Posts Tagged ‘Scavenger Hunt’

In a surprising twist on common sense, the NY Times reports that the British Food Standards Agency just released a study finding that children with diets rich in food additives such as artificial colors and sodium benzoate are more likely to be diagnosed with ADD than other children.

 Is this seriously a surprise? And is this seriously a study where it’s even possible to iscolate a cause like that? What about exposure to commercials? Or time spent not exercising? Or whatever one of a million things that make kids today less able to pay attention, less able to stay healthy, and less able to retain information than they used to be, back in the day.

But apparently not everyone agrees that this is common sense.  Though the research stated…

“A mix of additives commonly found in children’s foods increases the mean level of hyperactivity… The finding lends strong support for the case that food additives exacerbate hyperactive behaviors (inattention, impulsivity and overactivity) at least into middle childhood.”

Some pediatricians (that’s right, doctors!) are arguing with the significance of the study.

“Even if it shows some increase in hyperactivity, is it clinically significant and does it impact the child’s life?” said Dr. Thomas Spencer, a specialist in Pediatric Psychopharmacology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

How does having attention defecit disorder NOT impact a child’s life? Has this guy met a child, ever? Who was the kid in your elementary school whose underwear SOMEHOW ended up in the middle of the room after recess, who SOMEHOW couldn’t keep his mouth shut and didn’t have any friends because he was such a freak, who SOMEHOW couldn’t stop cutting tiny holes into his ill-fitting sweatpants. Because in my school, it was the kid with severe ADD.

AND, don’t encourage the kids to avoid these processed and packaged foods (which obviously, besides their ADD-causing additives, are usually the healthiest food available, much better than fresh fruits and vegetables or whole grains) because it might make them freaks! And better to follow the crowd to disorders than to buck the trend and preserve your ability to sit in a seat for more than 10 minutes!

… some pediatricians cautioned that a diet without artificial colors and preservatives might cause other problems for children. Dr. Spencer [this guy is clearly a winner] asks, “Is it powerful enough that you want to ostracize your kid? It is very socially impacting if children can’t eat the things that their friends do.”

As Dr. Spencer was giving this interview, he was actually getting massaged by a big-boobed lady wearing nothing but 2 frito-lay bags and a coke bottle covering her privates. Who the shit is this guy working for? The next paragraph notes that he conceded that some children may be “super sensitive” to additives.

A few hundred 3 year olds and 8-9 year olds were given drinks with additives mimicking what’s in commercial drinks, equalling about the equivalent of 1 or 2 servings of candy a day. Another group was given placebos. Over a 6 week period all the kids were evaluated by teachers, parents, and a computer, and (duh!!!)…

…The researchers discovered that children in both age groups were significantly more hyperactive and that they had shorter attention spans if they had consumed the drink containing the additives. The study’s authors noted that other research suggested that the hyperactivity could increase in as little as an hour after artificial additives were consumed.

Fucking DUH! How is this even real??? The follow-up study to this will be, “children denied processed foods for 6 weeks perform better in school, wet the bed less, don’t develop childhood obesity or diabetes.”

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Several weeks ago, I unfairly admonished the New York Times for its use of “ginormous” – as in something that is really big – in an article. I would like to rescind my criticism, as the word “ginormous” is, as of today, an actual word.

Of course, it’s actually the Times’ fault that the word is real at all. According to the Associated Press, “Merriam-Webster editors have spotted [“ginormous”] in countless newspaper and magazine articles since 2000. That’s essentially the criterion for making it into the collegiate dictionary — if a word shows up often enough in mainstream writing, the editors consider defining it.”

For those keeping score at this point: New York Times: 1; English language: 0

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A love song to the iPhone. Oh, Pogue. You’re so zany.

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After scrolling past the NYT piece titled “Why didn’t the JFK Plot Make the Front Page?” I came upon a tantilizing item called “Man Tries to Jump Into Popemobile.”


Papacy rolls this deep.


How can I be a cowboy and a Nazi Youth?

But don’t worry, Benedicty is OK. NY Times reports that the man, wearing a pink t-shirt, did not want to hurt the Pope but only wanted to draw attention to himself. And Ratzy kept on keepin on.

From his perch on the jeep, the pope waves and blesses the crowd, and occasionally will bless a baby handed up to him by a security guard.

But really, who wouldn’t feel safe when you’re guarded by this guy?


Zee swees gaard iz zo tuff.

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In this morning’s NY Times I read:

The insurgency here [in northern Iraq] is a caldron of prominent Sunni Arab groups that include Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and Ansar al-Sunna. The city was a recruitment base for commanders of the old Iraqi Army, and former officers are now among the leaders of the local guerrilla movement.

Pop Quiz, hotshot. Which of the following statements regarding the above quote are true?

1. I had to look up the word “caldron,” and it turns out it’s just a stupid alternate spelling for “cauldron;” the vessel in which a witch stirs her brew.

2. It is unclear what the author means by “recruitment base” – it could be either A) that when the Iraqi Army was in tact, commanders were recruited from here, or B) that currently, former Iraqi Army commanders get recruited from here to join the “prominent Sunni Arab groups.”

3. The wording implies that “local guerrilla movement” and “prominent Sunni Arab groups that include Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia and Ansar al-Sunna” are interchangable.

4. They are not interchangable.

5. Local guerrilla movements are often defined as people fighting to protect their homes from invading forces. Invading forces are foreign troops like the U.S. military and migratory jihadi groups like Al-Qaeda.

6. Prominent Sunni Arab groups might not be locals.

7. They are probably not even Iraqis.

OK hotshot, the quiz is over. Answers:

1. True

2. True

3. True

4. True

5. True

6. True

7. True

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An interesting article in the New York Times today: Death by Veganism. The author, railing against parents who feed infants a vegan diet, states “babies are built from protein, calcium, cholesterol and fish oil.” Hmmm. Protein? Yes. Calcium? For sure. Cholesterol? Absolutely. Fish oil? FISH OIL?

Talk all you want about the horror and irresponsibility of nutritional fads, Ms. Planck, but I want you to think back – to just a few months ago – to the time before everyone became obsessed with fish oil. You know, when you could buy a loaf of bread that didn’t have gills. You say, “this fragmentation of the American menu [featuring lots of different, varying diets] reflects admirable diversity and tolerance, but food is more important than fashion.” Yeah, well I don’t know about what your research says, missy, but carrots and soybeans have been around a lot longer than fish oil infused orange juice.

So yes, everyone knows that goddamn breast milk is best for babies and that it is downright irresponsible to give them something other than that or a good formula substitute. But veganism is a valid diet for adults who continue to monitor their health and make smart choices based on that – just like a lot of other diets. Stop conflating vegans and people who are too stupid to feed their babies. And fuck you for extolling the virtues of the nutritional supplement du jour and go suck down some omega-3 margarine substitute.

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New York Magazine posted a tantalizing item today in their “Grub Street” food blog – the existence of a bar that serves moonshine in Brooklyn. The author would not reveal the name of the bar, but I think that a budding Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy among our readers could probably figure it out based on the clues in the article. If anyone can identify the bar, their first shot of moonshine is on me. Seriously.

Embedded clues:

1. “There’s a saloon in Brooklyn that will pull [moonshine] from under the bar if you ask nicely.” – The bar is in Brooklyn and it has a bar in it with moonshine under it.

2. “We won’t give away the place’s identity, but we will tell you to look for a bulldog.” – The bar has a bulldog in or near it. Possibly real, possibly a statue. Rule nothing out.

3. “We were recently treated to a few eye-popping, sinus-destroying shots, poured from the obligatory Mason jar.” – Patrons suffering from terrible allergies. Not unlike all New Yorkers this week.

4. “We called later to request it for a friend’s birthday party.” – The bar has a telephone. In it, presumably.

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