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July 12th, 2003:
Calories are Calories:

A couple of weeks ago, at the nearby health food store, your Mr.Wonderful discovered the Atkins line of low carb candy bars and shakes. A grocery store candy bar, twice the size of an Atkins Advantage® Bar, costs one-third as much but contains eight times the carbohydrates. (Please note that, it seems to me, studying the ADirect catalog, that the Atkins products are much cheaper at the health food store than they are purchased directly from the manufacturer.) Ignoring what the good doctor himself wrote, I bought a stack of low net carb Atkins bars and proceeded to gorge myself, right before bedtime, over a period of fourteen days. Regardless of their carbohydrate count, these bars still silently stuffed hundreds of calories into their less than pocket comb size. The result was that for two weeks I either gained weight or maintained my weight. That's because, including the calories from the low-carb-candy-bars, I was consuming well over 3,300 calories per day. I was putting into my body far more calories than I was burning. Even after spending three to six days per week at the gym and even after enjoying the metabolic fat-burning advantage a low carbohydrate diet provides, I was at a standstill. That's a hell of a lot of effort only to have it frosted over by my attraction to chocolate. Atkins Endulge bar, shown actual size Only after abstaining from all these sweet delights, over the past week, did I finally rid my torso of another four pounds. As far as the Atkins bars displaying the huge word "ADVANTAGE" on their wrapper? Stay away from them. They are pretty much awful. Similar to chewing flavored Play-Dough. However, the Atkins Endulge® wafer crisp bars are as good as the Twix bars they resemble. I sampled the powdered shake mixes that Atkins markets and found that the powder would not dissolve and the phlegm-like blobs tasted pretty much like desert dirt. I also attempted the health food store brand of shake mix. While it dissolved satisfactorily it tasted and smelled exactly like fresh vomit. So I have learned my lesson. While keeping a close track of carbohydrate intake on the Atkins diet remains critical, it is also important to have a rough idea of approximately how many calories are passing past your pallet every repast. I have discovered, that without committing two hours every week to aerobic-calorie-burning exercise, my weight loss scales down to practically zero. And, I'm not talking about mamby-pamby "walking fast" or pedaling the stationary bike or hanging onto the stairclimber bars while reading the latest John Gresham novel or chatting on your gull darn cell phone. I am talking about ass kicking, fever inducing, hard-breathing aerobic workouts that raise your heart rate to at a minimum of 65% of your target rate for at least twenty minutes at a time. I am talking about an aerobic exercise routine that will leave you wobbly and drenched in sweat and afterwards glowing in a well deserved endorphin rush.

July 2nd, 2003:
Blondes, Kennedy's & Carbs

Have you listened the radio promotions for Legally Blonde II? I didn't see the first one and don't intend to see this sequel, so I could actually give a bowel movement about either one. But back to the promo. How sad is it when The Promo, a clip from the movie, something that's supposed to be a grabber, something that's supposed to be hilarious, is just crap? How's this: "Boston by way of Bel Aire." Ar, hah, hah, hah! Or: "Let's not go there." Oh, ho, ho ho! Or: "Never underestimate a woman with a French manicure and a Harvard Law degree." That's so sad. And embarrassing. But with so many millions of American's, having been educated in the awful public school system, and therefore qualifying themselves, apriori, as dolts, this movie will probably take in at least $100 million in the U.S. alone.
At the beachThis month makes it four years since the sainted JFK Jr., with his wife, and her sister, set the world speed diving record in his $250,000 twin-engined aeroplane off the coast of Nantucket. I believe that was one of the very first columns I posted to the now world famous and award winning Mr. Wonderful web pages. As I understand him, although unbelievably spoiled, John was just a delightful human being. Not so his cousin, Representative Patrick Kennedy, who was recently heard loudly stating in the fashion of his elephantine uncle, Ted Kennedy, "I don't need Bush's tax cut. I have never worked an effing day in my life." Sadly this is the disdainful attitude many of the wealthy Democrats in Congress carry. There is a total disconnect between the billions of tax dollars they freely use to irrigate their re-election efforts and where exactly those same dollars come from. Bastards.
A recent study sited in the "Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter," July 2003, compared the insulin levels of 12,000 individuals. One half were on a diet that consisted of 40% carbohydrate calories and the other on a diet that was composed of 60% carbohydrates. They compared the two groups and discovered that, contrary to the outrageous claims made in the "Enter the Zone" book, their levels of insulin were pretty much the same. But, this study has no bearing on anyone on the Atkins' diet. That is because, where the recommended daily allowance for carbohydrates is in the area of 300 grams, an Atkins' adherent keeps his or her daily carb intake below 60 grams! One-fifth of the RDA. But for the good folks at Tufts to conclude that insulin doesn't rise on the ingestion of large quantities of carbs, is to deny the incredible weariness (caused by an abrupt insulin rise) faced by your Mr.Wonderful, and millions of others, after a fine meal at Macayo's Mexican Food Restaurant, a great pie from Pizza Hut or a huge mountain of Schwan's Vanilla Ice Cream, drowning in hot fudge with a handful of Spanish nuts crawling down its cliffs. However, through careful experimentation, I have discovered that large quantities of tequila can sometimes delay the onset of the inevitable Sunday afternoon nap.

June 25th, 2003:
21st Century Untouchables

As I was cooking my chicken thighs yesterday afternoon, I had the Dish System tuned to "205" the Fox News Channel. Shepard Smith's show was over and Bill O'Reilly's ugly mug was on the screen. He was crucifying a Californian police commander about how they handle illegal aliens by basically ignoring them unless they should harm any government employee. This conversation came about because a California police officer was recently murdered by an illegal alien. But, it brought me back to just how untouchable these "undocumented workers" are.Back-packed Illegals Crossing Border. Click to visit American's for Immigration Control! What we really need is a SARS epidemic in Mexico and then we would see if we are actually able to keep these people out, and better yet, kick them out of these United States of America. (Shortly after which we would be 'surprised' to discover that we have enough busses, we have enough schoolrooms, we have enough affordable housing, we have enough hospital emergency rooms, we have enough policemen and we have far, far, too many social workers. However, none of these new statistics would be published in The Arizona Republic.) Now, before you start screaming, consider this: Are these millions of illegal Mexican aliens likely to maintain and enhance the unique Arizonan-American culture we formerly enjoyed? Or, rather, in their sainted diversity, are they instead molding Arizona into the lawless, destitute and patriarchal society that the Third World Mexican Republic currently is? Is that what you want? Have you ever lived in the Mexico these people escaped from? Have you ever been on 32nd Street and Van Buren in downtown Phoenix, Arizona? One mile from where your Mr.Wonderful was born and bred has since been turned into a little piece of Mexico, complete with unlicensed and uninspected street vendors selling food, from their wheeled contrivances. Food made in a bathtub. How quaint. Unless that is you happen to be an evil non-Hispanic family living in the neighborhood. Which brings me to the topic of traffic safety. Consider these facts about our State's traffic. 1) There are about 505,614 illegal-alien Mexican's living in Arizona. 2) I'd estimate we have at least 53,213 of them driving vehicles. 3) These vehicles are illegally licensed. 4) These vehicles are either unregistered or illegally registered. 5) Some of these vehicles were rebuilt from accidents in which they were totally destroyed with the result that many of them are also mechanically unsafe. 5) These vehicles do not go through the state emission testing so they may be placing more that one hundred times the volume of pollutants into our Arizona sunsets than our properly inspected and tuned vehicle does. 6) These vehicles are driven by individuals who, for the most part, do not possess Arizona driver's licenses, and have not gone through any driver's training and have no knowledge of Arizona roadway laws. 7) These vehicles are not covered by any form of liability, medical, collision or uninsured motorist insurance. How long do you any non-Hispanic-looking Arizona resident, bright-eyed and bushy tailed in a freshly ironed shirt with a collar, could drive under these conditions without being detected, ticketed or even arrested by the myriad of "traffic-safety oriented" law enforcement officers? The answer is that there is a huge conspiracy that states that these illegal-Mexican-aliens will be allowed to, against our immigration laws, reside in our cities (destroying any neighborhood they move into) drive our streets and pollute our sky until they either commit a felonious act (not uncommon) or they are apprehended driving drunk (not uncommon) or they are involved in a traffic accident. A traffic accident in which they always seem to escape from.

June 19th, 2003:
Advertiser's Mostly Lying Bastards !
I'll let you in on a fact that I've discovered about advertising. It is such an obvious find that I'm willing to wager many of my reader's have missed it too. And that find is, the wonderful "option" or "feature" that the company is advertising is almost always something they cannot deliver or deliver poorly. 2001 Hyundai Sonata For instance, your Mr.Wonderful once sold an individual health insurance policy, that is still heavily advertised on radio shows such as Rush Limbaugh and G.Gordon Liddy. This particular insurance company proclaimed just how "affordable" their health insurance was. After stacking up more "no's" than Bill Clinton at a Log Cabin Republican Lesbian Convention, did I come to the awareness that my "affordable" health insurance policy was typically priced 25% higher than my nearest competition. Or how about Hyundai? They advertise their 10 year / 100,000 mile warranty. But in reality, if any Hyundai owner had the spare time to spend at the dealership racking up warranty-covered failures, she could easily run up repair charges, that would easily eat up any mark-up (much less profit) than the Korean corporation could have possibly collected on the sale of the automobile. My own Sonata, while it is a vehicle that showers the buyer with a myriad of formerly optional items as standard, has a strong little four-cylinder powerplant bought from Mitsubishi, and is obviously a very well thought out product, at 25,000 miles, already has rung up $3,000 in warranty repairs. I've still got to bring it in for the outside trim that is coming loose and aim-able air conditioning vents that are about as stable a Angelina Joile. Oh, and I'd better get everything made right before 36,000 miles, because that's when the majority of the warranty's useful features expire. Next let's look at the local west Phoenix car dealer advertising a Toyota Corolla for $88 down and $88 a month no matter how much you owe on your current vehicle. However, in the whispered 400-word-per-minute radio disclaimer (that if you tape-record and then play it back at half-speed) you learn that the $88 per month is for only three months and then it jumps to $278 per month for the remainder of the loan period. Liars. In addition, the amount you owe on your current car loan will quietly be added to the contract on your new car. And we have another dealer loudly proclaiming "All credit applications accepted!" However, they fail to mention whether those same credit applications will be approved. They just want to get the ignorant consumer onto their lot so they can hammer the poor sucker. Another car dealer's radio ad whispers, "Negative equity applied to new loan amount." They smugly make that statement, being fully aware that the average person looking for the inexpensive vehicles they advertise, is not aware the phrase means that whatever she still owes on his current vehicle loan will simply be added to her new loan amount. Or how about all these 'natural' products aimed at the obviously ignorant health-conscious consumer? Vitamins and supplements without the respected and expensive U.S.P. or F.D.A. certifications that promise to almost instantly make you feel better? There is no way a vitamin, in less than two weeks, is ever going to make you feel better unless you've been locked in a closet and force-fed sauerkraut for the past half year. If any 'supplement' magically provides you with more energy it is because it contains ephedrine or prescription heart medicine. Please, use your heads people! This next claim isn't false advertising, but I love the nation-wide franchised muffler shop that is advertising the $15 oil-change that undercuts their competitors by ten to fifteen dollars. The same ad then suggests an "Air Conditioning Inspection" for only $19.99. If know your auto repair's as Mr. Wonderful does, you realize that this particular "air conditioning inspection" will consist of looking through the under-hood freon sight-glass for bubbles and a quick glance at the fan belts. The shop collects twenty bones for forty-five seconds of labor. Not bad.

June 12th, 2003:
A Depressing Fact about the Atkins' Diet

moon over water As my multitudes of readers know, since late February of 2003, your Mr. Wonderful has been strictly adhering to the low carbohydrate, Atkins' Diet. You also may have calculated that the start of the diet coincidentally paralleled an extremely stressful period of my life. I assumed my incredible bouts of depression were caused entirely by my spousal situation and a certain lack of self esteem. I searched and searched the Atkins' Diet web page without finding any reference connecting a low carbohydrate diet and depression. I finally found the evidence I was looking for contained in a article. Although the column incorrectly states that ". . . most carbohydrate foods are also inexpensive . . ." (A box of name brand cereal is cheap? A bag of tostada chips is cheap?) it also mentions depression as a result of low carbohydrate intake. And the Induction Phase of The Atkins' Diet, at up to 93% less carbs than the recommended FDA level, is the definition of a low carbohydrate diet. In a kind of backward admission, my latest Atkins' newsletter mentions that eating carbohydrates does increase serotonin levels, a chemical which plays a role in depression. So how does your Mr.Wonderful respond to this news? After having lost forty-eight pounds I'm not about to quit the diet or slow the pace of my weight loss by increasing my intake of carbohydrate rich foods. I've discovered that if I get at least eight hours of sleep, the depression still exists, but it is no longer overwhelming. And, my female reader's will certainly appreciate the fact that at least one male on the planet has a slight understanding of how PMS monthly ravages the emotions of many fertile females. So, dear reader, if you are going through a stressful period in your own life, I would strongly suggest you postpone any plans for implementing a low carbohydrate diet. If you would like a measure of how stressed you are, take the one-minute, automatic-scoring Holmes-Rahe stress test.

June 5th, 2003:
Traffic Tickets. It's all about the Money
A few nights ago, your Mr.Wonderful, after volunteering to work next season for a non-profit organization, was rewarded for the sacrifice with my first speeding ticket, or ticket of any flavor, in over twenty-five years. The speed limit was 60 mph and I was clocked and singled out of a pack of vehicles moving at the speed of . . . 60 mph. Photo-speed-redlight-radar Scottsdale & Bell Roads Scottsdale, ArizonaHowever, the Squaw Peak Freeway or the PeeOnTheStreet Freeway as it has been renamed (in the memory of an Arizona Native American female who died after crashing her HumVee in Iraq) was considered to be "under construction." So legally, I should have been crawling along the narrowed inside lane of The 51 during Monday's 9PM drunk-time, at the please-re-end-me-speed of 45 mph. Understand that if a construction worker is smacked by a two ton vehicle traveling at 'only' 45 mph he has a much better chance of surviving than if he were to be hit at 60 mph. Right. I'm fairly certain, as long as the unseen workers remain behind the 20 ton sections of their temporary concrete barriers they're pretty safe.The female DPS officer who gave the citation was so tense, I'm sure she hasn't menstruated since she first pinned the six-pointed badge above her withered left breast. Can you tell that I got along with her smashingly? Admitting the incredible danger facing any driver obeying the 'construction' speed-limit, she told me I would be safe if I simply confined my forty-five-miles-per-hour driving to the outer 'slow' lane. The powers that be, allowed me to avoid all penalties, if only I would attend a driver's training class for the mere cost of $105. (Knowing ahead of anyone else that 'driver's training' was going to be an out for traffic violator's I wonder how many city and state officials have a piece of this action?) Maybe this two-part eight hour class would teach me why, in the thirty-six years I've been driving, I've never been ticketed for an accident and why I hadn't gotten a citation in the last twenty five. I was probably just incredibly lucky, right? We had a wonderful instructor, originally from New York City, who immediately set me at ease by telling us that traffic tickets were all about the money. Anyone who has driven in The Valley knows that if the various municipalities and the State of Arizona were even slightly concerned with safety, (or enforcing the LAW) they would remove the approximately 50,000 un-registered, un-insured, unsafe-at-any speed, massively polluting vehicles driven by un-licensed and un-trained third-world illegal alien population. But they don't. Sadly, they can't seem to find a way to do it. Of course. Probably 80% of my fellow students were caught by Paradise Valley's intersection photo/speed radar at the corner of Tatum Boulevard and Lincoln Drive. What a bunch of dolts. Dolts! Photo Speed Radar is set to trip for any vehicle moving about eleven (11) miles per hour above the speed limit. And the expensive photo-radar-avoiding license plate covers are defeated by the fact that there are three $5,000 cameras placed at three different angles taking the photo of the speeding or red-light running vehicle.

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