Tag Archive: Centers for Disease Control


“ … There is the theme of the amazing passion, vision, perseverance, and guts of various individuals who were determined to make wine as good as Europe and to turn Washington’s desolate sagebrush into world-class vineyards: Pretty brave and visionary.” – Historian, Department Chair and Wine Enthusiast Marji Morgan

My boss Marji made a mistake in her Sagebrush to Vineyards: Washington’s Route to the World Wine Map Central Washington University College of Arts and Humanities lecture that a few biology students noted.

She marveled out loud how Washington’s early winemakers had the vision thing to see past the desolate sagebrush landscape, infested with rattlesnakes. They cleared out the brush, exiled the rattlers and planted vitis vinifera grapes for a wide variety of varietals, all in the name of progress and good wine.

The biology students accused Marji of not respecting rattlesnakes.sweetwater1

These budding scientists may be environmentally correct in standing up for desert ecosystems and slithery reptiles, but very few are going to join them in jumping to the defense of rattlesnakes. Most would jump away from these lethal vipers.

Almost DailyBrett identifies a core presentation problem that comes with fangs, scales, pissed-off personalities and poison. All of these characteristics may work for American politics, but rattlesnakes will never be considered warm and fuzzy.

The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has even suggested on its website that donors “symbolically adopt” rattlers. They’re serious.

Scientists have identified 36 separate species of these vipers, ranging from Alberta to Argentina, 13 of which reside in Arizona. Doesn’t sound like rattlesnakes are going extinct anytime soon. Reportedly they take out their aggressions on rats (another species with bad PR), birds and other small critters, which provides rattlers with their raison d’être.

Sea otters, deer, horses, seals, dolphins, puppies and kittens – mostly furry and/or cute — have much better public relations. Schlanges have issues that go back to the Book of Genesis. Back then, the serpent served as the first consultant in the Garden of Eden, and it has been downhill for business consultants ever since.

Swallows in Capistrano; Rattlers in Sweetwater

“The sound of rattling at these roundups is in fact a thousand snakes screaming.” — Melissa Amarello, cofounder of the Tucson-based Advocates for Snake Preservation.

Looking for something to do right around St. Patrick’s Day?

Well, you could check out the annual return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano along the Southern California coast or you could head to West Texas for the annual Sweetwater Rattlesnake Roundup.sweetwater

Every second weekend in March, the Sweetwater Jaycees hold the world’s largest rattlesnake roundup (not sure many towns want to beat them for this distinction) including a carnival, guided tours, a dance (tango with a rattler?) and the Miss Snake Charmer contest.

About 25,000 folks descend of Sweetwater to observe the netting of 3,780 pounds of snakes. Miss Texas even took her turn standing in the middle of what appears to be an above-ground swimming pool filled with rattlers, instead of water. Want to dive right in?

Almost DailyBrett usually comes down on the side of critters, not engaging in hunting (let’s give the Elk guns too, just to make it fair). Heading to Spain this summer with its bull fighting culture, which to this author seems like a waste of bovine testosterone. Sea World has its issues with killer whales. And Almost DailyBrett vividly remembers the “Coyote People” descending en masse on the Glendale, California City Council after an offending coyote killed a little girl.

Guess which side the “Coyote People” took?

If one was searching for an international public relations firm to take on rattlesnakes as a client, Burson-Marsteller may be a solid choice. Burson has represented Philip Morris (now Altria) for decades and made no apologies. According to the CDC, cigarettes kill 400,000 Americans each year. Only six Americans succumb to rattler bites each year.

Sounds like an easy client for Burson-Marsteller with favorable third-parties (e.g., The National Wildlife Federation) to call upon. You can just imagine the PowerPoint presentation. Maybe, Burson-Marsteller can convince WME/IMG to hold the Miss Universe contest next year in Sweetwater, Texas to coincide with the rattlesnake roundup … or maybe not?marji

Back to Marji Morgan, all she was doing was delivering an overall well-received address about the history and future of wonderful Washington wines. Simple until the ecologically correct spoke up.

Instead of sipping varietals, she figuratively stepped on a rattlesnake hiding in desolate sagebrush.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rattlesnake

http://www.desertusa.com/reptiles/rattlesnakes.html

https://www.nwf.org/Wildlife/Wildlife-Library/Amphibians-Reptiles-and-Fish/Rattlesnakes.aspx

https://www.azgfd.com/wildlife/livingwith/rattlesnakes

http://www.rattlesnakeroundup.net/

http://www.rattlesnakeroundup.net/roundup.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/03/12/how-to-kill-thousands-of-rattlesnakes-in-just-four-days/

 

 

 

 

“I’m someone who went to college, had the opportunity in my senior year to go and take a job full-time … and I took it, thinking someday, maybe, I’d go back,” – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walkerwalker

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

Nearly 70 percent of Americans have never marched up to the podium in a graduation gown, sporting a mortar board and fluttering tassel to receive a bachelor’s degree, let alone an advanced degree.

Does this automatically mean that two-out-of-every-three Americans are automatically disqualified from serving in the Oval Office? That seems to be the implication as the Washington Post weighed the fact Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker went to college, but didn’t finish. Sounds like a familiar story for way too many people.

As the 2014 mid-term elections are growing more distant in the nation’s rear-view mirror, the assembled political proctologists (e.g., talking-head pundits) are starting to probe and analyze the contenders and pretenders for the first open seat for the White House in nearly eight years.

Some have already questioned New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s girth and temperament, reflecting on the fact that Howard Taft was the last rotund American president. Taft ran and won (1908) and then lost (1912) in a pre-digital-video era. That was then; this is now as evidenced by Time Magazine’s November 2013 “Elephant in the Room” cover focusing on Christie with a not-so-subtle reminder of his weight.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Translated: The majority of Americans are not obese, albeit far too many are overweight, a distinction with a difference. Weight is clearly a problem for Governor Christie both politically and physically. A presidential debate involving Christie may not be a pretty sight.christie

Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc.

Not having a college degree may not be a big deal for the folks on Main Street, who probably don’t have the hallowed degree either, but it is a huge deal for the Harvardheads, attending the cocktail parties in Washington, D.C. and in Midtown Manhattan.

For the Harvardheads, Yaleheads, Princetonheads etc., a bachelor’s degree or better from an Ivy League school is a minimum qualification to occupy the Oval Office. Consider the academic pedigree of the last four presidents:

  • Barack Obama received his undergraduate degree from Columbia and his J.D. from the Harvard Law School.
  • George W. Bush received his bachelor’s degree from Yale and his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
  • Bill Clinton received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown, earned a Rhodes Scholarhsip and his law degree from Yale.
  • George H.W. Walker received a bachelor’s degree from Yale.

Ronald Reagan received his bachelor’s degree from Eureka College (Illinois) in economics and sociology in 1932. Tiny Eureka College with its 785 students (Go Red Devils) will never be confused with a Big Ten School, let alone an Ivy League university. And yet, Reagan is regarded as one of our best presidents.

The same applies and more to Harry S. Truman, who never attended college. Despite this “handicap,” history called on Truman to make some of the toughest calls in the nation’s history (e.g., use of the atomic bombs, firing Douglas MacArthur) in the period beginning at the end of World War II and the early years of the Cold War and its first-ever nuclear threat.

Can a Governor Without a Degree Become a President Without a Degree?

“I’ve got a master’s degree in taking on the big-government special interests, and I think that is worth more than anything else that anybody can point to.” – Governor Scott Walker 

There are many during the past four years who wrote off Walker, particularly after he invoked the eternal wrath of Wisconsin’s public employee unions. As it turns out, he survived a recall and was twice elected governor of the Dairy State; his re-election was last November.

Is the fact that Walker not having a degree, game, set and match for any presidential aspirations, particularly for the Washington cocktail circuit? Most likely this crowd will have influence, particularly during the before-the-primaries shadow campaign when it comes to raising the estimated $88 million or so that it will take to win a party nomination.

Major contributors are not looking to make a donation, but an investment in a candidate that has a chance to win. There is no doubt that Walker is both bright and smart, but that will not stop the know-it-all Pharisees from pointing to the governor’s lack of a degree and thus question whether he has the “gravitas” to do the job.Truman1

Our constitution precludes those who were born overseas or just over the border from running for the presidency. There is not a similar stipulation in the same document when it comes to having a college degree (e.g., Truman and Grover Cleveland were degreeless), but for all intents and purposes it could be a game-ender for Governor Walker and presumably any others that aspire to the highest office without a diploma on the wall.

Almost DailyBrett hopes this indeed is not the case, believing in the romantic notion that anyone with fortitude and perseverance — and not just those with diplomas — can aspire for the highest office in the land.

Almost DailyBrett Note: Credit for the clever term, “Harvardheads” or the Ivy League types that populate Washington, D.C. and Wall Street in particular must be directed to former presidential speech writer Peggy Noonan. She references these creatures several times in her book, “What I Saw At The Revolution.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2015/01/08/scott-walker-has-no-college-degree-thats-normal-for-an-american-but-not-a-president/?wpisrc=nl_politics&wpmm=1

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/life-in-your-years/

http://www.rove.com/articles/564

 

 

 

“Even when you died; Oh the press still hounded you; All the papers had to say; Was that Marilyn was found in the nude.” — Elton John’s tribute to Marilyn Monroe, Candle in the Wind.

Quick: When you think of Robin Williams, what immediately comes to mind?

robinwilliams

Good Will Hunting?

Mrs. Doubtfire?

Good Morning, Vietnam?

Or his inexplicable suicide this week (after he first tried to slice his wrists … Thanks TMZ) by hanging?

Wasn’t there a suicide at the end of Dead Poets Society?

The Ultimate Negative Story to be Exploited

As singer Elton John (and lyricist Bernie Taupin) correctly surmised in his Candle in the Wind about Norma Jeane Mortenson (a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe), the digital and conventional media critics will always seize on the negative, even the ultimate negative: Death.

When one thinks of Kurt Cobain what comes first flashing? Nirvana?  Or how he blew out his brains with a shot-gun.

Brian Jones? Rolling Stones guitarist? Or drowning and/or murder?

Judy Garland? The Wizard of Oz? Or her self-administered overdose of barbiturates?

Marilyn Monroe: Happy Birthday, Mr. President? Or another case of self-administered overdose of barbiturates?

American Masters: Marilyn Monroe

And now, Robin Williams. There will be no more movies. No more humor. No more humanitarian acts. No more, no more … except for the TMZ crowd and countless others, the mental images of his hanging.

Depression and Drugs

Many will delve into the reasoning behind the decision by Robin Williams to take his own life. Cocaine and alcohol were an on-and-off presence during the course of his adult life. And there was the disease of Depression, which afflicts an estimated 16 million Americans.

What cannot be rationalized comes in the form of the media-taken aerial images of his pad in gorgeous Marin County Tiburon overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island and ultimately the City by the Bay on a beautiful day. He seemingly had it all … fame, fortune, accolades … and now there will be no more.

The likes of Robin Williams, Marilyn Monroe, Judy Garland, Kurt Cobain, Brian Jones and many other celebrities who took their lives and/or lived way too close to the edge with drugs/alcohol (usually part of all of these stories) will always be remembered for more than their tragic end.

For the 12.7 out of 100,000 Americans or the 39,518 who took their own lives in 2011 according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most likely very few people knew them let alone appreciated the demons that were obviously part of their respective lives. Another 713,000 were taken to emergency rooms in the same year as a result of “self-inflicted injury.”

And how will most of those who take their own lives be remembered? By how they died: 19,900 by firearms (e.g., Cobain); 9,913 by suffocation (e.g., Williams) and 6,564 by poisoning (e.g., Garland and Monroe).

Covering the Consummate Self-Destructive Act?

For the famous and non-famous alike there will be a service, a eulogy, readings, a celebration of life, an internment or the scattering of ashes by those left behind. Family and friends are sorry. They are confused. They may feel guilty. They are in many cases, embarrassed. In many respects they are victims of the consummate self-destructive act.

tmz1

 

Did any of them consider their own reputation before they fired the gun, tied the noose, and took the pills? For the rich and famous did they contemplate how the most sensational of the conventional and digital media would cover their self-inflicted demise? Do they even care?

Did any of them … famous or not famous … weigh the impact of their suicides on their families and friends?

Did any of them contemplate that others may want to follow their path to the grave in the same egregious way?

The most important public relations are personal public relations, even in the last seconds of life.

And how will they be ultimately remembered, particularly those who attained celebrity? By the last act.

He shot himself.

She overdosed on drugs.

He hung himself.

Do any of us really want to be remembered this way, particularly with the prospect of glaring digital and/or conventional headlines about our self-inflicted death?

http://www.tmz.com/2014/08/12/robin-williams-death-autopsy-suicide-hanging-news-conference/?adid=hero1

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/11/robin-williams-dead-dies_n_5670050.html

http://www.tmz.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candle_in_the_Wind

http://www.eltonography.com/songs/candle_in_the_wind.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Williams

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Cobain

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Garland

http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/celebrity/brian_jones/index.html

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

http://www.webmd.com/depression/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/katie-hurley/theres-nothing-selfish-about-suicide_b_5672519.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who says there is no such thing as a “free lunch”?

ribsdinner

Just split an entrée with your significant other the night before and there most likely will be plenty left over for lunch for two the following day.

And maybe even a bite or two for Bowser too?

What is it about all of this food? When is enough, enough?

Are restaurants overfeeding us?

Why would Almost DailyBrett pose these questions?

Heading into Husky Stadium on Lake Washington for Oregon’s record 10th straight (and counting) win over Washington last October, I was struck by what one can buy with $250 million.

Four years earlier, Husky Stadium was an old, decrepit and crumbling football stadium with small seats and incredibly narrow aisles. Today, the stadium is much more comfortable with larger seats and wider concourses. Does this upgraded level of comfort just reflect the power of millions of dollars of legal tender or does it signal another trend?

huskystadium

The answer is both. The stadium, even though it sits on a beautiful lake spanned by a floating bridge, needed a facelift and that requires cash. The smaller seats and narrower aisles were judged to be more than adequate way back in the 20th Century, but they do not work now. People are bigger and becoming ever larger. Is this what they mean by upgrading our national “infrastructure”?

How many of us are “normal” weight by using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Try it out: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm

Mimicking the Spaniards and their appetizing Tapas, there was a small-plate movement (10-inch rather than 12-inch plates) in the trendier parts of America less-than-a-decade ago. And like most well-intentioned campaigns, some stick around and some go by the wayside.

tapas

We are way past the point of being overly concerned about the obesity epidemic in the good ole USofA. Are our restaurants in their never-ending quest to provide “value” to discerning customers in this eternal difficult financial climate, contributing to the expanding waist lines of Americans?

Research indicates that we eat what is put before us, and that is contributing to an obesity epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

Last month, my relatively new spouse and I visited the Old Town Tortilla Factory in Scottsdale, Arizona, a great place particularly in 87-degree February warmth.

We placed one order of the chipotle baby back ribs with string fries and cole slaw and the waiter was cool enough to waive the divided order charge. Predictably, we could not finish the entrée and had no room for dessert. Alas, there was no Bowser back in our rented condo to devour the remains.

And just this past week, Bates’ Steak House in Eugene, Oregon was the venue for the birthday celebration of the editor in chief of Almost DailyBrett. We ordered one serving John Wayne Cowboy Steak (e.g. marbled 16-ounce rib eye). Fair enough.

The entrée came with soup, salad, potatoes, rice, bacon, blue cheese, tortillas, salsa, beans and the aforementioned 16-ounces of seared steak. For dessert, the choice was either a fancy liquor or a root beer float with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Predictably we needed a Bowser bag. And the left overs, placed in the microwave for two minutes, were more than enough for lunch.

nachos

You may thinking these stories are anecdotal, but they keep on recurring. Walking into a Mexican restaurant, we were told of the grilled chicken nachos appetizer special. We took the plunge. That plate was more than enough for dinner for two…and that turned out to be our dinner.

Admittedly, the vast majority of restaurants fail. The new ones in particular are under tremendous pressure to succeed in this low-margin business. Are they and their entrenched competitors resorting to overfeeding customers in order to stay in business?

And if they are, is this delicious trend contributing to our obesity epidemic?

Writing about food is not for the faint of heart. The editor of Almost DailyBrett still has scars on his back for his commentary about the TMI (Too Much Information) gluten free movement. There are those who care big time about genetically modified food and those who have more important things to do. There are the carnivores, omnivores, herbivores, vegetarians, vegans and countless other (up)-vores.

And regardless of all this attention as to whether coconut oil is actually good for you or not, it all comes down to calories in; calories out. Salad-size plate moderation is a good thing.

Our restaurants should come to this realization as well.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tapas

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Plate_Movement

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/739086

http://oldtowntortillafactory.com/

http://www.batessteakhouse.com/

http://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Overeating

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/vegan-gluten-free-elitism-with-coconut-oil-2/

Life in Your Years?

“The Elephant in the Room.”

elephant

Time Magazine editors must think they are oh-so-very clever with their double … maybe even triple … entendre silhouette cover. Some readers were offended. Some were not. Nonetheless, people are talking about it, which deep down inside you know was the ultimate goal.

Re-elected in a landslide last week in a dependable blue state, New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has a bright political future…but one must ask: How much life is there in his remaining years?

His doctor cannot be happy with his weight, which drew the questionable Time cover. The question is how many other Americans are battling the bulge, and thus limiting not only their years on this planet, but the life in their years?

America’s two most recent presidents, regardless whether you agree or disagree with their politics and policies (e.g., Obamacare, Iraq War), have been models for the nation when it comes to physical fitness. Even in the face of the incredible stress that comes with the presidency, Barack Obama can be repeatedly seen shooting a basketball or playing golf. He is a classic ectomorph.

obamabasketball

His predecessor, George W. Bush, worked out every morning before heading to the Oval Office for the daily 7 am national security briefing. Bush and his Trek bicycle were a constant during his summer vacations at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

georgew

Come to think of it, our presidents have for the most part been relatively fit (okay Bill Clinton had an affinity for Big Macs). This point is particularly true with the advent of the television age and the impact of the tube on politics. The last truly Christie-like, portly president was Howard Taft in the early years of the 20th Century.

If elected, Christie would obviously break this trend. Even though he has been trying to lose weight and reportedly had undergone lap-band surgery, does having a rotund chief executive send the wrong health message to a nation in which two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese?

Former Navy doc Frederic Morgan was my primary physician, when I lived in Pleasanton, CA. He is huge believer in the Body-Mass Index (BMI) to determine the optimum weight for his patients. He repeatedly made the point to me (and presumably others) that lean humans are the ones that are most likely to live long-and-healthy lives. They are the ones who more times than not will have life in their years.

That is a contrast to the notion of years in your life. Think of it this way: What is the point of having years of your life, when you are essentially incapacitated? And yet millions are experiencing or looking at just this prospect.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 35.7 percent of Americans are obese including 78 million adults and 12.5 million children. For men in particular, this trend is heading in the wrong direction with 27.5 percent registering as obese in 2000, escalating to 35.5 percent 10 years later. The number of obese women also increased from 33.4 percent in 2000 to 35.8 percent in 2010.

taft

One of the inevitable causes of this alarming number of obese people is a sedentary lifestyle. Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Physics: An object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

How many people, particularly Baby Boomers, are becoming invalids before our very eyes? How many simply will not climb that flight of stairs? How many will not walk up that hill? How many cannot push themselves away from the television or worse yet, the dinner table?

How many are wasting away the remaining years of their life, drinking themselves into a comfortable stupor in some dive, as described in Almost DailyBrett’s “Running out the Clock.”

Is Almost DailyBrett arguing for or against a Chris Christie presidency? Neither.

If the heavily covered (no pun intended) governor could engage in an active, as opposed to energetic, lifestyle…one that is characterized by cross-training, sensible diet, calories-in, calories-out…and drop 100 pounds or more, he would be a model for the nation.

christie

As noted by pundits, obese people are often the subject of snide, snarky remarks made with impunity. The Time Magazine cover was predictable. More will be coming. The late-night comedians are licking their respective chops.

But what happens if a relatively svelte Chris Christie is elected to White House?

Guess they will be referring to the Republican Elephant in the Room.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/onpolitics/2013/11/07/christie-time-magazine-elephant/3465209/

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57609404/chris-christie-losing-weight-steadily-medical-report-says/

http://www.state.nj.us/governor/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/running-out-the-clock/

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/new-jersey-governor-chris-christie-2016-presidential-elections-weight-issue-99561.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_mass_index

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZys_mi-ERY

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_laws_of_motion

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