Monthly Archives: February 2008

Health First – Dealing with the common cold

Thanks everyone for reading my new segment. Health First is all about protecting your most important asset. No, not your home. Your car.

Just joking. Your health.

Today, let’s take a look at a common trouble maker that’s been going around. I’m referring to the common cold. Symptoms for the common cold may vary but typically include a sore throat, a stuffy or runny nose, and coughing. Yes you know what I’m talking about. If you find yourself afflicted with the common cold, be sure to take these steps:

  1. Stay home from work. You don’t want to spread it to your coworkers.
  2. Drink plenty of water. Your body will need the water as it works extra hard to fight off the cold.
  3. Dry your hair. This is probably how you got sick.

Does step 3 shock you? Well, the common belief is that colds are caused by viruses. Additionally, some studies show that taking high doses of vitamin C will strengthen the immune system, preventing colds. As I lay in bed today,  I am living proof that taking high doses of vitamin C does nothing, and by a miracle of loose logic, this negates the first claim that colds are caused by viruses. Instead of looking toward these dead end beliefs for a method of prevention, consider a chapter from the book of Ancient Chinese wisdom.

According to Chinese mothers, going outside with your hair wet is the cause of the common cold. Don’t remember going outside with your hair wet? Perhaps try some ginseng to improve your memory because you most certainly did. How about this morning when you hopped out of the shower and then immediately walked your dog? Or the other day when your ex-girlfriend dumped water on your head, embarrassing you in front of your dungeons and dragons club? Yes, someone left the window open, which is roughly equivalent.

Be sure in the future to make sure you dry your hair immediately after it is wet and before you are anywhere that qualifies as “outside.” It’ll save you headaches (literally!) and missed days of productivity at work. Thanks again for joining me for health first. Remember that it pays to put your health first!

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Understanding Finance – Put the "you" in "usury"

NasdaqSo you know you have to invest your money, check. That’s step one. Now the question is: How do I make the most of my money in these uncertain times? It’s easy to get discouraged by the tales of inflation, sub-prime mortgages crunches, and sky-rocketing oil prices. Is now the time to buy low? Or should I wait it out longer for stock prices to fall in order to capitalize on the inevitability of their eventual rise? One approach to answering these questions is by looking at the past to learn lessons from history.

And no, I don’t mean the 80s.

Rather, we can look at a group of people who had a similar problem similar to the sub prime mortgage crunch, preventing them from owning land — the Jews.

William Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice chronicles the Italian Renaissance, a time when Jews were prevented by law from owning land at all. Without the ability to invest in real-estate, the Jews looked toward another market — stupid people needing money. That is, they provided loans with the expectation of full repayment plus interest. This was dubbed “usury,” which is now synonymous with “loan sharking,” and was considered unchristian.

You too can be usurious and unchristian. Hey, it almost worked for Al Pacino Shylock. He almost had a return of 100% (had he not been mad for revenge.) All you need are:

  1. Money to begin with. This is called “capital.”
  2. Goons. They protect your investment. Should your goons turn on you, you may want an extra set of goons to protect you.
  3. Mercilessness. Don’t call off your goons before they’re done. Remind yourself that ample warnings were provided.

With all investments, however, remember that there is a level of risk involved. Be sure to do your own research into usury to understand whether it falls within your risk threshold. Even if you do not end up loan sharking, understanding usury will bring you one step closer to really understanding finance. Thanks for reading.

Is it gross? The Chinese Hot Pot Sauce Edition

The name of the game is “Is it gross?” Here’s how it works:

I tell someone something, and they tell me if it’s gross or not. Today’s contestant is Ed. Here’s today’s “thing”:

I crack an egg into a bowl and then add soy sauce and Chinese barbeque sauce. I then whisk it up with a fork to get all of the ingredients mixed up. Finally, I cut up silken tofu into squares and use the contents of the bowl as a dipping sauce for the tofu.

Ed’s response:

oh, thats not that gross

Ding ding ding! It’s not gross! In fact, it’s similar to Chinese hot pot sauce.

Best served on cold, wintry nights, the Chinese hot pot is a great way to get the family together (if that is truly your goal) and provide a meal that takes minimal effort to prepare. This is done by filling a hot pot half way with water and gradually adding vegetables, strips of meat, balls of meat, various varieties of mushrooms, and cellophane noodles.

Each member of the dining party creates their own hot pot sauce by mixing soy sauce, vinegar, Chinese barbeque sauce, and hot sauce. Proportions will vary depending on individual taste. Throughout the dinner, the hot-potters continually use chop sticks to poke at food in the hot pot to check for readiness and extract them individually to mix with their sauce and eventually consume (likely after blowing on it several times because it will be hot!)

The last best thing about Chinese hot pot is that it’s easy to clean. Instead of spending time scrubbing pots and pans, just ask your maid to clean the hot pot! Just make sure you unplug it first. You don’t want to lose your family time because of a felony manslaughter charge! If you do forget, however, be sure to use a broom to push your maid away from the electrical current, and call an ambulance immediately. This is yet another part of Chinese hot pot night that can be done as a family.

Viewer Mail!

I’m starting a new segment called “Viewer Mail” where I share my fan mail with you.

Today’s letter comes from CapitalOne. He writes:

CapitalOne auto buying. We’re your shortcut to a great deal.

Capital One Auto Buying makes car-buying easier.

Because you’re already a Capital One customer, you qualify for special, low, No Hassle pricing on a huge selection of new and used cars at exclusive partner dealerships near you. Less time at the dealership, a quick buying process, and a great low price all add up to our No Hassle promise when you buy your next car.

Dear CapitalOne,

Thanks for the mail! It’s really support from fans like you that motivates me to keep this blog going! I’ll definitely look into finding great deals on auto buying, but I think I’m doing pretty well with my current car. It has treated me pretty well for the past few months. Thanks again for the mail. Keep it real!

Love,

Al