On 4/24/2012, when Mitt Romney won the primary victory within his party, he told Americans to “hold on a little longer” as he imagined himself soon-to-be president of the United States.
He accused the President of “false promises and weak leadership.” He looked and acted like he was going to have a sure win, as if the next sensible thing for him to do were to pack up and move.
On 12/24, eight months later, his son Tag Romney said Mitt Romney didn’t really want to win in the first place. “He wanted to be president less than anyone I’ve met in my life,” Tagg Romney told the Boston Globe. “If he could have found someone else to take his place . . . he would have been ecstatic to step aside.”
Nothing is more absurd than this claim as I remember clearly how hard he had fought during the primary. If it were true, Mitt Romney makes a fool of millions of his supporters and the rest of his republican primary opponents. I bet Newt would like to slap his face or punch out his nose.
I guess it is another classic case of sour grape.
I would not let the first month of the new year runs out without posting this one. The main ideas of the greeting include:
Do whatever good you can, depending on your ability;
Do more charity if you have money, do household work if you don’t;
We may not be corret all the time, but try to avoid being silly. Absolutely do no evil.
Life has its limitation. Enjoy your life within these limitations.
On 1/16/2013, I told my mother the news that my article had been accepted by a professional journal called THE MONITOR. Needless to say, she was very glad for me. She introduced to me Zhou Youguang, the father of pinyin. I think she wants me to write as long as I live, and of course live as long as Zhou You-guang, the 108-year-old writer.
I wrote to my son about this. He wrote back “Congratulations mom!! That is great news. I’m very proud of you :).” These words make me proud of myself.
Last Saturday, while my daughter was in Manhattan, I went out doing some grocery shopping. The weather was so warm inside the car that I felt like some time in June or near summer days, which once again brought to my mind memories that I hold dearly about summer, either driving my children to summer school or myself in a relaxing mood. Oh well, another illusion.
While I was searching for a plant that I just bought, I thought of going to facebook, where, for the first time, I went to a friend of mine just to take a peep at his latest career development.
To my surprise, his facebook site consists nearly all pictures of his sons, mainly the elder one who seems to be the source of great pride to his father. In fact, I did not see anything about his career.
I thought of the facebook sites of some of my colleagues here, which display the pictures of their children. Maybe this is what facebook is supposed to be. Or maybe at our age we don’t have anything to display other than the pictures of our beautiful daughters and handsome sons. Or maybe…
I don’t know why. I just think it interesting.
Here are more of simple math of weight loss from yesterday’s article.
Start with this number: 3,500. That’s how many calories are stored in a pound of body fat. With that number you can tally up how much weight you can lose through activity, cutting calories, or both.
1. Walking or jogging uses roughly 100 calories per mile. So you’d lose a pound for every 35 miles you walk — provided you keep food intake and other activities constant.
2. If you walk briskly (at a pace of 4 miles per hour) for 30 minutes on five out of seven days, you’ll log 10 miles a week. That means it would take three-and-a-half weeks to lose one pound if the number of calories you consume stays the same.
3. If you alter your diet and cut back by 250 calories a day (½ cup of ice cream or two sugar-sweetened sodas), you’d lose a pound in two weeks.
4. By eating 250 fewer calories and walking for 30 minutes a day, it would take just over a week to lose one pound. Reducing calorie intake even more and exercising more would further speed the process.
On 1/13/2013, I read this piece from Harvard Medical School newsletter, “Simple math equals easy weight loss.” Below are the interesting facts.
A few minutes of pleasure from eating a candy bar need:
Nearly 3/4 of an hour to burn off the calories of a candy bar.
To lose 1 pound by exercising, you need to burn approximately 3,500 calories. It can take a few days of moderate exercise to do this.
A strategy for weight loss always involves a two-pronged approach:
(1) exercising and
(2) cutting calories
To be continued…
On the weekend of 1/12/13, a friend of mine called about the elective courses for her son’s first year of middle school.
Since they only have two electives and there are many courses that the children are interested in taking, parents are often at loss what to choose.
Some courses are year-long one, which means you have to take it for both fall and spring semesters, like orchestra and foreign language. With a foreign language, you won’t learn much if you just spend a year or two on it. If the children take these orchestra and foreign language, they will not be able to take anything else. This is what I asked my daughter to do when she started middle school.
My original intention was to have her on both of them throughout high school years. If she could take six years of French, she would be able to master the basics and would be trilingual by the time she applied for college. Of course, with music, as I had seen its benefit on my son, so I wanted her to keep it till she leaves for college, its positive impact would be lifetime long.
The only problem here is this is a parent’s plan. A parent’s plan can never succeed without children’s cooperation and implemention. My daughter gave up music when she entered high school and quit French by her second part of junior year.
Here’s the result:
(1) she did not learned as much as she should;
(2) She wasted time;
(3) She could have taken some electives to exploit and broaden her interest in other areas;
(4) Because she didn’t do well in French, her French grade hit the lowest bottom and hurt her other area, too;
(5) It turned out parent is responsible for all this.
When I look back, I think my daughter might be better off taking whatever class she was interested in at that time.
Children are different and have to be dealt with different parenting style. It is a much bigger challenge to the parents if the children are headstrong. In making any plan for the children, a parent has to take into consideration the child’s maturity and responsibility.
P.S. my daughter is going to Manhattan with her school at noon today. This will be her last visit to Manhattan for competition since this is her senior year. Wish her good luck there.
Last weekend, a friend of mine called. Of course, we talked a lot about the next generation. I told her that the next generation would certainly do better than us since they have a much better opportunity than us.
“It might not be the case,” my friend claimed. “They might make more money or live more comfortably than us, but I doubt if they would enjoy a higher social prestige than us.” She is a medical doctor at KUMC.
In a way, I agree with her, especially when I look at our generation, my two sisters and I. I must say none of us has got even closer to the position that our father once held, let alone any prestige at all, even though we make a lot more money than our parents.
That left me a little bit sad when I think of it, as I believe my father would like to see us surpassing him. Then again, I certainly wish my children will enjoy much much higher social status than mine.
Last Saturday morning I took my daughter and her friend to James Academy for this year’s Science Olympia competition. Her friend’s family could take them, but I volunteered to drive them there.
My daughter has been going there for many years, more than I can remember. I have driven her there all the time except the year 2010 when I was in China. I realized this would be her last time to go there since this is her last year of high school.
My daughter and her friend were chatting and joking on the way there. She certainly wasn’t aware that this would be her last trip there.
(23) Philanthropy. Teach the child the importance of engaging in philanthropy work and develop in her the habit of giving as a social activity. Set an example for the child by volunteering time into charity work
(24) Focus on the present. While the past is gone and the future is not here yet, present is all we have right now. Only by focusing on the present can we not only fully enjoy life but also have a better chance of a future in which we are less tortured by regrets for having wasted time.
(25) Enjoy life. While we work hard to prepare for the future, don’t forget to enjoy what life has to offer now.
(26) Seek a goal in life. Have a goal and work toward it, be it in career or in health or in family.
(27) Learn how to develop and maintain an intimate relationship. Learn to resolve conflicts by open communications, understanding, and compromising.
(a) Teach the child to live within his means instead of living on borrowed money;
(b) put aside a little of the income into a saving account;
(c) plan well for any big purchase, e.g. if a child wants to buy an expensive item, teach him to set a saving goal, say $10 per week, and wait till he has saved enough for the purchase.
(17) Learn to budget.
(18) Expense. Teach your child how to pay bill.
(a) Before making a purchase, always compare at least two stores the quality and price of the goods;
(b) Avoid waste of any forms;
(c) Avoid impulsive shopping;
(d) Eat home cooked meals whenever possible
(e) Avoid shopping sprees, especially during holiday season
(21) Debts. Teach your child the responsibility of a loan, how to avoid getting into unnecessary debts or getting deeply in debts. Learn how to use credit card.
(9) A kind heart which is filled with good wishes for others, with which you are ready to extend your helping hand to the needed.
(10) Listening and understand what others are saying and how others feel.
(11) Communication. Good oral and written communication skills are very essential to a child’s success. Schools are not designed to help students develop strong communication skills. Hence, you should help your child to develop this skill at home.
(14) Clean and orderliness. The child should learn to keep his room clean and in good order. Carry out a weekly or monthly cleaning.
(15) Organizing. Teach the child to be organized, put things back to where they belong after the child uses it, and establish a proper procedure in completing a task.
(4) Motivation, the start of everything. Nobody can push you forward all the time. Your self-motivation is the ultimate push and energe to your goal.
(5) Efficiency. Learn to manage your time. If it must be done, do it without procrastination. Don’t always wait till last moment.
(6) Passion. Find out what you are interested in and good at, and want to spend as much time on it as you are allowed. Go for your passion at full speed.
(7) Cooperation. Learn to work with others and aim at a win-win result. Make friends in competition.
(8) Empathy. Learn to see situation from other’s perspective, to put yourself in other’s position so that you will be able to gain a better understanding of others.
I might not go into great detail on each of them, as I myself have not learned all of them yet. To be sure, it is hard for the children to learn them all, especially if the parents cannot claim to have done them all.
(1) Critical thinking ability. This is not something you learn at school, which confirmity is the norm and you are not encourage to challenge authority. Both teachers and employers like obedient students and employees. But if you don’t want your child to become someone who only know how to follow the rules and obey authority, you need to teach the child this crucial skill — critical
(2) Read to develop the ability to make associations, to determine the reliability of the information presented by the author, or decide if the conclusion is logic and truthful, and finally engage in dialogue or debate with the author.
(3) Stay positive. Especially in time of setbacks or hardship or facing obstacles, instead of complaining, actively seeking solutions, maintain self-confidence and do everything to keep at bay negative thoughts.
A friend of mine sent me the above on 1/4/2013. I am sure I have read something similar to that effect, but good things always worth repeated attention.
Here’s the list in English:
(1) critical thinking ability
(2) reading comprehension
(21) debt or loan
(24) seek the moment
(25) enjoy life
(26) have a goal
(27) develop intimate relationship
On 1/4/2013, I took a narcissistic test. Here’s the result.
My total: 14. Just an average person.
Average person scores between 12 and 15
Celebrities often score closer to 18.
Narcissists score over 20.
My narcissistic trait scores are:
Interesting! Obviously, my highest score is sense of superiority and lowest is vanity. Here’s brief interpretation of each narcissism trait and what my score relative to that trait may indicate about me.
Authority–Authority refers to a person’s leadership skills and power. People who score higher on authority like to be in charge and gain power, often for power’s sake alone.
Self-Sufficiency–This trait refers to how self-sufficient a person is, that is, how much you rely on others versus your own abilities to meet your needs in life.
Superiority–This trait refers to whether a person feels they are more superior than those around them. You scored particularly high in superiority, suggesting you feel you are superior to most others.
Exhibitionism–This trait refers to a person’s need to be the center of attention, and willingness to ensure they are the center of attention (even at the expense of others’ needs).
Exploitativeness–This trait refers to how willing you are to exploit others in order to meet your own needs or goals.
Vanity–This trait refers to a person’s vanity, or their belief in one’s own superior abilities and attractiveness compared to others.
Entitlement–This trait refers to the expectation and amount of entitlement a person has in their lives, that is, unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with one’s expectations. People who score higher on this trait generally have a greater expectation of entitlement, while those who score lower expect little from others or life.
Here are some of the observations at work. One young colleague, when the work seems overwhelmed, gets rude to others, freaking out easily and giving a leave-me-alone look to everyone around; when things slow down, that person fools away her time, engaging in endless social networking.
What’s wrong with this type of behavior? Number one, she cannot handle stress well. Number two, she is not a self-starter in that she doesn’t know how to make use of time to enrich herself when she is not busy.
Another one that I know, in her mid-20s, would not do anything when she is upset with something either at work or with a significant other. She says she is not in the mood to do anything.
When we come to the office everyday, we are supposed to leave behind any personal dramas and do what we are paid for. Other colleagues talk about this person. I won’t be surprised if she is told to leave the company.
Conscientiousness and diligence at your work are the reasonable expectation at all workplace. I wrote down my observations so that my children will know where I come from.
This is the third and also the last part of the same article on this topic.
“To explain those outsized brains, evolutionary scientists have pointed to such occurrences as meat eating and, perhaps most determinatively, our early ancestors’ need for social interaction.
Early humans had to plan and execute hunts as a group, which required complicated thinking patterns and, it’s been thought, rewarded the social and brainy with evolutionary success. According to that hypothesis, the evolution of the brain was driven by the need to think.
But now some scientists are suggesting that physical activity also played a critical role in making our brains larger.
To reach that conclusion, anthropologists began by looking at existing data about brain size and endurance capacity in a variety of mammals, including dogs, guinea pigs, foxes, mice, wolves, rats,
civet cats, antelope, mongeese, goats, sheep and elands. They found a notable pattern. Species like dogs and rats that had a high innate endurance capacity, which presumably had evolved over
millenniums, also had large brain volumes relative to their body size.”
To conclude, Dr. Lieberman says “I fundamentally agree that there is a deep evolutionary basis for the relationship between a healthy body and a healthy mind,” a relationship that makes the term “jogging your memory” more literal than most of us might have expected.
I like this article so much that I have to indulge myself by sharing more of it here.
“Endurance produced meals, which provided energy for mating, which meant that adept early joggers passed along their genes. In this way, natural selection drove early humans to become even more athletic, Dr. Lieberman and other scientists have written, their bodies developing longer legs, shorter toes, less hair and complicated inner-ear mechanisms to maintain balance and stability during upright ambulation. Movement shaped the human body.
But simultaneously, in a development that until recently many scientists viewed as unrelated, humans were becoming smarter. Their brains were increasing rapidly in size.
Today, humans have a brain that is about three times larger than would be expected, anthropologists say, given our species’ body size in comparison with that of other mammals.
To be continued…
I read this piece toward the end of last year — “Exercise and the Ever-Smarter Human Brain” by GRETCHEN REYNOLDS, 12/26/2012. Though it is not something new, I still want to share it here.
The article talks about an emerging scientific view of human evolution, which suggests that “we are clever today in part because a million years ago, we could outrun and outwalk most other mammals over long distances. Our brains were shaped and sharpened by movement, the idea goes, and we continue to require regular physical activity in order for our brains to function optimally.”
In 2004, the evolutionary biologists Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard and Dennis M. Bramble of the University of Utah published a seminal article in the journal Nature titled “Endurance Running and the Evolution of Homo,” in which they posited that our bipedal ancestors survived by becoming
endurance athletes, able to bring down swifter prey through sheer doggedness, jogging and plodding along behind them until the animals dropped.
To be continued…
Saturated fats and trans fats. Easy to remember and to avoid.
We should try to stay away from them, as we are told by the experts on cholesterol control.
Saturated fats.The saturated fats found in red meat, milk and other dairy foods, and coconut and palm oils directly boost LDL. So one way to lower your LDL is to cut back on saturated fat. Try substituting extra-lean ground beef for regular; low-fat or skim milk for whole milk; olive oil or a vegetable-oil margarine for butter; baked fish or chicken for fried.
Trans fats.Trans fats are a byproduct of the chemical reaction that turns liquid vegetable oil into solid margarine or shortening and that prevents liquid vegetable oils from turning rancid. Trans fats boost LDL as much as saturated fats do. They also lower protective HDL, rev up inflammation, and increase the tendency for blood clots to form inside blood vessels. Although trans fats were once ubiquitous in prepared foods, many companies now use trans-free alternatives. Some restaurants and fast-food chains have yet to make the switch.
I read this during the last week of last year. I thought I had read it before but it doesn’t hurt to re-read it at the beginning of the year just to start the year right with a healthy eating habit.
1. Oats. Choose either oatmeal or a cold oat-based cereal like Cheerios for breakfast. It gives you 1 to 2 grams of soluble fiber. Add some fruit for more fiber.
2. Beans. Especially rich in soluble fiber. They also take a while for the body to digest, which means you feel full for longer after a meal. That’s one reason beans are a useful food for folks with weight problem. Beans are a very versatile food.
3. Nuts. Tons of studies show that eating almonds, walnuts, peanuts, and other nuts is good for the heart. Eating 2 ounces of nuts a day can slightly lower LDL, on the order of 5%. Nuts have additional nutrients that protect the heart in other ways.
4. Foods fortified with sterols and stanols. Sterols and stanols extracted from plants gum up the body’s ability to absorb cholesterol from food. Companies are adding them to foods ranging from margarine and granola bars to orange juice and chocolate. They’re also available as supplements. Getting 2 grams of plant sterols or stanols a day can lower LDL cholesterol by about 10%.
5. Fatty fish. Eating fish two or three times a week can lower LDL in two ways: by replacing meat, which has LDL-boosting saturated fats, and by delivering LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Omega-3s reduce triglycerides in the bloodstream and also protect the heart by helping prevent the onset of abnormal heart rhythms.
I read an interesting article on 12/27/2012 –“Why Latin Americans top the happiness rankings” by Rich Basas.
A global index on happiness shows several Latin American countries topping the list. The report cites centrality of family as a key reason. Experts offered many explanations for the results.
(1) The ability of Latin Americans to look beyond immediate problems and live life day-by-day, despite what is going on externally.
(2) Constant problems make people adapt and live positively.
(3) One explanation points to the cultural aspects that teach Latin Americans to keep a positive face on things, even if there are personal problems.
I would go with the explanation that centrality of family is the key reason for their high level of happiness. We know Hispanic culture is very much family-centered one, which must be a healthy contributor.
The interesting part is very often people associate happiness with the amount of wealth they possess. Obviously it is not so with Latin Americans.
Before the first month of the new year rolls out, here’s one new year resolution.
Publish two articles on professional journals
Keep contributing to the three existing sites
Keep searching for more opportunities
(2) Learn something new
Learn to sing 6 new songs and 12 new poems
I am learning German, so keep doing it
Start a new project, don’t have an idea yet
(3) Health: exercise daily; keep eating healthy food.
(4) No computer for one day in a week, either Saturday or Sunday, except using it for writing. Instead, spend time reading and exercise.
(5) House cleaning once a week.
(6) Get involved in at least one volunteer organization.
Print and hang it up in a visible place. Do a monthly review.
Well, it may look more like a to-do list than a resolution. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. What matters is the will and the determination to complete these tasks.
The U.S. government passed some measure that bans some Russian officials from entering the U.S. or putting their money in American banks. The measure by the the U.S. was intended to “expose Russian officials who are alleged to have been involved in a massive tax fraud and the death of a Russian lawyer who … uncovered that crime.”
The Russian leaders were so upset that its parliament passed on 12/26/2012 a legislation banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans. Even more ridiculous is Russian President Vladimir Putin said on 12/27/2012 that he was going to sign on this legislation.
I was upset when I read this as I was expecting Putin to welcome this move as it will help digging out corruptions among Russian officials. Morever, the real victims of this Russia’s ban are the orphans, who, like thousands of Chinese orphans, might have a better life after the adoption. Indeed, a sad day for these children.
As a reaction to the Newtown shootings, we have seen it from both President Obama and the head of NRA, Wayne LaPierre.
While the president is determined to take some meaningful actions following the mass killing, NRA head said Congress should “act immediately” to put armed police in US schools, making it more like barrack than campus.
The matter involves both the powerful NRA who is determined to make a profit from Newtown tragedy and the most absurd gun obssession rooted in the culture.
An opinion poll by Gallup shows a majority of Americans – 53% – stands by NRA’s response to the shootings, as opposed to 43% supporting a ban on assault rifles.
The president will have a very steep road ahead over any gun control initiative. On this matter, I am not optimistic, unless there are more similar events happening to some key figures. See what made Ronald Reagan change his mind.
I read this article on 12/27/2012, “Parents: are you part of the bullying problem? Take this quiz” by Dr. Claire McCarthy. The author reports that at least one in ten middle school students reports being bullied, which is more than I have thought before.
Very often, the hurt and the damage to the kids will put them at the “a higher risk of mental and physical problems long after the bullying has ended.” Here are some of the questions the author asks in the article.
Are you part of the problem? Answer these questions:
(1) When you want your child to do or stop doing something, do you every use phrases like “don’t act like a sissy” or “you throw like a girl!” or ‘you’re getting fat”?
(2) Is “tough love” part of how you parent?
(3) Do you spend limited time talking to or being with your child?
(4) Have you ever wondered if your child might be bullied–and not said or done anything?
(5) Have you ever wondered if your child might be bullying someone–and not said or done anything?
(6) Do you praise your child for being aggressive?
(7) Would you be proud of your child for being successful and popular–even if you suspected he or she might be bullying people?
(8) Do you ever talk about other people in a demeaning way in front of your children?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, you may indeed be part of the problem. It’s time to take a long, hard look at yourself and your parenting, and make some changes.
A few more questions:
(9) Do you know the signs that a child might be a victim of bullying?
(10) Do you know the signs that a child might be a bully?
(11) Have you talked to your child about cyberbullying–and about what they do online?
(12) Do you regularly tell and show your child that you love them no matter what?
If you answered no to any of those, it’s time to start learning, talking, thinking and feeling.
After I checked with some people, I have learned that top New Year Resolutions include the following.
(1) Healthy lifestyle–exercise and healthy food
(2) Give up bad habit like smoking or drinking
(3) Learn something new
(4) Spend more time with the family
(5) Manage finance
(6) Get organized
(7) Control temper
(8) No more procrastination
My advice to my children:
(1) Never start a new year without setting goals and new standards.
(2) Never give yourself up to cynicism. Nib it in the bud when doubt and cynicism steal in.
(3) Firmly believe that it can be done.
(4) Be realistic in your resolution.
(5) Come back to your resolution at least once a month throughout the year.
(6) Reward yourself for keeping up with it. Otherwise, double your effort in implementing it.
One last thing on this: it is okay to recycle your resolution in its large picture but make sure to add some unique specifics.
Most people have their guilty pleasures, that is, something they enjoy though they know they shouldn’t do that much, like spending a great deal of time aimlessly browsing the internet or on internet game.
Very often they end up not only wasting time but also postponing doing what they should do.
I have found myself spending a large chunk of time digesting daily news, current events and writing on at least three sites as if it were my day job. Meanwhile, I know I need to spend more time on researching and writing on my job related field.
Very often I find it boring to do what I should do, at least not as interesting as following our guilty pleasures.
In this new year of 2013, I am going to limit my indulgence to certain time of the day. At least I need to complete the should-be-done first before allowing my mind to wander astray.
One healthy practice that I will follow during the new year is to cut down the intake of salt and sugar. I am actually following the advice given in Harvard Medical School newsletter.
“Your body needs less than one gram of sodium a day. That’s under half a teaspoon of table salt. But if you are like most Americans, you consume up to four times that amount. The result? Increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
As for added sugar, most of us consume more than twice the recommended daily amount, increasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, and even depression.”
The last one is a bit surprise, as I used to think sugar lifts people up spiritually. Maybe not so.
Happy new calendar year, the first day of the year 2013!
Even though I tend to get into reflective mood, thinking of so many similar dates that I had in the past, I am determined to enjoy this new day, to start the day right and make it a good beginning for the rest of the year.
I know it is not going to be an easy year for me as my daughter is getting ready to leave for college. I know I still have a great deal to do to get her ready for her life away from home.
I know I have my own new year plan to follow. I know there are many things that demand my time and attention.
Therefore, enjoy the first day and get ready for the many days ahead.