Mar 29

Dear Readers,

Perhaps you’ve heard of a little fruit called the acai berry, a fruity wonder from the Amazon bursting with antioxidants—-substances that neutralize the free radicals responsible for illness and aging—-such as anthocyanins and flavonoids. The acai berry has been touted as a superfruit that can help you lose weight, improve your immunity (especially valuable if you’ve recently committed a crime), improve the quality of your sleep, and even do your laundry and clean your house!

The problem with acai, besides its problematic pronunciation*, is that with increased publicity this innocent berry, who once ran in quiet social circles with its relatives the raspberry and blueberry, has now joined the ranks of hardcore rockers like wheatgrass and garlic as an alluring superfood in the hot and heavy world of nutrition. And we all know what happens to hot items once they’ve caught the eye of the industry—-they’re exploited for financial gain.

*It’s pronounced “a sigh'”

And that’s why I’m here, Readers. I know that fancy packaging and smart marketing can leave your head spinning as you strive to distinguish among acai juices, powders, and capsules. I am much smarter than your average individual,** yet even I got swept up in the acai berry phenomenon and ended up buying acai smoothies, acai energy drinks, acai-infused chocolate bars, and even purchased a house made entirely out of acai berries. Having done my research (acai berry as a health food = good; acai berry as a durable building material = poor), I’d like to extend my support as you navigate the nutrition aisle on your next jaunt to Whole Foods. Here are my suggestions. You can take them, and if you do, you’ll be the first.

**I’ve never taken an IQ test, but I just have this gut feeling that I’m smarter than you are.

If You Want Acai, Make Sure You’re Getting Acai
If you don’t have time for a daily jaunt to the Amazon for fresh berries, you can buy acai berry pulp. You can also buy the juice. Sambazon has a tasty one sweetened with agave. Watch out for wanna-be juices that have jumped on the acai bandwagon but are actually packed with sugar and/or juice concentrates from other, less nutrient-rich fruits. One example is MonaVie acai juice, which gets called onto the carpet on this website for diluting the acai berry’s power with an amalgamation of other fruit juices. So make good friends with ingredient lists to ensure you’re getting what you want.

If Something Seems Too Good to Be True, Buy Lots Of It!
Or… probably is too good to be true. According to this website, “most of the drinks made from Acai berry for commercial exploitation, are reconstituted from Acai concentrate, thereby destroying much of the inherent beneficial nature of the berry due to pasteurization and the manufacturing processes the ingredients go through.” The authors also suggest that there may be fewer micrograms of anthocyanins—-the active ingredient in acai juices—-in an entire bottle of a typical commercialized acai juice than in 20 or 30 grapes.

Keep your Friends Close, and your Acai Berries even Closer
If you go the acai berry supplement route, buy a certified organic freeze-dried supplement. The freeze-drying process bypasses the need for pasteurization and the addition of preservatives, which are some of the downfalls of the juice. And buy your supplements directly from a local health food store, rather than the several thousand websites offering you a “free trial” with a “money-back guarantee.” According to this blogger, an investigation found that these websites may be more interested in your credit card than in either ensuring your weight loss or providing you with a high-quality product.

Finally, Readers, as you meditate on your newfound knowledge of the acai berry and consider whether it’d be a worthwhile addition to your household (but not your house), allow me to offer you this exclusive sneak peak at the new Troi-Berry (shown below), which was recently discovered near the planet of Qo’noS, home of the Klingons, and is currently being transported to Earth. As it is a relatively new find among humans, it is currently unknown whether the Troi-Berry has any health benefits, but it is known to be incredibly good-looking.

–Troi out

Mar 27

Yo My Homies,

Do you find yourself fiddling with the radio dial, searching for a song whose lyrics are composed of words found in a standard Merriam-Webster Dictionary? Do you find yourself humming, “Damn, you’re a sexy [chick]” yet you’re not sure to whom you’re actually referring? Are you wanting to stay culturally relevant so that you can interact with younger generations without having to type their every phrase into Are you white?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, you may be becoming culturally irrelevent. But don’t hate!* I recommend that you reverse your impending irrelevance by enlisting in my crash course designed to shed light on the linguistically complex nature of today’s rap and hip hop industry, entitled Bringing A Linguistic Light to Existing Rap Songs (BALLERS) 101.

*Never fear!

This introductory course has been created so that my Homies can benefit from my insightful and sightly insight into lyrics that a less educated Homie (such as a Homie who has not yet taken my BALLERS 101 course) might mistake as unsightly.

Strangely, my valuable course has not been picked up by any of the nearby universities, local community colleges, or even clown school, so BALLERS 101 is currently a home study course. I hope my Homies feel at home accessing and reviewing the course material—-presented in a Question and Answer format—-directly from my blog post.

Question: What does “Drop It Like It’s Hot” mean?

Answer: “Drop It Like It’s Hot” is actually a direct reference to me that dates back to December 2009 when I was trying to take a fresh batch of prepackaged cookie dough homemade cookies out of the oven. Being a stranger to my own oven and having only been in my own kitchen twice, I neglected to use oven mitts when removing the cookie sheet from the oven. I dropped it like it’s hot. Because it was.

Question: What does “Let Me See Your Thong Thong Thong Thong Thong” mean?

Answer: As we all know, a thong is a simple type of footwear, more commonly referred to as a flip-flop or a sandal. Many people who hear this lyric have mistakenly assumed that the artist is requesting to see five separate thongs, which for those less mathematically-inclined Homies, would be two pairs of matching thongs, plus a fifth thong whose match has been misplaced. However, as a speech pathologist I can assure you that in fact the artist was experiencing dysfluent speech—-also known as stuttering—-and meant only to say the word “thong” twice, indicating that he wanted to see his girlfriend’s new pair of sandals.

Question: What is a “shorty”?

Answer: A “shorty” is a person who is not tall. There are many reasons one might be a shorty, such as genetics or scoliosis (I was supposed to be a lanky 5’5″ but due to a curved spine my growth was stunted at a wee 5′ 4 3/4″, surely the reason I am still single today as I simply cannot compete with all of those statuesque 5’5″ women who have 1/4″ on me). Another probable etiology of shorty-ness is inadequate calcium intake, which I figured out from all of those informative “Got Milk?” posterboards featuring tall supermodels like Heidi Klum. When referring in their lyrics to people who are short, rap and hip hop artists would have preferred to use a more politically-correct designation. However, they settled on “shorty” because they couldn’t find any words that rhymed with “diminuitive in stature.”

Question: What is a “Baller”?

Answer: The term “Baller” is actually a misspelling of the word “Bawler.” A “Bawler” is an empathetic gentleman so attuned to the emotional needs of those around him that he is sometimes known to shed a tear or two. Those of you who are familiar with Li’l Troy’s song, “Wanna be a Baller [Bawler]” may not have known that his lyrics are expressing his desire to become more in touch with his emotional core.

I hope that having completed my home study course, my Homies feel equipped with a foundational knowledge of some of the most pervasive vocabulary and phrasology of today’s rap and hip hop music.

–Troi out

Mar 24

Dear Readers,

I know what you’re all thinking, “Troi stole that catchy slogan from pork! She needs to give it back to the pigs or at least give the pigs their piece of the mud pie before spilling the pork & beans on her highly-popular* website!”

*not popular at all

And it’s true, if you’re going to eat meat—-which I do, despite volunteering at the Vegetarian Festival every year [under the guise of a vegetarian for fear of my life in the midst of all of those overzealous and underfed vegans]—-the powers that be of the pork industry will assure you that ol’ Porky is a desirable white…ish alternative to chicken and turkey, despite what you learned from the USDA meat classification system that it’s actually a red meat.

While you struggle to reconcile the white vs. red debate with your background in animal racial tensions, the origins of which date back to the monumental Supreme Court legislation “My Poodle vs. Your Black Labrador,” I have already forgotten the checkered history of pork, beef, chicken, and turkey, and moved on to Lamb: The Other White* Meat.

*At least it was, back when Mary was taking care of it and its fleece was white as snow.

“I’m rich in iron!”

I took up the hobby of eating lambs fairly recently, after eating my very first lamburger at the nearby haunt Mint, which boasts the best lamburger this side of Mary and her little lamb. I was quite taken with the lamburger, as its iron-rich content (up to 12% of the recommended daily intake for women) was alluring to an iron-deficient anemic such as myself, particulary one who so vehemently boycotts the beef industry* and needs to find alternative sources of iron.

*You should too. Here’s why.

In his book In Defense of Food, author Michael Pollan recommends on the cover that we should “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants” and in following his advice I am careful to temper my consumption of lamb with iron-rich vegetables such as spinach and collard greens, and flavor my desserts with raw cacao and molasses, both of which are also good sources of iron.

But occasionally you just need a lamb. And not in the way that Mary did.

–Troi out

Mar 14

Dear Readers,

It seems they’re everywhere these days, staking out your nearby Safeway when you try to pick up your prescription; haunting your local Fred Meyer when you’re just there to buy a few groceries. Sure, one of them may look innocent, but behind those wide eyes and toothless grin there stands a greedy tycoon peddling a subpar product to the highest bidder. And then they utter those 9 words to get you hooked:

“Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?”

And I know their tactics well. I used to be a member of their cult. I wore the same gang apparel—-aka girl scout uniform—; I sold those same cookies. (Not the same cookies; those have since been eaten. But I think you get my drift.) I menaced innocent store customers with my metal-mouthed grin and then-natural-blond pigtails, and I watched them melt in fear and resign themselves to their cookie-purchasing fate. And even after I underwent girl scout rehab and left the cookie cult behind for good, I dreamed uneasily for years of tagalongs and thin mints and I would wake up in a cold sweat screaming, “Samoas! Samoas!”

It appears since then things have gone from bad to worse. The box that once cost $2.50 now sells for $4.00, while the size of the box has shrunk and now houses two cookies, max. The savvy scouts intercept you at all major store entrances, so that to avoid them is to make your approach by way of the roof, slipping in through a loose ceiling panel, and free-falling into aisle three where they stock the ankle wraps and bandages, which I needed after my elaborate entrance. My attempts to lobby for a more informative sales pitch, such as “Would you like to buy some high-fat, chemically-processed cookies for the same price that would allow a homeless child to eat for a week?” have been unilaterally unsuccessful, and my class, “Kill the Cookies 101” received an inexplicable 0% attendance rate. And even my documentary set to blow the lid off the cookie jar, called “Cookies, Inc,” went straight to DVD when a similarly-entitled movie was released at the same time. (Although I’m still glad I exported the film from my computer’s iMovie onto that DVD–in case my Readers want an advance copy.)

I’ve taken some conservative measures to freeze out the girl scout cookies (that’s freeze out, Readers, not freeze, although thin mints taste delicious right out of the freezer, especially when paired with a tall glass of whole milk and an echocardiogram), and you’re welcome to incorporate my reasonable tactics into your own life as you see fit. These measures I’ve taken simply involve the elimination of all situations that might present an opportunity to buy cookies. For example, in my daily work life I’ve stopped working with students who are also girl scouts. At the grocery store, I wear a giant cardboard sign around my neck that says, “I DON’T BELIEVE IN COOKIES,” which exempts me from interrogation in all cases except for those pesky young scouts who haven’t yet learned to read. (But they can read facial expressions, so in those cases I pair my sign with a scowl.)

Stand strong, Readers, and remember to comment for your chance to win your very own copy of “Cookies, Inc,” the award-winning* film by Troi.

*I awarded myself with a box of girl scout cookies after filming it.

–Troi out

Mar 7

Dear Readers,

Last year I attended the Third Annual AA Soiree. That’s right, this Academy Awards party is the hottest of the year! Located in one of the hottest venues in one of the most popular star-studded cities, it boasts expensive catering, a red carpet walk, and competition with esteemed peers for an extravagant prize. So as I entered my friends’ house in Hillsboro and walked over the red construction paper on the floor, waiting for the WinCo lasagna to come out of the oven, I knew that this was my night to shine. I was up for the most sought-after award of the night: The cheap plastic Dollar Tree trophy painted metallic gold (except where the paint had rubbed off).

How was I to win this elusive prize? By picking the night’s winners from the list of nominees. It’s hardly worth mentioning, but the prior two years I’d been thwarted by an unpleasant sort of competitor; the sort who picks more winners than you do and then rubs his cheap plastic gold-painted trophy in your face (getting gold paint on you in the process). You know the type. But last year there was to be no such competitor, for I had shipped him off to Chicago prior to the awards show. (You can come back now, Carlos, the show is over.) I was going to get mine.

It had been an immensely busy year, and I must admit that before last year’s awards show, I had not done my research. I hadn’t watched a single nominated movie, heard a single nominated song, or read a single original screenplay. And yet, the titles spoke for themselves; there was really no need to see the movies. The nominated films included Slumdog Millionnaire, which was obviously about former President George W. Bush, and Milk, which delved into the increased incidence of osteoporosis and its link to insufficient calcium intake. With my intuitive sense of the movies, I could almost taste the cheap gold-plated plastic in my mouth.

I’m not going to go into specifics here, but I’ll simply say that an unexpected turn of events during the evening resulted in a…well, “loss” is a harsh word, but we’ll just say it was a “not win” on my part.

Fast forward to tonight’s Fourth Annual AA Soiree, Readers. Tonight is my chance to redeem myself. Being well versed on the nominees (Hurt Locker? Seen it! District 9? Seen it. Avatar? Seen it—-twice!) as well as the politics of voting in favor of various contenders (CGI: showy and unimpressive to the Academy even when attached to a stellar film), I am certainly not in need of your suggestions in order to sweep tonight’s floor with my anticipated plastic trophy. However, I imagine you are eager to share your well-researched proposals, along with statistical probabilities of victory on each nominee, ASAP. I welcome, encourage, and demand your comments before 4:30pm PST.

–Troi out

« Previous Entries