The Results May Vary

Observations from my Mixed Up World

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Thanks CBC. Now I know why my kids are healthy.

Picking your nose and eating it may be good for you

University of Saskatchewan biochemistry professor ready to start a study

CBC News 

Posted: Apr 25, 2013 6:38 PM ET 

Last Updated: Apr 26, 2013 1:15 PM ET


Despite everything you may have heard from your mom, picking your nose and eating what you find may have some health benefits, according to a biochemistry professor at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.

“By consuming those pathogens caught within the mucus, could that be a way to teach your immune system about what it’s surrounded with?” is the hypothesis Scott Napper posed to his students.

‘I’ve got two beautiful daughters and they spend an amazing amount of time with their fingers up their nose.’—Scott Napper, biochemistry professor

Napper noted that snot has a sugary taste and that may be a signal to the body to consume it and derive information for the immune system.

“I’ve got two beautiful daughters and they spend an amazing amount of time with their fingers up their nose,” he said. “And without fail, it goes right into their mouth afterwards. Could they just be fulfilling what we’re truly meant to do?”

Napper said his hypothesis also fits into other theories that examine the link between improved hygiene and an increase in allergies and auto-immune disorders.

“From an evolutionary perspective, we evolved under very dirty conditions and maybe this desire to keep our environment and our behaviours sterile isn’t actually working to our advantage,” he said.

Napper added he likes to talk about nose picking and science to teach students how seemingly simple questions can lead to valuable scientific discoveries.

Devising an experiment

He noted his posting about boogers would need to be tested.

“All you would need is a group of volunteers. You would put some sort of molecule in all their noses, and for half of the group they would go about their normal business and for the other half of the group, they would pick their nose and eat it,” he said. “Then you could look for immune responses against that molecule and if they’re higher in the booger-eaters, then that would validate the idea.”

Napper added, with a chuckle, that he has already been approached by people keen to participate in a study.

“I’m actually a little concerned they’re going to start mailing in samples of who knows what,” he said.

Napper said the greatest value of the snot-eating question is that, when he brings it up with his first-year science students they are instantly engaged in the class.

“Get the student to think, rather than just sitting there taking down notes,” Napper said. “[Science] should be about the exchange of ideas.”



What we need now is an expensive study that will make most people cringe.  Go science!!

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The High Price of Fashion


For the last year or so, Milo has been growing his hair long on the top.  In my mind this is ok since as a child of the 80’s, I always wanted to have my head with shaved sides and long locks on top.  I mean, who didn’t want to look like they were part of the Smiths?  So despite promising never to try and live vicariously through my kids, I am trying out hairdos through Milo that my balding pate won’t support.  The problem with Milo is that he won’t cut any of his hair and so his head starts to look more like a big foam microphone instead of a slick model’s signature style.  It also makes him look even younger than he really is.  So my worldly, 10 year old actor/model looks six.  Not really helping with his self-image.

My wife and I have been pushing him to get more control over his messy microphone head and are constantly showing him different ideas that will make him seem in better control of his hair.  These attempts have been fought off with the enthusiasm and determination of 300 Spartans faced by an army of Greeks.  Why we teach our kids to stand up for themselves and think critically on their own, I’m not sure.  They are only supposed to do that when faced with peer pressure to do drugs or drink and drive.  I never planned for them to resist my sage wisdom.

Enter into the equation my new found enjoyment of watching Marco Reus playing for both Germany and Borussia Dortmund.  Now there is a dude with awesome skills and a wicked haircut.  I may have a bit of a man crush but that may be another post.  So I started in on Milo just before a scheduled hair appointment.  Milo’s love of soccer is only slightly more than his love of hearing me offer my wisdom to him.  So, naturally he attempted to be the philosophical immovable object and I played the irresistible force.  Unfortunately for Milo, I have studied all of the times that I have failed to be immovable in the face of my children and waited for the slightest waver.  When he finally admitted that Marco did indeed have stellar hair, I knew I had him.  I got him to concede that it might be an all right thing to do, sometime, maybe.

The next day, before he was really awake, I’d loaded him into the car and began ignoring his back pedaling pleas.  To ensure my victory, I brought along his IPad complete with all the images of Marco’s fine styling to show our stylist.  Once ensconced in the chair, my delightful offspring offered full arm chair quarterbacking for every snip of the stylist’s scissors.  He glared at me through

Marco Reus

the mirror with a venom that would do Medusa proud.  Normally a reluctant communicator, he mouthed crystal clear comments to me like “I hate you, you bastard!” and “I’m never going to forgive you for ruining my life, career and any chance of ever getting on the Disney channel.”  And then he made his worst mistake, in a fit of disgust he fumed, “Why don’t you just dye it some stupid colour too?”  That was too enticing for the stylist and me.  We had a slather of white blonde dye in his hair faster than he could gasp.  By then he was too flabbergasted to do anything other than moan.  His little head was wrapped up in plastic wrap and he was plunked under the hair dryer.  His sister jumped up and down with glee, pointing out to everyone in the salon that her brother looked just like an old woman sitting there.  Oh, did he fume!

As he later looked at the damage in the mirror, he teared up and refused to speak to me.  He looked about 5 years older, hair tight at the sides and back, long tresses on top and the very front section dyed white blonde.  The best looking kid I’d ever seen, he stormed out of the hair dresser’s and we wandered through the mall.  He did his best to hide it, but I caught him admiring himself in store mirrors and he was finally forced to admit that he did look great but hedged that he still hated me for making him do it.  I savoured my sweet victory for days.  Yay me!

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On the Occasion of my 41st Birthday

At first, I thought to make a bucket list of all the things I still hope to do before I slough off this mortal coil.  But on reflection, I figured this could be an opportunity to reflect on some of the things I’ve already done.  So here is a list of some of my high lights, low lights and just plain weird experiences.  They are in no particular order.

  • Watched both of my kids’ births
  • Watched both of my wife’s episiotomies (once by accident and the other from between the fingers covering my eyes)
  • I once, and only once, ran a mile and a half in 10 minutes, 14 seconds
  • Stayed best friends with my high school buddy for almost 30 years now
  • Marched through the Rocky Mountains carrying an 80 lbs pack and a rifle wishing I were dead and exhilarated to be alive at the same time
  • Participated in the greatest high school heist of all time, where my best friend and I “borrowed” a teacher’s master key, ran to the hardware store, had it copied and returned the key in under 6 minutes.
  • Ran a school photography club for junior kids
  • Stood in the Sistine Chapel and marveled
  • Drove a Nissan Micra with no air conditioning 14,000 km across the United States over 12 days enjoying 2 days in Vegas, the 4th of July in New Orleans and finding the US Navy underwater warfare school in the middle of the desert (still seems fishy to me)
  • Spent 10 years involved with and eventually commanded an Air Cadet Squadron
  • Suffered 3 sports related broken bones (not so cool when you consider 2 broken fingers due to not catching a football and a basketball respectively and a broken toe due to a bad judo fall)
  • Saw Milo stand on stage and take his bow in front of an audience of over 1000 people
  • Got denied entry to a brothel because I brought a girl with me – and to this day I swear I thought it was a bar in an odd place
  • Watched Maya get her first soccer hat trick (the first of many I hope)
  • Sat on the cobble stones near the Trevi fountain, eating panini with my wife on her birthday
  • Stood in wedding parties for many friends
  • Watched as some of those friends were buried
  • Helped a friend start a business and later watched the police arrest him for fraud
  • Swung from the political right to the left
  • Rappelled down the side of a sheer cliff
  • Joined the military and in the words of my buddy’s dad “was the only guy to come back less up tight than he left.”
  • Ate my first tomato in Monte Carlo
  • Visited the grave of Niccolo Machiavelli
  • Coached kids soccer and didn’t need the defibrillator even after running the field for 45 minutes in the hot sun twice a week
  • Paid $600 bucks to the vet and got a stellar X-Ray of the giant turd stuck in my cat’s ass.  It’s now my screen saver.
  • Investigated and successfully prosecuted a company for a workplace accident that crippled a worker
  • Recognized when I was working for an unethical company and moved on
  • Put a bottle of whiskey in my grandma’s grave because flowers seemed wrong

I haven’t exhausted all of the things that came to mind and that in itself makes me smile.  While my birthday is not until Tuesday, I’ll share this now so that if you’ve forgotten to get me a present you have time to find something great.

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A Few Reasons why Olives shouldn’t be your only Vegetable

  1. It takes a hell of a lot of gin to wash down a bottle of olives.

  2. Cats love olives and you try to eat a bottle of them when there are 5 cats leaping at your fork.

  3. There is too much temptation to spit the pits across the table setting a poor example for your kids.

  4. Chicks aren’t that impressed by a couple of wrinkled olives but would rather see a nice firm cucumber.