Archive for the ‘News’ Category

The Corrected Danny O’Bigbelly

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Over the past several months, I’ve stitched together a number of my blog entries and other short pieces, along with a few new essays to fill some holes, and the result is a sort of book-like collection of essays. After removing most of the worst kinds of typos, stilted prose, and factual errors, and punching up some of the jokes, I’ve published it on Amazon:

The Corrected Danny O’Bigbelly

Note that this book is available as part of the loaning program, which means that if you are member of Amazon Prime, or your local library participates in this program (I think) then you can enjoy this book for no additional cost.

If you find my writing amusing, I think that you’ll find that this book is even more amusing.  If you do, I hope that you’ll consider writing a positive review and, much more importantly, sharing this information with your friends.  Word of mouth, or tweet, or status update, etc, are the only ways that anyone will learn about this book.

If you don’t like it, you can write a review to warn people not to buy the book, or at least describe why reading it might be a poor use of their time, and I can’t do anything about it except accept your critique.  Amazon takes customer reviews seriously, and so do I.

Something fresh

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

As many of you may already know, I’ve started a forum board.  It’s here:

at least for now.  (I’m thinking of moving it to a spiffier URL, but these things cost money, so I thought I’d see how it was going first).

Since I really don’t know what I’m doing, I hope you will give me some help.  The most important thing you can do is tell me what I’m doing wrong.  And you can begin today, by reviewing the “charter” (I have to put quotes around the word because it’s not really well-formed yet) of the site, and telling me whether it’s already soured your interest in reading any more.

Here it is:

I’m glad you’ve come to take a look at this forum.  I hope you like what you see here–and if you don’t, I hope you’ll tell me, so that I will have an opportunity to make things more to your liking.

If you would like to register for this forum, your are welcome to.  There are no restrictions on registration; all are welcome to join and participate.  Depending on the final security policy (which is still under consideration) it might be necessary in the future to register in order to read postings here, if people decide that they wish to post information that they don’t want the general public to read, or for Google to index and share with the world, but for the meanwhile, anyone can read anything here.  Please do not forget that fact–what you write here is, for all practical purposes, searchable and discoverable by any interested parties.  If you wish to share information about yourself that you would not want known, please register with an alias instead of your real name, and select the appropriate privacy options in your account settings.

A very important point about the freedom to post is that it is a privilege and not a right.  I am not the government; your first amendment rights do not apply here.  You are here as my guest, but if you become a troublesome guest you will be asked to change your manners, and if that does not remedy the problem, your registration will be revoked.  Rather than try to articulate a complete policy that lists every possible transgression you can make, I will keep the policy simple: if I conclude that your posts are contrary to spirit of camaraderie and, where appropriate, discussion or debate in good faith, I will ban you.  Personal attacks, insults, or hate speech will not be tolerated.

If you are banned for inappropriate behavior, I hope you will not be offended, but will quickly find a more welcoming and sheltering home in another forum.   There certainly are plenty of them out there.

Dress for success

Saturday, October 10th, 2009

(Copied from the Platte Weekly Herald and Observer)

A key to living a longer, healthier life may be as simple as choosing the right sleepwear, according to Dr. Josephina Ferraro from the Smithsonian Institute’s Department of Ethnology, whose team just returned with a remarkable discovery from the northwest of China.

Dr. Ferraro was drawn to the area several years ago. She had heard reports of villages in the Xinjiang Uyghur region of China where people live unusually long and healthy lives. Several researchers had tried to discover the cause, but had been baffled. “It was a perfect mystery. None of the usual explanations seemed to fit: genetics, diet, environment, culture,” Dr. Ferraro told us. “In every obvious way, the villages of Shuimogou are nearly identical, but there is a cluster of villages whose inhabitants live substantially longer than the local average. We had to take a look.”

After four months in China, Dr. Ferraro’s team had made little progress. They confirmed an earlier finding about happily married couples. “We already expected, from prior research, that happy couples live longer and healthier lives, but the effect we were seeing here was much stronger than anywhere else. We suspected there had to be something more.”

The breakthrough came in January, when one of Dr. Ferraro’s team was interviewing a young woman who had been raised in a remote village but had moved to the local village only a year ago, after marrying a local man. “We asked her to describe everything that was different between her home village and where she lived now, and the first thing she mentioned was that she had a hard time buying the kind of pajamas she was accustomed to.”

It didn’t take long for the team to confirm that the sleepwear in the local cluster of villages is unique. Instead of the ordinary loose, full-length pajamas favored elsewhere, the local pajamas are sleeveless and form-fitting. The women wear rinou (pronounced “rhino”) of cotton or silk that resemble a leotard that would be a familiar sight in any dance or fitness studio in the USA. The men wear rinou that are generally baggier and resemble boxer shorts on the bottom and a sleeveless “muscle shirt” on the top, resembling a circa-1980s basketball outfit.

But how can the choice of sleepwear influence health and longevity? “We don’t know everything yet, but our most promising hypothesis is very simple: it’s cold there at night! People wearing rinous need to cuddle and share body heat. Rinous leave a lot of skin exposed, and skin contact makes people happy, and happier people lead longer, healthier lives,” Dr. Ferraro told us. “That could explain why the same effect does not seem to appear in unmarried or estranged adults.”

The team will be returning shortly to China for more research, but Dr. Ferraro’s discovery has already had a local impact. “My husband and I wear rinous every night, and we find them very comfortable,” she told us. “We feel happier already.”