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NASA Astronaut Rex J. Walheim A Man on a Mission

Holiday Wine Pairings ‘Tis the Season to Season! The Real Jack Abramoff

US $3.50

Your Success Is Our Business

[ from the publisher’s desk ]


Glad Tidings and Wall Street Uprisings? It’s hard to believe that the holidays are upon us and Christmas is just a few weeks away. With all the turmoil going on here at home with the Occupy Wall Street Movement (OWS) and all the economic issues abroad that are so tied to the U.S. economy, I still think we Americans have a lot to be thankful for, like our health for example. That is until March, maybe. In March, the U.S. Supreme court will hear five hours of testimony before making a decision on whether it was unconstitutional for the U.S. government to force people to buy health insurance (aka Obama Care). The justices are planning on spending five hours to hear testimony, an unprecedented amount of time for them to hear this case. Do you remember how long it took to get that that health care legislation passed? Someone once said, “Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” What started out as a quasi-organized protest has now turned into overnight campouts in city parks where the homeless, jobless, and yes, even the criminal element can gather and wreak havoc. I’m in favor of free speech and organized civil protests, but come on folks, there has to be a better way to get things accomplished. The OWS movement is really not new at all. A previous Occupy movement began in 1932, when thousands of unemployed World War I veterans converged on Washington. The Veterans called themselves the “Bonus Army” motivated by supporting a bill that would entitle them to a cash bonus. In all, 20,000 had occupied a series of abandoned buildings. On June 15, 1932, the House of Representatives passed a bill in favor of the veteran payments, but as both President Hoover and a majority in the Senate opposed it, the “Bonus bill” went down to defeat two days later. In the wake of this defeat, roughly 15,000 members of the Bonus Army decided that they would continue their occupation as a protest against the government’s decision. By late July, President Hoover decided it was time to clear the city of the protesters, using four troops of cavalry under the command of


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General Douglas MacArthur. Hoover refused to apologize showing no remorse for the actions taken, which later proved to be a main factor in his overwhelming loss to Roosevelt in the next election. FDR was disgusted by the whole affair. When a smaller group of about 3,000 Bonus Marchers converged on Washington with the same demand a year later, FDR took quite a different approach. Where Hoover had refused to meet with the protesters, FDR invited a delegation to come to the White House. He also provided the marchers housing in an unused army fort, made sure that they were given three meals a day plus medical attention, and sent Eleanor Roosevelt to engage them in further discussions and check on their condition. In the end he refused to support their demand for the early payment of their pensions because he did not want to single out any group for special treatment. He was smart enough then to offer the men work in the newly formed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which 90 percent accepted. Shortly thereafter, the Bonus Marchers voted to disperse, and those that opted to return home rather than join the CCC were given free rail passage. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal subsequently promoted an increase in taxes to generate needed revenue. Then the Revenue Act of 1935 introduced the Wealth Tax, a new progressive tax that took up to 75 percent of the highest incomes. Certainly, there are lessons to be learned from history and I honestly hope that our leaders in Washington can actually learn something from our history. If not, I’m sure new leaders will surface and be elected and, maybe, just maybe, failures of the past will not be repeated. Watch out Santa, because who knows what’s next. We may even see an ONP Movement soon (Occupy The North Pole)! Happy Holidays!

Publisher R.J. Latronico

Creative Director Jennifer Lingard

Contributors Alana Unger, Harvey Mackay, Kurt Eichsteadt, Emily Latronico

Contact Information VOX POP Influentials Volume 6 Issue No. 6 November/December 2011

Advertising Sales Diana Tanasescu Executive, Editorial and Advertising Offices at: 100 Willow Plaza, Suite 410 Visalia, CA 93291 Phone: 559.636.2503 Fax: 559.635.9810 News, Projects, Comments & Letters Every effort has been made to ensure the information within this publication is complete and accurate at the time of publication. VOX POP Influentials does not warrant such accuracy or the claims of its advertisers. Vox Pop Influentials is published 6 times a year by Latronico Communications 100 Willow Plaza, Suite 410 • Visalia, CA 93291

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November/December 2011

From The Publisher’s Desk [2] Glad Tidings and Wall Street Uprisings

Wealth & Finance


[6] Harvey Mackay: According to Harvey there would be no or little gossip if everyone followed Socrates’ Triple Filter Test. But that is not the case…gossip runs rampant. [9] Kurt Eichsteadt: Rich People Who Made It and What They Did With It Jack Abramoff was one hell of a guy. His greatest talent was being able to tell people exactly what they wanted to hear. In less than ten years as a lobbyist, he amassed a fortune of $25 million. Washington is now a safer place without Abramoff and his convicted cronies House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Ohio Congressman Bob Ney.

[18] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut Rex studied engineering in school – mechanical

Health & Wellness

and industrial. He didn’t seriously consider becoming an astronaut until later in life. After two

[12] Alana Unger: The health benefits of spices and herbs are indisputable - and they are just as easy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle as a shake of the wrist.

decades in the Air Force he decided it was time

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murmur, but that didn’t deter Rex.

to apply to NASA. That’s when doctors told him he couldn’t be an astronaut because of a heart

We all can learn from Rex the meaning of the word persistence. Now, at 49 years of age he has spent a total of 36 days in space, accomplished five

Bon Appetite

space walks and flew on the final mission of the

[8] Kurt Eichsteadt recommends some great wines for you the holidays.

story is truly out of this world.

Entertainment [28] Kurt Eichsteadt:


Once again Kurt shares with us some insight into several DVD picks this time, including: Midnight in Paris, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Guard, and one DVD you might as well avoid, The Hangover Part 2.

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[ wealth and finance ] COLUMNIST

harvey mackay

Spread the Word: Don’t Gossip One day in ancient Greece an acquaintance met the great philosopher Socrates and said, “Socrates, do you know what I just heard about your friend?” “Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before telling me anything I’d like you to pass a little test. It’s called the Triple Filter Test.” “Triple Filter?” “That’s right,” Socrates continued. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you’re going to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “No,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and...” “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” “No, on the contrary...” “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about him, but you’re not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left: the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.” “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?” There would be no or little gossip if everyone followed Socrates’ Triple Filter Test. But that is not the case. Gossip runs rampant. It’s no wonder legendary American humorist Erma Bombeck said: “Some say our national pastime is baseball. Not me. It’s gossip.” 6

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Someone has calculated that, if a rumor was started at midday, and was repeated within two seconds by everyone who heard it to two other people, who repeated it and kept the cycle going, by about 6:30 p.m. the same day everyone on earth would have heard it. Of course, the Internet has brought gossiping up to warp speed. A rumor posted online can make it around the world in milliseconds. And although the post may seem anonymous and, therefore, “safe,” the damage is potentially irreparable. Snopes, the urban legends reference site, can’t debunk everything, after all. Office gossip in particular is a major concern for a number of reasons. The Triple Filter Test could prevent plenty of misunderstandings and hard feelings in the workplace, where teamwork and cooperation are often central to productivity. How does someone work with another who insists on passing along information that may not be true, good or useful? Spreading rumors about co-workers can create a hostile environment that customers will pick up on. This is a good reason for avoiding gossip. Plus the fact that I’ve seen many deals go down, due to gossip. As advice columnist Dear Abby said, “It is almost impossible to throw dirt on someone without getting a little on yourself.” So clean up your act! The Triple Filter Test is simple to use. Truth alone is not enough reason to spread gossip. Who doesn’t have an embarrassing truth that they want to remain private? And while good news may seem harmless enough, is it your news to share? But perhaps the most compelling reason to avoid gossip is the usefulness test. How will the information be used? I’m betting it won’t be for positive reasons. Maybe you’ve heard about the three ministers who went fishing. They were good friends, each of whom was a pastor at different churches in the same town. While

they were fishing they began confessing their sins to each other. The first pastor said, “Do you know what my big sin is? My big sin is drinking. I know it’s wrong, but every Friday night I drive to a city where no one will recognize me, and I go to a saloon and get drunk. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. It’s my big sin.” The second pastor said, “Well, to be honest with you, I’ve got a big sin too. My big sin is gambling. As a matter of fact, you know all the money I raised for that mission trip to India? I took it to Las Vegas instead and lost it all. I’m so ashamed. My big sin is gambling.” Finally it was the third pastor’s turn. He said, “Guys, I probably should have gone first, because my big sin is gossiping.” Mackay’s Moral: A word can be more powerful than a sword. n Reprinted with permission from nationally syndicated columnist Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 best seller “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” and “Use Your Head to Get Your Foot in the Door”

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[ Bon Appetite ] COLUMNIST

Kurt A. Eichsteadt

We’re in the holiday season, when we share good times with families and friends, remember the times gone by, and enjoy the feelings of the season. For many people, the experience of dining together is an important part of the warmth and emotion of the holiday. Since dining is such a big part of the holidays, we’re going to help eliminate a small part of your holiday stress: picking wine to go with the food. We‘ll offer suggestions about wine pairings with traditional foods and look at some non-tradition menu options as well. This information is from experts in the fields of wine and food. However, don’t forget that the most important thing about pairing wine with food is this: Drink What You Like. Our suggestions will taste good, but that doesn’t mean they must be followed. The traditional holiday menu probably includes turkey or ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries in some form, maybe Jell-O salad with mini-marshmallows, and pie, most likely pumpkin. TRADITIONAL-WHITES Rieslings can go with dishes that are spicy, sweet or salty. The basic flavors including apple, apricot, and honey fit with turkey, sweet potatoes or stuffing. Rieslings can be either dry or on the sweet


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side. Gewurztraminer is spicy and somewhat fullbodied which makes it a good match for the turkey and mashed potatoes. Other whites like Pinot Grigio and Viognier work well. In addition, both Rieslings and Gewürztraminers will taste well with ham. TRADITIONAL-REDS Pinot Noir (earthy undertones), Zinfandel (fullerbodied), and Syrah/Shiraz give heartier flavors and sometimes a spicier alternative. Another good choice is Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is French, and only released on the third Thursday of November, which is just in time for Thanksgiving. It’s usually around until the first of the New Year. With prime rib, go with the reds: Cabernets, Zins, or Shiraz/Syrah. White wine is not recommended because they have a hard time holding up to the hearty meats. THE EASY WAY OUT Roses, Sherries and sparkling wines pretty much go with everything and work for those who might want not to think (or worry too much) about which wine to choose. It’s suggested to go with a wine labeled “dry” as opposed to a “brut.” Dry sparkling wines offer slightly more fruity flavors than bruts.

PUMPKIN PIE No holiday dinner is complete without pumpkin pie. There are other pretenders - mincemeat, pecan, and maybe cherry, but the gold standard is pumpkin. Rieslings work with pumpkin pie, but fortified wines (port sherry, Madeira, Marsala, etc.) provide better matches. A fortified wine is wine to which a distilled beverage (usually brandy) has been added. This differs from spirits, which are produced by distillation. SOMETHING DIFFERENT If you are tired of regular holiday meals, here’s one that’s different, but still has that comfort food feel. It’s from a Maryland Restaurant called Nooks and Monks: Shrimp with beer bouillon, mesquite port tenderloin and barbecue demi-sauce, risotto and Italian sausage stuffing. It is served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes and a harvest vegetable medley (squash, zucchini, onions, carrots, red bell peppers, broccoli and spices). The meal concludes with cranberry shortcake with a topping made of cranberries, pears and apples. The whole menu is available at: vol5num4/holiday_delight.html It’s a lot of typing, but it’s worth it. Enjoy the holidays and please drink responsibly! n

[ wealth and finance ] kurt eichsteadt


Rich People Who Made It … and What They Did With It

Jack Ambramoff: America’s Most Notorious Lobbyist INTRO “I couldn’t tell right from wrong,” Jack Abramoff said in a 60 Minutes broadcast promoting his autobiography. Words to live by.

Scorpion with Dolph Lundgren, who might be better known for his role as Russian Boxer Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.

firm Greenberg Taurig. He didn’t come emptyhanded, bringing approximately $6 million in billing including the Marianas Islands account.


From 2000 to 2003, six Indian tribes paid Abramoff over $80 million in lobbying fees. Also in 2003, he asked for $9 million from the president of Gabon to arrange a meeting with President Bush. There was a meeting, but it appears it had nothing to do with Abramoff’s efforts.

In less than about ten years as a lobbyist, he amassed a fortune of at least $25 million. He was the subject of two movies: a docudrama (portrayed by Kevin Spacey) and a full-on documentary. He was the subject of two books including an autobiography published this fall: Capital Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from American’s Most Notorious Lobbyist. Not bad. He also ended up in jail.

In his autobiography, he stated, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.”

“One of his (Abramoff’s) great gifts was being able to tell people what they wanted to hear, and this was how he was able to sell things and get them into trouble.” –Alex Gibney, director of the documentary.

In 2006, he pleaded guilty to defrauding American Indian tribes.

At his height, he was making a lot, but he was also spending a lot. He owned restaurants, bought a fleet of casino boats, leased four arena and stadium skyboxes in the Washington, D.C. area, and started a religious school for boys in Maryland.

Throughout the next ten years, Abramoff cut a swath from one end of the continental United States to the other, with his money grubbing activities extending thousands of miles into the Pacific. He raked in millions of dollars in fees. He accomplished a lot for his clients, but lots of money was diverted to keep the empire going. It wasn’t exactly a Ponzi scheme, but a lot of the money was gone.

Between 2000 and 2003, Delay, Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney, and Florida Republican Congressman Tom Feeney went on golf trips that were arranged or funded by Abramoff. Ney and Feeney alleged that clerical errors caused them to erroneously claim that the National Center of Public Research paid for the trips, but Ney later pleaded guilty to knowing that Abramoff paid for the trip.

From 1995 through 2001, he received at least $6.7 million working for the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands. Part of the money financed trips for Congressman Tom DeLay and his staff to influence legislation favorable to the client.

He created two foundations. One, the Capitol Athletic Foundation, was supposed to help inner city kids. It didn’t, but did fund things like a school for snipers in Israel, golf trips to Scotland for congressman, and the Jewish religious academy where Abramoff sent his kids.

From 1997 through 2005, a Russian energy company channeled more than $4 million to Abramoff, Delay, and one of his advisors. Part of this money was used on a 1997 trip to Russia for Abramoff and Delay, who voted for legislation to help the IMF bail out Russia.

In addition, he created a nonprofit American International Think Tank. Mainly he used it to accept money from foreign clients (like Sudan) that he was forbidden by U.S. law from dealing with.

He’s Jack Abramoff, Orthodox Jew, graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, convicted felon, former pizza shop employee, and this month’s rich man and his money.

BACKGROUND Born Feb. 28, 1958 to well-off parents in Atlantic City, New Jersey, he became interested in Judaism and eventually converted. He attended Brandeis, received his law degree from Georgetown University and got a running start in politics, joining Grover Norquist and Ralph Reed to run the College Republican National Committee. Before he entered the lobbyist business, he spent ten years in Hollywood and, with his brother, wrote and produced the 1989 film Red

He started his lobbying career by joining the lobbying department of a Seattle law firm in 1994. A year later he began representing Indian tribes with gaming interests. One of his actions was helping defeat a bill to tax Indian casinos; the Washington Business Journal says that Tom DeLay was a major factor in that defeat.

In 2005, Tyco (a highly diversified global manufacturing company) claimed Abramoff had been paid $1.7 million to start a fake grassroots campaign to oppose proposals in order to impose penalties on companies registered abroad for tax reasons. According to Tyco, the work was never performed and the money was diverted to other entities controlled by Abramoff.


In 2001, Abramoff joined the government relations division of a Washington, D.C. law


[ wealth and finance ] COLUMNIST

kurt eichsteadt



Just over a decade after it started, the wild ride of Jack Abramoff was over.

Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption from American’s Most Notorious Lobbyist, by Jack Abramoff.

August 11, 2005: Abramoff and Kidan were indicted by a federal grand jury in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on fraud charges arising from the deal to buy SunCruz. They were convicted and received the same sentence of almost six years.

Heist: Supperlobbyist Jack Abramoff, His Republican Allies and the Buying of Washington, by Peter Stone.

Jan. 3, 2006: He pleaded guilty to felony counts of defrauding American Indian Tribes and corruption of public officials. Jan. 4, 2006: He pleaded guilty in the two felony counts related to SunCruz.

WHAT HE DID WITH IT: SUNCRUZ SunCruz Casinos was a Florida-based company that at its height had 11 ships and sailed out of various Florida ports on “cruises to nowhere” that allowed gambling when they ships were more than three miles offshore. The owner wanted to sell and their lawyer worked for the same law firm in Washington D.C. that employed Abramoff. Abramoff wanted to buy the boats, but since ethics rules forbid the same law firm from representing buyer and seller, Abramoff hid his participation in the purchase from the firm. He enlisted Adam Kidan and another minor partner. The price tag was $145 million. When Abramoff and Kidan came up with a $23 million down payment, other backers would fork over the rest. In 2000, Abramoff and Kidan got the SunCruz owner, Gus Boulis, to accept $20 million in promissory notes for a secret ten percent share in the new company. This was illegal for two reasons: Abramoff and Kidan were violating the purchase agreement and Boulis was violating the terms of a settlement he had reached with the government in another matter. So the sale closed with false documents. In February of 2001, in the midst of these wild machinations with Abramoff and Kidan still trying to swing the deal, Boulis was murdered in a mob-style killing. (This really could be the subject of another story.) SunCruz declared bankruptcy in June. 10

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Nov. 15, 2006: Abramoff began serving his sentence at a federal correctional institute in Baltimore. Sept. 4, 2008: He was found guilty of trading gifts, trips and meals for political favors. Sentenced to a four-year term to be served concurrently with the previous sentences. June 8, 2010: He was transferred to a halfway house in Baltimore where he was employed at a kosher pizza house, making $7.50 to $10 per hour. Dec. 13, 2010: The Associated Press reported that he was finished working in the pizza parlor.

LEGACY In addition to Abramoff, a number of people were convicted of criminal activity including Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and Ohio Congressman Bob Ney.



• Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Casino Jack, starring Kevin Spacey and a documentary called Casino Jack and United States of Money.

• Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma


• Mashpee Wampanoag people of

In a remarkably honest autobiography, Abramoff admits to his flaws. He also admitted to looking for loopholes in the law and if he and his firm didn’t find any, they went ahead and did what they wanted because the rules weren’t being enforced. That explains a lot. n

• Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana • Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Massachusetts • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians • Pueblo of Sandia • Pueblo of Santa Clara • Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe • Tigua Indian Reservations

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[ health and wellness ] COLUMNIST

alana unger, registered dietitian

Spice Up Your Holidays... Spice Up Your Life I always advise my clients to change as little as they have to, but as much as they need to for a maximum impact on their health. Those small but significant changes are the ones that they can maintain for life, and the ones that will add up to big health benefits in the long run. The holiday season is infamous for challenging our ability to focus on our health, which makes even the smallest lifestyle changes difficult. The core of a healthy diet is simply choosing healthier foods and preparing them in healthy ways. What’s that you say? You can’t cook? Too busy with the holidays? Well, can you sprinkle? If your spice rack could help ward off diabetes, heart disease, and cancer – would you consider shaking some spice into your life more often? Spices and herbs pack concentrated doses of phytochemicals and antioxidants that make foods and drinks tantalizing and medicinal. Their ability to fight inflammation and cell damage and support your immune system ranks

them among the top super foods that promote overall health. The savory sprinkles that you add to your dishes also help you enjoy your foods without excess sodium, fat, and sugar. The increased satisfaction they bring to your taste buds helps you cut back on portions and calories. The health benefits are indisputable – and just as easy to incorporate into a healthy lifestyle as a shake of the wrist. To capitalize on the highest potency of these allnatural healers, take good care of them. Choose spices with “best by” dates and make sure you use them up before they start losing their punch. Store them away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight. Sprinkle them into a spoon or cup rather than directly into steamy pots to avoid clumping and damage. And yes, dried spices have the same health benefits as fresh – actually at a more concentrated dose. For recipe substitutions, use about ½ dried herbs and spices in place of fresh.

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Spice up the lives of those you love with these healthy gift ideas: Spice muffins with herbal tea bags and a cinnamon stick to stir up a holiday break. Hot cocoa powder mixed with cinnamon and cloves – with a good book and lap blanket. Spiced homemade granola or spiced nuts with recipe and supply of spices. Dried lentils, spices, and a recipe for lentil soup. Hearty hot cereal mix and a cinnamon shaker (filled, of course). Indian cookbook with a supply of saffron, turmeric, curry, and coriander

Deck the halls with extra ginger in your ginger bread, spice in your pumpkin, and savor in your stuffing. Then make the New Year a hot one with a shot of red pepper and curry. Making these small changes will keep your health up and your life spicy. ‘Tis the season to season!

[ health and wellness ]

p meal for u d e ic p s Try this h boost! t l a e h y a a holid

alana unger, registered dietitian


Southwest 2 cups pumpkin puree* (or 15 ounce can pumpkin) ern Pu 3 tbsp dark brown sugar

mpkin Soup Apple Crisp Parfait

1tsp ground cumin

3C sliced and peeled apples (3 medium apples)

½ tsp chili powder

1/3 cup old fashioned cooking oats

8 slices whole wheat bread

½ tsp ground coriander

6 slices low fat sliced cheese (try pepper jack)

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

3 tbsp brown sugar (or artificial brown sugar sweetener)

4 slices tomato

¾ cup (packed) low fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Oregano and basil to taste

Chopped fresh cilantro

2 tbsp Ortega chilies (optional)

Bring broth and milk to boil. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, coriander and nutmeg. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until soup thickens slightly and flavors blend, about 15 minutes. (Serves 4)

Cheesy Sandwich

Toast bread. Place 1 ½ slices cheese between 2 slices of bread, with tomato seasonings and ½ tbsp chilies spread between cheese slices if desired. Wrap in paper towel and microwave on medium for 15 seconds or until melted. (Serves 4) 222 calories; 6 gm fat (9%); .0 g sat fat (0%); 0 mg cholesterol (0%); 568 mg sodium (24%); 30 gm carbohydrates; 3 g fiber; 13 gm protein

Southwestern Pumpkin Soup 1½ cups sodium free chicken broth

Season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Serve in bowls and garnish with cheddar cheese & cilantro.

2 tbsp water 1-2 tsp cinnamon or to taste Topping: 4 oz fat free vanilla yogurt, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 3/4 cup whipped light topping Mix apples, oats, sugar, water and cinnamon. Microwave: Cover with wax paper and cook on high 5-7 minutes or until tender. Or Oven: Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

*Sweet potatoes also work well in place of the pumpkin! Peel, slice and boil in broth vigorously, mashing frequently.

Topping: Mix yogurt and seasonings. Fold in whipped topping. Serve dollop over hot or chilled apple crisp. (Serves 4)

105 calories; 2 gm fat (5%); .5 g sat fat (3%); 6 mg cholesterol (2%); 167 mg sodium (7%); 15 gm carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 8 gm protein

212 calories; 3 gm fat (5%); 1 g sat fat (5%); 1 mg cholesterol (0%); 28 mg sodium (1%); 42 gm carbohydrates; 5 g fiber; 4 gm protein

1 cup non fat milk (or evaporated milk)

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Interview by RJ Latronico

[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut I have one of the greatest jobs in the world! These Vox Pop interviews keep getting better and better. This one with Astronaut Rex Walheim hits a new high, literally. Rex has flown in excess of 15 million miles on his three missions to outer space! He describes the G-forces at lift off as one of the greatest thrills, ever. So, if anyone reading this really loves a good roller coaster ride, there may be a position available for you at NASA in the future. Before I interviewed Rex I was saddened by the news that we no longer would be sending the Atlantis Space Shuttle into orbit after its 135 missions. I now know that the end of this era of space exploration is as necessary as was the end of the Apollo missions. At that time these missions ended we all were a bit disheartened. After all, these were the space flights that enabled us to put a man on the moon. I have no doubt that the U.S. will continue to be a leader in space exploration. The difference now is that instead of competing in a “race for space” with the Russians, we are partners with them. For the next few years their rockets will be the only way we will be to send our astronauts to the space station. I hope you will enjoy this talk with Rex Walheim as much as I did. The sky is no longer the limit when it comes to bringing to you wonderful Influential people that are doing phenomenal things. Richard J. Latronico

Maybe we’ll have a space vehicle some day that will enable us to visit one. RJ – So, never any close encounters with an asteroid in space? Rex – No, we don’t worry too much about asteroids. It’s the little stuff that can get you. That’s more of an important concern because there’s a lot of space debris up there. The asteroids are outside the earth’s orbit, but things like rocket debris and even dust and dirt can cause problems to our vehicle, which can interrupt space walking. RJ – Both your father and brother live in Visalia. I understand you were born in Redwood City. Where do you reside now? Rex – I was born in Redwood City CA and lived in Belmont CA. I then moved to Michigan when I was very young. We moved to San Carlos California when I was in the 4th grade. I stayed there through high school. RJ - Did you ever dream of being an astronaut when you were a kid? Rex - I remember reading books about space and thinking a lot about it. I didn’t really think about it seriously until later in life. It was definitely something I had an interest in. RJ - What are the numbers, between those who want to become astronauts, and those who actually make it into the program? Rex - There are maybe two to three thousand applicants per year. In my class they only picked 35 Americans. Sometimes they only

Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me, Rex. Let’s start by discussing your most recent visit to Visalia. Tell us about that special occasion. Rex Walheim Yes, I had a chance to visit with my dad at Quail Park. They were celebrating their 10th Anniversary. I brought them back a banner that I took with me on my last Shuttle mission. I had all the Quail Park residents write messages on it and sign it. It then rode with me into space. After my space flight ended I brought it back to them. RJ - That is pretty special. Ironically, we are speaking on the exact date that a huge asteroid is passing very close to earth. Are you familiar with asteroids? Rex - A bit. Hopefully, we’ll be able to understand more about them in the future. Photo credit: NASA


[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut Lieutenant, then as a Captain, working in flight control at the Mission Control Center. After that I went to Colorado Springs where I had my first space command. Afterwards I was off to Edwards AFB and their test pilot school. After that I got accepted out here in Houston in 1996. RJ - So, in 1996 the dream of becoming an astronaut was becoming a reality? Rex – Yes, it was a huge milestone, but I knew I still had lots of work ahead of me. I had to go through two years of astronaut training before I was assigned to a flight.

Photo credit: NASA

pick ten or twenty. So, it’s not very many. RJ - You have a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Berkeley and an MS in industrial engineering. At what point did you actually begin to prepare for NASA’s astronaut program? Rex - I originally wanted to be pilot, and then a test pilot. I thought of becoming an astronaut that way. When I went to flight school, however, the Air Force told me I had a heart murmur, so they wouldn’t let me fly – at least not as a pilot. They said I could be a flight engineer, and could fly in the back seat of the aircraft with test pilots at Edward’s Air Force Base. I applied to do that because I only needed a medical waiver for that. The second time I applied, they said I didn’t have the murmur. So, I went through test pilot’s school at Edward’s AFB to become a flight test engineer. At that point I realized that flying could become a reality. So, then I needed to apply to NASA. There was no longer a medical reason to prevent me from doing so. I tried a couple times and then got into the program. RJ - I understand that you served as a Second Lieutenant in the Air Force, correct? Rex - Yes, I was in the Air Force for 23 years. I was stationed at various places. I retired as a Colonel. RJ - You spent part of your career in Colorado Springs and North Dakota as well, right? Rex - Yes, I went from North Dakota to Houston as a First 20

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You have to wait because there are a lot of people in line to do this. The whole time you wonder if it would really happen. In all, it took about five and a half years after I got there. So, in 2002 I got my first flight - STS 110. I trained for about a year for that flight, but it was still pretty hard to actually picture yourself on top of that rocket. It’s a pretty overwhelming experience. RJ – You came from a combined engineering and military background. What aspects of your previous experience contributed most for you to be able to participate in space exploration? Rex - It was the experience I had in flight control, my experience in real-time operations and flight test operations. They typically choose people from a variety of different backgrounds. For me it was flight test operations. That was my area of expertise. They do get a lot of the “certified smart folks” applicants. You know, people with PhDs and scientists. I was good in operations. That was my area of expertise. I was doing flight test operations, space shuttle operations and flight control, so that was the route I took. That was the main thing that helped me. RJ - Let’s talk a little about the Shuttle Program. You participated in the very last shuttle flight. What was the sentiment like on that last flight? Rex - During the flight, it was like any other flight because there were so many things we needed to get done. We only had a crew of four, so we had more work to do than usual. We were very busy. But, every once in a while, you did think about it being the last flight. It crossed our minds, and of course gave us a little melancholy feeling in several respects.

[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut It was hard during training as well. So many of these people were about to lose their jobs because the program was ending. Yet, most of them were upbeat about things and were just happy to have had the chance to work on the Space Shuttle Program. That was the way I felt too. It was still hard to see it go, but it was encouraging to see how much people loved this program, too. RJ – Will there be less of a demand for astronauts, now that the shuttle program has ended? Rex - We have a smaller astronaut office now. At one point we had about one hundred active astronauts. Now we are down to about sixty or so. It might even shrink further. We still need astronauts because we still have to fly to the space station. For the last ten years, we’ve had astronauts on the space station. We still have to train astronauts for this too. It’s a long training process – about two and a half years. We’ll always need people to fly and for the support jobs. Then there’s the development of new systems, and monitoring what’s going on. RJ – In the future do you think the private sector will be participating more in the space program than government? Rex - Well, I think it’s going to be a two-tracked kind of thing. Right now we are still involved with the space station program. What we want to do now is build our own means of getting back and forth to the Space Station. That’s how we will work with the commercial companies. There are four companies that are trying to do this. We will continue to develop those capabilities. This will free NASA up to go beyond what they are doing now. In the future that may mean visiting an asteroid or putting a man on Mars. We are still working on all that. It could be a little longer time frame, like in the 2020 years, but we will get to far-away space exploration. That’s really exciting for NASA to do. And really something only the government can do. RJ – Do you think ten years from now, the space program will still be as vital as it has been? Rex - Yes, I think it will be. I think there will be many exciting things going on. Right now it seems to be a time of uncertainty, but we are working our way through it. We will get our own U.S. launch capability and then we will get the heavy rockets built. It all depends on whether we get our funding back on track. RJ - As I understand it, the Russians are now charging us to hitch a ride in their rockets. Is that the case?

Astronaut Rex Walheim and Quail Park residents Bob & Margaret Jones)

Rex - Oh yeah. We are going to do that because they are good partners. The U.S. can build similar types of vehicles that can get us back and forth to the space station, but until we do, we’ll need to rely on the Russians for that. RJ - Tell me, what it’s like to be in space for 12 days? It’s got to be “out of this world” so to speak. Rex - It’s an amazing experience. The more you fly, the more you take it in. It is a bit addicting too. You go out there and come back in a few weeks, and you think, wow, that was pretty neat, I’d love to do that again. The more times you fly the more it soaks in. Since you train for a year you have all your ducks in a row. Then it’s just a big sprint for 12 days when you have to get everything done. Once you get one thing done, then the next important thing is just ahead of you. It’s an absolutely incredible experience. It’s fun most of the time, but sometimes it’s really hard work. It is an experience you wouldn’t want to take away. When I got a few minutes at the end of the day, I would look through the shuttle’s window. It was just a spectacular sight. RJ - One of the missions you did, the STS 122, you delivered and installed the Columbus lab for Europe’s Space Agency. Were there any major challenges that came up during that mission?


[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut Rex - During that mission, we did three space walks and I was the lead space walker. That was a neat leadership challenge for me. I got a chance to take two guys out for space walks. I really enjoyed that. We did a number of things on that mission. We outfitted the Columbus laboratory module, and replaced a nitrogen tank on the space station. So, we had a lot of different tasks to perform in those space walks. The biggest challenge in that mission was when one of my crew partners had a medical issue and he couldn’t do the walk. We had to swap him for another space walker. Then we went out and did the first walk. It was a lot of pressure on my part because he had to do his space walk without much training. He did a great job and we managed to finish all our tasks. RJ - On another mission you were involved in the development of the S-Zero truss, right? Tell me about that. Rex - Yes, that actually that was my first mission STS 110. That truss was the backbone that held all the solar arrays, the first segment. I did two space walks on that mission. That was my first time in space and it was very rewarding. It’s kind of a blur at times because there was so much going on. RJ - Did you install that truss after it was constructed here on earth? Rex - Yes, it’s a huge girder, much like one on a bridge, but it was worth about $750 million because of all the incredible electronic equipment inside it. It was all assembled. All we had to do was pull it out of the cargo bay, do some mechanical attachments and electrical connections. We just kind of attached it to the space station. RJ - You also have some background in design of systems? Rex – Yes, I’ve worked in the space-walking branch. There we mainly work on making improvements to the space suit and other systems in development. We review them and suggest changes. RJ – While you are out on a space walk, are you ever concerned about your safety? You are only tethered by one lifeline to the shuttle, right? Rex - Yes, safety is something you are constantly aware of. You’re actually double tethered most of the time. When you go up in the space station, you have a retractable tether that’s about 85 feet long – that pulls in and out. When you get to the work site, you don’t just let go of that. You are still tethered at 85 feet back, but 85 feet is a long way. 22

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Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

When you are at the work site you put on a shorter tether, about a yard long. Then you have both hands to work with. We always put on a local tether when we stop to work. The first couple of hours outside the vehicle, you’re a lot more careful than when we practiced in the pool at the space center. At the Johnson Space Center we practiced over and over again. It’s just astounding to be outside on a walk and see that view below you – watching the sun go up and down every 45 minutes. It’s an amazing experience. It gets your attention for those first couple of hours during your first space walk. Then you get into a groove and by your second space walk it gets easier. By your third walk, even easier. Once in a while you might ask yourself – did I tether right? For the most part it all goes just like it’s supposed to in training. RJ - I guess that’s why you train so much, it becomes almost second nature. Rex - We train with every space walk and about five to seven times. Sometimes we train as many as ten times. So, it almost becomes ingrained. Before I flew my friends would say, “Hey, when you get out there it will be just like the dozens of times you did it while in training.” I would think, “No way” because it had to be

[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut so incredible when you finally got outside the spacecraft. But, they were right. Our training is so good down here at the Johnson Space Center, and the pool is so accurate with the mock ups we have at the bottom, that when you actually get out there in space you feel like you’ve done it before. RJ – Mission Control practically manages every minute of your flight, right? Rex – Yes, they do, but most of that is already pre-planned. We have choreographed the space walk over and over. So, basically we have a plan and the walk is on a timeline. Before you go, you make sure everything fits and you are comfortable with everything. Then you make a few final changes before you go. When you’re out there, you are generally just executing the plan, with maybe just a couple of little tweaks. You are already very familiar with what the plan actually is. RJ - How much of any typical day in orbit includes tasks and work assignments, and how much is relaxing or kicking back? Rex - Almost the whole day is filled with tasks except for the early morning when you are getting ready for daily activities. Maybe an hour or two in the morning, or at night when you are just taking care of housekeeping functions. That time is our free time. The rest of the day is all scheduled. We do get a day or half-day off during the mission. Most of the time that works out to partial days, and really not as much as we would have liked. Stuff keeps you busy, and there’s always a lot of little stuff that has to be taken care of.

We do take the time to send emails to the family, and on the space station we have a phone, so we can call home. That’s nice to do. RJ - How many hours of sleep in a day do you usually get when you are in space? Rex - We get to sleep for eight hours. But the problem is getting to bed at the right time and then falling asleep right away. So I usually get about six – seven hours of sleep. That’s not too bad with all the pressure we are under. It’s tough to fall asleep right away. RJ - Does it take a lot to become re-programmed when you come back to Earth? Speaking in terms of adjusting to the pull of Earth’s gravity and other things? Rex - It’s not too bad. It’s actually harder to get used to gravity once you return, because your body changes so much at zero gravity. At zero gravity your fluid shifts and you get a little stuffy in the face and the nose. It’s almost like you had a cold, but you get used to that. You also get a little nauseous the first couple of days, but that usually goes away after two or three days. When your body finally adjusts it feels very comfortable and enjoyable. Coming back down it does take a little getting used to. You feel extremely heavy and your body feels strange as gravity is pulling down all your organs. Your distribution is off, so your balance is off too. You have to be careful not to turn your head too fast. When you are laying down in a bed it feels like someone is pressing on you. It’s a really strange sensation. You also get a little bone and muscle loss because you haven’t used your legs much for two weeks. You have to be careful with jogging and working out too much to prevent a stress fracture to your legs. We aren’t allowed to drive for a few days either. It all comes back quickly though. The space station guys get more exercise. They are given about two hours a day to exercise. They have to or they’ll just have too much bone loss. We have some of that in the Shuttle Program, but since we’re there for such a short time, we just have to work through it. RJ - What’s the longest amount of time that someone has stayed on the space station?

The STS-135 crew consists of NASA astronauts Chris Ferguson, Doug Hurley, Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim; the Expedition 28 or station crew members are JAXA astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, and Russian cosmonauts Andrey Borisenko, Alexander Samokutyaev and Sergei Volkov.

Rex - The space station service is generally about six months. However, in some of the Russian stations before, they had people up there for over a year.


[ featured story ] Rex Walheim, NASA Astronaut RJ – Let’s talk a bit more about your family. You have two children, is that right?

space – something we can’t do without the Shuttle. So, it’s more about cooperation than competition.

Rex – Yes, two boys.

Not that it’s easy all the time. They have a different system and they come from a different background. During the first part of the space station program it was difficult to meld our two systems together, but we learned to work together and take advantage of each other’s strides.

RJ - How old are they? Rex - Thirteen and fifteen. RJ - Do they want to be astronauts when they grow up? Rex - No, they have their own plans. RJ - They must be pretty proud of their dad. Rex - They enjoy sharing it all with me. RJ - What advise can you give to kids who want to pursue becoming an astronaut? Rex - Stick to your dreams. Don’t take no for an answer and don’t give up. Persistence is the key – like in my case. I didn’t expect to take the path I did, but with my persistence, it all worked out and I got where I wanted to get. RJ - I remember in 8th grade, I wrote a paper for my Science Class on Manned versus Unmanned Space Travel. I did so much research and was so taken by the subject, that I wrote NASA and said I wanted to go work for them. Would you believe it if I told you that they sent me an employment application! I never followed through with it, but I did get an application.

RJ - I just have to ask you these next few questions, so please bare with me. What is the hardest thing to get used to in space? Are the G- forces you experience at lift off really terrifying? Rex - Yes, but that’s fun! If you like riding roller coasters, that’s the best roller coaster in the world. The ride to orbit is one of my favorite parts. It’s a great ride and what a rush! The hard part is operating the vehicle and knowing all its systems. You have to know about all the potential failures to the systems, which actually never happen. Just mastering that takes a tremendous amount of practice. You do it over and over and over in the simulator. You get pretty good at it, but it’s a challenge. RJ - It’s kind of strange to ask this question but I’m sure some of our readers will want to know the answer, just like I do. Does your space suit really function well as a bathroom? Rex - In the space shuttle, we have a space bathroom that works just fine. But when we are out on a walk in the space suit, we have to wear diapers under the space suit. That’s about all you need

Rex - (Laughter) … Very good.

Photo credit: NASA

RJ - Even though the U.S. Space Shuttle program has ended, I would think that most Americans still want to see the U.S. remain as the leader in space exploration. With Russia developing new rockets, is there really a spirit of cooperation with them, or is it still a competitive race in space? Rex - I see much more cooperation. Sometimes at the space station we have up to ten astronauts up there. Thirteen are there when the space shuttle is docked. We are all one big team – we work together, we solve problems together, we laugh together, we eat together and we are good partners. After the Columbia accident, for two and a half years we had no way of getting into space. Russia then took our astronauts to the space station. Now they are helping to launch our crews into 24

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Rex participates in a spacewalk training session underwater.

when you are out there for eight or nine hours. RJ – What about beverages in space. Do astronauts still drink Tang on space missions? Rex – We do have powder drinks that are made by the same maker, basically Tang derivatives, and they are good. RJ - Do you believe that intelligent life exists in outer space? Rex - I think it could very well and that’s a good reason to continue exploring. For instance, on Mars, we looked to see if there was past life. If there was life on Mars, and the planet was inhabitable, what happened? Further out in another universe, there may be life out there. We’ll continue to search for possibilities and listen for clues. We just haven’t found anything definitive yet. RJ - What was the most spectacular thing you saw while on a mission? Rex - The most memorable was when we were flying over the west coast of the United States – I just love seeing the coast of California. Seeing San Francisco, if it’s not covered by fog. You can see about one thousand miles in each direction. There was one pass where I could see all the way to Southern California and Baja. To the north I could then see Shasta, and further up I could see Mt. Rainier in Washington.

“Wishing all of our friends and patients a Very Happy Holiday Season!” Dr. Lively & Staff

Specializing in Cardiovascular Medicine Cardiac Catheterization Pacemaker & Defibulator Implantation Cardiac Rhythm Disorders Congestive Heart Failure Mgt. Lipid Disorders Hypertension Coronary Artery Disease Stress Testing Holter Monitoring

I could see the entire breath of the United States in one fell swoop. It was just so spectacular. Those are the views I just love the best. But the aurora is also beautiful from space – it’s stunning to see it from up there. Those are the things that really are burned in my memory. RJ - What’s in store for the rest of your career? Rex - Well, I’m still working for NASA at the Johnson Space Center. Right now I’m scheduled to work on some of the new rockets we are building. I’m also working on a new space suit, to do more exploration type activities. RJ – Well, Rex, that’s about it for now. I’m happy to see from this interview that dreams do come true for those who are persistent. Thank you so much for sharing a part of your life that’s been out of this world. Good luck to you in all your future endeavors here on earth, and wherever they may rocket you off to next! n

Harry R. Lively M.D., Inc.

119 S. Locust Ave. · Ste. B Visalia, CA 93291 559 · 749.0223


[ health and wellness ] david humerickhouse, dds

Are Your Teeth Worn Out? In last month’s column, I discussed the effects of cracks on teeth. These become of greater importance as your teeth age. Unfortunately, your teeth can take on the appearance of getting old faster than your actual chronological age. That is, worn teeth can cause you to look older than you are, or want to appear. Severely worn teeth can develop from a variety of reasons and manifest themselves any time during your life. For example, it has been found that at age 20, only 1 in 33 patients exhibit the appearance of severe tooth wear. As time goes on, things can change dramatically. At age 70, 1 in 6 patients show the effects of severe tooth wear.

Note the progressive wear of the front teeth in this series of photos:

Normally proportioned front teeth these exhibit little/no wear.

Moderately worn front teeth note some chipping and fracture.

“This process of diagnosis is much like that of a detective looking for clues.” The process of fixing worn teeth is more than just putting veneers, crowns, and white fillings over the teeth. To fix the teeth, and more importantly, to keep them looking good, involves an understanding of how they came to look the way they now do in the first place. Frank Spear, DDS, a leading expert in rehabilitative dental care, describes it this way, “Whenever severe tooth wear is found in a patient’s mouth, the dentist’s first step in developing a treatment plan is attempting to determine the cause of the wear. This process of diagnosis is much like that of a detective looking for clues. This is particularly true in cases of wear in which all the teeth are not involved…”


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Advanced wear of front teeth notice the sharp edges and flat surfaces. The type of wear you see here in these photos is called attrition. It only occurs in areas where the teeth contact one another. These worn surfaces will typically have flat surfaces, called facets, which will be shiny with sharply defined edges. The wear on the opposing teeth will also mimic this wear pattern and likely fit hand-inglove with it. Grinding of the front teeth occurs either through habit (day) or reflex (night). The reasons range from simple learned habits to interferences in the bite relationship of teeth as they fit together when chewing, to sophisticated neuro-musculature activation of particular


muscle groups during particular phases of sleep. This can be seen in some sleep apnea patients. Whatever the cause, the result is advanced wear of the teeth. The bottom line is teeth that appear unattractive and look much older than your real age would otherwise indicate.

“…it is estimated that up to 10% of the population has some involuntary regurgitation of their stomach acid into the mouth.” Acid erosion may also cause a significant amount of wear on the teeth. It can come from what experts call intrinsic sources (stomach acid) or extrinsic sources (acidic beverages or food). Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and bulimia are conditions that can produce extrinsic acid erosion of the teeth. In a study by Richter and a Gallup Organization National Survey, it is estimated that up to 10% of the population has some involuntary regurgitation of their stomach acid into the mouth. The acid from the stomach enters the mouth and moves up onto the tongue. From there, it flows sideways over to the tongue side of the teeth and onto the chewing surfaces of the upper and then the lower teeth. This is where the worn eroded patterns can be seen. These surfaces will not be shiny but rather have a satiny appearance. If the reflux occurs at night, then the side that a person typically sleeps on will be more affected than the other side. In bulimia, the tongue side of the front teeth is most affected. Because of the patient’s head posture, the pattern of tooth wear is usually even from one side to the other. Again, Dr. Spear describes it this way, “Because of this head posture during and the velocity of the regurgitation, the hallmark of bulimia is a rapid and severe wearing away of the… (tongue) surfaces of the upper front teeth…” Sports and energy drinks can be highly acidic. Diet drinks fall into this category too, along with consuming a lot of citrus. Use these products sparingly and with common sense. That is, try to drink more water and certainly

rinse your mouth with water after using these drinks. At least you can dilute some of the potent ingredients from around the tooth surfaces. Interestingly, don’t brush immediately after eating or drinking these acidic products. With small/moderate exposures, your mouth can repair the acidic damage. But if you rub or abrade the surface right afterwards, you’ll remove that etched tooth surface before your mouth has the chance to enact some repair on it. Repairing and restoring teeth that have gone through years of accelerated wear can be done quite well through careful and thoughtful planning with your dentist. I cannot over-emphasize the need to have a deliberate and thorough treatment plan for your particular situation. As I mentioned previously, while worn teeth may all initially look the same, understanding how they became that way in the first place is paramount to understanding how to proceed in restoring them. I’ll write more about how to have that talk next month. Thankfully, the quality of the ceramics and other dental materials now are just fantastic. The scope of these materials and features that are widely available today versus just a few years ago, can allow most people to reliably take years off the appearance of their smile. Your feedback, comments, and questions are valued. Please email me with your correspondence at or you may contact my office at 688-8069. n


[ entertainment ] dvd diary kurt a. eichsteadt

DVD Diary The mission here at DVD Diary is to save you time and money. We recommend only videos (DVD, Blu-Ray, and downloads) that are worth your time and money. The movies discussed are available now or will be shortly.

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS Stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Kathy Bates. Written and Directed by Woody Allen. A jewel of a movie. Writer Owen Wilson and his girlfriend, Rachel McAdams, are in Paris with her parents. He’s a successful screenwriter, but is struggling with his first novel. This is a magical movie. He goes out at night, travels back to the Belle Époque of Paris where he encounters Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Matisse and others. Owen Wilson handles the Woody Allen role very well and is suburb, as is the rest of the cast. Not to be missed. 94 minutes. Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and smoking. Written and directed by Woody Allen.

RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Stars James Franco, Freida Pinot, John Lithgow and Andy Serkis. This is a lot of fun, although probably not for young children, in spite of the wild actions of some chimps. This fast moving prequel to the Planet of the Apes series is the story of how apes gained the intelligence they needed to take over the world. Groundbreaking use of motion-capture and computer generated images that created totally believable chimps. Additionally, it has a spectacular climactic battle on the Golden Gate Bridge. Recommended. 105 minutes. Rated PG-13 for intense and frightening sequences of action and violence.

THE GUARD This is a very funny, dark comedy about murder, blackmail and drug trafficking. It’s an old premise—a fish out of water, but extremely well done. A black FBI agent, Don Cheadle, teams up with an Irish policeman (Brendon Gleeson) who claims, “Racism is part of my culture.” They take on international drug smugglers. Not to be missed. Shot on location. Rated R for pervasive language, some violence, drug material and sexual content.

FROM THE VAULT ONLY THE LONELY This is a sweet, touching and funny story of Danny Muldoon, a lonely Chicago policeman still living with

his mother. He falls in love with a funeral home cosmetologist, not what his mother had in mind. Cast includes John Candy in a funny and emotional performance, Maureen O’Hara as his controlling mother, James Belushi as Danny’s sidekick, and Anthony Quinn as the neighbor in love with Danny’s mom. This is a feel-good movie with great acting and a wonderful Chicago atmosphere. Written and directed by Chris Columbus, who also directed Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire, and two of the Harry Potter movies.

DVD DON’T THE HANGOVER, Part 2 The same cast and director are back from the first movie, which was awesome. This

one is okay, but it’s exactly the same story and situations moved from the original setting of Las Vegas to Thailand. It’s understandable that the sequel made money, but the original was one of those situations that captured lightening in a bottle. Part of its success was magic and you can’t plan on that. It’s a bonus when making movies. You won’t necessarily want your money back, but we say try something else.


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Vox Pop Influentials - November / December 2011  

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