February 12, 2018
People over age 55 are fraudsters’ favorite targets No question about it. Some age 55-plus Americans have the most financial savvy of any group. But some that age and older are targeted for various types of fraud.
Protect your assets with a financial power of attorney
A carefully-crafted will won’t protect your assets if you can’t make financial decisions while you’re still alive. A financial power of attorney can do that. If well written, it will safeguard your assets and can play a role as the health-care power of attorney as well. Write one that only goes into effect if you are incapable of making decisions.
Activity beats genetics
They have income and savings, are open to “good deals” offered by scammers, and, surprisingly, if they turn out to be victims, 75 percent of them are too embarrassed to report being robbed. Frauds are easier to report since the Senate Special Committee on Aging launched a Fraud Hotline to help deal with the “epidemic” of frauds and scams recently targeting older Americans. You can call the hotline at 855-303-9470 or visit the website at aging.senate. gov. Frauds include lottery scams where “winners” pay large upfront fees to collect; computer scams where people are tricked into believing they have malware and charged a lot to “fix” the problem; tax-refund schemes which may include identity theft. In the grandparent phone scam, the caller says he’s a grandchild in need of big money for a legal or health problem. Then there are Social Security scams, and Medicare fraud where victims are convinced they owe money for care or procedures they never had. The Senate committee often deals with two issues: the frequency with which victims don’t report fraud, and the difficulty victims have when trying to report the scam. Hotline personnel provide consumers with advice on the steps that can be taken, including where to report the fraud locally, and ways to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim a second time.
Some people do have a genetic risk for obesity, but they aren’t doomed to be fat. A study published in the journal Diabetes found that genetic risk for obesity and decreased physical activity resulted in higher body fat. But more physical activity beat genetic risk and body fat did not rise as much.
In some people, antibiotics cause diarrhea, but this might be prevented by taking probiotics at the same time. According to the Tufts Nutrition Letter, take a probiotic containing Lactobacillus or S. boulardii at the same time as antibiotics. Delaying the probiotic severely decreases effectiveness.
Retirement Woes Q: Since we retired, my husband has lost a lot of his patience. Within just a year, he’s become a cranky old man. Now, every time something goes wrong, he blames me and won’t let even the smallest things go. What happened to the lifelong lover I’ve been married to for 38 years? A: Retirement changes everything. Men often find the transition into retirement to be especially difficult. Unfortunately, you are the one who is closest to him and getting to hear him voice all of his frustrations. Over the course of his career, he developed a routine that retirement has now interrupted. Additionally, he has separated from the circle of acquaintances that he’s familiar with and used to dealing with. He has probably found that building new relationships with people of similar interests takes time and patience. As you’re now spending the whole day together, you should consider scheduling some privacy for both of you. We aren’t meant to spend all of our time with only one person -- absence makes the heart grow fonder! With your husband, discuss a plan to address your needs. One technique for better harmony is to be strategic about communicating. Set aside a routine time to discuss your thoughts and feelings -- you can share coffee or a glass of wine and unwind together around dinnertime. In his frustration at his different life, does he understand your feelings? Does he realize that you both may have to make some compromises? If you don’t tell him what you’re thinking, he has no way of knowing these things. Ask him about his day and what he would like to do tomorrow. Creating a schedule will help with the lack of structure with which many retirees struggle. Become a team again, and remember that communication and compromise are the keys to domestic harmony. The more time you spend together, the more important these things become. -- Doug
PAIR IT DOWN
Q: Last week, my billfold fell out of my pants pocket at a conference, and I couldn’t find it even after frantic searching. Fortunately, a good Samaritan picked it up and contacted me the next day. I couldn’t believe my luck! What can I do to avoid this mistake in the future? A: To avoid losing your wallet again, consider wearing pants with a deeper pocket or ones with a button. A smaller wallet style may also be able to fit in your front pocket, making it easier to keep track of. Having an oversized wallet makes you much more susceptible to losing it. Remove any unnecessary cards, photos, receipts, coins or other extraneous items. Some of these personal items are also irreplaceable and better off at home. In case you lose it again, make sure to cancel all of your cards immediately. Although replacing them will be aggravating, dealing with any missing money will be even more so. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Remember that thieves consider seniors easy targets! Keeping your wallet more secure will also prevent any “accidents.” -- Emma, Doug’s granddaughter Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Emma, Doug’s granddaughter, helps write this column.
Social Security and You I’m a Hit with the Ladies!
Don’t tell my wife, but if my inbox is any indication, I’m a big hit with the ladies! I have a hunch I get more emails from women around the country than any other old goat my age who isn’t rich or famous. Alas, they are just asking boring old Social Security questions. Here’s the latest batch. Q: You write a very confusing column. You recently wrote that someone cannot take reduced benefits on one record and then later switch to full benefits on another record. I always thought I would get widow’s benefits when my husband dies because they are much higher than my own. But are you now saying that I can’t switch to higher benefits later? A: OK, maybe I’m not the big hero with women that I thought I was. Maybe I just confuse the heck out of them, and that’s why they are sending me all these emails. I certainly am sorry I didn’t make things clear enough in that recent column. I should have explained that I was talking only about retirement and spousal benefits -- not widow’s benefits. So to clarify, the law says that if you decide to take your retirement benefits before your full retirement age (currently age 66), you must file for any and all benefits for which you are eligible at the same time. In a nutshell, what that rule is saying is that you can NOT file for spousal benefits on your husband’s or wife’s record at age 62 (or any age before 66) and then wait until a later age to apply for higher benefits on your own account. That is the deemed filing rule. When you sign up for one Social Security benefit, you are deemed to be filing for any other benefit you are due. But that deemed filing rule does NOT apply to widows. And that is a huge and special advantage that widows (and widowers) have. For example, assuming she is not working, a widow could take reduced retirement benefits at age 62, and then at age 66, switch to full widow’s benefits on her husband’s record. Or, it may be better for her to switch things around. In other words, she could file for reduced widow’s benefits as early as age 60 (again, assuming she is not working) and then, at 66, switch to full retirement benefits on her own record. Or she could delay signing up for her own Social Security until age 70 and then get a 32 percent “delayed retirement credit” added to her monthly Social Security check. Or, in your case, it sounds like both you and your husband are already getting your own Social Security benefits, and that your husband’s rate is higher. So if he dies before you do, then you will be able to switch to higher widow’s benefits on his record. For example, let’s say he is getting $2,500 per month and you are getting $1,800 per month. When he dies, you will keep getting your $1,800, and then you will get an additional $700 in widow’s benefits to take you up to his $2,500 rate. Q: I am getting widow’s benefits from my first husband. When I was 68 years old, I married a second husband. But I still get widow’s benefits from my first. If my second husband dies, will I get widow’s benefits from both men? A: Not from both. But you will get to pick and choose. In other words, if husband No. 2 dies, you will continue to get widow’s benefits from No. 1’s Social Security account, unless No. 2 has a higher benefit. In that case, you should switch to widow’s benefits on his record. Q: I was 66 last August and filed for Social Security at that time. I get $750 per month. My husband is 67 and has been getting Social Security since he turned 66. He gets $2,250 per month. How come I’m not getting any spousal benefits on his record? I called Social Security twice and talked to two different representatives. The first said I wasn’t eligible for anything. The second said I was and set up an interview for me later this month. Am I due anything? A: Unless there is something about your case that you didn’t tell me, it sure sounds like you are due some extra benefits on your husband’s record. Because you took benefits at your full retirement age, you are due an amount equal to one half of your husband’s Social Security. That should be $1,125 (less your own benefit). In other words, you would keep getting your $750 retirement benefit, and then you should get an additional $375 in spousal benefits to take you up to the $1,125 level. Q: I am 66 and getting my own Social Security. My husband is 61 and he gets SSDI. His benefit is quite a bit higher than mine. I understand he will be switched to Social Security at 62. He is gravely ill. If he were to die before he starts getting real Social Security, would I be able to get widow’s benefits? A: You said your husband is getting “SSDI.” For those readers who don’t know, that means he is getting Social Security disability insurance. Or in other words, monthly disability benefits. And as I have pointed out hundreds of times in this column, disability benefits are just as “real” as Social Security retirement benefits. So your husband is already getting “real” Social Security. When he reaches age 66 (not 62), he will be automatically switched to the retirement program -- at the same benefit rate. And you will start getting widow’s benefits no matter how old he is when he dies, and no matter if he is getting disability benefits or retirement benefits.
Crooks Plead Guilty in Rent-a-Vet Scheme
Two crooks pleaded guilty to stealing money from the government in a set-aside program for veteranowned businesses. Specifically, these two got nearly $14 million in construction contracts (20 of them) spread out in 11 states over nine years. Both were veterans. In 2004, Jeffrey Wilson and Paul Salavitch set up the Patriot Company. Wilson ran the whole thing as a front for his own construction company. Salavitch, the servicedisabled veteran, didn’t run the company, make day-to-day decisions, had never managed a construction company and didn’t have much government contracting experience -- all requirements for the program. He was president on paper only. His pal Wilson said they needed stuff from Salavitch (plaques, Army items, anything personal) that would make one of the offices look like it actually belonged to Salavitch. What, then, did Salavitch do? He was a full-time employee of the Department of Defense in Leavenworth, Kansas. Wilson, meanwhile, had fun with some of the money. He put down nearly half a million dollars on a house he bought, and a quarter of a million to pay off his previous house. Not only that, but he used company money to buy another house out of state and paid $400,000 for life insurance premiums. Inquiring minds want to know: If the duo was hit with four counts each, why were they allowed to plead it down? And if the government grabbed $2.1 million in repayment,
what happens to the rest of that $14 million? Then there’s the prison time ... minimal. A possible year for one, a year and a half for the other. Seems like the sentence would at least equal the length of time the duo was in business, which was nine years.
Ever Thought About Having a Roommate? So many seniors live alone, and the last thing you want is to move just because the house becomes too much to handle on your own. Or maybe your property taxes went up and your $3 Social Security increase won’t cover it. What if you had a roommate? The first instinct might be to say no to that idea. You don’t want a stranger sharing your space. But think about that. What if you had someone to help shovel the walk the next time it snows? Or someone whose rent payment means you can stay in your home? Or even, on a more friendly level, someone to play chess or cards with? Start by calling the senior center, Council on Aging or local social services office to ask if they know of a roommate matching service. Once you locate one, be prepared to be extremely honest in what you’re looking for. If you can’t stand to be around people drinking alcohol, say so. If you go to bed early and need the house quiet by a certain time at night, say that, too. The more honest you are, the more likely you are to find a roommate who is compatible. Be sure to have credit and background checks done. The best possible situation might be if there’s a college near you. A student who’s old enough not to be required to live in the dorm
(sophomore or older), who is tired of the noise of a dorm, who needs peace and quiet to study, who’s tired of cafeteria food, who is struggling on a budget ... that kind of roommate might be perfect. Don’t say no until you’ve given it some thought!
* On Feb. 27, 1776, Commander Richard Caswell leads 1,000 Patriot troops in the successful Battle of Moores Creek over 1,600 British Loyalists. It was the first American victory in the first organized campaign of the Revolutionary War. * On Feb. 28, 1784, John Wesley charters the first Methodist Church in the United States. Although he was an Anglican, Wesley saw the need to provide church structure for his followers after the Anglican Church abandoned its American believers. * On March 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Congress passes a conscription act that produces the first wartime draft of U.S. citizens. The act called for registration of all males between the ages of 20 and 45. Exemptions from the draft could be bought for $300. * On March 2, 1944, a train stops for more than 30 minutes in a tunnel near Salerno, Italy, and more than 500 people on board suffocate and die. The locomotives were burning low-grade coal substitutes, which produced an excess of odorless and toxic carbon monoxide, asphyxiating the passengers. * On March 4, 1952, Ernest Hemingway completes his short novel “The Old Man and the Sea,”
5 telling his publisher it was the best writing he’d ever done. The critics agreed: The book won the Pulitzer Prize and became one of his bestselling works. * On March 1, 1961, President John Kennedy issues an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. Although many in Congress and the U.S. public, were skeptical about the programÕs costs and the effectiveness, thousands of young Americans flocked to serve in dozens of nations. * On Feb. 26, 1993, a bomb explodes in the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center in New York City. Six people died and 1,000 were injured by the powerful blast. The FBI discovered that the bombers were not terrorists but jewel thieves.
DEAR PAUL: Even though bigger dogs tend to do better in cold weather, every pup is an individual and has its own preferences. Gertie is clearly not a fan of cold weather, while her neighbors love being out in it and playing in the snow. That said, she shouldn’t just stay inside all the time, and you’re not taking her outside for very long. Try placing Gertie in a doggie sweater and booties anytime the temperature drops below 40 F. Take her for the usual walk -- no more and no less -- and give her lots of praise before and after going outside. She may do much better with the sweater, even if she doesn’t really need it. If Gertie still doesn’t handle cold weather well, minimize her time in it. She still needs to get in some active time or she’ll gain more weight. Maybe she’d have fun spending a day or two each week at a doggie daycare that includes lots of time running and playing with other dogs in a common space. Send your questions, comments and tips to email@example.com.
Water Dog Isn’t a Fan of Snow
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Do different types of dogs handle cold weather differently? My big Lab mix “Gertie” hates going out in the cold, even though she’s a good-sized dog (maybe a little too much, if you know what I mean). A few days ago on a morning walk in near-zero degree temperatures, we met two of Gertie’s neighborhood buddies, both small dogs. They were having a great time with their owner, romping around in the snow, while Gertie was whimpering the whole time we were out. How can I get her to deal with the cold better? -- Paul in Burlington, Massachusetts
* It was the multitalented Pierre Beaumarchais -- born in the 18th century, he was a revolutionary in both France and America as well as a watchmaker, diplomat, musician, spy, inventor, publisher and arms dealer -- who made the following sage observation: “It is not necessary to understand things in order to argue about them.” * Sharks burp. Yep, even underwater. Evidently, it’s how they regulate the depth at which
they swim. * You’ve almost certainly heard people refer to the school they attended as their alma mater, but do you know where the term comes from? In Latin, “alma mater” means “bounteous mother.” It was in the early 1800s that people began applying the term their beloved schools. * The skin of the African elephant, the largest land animal alive in the world today, weighs 2,000 pounds by itself. * You might be surprised to learn that the bagpipe did not originate in Scotland. This ancient instrument existed in Asia in the pre-Christian era. Those who study such things say that the Emperor Nero was a bagpiper, even performing publicly at Roman athletic events. * Those who keep track of such things say that, across the globe, there are more people who have cellphones than have toilets. * If you’re like most Americans, you’ve probably played with a NERF ball at some point in your life. You might not realize, though, that NERF stands for Non-Expanding Recreational Foam. * Actor Tom Cruise attended 15 different schools when he was growing up. Thought for the Day: “A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.” -- Lewis H. Lapham
6 Tripp. Will confronted John about his deadly secret. Wait to See: Kate discovers a shocking scene at the DiMera Mausoleum.
THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL Hope offered Liam some comfort and a place to vent his emotions. Katie and Wyatt both were conflicted about the wedding. Ridge and Brooke remained hopeful that they would serve as an example to Liam that forgiveness was always the answer. Eric and Quinn were surprised but supportive of what was in store for the wedding guests. Steffy called Liam to see if he would escort her to the wedding. Hope and Maya gifted the bride with something old. Later, Steffy and Hope made a pact while Wyatt and Liam discussed their relationships. Carter officiated Brooke and Ridge’s nuptials. Wyatt had a romantic surprise for Katie when she returned home. Wait to See: An unexpected breakup leaves two lovers in distress. DAYS OF OUR LIVES Chad and Abigail walked in on a heated moment between Vivian and Stefan. Rafe questioned a suspect about Andre’s murder. JJ pursued a new line of work. Valerie gave Lani an ultimatum. Gabi was booked on murder charges. Brady and Eve went on their first real date together. Lani made a confession to Eli. Claire was intrigued when she realized that Ciara and Tripp were keeping a secret. Will and Paul spied on John and discovered his disturbing plans. Steve’s condition worsened as he and Kayla raced against time to find out what was wrong with him. Eli was faced with a difficult decision. Claire tried to get the truth out of
GENERAL HOSPITAL Sam made a confession. Ava couldn’t help herself. Carly warned Jason not to give up. Michael was extremely grateful. Franco confided in Kevin. Curtis and Jordan teamed up. Alexis and Finn bonded. Julian felt pestered. Anna continued her investigation. Robin read between the lines. Peter bumped into Lulu. Alexis turned to Sam for help. Ned’s words were very impactful. Julian declined an offer. Jim Harvey continued to make waves. Anna was in denial. Drew pushed back. Sam asked for a favor. Carly vented her frustrations. Drew was troubled. Valentin stayed by Nina’s side. Franco had a moment with Obrecht. Peter’s curiosity was piqued. Wait to See: Anna and Felicia commiserate together. THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS Devon realized that Hilary misunderstood his offer to buy GC Buzz and thought she would still have a creative position with Hamilton-Winters. Mariah arrived at the office but was quickly left alone with Tessa. Devon followed Hilary, who admitted to him that she started her fertility treatments earlier that day. Traci was devastated when Dina didn’t recognize her during a video call from Paris. Victor met with Noah after his drunk and disorderly incident at the tower. J.T. attempted to surprise Victoria with a big dinner party, but Chelsea and Phyllis soon found themselves at odds while breaking bread. Cane and Lily planned to renew their vows on Valentine’s Day. Wait to See: J.T. and Traci reminisce about Colleen.
Q: My girlfriend and I recently binge-watched “American Vandal” on Netflix. Will there be more episodes? -- Victor F., via email
A: The half-hour mockumentary, which spoofs shows such as “Making a Murderer” and “Serial,” has been renewed for an eight-episode second season by the streaming giant. Scheduled to air sometime this year (no date as yet), season two again will feature high-school student and burgeoning documentarian Peter Maldonado (Tyler Alvarez) as he tries to solve a mystery at a different school with a new set of students. As you’ll recall, season one centered on the mystery of who spray-painted penises on 23 teachers’ cars at Peter’s school, with Peter’s aim to vindicate accused vandal Dylan Maxwell. While the storyline might seem juvenile on the surface, the execution of the story is anything but. The series is a brilliantly amusing (and heartbreaking) look at high-school life, social pressures and societal pigeonholing -- all set on the backdrop of a fascinating mystery. *** Q: With the recent reboots of “Will and Grace,” “Full House” and
7 “Roseanne,” etc., are there any new/ old shows to add to the redux list? -Michael T. in Florida A: It seems that everything old is new again. The latest ‘80s/’90s sitcom to get the green light for another go-round is the astoundingly ahead-of-its-time newsroom sitcom “Murphy Brown.” CBS has given the order for a 13-episode season, which will star Candice Bergen and have creator Diane English on board. According to deadline. com: “Talks are underway with original cast members to return.” Now all we need is a new iteration of “Family Ties” (imagine what intelligent writers could do to skewer the current administration) and “Designing Women,” and I’m all set! *** Q: Do you have any news about “House of Cards”? I was so worried it would be canceled after the sexualmisconduct news surrounding Kevin Spacey was revealed. -- Wanda B., via email A: As I’ve reported, “House of Cards” will be back for its sixth and final season, with Kevin Spacey having nothing whatsoever to do with the production. This last season will focus on Robin Wright’s character, President Claire Underwood, and will have eight episodes instead of its usual 13. This season also will see some new faces: Academy Awardnominated actors Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear have been tapped to play siblings, but that’s all we know about their characters as of this writing. And some more news that absolutely thrills me is that “Unreal” star Constance Zimmer is returning to her pivotal role of investigative reporter Janine Skorsky. Word has it she will play a BIG role in this upcoming season. Something tells me she might be trying to blow the lid off all the nefarious doings of those dastardly wonderful Underwoods. Patricia Clarkson, Campbell Scott, Michael Kelly, Jayne Atkinson, Boris McGiver and Derek Cecil also will return to wrap up the series.
HOLLYWOOD -- The horses are off and running in the Oscar race, and it’s time to start making your picks for the big night on Sunday, March 4. Maybe the Hollywood Foreign Press got it right this year, because Hollywood insiders are already making their picks and the ballots haven’t even gone out. Gary Oldman is the frontrunner for best actor for his superb rendition of Winston Churchill (so much like Churchill you forget it’s Oldman). His next is “Hunter Killer,” with Gerard Butler, Billy Bob Thornton, Willem Dafoe and Common. But after the Oscars you can be sure his price will double. Frances McDormand won a best actress Oscar for “Fargo” (1996) and was nominated three times as best supporting actress for “Mississippi Burning” (1989), “Almost Famous” (2001) and “North Country” (2006). She returns to the best actress category for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” McDormand will be heard in Wes Anderson’s animated feature “Isle of Dogs,” along with Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Greta Gerwig, Courtney B. Vance, Tilda Swinton and Scarlett Johansson, coming March 23. You can be sure her next film will cost them big bucks, win or lose. *** Sam Rockwell is finally getting his due with a best supporting actor nomination, also for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” He’s turned in stellar performances for years, in “The Green Mile” (1999), “Galaxy Quest” (1999), “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002), “Match Stick Men” (2003), “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (2005), “Frost/ Nixon” (2008), “Iron Man 3” (2010),
“Cowboys and Aliens” (2011), “Seven Psychopaths” (2012) and “The Way, Way Back” (2013), just to name a few of his 75 films. Insiders feel Rockwell has a more dominant role than his co-star Woody Harrelson, also nominated. Rockwell has done mostly low-budget films, and admits, “It’s nice to be in a film people actually see!” He’ll next be seen in “Mute,” with Alexander Skarsgard, Paul Rudd and Justin Theroux, opening Feb. 23, and “Blaze,” directed by Ethan Hawke, co-starring Steve Zahn and Kris Kristofferson, which was screened last month at The Sundance Film Festival. He’s currently shooting “Backseat,” playing former President George W. Bush to Christian Bale’s Dick Cheney, co-starring Amy Adams, Steve Carell and Bill Pullman. *** Seven-time Emmy winner Allison Janney, who’s starred in “Mom” since 2013, works a lot in lowbudget, independent films, but “I Tonya” gave her the mainstream exposure that led straight to a best supporting actress nomination as skater Tonya Harding’s crazy mother. Janney’s other recent films are the comedy “A Happening of Monumental Proportions,” with Common and Jennifer Garner, and “Sun Dogs,” with Melissa Benoist and Jennifer Morrison, who also directs. Let’s hope none of the nominees get derailed by claims of sexual misconduct like James Franco. ... And they’re off!
The President’s Number President Trump had a physical recently, after which his Navy doctor declared that he stood 6-foot-2 and weighed 236 pounds, which based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale, defined him as overweight but not quite in the category of obese. There were many skeptics, who doubted both the numbers and the conclusion. But there are other things to consider when talking about BMI, which is calculated by dividing weight by the square of height. (You can find lots of BMI calculators online.) Though it’s considered an indicator of body fatness, it really measures excess weight rather than excess fat. Age, sex, ethnicity and muscle mass can all influence the relationship between BMI and body fat. On average, older adults tend to have more body fat than younger adults with equivalent BMIs. Women tend to have greater body fat than men with equivalent BMIs. And heavily muscled individuals, such as professional athletes, might have BMIs indicating obesity because muscle is, well, heavy. Still, it’s good to know your BMI because it correlates strongly with health risk. A high BMI predicts future disease and death. Tax Cheetos Some taxes may be good for your health. In a new study, researchers say a national junk food tax might achieve two desirable goals: 1. It could reduce the amount of junk food consumed by making it more expensive, thus helping in the fight against diseases blamed on unhealthy foods, and 2. the (excise) tax revenue could be used to fund public health initiatives. Previous research has already found that taxes on sugary drinks and subsidies to promote the consumption of produce have been associated with reductions in cardiovascular deaths. Body of Knowledge You’re born with more than 300 bones, but as you age, some fuse together (think skull, for example) and by the time you’re an adult, you have 206. Life in Big Macs One hour of making beds burns 136 calories (based on a 150-pound person) or the equivalent of 0.2 Big Macs. That’s a lot of beds, but not much of a burger. Counts 90: Percentage of all deaths tied to pollution that occur in low-income and middle-income countries Source: Lancet Doc Talk Diplopia: Double vision Phobia of the Week Atychiphobia: Fear of failure Never Say Diet The Major League Eating record for grapes is 8 pounds, 15 ounces in 10 minutes, held by Cookie Jarvis, a professional speed eater who, not surprisingly, holds a bunch of these records. Best Medicine A physician notices Bob, an inveterate hypochondriac, sitting in his waiting room. “Not again, Bob,” says the doctor. “It’s only Wednesday. You were here Monday.” Bob nods: “Couldn’t come yesterday. I was sick.” Obser vation “It’s easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.” -- Anthropologist Margaret Mead
COPD Is DoubleWhammy DEAR DR. ROACH: I have been told that I have COPD. The lung doctor said that he’s pleased with my X-ray and will see me next year. My concern is whether this will get worse. I’m scared to death. I have difficulty catching my breath. I quit smoking about four years ago. I know I can’t repair the damage that has been done, but is there anything I can do to keep this disease from getting worse? -- T.C. ANSWER: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in North America is due mostly to cigarette smoking, but cooking fires, asthma and other rare conditions also may predispose people to COPD. Lung function decreases with aging in all adults, but in people with COPD (a combination of emphysema and chronic bronchitis), the worsening of lung function over time is critical because of the loss of pulmonary reserve. You already have done by far the most important thing you can do to prevent further damage: quit smoking. Avoiding other air pollutants (especially secondhand smoke) also may help. Regular physical activity seems to slow progression of COPD. Treatment with inhaled steroids reduces airway inflammation and somewhat slows progression of the decline in lung function in COPD. Inhaled steroids also improve symptoms and reduce exacerbations. However, they do not have a significant effect on mortality.
X-rays are one way of following COPD, but measuring lung function through pulmonary-function tests is a much better way of determining severity of disease. Your lung specialist can give you morepersonalized information about your illness with those results. The booklet on COPD explains both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, the two elements of COPD, in detail. Readers can obtain a copy by writing: Dr. Roach -- No. 601W, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Canada with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. *** DEAR DR. ROACH: My question is, If a person eats a 2,000-calorie meal, how many calories, when digested, are absorbed by the body? I find it hard to believe that the body will absorb every single one of the 2,000 calories ingested. Please advise. -J.H. ANSWER: Our bodies are very well adapted to extract energy out of the food we eat, but you are right that there is some energy left in food at the time it is excreted. Some chemical energy also is used by the bacteria in the gut. A little bit is lost in the urine. But in general, we absorb probably 90 percent of the chemical energy stored in food. A few factors can affect that number. Food that is cooked or processed tends to have calories that are more easily accessible and more absorbable. This may be one reason that those who eat only raw foods tend to lose weight (another may be that they avoid highly caloriedense foods). There also are medical conditions that prevent us from absorbing food properly (lactose intolerance and celiac disease are two of the more common of the many causes of malabsorption).
Photograph to Document Dear James: The contractor is just getting started building my house. I want to make sure my house is being built properly and according to the plans. Is there anything I can do myself to be sure? -- Michael M. Dear Michael: Most contractors are reputable and will strive to follow the plan specifications and build a sound home for you. As you know, though, many subcontractors will work on the job and often, the general contractor is not there to monitor the quality of their work. Your local building inspectors will make visits to check on the most important and major aspects of the house construction. If the inspectors do their job diligently, you can rest assured your house will meet minimum construction standards. A home built to just the minimum standards will be structurally sound. Generally, you will want to have some aspects of your new home, either regarding the design or the materials used, to be above the minimum standards required by the building codes. This is where there is the possibility of some corners being cut on quality. If corners are cut, the defects may not be apparent for many years. Luckily, today, inexpensive digital cameras are available so you can take many photos of the home as it is being constructed. Sometimes just the fact that the new owners are taking photographs makes the workers more conscious of the quality of their work. Be friendly and joke with them about it so they do
10 not feel threatened. There also are other benefits of taking photos. Take photographs of the location of drainage trenches, underground outdoor wiring, etc. before they are filled with dirt. If you need to locate them or plan to do some digging years from now, you can use the photos for simple triangulation to fairly accurately determine where the underground items are located. Another benefit of photos is locating plumbing, wiring, supports inside the wall at a later time. By taking photos of the completed walls immediately before the drywall is hung, you will know what is inside each wall. This information comes in handy if you are hanging a heavy object on a wall or when you plan to do some remodeling. When materials are delivered to the building site, photograph the quantities and their labels. You compare this to the material specifications on your building plans. With items such as blown-in attic insulation, also record the number of bags of insulation delivered. This will determine the final R-value. Since you are not a builder or an architect, you probably wonâ€™t know which are the most critical areas to photograph. Set the resolution fairly low on the camera so you can take many photos on each trip to the site. After several visits, you will get a feel for what areas are important to record. Generally any places dissimilar materials meet are areas to concentrate. This can be where the sill plate and wall framing rests on the foundation or slab, chimney and roof flashing, facia, etc. A fun thing to do is to take several photos from exactly the same position every time you visit the site. When the house is finally completed, you can use some simple graphical software to make a moving picture of your house going up to its completion.
A Greener View
Careers in Horticulture and Landscaping Midwinter is a time when many high-school and college students are narrowing their careerchoice options. Opportunities in horticulture and landscaping are abundant for individuals who enjoy working with plants, working outdoors or working with people. There are careers in arboriculture, floristry, greenhouse management, irrigation and landscape architecture, to name a few. In each of these fields, plus many others, they could work for a standalone company or a division within a larger corporation, or just as an individual entrepreneur. As in any field, there are many roles, from owners and managers, to secretaries and salespeople. There are also many specialties in each career path. The more skill, education and training individuals can apply to a particular field, the more enjoyable it will be and the further they can advance. Horticulture can be combined with many other fields to satisfy interests that span more than one field. Occupations like accounting, computer science, education, journalism and research are all more useful with a horticulture background. The field of arboriculture is focused on trees. Arborists make decisions on which tree to plant and how to maintain it. They study insects, diseases and other problems that interfere with healthy trees. Because of the value trees have to
urban areas, many cities employ arborists as their city forester. Florists supply flower arrangements and bouquets for lifeâ€™s special occasions. Behind the designer are many other people who supply the materials. Americans are catching up to Europe, where flower arrangements are part of the daily decor at home and in the office. Greenhouse managers maintain the specific environmental conditions necessary to grow specialty crops. Nearly all annual flowers, hanging baskets and vegetable transplants, and many food crops are started in greenhouses. Even medical marijuana is grown in greenhouses. Interior-plantscape people do exactly what you expect. They design, install and maintain indoor landscapes. Expertise in indoor plants is increasingly in demand as it is recognized that plants supply more than beauty. NASA studies show that plants filter many toxic fumes out of the air. Building materials like carpeting, upholstery, paint, paneling, vinyl and ink release fumes from the chemicals used in their manufacture. The more closed up and energy-efficient a building is, the more plants become necessary for the health of the occupants. Irrigation specialists are becoming increasingly in demand as water supplies become limited in some parts of the country. Plants are an important investment in many landscapes. They supply beauty, health and value. Keeping the plants healthy without wasting water is important. Landscape architecture is a misunderstood field. It involves far more than planting flowers around buildings. It involves aspects of regional land planning, engineering, horticulture, art and human behavior. Landscape architecture differs from other horticulture fields. Landscape architects must receive
11 at least a bachelor’s degree, pass a multiday bar exam and be licensed to practice. Other horticulture fields often only require a one-year certificate or two-year associate degree, although bachelor’s degrees are available in most horticulture fields. There is an exciting future in horticulture and landscaping. We plant for the future. You could plant a tree that may be around for your great-grandchildren to see.
* Another nominee for removing antiperspirant stains: meat tenderizer. D.L. of Michigan writes: “Moisten the armpit area and then drag it through some meat tenderizer. Work it in, let it sit for five minutes or so, then launder in the hottest possible water.” * “Activity points are now a prerequisite in our house for allowance. Chores are still a part of the equation, but we are trying to instill how important it is to MOVE. I figure if my employer can incentivize me by lowering health-care costs if I use my Fitbit or participate in 5ks, I can ‘pay’ my kids to be active.” -- Y.R. in North Carolina * White porcelain sinks are so beautiful in a country kitchen -- but boy do those food stains just pop! No sweat, though. Just sprinkle liberally and scrub with baking soda, and then spray on a little hydrogen peroxide. Rub and rinse. * Sources say that if you are having a hard time keeping your eating in check, the key is to plan ahead. At the beginning of the week, make a
list of exactly what you plan to have each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as snacks. Then prep that food. Less decision-making midweek means less opportunity to make poor decisions. Good luck!
Keeping track of a grandchild at a theme park
One minute you are holding the kid’s hand, and the next, he’s gone.
* “My three kids (and their friends) were always losing, bending or otherwise ruining my good flatware. So, I bought a bunch of cheap stuff, a bucket to fit it in and I put it on the counter. It all goes in there together, and you know what? It’s no big deal. We just grab what we need and get on with our lives. I still have the good stuff, and it’s what we use on special occasions.” -- T.Y. in Illinois
Spay and neuter: Save the animals
Pet owners should watch for lowcost neuter and spay offers at the end of February in honor of Spay Day, Feb. 25 and World Spay Day, Feb. 27. It’s the kindest thing you can do for a family pet. Neutering limits wandering and aggression, and extends the life of your pet, according to the Humane Society. In the United States, about 6 million to 8 million homeless animals enter animal shelters every year. About half of these animals are adopted. The other half are euthanized. In some states, as many as 300,000 homeless animals are euthanized in animal shelters each year. Be kind. Save an animal by getting your pet neutered.
At a crowded theme park, jostling crowds or just a busy kid can quickly turn a fun day into a terrifying experience for child and parent. That was one mother’s fear as she struggled to hold on to her child at a theme park and she came up with a clever solution. Michelle Walsh solved the problem that day by writing her cell phone number on her child’s arm. But later she improved upon the idea, creating the SafetyTat, a temporary tattoo for kids. According to The Wall Street Journal, the plan worked well for one couple touring a huge science center. In an instant, they lost track of their 4-year-old granddaughter. Then, just as quickly, the grandmother’s cell phone began ringing: Security had the child at the front desk. The tattoo worked. SafetyTats are sold in children’s stores, amusement parks, travel stores, and online at safetytat.com. You can get sticky labels with a place for a phone number and medical information. Customized water-based tattoos can also be ordered online.
Kovels: Antique And Collecting Washington Doll
While Valentine’s Day is always Feb. 14, President’s Day can be any one of seven dates, the third Monday in February closest to the 20th. In 1885 George Washington’s birthday, Feb. 22, was made a national holiday. But in 1971, Congress decided that instead of celebrating the real birthdays of President Washington and President Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12), there would a Monday celebration for both. Why Monday? To give everyone a three-day weekend away from work. Feb. 20 was chosen because it was between the two real birthdays. President Washington lived in the days before cameras, so he was remembered in designs for silhouettes, paintings, prints, medals, cameos, glass patterns, toys, Staffordshire figures to keep on the mantel and even drapery fabrics. Most of the memorabilia was copied from the few famous paintings of the president, images that still are used. A President Washington doll made after 1880 looks like Washington in his presidential years. The doll is made of cloth with pressed and oil-painted features, and gray hair worn in a ponytail. His eyes are blue. The doll is dressed in a silk suit with a lace jabot and wears a tri-corn hat, black stockings and shoes with buckles. The costume is a familiar one. The doll probably was not made for a young child, but as a part of the 1889 centennial celebration of Washington’s inauguration. It was made by Martha Jenks Chase, who started making portrait dolls in her backyard about 1880. A 25-inch tall Chase Washington doll sold in 2016 at a Theriault’s auction in Las Vegas for $3,080. ***
This 1880s George Washington doll is made of painted cloth. The face and clothing are familiar, and he really did have blue eyes. It recently sold for $3,080. Q: I’d like information about my great-grandmother’s full set of beautiful dishes and serving bowls given to her as a wedding gift in 1876. They are marked “LS & S Carlsbad Austria.” A: This mark was used about 1895 to 1917 by Lewis Straus & Sons, importers located in New York City. Carlsbad was part of Austria until after World War I, when it became part of Czechoslovakia. Today the town is called Karlovy Vary and is part of the Czech Republic. Several factories in Austria, Bavaria and Germany used “Carlsbad” in their mark. Many pieces were exported to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Sets of china are hard to sell, but you can enjoy the dishes for their sentimental value. *** CURRENT PRICES Fortune Telling Cards, tarot, gold edges, text and images, The Nile, US Playing Card Co., box, 52-card deck, c. 1900, 4 x 3 inches, $145. Bronze doorknocker, Abraham Lincoln, profile, slavery abolished speech text, round, ring striker, 1915, 3 1/2 x 3 inches, $300. Powder jar, orange milk glass with purple iris, hinged lid with brass band, interior beveled mirror, Wave Crest, 1800s, 4 x 6 inches, $500. *** TIP: When polishing the metal hardware on old chests of drawers, slide a piece of stiff paper under the brass plate. This will protect the wood near the brass.
Easy Pasta Bolognese At its most basic, Bolognese means “meat sauce.” Although some recipes call for hours of cook time, we’ve boiled it down to 40 minutes flat. The result? A rich tomato-based sauce spiked with heavy cream that’s fantastic on any long pasta. 1 medium carrot 1 clove garlic 1 can whole plum tomatoes 3 tablespoons olive oil Kosher salt and pepper 1 pound pasta 1 stalk celery 1 onion 3/4 pound lean ground beef 1/2 cup dry white wine 1/4 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano 1. Pulse the carrot and garlic in a food processor until the garlic is finely chopped. Add the tomatoes and their juices, 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and pulse until finely chopped. 2. Transfer the tomato mixture to a medium saucepan and simmer until thickened, 20 to 25 minutes. 3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. 4. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add celery and onion, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the beef and cook,
13 breaking it up with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer. 5. Stir the tomato sauce and cream into the meat mixture and simmer until thickened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and oregano. Toss the pasta with the sauce. Serves 6. TIP: Make the sauce omitting cream and herbs. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in refrigerator. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cream and simmer for 3 minutes, then stir in herbs.
Spicy Garlic-Chili Oil With Pasta A trip to your pantry is all you need to whip up this Italian staple that’s as basic as can be -- with just four ingredients -- but alight with flavor. Once plated, jazz it up with grated Parmesan if you like. 1 pound pasta 1/4 cup olive oil 6 cloves garlic 1 red chili 1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to turn golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the chili and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden brown and the chili is just tender, 1 minute more. Toss with the pasta. Serves 6. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our Web site at www. goodhousekeeping.com/recipes/.
5 Clever Ways Readers Stretch a Buck Sometimes the best way to save a buck is to look in the most unlikely places. I’m a huge fan of the fresh produce at my local 99 Cents Only store. And milk, as compared with the price at my supermarket, is a bargain at the Walgreens across the street. But who knew we could decorate our homes using items from places like Dollar General? Our first reader discovered that, and I think her tactic is simply brilliant! ALTERNATIVE DECOR. My husband and I recently repainted our living room for a fresh, new look and then realized our curtains no longer worked with the new color. We couldn’t find anything that we both liked. To our surprise, we found fabric shower curtains at Dollar General that worked perfectly and were only $10 each. Because of our window width, we needed four of them, but for only $40 we have a totally new look in our living room, and we love it. -- Trish MAGNET RECYCLE. I display photos on my fridge without the heavy magnets covering part of the picture. I use the magnetic business cards from advertisers, cut them in half lengthwise and tape one half of the magnet on the upper third of the back of the photo. Double-sided tape works the best, but I’ve also just taped the ends of the magnets with regular tape, and that works, too. One strip is fine for a 4-by-6-inch photo, but a larger photo may need two strips. -- Ethel DIY BATH POWDER. I love scented bath powder, but priced from $17 to $25, it is simply too expensive. I took an empty container of my bath powder and layered it with unscented baby powder and cotton balls that I had sprayed with my favorite perfume. I gave the powder puff from the original container a few spritzes of perfume, put it back in the container and closed it overnight. The scent was distributed evenly, and once again I can indulge myself with scented bath powder at a fraction of the cost. -- Barbara OIL SQUEEZE. When my kids were younger and just learning to cook, they had many mishaps with the bottle of vegetable oil. Often they poured too much because the opening of the bottle was so large. As I was cleaning out a squeeze ketchup bottle, it occurred to me that it could be a great solution to the oil spills. I filled the flip-top squeeze bottle with oil, and now the kids use it with ease. It even helps me use less oil when something needs to be sauteed. And the bonus is the bottle fits better in my pantry, too. -- Nancy POISON OAK QUICK TREAT. When it comes to poison ivy, time is of the essence in treating it. Fels-Naptha works great, but so do most soaps. I’ve even used horse shampoo. One of my trail buddies soaps her forearms with Fels-Naptha before heading into the woods and then rinses it off after the ride. -- Joan Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate. com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740.
16 Top Ten Box Office Movies
1. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (PG-13) Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan 2. Maze Runner: The Death Cure (PG-13) Dylan Oâ€™Brien, Ki Hong Lee 3. Winchester (PG-13) Helen Mirren, Sarah Snook 4. The Greatest Showman (PG) Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams 5. Hostiles (R) Scott Shepherd, Rosamund Pike 6. The Post (PG-13) Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks 7. 12 Strong (R) Chris Hemsworth, Michael Shannon 8. Den of Thieves (R) Gerard Butler, Jordan Bridges 9. The Shape of Water (R) Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer 10. Paddington 2 (PG) animated
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Top 10 Movies On Demand
1. Geostorm (PG-13) Gerald Butler 2. Blade Runner 2049 (R) Harrison Ford 3. It (R) Bill Skarsgard 4. American Made (R) Tom Cruise 5. Jigsaw (R) Matt Passmore 6. The Foreigner (R) Jackie Chan 7. Thank You for Your Service (R) Miles Teller 8. Dunkirk (PG) Fionn Whitehead 9. Happy Death Day (PG-13) Jessica Rothe 10. The Snowman (R) Michael Fassbender
Top 10 DVD, Blu-ray Sales
1. Blade Runner 2049 (R) Warner 2. Geostorm (PG-13) Warner Bros. 3. It (R) Warner 4. Jigsaw (R) Lionsgate 5. Wonder Woman (PG-13) Warner Bros. 6. Dunkirk (PG) Warner 7. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (R) FOX 8. Despicable Me 3 (PG) Universal 9. The LEGO Ninjago Movie (PG) Warner Bros. 10. Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season (TV-MA) Warner Bros.
Active Life Weekly Digest (2-12-18)