Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Blood Moon

I don' t know about you, but early this morning, I was up and out of bed to try and see the "blood moon" that astronomers and newscasters had promised would be visible overnight. So, a little after two a.m., I opened the front door and went outside.  I scanned the sky for the moon and finally found it between my house and the next door neighbor's house. The moon was full, but partially covered on one side by a crescent-shaped shadow that looked like a chunk of the moon had been eaten by a hungry mouse, thinking the moon was a wheel of cheddar cheese.

What I was seeing was the beginning of a total lunar eclipse. That type of eclipse only occurs when the sun, the moon and the Earth line up just so.  The eclipse is caused by the shadow from the Earth. Apparently, it is called a "blood moon" because as the eclipse progresses, the moon takes on a bloody reddish brown color caused by the refraction of sunlight in the Earth's atmosphere.

Fascinating stuff and beautiful to see.  If you missed this one, rhe next one w on't occur until October 8, 2014. So, Mark your calendars!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Prairie Home Companion

I have been a fan of Garrison Keillor  and his public radio show, The Prairie Home Companion, for as long as I can remember. Set in the fictional Minnesota town of Lake Wobegone, it is probably the last true variety show in America. And undoubtedly the best.
The show features Keillor, who writes the scripts for the show, in just about every role. Backed by an extremely talented supporting cast, a supurb orchestra and crew, the show (which airs from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Eastern time zone on Saturdays, but not every week, so check the schedule) just flies by. It is filled with equal doses of humor, pathos and beautiful music, all orchestrated by the multi talented Keillor. Keillor sings, does a little dance shuffle, and tells a number of jokes, mostly good-natured ones about the quirks of Minnesota residents.
One recent Saturday night, my wife and I had the good fortune to have tickets to the show at the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown St. Paul. The theatre is named after the author of The Great Gatsby,F Scott Fitzgerald, who was born in St. Paul. Our seats were on the very edge of the first balcony, where we had a birds-eye view of the show as it was broadcast live across America and the world via Armed Forces Radio. The show began with Keillor walking down the center aisle singing a welcoming song. And the show ended with Keillor  and the other performances singing This Little Light of Mine. In between were comedy skits,  including Guy Noir and Keillor's famous Lake Woebegone monologue as well as performances by the Steele sisters and Willie Watson on the banjo. All the performers received a standing ovation at the end of the show and deservedly so.
If you get the chance, but all means take in a performance.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Saving Your Money at the Grocery Store 

The link above is to a segment on the Today Show that includes an interview with a representative of Consumer Reports rating the best and worst supermarkets.  Number 5 on the list is Costco. For a discussion of how you can save money on groceries and other products at Costco and other stores, please see my new EBook, Getting the Lowest Price on Practically Everything.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Fast Exercise: The Very Latest on High Intensity Interval Training

Dr. Michael Mosley appeared today on ABC's Good Morning America to discuss his book, "Fast Exercise." He discussed and demonstrated his high intensity interval training (HIIT)program that I have written about on numerous occasions in this blog. Weight Watchers Endorses High Intensity Training for Weight Loss, October 6, 2013.
The program involves just one minute of high intensity exercise three times a week. The exercise program is said to result in weight loss as well as better overall health. Specifically, Dr. Mosley says that it can reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.
I have followed this program on several occasions and I believe in it. If your doctor permits you, give it a try and let me know your results.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Generic Lipitor Recall

In case you missed it, Ranbaxy Laboratories has recalled its generic version of the Pfizer drug Lipitor.
The generic name is Atorvastatin. So please discard or return the drug to where you purchased it.
The recall was prompted by a mislabeling of the sizes of the pills. Certain bottles labeled 10 milligrams actually contained 20 milligram tablets.

Monday, March 3, 2014

New EBook on Saving Your Money

I just published my second eBook in a series designed to help you, the consumer, to get your best deal and best service wherever you shop.  My first eBook, "The Best Habits of Highly Skilled Negotiators:How to Get the Best Deal Every Time," provided both general and specific advice on negotiating the best deal. It is available on Amazon Kindle for just $.99. It is a general help book that will undoubtedly save you money whenever you shop. My latest book (entitled "Getting the Best Price on Practically Everything") in the series entitled "Saving Your Money"," while intended primarily for men, gives specific information on how you can get the lowest price on groceries, items in department stores and just about anything else. It is subtitled "The Only Buying Guide You Will Ever Need"because it so comprehensive that you will save money from just one quick read. It is a light-hearted, but very informative book that I know you will enjoy reading and profiting from.  It is available at Amazon for the Kindle for $2.99.

If you decide to purchase either book, please let me know what you think. Thanks.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Concept 10 10: The Latest High Intensity Interval Training for Strengh

Do you want to develop your strength in your body but just don't have the time to work out at the gym on the Nautilus for 1 or 2 hours a day?  I know I don't.  And I'm supposed to be retired and have all the time in the world.  Well, I have the answer:  Concept 10 10.

I have written quite a bit about the benefits of high intensity interval training or HIIT. See e.g., Most of those involve aerobic activity which is done at a very high level of exertion, followed by an even longer period at a much lower level of exertion. The entire session generally lasts only between 3 and 6 minutes.  It can involve cycling, running, walking on a treadmill or just plain old walking.

If you haven't heard of Concept 10 10, you are not alone.  I hadn't heard of it either until I read about it in the local newspaper down here in Southwest Florida.It sounded fascinating so I thought I would share it with you with a slight variation of my own that I am working on.

Basically, the concept is that you work out on the Nautilus or other strength building machines for about 20 minutes just once a week.  During that twenty minutes, you perform various of the standard strength exercises.  The difference is that you only do a limited number of those exercises at a very slow pace until muscle failure. The slower, the better. By doing the exercises slowly, you actually use more effort and therefore the muscle failure comes faster. Usually, the exercises are observed by a Concept 10 10 trainer, but once you learn the routine, I would think you should be able to perform the exercises on your own.  But I would strongly recommend consulting with a trainer and your physician before undertaking these or any other form of exercise.

Earlier, I mentioned that I developed a variation of this training method. Very simply, it involves doing the same exercises with a resistance band. I have tried it and it does seem to work. A good source of information on resistance band exercises that can be done in twenty minutes can be found at

As I said before, please consult with your physician before any exercise program. If he or she approves, give this approach a try and let me know what you think.