day 3134: minus some maxillary canines.

day 3134: minus some maxillary canines.

on a routine early orthodontic visit to screen odin for things we might be able to do to prevent braces later on, we discovered that his permanent maxillary canines were trying to move into place to push out the baby teeth but were impeded by some rather large roots that weren’t going anywhere.

if we didn’t do anything the canines could come through crooked or become impacted, so out they came! as usual odin was a trooper, and the worst part was the pinch from the shot of procaine before the pulling began.

as you can see, wikipedia isn’t lying when it notes that the maxillary canine has usually the longest root of any tooth in the mouth!

someone from my family will remind me of the specifics of snowdeal family history with canine teeth. was it three sets? whatever it was, i don’t think odin inherited it despite having a hardy root on his baby teeth.

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament!

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! I.

odin’s team played 3 games in altoona, wisconsin this weekend. they had a great time bonding by the pool at the hotel and playing against some great area teams on the ice.

odin’s team is still quite young with many 7 and young 8 year olds on their “squirt b” so they will often struggle against more seasoned squirt teams with 9 and 10 year olds, though they always have a great time playing even when they lose. every game you can see them get better and better and i have no doubt that after a season of learning how to play together as a team they’ll be quite competitive.

this time they lost two close games and tied the third.

somehow i forgot my camera in the hotel for the first two games so i was only able to shoot the third. bad! bad! bad!

here the team is getting ready for the game with a little cheer by the net. odin is number 64 with the red mouth guard.

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! II.

odin didn’t get a chance to practice his new goalie skills and instead played defenceman which is his “comfortable” position and means he spends a lot of time keeping the puck out of the defense zone and playing it up to the offense.

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! III.

more chasing the puck down…

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! IV.

pausing momentarily to watch the puck after he hit it back up the boards out of the defense zone to one of the offensive players on his team…

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! V.

and if odin does his “job”, then one of the offense can drive the puck down the ice and score a goal! which they did :-)

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! VI.

another great drive to the goal by viroqua which led to a shot on goal…

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! VII.

and yet another great drive to the goal by viroqua which led to a goal…

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! VIII.

and again! another drive by viroqua with a shot on goal. hard to believe it ended up tied 2-2! a great game by both teams.

day 3130: scenes from the altoona hockey tournament! IX.

the team was in great spirits despite the two losses. and after 3 games in 2 days and late nights by the hotel pool it was finally time to drive home and take a nap :-)

day 3127: first goalie practice!

day 3127: first goalie practice!

in all the years odin has been playing hockey he has yet to play goalie in a game, but since getting moved up to the “squirts” he’s known he was going to have to play the position since the coaches like everyone to rotate around to get a feel for what they might like to specialize in later on their hockey “careers”.

maybe more so than other positions, being a goalie is tough to just “drop in” during a game so they have special goalie practices during the week and odin decided it was something he’d like to give a try so he could get used to wearing the special pads while practicing moving around, dropping to the ice and getting back up quickly and handling the goalie stick all while trying to keep an eye on the puck.

while a bit pensive about the whole thing before practice, we were not really surprised to find that he absolutely, positively loved it. maybe he’ll thing differently about it after his first time in a game as goalie. or maybe not. for now, he’s really wants to keep going to goalie practice in addition to his regular practices. which means another night of hockey practice for us all :-)

who knows, maybe it’s the beginning of his life as a goalie.

( btw, odin is in the upper left of the picture in the white jersey )

recipe: peanut butter power balls.

recipe: peanut butter power balls.

regular readers may recall my recipe for no-bake gluten free energy bites which are a super tasty source of energy but aren’t particularly packed with protein ( maybe about 3-4 grams of protein per 1 inch ball ).

what with all the running i’ve been doing, i’m always on the look-out for easy sources of protein so i was intrigued by a power ball recipe from bryan cranston while flipping through a hemispheres in-flight magazine. i’ve never seen breaking bad so i don’t know if there are power balls on the show or what, but the recipe looked like it would have a lot more protein thanks to the addition of non-fat milk powder. sure enough when you run the numbers each ball has about 8 grams of protein which is almost the 10 grams you need to be able to claim to be an excellent source of protein. in the future i might look for ways to add 2 grams more of protein per ball, but this is a good start.

i modified the recipe and rolled each ball in bit of dry coconut flakes and cocoa powder because, well, why not. and you could use some other milk powder brand than organic valley non-fat dry milk but they probably won’t turn out as good :-)

ingredients and instructions

1C organic valley non-fat dry milk powder
3/4 C parts peanut butter
1/4 C honey

1/2 C dry coconut flakes
3T sweetened cocoa powder

sprinkle dry milk into peanut butter and mix thoroughly. add honey.
shape into balls and put into freezer for 15 minutes.
roll in mixture of coconut flakes and cocoa powder.

makes about twelve, 1-inch balls. each has around 160 calories and 8 grams of protein.

whiskey club: the irish whiskey edition.

whiskey club: the irish whiskey edition.

every four months or so, the whiskey club meets and samples a variety of whiskey’s purchased by someone in the club who knows a lot more about whiskey than i do. this time around we were sampling irish whiskey which, as the name so aptly indicates, is distilled and aged in the island of ireland.

our collective taste buds agreed that the best to least best whiskeys were as follows:

Redbreast 12 Year Old, Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Knappogue Castle 16yo “Twin Wood”
Tullamore Dew 12 Year Old / Special Reserve
Bushmills 10 Year Old
Greenore 8 Year Old

i dropped the ball and didn’t take any tasting notes. i’ll have to fix that oversight the next time around. all were quite drinkable, but there is quite a difference between each brand in terms of smoothness, and flavors etc. perhaps the biggest surprise was the fact that the 16 year old knappogue didn’t win first place, but it came in a close second to the redbreast.

you’re not going to go wrong with any of them, but if you want a special treat, go with the redbreast 12 year old.

on the (non?)effectiveness of the flu vaccine

update: it was pointed out that in the original post i didn’t properly distinguish between the flu vaccine and tamiflu which is an anti-viral typically given after patient presents symptoms of the flu. while some people take the antiviral tamiflu prophylactically to prevent the flu it is not commonly prescribed by doctors as preventative treatment over getting the flu vaccine. i’ve edited the post accordingly, though it doesn’t change the overall conclusions that there is not much strong evidence that either is particularly effective at preventing catching or lessening the effects of the flu.

note: as you’re reading this try to remember that i’m not an anti-vaccine nut. i’m only writing about the flu vaccine. i also don’t feel the vaccine is particularly dangerous. i’m certainly not anti-science. i’m pro evidence-based medicine. if you think i’m wrong, feel free to provide evidence. i’m happy to consider it and update the post accordingly.

there’s no doubt that it’s a bad flu season, especially for the elderly, which of course, brings about nearly universal calls for the population to get the flu vaccine like this, “For God’s Sake, Go Get a Flu Shot”, which passingly mentions the effectiveness of the vaccine while the author laments, “some of the smartest people I know act in the most irrational ways” in choosing to not get vaccinated. some of the more nuanced articles like, “Don’t be selfish: Get a flu shot and protect the most vulnerable, bioethicist says”, admit that while it’s not particularly effective you should still get the vaccine to protect the herd. in other words, the ethics of getting the vaccine go beyond you and your selfish needs and it’s important not so much to protect you as it is to protect “…the newborn baby baby down the road…” (!)

but what does the actual, independent research say about the flu vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing infection, reducing the severity of symptoms once infected, preventing transmission and reducing overall morbidity and mortality? the renowned cochrane collaboration ( which performs systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials of health-care interventions and provides official recommendations to the world health organization ) released their review of “Vaccines for preventing influenza in healthy adults”. their “plain language summary” and conclusion is notable in how different it is in tone from the headlines:

“There is not enough evidence to decide whether routine vaccination to prevent influenza in healthy adults is effective…The results of this review seem to discourage the utilisation of
vaccination against influenza in healthy adults as a routine public
health measure…”

and they go futher in a companion summary

“Our results may be an optimistic estimate because company-sponsored influenza vaccines trials tend to produce results favorable to their products and some of the evidence comes from trials carried out in ideal viral circulation and matching conditions and because the harms evidence base is limited..”

the data is even less clear ( if that were even possible ) with tamiflu. the cochrane collaboration updated their review of unpublished flu vaccine trials last year and the results may surprise you. forbes of all places has a summary if you’re not motivated to read the whole thing, “The Myth of Tamiflu: 5 Things You Should Know”. to summarize their summary:

1. any effectiveness data ( marginal as it is ) you hear reported is possibly inflated by publication and reporting biases. 60% of randomized data from the tamiflu treatment trials have never been published.

2. The studies did not show that tamiflu reduced the risk of hospitalization.

3. The studies were inadequate to determine the effect of tamiflu on complications.

4. The studies were inadequate to determine if Tamiflu reduced transmission of the virus.

5. The use of Tamiflu did reduce the duration of symptoms by about a day.

the lack of conclusiveness was so pronounced and the potential for shenanigans with reporting bias was so great that the cochrane researchers asked roche for the original studies to make firm conclusions about the drug. would it surprise you learn that the drug company has not released the data?

so whenever you hear a news report on getting the flu vaccine or tamiflu, remember the thoughts of the cochrane collaborators after writing their review of the knowns and unknowns about the effectiveness of the vaccine:

“Despite the monumental task that the authors have completed, many uncertainties remain unresolved, and more have surfaced as a direct result of their efforts. The questions now raised by the review are, if anything, more thought-provoking than the answers it provides.”

relatedly, cochrane has previously reported that there is no evidence that only vaccinating healthcare workers prevents laboratory-proven influenza, pneumonia, and death from pneumonia in elderly residents.

finally, if you’re really interested in evidence-based medicine and reducing transmission of the flu, the university of michigan has showed that pairing masks and hand washing results in a 75 percent reduction in flu-like illness which is, as you might recall, more effective that the likely-to-be-biased flu vaccine research results. also, get a humidifier.

more interesting reading: “The Atlantic: Does the Vaccine Matter?” ( though i do think author conflates a few issues and i don’t agree with all her conclusions – i.e. i don’t agree with everything she writes. )

the links between lead, crime and (aviation) gasoline.

mother jones has a fascinating and detailed report on lead being the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even ADHD with discussion of new research that builds on earlier work ( from 1999?!) which concluded that gasoline lead may explain as much as 90 percent of the rise and fall of violent crime over the past half century. all that great reporting and only passing mention is made to aviation gasoline which is the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S., accounts for half of the lead pollution in american skies and is not planned to be phased out until 2023.

take two hours of pine forest and call me in the morning.

from the captain-obvious dept: turns out researchers are discovering that being out in nature can lower your blood pressure, fight off depression, beat back stress—and even prevent cancer. also, going on a hike boosts creativity by 50%, though the researchers admit they are unable to determine if , “…the effects are due to an increased exposure to nature, a decreased exposure to technology, or to other factors associated with spending three days immersed in nature.”

the lies we tell ourselves while running with a chest cold.

the lies we tell ourselves while running with a chest cold.

“oh, a -5°F wind chill isn’t really that cold. and it’s only 4 miles. i mean, the cold will agitate my chest in a good way and help, you know, clear the gunk out.”

uh, huh. the icicle’s hanging from my eyelashes produced from my breath venting out the face mask are messing with the “it’s good for you” narrative. that said, it did clear things out. briefly. sort-of.