After 20 years at the University of Oregon, I have retired. So, I will begin posting about my new experiences here and hope you find them interesting.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dog food review site leads me to Blue Buffalo

Molly and Meggie as puppies.  They are now 7 years old.
I really don't know how I ended up looking at dog food reviews today but I found a website that I thought was very helpful, Pet Care Education's Dog Food Reviews.  My little miniature dachshunds, Molly and Meggie, love chicken, preferably the real thing, so I have always fed them Authority brand chicken mini chunks since they were puppies after it was recommended by a sales person at PetSmart.  They seem to eat it fairly well, although, to be honest, my husband insists on cutting up real meat scraps for them when we eat so they only fill in with dry dog food, it is not their primary food source.

Anyway, I looked up Authority mini chunk chicken on the Review site and found that it rated fairly well for a store brand, 6.7.  Then I saw the link for best dog foods and saw the really high ratings for Blue Buffalo, especially their Wilderness products (9.2).  I noticed their Wilderness line had a chicken version so I checked their company website and used their distributor search tool to find that their dog food is sold at McKenzie Feed not far from my house.

My husband always insists on getting them something for Christmas so I think I will swing by McKenzie Feed on my next trip to town and pick up a small bag to see if they like it.  It's about $5 more per bag but if they really like it perhaps I can try to wean them off of most of the table scraps and they'll be healthier in the long run.  I see Blue Buffalo also makes chicken jerky dog treats so maybe I'll pick up some of them too.  After all, it is Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mark Twain the anti-imperialist

mark twain Category:Mark Twain images
Samuel Clemens, aka "Mark Twain" Image via Wikipedia
A couple of weeks ago I subscribed to a new free series called The Intellectual Devotional on Daily Lit.

"... a collection of daily lessons taken from The Devoted Intellect blog that will inspire and invigorate the reader on a daily basis. Each nugget of wisdom is drawn from one of seven fields of knowledge: History, Literature, Philosophy, Mathematics & Science, Religion, Visual Arts, and Music." - DailyLit 

Today's nugget of wisdom was about some of the anti-imperialist activities of Mark Twain.  I knew Mark Twain was a satirist but didn't realize he was involved so deeply in the politics of foreign affairs.  I attempted to read Huckleberry Finn in high school and simply didn't like it so I had dismissed Mark Twain as another one of the "classic" authors writing for people in another century whose work, though critically acclaimed, did not resonate with me.  Twain is in good company in that respect though.  I tried to read Tolstoy's War and Peace and couldn't get through the first few chapters of it and didn't find Sir Walter Scott's Ivanhoe written in a very appealing narrative either, even though I later loved the television mini-series, "Ivanhoe" starring  James Mason and Sam Neill (I was really bummed that Sam Neill's Brian de Bois-Guilbert was killed in the end - I thought he was far more attractive than Anthony Andrew's Ivanhoe and Rebecca's heart should have melted!)

Anyway, when I read the short "devotional" about Mark Twain I was totally intrigued by his late-in-life rabble-rousing contributions like King Leopold's Soliloquy, a stinging satirical denunciation of Belgium's brutal colonial activities in the Congo, and Incident in the Philippines, about the American massacre of 600 Moros in the Moro Crater Massacre.  Apparently, this was a complete reversal from his earlier support of such U.S. imperialistic acquisitions as the Hawaiian Islands.  Twain explains his change of heart in a article published by the New York Herald on October 15, 1900.

I wanted the American eagle to go screaming into the Pacific ...Why not spread its wings over the Philippines, I asked myself? ... I said to myself, Here are a people who have suffered for three centuries. We can make them as free as ourselves, give them a government and country of their own, put a miniature of the American Constitution afloat in the Pacific, start a brand new republic to take its place among the free nations of the world. It seemed to me a great task to which we had addressed ourselves. But I have thought some more, since then, and I have read carefully the treaty of Paris [which ended the Spanish-American War], and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.

I obviously need to resurrect Samuel Clemens from my mental "Trash folder" and give him the attention he deserves.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beautypedia makes choosing moisturizers a snap

Hands of Joan of Arc at Domrémy by 
Henri Chapu 1872 CE.  Photographed at the 
Musee d'Orsay in Paris by Mary Harrsch.
Today I read an article about saving money on cosmetics and skin care products.  Essentially, it said the vast majority of cosmetics claims are pretty much bogus.  It said the single most important thing you can do for your skin to prevent wrinkles or skin damage is to mitigate sun exposure with protective clothing and sunscreen. But once wrinkles appear, little can be done to erase them (short of surgery) although skin moisturizers may help a little.  But trying to choose a moisturizer from the thousands of products available can be daunting so the author recommended the website Beautypedia sponsored by "Cosmetic Cop" Paula Begoun:


I had never heard of it so I thought I would check it out.  It is a comprehensive database of cosmetics and skin care product reviews and clearly shows a rating to point out product effectiveness and which products are grossly overpriced.  I couldn't find the face cream I'm using at the moment (Seacret that is supposedly formulated from minerals from the Dead Sea - it's as close to ancient cosmetics as I could get!).  Then, I was surprised to note that the Cetaphil the doctor recommended for my feet doesn't have a decent rating unless you select a particular formulation (she only told me Cetaphil so I've just been buying their generic body lotion - although I must admit when I get a crack in my heel it heals up within a day with the generic lotion) and was shocked to see it on the list of companies that tests its product on animals.  I have had nightmares where I have seen animals in laboratories connected to instruments by tubes sprouting from their bodies so I would never want to do anything that would encourage that type of activity!

According to Paula's rating system you should basically look for a product with no $ signs, a check mark and a happy face icon although you should also look at the price and the number of ounces of product the quoted price buys you too. There seems to be quite a wide price range that garner a happy face and check mark indicating a product that exceeds expectations and goes beyond the criteria for a product in its category with minimal to no concerns For example, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM at $12.99 for 3 oz. is rated equally with Estee Lauder Nutritious Vita-Mineral Moisture Lotion at $38.00 for 1.7 oz. If you click on the rating column heading twice to make it sort in ascending order by rating putting the best products with no $ signs at the top, it makes it easier to select the best most economical product although "Paula" does not give you unit pricing which would make this exercise a total no brainer.  Perhaps she doesn't wish to have her own line of products, priced in the mid-range with her Skin Recovery Moisturizer, for Normal to Very Dry Skin priced at $19.95 for 2 oz., farther down the list.  Although I didn't do the math precisely, it looks like, of all the skin moisturizers without sunscreen available, CeraVe is the most economical and effective and a quick check of the animal testing report card shows it doesn't test its products on animals - a clear winner for me!  Now I just have to figure out where to get it.  A quick web search shows me I can get it from Amazon for even less than is quoted in the database.  I noticed that CeraVe makes a lot of different skin care products so I searched Beautypedia for just that brand name and was pleased to note that all of their different formulations rated a "Paul's pick" and were vastly more economical than many of their competitors.

 Anyway, I thought if you have found trying to choose a skin moisturizer as challenging as I have you might find this website helpful too.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Feel the Love - Dancers Flash Mob at Dubai Airport

What I love about joyous flash mobs where people share dancing or singing is that they almost invariably make everyone smile.  Here you see people even in conservative clothing begin to smile (well, everybody except one guy!) especially when some young children join the dance troupe.  You even see a pair of pilots come down the escalator and immediately begin to smile instead of stressing out about possibly being late to the next checkin on their schedule - a much more humane environment than the typical high stress experience you usually encounter at an airport.

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