Friday, August 26, 2011

Book May Send Wrong Message

Hi Everyone:

Although Paul Kramer says that his book Maggie Goes on a Diet ( is meant to promote healthy eating, I believe a different message may be sent to the children aged four and up who read it: being skinny equals being popular. Isn't it enough that magazines already say that? Do kids as young as four or five need to be reading about dieting and perhaps feel shamed into watching what they eat? It's no surprise then that there is controversy surrounding the book before its October release.

Maggie is a 14-year-old girl who gets teased for being overweight but becomes a popular soccer player after going on a diet. Sure, she makes healthier food choices. But what if she hadn't gotten popular or good at soccer? Would her efforts have been in vain?

I definitely agree with promoting healthy eating but not by portraying a teenager dieting. The example should start at home with nutritious (or at least fairly healthy) meals being served. Exercise should also be encouraged. The sad reality is that dieting may lead to an eating disorder, which can sometimes turn deadly.

I'm not saying the book should be censored, but that Kramer should have been more careful when he wrote it and decided who his target audience should be. Kids are extremely impressionable after all.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Feeding Ducks and Relaxing Near Water

Hi Everyone:

This summer I have been fortunate enough to spend some time relaxing near water and feeding ducks. I love when the brave ones take bread right from my hand and laugh when I feel the nip of their beaks. I feel so carefree.

I also enjoy watching them swim around gracefully or waddle about on their webbed feet. It's hilarious when they dunk their heads under water and stick their bottoms in the air. Ducks are such beautiful creatures, and I've never found myself appreciating them as much as I have this summer.

Some of the greatest things in life are free. Nature amazes me, and those adorable quackers have certainly stolen my heart. It's nice to feel like a carefree child sometimes. Life is too often so serious.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Taking a Hike... Literally

Hi Everyone:

Yesterday I took a hike with a friend for the first time in a long time. Neither of us had hiking boots but still managed the nearly hour-long trek through the woods. As I huffed and puffed, sometimes struggling to keep up with her, I was reminded of how out-of-shape I am.

I know that it's good to start slowly when you haven't exercised in a while. But sometimes spur-of-the-moment adventures are good too. Just remember to not push yourself too hard and to take breaks.

A recently published Taiwanese study ( found that getting 15 minutes of exercise per day is good for one's health and can extend the life expectancy of people who don't exercise.

While some people might argue that one should exercise for a longer amount of time, I think it's better than nothing. I confess, however, that I have a long way to go before I master the 15 minutes of exercise routine. I'm lazy. I haven't had a regular exercise routine in months. I have access to an elliptical but don't use it. I don't walk even half as much as I should.

Mind you, I'm proud of myself for having walked to a friend's house last week. I'll try to do that again tomorrow if the weather gods are on my side.

Also, I wouldn't mind taking another hike with my friend sometime soon. There's nothing like being outside in nature. The birds. The trees. Walking through the woods felt like being in another world. As we stepped over branches and rocks, I kind of felt like Frodo on his journey to Mordor. Of course, my lame joke about how we might find a dead body was the result of watching too much Criminal Minds.

So, take a hike, a walk, a bike ride or a swim... for 15 minutes. I'll try if you do.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Condolences to Jack Layton's Family

Hi Everyone:

I would like to extend my cyber space condolences to Jack Layton's family, Olivia Chow and his children Sarah and Michael Layton.

The NDP leader, 61, passed away this morning after succumbing to a new form of cancer (

Although I am not an NDP supporter, I must commend Layton's passion for politics and social issues. His drive enabled him to lead his party to Official Opposition status this past May. He never gave up and fought for what he believed in.

The new NDP leader has big shoes to fill.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Addicted to Criminal Minds

Hi Everyone:

I know it's been a long time since I last wrote. A writer with nothing to say? Alas, life does sometimes throw a writer such a curve ball.

Addictions. Many of us have them - chocolate, nicotine, soap operas, video games. While I am a chocoholic, I have become addicted (need to watch the Internet usage!) to Criminal Minds over the past few months.

I love the way the Behavioural Analysis Unit (BAU) characters interact with each other (e.g. Derek Morgan and Penelope Garcia playfully yet harmlessly flirt, the team, usually Morgan, teases Dr. Spencer Reid, or how everyone respects head honcho Aaron Hotchner, a.k.a. Hotch.) and are able to solve the crimes and catch the unsubs (i.e. unknown subjects). Although some of the episodes (those serial killers are sick and I don't mean cool) make me squirm a little more than others, I appreciate their complexity as well as the quotes that begin and end each of them.

Watching Criminal Minds sometimes makes me feel tempted to pursue a Criminology degree. It's just a crazy thought.