SMOKING KILLS AGAIN

On September 5, my cousin, Korin, died of lung cancer at the age of 57.  Far too early.  Her father died at the same age of emphysema .  They were both heavy smokers.  She leaves two grown sons, both great guys, her mother, two sisters and two brothers.

My parents and my sister both smoked.  They stopped when my uncle, my mother’s brother, died.  Unfortunately, my father and sister started again many years later, and I think it contributed to ther deaths as well, my father at 67 and my sister at 60.

DO YOU REALLY THINK SMOKING IS COOL?
IT’S NOT!

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I often have issues with the mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, but one of the things I support is his work to ban smoking in most public spaces,including restaurants, theaters and, most recently, city owned parks and beaches.

We ban narcotics without question because they are addictive and can often lead to death.  Yet smoking which not only endangers the smoker, but harms anyone who is in the same space as the smoker is allowed.

Inhaling hot smoke is poisonous.  It leads to lung diseases such as cancer and COPD.  It causes heart and artery diseases and can often lead to kidney failure.  There is nothing good about smoking.  It is not cool.

Tobacco manufacturers load their products with nicotine, a highly addictive substance.  Some believe it is nearly as addictive as heroin or cocaine.  Yet, because the tobacco industry is politically strong, contributing huge donations to politicians of every persuasion, and because tobacco sales generate huge tax revenues, our legislatures do not do anything to take this  poison off the market.  The fact that the cost in lives and public health far exceed the combination of  those tax revenues and donations seems to have little, if any, effect on these supposed legislative  leaders.  Some argue that if tobacco is banned, it will just become an underground product like hard drugs and marijuana.  Perhaps that is true.  However, if that happens, at least the smokers will have to indulge in their disgusting habit under cover and not blow their noxious fumes in the faces of others.  At least it will protect me and others from having to breathe in their smoke when we are sitting in outdoor cafes or just simply taking a walk in the street.

WHY START SMOKING WHEN YOU KNOW IT WILL KILL YOU?

In my generation, teens often took up smoking.  We did not know of its dangers because the  research was just starting.  We probably should have figured it out by just seeing how most people who indulged had a smokers’ cough, something that shouldn’t have developed from doing something healthy.  Tobacco companies back then often advertised their product as having beneficial effects, and they got away with their lies.  Many of my generation thought it was cool to walk around with a cigarette hanging out of their mouths, thinking and acting like this made them cool.  I didn’t.

Today, however, everyone knows that cigarettes kill.  There is no reason that anyone should start smoking.  There is no reason that this poison should be allowed to remain on the market.  It kills.  It killed my cousin and my uncle.  It must be banned.  It’s too late for my cousin, but it’s not too late for my kids, your kids and all of our grandchildren.

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PLUS SIZE FOR TODDLERS?

Clothing manufacturers and department stores are creating special sizes and sections for tots through pre-teens to accommodate tall and overweight kids.  Putting pretty in front of plus is not going to make little ones or older children feel any better as they shop for fall and back to school wardrobes.

Why can’t they just put a size – a number – on them in the regular racks?  Moms and dads know how to count.  They know 14 is larger than 10.  They’ll find it, and their child won’t be stigmatized by going to a separate section.

Sometimes, children need a larger size because they are tall, not because they are overweight.  One sized does not fit all, no matter how hard manufacturers try to tell us it’s so.   How about some extra material so hems can be let down?

Obesity in children is now a national problem, one that affects us all, if not personally, in greater health care costs.

The federal government sponsors many studies that seem absolutely ridiculous (Does cocaine use increase sexually risky behavior in Japanese rats?)  I wouldn’t mind seeing one that compares the cost of cuts to school physical education programs to increased health care costs resulting from children being overweight.   It’s a penny wise pound foolish situation.  Instead of bringing her to the Pretty Plus section, maybe Honey Boo Boo’s mom could get her started on a fun exercise program.  She’d be cute and healthy too.

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BEDS NOT BIKES

Curiosity on Maris – great.  I’m more curious about how the greatest city in the world has 17,619 homeless children living in shelters.  That’s not counting those living 3 in a bed at relatives’ houses or some that may live in a car or a truck.

IS THIS HOW WE SHOULD BE RAISING OUR KIDS?

Priorities?  In a national budget – yes.  In a municipal budget – absolutely.  Mayor Bloomberg, it’s beds before bikes (On the Upper West Side where I live, the street bike lanes are barely used.)  Maybe every co-op or condo that sells for over 2 illion dollars should have homeless child tax.

MILLIONS SPENT ON BIKE LANES FOR VERY FEW BIKES. MONEY THAT COULD HAVE PROVIDED HOMES FOR KIDS

The mayor is concerned about our health, and so he wants to limit the size of sugary drinks we buy in restaurants.  I know that we all pay for people who develop diabetes and other weight related health problems.  But, Mike, have you crunched the numbers on what a homeless child costs us – more years of food related health problems, lack of academic skills, maybe drug use.

We focus on our greatest at the Olympics.  While NBC/Universal has tried to force us to watch by eliminating all other programs and showing reruns on its cable stations, let’s pay attention to those who face a challenge every day of their lives.  Each child who survives being homeless deserves a gold medal.

 

 

 

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LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE CROSSING

Look left when you cross the street, even if you have the light, traffic is one way and is stopped for the light to the right of you and you have stepped into a clearly marked cross walk. That is what I was doing and didn’t look left, even though, a minivan was parked there

I stepped into the street, but the driver of the parked minivan backed up to pull out and knocked me down. It wasn’t exactly on my bucket list, but I was hit by a vehicle on Thursday evening around 6 PM. . I always taught my children to look both ways before crossing the street, even when the light was green for them, and, yet, I forgot to follow my own advice when I really needed it.

The young guy driving the minivan was primarily concerned that I not call the police. He was driving a company vehicle and didn’t even offer to call 911. I did. He called the office to say would be late to the next appointment.

It was only a contusion and a bruised knee and ribs. I was released from the emergency room around 10 PM. I am home now with headaches, a stiff neck and shoulders and a swollen knee, a sore elbow arm and finger. The doctors say you feel worse over the next few days, and then it gets better. It’s hard to think with this headache, and I’m trying to move too much. So, I won’t be posting, tweeting or Facebooking (Is that a word?) for a while.

Enjoy a safe summer.

Bringing Up Bebe? OOH LA LA!

American mothers are schedule geeks. Schedules are on phones, computer calendars, paper calendars hanging in the kitchen with each child’s activity in a different color and sometimes in small journals as well. It’s chess, ballet, soccer, piano, school play and, of course, birthday parties.

What upsets me most is that the “experts”-doctors, psychologists, columnists, editors- tell us that we really need to schedule a “date” night and a “sex play date” with our husbands also. “Light a candle”, make it “romantic” they advise. If my cell phone has to beep to remind me that it’s sex time and I’m worried that we will fall asleep without blowing out the candle, how passionate is this going to be?

I remember when being near each other was being in the center of a magnetic field. So powerful that lips closed on each other with positive/negative attraction even on a public street. When the scent of each of us rose above the smell of litter, dog poop, and the roasted nut and hot dog stands.

How do French men do it? According to Pamela Druckerman they don’t assume responsibility for an equal amount of housekeeping and child rearing duties even when la mere works full time.  Is it the 6 months paid maternity leave or the ready available and inexpensive childcare available even on weekends? Or is it the beauty of the language even though you speak it too and hear it every day. Maybe French men have not forgotten how to look at a woman in particular or women in general, or both. Je ne sais pas.

But one shouldn’t have to wait for a “cialis moment”. By that time, even if it’s husband # 2, the schedule may be completely filled.

Chicken Pox Lollipops and Chicken Pox Parties

Some parents are forgoing what were once traditional chicken pox vaccines which helped to eradicate the disease.  A Nashville woman was charging $50.00 a pop for lollipops that had been licked by sick kids.  “It’s illegal and unsafe,” said Jerry Martin, a Nashville prosecutor.

Chicken pox, which was once nearly universal, has fallen between 57% and 90% since a vaccine was introduced in 1995.  The majority of cases, about 90%, that do occur affect infants, children and adolescents under the age of 14.  Deaths in children, ages 1 to 9, have declined about 90%.  Hospitalizations and costs have fallen between 75% and 88%.  General infections have been reduced to 85% and they prevent 95% of severe infections which can lead to pneumonia and encephalitis.

While there is some concern about the development of shingles due to the lack of exposure to chicken pox, studies show that the rate is lower among vaccinated children.  This may be because immune systems may not be as strong.  As people might become more vulnerable to shingles, doctors might recommend that the shingles vaccine be given to adults starting at the age of 40.  Vaccinations help us to control the occurrence of disease and are more helpful than not.  Just think of polio.

Lollipops should be a reward for being brave and getting the vaccine shot.

Parties should celebrate recovery or not getting the disease at all.

My opinion is that children should get the shot and healthy kids should attend school.

What’s your opinion?