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June 15, 2008

9 habits of highly annoying fitness club users


As described in a June 9, 2008 post on Newsweek's website by Tina Peng, they follow.

    Gym Sins

    Fitness club managers dish about their members' most obnoxious habits

    It was perhaps the most extreme case of gym rage — ever. While taking a Manhattan spin class last August, Christopher Carter became so annoyed by the unrelenting grunts and shouts of a fellow spinner that he tipped the other guy right off his bike and into a wall. The grunter was hospitalized for two weeks after the incident. Carter was acquitted of assault charges on June 2. Hopefully, the acquittal won't inspire a rash of altercations, as other exercisers decide that they too have had it with obnoxious gym behavior. Because any gym rat can tell you, grunting isn't the most irritating thing people do in fitness clubs. From making lunch in the sauna to sporting unsavory yoga attire, club managers report that some of their patrons are clueless when it comes to gym etiquette, or general decency. Here are nine of the most outrageous fitness club offenses.

    1. The Sauna Stovetop A manager at a New York Sports Club was walking through the women's locker room a few years ago when she smelled cheese. Puzzled, she opened the door to the sauna, where a woman had placed bread and cheese on the hot rocks to make a postworkout grilled cheese sandwich. "Not only was it a health code violation, it was not really respectful to the other people in the sauna," says NYSC PR director Linda Hufcut. "She said, 'I do this all the time.' That was, obviously, the last time she ever did it.'"

    2. Nude Fitness? A couple of visitors to a Gold's Gym in Paramus, N.J., decided to get naked and weigh themselves before they started working out. The two men didn't seem daunted by the fact that the scale was outside the locker room. They hung out by the scale, in full view of the other, clothed patrons, until a manager asked them to put some clothes on. They told Mike Epstein, the gym's owner, that they did that sort of thing all the time at their home gym. Perhaps they meant "home gym" as in the one in their basement.

    3. Creative Blow-Drying A man in a California Crunch gym decided that the best way to dry out his sweaty shoes was to stick a hair dryer in each of them while he took his after-workout shower. He was shocked when managers asked him to cease and desist. "He said, 'I didn't even realize I shouldn't be doing this'," says Keith Worts, chief operating officer of Crunch, a national fitness chain.

    4. Downward Dog? At another Crunch location a man had a habit of taking a yoga class while wearing shorts without underwear. He was more than happy to correct his faux pas as soon as managers made him aware that other members were uncomfortable with the view they were getting.

    5. Work Out, Sleep In Some people get a little too relaxed at the gym. Gold's Gym managers have reported finding customers who fell asleep in the tanning facility and didn't wake up until the gym was closed, as well as customers who fell asleep on the bench press in between sets.

    6. Killer Karaoke It's common and profoundly annoying: gymgoers get carried away listening to their music players. Before they know it they've treated everyone in the room to an off-key rendition of "... Baby One More Time." "I call it karaoke gone bad, because there is no background music and they're singing at the top of their lungs," says Harry Reo, a regional vice president for 24 Hour Fitness.

    7. Talking (Too Much of) the Talk Fed up with people gabbing on their cell phones as they used the elliptical, many gyms have banned cell phones around workout equipment and designated areas for patrons to make calls. Still, people forget. "There's nothing worse than running on the treadmill and having someone next to you conducting an extremely loud conversation," says Hufcut, who's seen some people use walkie-talkies while on the treadmill.

    8. Sweat Sins It seems basic, but enough people forget to wipe down their equipment after using it that this was one of the four deadly gym sins included on an informational video NYSC taped a few years ago. During the segment a careless gymgoer didn't dry off his machine; when he stood up, the entire machine was covered in dripping goo.

    9. Scrimmage to Scuffle It's only logical that testosterone can run high at the gym, and sometimes managers need to break up altercations on the basketball court, says Nancy Pattee Francini, co-founder and president of the Sports Club/LA, which has 10 locations around the country. "Those guys, when they're playing basketball, can get into fights," she says. "They're not terrible fights—we're a high-end club."

    These are, of course, the worst offenses, not the norm. Obnoxious behavior can usually be curbed with a little etiquette education, say gym owners. "Most of the time it's really an awareness issue with members," says Worts of Crunch. "We have to remind them that they're in a shared public space." Nonetheless, it might not be a bad idea to look over the list and make sure you're not committing any gym sins.

June 15, 2008 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Hate or Love Sticker


Two sides of the same coin.


$2.25 CAD.

June 15, 2008 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How is it that the Phoenix Mars Lander has over 20,000 Twitter followers and I've only got 20?


Perhaps the lander offers more bang for the buck.

Kim Hart's Washington Post Business section article yesterday has the details, and follows.

    Twitters From Mars!

    A Ghost-Written Micro-Blog Makes NASA's Robot Lander Less Alien

    The most nerve-racking moments of the mission came three weeks ago, when the Phoenix Mars lander touched down on the Red Planet's dusty surface. From 13,000 miles per hour, the spacecraft screeched to a 5 mph crawl, broke through the Martian atmosphere and gently landed.

    "parachute is open!!!!!"

    "come on rocketssssss!!!!!"

    "I've landed!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

    "Cheers! Tears!! I'm here!"

    It is the closest we've come to communicating with life on Mars.

    The Phoenix vehicle is a robot, but the information it sends back to Earth is being translated for the public via Twitter, a popular micro-blogging site that lets people send quick updates to friends by computer or cellphone. For the past month, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has been posting dozens of short updates every day, revealing snippets of what the spacecraft and Earth-bound scientists are seeing.

    The team at the lab decided to send out "tweets," or short updates, rather than maintaining a blog so that people could keep track of the landing while traveling or picnicking over Memorial Day weekend. But the experiment got such a great response — it now has more than 20,000 followers — that the team has continued to use Twitter to share details of their findings on Mars.

    "It's very humbling, and thrilling that so many people care to follow. Want to be careful I don't 'over-twitter' my welcome," reads one message.

    In another, the lander told followers about getting ready to dig through the soil in search of ice. "Images will confirm whether my arm restraints have opened, and whether my wrist and elbow have moved. It's nice to stretch a bit!"

    Those are actually the words of Veronica McGregor, the jet lab's news services manager, who writes the tweets in response to questions from fellow Twitterers and keeps them informed of other news coming from Mars. Because Twitter posts can be only 140 characters long, McGregor opted to write in the first person. The posts can be viewed at http://www.twitter.com/MarsPhoenix.

    "Try to explain engineering and science in 140 characters or less!" she said. She often ends up posting updates at odd hours to keep up with Mars time — a day on Mars is longer than a day on Earth, so the Earth-bound team, based mostly in Tucson, starts working a half-hour later each day. The scientists now come to work at about 4 a.m. to monitor the lander's progress.

    Yesterday, followers learned of a big accomplishment: Martian soil was collected and is in the process of being baked in an oven, which runs tests on the gases released from the particles. "A cause for celebration: soil successfully went to microscope this AM; oven has started cooking a sample; and 20,000 Twitter followers. Thx!"



Perhaps if I Twittered more often (my last update was in November of 2006 ) I could push my number into triple figures.

June 15, 2008 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Check-A-Spare — Because the best surprise is no surprise


I felt the collective wince of joehead nation at my offhand remark last Sunday about checking the pressure in your spare being part of a routine tire inflation session.

I told the crack research team to find a way to make it easier to keep that spare properly inflated.

In lots of cars (mine among them) it's in the trunk under a panel or suchlike, very difficult to get to without moving tons of stuff, unscrewing things and the like.

The solution follows.


    Keep your spare tire properly inflated

    Don't risk having a flat spare tire in an emergency.

    This 39-inch extension hose attaches to your spare tire, extending the valve for easy pressure checking without removing the tire.

    Regular valve cap attaches to end of hose.

    If your spare is low, simply connect air hose to the Check-A-Spare valve.


I've had one for years and it does what it says.

Highly recommended.


June 15, 2008 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BehindTheMedspeak: Don't ice that burn


That's the short of it.

Here's Anahad O'Connor's June 10, 2008 New York Times "Really?" feature with the back story.

    The Claim: Ice Is Good for a Skin Burn

    The Facts: Like a cup of tea for a cough, a batch of ice for a sunburn may seem like the perfect remedy for millions of Americans who will spend a little too much time in the sun this summer.

    But many home remedies that seem like common sense are less than helpful, and the old ice-for-a-burn technique is no exception. It can help soothe some initial pain, but in the end it will slow the healing process.

    That has been borne out over the years in various studies of simple treatments for minor scalds and sunburns. In one randomized study by Danish researchers in 2002, 24 healthy volunteers were inflicted with first-degree burns and subjected to different treatments. Those who received a cooling treatment similar to ice did not experience reduced pain or inflammation compared with those who received a placebo treatment.

    In another study in the journal Burns in 1997, another team of scientists compared easing burns with ice cubes for 10 minutes with other remedies and found that ice caused “the most severe damage.” “Using an ice cube immediately after injury,” the authors added, “is harmful in some instances.”

    According to the Mayo Clinic, putting ice on a burn can cause frostbite and damage the skin. For better results, try running cool water over the area and taking a pain reliever. Then cover the area with gauze but no ointment. Most minor burns heal without further treatment, the clinic says.

    The Bottom Line: Never use ice to soothe a burn.


Most important is to get the burn under water as soon as possible following the injury — run, don't walk to the faucet.

The first seconds are critical in minimizing tissue trauma and subsequent pain.

I recommend the coldest water you can find running over the burn for a minimum of five minutes — by the clock.

Though the skin may feel cold, the damage continues beneath as a result of the heat previously absorbed when the burn occurred.

Five minutes of running water is better than a shorter period of sticking the burned area in a sink or tub or whatever because 1) the water stays colder, and 2) water removes more heat when flowing than still.

June 15, 2008 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Helpful Hints from joeeze: SmellyWasher


I can't speak for you but the name of this product didn't exactly brighten my laundry day outlook.


I read about it in the Washington Times recently, in an item which follows.

    Problem: Washing Machine Smell

    Cause: Fungus spores that collect on residue left behind from detergents and fabric softeners, leaving a moldy mildew smell that is transferred to fabrics; mold that forms under the lid and rubber ring of the tub.

    Solution: Pour a gallon of white vinegar into the washing machine and run it on a hot-wash cycle without clothes. A new product called SmellyWasher powder claims it will eliminate smells with only one tablespoon of powder adder to a hot cycle.


A one year supply costs $16.

If it works it's cheap at twice the price.

June 15, 2008 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BookFlow — 'Rare books on CD & DVD'


What's this?

"BookFlow.com is an online bookstore selling top-quality digital reproductions of rare books."

Tell us more.

Brothers Matthew and Michael Lawyer in 1995 inherited a large book collection bequeathed by their grandfather, David A. Lawyer, who as a 23-year-old man in 1929 had opened a bookstore in Altadena, a suburb of Los Angeles, starting with the books he inherited from his father, Grover Lawyer, who in 1899 had opened a traditional upscale bookstore in New York.

"In 1997, Matthew and Michael began sharing their book collection with the world, using modern technology to closely replicate the experience of reading the original book. Their proprietary process is slow, tedious, and expensive, but worth it."

Browse their catalogue — but beware, once you start you may find it difficult to stop.

Fair warning.

June 15, 2008 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Solar Tulips


From the website:

    Solar Tulips

    Solar Tulips glow wherever they’re "planted."

    Everyone will marvel at your green thumb when they see these beauties blooming in your garden.

    Trio of tulips, each in a different color, have a solar panel on top that absorbs the sun's light by day to glow softly at night — no electricity needed.

    18"H including stake.

    2.5" diam. flower.

    Durable plastic.


Set of 3.


June 15, 2008 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

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