They Will Literally Be Swimming in Human Crap!

I feel really sorry for the athletes from around the world, who have spent years busting their asses to master their sports and make their countries’ Olympic teams, only to have to go to, what can only be described as, a gigantic cesspool, (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) to showcase them.filthrdj

Dead fish, dead animals, and even rotting corpses & body parts can be seen along the, what used to be picturesque, shorelines of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Even the most posh areas (Ipanema and Leblon Beaches) with steel and glass high rises cannot escape the filth.  The lagoons that snake around them (and also around the nearby Olympic Village), “regularly sees massive pollution-related fish die-offs and emits an eye-watering sulfuric stench.”

Fisherman Jose Rubens told how he watched children haul a dismembered woman’s body from the waves of Guanabara Bay.  Standing beside a gaping pipe spewing raw sewage straight into the bay, Jose, 56, unflinchingly shared, “They found a woman’s severed buttocks and upper legs three months ago.  She was already starting to decompose.  We didn’t tell the police. It’s not what people do here. We just pushed the remains back into the water.” (Source: Oliver Harvey, The Sun) These are the very waters that Olympic yachtsmen and wind-surfers will soon be competing for their countries in!

bodyrdjwaters
A decomposing corpse found floating in the waters where some Olympic competitions will be held.

 

In 2009, Brazil used the awarding of the 2016 games as the motivation needed to “regenerate Rio’s magnificent waterways.”  They pledged a billion-dollar investment meant to cleanup the tar-black Rivers; the lagoons near the Olympic Park with fluorescent green algae thriving amid sewage; the Guanabara Bay teeming with thick sludge that nearly swallows fishermen’s wooden boats; and to eliminate the giant brown stain that surfers must paddle out through to reach the beautiful blue surrounding waters.

copacabana
This is where the elite Athletes of the World thought they would be competing when they heard they were coming to Rio de Janeiro

 

Open water swimmers could very well have the worst of it though.  Rio medic Dr. Daniel Becker said, “Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from micro-organisms.”

Biologist Mario Moscatelli has spent the last 20 years studying Brazil’s polluted waterways.  Every month he has flown over them by helicopter to note changes good or bad.  “It’s been decades and I see no improvement,” laments Moscatelli.  “The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine … and unfortunately Rio de Janeiro missed the opportunity, maybe the last big opportunity” to clean it up. (Source: Jenny Barchfield; AP)

Opening Ceremonies for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games are just 4 days away.

300,000-500,000 foreigners are expected to descend on Rio for the Olympics.  They are likely in nowhere near the physical conditioning of the world class athletes they are coming to cheer on, and are much more likely to succumb to the viral illnesses that are the result of off the charts contamination of the most popular Rio de Janeiro beaches.  Testing at several of the city’s world-famous beaches has shown that in addition to persistently high viral loads, the beaches often have levels of bacterial markers for sewage pollution that would be cause for concern abroad.

  • In June 2016, Copocabana and Ipanema Beaches both had alarming readings for rotavirus, the main cause of gastroenteritis globally, with 7.22 million rotaviruses per liter detected in the waters of Copacabana, while 32.7 million rotaviruses per liter were found in the waters of Ipanema Beach.
  • The testing also revealed alarming spikes in fecal coliform levels — the very measure the state government uses to determine the safety of Rio’s recreational waters.

“If these were the reported values in the United States, let’s say in California, there is definitely an indication of a problem,” said Dr. Kristina Mena, a waterborne virus expert at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

  • According to California’s bacterial tests standards, 400 fecal coliforms per 100 milliliters is the upper limit for a beach to be considered safe for swimming. AP’s tests revealed that Copacabana Beach, where the marathon and triathlon swimming are to be held and thousands of tourists are likely to take a dip, exceeded California’s limit five times over 13 months of testing.
  • Nearby Ipanema Beach, which is not playing host to any Olympic sports but is among the city’s most popular tourist spots, exceeded California standards five times over 12 months, once spiking to nearly 50 times what would be permitted in California. One of two testing spots along the beach in the Olympic hub neighborhood of Barra da Tijuca once hit more than 60 times that limit over the five months testing was conducted there.

The beaches even violate Rio state’s own standards, which are much less stringent than those in California.   In California these beaches would be closed to the public until the source of the contamination was found and fixed and the water treated until tests came back with the water testing safe for the public to be in it again.

If you are a Tourist planning to attend the Olympic games in Rio beware:  Water quality warning signs used to dot showcase beaches, but they’re no longer there. The water may not look infected but it is.  Remember that the water flows across, carries, and deposits sand along the shoreline, so the sand is contaminated too…HMMM

The World Press has been paying close attention and has already reported a number of troubling things that the Athletes, Media, and those Tourists who may decide to travel abroad to witness the games, may encounter when they visit Brazil:

  • A broken main caused untreated raw sewage and human waste to pour into the Olympic Village, where the World’s athletes are being housed and fed, over the weekend;
  • Rotting corpses have been spotted floating at the rat-­infested sailing and wind-surfing venue of Guanabara Bay;
  • Athletes competing in events in the polluted Guanabara Bay are being told to ‘close their mouths’ for fear of contracting viral infections from waters poisoned by human excrement;
  • Athletes have been robbed at gunpoint on the streets of Rio;
  • Gun-toting thugs robbed Australian Paralympic sailor Liesl Tesch and team official Sarah Ross of their bikes while they were cycling in a Rio park;
  • Between January and April of this year, there were 1,715 homicides in the city, a 15 per cent increase on the same period last year;
  • A fire in the basement of the Australian team barracks overnight, forced all to evacuate the building.  The alarms had been disabled and the only alert to the team was the smell of smoke!  While they were out laptops and protective long sleeved anti-Zika clothing were reported stolen.
  • Around 300 tons of trash are dumped in Guanabara bay every month — including condoms, discarded syringes, used toilet paper, old fishing nets, mangled furniture and other household trash;
  • The spread of the Zika virus (now officially reported as having spread from infected male to female) has resulted in the top 4 golfers in the world, as well as many tennis players and other athletes, pulling out of the games;
  • Body parts were found strewn on Copacabana Beach, right below the Olympic Beach Volleyball Venue.

As if threats to the health of athletes, media and tourists from the environment wasn’t enough, there are the threats of violence from the drug gangs and other thugs that rule the streets of Rio de Janeiro and now some scary threats reportedly coming from ISIS:

  • After the Paris attacks in November a jihadi sent a tweet saying: “Brazil, you are our next target.”
  • In May, ISIS launched a new social Portuguese-speaking media channel in a bid to attract new recruits.
  • Brazil, used to dealing with armed drug gangs, has no experience in dealing with ISIS assaults.
  • On July 15 Brazilian authorities deported a French-Algerian professor who had been convicted in France in 2012 of providing logistical advice to ­terrorist groups.
  • Last week dozens of alleged IS sympathizers were held after claims they had discussed an attack on the Games.

When awarded the games, officials pledged to treat 80% of the raw sewage pumped into Rio’s Guanabara Bay, promised only to use the very cleanest sections of the Bay for competitions, and that there would be only minimal risk to sailors and other athletes.  Now that the Opening Ceremonies are less than a week away and the proof of their inability to live up to their promises is being seen, smelled and reported worldwide, officials have had to admit that they have only been able to reach a sewage treatment percentage of 40%.  That is obviously not acceptable for a city with a population of more than 12 Million, let alone one that is putting itself under the world wide microscope by hosting the Olympic games.

Additionally, Rio officials pledged that the athletes and visitors to their country would be safe, based on the reports of robberies within the village and in the surrounding areas, they are already failing on that front as well.  It remains to be seen how Brazil is going to remedy the situation with just 4 days left before Opening Ceremonies, but I know one thing, the ravenous world press will not pull any punches in letting the rest of the world know just how deplorable conditions are.  HMMM Indeed!

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Do You Really Love Your Dog?

dogsinhotcarsI am shamelessly cutting/copying and pasting the article below (thank you American Veterinary Medical Association) because of a story a friend shared today that really pissed me off!  “Today at Target/Diamond Bar as I was going to my car, I saw a dog in a car in the parking lot. It was panting heavily and trying to stick its head out the couple-inch opening in the window so I went back in to ask the manager to page the owner. It had been half an hour since I walked by the dog!! When the owner came out she said it wasn’t that hot! SMH! Please remember dogs have a higher temp than us and cars get hot fast! PLEASE DON’T LEAVE YOUR DOG IN THE CAR!”

Thank you for the inspiration for this blog post Simone!

TV, Internet and Newspapers all share stories just like this, often with tragic consequences.  Still people leave pets, and babies, in the car.  WTF?  PEOPLE NEED TO SMARTEN UP!  Please read the article below and keep in mind that, even on a cool day, a car is up to 40° F hotter inside.  If your pet or baby can’t go with you, wherever you just must go, then leave them home in another’s care.  It’s just not worth the risk and potentially deadly consequences.

You can see this article “Pets in Vehicles” at the highlighted link.

Every year, hundreds of pets die from heat exhaustion because they are left in parked vehicles. We’ve heard the excuses: “Oh, it will just be a few minutes while I go into the store,” or “But I cracked the windows…” These excuses don’t amount to much if your pet becomes seriously ill or dies from being left in a vehicle.

The temperature inside your vehicle can rise almost 20º F in just 10 minutes. In 20 minutes, it can rise almost 30º F…and the longer you wait, the higher it goes. At 60 minutes, the temperature in your vehicle can be more than 40 degrees higher than the outside temperature. Even on a 70-degree day, that’s 110 degrees inside your vehicle!

Your vehicle can quickly reach a temperature that puts your pet at risk of serious illness and even death, even on a day that doesn’t seem hot to you. And cracking the windows makes no difference.

Want numbers? An independent study showed that the interior temperature of vehicles parked in outside temperatures ranging from 72 to 96º F rose steadily as time increased. Another study, performed by the Louisiana Office of Public Health, found that the temperatures in a dark sedan as well as a light gray minivan parked on a hot, but partly cloudy day, exceeded 125oF within 20 minutes.

 

Estimated Vehicle Interior Air Temperature v. Elapsed Time
Elapsed time Outside Air Temperature (F)
70 75 80 85 90 95
0 minutes 70 75 80 85 90 95
10 minutes 89 94 99 104 109 114
20 minutes 99 104 109 114 119 124
30 minutes 104 109 114 119 124 129
40 minutes 108 113 118 123 128 133
50 minutes 111 116 121 126 131 136
60 minutes 113 118 123 128 133 138
> 1 hour 115 120 125 130 135 140
Courtesy Jan Null, CCM; Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University

Watch an animated video about in-vehicle temperatures.

This study also found that cracking the windows had very little effect on the temperature rise inside the vehicle. This is definitely a situation where “love ’em and leave ’em” is a good thing. Please leave your pets at home at home when you can…they’ll be safe and happily waiting for you to come home.

…but wait, there’s more!

The risks associated with pets in vehicles don’t end with heatstroke. Just as you should always wear your seatbelt to protect you in case of a collision, your pet should always be properly restrained while in the vehicle. That means a secure harness or a carrier.

A loose, small pet could crawl down in the footwell, interfering with use of the brake or accelerator pedal. A small pet sitting in your lap could be injured or killed by the airbag or could be crushed between your body and the airbag in a collision, and a large pet leaning across your lap can interfere with your view of the road and can be injured by the air bag in a collision. Unrestrained pets could be thrown out or through windows or windshields in a collision. And not only could your pet be injured in the collision, but it might also increase your risk of collision by distracting you and taking your attention away from where it should be – on the road.

To learn more about the importance of restraining your pets, visit Paws to Click.

Most of us smile when we see a dog’s face happily hanging out a window, digging the ride and the smells wafting on the breeze, but this is a very risky venture for the dog for three reasons. One, it means your dog isn’t properly restrained – and we’ve already told you why that’s so important. Two, your dog is at high risk of eye, ear, face and mouth injury from airborne objects when it’s got its face hanging out the window. Three, letting your dog hang any part of its body out of the window increases the risk that (s)he could be thrown out of the vehicle during a collision, lose its balance and fall out of the open window during an abrupt turn or maneuver, or jump out of the vehicle to threaten another dog or a person.

And let’s not forget the severe dangers of driving with your dog in the bed of a pickup truck. Dogs can fall or jump from the truck bed and be injured or killed on impact, or be struck by other traffic. And just as letting your dog hang its head out of the window puts it at risk of injury from debris, a dog in a truck bed is even more exposed to airborne hazards. Using a appropriate-length tether may reduce the risk that your dog will exit the truck bed, but the tether could tangle, injure, or even choke your dog. If you must transport your dog in the bed of a pickup truck, use a secured and appropriately sized and ventilated dog kennel. (For more information, read our Dogs Traveling in Truck Beds literature review.)

Before you put your pet in the vehicle, ask yourself if you really need to take your pet with you – and if the answer is no, leave your pet safely at home. If you must take your pet with you, make sure (s)he is properly restrained so the trip is as safe as possible for both of you.

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10 Signs of Skin Cancer

This article comes courtesy of Self Magazine.  Skin Cancer is far too important and potentially deadly to ignore the signs and symptoms.

Along with outdoor happy hours and weekends at the beach, summertime calls for an important reminder of skin cancer risk. Since you’re probably spending more time in the sun wearing less clothes, it’s important to take note of any new or different growths on your skin.

“Most skin cancers really are not symptomatic,” Aleksandar Sekulic, M.D., principal for Stand Up To Cancer’s Melanoma Research Alliance Dream Team and Mayo Clinic dermatologist, tells SELF. That means a cancerous spot won’t hurt, or even itch most of the time. “Occasionally people will say a red and scaly spot has become more red and tender, but most true cancers are asymptomatic.”

So how can you tell if a spot is suspicious? “What to look for depends on which skin cancer,” Sekulic says. Here, he lays out the biggest signs, so you can be wary of any potential red flags.

Melanoma

Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is usually pigmented and will resemble a mole. “What we really look for is change, that’s the most appreciable thing,” Sekulic says. The American Academy of Dermatology uses the acronym ABCDE for how to recognize a melanoma—any time you notice a new mole or that an old mole looks different, look for these signs:

1. Asymmetry: If you cut it down the middle and one side looks different from the other, it’s asymmetrical.

2. Border: In a normal mole, the border should be smooth. If it is irregular, scalloped, or ragged? “That may be a warning sign,” Sekulic says.

3. Color: If the mole is three or four different colors instead of one uniform color, you should be suspicious.

4. Diameter: “If it’s larger than 6 millimeters, basically the size of a pencil eraser, we tend to look at it a little closer,” because melanoma is found disproportionately in larger moles.

5. Evolution: “Any change in an existing spot or mole is something that should be looked at further,” Sekulic says. That includes a change in size, shape, color, or if the mole bleeds without being provoked. “Sometimes the spot may even start disappearing.” The rate of change is very relative, so it’s important to know what’s normal on your skin and when things change.

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer; SCC is the second most common. “Many start as small, unsuspicious spots, and if they’re not treated they get bigger,” Sekulic says. Luckily, they’re both very curable and can be removed with surgery, though removals can cause scarring. In rare cases, they can grow deeper and spread. Though some signs are more typical of one or the other, the general symptoms are the same. Keep an eye out for:

1. A red scaly patch: A red, itchy spot of skin that doesn’t resolve in a few weeks with moisturization is most likely SCC. These might itch, but oftentimes do not, and can be easily confused for eczema.

2. A bump that won’t stop bleeding: This can look like a little bump or pimple that begins to ulcerate. A sore that continually bleeds, heals, and splits open again, is a common sign of BCC but could also be SCC.

3. A shiny bump: This nodule is usually pink, red, or white, but can also be tan, black, or brown and look like a regular mole.

4. A pink growth: The border will likely be slightly elevated and the center indented and maybe even crusty.

5. A scar-like spot: This can be a sign of an aggressive form of BCC, so if you notice a white or yellow scar-like spot that appears shiny, see your derm ASAP.

Be proactive about your skin health by visiting your doctor for regular skin checks. Many dermatologists recommend getting a full body scan once a year or more frequently if you have certain risk factors or a family history of skin cancer. If you ever see anything suspicious, go get checked out sooner rather than later. Early detection is key.

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Rare Treat: paid iPhone apps for FREE

I’m always on the lookout for technology I can run from my iPhone or iPad that will make my life easier, safer or more fun.  The apps listed below will help me free up space on my devices, help me find my way to safety if I’m lost without a signal or in an area unmapped by traditional navigation apps, capture an entire website in one screen shot, and will help me get back into 5K form in just 7 weeks.  The bonus is that, for a limited time, the apps are Free!  Hmmm

Free Up Space Normally $4.99   It recovers wasted space on your iOS device by:

  1. Finding duplicate photos: If you take a lot of photos/selfies you should use this feature often. This helps you find duplicate photos of all levels ranging from least similar to exact duplicates.
  2. Resizing Photos: You can save a lot of space by resizing large photos. Quality is maintained while reducing the size.
  3. Compress Photos & Videos: You can save storage space by compressing large photos & videos. Once you’ve compressed them, you can easily share them with your friends via attachments, messaging apps etc.

SwiPartyNormally $1.99

  1. Easy-to-use music map.  Swipe to stream your personal party playlist!
  2. SwiWorkout classifies and recommends workout music for you.
    Fast tempo on the right, slow ones on the left; New on top, old on bottom.
    SwiWorkout gives you a playlist immediately!
    You can suggest/add workout music you love by contacting Swibeat directly: http://www.swibeat.com/Contact.p

Run 5K ProNormally $1.99   Train to run a 5K in 7 Weeks!

EASY TRAINING PLAN

  • 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week – and you’ll be able to run 5K in 7 weeks;
  • Effective training plan from professional coaches;
  • Use outdoors and on a treadmill;
  • Audio cues during all workouts to keep you focused;
  • GPS maps saved for each training session;
  • Apple Watch support.

NEVER GET BORED

  • Gradual increase of workout intensity for best result;
  • Inspirational quotes keep you motivated while running;
  • Motivational tips on running with each training session;
  • Listening and managing your favorite music from the app;
  • Sharing results with Facebook & Twitter friends.

MUSIC TIMED TO YOUR WORKOUT

  • Unlimited access to the best running music right from the app;
  • Music tempo adjusts to your workout rhythm – music plays faster as you run faster;
  • New mixes from talented DJs are available every day;
  • All genres – from Classical and Oldies to Rock, Hip-hop and R&B;
  • Convenient search and suggestions to find perfect mixes.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

  • Calorie counting;
  • Detailed statistics: pace, distance, time and other parameters;
  • Synchronization of your stats & logs with an upgrade from the free version;
  • Synchronization with Apple Health app;
  • Integration with Runkeeper, Fitbit, MapMyRun.

WebpageShotNormally $4.99   

  • A simple tool to convert a webpage into an image.
  • It captures the whole web page not just what you see on the screen.
  • It also provides a screenshot extension for Safari on iOS 8.

iarrowiArrowNormally $1.99   iArrow provides navigation where there are no roads. The app will lead you back to your car, campsite or hotel and help you reach the nearest settlement if you get lost. This app features a built-in database of 2,000,000 localities around the world and does not require internet or cellular connection.

Unlike navigation systems that show a blank map, iArrow instantly launches and very clearly indicates the direction and distance to the destination. The app consumes little energy and saves battery power.

Great for travelers, fishermen, hunters, extreme or off track athletes and anyone who works in remote locations. You can save the coordinates of key points along your route to your clipboard to share via SMS, Email, Twitter, Airdrop, etc..

APP FEATURES

  • User Guide
  • You do not need an Internet connection *
  • 2,000,000 settlements in the database
  • Built-in online map
  • Ability to search for objects by address
  • Automatic detection of the address of the current position
  • Indication of GPS accuracy
  • Determination of direction using magnetic compass
  • Determination of direction using GPS coordinates
  • Radar mode that displays Favorites, History and settlements
  • Displays full information about position, speed, altitude, etc.
  • Lock screen
  • Settings
  • Metric and Imperial Units
  • Low energy usage
  • Support for iOS8 and iPhone 5/5s/6/6+

WORKING WITH COORDINATES

  • Support for the latitude/longitude, UTM and MGRS coordinate formats
  • Support latitude and longitude as decimal degrees, degrees/minutes/seconds etc.
  • Easy input of coordinates – special keyboards for each format
  • Setting destination using azimuth and distance
  • Convert GPS coordinates between degrees formats, UTM and MGRS on the fly
  • Viewing coordinates on an online map
  • Sending and receiving coordinates via SMS
  • Import and export coordinates via SMS, Email, and Airdrop
  • Import and export list of coordinates
  • Import and export links to Google, Apple, Yandex, and OSM maps
  • Import coordinates from the clipboard
  • Automatic determination of format of imported coordinates
  • Easily add, delete, or edit coordinates
  • Automatically save the coordinates in History
  • Search in Favorites and History
  • Sorting Favorites/History by new and nearest points
  • List of nearby settlements

I am not anxious to need the iArrow app, but I am going to load it in the off chance I ever get lost and need to find my way out of the wilderness. You can find all of these in your App Store.

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Don’t Follow This Advice

no-pain-no-gainWhether we admit it or not, we women especially, suck up every bit of fitness and weight loss advice we can find.  We follow fad diets, take that magic fat burning pill, join gyms, buy the latest and greatest equipment to “shrink those trouble zones,” and scour the magazine racks looking for that quick fix to take years of neglect off of our bodies.

Newsflash!  Most of the advice we follow is crap meant to entice us to open our wallets.

fitness-myths-part-1     fitness-myths-part-2

Here is some other bad advice I found, and the rationale behind why it’s advice you should ignore:

  1. If you exercise you can eat all you want and still lose weight:  Not true.  You can’t stuff your pie hole full and expect to burn off the calories with exercise alone.  The National Weight Control Registry, established in 1994 by scientists at the University of Colorado and Brown Medical School, followed more than 10,000 Americans who have lost weight and kept it off for years. Just 1% kept the pounds off with exercise alone, 10% did it with diet alone, and 89% balanced eating healthier foods, controlling their portions and incorporating regular exercise into their lives.
  2. Never squat below parallel (no more than 90° angle to your knees): Not True.  The National Institutes of Health published a manuscript of a study focused on Knee Joint Kinetics in Relation to Commonly Prescribed Squat Loads and Depths that supports the following squat guidelines:  to avoid injury to your knees and hit the “sweet spot” for sculpting firm muscles, you need to drop your butt as low as you can while maintaining your balance so your glutes kick in and do the work.
  3. NO PAIN, NO GAIN:  Absolutely Not true.  An article in Psychology Today, written by Dr. Michael Otto, author of Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being, confirms that all of our coaches and personal trainers are wrong. “If you’re not an elite athlete and you’re exercising for the health benefits, including better heart health, improved mood, weight regulation, increased energy, or getting more sleep, there is no need for pain. You can attain all of these benefits with minimal discomfort.”
  4. You aren’t fit unless you have a 6 pack:  NOPE NOT TRUE.  Scientific American notes that the healthy range for a 20- to 40-year-old man’s body fat is 8-19%.  To get those perfect 6-pack abs men usually have to dip well below 8%, which is dangerous because their bodies actually have too little fat. Serious damage can result from trying to achieve and maintain a 6-pack: weakened immune system,  genital problems,  damage to the heart and nervous system, shrinkage of internal organs, and, even worse, death.
  5. Doing lots of cardio will result in weight loss: Not Entirely True.  In a Shape Magazine article, Chris Artis writes that, “Diet is the most important part to weight loss and… long, slow ‘steady-state’ cardio training has been shown to deplete T3, the thyroid hormone that controls metabolism—especially in women. Normal T3 levels allow our bodies and muscles to function efficiently, but too little T3 (hypo-thyroidism) puts the body in a state where fat is gained more easily, regardless of activity levels. That’s why many casual gym-goers can spend lots of time on a treadmill with little or even negative results.”

I am the biggest offender of being sold on a quick fix or shortcut to fitness.  If it were as easy as buying a new gadget or taking a magic pill the obesity epidemic in America would cease to exist.  The bottom line to all of the advice seems to come back to eating a healthy diet most of the time, exercising regularly and moderately (even if it is housework that makes you sweat), not taking any one activity or eating plan to the extreme and being consistent.  While I know and understand all of this, I may have to be physically restrained the next time I see some wonder workout or nifty gadget that can restore my body to where it was when I was 30.  Oh I loved my body at 30….hmmm

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Product Review: Ped Egg Powerball

pedicureI spend $75 every two weeks getting a gel fill on my fingers and a “Spa” pedicure.  Somehow, despite that unreasonably high charge, the calluses on my feet never seem to get dealt with (even when I pay the extra for “callus removal”) nor do they become any softer.  It’s frustrating to say the least.

pedegg-powerball-pivoting-callus-remover-set-d-20151204094858647~455041_100Yesterday, while sneaking off to Rite Aid to get a scoop of Thrifty Ice Cream, I walked the aisles to kill some time and ended up in front of the “As seen on TV” display.  I saw the usual unexciting things and then did a double take when I saw a product that I hadn’t seen before:  Ped Egg Powerball.  With a swiveling head and ability to be recharged (instead of running on expensive batteries), it looked interesting enough that I spent the $19.99 and left with one to give it a try.

The box instructions left a bit to be desired, so I headed to the internet to see if there was anything I needed to know, like, could I use it in the bath tub?

The first thing I noticed about the website was that I seemed to have gotten a good price.  The website advertised it at $29.99.  I didn’t get the 3 replacement rollers or the fancy organza carrying bag though, so the $10 was likely a wash.  The website also promised me:

  • Beautiful younger looking, baby smooth feet
  • Easily buffed away calluses, dead skin, or dry and rough skin in seconds
  • A painless, blade free experience
  • Can be used on “Men’s callused hands” as well

What http://www.asseenontv.com did not give me was the ability to buy the add-ons, any instructions or warnings.  Hmmm

I did a google search and found other sites selling the Ped Egg Powerball, but found the same lack of additional information and also some alarmingly low ratings – averaging 1 star.

According to Sue K, who bought it 2 months ago at Bed, Bath & Beyond, (who at least will take it back no questions asked)  it doesn’t work, stops running at the least application of pressure, and she could do a better job with a loofa.  UG!

Finally I came across the official website, but again, not a lot of useful information.

  • There was an accessories section, but no ability to buy replacement rollers
  • The F.A.Q. section only answered shipping/ordering questions
  • The Testimonials section had zero reviews…

Since I had struck out in my search for warnings and instructions, I forged ahead and just assumed that I can’t use it in water and that, after reading Consumer Reports and other reviewers, I should expect it to be slower/less powerful than advertised.

45 Minutes later and I’m not impressed.  First I stood at the counter with my left foot, which has a thicker callus on the heel and big toe than my right, and tried the Ped Egg Powerball (with a full charge) dry.

  • If I pushed with any pressure at all the roll came to a stop
  • To the promises of:  Easily Buffed Away Dry Skin, Dead Skin & Calluses in Seconds – NOPE nothing fast or easy about the process;  Painless Experience – Yes, it barely registered as more than a tickle;

Because I seemed to be getting nowhere fast, and I had a hot bath with dead sea salts waiting for me, I decided to have a good long soak and attack it again after my skin was softened up.  I soaked for 30 minutes, shaved with coconut oil (which also then ended up in my bath, then dried off and immediately gave the Ped Egg Powerball another shot.  I still ran into the same pressure issue, but it seemed to do a much better job after the hot bath, salts and oil to soften the work areas up.  I did notice that the roller seemed to gum up pretty quickly and that makes me feel like they would need to be replaced fairly often with regular use…HMMM

Final opinion:  It’s not the worst $19.99 I’ve ever spent, but I have a hard time spending an additional $15.99 plus shipping every time I need new rollers.  The only way I’ll be using it in the future is if I remember to charge it while I am taking a bath and feel like spending an extra 15 minutes doing what would take me 5 minutes in the tub with a pumice stone. It eventually does what it promises if you take the additional steps and time to help it work a little less hard, so I’d give the Ped Egg Powerball only 2 stars out of 5 for performance and only 1 out of 5 for a good value – considering the lack of replacement rollers included and the cost (+ difficulty) to acquire more.

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Chipotle Giving Away 9M Burritos

chipotlelogoWatch your mail for your free meal coupon from Chipotle!

Because of the bad publicity generated by the 2015 food borne illness outbreaks that sickened at least 60 customers (specifically E. coli and Norovirus) in California, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Boston, and 7 other states, customers have largely stayed away and Chipotle closed 43 stores in Washington and Oregon.  YouGov Brand Index said customer perceptions about Chipotle sank to their lowest level since 2007 in October, before additional cases popped up in seven more states, which likely pushed them even lower.

As a result of the severe drop in business at it’s 1,500 locations worldwide, the company has seen their stock price drop 39% since November and saw a 44% drop in earnings in the 4th quarter alone, when news of more outbreaks hit the news. Today it was announced that CMG (parent company for Chipotle) is expecting to report a loss in the 1st quarter, for the first time ever as a public company.

To bring people back, following the February 8, 2016 Food Safety Town Hall, Chipotle dispatched about 50,000 employees to go to more than 400 locations, such as movie theaters and hotel conference rooms to spread the word that the investigations were over,  stores were given a “clean bill of health” by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and that the company was asking the public to come back by offering free food.  The public was asked to text and request a coupon and 5.3 Million requests were received!  67% (appx 3.5 Million) of those coupons were redeemed, at an average cost of $7.10, for an estimated expenditure of $25.2  Million by the company.

To try and regain the public’s trust and repair their damaged reputation, they have added food safety information to their website, boosted their advertising, plan future Buy-1-Get-1 Free offers delivered via mobile devices, and they’ll kick it all off by sending 21 million households coupons for a free meal via U.S. Mail.  In all, their efforts are likely to cost the company in excess of $62 Million.

I was a big fan of Chipotle before so many people started getting ill after eating there.  A few  years back, my husband and I were both hit with E. coli from a local sandwich shop and it’s not an experience that I want to repeat.  I’m leaning toward giving Chipotle a second chance.  They are so publicly scrutinized, because they are a publicly held company, that I’m sure they are being ultra vigilant with their food safety procedures. My husband however, insists he’ll never go back.  One time is one too many, and Chipotle had 60 reported cases.  How many went unreported because the symptoms were so mild?  A big Hmmm indeed!

Are you still eating at Chipotle?

Will you be swayed to return by the coupon for a free burrito?

If not, what would entice you to go back?

Things that this girl will definitely be pondering as I wait to see evidence (i.e. my coupon) that the company is serious about showing the public they are sincere in their desire to put public health and safety above corporate profits.

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I’m Afraid to Ride My Bike on the Streets

redroadbikeI’m as health and eco-conscious as the next girl, but the lack of awareness, attention, knowledge of right-of-way laws/general rules of the road and distracted driving I see exhibited by those who occupy the roads with me every day, has made me terrified to take to the streets on two wheels.

California has laws to protect the safety of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians alike, but I am amazed daily by the number of violations that continue to happen as if no legislation exists because they go unnoticed by violators and law enforcement alike.

Think about it, in California (and many other states) it against the law to:

  • Hold any handheld communication device while driving
  • If you drive a Bus you can’t use a cell phone at all
  • If you are a new driver (anyone under 18) you can’t use a handheld OR handsfree cell phone
  • No texting while driving

Although these things are just as dangerous to other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists who share the road with them, it ISN’T written in the law that you can’t operate a vehicle and:

  • Eat or Drink
  • Talk/Sing/Argue with Passengers
  • Have a Pet Roaming the Car or Sitting in the Driver’s Lap
  • Perform Grooming Tasks (brush hair/teeth, shave, apply makeup, etc.)
  • Read (I’ve seen books, newspapers, maps and more!)
  • Use Navigation System
  • Watch Video Entertainment
  • Fiddle with Radio, CD, MP3, etc.

We all know that even more than this goes on when cars are being driven.  I know I am a perpetrator of some of the above, especially the singing 😉

I have a great bike and I’d love to ride it, in fact, when I’m feeling brave enough to hit the streets of my town, I’ve been known to ride it to the place where I get my messages (two miles from my house) and I’ve even ridden it to the gym about a mile and a half away.  But it seems more and more frequently, the news is reporting another car vs pedestrian or car vs cyclist incident on the streets of the cities near the place I call home.

If you think I am simplifying or exaggerating the risks taken when a pedestrian or cyclist hits the street, consider some of the following statistics cited in a 127 hour video-documented study by Monash University in Austrailia, where 54 car vs cyclist incidents were recorded: 2 collisions, 6 near-collisions and 46 other incidents.  That averaged out to a very scary incident every 2.5 hours, with the blame falling primarily on the drivers of the motor vehicles!

  • Prior to events, 88.9% of cyclists traveled in a safe and legal manner.
  • Vehicle drivers were at fault in 87% of the events, with more than 83% of drivers showing no post-event reaction.
  • The most frequent event was caused by drivers suddenly changing lanes, 40.7%.
  • 70.3% of events occurred at an intersection or intersection-related locations.
  • Cyclists who frequently looked over their shoulders had the highest situational awareness and the greatest ability to avoid collisions or near-collisions with cars.

In this country’s big cities, which have seen a growth in both population and traffic, campaigns have been made to get people to commute by foot or bike, but the same risks, and maybe even more, exist.  More people means more cars and more traffic, but infrastructure (streets, roadways, etc.) have not seen updates in decades and there just isn’t enough room for cars, cyclists, and pedestrians to co-exist.

In September 2013, California governor Jerry Brown signed a law requiring that motorists give cyclists at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.  That’s nice in theory, but the width of any existing bike lanes (which riders have a tendency to hug toward the car side of the lane to avoid bumpy/poorly maintained lanes, debris and slopes toward the curbs) and the need to move more traffic through narrower roads on more lanes than is safe, forces drivers to push into the lane of the driver to their left and could result in a vehicle vs vehicle collision.  Doesn’t seem like the 3 feet rule leaves enough space for ANYONE to be safe!

Consider some other safety issues posed by those who are supposed to share these crowded roadways:

  • Use of cell phones, smart phones, and MP3 players has resulted in a greater possibility than ever of injury to a cyclist or pedestrian who may have one or both of their ears covered by earphones/earbuds.  Their attention is focused down on texting or playing a handheld game while walking, listening to music at a high volume, or having a conversation instead of paying attention to the traffic noises or paying attention to the others who share the sidewalks/roadways;
  • Children are supposed to wear helmets while bicycling, skate boarding, etc., but many parents don’t enforce that rule in their homes;
  • Bicycle riders are instructed to stop and walk their bikes across intersections with cross walks (but most don’t), ride with traffic (not against), and to always ride in a safe and observant manner; and
  • Pedestrians are tasked to walk facing traffic, maintain alertness and obey traffic signals;

With all of these distractions, plus the addition of student drivers, drivers who don’t speak or read the language who may not understand what a sign like “Yield” means in practice, nervous or elderly drivers, and the list goes on, unless it’s a country lane where there are few, if any vehicles, my bike just may continue to gather dust in the garage.  Hmmm

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The Annual Pursuit of Candy Handouts

halloween safety for families

Today it’s short and sweet:  Keep your kids and pets safe this Halloween!

halloweensafety

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