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05/13/2010
IconStudents in the American Fork High School Marching Band swept the awards not long ago in a competition at Brigham Young University.' What made this story interesting and somewhat controversial is this:' on the way back from another competition held in Idaho, the driver of the bus in which the students were riding fell asleep at the wheel.' All of the students survived.' The one fatality was the 33 year old instructor who grabbed for the steering wheel when she noticed the driver was out cold.The controversial part occurred because some people believe that it is unseemly for life to go on, for joy to be in people's hearts, or for friends and relatives to be happy and involved in their lives when someone dies.' Some people believe that it is disrespectful, cavalier and insensitive for others to carry on as though a tragedy didn't happen.' Generally, this belief comes out of a confusion of pain, emotions and guilt over survival.I think it's a good thing that these students competed, and they did so in remembrance of Heather Christensen, the teacher who saved their lives.' And that's the point:' she saved their lives so they could live, love, and play music.' I believe they showed her immense respect by playing in her honor, continuing with the competition for which she coached them.'' Her immortality comes from being remembered fondly by her students who used the skills they learned from her to create the music she loved so much.When someone we love dies, we don't honor them by denying ourselves the normal pleasures of life.' I find that to be an insult.' Life is precious, and when somebody is gone from life, that which they lost should be treated with the utmost reverence by squeezing every moment of dignity, creativity, joy, adventure, work, love, compassion and fun that is possible.' This is the way you honor the deceased:' you carry on and do something of value with your life.The students received a long, standing ovation as they marched off the field and embraced in tearful hugs.' What a fitting memorial to a brave, caring teacher. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCourageEducationfamilyHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelativesSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have watched film adaptations of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in all its incarnations many, many times, and I recently watched the 2005 film version again. I love the film...no matter what criticisms may be about a portrayal or a performance. I clearly have a profound attraction to this work.First and foremost, I love the utter regard the men had for women, which is evident from how they addressed them: "Miss..." (and their first names if they were single) or "Mrs...." (and their last names if they were married). Men bowed upon entering and leaving a woman's presence, and women curtsied, even under unpleasant conditions. Flirting was ever-so-subtle: a look, a light "accidental" touch of a hand. A man romantically yearned for and tried to earn the affections of a woman. The sweetness of the regard for women in this era (particularly in upper and middle classes) was something to be admired, and something we now miss. There was a clear distinction between a "good" woman and an easy, loose woman or whore.That distinction is gone today. Now, women put down good money for music that represents them as whores without pay. So many young men are casual about women and sex in general, and sex is a casual expectation almost always fulfilled.Young women scoff at dignity and modesty as just stupid, prudish, sexist notions. They "shack up" with some dude without a marital commitment, yet expect the love and respect, fidelity and loyalty to exist without the spoken vows, only to be disappointed, hurt, and generally confused.There was a recent film comedy, called "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past," in which Matthew McConaughey (in a twist on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" ) got to go back into his life to see all his old girlfriends. There was one scene in the television ad for the movie which showed a seemingly endless dining table filled with hundreds of girls. Obviously, this was meant to show how shallow and manipulative he had been. To me, it just showed how many stupid girls there were (and are), "putting out" in a situation where there was clearly no respect, regard, or intent.Men used to have to ask a woman's dad for permission to "court" her, even when the woman was an adult! Now, all he has to do is show her a bedroom, back seat of a car, or a motel room, and the date is sealed. When men had to explain and express their intentions, they had to take the whole activity of dating much more seriously, as there were personal and social consequences to misleading a young lady. That reputation would annihilate any chances he might have had of marrying a good woman. He'd have to move states or provinces away. Now? That kind of rakish reputation makes girls/women want to line up to get some from an infamous entity.The women's revolution did not raise any consciousness worth elevating. It mostly diminished a woman's sense of herself as special, minimized her value in the minds of men, put sex on the level of animals, created a nanny/baby-sitter/institutionalized day care financial boom (as women gave up the blessing of nurturing their own children), increased the use of abortion as a birth-control technique when an accidental pregnancy occurred with a guy who did not want fatherhood, created perpetually unhappy, angry, nasty wives, and made it very difficult for "nice girls" to be respected and cherished.The last scene in Pride and Prejudice between the two now-married lovers has them discussing what she wants to be called by him when he is not using her given name. He suggests one name, and she rejects it sweetly, because it is what her father calls her. She then asks him what he will call her when he is angry. He, not being able to envision that situation, talks to her about always letting her know how lovingly important his happiness in wrapped up in her...forever...and he kisses her gently about her face as he says "Mrs. Darcy" over and over again. He gave her his heart, his life, his vows, and his name. And, in that era, giving a woman your name was the ultimate public and private statement of his total commitment to her, which makes that scene so moving to most of us, and infuriating to feminists who see that scene only as ripping away the woman's identity.I always cry at the end of the movie.I cry also for what women have given up in exchange for wanting to have it all and not be subordinate to a man. I don't know...I kinda think being on a pedestal is not subordinate. But what do I know? I'm only a recovered feminist. More >>

Tags: AttitudeChildrenDatingFamilyFamily/Relationships - FamilyFeminismHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeRelationshipsRelativesSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconI got this email from a listener after she heard a call I took on my radio program.' She titled the email 'To The Mother Whose Son Is Smoking Marijuana.' It speaks for itself: Today you gave advice to a mother who found out her 16 ' year old son is smoking marijuana.' You advised her to get him into a residential treatment program.'' You stated that drug addicts lie, and she responded that she didn't 'see' him as a drug addict.' I am afraid she will not take your advice, and she may be in my situation in the future. Today, I write this with a broken heart.' 11 years ago, when my son was 17, I, too, found out that he was smoking marijuana.' He was on the academic honor roll and participated in sports ' he wasn't a drug addict!' I tried to get him into a residential program, but was told they would not accept him at his age unless he committed himself.' I took him to a counselor that the high school recommended and had him assigned a probation officer until he was 18.' I thought just like her that he was not a drug addict in my mind.' He grew up to be a responsible young man who owned his own business, but he continued to smoke marijuana. Six months ago, I received that phone call that no parent wants to receive.' My son was dead at the age of 28 from an accidental drug overdose (oxycodone), which the coroner told me is the most abused drug today.' I do not know if this was the first time or the hundredth time he used the drug, but I vowed that if I can save one child or one parent from experiencing what I am going through that I would share my story. Dr. Laura, you were correct.' She needs to deal with the issue NOW, while she still has some control.' My son was not a 'drug addict' either.' The coroner called it 'recreational drug use.'' Children need to know that tennis, hockey, and soccer are recreations, not drugs.' I hope that mother heeds your advice so that her son does not end up where mine is today, guilt-ridden and questioning 'should I have done more?' More >>

Tags: AddictionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMarijuanaMortalityParentingSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was on a working trip to New York City, some of my staff and I popped into a very lovely open-air sort of restaurant for lunch.' The menu was huge in size (I always wonder how they have all that food on hand), and I noticed something I had never, ever seen before: calorie counts between the description of the food and the price!I read each and every calorie count and was shocked at how unbelievably caloric many of the foods were that I had thought were healthy.' An appetizer of fried calamari had more calories than one should have in a whole day!' Even the veggie meals were stuffed with extra calories from oil, cheese and sauces.' Oh my!Talk about being "scared straight," like those kids in front of convicts who warn them to clean up their acts.' I immediately selected the healthiest thing I could find (boring, but healthy), ending up with a turkey sandwich on rye with lettuce and tomato - no mayo and no dressing, but with some salt, because I normally have low blood pressure.' I give callers high blood pressure, but mine is usually low.'New York City was the first place in the country, I believe, to require calorie posting.' What have we learned from this experiment?Researchers at New York University and Yale discovered that, although 9 out of 10 people who saw the calorie counts claimed they "made healthier choices as a result," when the researchers checked the receipts afterward, they found that people, had, in fact, ordered slightly more calories than the typical customer had before the labeling law went into effect in July, 2008.The lead research scientist said, "I think it does show us that labels are not enough." What?' What else do you want to do?' Send in the calorie police?' On cityfile.com, someone made a suggestion that restaurants could have scales for people to weigh themselves before sitting down to dinner (ohhhh, what' rude reminder!) or they should post pictures of what you're going to look like if you have that lasagna in addition to' bread, butter or olive oil, a big salad with a cup of dressing and then cheesecake to wrap it up!So, if calorie postings have no impact, except for the people who already are careful and appropriate in their healthy food choices, then what is the point of continuing them?' I still think it's a good idea to continue.' Perhaps with patience, we will see people care about their bodies and their health as much as their family, friends and relatives do, and as much as the taxpayers who are not overweight and are forced to be burdened by the rising health costs brought on by illnesses associated with obesity. More >>

Tags: Eat Less-Move MoreHealthNutritionObesityPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconPeople are being murdered every day in the United States.' However, some of these murders capture the public's attention more than others.' Hugely fascinating and frightening has been the recent murder of the female Yale University graduate student, whose body was found stuffed into a wall in the Yale University biology lab on the day she was to be married.' Perhaps it was the imminent nuptials which made people more sympathetic, or perhaps it was that one is ultimately not safe anywhere that made people respond so viscerally to this particular news story.A 10 year old girl called me shortly after that story broke out, because she was now quite scared about everything.' Her fear only started, however, when she was in a movie theater bathroom stall and a woman came in, screaming and pounding on the doors, ostensibly looking for some other child.' Since that incident, my young caller had been scared.' Her mother was listening in when I validated this child's feelings by saying "You are perfectly correct in being scared.' It is true that there are bad people who are willing to hurt you and that you are sometimes not even safe in your own home." Paradoxically, that calmed her down!' Why?' Perhaps it seems to you that that comment would make her more upset.' Nope.' I validated her worst fears, and in doing so, helped her to put them in proper proportion.' If everyone is lying to you because of good intentions, you have to escalate to get them to confirm reality.' This child did not have to bounce off walls anymore.' Someone believed her that life is not completely safe.I continued by reminding her that she was becoming an adult.' Adults deal with truth, and the truth is that we are not always safe.' Adults need to be aware of that and, instead of just being freaked out about it,, they need to prepare for it:' locking the doors, watching who is near your car in a parking lot, learning some self-defense, being careful about where you go with people you don't know, and on and on.Evil is a part of life; danger is a part of life.' People need to know and respect that fact and be armed with information and reasonable plans to deal with these facts.'A little bit of paranoia is a good thing.' It keeps you prepared. Too much paranoia inhibits one from living life at all.'Don't hide the fact of evil and danger from your children.' Teach them how to recognize them and then what to do. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenFearHealthMental HealthParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconThere's a new TV series that debuted two weeks ago called "Glee." The title refers to a high school glee club, and that's as child-friendly as this show gets.' It should be rated "A," for Adults Only.'That said, this show kept my jaw dropped for half an hour.' Every possible stereotype can be found in "Glee," and frankly, it's hilarious.' The show is an equal opportunity offender of delicate senses, and is basically politically incorrect.The Glee Club is run by a former student of the high school, Mr. Shuester, who is married to a blonde, self-centered woman who obviously never read "The Proper Care & Feeding of Husbands." The Glee Club consists of a nice Jewish girl, an Asian girl, a sassy, large black girl, a gay male, a boy in a wheelchair, and a brain-dimmed jock.'An uber-feminist cheerleading coach/teacher loathes any attempt of the Glee Club to gain prominence and take attention and financial support away from the cheerleaders, who are known as the "Cheer-i-os."' She is vulgar and mean to the nth degree, and very funny because she's so over the top.' In talking to Mr. Shuester, she says that (as she did with her elderly mother), he should "euthanize" the glee club program.' That's a terrible thing to say!' But delivered by this actress (Jane Lynch), it's hilarious.The cheerleaders (all gorgeous, of course) also run the Celibacy Club, where they practice humping their boyfriends with balloons in between them.' If a balloon pops, an angel cries.' They espouse "teasing, but not pleasing."' It's obviously religious-based, and so religion is a bit put down by this group.The nice Jewish girl from the Glee Club sounds like someone out of Planned Parenthood - i.e., "kids are gonna do it anyway, so we might as well give 'em condoms," and (with the Glee Club) performs a very gross performance of a rap song called "Push It," with lotsa bumping and grinding.' Of course, the student "body" now wishes to join the Glee Club in droves.'The guidance counselor is germ phobic and very hot for Mr. Shuester, whose wife is pretending to be pregnant.' It seems clear that Mr. Shuester is unhappy with his demanding, self-centered wife, and these two have an attraction.' However, the guidance counselor is a decent sort, and decides to date someone else, and not entertain her feelings for him.So, this program goes back and forth from anti-religion/liberal sexual values for teens to the moral considerations of not engaging in an affair with a married man.'Everyone will find something offensive, but, I've got to say, it is funny.' It's on Fox, Wednesdays at 9PM Eastern/Pacific. More >>

Tags: Bad Childhood - Good LifeBad Childhood-Good LifeHealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaTelevision
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05/13/2010
IconAn Australian newspaper columnist mocked actor Russell Crowe for smoking and chowing down on three tacos and a soft drink during a recent bike ride.' Specifically, her piece was entitled: 'Smokes and Fatty Foods ' The Fitness Regime for Rusty.' No, he didn't throw a bike at her (like he threw a phone at a hotel employee several years ago).' Instead, he challenged her to a bike ride.' She went on the 12 mile ride through the city, struggling to keep up, and then she fell off her bike.' She persevered and finished the ride, and had compliments for 'Rusty.'' Instead of gloating (she revealed), the actor was gracious and concerned about her: '...the perfect gentleman as he rolled up my trousers to check on my knee.' Well, the actor has trimmed down of late, and bike riding is probably a part of his new health regimen, but, c'mon, biking with your trainer and scarfing down tacos, sugary sodas and dragging on a cigarette earned him that headline.' That he could outride a non-rider doesn't change the truth:' what he did was very unhealthy.' And considering that two thirds of Americans (Crowe is Australian) are fat or obese because they move less and eat more, it would have been better if he had owned up to the error of his gastronomical ways. More >>

Tags: divorceEat Less-Move MoreHealthObesity
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Tags: fearHealthMarriageMental HealthPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconMice kept on a diet that is healthy (but absolutely no fun at all) in which their caloric intake was restricted to only 70% of what's considered "normal" lived 30 to 40% longer than the usual lifespan.' The only downside of this restriction was that the mice were less fertile than their non-restricted counterparts.'Most people can't restrict calories for long, so, according to the New York Times , scientists are trying to find a drug that tricks the body into thinking it's eating fewer calories.' The problem is that all of these restricted calorie experiments are done on captive mice, who are selected for quick breeding and who are fed on rich diets.' A low-calorie diet could be much closer to the diet that mice are adapted to in the wild, extending their life simply because it is much healthier for them.' Mice don't live that long, anyway.' Humans have a longer life span, and that extended duration of time on the planet leaves us more vulnerable to cancers.So, after 20 years of experimenting with caloric restriction on monkeys in captivity, studies found the monkeys were healthier (i.e., they had fewer incidents of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease), but their life span was not significantly longer.' Eating more prudently than we generally do, therefore, was good for quality of life, but not for quantity of life.And that's the point of my taking on this issue in the first place.' People call my radio program knowing they're probably going to die of some particular terminal disease they have.' They call me, because they're spending each day suffering emotionally over the realization that they will soon be dead.' My response to one woman in this situation was to wake up each morning and yell out loud: "Damn - I'm not dead!' Today, I'm gonna LIVE OUT LOUD!!!" The point of our being upset about death is the realization that we've lost all we value in life.' So, take each day that you're not dead to live life to the fullest.' Enjoy that day you're not dead.' Don't waste one precious moment of it.Come to think of it, that's good advice for everyone, since at different times, and at different rates, we're all terminal.' Don't waste one minute of life. More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommon SenseHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeValues
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