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January 16, 2007

Helpful Hints from joeeze: What should you do with hot leftovers?

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Mom always said to leave them out to cool to room temperature before sticking them in the refrigerator.

Mom also said that reading in bad light would hurt your eyes.

Mom was wrong both times.

Maybe more — but let's not be haters: after all, look how well you turned out.

Erm... maybe it's time to move on.

Okay, then, to Anahad O'Connor's "Really?" feature in the January 9, 2007 New York Times Science section, which addressed the very question raised in the headline up top.

    The Claim: Hot Leftovers Should Cool at Room Temperature

    The Facts: What to do with leftovers? One common bromide is that leftovers stored in the refrigerator must be allowed to cool first at room temperature.

    The reasoning behind the claim varies. One theory is that allowing food to cool at a slower rate reduces the likelihood that it will spoil. Another suggests that hot food can somehow interfere with the circulation of cold air in the refrigerator. The notion may have originated back when food was stored in iceboxes, and thus could not be too hot when put away.

    Whatever the rationale, the claim is wrong. According to the Food and Drug Administration, leftover food (particularly meat) should be refrigerated immediately after serving, and certainly within two hours of cooking.

    Food bacteria can double every 30 or 40 minutes, and several outbreaks of food poisoning have been linked to meat cooked and left to cool at room temperature for too long.

    Generally, the bacteria that contaminate food thrive at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, so leftovers should always be stored in a refrigerator set at 40 degrees or below.

    When the quantity of food is large, it should be separated into small containers for quicker cooling, and reheated no more than once.

    The Bottom Line: It’s a bad idea to let food sit at room temperature before refrigerating.

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See, the thing is, I need every reader I can get: if you're febrile and lying in bed puking your guts out and running to the toilet every five minutes, you'll hardly be in a mood to visit here.

For all that I go on and on ad nauseam about how much regard I have for my readers, it's kind of sobering and pretty depressing to realize that, in the end, I'm so all about me.

Oh, well.

January 16, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Moneymaker for an enterprising reader

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As I was out running yesterday afternoon on an unseasonably warm (70° and breezy) January 15 — I mean, I'm used to snow and ice around this time of year here in Charlottesville, Virginia — it occurred to me that there's money to be made with a politically incorrect bumper sticker (above).

You may or may not believe global warming is occurring (most people do).

You may or may not believe its occurrence is due to man-made alterations in the earth's biosphere (most people do).

You may or may not believe it's a good thing (most people don't).

Globalwarming

But no matter which side you're on, there's no denying it's a lot more pleasant running in nice weather than in the chill of a typical winter around these parts.

January 16, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

How Much Is Inside? — Cockeyed.com has the answers

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From the website:

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"Throughout the ages, man has pondered the question, 'How much is inside?'"

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"With a few extra bucks, and a decent spot on the internet, we at cockeyed.com expose these long-hidden truths."

January 16, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

13 Hour Clock — For those who never seem to have enough time

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From the website:

    Thirteen Hour Clock

    This clock will appeal to those who never have enough time in a day!

    Humorous wall clock brings a different spin to the dial markings we’re used to, with some creative time-telling that “adds” an extra hour: lucky 13.

    Quartz-accurate clock has built-in hanger and uses 1 AA battery (not included).

    12" diameter.

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$11.98 (time included).

January 16, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Get Human: Talk to someone who was once a child — it's your choice

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Kevin Kelly, majordomo of Cool Tools, featured this website in his online newsletter, as follows:

    Get Human — Access to human help

    When you need a problem-solving human on the phone, try these numbers and their shortcuts.

    This is the best list I've seen of 800 numbers with humans at the other end.

    Even better are the voice mail shortcuts for each number that take you to the warm brain the quickest.

    Searchable with cntrl-F.

    KK

    Get Human — http://gethuman.com/us/

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Kelly sets the bar very high — if it's good enough for him it's more than good enough for you and me.

January 16, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Shot Glass Rack

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They say you shouldn't hide your light under a barrel and similarly, there's no reason not to display your shot glass collection to its best advantage.

Dust 'em off and stack 'em high.

From the website:

    Shot Glass Curio

    Shot glass curio holds up to 42 jiggers.

    Store and show off your collection with this handsome showcase.

    Attractively finished wood rack has 6 shelves for displaying your favorite shot glasses.

    Mounts easily on wall with included hooks.

    16-1/2"H x 15-1/2"W.

$19.98.

January 16, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Let's Talk About Spasmodic Dysphonia

Long story short: Spasmodic dysphonia, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is "A rare voice disorder caused by involuntary movements of the muscles of the larynx, or voice box. It gives patients' voices a strained or strangled sound, making it difficult to speak."

About 50,000 people in North America have spasmodic dysphonia, whose cause remains unknown.

Liz Szabo, in a story in yesterday's USA Today, shed some light on this disorder, which may cause individuals to suffer for years before getting an accurate diagnosis.

Here's her article.

    Mystery solved — with poison

    Author Martha Grimes recovers her literal voice

    Mystery writer Martha Grimes has been blessed with words.

    Words have flowed from her pen into dozens of novels, carrying her across the Atlantic, escorting her through elegant English homes, guiding her along grimy London streets and paving the way into smoky small-town pubs.

    And yet her words — for years — got stuck in her throat.

    For three decades, Grimes struggled with vocal spasms, involuntary movements of the muscles of her larynx, or voice box, that strained and strangled her speech like severe laryngitis. The spasms came and went as inexplicably as one of her fictional villains, occasionally disappearing before returning to torment her again.

    Grimes recovered her voice only a year ago, when doctors began giving her poison.

    It's one of the more popular poisons: botulinim toxin, or Botox, made by the bacteria that causes botulism, now used as a wrinkle treatment.

    Instead of injecting the toxin in her forehead to paralyze facial muscles and smooth age lines, doctors inject tiny amounts directly into the muscles of her larynx.

    The treatments ease the spasms and allow Grimes to speak clearly in person, on the phone and — most critically for an author — at book tours. Her latest novel, Dust, goes on sale Wednesday. At 74, Grimes finally feels comfortable speaking publicly about the disorder, called spasmodic dysphonia, for the first time.

    Grimes says she has often felt isolated and self-conscious.

    While some listeners over the years were sympathetic, she noticed that others, perhaps unconsciously, clutched their throats when she spoke. Others simply shouted. An Amtrak employee dealt a particularly cruel blow by offering her a discounted train ticket for handicapped passengers. Perhaps the most painful reactions, though, came from the doctors who told her it was all in her head.

    The peculiarities of spasmodic dysphonia once led experts to believe it was a psychiatric problem, says Robert Sataloff, chair of otolaryngology at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia and an expert on the disorder. Like Grimes, many patients develop the condition after a period of stress. And some people who can barely carry on a conversation find that they can sing or even recite poetry.

    Many patients say they suffered for years before getting an accurate diagnosis.

    The disorder has attracted more attention in recent years after striking public figures such as Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and National Public Radio host Diane Rehm.

    Rehm, who is known for her thoughtful interviews with public figures, began losing her voice in 1992. She eventually had trouble just saying her name. She began to dread even simple encounters, such as picking up a prescription.

    "People couldn't understand me," says Rehm, 70. "I sat at home for four months because I was embarrassed to talk."

    Grimes, who lives in Washington, was finally referred to the George Washington Medical Faculty Associates' Voice Treatment Center. A specialist diagnosed the condition immediately.

    Sataloff notes that there is no cure. For now, Botox has become the standard of care. Grimes undergoes injections every four to five months.

    The injections help about 90% of patients with the most common type of spasmodic dysphonia, which causes the vocal cords to slam together, according to the National Institutes of Health.

    The treatment is slightly less effective — and riskier — for those with a less common type in which the vocal cords stay open, because the affected muscles are also required for breathing.

    Rehm, who discovered Botox in 1998, says it saved her career.

    Adams says his spasmodic dysphonia seems to be affected by "audio feedback."

    He can converse in quiet settings and speaks well on stage. Curiously, though, he runs into trouble when there is any background noise. And he finds that Botox actually weakens his ability to project his voice during public speaking.

    "Because the Botox takes time to set in, then wears off, you only have a good voice half of the time in the best case," Adams said in an e-mail. "I do better than that without it."

    Over time, the immune system may mount a defense against the poison, leading patients to become resistant, Sataloff says.

    Although doctors can switch to another strain, it doesn't work quite as well. Patients usually benefit from voice therapy as well, which can help the injections work longer, Sataloff says.

    In Grimes' new novel, a detective chides his associate for failing to figure out the murderer's identity.

    In her Capitol Hill home, with books stacked to the ceiling, Grimes says she wishes doctors could have solved her mystery years earlier.

    "It was just so simple, after all those years," Grimes says. "I was absolutely astonished that it turned out to be treated so easily."

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For more information:

National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association: www.dysphonia.org

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders: www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/voice/spasdysp.htm

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Spasmodic-Dysphonia.htm

January 16, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tech comes to the beauty space: 21st-century portable UV nail dryer

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No more waving your hands in the air while your anxious suitor awaits your grand entrance.

Put your fingers inside this nifty battery-powered device and get a "salon-style finish at home!"

It's not gonna get any better than that for $12.98.

Trust me....

January 16, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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