Category Archives: health

Too Close to Home

Farewell, Derek:  STC colleague Derek Torres of Paris passed away this week from the H1N1 virus. Derek was very active in STC, helping to form the Europe SIG. I met Derek at several European conferences and I had a lot of respect for him, both as a technical communicator and as an all-around nice guy.

I know several other people who have had the virus, but recovered. It makes every cough and minor symptom seem that much scarier.


Fear of the Day

Bet you weren’t worried about this:  Been using your keyboard lately?

Hard Choices

Want to live longer? Y’all know the drill: eat less and exercise more.  (Or, as one friend quipped, it may just seem as if you are living longer!)  But despite knowing that we should put down the junk food and get our fat butts up off the sofa, we remain fat and lazy.  And the glut of information doesn’t always help.  For example:

…and the list goes on.  Milk and dairy products.  Meat.  Butter.  Wheat.  Jogging.  You name it, it has been both praised and pilloried by the scientific community.  What’s an info-consumer to do?

Personally, I think we all rationally understand that our bodies were meant to consume things closer to whole (unprocessed) foods, and that we were meant to move and exercise.  If anything, the French Paradox reinforces this, as the typical slim Parisian may eat saturated fats, drink wine and coffee, and even indulge in pastries, but all in moderation (portion size is tiny compared to that of the US).  And mostly, they walk.  A lot.

Nu?  What do you think?

More Train Trauma

Jam-packed trains: Monday sees me down in Tel Aviv teaching a workshop at a client site.  Going down is not a problem; snagging a taxi from the train station proves to be the real challenge.  I finally get creative and leave the taxi stand, commandeering a taxi as the driver lets a passenger off on the other side of the street.  Sneeky me.  But I get to my client in time and everything is fine.

Coming home is another story.  The train is already packed when it reaches the University station.  I end up standing for about 20 minutes until a young soldier takes pity on me and gives me his seat.  In the next seat over is an older man who appears to have been pickled in vodka.  He may not be drunk at the moment, but the fumes coming off of him are enough to make my eyes water.  He is carrying on a conversation in Russian and gesturing emphatically.  He almost whacks he in the face a few times.

We are halfway to Haifa when the AC packs in.  I’m already exhausted, both physically and mentally, and now I have a headache and nausea to boot.  By the time I get home, I’m a wreck.  I spend the next two days in bed, feeling miserable.  I drag myself out to walk Terri and the crawl back to bed.  Terri tries to make me feel better by licking my toes, lying across my stomach, and finally bringing me her stuffed monkey.

Further proof that people are clueless: The Brits do a big study to prove that organic fruits and vegetables are not more nutritious than non-0rganic.  What?!  Who in the world buys organic to get more vitamins?!  We buy it to get less pesticides and toxins!  That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!  I can see it now: a new study proving that doing crossword puzzles does not improve your hamstring flexibility.

Aroma Ettiquette

Go easy with the aftershave, dude! Yesterday’s train ride to and from Tel Aviv leaves me pondering the odd cultural norms that make it seemingly acceptable for someone to be in a crowded public place while smelling like a goat, or to be drenched in some gag-making perfume.  The hygiene-challenged are not fun to be around, but someone’s BO doesn’t usually send people to the hospital.

Yes, it is hot.  Yes, we are all sweating and miserable.  But make an effort!

Speaking of hot: It hit 103F in Seattle and 104F (40C) in Portland, Oregon (two cities known for the cool weather).  New records and just more signs of the extreme weather brought on by global warming.  While we often have temps that high and higher in parts of Israel, we are a bit more equipped for it.  (Of course, when the train’s AC fails, you sit on the tracks without moving for half an hour, and the window shade next to you won’t pull down to block out the sun, well… let’s say that you wish for 40C!)

New Health Study

The data is in:  Hat tip to my mom.

  • The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Mexicans eat a lot of  fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.  
  • The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of  sausages and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
  • CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like—speaking English is apparently what kills you.


Pass the Kleenex:  Well, that was stupid.  Just the other day I thought, gee, my allergies haven’t been bothering me this spring.  Aha!  Like talking about a no-hitter, I jinxed it.  The next day I had the start of what is now a three day allergy attack.  Red, itchy eyes.  Burning sinus pain.  Liters of snot.  I even sneezed all over Terri and had to wipe her off.  Ah, the joys of spring.