Sayre’s Law

Ever Patient Spouse and I were discussing an email from the children’s school last night, in which a moderately contentious issue appeared to have taken an epic turn.

I don’t have skin in the game, so it was “meh” to me.

He reminded me that this is an example of Sayre’s Law, which, in a nutshell, is this:

“In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.”

Isn’t this true?

A corollary of the above phrase is this:

The politics of the university are so intense because the stakes are so low.


Mystery Flavor

Last night I took MGM (6) and Trixie (5) for some overdue haircuts.

While I drive two hours to a chic but unpretentious salon in a metropolitan area to get my own (relatively boring) hair done, they go to Great Clips.

(Yes, I’m horrible. I know).

But they love the lollipops they get at the end of the cut. That’s worth $11 right there.

Trixie was done first and went straight for a butterscotch lollie.

MGM picked the infamous “Mystery Flavor.”


I’ve often wondered what this was.

Dum Dums haven’t changed much since the bank my parents used in the 70s liberally distributed them when you went through the pneumatic tube-equipped drive-through.

And long last, here’s the truth: “Mystery Flavor” arises during a line change-over, when one flavor becomes the next. It’s the tail end of Flavor A combined with the beginning of new Flavor B.

As such, “Mystery Flavor” ever evolves. It’s a practical touch for the company, but a bit of a let down nonetheless.

Here’s the explanation from Mental Floss:

Some Dum Dums have wrappers with question marks where the flavor is normally printed. This was a marketing idea that made the production process run more smoothly and made eating Dum Dums more fun. The Mystery Flavor pop is a mixture of two flavors that come together when the end of one batch of candy meets the beginning of the next batch. Rather than shutting down to clean out the candy equipment between flavors, Spangler turned lemons into lemonade and made pops out of the combination of flavors – the tail end of the old, and the beginning of the new. The candy lines keep running continuously, and the Mystery Flavor pops are a surprise treat every time.

P.S. I’d still vote for “Cream Soda” as my favorite.

P.P.S. The Dum Dums site reports “Bacon” as their most requested new flavor.





Misdirected Anger

Scene from last Friday, as I was driving the kids to school.

“Train in Vain” comes on satellite radio.

MGM (6): “This song sucks!”

Me: (Dumbfounded. Not sure how to respond).

  1. Should I chastise MGM for using an ugly, quasi profane word?
  2. Is the rage better directed at myself, from whose lips I am confident he first heard that slur uttered?
  3. Or should I berate him for denigrating The Clash? Because “Train in Vain” definitely does not suck.


Miniature Giraffes

I don’t know why I found this so funny, but two of my coworkers recently played a running prank on a third wherein Pranksters 1 & 2 routinely and elaborately commiserated over the difficulties of owning a miniature pet giraffe.


Sample conversation:

Coworker 1: “On, man, I’ve spent a fortune ordering eucalyptus leaves this winter.”

Coworker 2 (in dry British accent, which makes this that much more hilarious to me): “Yes, the prices are really up since the drought in Australia.”

Coworker 3, listening in amazement: “Wow! Where do you get eucalyptus leaves?”

Coworker 1: “You order them off the internet. But the giraffes also like ferns.”

Coworker 2: “Frankly, I don’t think that’s the worst part of owning a miniature giraffe. They’re just so noisy, especially at night.”

Coworker 3, still amazed: “What kind of sounds do they make?”

Coworker 2: (Makes elaborate series of yodeling noises).

Me: (Crying in tears behind my OR mask).

Coworker 3 was so astonished by the tales of miniature giraffe ownership that she told several other people about it, at which point Coworker 4 had to step in advise 1 & 2 to come clean with Number 3 that there are, in fact, no such things as miniature pet giraffes. 

Here’s where I think the story originated. Note the April 1 publication, which is quite fitting.

This also perpetuated the myth:



Coconut Oil

I asked my good friend A – a dietitian and wellness coach – to fill me in on coconut oil, which seems to be everywhere (everywhere!) right now.

Is it a bandwagon worth jumping on or a flash in the pan?

A. was kind enough to guest blog for me today:

Coconut oil is a hot nutrition trend.

While it may have health benefits, bottom line is it is a source of saturated fat.

Since there is not a lot of research on coconut oil (compared to other oils like olive oil), the verdict on its health benefits is still out. The clinical evidence that coconut oil is a super oil and delivers health benefits is very limited, especially on disease outcomes.

Like any saturated fat, if you can work it into your calorie budget…go ahead and enjoy it. Coconut oil should be limited to 7%-10% of calories because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines.

Best nutrition advice when it comes to oils…use a variety of healthy oils and watch your portion.

Here are A’s top picks for oils based on levels of antioxidants, monounsaturated fats and Omega 3s:

  • Cold Pressed or Expeller Olive Oil: 1 T.=119 cal./13.6 grams fat/9.8 grams monounsaturated fat. High in Omega 3 fats. Great for sautéing, making salad dressing and for dipping whole grain bread. Choose a European, first cold pressed/expeller-pressed olive oil to retain nutrients avoid chemicals used during the heating process.
  • Grapeseed Oil: 1 T.=120 cal./13 grams fat/2 grams monounsaturated fat. High in antioxidants and neutral taste. Use for high heat cooking. Look for brands that are expeller-pressed, a chemical-free mechanical method of oil extraction.
  • Organic Canola Oil: 1 T.=125 cal/13 grams fat/5.8 grams monounsaturated fat. High in Omega 3 fats. Perfect substitute for butter in cooking and baking. Choose organic canola oil to limit pesticide levels.
  • Flaxseed Oil: 1 T.=120 cal/13 g fat/ 2.5 grams monounsaturated fat. Generally taken as a supplement and not used for cooking.
  • Coconut Oil: 1 T.=126 cal/14 grams fat/0.5 grams monounsaturated fat. This unique oil is very high in saturated fat therefore more research needs to be done regarding using large amounts.

Her overall advice:

Use a variety of oils as they each have their own unique features and health benefits. Stay clear or use sparingly: palm oil, soybean oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, vegetable oil and trans fats/hydrogenated oils. Conventional corn and soy are genetically modified and the long term health risks of genetically modified food are unclear. As always, read the label!

If you buy coconut oil, make sure it’s virgin coconut oil (don’t get a blend, which can also contain trans fats). Because of its high saturated fat content, coconut oil is solid at room temperature. Also note that the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 16 grams of saturated fat per day, which is just a smidge above a tablespoon for coconut oil.