Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year’s Resolution 2011: “Not to give in to the ‘new normal.’”

Photo by Zed Nelson, shot at the Association for Overweight People

Feature Entry: New Year’s Resolution 2011: “Not to give in to the ‘new normal.’”

Andrew Perrin, sociology professor at U. of North Carolina, is concerned about grade inflation at America’s universities. Notes Perrin, the average grade point average (GPA) at UNC is now 3.21 as compared to 2.99 as recent as 1999. The GPA average in 1967 (the year the MoneyWalker graduated), the GPA average was 2.49. Moreover, in 2008, 82 percent of the UNC students in received a “B” or an “A.” Come on academia, not all of your students are excellent, don’t accept the ‘new normal.’

Bill Gross, investment banker for PIMCO’s Investment Outlook opines that America must accept slow sustained economic growth and high unemployment as the ‘new normal.’ Others suggest that in the so-called global economy, American workers can no longer compete and that the middle class must get use to a lower standard of living. Come on America, we must learn how to compete again, not accept the ‘new normal.’

The enigmatic Oprah Winfrey sometimes cheering on her overweight/obese audience and other times cautioning them about the dangers of Type II diabetes and being overweight is characteristic of pop cultures dilemma. Do we cheer and encourage the O/O to maintain a healthy self esteem and be proud of their body image or do we find ways to reverse the O/O epidemic.

From a health care perspective the data are frightening. According to Katherine Flegal as reported in JAMA, as of 2007/08 68% of Americans over 20 years of age were either obese or overweight, 34% for each designation. This is up 8% since 1999. The MoneyWalker entered “overweight and proud” in Google search and received 346,000 hits. We all should strive to maintain a healthy self-esteem but we should not lose sight of the health facts. Those in the O/O class are at serious risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, Type II diabetes, cancer, and other maladies. O/O is not healthy; it must not become the ‘new normal.’

And now for the MoneyWalker’s New Year’s resolution. I resolve to lose 6 lbs during the 2011 calendar year. Six lbs will lower my body mass index (BMI) from 25.8 to 24. The overweight range is 25-29.9 and obese range is 30 and greater. Everyone tells me I look great, just right, and even thin. But I know better, I am just over the limit and in the BMI overweight category. Sorry William James, author of this pessimistic thought: "How pleasant is the day when we give up striving to be young--or slender;" I will not accept a 36 inch waist line as the ‘new normal.’


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Walker’s Menagerie of Thoughts

Feature entry: A Walker’s Menagerie of Thoughts

Tennessee Williams: Each Spring the literary aficionados of New Orleans sponsor the Tennessee Williams Festival which includes the French Quarter literary walking tour. If I can muster the entry fee, the MoneyWalker plans to take the tour this year. As for Tennessee Williams, he gave us the theme for this blog—his award winning classic, the Glass Menagerie. A few walking quotes from the play:

Laura: “I’ve just been out walking.”

Amanda: “Walking? Walking? In winter? Deliberately courting pneumonia in that light coat? Where did you walk to, Laura?”

The MoneyWalker’s Hall of Fame: For some time, I have wanted to start a MoneyWalker’s Hall of Fame. This blog initiates the process. First, there must be criteria for inclusion. The person must have left a legacy in categories such as sport, literature, politics, industrial leader, academics, religion, etc. Second, the MoneyWalker must have a contact with the recipient, figuratively or literally. The basic standard is that the recipient should be a walker. Also, the person must have influenced the habit of walking, quantity or quality. Finally the recipient should be an innovator and trend setter. A few early recipients include Anthony Trollop, Anita Brookner, Charles Dickens, Abraham Lincoln, William Hogarth, and Geoff Nicholson.

The Brotherhood of the Street: The MoneyWalker is just Bob in the Brotherhood. As an avid and frequent walker in MidCity New Orleans, you learn that many people live on the streets. By now, they know me and I know them. At first, I tried to ignore them. No go, they would not let me. A couple of walks ago, I heard Bob! Bob! Bob! Stealth walking out of the question, I veered to his voice. It was Ed wanting to show off to his female companion. After a bit of friendly banter, he said “Bob, what do you do?” “Until retiring, I was on the faculty at the University of New Orleans,” I said. “What did you teach?” he wanted to know. “My last several classes was statistics” I answered. “Really, I use to teach high school math.” Such is life of the members of the Brotherhood of the street. What happened to Ed and the others? -- Drugs, alcohol, prolonged unemployment, mental illness.

Well, three pieces do not really make a menagerie but we will add more “animals” to the collection another time.


MoneyWalker Journal Entries, Dec. 7, 2010 through Dec. 14, 2010

12-14: Weight = 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $2.08, 28 pennies, 4 nickels, 6 dimes, 4 quarters (one international coin and one super find of $1.47 found in the folds of a discarded sofa); Glass bottles = 11; Ground scores = 2.

12-13: Weight = 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $1.84, 74 pennies (one wheat), 2 nickels, 5 dimes, 2 quarters; 3 glass bottles, 11 ground scores including one slightly abused electric Hitachi miter saw (now works.)

12-12: Weight = 176.2 lbs.; Coinage = $.74, 34 pennies, 2 nickels, 3 dimes.

12-11: Weight = 173.6 lbs.; Coinage = $2.30 including 10 pennies, 6 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find of three quarters in a newspaper vending machine).

12-10: Weight = 175.2 lbs.; Coinage = $1.17, 27 pennies (included a 13 penny dump), 1 nickel, 6 dimes, 1 quarter; one ground score.

12- 9: Weight = 174.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.78, 33 pennies, 2 dimes, 5 quarters; Glass bottles retrieved = 26.

Monday, December 6, 2010

How to Party Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

Photo from "A Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays80."

Journal Entries, but first a note. To establish transparency of purpose, the MoneyWalker posts his current weight in each journal entry. My walking goal is weight management, to achieve a recommended Body Mass Index of 168 lbs. I am also a believer of the importance of external motivators to sustain the habit of walking for exercise over a life-time. Since I use the bizarre motivation method of finding money as my primary motivator, I post the amount of money found during the walks. By posting both my weight and money totals, I seek to provide an example for others that may share my goal of losing weight and keeping it off. Whether I succeed or fail, the blog entry tells the story. The MoneyWalker is fully aware of the importance of goal clarification and specific objectives. He is also aware that if there are those that follow this blog hoping to gain information if not inspiration for their own weight loss strategies, the MoneyWalker must follow the principle of transparency of purpose.

Dec. 1, 2010: Weight = 175.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.95, 90 pennies, 7 nickels, 7 dimes; Ground scores = 4; Glass bottles = 8.

Dec. 2: Weight = 174.4 lbs.; Coinage = $.81, 51 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes; GB = 3; GS = 5.

Dec. 3: Weight = 174.0 lbs.; Coinage = $.37, 12 pennies, 1 quarter.

Dec. 4: Weight = 174.0 lbs.; Coinage = $2.11, 56 pennies, 3 nickels, 4 dimes, 4 quarters; GB = 5; GS = 7.

Dec. 5: Weight = 175.0 lbs.; Coinage = $3.15, 185 pennies, 1 nickel, 6 dimes, 3 quarters.

Dec. 6: Weight = 175.6 lbs.; Coinage = $.74, GB = 7; GS = 5.

Feature Entry: How to Party Through the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

I like the wisdom of Molly Kimball, a registered dietitian and contributor to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Her recent article extolled the importance of strategic planning before attending the holiday party circuit. Before each party, she advises to negotiate your choices—to choose indulgences wisely. She says go for the lean proteins like turkey and ham and avoid the weight boosters such as high-calorie starches—think macaroni and cheese and scalloped potatoes. Make sure that sweets are really worth the calorie investment. Take a small bite and discreetly trash it if the taste is only adequate. If you drink, select no-calorie mixers rather that the pre-mixes.

She offered several pre-party strategies for the December and January months. Don’t starve yourself waiting for the big party. Instead eat several small snacks every four hours. Even if the weather is unfriendly or the busy schedule takes over, stay with your exercise program. A one hour moderate exercise program will burn 600 calories. Get a good night’s sleep. If not the hormone system will influence your body to feel hungry. She recommends that we weigh twice a week. The MoneyWalker prefers daily weighing for raw transparency. Then at parties, keep your focus on the people, not the food.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paracletic Walking and Dieting—Discerning Together

Photo from Gallery of Fine Art America

Feature Entry: Paracletic Walking and Dieting—Discerning Together

The MoneyWalker’s blog is in part, an attempt to practice paracletic walking and weight control. The ancient word paracletic is scriptural and is frequently called the Paracletic Canon, or discerning together. While the MoneyWalker prefers solo walking, he gains strength of purpose by sharing his walks with others. In his book “Practice Resurrection”, Eugene Peterson opines that we humans “...need heart to heart talks, soul to soul talks, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers to hear our confession, cry with us, encourage us, and hold us accountable.” By blogging about exercise, weight loss and maintenance, and the motivation to sustain these positive habits, the MoneyWalker is practicing paracletic cannon.

Paracletic walking as a topic occurred on a recent walk. On an earlier walk, I had found a full pack of Salem cigarettes, about a four dollar value. The moral dilemma followed, trash them or give them away. I opted to give them to one of the numerous “brotherhood of the street” members in the neighbourhood. The brother selected was right out of central casting—unshaved, matted hair, soiled clothes, etc. I knew he was a smoker from previous observations. I spotted him in his usual haunt, nodded our acquaintance, retrieved the Salems, and asked, “Would you like these?” He smiled, then shocked me with his response: “I can’t use that brand.”

We moved on with my mind trying to understand his incredible discernment. Then as often happens during walking, I quizzed myself as to why the word discernment popped into my mind to define his choice to refuse my gift. Why wasn’t this homeless and penniless person eager to accept this significant gift? It wasn’t his lack of perspicacity; it was his quick judgment and discrimination of brand that produced the descriptive “discernment.” And it was his use of words that triggered my several blocks of reflective thinking. When he said, “I can’t use that brand.” he indicated a sophistication of thought processing. Poverty or no, the gentleman obviously doesn’t like menthol cigarettes and possessed the language skills to clearly and succinctly communicate his position. For the MoneyWalker, another stereotype bit the dust.

Now, back to the theme of the blog—Paracletic Walking and weight control. The episode resulted in a thought journey that linked discernment to the strength that is gained when we discern together. The Holiday season is a landmine filled with tempting negative food choices and reasons to forgo exercise habits. But together, we can encourage one another to hold our resolve. When we post our temptations and admit our frailties of purpose, we are following Peterson’s advice to seek “soul to soul talks” with like minded travelers.

It is the holiday season; for walkers it is a time to discern the bad choices and opt for the good ones. It will be easier if we do it together.


Journal Entry Summaries November 16 through November 29, 2010 with seven reports included; averages and grand totals where appropriate for body weight, coinage found, glass bottles, and ground scores.

Weight Average: 174.5 lbs.
Coinage: $9.71 total
Coinage Average: $1.62
Total Pennies found: 295 Pennies Average: 42
Total Nickels found: 18 Nickels Average: 2.6
Total Dimes found: 27 Dimes Average: 3.9
Total Quarters found: 20 Quarters Average:2.9
Total Glass bottles: 66 Glass bottle Ave:11
Total Ground Scores: 24 Ground Score Ave: 6


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Intrinsic Motivation Versus the Ventral Striatum; or Is Extrinsic Motivation Learned or Hardwired

Photo from Desiderata and Motivational Photographs from nature.

Note: Journal Entries located at end of Blog.

Feature Entry: Intrinsic Motivation Versus the Ventral Striatum; or Is Extrinsic Motivation Learned or Hardwired

In the MoneyWalker’s last post, a question was raised about the permanent efficacy of extrinsic motivation. The question is especially relevant concerning positive eating and exercise activity in terms of overweight/obese children and youth.

Edward Deci (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1991), a self-determination theorist, and his followers would vote no. Deci’s findings support methods that help students to self-motivate also known as intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation occurs when individuals internalize values based upon health benefits rather than expected rewards, social recognition, and money. Reward based motivation is labeled extrinsic motivation. Deci’s findings suggest that intrinsic motivation is superior because with extrinsic motivation, once the incentives are removed exercise is reduced; conversely, with intrinsic motivation the value of exercise and diet are internalized and are performed for their own value; thus, persevere as a life-long habit.

So what about the Cooper created FitnessGram? Is it based upon intrinsic or extrinsic motivation principles? By not giving a traditional “grade” to the six areas of fitness including Body Mass Index (BMI),it can construed as intrinsic. However, the green zone/red zone designation is easily converted to extrinsic motivation by perceptive students that quickly assign value to their zone location and compare their scores with others. Glory is a powerful extrinsic motivator, and gaining an optimal BMI green zone placement can result in enhanced peer standing by image conscious children and youth. Note the reaction of Nicole to Harriet Brown’s blog providing negative critique of the FitnessGram: “Wow, that is horrible. Do they have no idea about how vulnerable an 11-year-old girl is?”

But is Deci’s research the last word? Among many studies that refute Deci is Eisenberger et. al. (Psy Bulletin, 1999, vol 125 No. 6) which found that external rewards do not reduce "interest" in tasks for their own sake. Students that received rewards when compared to students taught with intrinsic motivation where not significantly different on reported “interest” on follow-up studies.

Both Eisenberger and Deci’s findings resonate with the MoneyWalker. Motivation for losing weight and keeping it off is hard work and both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is important for success. In fact the body seems to be hardwired to utilize both types of motivation. Recent neuroscience findings (Elger and Falk, Science Daily, Nov. 23, 2007) report a specific “reward center” in the brain, the Ventral Striatum. The Ventral Striatum reveals high activity when subjects successfully perform difficult attention demanding problems; more so if they receive a reward and even higher activity if competing successfully with others. The Ventral Striatum is the reward seat of extrinsic motivation, not intrinsic. It can be extrapolated that external rewards are necessary for tasks that are considered difficult to achieve, especially in the beginning stages of acquisition.

The MoneyWalker applauds the Cooper Institute and the Texas/Delaware adoptions. The plan by educating and rewarding positive exercise and nutrition behaviors is providing both intrinsic and extrinsic reinforcement to assist our youth to maintain healthy levels of fitness including BMI, both now and into their adulthood.

Budda has a point, but so does Elger and Falk.


Journal Entries

Nov. 15, 2010: Weight 175.6 lbs.: Coinage = $2.02, 42 pennies (one wheat), 3 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters; 3 glass bottles; 2 ground scores (eight paperback books on the curb).

Nov. 14, 2010: Weight 176.0 Lbs.; Coinage = $2.88, 63 pennies, 8 nickels, 6 dimes, 5 quarters; 20 glass bottles, 4 ground scores.

Nov. 11, 2010: Weight 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $3.10, 115 pennies, 6 nickels, 9 dimes, 3 quarters (one super find in the folds of a discarded lounger [1 quarter, 3 dimes, 1 nickel, 3 pennies] and one wheat penny); 20 glass bottles, 7 ground scores.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The FitnessGram and Childhood obesity

Note: The MoneyWalker's journal entries are at the end of this blog.

Feature Entry: The FitnessGram and Childhood obesity

Recently the MoneyWalker was invited to a Past Presidents Reception sponsored by the Louisiana Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (LAHPERD). We had no agenda except small talk and past pleasures, but the informal conversation eventually led to two topics of interest for this blog. One was “exercise as medicine” and the other was childhood obesity. We eventually talked about what Louisiana schools could do to reverse what has become a national epidemic according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One solution was to adopt the well established FitnessGram, a product of the world-famous Cooper Aerobics Center of Dallas, Texas.

Two states, Texas and Delaware require that the physical fitness assessment tool be administered each year. In Texas, all 3rd through 12 grade students are administered the test and the results sent to parents. Students do not “pass” or “fail” the tests, rather they are evaluated against established standards denoting a healthy level of fitness including the body fat index, a measure that sends cautions for both anorexia and overweight/obesity.

Data from the mandated test indicate that 42 percent of Texas’s 4th graders are overweight and 36 percent of 11th graders were overweight. Other data point out that the Texas data reflects similar findings in most U.S. state. There are six sub-scales in the FitnessGram—aerobic capacity (the ability of the body to sustain long bouts of cardio respiratory work), body composition, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.

One interesting finding from the Cooper researchers is the existence of a strong correlation between physical fitness and academic performance: “There is a direct correlation between a student's physical fitness and school performance. Data shows that students who were able to achieve a Healthy Fitness Zone in at least five out of six FITNESSGRAM tests scored higher academically and had fewer discipline problems in school.” However, caution should be followed before interpreting this data as causal. For example, we know that being overweight is also highly correlated with stress, anxiety, and lower self-esteem. These factors are also associated with academic performance. Perhaps it is a more positive self-image that is driving the better grades data.

Accompanying the FitnessGram sent to parents is the Cooper Fitness Activity Pyramid designed to resemble the popular CDC food pyramid. At the activity base is “lifestyle activity.” The second level is “aerobic activity” and “aerobic sports”; third is “muscular activity” and “flexibility activity”; and the apex is “rest.” Examples of lifestyle activity include walking, bicycling, playing active games, and work-active jobs. Aerobic activity examples include aerobic dance and running while aerobic sports include field sports such as football and soccer. Examples from the third level, muscular activity and flexibility activity, include gymnastics, weight lifting, stretching, and yoga. The rest level includes school work, home work, reading, computer games/TV/videos, eating, and sleep.

The levels are not value ordered. The Cooper pyramid is provided as a simple way to inform students and their parents of what activities promote a healthy lifestyle and that prevent problems associated with becoming overweight.

As might be expected, there has been pushback from parents and others concerning the Texas requirement. Harriet Brown’s popular blog, Brave Girl Eating, and the parent of a daughter diagnosed as anorexic suggest that an unintended consequence of the Texas law is to promote anorexia in school children. Others have warned that the test will damage the self-esteem of the children in that it amounts to a negative external motivator, fear of peer labeling and bullying to pressure school children to follow unproven “best practices” for maintaining or achieving health related physical fitness practices. Still others reported that schools should be spending scare resources on more academic pursuits.

The length of this blog is already beyond the MoneyWalker’s knowledge of how long a blog can hold the attention of his readers. A future blog will address the motivation issue. In the mean time, we applaud Louisiana’s effort to follow Texas’s lead in their effort to combat the rapidly growing problem of childhood and youth’s alarming propensity to be overweight.


Journal Entries: November 5, 2010 through November 10, 2010

Nov. 5: Weight = 175.8; Coinage = $2.09, 53 pennies, 2 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters; 5 Glass bottles; 3 ground scores.

Nov. 6: weight = 173.6 lbs.; Coinage = $3.31, 56 pennies, 2 nickels, 9 dimes, 5 quarters (one super find and one wheat); ten glass bottles, 5 ground scores.

Nov. 7: Weight = 176.0 lbs.; Coinage = $6.17, 122 pennies, 17 nickels, 21 dimes, 8 quarters (two super finds including $1.75 in a newspaper coin return); one glass bottle; 8 ground scores.

Nov. 8: Weight – 175.2 lbs; Coinage = $4.52, 72 pennies, 9 nickels, 11 dimes, 9 quarters; four glass bottles; 3 ground scores (two more super finds).

Nov. 9: Weight = 174.4 lbs; Coinage = $3.95, 35 pennies, 2 nickels, 14 quarters (13 quarters provided by Jason at the Mid-City Car Wash as a donation to the Friendship House); 14 glass bottles.

Nov. 10: Weight = 174.0 lbs; Coinage = $2.10, 70 pennies, 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 3 quarters; 3 glass bottles; 5 ground scores.

Note, each of the six day reports above indicated a coinage total of $2.00 or more value, easily a MoneyWalker record.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Recidivism, Diet, and Exercise

Negative thinking or just contemplative?

Journal Entries, Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010

October 27: Weight = 172.4 lbs.; Coinage = $.96, 11 pennies, 1 dime, 3 quarters; Glass bottles = 3; Ground Scores = 3.
October 28: Weight 173.2 lbs.; Coinage = $2.29, 94 pennies, 1 nickel, 13 dimes; GB = 6.

October 30: Weight = 175.2 lbs.; Coinage = $.48, 18 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 quarter; GS = 6; GB = 5. One interesting event was a movie set in Mid City NO. More than 50 trucks, technicians everywhere, busy action, and giant lighting equipment. I wonder which of the people where the stars and which movie was being shot. We have so many movies and television series shot in our fair city it is becoming known as Hollywood South.

October 31: Weight = 176.2; Coinage = $3.91 including one int. coin (100 Chile pesos), 81 pennies, 10 nickels, 11 dimes, 6 quarters; GB =10.

November 1: Weight = 176.0; Coinage = $1.89, 69 pennies, 2 dimes, 4 quarters; GB = 9; GS = 6.

November 2: Weight = 175.4 lbs.; Coinage = $1.39, 39 pennies, 4 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; GB = 6; GS =5. Today was a nice walk in the rain.

Feature Entry: Recidivism, Diet, and Exercise
There is no question; October was a disaster for the MoneyWalker in terms of exercise and diet adherence. The month contained three separate trips to see friends and relatives. Weighing ever day—forget about it. Healthy breakfasts, no way. Ninety minute zoom walks—are you kidding me. Portion control, how about raw gluttony. All my old bad habits bunched together in one wonderful guilt-free month of unrestrained eating and hardly any boring exercise. Now my waist line shows the result. Guilt and shame have returned with a vengeance.

My October was a working definition of recidivism. Here is how recidivism works. First, you develop a bad habit. We will call it overeating sweets and starchy carbohydrates. The result is weight gain and being overweight. Second, is a resolution to follow a diet and lose weight. The resolution works and a healthy BMI (body mass index) is obtained. Third, a long vacation is experienced followed by a calorie filled holiday, Halloween for instance. The good eating habits are broken and the lost pounds race back. That is how recidivism works.

Unfortunately for people like the MoneyWalker, losing weight is not just a matter of diet and portion control. It also involves a chain of behaviors including exercise, journaling portions, and daily weighing. With recidivism, all the positive behaviors are victims. Collectively the loss of adherence to healthy behaviors results in a vortex of shame and guilt that leads to more binge eating and denying.

Besides weigh gain, a dangerous side effect of diet/exercise recidivism is loss of self-esteem. Lowered self-esteem can then lead to anxiety which if not checked and if other stressors are also present can lead to depression. Stressors such as abuse, personal conflicts, illness, personal issues such as weight gain, death, and substance abuse can all pile up and lead to clinical depression. Clinical depression is serious and should be treated by professionals, but there are behaviors and techniques that can be used to combat regular depression and similar feelings including episodes of stress, unhappiness, sadness, or grief.

Clinical psychologists often use Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help their clients understand how to change negative thinking into more healthy feelings. All situations have positive as well as negative aspects. CBT utilizes a series of exercises that help the individual to identify the positive and eliminate the negative. CBT is not recommended for do-it-yourselfers, but a related skill, positive self-talk, is a doable. Positive self-talk is what the MoneyWalker calls “cognitive over ride,” a replacement of positive thoughts with negative thoughts." Elizabeth Scott, MS has provided several ways to practice positive self-talk.

Because self-talk can be both negative and positive, and because people with common depression focus on negative self talk, she recommends that we notice our patterns of negative thinking. She recommends that we keep a journal to jot down negative comments in order to summarize our feelings. Knowing our patterns can help us to practice thought-stopping. When the negative thoughts begin, we just say STOP!, and then replace the thoughts with positive thinking. Some use a rubber-band around their waist and pop it when the negative thinking begins.

It is not always possible to totally replace negative thoughts, but the self-talk can use milder wording. For example, we can substitute “pain” for “discomfort.” When walking and dealing with rude and dangerous drivers, instead of saying “I hate drivers that never yield to pedestrians, they make me so angry!!!” Instead we can say “ I don’t like rude drivers, they annoy me.”
Concerning healthy food choices, we can use positive self-talk to change negative selections to neutral or positive selections. At a party, we can use self-talk to select non-fattening foods and beverages. We can say, “This chocolate brownie will only give me a minute or two of pleasure, but I will feel depressed for hours; I will munch on these veggies instead.” And we can change self-limiting statements to questions. Instead of saying, “I can’t handle this temptation,” we can turn the episode into a question, “How can I handle this sugary food temptation?”

The MoneyWalker is giving positive self-talk a chance. I’m just going to over ride my desire for fattening foods and tell myself to eat healthy. Just follow my journal entry and watch those pounds fall away.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Pfennig For Your Thoughts

Photo of a dated German Pfennig
Journal Entries:

October 26, 2010: Weight = 176.6 lbs.; Coinage = $1.14, 39 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, 1 quarter; Glass bottles = 18; ground scores = 9.

October 25, 2010: Weight, not available; Coinage = $1.60, 20 pennies, 1 nickel, 1 dime, five quarters; 17 glass bottles, 7 ground scores.

October 20, 2010: Weight = 172.6 lbs.; Coinage = $.47, 12 pennies, 1 dime, 1 quarter; five glass bottles; five ground scores.

Feature Entry: A Pfennig For Your Thoughts

The MoneyWalker found a 5 pfennig on his daily walk this morning. The monetary symbol for this coin is .5 ₰. Before the Euro replaced them, the German pfennig was the designation for penny. Unlike the U.S. penny, the German penny had several values including the five penny or pfennig. The pfennig has been around since the 9th century and basically ended in 2002. My pfennig was dated 1970 and is in “good” condition. In uncirculated condition, a 1950 pfennig is worth four or five U.S. dollars.

Another thought involves my recent jump in pounds from 172.6 lbs. to 176.6 lbs in just six days. What happened? It is an old problem. Go on a long week-end with friends (Wednesday through Monday), eat uncontested large meals with fattening beverages, experience irregular BMs, and fail to exercise—that formula is easily worth a four pound weight gain in less than a week. My hunch is that the weight will come off easily as the MoneyWalkers settle back into normal habits of regular exercise and portion control. My theory is that if caught quickly, a sharp increase in gained pounds can be quickly shed with due diligence to diet and exercise.

Another thought deals with the joy of spending large amounts of time with special friends. We shared spirited conversations about sports, politics, religion, and esoteric academic topics, one being the rather recent depression therapy called “cognitive behavioral therapy” which will be a featured blog shortly. We will explore the use of self prescribed cognitive behavioral therapy for overcoming problems with the depression that comes from gaining weight and diet recidivism.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure, Part II

The MoneyWalkers French Quarter style patio. Many of the fence boards were recycled as were all the patio bricks.

Journal Entries

Oct. 19: Weight = 173. Lbs; Coinage = $1.33, 18 pennies, 3 nickels, 5 dimes, 2; 7 glass bottles; 5 ground scores

Oct. 18;
Weight = 174.6 lbs. (12 day excursion to NYC and DC with unchecked consumption); Coinage = $9.08, $5 dollar bill, 1 dollar bill, 88 pennies, 12 nickels, 11 dimes, 2 quarters; 11 glass bottles; 2 ground scores; one super find (2 quarters in a telephone return).

Oct. 7: Weight =172.8 lbs.; Coinage =$1.42, 42 pennies, 4 nickels, 3 dimes, 2 quarters; Glass bottles = 11; Ground scores = 2.

Oct. 6: Weight = 172.4 lbs.; Coinage = $2.08, 48 pennies, 7 nickels, 10 dimes, 1 quarter; ten glass bottle, two ground scores.

Oct. 5,
2010: Weight = 173. lbs; Coinage = $1.48, 37 pennies, 7 nickels, 5 dimes, 1 quarter; 6 glass bottles; ground score = 2.

Feature Entry: Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure, Part II

More and more, the MoneyWalker’s blog is reflecting the consciousness of the go-green movement. I walk to complete most shopping experiences if the destination is one mile or less. In our neighborhood that includes the bank, grocery store, dozens of restaurants, the post office, and the drug store. The practice avoids gasoline emissions, saves gasoline consumption, and contributes to the MoneyWalker’s weight loss maintenance strategy.

It is no secret that the MoneyWalker is motivated to maintain his walking practice by the chance of finding money. Pennies add up and finding nickels, dimes, and quarters scattered around the curbs and hotspots of Mid City New Orleans tickles the ventral striatum. But there is a new joy—finding and restoring other people’s trash. Turning “trash to treasure” is a hot topic in the going green movement. I call it the 3R method of sustainability--recycling, reusing, and repurposing.

Boring is the word to define all the types of items that have been found and recycled by the MoneyWalker. To test your stamina suffer through these: jewelry, books, office supplies and equipment, vacuum cleaners, weight lifting equipment, antique gum ball machine, floor lamps, book shelves, desk and credenza, and area carpets. Others include collectibles, TV table, coffee table, extension cords, jumper cables, oil paintings, art work, cleaning supplies, barbecue cookers, and clothes. Even more items include towels, baby strollers, tricycles, bicycles, tools, paint, lumber, bulletin boards, chandeliers, purses, beds, and gas cans.

Perhaps the most significant find occurred after Katrina. Many people with old houses with coal-burning fireplaces restored their homes and tore out the fireplaces to achieve a more modern look. The MoneyWalker retrieved the bricks, cleaned them, and created a “French Quarter” patio. More than 3,000 bricks were used in the project, bricks saved from the land fill.

One problem with the 3R method is distribution. How does the MoneyWalker deal with all that junk? First, he has a large storage area. Second, he is very handy and can repair most things. Third, he conducts a charity yard sale once a year to recycle the finds. He has also purchased “EBay for Dummies” and plans to sells his really good finds on EBay. All proceeds including coinage go to a local charity.

Walking while looking for money and other ground scores is a great one-two punch for weight loss and weight management and for going green. The more you walk, the more lbs. you lose and the more treasures you find to recycle, reuse, or repurpose the more you help sustain planet earth. Both contribute to personal meaning, an outstanding antidote to depression and stress.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Journal Entry: October 9, 2009: Coinage = $.03; ground scores =3.

Feature Entry: Mark Twain, Walking and a Penny Saved

Much of the country is celebrating Mark Twain’s 175th birthday. The MoneyWalkers are on a family visit/mini vacation and currently spending our time in Wilton, Connecticut. Today I walked to the Lady Fatima Catholic Thrift Store to service my bric-a-back habit. It is one of my favorites. Wilton is near Redding, CT, a former home of Mark Twain. The walk took me past the Wilton Heritage Museum which featured a one month only Mark Twain exhibit. Wasn’t it Mark Twain that said, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Or, was that Ben Franklin?

Either way Mark Twain was a prolific creator and collector of aphorisms as well as a serious walker. A good blog that features Twain is Aphorisms and Aphorisms. One of my favorites from the list is:
“Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”

Twain took long walks, often ten miles or more. Solo walking was not his first choice. He sought out companion walkers, especially the Rev. J. H. Twichell. He playfully accused Twain of stealing his best sermon material for his humor and witty writing. Twain countered by explaining that Twichell would have no sermon ideas at at all if it wasn’t for the material pilfred from Twain’s mind during their walks.

If not Twichell, than it was someone else. Walking was the venue and talking was the game. From his book, A Tramp Abroad he wrote:
” Now, the true charm of pedestrianism does not lie in the walking, or in the scenery, but in the talking. The walking is good to time the movement of the tongue by, and to keep the blood and the brain stirred up and active; the scenery and the woodsy smells are good to bear in upon a man an unconscious and unobtrusive charm and solace to eye and soul and sense; but the supreme pleasure comes from the talk. It is no matter whether one talks wisdom or nonsense, the case is the same, the bulk of the enjoyment lies in the wagging of the gladsome jaw and the flapping of the sympathetic ear.”
The pictured medallion celebrates this idea.

As did Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain was fascinated by novelty walks into forbidden or unknown places:
"What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man's breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked."
For those that want to know more about the culture of walking, be sure to follow the blog of Michael P. Garofalo, the Ways of Walking from which the above quote was taken.

The take away for weight watchers and those concerned about physical fitness is that whether your stroll, saunter, meander, hike, wander, or trek--the Mark Twain message from his 175th is to just walk be it solo or companion. The more the better.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure: Part I

Photo from Green Diary, Your Guide to Sustainable Living

Journal Entries

Oct. 4, 2010: Weight = 172.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.05, 25 pennies, 2 nickels, 2 dimes, 2 quarters; Best finds = a three coin scatter, 2 nickels and 1 penny and a curb quarter; 6 glass bottles; ground score = 2.

Oct. 3: Coinage = $2.74, 104 pennies, 3 nickels, 13 dimes, 1 quarter (most from vacuum canisters); one glass bottle, one ground score.

Sept. 30: Coinage = $1.43, 43 pennies, 3 nickels, 6 dimes, 1 quarter; one glass bottle; three ground scores.

Sept. 29: Weight = 170.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.77, 107 pennies, 7 nickels, 11 dimes, 1 quarter; 4 glass bottles (about ½ from canisters; 2 ground scores.

Sept. 28: Weight = 172. Lbs; Coinage = $1.40, 30 pennies, 2 dimes, 4 quarters (one super find in a telephone return; 2 glass bottles, 1 ground score.

Feature Entry: Green Walking, Turning Trash to Treasure: Part I

For the MoneyWalker, the mission of walking is foremost about fitness and weight management. A close second is using the walking experience to be environmentally responsible. While taking a daily 90 minute early morning walk it is surprising how many objects people lose or throw away. The MoneyWalker has learned to retrieve items (referred to as “ground scores”, see above under Journal Entries) and then practice the 3R method of recycling. Kandance Graves of New Orleans’ Gambit Weekly defines 3R as recycling, reusing, and repurposing. The practice allows the MoneyWalker to turn “trash into treasures.”

Founded on a belief that “green matters” nearly every day a portion of my time is devoted to creating a new life for items that have been thrown out or discarded. Over time the practice contributes to a growing practice across the U.S. and indeed the world that leads to “sustainable living.” In Gambit’s current edition ( volume 31, # 39 Sept. 28, 2010) Graves writes about several "reuse districts" of New Orleans. Their website provides sobering details of the environmental impact of waste being put in landfills and how garbage ends up in the ocean. Tips are provided for consumers about how they can repurpose various items rather than curb them for the garbage collectors.

In a future blog the MoneyWalker will explain specific ways that he and Ms MoneyWalker have utilized the 3R method to enrich our lives while practicing green. Also, the blog will explain how green walking has provided thousands of dollars for two of their favorite charitable groups.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Saturated Fat Part II

Journal Entry Sept. 27, 2010: Weight = 172.8 lbs (weight up and Saints down, a bad combination); Coinage = $3.01, 81 pennies, 3 nickels, 8 dimes, 5 quarters; one glass bottle; two ground scores including a working toaster (it will need a few scrubs.)

Journal Entry Sept. 26, 2010: Weight = 172.0 lbs; Coinage = $1.33, 43 pennies, 1 nickel, six dimes, 1 quarter; 6 glass bottles; 2 ground scores.

Feature Entry: Saturated Fat Part II

The MoneyWalker is doing a series of posts concerning the role of fat within the diet of a person that is losing weight, maintaining weight, and/or seeking to prevent diseases. The last post featured one of the current counterpoint bariatric MDs that advocate diets low in carbohydrates and liberal with saturated fats allowed. In juxtaposition to his position were views that are more conventional. We continue the sparring in this entry.

Conventional Wisdom (CW): Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. of Mayo Clinic: Unquestionably, an excess intake of saturated fat is linked to weight gain. This is because a fat gram contains more than twice the amount of calories as a protein gram – 9 calories versus 4 calories.

Michael R. Eades, MD (Eades): Improved Liver: “Adding saturated fat to the diet has been shown in medical research to encourage the liver cells to dump their fat content. Clearing fat from the liver is the critical first step to calling a halt to middle-body fat storage.”

CW: Zeratsky of Mayo Clinic: The world of nutrition has long since known the link between dietary fat and weight gain. Unsaturated fat can be a trusted ally in the fight against weight loss. Understanding how it differs from saturated fat helps demystify the stigma of unsaturated fats – a stigma that should be reserved for its unhealthy cousin, saturated fats.

Eades: Saturated Fat facilitates healthy lungs: “For proper function, the airspaces of the lungs have to be coated with a thin layer of what’s called lung surfactant. The fat content of lung surfactant is 100 percent saturated fatty acids.”

CW: Center for Disease Control and the Food Pyramid: Of the seven guidelines from the food pyramid for healthy living is the admonition for “eating foods low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.

Eades: Eliminating or severely limiting saturated fats impair Proper nerve signaling: “Certain saturated fats, particularly those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil, function directly as signaling messengers that influence the metabolism, including such critical jobs as the appropriate release of insulin.”

CW: American Institute for Cancer Research: “When AICR's expert international panel reviewed all the scientific findings relating to fat and cancer, they found a pattern suggesting that diets high in animal fat and/or saturated fat possibly increase the risk of lung, colorectal, breast, uterine and prostate cancers. We also know that saturated fat contributes to cardiovascular disease risk.”

Eades: ” Strong immune system: Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil (myristic acid and lauric acid) play key roles in immune health. Loss of sufficient saturated fatty acids in the white blood cells hampers their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders, such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Human breast milk is quite rich in myristic and lauric acid, which have potent germ-killing ability. But the importance of the fats lives on beyond infancy; we need dietary replenishment of them throughout adulthood, middle age, and into seniority to keep the immune system vigilant against the development of cancerous cells as well as infectious invaders.
So how should we build our meals, with or without saturated fats. As one news network likes to brag, “Fair and balanced, you decide.” The MoneyWalker will weigh-in on the issue in a future blog.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

“In this corner, weighing…” Eating Saturated Fat versus Prevailing Conventional Wisdom

Journal Entry, Sept. 24, 2010: Weight = 172.6 lbs.; Coinage = $1.40, 30 pennies, 1 dime, 4 quarters (one supper find of two quarters in a telephone stand); 2 glass bottles; one ground score.

Journal Entry, Sept. 25, 2010: Weight = 172.0 lbs; Coinage $1.42, 42 pennies, 7 nickels, 4 dimes, 1 quarter: 4 glass bottles, 2 ground scores including a recyclable patch work quilt (even as I type it is the washer soaking after being carefully treated with a generous amount of Ms. MoneyWalker’s stain removal. She won’t be happy.)

Feature Entry: “In this corner, weighing…” Eating Saturated Fat versus Prevailing Conventional Wisdom

It is undoubtedly true that America has an obesity problem and that overeating and low exercise are the leading contributing factors. As for diet much has been written about the dangers of fat, especially saturated fat. Yet, all nutritionist agree that some fat in the diet is necessary for good health.

The MoneyWalker is often in counterpoint with those that provide conventional wisdom concerning so-called exercise and nutrition “best practices.” For the next few paragraphs, conventional experts will duke it out with a controversial bariatric expert, Michael R. Eades, MD.

Conventional Wisdom (CW): From Spark:”Our bodies expect us to eat balanced meals containing complex carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables, healthy fat, and goodies every now and then.” Unhealthy fat is defined as saturated fat and trans fat.

Eades: You have no doubt heard the drumbeat of current medical thinking on fats: some fats are now good for you—olive oil and canola oil*—but others are bad for you—trans fats and all saturated fats. That’s an improvement from the old cry, but far from the truth.

CW: From the editors of EHow: Decrease your intake of saturated and trans fats, as these modified products can increase your risk of heart disease.

Eades: [I am not worried] that these foods will increase your risk of heart disease and raise your cholesterol. In fact, we encourage you to make these important fats a regular part of your healthy diet. Why? Because humans need them and [later I will provide a few reasons why.]

CW: Food Pyramid - Using the food pyramid, Food groups">From Science Encyclopedia, we recommend that individuals should be “eating foods low in fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol.”
Eades: [I have no fear of] “fatty cuts of meat, chicken with the skin, bacon, eggs, butter, coconut oil, organic lard, and heavy cream in the plan.”

CW: From Science Encyclopedia: Some fats are worse than others. The intake of saturated fats should be limited because they raise blood cholesterol levels which increases the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are primarily found in animal and dairy products, and coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils. Saturated fats should not contribute more than 10% of the daily calories.

Eades: Though you may not have heard of it on the front pages of your local newspaper, online news source, or local television or radio news program, saturated fat plays a couple of key roles in cardiovascular health. The addition of saturated fat to the diet reduces the levels of a substance called lipoprotein (a)—pronounced “lipoprotein little a” and abbreviated Lp(a)—that correlates strongly with risk for heart disease. Currently there are no medications to lower this substance and the only dietary means of lowering Lp(a) is eating saturated fat. Moreover, eating saturated (and other) fats also raises the level of HDL, the so-called good cholesterol. Lastly, research has shown that when women diet, those eating the greatest percentage of the total fat in their diets as saturated fat lose the most weight.

CW: Science Encyclopedia: Unsaturated fats are a healthier choice and include olive, peanut, canola, safflower, corn, sunflower, cottonseed, and soybean oils.

Eades: saturated fat is required for calcium to be effectively incorporated into bone? According to one of the foremost research experts in dietary fats and human health, Mary Enig, Ph.D., there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50 percent of the fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason. That’s a far cry from the 7 to 10 percent suggested by mainstream institutions.

…To be continued.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Kōan Walking and Problem Solving

The Theory of Relativity

Journal Entry, September one to September 17, 2010: Average coinage find for the last 17 days = $1.43; Average weight for last 17 days = 171.75 pounds.

Journal Entry, September 20, 2010: Weight = 172.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.33, 63 pennies (one wheat), 1 nickel, 9 dimes, 3 quarters (one super find in a parking lot consisting of 2 quarters, a nickel and two pennies); Glass bottles retrieved = 8; Ground Scores = 3 (one, a 25 cent gum ball machine that was promptly opened by picking the lock, retrieving the money (a total of one penny), cleaning all parts both inside and outside, painting the antique cast iron “carousel” base, and reassembling. The trophy now holds a featured spot in the MoneyWalker’s herrenzimmer.

Feature Entry: Kōan Walking and Problem Solving

A friend that knows well both the personality of the MoneyWalker and about the orthodoxy of what it means to be a Southern Baptist once remarked to me: “You are not a Southern Baptist but a Zen Baptist.” I thought of his remark after reading Gretchen Rubin’s blog about happiness . This link is to her recent comment about Pablo Picasso Paints Fakes? -- A Koan about Creativity. Being a Zen Baptist is not the same as being a Zen Buddhist so I had to look up the term “koan.”

A kōan (most in the West ignore the correct spelling) consists of a story, a question, or a statement whose understanding cannot be understood by rational thinking but is accessible through intuition. Zen Buddhists would use the word heart as in “accessible through the heart.” In Western thinking kōans are often reduced to mere riddles, puzzles, or meaningless statements. However, in Zen practice a kōan requires a thoughtful response. Kōans are used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy if not the futility of logical reasoning.” To a Zen Buddhist, “doubt is strength.”

Kōans are often presented as paradoxical poems or anecdotes in a question format. Yet there is no solution. A devout listener when presented the Kōan will meditate for meaning outside of logical thought processes. Kōan’s then, although not riddles, will initially appear as a riddle to the mind. In the case of Picasso, an art dealer asks him to authenticate a Picasso painting. Picasso said “It is a fake.” Later the art dealer returned with another painting. “It too is a fake,” said Picasso. Perplexed, the dealer replied, “But I was with you as you painted this very article.” In which Picasso replied, “I often paint fakes.” While this example is not a true Kōan, it is Kōan-like. This rather simple example for me relates to why 21 days have passed since my last blog. The blogs were all starting to feel redundant; whatever the title or theme of the blog, I felt as I had written it all before.

As for kōan walking, Robert Baker Aitken (aka, Roshi Aitken) in his book The Practice of Perfection: The Parameters from a Zen Buddhist Perspective, suggest that the practice of using kōans during meditation is to practice mindfulness, the practice of noticing what you are doing. He uses walking to illustrate his point. Walking, for efficiency, is below the awareness level and the very act is controlled by autonomic brain/body processes. Mindfulness for walking is the act of bringing the subconscious to consciousness—to be aware and noticing the "heel, foot, ball, toe action as you walk." To consciously process the feeling of all aspects of the walking behavior is kōan walking at its simplest. One may say, “So what?” Thus, a critical part of utilizing kōans for meditation is to practice mindfulness, to delve deeply into the obvious with questions that have no logical answers.

Kōan questioning is related to kōan problem solving. “So what, what?” is a kōan. As we walk, the mind must be occupied with something and often the mindfulness of that something takes the form of a problem. Kōan-like problem solving contains at least three stages according to John Tarrant in his blog essay “The Power of Koan Practice.” First, “contain the problem.” In the MoneyWalker’s current crisis of allowing three weeks to pass without writing a blog, containment meant getting back to the basics. Note the specificity of the above Journal entry. Recently, I had gotten away from what journals provide, a written history of the specifics of a practice, in this case walking for fitness and using the excitement of finding money and “ground scores” for external motivation to persevere. Thus, by being specific, I began the process of containing the problem.

Second, Tarrant would say, “focus upon it.” This entire blog about kōans is allowing me to focus on why I have lost the motivation to write two or three blogs a week about walking, health, and motivation. In truth, trying to contain the problem and focusing on a solution occurred weeks ago, even before my last blog of August 31st had been written. My focus has many prisms one of which is “Why I am writing a blog that contains, to me at least, such a cerebral requirement for something as straightforward as walking for health?” Don’t ask me, I’m still in focus mode.

Third, in Tarrant's tutorial is “allow its solution to emerge.” Tarrant says, “With a problem, listen to the mind’s conversation before trying to solve it.” A great turn of phrase is that thought to “listen to the mind’s conversation.” Kōan walking is a perfect time to listen to the mind’s conversation.

Well, it is well past time for the MoneyWalker to cut his losses and turn off the word processor. But before leaving, a great walk need not be a kōan walk, but when the MoneyWalker has a problem there is nothing better than taking a walk to contain the problem, focus on it, and let a solution present itself.

Perhaps kōan walking leads to good karma whatever that might mean


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Six Proustian Strategies to Enhance the Walking Experience

Photo: The Eyes of Marcel Proust

Journal Entry: Weight = 173.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.46

Feature Entry: Six Proustian Strategies to Enhance the Walking Experience

It is nearly impossible to read novels from the 19th and early 20th century without fully understanding the important role of walking in the everyday social and working life of the citizens of the times. Marcel Proust, the precursor of the modern novelists, also left his mark on modern psychology. What follows are six Proustian strategies to enhance the walking experience.

1. Pay attention to the experiences and sensations of the walk.
2. Live in the moment, not forwever wed to a “search for lost time.”
3. Embrace a free flowing stream of consciousness.
4. Be a servant of the walk, not its master.
5. Allow the visual flow of the now to involuntarily cue memories of the past.
6. Seek walking experiences, or during the walk, reframe previous experiences that lead to an eureka moment: ”I never saw the world in the same way afterwards.”

Or, just walk!


Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Katrina Walk Five Years Later

Mid-City New Orleans after the levees were breeched, photo provided by Michael Riege

Journal Entry: Weight = none taken, the co-ed baby shower (a boy) given by Ms MoneyWalker and daughter MoneyWalker for daughter-in-law MoneyWalker was to mammoth in terms of rich food-- couldn’t face the transparency; Coinage = $2.05; Ground Scores = 5 including an excellent pair of heavy duty battery jumper cables.

Feature Entry: A Katrina Walk Five Years Later

Today marks the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Because of multiple breaches in New Orleans’s levee system, 80 percent of New Orleans was flooded. More than 1,500 people lost their lives in our city. The MoneyWalker’s residence had more than five feet of water on the ground floor. What made this flood even more costly was New Orleans’s unique topography, much of the city is below flood level. In normal times, we keep the waters pushed back with elaborate levees and electric pumps. When the levees failed and the electric infrastructure stopped working, there was no place for the water to go. So it stayed, just putrefying in our homes from September 1 until October 4, the first day we were allowed to return. Our first floor was surreal, a scene from a horror movie could not have been more sobering. It took that long for levee repairs and portable generators to pump out the water. The recall still brings tears as these words are being typed. Ms. MoneyWalker and I wheeled out more than a thousand wheel barrow loads of water logged possessions, many treasures of a lifetime. We were not able to return as residents until March more than six months later. That was the month that electricity was restored to our block.

All of the memories came back on this morning’s walk.

Katrina walks are somber.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Spiritual Walking

Photo: (self)The Sicilian donkey is highly prized by some Catholic practitioners because of the "cross of Jesus" that appears down the back and across the shoulders. My neighbor paid $3,000 dollars for this champion donkey. Note: for this edition, the journal entries are at end of blog

Feature Entry: Spiritual Walking

After several years of walking for fitness and weight control and using the pleasure of finding money and other objects of value as external motivation, many friends, relatives, and blog followers report to me their walking motives and habits. Many report taking advantage of nature hiking to connect with their idea of the Supreme Creator. Similarly, several report that they meditate and pray while walking. More specifically, some seek Spiritual guidance for their problems. Some have actual conversations.

In the MoneyWalker’s bio sketch, he list “Fiddler on the Roof” as one of his three favorite movies. Most of us remember Tevye, the poor Jewish father of those beautiful daughters, the ones that kept breaking Tevye’s traditions if not his heart. Tevye walked from necessity and often used the time to talk to God, nearly always with sarcasm:
• [to God] Sometimes I wonder, when it gets too quiet up there, if you are thinking, "What kind of mischief can I play on my friend Tevye?"
• [to God] It may sound like I'm complaining, but I'm not. After all, with Your help, I'm starving to death. Oh, dear Lord. You made many poor people. I realize, of course, it's no shame to be poor... but it's no great honor either. So what would be so terrible... if I had a small fortune?
• [to God] I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?
The MoneyWalker has some of Tevye’s cynicism, but he can easily tear-up to this great Christian hymn: “Today I Walked Where Jesus Walked, I Felt His Presence There.” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has a poem with the same line but takes it further:
Today I walked where Jesus walked, today I walked where Job had walked,
Today I walked with Nephi, Today I walked where Abraham walked,
Today I believed I was nothing in their eyes, today they walked with me.
The MoneyWalker’s thoughts about Spiritual walking were stimulated by a request to be a guest Bible Study teacher last Sunday. The topic dealt with reconciliation of fractured relationships. This blog started out to be about the reconciliation of we dieters/exercisers with our January 1 resolutions. We will do it another time. In the mean time, if you have a fractured relationship with your resolution, practice or re-initiate the big four—weigh every day, eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, and be careful with food portions and selections.

Oh, don’t be afraid to ask for a little Divine intervention.


Journal Entry August 19, 2010: Weight = 170.0 lbs; Coinage = $.31. Alas, the Jefferson Davis Car Wash Vacuum mine is running dry. Still no locks. Maybe Jason has hired a new manager who keeps the vacuums clean and neat. Back to finding coins the old fashioned way with hard scans and clever hunches.

Journal Entry: August 18, 2010: Weight = 170.2 lbs.; Coinage = $.50; Observation = 12 school buses lined in a queue—summer vacation is over.

Journal Entry: August 17, 2010: Coinage = $1.11; Weight = 169.0 lbs. Observation = Undercover police raid that appeared to be a false alarm. The MoneyWalker passed right through the thrones of police on the street.

August 16: Weight = 170.0; Coinage = $.35

August 15: Weight = 170.2; Coinage = $4.90, quarters were found everywhere including a super find in a newspaper vending machine, four in the return slot; then in the next machine over, another quarter; then four more “curb quarters.”

Friday, August 13, 2010

The MoneyWalker finds a $1 Coin: The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005

Journal Entry: 8-13-10: Weight = 172.8 lbs, $10.35 coinage including a John Q. Adams $1.00 coin. Source for the large find was a nice run of “curb quarters” on the way to Canal Blvd. Car Wash. Jason’s boys had just dumped their vacuum canisters in a way that led to easy access of the loot. Of course it was handled stealthy at 6:30 a.m.

Feature Entry: The Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005

Who knew? Starting in 2007, the United States Mint issued four Presidential $1 coins which featured Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. The Coin Act (PL 109-145) has as its purpose the revitalization of classic designs for US coins. Four presidents a year are being released in the order in which the Presidents served.

Until the MoneyWalker found the coin on this morning’s walk, the new coinage program had escaped me completely. The coin is striking, but one thing is disappointing. The coins use “edge-incused inscription” which means that the year of minting, the classic “E Pluribus Unum”, and “In God We Trust,” and the mint mark are on the edge rather that the face. Without a strong glass, the inscriptions can’t be read. Too bad!

There are other components of the act such as commemorative coins of the wives of the presidents. To read more:$1coin/?action=coinAct2005

Remember, it is not the coins but the calories!!


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Culture of Walking: Less Fat, More Lean

Journal Entry: August 10,2010: Weight = 169.4 lbs; Coinage = $2.12 including two super finds in one walk (A super find is .50 or more in one location excluding car wash vacuum stations).

Feature Entry: The Culture of Walking: Less Fat, More Lean

Recently the MoneyWalker has been obsessed with discussions about fat and weight loss. In a forthcoming blog he will delve into the weighty issues (pun intended) of animal fat, trans fat, saturated fat, non-animal fat, artificial fat, non-saturated fat, fat grams and much much more. But not now! Instead, we will ramble on about the "lean" of walking; or, if you will, the culture of walking. Much of the content was inspired by Geoff Nicholson and his book The Lost Art Of Walking.

“A walk is never equally fascinating for its whole length.” The MoneyWalker usually takes 90 minute walks. In that period long stretches are uneventful but in 90 minutes the observant walker will witness amazing things. The same is true of finding money, long stretches often occur with nothing only to be followed with finds of multiple coins. One must be a "determined walker."

“I walk hard in the streets.” “You can’t walk as well when you get older.” “I’m very smart in the street.” The MoneyWalker still “zooms” when he walks, but not as fast or as “hard” as even one year ago. The big 70 is still a year or two away, but closing fast. As the years continue to mount, he is beginning to allow experience to compensate for reaction time in order to be safe on the street.

“Insouciance is certainly part of the perfect walk.” Whether one walks for pleasure, fitness, or in pursuit of ground scores, he or she must feel safe, unconcerned,and secure. Mostly the MoneyWalker feels safe about the walking environment, but there are times and situations that brings the hair on his neck in full lert. The solution, quickly move to safety.

Is walking a religious experience? “It may be pleasurable and worth doing, it may stop you from getting depressed, but in the end it’s just a walk. Why should you want it to be more?”

“When William Wordsworth was in the throes of composition he would stride up and down the garden path outside his home in Grasmere; walking and writing had for him become synonymous. And I do believe that there’s some fundamental connection between walking and writing.” The MoneyWalker’s attention during walking is usually divided between two things—searching for coins and semi-composing his next blog. In two plus weeks New Orleans will remember the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. My family found solace from these fine Wordsworth lines:
What though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of Splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind. (Wordsworth, Ode: Intimations)


Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Weight Loss Plateau: A Dissection of a Failed Blog

Journal Entry: Weight = 168.6 lbs.; Coinage = $1.29.

Feature Entry: The Weight Loss Plateau: The dissection of a Failed Blog

The MoneyWalker has just pulled the plug on a failed blog. After spending several hours of research and writing (550 words), he called it quits. The topic attempted to compare a motor learning concept with a weight loss concept. In motor learning, early success when attempting to learn a novel task is often mistakenly called learning when in fact it is only the result of rearranging what has been previously learning from related or similar tasks. These latent learnings are followed by a painfully long plateau when little or no increase in performance can be plotted. The same with early weight loss success of individuals that begin a weight loss program. Initially there is great success as the lbs. seem to fall off as a result of a new more intense exercise program combined with portion control. But then even as the exercise regiment is continued and fidelity to portion control is maintained, the weight loss stops.

Two similar phenomena, but since we could not make a connection, the project was abandoned. Perhaps there is a latent component to weight loss having to do with water loss and interstitial and extrastitial liquids that comprise adipose tissue. Maybe the recently activated fat cells are easily disposed of whereas the "old hands" are resistant to being broken down just as brain cells are resistant to learning new programs if an already establish brain neuron can be retrofitted to do the trick. So in learning, if we aren't careful, we will confuse performance for learning. Similarly, when we begin a weight loss program, it might be that early in the program, we confuse weight loss with fat loss. These may be very different phenomenon.

Either way, plateaus in both tennis performance and losing weight are deal breakers. Patience with the process, a strong internal constitution, and a very effective external motivation scheme is needed to get past those pesky plateaus.

In the mean time Mr. MoneyWalker, just get over all the time spent in research trying to create a new theory of weight loss plateauing. For now, we will just settle on older ideas such as "starvation metabolism," "high metabolic efficiency," "set-point theory," "aberrant thyroid stimulation," or good old fashioned "pilot error" (the exerciser is cheating--not walking as much and not practicing portion control).

So if you hit a plateau with weight loss, keep walking, keep charting food intake, the body will eventually move off of the plateau and reward you with another stretch of happy days on the digital scales.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ball Four, Baseball and Walking

Journal Entry July 27, 2010: Weight = 171.0 lbs.; Coinage = $1.57; Glass bottles = 6; Ground scores = 4.

Feature Entry: Baseball and Walking

This past week-end, the MoneyWalker with his friend from Oxford, MS completed our annual trip to watch the Houston, Astros play baseball. The Astros lost the first game because the pitcher issued three straight “walks” in the fourth inning. Eventually three runs scored and the Astros never recovered.

What kind of a team sport has a rule that forces players to walk? In baseball, take four balls and the umpire makes the player walk to first base. Sometimes a team will intentionally walk a runner. But the so-called walk is just baseball jargon. The base runner “walks” to first base because he doesn’t have to run in order to be “safe.” Baseball also has something called a “walk off the field” base hit or home run.

What about football? Players get in trouble with the coach if they “walk back to the huddle,” or walk off the field when being substituted. But there is no rule either way; it is the coach that wants the player to show hustle and a good attitude. In basketball a player can “walk the ball” up the court, sometimes under the orders of the coach. It allows the game to be slowed down.

This week-end my friend and I did a lot of walking even though our hotel was just across the street from Minute Maid Park. It was my DNA that caused the problem. The hotel wanted $25 dollars a night, but there was a free and safe place to park just one-half mile away. My DNA has a huge dose of frugality hard wired into the system. I could not pay the $50 for the week-end.

Then it happened. While walking to retrieve the vehicle, the MoneyWalker spotted two one dollar bills wadded together along the curb. Later, several pennies were found, then a quarter, and then a dime. It was all good. The daily one-half mile walk taken several times both days provided walking continuation, and the poor Astros not only lost both games Friday and Saturday giving their fans angst, a few unlucky souls even lost their pocket money in a way that rewarded my effort.

Oh well, that's baseball.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Charitable Dilemma

Painting, 'Charity or The Indigent Family', 1865, provided by Fotosearch.

Journal Entry, 7-22-10: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $2.17; Glass bottles = 10; Ground scores = 7 including a recyclable baby stroller.

Feature Entry: A Charitable Dilemma

Early on, the MoneyWalker felt a moral dilemma about what to do with the money that he found during his fitness walks. It seemed unsettling to find pleasure in another person’s loss. The feeling is silly but it was real and I resolved it by giving the found money to a local charity one that ministers to battered women and their children. Then as rescuing discarded objects became a part of the walking program, it was logical to sell them on E-bay or host a garage sale. The latter was opted for.

Daily walking presents numerous opportunities for good Samaritan behavior. Two examples include helping a person with need of a tire change, and finding then returning a lost cell phone. The recipients of the assistance always offer to help. Today was such a day. A cell phone was found, the battery was fresh, a number was called, and an owner located. He retrieved the phone with obvious appreciation and offered to assist me for my inconvenience (and for not making several long distance calls). I said, “You can pay it forward, or if you are inclined, I will accept a small donation to be given to my charity (the battered women).” He rolled off a $20 and a $5 and handed them. I said, "Just the five is ample.” But he insisted and we settled on the $20.

Now I feel like he was taken advantage of. It is a charitable dilemma!


Monday, July 19, 2010

The "Ground Score" Meets the Yard Sale

Photo curtesy of the "Yard Sale Addict"

Journal Entry July 19, 2010: Weight = 170.8 lbs; Coinage = $6.85; Ground Scores = 2.

Journal Entry July 18, 2010: Weight = 169.0 lbs; Coinage = $.58; Bottles retrieved = 2; Ground scores = 3.

Note: the MoneyWalker has taken a two week break from his walking and blogging, but he is back rested and resolved.

Feature Entry: The Ground Score Meets the Yard Sale

When preparing a feature blog about walking, finding money, or staying fit while losing weight, the MoneyWalker often uses Google to find inspiration. Today's blog is about hosting a yard sale to dispose of all the loot that has been drug home during the last year. I always use Google advanced and place walking in the first line and the subject of my inquiry in the second, in this case "yard sale". In the do not show, I placed the word "charity." As I thought, walking and yard sale supplied many hits. In addition to "causes" that involve both walking and yard sales to raise money, some neighborhoods combine to have multiple garage/yard sales and then ask people to walk the neighborhood as they shop. I liked the idea.

However, the purpose of my sale was to clear away the "ground scores" and donate the proceeds to my favorite charity, the New Orleans Baptist Friendship House. They minister to abused women and their children. This past Saturday, with Ms MoneyWalker's assistance, we sold more than $350 dollars of merchandise, most of it from repaired "ground scores." After advertising expenses we sent a check for $311 to the Friendship House. The letter of transmittal follows:

Bobby L. Eason, Ed.D.

Dr. Kay Bennett
Baptist Friendship House
813 Elysian Fields Ave.
New Orleans, LA 70117

July 19, 2010

Dear Dr. Bennett:

Enclosed is a check for $311.00 to be received as a donation to the Baptist Friendship House. The amount is the net amount from the “Friendship House” yard sale conducted this past Saturday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Lord blessed us with sunny weather and a slight breeze. A large sign indicated that all proceeds were to be donated to the Baptist Friendship House. Several donated their extra change from their purchases, one donated $10.

The yard sale was great fun. Everyone said our prices were very fair. So in addition to helping the friendship women and their children, we were able to inexpensively place excellent items into the hands of New Orleans citizens, many with needs of their own.

As indicated in an earlier letter, most of the items were found during the MoneyWalker’s fitness walks in the Mid-City area. When an item of interest was found discarded at the curb, and if it had perceived value, it was somehow retrieved and repaired if necessary. The yard sale featured filing cabinets, four office chairs, a bicycle, three kitchen chairs, a baby stroller, a wheel barrow two beds, lamps, clothes, two bar-b-q sets, architectural items, hardware, sporting equipment, a painting, a card table, and about forty containers of plants taken from our garden while thinning, and many more “ground scores.”

God bless the Friendship Ministry.


Bobby L. Eason

The MoneyWalker

Monday, June 28, 2010

Musings of an Overheated Walker

Feature Entry: Musings of an Overheated Walker

It is too darn hot! Tomorrow, Ms. MoneyWalker and I are heading to the cool Mountains of New Mexico, then on the our hometown and my 50th high school reunion.

The MoneyWalker stopped walking for one week to recover from a mild case of dehydration fatigue. I was walking without replenishing enough liquid. My past hydration strategy had always worked before, but not this year. Perhaps it is a combination of an aging body and an extra hot June in New Orleans. Remember, drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a long walk.

While walking this morning, three thoughts from the previous 24 hours competed for my blog think-moments that occur during walking. They were "self-sabotage," "create your own audience," and "ex cathedra." Even with Google, I never could develop a cogent thought for development so I patched these three ideas together just to break my week-long draught of not posting.

Self-sabotage--means giving yourself the opportunity to go off the plan, for a walker, to stop walking.

Create your own audience--a literary term, but for walkers, walking solo, for bloggers, building a following. The realization that no one really cares whether you walk or not, you must create your own will.

Ex cathedra--from the teachers chair, usually refers to the Pope of Rome and his power to enact an absolute dictate; for a solo walker, the power for you to plan, to provide the law of your walk--for you to control your own pace, distance, and thoughts. For the MoneyWalker, Ex cathedra is why I walk solo, or as we may say, "from the walker's chair."

As for journal entries, weight average for last two week = 171.4 lbs; Coinage averaged over $2 bucks a walk.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hey Neuroscience, Can You Help Me With My Depression?

Journal Entry: 6/16/10: Weight = 173.8 lbs; Coinage = $.26.

Feature Entry: Hey Neuroscience, Can You Help Me With My Depression?

With continuing nightmares of Katrina, now the oil blow-out in the gulf, the bad economy, a seemingly irresolvable Arizona border, and a sinking 401, is it any wonder that the MoneyWalker is in the ravages of depression.

But the cause is not any of those things. This morning, inexplicably the scales indicated a gain of 2 lbs and the walk coinage was an 18 month low—26 cents. Now those are causes for depression!

San Francisco neuroscientist Puterman, Lin, Blackburn, O’Donovan, Adler, and Epe have completed a study that suggest that vigorous physical exercise helps reduce the health related negative effects of chronic stress. They found that sedentary women between the age of 54 and 82 considered to be chronically psychologically stressed and that failed to exercise regularly developed DNA degeneration that is thought to lead to cardiovascular disease. In contrast, a matched group of chronically stressed women that exercised according to the CDC guidelines (75 minutes of exercise per week) did not experience DNA degeneration.

The authors concluded that, “Vigorous physical activity appears to protect those experiencing high stress by buffering its relationship with TL.” (TL is the abbreviation for telomere length. Telomeres are sections of DNA at the end of chromosomes. Without exercise the TLs were shorter and deformed in comparison with the exercise group.)

Whew, just knowing all that walking is providing a healthy buffer for my chronic stress so as to prevent cardiovascular disease and other life-style diseases helps the MoneyWalker to feel a whole lot better.

The MoneyWalker

Journal Entry: 6-15-10: Weight = 171.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.27
Journal Entry: 6-14-10: Weight = 171.2 lbs; Coinage = $1.97

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cheese Burger in Paradise

Bonus Feature: Cheese Burger in Paradise

O.K., O.K., The MoneyWalker will publish Buffett's "Cheese Burger in Paradise" lyrics, but be warned, the contents of this song may be hazardous to your health.

Cheese Burger In Paradise

Tried to amend my carnivorous habits
Made it nearly seventy days
Losin' weight without speed, eatin' sunflower seeds
Drinkin' lots of carrot juice and soakin' up rays

But at night I'd had these wonderful dreams
Some kind of sensuous treat
Not zuchinni, fettucini or bulghar wheat
But a big warm bun and a huge hunk of meat

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
Not too particular not too precise (paradise)
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

Heard about the old time sailor men
They eat the same thing again and again
Warm beer and bread they said could raise the dead
Well it reminds me of the menu at a Holiday Inn

Times have changed for sailors these days
When I'm in port I get what I need
Not just Havanas or bananas or daiquiris
But that American creation on which I feed

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Medium rare with mustard 'be nice (paradise)
Heaven on earth with an onion slice (paradise)
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise

I like mine with lettuce and tomato
Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes
Big kosher pickle and a cold draft beer
Well good God Almighty which way do I steer for my

Cheeseburger in paradise (paradise)
Makin' the best of every virtue and vice (paradise)
Worth every damn bit of sacrifice (paradise)
To get a cheeseburger in paradise
To be a cheeseburger in paradise
I'm just a cheeseburger in paradise


One Way to Practice Portion Control

Journal Entry, June 8, 2010: Weight = 169.8 lbs; Coinage = $3.15, 70 pennies, 8 nickels, 8 dimes, 5 quarters.

Journal Entry June 10, 2010: Weight = 169 lbs; Coinage = $4.00, 110 pennies, 9 nickels, 7 dimes, 3 quarters, a dollar bill.

Journal Entry June 11, 2010: Weight 168.6 lbs; Coinage = $1.65, 130 pennies, 1 nickel, 3 dimes. Note, the last three weight measures are all artificially low due to heavy water losses due to working outdoors--caution for both dehydradition and a false sense of weight loss.

Journal Entry June 12, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $1.67, 87 pennies, 8 dimes.

Journal Entry June 13, 2010: Weight = 171.8 lbs; Coinage = $8.41, 201 pennies, 15 nickels, 25 dimes, 17 quarters (a big day for quarters and dimes from the car wash vaccums.)

Feature Entry:One Way to Practice Portion Control

In the MoneyWalker's last blog, the Brown Plan to becoming thin was featured and promised to provide additional information about how to practice portion control. Portion control means eating smaller portions and selecting foods that are both healthy and foster weight loss or weight maintenance. To assist with the task, I have lifted Laura Bofinger's "Easy Ways to Eat 5 Fruits and Veggies Each Day." from the professional blog provided by Spark People.

From Laura, "Our bodies crave fruits and vegetables more than just about any other food because we tend to get far fewer of them than we need. We often think we'd survive just fine on 2-3 servings a day – or less. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the USDA both recommend at least 5 servings per day! What you’re missing could be the difference between just surviving and all out thriving.

With just a little thought and a tiny bit of effort in snack preparation, you can make these nutritious foods more convenient and accessible.

Tips and Tricks

• Add fruit to your cereal, oatmeal, waffles or pancakes at breakfast.
• Create your own yogurt flavors with plain yogurt and different combinations of fresh fruit.
• Snack on raw vegetables or fruits instead of chips or pretzels. Keep sugar snap peas, raisins or carrot sticks in your car, your office or your backpack.
• Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
• Drink 100% juice instead of addictive coffee, tea, or soda.
• Going out to lunch? Take a trip to the grocery salad bar. Use lots of dark green leaves and other vegetables instead of piling on all of the extras like eggs, bacon and cheese.
• Add frozen veggies to any pasta dish. It's an easy way to get in another serving of the good stuff.
• Keep fruits and vegetables in line of sight. Grapes, oranges, bananas, and apples make a colorful bowl arrangement on the table. If you see them, you will eat them.
• Dried fruit is just as portable as potato chips -- and less messy. It tastes especially good when added to basic trail mix.
• When cooking vegetables, makes 2-3 times more than you need and immdiately store the extra away for tomorrow. It'll save you time later on.
• Add your own beans and vegetables (tomatoes, spinach, peppers, cabbage) to canned and quick-serve soups.
• If you must have pizza, load on extra veggies and pineapple instead of fatty meats and extra cheese.
• Try berries, melons or dates for a naturally sweet dessert rather than the usual candy bar, cookie, or ice cream sandwich.
• Frozen fruit and veggies are nearly as healthy as the fresh stuff, and only take minutes to prepare.
• Combine fruit with your main meal courses. Raisins, apples and tangerine slices add sweet, crunchy variety to a salad. Apples complement pork, pineapple is great with fish, and orange slices are perfect with chicken.
Besides being packed full of nutrients, fruits and vegetables can also be quite filling. They may even ward off any empty calorie snacking that might follow! Don’t be discouraged by the recommended 5 servings a day. The guide below shows that one serving is less than what you might think.

One serving equals:
1 medium piece of fruit
1/2 cup fruit (raw, canned, or frozen)
1/2 cup cooked vegetables (canned or frozen)
1 cup raw vegetables
1/4 cup dried fruit
4-6 oz. of 100% juice (serving size depends on the type of juice)
1/2 cup cooked peas or beans"

As the blog is being written the radio began playing Jimmy Buffet's "Cheese Burger in Paradise." Note to Jimmy, eat too many cheese burgers and paradise is not where you will find yourself. Note to readers and self, eat more veggies and fruit and less cheese burgers if you want to lose weight.