Archive for February, 2010

Sexual abuse of women and girls — a strange day

February 9, 2010

My day definitely had a theme, because I saw, heard, or read four different takes on it. The theme was sexual abuse of women and girls, starting with this column by Nicholas Kristof, progressing to the movie “Precious,” then listening to Eve Ensler talk about girls and the challenges they face, finally capping off my unusual day with another movie, “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.”  They all interacted in my mind, leading to the conclusion that it would help to have more discussion of this difficult topic.

Kristof, a New York Times columnist, often writes about abuse of women as it occurs in undeveloped countries; he may even be the go-to authority on the subject.

The movie “Precious” is nominated for best picture this year, and should be a strong contender.  Despite what you may have heard, “Precious” has an optimistic component and goes beyond simply being a horror story (photograph above is of the main character, Precious).

Eve Ensler began a discussion of what it means to be female with the wildly successful “Vagina Monologues,” and continues to champion the cause of openness and full discussion of women’s issues.

Finally, Tyler Perry adds humor (and singing!) to the mix, but nevertheless takes sexual abuse very seriously in “I Can Do Bad All by Myself.”  No Academy Award nominations for this one, but I liked it.

My hope for this brief post is that you check out some of these four examples, give the topic a lot of thought, and do what you can to make the world a kinder and better place.

Good grief?

February 5, 2010

Is there a right way to grieve the loss of a loved one? The answer, I believe, is NO, but some ways seem less healthy than others.  For example, grieving in isolation may deny a person much needed social support.  Also, rigidly expecting certain “stages” to occur, or time-lines to be followed, can lead to crippling disappointment and guilt feelings.  For a good update on this topic, see “Good Grief, is there a better way to be bereaved?” in The New Yorker (here).  Also, you may want to check out my earlier posting on this topic (here).

S – – t, the new four-letter word

February 3, 2010

Why, I wonder, is it still so hard to fix a meal or go to a restaurant and not overdose on salt? This New York Times article, for example, claims one pastrami sandwich (with only two pickles)  at Katz’s deli in NY City has 4,490 mg of sodium.  That’s  at least a two-day dose, going by the recommendation of the FDA that we consume a maximum of 2,300 mg per day, and only 1,500 if we’re at risk for hypertension (which is 69% of the U.S. adult population!).  A large take-out container of Manhattan clam chowder at the Oyster Bar weighed in at a scary 3,100 milligrams.

“Oh, that’s just alarmist thinking,” you say.  “Only some of us are salt-sensitive.”  Well, before you relax too much, read the latest on sodium health risks from the New England Journal of Medicine (here).