Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Benefits of Marriage

• Married people live longer than unmarried or divorced people. Nonmarried women
have 50% higher mortality rates than married women and nonmarried men have a 250%
higher rate than married men. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)
• Married people are happier than single, widowed, or cohabiting people. About 40%
of married people report being very happy with their lives, whereas only 18% of divorced people, 15% of separated people, and only 22% of widowed and 22% of cohabiting
people report being very happy. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)
• Married people have more sex and a better quality sexual relationship than do
single, divorced or cohabiting individuals. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000)
• Married people are more successful in their careers, earn more, and have more
wealth than single, divorced or cohabiting individuals. (Waite & Gallagher, 2000;
Antonovics & Town, 2004)
• Children from homes where the parents are married tend to be more academically
successful, more emotionally stable, and more often assume leadership roles. (Waite
& Gallagher, 2000; Manning & Lamb, 2003)
• Adolescents living with their biological parents are less likely to have sexual
intercourse. (Pearson, Frisco, 2006; Sieving, Eisenberg, Pettingell, & Skay, 2006)
• Two-parent households protect children from the negative effects of poverty. In the
U.S., nearly 60% of the children from single-parent households live in poverty, as
compared to only 11% of children from two-parent families. (U.S. Bureau of the Census,
SOURCE: Marriage & Family Facts 2007
Life Innovations, Inc.

Friday, February 22, 2008

9 Top Caffeine Fixes

The topics on this blog can be a bit heavy at times, so I thought I would lighten things up a bit. -Paul

9 Top Caffeine Fixes

Source: Yahoo News

Talk about happy trends. More and more yum-ola foods that used to be considered bad news are turning out to be good for you. First it was wine. Then olive oil. Chocolate. Guacamole. And now coffee. (Hey, can ice cream be far behind?!)

What restored coffee's reputation? Caffeine. After years of being viewed with suspicion, caffeine has pulled a scientific switcheroo. Besides helping students pull all-nighters and weekend warriors jumpstart their jump shots, there's now evidence that it defends against diabetes, Parkinson's, asthma symptoms, post-workout soreness, and even hunger pangs. Cool.

It's not totally benign, of course - is anything? So the experts advise limiting yourself to about 250 mg a day (the average cup of joe has about 100 mg) to avoid jitters and a possible boost in blood pressure. But few labels list caffeine content, so stick this on the fridge. It covers the caffeine sources generating the most buzz, plus some timeless favorites. We checked the calories too, BTW, but most are pretty harmless.

DIET COKE Everybody's default diet drink
THE OTHER STUFF A lot of flavorings and colorings,
not much else-call it caffeine lite

WATER JOE For the purist: plain H2O with a jolt
THE CAFFEINE FIX 60 mg 16.9-ounce bottle
THE OTHER STUFF Artesian water and caffeine—that's it.
No additives, no carbonation

RED BULL The energy drink that started it all
THE CAFFEINE FIX 80 mg per 8-ounce can
THE OTHER STUFF Has taurine, a "detox," amino acid;
B vitamins; loads of sugar—so beware
the crash after the rush

TAB ENERGY A revved-up version of old Tab cola
THE CAFFEINE FIX 95 mg per 10.5-ounce can
THE OTHER STUFF Sweet and pink, it's spiked with ginseng
and guarana, a mild caffeine-like stimulant

ENVIGA Controversial new green tea drink
THE CAFFEINE FIX 100 mg per 12-ounce can
THE OTHER STUFF Laced with 200 mg of calcium and
green tea antioxidants but in trouble for
claiming that it makes the body burn up
extra calories

Candy with more zip than a cup of joe
THE CAFFEINE FIX 150 mg per piece
THE OTHER STUFF Comes in trendy flavors like mocha latte;
individually wrapped so you can stash in
a pocket—but can you eat just one?

FUSION ENERGY 7/Eleven's new-ish "functional" brew
THE CAFFEINE FIX 250 mg per 12-ounce cup
THE OTHER STUFF Freshly-ground coffee brewed with an
alertness-boosting blend of ginseng,
guarana, and yerba mate

STARBUCKS Coffee, just coffee
THE CAFFEINE FIX 280 or so per 12-ounce cup
THE OTHER STUFF Starbucks coffee averages twice the
caffeine of a regular 8-ounce cup of java,
but the hit can vary wildly-in one study,
by 200 mg on different days

SPIKE SHOOTER Heavy-hitter energy drink
THE CAFFEINE FIX 300 mg per 8.4-ounce can
THE OTHER STUFF Spiked with tyrosine, yohimbine, and
a huge dose of vitamin B12; label warns
you not to drink more than 1 a day

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What's going on at the movies?

A Cultural Shift in Movies
By: Rick Santorum
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Publication Date: January 3, 2008

I begin this new year with greater hope for our culture. That is saying something, given our pop culture's violence, gratuitous coarseness, hyper-commercialism, and obsession with sex and celebrity. I can sympathize with parents who are increasingly tempted to gather their children and retreat to the catacombs. But don't head down there just yet. This last year saw something that we should take heart in.

No, it wasn't the American public's stout rejection of a slew of anti-American "war on terror" movies such as Redacted and Rendition. The most encouraging news was quieter and more life-affirming.

If art is a reflection of our culture, our culture - and particularly our youth culture - is awaking to the reality of life in the womb. You hear it in Nick Cannon's autobiographical single "Can I live?" You see it in the stunning episode of the television show House where Dr. Gregory House's finger is grasped by a baby in the womb during intrauterine surgery. The recognition of the life in the womb is going mainstream.

But the biggest shift came at the movies. In a nation with one of the world's most wide-open abortion regimes, U.S. audiences flocked to see five motion pictures with life-affirming texts or subtexts: Knocked up, Waitress, Bella, August Rush and Juno.

In these movies, abortion was urged on women facing an unplanned pregnancy, and rejected. Ultrasound images awakened characters and audiences to the humanity of the unborn. Having a baby, even in the most challenging circumstances, became the compelling "choice." Adoption was held up as a positive alternative to abortion. And, unlike the news media's portrayal of pro-lifers, protesters outside abortion clinics were authentically depicted as warm and concerned. This stood in contrast to the indifference of the staff within.

These movies came from four different companies (Waitress and Juno are Fox Searchlight movies) and right out of our pop culture. Given the degraded state of that culture, this sometimes comes at a price when it comes to a movie's language, humor, and the treatment of sexual relations. Bella is a gentle celebration of family and adoption amid an unplanned pregnancy. August Rush is a PG-rated look at the gut-wrenching consequences of an out-of-wedlock affair. But Knocked Up, Waitress and Juno are most certainly hip-deep in today's bawdy mainstream culture.

Any movie titled Knocked Up is not going to win awards for decorum, and this one doesn't disappoint. Its pro-life, pro-marriage message - Alison (Katherine Heigl) decides she wants to have the baby after she becomes pregnant during a one-night stand - comes wrapped in X-rated language, sex jokes and drug abuse.

In Waitress, abused Jenna (Keri Russell) decides to have a baby instead of an abortion while having an adulterous affair with her doctor.

As for Juno, for all its tenderness and antiabortion, pro-adoption themes, it's pretty edgy. But it's exactly these movies' connection to the pop culture that makes them so heartening.

They are meeting audiences where they live, and, through good storytelling, smart - if often raw - dialogue, and compelling character development, are presenting themes we rarely associate with much of our popular culture. And audiences and critics are largely saying "two thumbs up."

The best thing about all of these movies is, they are not "pro-life" message movies. They are, instead, chronicles from the children of our divorce- and abortion-oriented culture. There is lived experience, emotional understanding, hard-earned authenticity at the heart of these scripts. And pain.

One of the most poignant recurring themes may be the message to baby-boom parents from their own children. The characters most often urging abortion on the expectant mother were aging boomers, and they are not attractive moments. In August Rush, Lyla's father tells her that her baby was killed in an auto accident and gives the child to an orphanage - to protect her career. After career-bound Alison becomes pregnant in Knocked Up, it's her mother who urges her to have an abortion - she can always have "a real baby" later on.

Alison doesn't take her mother's advice. She decides to have her baby after seeing the unborn child's heart beat on a monitor. What ultimately triumphs in Knocked Up and these other movies is the simple reality of human life.

On the way to an abortion, Juno Ellen Page stops and talks to a nerdy but caring pro-life schoolmate who is protesting there. As Juno continues into the clinic, the girl calls out, "Your baby has fingernails!"

Your baby has fingernails: It's enough to stop Juno from going ahead with an abortion.

Yes, the ultrasound - and now Hollywood - see that unborn baby whose eyes, spinal cord, nervous system, liver and stomach are developing within the first month, whose heart begins beating at 18 days. That unborn child who can make a tiny fist, hiccup, wake and sleep at three months.

It may be a small thing in our vast pop culture. But what a blessing small things can be.