Thursday, January 26, 2012

Taking A Stand On Sitting

AARP Bulletin January-February 2012 cover
AARP Bulletin Jan-Feb 2012 

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the AARP Bulletin headline proclaiming, "Sitting Is The New Smoking." Elizabeth Pope's article details the many risks that plague even "active couch potatoes." 

According to Ms. Pope, "Mounting evidence suggests that sitting for long periods increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and early death, even for people who exercise daily. Prolonged sitting appears to have powerful metabolic consequences, disrupting processes that break down fats and sugars in the blood. "  Unfortunately, this could potentially lead to heart disease.

As a preventative, the author lists some helpful suggestions to keep us on our toes, "Put your computer on a plastic milk crate on the desk and work standing up. Set your computer to remind you to stand up and stretch every 30 minutes. Use the bathroom down a flight of stairs." She also includes other examples, but the timer just went off, so I'm taking a brisk walk downstairs to the refrigerator.

Not long ago, articles were being written about the dangers of prolonged standing equating it with everything from varicose veins, foot, leg, and back pain to stressful pregnancies. Now sitting is the new standing, but comparing it to smoking is going a tad too far. You can quit smoking or never start it in the first place, but how can you quit sitting cold turkey?

Instead of drive-in theaters which are already becoming obsolete, will there be stand-in theaters with stadium standing? Since some airlines are already charging for bags, as well as, bag lunches, will flights evolve into standing room only with additional charges for seats?

As far as working on the computer in a standing position, if it's not properly aligned it could induce other ailments like back, neck, arm, wrist, and shoulder injuries. Ms. Pope also cites a woman who "..bought a desk equipped to fit over a treadmill and now logs 30 to 35 miles a week walking at 1.4 miles per hour."  That sounds great now, but her joints may pay for it later.

Like everything in life, the key is moderation. Sit, stand, fetch, roll-over, and repeat with the occasional jumping up for treats. We just have to keep on moving in sensible shoes, though it's often difficult to find four matching ones.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A World Without Criticism

SNL's "You Can Do Anything" with Daniel Radcliffe-

Last weekend, Saturday Night Live aired a particularly prevalent sketch entitled, "You Can Do Anything. The only show that celebrates the incredibly high self -esteem of the YouTube Generation."

After the first guest fails miserably at juggling, one of the co-host's points out, "Now when people ask if you're a juggler, you can say yes." While guest #1 responds, "Because I have no shame or self-awareness."

After the second guest joins the group, he announces, "I'm what you would call Twitter famous." Then the co-host adds, " Meaning...?" To which Guest #2 replies, " Not famous."

Then the other co-host chimes in, "And I assume your self-esteem reflects that?"  Guest #2: " No, on the contrary my self-esteem is through the roof, because no one's ever been honest with me about how mediocre I am."

Host Daniel Radcliffe was the third guest who spouted the best line after he performed his unique talent of combining Irish dancing with Chinese calligraphy, " I tried, and therefore no one should criticize me."

Suddenly, my life flashed before my eyes; scenes of a friend of a friend's mother telling her daughter that she was the worst one in the school play. My best friend's cousin's aunt who was the last one picked for every team in gym class. My dermatologist's cat's vet's mechanic whose boyfriend only dated her for her hair. Why did they feel the need to criticize when every one of these nice, young ladies tried so hard?

Recently, I was watching an episode of The Wonder Years when Kevin's dad came home from a bad day at the office. The kids knew to stay away from him when he was angry, and that's exactly how we were brought up. Most of us feared, respected, and even loved our parents. I don't know how our roles became reversed, but many of us now fear that our children won't love and respect us.

Then I realized that many bloggers probably endured tough childhoods. Those of us who weren't beaten up at recess, may have been forced to take the garbage out more than our spoiled siblings. Some of us may have had to wear hand-me-downs right down to our grandparents' drawers.This is why as a whole, we are a kinder, gentler people who empathize, sympathize, and even fertilize our fellow bloggers' sites, so we may grow in harmony as writers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Rear Necessities

Dear Diary,

It's 4 am and I can't sleep. I can't even blame my husband, because he isn't snoring. My younger son hasn't come home yet, but that's not the only reason I'm still up. A few hours ago I was terrified to find out that we're almost out of toilet paper. Our last mega roll is down to mere squares and it's tearing me apart.

How could I have ignored all of the warning signs? I knew that we were low, but I always thought we'd have more time. The other day I noticed that the downstairs roll was sparse, but I still forgot to buy more at the store. The last resort was entering my boys' bathroom, but at what cost?

Kleenex is not an option, as our drainpipe is über sensitive. Even 3-ply toilet paper disrupts it's delicate system. All of this tossing and turning is forcing me to use up our meager ration. Thank goodness we still have a surplus of chocolate in the house, but the wrappers will only clog up the crapper.

The strange thing is that if someone rang my doorbell offering a lifetime supply of double rolls I would check the fine print to make sure it was 2-ply. Some name brands try to lure you with great deals on mega rolls that are only 1-ply. I was fooled once by this psychotic scheme, though the repercussions were not absorbent.

It 's 4:45 and my son still isn't home yet. Images start racing through my head about all the wild things he could be doing in the wee hours. Oh no, now the supply is further dwindling. Fortunately, the police aren't banging on my door, because my boy was caught teepeeing the neighbor's yard.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: True Character

Alex J. Cavanaugh  is hosting the first Wednesday edition of  2012.  Be sure to check out the many talented authors and bloggers who continue to offer their best advice, as well as their strongest shoulders. 

True Character

Len and Ken knew each other their entire lives, yet they were as different as night and day. While Len was quiet and unassuming, Ken was loud and braggadocios. Len worked hard and was a natural athlete. Ken befriended the other athletes by inviting them to parties, and driving them around in his flashy car. Len kept to himself and spent most of his free time working after school and on weekends.
Their paths seldom crossed until college

They both attended the same prestigious university; Len was on a journalism scholarship, while Ken's family had connections in all the right places. Though Ken had no experience, he worked under Len as a writer for the school paper.  Len worked very hard to become editor, and was pressured to hire Ken, as his parents were contributors to the university. Len patiently took Ken under his wing until he was eventually able to become an alternate sports reporter. Ken was thrilled to have access to all of the sporting events and activities that followed, while Len was doing double duty making sense out of his stories.

After graduation, Ken landed a job as a sports reporter for a local television station. Len worked as a high school English teacher, and was writing a novel in his spare time. They ran into each other when Ken was covering a championship basketball game at the high school. Len politely introduced him to his beautiful fiancee who was also a teacher. The next day she broke off their engagement.

After Len completed his novel, he was invited to appear on Ken's news program. where he was filling in for the weekend anchor. Since the story took place in their college town, Ken intimated that he was the inspiration for his novel. Somehow he received an early edition and recited quotes as if they were his own. This caused quite a scandal at the high school, resulting in Len's dismissal. Eventually, a legal team was able to clear things up, but it left Len bankrupt in the process.  

While Ken's star was rising, Len worked as a handyman and a tutor to get by. After completing a rigorous job, he was rushed to the hospital when a pipe burst. He quickly recovered from surgery, but was sent to a rehab facility for extensive physical therapy. There he would visit other patients to read them poetry or short stories. He became very close with an older man who lost his sight. One day he asked him who wrote the wonderful stories, and was amazed that Len was the author.

The blind gentleman told Len to bring him everything he had ever written. When Len obliged, he set up a meeting with the editor -in-chief of a renowned publishing empire. The man was thrilled to help Len, as he felt closer to him than his own grandson who never came to visit. The editor-in-chief offered him the position of associate editor, with large stock options in the company. Len couldn't thank his friend enough, and continued to see him as often as possible. He didn't realize his connection with the publishing empire, until he received his first paycheck. The kind and generous billionaire was none other then Ken's maternal grandfather.

-Julie Kemp Pick