So a bit of public holiday wandering about brought me to the discovery of a new exercise gadget -- the OSIM iGallop OS-8500. It's a small, bright plastic stool, with a thick padded yellow seat, which shakes around vigorously while the person seated on it holds onto a black bar. The posters around it suggest this can be used to keep slender, young, faintly oiled Asian women in bright white shorts, shortsleeves, and knee-high white boots looking attractive, which goodness knows has always been a struggle. The print, if you go in for such things, claims that sitting on this small stool wobbling around is good for improving cardiovascular fitness, blood circulation, and reflexes. It's an economical device, since purchasing and using one costs little more than all the dignity you have ever had and will ever have, forever.
Overall the iGallop appears to belong to that set of exercise equipment which believes there to be some vast physical benefit to extended wiggling. That comes up in a lot of contexts, mostly old cartoons and sitcoms where a person straps a big rubber band around their stomach and gets shaken, but it also appears in a good number of other gadgets, many from the same company. One is the uZap, which is a plastic belt not unlike the personal scanners worn in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That wiggles around, making your stomach shake, unless it's not properly grounded in which case it electrocutes your belly button. Me, I'm going to stick to my fitness plan of remembering late in the day that I was going to start walking up the stairs to my office, and leave the mechanically assisted wiggling to others.
Trivia: Johann Wolfgang von Goethe dedicated four poems to English pharmacist Luke Howard, who in 1803 gave the most popular names to types of clouds. Source: A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson.
Currently Reading: The Collapsing Universe, Isaac Asimov.