Answers to some things you may—or may not—be wondering about

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By Laura Lewis, Reporter

Pedaling like mad Monday in a cycling class I had resumed after abstaining because of a sprained wrist, I wondered: Why, just because I had been out for a month, does it feel like starting all over again?

While the tough-and-fit instructor and most of the class spun their two-wheelers way above the speed limit, I was going at a sea-turtle rate of about 15. I could barely breathe. I felt my face turning red—more out of effort than embarrassment, I think.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could work out long and hard for, say, an intense class, or maybe an intense week or so, that would do us for the rest of our lives?

The same would be great as well for bill-paying, house-cleaning, yard work and flossing, though I’m sure my dentist would disagree (with that last one, at least). Some brilliant somebody needs to invent these things immediately.

What does a hurt wrist have to do with missing cycling, which involves the feet, inquiring readers may or may not be asking? Well, not much, I’ve discovered.

Fitness advisers in my vicinity have advised I can continue to spin as long as I don’t put pressure on my wrist. It took me a month to figure that out, and now I’m paying the price.

I also should’ve avoided the fried peanuts, cheesecake and fried-shrimp dinners I ingested in the interim to make my wrist feel better. (At the time it really seemed to help—yummy!)

Since that reckless, calorie-racked era, to stave off calories while still enjoying a healthy, fulfilling meal, this summer I’ve reverted to homegrown tomatoes from local produce stands, including those of Varnamtown resident Esther Varnam, who was telling the truth in a Beacon story last week when she said people say her tomatoes are the best around.

Between tomatoes and the watermelon I’ve also been indulging in as the ultimate fruits of summer, I philosophically have begun to ponder: Which came first, the fruit or the fruit flies?

My colleagues have been wondering the same, as we seem to have more of the varmints bothering us—fruit flies are just more annoying critters of summer to deal with this year.

As a result of our great intellectual curiosity, I consulted that great answer-giver of cyberspace—otherwise known as Google. Here is what assorted Google experts have to say:

According to an entomologist quoted in an article on Discovery.com, fruit flies come from the great outdoors rather than the grocery store.

“They come when they smell your peaches rolling across the ripeness line.” And they start laying eggs and perpetuating the species almost immediately.

There also are a multitude of methods for ridding your space of fruit flies, too numerous to list in this little space. If you want to know, go to Wikihow.com, which lists nearly 30 things guaranteed to keep you busy and sleep-deprived chasing fruit flies over your next warrior weekend. One of them is bound to work.

Speaking of summer tomatoes, lately I had been wondering why homegrown ones taste so much better than store-bought ones. The answer recently came to me out of a bit of serendipity—and tuning into scientific news.

According to a study recently published in the journal Science, researchers have found a genetic switch is at the root of the “mater” problem. Cultivars used for store-bought ones were bred for hardiness to endure long trips to the market. The mutation inadvertently turned off sugar production, leading to a bland variety encompassing nearly 100 percent of those sold in grocery stores.

Researchers are hopeful the discovery will lead to improved flavor of store-bought tomatoes.

In the meantime, they advise homegrown or heirloom varieties that don’t have these sugar-deprived issues are still best, especially in the heat and peak of summer.



Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.