Friday, July 22, 2011

Exercise or Not

Back in the dark ages before LA Fitness Centers sprouted like dandelions and Starbucks was still a few coffee stands on the streets of Seattle instead of the second office to the world, Weight Watchers preached that that exercise couldn't be relied on to keep you at your ideal weight.  Through the years, as I learned about the strict diets adhered to by many professional athletes, I came to believe they might have been right.
Yes, I subscribe to the exercise is good for you mantra.  Your heart is a muscle that needs to be exercised, your legs must keep moving to prevent PAD, and exercise makes you feel good and can even help fight depression.
My mother had two thoughts on the subject: the two band-aid theory--two band aids across your mouth, and the only exercise that really fought obesity was pushing yourself away from the table. She might have been a believer, but didn't take her own advice.  When she embarked on one of her many diets, my sister told her that she liked her better "fat and friendly."
One summer I decided that swimming might be an easy path to weight control, so I swam and swam and swam and ate and ate and ate.  Since that summer, I did learn that the body has a very efficient mechanism for keeping you warm.  In cool water, the body reacts by trying to keep that insulating layer of fat intact--the one that seems to remain on the bodies of many competitive swimmers.
Stick thin they're not.  Not so for gymnasts or ballerinas or skaters.  One of their jobs is staying thin.   Models are in a separate class.  Do they ever eat?
I lived for many years with a daughter who suffered with an eating disorder.  Medical science has yet to solve that puzzle, and it's so frustrating that you want to scream most of the time.
I'm one of the lucky ones--I inherited my body type from my father, not my mother. I never had a serious issue with my weight, but I bought into the exercise theory and used to run and play tennis until I dropped. I knew that exercise was good for me, so uninterested in joining the sweaty bodies at the LA Fitness Center that happens to be around the corner, I furnished my husband's office (His is bigger than mine.) with an elliptical machine.  Every weekday, with my Kindle in hand, I tried to spend 45 minutes on the machine.
Then, six weeks ago, I broke my pelvis and ended up in a wheelchair--no walking, no exercise, no nothing.  I kept right on eating and was afraid or unable to approach the scale. I really feared that I wouldn't be able to fit into any of my clothes.
Wrong...I didn't gain an ounce and I don't need a new wardrobe.
Is there a meaning there?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Article in followed by my response

The Article
     Marcus Bachmann, a non-licensed "clinical therapist" who "cures" homosexuals (and takes Medicaid payments) at his two Minnesota clinics, says he is not "anti-gay," despite the fact that he is clearly very much anti-gay.
     In an interview with the Star Tribune, Bachmann says he's not anti-gay because he only "cures" gay people who want to be cured.
     If someone comes to a therapist seeking to be cured of gayness, a non-anti-gay therapist would explain that homosexuality is not something that can or should be cured. To take this person's money and then attempt to convert him is pretty much anti-gay, in addition to being a scam.
     Bachmann also says that he didn't call gay people "barbarians," and that the audio clip of him calling gay people "barbarians" in a radio interview was doctored. He claims he was actually talking about children, and he meant the term "barbarian" in an endearing way. The host of the show, a Christian program called "Point of View," supports Bachmann's claim, though oddly she claims that "the original two-hour tape is no longer in the show's archives." The interview took place in 2010. What is the point of a show archive if it doesn't go back one year?
     I call on "Point of View" to release the full, unedited audio of its Marcus Bachmann interview, because listening to Bachmann's voice makes me laugh. In fact, I also call on the Star Tribune to release the full audio of its interview with Bachmann, in the name of truth, and hilarity.
     There is also some stuff about how Bachmann isn't a hypocrite for taking federal and state funds, because those funds are what allow low-income people to afford his services. And, obviously, that is the point of government-subsidized healthcare, to allow people access to essential services. (Though it probably shouldn't be used to help people see uncredentialed bigoted quacks like Marcus Bachmann, but no system is perfect.)
     Meanwhile, CNN confirms what Joshua Green reported: that Michele and Marcus Bachmann have left their longtime church, just before Michele Bachmann announced her candidacy for president. The church believes that the pope is the antichrist, which may not go over well with Catholic voters. Guess Michele Bachmann doesn't love God that much, if she's going to let the liberal media tell her how to worship.
The Bachmanns had been members of Salem Lutheran Church for more than a decade, but no one even knows where they go to church now, if they are are going to church at all. They are probably Satanists, now, I would guess.
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @pareene More: Alex Pareene

My Response

Finally, some comic relief 
My husband and I read your "barbaric" article together--he hates politics and I live politics. After the garbage that's been flying around during the past few weeks, we were both happy to have something to laugh about.
     Sure, the tape was doctored: Maybe he said that he accepted gays and lesbians and transgenders as such good friends that he wanted to join them at a screening of "Conan the Barbarian". Oh, but where is the "s"?
Why is it wrong for the government to supply needed healthcare services when it doesn't affect your bottom line?
Won't it be fun to witness the barbarism when the Dems dismantle the Bachmanns?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Spell Check, My Favorite Enemy

Sure, we have spell check and sometimes it works.  It finds the simple stuff: too many spaces, careless typos, missing punctuation.

If we have spell check and use it, why do we have to worry?  If it works, why are there so many errors on blogs, in emails, even in the newspaper?
Writing is hard work: intense, time consuming, frustrating.  So, exhausted by our efforts, we allow the spell checker to take over and we don’t fight Mr. Microsoft or Ms. Macintosh.  Oh, but we should.
Years ago, when I was still using a Macintosh, I carelessly eliminated the “M” in Michael.  What came up as a suggested spelling? “Asshole” Did a programmer do it on purpose?  I never figured it out.
There’s so much I haven’t been able to figure out—like who put the pink TSA lock on my luggage when I flew to Montreal?  Thanks to the Canadian immigration person who used a bolt cutter to remove it. 
Back to our spell check issue.  Best of all was a tale from a medical researcher I met at a conference.  During a session on grant writing, she told her sad story.  She really did trust Microsoft.  Her research concerned osteopenia and she included the results in her thesis. Microsoft replaced every reference to osteopenia with osteopenis.  Just one little letter, but what a firestorm it created.

There are so many errors the spell checker misses that they’re hard to enumerate.  It confuses “it’s” with “its,” it doesn’t like fragmented sentences, even if the author does.  It will find a word unwittingly repeated, but doesn’t alert you to overuse of a word or term.
Only you, the author, can correct stylistic errors and unnecessary repetitiveness.  Read everything out loud before you hit the send button or the submit button.  You might sound dumb and not like the sound of your own voice, but, sometimes your oral reading can eliminate the need for an editor.  Trust yourself.  You can correct a lot of errors in your own work.  The fewer the errors, the less you will spend on time sensitive editing

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Politics, Oh My!

   Why are we, supposedly the most democratically advanced, intellectually sophisticated nation on earth so frightened by a woman? Let's look around the world for some historically great leaders: Great Britain, Israel, India
     If Hollywood wants to prepare us for President Hillary, perhaps they should make more films about female leaders to complement their films about the Queen. 
     Come on, people. Hillary has it. She is prepared, brilliant, clever, and, most important of all, has a gift that women must have the ability to multi-task. Men, try to be a mother and work full time.
     I only hope you are correct. Hillary will be a great president/world leader/diplomat. I only hope she can be a good garbage person and clean up the trash that will have been left to her. 
 Posted by Joanne Gruskin

Letter to the Editor


     Good for you.  This is what we need: some positive press about our great city.  There is not a downtown in the country that has not had to turn itself around and rise from its own ashes. 
      We just spent two days in the marina at Bayside and walked and shopped and ate downtown.  Epoca is a shining example of what is to come to our great city.  Miami, you have just begun to fight for yourself.  We need a vibrant, clean, exciting downtown and we will get it, with a little help from our friends at the Herald, in the government, in the private sector.
      One idea from Seattle: free buses or trolleys within the core downtown shopping area.  Then we can park in less expensive lots and use free public transportation to support our revitalized downtown.  
      We cannot continue to be embarrassed by our city, but should present our best face to the world, the cruise passengers, the tourists, and the local citizens.  I repeat again and again to whomever will listen, "The only people who don't love Miami are those who don't know it.
Joanne Gruskin

Re. Smoking

     Call it "Urban Chic," call it "Grunge," call it "Fashion Underground."  Yes, fashion is fun, always has been, and, hopefully, always will be a welcome diversion from....
But... how did your editors miss the cigarette in the hand of the model in the polka dotted dress? Any amateur in front of a computer could have deleted it.  
      It is great to see models who are not anorexic and I can even handle the tattoos.  But the cigarette, no, emphatically no!  Check out the statistics on smoking-related deaths.  My daughter is a researcher and even our present administration has not cut her funding for anti-smoking research.
     You in the media still have some editorial responsibility