Please Don't Spam My Blog

I was short of time this morning, but I saw I had a lot of spam comments.

I took a few minutes to check to see if there were any legitimate comments out of the 87--that's right, 87!!-- comments that had been posted since yesterday.

Nope. Not a single legit comment. Delete. Delete. Delete--every single one.

Dear Spam Bloggers and Those Who Hire You,

In case you don't know, all comments that look suspicious automatically get tossed into "Awaiting Moderation."

If you're paying for someone to post these, you're wasting your money. They will eventually get deleted.

Please don't waste your time and money.

Takeaway Truth

Sometimes I think the internet is more a PITA than a boon to mankind.

Review: Stranger Things

My daughter had been trying for a long time to get me to watch Stranger Things, a science fiction-horror Netflix Original series.

This past week when I craved distraction, I started watching Episode 1 of Season 1 of Stranger Things. I literally could not tear myself away from the TV.

I ended up watching both season 1 and 2, finally finishing up on Saturday. Wow. I was 2 years late in arriving at the party but better late than never.

Season 1 debuted in July 2016, and what a great series the Duffer Brothers created. These two wrote and directed this compelling series. Executive producers were the Duffer Brothers, Shawn Levy, and Dan Cohen.

The Amazing Actors

The cast from both seasons features well-known Winona Ryder, Matthew Modine, and not so well-known, at least by name, David Harbour who is instantly recognized for his many roles as a journeyman actor. He is absolutely superb in this role--believable, likable, and exhibiting all the strengths and weaknesses that make up a human being.

Toss in Cara Buono, Sean Astin, and Paul Reiser as some of the adults along with  guest appearances by many of the actors/actresses from Stargate SG1 and finish with a mostly unknown cast of kids who play the intrepid adventurers out to save their friend who disappeared one dark and creepy night.

These amazing young actors are: Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Dacre Montgomery, and Joe Keeryroles.

About Stranger Things

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the first season focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy and the appearance of a girl with psychokinetic abilities who helps the missing boy's friends in their search.

The second season, Stranger Things 2, is set one year later, and deals with attempts of the characters to return to normal life and the consequences resulting from season one.

The series was planned to be an investigative drama colored with supernatural elements, all portrayed with childlike sensibilities.

The series is a love song to the 80's pop culture. That means a great soundtrack and visual references like movie posters such as John Carpenter's The Thing hanging on a boy's bedroom wall. Pop culture bits are sprinkled into the dialogue, scenery, and action.

My Thought

Don't delay. Watch Stranger Things today. If you don't have Netflix, you can get Stranger Things, Season 1, as a 4-DVD set from Amazon for $19.50. It looks as if Stranger Things 2 is going to be one of the big hits for the holiday buying season. Amazon has it listed on their Holiday Toy List.

Stranger Things 2, the complete season, is available for $22.99.

Takeaway Truth

Stranger Things is better than anything I can think of on network television. It's smart, funny, emotional, scary, and compelling in every way.

Don't Exercise? Better Start

Wouldn't it be great if most illness could be prevented by nutrition and exercise?

That may be a real possibility in the future. More and more studies show that diet and exercise are the way to good health and the fountain of youth.

Americans and Fitness

1. 30 to 40% of heart attacks are preventable by 20 minutes a day of brisk walking.

2. Every year, 260,000 deaths in the U. S. are attributed to a lack of physical activity.

3. 31 million of adults 50 and over are not physically active.

Thing About Yoga

In the U. S., about 36 million Americans practice yoga, and 39% of those who practice yoga are over 50.  What can yoga do for you?

1. Improve balance.

2. Improve flexibility.

3. Increase memory and focus.

4. Decrease anxiety and reduce stress.

5. Do it before bedtime, and sleep better at night.

6. Ease back pain.

7. Relieve frequency and intensity of headaches.

8. Breathe better.

9. Slow the aging process.

10. Curb neck pain.

Have you tried yoga?

Leave a comment to be entered in the November Giveaway.

Takeaway Truth

Yoga classes are offered everywhere, and there are books, DVDs, and videos on YouTube. Check it out.

Aging Vision? A Solution

Here's something I read recently that surprised me. If you are one of the millions of aging baby boomers, you need to know this.

Just about everyone knows aging eyes need more illumination for sharp vision. What you may not know is that this is especially true of seeing at night.

Aging eyes need more illumination to see at night. It can take older eyes 10 minutes longer than younger eyes to recover from the "bleaching effect" caused by oncoming vehicle lights.

If you're having difficulty with your night vision, there is a solution. Ask your optometrist about night-driving glasses which reduce glare and increase contrast.

Takeaway Truth

When you find something about your physical body changing, don't be resigned to it as an aspect of aging. There may be a solution so search for answers.

Saturday Share: Buying Produce

Like many people, you probably wonder if you should buy organic or the less-expensive "regular" produce.

Isn't one just as good as the other?

Here's an easy rule of thumb to follow. If you plan to eat the item without peeling it, choose organic.

If you're going to peel it before eating, buy regular produce.

Other Produce Issues

Every item in the produce section has a label stating the country of origin. If the item was grown in the U.S.A., it may be safer to eat than something grown in another country.

Illegal Pesticides

Why do I make that bold statement? Because DDT and other pesticides that are illegal in the U.S. are still used in some countries. Unless you want to research which countries use unsafe pesticides, make it a practice to buy homegrown produce.

Washing Produce

You should thoroughly wash all produce before eating.

Even if bagged salad mix says, Pre-washed, ready to eat, do yourself a favor. Wash it from leafy greens to watermelons, always wash.

I know other sources say not to do this, but ever since I washed a bag of ready to eat salad mix and saw little dead bugs in the water, I've washed these bagged greens.

Make it a practice to wash all produce before you store it in your fridge. Even if the exterior of the item is to be discarded, wash it.

Cantaloupes and other melons can carry salmonella bacteria on their rinds. If you slice through one that's affected, you run the risk of salmonella contamination spreading from the knife that pierced the melon to the flesh of the melon. This is only one possible source of contamination by microbes.

How To Wash

1. Wash your hands first with hot soapy water before and after preparing food.

2. Clean your counter top, cutting boards, and any utensils you'll use to pare or cut produce. After you finish washing the produce, clean all the kitchen surfaces and utensils with hot, soapy water.

3. Never use soap or detergent to wash produce.

4. Use clean potable cold water to wash items. Even better than the cold water from your tap is distilled water.

5. For produce with thick skin, use a clean vegetable brush to scrub away microbes that might be hard to remove.

6. Produce with a lot of textures and indentations like cauliflower, broccoli, and leafy greens should be soaked for 1 to 2 minutes in cold clean water.

7. Berries can be especially problematic. Do not soak in water. Place in a clean colander and spray or pour distilled water over them then dry with a clean paper towel.

8. Once you cut and/or peel produce, always refrigerate as soon as possible.

9. Never buy cut portions of produce if they haven't been refrigerated.

Do you wash the produce you buy?

Leave a comment to be entered in the November Giveaway.

Takeaway Truth

Every year you hear food warnings about produce. Washing decreases the risk from microbes and pesticides so it's always a smart thing to do.

Use Your Green Thumb to Sleep Better

Photo by Ivan Obolensky from Pexels
Sleep. Every doctor advises a good night's sleep, but getting that is difficult for many.

Everyone always offers the usual advice on how to sleep well, but I've got a suggestion you may not have heard before: cleaner indoor air.

Fortunately, that's something to try that's relatively inexpensive and easy to implement.

Just add some real live growing plants to your sleep environment.

Researchers have found through several studies that houseplants can remove toxins in the environment which may help you rest better.

10 Plants That Clean the Air

Aloe Vera should be in every kitchen becaues there's nothing better to treat a burn with. Turns out it's also cleans the air, removing chemicals called VOCs (Volatile Organic Cmpounds).

Bay Laurel
Areca or Butterfly Palm (Proper name: Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) removes more toluene and xylene than any other plant. Toluene is found in formaldehyde and in paint thinners, nail polish remover, and glues as well as other chemicals.

Xylene is used as a solvent in printing, rubber, and leather industries. This palm also emits a lot of water vapor too which makes it excellent since air conditioning dries out the air.

Bamboo or Reed Palm (Proper name: Chamaedorea seifrizii) also removes formaldehyde as well as benzene, an ingredient used in dyes, lubricants, rubber, and detergents. It also removes the industrial solvent trichloroethylene.

Boston Fern (Proper name: Nephrolepis exaltata “Bostoniensis”) is one of the best in its ability to remove formaldehyde which seems to be in just about everything.

Photo by saifullah hafeel from Pexels
Chrysanthemum (Proper Name: Chrysanthemum Morifolium) is a personal favorite of mine. It's good for removing benzene from the air.

I usually keep a pot of them on my coffee table. When the blossoms eventually fade, I plant them in my garden. I have a rainbow of colored mums at my country house and my house in town.

Dracaena “Janet Craig” (Proper name: Dracaena deremensis) is one of the best in removing trichloroethylene from the air.

Dwarf Date Palm (Proper name: Phoenix roebelenii) removes airborne chemicals, especially at removing the common solvent ingredient xylene.

English Ivy (Proper name: Hedera Helix) is a beautiful pot plant that's also effective at removing mold spores from the air.

Ficus Alii (Proper name: Ficus macleilandii “Alii”) is effective in removing formaldehyde from the air.

Snake Plant by ehsan ahmadnejad - Pexels
Peace Lily (Proper name: Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa") removes alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene, and formaldehyde as well as releasing water vapor into the air.

Rubber Plant (Proper name: Ficus robusta) has been popular since the Victorian era and is effective at removing formaldehyde from indoor air.

For Those With No Green Thumb

I know some of you will say you have absolutely no horticultural talent, but there's a solution for you too. The Snake Plant, aka Mother-in-law's Tongue, is perfect for you.

The vertical knife-like blades are a deep green with variegated striations. They look attractive alone in a pot or with companion plantings.

The Snake Plant is about as low maintenance as you can get, and it's excellent at cleaning the air.

Do you have plants indoors? If so, what kind?

Leave a comment to be entered in the Random Draw November Giveaway. See details at the top of the left sidebar.

Takeaway Truth

I'm a firm believer in trying natural solutions to problems. Try some of these and let me know if they help.

Review: Great British Baking Show~The Beginnings

I was overjoyed to see a New Release on Netflix a few days ago: The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings.

I had rejoiced a few weeks ago when I saw a new season of The Great British Baking Show, but I was crushed when this new season did not have grandmotherly Mary Berry and the two comic sidekicks Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins.

Instead, Paul Hollywood was joined by Prue Leith as a judge who isn't grandmotherly at all. She reminds me more of a brusque captain of industry. Even worse Mel and Sue were replaced by Sandi Toksvig and Noel Fielding. I'm sure Sandi and Noel are lovely people, but they don't have the sense of humor or compassion displayed by Mel and Sue.

New Beginnings

This time I wasn't let down because The Great British Baking Show: The Beginnings has the original crew: Paul, Mary, Mel, and Sue.

In truth The Beginnings isn't new. In fact it's a single season of the show even though Netflix branded it as a new Original. I believe it's actually the second season of this long-running show which first debuted in 2010.

In the UK, this show is known as The Great British Bake-Off. The name had to be changed for the U.S. market because Pillsbury owns the trademarked phrase “Bake-Off.”

The BBC had a deal with Love Productions, the production company for the show, for seven years. During that time, the show became a huge international hit.

There's something uniquely addicting about this bunch of bake-crazy contestants.

I love watching them bake whatever is required for each of the challenges because they're all so darn polite and nice to each other. It's refreshing after watching some American reality shows.

Success of course means Love Productions wants more money. So they broke with the BBC. Thus the last 2 seasons have aired on Channel 4 in the UK, with exclusive streaming rights on Netflix.

(The first of these seasons was the one that deflated my enthusiasm after watching a couple of episodes.)

For now though, with the release of this old "new" season, we have Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Mel, and Sue back for a while. So be sure and watch. It's like reuniting with old friends.

By the way, are you a fan of the show? If so, have you ever baked anything you saw on the The Great British Baking Show?

Leave a comment in order to be entered in the November Giveaway.

Takeaway Truth

I haven't, but I have started baking cakes again, much to my husband's delight.