Category Archives: Observation

Canada Should Get it Right for Its Own Good

When Canadian politicians encounter budgetary shortfalls and overruns, they often propose privatizing public services (such as public transportation). In other words, they sell their publicly owned transportation facilities and energy producing facilities to private for-profit corporations. For example, in 1998, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed the Energy Competition Act, which privatized and broke up the taxpayer-owned crown corporation Ontario Hydro.

The problem in Canada is that compared to the United States, there is NO competition, and that lack of competition in Canada invariably means that prices rise when public taxpayer-owned corporations are sold off. (A few people get rich while the average taxpayer becomes poorer.)

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High-rise Soundproofing

Have you met anyone living in an old high-rise condo apartment building who replaced their carpets with hardwood flooring and then began complaining about the noise coming from the apartment below. Well they took up half the soundproofing when they removed the carpet. Those old high-rise apartments were built with carpets in mind. The builders planned for the carpeting to block sound (and they cut costs that way).

If the neighbors upstairs are going to put in hardwood floors they better expect to hear your TV.

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Migraines and Situps

If you heard that you should isolate your abdominal muscles (abs) by crossing your arms over your chest while doing situps, and now you’re suffering headaches, neck aches, or migraines, then go back to the old way of doing situps: clasp your hands behind your neck, with your elbows and arms out straight in line with your shoulders and back.

Buying a House in Arizona: Home, Termite, and Mold Inspections

First I’ll tell you about the information you can get from the Arizona State Government. Then I’ll tell you about my conversations with house, termite, mold, and fungi inspection companies in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona.

You can phone the Office of Pest Management at 602-255-3664 (and 1-800-223-0618). Or go online to the www.sb.state.az.us web site, where you can use their “Consumer Resources” section to search for companies licensed for Pest Control, Termite Inspection, and Fungi Inspection (Mold Inspection). For termites, you are probably best off looking at companies that have both the pest control/treatment license (the B2 license) and the pest inspection license (the B8). For mold, the fungi inspection license (the B7) might only apply to the exterior walls of buildings–you’ll want to inquire with the inspection service providers.

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Flat Feet and Arch Supports

Maybe you visited your doctor after taking up running, and the doctor told you that your feet hurt because your arches fell. In other words, you have flat feet. Well the chances are that it’s your shoes, not your flat arches, that are causing the pain. The arch supports hurt your feet: You do not want humongous arch supports. You want shoes that are built with very mild (low) arch supports.

Both New Balance and Vasque make athletic shoes that fit flat feet and wide feet. Vasque even says that their Perpetuum last is “comfortable for people with flatter feet.”

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Dangerous Household Ozone Generators

Last month I looked up information about in-home ozone generators. A friend of mine was thinking of buying a house in Arizona (she bought it), and the sellers were using indoor ozone generators. The ozone gave my friend a severe headache and caused her blood pressure to rise to dangerous levels. (She takes blood-pressure medication and had to increase the dosage after inspecting the house.)

I rushed to my computer and found quite a few useful websites, and, yes, ozone causes headaches, high blood pressure, sore throats and coughs (see Effects of Ozone Pollution on Seniors and Ozone Generators May Be Dangerous to Your Health). Ozone irritates the lungs, exacerbates lung disease, accelerates aging, and damages home electronics and wiring. In combination with air fresheners or household disinfectants, ozone will produce formaldehyde, a chemical that can cause cancer (see Study Warns of Cleaning Product Risks). The California Department of Health Services began warning consumers about indoor ozone generators back in the 1990s. And Health Canada says, “If you have an ozone generator in your home, stop using it.”

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Hiking and Trail Etiquette

If you join a hiking group you will, of course, meet people from a variety of places and backgrounds. And you will usually meet them early in the morning and then carpool to the trailhead, which is fine when your fellow passengers are courteous enough to refrain from riding along when they have bad colds or bacterial bronchitis. The morning doesn’t seem quite right when the stranger in the backseat shakes your hand, coughs repeatedly, talks about the antibiotics he’s taking and about how his live-in girlfriend died last month after a very prolonged illness that required multiple hospitalizations, how he is looking for a job because he has spent his savings after buying a 2700-square-foot foreclosed home and because his dead girlfriend’s social security checks have stopped coming.

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H1N1 Swine Flu News

If your local news stations announce that H1N1 vaccinations are available at special clinics in your area, make sure you double check the facts.

This last weekend in the Phoenix, Arizona, area one news station stated that H1N1 vaccinations were available for children and pregnant women at about 15 clinics. Another evening news program provided the same information and added that individuals with underlying health conditions were also eligible.

Long line-ups at the flu clinics ensued.

But if you were able to talk to the H1N1 clinics before you took half a day to stand in line, you discovered that only children and pregnant women were eligible to receive H1N1 vaccinations. The clinics were not dispensing vaccinations to individuals with underlying health conditions (unless, of course, they were children or pregnant women).

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