have contact lenses and somehow feel like that justifies it, if I only use it before I put in my contacts. Makes no sense, I know).

    And thanks so much for stopping by again!

  6. Bugs are good! I suspect that there is an entire colony of bugs living in the keyboard of my computer, devouring cream filled apple donut crumbs, and without them, the keys would have jammed up years ago!

    This commenting things is interesting. Now I don't have enough commenters to respond to that it is a problem for me (although I live in hope!) but I can see that the Crab is on to bigger and brighter things!

    How about you introduce the "CRAB"? This would be an acronomyn that "old hands" on your site would use in their comment that tells you no response is expected. Newbies to your site wouldn't know about the "CRAB" so wouldn't use and would be welcomed and chatted to. However they would see others using the "CRAB" and would come to see how desirable it would be for them to use it. This would make them one of Crabby's select group! So they would feel loved and cherished by yourself whilst you don't have to do anything at all!

    The "CRAB" would stand for something like Crab Reticence Approved Buddy - or something like that.

  7. Crabby, you worry too much. Worry is bad. Nobody minds being part of a group thank-you. Except me. You should always respond to my responses with an individual one.

    And I'd like your responses to mine to be in a different colour from everyone else's. Oh, and a different font.


    And I don't for one minute believe that women's desks are filthier than men's. The Chlorox dudes just knew that men wouldn't care and wouldn't use those stupid wipes anyway. Women, especially women who TEND TO WORRY ABOUT THINGS, would read it, think "OMG!" and rush out to de-germinize their desks.

  8. Dawn,
    That sounds like an inspired idea!

    However, as clever as it is, I'm sure I would just start ignoring it sooner or later, because the very people who would most likely use it are the I-don't-want-to-be-a-bother folks. These tend to be my favorite people, and I love to chat with them.

    But I might, when I get way behind, considering saying hi to newer folks on busy posts and hope that the regulars know I'll be right back to normal once I get a bit more caught up.

    Frank, as usual, you crack me up. And you're right. For a supposed "slacker" I'm pretty freakin' neurotic. And were I able to make this a different color I would, but I'm hoping you'll be content with italics for today.

    And is anyone else having weird things going on with their Posting Time and Date functions? I have no idea what P.D. means; I sounds like some post-apocalyptic time denomination. Did the world actually end and no one knows it but Blogger?

  9. Crabby you are unusually welcoming and friendly in your comments, at least compared to most of the blogs I read. I immediately felt at home here. Honestly, though, I don't mind if I don't get a direct personal response to every comment. Once you've whipped your commenters into shape, we can talk amongst ourselves :-)

  10. Love your posts Crabby!!!

    I agree with everyone else...some germs are good for us and help boost our immune system.

    As for commenting? I also try to respond to all comments, but some I just don't know what to say!! I also don't get many comments.

    Personally I don't care if a blogger answers my comment or not....unless I ask a question. I hate it when I ask a question and get no response...especially when posts are being moderated!!

  11. Hmm, so I see post-apocalypse time is now MD, not PD. WTF? I swear I'm not doing anything weird at my end.


    Hi Peggy!
    That's reassuring. 'Cause I think I've resigned myself to the fact that some days I'm just not getting to them all.

    But you make a great point about commenters "talking amongst themselves." I always forget to do that when I'm on other blogs, but I love it when people do that on mine. When someone says..."I agree with halfwit," or "StuckUp makes a great point..." it always makes me happy. (Even when people mix it up a little, as long as they're polite!)

    Hi Cindy,
    I totally agree about that question thing, especially if it's a techie/help type blog. And thanks for coming by and being so friendly!

  12. I think that surgeons who never make mistakes, play video games 50% better than surgeons who do make mistakes! :-)

  13. Hi Dr. J!
    You know, when you put it that way, it makes a lot more sense. Thanks!

  14. Well, looky here. You've tied things up nicely and then here I come again.

    About the comments. I think it's important for your readers to see that your "Crabby-ness" is a very funny persona, but not neccessarily all of who you are. I think when you come down to the comments page you add another more personal dimension to your value.
    Having said that, I would never be dissapointed if you didn't respond to a comment I made. Maybe with the folks who've been around you could be a wee bit more sporadic in the "returns"? Or a group response would work too maybe?
    I always enjoy your responses but would be fine if they only happened now and then or when you felt like you REALLY had to respond to it.

  15. Crabby,
    I love your comments and this blog has always felt more like a community than a place where someone just spouts off their opinions. However, it would make me sad if you get so burned out with commenting that you no longer had enough crab energy to keep up with new posting.

  16. Hi katieo!
    Thanks--it's good to know that I won't totally discourage "regulars" whom I love chatting with so much if sometimes I get a bit behind and miss a few return comments. 'Cause the interaction with all the smart people who come here is really my favorite part! (And I do like being a bit less Crabby down here).

    Hi Holly!
    Thank you! And yeah, I do need to watch out a bit for burn-out--I don't know how some people fit blogging into a nice tidy corner of their busy day; I think they must be way more efficient than I am. I want to be able to keep doing this, but also get a little time back to take care of some other things too. But I love it down here in the comments section, and don't think I'll be cutting down drastically. Maybe just on some days when I get behind. Thanks so much!

    Oh, and if anyone was wondering what I was nattering on about with "P.D. and M.D"--it's fixed now. I'd inadvertently reset the date field into Albanian.

    No joke. Albanian is the first language choice on the drop down menu.

  17. ha-ha! Many hello's to all of the Albanians out there!!

  18. hi holly,
    it was totally freaking me out, I couldn't figure out what was going on! Maybe I should just start publishing my posts in Albanian too.

  19. While your rapid response to comments is really classy and adds to the atmosphere of the blog community you are building up, I don't think any readers expect you to turn around every single comment they leave nor quite as fast as you seem to do. In fact, I think most people would rather know you are taking time to slip out of the techno-cave and live life outside the blogosphere a bit. Grab a hat, sunscreen and go outside to play. Fresh air's good for ya. No, opening a window doesn't count.

    Don't pull a hammy over it, ya know?

  20. Hey there.. I'm really bad about commenting back on the comments that are left.I tend to visit the commenting blogger and leave them a comment. Haphazard and unrelated, I know..

  21. I don't know what to say about the comments because the best of the best blogs I see and especially blogs that pay folks usually have personal responses to most or all comments. So I think it's smart to try and keep up. BUT people here leave longer comments than almost any blog I've seen lately so keeping up must be getting pretty hard.

    Here's what I'd do. If you have the time and inclination you could continue to comment back often but as you've built up some loyal readers you could also do the, "What grabbed me" comment -- which simply means once or twice per post you wrangle through the comments and find a few key points made by commenter's that you really enjoyed and point them out.

    Since you've already established that you enjoy responding to everyone on a personal level it's assumed that you like us all already and would if you could but people get that, that's hard. As long as you're not always pointing out key points by say, Samantha only no one should feel bad (I would think). I've done this successfully with a work blog I had before that was really comment heavy. I'd use a basic thanks everyone start up and then say something like, "And by the way did you notice how so and so plus other so and so said..." I mixed it up enough that I could eventually include all my regulars.

    Okay, now I'm waiting for you to comment on this -- or I'm never reading this blog again! (Kidding). Hope you figure out a good system.

  22. norabarnacle,
    Thanks so much! And you're right, the blog is going to get pretty lame in boring if I never leave the computer to write it. Sunshine? That's a source of vitamin D, right? Oh, sunshine--that warm bright stuff outside!

    hi smartcookie!
    Actually, that's a really sensible strategy. And I find the better I am about responding to comments here, the worse I am about visiting people elsewhere, which isn't good either.

    Thanks for all your help! I often find myself looking to you for advice on this stuff. I don't know how you manage to deal with a bunch a different blogs, all those postings, responding to comments, and visiting other people too. And I'm guessing the offbeat homes blog takes a fair amount of research. You always find such cool weird stuff.

  23. Oh Crabby, I have the same problem. I want to respond to every comment but lately it seems that I just don't have the time. I'm trying though. I can definitely relate

  24. Hi Martha!
    Well, in your case you post a lot and on lots of different blogs, so you have a good excuse. I just have this one!

    I was going to say hi to you on Gadling but somehow my login info got eaten & I'm waiting for it to recognize me again. Thanks for stopping by!

  25. The video-game/surgeon thing doesn't surprise me. I'm a cancer survivor who plays video games as part of a regimen for healing the brain fog and neuropathic effects caused by chemotherapy. Using brainteasers, puzzles, action games, etc help the brain wire connections in new ways and reinforce and enhance eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills.

  26. Thanks Wolfster!
    I keep hearing that video games can be good for you, but somehow get stuck on my prejudices of adolescents "wasting" time and the whole encouragement of violence thing. But common sense tells me a lot of them can actually be helpful, and I had no idea about their use in conjunction with chemotherapy. Really appreciate you stopping by with that info!


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