Brain Teaser, #5.

Suppose we have a sequence:
(1), (2, 3), (4,5,6), (7,8,9,10), (11,12,13,14,15),...
where (1) is the first part of the sequence, (2,3) the second part, etc.

What is the first number of the 100th part of the sequence?


Discuss, Poll #37, Winter Blues.

As I sit here in the beginning of Autumn and continue my string of blog polls, I look outside to a sunless, dark, and rainy day. It's only a short time before the days are quite short and the darkness & cold of winter takes hold. [did I just depress you a little?]

If anyone has good tips for staving off cabin fever and S.A.D., I'd like to hear them.

Results, Poll #36, BMI.

I want to thank everyone from the outset this time for filling out the poll. I can only assume that everyone found their correct BMI figure and chose appropriately. Of course, this is one case where a little "fudging" could come into play... but I trust not much, if any, occured here.

The results were pretty interesting for me - it appears that not only are readers of this blog very well-read and fans of live sports, but are also pretty darn healthy, at least when using the BMI as a gauge.

> 2 people (13%) chose "13-18" (Underweight) - Wow, I often get remarks from people about me not eating enough or looking thin... but you two take the cake, or perhaps leave the cake in this instance. I don't know what you're doing, but maybe some more plant-based protein would be a good thing.
> 10 people (66%) chose "19-24" (Healthy Weight) - Again, wow. This is a large majority of readers in the "healthy" section. I'm a bit surprised, but very happy that most of my readers are keeping an eye on their waist and portion sizes. Or just eating once a week, like a snake.
> 2 people (13%) chose "25-29" (Overweight) - I'm sure with some new healthy steps and increased activity, you can get this into the "healthy" area - if you so choose.
> 1 person (6%) chose "30-60" (Obese) - I poked fun at the underweight twins, but I don't know what to say here. I'm sure nothing I say will be funny.

These are interesting results to me because one-third of the US is considered "overweight" and many of those folks are in the "obese" category. I guess reading my blog keeps you fit?

The China Study, Part III, Heart Disease.

Who wants to read about heart disease!?! Ok, ok, you can all put your hands down, everyone will get a turn -

"[Quote]... If you were to guess the location of the best cardiac care center in the country, maybe the world, what city would you name? New York? Los Angeles? Chicago? A city in Florida, perhaps, near elderly people? As it turns out, the best medical center for cardiac care is located in Cleveland, Ohio, according to US News and World Report. Patients fly in to the Cleveland Clinic from all over the world for the most advanced heart treatment available, administered by prestigious doctors.

One of the doctors at the Clinic, Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. has quite a resume. As a student at Yale University, Dr. Esselstyn rowed in the 1956 Olympics, winning a gold medal. After being trained at the Cleveland Clinic, he went to earn the Bronze Star as an army surgeon in the Vietnam War. He then became a highly successful doctor at one of the top medical institutions in the world, the Cleveland Clinic, where he was president of the staff, member of the Board of Governors, chairman of the Breast Cancer Task Force and head of the Section of Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery. Having published over 100 scientific papers, Dr. Esselstyn was named one of the best doctors in America in 1994-1995. From knowing this man personally, I get the feeling that he has excelled at virtually everything he has done in his life. He reached the pinnacle of success in his professional and personal life, and did it with grace and humility.

The quality I find most appealing about Dr. Esselstyn, however, is not his resume or awards; it is his principled search for the truth. Dr Esselstyn has had the courage to take on the establishment. For the Second National Conference on Lipids in the Elimination and Prevention of Coronary Artery Disease (which he organized and in which he kindly asked me to participate) Dr Esselstyn wrote:

Eleven years into my career as a surgeon, I became disillusioned with the treatment paradigm of U.S. medicine in cancer and heart disease. Little has changed in the 100 years in the management of cancer, and in neither heart disease nor cancer was there a serious effort at prevention. I found the epidemiology of these diseases provocative, however: Three-quarters of the humans on this plant had no heart disease, a fact strongly associated with diet.

Dr. Esselstyn started to reexamine the standard medical practice, "Aware that medical, angiographic and surgical interventions were treating only the symptoms of heart disease and believing that a fundamentally different approach to treatment was necessary." Dr. Esselstyn decided to test the effects of a whole foods, plant-based diet on people with established coronary disease. By using a minimal amount of cholesterol-lowering medication and a very low-fat, plant-based diet, he has gotten the most spectacular results ever recorded in the treatment of heart disease.

In 1985, Dr. Esselstyn began his study with the primary goal of reducing his patients' blood cholesterol to below 150 mg/dL. He asked each patient to record everything he or she ate in a food diary. Every two weeks, for the next five years, Dr. Esselstyn met with his patients to discuss the process, administer blood tests and record blood pressure and weight. He followed up this daytime meeting with an evening telephone call to report the results of the blood tests and further discuss how the diet was working. In addition, all of his patients met together a few times a year to talk about the program, socialize and exchange helpful information. In other words, Dr. Esselstyn was diligent, involved, supportive and compassionately stern on a personal level with his patients.

The diet they, including Dr. Esselstyn and his wife Ann, followed was free of all added fat and almost all animal products. Dr. Esselstyn and his colleagues report, "[Participants] were to avoid oils, meats, fish, fowl, and dairy products, except for skim milk and nonfat yogurt." About five years into the program, Dr. Esselstyn recommended to his patients that they stop consuming any skim milk and yogurt, as well.

Five of his patients dropped out of the study withing the first two years; that left eighteen. These eighteen patients originally had come to Dr. Esselstyn with severe disease. Within the eight years leading up to the study, these eighteen people had suffered through forty-nine coronary events, including angina, bypass surgery, heart attacks, strokes, and angioplasty. These were not healthy hearts. One might imagine that they were motivated to join the study by the panic created when premature death is near.

These eighteen patients achieved remarkable success. At the start of the study, the patients' average cholesterol was 246 mg/dL. During the course of the study, the average cholesterol was 132 mg/dL, well below the 150 mg/dL target! Their levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol dropped just as dramatically. In the end, though, the most impressive result was not the blood cholesterol levels but how many coronary events occurred since the start of the study.

In the following eleven years, there was exactly ONE coronary event among the eighteen patients who followed the diet. That one event was from a patient who strayed from the diet for two years. After straying, the patient consequently experienced clinical chest pain (angina) and then resumed a healthy plant-based diet. The patient eliminated his angina, and has not experienced any further events.

Not only has the disease in these patients been stopped, it has even been reversed. Seventy percent of his patients have seen an opening of their clogged arteries..." [End quote]

Again, this is all from the book, The China Study [Google Books link], and if you want to read more of it, check out the link or go to the library like I did and check the book out.


The China Study, Part II, Obesity.

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!!"
Man, isn't that the best yelling-phrase you could use as a kid?
Well, maybe not.

"[Quote] ...Our struggle with weight is hard to miss these days. Open a newspaper or a magazine, or turn on the radio or TV - you know that America has a weight problem. In fact, two out of three adult Americans are overweight, and one-third of the adult population is obese. Not only are these numbers high, but the rate at which they have been rising is ominous (Chart 1.2, page 13).

But what do the terms "overweight" and "obese" mean? The standard expression of body size is the body mass index (BMI). It represents body weight (in kilograms, kg) [in the book's chart] relative to body height (in meters squared, m2). By most official standards, being overweight is having a BMI above twenty-five, and being obese is having a BMI over thirty. The same scale is used for both men and women...

Perhaps the most depressing element of our supersize mess is the growing number of overweight and obese children. About 15% of America's youth (ages six to nineteen) are overweight. Another 15% are at risk of becoming overweight.

Overweight children face a wide range of psychological and social challenges. As you know, children have a knack for being open and blunt; sometimes the playground can be a merciless place. Overweight children find it more difficult to make friends and are often thought of as lazy and sloppy. They are more likely to have behavioral and learning difficulties, and the low self-esteem likely to be formed during adolescence can last forever.

Young people who are overweight also are highly likely to face a host of medical problems. They often have elevated cholesterol levels, which can be a predictor for any number of deadly diseases. They are more likely to have problems with glucose intolerance, and, consequently, diabetes. Type 2 diabetes, formerly seen only in adults, is skyrocketing among adolescents. (See chapters seven and nine for a more thorough discussion of childhood diabetes.) Elevated blood pressure is nine times more likely to occur among obese kids. Sleep apnea, which can cause neuro-cognitive problems, is found in one in ten obese children. A wide variety of bone problems is more common in obese kids. Most importantly, an obese young person is much more likely to be an obese adult., greatly increasing the likelihood of lifelong health problems.

If you are obese, you may not be able to do many things that could make your life more enjoyable. You may find that you cannot play vigorously with your grandchildren (or your children), walk long distances, participate in sports, find a comfortable seat in a movie theatre or airplane or have an active sex life. In fact, even sitting still in a chair may be impossible without experiencing back or joint pain. For many, standing is hard on the knees. Carrying around too much weight can dramatically affect physical mobility, work, mental health, self-perception and social life. So you see, this isn't about death; it really is about missing many of the more enjoyable things in life.

Clearly no one desires to be overweight. So why is it that two out of three adult Americans are overweight? Why is one-third of the population obese?

The problem is not lack of money. In 1990, medical care costs relating to obesity alone were estimated to be $70 billion. In 2002, a mere three years later, the American Obesity Association listed these costs at $100 billion. This is not all. Add another $3-040 billion out-of-pocket money that we spend trying to keep off the weight in the first place. Going on special weight-loss diet plans and popping pills to cut our appetites or rearrange our metabolism have become a national pastime.

This is an economic black hole that sucks our money away without offering anything in return. Imagine paying $40 to a service man to fix your leaky kitchen sink, and then two weeks later, the sink pipes explode and flood the kitchen and it costs $500 to repair. I bet you wouldn't ask that guy to fix your sink again! So then why do we endlessly try those weight-loss plans, books, drinks, energy bars and assorted gimmicks when they don't deliver as promised?

I applaud people for trying to achieve a healthy weight. I don't question the worthiness or dignity of overweight people any more than I question cancer victims. My criticism is of a societal system that allows and even encourages this problem. I believe, for example, that we are drowning in an ocean of very bad information, too much of it intended to put money into someone else's pockets. What we really need, then, is a new solution compromised of good information for individual people to use at a price that they can afford.

The solution to losing weight is a whole foods, plant-based diet, coupled with a reasonable amount of exercise... "[End quote]

FYI - I couldn't do a pull- up in high school gym class during my sophomore year and I got worked over by a guy in the same weight class during the wrestling sessions (to be fair, he was the starting point guard on the JV team and already had six-pack abs) - fun times.


Brain Teaser, #4.

Suppose there are two water buckets: one that contains a gallon of water and another that contains a gallon of alcohol. A cup of alcohol from the second bucket is poured into the bucket of water. A cup of the resulting mixture is then poured back into the bucket of alcohol. Which is now true?
A) There is more water in the alcohol than alcohol in the water.
B) There is more alcohol in the water than water in the alcohol.
C) There is the same amount of water in the alcohol as alcohol in the water.

The China Study, Part I-A, Intro, Footnotes.

I just wanted to make everyone aware - while I am able to type in the words easily, adding all of the authors footnotes was not easily done. I left them out, but you can be sure that any claim, study, chart, etc. is footnoted throughout the book. His reference chapter, in the back of the book, numbers 35 pages and gives credit and credence to most of the facts listed in the text. He took time and care in making sure readers didn't think he just pulled stuff out of thin air.


The China Study, Part I, Intro.

I'm going to share some sections of a book titled The China Study over the next few weeks. I picked it up after a friend recommended it, knowing how much I like to eat and that I also generally try to watch my weight (cycling, fitness, blah blah blah). I'll let you know right off the bat that some of it may sound a bit outlandish and you may stop reading, that's fine with me. For the people that do keep reading, you may want to pick up the whole book.

Here's the first section I chose, from his introduction:
"[Quote]... After a long career in research and policy making, I now understand why Americans are so confused. As a taxpayer who foots the bill for research and health policy in America, you deserve to know that many of the common notions you have been told about food, health, and disease are wrong:
- Synthetic chemicals in the environment and in your food, as problematic as they may be, are not the main cause of cancer.
- The genes that you inherit from your parents are not the most important factors in determining whether you fall prey to any of the ten leading causes of death.
- The hope that genetic research will eventually lead to drug cures for diseases ignores more powerful solutions that can be employed today.
- Obsessively controlling your intake of any one nutrient, such as carbohydrates, fat, cholesterol, or omega-3 fats, will not result in long-term health.
- Vitamins and nutrient supplements do not give you long-term protection against disease.
- Drugs and surgery don't cure the diseases that kill most Americans.
- Your doctor probably does not know what you need to do to be the healthiest you can be.

I propose to do nothing less than redefine what we think of as good nutrition. The provocative results of my four decades of biomedical research, including the findings from a twenty-seven-year laboratory program (funded by the most reputable funding agencies) prove that eating right can save your life.

I will not ask you to believe conclusions based on my personal observations, as some popular authors do. There are over 750 references in this book, and the vast majority of them are primary sources of information, including hundreds of scientific publications from other researchers that point the way to less cancer, less heart disease, fewer strokes, less obesity, less diabetes, less autoimmune disease, less osteoporosis, less Alzheimer's, less kidney stones, and less blindness.

Some of the findings, published in the most reputable scientific journals, show that:
- Dietary change can enable diabetic patients to go off their medication.
- Heart disease can be reversed with diet alone.
- Breast cancer is related to levels of female hormones in the blood, which are determined by the food we eat.
- Consuming dairy foods can increase the risk of prostate cancer.
- Antioxidants, found in fruits and vegetables, are linked to better mental performance in old age.
- Kidney stones can be prevented by a healthy diet.
- Type 1 diabetes, one of the most devastating diseases that can befall a child, is convincingly linked to infant feeding practices.

These findings demonstrate that a good diet is the most powerful weapon we have against disease and sickness." [End quote]

The following posts will take small sections from different chapters of the book. If anyone wants to leave comments on any of the posts, please feel free.


Discuss, Poll #36, BMI.

Use the chart below to find your Body Mass Index (or BMI). Then, chose your result on the poll.

You can also find a more accurate "calculator" for this figure online.

Some other posts I'm working on will tie into this weeks' poll.

Results, Poll #35, Celebrity News.

[for the 2nd time, I'm rewriting this whole post after doing something that Blogger doesn't like while editing the original. As I perform this editing, it removes/cuts the whole post, then Blogger "automatically saves" the entire, newly blank, page. It's an awesome Blogger feature.]

Anyways, here's what we all said about Celebrity News:
> 6 people (40%) chose 'yes, i'm addicted, all the websites are in my faves' - yikes, you should drop your venti latte and click over to salon.com.
> 8 people (53%) chose 'yea, i see some b/c it's everywhere, but i don't seek it out' - wow. it's certainly harder to stay away from this kind of news now than in the past. you can see it almost everywhere, besides the checkout line at the grocery store (which are now superstores). in fact, i've noticed a "celebrity" segment on many local news channels - yes, thanks for reporting the timely, topical, news of the day.
> 1 person (6%) chose 'not really, i try to steer clear as much as possible' - if you have some tips for us regarding how you do this, i'd like to hear 'em.
> 0 persons (0%) chose 'no, never' that's bad juju' - a bit telling, no?

So, is it the news sources fault for shoving it in our faces? Or are we all partly to blame? Kind of a shame really - I think it's a waste of our time and (some of) their talents.


An Old-Timey Place.

If you ever have the chance, stop by the Courier Cafe in Urbana, IL. They have great food for both meat and non-meat eaters (it is liberal Urbana), a great historical building, good service, and an old-timey feel that just can't be matched in most places.

Not a too-small space, but not so big (ahem, Cheesecake Factory) that you feel uncomfortable or get lost on the way back from the bathroom either.

They don't "make these like they used to". In fact, they've been replaced by computers... Progress?

And what little dude (or dudette) wouldn't want to push in a recently begged quarter and watch this contraption pick up and deliver a shiny new gumball? Not many.

Brain Teaser, #3.

If you add the age of a man to the age of his wife, the result is 91. He is now twice as old as she was when he was as old as she is now. How old is the man, and how old is his wife?


A Night of Legends.

Recently, I pretty much lucked into an event at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was at the Assembly Hall and was titled "A Night of Legends". The basketball program had deemed it time to hang some famous jersey numbers, and they wanted to invite everyone to watch, with an all-star UofI basketball game thrown in for fun.

Not only did we get to see a game played by such UofI stars as - [from the News-Gazette] "There could be some no-shows, and some unexpecteds, but the rosters (or confirmed attendees) for A Night of Legends at the Assembly Hall are taking shape. Players who have said they'll be there Saturday include four of the five starters from '04-05: Deron Williams, Dee Brown, Luther Head, Roger Powell." [...And] members of the 1989 Final Four squad who have said they'll be there: Kendall Gill, Nick Anderson, Stephen Bardo, Kenny Battle, Marcus Liberty and Larry Smith. Then some others, spanning the Kruger-Self-Weber years: Kiwane Garris, Brian Cook, Frank Williams, Jerry Hester, Jarrod Gee, Kevin Turner, Lucas Johnson, Cory Bradford, Sergio McClain, Sean Harrington, Jerrance Howard and Victor Chukwudebe."

But we also got to see (from afar) Deron Williams' Men's Olympic Basketball Gold Medal and a very nice ceremony for the unveiling of the jerseys, done by each player or one of their living family members (some of the jerseys were from players in the 30s and 40s).
All in all, a pretty cool, historical night to be a part of.

[I know, crap pic]

We also found a new place to hit before events at the Assembly Hall - Houlihan's. I know, I know, you're thinking "Houlihan's?" - but the food was good and better yet, you can arrive early for dinner, park in their lot, then literally walk across the street to Assembly Hall. The restaurant is part of a new conference center and hotel, just south of Assembly Hall.


Austin Ghost Tours.

Ok, ok, I'm a liar. I have one more Austin story - geez, gimme a break.

One of the nights, we decided to do something a little more "touristy" than normal. We paid online and made our way downtown for an "Austin Ghost Tour".

The tour was of the walking variety and only comprised about 7 square city blocks, not too bad. Plus, the sun had gone down, the crowds on 6th Street were coming out, and it was interesting. All of the buildings we visited on the tour had stories of hunting's. Usually someone, er, some spirit was still in each building on the tour, doing the haunting. Most of it was pretty tame stuff, but all the stories seemed to be real to those who experienced it.

One of the most interesting was a building now owned by a pretty famous photographer named David Grimes. He does lots of print work for companies in and around Austin, like
Dell Computers. Better still, he also has a whole section on his site devoted to the ghost stories of his current studio. I'll let him take you through them, here... IF YOU DARE!!! Muuwhooo-aaaa-aaaa-aaah!!!!


Brain Teaser, #2.

Using an empty 5-gallon jug and an empty 3-gallon jug, how can you measure exactly on gallon of fluid, without spilling, dripping, or losing any of it?


Discuss, Poll #35, Celebrity News.

Does anyone have a good celebrity story? Uhmmm... I've seen a few notables in public, but never a long conversation or anything. 

For a variety of reasons, one of my favorites was just having Hilary Swank walk by me in NYC. This was also after all the Million Dollar Baby Oscar stuff, when she was pretty popular. It was a quiet winter evening on a small street in the Village, no one else was around and I couldn't even gossip to anyone about it, b/c no one else saw. But she looked great (I hardly even noticed her then boyfriend/manager alongside her) and none of us said a thing. Kind of surreal at the time, but I'm pretty sure I started texting anyone that might reply right after. And when the friend I was with came out of the restaurant, it was the first thing I blurted out.

Oh, Hilary and I have the same birth year, but I don't follow too much celebrity news.

Results, Poll #34, NFL.

The gridiron poll is done, let's see what we got:

> 2 people (12%) chose 'yes, i see multiple games per season' - lucky ducks. though, who can blame them, if something's good, more is better. (right?)
> 7 people (45%) chose 'yeah, i've seen some' - not such a bad way to spend the day, is it?
> 1 person (6%) chose 'no, i like college games' - well, if you like college games, then the nfl is for you! bigger, fatser, more accurate. though there is something about the purity of college sports.
> 2 people (12%) chose 'not yet, but someday' - that's it, glass half full kind of people, this is what the world needs more of. i'd be happy to indoctrinate you into the nfl, just name the game (and pickup my ticket).
> 4 people (25%) chose 'wah? what's the nfl?' - you people need help. i'd suggest a quick and painless nfl-indoctrination. bring beer, grilled meats, team colors, rowdy fans and blend.

Interesting news for the NFL? Perhaps. (I don't think they read my blog though) Maybe they have some people to win over still, but for those of us that already like a football game in 20 degree weather, they'd be preaching to the choir.

Thanks to the 16 voters and for using all of the choices.


Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum.

As if you couldn't figure it out, the LBJ Library & Museum is in Austin (I promise, it's the last Austin post). We decided to duck out of the 90 degree sun one afternoon and head over to the only presidential library that is free to all (LBJ made a point of making his library no charge). Wait, you know that Lyndon Baines Johnson was our 36th President, right? He took over after JKF (uhhh, John Fitzgerald Kennedy) was assassinated (that means murdered).
This was my first presidential library visit and I have to say, I was impressed... I was entertained... I learned lots of things... and I was glad I went.

I'm not sure a caricature is presidential, but they're the ones that put it up. Lady Bird (also with the initials LBJ) has her own "wing" on one of the floors; pretty cool. She was also an important UT-Austin alum (aka, Texas Ex) and a 6 year regent at the university.

Above is the Roman Catholic missal that bears JFK's initials. LBJ was sworn in using it.

This '67 Lincoln maybe the first example of a pimped ride. 13,000lbs when done, bullet proof tires, armor plating, lots of gizmos, and slick too.

Having been elected on the same ticket as JFK, as VP LBJ was put in charge of education and the space program. He had a knack for both... wonder if that's why much of NASA is in Texas?
This was a "life-like" view of a NASA meeting. They're all figurines (mannequins?). I'm not sure how or why, but it was entertaining.

Pretty sure this a the "real deal" of what astronauts wore on their backs to keep them breathing (also filtering out air coming in, keeping it humid, temperate, etc).
Gotta get the kids behind the space program too... who better to help than Snoopy!?

And for what was probably my favorite thing in the place, a life-size animatronic figure of LBJ that told 5 funny stories. They were told in his voice, from recordings made in the White House. The figure did "robot" around a bit and really was fun to watch and listen.

Below is a seven-eighths scale version of LBJ's Oval Office. It was full-on 70's motif, but still very presidential and interesting to see.

Last but not least, two teeny, tiny items I found in Lady Bird's wing.

For any sports fan, these might be the coolest things in the whole collection. As I understood the little placards, all presidents receive lifetime passes to all NFL and MLB games. The MLB version looked like a fancy driver's license, but the NFL version was pimped out and looked stamped from brass. They can go and see any game they want - waaaay cool.
If you have a chance to see any presidential library, I would jump at it. Of course, if you happen to be in Austin and have even 2 hours (that's all I took), you should definitely put this place on your list of stops.


The Univeristy Co-Op @ UT-Austin.

I'm going to come right out and tell everyone from the beginning - the campus bookstore at the University of Texas-Austin is the Cabela's of campus bookstores. I've been a few times now and each time I am re-mesmerized by all the burnt orange, hook 'em horns, and wacky stuff they have to show their pride in being a current, past, or future UT student. They actually have a special name for alums, "Texas Ex" - it's literally the name of the alumni association.

Like the Cabela's camo post ("An Ode to Camo"), we'll go from normal, to not-so-normal, to wacky-ass-shit:

The normal college bookstore stuff:



Bill. If your name's "Bill" or almost any other, they have a mug for you. But not "Blah".

Now, some kinda out there items:

Starting off small, just like the camo Crocs at Cabela's, but only in UT's burnt orange.

What every smart frat boy will be wearing at the tailgate... and puking on at the hayride.

How about a stained glass, pool table lamp shade that will let everyone who comes over to play know you mean business when it comes to UT.

And if that doesn't show your Longhorn pride enough, grab the $350 Lucchese cowboy boots. You can stomp your affiliation all over town.

Then you can grill everyone a burger with your Longhorn grill mitts.

Finally, the wacky-ass-shit you won't find at your TIS, Follett's or IUB - get ready, it ain't pretty:

UT Bath Rugs - how could you splish splash onto your school's colors like that?

Complete your UT rug collection with a set for your truck.

Is Santa a Texas Ex? It's never the wrong season for ornaments, is it?

Surprise, now your baby can show their allegiance at play dates.

And your dog can too, at the bark park.

When you come back from walking the dog...

Finish your "honey do" list with this new hammer you got (notice football inspired handle grip).

Put this new gnome in our south 40.

And brush your teeth before kissing me "good night".


Brain Teaser, #1.

Suppose you have three Scrabble tiles - N, T, and O. What is the probability that when you randomly place three tiles upright in a row, they spell an English word?

Note: please post your answers as comments, I will confirm the right answer or post it soon enough.


BBQ at The County Line.

Did you ever see those shows on Food Network about barbeque? The ones where some guy like Alton Brown goes around the country in search of "the best barbeque"? Well, I've had the pleasure of having some of the best barbeque of my life in Austin. This last visit was no different and you can be sure I make a point of gettin' some.
This time, we went to a local joint known as "The County Line". Uhhh, it's on County Line Road, almost to Rt 360.

I think the best part about any barbeque joint is that it's generally a no-frills affair (think brown paper rolls on the table) and is accessible by many many kinds of folks (anyone and everyone comes to these kinds of joint, esp from what I saw on the last trip). The other thing you can expect is seriously good barbeque. The kind you can't get "up north". The kind that hits you with wafts of good hickory smoke smells as soon as you leave your car. The kind that makes you eat so much you have to lie down after. The kind that makes you plan special trips for it whenever you're in town.

Kitsch came to this restaurant late one night after a long drinking bender and puked all over it. I have to say though, it totally works. I get hungry now when I see this mutsch kitsch.

We were plopped into a spot with the best meat-eating views of my life, along a wall of windows, looking out onto the lake/river, party deck, and nature - ah, time to eat meat!

I had beef brisket and smoked turkey. Both had wonderfully pink smoke rings and came with a great, tangy, bbq sauce to drench it in. Of course, at The County Line, all entrees come with homemade coleslaw (very good), potato salad (also very good) and baked beans (good, but better when you dump on some extra bbq sauce).

The glass on the right is my 20oz pint glass of Shiner Bock (very good, hard to find up north). The glass on the left is my water, but it's also what they use to serve tea, sweet tea, and any soda. It was a bit odd to see an 8 year old, three foot tall kid sucking down 64oz of soda out of a one foot glass. Is it any wonder that Texas now has FOUR of the Top 10 Fattest Cities in the Nation?

God Bless America.


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