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December 2011

Your year-end chill out

My final HND piece for 2011 takes a dim view of the constant hype raining down on us regarding health and environmental issues. More than a few people—especially parents of young children—are getting stressed over this, while they attempt to sort out the often-conflicting (not to mention wrong and useless) information.

Read this article, find out how I invoke Orson Welles, and chill out for the new year!

Do you need a personal trainer?

In anticipation of the New Year's resolution crowd that will be flooding the gyms in the next few weeks, we take a look at personal trainers in my latest HND article. I got some good help on this from Manhattan-based Glenn Dickstein, veteran of the fitness industry, who runs the Neighborhood Trainers website.

Many, perhaps most people can benefit from having a personal trainer, and this is especially true for those folks with particular health issues. For example, Alan Sidransky—himself a longtime type 2 diabetic—does wonders for clients with weight problems and diabetes.

For fun, we even go back to Chiron, the world's first personal trainer.

Read the complete article.

Don't get burned

Short of decapitation, or a large caliber bullet through the heart, burns are the worst trauma a human can suffer. The self-healing mechanism is limited, not to mention respiratory issues and complications because of infection. And then there's the incredible pain, which seem quite immune to analgesic meds.

This week's HND piece examines how burn victims are treated, and highlights the great work being done by the Circle of Care foundation—related to the famed Grossman Burn Centers. We also take a brief look at what the Ebers papyrus had to say about treating burns.

Read the complete article.

HHS limits over-the-counter sales of Plan B "morning after" pill

People are scratching their heads trying to figure out why—in an unprecedented move—Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (the abortion queen) overruled the FDA's approval for Plan B to be sold, without restrictions as an OTC drug.

I'm sure it couldn't have anything to do with Kathy's long ties to the abortion industry. Why nip a problem in the bud if it can become an expensive procedure? The fact that women will have to show ID to get the drug will surely limit sales.

The official reason being that they are not sure if the drug is safe for the youngest girls would be hilarious, if it were not so pathetic, nay tragic. Countless FDA-approved drugs are far, far more dangerous than Plan B, yet now she steps in?

She may not be in Kansas anymore, but she's still the Wicked Witch.

The Penn State, Syracuse, and ensuing sex scandals

Here in the Washington DC metro area, there are plenty of Penn Staters. Some of these alums are rabid enough football fans to tackle the 400 mile round trip necessary to attend all the home games.

Needless to say, they are in shock, and many refuse to speak about the matter at all.

While there has been no shortage of media coverage, one topic is strangely absent from any story I have read or watched. Maybe it's because the topic is indelicate, although today's media can hardly be accused of having much restraint. Perhaps it's because the topic cuts way too deep.

What I'm referring to is the undercurrent of homoeroticism that exists in all competitive sports. There is, after all, a fine line between the promotion and admiration of physical perfection, and the tendency to take it a step further. Likewise, there is a fine line between so-called "horseplay"—the same word has always been used as a cover, going back at least to Bill Tilden—and intentional sexual harassment.

Moreover, for a predator such as Jerry Sandusky, few environments can match an athletic locker room.

Inevitably, these scandals will be compared to the pedophilia occurring in the Catholic Church, but I will offer one difference—slight though it may be. There were a number of priests, including Fr. Leonard Feeney, who spoke out against the rising number of gay priests (way back in the late 1940s), and the acceptance of a gay subculture within the priesthood.

These clerics also noted with dismay the overly close relationship between certain priests and their charges. Sadly, many of those who did speak out were persecuted, and even worse, were ignored.

The records show that the majority of the so-called "pedophilia" cases that occurred within the Church actually involved adolescents, some of whom appeared to be in consensual relationships. Yet, based on the promise of easy money and the built-in animosity that society has always had for the Church, the lawsuits and media coverage proliferated.

No, I am not justifying any of this sordid behavior, but the word "pedophilia" conjures up the image of a small, defenseless child being molested, which provokes even more outrage.

Contrast this with the fact that no one within Penn State or Syracuse spoke out on these matters until the story had already broken.

If athletics are to be held in greater esteem than religion in this society, more's the pity that the overwhelming interest is in being a spectator, rather than as participant.

Strive to make fewer New Year's resolutions

My latest HND piece attacks the cherished notion of New Year's resolutions. And yes, there are lots of reasons why they almost never work. In fact, a University of Toronto psychologist has examined this phenomenon, and has written extensively on what she calls the "false hope syndrome."

Still, the media loves to list the Top 10 resolutions, and we note that in one of these lists, there is a glaring self-contradiction.

Read the complete article.