A health and fitness blog: With an occasional food item

Monday, March 31, 2008

Vitamin I

Aka, Ibuprofen.
About 40 minutes before Spin class Sunday, I popped two Advil. Had a slight headache. Headache went away a bit before class, but something happened I had never experienced before: My legs felt like jelly. I had energy but I had to make myself pedal. It was a feeling of being really, really relaxed.
Anyone else have experience with this?
Read all about Vitamin I here. Maybe I shouldn't complain. A possible side effect, it says, is death.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Say what?

Superstore Wal Mart is suing an employee for back medical claims after she collected $1 million in a lawsuit that left her disabled.
Read the story here.
What do you think?
One, technically, the chain has a right to ask for money back (it's in the employee contract) that she and her family used for medical bills. In effect, the family was double-dipping. But two, the spirit of the law says this: What does Wal Mart need with $200,000?
Not particularly germane to the case, but heart-wrenching: The woman's son died in Iraq and every time someone reminds her, she cries--which is partly due to her disability, because she can't remember she'd been told before.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March madness

Of a different sort.
Yesterday afternoon, a 63-year-old man in our city walked into one of our local hospitals and fatally shot a nurse on the fifth floor. The nurse had reportedly treated the man's mother before she died in the hospital in 2004. The shooter, they say, held a grudge against the nurse.
On the way off the floor, the gunman shot an administrative assistant at the elevator. Then in the hospital parking lot, a man in his 70s who was driving to his doctor's appointment was shot in the head in his truck by the same gunman. Finally an officer shot him in the shoulder. Today the assailant was released into police custody.
The shooter told police later that he thought the man in the parking lot was someone trying to stop him. Nope. Just an innocent bystander, at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Needless to say, our city is in shock.
Read the the CNN/AP report here.
Many are saying, What about security? Why wasn't there better security? Granted, no one I know was directly involved, so it's easier for me to be level-headed about this. But I don't think all the security in the world can stop someone from doing the likes of yesterday's action. If someone wants to target someone, he or she can do it. Say we had every known business and public building operating at the highest level of security at all times. Things like this still would and could happen. I'm not saying we need to be nonchalant about it, but you can't control and predict every action.
How much is safe enough?

Photo by Robin Trimarchi, Ledger-Enquirer

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This is your brain ... being compassionate

Your brain shows compassion. Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN weighs in on a recent study that shows an area of the brain that lights up when you are feeling compassionate toward someone. In this report, he talks about people who can meditate toward being more empathic toward others. And he mentions these monks who prayed for 10,000 hours to up the compassion meter. (Nothing against prayer, but I'm thinking, if you're praying all that time, WHEN do you have time to show compassion to someone?)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Food for a cause

Tired of biking or running for a cause? How about eating for one?
The annual Deli Day is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. April 3 at Temple Israel, 1617 Wildwood Ave. The spring picnic benefits the Wynnton Neighborhood Network, a consortium of congregations that benefits the poor in Columbus.
Tickets are $9, which includes a packed corned beef sandwich and side items. Homemade desserts (yum!) cost $3.50 extra. All worth it.
Based on personal experience, it's best if you pre-order tickets. You're chancing it if you want tickets at the door.
For more information or ticket orders, call 706-323-1617.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Beautiful Boy

I'm about halfway through this memoir by journalist David Sheff, about his son Nic, called "Beautiful Boy."
Here's a review from the Times.
Here's a story from Salon.com
So far so good. Or tragic, more like it. David, who first became addicted to drugs as a teen, has his own story to tell. (And it's more graphic, as he was the one immersed in the culture.) His book is called "Tweak." Nic Sheff has been sober for more than two years.
Some say the father's book is just more narcissism. (He does a fair amount of blaming himself.) But I think his was a calculated risk, in that whatever criticism he gets is worth the help his perspective might offer parents on a similar journey.

Celebrity Classic

Upcoming to our area: The Celebrity Classic (tennis competition); Wheels to Heal (cycling); River Run; and golf tournament.
Click here for details.
Columbus Regional Healthcare is sponsoring this event for the 13th year. Dates for the events vary. Tennis is first up, April 18-21.
The Foundation of Columbus Regional aims to raise $170,000 this year, which will go to the John B. Amos Cancer Center.
Call 706-660-6204 for more information.
Logo by Columbus Regional.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


This item is only related to health and fitness in that it involves stealing food. But it seems this Dutch shoplifter last week left behind a key piece of evidence: His son.
Read the Reuters story here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Anyone else bothered by this?

"There I was," as a friend of mine says, walking to my car after Spin class, and this bumper sticker on the back of a truck hit me at eye level. I'm sure those who would vote for Sen. Clinton are disturbed by it--but is anyone who hates her guts bothered by it? I'm also quite aware of the toxic fumes that are directed at President Bush, and particularly one of the bumper stickers that says "M the Moron" instead of "W the President."
But the B- word? Is that over the top? It is to me. (All of which reminds me of the woman's question last year at a rally for Sen. John McCain: "What are we going to do about the bitch?")
I'm not so naive to think that people don't use this word all the time in the same sentence with Sen. Clinton. Yet putting it on a bumper sticker really disturbs me.
As I write this, many are reacting to a speech given by Sen. Barack Obama earlier this week about race. (Here's the link.) The subject came up because his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago, said some things against white people in this country. Many are saying Sen. Obama opened up a national conversation about racial tensions--and about how our country is great and so forth, but that we have this tainted history that continues now.
My question: Isn't it also time to have a national conversation about misogyny?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mission impossible

OK, there's this promotion around the state through May called Walk Georgia. (www.walkgeorgia.com).
You sign up in teams of four, and compete with others in your city or county.
Every day that you do some sort of exercise, you log on and it gives you points based on your minutes or hours of workout. The computer keeps track of individual as well as team totals.
Imagine my team's surprise today when we saw this from a person on another team:
Housework: 300 minutes
Walking, moderate: 295 minutes
Tennis, singles: 325 minutes
Translation: That's five hours of housework, more than four hours of walking and between five and six hours of tennis.
In one day.
As our paper's religion reporter, all I have to say is: Thou shalt not bear false witness.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Starbucks, Ph.D.

I'm thinking if there was ever a need for me to work at Starbucks, it'd require a Ph.D.
Not that I didn't already know this, but the other day I picked up this handy-dandy 24-page mini-book that tells you all about the fancy drinks you can order.
What movie was it where the character said, "I'll have coffee. ... Coffee-flavored coffee"?
The choices are so overwhelming. Someone in front of me ordered something this past weekend that sounded so complicated, and yet the person behind the counter didn't even blink. There were about eight descriptions in the woman's order. I, meanwhile, reached for the handy-dandy manual.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The end of his trek

Sad news to hear that Richard "Dick" Burke died recently. He founded the Trek Bicycle Corporation in 1976 in a barn in Wisconsin and Trek became a household word when Lance Armstrong won his first Tour de France on one, in 1999. Burke died from complications following heart surgery last week. He was 73.
At Trek, Burke helped perfect the carbon-fiber bike. That material is ultra-light and also stiff, which edges out other materials such as aluminum and steel.
Oddly, Burke was not a cyclist but a runner who'd competed in various New York and Boston marathons.
Read the obituary from the Saturday Times here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Hello, anybody in there?

Here's an update on the bizarre, and sad, tale of the woman in Kansas who didn't come out of the bathroom in two years. She also had sores from sitting on the toilet for too long.
The sheriff says her live-in boyfriend should face charges. I don't agree. If she were a young child, sure, but she's a grown woman. A woman who had a phobia about leaving the safe confines of her bathroom, but still a grown woman.
What do you think?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

'Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute'

So back to the thread of Eliot Spitzer (aka Client 9 at the Emperor's Club VIP), we at the Spin Cycle were wondering: Is there such a thing as a male prostitute?
Then we recalled Dan Akroyd in that vintage role from the '80s.
Watch video here from Saturday Night Live.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Want some whine with that?

OK, I don't do much whining because, well, it's uncool.
But here goes: If you are in Spin class, don't a) talk with your neighbor through most of the songs, because it only comes out like yelling; and if you're working hard enough, you can't talk anyway and b) smack your gum and c) get up and turn out the whole bank of lights on one of the songs, without the instructor's permission.
All better. Now we can return to our regular programming.

A new food group, perhaps?

Here's a proposal, long in my mind but finally on paper (sort of): Ketchup should be one of the major food groups.
The photo is from a sign above our newsroom microwave. 'Wave at your own risk, right?
But back to ketchup: Basically can be used on anything. So, it's versatile. Tastes good. Wakes up a hamburger. Made from tomatoes, so pretty much a vegetable.
Ketchup is pretty much my best friend.
For all things ketchup, click here.

P.S. Eliot Spitzer resigned. Today's AP story reported that Spitzer didn't want to use a condom with the prostitute, but she insisted. ... Let that sink in a minute.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


As most of you likely know by now, Eliot Spitzer, the governor of New York, was exposed for participating in a prostitution ring in our nation's capital.
Read story here.
The front-page headline of today's New York Post says HO NO.
He and his wife went on national TV on Monday for him to make the usual apologies. Wife Silda Wall Spitzer stood beside him silent and looking stoic, tired and sad. (I would be, too.)
Not to make excuses for the guy, but here's something I'm wondering about: These high-profile politicos (including but not limited to Bill Clinton and now Spitzer) have no real way to seek help or healthy outlets amid their high-profile lives--seemingly before it's too late. How can anyone in their line of work--and not just politicians, but also clergy and CEOs--go see a therapist, for instance? The laity can generally do that more "safely," or without fear of retribution or lambasted for appearing weak or whatever.
Acting out one's pressures comes in various forms. Sex and drug abuse and violence/war are just three.
Preventive medicine goes a long way.
We set these people up to be Superheroes and then we are shocked--SHOCKED!--when they don't measure up. But how are we participants in that process? Just asking.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe ...

News from the Vatican:
More sins!
Read it here.
I think I'm safe, at least, on the "genetic manipulations" thing.
Fr. Antonio Pelayo, a Spanish priest and Vatican expert, noted that it is time for both sinners and confessors to get over their obsession with sex and think about other ways humans hurt each other in the world in which they live, according to the AP story.
"There are many other sins that are perhaps much more grave that don't have anything to do with sex - that have to do with life, that have to do with the environment, that have to do with justice," he told AP Television.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

A love-ly evening

Last night, we got to see this guy and this guy duke it out in an exhibition match at our Civic Center. It's called Serving Up Aces, with one of its sponsors being CORTA, our local tennis league.
It was fun to watch these now-retired pros, because they seemed so relaxed and loose--not only in their play but in bantering with the linesmen and the fans.
Pete Sampras, who at 6'1" is not exactly short, looked like a midget next to the 6'6" Todd Martin. I'd hate to be the person on the other side of the net when Martin takes a volley. But Pete's shots prevailed as he beat Martin 7-6, 6-4.
Here's an interview with Pete from one of our local radio stations.
Thanks for stopping by town, fellas.

Friday, March 7, 2008

7 deadly sins, con't.

A faithful reader--a rabbi, in fact--called last night to comment on Wednesday's post that involved the 7 deadly sins.
The rabbi then told me about this 1993 article
by Mary Gordon from the Times. This one's on anger. Her analysis of anger is intriguing, notably this sentence: "To live in anger is to forget that one was ever weak, to believe that what others call weakness is a sham, a feint that one exposes and removes, like the sanitizing immolation of a plague-ridden house."
What a great sentence.
What do you think about anger? A positive trait of expressing anger is that it does get expressed. It's not stuffed or denied. Yet does it scare you, as it does me? (Both in myself and in others, directed at me or those I love.) As Mary Gordon points out, anger can be addictive in its life-giving qualities. It's all-white heat. It reminds us we're alive. But, at what cost? Discuss.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Who knew?

Apparently a lot of people, including my up-on-his-celebrity-news husband. He shared this with me and Pork Chop on the way to lunch today:
PGA golfer Greg Norman and former tennis pro Chris Evert are a couple. "Well, raise my rent," said I. Pork Chop already knew, of course.
People magazine has the scoop here.
As a tennis player in my (much) younger days, including high school, "Chrissie" was always someone to look up to--not only with her tennis ability but her class on and off the court.
Maybe they don't call Norman the Great White Shark for nothing. (Then again, it takes two to tango--or serve and volley, as it were.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Seven deadly sins

You know the list:
Lust, gluttony, avarice, sloth, wrath, envy and pride.
Forbes magazine recently ranked U.S. cities based on each of these.
Some of the findings may shock you. Or not.
A surprise to me: Salt Lake City, Utah, was found to be the most vain.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Mad housewife

Regular readers to this blog will note that we love the copy on the back of wine bottles. (It doesn't take much to entertain!) So imagine the hilarity that ensued after Dear Husband brought in Monday's find: Mad Housewife.
Here you go: "Somewhere near the cool shadows of the laundry room. Past the litter box and between the plastic yard toys. This is your time. Time to enjoy a moment to yourself. A moment without the madness. The dishes can wait. Dinner be damned."

Monday, March 3, 2008

Um, what?

An op-ed piece by Charlotte Allen in Sunday's Washington Post has a few people--male and female, saying, "What?"
Here it is.
Don't know about you, but I was fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged me to do whatever I pleased for a living--be that homemaker, journalist, scientist or garbage collector. The main message was: "Do what you enjoy doing and give it your all," without regard for how I might be restricted, for being female.
It was very freeing.
This essay does what I think is a dangerous thing, or two dangerous things: Painting people (male and female) into broad categories, and then expecting others to follow.
Here's a response from Hotair.com: "It’s the old ‘nature vs. nurture’ dilemma: how come there are no boys fainting at Obambi rallies? Is it genetics or culture? Don’t know the answer. My wife is a damned good doctor, but she has trouble telling ‘left’ from ‘right’. Fortunately, she is not a surgeon."

Sunday, March 2, 2008

'Compassion is an aphrodisiac'

Not sure about that but, I have taken a shine to this show.
Apparently, many a woman is turned on by this HBO character, Gabriel Byrne. The way he listens. The way he gestures with his hands. I think part of the allure is the tight shots on his face--and that of his patients. It creates an intimacy and an intensity that you wouldn't get if the camera were panned back.
Anyone else out there like this show? Care to weigh in?

Photo by HBO

Saturday, March 1, 2008

'Weight' a minute

Happy Saturday.
This story from the Times questions the virtues of weight lifting for amateur athletes--those training for the Olympics, hard-core runners and the like. Most agree that weight lifting aids in endurance. But some aren't so sure weight training lives up to the hype.
What do you think?
Me? I always tell people if I had to fight for my life, I'd try to do it with my legs. Upper body? Weak, which I think is true for most women.