Bill Murray's rumored to have said: "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Fool me 350,000 times -- you're a weatherman." That's a lack of accuracy we often joke about, but for some things being that far off the mark is more disturbing.
According to a recent Canadian study from the University of Alberta, home blood pressure ...Read more
We could make this week's nutritional tip "Venturing for More Veggies" sound like a pronouncement from "The Big Bang Theory's" Dr. Sheldon Cooper (Jim Parsons): "Are you aware that on Mars, as on Earth, eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 40 percent? Well it caaan." ...Read more
In the 1998 comedy "There's Something About Mary," Chris Elliot's character, Woogie, breaks out in "love blisters" (hives) every time he encounters Mary (Cameron Diaz). But for most folks it's much harder to predict what will trigger an unpleasant skin reaction, especially when it comes to encounters with personal hygiene products and makeup.
In one episode of the TV show "Louie," comedian Louis C.K.'s character is suffering from back pain. His doctor says there's nothing he can do to ease the discomfort, because "the back isn't done evolving yet ... it's gonna take another, I'd say, 20,000 years to get straightened out." The only thing the doc suggests is that Louie try "walking" on...Read more
In the often-hilarious 2006 movie "Snakes on a Plane" you discover just how tough it is to get rid of a load of poisonous snakes during a commercial flight. However, there is one moment when a male flight attendant finds a possible solution: He puts a menacing reptile in a microwave and is very thankful to discover that there's a preset button ...Read more
Chances are you heard about the 14 folks in California who recently grilled up some "death cap" wild mushrooms. Three of them needed liver transplants, including an 18-month-old girl. That was the latest in a spate of wild mushroom poisonings this year. Seems a bumper crop of the world's deadliest fungus, Amanita phalloides, has fooled a lot of ...Read more
Deanna Troi, the empath counselor on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," felt distress when her powers of empathy were taken over by aliens (happened often) who wanted to speak through her. But when she could use her powers of empathy to help others overcome physical and emotional problems, she glowed with joy.
Funny thing, that is precisely what...Read more
One of the most enduring staged magical illusions, "Pepper's Ghost," makes figures seem to suddenly appear in a room. The illusion was first performed by John Pepper during a performance of Charles Dickens' "The Haunted Man" on Christmas Eve 1862. In the original trick, a piece of glass onstage conceals a second, identical room set farther back....Read more
Marriage and SchizophreniaAndrew Downing
From the glory of Andrew's promising hockey career, including tales from the Western Hockey League and Team USA, to the isolation room in the psyche ward, this story follows Andrew and Stephanie Downing's fourteen year partnership together. Andrew was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age ...
In the 2007 movie "The Heartbreak Kid," Ben Stiller plays Eddie, a 40-year-old who marries seemingly perfect Lila after dating for only six weeks. On their honeymoon, he discovers that she's impossible to live with. At the beach, as she rubs mineral oil on herself, Eddie tells her she needs sunscreen. "The sun is really different down here," he ...Read more
On an episode of "Friends," Phoebe thanks Monica for the pills that cured her headache and asks to see the package. "Oh my God," Phoebe says as she reads the warning label. "Dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness ... headache ... headache?" She pauses, letting the irony sink in. "Stomach bleeding! Liver damage!" She turns to Monica. "I don't recall ...Read more
In a scene from "Kung Fu Panda," master Shifu finds Po, the panda who wants to learn the martial arts, in the pantry at dawn, chowing down on cookies. "Look at you," Shifu remarks. "Ya, I know. I disgust you," Po replies. "No, no. I mean ... how did you get up there?" Shifu asks. "You are 10 feet off the ground and have done a perfect split." At...Read more
"Blueberries for Sal," "Blueberry Girl," "Blueberry Muffin Murder," "The Bobbsey Twins on Blueberry Island" and "Town in a Blueberry Jam" might provide stimulating summer reading for you and your kids. But grab a handful of real blueberries while you're perusing the pages if you really want to see just how much that tasty fruit can do for your ...Read more
In 2008, when Magic Johnson advocated increasing minority participation in clinical trials, he shed a light on both the unfortunate lack of data gathered on minorities in most research projects and the enormous benefit to individuals who participate in clinical trials. Now nine years later, minorities still make up less than 10 percent of ...Read more
The 2012 movie "Duke" is about a critically ill dog that's left on the doorstep of an animal clinic by a homeless vet. After the staff saves Duke's life, they mount a campaign to reunite the dog and his former owner. It's a very happy ending for the dog, his best friend and moviegoers.
But lately dog owners are confronting an illness that may ...Read more
The most memorable version of the song "That's What Friends Are For" was sung by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder as a charity single for AIDS research and prevention. That rendition became the No. 1 single of 1986.
For millions (probably billons) of folks, singing -- and thinking -- about friends creates a feel-good ...Read more
When "Sesame Street's" Cookie Monster is in pursuit of his beloved cookie fix, he's a shaky, blubbering, grammatically challenged blob of blue fur. Give him that cookie and he purrs. But once it's gone, he begins his anxiety-driven quest for the next sweet treat.
Kinda like an internet-hooked person who's driven back online for one more tweet, ...Read more
The food scenes in the movie "Eat, Pray, Love" are mouth-watering. Julia Roberts, playing author Elizabeth Gilbert, munches her way through Italy, eating pizza after pasta. And Julia didn't leave the eating to stunt doubles; she gained 10 pounds, sometimes eating between eight and 10 slices of pizza a day!
Julia was in Italy for longer than ...Read more
In 1968 the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare published a booklet of "Peanuts" cartoons to teach people about lazy eye. In it, an ophthalmologist confirms that Sally has a lazy eye and needs to wear an eye patch. Sally has trouble adjusting to the patch and is teased at school, but as her time wearing it comes to an end, she ...Read more
In the 1979 movie "Breaking Away," a determined 19-year-old "townie" competes against snotty college kids in a bike race and wins -- despite a bad crash -- by having his feet taped to his pedals! If that seems extreme, consider this: A new study in the journal Injury Prevention reported an astounding 3.8 million non-fatal adult bicycle injuries ...Read more
The legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, once said, "You've got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body." Turns out, if you're going to stay in the game (of life) and win like Lombardi did, fiber is pretty important for healthy joints, too.
A new study looked at folks enrolled in the Osteoarthritis Initiative...Read more