Wednesday, February 25, 2015

ISIS Scores Three Child Brides for Jihadists

Why didn't anyone stop them? Perhaps I'm asking the most obvious of the obvious hindsight questions. But really, did any authorities or even any other parents attempt to stop or question trio of  15- and 16-year-old British school girls who boarded a flight to Turkey last week? They have most certainly made it to Syria by now.

As a parent I do try to be somewhat clued in on the lives of my children. If one of my kids has even an inkling of becoming a jihadist or an odd obsession with ISIS I would hope to know. Apparently ISIS has a very sophisticated social media campaign designed to recruit teen boys and girls to come to Syria and join the terrorist cause. Seems as if it is working. And all the more reason to monitor your teen's social media.

What I do not understand is why the British authorities, police, and/or the British version of the TSA did nothing to stop these girls? They were being monitored and the authorities knew about them weeks before they left the U.K. So why let them board a plane to Turkey? I have the luck of being stopped going through security far too often for lots of interesting reasons. Perhaps the TSA and others charged with keeping the skies safe are targeting and stopping the wrong people. Lots of would-be terrorists must not have those underlying issues with airport security that I have. Or else I look more like a threat to national security.

When you have 15-year-old girls being lured to Syria with the promise of a new microwave, a milkshake maker, and a future in terror something is definitely wrong with this world. A very sad day when smart, young women decide to join ISIS and become jihadist's brides. Very sad. Again it makes me wonder when someone will be brave enough to step up and actually make an attempt to stop this madness.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Today's IKEA Adventure....

I venture out to my local IKEA about once every five years, and today was the day. President's Day. A brilliant choice for shopping at IKEA. No one would EVER think of going to IKEA on President's Day right? Today's shopping experience reinforced why I only shop at IKEA once every five years.

Minnesota shoppers do not necessarily follow the same rule as the East Coast shoppers. Get there before noon and you will be fine. If it is snowing chances are even better that the stores won't be packed. Not true in Minnesota. Snow and the chance to sleep in until noon on a Monday are not deterrents for IKEA shoppers.

My first clue should have been those 10 minutes my son Jack and I spent circling the parking ramps trying to find a parking spot. Second clue was the long line at the ball room entrance where parents drop their kids for their child-free trek through IKEA. Jack had never been to IKEA and was amazed that all of those parents would expose their kids to all of the germs in the ballroom filled with kids. Good point!

Jack and I had our list and were on a mission. But that didn't stop us from visiting the kitchen displays, trying out the mattresses, laughing at some very interesting lighting options, and imagining the perfect home office set up.

We did fine loading up our flatbed cart with items that can only be found at IKEA on our once-in-every-five-years IKEA shopping experience. We did not run over anyone as we wove our way to the checkout line. UGH, the IKEA checkout lines on President's Day. We were in for a wait as we joined the rest of humanity also in line, and as usual I chose the absolutely slowest line.

Finally after 30 minutes in line we were at the cashier. She rings us up and asks, "So where is Part 2?" "What Part 2?" we ask. "The Part 2 that goes with Part 1 of your desk," she replies. Really?! Part 2...all we can think of is spending another half an hour in line with Part 2.

But wait, we can just run back, find Part 2, and bring it back to her line. No extra waiting required. Great except that Part 2 is incredibly heavy, and we have left our loaded cart back at the checkout line. Jack decides it is a good thing that Mom lifts weights regularly, and he leads me (loaded down with Part 2) back to our checkout line.

Now I completely understand why the lady wearing the Luther College sweatshirt and her daughter who probably attended Luther College were so annoyed by me and Jack and Part 2 butting in line ahead of them to pay. Sorry but we had already waited in line for 30 minutes and were not about to let Miss Luther College weasel her way ahead of us. Let's just say they were not too happy, but we were just following the IKEA line rules.

Jack and I successfully got our load onto the elevator. I somehow managed a perfect 90° backward park into the loading spot (even within the lines) and heaved all of the heavy IKEA boxes into the Sienna. Success!

Idyllic IKEA moment
Halfway home, we remember that all of our items came in multiple colors/wood grains, which we did not really check for. Actually we did not check at all. We throw caution to the wind, hit a Caribou coffee on the way home, and hope for the best.

Jack did end up with a black desk instead of a walnut desk, but he doesn't seem to care. At least Part 1 and Part 2 ended up matching. I'm just happy that I will not have to visit IKEA for another five years!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Red Wine Workout

Drinking a glass of red wine or slogging it out at the gym for an hour-long workout, which would you rather indulge in?

While running on the treadmill at the gym this afternoon a recent study was under debate on a cable news channel—one glass of red wine is equivalent to an hour at the gym. This intrigued me, being a red wine drinker and a runner. I read the ticker at the bottom of the television to try to follow the discussion.

At first glance it sounded like this study meant that if you drank one glass of red wine you would have to hit the gym for an hour to work off those calories and offset any damage to your liver. But no, the study actually found that drinking one glass of red wine was the same as spending an hour working out at the gym. The health benefits of that glass of red were as healthy for you as an hour-long workout.

Great! I like red wine and we all have heard of the health benefits of drinking red wine in moderation. Given that I am much more wiped out after an hour of running, core building exercises, and weight training than I am after enjoying a glass of red wine, I was a bit skeptical.

A quick Google search found the 2012 study by Canada's University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry. Surprisingly the study (in rats of course and not humans) found that "one glass of red wine will improve the same level of physical performance, heart function and muscle strength as one hour sweating it out in the gym." This is all thanks to a natural compound called resveratrol that is found in red wine. Here's the catch, this only works with red wine, not white wine or beer. And one glass of red wine, not three. And I do kind of doubt that it is a "replacement" for your typical session at the gym.

But keep red wine on your short list of health enhancers along with dark chocolate, blueberries, and leafy greens. I'll be enjoying my one glass of red wine while watching the Super Bowl tonight. However I doubt that one glass of vino will offset all of the delicious food that goes along with the traditional Super Bowl indulgence.