Archive for June, 2008

Dessert Stomach

Growing up in my family, I was informed that humans have a separate dessert stomach. I don’t remember when this knowledge was conveyed to me – it is one of those things that everyone just always knew. No matter how much you ate for dinner and no matter if you could not eat another bite of beef/chicken/pasta/insert-other-dinner-item-here, you could always eat some dessert. And this post will show you the science behind the dessert stomach.

After investigating the matter further, I have concluded that, although many people indicate the dessert stomach does not exist, it does exist. This is in stark contrast to the ridiculous notion that some people have a hollow leg where all their food goes. Those who eat a lot, more than would be expected, are said to have such a leg (or two, in extreme cases). For some reason, I have never liked that saying. The stomach doesn’t go anywhere near the leg. It would be absurd to have the digestive tract go down into the leg and then back up. It would have to be early in the digestive process, in order to allow people to eat a significant amount, so the plumbing would be quite crazy.

But the dessert stomach exists; it exists in your brain rather than in your belly. It is a psychological concept known as the law of diminishing returns. It says that more is not necessarily better. For example, 5 cupcakes won’t taste 5 times as good as one cupcake. At the end of your meal, you have consumed enough beef so that the return on taste has diminished. More beef doesn’t taste good anymore. And the same goes for potatoes, green beans, or whatever else you have for dinner. Each dinner item has been eaten and the initial tastiness has decreased, such that you do not want to eat any more of them.

But now dessert arrives. This is a new food group, a new taste that has not appeared in your dinner yet. This is the second part of the law of diminishing returns – in order to be satisfied, you need something new. So your mind tells your body that this should be good, and your body sets aside the feeling of being full – but only for this new taste. And thus: the dessert stomach.

“So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them.”
– Psalm 78:29

What Do You Want Me To Do?

During some of my drives, I have been hearing advertisements for the JLTV (Joint Light Tactical Vehicle). This is a vehicle intended to replace the Humvee in military service. The defense contracts are pending, and several companies are vying for the contract to build this vehicle.

That’s fine and all, but what I can’t figure out is why they are advertising on regular radio stations. Most ads are meant to attract customers. It’s not like the general public can award defense contracts.

Are they running those spots to just a select few generals? Why blanket an area of thousands of listeners for that? Wouldn’t a direct mailing campaign work better? Or are they not allowed to contact (i.e. influence) the decision-makers directly? So they have to waste a lot of money telling everyone how good their vehicle’s design is, and hope that the right people hear it.

To those who are running the advertisements: Your ads are annoying. What do you want me to do? I can’t buy your product. I can’t help your business at all. If you want me to help, change your ads to include something I can do. For example: “Ask your doctor if JLTV is right for you.”

“Some {boast} in chariots and some in horses, But we will boast in the name of the LORD, our God.”
– Psalm 20:7

The Answer My Friend

A few months ago, my wife got a magnetic advertisement for the minivan. It is a sheet of magnet-backed plastic with her business name and contact information on it, so that people who see the minivan might be inclined to become customers. It has the side effect of causing me to be a more courteous driver, but that’s another post. The ad is about 8.5 inches by 11 inches – the size of a standard sheet of paper – and sticks nicely to the door of the minivan.

We were recently driving in Indiana. We had been driving through a city, and then we entered a freeway. When we got to speed, I heard some flipping sound. It then became a flapping sound, so I looked in the mirrors to see if we ran over a piece of paper or something that had become caught on our vehicle somehow. As I looked in my side-view mirror, I saw the advertisement flailing. I guess that the wind had caught the front edge of the magnetic sheet and started peeling it back.

I started slowing down, hoping to avoid having the ad fly off the door. It’s not that I cared much about the ad – it wasn’t that expensive. But I didn’t want it hitting another car and causing an accident. Or worse, hitting a motorcyclist who, because of Indiana’s laws, would probably not be wearing a helmet. A sheet of plastic hitting you at almost 70 mph would not feel good to your face. Or at the very least, I would get a fine for littering. If the ad caused an accident or became litter, there would be no doubt as to the culprit, because our contact information is printed on it. As I slowed down, I am sure I annoyed the vehicles that I had just passed, as they now had to change lanes to avoid me. But I pulled over, brought the ad inside the van, and we continued on our way.

So if you see our van, you’ll know why the ad is missing from the driver’s side sliding door. And if you have a magnetic sign on your car or van or truck, check the leading edge of the sign to ensure that there are no gaps to catch the wind.

The east wind carries him away, and he is gone, For it whirls him away from his place.

Job 27:21


It had been a while since I mowed the lawn. Yes, I have mowed since the incident.

I probably mow about half as much as the neighbor does. He hasn’t said much about it, so I don’t know that he minds that much. Several years ago, he did make some comment, after I had mowed and the grass was so long that the grass clippings were in nice neat rows. There was so much grass that the discharge chute couldn’t throw it very far, so the long clippings were just left in a mound as I drove around.

His comment was something to the effect of “nice harvest”. I got the impression he thought I should go back over the lawn after I was done, but this time with a baler.

Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest.

Leviticus 19:9

Wasp Borers

I heard a news report today that people will be bringing in non-native species of wasps to control the emerald ash borer population and save the trees. In fact, the emerald ash borer itself came here from Asia. It reminds me of the old song/story about the old lady who swallowed a fly. The ash borer comes here from Asia, then we bring wasps in from Asia to get the ash borers. Then the wasps get out of control and we need to bring in something else to control the wasps. And the cycle continues. I suppose desperate times call for desperate measures, but I’m hesitant to call this a good idea.

When I think of foreign plants and animals coming to the US, I never recall any success stories. Maybe that’s a problem with the news outlets today (hyping the bad news because it sells better) or maybe it’s because most of the instances are bad. The first thing that came to mind was “more killer bees“. But the people are emphasizing that these wasps are stingerless. I hope those Purdue researchers know what they’re doing, and I hope it turns out well for everyone except the ash borers and their cousins. But I’m still a bit wary.

All the winged insects that walk on {all} fours are detestable to you.

Leviticus 11:20

I’ve Got Roots Growing Down to the Water

“This is the song that my tree friend sang to me.”

I was driving home this evening and noticed that there was a tape in the tape deck of my car stereo. My Buick has both CD and tape (and AM/FM), and I knew which CD was in the CD part of the radio. But I did not know what tape was in there. I could not remember putting a tape in there. I ejected it and tried to read the song titles, but the print was small and I couldn’t read the titles very well. Nothing was familiar, and I figured the opposing traffic would appreciate it if I paid attention to the road and not the tape.

I caught the artist’s name and put the tape back in. It was an Evie tape. Now I had to listen to it. I started playing it and it was in the middle of a song. My son dislikes when songs start anywhere other than their beginning, so we had to rewind it. Before tonight, if you had asked me to name an Evie song, I would have been able to name only “Come on Ring Those Bells”. I believe that is true for most people who know who Evie is. For those who care, her last name was Tornquist during her early recording years, then she married and is now a Karlsson.

Now, after listening to the first few songs on that tape, I know other Evie songs. I knew the songs before, but I did not know they were Evie. For example, “Step Into The Sunshine” and the Tree Song referenced at the beginning of this post. They bring back good memories. How can anyone not like Evie? In case you’re wondering, my wife had the tape and put it in there on one of the rare times that she drove my car.

“Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy”
– Psalm 96:12

Out of Place

At the cancer walk mentioned in the previous post, I saw another interesting sight. As we were walking to the main gathering area before the race started (it was officially a race, but most participants were walking to raise money for cancer research, not running to win the race that day), I saw some people sitting on the curb, smoking their cigarettes.

It seemed rather out of place – smokers at a cancer event. The first thing that came to mind was “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” On the other hand, the focus of the event was not lung cancer, so I suppose they weren’t totally incongruous. But there are lung cancer races.  I guess those races would work about the same – some people actually running and the rest just participating.

“A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.”
– Revelation 9:18