Thursday, July 06, 2006


Well, looks like the procreation bug has bitten the kids in Cali......#7 "grandkid to be" in the hopper...congrats to Tim and Allison and big sissy Emma.........With Kate and Jamie still cooking theirs, all is well, and expanding, in the clan....

Here are a few of the latest mind meanderings from the Suburban Journal......

What activity do Lance Armstrong, Churchill, Edison, Bill Clinton, LBJ and JFK all have in common? These famous names all were world-class nappers. They had the knack of being able to easily drift off into cloud land. They could shut it down, take ten, rest their eyes, kick back, doze off mid-day, all in a planned effort to recharge the batteries.
Humbly, I find myself in their company with my acquired talent at sliding into a brain stall. I am known in the family as the guy who can sleep anywhere (I once zoned out on the driveway….not a recommended practice.) But it seems that, according to health reports, napping is a good thing.
Recent research shows that the stereotypical sombrero guys have had the right idea all along. Napping is not a sign of laziness. It can be a therapeutic activity and an intelligent step in improving overall health. At least that’s what I tell the lovely wife.
Internationally, the good people of Germany are the best nappers, says a survey done in 2002. A good portion of my heritage comes from that region, so maybe my trait comes genetically. The Germans are followed closely by Italy, England, Portugal and Spain. (sounds like a World Cup lineup).
And in Japan, always reliable for codifying a practice, the government Health Ministry recommends a 20 to 30 minute snooze before 3 o’clock, to “improve general well-being and efficiency.”
This mid-day shutdown is purported to allow the body to release stress-busting hormones, slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure. All good things, and combined with regular rhythmic breathing, a good siesta can reset the system for the rest of a day.
Now the boys in the white coats say that the best time for a nappy poo is between 1-2:30, the well-documented post lunch stupor. But dropping your head down for a couple of winks can be a problem, since most folks are at work about that time. Plus, it’s always embarrassing trying to explain that drool spot on those important papers you were reviewing. And as a side note, if one is a brain surgeon or airline pilot, please wait until you are off the clock.
The fine art of “The Little Sleep” is frowned upon by our go-go, produce-at-all-costs society. Folks brag about their 14 hour days and getting by on a few hours sleep. But the evidence is coming in that maybe we should rethink that mindset. Really, wouldn’t you rather have a well-rested doc working on your noggin, and a pilot who just got up from a refreshing half hour in the employee lounge?
Some folks say that day time snoozing keeps them up at night. True, insomnia is fast becoming a national epidemic, especially among women. But a body just might need a mid-day time-out now and then.
Scientists gauge that the ideal drift-off is from 10 to 30 minutes. Your ticker and your noodle slow down, muscles take a chill, and you get into the first two stages of sleep. No need to go to the rapid-eye or restorative sleep phase to reap the benefits of a short switch-off. Even just a little daily sneak-away can improve the whole dang system.
On the safe side, it is probably a good idea to inform co-workers of your plans for that hide-out, lest they walk into the storeroom and call 911, seeing you flat out under the copy paper shelf. But if you’re a mom, and the little stinkers go down for their slumber, then don’t be a silly….join them!!! That dirty tub is still going to be there after you wake up.
So, friends, I recommend setting those kitchen timers and cell phone alarms. Find a nice quiet place, slice off part of your lunch hour, skip the caffeine and hunker down somewhere safe for a quick study of the inside of your eyelids.
Your brain and your heart will thank you for it.

Every 4 years the same question comes up. Actually, it’s a two-parter. First, why do we in the US of A call the most popular sport in the world “soccer”, and two, why has this game of “football” not become greater in our country.
As to the first part of the answer, most sources say that the word “soccer” comes from a derivation of the organization that ran English football, The Association Football.
People abbreviated that to be Assoc., and the British, with a penchant for using the –er suffix on things, such as “rugger” for a player of rugby, used the term “assoc-er for a player of the association football game. This 19th century usage came over with immigrants to the new world and stuck. It was a way also of showing distinction from the American version of rugby, which became our football. Clear? Yeah, as mud.
Which leads into the second part of the every 4 year query. There are lots of pieces to the puzzle as to why one of the wealthiest and influential nations in the world doesn’t embrace “football”. It can’t be from lack of participation. Largely an ethnic game in the first part of the previous century, it became a game of youth, fueled by, yes, the baby boom.
We had 4 or 5 teams in our first grade alone. Yellow shirts, blue, green….stocking hats and jeans and the high top English style boots with the hard round toe and the leather spikes that were nailed to the sole. This was the Atom league, and only when you moved up to the 3rd or 4th grade did you get the full ensemble of jersey with shorts and socks. From here the game has gone wild, with better equipment, better training, summer camps galore, teams and leagues and tournaments everywhere, indoor and outdoor, all year long. So where does all this interest go when we get to the pro level?
The experts say that there just may be too much competition for the sports dollar, with baseball and basketball, football and even hockey sucking the money from our pockets. A deeper question for our area is why doesn’t the pro soccer see St. Louis as a good risk for a franchise? Other towns like Salt Lake City and Columbus can support a squad, and some are even making profits. Why can’t we do the same? Or, are we so spoiled with winning with the Cardinals and Rams that our populace is seen as lacking the resolve to build a following for a new team on the scene? Hard to say. This has been called a tough market to crack. Witness no NBA team. Maybe we’re seen as frugal. Or cheap.
The Cheap label may fit. I have a hard time with the prices of sporting events. Usually, I only go if the ducats are freebies. So possibly economics is the issue.
But while that may be the case in our area, why is I tthat the land with the highest per capita income can’t absorb another sport easily?
Some say it is the nature of the game, with a lack of scoring, continuous action and foreign influence. But hey didn’t I just describe hockey? A noted soccer expert recently said that if a few soccer players became famous celebrities with enormous salaries, and just happened to be married to supermodels, then folks might take notice. We do love our celebrities. How else do you explain the popularity of the Oprah show?
The answer is probably a combination of all the above. When you look at it, soccer really is more popular than ever in America.
Let’s just hope the current US team doesn’t choke in this years Cup.
That could leave a mark.