“A girl in a bikini is like having a loaded pistol on your coffee table — there’s nothing wrong with them, but it’s hard to stop thinking about it.”

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Safi and Daddy - Animal sounds

Sapphira and I listening to animal sounds
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Links of the Week (December 14, 2008)

Check it out! I’m writing a Links of the Week post two weeks in a row! Yea!

Try watching this without recognizing some aspects of it in your favorite church/self-improvement group:

How to Start Your Own Mind-Control Cult

Broil your own pizza. These guys did it with Domino's dough and it made for some damn fine pizza. For the more adventurous types, you could make your own dough and really have a great meal!

Pizza Hack: Broil Your Own Pies

A great website about the daily routines of famous people (mostly writers). Very interesting to see how different people approach their workday:

Daily Routines

A great ad for the auto bailout:

The Big Three

More on Christmas: the most extensive treatment of the origins of today's Christmas symbols:

Origins of Christmas Traditions

Low-fat diets: all hype and no results:

Low-fat diets: not fit for purpose

Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) interviews prominent magician and hypnotist, Derren Brown (you can see some of his
best tricks and stunts here. My favorite is the video where he plays and beats 9 world-class chess players), about psychics and cold-reading. Absolutely excellent interview:

Richard Dawkins Interviews Derren Brown

That’s all I have for this week, kids. Just finished my last-minute online Christmas shopping, so I’ll just be sitting at the old hacienda listening to Grandpa’s old Christmas records while I drink white russians and watch the snow fall. May your holidays be as serene.
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Training Log has its own tab now

I used to post my workouts in this blog, but I got a few complaints about it (Hey, Jeremy! Your training log is BORING!) so I decided to create a tab for it instead. I still wanted to keep track of my workouts, and this way they’ll be searchable, but you won’t have to be bored by them in case exercise isn’t your thing.
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Links of the Week (posted quarterly)

I haven’t done Links of the Week in like, forever, but I have some pretty good stuff lined up for you this week.

A great post from the Best of Craigslist series:

Tips for Clueless People Who Get Mugged - written by one of New York’s finest

And here’s a remarkable situation: the Wall Street Journal, the bastion for Conservatives and leading economic newspaper in America, posted this article calling for the U.S. to end drug prohibition. It’s not so crazy. Really. Read the article.

Let’s End Drug Prohibition - Wall Street Journal

Now on to the economic mess/disaster/collapse/Doomsday/insert other panic-inducing word here. Let’s face it, the mainstream media is doing a terrible job of reporting on the economic crisis because 1) its complex 2) there aren’t any good visual images of the crisis (yet) and 3) it’s boring compared to OJ finally going to prison and Christmas just around the corner.

That means there’s a dearth of information available for my discerning audience that just wants to understand what the hell is going on and how we got here. I have good news for you, loyal reader. NPR is doing a phenomenal series of videos that explain in very clear terms just how big and how bad this could get, and just how convoluted the path is that lead to where we are.

Marketplace Whiteboard - a collection of videos of a guy in front of a whiteboard explaining what the hell a credit default swap is and how it messes with everyone’s money, as well as many other videos trying to bring light to an otherwise very murky situation.

I read about diet and exercise a lot. I also look for ways to get stronger and add some muscle, as well as getting rid of the fat that lives around my midsection. I have tried a few diets and turned my nose up at about a million others. I finally found one that I can do forever (because diets shouldn’t be temporary. They should be a lifestyle change) and here’s the best part: it will actually SAVE you money.

Eat Stop Eat - I’ll save you the $29.95 and let the cat out of the bag: pick two days per week (not concurrent) and don’t eat from dinner to dinner. So for me, I chose Monday and Friday. I eat dinner Sunday night, then don’t eat again until Monday night. Drink water or any other zero-calorie drink during the day. No juice or pop. And the other important part of the diet: lift weights at least 3 times per week. That’s it. The man who created the diet has a Ph.D. in nutrition and has all the numbers (including a huge boost to HGH while fasting) to back up the idea. I’ve lost five pounds since starting two weeks ago, which is a great pace for sustainable weight loss. I’ll keep you posted on long-term results.

I recently got a couple of old vacuum-tube radios from the 40’s. They sound great and really look good in my office. I found a guy in Alabama who can fix them and here’s the best part: he can add a jack to the radio that will let you plug in your ipod (or any other music-generating device) and play your music through them. So now I can play all my records that I inherited from my grandfather through an old tube-based radio and hear them the way they sounded to my grandparents. They sound great! Here’s a link to the magic radio man in Alabama:

The Old Radio Shop

Here’s a little shout-out to our atheist friends in Seattle trying to keep religion in perspective next to a nativity scene:

Missing atheist sign found in Washington State

And here’s a related post about all those atheist hate-speak evildoers in Colorado that had the nerve to put up billboards that say “Don’t believe in God? You’re not alone.” The nerve!

Atheist billboards now up in Denver

Some pitiful footage of Bush getting snubbed by world leaders:

Bush at G20 economic summit meeting

And this is the result of that snubbing

And finally, the true meaning of Christmas and other Christmas info:

According to a Christian website called Christian Answers

According to a Jewish website called Simple to Remember

A reformed Christian lays out a long and well-written case for ignoring Christmas altogether

Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping and here’s a movie about his work called What Would Jesus Buy?

and HowStuffWorks lays out How Christmas Works

So, kids, here’s all I have to say about Christmas: spend time with your family. Don’t buy a bunch of gewgaws from China that will just end up in closets or drawers or landfills. Listen to some Christmas music. Look at the moon. Remember that on the darkest day of the year, December 21, that tomorrow, the darkness will fade a little sooner in the morning and that the daylight will come again. And try sipping on one of these. You won’t regret it.
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© Jeremy H. Firth