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May 2004
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July 2004

Smoking Cuts 10 Years Off Life

Nothing new here but it's helpful to have our understandings reaffirmed. Smoking can kill you. Ceasing to smoke can add years to your life.

Sir Richard Peto, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at Oxford, who has collaborated on the study for 30 years, said: "On average, those who continue to smoke lose 10 years of life but stopping smoking at ages 60, 50, 40 or 30 gains 3, 6, 9 or the full 10 years of life expectancy."

MedlinePlus: Smoking Cuts 10 Years Off Life

Sex Life Can Improve When Obese Men Lose Weight

A recent article in the June 23/30, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports on a study in Italy of over 100 obese men who had erectile dysfunction. When they loss weight, their erectile dysfunction improved. Of course there are many other benefits to loosing weight as well such as improved blood pressure, lower cholesteral, etc.

I wonder how much loosing some pounds will cut into the viagra, levitra, cialis market?

MedlinePlus: Sex Life Can Improve When Obese Men Lose Weight

Problem Gambling

What is problem gambling? Here is the definition from the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

"Problem gambling is gambling behavior which causes disruptions in any major area of life: psychological, physical, social or vocational. The term "Problem Gambling" includes, but is not limited to, the condition known as "Pathological", or "Compulsive" Gambling, a progressive addiction characterized by increasing preoccupation with gambling, a need to bet more money more frequently, restlessness or irritability when attempting to stop, "chasing" losses, and loss of control manifested by continuation of the gambling behavior in spite of mounting, serious, negative consequences."
National Council on Problem Gambling

How big a problem is it? Nobody knows for sure. Public Health studies have shown that the prevalence and incidence of problem gambling is associated with the number of gambling outlets and the opportunities that people have to gamble. Gambling is being pushed by all levels of government as the answer to its financial problems, and every club, organization, and church these days seems to be offering raffles and bingo and "casino nights".

I will be writing more articles on gambling over the next few weeks. So if you are interested in this topic keep coming back to the web site because I will be posting more information and articles in the near future.

Mystic River, the film

mystic_riverI wanted to like this film. It has a star studded cast with Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, but the story is not believeable and I found myself loosing interest as the this long film of over two hours plodded along.

The movie is basically a murder mystery focused on who killed Katie Markum, Jimmy Markum's (Sean Penn) daughter by his first wife who apparently died while he was in prison serving time on a bum rap for some neighborhood hoodlums that he had fallen in with robbing liquor stores.

Somehow all this is supposed to be connected to an abduction and pedophile rape that occured to Dave Boyle (Tim Robbins) that occured when he, and Jimmy Markum, and the Massachussetts State Police Detective, Sean Devine (Kevin Bacon), were kids and Jimmy and Sean watched Dave get taken away by guys they thought were cops.

The plot thickens and gets more convoluted for no apparent purpose other than to trick the viewer into thinking the story is more interesting than it really is. It ends in a downer, open ended way, that doesn't bring a very satisfying resolution to the story.

The best performance is by Marcia Gay Harden who plays Dave Boyle's wife, Celeste Boyle, and who becomes increasingly worried that Dave is Katie's killer.

I didn't learn much from this movie other than how disappointing people can be because they often don't do the right thing, at least these people don't. I guess the value in this film is if you can see it as a way to not live your life, you will have learned something. It is never clear how the abduction and pedophilic rape of Dave is connected to the events that happen, if it is connected at all, and how it impacts the relationships of the three main characters, Jimmy, Sean, and Dave, and yet it gets alluded to constantly in the film for reasons that are not clear and seem to cloud the story in some ambiguous haze that has nothing to do with anything as far as I can determine.

I don't recommend this movie unless you have nothing better to do than watch worms in the garden.

Mystic River (2003)

The Son of the Bride, the film

Son of the Bride is an Argentinian movie with English subtitles which I enjoyed very much. It is the story about a 42 year old restauranteur who is going through a mid life crisis after he suffers a heart attack.

Rafael Belvedere was the bad boy who has taken over his father, Nino's, restaurant to prove to his mother that he can be successful in life. She, unfortunately, has come down with Alzheimer's disease and has been placed in a nursing home, and barely remembers his name, let alone the facts of his childhood growing up. Meanwhile, Rafael is divorced and is trying to father his 12 year old daughter, and carry on a relationhip with his girlfriend, Nati.

This movie does a good job depicting the conflicting emotions that we all experience in life. After his heart attack, Rafael wants to sell out, and retire to Mexico because he can't deal with any more problems. Of course, life is full of problems and as he realizes this he recommitts himself to those he loves.

I highly recommend this movie

Hijo de la novia, El (2001)