Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Not-so-secret Obsession

Once again, another Anonymous reader has accused me of being "obsessed with fat people." I admit it. It's true. I am fascinated by the self-destruction of our species through the voluntary consumption of trash foods that slowly kill from the inside. So sue me. Here are some facts on the table, along with the burgers and fries and all the rest:

More than one-third (34.9% or 78.6 million) of U.S. adults are obese.

Some of the leading causes of preventable death result from obesity-related conditions including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain common cancers including breast and colon cancer.

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.8 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Once associated with high-income countries, obesity is now also prevalent in low- and middle-income countries.  

Obesity in adults accounts for 18% of deaths among  Americans between ages 40 and 85. Put another way, approximately 1 in 5 Americans are dying from illnesses related to obesity.

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. Overweight children are more likely than non-overweight children to develop diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age, which in turn are associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability.

Hey, I don't write the news, I simply report it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Goodbye to All That

I feel sorry for all the newspapers. Once they were Gods and now they are nothing. My Wall Street Leaflet is lying out there in the drizzle at the end of our driveway, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going out there to get it. It's all old news since I've seen the Internet this morning and so I'm up to speed as of ten minutes ago. As for the "analysis," other people's opinions are rampant online.

Similarly, as far as I'm concerned Europe is over. Our planned flight to Paris next week has been replaced by a far less stressful road trip to Quebec. As the tourist website for that lovely French city proudly proclaims, "It's Europe, only closer." I'm happy because now I can take all my full-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner and moisturizers, my nail clippers and even an X-acto blade, which I like to have with me at all times-- a habit stemming from my days as a newspaper art director. And hopefully we will not encounter any Islamic terrorists or anti-Semitic demonstrations anywhere.

So many things have vanished, it's hard to list them all. Some of my personal favorites were: Actual humans who speak English answering telephones, having my gas pumped for me even when my husband is not there, no commercials before the movie, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and feeling it, eating pizza with abandon before I ever heard of blood pressure, Times Square when it was seedy and interesting, and having parents. Now those were good times.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Smoke Pot: It's Crazy Out There

Our screwed up society (or culture or civilization--call it what you will) seems to get worse and worse. No wonder there are so many suicides; surely there is a better place somewhere. I'm not advocating it, but those who choose it certainly do not deserve the label "mentally ill," which is how we, the living, have chosen to classify it. In fact, anyone who thinks life is fine and dandy these days really is mentally ill, or just not paying attention. Wait a minute--I have proof.

Burberry, that once-esteemed trench coat manufacturer, has come out with a new perfume called "My Burberry." The hot new ad campaign shows two female supermodels, one young and one older, both in raincoats, smooching each other up. Then it rains or something-- somehow they get wet--and they they take off their raincoats and hold them over their heads while holding each other close, and we are supposed to use our imaginations about them being naked, skin to skin, and run out and get some of this perfume so we can be naked with a beautiful woman. Or two. What? Is this ad aimed at lesbians? I guess so, since who else wants to smell like a trench coat? And why do people wear cologne and perfume anyway? What's wrong--do they have bad body odor? Is it to attract attention? What for? And how much are they willing to spend for such an unnecessary and downright gross product? Apparently a lot; it's between $95 and $125 for a teeny bottle of the stuff.

So a friend of mine was stopped for an overdue inspection sticker several months ago. While the officer was writing that up, he claimed that he smelled pot. Blah, blah, search the car, yada, yada--the next thing you know there's a court date two months into the future. The future is now. The punishment in West Bath, Maine for a cop finding not one bit of marijuana in the entire car but instead for finding a pipe with marijuana residue is a fine of $850.00 or 30 hours of community service. (That's like seven bottles of "My Burberry.")

If you ask me, people should be fined for wearing perfume in public. And cops should be forced to wear some so we can smell them coming.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kanye Says "Stand Up"

Remind me never to go to a Kanye West concert. Not that I would, except under duress. But it sounds more like doing community service than attending a recreational activity, at least according to an eyewitness account of Kanye demanding that the audience stand up and dance. When two people, both severely handicapped, did not because they could not, they were called to task by the performer.

Quelle cochon! What if people who are not handicapped just don't find his music all that infective? Do they have to stand up and dance around anyway? When I saw Jackson Browne a few weeks ago, he had the opposite problem: People were going so nuts, he had to ask the audience to sit down.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Islamic State Diet

I was hoping that maybe things are not as bad as I imagine them to be, but then the Wall Street Journal app sent out a Beheading Alert about the latest gruesome death of a British aid worker, with another one waiting in the wings. My husband's iPhone beeped as we were sitting down to dinner and I must say, the news drastically cut my appetite. I'm guessing I consumed half of what I would have normally.

If this business keeps up, I will reach my goal weight far sooner than expected. It's funny how every cloud really does have a silver lining.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Remembering 9/11

Yesterday I gorged on images from 9/11, starting bright and early with the real-time news on the "Today" show from way back then. I relived the horror along with Katy Couric and Matt Lauer as they watched things unfold, not knowing what would happen next even though I did. I found it thrilling in a perverse way. Still, it was footage I have seen every year for the last 12 years, and so I knew what was coming and there were no surprises. After an hour or so when the second tower finally fell I turned off the TV, hopped into the shower, and didn't give it another thought all day.

But then last night on the History Channel, I happened upon an incredible documentary called "102 Minutes that Changed America." It was a skillfully edited compilation of hundreds of raw amateur videos shot by New Yorkers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time: on Manhattan Island on September 11, 2001. There was footage I had never seen before, having somehow missed this film despite it having won an Emmy after its initial release in 2008.

It was scary and fascinating and intense. It made you cringe and gasp, putting you right there in the middle of things: the smoke, the flying debris, the falling bodies. The brave firemen walking into the death chamber. Thousands of people fleeing the devastation. A true nightmare. What it made me realize more than anything else is that while most of us go about living our merry lives, for others the horror that was 9/11 is not over and never will be, and I'm talking about the survivors. (The dead are dead; that was that for them.)

Anyone on the fence about how our government should handle the current threat posed by the terrorist organization known as ISIS should hunt this film down and watch it. Then decide.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Have a Heart

            Gordon Studer
Besides lobsters and cobblestone streets, the city of Portland has a lot of homeless people. Or else it has a lot of people claiming to be homeless -- one never knows. Either way, I figure if someone is out there with a sign in the rain and sun and sleet and snow, then even if they have a home they must be pretty desperate.

Still, I used to not give them anything thinking it would encourage them to stand around begging instead of taking action to better themselves. But lately I have started handing out a few dollars if I have some on me. I'm not sure why I do this, since a dollar is almost meaningless these days. And helping people in dire straits never makes me feel better about my own life, since no matter how much money I give away I will still have cataracts until I have the surgery, at which time I will have to give the surgeon way more money than I give the needy.

It just seems like the thing to do right now.