Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Ok, a mild rant today.

We took Cole to the doctor yesterday, and during our discussion with the doctor, we went over many things regarding the boy's health. Pretty much everything was basic everyday knowledge (he's on solid foods, etc). But we get this curve ball thrown at us.

"No TV."

Not "limit his TV time" or "watch TV with him and talk to him about what he sees", but just don't let the child watch TV. Like, she said this the same way you'd tell a parent not to let your kid stick forks in electrical outlets.

We snickered a bit, because Cole gets a good amount of TV time. I'd say a good 90% of it is with either myself or Tara, and we talk to Cole about the stuff he sees. There's a lot of participation (clapping, singing, etc) and we try to get Cole involved as much as possible. He is a 4 month old, however, so pretty much all he can do on his own is roll over, drool, and stick things in his mouth. We snickered, and she got serious.

The doctor informed us that television leads to ADD, which caused more laughter from our side. It's been argued that both of us have ADD, but I can safely say that if anyone's got it, it's me. Any test I take for self-evaluation is off the charts. We dropped the subject and let her go on with other doctor-related talk.

So I got to thinking. ADD (and ADHD) has been getting a lot of publicity lately. Strattera's the new "in" drug for treatment (in the past it was Ritilin), and there are self-tests everywhere to see if YOU might have ADD (most or all of which are sponsored by Strattera). Common questions in these tests are if you're forgetful, if you get bored during work, tune out when people are talking to you, and things like that. If this sounds like you, you may have ADD. You also might be completely normal.

ADD seems to be a kind of scapegoat when it comes to children who speak out of turn and get bored easily. It's tough to take responsibility for things. You're bored with your job? It's not your fault, nor do you have a crappy job. It's TV's fault. If you don't find everyday life interesting and think every day is sunshine, it's because you watched TV as a child. It used to be if you were bored in school you weren't being challenged and sometimes you'd be put in advanced classes. Now if you're bored in school, you apparently have ADD, will be put on medication, and will probably be put in remedial classes because of your "psychological situation", and the parents will get reamed for it.


TV's been blamed for the problems of today's youth before. Kids are lazier and fatter because of TV. Not because they eat poorly. It's TV's fault. I'm surprised there isn't some drug company that is diagnosing the lazyness/fatness as LFAD (lazy fatass disease) and offering some kind of medication that will try to break people of the habit.

Actually, there is one. It's called "speed". Things like diet pills and ephedra and green tea extract are marketed (or were marketed before people ODed on them) for this issue.

Now, we've got drug companies telling us that if you're disinterested with the world, that you have a disease, and you should seek professional help and take drugs.

Fess up. Life is boring. But if there are drugs to make boring jobs interesting and everything that people say fascinating, then maybe I want some.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Not too bad. If you went with both under/over picks I threw into the regular stuff, you went 9-5-1 going into tonight's Monday night matchup. I'll be conservative and call it 7-5-1.

Even with my horrible attention span, I still managed to watch part of the Steelers/Dolphins game. It was painful. Just seeing the rainstorm told me that the Dolphins didn't stand a chance. Between having a mediocre at best running game and no offensive line, I knew we were dead in the water.

So if you're ever using the picks for Vegas-like gambling, it might be best to ignore the Miami picks. There's a little too much emotion in them.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Quick picks for this weeks NFL (w/spreads, thanks to the Stardust in Vegas, home team in CAPS):

TENNESSEE -6 over Jacksonville

I'm still not a believer in the Jaguars. Defense is nice, and some people are calling them the new Panthers, but teams that don't score touchdowns don't win. Plus, I'm expecting a big day from Chris Brown, regardless of what the people say about the Jags defense.

Cleveland +3.5 over GIANTS

The Giants seriously lucked out over the Redskins last week. They got 7 turnovers from the Skins due to Washington errors, not Giant skill. Cleveland's coming off a bad loss, but there's still talent in this team.

Baltimore -2.5 over CINCINNATI

Tough to take a road dog especially with a team that can't score themselves, but mediocre quarterbacks cancel themselves out. Palmer couldn't handle Miami's defense last week, he's shit the bed against Ray Lewis. Take the under (34.5) if you happen to be around it too.

Houston +7.5 over KANSAS CITY

Ok, you've had injuries to your two top wide receivers, your all-offense running back isn't playing this week, and your defense is giving up 31 points a game. Yet, you're a touchdown favorite over a team that some were calling a sleeper pick to get the wild card this year. Chiefs have to earn my respect back.

New Orleans +6.5 over ST. LOUIS

Just something about that team that I don't like (meaning the Rams). I don't think the Saints are going to necessarily win the game, although I think the loss of Deuce McAllister isn't going to hurt them as much as some would think. New Orleans has too many passing options. The over/under is 47.5, I'd consider taking the over too, but that's not a strong bet.

MINNESOTA -11 over Chicago

No respect given to a team that flat out beat Green Bay at Lambeau. I understand why - the Bears just aren't that good. Someone's going to figure out Thomas Jones eventually. Minnesota's pissed off going into this game - they felt like they should have beaten Philadelphia.

Philadelphia -5.5 over DETROIT

Nope. Not a believer here either. I think Detroit's going to be a quality 8-8 team this year. It's just that I think Philadelphia's going to be a 13-3 team. This has the potential of being an upset, but not this early in the season. These same two teams playing in week 8 or 9, I'd pick the Lions.

ATLANTA -10 over Arizona

That's a lot of points to give up for Atlanta, but considering Arizona's averaging 11 points a game, I think the Falcons should be able to put three TDs on the board. They're not playing bad defense either.

San Diego +10 over DENVER

I think the Chargers could flat out win this game, let alone giving me 10 points. Denver hasn't impressed me in the slightest, and Quentin Griffin and Jake Plummer aren't scaring anybody. Plus, you've got LT in the backfield for the Bolts. Upset special, my friends.

INDIANAPOLIS -6.5 over Green Bay

You have to add a point or three for home teams playing in a dome. As long as they have fans that get on their feet and behind the team, you've got a definate advantage. This only works if you have the fans. Arizona gets a dome, it's not working. Indy's got too many weapons, and they're still trying to prove their the best team in the AFC. Green Bay's a 9-7 team at best.

SEATTLE -10 over San Francisco

In contrast, I don't see the Seahawks as getting too much of a boost from their home crowd. Doesn't matter. This one was almost picked the other way, but again, I think it's too early to go against Seattle. Week 8, I'm picking the Niners. Here, it's the Seahawks.

OAKLAND -3.5 over Tampa Bay

Hurry up, get off soon, the Tampa bandwagon's going down in flames. It's what happens when you can't score ANY touchdowns. Seriously, the Bucs haven't scored an offensive touchdown this season. Oakland's got a high risk offense, and if you ignored Rich Gannon's 2003 season, you'd be expecting a huge game from him. Oakland's going to throw the ball a LOT. WHy the hell didn't Norv Turner try this with Miami?

MIAMI -1.5 over Pittsburgh

No, I don't know why. Just a hunch. Maybe this is the game Miami figures out what to do with their offense. Maybe they figure out something that works. Pittsburgh shouldn't be able to score too many times, so it might be the Dolphins defense that does the scoring for them. Or, maybe... just maybe they'll try throwing the ball. We'll see.

WASHINGTON -1.5 over Dallas

My loser pool pick. It's really a coin flip game, but I think the Skins pull this one out. At least they can develop a running game. I'm starting to realize that if Ricky Williams had announced his retirement two weeks earlier and Eddie George signed with the Dolphins, it wouldn't have made a difference.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

While browsing the DirecTV website (can you see I'm obsessed with my new toy?), I've learned that high-definition has finally reached the porn industry.

Finally, a reason to drop three grand on a HDTV. From the DirecTV website:

Nothing can match the intensity of a high-definition picture, and Spice High-Definition on DIRECTV® Pay Per View delivers a whole new viewing experience. Enjoy provocative programming, including live entertainment and interactive shows like Spice Hotel and Spice Clips in the highest quality format available.

First off, INTERACTIVE porn? This is a fine age for technology. I can only imagine the fun you can have with this. I'd want to try it once just to have the interaction Eddie Murphy had with his chosen fiancee in Coming to America:

"I will do anything you desire."



[pauses to think] "Bark like a dog."

[she yips like a small dog]

"A big dog."

[she barks deeper]

"Now hop on one foot."

[she hops and barks deeply as the prince looks at the camera]
Yeah, I know, I missed yesterday. But yesterday was a special day. Yesterday was the beginning of the DirecTV Era in the Edwards household.

Going home with the belief that I'd be there as the male influence in the house (Tara doesn't like being alone with strangers in the house) and little else, I ended up helping the poor guy getting up and down the ladder (I probably should have told them it was a two story house) and a few otehr things. I felt bad for the tech, because it probably took him a lot longer than he thought, as they (DirecTV) called at 5PM to see if he was still there. He ended up being there until after 6, and he still had another job in East Hampton.

DirecTV kind of pissed me off in that after he got the call, the guy seemed a little rushed. He was just drilling holes in walls and running wire through. I've got no complaints about outside appearance or signal - he hid the wires on the outside great and the signal strength is awesome - but right next to the cable jack, there's a hole in the wall where the satellite cable is coming through the house. It would have been nice to see a jack there, but again, he was kind of rushing to get to the next job and I don't know if they even do jacks. I'll look into possibly doing that myself, for the hell of it. I can make and crimp CAT5 cable, how much harder can coax be?

Now I have to cancel my cable TV (not a problem) and my TiVo service, because we got a TiVo box with DirecTV and that service is free - instead of the $13 a month we pay for the regular box (yet another selling point for the dish). We're still keeping the cable modem, because there's realisticly nothing better than that, unless I can convince someone to install a T1 in the house.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Ok, I've gone all out and reupdated the blog page here. It looks a lot better, and it's actually being published now. Eventually there'll be some transition where this will be the main page for Buhner.com when you access the site. Articles are few and far between nowadays, but I'm pretty sure I can update this on a regular basis.

Stop laughing. I mean it this time.

The page will be found (although you're probably already here) at www.buhner.com/blog.html. It's a template that someone made, and it actually looks pretty good. Blogger has really improved their service from when I first got here. I guess there's a lot more bloggers now.

I most likely get my "new" pickup tonight. I'll go to the DMV tomorrow and go through the process of making it mine. It's an '88 Dakota with a few dents here and there.

In other words, it's perfect. Good for to and from work, and trips in the general Hamptons area. Not a family vehicle, but there's nothing wrong with that. I have a family vehicle. By tomorrow, I'll also have a vehicle to throw stuff in the back of to go to the dump.

The Cablevision monopoly ends at my home tomorrow as well. DirecTV will arrive between 1-5 and hook me up with a dish and three boxes. Costs when you factor out the $13 a month we were paying for TiVo and some other stuff are similar. Pretty much the only thing holding us to cable was our Internet service (which we're keeping, for $5 more a month) and News 12. Well, Cole's pretty much eliminated our watching of News 12, and as I mentioned before, the price difference between a digital cable customer and a schmuck who only wants the Internet for Optimum Online is only five bucks, which is a nice way to repay someone who drops a crapload of money on their service.

The final straw came the other day when Noggin (Cole's favorite channel) went out again. We've already had Cablevision come out three times to fix our signal, and for a company that likes to trumpet how good and reliable their service is compared to the weather-dependant dish, they seem to be dropping the ball somewhere.

Plus - NFL Sunday Ticket. Figures that what projects to be the worst Dolphins season in recent memory I'll be able to see EVERY GAME.

Monday, September 20, 2004

One of the things I love most about food and today's society is the belief that certain food is always "good for you", while others are generically "bad for you." Beef is bad. Chicken is good. Fry is bad. Grill is good.

But, above all else, remember that a salad is the healthiest thing on earth. No matter what you put on a salad, it's healthy. You could put gravy on the sumbitch, and you're a gonna lose 20 pounds.

So I'm eating my McDonald's salad, but mind you, I'm a little smarter regarding my eating habits. I know where fat and calories come from. I also know that I put grilled chicken on my salad because I need protein. Anyway, I'm eating my salad and the placemat has "nutritional information" on the reverse. I flip it over and read, and I'm entertained. First off, I don't know why you'd advertise this info. It's not like McDonalds really offers much in the way of "healthy food". Anyway, I'm looking at the salads, and I'm making potential combos, and I come up with this one:

One Crispy Chicken California Cobb Salad, with ranch dressing.

600 Calories, 37 grams of fat.

For comparison, a double quarter pounder with cheese is 770 calories, and has 47 grams of fat. A #2 (a popular choice in the past - two cheeseburgers and a medium french fry) is 1010 calories and 45 grams of fat.

For those pointing the finger at me, my salad was 310 calories/14 grams of fat, and only because McDonalds doesn't make their nutritional information regarding their salads readily available. McDonalds advertises three salads - the Cobb one, a Bacon Ranch salad, and a Caesar salad. Though not on most menus, there is also a "side salad" which is smaller, and consists of little other than greens. The three salads are also listed with either grilled or "crispy" chicken options (note the lack of the word "fried", which is considered negative). No option is listed for a chickenless salad, nor is a price listed for one (and spending over $4 on a salad with no meat is silly).

In addition, there are no salad dressing choices listed, with a "default" dressing given with the salad when ordered unless you ask for something different. The Caesar comes with Caesar dressing, the Ranch comes with Ranch dressing, and the Cobb comes with a "Cobb" dressing, whatever that is. You have to inquire about other dressings, and if there is a nonfat one (which there isn't). McDonalds only offers one dressing outside of the selected three for each salad - a lowfat balsamic vinaigrette (3 grams of fat), so unless you're shooting for bringing your own dressing, you're still hitting fat.

Upon further review, if you're looking for something low-fat from McDonalds, go with the grilled chicken Caesar salad with the vinaigrette - 9 grams of fat and 240 calories without picking anything off - but just make sure not to throw on the croutons; that's an extra 1.5 fat grams. The difference in the three salads comes down to cheese and bacon. The Caesar has only shredded parmesan, while the Cobb has bleu cheese and the Ranch cheddar. The Cobb and Ranch both contain bacon as well.

I could get into a total rant about McDonalds (and the whole "I'm dieting" belief), but I'll save that for another day.