2012 November | timiacono.com

Chooka’s Got Talent

A link to this 2011 appearance by 17-year old “bush boy” Chooka Parker on Australia’s Got Talent came in the mail the other day. This is the sort of thing that is virtually impossible to explain – how someone can play the piano like this with no formal training.

According to this report, Chooka didn’t take getting voted off in the semi-finals well, though the judges were criticized for their part in his exit. A clip of eventual winner Jack Vigden is here (as if the world really needs another rendition of a Whitney Houston song).

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

All that Neal Page wants to do is to get home for Thanksgiving. His flight has been canceled due to bad weather so he decides on other means of transport.

As well as bad luck, Neal is blessed with the presence of Del Griffith, “Shower Curtain Ring Salesman” and all-around blabbermouth, who is never short of advice, conversation, or bad jokes.

And when he decides that he is going the same direction as Neal…

This morning, a brief departure from the normal fare is in order to recall the 1987 John Hughes classic Planes, Trains, and Automobiles starring Steve Martin and John Candy. Over the years, the viewing of this film on Thanksgiving eve has become a family tradition – this summary is provided to readers courtesy of IMDb and various fan sites.

Owen: I’m to drive you to Wichita to catch a train?
Del: Yeah, we’d appreciate it.
Owen: Train don’t run out of Wichita… unlessin’ you’re a hog or a cattle.
[Clears his throat]
Owen: People train runs out of Stubbville.

Cue the music – doooo, doooo, doooo.


Booze and Soda Calories

I remember when I was a teenager and friend explained to me why he resisted the seemingly omnipresent peer pressure at the time to smoke cigarettes. His argument was that, if he was going to smoke something, he’d smoke pot because it gets you high.  He said something like, “Aside from elevating your heart rate and providing an addiction that is nearly impossible to break for many, cigarettes don’t really do anything for you”.

You could say the same thing about the nutritional content in booze and sugary soda since the latter doesn’t do anything for you that diet soda won’t do except make you fat. This and more appear in this Associated Press story that showed up in our paper the other day (not the stuff about cigarettes and pot, just the part about booze and soda).

Americans get too many calories from soda. But what about alcohol? It turns out adults get almost as many empty calories from booze as from soft drinks, a new study found.

Soda and other sweetened drinks — the focus of obesity-fighting public health campaigns — are the source of about 6 percent of the calories adults consume, on average. Alcoholic beverages account for about 5 percent, the new study found.

“We’ve been focusing on sugar-sweetened beverages. This is something new,” said Cynthia Ogden, one of the study’s authors. She’s an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which released its findings Thursday.

The government researchers say the findings deserve attention because, like soda, alcohol contains few nutrients but plenty of calories.

Well, alcohol may contain few nutrients, but it has other desirable qualities when consumed in moderation. I recently read that Thomas Jefferson consumed 3-4 glasses of wine every day and that, back then, Americans drank much more than they do today which, according to this story, is on average, one drink a day for men and half that much for women.

Sadly, the mainstream press still seems to routinely ignore the issue of carbohydrates and sugar that, arguably, is much more important than the calorie and nutrients they focus on. It’s worth pointing out that regular Coke has 64 grams of carbohydrates – all sugar – while a bottle of beer has only 5 or 10 carbs. Clearly, beer is better than soda.

Xmus Jaxon Flaxon-Waxon et al

It’s been some time since I came across anything that caused me to laugh so hard that it brought tears to my eyes, but that occurred after getting only about half-way through the video below of Key and Peele on the upcoming East-West College Bowl game (hat tip ES).

About 20 years ago, we were once sold furniture by a very nice lady who went by the name of Jerbetheque (or something like that – it was all spelled out on her business card that we hung onto for years) so, my wife and I regularly reflect on that particular decision making process by her parents. On a more serious note, the subject of baby names was covered in the 2005 book Freakonomics as detailed here.

David McCullough on 60 Minutes

Author/historian David McCullough shares a few thoughts on the subject of how little Americans know about history in this 60 Minutes interview from the other day, going so far as to say that, as a group, the younger generation of Americans is “historically illiterate”.

With all the other distractions of the early-21st century, it’s not hard to understand how an appreciation for history has been made even more difficult than it would otherwise be.

I’ve only recently become interested in Revolutionary War history and can highly recommend McCullough’s John Adams and 1776. His latest work The Greater Journey – Americans in Paris looks pretty interesting as well.

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