Wednesday, June 08, 2011

871 The Machine

871 The Machine

Note to readers:  as construction continues on a so-far untitled book about shopping for people who hate shopping, snippets of the draft will make their way into this space, ahead of time.  Here’s one of them.

Other note to readers:  this one’s much longer than usual. -WJR

Question:  What is the best exercise machine you can buy?  Is it the folding collapsible store-under-the-bed tread mill?  The Body Form Fitness Stick?  Free weights? Stair Stepper? The Bowflex? The Stationary Bike?

Question:  What is the best cooking machine you can buy?  The slow cooker?  The Cuisinart Food Processor?  The Waring Blender?  The Nu-Wave, the Genius Chef 9-in-one?  The NorPro Chopper?

Answer:  Whichever machine you will actually USE.

It looks so easy when a couple of smiling hard bodied models get up there and shake those sticks or tread those mills.  You think they got to look that way by using the Zingo Amazing Six Way Exercise Machine.  They got that way by being naturally thin and muscular, going to the gym 40 hours a week and THEN using the Zingo Amazing Six Way Exercise Machine.

Did they become lithe and powerful by following along with the Zumba Dance videos?  Nah.  They worked out at Bally Fitness for ten years and THEN bought and used the Zumba Dance videos.

The Zingo or the Bowflex may fold up flatter than a pancake and store easily under your bed or in your closet.  But beware!  It’s going to stay flatter than a pancake and store under your bed or in your closet forever if you don’t haul it out, set it up and sweat.

Then there’s Wolfgang Puck and his Bistro Elite Ten Cup Digital Multicooker or his 22 Liter Convection Oven and Rotisserie.  

Fine machines.  But in order to use them, you have to USE them.  

We love our NuWave.  We love our Fagor America Halogen Tabletop Oven.  They’re on the shelf along with our mini version of Rodin’s “The Thinker” and our Pioneer Farms 1950 milk bottle.

The first thing you realize when you buy a cooking machine is that after you use it, you have to CLEAN it.  Usually not easy.  The Fagor has a “self cleaning” cycle.  Nonsense.

The first thing you realize when you buy the Quantum Fitness Home treadmill is that it doesn’t do anything unless you tread on it.

Some warning signs:  If they offer you a free video and a sample lesson, duck and cover.  Videos and samples are expensive and if they’re giving them away, the product costs as much as a car.

If Tony Little endorses the exercise product, skip it.  This includes shoes.

If you want a treadmill, go to Sears and try one out.  You may not need all the features that the home shopping channels offer.  You can use your own iPod for background music.  You don’t need to keep minute statistics on your progress:  your scale and your feelings will do just fine.

If Wolfgang Puck endorses the product -- or Emeril Lagasse, look for similar stuff without the endorsement.  It’ll be cheaper.

You do not need an ice cream maker.  You do not need a cooking machine that’s harder to clean than the oven in your stove.

You can get a perfectly good slow cooker or panini maker at Wal-Mart or Target.  The Jack LaLanne juicer: do not pay more than $99 and be prepared to clean and clean and clean.  (Store bought juice is just as good and nutritious as what you make at home and way easier and you can get an awful lot of it for a hundred bucks.)

Analon cookware is as good as it gets.  Not cheap, but it’ll last forever.  Look for sales at Macy’s or other mid-price department stores.

A toaster oven may be worth having.  But all you need is the generic version.

Ditto, the treadmill and stationary bike.


--Scott Pelley has set a fine tone for the third ranking CBS Evening News and fired a shot across the bows of both NBC Nightly News and ABC World News Tonight.  It’s a new tone for the very young, but an old tone for everyone else: quiet, deliberate, un-flashy, and reeking of reliability, stability and credibility.  And it lacks the obnoxious self involvement and self consciousness that Rather and Couric brought to the program after Cronkite retired, but Schieffer didn’t.

--Followup to Wessay #863 of 5/20/11, “Cut!” Santa Monica, CA apparently is following the lead of San Francisco and trying to ban circumcision of male infants.  But there’s a difference in this new city where the Jewish community is calling it what it actually is, an anti-Semitic assault on religious freedom.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2011

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