Free AbCircle *

September 17th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary, Women-Specific No Comments »

Check the curb near Division and Milwaukee in Chicago this time next year and you should be able to pick up a gently used AbCircle.  Sorry, I know you were hoping for immediate gratification like the poor soul who bought this AbCircle and the Taylor (As Seen on The Biggest Loser) weight scale.  Unfortunately, both boxes were empty when I walked by and kicked them this past Saturday.
I’m trying to rid the world of ab machines commonly advertised on television infomercials, but my message must not have reached this person in time.  If you know this person, please offer my apologies.

*Please note that the AbCircle will only be free in a year if the current owner does not repurpose it as a clay pigeon launcher or pottery wheel.  Other AbCircles may soon be available at curbs near you.

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Don’t tryabcircle.com

July 10th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing 10 Comments »

This is the kind of crap I’m talking about.  Infomercial ab machines are right up there with subprime mortgages.  This nonsense is directly eroding prosperity in America. Congress needs to ban this garbage immediately.
I just came home from a bike ride and was stretching in front of the TV and saw a program called “Bikini Beach Bodies.”  Naturally, I flipped to that channel to see what it was about.  To my disgust there was some collagenated, siliconized, spandex-clad, model kneeling on this contraption with her back arched, swinging her butt around.  At first I though my cable provider was running an adult channel promotion.  Once I realized it was another attempt to sell a piece of junk as the be-all and end-all fitness miracle I actually swore out loud at the television.
I’m tired of stupid promotions like this.   If I could get hold of the people that buy these products, I would slap them.  If you must spend money, go out and buy a $0.50 towel from a garage sale, lay it on the floor and do situps the way you learned in grade school.
The ridiculous Ab Circle is not going to help you lose 50 pounds.  Getting in shape will always be hard work, but it can be fun with the right mental approach.  Please don’t believe you can buy fitness from an 800 number scrolling across your television.   The single most important tool for getting in shape is your mind.  And unless you lost yours, it shouldn’t cost you anything.

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False Delights

June 22nd, 2009 Kevin Posted in Bars, Fuzzy Marketing No Comments »

I’ve been wrong before, but I’m predicting a brief life for the Quaker True Delights Toasted Coconut Banana Macadamia Nut bar. It’s just too far away from tried and true chocolate and peanut butter granola bars. I picked up a box of these bars because they’re new and eye-catching. Then I ate my way through the six pack and made plans to never buy them again. Why? Because it’s a bad version of a granola bar. It didn’t really make me feel wonderful and exotic as the flavor implies. I wolfed each one down in two bites and always reached for a glass of water to wash out the funk they left in my mouth.

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Yahoo! and heart institute inflate risk of death among triathletes

March 30th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary, running 4 Comments »

The Yahoo! home page has eye-catching headlines about politics, celebrities, sports, and health. Recently, one particular headline caught my attention: “A race with twice the heart risk as a marathon.”  Following the first link leads to a second, more provocative headline and a brief description.

“Twice as risky as a marathon,” reads the next title followed by, “Another type of popular race poses a greater risk of sudden death than running 26 miles.”  Whoa!  Sudden death??  What could this be?

Following the next link finally gets you to the article with yet another title,  “Study: Triathlons can pose deadly heart risks.”  Before we even begin reading, we’re all buttered up for a story about how participating in an event that we may not even understand can cause us to die.  Die?!  We don’t want to die!  The majority of us will skim the article and conclude that we’d rather chill on the back patio with a drink than risk dying in a triathlon.

Thanks Yahoo!, AP News, and Dr. Kevin Harris.  We’re now destined to become a fat, lazy people.  Dr. Harris, a cardiologist at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, led this study using records on 922,810 triathletes competing in 2,846 USA Triathlon-sanctioned events between January 2006 and September 2008.  Combing through this pile of data, Dr. Harris found that 14 died.

Okay, let’s see here… 14 divided by 922,810…  multiply that by 100…  equals 0.0015%.  Therefore, we have a 0.0015% chance of dying while competing in a triathlon.  Why is this news?  How is this significant?

Let’s look further.  Of those 14 people that died, six were autopsied and four of those six were found to have underlying heart problems.  Hmm, okay, that’s 66%.  Let’s assume 66% of the 14 had underlying heart problems.  That’s 9-1/4 people – which we’ll round down to nine.   What this says is five out 922,810 people that don’t have an underlying heart problem may die while competing in a triathlon.  This equates to 0.00054%.

So, really, the Yahoo! news title should be revised to read:

Joe Schmoe has a 0.00054% chance of dying while competing in a triathlon

But, that’s not very scary is it?  That wouldn’t draw attention to the insignificant results of this study.  The media is in the business of selling news.  If it doesn’t scare you or seduce you, the media can’t sell it.

Aggravating us further, Dr. Harris says, “While not a large risk, this is not an inconsequential number.”  What?  What can be more inconsequential than 0.00054%?  I encourage doctors that have time to study something but have no idea what to study,  find answers to one (or all) of the following:

1.)  How many people will become sedentary and die after reading this Yahoo! news story?

2.)  How many deaths occur from installing ginormous flat screen televisions.

3.)  What are the sudden death statistics occurring within a 50 ft radius of Krispy Kreme restaurants?

Answering any one of those questions will result in far more beneficial news than presenting the risk of sudden death from triathlons.  The fact that people may be discouraged from even considering an endurance event poses a greater health risk than this miniscule half-hundred-thousandth.  Inflated news headlines like this do more harm than good.  I suggest Yahoo! and the Associated Press help improve our health and save  us time by not publishing such meaningless fodder.

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Berry Fusion

February 16th, 2009 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Liquids, Organic 6 Comments »

The brochure didn’t say anything about how the drink mix is really gritty. I think that if a drink is going to leave sandy sediment in the bottom of a cup, it either should taste phenomenal or give phenomenal health benefits (or both).  So far, Berry Fusion didn’t taste that great, so I’m waiting for the benefits to kick in.
I picked up a sample of Berry Fusion at the Carlsbad Half Marathon last month.  A small, single serving envelop came stapled to a glossy flyer.  Berry Fusion (the complete name is: New Greens Berry Fusion Complete Superfruit Drink by Pure Prescriptions Natural Health Solutions) is a powdered drink mix that claims to provide 10 servings of super foods.  What are super foods?  I don’t know.  The FDA doesn’t know either.  According to the Berry Fusion website, super foods are fruits and vegetables that are filled with anti-oxidants and phytonutrients.  Plus, from the personal experience of two doctors and Oprah, super foods help significantly improve health.
The Berry Fusion website also has a place for registered members to comment on the product.  Suspiciously, 33 out of 35 members have given the product 5 out of 5 stars.  The other two issued 4 out of 5 stars.  Commentors gave titles like, “Step into the future,” “Don’t hesitate!,”  “Berry berry good,” and “The wait is over.”  Well, I’m still waiting for the health benefits to overwhelm me.  Maybe I shouldn’t have rinsed the sediment out of my teeth.  I’ll ask Oprah.

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Resolve to never diet again, 2009 edition

January 1st, 2009 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary No Comments »

Happy New Year! Cheers to a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2009! This year’s first post is the same one I always post on January 1.  I update a few points to adjust for current trends, but the underlying message remains the same.

How long have you been trying to lose weight? Has it been effective? How much have you lost? Seriously, reread those questions and think about your answers. That should put things into perspective. Now consider the following three questions:

1. Do you want to lose weight?

2. Are you honest with yourself? (Do you really want to lose weight?)

3. Do you have enough personal discipline to do it?

#1. Chances are you want to lose weight. You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t interested.

#2. This is the most subjective question on the list. As you know, the mind can be deceitful. We are pre-wired to take the path of least resistance. If you’ve acquired a few extra pounds, you’re familiar with that path. If you cheated on your diets in the past, then you weren’t honest with yourself. If you aren’t honest with yourself, who will you be honest with? Question #2 is basically a quality control check on the first question. Do you really want to lose weight?

#3. This is the deal-breaker for most people. This is why over 26% of Americans are obese (CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System).  “It’s true. I just got back from Costco, and saw at least eight 400-500lb’ers there. They love it because you can get 10lb palettes of toast chee and potato chips for about 8 bucks. And some for their kids, too,” says WhiteLightnin at Sherdog.net.

I’m not talking military discipline here. Most “diet” options on the market trick consumers into paying for something to supplant their own discipline. Think about it. Diet pills: “Just swallow this magic chemical and you will lose weight while sitting on your ass.” Ab machines: “Simply rock back and forth in the lounge chair for a few minutes each day and you will have stunning, sculpted abs.” Check out what the Federal Trade Commission had to say in their “Operation: Big Fat Lie.” What you need here is the will to resist the ridiculous.

If you weren’t happy with your answers to the questions in the first sentence, you will need to work on at least one the three items above. The good news is that you already have all the resources to get started. Below is a guide to keep you focused on your fitness, health, and well-being in the New Year.

* First and foremost, don’t “diet”. Remove that word from your vocabulary. The word is laced with so much commercialism, gossip, failure, and negative emotion, that it is absolutely useless. Start the New Year by resolving to never “diet” again.

* Don’t weigh yourself. The scale is evil. You don’t want to ride that emotional roller coaster all your life. Get it out of your house immediately. Don’t turn your plan to get in shape into a numbers game. Instead, work on improving the way you feel. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. As you improve your fitness level, you will lose fat weight and gain muscle weight.

* Don’t reward yourself with food. Think of food as fuel. Good food makes you feel and perform your best. Bad food drags you down. Beware of your sense of taste guiding your food selection. Begin thinking of food as fuel and your tastes will begin to guide you along a more healthy path.

* Turn off your television. CBS, NBC, and FOX can do without another spaced-out mug staring at them. Don’t use “your shows” as an excuse to lay on the couch for hours every night of the week. Your life is not being culturally enhanced by tuning in. Trust me.

* Don’t buy an elliptical machine. If you don’t regularly exercise now, why in the world would you want to spend time on a machine in your basement staring at the wall? You won’t. Trying to get in shape in that manner does nothing to improve your attitude towards exercise. If you already have an exercise machine in your house, go look at it now. Is it being used to dry clothes or keep that cardboard box collection from touching the floor?

* Don’t buy a treadmill. See above.

* Please don’t buy any type of abdominal machine you see on television. First of all, your television should be turned off. Second, go back to question #3 above. Learn to recognize when you are spending money as a replacement for your lack of discipline.

* Be extremely skeptical of any bald dude in a pinstripe suit with a turned up collar and a gold watch stating that he can make you thin.  Tell me how Paul McKenna is any different than any other diet “guru” that has come and gone with your money in the past.  Getting fit doesn’t come on five CDs and cost $95.  Think about it.  No one is in control of your health but yourself.

Everyone knows how to lose weight, but we need help. We fall for the diet pills, the diet programs, and other miracle products that will melt fat away. The fact is, losing weight and getting in shape are difficult tasks. Consider how long it took to gain the weight. The weight that we gained since graduating high school took 5, 10, maybe 20 years to put on, right? We shouldn’t expect it to come off easily in six months unless we get very serious and work very hard. Rather, we should think in longer terms.

Start by walking. Get outside because it’s nice to breathe the fresh air. If it’s cold, wear warm clothes. If it’s hot, walk in the mornings or evenings. Work your way up to 6 or 8 miles a week. If walking isn’t convenient for one reason or another – too bad. It’s not supposed to be. No form of exercise will be convenient without a little bit of discipline. Convenience is a term used by stores that sell over-priced donuts.

Work your way into biking or running. For the wiser generation, cycling is a wonderfully low-impact activity. If not biking or running, get into cardio aerobics. If not aerobics, get into Pilates. If not Pilates, get into yoga. If not yoga get into calisthenics – push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, back arches, etc.

Take deep breaths and cool down afterwards. Always stretch. Relax and clear your mind when you stretch. This is when you should feel good about yourself for making it through a workout. This is the refreshing moment you will begin to crave. What you feel here is what will mentally prevent you from being lazy. The real reward is a sense of accomplishment and that slight “high” that comes after pushing yourself.

Time? You say you don’t have time to exercise? You say that you are too busy? Okay, stop reading and have a nice life. You are obviously not interested in improving your physical health. If you don’t like that answer, try this one: Fat chance! You’re not too busy. You’re presenting the weakest excuse in the book. Are you still watching television? Turn it off. You say you have to run your kids to soccer practice? What do you do while they’re at practice? Consider going for a walk/run around the park. There is your extra time. You say you need to wind down or relax after work? I’ll buy that. But not for three hours! Chill for a ½ hour. Collect your thoughts. Open your mail. Then get up and get outside!

Everyone has a day or two or three in which they cannot fit in an ounce of exercise due to various reasons. Bravo! You are leading a productive life. You don’t have to exercise every day. Get out when you can. Exercise doubles as a time to help you reach your weight loss goals as well as collect your thoughts, de-stress, and get in a better mood. It really works wonders.

Before you know it, you will be building energy so that even with the added workout regimen in your schedule, you will have more energy during work, school, and other activities you are involved in. Don’t forget to tune out gimmicky dieting ads. And, most of all, resolve to not “diet” in this New Year!

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Fill your leaky tires with nitrogen for free

August 1st, 2008 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing 2 Comments »

You’ve probably heard that you can have nitrogen pumped into your tires in a growing number of locations.  The theory is that nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules and are therefore less likely to leak through your permeable rubber tire.  Most of us have atmospheric gas (air) in our tires which is made up of 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% other gases.  Service stations selling nitrogen for your tires typically fill with a 93% – 98% concentration of nitrogen.

Tires leak in a number of different ways.  There could be a hole in the tire made by a foreign object, a poor seat on the rim, a malfunctioning valve stem, or typical permeability through the tire rubber.  If your tires are leaking air from any of the first three, get your tires repaired.  These types of leaks allow both nitrogen and oxygen to pass.  If your tires are leaking through the pore spaces of the rubber, read on to find out how to fill your tires with nitrogen for free.

The price for filling a single tire with nitrogen ranges from $4 to $10 (USD) per tire.  If you have a tire that leaks through the tire rubber, don’t pay for a nitrogen fill up.  Simply fill with regular air each time.  Here’s the secret: Each time air leaks through the rubber, you lose more of the smaller oxygen molecules than the larger nitrogen molecules.  When you refill with air, the nitrogen concentration in your tire becomes greater and greater.

Let’s say your tire requires 100,000 gas molecules to fill to the proper pressure.  (It will be much more than that, but for the sake of simplicity, we’ll stick with this small, round number.)  Ignoring the 1% of other gases, we start with 78,000 molecules of nitrogen and 21,000 molecules of oxygen.

According to the Get Nitrogen Institute, oxygen escapes from tires at a rate that is 3-4 times faster than nitrogen.  For this example, we’ll assume that with every nitrogen molecule escaping your tire, four oxygen molecules are also lost.  Therefore, every time you lose 26,250 air molecules from your tire, you are left with pure nitrogen.  5,250 nitrogen molecules and 21,000 oxygen molecules escaped, leaving you with 72,750 molecules of nitrogen.

When you refill with air you will replace the 26,250 air molecules with 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen.  The gas in your tire will now contain roughly 93.5% nitrogen and 5.5% oxygen.  There you have it.  With just one refill of air into a leaky tire, you have reached a nitrogen concentration equal to that which service stations sell for $4 to $10 (USD) per tire.  Each time you refill with air, more oxygen is purged and the nitrogen concentration becomes even greater.

Agree/disagree with this logic?  Let me know.  Curious about helium or hydrogen in your tires?  How about glowing neon in your tires?  Follow this discussion at MTBReview.com.

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Anchor for the whole community?

April 15th, 2008 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary 4 Comments »


A Krispy Kreme donut store just closed in Mundelein, Illinois, USA.  Over six years ago when the store opened there was such a frenzy of fans wishing to buy donuts that police were called in to control the ravenous donut-seekers.  Now, the building, operated by Sweet Traditions LLC, stands vacant awaiting possible reuse as another restaurant.

I believe that the community finally got full of donuts.  Seriously, I think we all have a lifetime cummulative donut exposure tolerance.  Once we reach our critical saturation level, we suddenly become averse to red neon “Hot Doughnuts Now” signs.  Mundelein Trustee, Ray Semple, hoping to calm panic-stricken residents in an interview with the Chicago Daily Herald puts it rather simply, “in reality it was a doughnut shop.”

In the meantime, Krispy Kreme (KKD) stock prices currently hover around $3/share. Once a market darling that IPO’ed in April 2000, KKD has never quite recovered from the dual impact of low carb diets and the 2004 accounting scandal. The stock price is down roughly 94% since it tickled $50/share in August 2003.

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New superfood raises suspicion

February 5th, 2008 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary, Liquids, Organic No Comments »

Ever wonder what caused the dramatic rise in popularity of pomegranates? It seems like within the span of one year, pomegranate-flavored food and beverages came from nowhere to sharing shelf space with the oranges and the apples. In a Feb. 4, 2008, SmartMoney article, “The Truth Behind the Pomegranate Craze,” Anne Kadet sheds light on one theory involving aggressive medical studies funded by Pom Wonderful. A recent study by Harvard Medical School revealed that of the dozens of published medical papers paid for by Pom Wonderful’s $20 million campaign, not one paper produced negative conclusions about pomegranate. The media brought all of that good news to the popular press and thus helped drive sales of Pomegranate-derived products. Imagine all the other superfoods that can be created with $20 million funneled to medical researchers?

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Resolve to never diet again

January 1st, 2008 Kevin Posted in Fuzzy Marketing, Health Commentary 2 Comments »

Happy New Year!  Cheers to a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2008!  This year’s first post revisits an article published here before the blog software was installed.  Slightly updated for 2008, here are the basic guidelines for not dieting.

How long have you been trying to lose weight? Has it been effective? How much have you lost? Seriously, reread those questions and think about your answers. That should put things into perspective. Now consider the following three questions:

1. Do you want to lose weight?

2. Are you honest with myself? (Do you really want to lose weight?)

3. Do you have enough personal discipline to do it?

#1. Chances are you want to lose weight. You wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t interested.

#2. This is the most subjective question on the list. As you know, the mind can be deceitful. We are pre-wired to take the path of least resistance. If you’ve acquired a few extra pounds, you’re familiar with that path. If you cheated on your diets in the past, then you weren’t honest with yourself. If you aren’t honest with yourself, who will you be honest with? Question #2 is basically a quality control check on the first question. Do you really want to lose weight?

#3. This is the deal-breaker for most people. This is why there are 60 million obese adults in United States. I’m not talking military discipline here. Most “diet” options on the market trick consumers into paying for something to supplant their own discipline. Think about it. Diet pills: “Just swallow this magic chemical and you will lose weight while sitting on your ass.” Ab machines: “Simply rock back and forth in the lounge chair for a few minutes each day and you will have stunning, sculpted abs.” Check out what the Federal Trade Commission had to say in their “Operation: Big Fat Lie.” What you need here is the will to resist the ridiculous.

If you weren’t happy with your answers to the questions in the first sentence, you will need to work on at least one the three items above. The good news is that you already have all the resources to get started. Below is a guide to keep you focused on your fitness, health, and well-being in the New Year.

* First and foremost, don’t “diet”. Remove the connotation of that word from your vocabulary. The word is laced with so much commercialism, gossip, failure, and negative emotion, that it is absolutely useless. Start the New Year by resolving to never “diet” again.

* Don’t weigh yourself. The scale is evil. You don’t want to ride that emotional roller coaster all your life. Get it out of your house immediately. Don’t turn your plan to get in shape into a numbers game. Instead, work on improving the way you feel each week. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. As you improve your fitness level, you will lose fat weight and gain muscle weight.

* Don’t reward yourself with food. Think of food as fuel. Good food makes you feel and perform your best. Bad food drags you down. Beware of your sense of taste guiding your food selection. Begin thinking of food as fuel and your tastes will begin to guide you along a more healthy path.

* Turn off your television. CBS, NBC, and FOX can do without another spaced-out mug staring at them. Don’t use “your shows” as an excuse to lie on the couch for hours every night of the week. Your life is not being culturally enhanced by tuning in. Trust me.

* Don’t buy an elliptical machine. If you don’t regularly exercise now, why in the world would you want to spend time on a machine in your basement staring at the wall? You won’t. Trying to get in shape in that manner does nothing to improve your attitude towards exercise. If you already have an exercise machine in your house, go look at it now. Is it being used to dry clothes or keep that cardboard box collection from touching the floor?

* Don’t buy a treadmill. See above.

* Please don’t buy any type of abdominal machine you see on television. First of all, your television should be turned off. Second, go back to question #3 above. Learn to recognize when you are spending money as a replacement for your lack of discipline.

Everyone knows how to lose weight, but we need help. We fall for the diet pills, the diet programs, and the miracle product that will melt fat away. The fact is, losing weight and getting in shape are difficult tasks. Consider how long it took to gain the weight. The weight that we gained since graduating high school took 5, 10, maybe 20 years to put on, right? We shouldn’t expect it to come off easily in six months unless we get very serious and work very hard. Rather, we should think in longer terms.

Start by walking. Get outside because it’s nice to breathe the fresh air. If it’s cold, wear warm clothes. If it’s hot, walk in the mornings or evenings. Work your way up to 6 or 8 miles a week. If walking isn’t convenient for one reason or another – too bad. It’s not supposed to be. No form of exercise will be convenient without a little bit of discipline. Convenience is a term used by stores that sell over-priced donuts.

Work your way into biking or running. For the wiser generation, cycling is a wonderfully low-impact activity. If not biking or running, get into cardio aerobics. If not aerobics, get into Pilates. If not Pilates, get into yoga. If not yoga get into calisthenics – push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, squats, back arches, etc.

Take deep breaths and cool down afterwards. Always stretch. Relax and clear your mind when you stretch. This is when you should feel good about yourself for making it through a workout. This is the refreshing moment you will begin to crave. What you feel here is what will mentally prevent you from being lazy. The real reward is a sense of accomplishment and that slight “high” that comes after pushing yourself.

Time? You say you don’t have time to exercise? You say that you are too busy? Okay, stop reading and have a nice life. You are obviously not interested in improving your physical health. If you don’t like that answer, try this one: Fat chance! You’re not too busy. You’re presenting the weakest excuse in the book. Are you still watching television? Turn it off. You say you have to run your kids to soccer practice? What do you do while they’re at practice? Consider going for a walk/run around the park. There is your extra time. You say you need to wind down or relax after work? I’ll buy that. But not for three hours! Chill for a ½ hour. Collect your thoughts. Open your mail. Then get up and get outside!

Everyone has a day or two or three in which they cannot fit in an ounce of exercise due to various reasons. Bravo! You are leading a productive life. You don’t have to exercise every day. Get out when you can. Exercise doubles as a time to help you reach your weight loss goals as well as collect your thoughts, de-stress, and get in a better mood. It really works wonders.

Before you know it, you will be building energy so that even with the added workout regimen in your schedule, you will have more energy during work, school, and other activities you are involved in. Don’t forget to tune out gimmicky dieting ads. And, most of all, resolve to not “diet” in the New Year!

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