Gravity, it’s got a hold of you right now (unless you’re reading this from the space station or some other zero-gravity situation). Anyway, gravity, we’re mostly thankful for the embrace, but decades of gravity will begin to show on our bodies, inside and outside.

Inside those tissues get compressed and we become “stooped with age” (quotes because it’s a phrase from Middle English). So, to counter gravity, one can use gravity to pull in the other direction, get some circulation into the gravity squished tissues, oxygenate.

Really what we need is a safe way to hang upside-down for a time. Voilà. Yoga Trapeze did just that. And you will have to work your way up in how much time you can dangle upside-down, but each minute rejuvenates the posture and lifts the ravages of gravity

Yoga Trapeze helps stave off the visible pull of gravity and levitates to an A.



La Croix sparkling water, luh Qwah, if you want to say it with pomposity. They color-code their flavors, so there’s an orange that’s a lighter orange, tangerine, in color more than flavor, but that’s their thing, subtle with the flavor, quenching thirst without sugar.

And, as a beverage company, La Croix is at least aware of an issue particular to beverages, aware enough to give assurances to consumers that they are being careful in regard to Bisphenol A. One shouldn’t use plastics rated 3 or 7, for the same reason, BPA.

Taking some responsibility, acknowledging a thing is a thing, La Croix Tangerine Flavor makes a B.

BTW, Zooey Deschanel has this crazy idea: reusable water bottles. Cheap plastic for bottled water is another potential source of BPA.


There is a way to sweeten and zest the flavor without tanker trucks full of high-fructose corn syrup. Applesauce makers just have to commit to a better, healthier, way. One applesauce maker is totally on board with good and good for you, which fruit should be.

Wacky Apple actually cares. They use organic sources and they sweeten by blending fruit flavors, mango, for instance. The only disadvantage is that household members may be loathed to share the Wacky Apple once a jar is open and up for grabs in the fridge.

Applesauce done well, Wacky Apple Mango Applesauce shines to an A.


Coffee came first came to the western civilization in the late 1500s, out of Ethiopia, they believe, and its original connoisseurs were so enamored with the brew that there was a sultan who even tried to put the kibosh on coffee because people were enjoying it so much that it was a distraction to the austere existence the sultan preferred. The point is that people have been enjoying coffee for centuries.

Coffee, for centuries. And now we have decaffeinated coffee. Why? Is it because a bunch of whiny wimps want to take the flavor and energy boost out of my coffee? Short answer: yes.

Caffeine is disruptive to natural sleep, increases anxiety and acidifies the body. These are bad things, so maybe we should consider a compromise. In the evenings, perhaps, one can have coffee sans caffeine.

For the health-conscious who still want coffee, an excellent coffee placebo is Tylers Acid Free Organic Coffee; it gets dinged for being pricey and the existential crisis of wanting to be healthier, thus, a B.


AT RISE: An elderly couple, FLORENCE and NORTON, live in a cottage on the edge of wilderness. HE comes in from outside, HIS coat and hat covered with small, white puffballs.

FLORENCE: Is it snowing out there?


FLORENCE: (SHE looks up from knitting.) Those white specks on your hat, those aren’t snow?

NORTON: No. (HE puts his hat on the end table next to HER chair.)

FLORENCE: These little melting flakes, not snow?

NORTON: No. And they aren’t flakes. They’re little snowballs. (HE hangs coat on the coatrack.)

FLORENCE: Snowballs aren’t snow?

NORTON: Graupel.

FLORENCE: (sassily) Gesundheit.

NORTON: (patiently taking HIS easy chair) Graupel.

FLORENCE: You’re telling me it isn’t snowing, it’s graupeling?


FLORENCE: I don’t believe you.

NORTON: Although you may have made up the term graupel’ing, you think I made up the word ‘graupel’?

FLORENCE: You can have graupel without it graupeling?

NORTON: Maybe. You can have little snowballs without it snowing.

FLORENCE: (glancing at HIS hat) Well, whatever they were, they’re gone now, so we can quit talking about it. Right?




Something is up with the dishwasher, the machine. Running it will leave a filmy layer of grit that the heating element of the drying cycle will harden into rock. So, a machine that’s supposed to clean dishes is a debris kiln to make the dishes permanently dirty, permanently unsanitary.

This means dishes in our household must be hand washed, which means we’re doomed. Washing dishes by hand can never get them clean, so says contemporary wisdom. Only the scalding temperatures inside a dishwashing machine will kill enough bacteria to truly clean dishes.

You’d think pestilence lurks in the cupboard of every home without a dishwashing machine. If this was true, there would be thousands of victims, constantly, millions of casualties worldwide, month after month, year after year. Instead, nothing, no dirty-dish plague anywhere.

Or, is it more likely that such hidden-hazard handwringing is a symptom our consumer culture? Such thinking certainly comes from a place of privilege. An energy gobbling, resourced draining, lazy making machine such as a dishwasher is wasteful and completely unnecessary.

Something’s up with the dishwashing person, too, because hand washing dishes isn’t an unpleasant chore, but rather, it’s a daily meditation. The dirty dishes are allegorical to life, symbolizing the daily maintenance of a home. Dirty dishes represent the abundance of preparing meals. And since a sink full of dirty dishes embody how tasks done immediately save work over time.


Hold the (Word) presses! It’s hard to believe this was missed. We withdraw our endorsement of RiverTrail® Foods plantain chips, withdraw, revoke, refute, cancel, de-endorse. The reason for our reversal: palm oil. Right there on the label, palm oil, it’s the bane of biodiversity.

Tropical forests are being burned down for palm oil plantations. This is environmental destruction on an apocalyptic scale. Harrison Ford tried to focus world attention on this problem last year. It’s bad. Not just bad because of monoculture, palm oil is a driver in global climate change.

Palm kernel oil is even more worthy of the term ubiquitous because it’s not just in many food products, it’s also in cosmetics and other things. Some palm oil is grown sustainably, but there’s no way for consumers reading labels to know that, and most is derived from slash-n-burn producers.

The label is confusing in this regard. There is a possibility that the palm oil in these chips is sustainably grown because there isn’t a bullet-point-hyphen between the words “Made with Sustainable” and “Palm Oil”. If they are using palm oil from a plantation that wasn’t once tropical forest, then we retract our retraction, but the stakes are so high that we’re going to err on the side of caution.

For orangutans, the myriad of other plants and animals, including the indigenous people losing their forests, palm oil containing RiverTrail® Foods plantain chips are downgraded to an F.


Let’s set the familiar scene: Bilbo, the burglar-hobbit, and the dwarves are in the elf city Rivendell having dinner. The elves are sophisticated. The dwarves have less cosmopolitan tastes, so when salad comes around, after being urged to try it, Ori says, “I don’t like green food.”

You know what they didn’t have in Ori’s medieval fantasy world? Refrigeration. We do. So, romaine lettuce that grew in California, let’s say, can appear in the grocery store in middle America just days later, and fresh and crisp because romaine tolerates heat better.

And not just salad. Romaine lettuce is a good stand-in for chips, so what whatever dip you like, fashion a scoop with a piece of romaine. You’ll thank us later. Also, chicken salad, tuna salad, wrap them in romaine instead of bread and perhaps you’ll declare: I like green food.

Certainly, try to avoid the chemical mischief of some growers by buying organic, perhaps even locally sourced from the farmer’s market. Romain lettuce, the green food (ignoring Ori), gets an A.



Potato chips are so passé. Really, either invented in England as a variant of French fries in the early 1800s, or invented in 1853 by George Crum (a much better story, ethnic protagonist, hot summer, demanding customer, impromptu recipe), a chef in upstate New York, but whatever the origin, the potato chip has had its place in the pantheon of recreational foods long enough.

Plantain chips are the new thing. They have flavor, plantain with a very subtle saltiness. They have texture, crunchiness with some real body to it. And plantain chips don’t get oily, either, as do our little potato friends. Whose plantain chips? To steal a line from a favorite movie: “This ain’t rocket surgery.” One step above bulk foods, RiverTrail® Foods, no superfluous packaging, deliver.

Put them in a see-through bag, see what you’re getting, practical marketing at its best. RiverTrail® Foods Plantain Chips get an A. Or, you can upscale.


Hopefully by now one doesn’t sound like an elitist twit when talking about carbonated water. It’s actually an effective way to quickly rehydrate, physiologically speaking.

And hopefully with that plug about sparkling water being a good way to hydrate, sans sugar especially, we won’t sound too effete as we discuss flavor. A brand name with the French tendency to trip you up with the pronunciation doesn’t help in this regard. Thanks, La Croix.

With flavors by color-code, lime is appropriately green. And that sizzle of effervescence is delightful, but then middle notes of bitter before the refreshing finish. La Croix Lime Flavor gets a B.

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