Tag Archives: Charles P. Rogers
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt
I love young adult and teen fiction, but I don’t normally go for the harder, darker, more realistic stories. I prefer to read to escape reality. So I was surprised when I picked up Okay For Now and just kept on going. Even when you realize that the dad is a horrible person and that the brother is almost as bad. And most of the teachers are rotten too. Maybe I kept going because I could see the glimmer of hope through the terrible events in his present.
Because although Douglas Swieteck is up against a great deal of adversity and wrangling with a lot of preconceived notions from adults in his new school in Marysville, New York, there are a couple people who know he is not a thug just because his brother is, and maybe he is acting out because his life is rotten. Most important among those who help guide Douglas out of the fog is Mr. Powell, the elderly librarian who recognizes Douglas’s fascination with the Audubon book at the library and encourages him to try drawing the birds himself. Ultimately Douglas discovers a healing through art.
Although it’s difficult to believe the breadth and depth of the story, it doesn’t take away from the beauty of the tale. A lovely, at times dark, story of redemption and discovery.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
I may be a day late on this one, but Halloween was my best chance at watching something spoooooky. And Halloween came on a Thursday and the movie reviews go up on Fridays. It’s not my fault that I didn’t have this for you yesterday. Anyway, some people find horror movies to be good any time of year. I bet there’s folk out there watch slasher films after Thanksgiving dinner. I don’t. I don’t watch anything but the wall after Thanksgiving dinner.
So: Paranormal Activity 3. The premise throughout the four movies is the same, and they are all about the same group of people, which is interesting. If you never saw the first one, it is a videocamera-obsessed guy and his wife or girlfriend. All we see is the footage he shoots as he tries to capture evidence of mysterious, perhaps otherworldly goings-on in the home. Namely, a ghost or demon or something wreaking havoc and messing with his wife. Number three is actually about the woman from the first one, but as a child. We discover that this nasty thing has been in her life since she was small. Initially dismissed as an imaginary friend, “Toby” turns out to be very real and very unpleasant.
This is a good movie to watch if you like being startled, seeing creepy things appear suddenly, and are willing to suspend a little bit of disbelief. (Someone is always sooo stubborn and unwilling to see what is right in front of her!)
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Following this month’s theme of sleep studies, I have another bit of research that may help you sleep better. In a study titled, the effect of subliminal priming on sleep duration, which can be found online here, the authors found that subliminal exposure to certain words before going to sleep can improve the quality and duration of our sleep. The Boston Globe goes so far as to call it “subliminal Ambien.” To better understand how this works, we first need to understand a concept in psychology known as “priming.”
A simply way to describe priming is “that for a period of time after a word or other perceptual object is presented, less neural activity is required to process that same word of object.” In other words, repeated exposure to certain words or phrases makes it easier for your brain to associate them with a specific memory. As it relates to this study, priming your brain with sleepy word with the objective of getting to sleep faster is known as “goal-priming.” Okay, so how does it work? And more importantly, how can I prime myself to get to sleep faster?
The author of this study has stated that this type of “goal-priming” can be achieved by placing sticky notes or index cards with slumber-centric words like “calm,” “rest,” and “drift away” throughout your bedroom. So much so that the participants who were exposed to these sleepy words slept 47 percent longer and had lower heart rates than those who were exposed to “neutral” words. The study also found that the effects of subliminal priming are greater among participants who had trouble sleeping, suggesting that exposure to these subconscious cues may be a cost-effective treatment to help people with sleep problems. This may also help explain why bedtime stories are so effective for getting your kids to go to sleep.
However, this sort of goal-priming for better sleep is somewhat controversial, as other studies have been unable to replicate the results. Does it work, or not? We’ll let you be the judge. For me, it’s worth a try.
Post by Alison Hein.
Each Halloween, I like to create a festive, seasonal breakfast recipe. This year, I went with pumpkin crêpes. The bit of pumpkin purée in the batter adds depth, and when cooked, turns the crêpe a lovely golden orange color. The cream cheese-based filling is sweet and flavored with autumn pie spices of cinnamon, ginger and cloves.
Add a dollop of whipped cream to your crêpes for an over-the-top presentation that will delight the eyes as well as the palate. You can make your own, or do what I do and purchase a can of lightly sweetened real whipped cream.
If you like, mix up and refrigerate the filling and batter the night before Halloween. In the morning, fire up the stove and let the batter come to room temperature. Then serve your loved ones a trick-or-treat breakfast in bed that will rival any candy haul.
¼ cup pumpkin purée (fresh or canned)
6 ounces whipped cream cheese
4 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon cloves
Mix all ingredients together. Set aside until ready to assemble crêpes.
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup pumpkin purée
2 – 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Whipped cream (optional)
Dash of cinnamon, for garnish
In large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Whisk in milk, egg and pumpkin purée until batter is thick and smooth. Let batter rest a few minutes before cooking.
Heat about 1 teaspoon oil in heavy 6-inch pan over medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, add ¼ cupful of batter to pan, swirling to cover bottom. Cook crêpe 1 to 2 minutes until cooked through and lightly browned, flipping once. Keep warm while cooking remaining crêpes, monitoring heat and adding oil as necessary. Place a sheet of waxed paper between cooked crêpes, if you like.
Place crêpes on work area. Spread with about 1 tablespoon of filling and roll up. Top with whipped cream, if you like, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Makes 6 to 7 crêpes.
Post by Kyle St. Romain.
Last week we discussed how sleeping on a problem can boost your creative problem solving abilities — specifically, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. While I was researching that article, I came across another interesting study that I want to share with you.
The study up for discussion today is titled, Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain. In a nutshell, the study found that your body rids the brain of toxic metabolic waste while you sleep. Yes, your brain needs to be cleaned with some regularity — like every day.
When we sleep, the brain cells shrink to facilitate the circulation of a special type of brain fluid that actually washes away the gunk and grime that accumulates between brain cells throughout the day. When we don’t get enough sleep (read: the body doesn’t have a chance to clean the brain) brain function is impaired and neural pathways are destroyed. The process is likened to “a dishwasher…. pumping fluid into the brain and removing fluid from the brain in a very rapid pace” according to Dr. Maiken Nedergaard who coauthored the study.
In addition to the temporary cognitive impairment (the brain fog you experience after a restless night), a prolonged lack of sleep is also thought to be a contributing factor to a number of permanent neurodegenerative problems, including Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the authors of the study speculate that we may even be able to control sleep in a way that helps prevent Alzheimer’s and other diseases associated with dementia. The varying rates that our brains accumulate waste may also be one of the reasons why some people need more sleep than others to feel rested. In other words, our bodies tells us when it’s time to take out the trash, and how long it’s going to need; a message that shouldn’t be ignored.
However, lack of sleep alone does not paint the entire picture. Another related study believes that some people may have a faulty glymphatic system (the brain’s equivalent of a lymphatic system). And if your body doesn’t have the proper facilities to remove waste from the brain, all the sleep in the world won’t help.
So, until these doctors and scientists figure out how to diagnose/treat a faulty glymph system, your best bet to maintaining a healthy brain is to be sure you’re getting enough sleep!