Thursday, June 01, 2006

If I pretend I'm running, will the evil eye be fooled?

I don't really want to get off the couch so could you just pass me a piece of pizza--An obituary in the Baltimore Sun struck me this morning. I hope I am not invoking what my grandmother called the Evil Eye by writing this but.... A veterinarian named E. Andrew Whittington died in Florida. A Baltimore native, he was a marathon runner, swimmer, and bike rider, described as a nationally ranked amateur athlete. He ran in at least 20 marathons. He spent hours ever day exercising and the picture in the paper showed him to be handsome and really well-well built. I'd love to look like that. What with my personality, I'd be rich and famous. He was so into excersise he was in the process of quitting his vet job to become a full-time personal trainer and if I was into having a personal trainer (I actually had one once), I'd hire him in a flash. I can't. He dropped dead at the age of 58. Heart attack.

Ever since James Fixx [picture above] died while running, I've been keeping an informal list of really healthy seeming people who dropped dead exercising. There was Grace Kelly's brother John Jr., in Philadelphia, who every morning sculled up the Schuylkill River and then went running. He dropped dead in front of my office building one day. Or the former governor of Florida, Lawton Chiles, who fell off his exercise machine. Then there was the law professor at Stanford, John Kaplan, a renowned expert on Constitutional law and a really nice man, who ran vigorously every morning. Meanwhile, a tumor was growing in his brain. I wonder if all that pumping blood made it worse.

I am sure exercise is good for you. I am surer that mortality depends on too many other things, mostly genetics. There is no reason to go out every morning and hurt yourself.

I can't prove it but I think it is likely that had every one of these guys shed their running shoes, found a good lounge chair, a cold beer and watched more baseball on television, they'd still be alive.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The sky fell--Most scientists agree that the dinosaurs became extinct because a huge meteor crashed into the Earth about 65 million years ago, striking what is now the Yucatan peninsula. But how did the dinosaurs rise? Same thing. Meteor. This one hit what is now the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, although it wasn’t an ice sheet then. Researchers from Ohio State said they found a 300-mile-wide crater more than a mile under the ice that could date back 250 million years, to the Permian-Triasic extinction when most of terrestial life was killed off. That created the world that the dinosaurs would dominate until the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. The earlier blast could have been responsbile for shoving Australia northward and breaking up Gondwanaland. The researchers used orbiting satellites to measure gravity fluctuations to locate a 200-mile wide mascon, the eruption you get in impacts like that.

Look, if it’s on a blog it must be true--That statement, which you have found on a blog and is not true, has had tragic consequences for an Indiana family. It seems their daughter, Laura Van Ryn, a student at Taylor University, was in an automobile accident. Her sister, Lisa, set up a blog to keep the family abreast of what was happening, sitting beside a patient she was sure was her sister. As the woman regained consciousness after five weeks in a coma, Lisa discovered she had made a terrible mistake. It wasn’t her sister. She wrote on the blog:
What may come to us as a shock, does not shock the One who made us. We have some hard news to share with you today. Our hearts are aching as we have learned that the young woman we have been taking care of over the past five weeks has not been our dear Laura, but instead a fellow Taylor student of hers, Whitney Cerak. There was a misidentification made at the time of the accident and it is uncanny the resemblence that these two women share. Their body types are similar, their hair color and texture, their facial features, etc. During the past couple of days, as Whitney had been becoming more aware of her surroundings, she'd been saying and doing some things that made us question whether or not she was Laura."
Laura, it turned out, had been dead and buried a month but her family thought she was recovering in the hospital. The two women do, by the way, look alike. Click on the headline and see pictures of both. Then there is the family that thought they buried their daughter and found she is still alive. Oh aaargh! I don't know why I thought this was appropriate for this blog, but I guess it is just a warning to be careful in life.

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