The media has taken out after poor Meghan Markle again.  This time, they’re saying that she had the nerve to tell her husband to lose weight.  On top of that, they claim she’s started picking out his clothes.  Where do they come up with all this supposedly inside information?  Was a reporter hiding in their bedroom closet?  Maybe someone noticed Prince Harry  had dropped a few pounds , and concocted this story.  But it does present a moral issue:   Should you ask someone to lose weight? Should you help your husband pick out new clothes?

Body shaming is another matter.  It’s harmful to make fun of someone’s size.  My sister struggled with overweight as a young adult, and was often  the target of ridicule. She ended up taking so many diet pills that it affected her mental health for the rest of her life.

Should a wife tell a husband to lose some weight
A caring wife may ask her husband to lose some weight.

On the other hand, what is so terrible about a concerned wife suggesting her husband lose a few pounds?  Seem to me, it’s the caring thing to do.  My husband has bad knees, and must walk with a cane.  When he starts complaining, I’m apt to suggest he take off a few pounds to relieve the pressure on his joints.  Maintaining a normal  weight is also important for heart health.  On top of that, he’s a diabetic.  Is  a wife supposed to ignore it when her husband starts packing on the pounds?

Research has shown that the loss of 10 pounds can lead to a healthier life. Benefits may include:  1) 50% reduction in heart disease.  2) 60% reduction in diabetes risk. 3) 50 % decrease in arthritis.

What’s so mean and terrible about that?

About the clothes issue:  My husband always wants me with him when he buys new clothes.  I can tell him which colors are unflattering,  or when the shoulders of a jacket or sweater are too saggy—things he doesn’t always notice. By the same token, I want his advice on what to wear for special occasions.  Seems to me that’s one good thing about having a loving spouse or partner.

So I’m asking the media: please leave Meghan alone.  It won’t hurt Harry at all to lose some weight.  And it might inspire others to do the same.


I’ve never been a friend of coal.  When I was a child, most everyone heated their homes with coal. On school days, I would bundle up in my snowsuit for the one mile walk.  The skies in winter were clouded with a gray haze.  You could smell the coal smoke in the air.  No one gave it a second thought.  It was a fact of life.  On the worst days, I would get home from school and see a ring around my neck when I took off my snowsuit.  That was the place where my cap rode up, exposing my neck to the air.  Coal gave me a dirty neck.

air pollution from coal smoke used to be a fact of life. But coal gave me a dirty neck.
70 years ago, no one worried about coal polluting the air. They used to laugh when coal smoke gave me a dirty neck..

I was a sickly child, losing many school days due to colds, flu, and respiratory infections. My parents had me in and out of the doctor’s office all winter, trying to figure out why.  They tested my hemoglobin, checked my heart, and listened to my lungs.  No one could understand what was wrong with me.  They never mentioned allergies or air pollution  from coal smoke as a  possible cause. All I know is that when I went away to school, I was healthier.  By that time, I suppose, fewer people had coal furnaces.

Coal mining is a major political issue in Indiana.  The coal industry is doing everything it can to keep the mines from closing. .   Any  Hoosier  politician who wants to win an election must promise to try and keep  them open.  To this day, most of the electricity in this country is produced by coal.  Why? Because it’s plentiful and cheap, and coal miners aren’t interested in retraining for new jobs.

hundreds of railway cars full of coal pass through Indiana every day. But coal gave me a dirty neck.
Thousands of railway cars full of coal pass through Indiana .

The other day I was waiting in my car for a train to pass at a crossing. Yes, we’re a train town, which means you always have an excuse to be late for appointments.   To fight the boredom, I started counting the coal cars but I gave up at 50.  Every railway car on that train was loaded with coal.

The state of Indiana does offer a few tax breaks and incentives for clean energy, but  It doesn’t look like we’re too worried about climate change here in Indiana.


There’s a big controversy in our city about sex education in the public schools. Indiana policy is that any sex ed class must teach abstinence as the only sure way to avoid pregnancy. That sounds fairly accurate.  It’s true, isn’t it? The problem is that some parents want their kids to learn more about safe sex, and how to enjoy it. Those parents must have been very happy last Sunday. During the Super Bowl half time show, Pepsi sponsored a lesson in Sex Education.

You needn’t go to a strip show in Vegas to watch porn. You can see it in your own living room during an all American football game. If you were a parent or grandparent watching with your kids, you could thank Pepsi Cola, Sharia, and J, Lo for providing a very graphic lesson in sex education.

Maybe you’ve been one of those over protective parents who discourage porn, and encourage modesty. Did you think the super bowl half time show was vulgar and disgusting? Get over it. After seeing what’s acceptable at an NFL event, you may as well stock your medicine cabinet with condoms and morning after pills.

Sharia’s exhibitionist performance, sent me to the other room for a good book.  I didn’t get to see J. Lo showing our kids how to do a pole dance in a strip show. I’ve heard she bared her rump,  and made some obscene gestures. And to top it off, her eleven year old daughter got to take part in her Mom’s performance.

J.Lo and Sharia gave a lesson in Sex Education at the Super Bowl
Thanks to Pepsi, our kids got a lesson in sex education at the Super Bowl.

I was sure that the media would freak out in protest. But guess what? They gave this sexual performance rave reviews. Only that old fuddy duddy Franklin Graham had the nerve to call the show out for sexual exploitation. We wonder what’s wrong with kids today. Why are they promiscuous, and why so many unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases? Look no further than the Super Bowl half time show for an explanation.


Stay home if you’re contagious. That’s the current advice from doctors. Decades ago, when  most working people lived paycheck to paycheck, people went to work sick.  Even bragged about it. You were tough and maybe even heroic to ignore your misery and punch the time clock.  Employers made things worse, docking people for too many sick days.  Perfect attendance translated to the perfect employee.  TV advertisements for various cold medicines bolstered this mentality. First, you saw a man coughing and sneezing before taking the advertised pill. Hours later, he would be pictured at work.  Even today, pharmaceutical commercials promote the idea of masking your symptoms and soldiering on.  That’s how TV ads help spread viruses.

Last week, I sat in a car dealership for two hours while my car was being repaired.  It was a lovely waiting room, with comfortable lounges, computers, WiFi,  free coffee and snacks. Luckily, I’d brought my kindle, while others were stuck with cell phone trivia.  The man across from me had a cough, and I prayed my immune system was up to speed.

Big Pharma makes big bucks during flu outbreaks

By the next afternoon, I felt lethargic and thought maybe the cold weather had worn me out.  But  the next day, I knew what had happened.  I’d caught a cold.  And I knew exactly how.  Just as it happens so often, when you go to a movie, and someone behind you is coughing or sneezing.  Why do people do this?  Why is it socially acceptable to go out in public when you ought to stay at home?

I’m thinking of the latest pharmaceutical ad for a cold remedy.  It’s a commercial I actually enjoy. First, the man is seen sneezing and looking miserable.   Suddenly, he takes the advertised capsule.  Fast forward to a treadmill, where he’s doing a little dance routine.  He’s smiling happily.  But what about the other people in the workout room who’s breathing in his contaminated air?

Outwardly,  he appears to be perfectly healthy.  He’s not sneezing or spreading his cold virus through coughing.  Nevertheless, he has a cold or the flu.  And he’s filling the air around him with the virus he’s carrying.  Recent studies have shown that we can get infected by the flu virus simply by breathing the same air as a carrier.

Who benefits when the cold and flu season is at its peak?  You guessed it, Big Pharma.  This year, their profits must be soaring.  Why should they want sick people to stay home?   More cold and flu in the population means more sales.  This is why you see aisles full of cold and flu remedies in pharmacies.  It’s probably the most profitable game in town during the flu season.

Television ads encouraging sick people to mask their symptoms and leave their house  should be banned. TV ads help spread cold and flu viruses

6 Things You’ll Miss About January

Even if you’re a winter person, you reach a point where you are fed up with  cold weather.   You try to get over it by envisioning  a day in July.  Imagine :  Your  sweaty legs sticking to your car seat.  Tossing and turning all night, but it’s too hot and humid.  You’re simply exhausted.   Hold those images for 2 seconds.  There! Aren’t you glad it’s Winter? ? ?  Not really. Summer memories are cold comfort when it’s below zero.  But wait. here are 6 things you will miss about January next July.

In July, there are 6 things you will miss about Januay
Winter is the time to snuggle under warm sheets and get a good night’s sleep.

A good night’s sleep.  It’s an established fact that people sleep better in the winter. Turn down the thermostat, and snuggle under flannel sheets.  It stays dark  until about 8:30, so you’ll probably get an extra hour’s sleep.

You can always dress for cold weather, but not for hot.  When it’s snowing, you can pile on layers of clothing to keep you toasty warm.  Not so if you’re trying to enjoy a summer picnic. Even if if you’re in  a nudist colony , you are still going to sweat.   And get sunburned.

Productivity increases in winter months. You have more energy.   It’s been scientifically proven that people make better decisions in cold weather..  Hot weather slows down your brain. .  You don’t feel like studying or doing anything that’s mentally taxing when it’s 90 degrees outside. There’s a reason why countries with cold climates are more developed than tropical regions.

Skin and hair look better in cold weather. Your pores tighten,  and your complexion clears up.  Hair doesn’t get  greasy and frizzy like it does in hot, humid weather.

You don’t have to do as much laundry.  Because you sweat less,  outerwear stays clean  for a longer time between washings.

No insect bites.  You don’t have to slather on insect repellent every time you go outdoors.  You can take a walk outdoors without worrying  about bee stings or  West Nile Virus .

It may be cold comfort when its below zero, but you will miss these 6 things about January.


While you’re young and active , it takes a lot to make you happy.  A big wedding.  A new house. Buying a late model car.  Giving birth to healthy children.   When that phase of life passes, you look forward to a busy retirement.  Many people ditch their homes and spend their golden  years exploring the United States in a big, expensive RV.  But what happens when you can’t do those things anymore?   When your horizons narrow, it’s time to refocus and enjoy the little things.   Seniors:  Savor life’s simple pleasures.

Although you own a car,  driving at night or an the interstate isn’t an option. But , you can still drive to the river and take a long walk  Or have a picnic in the park.  How many times does a working person  take time for such leisurely activities?  Yes, they might run or power walk  because that what’s people do now to keep fit.  But it’s really not as much fun as watching the ducks swimming across the water  while you sit with the sun on your face.

Going out to dinner at a fine restaurant was once a weekly highlight.  Now, a steak dinner with French fries is liable to keep you awake all night with heartburn.  It’s not much fun to eat out when everything is covered with butter or cream, or loaded with Mexican spices.  If you still enjoy cooking, it’s time to enjoy those old fashioned recipes that are easy on the tummy.  As an example, there’s nothing so delicious as Swiss Steak.  Choose a thick cut of lean round beef and simmer it all afternoon. ( You can leave off the gravy if you get heartburn).  Find some low fat, low calorie recipes in an old cookbook or on the internet.  You won’t miss those fancy restaurant meals at all. And you will certainly sleep better.

When your horizons narrow, begin to focus on the little things in life
If you can’t go South for the winter, bring Amaryllis bulbs back to life and watch their blooms unfold while the snow falls.

Indoor gardening is a great  joy when you can no longer drive South in the winter. Right now,  the stores are full of potted tulips and hyacinths. Lately, I’ve been having fun with amaryllis bulbs stored in the basement last fall,  and revived to re bloom this winter. . It’s exciting to see those little buds coming up out of nowhere, and watch them inch their way up to a beautiful, vibrant flower.

How often does a working person or busy retiree take the time to read a good book?  The average person only reads one book a year!  But now, those long winter afternoons provide a chance to go back and read the classics once again.  War and Peace.  Anna Karenina. Vanity Fair. Moby Dick.  Wuthering Heights. You may have had to read these books for a lit class, but this time around you can enjoy going back and lingering over every word.

Now is the time to get creative.  Paint pictures. Knit scarves. Write a blog.  Compose a poem.

Finally, get back in touch with childhood friends and relatives.    Maybe you can’t get together in person, but you can still write letters and talk on the telephone.  A surprising number of seniors have e mail, and know how to text.

Now is the time to focus on all the simple things you were too busy to enjoy before. Fix yourself a hot cup of tea and watch the snow fall..

Seniors: Savor Life’s Simple Pleasures

Yucky Restrooms Repel Customers

Most of us avoid using public restrooms like the plague.  But sometimes, especially if you’ve had too much coffee, you have to go.  It amazes me that big supermarket chains and discount stores make so little effort to keep their restrooms fresh and clean. Remember the heyday of the big department stores? Part of their appeal was their attractive powder rooms.  Yucky public restrooms repel customers.

We live  5 minutes away from three  superstores who constantly try and outdo each other to attract sales. They spend a fortune on beautiful full page, color ads.   They run unbelievable sales and loss leaders to lure you through their doors.  Only one of them has clean, attractive public restrooms.

Store #1:  Before you even walk inside the bathroom, you see two dull, grimy drinking fountains .  Open the door and you’re  greeted by a disgusting smell.  This is not a one time thing.  It  ALWAYS smells this way.  You have to wonder why.  Because of backed up drains?  Poor ventilation?  Whatever.  The walls are painted an ugly brown, with mustard yellow tiles.  Makes you think of diarrhea and other nasty images.  All of which goes along with the odor.  They have two stalls, and one of them is usually plugged up with toilet paper.

Store #2:  This is a big box store, so they have about 8 stalls.  The odor isn’t  so bad as store #1, but it comes close.  Paper towels are scattered all over the floor and on the sinks.  Usually, two or three toilets are stopped up, so it takes awhile to find one that works and doesn’t stink.  Often, they’re out of toilet paper. Stalls are stainless steel, and walls are painted a grayish white.  There is nothing remotely appealing about this place,

Store #3:  Nice surprise because it doesn’t stink.  No, it doesn’t look like the restrooms at the Hilton Garden Inn,  but at least the walls are freshly painted and bright.  The floors are mopped and free of litter. The sinks are clean.  None of the toilets are stopped up.  Stainless steel doors aren’t smudged with fingerprints.  Locks work.

Guess where I’d rather shop for my groceries? Yes, it’s a mile further, but subconsciously, I’m attracted to the cleanliness, good lighting, and smell of the restrooms at Store #3.  I probably won’t use their restroom very often, but I know it’s there, and I won’t have to hold my nose if I have to use it..

Clean public restrooms attract customers
Grocery stores that maintain clean public restrooms attract more customers.

Here’s my advice to all the big grocery chains:  If you really want to compete, forget about offers to save a dollar if you buy five, and all the other confusing ads.  Paint your restrooms pink or blue. You might even have some pretty  murals or framed pictures.  Install  some soft lighting. .  Make it smell fresh—not like bleach or disinfectant, but something really fragrant. Keep the mirrors clean. Take out those disgusting blow hand dryers  that everyone knows spread bacteria.  If a toilet gets plugged up, have a maintenance guy fix it pronto. You might be surprised what attractive  public restrooms  will do for your bottom line.

Yucky public restrooms  repel customers.