#698 The Best Time to Do Everything by Michael Kaplan

The Best Time to Do Everything by Michael KaplanThe Best Time to Do Everything by Michael Kaplan

Michael starts off this book writing about when he bought a house. If he had bought a house at a different time, he could have saved a lot of money. This got Michael to thinking about all the other best times to do things. He interviewed a lot of people, including vampires (I’m joking), and came up with this book. This book details the best time to do all sorts of things.

When is the best time to get married? Get divorced? Get pregnant with a second baby? Take up a new hobby? Invest in the stock market? Quit a job you hate? There are answers to those questions in this book, and more.

What I liked

This concept is highly fascinating. There are best times to do things. There are right times to do things. There are right orders to do things in. If you knew all the right orders and right times to do things in, you’d be some type of super-guru-life-genius. So many of our mistakes involve doing things at the wrong time. We went to school at the wrong time, or got married at the wrong time, or bought a house at the wrong time, or quit our job at the wrong time. If we could prevent doing things at the wrong time, we’d pretty much have it made.

Some of the things in this book were very insightful. Part of knowing the right time to do something is watching. You have to watch and see the patterns to know when the right time is.

What I didn’t like

This book, while interesting, was more or less a big list. I would have liked to have had a little more science behind some of these best times to do things. Really, this book could have highlighted ten to fifteen of the best times to do somethings and talked about the science behind each one. As is, there is a bit of explanation and science in this book, but there is so much more that can be done with this subject.

Overall

This was the best time to write this post. I just know it.

Weigh In

How many of your regrets can you contribute to doing something at the wrong time?

Do you think doing things at the right time could be a stable life-philosophy to live by?

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#696 Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide by Lonely Planet

 Toilets: A Spotter's Guide by Lonely Planet Toilets: A Spotter’s Guide by Lonely Planet

Reading this book is what happens when you’re sick and you can’t sleep.

This book is about toilets, from all over the world. Each toilet has a map of where in the world it’s located, and a picture, or two, of said bathroom. There is also a short paragraph about each of the toilets, sometimes the paragraph is a little longer, but mostly they’re short descriptions of each of the toilets.

The description usually includes location and why, if known, the toilet was erected. Some of the back stories are actually quite interesting. Some of the toilets even cost excessive amounts of money.

What I liked

I like architecture and design so books like this are highly interesting to me. I like seeing the same thing designed in different ways. There are all kinds of different houses, but they all serve the same purpose–to live in. All of these toilets serve the same purpose, to relieve yourself. Why not have some whimsy where toilets are concerned, occasionally. Let’s also not forget Bob’s futuristic toilet in Bob’s Burgers.

What I didn’t like

This is meant to be more or less a picture book, which is nice, but the back stories to each of these could have been expanded to be something really interesting. Who built this toilet? Why? Why were the specific materials chosen? Are there taboos associated with having a toilet in the location that it’s in? I would love to know more about this subject.

All design has a philosophy. Usually this philosophy is based heavily on function, but when you go beyond just function, there are some interesting ideas about why something takes a certain form, or has a certain design.

Also, a lot of these images I’ve already seen. The internet is full of pictures of these toilets. You don’t necessarily have to read this book to glean the information about each of these interesting potties.

Overall

Nature called. She said your toilet needs to be pizzazzed up a bit.

Weigh In

If you could design your bathroom any way you wanted, what interesting thing would you do to it?

Would you use an open-air toilet?

#439 Word Myths by David Wilton

Word Myths by David WiltonWord Myths by David Wilton

If you didn’t read my book haul post about when I purchased this book, let me give you a little refresher. When I first saw this book, I thought it said, “World Myths,” and as I like mythology and folklore, I was all up for that, but upon closer inspection I realized it said, “Word Myths,” but I think that is equally as interesting.

The idea behind a word myth is that we tell stories about certain words and their origins, which may or may not be true. The story depicted on the cover of this book is the myth that Eskimos/Inuits have about a billion words for snow. David explored this myth and it turns out that it’s partially true. The language which the Inuits speak has a main root word that means snow, but has various prefixes and suffixes to mean different kinds of snow. David also points out that we have more than one word for snow in the English language. We have flurries, sleet, blizzard, and so forth.

David goes on to explore “ok” which is a favorite of mind. It turns out OK is from a weird fad to first misspell phrases then initialize those phrases. Who would have thought that was a thing? Apparently it was  back in the hay-day of newspapers.

David attacks some of these myths with historical research, which I think is pretty nifty. He goes as far as to research the first recorded usages of certain words. Some people will say a word has been around for three-hundred years, when in reality it’s only been around a hundred years. That does put a damper on some of the stories we tell about words.

David explained something to me that I never really paid much attention to. Acronyms and initialisms are not the same thing. An acronym is when you take the first letters of a phrase and it actually spells something out or means something. An initialism is when you take the first letters of a phrase to shorten it, but the resulting letter combinations don’t mean anything.

One of the tales David tackles is JFK saying that he’s a jelly donut. He never said that. David explains why he never said that and what the phrase he said really means to the German people. He did say that in a manner of speaking what JFK said could have been translated to mean that he was a jelly donut, but he was in the wrong region for that and everybody knew what he meant anyway.

There is apparently a trend in word and phrase mythology to attribute various words and phrases with nautical origins. In most cases these words and phrases don’t have nautical origins at all and come from completely different places.

One of the more important aspects of debunking a word myth is that you have to have hard facts. You can’t just rely on some story someone told you one day. The story is more believable if there is a city mentioned where you can research said phrase or word. Most myths will change locations. It happened here, or it happened there. Oh it’s the next county over. It’s never your county; that’s how you smell a rat. A myth often doesn’t have anything real you can pin down. I like David’s reasoning on this whole thing.

What I liked

I liked learning about various words. As this is my non-fiction book for the month, I did quite enjoy it; it wasn’t boring. It did broaden my view of the English language and it enlightened me to some weird trends in the way we speak. Who would have thought that there were official words trends? There are. I guess you have to consider the slang we use each decade. Cowabunga! Nobody says that any more. I’m actually not sure what people say today. I know people used to say, “That’s tight,” but that was way over ten years ago now and I just have no clue what slang people are throwing around these days. It only stands to reason that as each generation has their own weird slang stories will develop about how those words came about. I can’t imagine anyone studying the word, “Cowabunga,” in fifty years, but maybe someone will.

What I  didn’t like

There were times I felt that David’s research was lacking. There were many cases in which he was able to disprove a supposed origin of a certain word or phrase, but he wasn’t really able to prove an origin for that word or phrase. That wasn’t his job. He set out to debunk myths, not confirm their true stories, but I’m kind of disappointed. I feel like I got half the story. Don’t get me wrong, if David was able to find an origin, he did include that in the text.

Part of me wonders if the truth really matters in a situation like this. Do I really need to know where the word “hooker” really came from? Is it that important?

The last section of the book deals with marketing failures and supposed mistranslations of various slogans around the world. First off, most of them aren’t even true. These things didn’t really happen. These companies have big marketing and PR departments that make sure that kind of thing doesn’t happen. Second, I almost feel that it’s slander to go around perpetuating some of these myths. When you have a business your image and your name are everything. I think it’s wrong of us to say, “Oh that product’s name translates to prostitute with infection in Swahili,” or whatever if we don’t know that that’s really the case. I think it’s even more wrong that supposed business coaches and motivational speakers, and whatever else you call those people, use these stories as marketing examples gone bad. This is in poor taste. I don’t think people should do this. I think maybe this section of the book is probably the exception to my lament that we don’t really need to know any of this.

Overall

This was an interesting book that lightly stuck its toe into the waters of strange words and their origins.



david wilton, eskimo words, i am a jelly donut, JFK, marketing failures, mistranslations, myth, OK, origins of words and phrases, snow, word myths, word myths by david wilton, words for snow
History, Non-Fiction, Random fact, Reference, Social Commentary, True strange Happenings, Wilton-David
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#434 The Lore of the Unicorn by Odell Shephard

The Lore of the Unicorn by Odell ShephardThe Lore of the Unicorn by Odell Shepard

Why, yes, I did read an entire book about unicorns, and, no the book was not written for five-year old girls. This book is my non-fiction book for the month of June and, yes, it is actually a non-fiction book. The book is all about the lore surrounding the unicorn and how it developed.

This book was written a while back, but I don’t think any new information on unicorns has resurfaced in that amount of time. People think unicorns are rather nifty, but no one ever really stops to thinks about what aspects a unicorn has or what things a unicorn is supposed to do. Most of us have simply watched The Last Unicorn and that comprises our total knowledge of the world of unicornity. No, I didn’t make that work up actually, Odell did. It’s in this book.

While reading this book I learned that the lore of unicorns has been around for a while. We’re talking probably close to a thousand years. Why did anyone think a unicorn existed in the first place? Well, there are several possible sources. Those sources are the rhinoceros, the narwhal, and various goat and antelope-like creatures that look like they only have one horn from a distance or they have lost a horn during battle, granted, it’s always possible a genetic mutation could cause a horned animal to be born with only one horn. People saw these animals from a distance and made up something fanciful to go with it.

From there, unicorn lore and even medicine developed at a seemingly wild rate. Yes, unicorn medicine; you read that correctly. For a long time, a long, long time, unicorn horn, or alicorn as the proper terminology is, was used for all sorts of purposes, particularly in relation to poisons. People believed that alicorn could detect the presence of poison in food and treat a myriad of illnesses. At one point in history kings, popes and other people with more money than the rest of us would pay large sums of money for alicorn. They wanted the whole horn of course, not just some powder. The poor of the cities often used powdered alicorn and the rich often used the whole horn.

You may ask what this black-market horn was actually if not a real unicorn horn. Well, Odell hypothesizes that it might have been a narwhal tusk, it might have been antlers from other animals, and it could have even been a rhinoceros horn. Rhino horns are actually believed to have medicinal properties by many people.

Strange stories developed about the unicorn. Most of them say that a unicorn could not be captured alive. It would always die. It could be lured by a virgin and then killed from behind. In time, the unicorn came to represent Christ because of its supposed purity and its association with a virgin. So, if you ever see a painting that is somewhat religious in nature, but there is a unicorn in it, you’ll now know why.

One of the things about the unicorn is that people held onto believing in it at a rather stubborn rate. This was all because the word unicorn is actually mentioned in the Bible. If you know anything about the Bible you should know that it’s been translated, a lot, and over time, people have mistranslated portions of the Bible and have monkeyed with its original contents. So this unicorn business probably cannot be verified to be any real creature.

The unicorn lore gets more interesting. Supposedly, unicorns hate lions. They hate them! In fact there is at least one Grimm’s fairy tale where a lion and a unicorn fight, we’ve read it already, and the lion and the unicorn fight is also mentioned in Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol. Many crests and shields will actually show a lion and a unicorn fighting. The unicorn is also considered a night animal and is closely associated with the moon. If you see a unicorn, there is a good chance you will also see a crescent moon somewhere in the depiction. In fact, if you’ve watched the movie, The Last Unicorn, you will notice that the unicorn has a crescent moon on her forehead when she is a woman. Folkloric connections abound!

In the end, the idea of unicorns being real fell out of favor when no one could prove the supposed eyewitness accounts of having seen one, no bones could be found, and science eventually became an authority on the world and the creatures therein. So that’s why your doctor doesn’t prescribe powdered unicorn horn to you when you’re sick.

What I liked

I think Odell was just a bit nerdy for creating an entire book about the folklore and history of the unicorn, but it really turned out to be interesting. I would have never guessed that the belief in the unicorn spurred an entire black-market that lasted for well over two-hundred years. I do realized I am also painted as being a bit nerdy by reading an entire book on unicorns.

I liked all the folklore contained in this book. It actually explained quite a few of the associations I’ve seen in literature concerning the unicorn. I read an article one time that did state that Christ would occasionally be depicted as a unicorn, but I never really learned why. I finally learned why when I read this book.

What I didn’t like

Odell is very scholarly, so scholarly in fact that if a source is quoted in this book and it’s in a foreign language, Odell doesn’t bother to translate it. That’s right, all the Spanish is Spanish. All the Latin is Latin. All the French is French. All the Greek is Greek. Now, if you can understand these languages, that’s fine. I can understand Spanish, a bit of French, and some Latin, so I got by ok with most of the references, but the ones written in the Greek alphabet, were Greek to me, literally. I don’t read Greek. If the Greek references had been written in the Roman alphabet, I might have understood some of it, but it was written in actual Greek.

Maybe Odell assumed that anyone reading this book would be so scholarly that they would, of course, know how to read Greek. I don’t know how to read Greek Odell, I’m sorry. I think I’m pretty smart too, but I only know how to read one alphabet.

I think that’s somewhat off-putting. People are going to want to know what it is you’re quoting. For all I know all the Greek passages were about farts.

Overall

I wonder where J.K. Rowling got her reference about drinking the blood of a unicorn? She got the purity part right, but I never read anything in this book about sustaining a half-life with the blood of a unicorn. Good luck trying to catch it professor Quirrel, on second thought, Professor Quirrel was probably a virgin and unicorns are supposedly drawn to virgins.



beliefs in the unicorn, catching a unicorn, crescent moon, fairy tale animals, folklore animals, odell shepard, the lore of the unicorn, The Lore of the Unicorn by Odell Shephard, unicorns, unicorns and the moon, uniorn folklore, virgin capture unicorn, where unicorns come form
History, Non-Fiction, Reference, Shepard-Odell, social commentary, True strange Happenings
One-elevenbooks

#432 Fast Track Digestion IBS by Norman Robillard

Fast Track Digestion IBS by Norman RobillardFast Track Digestion IBS by Norman Robillard

Normal people would probably use their one free book from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library to borrow something exciting. Yeah, well, apparently not me. I borrowed a book about IBS and SIBO.

I know what IBS is, but I wasn’t very familiar with SIBO and I read the term somewhere in an article recently, so I wanted to know more about it.

Norman wrote this book as an explanation and a bit of a diet program. He explains that IBS can be caused by SIBO. I know you’re wondering what SIBO is. SIBO stands for small intestine bacterial overgrowth and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You have too many bacteria in your small intestine.

IBS has become a bit of a catch-all description that the doctor tells you that you have when he/she can’t figure out exactly what upsets your stomach all the time. People get kind of irritated because they don’t know why they have this condition and they can’t really get anybody to tell them what would help the condition out.

Dr. Normal links IBS to SIBO. It’s natural to have bacteria in your intestinal tract as Dr. Norman explains, but the bacteria in your large intestine aren’t supposed to be in your small intestine. Those bacteria can get up in there and cause all kinds of discomfort. Basically, you’re looking at a situation where your ratio of good bacteria vs. bad bacteria is out of whack. The reason you have weird bacteria in your small intestine is maybe because just a little bit got in there one day, but you’re eating foods that feed these bacteria which causes some of the foods to ferment in your small intestine which causes lots of discomfort on your part. That all sounds really nasty.

Dr. Norman goes on to explain that he has determined an equation to calculate the fermentation potential of certain foods using the glycemic index of said foods. Essentially, Dr. Norman thinks you can starve your enemies out. If you’re not feeding them the food they need to live, they die, and your stomach doesn’t hurt anymore, everybody wins, except the bacteria, they lose.

Dr. Norman talks about various foods and types of foods that can ferment in your intestines and then that’s the end of the book.

There are recipes and a few charts, but that’s pretty much it.

What I liked

I liked the explanation of what SIBO is. It makes sense to me. Of course if you’ve got a bunch of stuff living in part of you where it’s not supposed to live you’re going to have bad side effects. It’s very similar to the reasoning I’ve read behind a condition called candidiasis, which is a full-body overgrowth of the yeast candida.

On a side note, I once watched a documentary where there was a scientist who studied something to do with digestion in animals I believe and her name was Candida Gut. Seriously, who did that to their child? Maybe she just picked it as a professional name because she’s so awesome. I don’t know.

I liked that Norman had this chart that listed various foods and how bad they are for you if you happen to have SIBO. I appreciate the work Dr. Norman did to develop this equation to figure out the fermentation potential of certain foods. I don’t like math and I don’t like numbers, so I could have never done what Dr. Norman was able to do with his studies. I’m also sure a lot of people have really benefited from the knowledge imparted by Dr. Norman.

What I didn’t like

I didn’t know what SIBO was, but much of this information is a repeat from similar books. The idea is to kill off the things living inside of you and to do that, you surprisingly have to follow similar diets. There really isn’t a lot in this book, diet wise, that I wouldn’t have found in a book about candidiasis or other similar caliber conditions. Really, someone should just write a giant book with this same type of diet, listing exceptions depending on what disorder you’re trying to treat. Oh you have Hashimoto’s? Follow the main diet with these exceptions. Oh you have candidiasis? Follow the main diet with these exceptions. The diets and reasonings are all very similar. There is really no point in differentiating all of these different approaches when they’re essentially the exact same darn thing.

Dr. Norman lacked information. This book is an explanation, but it’s also a diet framework. It’s how to freaking get rid of your SIBO. Dr. Norman doesn’t make it very easy. Sure that chart with fermentation potential is nifty, but what about a chart that says in black and white what foods you can eat during the first week and what foods you cannot eat during the first week. What about meal plan alternatives for someone who really can’t eat wheat or dairy. Dr. Norman’s  two-week meal plan has enough wheat and dairy in it to make me sick for three months. What’s up with Dr. Norman’s casual approval of Aspartame? I’m not quite a week off of Diet Coke and I know Aspartame is bad news. I know it is, but I love Diet Coke.

The allowance of something like Aspartame seems hypocritical. Here Dr. Norman is promoting a drug-free way to get rid of your SIBO just by diet, but then here he is saying it’s ok to drink Aspartame. No mention of the upset stomachs it can cause? Seriously? Not a one?

I kind of want to tell Dr. Norman to go back and develop this book to appeal to a more natural crowd. It’s almost as if he’s got one foot in holistic healing and the other foot right in a puddle of Monsanto.

Overall

The information in this book is valuable, but I’m really glad I didn’t pay $9.95 for it.


 
fast track digestion ibs, Fast Track Digestion IBS by Norman Robillard, ibs, norman robillard, sibo, small intestine bacterial overgrowth, treating ibs, treating ibs with diet, treating sibo
Cooking, Health, Non-Fiction, Reference, Robillard-Norman, Self-help
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