Friday, December 19, 2008


The Blue Zone is another in the book genre of healthy living. This is my category, more or less. Two of my favorites among scores of the same type of books are The Denial of Aging by Dr. Muriel Gillick and my favorite health guy, Dr. Andrew Weil and his 8 Weeks To Optimum Health. I like these two because Dr. Gillick tells it like it is and the best philosophy goes to Weil. I especially like his idea of compressed morbidity. All of us at some late age if we take care of ourselves can hope that our end time will be short.

The Blue Zones are places on the globe where there is a discernible group who have aged to a point that they are living long and good lives. And, their life styles are measurable. In other words, they have lived a certain lifestyle which have made them vibrant and alive and living long and well. It is what we have heard: exercise, what they eat and drink, their interaction with their fellow human beings. This is a fairly simplistic view of the book.

The author has developed the book into a scientific journal with the collaboration of other scientists on the science of longevity. The Blue Zone is a literal place: Sardinia, Okinawa, Loma Linda, California and Costa Rica. I've read and now rereading.

I must confess that I recently had the opportunity to spend time with several older types, several 90 plus types that I have no doubt will make it to at least a 100. The question with them is not The Blue Zone type issues of your life style but how did you make it this far and do you want to go any further. These are philosophical questions but those that fit our society at large much more than questions of The Green Zone. Most of these have had multiple operations, maladies galore, suffering the insensitives of old age bigtime. Several had canes or walkers, about half still were driving. Most were still living independently with several in some type of home as opposed to house or apartment. Several had hearing problems and were noticeably having trouble getting around. I had a good bit of trouble engaging them in meaningful conversation about what brought them to this point in their lives. Why? I don't know.

Read The Blue Zone. It can't hurt. I read the dust jacket first and I can tell you that it did not live up to its hype in terms of formula: know why? There is none. I think personally it is philosophy. Somewhere along the way, you kind of develop a view of how you are going to live and that is as important as exercise, eating right, whatever. All of this is so intangible but insight into yourself cannot be overemphasized as you age. And, here is the rub; I don't quite see it in the older people I meet.

My models were a seminary professor, Dr. W. W. Boyce. I can still remember his insightful views toward life, not only in the classroom but sitting out on the little bench at my seminary, Erskine, in Due West, S. C. His wife had died early on and was sick before that: he nursed her and made taking care of her, his life. He never remarried and had the philosophy that he wanted to devote the rest of his life to his students. When he taught me, he was about 80. In fact, while I was in his class, the school decided to retire him. We objected vehemently and threatened a demonstration which would have been unheard of in our day. They relented.

The second model was an older woman, at least 80 or so when I knew her. I was a busboy at the college cafeteria. She constantly solicited info from me about my life, my future, any and everything. At some point, she decided that she wanted to invest a small amount of money, like $200 dollars per month in helping me. At that time, I had about four jobs and her gift meant I could quit a couple and devote more time to my studies. It was a Godsend to me and the only stipulation, which was self imposed, was that I reciprocate at some time in the future in helping others. I have and rarely do it that I don't, to myself, say this is in honor of my dear friend, Nonnie (I never learned her real first name: her last name was Kendrick). Now, with Dr. Boyce and Nonnie, how did they get that way? I don't know but I know this, their philosophy of life reflected an attitude that just didn't happen.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


The Last Time I Saw My Father is one of those relational movies that seem to more or less cover the same theme. Although British, decidedly American in outlook, meaning lots of “navel” gazing. We are the best at attempting to figure how how we got to be who we are.

Are we hopelessly screwed up because of Dad or Mom or whatever. I use to love to quote author Tom Harris from his book, “I’m OK, You’re OK” from the seventies. This is an aside but I’ve always wondered how the theory of Transactionsl Analysis, fell out of favor with psychological theorists or did it? Regardless, I haven’t heard it mentioned in years. Harris said something like: “It is pretty sad if I think I am what I am today at 40 because my Mom hit my Dad with my potty chair on Christmas eve, in Cincinnati.”

This movie is a little like that. I kept wanting to say to Colin Firth, get over it. Jim Broadbent did a good job of portraying the less than insightful father with an outsized ego. Firth played the “hang dog” looking son even as a teenager.

What I did like about the movie was the fact that it dealt with reality about as well as movies do. Americans would have probably tried to tie it all up in a neat bow at the end. With the way the Brits handled it, gave us more of a chance to coginate our navel. 2 parachutes


Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

Righteous Kill
Field of Dreams

Thursday, December 4, 2008


A very unusual and pensive movie. Must have gone directly to video and I don't know why. The story is so intense that getting it on a movie of two hours is pretty tough. They got the basics: one man's passion for doing away with the slave trade in his native England. It was the driver in his life. What a wonderful thing to have a passion and never give up. And, I might add: to have a forum, a pulpit, to get the message out there and to actually change things. As an aside, I will admit that there was some wishful thinking on my pet cause of National Community Service but without much of a chance to make a difference. And, can anyone think of anything more terrible than trafficking in human souls. Well, asking a few Americans to fight our wars is not far behind.

There were lots of nuances to this movie, the protagonist's sickness for one thing, probably chron's disease. Then, there was the song, Amazing Grace, the power of the hymn was simply overwhelming.

Some things weren't totally fleshed out as well as they could be but OK. It sure struck me, although subtle in the movie: the English slave trade was greatly enhanced by the Americans. And, it surely didn't escape me that America, who practised the slave trade and helped others do it a little more than a hundred years ago has now elected a President, who, very well may be descended from slaves. God bless America, we are still trying to get it right. Good movie, 2 parachutes.