A Tough Nut To Crack

Even in spite of March being Nation Peanut Month, it’s not always easy being a goober booster these days.   Times are a little tough for the lowly peanut.   Pro-legume president Jimmy Carter is long since gone from the White House.   Peanut sales have stalled somewhat in recent years.   The poor peanut has taken quite a beating lately…

Assaulted Peanut

Food Poisoning

Peanuts have taken a big hit over the past 2-3 months because of the latest wave of much-publicized recalls prompted by Salmonella Typhimurium concerns.   Nearly 300 brands of peanut-based products have announced recalls due to fears of salmonella contamination since Feb. 1st, and dozens more were announced in January.   Affected items include jars of peanut butter, energy bars, cookies, candies, baked goods, processed foods, dog treats & more.   Yet, it’s important to note that this problem was caused by a single processor (the Peanut Corporation of America based in Lynchburg, Virginia) and the unsafe practices at two of their processing plants (in Blakely, Georgia & Plainview, Texas) not the peanut itself.

Peanut Allergies

Peanuts have also taken a beating due to the feverish frenzy over potential food allergies.   While it certainly is a legitimate concern for some, many scientists & food researchers suggest that the fear about peanut allergies is dramatically overblown.   A few overzealous schools & airlines have even banned the snack outright for fear of potentially-fatal peanut allergies.   Nicholas A Christakis, professor of medical sociology at Harvard Medical School, lends a healthy dose of common sense on the topic:

About 3.3 million Americans are allergic to nuts, and even more – 6.9 million – are allergic to seafood.   However, all told, serious allergic reactions to foods cause just 2,000 hospitalizations a year (out of more than 30 million hospitalizations nationwide).   And only 150 people (children and adults) die each year from all food allergies combined.   Compare that number with the 50 people who die each year from bee stings, the 100 who die from lightning strikes, and the 45,000 who die in motor vehicle collisions.   Or compare it with the 10,000 hospitalizations of children each year for traumatic brain injuries acquired during sports or the 2,000 who drown or the roughly 1,300 who die from gun accidents.   We do not see calls to end athletics.   There are no doubt thousands of parents who rid their [homes] of peanut butter but not of guns.

Obviously, those with legitimate food allergies are dealing with a very real issue that can be life-threatening and may be life-long.   But more often, the problem may be more a case of hysteria-fueled worries than true allergies.   Many believe that, by overreacting to the threat of potential allergies thus avoiding peanuts altogether, we may actually be contributing to the problem of more children being sensitized.

And the heightened anxiety over food allergies tends to also make it harder for parents to determine what constitutes a true allergic reaction.   If a child has an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea after eating food containing peanuts, that’s more likely to be a minor case of food poisoning or other simple non-immunological reaction rather than a true food allergy.   But the hysteria surrounding peanut allergies can make it difficult for even the most level-headed parent to avoid jumping to conclusions.   Yet conversely, there’s mounting evidence that early introduction to nuts actually lowers the likelihood of peanut sensitization in young children.

But even for true peanut allergy sufferers, there are some glimmers of hope…   Recent results from clinical trials suggest that gradual, medically-supervised exposure to small amounts of peanut flour can increase tolerance and help children overcome peanut allergies.   Food researchers have also begun to unlock the secrets of what makes people prone to develop allergic reactions to food, focusing on the certain types of immune cells that react to peanuts and trigger antibodies to be produced.

Loving Peanuts Isn’t So Nuts

Despite the recent health & allergy scares, peanuts remain a reliable & affordable source of protein and a host of other healthful nutrients for most children & adults.

Now while it’s true that peanuts do contain a lot of fat, more than half of the fat in peanuts is monounsaturated.   Unsaturated fats can help lower LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol) levels in the blood without affecting the HDL cholesterol ("good" cholesterol).   And peanuts are loaded with resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant that’s been linked with fighting cancer, preventing certain brain disorders, and reduced cardiovascular disease.   To raise the heart-healthy stats even higher, each ounce of roasted peanuts provides 10% of the daily recommended amount of folic acid, which works along with vitamin B12 & vitamin C to help the body break down, use, and create new proteins, build tissue, form red blood cells, and helps produce DNA.

So exercise caution &#8212: and a little moderation — but if at all possible, go nuts with peanuts!
 

Liam’s First Dentist Appointment

Liam had his first dentist appointment last Wednesday. I started preparing him for what to expect a few days in advance and he was very excited about meeting this Dr. Jones in Franklin Dentist. What is the history of dentistry? I thought that it would make Liam feel better if I tought him a little better knowing the history. For days after he read the review of the top orthodontists of 2018, he talked about going to the dentist and the morning of the big day, he woke up all excited.   As we sat in the waiting room, he announced proudly (and loudly) that he wanted to see the dentist.

As expected, when he got to the room, he turned bashful, had nothing to say, and buried his head into my chest.   He barely looked at the dentist out of the corner of he eyes when he came into the room.   I put him into the “big” chair and he was one scared little boy but fortunately, he didn’t cry.

We’ve been pretty diligent about teethbrushing being a part of each evening’s bedtime prep and it seems that our routine is paying off.   Once the dentist coaxed him into opening his mouth like an alligator, he said that Liam’s teeth looked good.   He’s hoping that after a few more visits Liam will be comfortable enough to let him take x-rays, otherwise we go to an Idaho Falls family dentist better.   For now though, we’ll just keep on brushing!

Liam at the dentist

 

Command Nonperformance

Michigan J. FrogDede, Ashley & I were griping outside the daycare yesterday that we can never get our kids to repeat in public the latest especially cute or impressive thing they’ve been doing at home. I suspect getting kids to perform on cue is a universal problem that all parents must face. In fact it seems however much you’d like your child to recite or reenact some cool thing, that’s exactly inversely proportional to the likelihood that he or she will actually do so.

I call this the Michigan J. Frog syndrome.

Well after I made that comment, Dede was blown away that I even knew the name of that silly singing frog from the old Saturday morning Looney Tunes cartoons.   Furthermore, she insisted that there’s no way anyone else would ever catch such an obscure reference.   Ah, but I know that if all else fails, there’s at least one guy who would—without hesitation— know precisely what I was talking about.

So this post is for you, Pete C.!

7 Things That May or May Not Be of Interest

Several days ago, Lin Burress tagged me to join in the "7 Things About Me" meme.   I’ve said before that I usually shy away from memes but Lin is a blogger I really like & respect so I just couldn’t refuse…   especially considering that none of the others Lin tagged have risen to the challenge.

First, the rules:

  1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
  3. At the end of the post, you tag up to 7 other bloggers.
  4. Leave a comment on their blog or send an email so they know they’ve been tagged.

So, off we go!   Here are my 7 Things:

  1. I bought my first computer, an Atari 800, in 1983.   It had 8KB RAM, a blazing 300 baud modem, and ran & saved programs on audio cassettes.
  2. I’ve kissed the Blarney Stone at the top of Blarney Castle in County Cork, Ireland.
  3. My favorite numbers are 3 and 7.
  4. I worked (remotely) for America Online for nearly 4 years back in their heyday.
  5. I kissed a dolphin in Cancun!
  6. I have 2 tattoos and one of them is the 2Dolphins logo.
  7. Although I once owned a hand-me-down Atari 2600 that I got from my brother Rich, I’ve never bought a video game console.

Now, to keep this meme moving along, I hereby tag Ricë, James, Joy, Brian, Bobbie Leigh, Anita, and last, but certainly not least, Dinia — who should be able to easily come up with 7 very interesting things about herself.   Have fun!
 

Liam the Builder

Our little guy has gotten into watching Bob the Builder lately and we frequently hear him singing the theme song at night after he goes to bed.Bob the Builder

Recently Rob did some digging in our backyard to get rid of a tree root that was threatening to cause trouble with the patio slab.   While digging, he veered off an inch too far in one direction and severed two sprinkler pipes & a sprinkler control wire.   Well, that set off a whole chain of events and needless to say, we ended up with a pretty big hole in the backyard by the time he dug out more to fix the damage.   There for a moment, I was thinking that I might be getting the swimming pool that I’ve always dreamed of having… well, okay, it wasn’t really quite that big.

But you can just imagine how excited Liam was to see this giant hole in the yard with a mound of dirt sitting beside it… oh, it was calling out his name!   For days he was drawn to it like a magnet whenever we’d go outside.   The time finally came to fill in the hole so I bought him a new scooper shovel just for the big event.   Of course, more of the loose dirt went in the air and on him than in the actual hole, but he was definitely a man enjoying his labor.   Here’s a video of him singing the "Bob the Builder" theme while he works:

Karen’s Quarterly Commute

It’s been awhile since my last "Liam" post so I thought I better get something out here before everyone gives up on me altogether.

Liam’s Nanny Karen (a.k.a. my best friend since elementary school) came down from Kansas City last weekend to spend a few days with us.   She has made quarterly visits to see Liam since we brought him home.   She loves spending time with him and the feeling is mutual.   For me & Rob, her visits give us us a rare chance to sneak out for a movie.   For those of you who have have built-in babysitters, you have no idea how big a deal this is!   We love Liam beyond words, but still it’s sure nice for just the two of us to be able to go out to dinner & a movie every once in awhile without worrying if he is okay.   In the pre-Liam days, we were such big movie watchers that we sometimes had trouble finding enough films we hadn’t already seen to keep our Netflix queue stocked up.   We certainly don’t have that problem anymore!   By the way, our movie selection for last week was Gran Torino and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already seen it!

It’s always nice to have Karen with us, she just seems like part of the family.   We love to reminisce about the "good old days" and we laughed when we were out shopping last week and a saleslady asked if we are sisters.   We’ve been answering that question since we were ten years old.   We don’t see the resemblance but apparently everyone else does.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos of Nanny Karen with Liam that I can publish to the blog.   I promised Karen final approval on all photos of her that go on here and none made the approval list.   Next time I need to start taking pictures from day one so there will be more to choose from and hopefully some get approved.   If you’re really curious, here is a post that features a photo taken when she was here for Easter last year.

We know it’s tough for her to steal time away from her own family to come spend time with us but we’re already looking forward to her next visit!

The Big Five

2Dolphins birthday cakeIt’s our 5th Blogiverssary!

Today marks the fifth anniversary of blogging here on 2Dolphins!   Although we had been using our website for posting photos and such for a couple of years prior to that, it was five years ago today that we launched our Blogger-based blog.   That first unassuming post, in case you wondered, was about the then-new SwissFlash USB Swiss Army Knife.

Sticking with the theme of "five," here are the 5 most popular posts of the past year, according to Google Analytics:

  1. Dolphins Bubble With Excitement
  2. A Journey of Discovery, Revelation, & Trivia
  3. Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap
  4. Are You Aware? (RSS Awareness Day)
  5. Master Bath Makeover

We’re thankful for all of you who visit our site and we hope you continue to find our posts interesting or entertaining.   Y’know, we love feedback, so please leave us a comment from time to time, why doncha?
 
 

Generation Z – The Natives Are Restless

I’m sure you’ve heard of the demographic groups "Generation X" and "Generation Y" — and there’s a good chance that you fall into one of those two — but did you know there’s also a category for our kids: "Generation Z."   While there’s some contention about the exact start & end years, this generation generally consists of children born after 1995 and will cut off at 2021.   (Some insist that this group begins in 2001 and accordingly, label it the "9-11 Generation.")

However you define it, today’s kids will be the most connected generation ever in terms of technology and on a worldwide scale.

  They will have never known a world without the Internet, notebook PCs, digital cameras, iPods, DVDs, & cellular phones.   They will have never known life without MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, and a vast sea of other social media stuff that many of us are only just now tentatively dipping a toe into.   Generation Z children are, in other words, digital natives.   Or to put it another way…

Your child is a digital native but you’ll forever be a digital immigrant.


I recently ran across those terms from and the concept really stuck with me.   It’s been such a pervasive notion that it’s prompted lots of introspection & raised some very interesting questions.

I’m amazed by how appropriate the concept is, especially thinking in terms of literal immigrants who come to America, with the barriers for entry and the subsequent difficulties that they face once here.   As I’ve mulled this over, I keep remembering movies & TV shows where immigrants and/or their children were central to the stories.   Thinking the similarities between the concepts of national and digital immigrants, I’m forced to wonder:

  • Is my thick immigrant accent coming through when I rail against cell phone text messaging?   (A phone, after all, is for talking to someone else!)
  • Is refusing to add a DVD player in my car a bit like clinging to archaic Old World values that’re out of place in today’s society?
  • By not embracing MySpace, satellite radio, or streaming movies, am I like an aggravatingly stubborn immigrant who struggles with (or simply chooses to remain mostly ignorant of) English language?
  • Do my arguments that technology is making us impatient and short-sighted seem like quaint, cranky ramblings about how things were back in the "Old Country?"

What about you — what do you think of the concept of digital natives vs. immigrants?   Do you see how it applies to you?
 

31 Days of Nuttiness

March is a great month to go nuts! Y’see, it’s the 35th anniversary of National Peanut Month! So in honor of this, here are a few lesser-known nuggets about one of our favorite treats:

Interesting Peanut Facts:

  • Peanuts have been found in pre-Columbian sites in Zhejiang province in China dating from between 2100-1811 B.C.
  • The Incans of Peru used peanuts as sacrificial offerings and entombed them with their mummies to aid in the spirit life.
  • The first major use of peanut crops in America was as feed for pigs but in the hard times during the Civil War, both Northern & Southern troops began to rely upon the peanut as a food source.
  • Using only his nose, mountaineer Tom Miller pushed a peanut 14,100 feet to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado in just 4 days, 23 hours, and 47 minutes.
  • Peanut butter’s high protein content draws moisture, often causing it to stick to the roof of your mouth. And the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth is called arachibutyrophobia.
  • “Mr. Peanut,” the Planters Nut mascot, is based upon a sketch submitted by a schoolboy for the company’s logo contest. His drawing won 13-year-old Antonio Gentile a $5 prize in 1916.
  • Although China & India are by far the biggest peanut-growing countries of the world, peanut butter is a distinctly American food product and most other countries never had it prior to the 1960s.
  • Be sure to check out the other food-related posts here on 2Dolphins.

Local Celebrity

You could call him a microblogger or maybe now even a microcelebrity, but you certainly can’t call James Cross a microgardener!

Nope, James (a.k.a. DoubleDanger) goes decidedly large-scale with his urban gardening ventures!   In fact, his green thumb & backyard gardening projects landed him top billing in the following news feature that KWES NewsWest 9 aired last Friday, Feb. 27th:

Big props go out to a fellow Basin blogger!