Tuesday, November 20, 2007

shirley strawberry

work to instill strong hooey filters in my kids
Sunday, November 18, 2007

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I have been asked many times: What is the most difficult job for any parent?

Is it toilet training? No, getting children to use the bathroom isn't hard; it's getting them out again that's really tough.

Is it raising children who are thoughtful, honest and appreciative? Nope, it's much tougher raising ones that are unthinking, confirmed liars and totally unappreciative.

The hardest problem for any parent is building a child's "Hooey filter." To use my father's definition, "Hooey is a bunch of crap that you better not catch yourself believing."

The waves of hooey are constantly breaking on the shores of our children, flooding into their eyes, ears and noses, over and over. And the waves will keep coming for the rest of their lives. It's on the television, it's on the Internet, it's in the best papers and the worst books. Our closest friends and most distant relatives are full of it as well. There is no escape.

Whether it comes in the form of magazine ads that make young girls feel fat and ugly, TV comedies that make boys think it's funny to be stupid, or TV interviews with Shirley MacLaine where she declares that if she was going to date again, it would have to be someone off a UFO, specifically from the Pleiades cluster. (Now those are standards!)

It's all part of the ocean of hooey in which all humankind is doomed to paddle for the rest of their lives.

It comes in all flavors: poisoned strawberry Kool-Aid for those waiting to join the aliens trailing a comet; Tutti-Frutti for impressionable young Muslims wearing dynamite suits on their way to meet the 40 or so virgins waiting in heaven; or safe, sane old vanilla, "take these vitamins and you'll never be short, weak, fat, bald and spineless ever again" flavor.

That's what scares me most about the future for my children: their somehow being taken in by dangerous hooey. So, I work hard to give them impenetrable hooey filters to serve them all their precious lives.

First, I start with the most basic defense of all: self-confidence.

There is nothing that a load of hooey likes better than a vacuum in the self-confidence department. Therefore, I fill in all the spaces with praise. Praise every day, just like vitamins for the soul.

When they are being smart, I tell them. When they are looking good, I tell them. When they are feeling bad that all their classmates are taller than they are, I warn them: "Well, don't make fun of them for it. It's not nice."

Second, I always encourage them to question everything. To find out for themselves; never just accept the word of "competent authority."

A doctor on TV said that? Dr. Josef Mengele of Auschwitz was a doctor, too. He made it to TV; I think it was part of "Human Monsters" week on the History Channel.

The point is that "competent authorities" are human as well, and just as apt to be full of dangerous hooey as any of us. Soldier, sailor, police, pope or president can all get their pants on backward in the dark, and probably have.

Third, and most important, is to get kids to believe in themselves and their own innate sense of what's right. Get them to understand if it sounds like hooey, it probably is. Get them not to be afraid of being wrong; the only stupid question is the one someone was too embarrassed to ask. It brings on a lot of questions and a lot of arguments, but then again, raising independent-thinking children is much harder than raising sheep.

Last of all, I encourage keeping informed. In a world filled with seas of hooey, there are also boatloads of good information. I help them read, listen and sift through it all, hoping that, if only by example, they will learn to pan the gold out of the sand. And P.S. I always remind them, they don't need to have a firm opinion on anything. They can have the most valuable kind of mind of all: an open one.

So, if Shirley thinks she is ready for a date with four legs, 10 arms and 150 fingers, go for it, baby, and don't forget to write. Although, if it's true, while the Pleiades might be able to teach us a thing or two about starships, they're about to get a major lesson in hooey.

The average American will gobble 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day, and gain 5 to 10 pounds between now and New Year's.

But a group of seven women at the Oregon Military Department are armed to combat those gut-popping figures this holiday season. They call themselves Troop Wellness, and they not only work together, they cook, exercise and lose weight together.

They have shed a combined 244 pounds and nearly 50 inches through Weight Management Program of Salem.

They have demonstrated the discipline of soldiers, although all are civilians. They work in the installations division of the headquarters of the Oregon Army National Guard.

Mary Jane Jacobsen is their de facto commander. She and her husband enrolled in the program in April, and their transformation persuaded her co-workers to give it a try.

Robin Howard and Christine Rock joined in June, Jennifer Losson and Lori Ross followed in July, and Lori Doke and Shirley Smith in September.

"The synergy we have is incredible, because everybody who has tried has been successful," Jacobsen says. "I'm really proud of my girls."

Weight Management is a medically supervised program that advertises rapid and safe weight loss (3-5 pounds a week). Patients are under a physician's care, attend weekly educational classes and use a meal replacement product (a powder that comes in packets).

Five servings a day provides 800 calories and all the necessary protein, vitamins and minerals.

"It's not the traditional protein drink that's hard to get down," says Howard, who dropped seven inches from her waist in the first eight weeks.

The product comes in four flavors -- chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and creamy potato soup --and can be blended, baked, cooked or frozen.

To hear these women, ages 31 to 51, talk of eating chocolate cake, cookies, pancakes, even ice cream, you'd never guess they were dieting.

The program provides recipes, but they've gotten creative on their own. Jacobsen makes tamales using the soup mix, a little matzo and some hot sauce. (The program allows 100 calories a day in additives). Ross discovered sugar-free eggnog syrup and combines it with a vanilla packet to make one of her favorite holiday treats.

When they went to Camp Rilea this fall for a professional development workshop -- traditionally a feeding frenzy -- they arranged to stay in the same cottage so they could cook for each other and stick to the plan.

Not everyone can afford the program. Jacobsen estimates it costs about $2,000 to complete the 16-week first phase, including meal replacements. A box of 15 -- a three-day's supply -- is $35.

"This way you're serious," Ross says. "This is a commitment to yourself, and you're worth every penny of it."

Doke calls it an educational investment. Rock likes setting a healthy example for her kids, ages 3, 10 and 17.

The health benefits have been drastic for Jacobsen, who no longer takes medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol, and for Ross, who is in control of her diabetes.

All of them feel better, which benefits the military department.

"We're more productive, and we're missing a lot less work," Jacobsen says.

But most of all, they're happier. Their success is remarkable because it evolves around the workplace, which can sabotage the best-planned diet. They're fortunate the building where they work has a kitchenette and an exercise room.

If anyone can resist temptations during the holidays, I believe these women can. They will exercise more, cut back before dinner parties, maybe even pack along their own brownies.

"Forward This" appears Mondays and Thursdays and highlights the people, places and organizations of the Mid-Willamette Valley. To For a whole range of reasons, radio has always felt a little suspicious about women on the air.

Once upon a time, not that long ago, some music stations wouldn't program two consecutive records by female artists - reflecting a feeling that listeners preferred male voices coming out of their radio speakers.

Needless to say, that attitude has made it harder for women to get hired as hosts, which is one reason it's nice that American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT) is hosting a luncheon Wednesday at the Hard Rock honoring six women currently heard on New York FM morning shows.

Collectively dubbed "FM Radio's Angels of the Morning" - okay, we won't dwell on that - they include WLTW (106.7 FM) co-hosts Karen Carson and Christine Nagy and WFUV (90.7 FM) co-hosts Claudia Marshall and Julianne Welby, plus Shelli Sonstein of WAXQ (104.3 FM) and Patty Steele of WPLJ (95.5 FM).

At the luncheon, they will "share their stories and anecdotes about the joys, challenges and early wakeup calls of morning drive radio."

This celebration is selective, of course, not comprehensive, and it focuses specifically on FM personalities. But it does provide a good excuse to note that as of late 2007, a number of other women have also made their way onto New York morning radio.

Miss Jones hosts the morning show on WQHT (97.1 FM). Denise Hill hosts mornings, and is also program director, at WLIB (1190 AM).

Deepa Fernandez is the main morning host at WBAI (99.5 FM), and Whoopi Goldberg hosts her syndicated show out of WKTU (103.5 FM).

Donna Hanover co-hosts the WOR (710 AM) morning show, and Malin Falu co-hosts the morning show at WADO (1280 AM).

Shaila is on the morning show at WRKS (98.7 FM), and Lady O is on WWPR (105.1 FM). Danielle Monaro and Carolina Bermudez are part of the WHTZ (100.3 FM) Morning Zoo.

Ann Tripp has been part of a number of morning shows, and she currently works with two, at WLIB and WBLS (107.5 FM).

Speaking of WBLS, Shirley Strawberry and Carla are also part of the Steve Harvey show that originates there.

Several women are also part of national shows that originate from or are heard here, including Robin Quivers on Sirius' Howard Stern show and Renee Montagne on NPR's "Morning Edition."

Susan Huber hosts the morning show on Radio Disney, heard here on WQEW (1560 AM).

Not to be overlooked, simply because many radio (and TV) stations felt for years that listeners didn't like their news to be delivered by a woman, Pat Carroll is a morning co-anchor on WCBS-AM (880) and Judy DeAngelis on WINS (1010 AM).

(Any omissions here, by the way, are unintentional


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