Raising kids means raising the bar

by Ellen Badinelli Email

On the heels of the Martin Luther King holiday and the beginning of Black History month, I find it ironic that so many  grammy nominees feel compelled to populate their lyrics with the "n word" .     Somewhere I missed the New Miss Manner's edition that this offensive word is now accepted vernacular, a synonym for brother, buddy or any another term of endearment, and to insult to injury, these "artists"  feel the need to add a hefty helping of expletives.

However, this lowered standard of decency has its limits,  acceptable and even lauded for the "top 40" to utter every eight bars, ['creative advisors' insist it boosts radio play] but unacceptable for a teacher trying to talk to his students in their adopted slang, as  Valley High School's Paul Dawson learned.   And rightly so; this is an unacceptable term from anyone's, or any teacher's, lips, with one exception; unless he is reading Mark Twain.   How hypocritcal that Jay Z, Li'l Wayne, M & M, Puff Daddy/diddy?, Jeezy, and scores of others with made up names to add 'gangsta' cred", can shout it from the rafters, but Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer gets excised!  One of the most prolific, classic works of literature gets as white washed as Tom's picket fence.  

Martin Luther King was a pupil and desciple of language and believed in its power to transform and overcome adversity.  To think he died so that those that came after him could call one another "n_ _ _  a", must have him spinning in his grave.   The English language is rich, artful and with enough variety to paint any picture.  If we measure the past 10 years by lyrical content and competence,  it becomes apparent we have fallen many rungs off the evolutionary ladder. That pop culture continues to utilize its worst, most ignorant elements is reflection of  its lack of judgement, taste, and/or intelligence. I know there are many parents that share this view, but we are so busy juggling work and family to take the time to push back and raise the bar to its rightful, higher place from the role models our kids look to who keep lowering it.  Just because the FCC has abrogated its responsibility in enforcing decency,  doesn't give me, or you, an excuse to do the same.    I'm fighting back, please join in.  

It's guns, stupid!

by Ellen Badinelli Email

I am tiring of every politician and broadcast personality citing that our nasty political rhetoric has caused the murders in Arizona.   I can't figure out if this is the media driven for ratings or politicians propagandizing, but already it feels the Nancy Grace  circus-like coverage surrounding  the tragedies of Haleigh Cummings and Natalie Halloway.

I don't recall anyone from Columbine, VA Tech, Binghamton, LIRR, DC, or other sites of murderous rampages, attributing the polarized political landscape as a factor.   And wasn't it a spate of attacks by postal workers that coined the term 'going postal' , not 'going political'?   But they all had one thing in common, which is frighteningly absent here:  a fever pitch clamor to remove guns, notably assault rifles,  from the public.   This time, however, we are treated to politicians pledging to be nicer to one another.

I certainly agree it would be a welcome improvement if politicians would stop demonizing the political party/member they don't agree with.  But that misses the mark, and distracts us from the real culprit, which is access to guns and it seems no party wants to take that on.   At least that is the only explanation I can come up with for ignoring the obvious; this inexcusable and deafening silence on the one common feature/accomplice to all these crimes, namely, semi-automatic assault weapons,  and all those involved in ensuring their free-flowing supply.   Are our politicians are so egocentric they have to find another separate reason for how they differ from other rampage victims?    Does a parent who mourns their daughter's death at VA grieve differently than the Greens or feel any less of a loss?  and what comfort does a less polarized political scene bring to them?    Unstable or psychotic people are merely that, until you provide them access to weapons, and then they can become killing machines.

It was reported that Jared Loughner was rejected from the Army.   Isn't this determination recorded in a database so that when unsuitable candidates start shopping for firearms, their ID search triggers an alert, notifying the retailer/salesman and authorities?   If not, then what the hell have they been doing with our taxpayer dollars, this is a no-brainer?   Clearly this is no hunting rifle; its sole purpose is maximum kills in minimum time.   How many others must die before our legislators illegalize this class of firearm?    Perhaps it is only by hitting this close to home our leaders will rise to the office we elected them and act as there will be no greater motivation or interest among our elected officials than there is now.      Let's do more than pray they don't waste this opportunity; write your elected officials now, or forward this blog link.   This may be the only issue today with bi-partisan support, at least before the gun manufacturers start breaking out their checkbooks for contributions.

Healthcare with odds worse than Vegas

by Ellen Badinelli Email

"I see dead people",  Haley Joel Osment told Bruce Willis in "The Sixth Sense", but he could have uttered the same in his first year of residency.    A friend of mine who is also a cardiologist and surgeon was recently lamenting the course of action he is forced to recommend for a 12 year old and 82 year old; the 82 year old's heirs might sue him for neglect if he failed to provide the same treatment.   Such disgregard of common sense means that nonsensical health procedures will continue unless there is tort reform.

No better example of this lunacy is the news of Zsa Zsa Gabor's scheduled surgery to amputate a portion of her leg to remove a cancerous tumor.   Zsa Zsa is no stranger to life threatening health concerns, she has been in and out of the hospital since August.   At 92 years young she has led an inspired life and seemed ready to accept her fate when she requested a priest give her last rites back in September.

This is where quality of life and quantity diverge.   Even if this were on her own dime, it would be just as deplorable.    Her survival of the surgery is questionable, the quality of the time she has left is questionable.    The only certain thing is that, whatever her chances are,  the hospital and those treating her will make money.   Kind of like Vegas, customers may win or lose, but the "house' always wins.

"stress"; a diagnosis so common its needs its own medical code

by Ellen Badinelli Email

There is no shortage of news stories reporting on how increased emotional stress during the holiday season can cause physical maladies from muscle ailments to back pain, but venture to any mall and you will see the physical causes are everywhere.   Add a pair of heels to the mix and you are just itching to donate to a chiropractor or podiatrist. Carrying bags filled with presents can put significant strain on your shoulders, back and posture, since it is very difficult to keep one's spine in alignment when one shoulder is bearing weight.   This ain't rocket science; it was precisely this reason  briefcase manufacturers added cross body messenger bags to their product line, and why backpacks are manufactured with padded laptop sleeves.   Just last week, I  suffered a pinched nerve in my neck;  not from "stress", but from keeping the phone cradled between my ear and shoulder while waiting on hold at length to reach the doctor, or to get additional information on gifts I am ordering on-line.   After Thanksgiving, 'wait' time quadruples.   Taking greater care in performing the simplest tasks can bring relief.

Last year, a couple hours of shopping at my local mall had taken its toll on my hips, back and knees.  This  year however, was far different, thanks to my new "shape ups".   My first pair of these new-agey sneakers, New Balance toners, left me in discomfort after a 3 mile walk and convinced me, there are considerations for those of us that are flat footed that's not covered in any review I read.      Glad I didn't give up there, because my next pair, Skechers Resistance Runners have less of an oval/"rocking horse" bottom and are more like cross trainers allowing me to run, walk, and shop for hours.    Joe Montana gets paid the big bucks for his testimonials, but those of you who have read my blog know we receive no compensation in any form for our comments.    My only complaint is that they're not insulated with fur, or I'd never take them off.  

Whether you favor a walking, cross training or any other foot pampering shoe, this time of year, don't leave home without 'em.     If you don't own a pair, this is the best investment you'll make and they can be costly;  mine cost me upwards of $100, but I just noted them on-line at footwearetc.com for $97.  While I can't attest that it will shape your butt to someone half your age, I can testify it will decrease your aches and pains, not to mention those pesky co-pays to your doctor, so savings in the long run-pun intended!

Headaches are an exception where I do agree with the network anchors; I get massive ones the third week of every January when those credit card billls come due.


Eat to your heart's discontent ; Weight loss surgery for all!

by Ellen Badinelli Email

A federal advisory panel recently voted to lower the threshold of exess weight necessary for medical coverage  for weight loss (lap band) sugery to increase eligibility.  Not sure who served on this panel but I'd bet not an accountant among them.  This decision is being hailed as a step towards to reducing the number of overweight Americans and the costly illnesses that result from obesity.  However,  it contradicts the message coming from the CDC and Department of Diabetes Prevention and Control which state that health is achieved by better dietary choices and habits adopted for life, not some quick fix, or pill and both of these organizations have invested considerable amounts of money [your money] to promote this message.

Approval of such surgery means that these patients, whose weight loss is due to decreased apetite, cannot provide an example of appropriate portion control to their children.   Additionally, they rely on pills and supplements for the necessary vitamins and minerals required for their balanced diet, rather than organic means, e.g., fruit and vegetables, so they can't provide an example of healthy and nutritional food choices to their children either.   And how likely are they to plan, purchase and prepare such meals for their family when they derive their nutrition elsewhere?   Studies show that poor nutrition is passed from generation to generation, not genetically, but in practices, and a woman's, or man's, artificially shrunken appetite, does not translate to their offspring.


In my own informal poll of patients who have had this surgery, I inquired how many of their physicians sat down with them and stressed the need for adopting better eating habits for their family.  Result? 0/4, admittedly, not a random or significant sample, but telling nonetheless.  Each reported that the focus is to reduce their consumptive 'quantity'.   Thus, the perpetual cycle of poor dietary habits and poor nutrition continues.

More troubling however, is the message that irresponsible habits, whether they be the credit card debt, mortgage default, or any other failure to regulate one's indulgences, will be met with a collective bailout, where the responsible and disciplined bailout those that refuse to reign themselves in.   As evident in the mid-term elections, the public is tiring of bearing the burden of those that refuse to exercise control, and projected healthcare costs could make AIG's debt restructuring seem like that of a community bank.    Moderation is universal to the health of all things, physical and fiscal.   Let's hope our newly elected officials get it.

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