All Your Secrets Are Belong To Me

When Bevie was diagnosed with type II Diabetes she began to get a lot more serious about exercise and her weight.  Somewhere along that journey she not only started going to Weight Watchers meetings, but she also got hired by Weight Watchers to help run their meetings in Anderson.  No, she still isn’t getting up and speaking in public, but helping people sign up and keeping the paperwork filled out and up to date is firmly in her wheelhouse.

I don’t pay too much attention to the program – I simply cut down to drink only half of a can of soda and have only two double stuff Oreos instead of four when my weight starts to creep up again.  That seems to work for maintaining a reasonable weight.  Bevie apparently needs to be a lot more organized.  She uses her smartphone to count points and record everything she eats and weighs herself quite often and I do my best to never mention weight at all except to congratulate her when she seems happy with an outcome.

The Weight Watcher system appears to be a more detailed approach to half of the “eat less and move more” dieting system that strikes me as the system most likely to succeed.  Each serving of each type of food is given a point value in a huge database and people trying to control their weight can eat whatever they want to as long as they don’t exceed their point value for the day.  Foods that Bevie still turns her nose up at are zero points (mostly good vegetables and fruits). I try to eat my deserts only at the store where she doesn’t have to see them since just a soda and my four cookies add up to 22 points.  To put that in perspective, Bevie is currently trying to stay within 30 points a day.

Even worse?  A movie theater popcorn with butter (yum!) is 40 points.  Even sharing that with a friend doesn’t help very much.

Since she works for Weight Watchers, Bevie has had to go to special regional employee meetings where they explain any upcoming changes in the points system.  The presenters always stress that the material they are being shown is preliminary and should be kept a secret until the official launch date for the changes.  Bevie came home from the most recent info dump very excited, but couldn’t tell me much about the changes.  She indicated that changes were coming that would let her eat more food, and anybody on any diet always welcomes that kind of change.  Because everything was a secret, she couldn’t tell me much more than that since the rollout for the new system was scheduled for December 03.

About two weeks before the rollout she called Wendy (our oldest daughter) to make plans to go out and get breakfast somewhere.  Bevie was a little surprised by Wendy’s reaction: Wendy welcomed breakfast because Weight Watchers was making eggs zero points.

Huh?  How would Wendy know that?

It turns out that the new system was released in November in the UK.  While the system may have different names in the two countries, it is likely the program is essentially the same (if not identical).  Videos starting showing up on YouTube by October 31 that detailed some of the changes.  The number of points allowed each day went down, but a larger number of items were changed to zero points.  The exciting changes in our family seem to revolve around lean proteins now costing zero points, including eggs, chicken (and probably turkey), and beans.

Bevie still can’t discuss the program, but the Internet has no problem talking about it.  Even the official release video from the UK is floating around on the web.  Wendy had simply read up on all the changes about the same time Bevie learned about them and was told to keep them secret.

Weight Watchers has provided an educational moment for corporations everywhere: there are no secrets once you tell any portion of the public anything.  While articles and videos may be listed as “rumors” to avoid potential legal problems, any information put out there is probably available online in a matter of minutes.

The Timex Social Club only had one big hit record, but their release of Rumors was successful enough to get them on Soul Train.

My New Book Is On Sale Now!

The series Resisting the Challenges of the 21st Century continues with the release of my second book, Nobody Wants Your Stuff.

This week the book is only 99 cents, so grab a copy before the price goes up!

Continuing the rants and memoirs from How Much Extra Does No Cheese Cost? the second book in the series, Nobody Wants Your Stuff once again takes a (mostly humorous) look at overcoming some of Modern Life’s miseries:

In this book, you’ll discover:

  • How to save money on medical tests
  • why calculus is crippling computer programming
  • How an eclipse led to a published D&D adventure
  • How Ray Bradbury got kicked out of the dealer’s room at WorldCon
  • Ten ways to screw up a mortgage, and much, much more!

With a wide-ranging mix of rants on pop culture, politics, and coping with the present, my personal stories show you how to conquer problems with poise. Using my toolbox of humor, irony, and common sense, you too can take on any challenge.

Resisting the Challenges of the 21st Century is a must-read collection of hilarious essays.

If you like observational humor, expanding your point-of-view, and an in-depth look at the past, present, and future, then you’ll love these side-splitting stories.

Click the picture of the cover to download a copy and start reading about the collision of the past and the future.


The Music Is Enough To Give You The Christmas Blues

One of the local radio stations is already threatening, er, promising to switch to an all-Christmas music format starting Thanksgiving. That’s still more welcome than the way retailers and the mall jumped into Christmas with both feet beginning November 01. Playing Christmas music for a sixth of the entire year might be okay as long as other stations play something else, but there is a problem with the Christmas stations: doesn’t it seem like they only play the same 12 records over and over?

And over.  And over.

Within just a few days you are Jingle Belled out, wishing Frosty would melt, ready to sentence Rudolph to a lifetime of not playing Reindeer Games, ready to smash the little drummer boy’s drum with a mallet, and convinced that Grandma may have deserved deer tracks on her back.

Part of the problem is the loss of anything even remotely like a true Christmas carol – none of those songs seem to exist on the airwaves anymore.  This reduces the potential playlist a great deal (although Little Drummer Boy somehow continues to show up).

In the past, when an artist had a hit record for the first time they were likely to record a Christmas album.  While a lot of the songs on the album were probably remakes of the same old standards, the artist would also record a song that seemed a lot like their hit record.  Those records have sadly been lost to us.

Or so I thought.

I have the Sirius-XM radio on my computer at the store.  The app allows you to listen to maybe a hundred different channels, and one of them is Holiday Traditions. If you simply listen to that channel it is only marginally better than listening to the repeat-peat-peat songs on local radio, but there’s a way around that!  In your car, you’re probably stuck, but on the computer, you can customize many of the channels.

If you were listening to the sixties channel you could customize the channel to more or less soul, top hits or wide music choices, more or fewer instrumentals, etc.  For the Holiday Traditions channel, you still get three slide bars to customize the channel, and the important one was set up by somebody with a sense of humor.  The five levels of choice run from wide selection to a smaller list of songs, but the names they used for the extremes are cute:

Familiarity:  Stocking Stuffers….x…..x…..x….Evergreens

If you select Stocking Stuffers, the list of songs that comes pouring out of your speakers appears to be an endless list of non-repeating records.  This afternoon I thought to keep a list of the songs that channel played, and I’m really happy with the channel.  The records range from the early 1940s to the last ten years or so, and the range of artists is incomparable.  I’m sure the channel works best if I just listen for an hour a day, but so far it’s been almost good enough to make Christmas seem like a good idea again.

Here’s the list of songs we got in the past hour or two.  I’m not sure even I ever heard any of them before!

Frank’s sad Christmas song links to a video; you’re on your own to find the rest.

Frank Sinatra – Whatever Happened To Christmas
Glenn Miller Singers – And the Bells Rang
Bing Crosby – I’ve Got Plenty To Be Thankful For
Lex DeAzevedo – What Child Is This
Dean Martin – A Winter Romance
Philadelphia Orchestra – Pat-A-Pan
Rosemary Clooney – Christmas Mem’ries
Patti Page – I Wanna Go Skating With Willie
Bronn Journey – The Holly and the Ivy
McGuire Sisters with Dick Jacobs – Christmas Alphabet
David Arkenstone – I Saw Three Ships
June Christy – Winter’s Got Spring Up Its Sleeve
Ferrante & Teicher – Toyland, Toyland
Mills Brothers – On This Christmas Eve
Diplomats/USAF – The White World of Winter
Brook Benton – This Time of the Year
Paul Mauriat – Gloria, In Excelsis Deo
Vaughn Monroe – Snowy White Sone and Jingle Bells
Andre Rieu – Christmas Rose
Howdy Doody & The Fontane Sisters – Howdy Doody Christmas
Craig Raymond – Jingle Ballads
Louis Armstrong – Christmas Night In Harlem
Alain Morisod – Angels We Have Heard On High
Mel Blanc – I Just Tan’t Wait Till Quithmuth
Theater of Voices – Paul Hillier – Here We Come A-Wassailing
Lou Rawls – Merry Christmas, Baby
Billy Eckstine – Christmas Eve
The Echelons – A Christmas Long Ago (Jingle, Jingle)
Benny Goodman – Santa Claus Came In The Spring
Gatemouth Moore – Christmas Blues
Louis Jordan – May Every Day Be Christmas
Francis Goya – Petit Papa Noel
Judy Garland – The Star Of the East
Sammy Davis Jr. – Christmas Time All Over the World
Songcastle Orchestra – It Must Have Been the Mistletoe
Pearl Bailey – Five Pound Box Of Money
Dick Haymes – Santa Claus is Ridin’ The Trail