Saturday, June 19, 2021

Peppermint OS to the Rescue

I have/had a love/hate relationship with Peppermint OS Linux. I have installed Peppermint OS for a third time now alongside my standby Linux Debian. I have been a Debian user for more years than I like to think about. I have also been distro hopping for about as long. But my Peppermint OS hop is a recent change.



Peppermint OSis a great little distribution with cloud connectivity. Peppermint OS has specially built launchers to connect to both Google and Microsoft Office online. The launchers open in their own windows making the running of Google Docs about the same as running Writer in Libre Office. Once click and done.

So why have I installed and deleted Peppermint OS three or so times in the last year or two? There are two main reasons. The first and foremost reason is I am spoiled by the XFCE Desktop. I am not thrilled with XFCE itself, but rather the right click for the menu on any blank space on the desktop. One little right click saves miles of mousing each year.

Secondly, when first installed, for me Peppermint OS manages to be dark and garish at the same time. The desktop looks as is I am looking at it through a smokey room. Too much black, too much cinnamon red. Although after a few minutes in settings, Peppermint OS can look almost exactly like my Debian desktop.

Peppermint OS has a lot going for it. It has relatively small footprint, though for me, I have 16 gigs of memory, footprint doesn't really matter. I understand that small footprint makes Peppermint OS a great choice for older slower computers although it runs just fine on newer, faster computers too.

Peppermint OS, like Slackware likes to keep things simple. The least number of applications needed to provide a working system. This means Peppermint OS is easily customized to having only your favorite applications without the bloat that other Linux Distro’s think they need.



MX Linux comes to mind. It is a great system, but I spend more time removing applications than I do adding applications. No off the shelf operating system can be a be all do all for everyone. Peppermint OS realizes this, and leaves extra or alternative application choices to the user.

I think this time Peppermint OS will be permanent on my hard drive. I depend on Debian Linux a lot. Debian has always been my workhorse distribution of choice. As a result, every time I think I want to learn something new or try out different applications, they are loaded onto Debian. Debian has rarely complained over the years. Times change though and so do needs.

The Pandemic has changed the way we live. I am an English as a Second Language volunteer instructor. I have in the last few years tutored students with different wants and needs. My Documents folder and associated file folders have more sub folders than some regular users have in their home directory.

Hanging on to and separating ESL materials has become something of a bear. Too many documents of varying levels, many of which I created, that I do not want to trash or offload has become the issue. I have folders for past students as each wanted to learn differently, and I know there will be other students like them.

Which brings me around to Peppermint OS again. Due to Peppermint OS small footprint, lack of bloat, and speed, it has become a perfect platform for my ESL files and folders. I open the Documents folder and all that is there are folders and files that pertain to ESL, divided up in a way that makes sense to me.

My Documents folder in Peppermint OS is not cluttered with folders of old and possibly new blog posts. Several additional folders, documents and articles which I have found, written, taken and want to keep. No folders of old Linus OS installs home directories waiting to be sorted, only ESL materials. How free it feels having one OS to do one job, this is an old Unix concept modernized.

Finally there is a change in my perception of the computing world. Windows is going away and Chromebooks are becoming the norm. This change has huge implications. When you want to create a document using a Chromebook, you use Google Docs. When you do anything in a Chromebook you are doing something Google Centric.

I have found I do not enjoy creating a visually pleasing in Libre Office or Microsoft Office document, to have it load up in Google Docs and have the formatting destroyed because these companies refuse to play well together. For much of what I do, I am happy with a text editor until the final stages. Peppermint OS with its web centric focus, makes it easy to create ESL materials for Chromebook users, Microsoft Windows Users, or Linux other Users.

Peppermint OS has made my ESL tutoring as painless as possible by its small footprint, lack of bloat, web centric focus, and blazing speed. Give Peppermint OS a spin, see the lack of bloat, ease of changing the desktop and folder colors, and general ease of use makes your life simpler. I think you too will find Peppermint OS has a place on your hard drive. Maybe, you too will find Peppermint OS is a solution to a problem you thought you had to put up with, too many mixed files to (for me) easily manage.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Gluten Intorance Aggravated by Eating Beef and Pork?

I had a serious Gluten Intolerance problem for several years discovered as an adult. Even on a gluten free diet, I would still occasionally feel as if I had eaten gluten. Even if the meal was simple, beef, potato and vegetables. My stomach would swell up and my intestines would go through a minor shutdown.

I was talking today to someone with allergies that consults with her Allergy Doctor on a quarterly basis. The result of that conversation surprised me. Internet resources I read, medical and otherwise disagree with what I was told today, but my body tells me a different story.

I gave up eating red meat (beef and pork) a year ago last May. Being gluten intolerant, I was a fairly heavy red meat eater. After about three months of no red meat, I started feeling like I could gluten foods again. At first I did not trust my feelings and refrained from anything with gluten.

One day, we were at a Chinese Restaurant, and I really wanted Orange Chicken. Orange Chicken is breaded and deep fried. I thought about how I felt I could eat gluten again and decided this was as good a time as any to try a gluten food.

My stomach was not thrilled with gluten, and had a little trouble digesting it, but my stomach did not swell up, and my intestines did not go on strike. Over the next weeks, I ate gluten something now and then. Results were the same with one big exception.

All these years of feeling deprived by not being able to enjoy the gluten laden foods most of us eat, I discovered something when I started eating gluten products again. I did not like the taste.

Now, I don't know if it is like the fast food addiction, people in line at fast food service windows seem to have, but I lost my taste for most foods containing gluten. I no longer feel concerned about whether some food may contain gluten or not, as I suffer little other than some stomach feelings of, "I am not happy with this food".


Stockyard Fed Beef - Gluten Heavy Diet

Back to today's conversation. The topic was allergies, and I mentioned my Gluten Intolerance went away some months after giving up eating beef and pork. A person with a lifetime of allergy suffering told me the following:

"My Allergy Doctor told me, "When Cattle and Pigs are sent to the stockyards they are fed a heavy (only?) grain diet to make them put on weight as quickly as possible. Cattle and Pigs may have been Grass Fed up until the stockyard, but that all changes at the stockyard.

Because they are contained in pens and can't really move, and have all the grains they want to eat, their bodies, just like ours store all the excess gluten they are now ingesting through the grains. Unlike us, in the Stockyards, these animals have no way to use the gluten, or get rid of it, it just builds up to staggering amounts in their muscles and fat cells.

When the animals are slaughtered and packaged, the excess gluten deposits are packaged by proxy. Hence when we eat that meat, we are consuming gluten by default. In my case I had a repeating cycles of what appeared to be gluten in my diet even though I knew there was none.""

As soon as the story was finished, it made complete sense to me. Here was an explanation of why I was having what felt like gluten issues when I knew without a doubt there was no gluten in my diet! I was being fed gluten by the beef and pork I was eating!

For the average person who develops Gluten Intolerance and quits gluten products, it takes about six months for our body to rid itself of stored Gluten. Once you burn through the gluten in your muscles, Gluten is also stored in our fat cells, which explains why losing fat inches during dieting makes us feel so horrible.

Whether the Allergy Doctor knows what they are talking about, against commonly held knowledge about Gluten content in beef and Pork, I know two people who believe what he said about the amount of gluten in Stockyard Fed Beef and Pork is true.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Pounding Words and Phrases into Dust, The New Media Pastime

"Women of Color". Quickly overused, abused, and beaten into twice-ground turkey by every possible media outlet. This on it's way out abused media phrase was in the running for the most abused phrase of the month award. For weeks, it seemed any news story did not matter as long as the phrase, "Women of Color" was used or applied in one form or another. Women of Color quickly turned into umbrage for me.

One new word, and one old phrase is trying to break into everyday speech, making an appearance. The old phrase, "Need for Speed" was used twice this week in two different commercials. I used, "Need For Speed" when talking about driving in the early 2000's. "Need for Speed", was released as a video game in 2015. Now, Need for Speed has risen from the ashes again in late May, 2021. 

Maybe like haircuts and pant styles, "Need for Speed" might be making a comeback. Or perhaps some midlife advertising writer is out of new ideas and reaching into his past for catchy phrases. I hope the phrase, "Need for Speed", dies a quick and silent death.

The newest word I'm hearing a lot as it hops across conversational media, is "vetted". Vetted, generally means well examined. I can hardly wait until, Vetted, shows up in commercials. Then it can bounce back and forth between the news and advertisement.  

Umbrage Hunting


Perhaps a diaper or condom commercial is a fitting entry point for the word Vetted. "______ Diapers have been vetted by several parenting groups, and now you can vet them in your own home too". Or perhaps, "______ Diapers, Vetted by Parents everywhere".

"________ Condoms, vetted by men just like you; and Women like them too" It ought to be rip roaring time, seeing if this phrase and word take root, kind of like going to the dentist.

If you have, "A need for Speed" as a part your active lifestyle, you need the new, improved, "vetted" ______ to help your life really take off!

When, "Women of Color" exploded into everyday speech, I found myself counting the times per hour the phrase was used. I hope both Vetted and Need for Speed die a quick quiet death. If you catch yourself using these either Vetted or saying, Need For Speed, take a vow of silence for at least two weeks. Think of these words as a verbal virus.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Holdem SS NL, One Hand, Uncertain Outcome

The Country is in the process of opening back up. Also opening up are Casinos and Poker Rooms! Poker is a lot of fun when you play with money you can afford to lose. With any given turn of a card, a losing hand can turn into a big winner. Too often however, new poker players get a bad taste in their mouth about poker because reality does not meet their expectations.

This post is about a newer player sitting at a small stakes no limit holdem table holding a big pair. While the play of the hand is common with newer players, it is also common with online players who come to play live.

As with any advice, half the people reading this will know the play is correct, and I am wrong. This is what makes poker fun, and sometimes rewarding. Who is right and who is wrong? The one who wins the pot is right for the hand. In general though, money saved is money earned.

Big pairs cost newer players lots of money at Small Stakes No Limit Holdem. Big pairs are one of the most frustrating hands for many players who watch world class players play big pairs.

Tuning into one of the late night televised poker games, you watch a player get dealt a big pair, bet it out and absolutely crush the table. Perhaps sending a player home in the process.

The reality for the level of poker most of us play, is big pairs may be big before the Flop, but by the River, they may as well be a pair of two's. The difference in play is the low cost of playing at the stakes most of us play at.

I made this screen shot of a player holding a pair of Kings, a big hand at any table. If you play small stakes, you will see the following scenario play out often. The Big Blind looks down to see KK. It is a family pot when the betting gets to the Big Blind.

Everyone is in for the minimum. Big Blind, in his minds eye sees himself raising big here and scooping the pot uncontested. Big Blind puts out a pot size raise. Sure enough, it is fold, fold and fold until it gets to a late position player to the right of the button.

This player does the unthinkable. Not only does he not fold, he re-raises the size of the pot! KK is not to be pushed off of his pot. He knows KK wins more than its fair share of pots in one on one play. In fact, he knows, KK is only beaten by AA preflop.



This player in late position only called the first go round, so AA feels unlikely. Big Blind swelling with confidence calls the raise. He knows the pot is his. The flop comes down, T, 7, 6 rainbow. Big Blind is feeling quite comfortable with this rainbow, double gap, middle card flop and bets out big, expecting to win right now.

The player in late position thinks for a few seconds and goes all in. Big Blind is rocked to his toes and his stomach feels queasy. He has half his stack in already and now he faces an all in. His K,K isn't looking as shiny and sparkly as it did preflop.

Scenarios like this are common in small stakes no limit live poker. Players continuously over value their hands, and find themselves in spots like this. Their hand may be good, or it may be worthless, but it will cost most if not all their chips to find out.

At small stakes no limit Holdem, there are all types of players, from the player who scraped together one buy-in to the player who left a hundred dollar a hand blackjack table because he was bored.

Many Players blame these situations on the limits, thinking this does not happen in "real" poker games at higher stakes. It does. As the money goes up, aggression follows, starting preflop. Higher stakes games also have players out to have fun, and really do not care too much if they win or lose, but not so many.

At higher stakes the blind money takes on more importance. You are as likely to be raised preflop by a player holding 2,2 as you are a player holding A,A. How much are you willing to put in the pot to find out if your hand is good? The saving grace of small stakes no limit holdem is real aggressive betting is generally saved for post flop and beyond.

Back to hand I described. Does the late position player have AA, 89, 66, 76, TT or nothing? How often is the Big Blind willing to put most or all his chips in the pot to find out? Who is going to open their wallet for more chips, or go home with their head hung low thinking the other player is a clueless lucky idiot?

Holdem, Get Some Money without Losing Yours Part 6

Poker Friends, Poker Foes, Collusion, Lending and Borrowing No matter where you play Poker, there are going to be people who know each other...