3 Tips to Lose Weight & Keep it Off

May 30, 2012

Okay, summer is almost here, so time to start looking in the mirror. Yikes!! If you’re like most of us, a quick refresher on how to get in shape is in order.

A new book by fitness expert and former underwear model Paul “PJ” James offers up some good advice.  James shared three key tips on ABC’s Good Morning America:

1) Cardio Before Breakfast, Every Day – “It’s called fasting cardio because your 15 minutes of cardio is actually burning stored fat,” James explained on “GMA.” “It’s tapping into your stored fats and starting your day off positive.”

2) Three Meals, Two Snacks, Lots of Water – “It [water] obviously hydrates you but works for skin elasticity too and your overall look,” James said. “And, fueling your body, there’s no shortcuts … protein, carbohydrates are important as well and minimizing your fats. That’s the secret.”

3) Lift Weights Four Days Per Week – “It’s really important for skin tone and also for muscle tone,” James said of his recommendation to lift weights for 50 minutes four times per week. “Women tend to shy away from weights but it really does work. You’re targeting things with a three-pronged approach of cardio, weights and healthy eating. They all work together as a matrix to help you get in shape quickly.”

Bottom line… it always helps to eat less and exercise more. Can somebody invent a pill for this already?!

Aspirin May Help to Reduce Cancer Risk

May 29, 2012

Can an age old wonder drug be a modern miracle in helping to prevent cancer? A new study shows aspirin may cut the risk of dying from many different types of cancer. Taking one aspirin a day for five years cut people’s overall risk of cancer by 15%.  So should we all start popping an aspirin a day?  Before you jump to that step, click here to watch this video from ABC news with more information.

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Lower Gas Prices Greet Holiday Travelers

May 25, 2012

Millions of Americans are hitting the road this weekend for the Memorial Day holiday, and just in time, some good news about gas prices for a change.  Experts estimate the national average cost of gas has uncharacteristically declined by 17 cents a gallon from last month.  Click here to watch this report by NBC news and learn more about the pros and cons of traveling this holiday weekend.

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Mosquitos Could Bite into Memorial Day

May 24, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

Most of us were fortunate enough to have enjoyed a mild winter this past season. Unfortunately, experts are warning the public of a possible negative effect from our early spring-like weather– the dreaded mosquito invasion might also come early.  Cases of the West Nile Virus have already been reported in some states.

So far in 2012 , there has not been a case of the virus making human contact, but several instances have appeared in animals such as dead birds and sick horses.

How to recognize the effects of the Virus

Most people infected by the West Nile Virus experience flu-like symptoms, such as fever and muscle weakness.

However, for a small percentage of people this can develop into a much more severe form of illness including symptoms such as inflammation of the brain, disorientation, convulsions and paralysis. People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the disease, according to Dr. Eli Avila, Secretary for the US Department of Health.

Avoid the breeding grounds

The best way to protect yourself from these pesky intruders is to make sure there aren’t any breeding-friendly areas around the outside of your house.

Here are some preventive measures you can take, as suggested by The Times News Online :

Dispose of cans, buckets, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar containers that hold water on your property.

• Drill holes in the bottom of outdoor recycling containers.

• Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish.

Have roof gutters cleaned regularly, particularly if the leaves from surrounding trees have a tendency to block drains.

Turn over wheelbarrows and don’t let water stagnate in birdbaths.

Defending yourself

Of course, more personal precautions include using repellant that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus whenever going outdoors at dawn or dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and shoes with socks helps, too. You might get hotter than you’d prefer, but it beats the heck out of flu-like symptoms or  possible brain inflammation!!

For more information , check out this report from NBC correspondent Kerry Sanders:


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Teen Tanning Trouble Heating Up

May 23, 2012

In the wake of the “Tanning Mom” controversy, public concern over the harmful effects of tanning beds has increased dramatically. Now the growing scrutiny is focusing on the dangers involved with teenagers being exposed. Click here to learn more and see this undercover investigation by NBC News Investigative Correspondent Jeff Rossen.

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Show Me the Fake Money

May 21, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

I can’t help but crack up anytime I’m checking out at the grocery store  and the cashier holds my $20 bill up to the sky to make sure it’s real… as if she’s asking some higher power to inspect this legal tender for forgery.

Or maybe she pulls out the highlighter and swipes it across the bill waiting for the proper color to appear.  Come on Orange !!!!

The reason it’s so funny to me is because I most likely have been making idle conversation with this person for the last 5 minutes, and maybe we’ve laughed because I’ve pointed out my crappy eating habits or some other self-deprecating comment, and even after breaking that stranger barrier, she blows the mood by basically saying, “Hold on a minute, I just need to make sure you’re not a felon who prints his own money at home.”

Okay, I understand the policy wasn’t made by the cashier, and I probably shouldn’t take offense to the ritual, but it’s difficult not to be slightly miffed at the suggestion. Even so, I have nothing to complain about compared to a man in New Jersey who recently got stuck with counterfeit cash from his own bank.

Stiffed at the bank

A New Jersey man recently withdrew $2,500 in cash from his TD Bank account and tried to deposit in his account at Bank of America. Unfortunately, one of $100 bills he was given by TD Bank turned out to be counterfeit.  Bank of America turned him away.

The man returned to TD bank to question the teller there, and even though she remembered the transaction and acknowledged she had most likely passed the counterfeit bill to him, there was nothing the bank could do. The bank manager broke the news to the dumbfounded customer and informed him that it was bank policy that once a customer accepts cash — counterfeit or not — it’s the customer’s problem and not the bank’s.

Tips to Spot it before it happens to You

It’s an expensive lesson to learn, so to help you avoid getting stuck with “fake” money, here are a few tips gathered by the folks at Wisebread.com.

Look for the watermark. Hold the bill up to the light and you should be able to see a telltale image emerge. If the watermark doesn’t match the portrait or denomination of the bill, it might be a reprinted forgery. ( Ahh-haa, the “eye in the sky” method!)

– Check for color-shifting ink. Larger bills are imprinted with ink that appears to be a different color when you look at it from an angle rather than head-on.

Texture. Real money, made with linen and cotton, has a distinctively crisp feel. Compare it to another bill in your wallet.

Lesson Learned

All good advice for you, but what about the poor guy in New Jersey?   He’s writing the whole experience off as a cautionary tale for others and is talking about it to help consumers.

“I feel like I have been duped, but I don’t want the money back,” he says. “I consider the $100 to be a donation to educating your readers,” the man told The Consumerist website.

We might not all be so forgiving.  Should banks be responsible for forged money they accidentally pass along to the customer?  Let us know what you think by contacting us here at The Consumer Warning Network.

Reader Comments:

Garrett in NH:

“So now Banks have really shown their colors. They stell(sic) our money with ridiculously low interest rates on our savings, ridiculously high interest and fees on what they loan to us. They get bail outs and still will not take responsibility for their actions.
What part of the 10 C\’s do they not understand (hint #8)”…

Ron in MD:

Yes, banks should be responsible for forged money they accidentally pass.
There must be a way of recording exactly what bills are given to a customer, such that a bank can prove whether each bill is genuine. And banks could be required to check money they give out.
In any case, there should be zero-risk of getting funny money from a bank.

Friday before Memorial Day is “Don’t FRY Day”

May 20, 2012

By Angie Moreschi:

Lots of good old fashioned fun in the sun is right around the corner as we head into the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer.  That means it’s more important than ever to wear your sunscreen.

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers in the United States.  More than 15,000 people died from skin cancers in the US, last year, and more people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year than breast, prostrate, lung and colon cancer combined.  In addition, a troubling trend is emerging when it comes to the disease.  More young people than ever are being diagnosed with melanomas at earlier ages.

Raising Awareness

To help raise awareness as we hit the summer season, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has named the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.”

Here are some tips from the Council on what you can do to be safe in the sun:

1. Do Not  Burn: Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for  skin cancer.

2. Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds: Ultraviolet  (UV) light from tanning beds and the sun causes skin cancer and wrinkling.   If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, use a sunless self-­tanning product instead.

3. Cover Up: Wear protective clothing, such as a long-­sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-­brimmed- hat,  and sunglasses, where possible.

4. Seek Shade/Use Umbrellas: Seek shade when appropriate.   Remember that the sun’s UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

5. Generously Apply Sunscreen: Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin using a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 that provides broad-­spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Reapply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

6. Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow and Sand: Water, snow and sand reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

7. Check the UV Index: The UV Index provides important information to help you plan your outdoor activities in ways that prevent overexposure to  the sun.  Developed by the National Weather Service (NWS) and  EPA, you can find the UV Index for your area  online at:  www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.

8. Get Vitamin D Safely: Get vitamin D safely through a diet that includes vitamin supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D. Don’t seek the sun or indoor tanning.

Click here to learn more about frequently asked questions about sunburn.

Have fun this Memorial Day weekend, and be sure to protect yourself!

What
You
Can
Do
to
Be
Safe
in
the
Sun:
1. Do
Not
Burn
Overexposure
to
the
sun
is
the
most
preventable
risk
factor
for
skin
cancer.
2. Avoid
Sun
Tanning
and
Tanning
Beds
Ultraviolet
(UV)
light
from
tanning
beds
and
the
sun
causes
skin
cancer
and
wrinkling.
If
you
want
to
look
like
you’ve
been
in
the
sun,
use
a
sunless
self-­?tanning
product
instead.
3. Cover
Up
Wear
protective
clothing,
such
as
a
long-­?sleeved
shirt,
pants,
a
wide-­?brimmed
hat,
and
sunglasses,
where
possible.
4. Seek
Shade/Use
Umbrellas
Seek
shade
when
appropriate.
Remember
that
the
sun’s
UV
rays
are
strongest
between
10
a.m.
and
4
p.m.
5. Generously
Apply
Sunscreen
Generously
apply
sunscreen
to
all
exposed
skin
using
a
Sun
Protection
Factor
(SPF)
of
at
least
30
that
provides
broad-­?spectrum
protection
from
both
UVA
and
UVB
rays.
Reapply
every
two
hours,
even
on
cloudy
days,
and
after
swimming
or
sweating.
6. Use
Extra
Caution
Near
Water,
Snow
and
Sand
Water,
snow
and
sand
reflect
the
damaging
rays
of
the
sun,
which
can
increase
your
chance
of
sunburn.
7. Check
the
UV
Index
The
UV
Index
provides
important
information
to
help
you
plan
your
outdoor
activities
in
ways
that
prevent
overexposure
to
the
sun.
Developed
by
the
National
Weather
Service
(NWS)
and
EPA,
you
can
find
the
UV
Index
for
your
area
online
at:
www.epa.gov/sunwise/uvindex.html.
8. Get
Vitamin
D
Safely
Get
vitamin
D
safely
through
a
diet
that
includes
vitamin
supplements
and
foods
fortified
with
vitamin
D.
Don’t
seek
the
sun
or
indoor
tanning.

Is Tipping the Waiter a Policy or Law?

May 18, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

By now, the workers at the La Fisherman restaurant in Houston, Texas are probably wishing they would have just let the whole thing go.  But they didn’t, and now the story has been splattered all across the internet.

In case you missed it, a family went into the establishment for dinner and decided that the service they received was not worthy of the required 17% tip for parties over five. When Jasmine Marks informed the waiter that she wasn’t going to pay the gratuity, the staff responded by locking the doors and calling the police.

Is it Illegal Not to Tip?

Marks wanted to know if it was against the law not to tip, but when the HPD arrived, even they didn’t know what to do.

In the end, Marks took the high road and paid the bill, gratuity included, just to end the stand-off.

Obviously, the folks of La Fisherman forgot that we’re living in a world of immediate and widespread news…thank you very much internet !

Regardless of who’s in the wrong, this couldn’t have been a positive PR move for the headstrong restaurant.

Rewarding Bad Service is a Bad Idea

Personally, it’s hard not to side with the consumer here.  If you’re going to assume that a mandatory, predetermined tip amount is necessary, then you better make sure your service is up to that expectation.

Marks claims the wait staff messed up their orders and were rude in the process. So fine, losing track of what someone ordered is one thing , but the rudeness needs to be addressed, and most certainly shouldn’t be rewarded.

The opposition will claim that a business has the right to enforce it’s own policies, and if you don’t like it , eat somewhere else, but is that really the point ?

What’s the Point of Tipping?

Tipping used to be defined as a social custom, and voluntary, depending on how you felt about the service provided to you.

I understand that in the present economy, those working in the customer service business are feeling the same strains that we all are feeling, and most likely, many waiters and waitresses are working for far less than they should.                                                                                                                                      

The flip side is , consumers are more careful with spending, and less likely to pay for something they don’t feel is deserving of their hard earned money.

So what about the cops ? Well, although the law was unclear in Houston, the Bethlehem Township police department in Pennsylvania had a different interpretation of the law in 2006 when they arrested a couple for denying a mandatory tip due to their dissatisfaction in service.

What was the charge ? Theft.

Eventually, the case would be dropped by the police department, but the young couple still got to experience being handcuffed and booked for their trouble.

Should there be a price to pay in the form of a tip, even for bad service ? Feel free to let us know what you think at The Consumer Warning Network.

Reader Comments:

Walter in FL:
any tipping should always be related to the quality of service provided. I will never accept a \”pre-imposed %\”by anybody. I rather walk away. Which I have done before. Both restaurants that i did it, are no longer in business. .what incentive does a waiter have to serve you properly when he knows that no matter how bad or good he serves you he still going to get the same tipping. Also I will not cruise in any line that charges you up front for tips, unless I have a choice.

Douglas in CA :

I personally hate seeing local, state or federal government sticking their noses in where they are neither wanted nor needed. But some sensible rules may be needed here, on the subject of mandatory tipping. Restaurant workers WORK at their craft FOR A WAGE. They are paid to be there and to serve the patrons the food they have ordered. Anything else is a gratuity for a job well done – NOT something to be expected as a RIGHT in the food service industry. And most certainly, NOT an item to be included in ANY law.
IMHO – Just my 18%, or 15%, 0r 10% 0r 5% or 20% – MY CHOICE.

Garrett in NH :
A tip is a gratuity. Although understood usually customary and expected… never was mandatory or solicited
The very meaning of gratuity means a gift.
A gift can not be forced or mandatory otherwise it must be called a specified and required service fee.
I will not eat in a restaurant which has such a policy (except for a banquet perhaps).
I will accept a suggested gratuity of 17% with the establishment\’s promise to offer excellent service (which if it is excellent & pleasant i often give more than that… also if we take up the table for a longer that reasonable time).

Elly in FL :

Tipping is something you earn, period! The way I so it, though, is the following: 20% any time you (the waiter/waitress) have been courteous and nice and pleasant, possibly even fantastic. (If I can afford 25%, I do it for utmost service, regardless of the tab). This is my common tip.
If you have been barely acceptable, and I am not too happy with the way you acted, I will give you the customary bare bones 15% or thereabout.
If you have been ugly or rude, be happy to receive 10%. This has happened a couple of times.
The only reason why I tip anyway, regardless of the service is because, in Florida, waiters live off of their tips. they do not receive minimum wage bit a meager pay for their time. Therefore it is my way to compensate them for it. However, in states where I know they are paid for their work, even if it is minimum wage, I only tip really well for correct and excellent service and I don’t or leave a few coins for despicable service.
This being said, a waiter is allowed a bad hair-day.They are people just like us. When that happens I try to be extra nice with them and do my best to make them smile and relax…. Most of the time, it does the trick so, no bad feelings from either party by the end of the meal.

Remember, it\’s a 2-way street and we are to treat them with respect and kindness as well.

Hope this helps.

Swiped at the Pump:Credit Card scam

May 16, 2012

Even though gas prices are showing signs of relief, getting scammed at the pump is still a concern. By attaching a small device known as a “skimmer” to the credit card slot, thieves can steal 100’s of  card numbers from a pump.  Click here to watch this report by CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson and learn more about what to look out for to avoid getting ripped off.

Read more

The Filter Bubble: Putting You in a World of Isolation

May 16, 2012

By Terry Smiljanich:

When you search on Google for something you want to know more about, your search results reflect those sites that everyone on the internet has collectively decided are the most useful sites regarding that subject – right?  Wrong. Your search results are instead personalized for you, showing you what you are most likely to click on. Another person searching on the same term may very well get completely different search results.

At first glance, that might seem helpful, but truly what’s happening is that you are being isolated from information that may not fit your current beliefs and interests. These filters, based on your past habits, are making your world smaller and in the process promoting the polarization of society.

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