Category Archives: Lifestyle

Family Matters

© Original content written by James R. Carlson

She Said Yes

I have been working on relationships lately. Please forgive my absence in blogging. I’ve not stopped my work in presenting viewpoints from a Christian Conservative perspective. I’ve put a pause in the work of writing to build new family ties.

In January this year I met a new girlfriend, Nancy, on the website We spoke via the website, text, and phone for a month before meeting. I live in El Paso, Texas and she lives in Tucson, Arizona. I drove to Tucson for our first date on 17 February this year; this was our Valentine’s date. We continued to date for four months and had a wonderful time.

Nancy suggested that since we are both Christian, we begin working together on a devotional for dating couples. She gave me four books to look through online and I chose one of them; it was a nine-week course where we were led to grow closer to God and then with each other. We agreed that after we finished the devotional, we would make a decision about our relationship.

On 16 June, we finished our devotional and I proposed to her, to which she said yes. After 4 months of dating, we got engaged. After 3 months of our engagement, we’ll get married. We are busy planning our wedding, which puts other work on the back burner. We are also going through another devotional for engaged couples. It is challenging but worth the effort and I highly recommend you do this too.

In January this year, I also reconnected with a cousin of mine whom I had not seen in decades. We had a great conversation and said it would be good to put together a family reunion. We used to have them in the 1980s and 1990s but have not had one in 20 years. We decided to put one together, even before I met Nancy, and we just finished with our reunion in Austin, Texas on 14 July 2018.

We had a good turnout but numbers are not the issue. Meeting family members whom we haven’t seen in years is good for the soul. It helps everyone to find their place in a community and family is the first community we belong to. There are other groups we associate with and they give us meaning and purpose for our lives. As humans we need our society to help us gain an identity and purpose.

So please forgive the absence in writing. I will be working to finish our wedding and honeymoon plans and then get back to life and living. I’m enjoying making new and reconnecting with old relationships. That is the stuff of life and I encourage you to live on.

Pizza Pi

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


[Pizza circumference/pizza diameter = pizza pi]

Pizza is fun food for everyone. I’ve enjoyed eating pizza since I was a kid, 50 years ago. I’ve seen all kinds of pizza and yet I have a distaste for the pizza that modern restaurants offer. I know that if you want to make some dough as a business you have to sell some dough in your pizza; but I’m not in the market for extra bread so I’m not giving them any more of my hard-earned bread. It’s time for a pizza revolution!!

Look at the next pizza you buy. How much bread is there? I’ve seen the pizza sauce and toppings get thinner while the bread crust gets thicker. Ever see those deep-dish pizzas they sell nowadays? The only thing thick about it is the crust. The toppings, etc., are exactly the same as if they were on a thinner crust. Why do I want to fill my gut with a glut of gluten?

I actually bought a pizza-pie recently and was so excited when they brought it out to the table. But when I cut into it I discovered what I always suspected about anyone who claims to have a deep-dish pizza. The bottom of the crust was burnt and the top half of the crust was uncooked and doughy. The sides of the crust were nothing more than bread stacked upon the edge of the pizza; that was the same as having a larger flat pizza with an extra-large border crust. Standing crust borders up instead of leaving them flat is no bonus to me.

One can calculate the amount of wasted pizza space for extra-large crust borders using the equation for area = pi times radius squared (a=πr2). Given a 10” pizza and a 1” crust edge, the area for the entire pizza is ~78.5 square inches (in2); but having one inch of crust at the edge leaves a total area of 63.5 in2. That means that 81% of the pizza is edible but 19% is wasted bread without any toppings. That means you’ve wasted nearly 1/5 of the money you spent on that pizza. For a $10 pizza, that’s a waste of $1.90.

The geometry of a circle is such that the farther away from the center of the pizza you get, the more area there is; it is not a linear relationship as the graph below shows.


And if you wanted to make more money (save on your food cost), you’d sell a pizza with a larger border crust. A 10” pizza with a 2” crust may not seem like a big problem but you lose 36% of the pizza to crust on the edge.


If the pizza cost $10 you wasted $3.60. I’m not interested in eating a bunch of bread or wasting a load of dough. As a consumer, I want to get the largest pizza with the smallest crust at the edge.

Buying a fake deep-dish pizza with thick crust at the bottom of the pizza is no picnic either. By doubling the thickness of the pizza crust under the toppings, I get the same amount of bread that I would if the pizza was larger. However, with a smaller radius, the total amount of surface area that pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese has to cover is less. The consumer loses again with a fake deep-dish pizza. A real pizza pie has a moderate to thin crust all around and the filling is 1” deep or more; most fake pizza pies have bread crust 1” thick or more. That pizza-pie does not qualify when using pizza-pi.

On the positive side, I do find some places where I can get a very thin, almost cracker like crust for a pizza. The sauce can be spread to the edge of the pizza and the toppings as well. I found one place where they do this and their toppings are sliced very thin but the slices are very large in diameter. The amount of meat in each thin slice of pepperoni is greater if the radius of the slice is larger than a thick slice that has a smaller radius.

If I have a slice of pepperoni 1/8” thick and another one 1/16” thick, if the thicker slice is 2” in diameter, the thinner slice only has to be slightly less than 3” in diameter to have the same amount of meat. Having a thin crust and thinly sliced toppings allows the pizza sauce and toppings to go to the edge of the pizza. Now that’s a pizza-pi.

How Not To Lose Weight

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


First let’s ask the question, ‘Why do you want to lose weight?’ Is it to impress your girlfriend, wife, or co-workers? Bad idea. You should not be trying to impress others as that matters little. If you want to lose weight it should be to get back in shape and be healthy. Therefore, why the rush? The best plan to lose weight will take time – a life time. Don’t be in a hurry.

My mother was a Weight Watchers counsellor for 33 years. She helped people lose weight slowly. Her motto was ‘The word diet has the word ‘die’ in it. Don’t kill yourself with your diet. Make it a part of your ‘life-style.’ Living means more than body size and shape. It means eating healthy and in moderation.

Face it. We are an opulent nation. We are fat because we eat too much. We wouldn’t have this problem if we lived on a farm and worked our tails off to put food on the table. We have a weight problem because we underwork and overeat. Nothing more is needed to understand the problem. But artificial diets and workout programs are not the solution. A healthy diet and genuine work activity are.

If you want to lose weight, do not eat isolated food groups to the exclusion of others. Veggie only, carbs only, protein only diets are not healthy. Every single meal you eat should include all the food groups so you have all the nutrition you need. My mother would say, ‘Make sure you eat a balanced diet and keep the portions small.’

My mother also said, ‘It isn’t what you eat that matters. It’s how much of it you eat and how often you eat that much that matters.’ Portion control is a lot of what Weight Watchers is all about. Granted, I don’t have time to weigh my food our count calories. I try to put small portions on my plate and then if I’m still hungry, I’ll have half the portions on my second helping. Be sure to limit the portions and spread out the items that make you fat over a week instead of eating them daily. Portion control is a key element to losing and keeping your weight off.

Fat people often eat fat portions and skinny people will often eat skinny portions. Fat people can eat skinny portions and skinny people can eat fat portions. You cannot tell by the size of the individual how well their diet is today. You can assume that it wasn’t good yesterday. But you still cannot judge a book by its cover. Skinny people can become fat tomorrow, and fat people can become skinny tomorrow. It’s all about portion control.

And you have to enjoy what you eat. How stupid it is for people to eat what they don’t like only to reject the diet they’re on when they lose some weight. They want temporary relief and then find they had no long-term plan to keep the weight off. You must enjoy your meals, get full, and be satisfied with what you eat or you won’t stay on the plan. Again, it must be a part of your lifestyle if you are to succeed.

Another thing you shouldn’t do if you’re trying to lose weight is over do an exercise program. Instead of going to the gym, where you pay them to workout (we’re supposed to get paid to do work), you should be working in some way that is more natural. Gardening, painting or fixing your house on the weekends, going for walks with loved ones; these are ways to exercise that are less artificial and more rewarding.

I’m not kicking gyms. I even have my own gym in my house. Granted, I spend money to buy equipment when I think I need to lose weight, only to watch that equipment sit more than it should. But I feel better if I buy something that says I’m exercising. And like eating, you need to enjoy your exercise routine if you are going to make it a part of your lifestyle.

Philosophically, if you gain or lose weight you are practicing disequilibrium in your weight management. Most people who lose weight fast gain it back fast because through it all they never practiced equilibrium in their diet. Maintaining your weight should be your first goal in losing weight. Be sure you practice staying at one weight on the scale for months before you try losing weight. Taking small steps to lose weight is a must if you want to keep it off.

Again, if you only practice disequilibrium in your diet to lose weight, once you achieve your target goal you will have no experience to practice equilibrium. Most people who rapidly lose weight, gain it back quickly; and they gain more than before because they only practiced disequilibrium. It is a must that you practice equilibrium. If you are not concerned with how people see you and a healthy body and diet is your goal, practice equilibrium for more time than you practice disequilibrium. That way you can keep the weight off once you achieve your target goal.

A simpler way of saying this is that you should work on your lifestyle by focusing more on weight management, keeping your weight where it is, than trying to lose weight. You should spend 5 months maintaining your weight and only 1 month losing weight. And then, you should only try to lose 5 pounds in that month at the most. Then, each year you can work on losing and maintaining your weight with 10 pounds less than when you began.

Once again, it is not about what people see about you that matters. It’s all about your health. A healthy diet that includes moderate exercise should be your goal. This is not a program for the beauty conscious or buff minded. This is a genuine program for the 99% of us who are in it for the long haul. Your diet and exercise should be a part of your lifestyle, not a fad or a religion-of-self. You should only make small changes and not big ones. Little changes have the longest lasting affect in your life.

Finally, why are you trying to lose weight? Be sure you know that we are weak in our natural man but in Christ we are strong in our spirit man. If you seek to maintain your weight in the ‘flesh’ (natural ability) you are guaranteed to fail. Pray and ask God for the leadership of His Holy Spirit and the strength He gives to make right decisions. In the end, we should not be living to ourselves but to God. And God is not so concerned about your appearance as you are. Your soul is much more important. God is concerned about your health. Be sure to add prayer to your daily diet for your spiritual health. You’ll be surprised with what God can do.