January 27, 2010

Some days ago I read an interesting article published on msnbc.com.  The article was entitled “Couch Potatoes May Have Shorter Lives”; subtitle: “each TV viewing hour increases risk of death from any cause”.   The comments were taken from a study that looked at the connection between watching TV and the death rate for 8,000 Australian adults.  The conclusion was that for each hour of TV-viewing, there was an 11 percent increase in the risk of death from any cause and an 18 percent increase in the risk from cardiovascular disease.   The study indicated that those who watch TV for four hours or more each day had a 46 percent increased risk of death from any cause and an 80 percent increased risk of cardiovascular disease.  This is compared to those who watch TV less than two hours per day.   According to the Neilsen Company, the “average” American watches approximately 5 hours of TV per day.  In comparison, the “average” person in the UK and Australia watch around 3 hours per day.  In looking at the breakdown for those 8,000 people, 3,846 were men and 4,954 were women—all over 25 years of age.   The study was conducted over a period of 6 years and all 8,000 people were monitored and questioned over that period of time.   Their viewing habits AND blood samples were taken on a scheduled basis to determine sugar levels, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

I think this is really scary.  But I also think it’s probably correct.  The secret is to keep moving.  They determined that even changing chairs periodically will produce some benefits even though you are watching TV.  I have a few other observations relative to watching television.   These are over and above the medical reasons for curtailing time spent in front of the “boob-tube”.   Take a look:

  • Ridiculous programming—Never in the history of TV have we had so many time-wasting choices.  Every major station has figured out that reality TV is the way to cut costs and get away from the highly paid actors and actresses.  They use “rookies”, make them stars for 10 minutes and then throw them away.
  • No books—Every hour spent watching TV is one less hour reading a book.  I am absolutely convinced that (still ) the greatest information gained is passed from the author of a good book to the reader of that good book.  No doubt about it.
  • Lack of intellectual stimulation—How can Homer Simpson be intellectually stimulating?  Three Men and a Boy, The View, Opra, How I Met Your Mother, Dog the Bounty Hunter, WWW, etc etc.  You get the picture.  The brain drain is evident.
  • Really mad—Ever watch the news?  Don’t you just love the antics of our Congress?  If your kids played with each other in the same fashion as the members of Congress interact with each other, you would take them to the woodshed.  Admit it.
  • Debasing influence—Violence, sex, lying, corruption—and that’s the talk shows.
  • Inaccuracies—I can watch Fox, then ABC, then CBS then NBC then PBS and get different versions of the same story.  Never fails.
  • Less time with the family—Enough said.
  • Losing sleep—I talk to people who ask me—hey, did you see Letterman last night?  How about Leno?  Don’t they come on around midnight?  Think about it.

OK that’s my list and my point.  I would love to hear yours.


Do you ever wonder how people spend their time?  This CAN BE a very personal question depending upon who you ask and yet, maybe we need to ask it more often of some people. The last decade was a bumper time for political scandals. The misdeeds were very interesting, if not fascinating.  Sex seems to be the activity of choice although income tax evasion was a close second.  2009 in particular was notable.  Let’s take a look at only a few names.

John Ensign:   Senator (R)  State of Nevada—Affair with former staffer.

Mark Sandford: Governor  (R)   State of South Carolina—Affair with reporter—Brazil

Rod Blagojevich:  Governor (D)  State of Illinois –Conspiracy and Bribery

John Edwards:  Senator & Presidential Candidate (D)  State of South Carolina—Affair

Eliot Spitzer:  Governor (D)  State of New York—Affair with hooker

Deborah Jeane Palfrey—D.C. Madam—Ran an upscale prostitution service for high-rollers; i.e. Congress

Larry Craig:  Senator (R)  State of Idaho—Possible homosexual advance

 Mark Foley:  Representative (R) State of Florida—Propositioning interns

Jack Abramoff:  D.C. Lobbiest  (R)  –Income Tax evasion

Charlie Rangel: Representative (D) State of New York—Income tax evasion

Tim Geithner:  Secretary of Treasury (D)—Income tax evasion

OK so nobody is perfect but you must admit, these kids have been really busy with 58% of the activity being sexual in nature.  You have to wonder why these high-profile politicians can’t be normal and simply rob us blind like in the “good old days”.  ( OH wait, they’re doing that also. )  Speaking of robbery, take a look at the various pay scales these guys are suffering under.  ( Please keep in mind we have a 10+% unemployment rate in this country with 85,000 additional jobs being lost during the month of December 2009.

Average pay for a governor—$124,398

Average pay for US Senator—$174,000

Average pay for member of House–$174,000

Governor of New York—$179,500

Governor of South Carolina–$106,078

Governor if Illinois–$155,600

A good romp in the hay takes at least one hour and then you’ve got transportation to and from the “scene of the crime”.  Also, consider the fact that you’re taking up your driver’s time.  ( No self-respecting senator or member of the House would be seen driving his own car.  It would really look bad come reelection time. )  Thirty minutes there, thirty minutes back—at least two man-hours of time.   One hour with your “sweetie”, that’s three additional man-hours; i.e. 1.) Member of Congress, 2.) Driver and 3.) Hooker, etc.  ( Of course this assumes that the “man of the house” is not on his way to Brazil to be with his soul mate. )  Time flies when you’re having fun but that’s a minimum of five (5) man-hours for just one “outing”.  When you consider these guys put in a good four hour day, you really have to wonder who is minding the store. 

How to we get a job like that?  


January 7, 2010


One of my favorite commentators on television is Mr. Andy Rooney.  Mr. Rooney joined the staff of 60 Minutes in 1978 and is best known for A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney. It is the segment at the end of the broadcast in which he gives his views on a wide range of subjects.  I like Andy for a different reason—he asks questions that can provide the genesis for serious fact finding.  Case in point:

Do you ever wonder where the sun goes after dark?

A very simply question yet remarkably important if we are to discover the basic relationships between our own little “blue dot” and the hot ball of glowing gasses we call the sun.

I call this type of fundamental question a “Roonian Interrogation”.  Absolutely necessary if you are a physcics, chemist, astronomer, mathematician, etc.  In other words, someone searching for not only an answer, but THE answer.

I would like to pose several Roonian questions to our “leadership”. 

  • Why do you think you can falsify the truth to get elected then expect me not to be angry ( or at least unhappy ) when reality raises its ugly head?
  • In a perfect world ( which we do not have ) government would not be needed.  Why then do we not work towards perfection by reducing the size of government consequently, the cost of government?
  • Why is there not a cabinet position with the sole responsibility for reducing fraud and waste in the Federal Government?
  • If the CIA, FBI and NSA did their jobs properly, would we need the TSA?  Would this not reduce the size of government even more so?  Can we not get these guys to talk to each other?
  • Why does the FED not think income should be greater than outgo?  Is there no real need to control spending?
  • Why are so many of our “leaders” involved with monetary corruption; i.e. Dodd, Blagojevich, Rangel, Geithner, etc.  ( Make your own list! )
  • Are most D.C. types on the take and, more importantly, do they not realize that most people are not?

I think Andy would approve of these questions so, do you ever wonder who has the answers?

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