June 20, 2008

Random Friday: Beverages, Blow-ups and Bar Graphs

[Posted by Crabby]

Hmm, Which One is Crabby?

Yes, it's been a while since a Random Friday, but don't worry--it's still just as dopey as ever. Merry is taking some well-deserved time off, thereby lowering the standards of the blog. Pray for her speedy return!

Let's start with a little bit of science, shall we?

Gay Brains:
A brain scan study of gay and hetero brains found surprising differences--with gay men and straight women sharing some characteristics that differed from straight men and lesbians. These were "in the area of the brain responsible for emotion, mood and anxiety." The brains of straight guys and lesbians "were slightly asymmetric with the right hemisphere slightly larger than the left," while gay male and straight female brains were not. And the amygdala (the "fight-or-flight" area) was wired in a similar fashion in gay men/heterosexual women vs gay gals/straight men.

(Note to self: learn better bar-fighting skills and how best to avoid crying at sad movies. Or at least find out why I was apparently issued the wrong model of brain at birth. Consider visiting Healthbolt to take the "what sex is your brain" test).

More Good News on the Beverage Front:
At least if you enjoy coffee and/or red wine.

For java junkies, especially the gals: A new coffee study found that women who drank two to three cups of coffee a day had an 18% reduction in death from all causes compared to non-coffee-drinkers. But what about 4-5 cups a day, that can't be good, right? Well ha ha ha! The women who drank that much had a 26% reduction in risk. (However, the risk reduction in men was small enough it could have been due to chance).

And as for the health benefits of red wine? Well, as you may recall, previous research had shown that an ingredient in red wine, resveratrol, extended longevity in mice. But these studies were done with high doses, which is a problematic if you're trying to generalize to humans, given the obvious inadvisability of guzzling several cases of merlot every night. However, this new research was done with much lower doses, implying that even modest amounts of resveratrol can "can elicit many of the same benefits as a reduced-calorie diet," including "a robust intervention in the retardation of cardiac aging."


Losing Your Cool:
Do you have kids on sports teams? Does it ever drive you crazy to go to their games and watch obnoxious parents behave like complete assh*les and spoil everything? Well, you may want to visit Juicebox Mom at Just Here for the Snacks and print off some copies of her handy and humorous guide: Parents--How to Behave on the Sidelines.

And speaking of Complete Obnoxiousness, this awesome video has been around the net for a while (and there is now a musical version). But for those who haven't seen the vintage Bill O'Reilly meltdown, it is worth watching a World-Class Prick Professional performing at the peak of his powers.

(And O'Reilly has plenty of company, if you want to see a compilation of similar on-camera temper tantrums).

How Much is Too Much?
Here at Cranky Fitness we can't really be accused of "overdoing it" when it comes to rigorous exercise. Nor are we overzealous when it comes to nutrition or personal development or anything else that requires sustained effort. However, some of you out there are quite dedicated and motivated! You may sometimes run into the problem of Doing Too Much.

Are you overdoing it on your exercise routine? Charlotte over at The Great Fitness Experiment has an insightful post on over-training, (and a great follow-up too) that could be a valuable intervention for anyone easily seduced by a "More is Better" approach to fitness. Sometimes more is NOT better.

And similarly, Semi-Charmed Wife asks a lot of good questions about the constant quest for self-improvement and whether it's always healthy. (She doesn't presume to have the answers, either, which is refreshing).

Random Internet Wanderings:

Did you know that the Lolcat people have spawned yet another user-generated humor site that can assist you in avoiding work for hours? Well, it's true, damn it. It's especially suited for people obsessed with popular song lyrics and charts and graphs and such.

song chart memes
plenty more at the graphjam site.

And another cool thing? There are cartoons on the web! Who knew?

Comic courtesy of xkcd

Have a great Friday, folks!


  1. What a pleasure to see Billy there have a fit over the teleprompter. And thanks for more time wasters, I mean, I try to avoid about 8 hrs of work every day, so anything helps.

  2. Good to have the round-up back. It was gratifying enough when I learned chocolate was a health food. Now that coffee is, well, life just gets better and better. They're so good together it's easy to forget they're good for you.

  3. First off, I love XKCD so much that I want to have its stick-figure baby (did you SEE that one? I laughed until I peed). Second, I cannot believe you told me about graphjams. I already have an embarrassing weakness for icanhazcheeseburger. Now I'll never get anything done again!

    Thanks for the shout out - that's my mission in life, to be an example of what not to do! ;)

  4. Gosh, is that how a professional acts? Who knew...

    And it is great news about the coffee... at the rate the Bag Lady drinks it, she'll be around a verrrry long time!

    Loved the cartoon!

  5. YAY! Great post Crabby - I love all the good news! Also, I think you may be sensitive to movies (and not good at bar-room fighting) due to the fact that you're just a kind soul. Happy Friday! :)

  6. Coffee? Check
    Red Wine? Check
    Good to go!

    Thanks so much for the time wasters! My boss is gone for the next two weeks, and I have no idea what to do to fill the time where I usually walk around (in lab coat and gloves) looking busy or deep in thought without actually doing anything. Now I know. Awesome!

  7. Thanks for the shout-out!

    I read Charlotte's overtraining posts, and wow--I've definitely been there before and never realized it. Worse, I can recognize in myself that I'm building toward the overdoing it mindset right now (I can add another run--no problem). Yikes! This was just the wakeup call I needed...

  8. Yay! My coffee addiction is good for me!

    Now who's going to do a study justifying my wasting time on the internet?

  9. Wish I liked red wine. Better yet, wish they would do a study and find out that white wine is good for me. Preferably those nice German Reislings and/or Gewertzaminers.

    Yay for the coffee study though! Will have to point Husband at that study next time he gives me a hard time for drinking coffee (he doesn't like coffee, therefore this is a bad habit on my part...Like Mr. Rear-End-Glued-To-Computer-Chair has no bad habits...).


  10. xkcd is made of pure, unadulterated Awesome.

    I found GraphJam too. Read a few pages and they all started looking the same to me. :/ Some funny ones, though.

  11. Wow..I didn't realise Bill was such an asshat. If someone pulled a tantrum like that at the studio where my husband produces they'd be shunned. Crappy equipment is annoying but seriously. Deep breaths...
    I'm glad to know that coffee is now officially good for me, and that you've discovered XKCD. Both of them keep me going on a regular basis :)
    I like the links on how much is too much...it's tempting to push yourself sometimes. Getting back at exercise after being sick I have to keep cathing myself to not overdo it...

  12. catching I mean.
    Apparently I should type more :)

  13. the poor drunken mice.

    Why must we be pumped full of merlot all of the time?

    Why am I complaining?

  14. Aww I love XKCD. Such a good comic.

  15. Yay for coffee! It's the only reason I'm actually coordinated enough to hit those little squares on the keyboard this early (for me), and I'm having an extra cuppa in gratitude, because I'm up first and I made it so there. Maybe I'll have a chocolate cookie too!

    Wow youse guys, I wish I could fake looking busy at work; I either get the work done or not, if not it is there waiting for me later. I get to work remotely on my computer in my jammies if I want though, but the work has to be done no matter how slow I am at it, or quick. My boss is out of the country for 6 weeks and as his only US employee in the company I am the one putting out the fires. If I play it has to be on my own time, which was great when it was just my own 2 jobs, I goofed off all the time, and I love LOL Cats, super for procrastination!

    Crabby, didn't you ALWAYS know deep down it was a basic brain difference? I did, I always felt that nature isn't stupid, people are.
    Not any of us here of course.

  16. Very fun to read...nice post!

  17. Good to see the round up again. He's having a melt down because the teleprompter is not feeding him words....he can't find them on his own. I wonder how tempted the staff was to switch to "live" while he was going on like that.

    Okay, now I have to go waste more time - thanks for the links.

  18. Whew, I thought one of the Whitney choices was going to be Bobby and his colon cleaning spoon. Thank goodness.

  19. Random days are great! That's how life is anyhow, right? Keep at it!

  20. It's inadvisable to guzzle merlot?
    CRAP - why didn't anyone tell me this before? ha ha.

  21. When I read the brain study I said "But--what did they do with all the bisexuals? Does that mean I get the best of both worlds? Or the worst?"

    Caffeine Good. Knew that. Slurp.

    I'm pleased to know that red wine has good effects, but as long as it keeps triggering headaches for me, I'm not personally interested. (Another Allergy Whine cut short here...)

    (...to leave room for:) How can you avoid overtraining if your energy level varies wildly from day to day? What's easy one day leaves me exhausted for the rest of the day another day. Should I push through fatigue and risk it? How to predict what my unpredictable body will do?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  22. Glad to assist in work avoidance!

    And can I just say I love the word "asshat?" I need to work that into conversation more often.

    "Colon-cleaning spoon?" Yikes!

    And Mary Anne, I am SO not an expert, but I'd say listen to your body over any arbitrary workout goal. If you feel like you're going to die, ease back until you only feel somewhat miserable. I'm not a big fan of pushing through things unless it's the door to a cupcake bakery.

    Oh, and I tried the Commodity Cookies--quick and easy and they taste great, especially for something so healthy!

  23. But my body LIES to me! It leads me on and then betrays me!

    Glad the Commodity Cookies turned out all right. And speaking of chocolate...we've added coffee and red wine to things with healthy effects, so what about ice cream? Surely we can find some study somewhere saying ice cream makes you live longer?

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

  24. Thats interesting to know that about coffee. I have been drinking coffee for the past 2 years. Being a personal trainer and knowing about nutrition, there are some negative effects of drinking coffee that some people aren't aware of. Everything is moderation.

  25. Gotta love time wasting! Thanks for making my workday tolerable!! =)


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