Saturday, February 06, 2010

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WHO PUTS THE GOOD INTO GOOD DEED? Joan Hornig set a college goal to earn enough money by age 50 to be able to help others. In 2003 at age 48 she'd earned enough in private equity investing to reach her goal. In the same year a friend suggested she show her self-designed jewelry to Bergdorf Goodman. Hornig's first collection sold in 5 days. Each piece of jewelry comes with a card saying she'll donate 100% of her profits to the charity of the buyer's choice. By 2009 her foundation had donated almost $750,000 to more than 600 causes. Hornig's cause is helping others to help others. Linda Hill's approach to fighting cancer is laughter. This single mother of 7 children was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 19. By 2009 at age 48 she'd had breast, colon, spleen and thyroid cancer; but the produce manager for a food distributor keeps laughing. To help other cancer patients laugh, Hill put her humor on 800 different T-shirts. The #1 seller says, "Of course they're fake, the real ones tried to kill me". Sold on her Web site and at cancer centers across the country, the shirts are about $25. Hill's attitude - priceless. Eileen Smulder founded "Blankets of Love" in 2008. This nonprofit organization provides donated blankets to animals in Los Angeles shelters. According to the Compassion Action Institute in New York, shelter animals that are given blankets to rest on feel safer and are better able to relax and adjust to their new environment. Because potential adopters are more attracted to animals that look relaxed and friendly and because the blankets provide a more homey setting, blankets have proven to increase adoptions. In 2008 Blankets of Love collected 150,000 blankets and other comfort items. In Smulder's case do-gooder should be spelled dog-ooder. Dave Sharpe suffered post traumatic stress syndrome after serving in Iraq, often waking in the night punching walls or kicking the refrigerator. After adopting a shelter dog things changed. He had someone else to focus on, someone to talk to without the fear of being judged. Inspired by his experience Sharpe, who lives outside Washington D.C., started Pets2Vets, a group that pairs vets with shelter dogs. Since October 2009 two or three matches have been made a week and there are plans to expand the program across the country starting in 2010. Pets2vets is a win-win situation. Man's best friend gets a best friend too.
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WHO IS WATCHING OUR HEALTH? According to research done in 2009, Americans spend 60% more per person on health care than citizens in any other advanced country. Nevertheless, U.S. life expectancy at 50 ranks 29th in the world. A few explanations for this discrepancy include the facts that one-third of Americans are overweight, one-sixth don't use seatbelts and American children are 9 times more likely to be injured in a gun accident than children in any other developed country. Although cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of death for people 50 and older worldwide, Americans often die from bad choices. According to a 2008 national survey of 22,000 adults done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of smokers rose for the first time in 15 years - from 19.8% in 2007 to 21% in 2008. Although people tend to smoke less when they have less money, the tobacco industry discounted cigarettes to offset tax increases. In the mid-1960's 2 out of 5 adults smoked. In 2009 it was 1 out of 5. Federal health goals to have only 1 out of 10 adults smoking by 2010 are in ashes - no "butts" about it. According to a dermatology professor at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, sleep is good for skin. Hormonal changes boost blood flow to the skin brightening it. Skin temperatures are higher so commercial age-fighting potions go deeper, providing better results. Also studies show cell turnover is 8 times faster at night, increasing wrinkle softening. According to a sleep medicine doctor at Tucson's Canyon Ranch, not getting 8 hours of sleep causes pasty-looking skin and dark circles under eyes. It also increases the stress hormone cortisol, which can slow collagen production and promote wrinkles. This information certainly puts a new wrinkle into not getting enough sleep. Finally, according to Dr. Alan Hirsch, author of "What Flavor Is Your Personality?", food cravings have physical and personal components. For example, salt cravings are a sign of a mineral deficiency - people who crave salt are easy-going. Chocolate is an antidepressant - dark chocolate lovers are extroverts and milk chocolate lovers are introspective. Many who crave spicy food are addicted to the rush of spiked blood pressure and accelerated heart rate - spicy food cravers are detail-oriented. Those who crave sweets are low on energy - sugar cravers are pleasure seekers. If this is true, we eat what we are.

Knight Pierce Hirst

I may be the only writer who has moved to Los Angeles for the weather.

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