Um, Shoes that are too tight? Um, A room that is too cold? The smell of coffee burning? What are ‘things that make you uncomfortable’?
Beyond the physical, there are mental and emotional things that make you uncomfortable as well. For many, one of them is the notion of Freedom. I was reading a story about a student protest on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 this past weekend. It made me uncomfortable. I was inwardly conflicted. I thought the act was reprehensible, but I support the student’s right to have the freedom do it.
There’s the old phrase: “Your right to punch me in the nose ends at the beginning of my nose.” This is fine, it’s easy to define physical freedoms. Your right to drive intoxicated ends at the beginning of the hood of my car you might hit. But emotional and intellectual freedoms are harder to define.
You have the right to worship as you please, it’s the main founding principle of our country. But, your freedom to worship as you please ends at the beginning of you telling me how I can worship.
Some may take this and apply it to public health. They may say that the government’s right to vaccinate its people ends at the beginning of their arm. And that’s fine, if we’re talking about health issues that stay within the unvaccinated person’s arm. If you have a headache, you don’t have to take aspirin, that’s your right. If you have an ulcer, you can keep drinking that’s your right. But when you’ve got a health issue that spreads so easily, can kill or cripple, and has costs billions of dollars in world-wide economic impact; then your freedom not to get vaccinated ends at the beginning of mine and my family and community’s freedom not to get sick.
We’ve just celebrated Labor Day! Ironically, the day created to celebrate the American worker and their achievements has most workers working as white-collar workers have the day off. The day became a federal holiday in 1894, and Uncle Sam is often seen leading the celebration parades in many cities.
I’m not sure if this is because Uncle Sam has become a symbol incarnate of our country, or if it was that on September 7, 1961, the Congress recognized Samuel Wilson as “the progenitor of America’s national symbol of Uncle Sam” and the date is usually on or near Labor Day?
The next question you may ask is who is Samuel Wilson? Simply, he was a meat packer from New York who supplied beef to the army during the war of 1812. He would brand his barrels with a “U.S.” for United States, but given that his given name was Sam for short, the soldiers began to refer to the barrels as, “Uncle Sam’s.” Now, this is where the publicity angle comes in: a local newspaper picked up the story, it got spread around the country, and the nick-name of Uncle Sam stuck.
Thomas Nast, a political cartoonist at the time, is part of the reason the name stuck. Nast started using the name Uncle Sam in his cartoons to symbolize the country as a person. Although Nast originally used a likeness of Wilson, eventually Nast added the beard, top hat, and stars-and-stripes suit that we know and love today.
But what does Santa Claus have to do with Uncle Sam? Nast also drew the first image of the jolly old elf as we know him today. In 1862, Nast gave us Santa Claus in the publication Harper’s Weekly and had him supporting the Union. Thus, I guess, forever aligning him as a Yankee!
A couple of months ago I did a blog post on coffee and liver disease. Not that coffee is a cure-all, but drinking a couple of cups, black, (cream and sugar and other sugary additives negate all health benefits) can reduce your chances of dying from symptoms such as cirrhosis.
Today there’s more good news! A study has shown drinking coffee (again, black) in moderation will decrease the chances of stroke, death from cardiovascular disease, and a decrease in all-cause mortality. This is great news considering 80% of deaths due to cardiovascular reasons can be prevented by changes in what they call lifestyle factors.
For this study, ½ a cup to 3 cups daily is considered moderation. The average size of a cup in this case is measured at 8 oz., so don’t go drinking three of your bathtub-sized caramel chocolate drizzled four-pump vanilla no foam non-fat (well, that maybe the only part that is good) half-shot latte macchiato frappuccino; and think you’re being healthy.
This study is based on association, not cause and affect. Diet and exercise still count, and of course medication can be lifesaving, but still there are definite additional health benefits. The studies were done on people without significantly elevated cholesterol and were generally healthy, so coffee should be considered as one more way you can help your body help itself.
Don’t look to coffee to cure what ails you, rather to keep you from getting certain ails in the first place. Watch out apple, you’re no longer the only thing that keeps the doctor away!
If you follow this blog it’s no surprise to you I follow the theater. Which means I pay attention to the Tony Awards®, which are coming back, finally, on September 26, 2021. One of the main reasons I pay attention to the Tony’s is the grand-slam of awards is the EGOT, when a single person has won an Emmy (television), a Grammy (recording), an Oscar (movies), and the Tony (theater).
Since the first Grammy was awarded in 1959, all the other awards are older, only 16 people have competitively won all four awards. There are five other individuals who have won all four awards but by what they call “non-competitively,” meaning they won at least one of the awards honorarily, like Barbra Streisand who won an honorary Tony, but competitively won the other three. Although, Streisand is the youngest to have completed the quartet at age 28, and she also did it the quickest with only six years separating her Grammy in 1964 and her Tony in 1970.
The Tony seems to be the most elusive of the four. There are many people who have the EGO (ironic acronym, isn’t it?), as there is a lot of cross-over from television to movie to music, all on the west coast. Another interesting point of the list of 16 who have achieved this status is that the majority of them are not actors. That is to say they’re composers, writers, directors, etc. People whose names you know, but faces you might not recognize.
This is why it’s always important to be kind to everybody. Not just the meeting planner who booked you, but the sound person, the lighting person, and the assistant who gets you your coffee. They are the ones who make things happen, and rightly so, deserve the awards that come with it.