Monday, April 26, 2010

Where's the movie about her?

While reading Strange But True America today, I came across the story of Buffalo Calf Road Woman, a Northern Cheyenne woman who not only risked her life to rescue her wounded brother on a battlefield, but also fought alongside her husband at the Battle of Little Bighorn and apparently gave Custer the last blow before his death! Now there's a heroine worthy of her own movie (and please not a travesty like Disney's Pocahontas).

Thursday, April 22, 2010


While the world comes alive in springtime, the longer days also mess with my children's sleeping patterns. Me no likey.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Genuine German Restaurant

Real Germans love their Urlaub (vacation). That's how I know Uwe's German Restaurant in Colorado Springs is a real German restaurant. I called their phone number this week and was told by the answering machine that they will not be open until April 15th. How many restaurants do you know of that close for a week or more at a time? I guess my SpƤtzle appetite will remain unsatiated a while longer.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Folic acid

If you've looked over my older posts, you might have seen that I have reservations about widespread overdosing on folic acid because I think it may be contributing to the rise in autism. Here is an article from expressing similar reservations, although for a different reason: cancer.
Indeed, many scientists have grown increasingly concerned about mounting research — including a study published last winter in the Journal of the American Medical Association — suggesting that all the extra folic acid might increase your odds of developing cancer. "The more we learn about folic acid, the more it's clear that giving it to everyone has very real risks," says folic acid researcher David Smith, PhD, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Oxford in England....

The risk experts worry about most: colon cancer. Last year, health officials in Chile reported that hospitalization rates for colon cancer among men and women age 45 and older more than doubled in their country since fortification was introduced in 2000. In 2007, Joel Mason, MD, director of the Vitamins and Carcinogenesis Laboratory at the Tufts University School of Medicine, described a study of the United States and Canada suggesting that rates of colon cancer rose — following years of steady decline — in the late 1990s (around the time our food was being fortified)....

Other research links high doses to lung and prostate cancers. In one study conducted in Norway, which doesn't fortify foods, supplementation with 800 mcg of folic acid (plus B12 and B6) daily for more than 3 years raised the risk of developing lung cancer by 21 percent. Another, in which men took either folic acid or a placebo, showed those consuming 1,000 mcg of folic acid daily had more than twice the risk of prostate cancer. And a new worry recently came to light when scientists discovered the liver has limited ability to metabolize folic acid into folate — which means any excess continues circulating in the bloodstream. "Unlike folate, folic acid isn't found in nature, so we don't know the effect of the excess," says Smith.

Read more:

There really can be too much of a good thing.

Friday, April 2, 2010


I did my federal taxes on paper (printed out from the computer), and we just saw that our tax refund was deposited in our bank account. Unfortunately, it's $800 more than it should be! Apparently, the IRS computers read a "1" as a "9". Now I have to call the IRS and get them to fix their records and mail in a check to them. Such a waste of time! Not to mention taxpayer money.

Update: I just got off the phone with the IRS. They say that we didn't overpay. They adjusted our refund upwards because we didn't give ourselves the "Making Work Pay" tax credit. Crazy. I never heard of it, nor did I notice it when I went through the tax forms and instruction booklet. Maybe if they had named it the "Free Money (For Now)" tax credit, I would have paid more attention to it on the tax form.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Enough and Narcissim

I just finished reading through two recently-published nonfiction books: The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement and Enough: Why the World's Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty. The first book includes a lengthy discussion of the boundless materialism that is one expression of a narcissism epidemic in US society, while the other contains stories and information illustrating how nearly a billion of the world's people still suffer from hunger and malnutrition.

I found the contrast between the anecdotes and data in the two books both painful and powerful. Our nation as a whole comes out looking like a bunch of selfish, oblivious, uncaring...narcissists. It also strengthened my resolve to be grateful for what I already have and live thriftily so I can help fund causes like microfinance and humanitarian aid. We are not close to being rich by US standards, but our family has a full refrigerator and enough uncommitted cash to be able to share.