Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Foul Deeds: Dog owners who drop their bags

As I stroll through our neighborhood I frequently confront the grim choice of whether I should pick up discarded plastic-bagged dog crap.

I mean really!

It happened again today. The fist-sized, misted bag next to the sidewalk.

Clearly some dog owners are missing the point. Perhaps one or two will read on.

The rest of you are excused.

Coming across these discarded bulging bags is nearly as bad as stepping in dog shit itself.

What could these dog owners be thinking?

I know that carrying dog shit in a plastic bag for a few blocks in full view of one’s neighbors is no one’s idea of being cool. But let’s face it, that little bundle of dog dung belongs to you, dear dog owner, not me.

Do you think that I’m going to be impressed that you have done the reverse-baggie grab and bag, only to leave the bundle for others to pick up? Talk about half-assed.

Leaving bag-sealed crap behind makes you a litterer most foul.

If you’d left the crap unbagged, at least the rain would flush it away. Bagged but discarded, the dog doo is there to stay until some good Samaritan begrudgingly picks it up and gingerly totes it home.

Come on people. If you are going to own a dog, you have to go the whole nine yards and pack the crap back to your own house.


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Monday, January 04, 2010

Hand-held calorie counting

As technological fate would have it, I have loaded the app “Lose It” into my iTouch. The calorie-counting program was recommended by a New York Times article I read just last week, after days of gorging myself on holiday bon-bons.

The bathroom scale reinforced the Times' recommendation.

All of this means that, post-holiday pig-out, I’m into serious cyber-guided dieting.

Inputted numbers have been flying all over the place, starting with my weight (197), my target weight (175), my height, age etc.

I’m surprised the “Lose It" program didn’t ask for my Social Security number, bank balance, car's mileage and the number of steps to my toilet.

But the very next question came to the point: How quickly did I want to reach my target weight?

I tapped in a modest pound a week.

CRUNCH went the program.

And out came the answer, which I will live with for the next five months. With the diet spread out over 22 weeks, the computer dictated a daily calorie allowance of 1,951.

Definitely do-able. Moreover, if a chocolate bar takes me perilously close to my daily “overage,” I can always pace away calories on the basement treadmill.

The program figures calories expended by long lists of exciting activities (rock-climbing) and not so exciting ones (vacuuming).

Tennis anyone? (30 minutes nets 327 calories.) Or, if you are so moved, you could roll out the vacuum and burn 117 in a half hour.

Today, as I fast approached the dread 1,951 calories, I went down to the basement and “briskly” (3.5 mph) walked away 240 calories.

I’ve been at this cyber-dieting for four days now, and although it’s a little early to break out the champagne (165 calories for 6 fluid ounces), the scale says I’ve lost two pounds.

At the current pace of technological change, in four years we will have itty-bitty iTouches implanted in our brains and the numbers will simply be projected on the backs of our retinas. “Pepperoni Pizza, one slice … 298 calories.”

The intra-ocular message will be clear: Enjoy that slice now, but the price is a hell of a lot of vacuuming.

Then again, it’s 40 minutes of brisk walking. which, least we forget, has its own rewards. Walking is more than merely burning calories and making my computerized weight-loss calculations stay on target.

I’m told that human beings have been walking for centuries to get from one place to another. This was long before they knew about cars, calories, pizza or hand-held computers.

Come to think of it, why is it that you never see fat folks living in caves? Ever wonder just how many calories it takes to live in a cave far, far away from a really good pizzeria?

I've probably burned a dozen of so calories just thinking about it.

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