SAVE INK

Who’d a thunk. According to these tips, some fonts – like Ecofont– use a lot less ink than others. (Try Century Gothic?) Using readability to print web pages will save the expensive color ink required to print ads you probably didn’t want to print anyway.

THE BEEP

AARP reports that only 15% of hearing-aid shoppers ask for a deal; yet because the markups are so high, most of those who do ask for a deal get one. Tell Gramps.

I’m not going to say I actually receive the AARP Bulletin. But those who do tell me that this list of 99 money-saving tips includes some good ones. And most are not age-specific. For example: Did you know that – whatever your age – you can by-pass maddening voice mail instructions by dialing (in this order) 1 (which by-passes Sprint), * (which by-passes Verizon), and then # (which bypasses AT&T and T-Mobile)? Dial all three in quick succession and one of them should take you straight to the beep.

CORN PUDDING

Maureen Welch:Sounds good. any chance you could post the recipe?’

☞ We had it again last night – to raves:

Charles’s Corn Pudding

Two ears of corn per person
Butter or olive oil to taste
Salt
Pepper
Jalapeno (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°

Husk and thoroughly clean all the silk from the corn. Cut ears in half so they are shorter and easier to manage on the grater. Grate corn on a box grater into a large bowl. I leave a couple of ears ungrated, and, instead, cut the kernels off with a sharp knife to add some texture.

Season however you like. I generally use plenty of coarse salt and black pepper and a very finely chopped fresh jalapeño but tonight I did not have the jalapeno so I substituted a small amount of finely chopped pimento and flat leaf parsley.

Blend thoroughly and then pour/push the seasoned corn mixture into a baking dish, smooth out and dot the top with several small pats of butter pushed into the batter. If you don’t want to use the butter you can drizzle olive oil on the top instead.

Dust the top with a bit more black pepper and course salt. Bake until done – the top should be golden and a little bubbly and the sides start to pull away from the dish. Cooking time will depend on just how much you are making; anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes.

Instead of a baking dish, I usually use a greased cast iron skillet, serving family style but it works just as well and is a bit more formal in individual ramekins baked in a Bain Marie. If it hasn’t gotten as brown as I’d like, I put it under the broiler for a minute or so to crisp up.

☞ If you don’t love it, you must have missed a step. Do it again.

STAND-UP GUY

This all started with the news that the longer you sit, the shorter you live. (Here is corroboration, just published yesterday, from a 14-year study of 123,000 people.)

So some of you suggested standing desks . . .

Clark Cole bought one . . .

And (if I remember his phrasing correctly) “Oh, Mamma” does his back ever hurt now.

He requested your help and you, shall we say, rose to the occasion:

Karen Tiede: “On what is Clark standing? My back feels much better when I have a resilient mat – look at what cashiers stand on in the grocery store.”

Margie Power: “I don’t proselytize about many things in this life, but Pete Egoscue’s books, Pain Free and Pain Free at Your PC, took me from debilitating back pain to no pain back in 2002. Just 15 minutes a day of simple postures makes all the difference. If I get the slightest twinge of back pain nowadays, I do his exercises for a couple of days and all is well.”

Jeff Cox: “Standing properly is fairly easy. Definitely, definitely, have a rest for one foot, a rail or a box or something to keep one foot off the floor. The next time you are in a pub, look at the rail at the bottom of the bar – serving this very purpose. Lifting one foot takes some strain off the back. Resting one’s elbows is probably also a good idea. Others: Work in the middle of the desk, not at the edge. Move around a bit. (Walking is less tiring than standing.) Consider not believing every bit of health advice that comes free from a financial advice website.”

Steve Margerum: “ . . . Maybe he should just take his computer down to his neighborhood bar instead.”

Tom Anthony: “It took me almost three weeks (at age 69) to get used to standing up at my computer all day, especially if I did a long hard run in the morning and was worn out before starting a six-hour computer session. I found it initially very tiring since I had never stood in one position for so long before. But your standing muscles adapt and strengthen. Now, four months later, standing in front of the computer all day long does not bother me at all. It helps to shift your weight about and stand on one leg now and then. I sometimes go through some Yoga positions, e.g Tree Pose, while reading a long article.”

☞ Like Jeff, Tom also mentioned the “bar rail” – and installed one he made from some two-inch Home Depot PVC tubing he had left over from a project. “The bar rail seems counterintuitive,” he writes, “but it is surprisingly effective.”

And he goes on:

“If you go barefoot around the house like I do, you might want to put a soft pad in the area where you stand because bare feet on a hard floor for long periods can be uncomfortable. My pad is an old exercise pad folded over twice so that there are four layers under me. The give of the pad may make you unconsciously keep adjusting your leg and back muscles and that may help avoid fatiguing them. Clark’s problem may be related to the table height. I noticed that his IKEA model had a maximum height of 38 5/8″. I adjusted the height of my table to 40 5/8″ so that my forearms were level with the keyboard – I’m 5′ 10″. If my table were 2″ lower like his, I might be bending forward some to accommodate the lower table height and that would strain the back muscles. He might consider putting a book or two under his monitor/keyboard to raise it and also to tilt the monitor upwards.”

Tom offers these suggestions from an exercise physiologist for people who sit all day.

Michael Choquette: “I don’t think there is any single proper way to stand at a stand-up desk for the same reason that an entire day of sitting is bad: a body doesn’t like to be forced into any single alignment for hours on end. I stand: at attention; at ease; on one foot (for ankle strength); and, to shake things, up occasionally I pace around while composing emails or writing code. I have been using an upright employer-provided desk at work for three years. My desk accommodates sitting as well as standing by way of an electric motor that raises and lowers the top and also displays the current height to the tenth of an inch. With that display, I always know exactly where I stand. (Sorry.) I have the desk because my orthopedist said my severe leg and low back pain from years of desk sitting would go away if I didn’t sit so much. (He was right.) I don’t think many people can afford the setup I have, and I am fortunate to have it at work. I am not tall, only 5’8”, and for full comfort and straight back while standing at my desk, I set the table height at 40 inches. This is the table height that works best for both my keyboarding and monitor viewing. Now, to Clark’s specifics: According to the Ikea web site, the maximum height of the Fredrik desk is only 38-5/8 inches. I would think this height would be good for only those who are shorter than me. This could be Clark’s problem – the Fredrik is simply not at the height he requires. Something else to consider: 8 hours of standing might be okay for some, but I find that mixing up the standing and the sitting throughout the day works best. Fredrik does not provide this flexibility.”

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