Recently, a 40-year-old friend e-mailed me a thanks for telling him what he should be eating at his ripe old age. About nine years younger than him, I couldn't claim to be a true expert and had a good laugh at his note. But the other cool thing about some of the facts I uncovered in reporting this recent Best Life food-for-health story is that you don't have to be a man to get benefits from these ingredients. Have a look at the piece, featuring actual experts (including a look at celebrity nutritionist culture), and if you see me at the local French bakery, I give you permission to smack me in the gut.
p.s. I also admit that I did send into the universe this cocktail story for Angeleno as well as this artisanal hot dog roundup for Lexus's newly retooled lifestyle and culture magazine--but hey, one of the dogs is made from organic, grass-fed beef, and let's not forget about the medicinal uses of ginger, which appear in one of Katsuya Hollywood's most transporting sips.
Ever since I first saw Charles Eames answer questions on design, I knew I wanted to know more about the people who follow at least some version of his career path (how hard is it to make a chair, right?). Anyway, filmmaker and designer Hillman Curtis 's recent film about artist-designer Stefan Sagmeister explains a little bit of the mystery (well, not about chairs, but about design; well, not about design, but about that little issue called life). It also could be Curtis's most illuminating designer film if only because it shows the work of a man who, among rotting bananas and inflatable gorillas, presented the texts: "Don't work with assholes," "Everyone thinks they are right," and "Worrying solves nothing." As for "Money does not make me happy," I can't exactly get behind that one given the current states of mag journalism and American healthcare. But I like the first sentiment, and I definitely get his drift in re: the greenbacks.
in the LA Times
about young immigrant liver-transplant survivors who hit 21
and lose state coverage, often causing a lapse in their post-transplant
care without chances for re-transplantation, raises issues so
important, it should spark questions in a forthcoming presidential
debate. Not only does it
shine a light on whether or not young, illegal immigrants should
taxpayer-supported medical treatment; it is powerful enough to
illuminate a candidate's sheer humanity, regardless of his or her
In reporter Anna Gorman's story, a young woman circumvented
near-certain death and won her way back to state-supported care at
could offer her another transplant if necessary as opposed to care
provided by the county. Her strategy? Admitting that she lives in this
nation illegally. Bold.
Now, I am not in support
of every immigrant having to take such a leap in our current immigration-reform
environment; but that isn't the issue. When terminal or chronic and progressive illnesses strike,
certain compromises need to be made.
And surprise: For as many citizens who don't want an illegal
on a liver-transplant waiting list in a country where supplies are low
costs are high, there are humanitarians in medicine and the field of
ethics who believe that a hospital should not drop a pediatric
immigrant transplant case--or any other type of chronic case--just
because the patient has reached legal drinking age.
It is a terribly
imperfect system, to be sure. But I don't just feel for these patients as a chronic
disease sufferer who received a transplant during the pediatric period
of my life. I see and hear about what these patients deal with firsthand as the
husband of a cross-cultural health-psychology researcher who, among other
things, assesses quality of life and depression in monolingual immigrant patients
with similar circumstances.
The facts: These patients are under tremendous
stress outside of their medical predicaments--as if they need anything else to worry about. Other cultures also sometimes
view chronic illness differently than Americans—it's not just "bad luck" or
something that can be "fixed." Some patients from other countires,
for instance, may consider one disease a curse or punishment. Some may never
tell family members. Some may not seek treatment consistently enough without
strong reminders. These factors need to be considered when rendering a decision
about medical care for non-citizens.
In fact, it's even harder to be a sick young adult as an illegal
resident, and I say that knowing how terribly difficult it is to
multiple conditions of this severity as an American citizen. When these
immigrants received livers as children under state-supported insurance
they didn't ask for American care. They didn't ask to be here at all,
We cannot hold them responsible for a choice they didn't make, and to
them on this count would show some of the lowest regard for human life
imagine. While these patients may not pay the same taxes as other
residents, notifying the government of their status is not as simple as
sounds. It is a brave and risky measure. One with potentially harsh
repercussions for their families that should be rewarded with at least
same care that would be given to any other American child.
For the record, oncologists consider patients "pediatric" up
to and sometimes beyond 20 years of age. But the public has caught on to this labeling
due to powerful cancer survivorship networks like that of Lance Armstrong's (love him or
hate him). Liver disease and other ailments that strike patients up to this
age, and perhaps beyond, should also be considered pediatric. And pediatric
patients--for starters, at least—should have a reliable medical support system in
this country regardless of how or when they arrived on these shores. As Dr.
Michael Shapiro, the vice chairman of the ethics committee for the liver network,
said in Gorman's LA Times piece: there's probably a better chance that more illegal
immigrants donate organs in America than those who receive them.
So let's pose the question to all candidates, regardless of
political party. The results could tell us not who is ultra-conservative or ultra-liberal but who
values human life. They could give us a true sense of a candidate's
character. And wouldn't that be a little more interesting than getting
nitpicky about whose national health plan will do exactly what before
it's even put into place.
Aside from people asking
me if I once had a relative
named Max (my last name is Baer; Max Baer was a
famous Jewish boxer), I never really thought about the influence my
people had on athletics. That is, I never really thought
about their influence beyond what I as an agnostic but cultural
Jewish self-identifier gleaned from "Great
Jews in Sports," perhaps the funniest book in the world, which was given to
me as, it was to many a doughy
as a tacky Bar Mitzvah gift so new men might read about
Sandy Koufax and dream of being more than violinists, lawyers, studio heads, and writers. At last, however, "Orthodox Stance," Jason Hutt's
documentary about Ukranian
Orthodox Brooklyn Jew Dmitry Salita proves that I don't have to return to old
stories about Rod Carew to get inspired about an athlete
who knows his Torah. The film, which opens tomorrow at LA's Laemmle
Theater, follows the 21-year-old from the Starret City boxing club as he and his 80-year-old African-American trainer move from relative obscurity to a deal with boxing impresario Lou DiBella
and an honorary mishpucha that
includes Hasidic musician Matisyahu.
the film doesn't explore—why this mild-mannered kid with friends of all
and colors turned to a conversion-happy chabad and extreme boxing
discipline in the
wake of his mother's sudden death to cancer, and why his brother and father
aren't really a)
religious or b) a part of the story—seems to hang in the air like an
matzoh ball. But the boxing footage is fantastic. Dmitry, a
dress like any hood from Brighton Beach,
but he lays into his opponents with the passion of a young Sylvester
also good fun to watch Dmitry scuffle with his extremely stoic brother:
he shouldn't wear a
wrinkled suit to a press conference ("But it's DKNY," his brother
And it's cool to know that a pro boxing outfit will delay your matches
beyond Shabbat so you don't have to piss off God just to knock down
another heathen. Of course, the flick's no "Rocky Balboa." It's much
more real and hence mildly dry. But in an age when a
Hasidic actor's shunned by his Williamsburg
community for attempting
to act in a film with Natalie Portman, it's cool to see a present-day
Great Jew in Sports balance his jabs and High Holiday prayers.
"Orthodox Stance" opens April
11 at Laemmle's Music Hall. 9036 Wilshire
Blvd (Doheny) Beverly Hills, CA90211. 310-274-6869. www.laemmle.com
I have just interviewed three of America's top tennis players -- though, not the celebs you may be thinking of -- and have to share the following with the world: these people are super-boring! So much so, I find the above tennis racquet-manufacturing image much more interesting. It's odd: Growing up, I always thought tennis was a social, thinking person's game. But now the young stars are not unlike the young conservatory bred violin prodigies putting us to sleep at concert halls. So much technical game, so little personality. More on this story as I get deeper into it. But how sad has tennis become since Andre Agassi left the courts? I continue to mourn life on the court.