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20 Breakthrough Cures!

Laugh aLong
Is BaseBaLL

Your game or
p. 108

Amazing Be astounded
8 of the

Body aLIve
p. 124

Advances for
LIve Better
the traIt
p. 32

A Powerful Heart
Mighty Immunity
A Vigorous Mind
Better Vision, Hearing,
Sleep, and More
September 2013
The ReadS
74 Your Amazing Body + 20 Breakthrough
Cures A compendium of the newest medical advances
and a fascinating tour of our anatomys brilliant design

92 An Unthinkable Crime, Then an

Inspiring Life joshua mieles sight was stolen
from him when he was a child. Forty years later,
hes giving the blind a bright future.
w eN deLL j AmIeSON, FROm The new york times

100 Danger in the Deep Blue Sea

A 40-ton gray whale lunges onto the deck,
and max young seems sunk. what follows
is the ght of his life. keNNeTh mILLeR
112 The Science of Awkward
Moments handle interactions with grace
by anticipating the other persons point of view
m A Ry LOF TUS, FRO m p s ycho lo gy to day

120 Look Twice Photographer Levi browns take

on a students prized possession
124 Lucky Me Coincidence? divine intervention?
A really good day? whatever way you dene luck,
these eight people got it. meLOdy wARNICk 108
134 Bringing Home the Dogs After losing her brother Game or Lame?
in Iraq, Carey Neesley rescues his adopted pets from the One naysayer says

war zone FROm Th e bOOk welco me ho me, ma ma & bo ris baseball is a bore. Our
bat-happy humor
142 The Year of the Firey This mysterious creature editor swings back.
illuminates one mans past and makes his present even j Ame S bR e Akw e L L , FRO m
sweeter deRek bURNeTT e xP LO d IN g U N ICO R N
. bLO g S P OT.CO m , AN d
149 A Picture of Grief On the scene of a tragic accident, AN dy S ImmO N S
a reporter faces a decision that will stick with him for
the rest of his life jAmeS ALexANdeR ThOm,
F ROm r eader s digest, 197 6

a d diti o n al m e di a i n o u r ta b l et v er s i o n s
20 Laughter, the Best Medicine
66 All in a Days Work
160 Humor in Uniform
162 Life in These United States
the digest
26 Food Wise and witty dinner rules
32 Family the simple trait that binds
strong families
40 Health eat to boost metabolism;
what texting reveals about your brain
50 Home one womans extreme declut-
Whats your tering strategy; houses built out of spite
favorite cake?
Your vote, inside.
54 Tech see the planet smile; the end of
dead cell phone batteries?
60 Pop! 13 secrets a reality
show producer wont Download
tell you This Issue!
The Readers Digest
departments app for the iPad and
5 Editors Note Kindle Fire has bonus
content, video,
7 React your letters and more!
13 Everyday Heroes
Miracle a stranger rescues a woman and
health cures her dog from raging ames
that didnt 69 Word Power Know your mash-ups
photograph by joshua scott.

pan out
illustration by serge bloch

e m i ly c o x & h e n r y r at h v o n

153 Uncommon Sense

jeanne marie lasK as

156 Daily Digest

168 Quotable Quotes
o n t h e cov e r
Ph o t o gr a Ph b y Steve vacc ari ello
h a i r & m a K e u p/ g ro o m i n g : K e r ry- lo u b r e h m
at p r o - s t y l e - c r e W f o r b o b b i b r o W n
Editors Note
A Divine Accident
I m as sure-footed as they come. Thats why I was so surprised when
I stumbled on a subway grate on the morning of December 5, 2004.
As a crowd gathered to help, blood trickled out of a three-inch gash on
my knee. Unable to stop the ow, I hailed a cab. To the nearest emergency
room, please, I said. I e-mailed my boss to say that Id be an hour late.
At the ER, I explained my need for stitches to the admitting nurse. She
stared at me and said, Youre going straight to the maternity wing.
No, no, you dont understand, I said, patting my enormous baby bump.
I didnt fall on my belly. There was no trauma. I feel ne.
photograph by steve vaccariello; wardrobe stylist: elysha lenkin

She would have none of it. I was seven months pregnant with twins. Mater-
nity would be taking a look-see. After my exam, the attending physician looked
serious. Youre one centimeter dilated and having contractions, she said.
I spent ve days in the hospital disbelieving the monitors. I was in early
labor. If I was having contractions, I kept asking, how come I didnt feel a thing?
As everyone fussed and fretted, I remained calm. I was cer-
tain the babies werent coming, but I was being pumped
with magnesium sulfate to promote development in
case they did. Six weeks of bed rest followed, and my
healthy girls arrived close to their due date.
Im reminded of that day as we publish this months
Lucky Me (page 124). Was it luck or divine inter-
vention that guided David to foil a robbery, Steve to
nd his birth mother, or Virginia to win the lottery
twice? Ive often asked myself, Was I simply lucky to
trip and fall that morning, leading my doctors to dis-
cover and treat an obstetric crisis I had no idea was
happening? Or was a greater force at work?
My daughter Olivia has drawn my favorite
conclusion: Mommy, I think an angel pushed you.

I invite you to e-mail me at

Follow me on Twitter @LizVacc. 9/13
L E T T E R S O N T H E j u Ly I S S u E

National Pride
Your July issue did a wonderful job of
highlighting why the United States is such a
great country. Far too many individuals complain
about this nation, but it really is the best place on
earth to live. Thank you for showing so many
reasons why that is indeed the case.
Jeff Sw a nson, everett, Washington

Natural Bummer Red, White, and Confused

I was shocked when I saw two Your IQ test was a lot of fun
apparent discharge pipes in the upper (Whats Your American IQ?);
left-hand side of the picture of however, I guess Im a Yankee
Ausable Chasm (50 Surprising Doodle Dunce. In the future, can
Reasons We Love America). you make it easier?
I cant understand how they could Haro ld Rind er, Plainview, New york
have been placed there!
Ri c h a r d R e e k s, virginia Beach, virginia

Editors Note: While Ausable

Chasm is a natural wonder,
the pipes were installed in the
19th century as part of an
elaborate process for moving
passenger boats upriver.
Though visitors now tour
e m i ly j a r v i s

the chasm on rafts, the pipes

remain a historical visual
reminder. 9/13 7
Close to home home with stories about the days
My dad, Mel, passed away 15 years passengers, some of whom became
ago. Once I started reading The dear friends. Everyone who rode in
Stranger Who Changed My Life Mels taxi fell in love with him.
(The Man in the Cab), wonderful R. J-L., via e-mail
memories came to mind. Like Irving
Stern, my dad was also a cabbie Model Driver
from Brooklyn. He always came Thank you for printing Driving
My Own Destiny. The author,
Lets PLay!
Manal al-Sharif, is quite brave, not
only for daring to improve her own
Our PhOtO, life, but also for being an example
YOur CaPtiOn and inspiration to Islamic and
Western women alike.
Jean n e D eSil ver, jacksonville, Florida

heroes of the
Boston Marathon
I was deeply touched when I read
the Everyday Heroes stories (They
Came Running) about those who
were so willing to put themselves in
danger for the sake of others. So
many news outlets seem to dwell
solely on the terror of such an
event. I only hope I can act like
these heroes if I ever nd myself in
a similar situation.
Paul Griffin, duluth, minnesota

i wonder if Venus de milo will like You overlooked another group of

these. C aro lin e L e
heroes from the Boston Marathon
bombings: amateur radio operators.
That answers the boxers or briefs?
Over 200 operators helped along the
Benjamin Rondel / coRBis

question. T i n a Mo n tgo mer y

way, providing communication as-
Planning ahead for the Womens sistance to runners and aid stations.
league tour, the museum decided K e lly McC l a na h a n, Raytown, missouri
to make a few adjustments.
C a t h e r i n e D e Gen o v a Love and Luck
Responses submitted via I was moved to thank you for
the wonderful story Fate, Faith,
8 9/13
Fatherhood. What a lucky little boy
to have been found by a caring man
with a loving partner to share the
parentingand what a lucky couple
to have wound up with a compas-
sionate judge who sought the best EvErywhErE!
for the boy. Thanks again for shar-
ing this beautiful story.
C a r o l y n Li n d e r , DeLand, Florida

Tough Times for Millennials

As a recent grad who read The
Downsized Generation, I know its
not all roses. I understand maybe Nook Kindle
that is your point, but the story says
twentysomethings are rewriting
the rules for success. From where
Im standing, there is no success for
people my age, only survival.
Kindle Fire iPad
H e a t h e r W i l so n , Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

It is a bit frightening to think the

student-loan debt is that enormous,
but the optimism of the women por- readersdigest readersdigest
trayed in the article is contagious.
C a r o l S u m m e r s, Lewisville, Texas

hearing Our vets @readersdigest @readersdigest

I served in the Navy for eight years,
working in the engine rooms of
steam-powered ships, which caused
me to suffer signicant hearing loss. readersdigest readersdigest
Its difcult to explain hearing loss
to someone with perfect hearing, Send letters to React, Readers Digest, PO Box 6100, Harlan,
so thank you for How to Talk Iowa 51593-1600. Include your full name, address, e-mail, and
daytime phone number. We may edit letters and use them in
to Someone with Hearing Loss all print and electronic media. Contribute For short humor
items, please see page 160. We regret that we cannot accept
(Health Digest). This article is vital, or acknowledge unsolicited artwork, photographs, or article-
especially with so many members of length manuscripts. Do Business Subscriptions, renewals,
gifts, address changes, payments, account information, and
the military leaving the service with inquiries:, 877-732-4438, or write us
at Readers Digest, PO Box 6095, Harlan, Iowa 51593-1595.
some form of hearing loss.
Da v i d B or d e l o n , Lafayette, Louisiana

10 9/13
edIted By Beth dReheR

The Man Who

Ran Toward Fire
A stranger saves an elderly
woman and her dog from
raging ames
By deRek BuRnett

T heyd just nished lunch at

a caf in Orange County
Chuck Rees, his wife, Laurie,
and her mother, Ann Marie Effert.
Then Rees, 51, spotted smoke ris-
ing from a hill a few blocks away.
Lets get up there! he cried.
Keeping the dark plumes in
sight, the trio drove through
winding, unfamiliar streets and
photograph by brad Swonetz/redux

eventually came upon a white

two-story house with black
smoke billowing from the back.
Rees pulled his car alongside
a couple standing on the curb
in front of the house. Anybody
in there? he asked them.
I couldnt
I knocked, but nobody >>
allow a re to

To watch Rees tell his story, take a life,

download the Readers Digest app. Rees says. 9/13 13
answered, the man said. Weve As he scanned the back of the
called 911. house for a hose, Rees noticed a
Rees threw his car into park. small steel door in the addition. He
Chuck, dont, Laurie said, although banged on it with his st. Is any-
she knew he wouldnt listen. Hed body in there? he shouted. Your
once dropped the receiver of a house is on re! No one answered.
pay phone in the middle of a conver- He banged on the door again.
sation with her to chase a purse Soon he heard a womans faint
snatcher. voice from the other side of the
Laurie, Ive got to, he said, and door. Hello? she said.
jumped out of the car. Rees yanked the door open a
couple of inches. He
He pointed to the ames coursing stuck his hand through
up the back of the house. The the gap and discov-
ered that the door-
woman looked at him, frightened. knob was tethered to
Rees ran up the driveway along something, preventing it from
the right side of the house, hoping opening all the way. Maam, your
to nd the source of the re and house is on re, he repeated.
put it out with a garden hose. A You need to get out.
locked gate blocked his way into He spotted a heavyset elderly
the backyard. He considered climb- woman with long white hair
ing over it, but a large Labrador through the crack in the doorway.
retriever mix appeared on the Barefoot and dressed in cutoff
other side and bared its teeth at jeans and a tank top, she looked
him. That means somebody lives disheveled and confused, as if he
here, Rees thought. had awakened her.
He sprinted to the front door Theres a re, Rees told her
and tried the handle; it was locked. again. I need to get you out of here.
He pounded on the door; no one I dont believe you, the woman
answered. Then he moved along responded as she untethered the
the left side of the house, past door so that it opened.
what looked like a small addition. Ill show you, Rees said.
He grabbed onto a chain-link fence He grabbed her hand, led her
and pulled it back far enough for into the backyard, and pointed
him to squeeze through. When he to the ames coursing up the back
scaled a six-foot-high cinder block of the house. The woman looked
wall just inside the fence, another at him, frightened.
large Lab mix stood waiting for him; Rees was afraid too. He knew
this one was wagging its tail. she wouldnt be able to climb a >>
14 9/13
Only the houses
replace and
chimney survived.

wall or squeeze through a fence The heat was almost unbearable.

the way he had. Theyd need to He moved through the downstairs
nd another way out. rooms, coughing and yelling up
He guided the woman and dog the stairwell to anyone who might
back into the addition and through be there. After one last look
a doorway connecting it to the around, Rees ed.
house. The re raged in the kitchen A re crew arrived, and Rees
and dining area to their left. Smoke quickly debriefed them. Moments
raced along the ceiling and churned later, ames engulfed the house.
steadily downward. Exhausted and covered in soot,
He glanced back inside the Rees climbed back into his car and Jess Andresen/Orange COunty register
addition and saw a door he hadnt drove his wife and mother-in-law
noticed before. He opened it, and home to Tustin before anyone got
there stood Laurie and another his name.
neighbor. Take her and the dog, That night, the local news reported
Rees told them. The pair took that an anonymous man had rescued
the woman and her pet to safety. an elderly woman with dementia
(The other dog was rescued later.) from her burning house. Effert
Rees ventured back into the proudly called media outlets to
living room to check for others. identify her son-in-law as the hero.
The smoke had descended nearly But he didnt do it for fame,
to the oor, and he could hear the Rees says. It was something that
pop of boards burning upstairs. needed to be done. n
16 9/13
Heroes Persistence
pays o,
says Reagan,
right, with

Will Walk

for Work
teen gets hired after
hoofing it for miles

O n a freezing-cold February
morning in Indiana, Jhaqueil
Reagan, 18, left home to walk
to a job interviewten miles away,
over slush-covered roads.
I thought, This is the kind of kid
I want working for me, says Bouvier.
Reagan had been looking for work He got the teens phone number and
for months. His mother had died two dropped him off for his interview.
years earlier, and he was the sole Later that day, Bouvier wrote
caretaker of his two younger siblings, about Reagan on Facebook. He
Cole, 16, and Jazzlyn, seven. He was doesnt know it yet, but he starts on
desperate for a regular paycheck Monday, Bouvier wrote. Its been
after mowing lawns and doing other a while since Ive met someone so
odd jobs. young with a work ethic like that!
Three hours into his trek, Reagan A few hours later, Bouvier called
had covered only three miles. He to offer Reagan a job. Shocked, the
paused outside a Cajun restaurant teen accepted on the spot. A televi-
called Papa Roux to ask for direc- sion reporter caught wind of the
tions from owner Art Bouvier, who story and interviewed the pair on
was clearing ice and snow from the camera that night.
parking lot. Today, Reagan is washing dishes,
I told him to get on the bus, lling orders, and greeting Papa
says Bouvier. He thanked me and Roux customers for $8.50 an hour.
went on his way. The publicity has brought in so
Fifteen minutes later, Bouvier many new customers that Bouvier
pulled up in his car beside Reagan plans to open a second restaurant by
as he walked along. the end of the year. Reagan has
courtesy art bouvier

Youve really got to be on the earned enough money to move into

bus, he told Reagan. a new apartment.
I dont have money for the bus, Now, when the weather is bad,
Reagan replied. Bouvier offered him he takes the bus to work. I like
a lift. On the way, he asked the boy greeting people with a smile on my
about his job search. face, he says. Da mon Beres

18 9/13
Laughter, the Best Medicine
A man
walks into
a rooftop
bar and takes
a seat next to
another guy.
What are you
drinking? he
asks the guy.
Magic beer,
he says.
Oh, yeah?
Whats so magi-
cal about it?
The guy
proceeds to show
him: He drinks
some beer, jumps
off the roof, ies
around the build-
ing, and returns to his seat. A wife asks her husband, Could
Amazing! Lemme try some you please go shopping for me and
of that, the man says. He grabs the buy one carton of milk and, if they
beer, downs it, leaps off the roof, have avocados, get six.
and falls 30 feet to the ground. A short time later, the husband
The bartender shakes his head returns with six cartons of milk.
and says to the rst guy, You know, Why did you buy six cartons of
youre a real jerk when youre drunk, milk? his wife asks.
Superman. He replies, They had avocados.
IllustratIon by p.c. vey

submitted by Tom Buoye ,

Stephen Colbert to students at Manchester, new Jersey

the University of Virginia: Your

generation needs everything to be Were never satised when it comes
about you, and thats very upsetting to food. You know whatd be good
to us baby boomers because self- on this burger? A ham sandwich.
absorption is sort of our thing. Jim Ga ffiga n

20 9/13
Who kneW?
Every time Beyonc types out
her name, she has to Google the fur is flying
Pokmon and then september 8 is national hug your
copy and paste the . hound Day. Keep that in mind as
comedian M a r k Le g gett
youre reading this poem, written
from the perspective of your dog,
titled I Lose My Mind When You
Leave the House:
Whats the Word for the plants are torn
Sometimes you have a mess on the garbage strewn
your hands that dees description. the wires chewed
Not anymore. Clorox teamed up the couch and I had a ght
with comedian Carol Leifer to your bed is soaked
create The Clorox Ick-tionary, a your liquor spilled
Wiki-style dictionary for everyday your tv smashed
messes. Here are new words that your laptop no longer
dene slovenliness. has any vowels
Apocolipstick: The streak on your theres a Kindle in the toaster
face when youre bumped into while theres a toaster in the toilet
attempting to apply lipstick. theres a toilet in the hallway
Szechuan doodles: The pattern theres underwear in my mouth
I went places I should never go
that your lo mein noodles make
I saw a side of myself I should
when they fall on the oor.
never see
Fridge-a-mortis: The liquid in the I said things to the cat I can
bottom of the vegetable drawer that never take back
hardens over time. so please dont ever leave again.
Board-oeuvres: Crumbs on your From I Could Chew on This: And Other Poems
keyboard. By Dogs by Francesco Marciuliano
(chronicle books)
a Kindle in
tweeters digest
the toaster.
speech! speech! Oh no!
sharon Montrose/getty IMages

some of my proudest moments

have been when a website told me
my password was very strong.
@ A a r o n Fu ller to n

Just want to thank my mail carrier

for delivering my recycling directly
to my house. @ ju liu s s har pe
SeeYour favorite new joke, funny anecdote,
or crazy news story might be worth $$$.
page 160 for details.

page 26

page 32
page 40
The Best for September

page 50
page 54
page 60

spreading smiles

M a r y a n n e K l a c a r

Moms turn
teacups into mini
with a photo trick
that makes it look
like theres
a baby in their
brew. Blogger
Ilana Wiles
posted the
rst one
to her site,
.com, soon after
the Boston
Marathon tragedy
to cheer up her
readers, and the
idea caught on:
now there are
thousands of
photos on Twitter. 9/13 25
FoodDigest edIted BY PerrI o. BlumBerG

(right) beat the
frosting o its
Black Forest

You Voted!

Battle of the Batters

N othing says celebration like a decadent layer cake
and home cooks have been perfecting theirs for
generations, according to the new book Recipes
Across America by Taste of Home. We asked our social-
media fans to choose between two of the books sweet
For more
than 700 deli-
gathered from
siblingsGerman Black Forest (handed down to a home cooks,
Nevada baking maven from her great-grandma) and spotlighting
Americas rich
German Chocolate cake (which traces its roots to culinary
American baker Samuel German). After nearly 7,000 votes, history, go
to tasteof
the coconut-crazy goodness of German Chocolate beat its homebooks
cherry-spiked rival. Enjoy! .com/raa.

26 pHotograpH By josHua scott

German Chocolate Cake 1. For Cake: line three greased 9-inch round
food stylist: Maria del Mar sacasa for Big leo; prop stylist: linda Keil for Halley resources. ZiMMern: roBin MarcHant/getty iMages

Its so special, most people ask for baking pans with waxed paper. grease waxed
a second slice, says Joyce Platfoot of paper and set aside. in small saucepan, melt
Wapakoneta, ohio, about her winning cake. chocolate with water over low heat; cool.
Prep: 30 min. 2. in large bowl, cream butter and sugar
Bake: 30 min. + cooling until light and uy. Beat in 4 egg yolks,
Makes: 12 servings one at a time, beating well after each addi-
tion. Mix in melted chocolate and vanilla.
Cake 3. combine our, baking soda, and salt; add
4 oz. German sweet chocolate, to the creamed mixture in batches, alter-
chopped nating with buttermilk and beating well
cup water after each addition.
1 cup butter, softened 4. in small bowl and with clean beaters, beat
2 cups sugar 4 egg whites until sti peaks form. fold a
4 eggs, separated fourth of egg whites into creamed mixture;
1 tsp. vanilla extract fold in remaining whites.
2 cups cake our Store 5. pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at
1 tsp. baking soda leftovers 350f for 24 to 28 minutes or until toothpick
tsp. salt (if you have any!)
at room inserted near center comes out clean. cool
1 cup buttermilk temperature for 10 minutes before removing from pans; place
2 to 3 days. on wire racks to cool completely.
1 cups sugar 6. For Frosting: in small saucepan, heat
1 cups evaporated milk sugar, milk, butter, and egg yolks over
cup butter medium-low heat until mixture is thickened
5 egg yolks, beaten and golden brown, stirring constantly. re-
2 cups aked coconut move from heat. stir in coconut, pecans, and
1 cups chopped pecans vanilla extract. cool until thick enough to
1 tsp. vanilla extract spread. spread a third of frosting over each
cake layer; stack layers.
Icing 7. For Icing: in microwave, melt shortening
1 tsp. shortening and chocolate; stir until smooth,
2 oz. semisweet chocolate and drizzle over cake.

Quotable Quote

try it and like it!

people say its gross that i eat grubs and goat liver,
but if you havent tried it, how do you know? our brains
tell us lies, and if we listen, we cost ourselves surprises. When
trying something new, cast o your fear and expectations.
Andrew ZiMMern, host of trAvel ChAnnels Bizarre Foods america 9/13 27

Family table Rules of

A Witty, Wise Dinner Guide say, its not

chaos. its

lose your eyes and picture of Dinner. Their prose not
what makes you happiest. For only gently coached me on how
me, its food overowing from to atone for the kitchen sins Ive been
wooden bowls; a loaf of warm, crusty committing for decades (more vinegar,
bread peeking out of an old red hand less oil) but also reminded me that if
cloth; and the sound of laughter I know what love is, it is only because
muddled with clinking glasses. Sim- of family dinner. P.O.B.
Jody Horton/gallery stock

ply put: family dinner. Whether with

the family I was born into or the ones 1. When you taste a dish and
Ive made, I can think of no other wonder whats missing, the answer
daily ritual that brings me more hap- is usually acid.
piness. Thats why when I stumbled 2. Always cook more spinach than
upon Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny you think youll need.
Rosenstrach, I was completely enam- 3. The juiciest limes are the small
ored by her and hubby Andys Rules ones with thin, smooth skin.
28 9/13
4. Improvising with herbs or vine- instructing your children to Please,
gars? Yes. Improvising with baking Dear Lord, use your napkins every
soda or baking powder? No. night for ten straight years is not
5. Dessert should be cake. the best way to get your children to
6. Being cooked for in someones use napkins.
home is one of the ner pleasures 16. Its counterintuitive, but the
in life. sharpest knife is the safest knife.
7. Horseradish in the mashed 17. Note to those entertaining:
potatoes. Chicken is kind of a bummer.
8. Cinnamon in the chili. 18. When you use a knife to scrape
9. Herbs in the salad. food off a cutting board, use the dull
10. Resist the urge to apologize side so you dont ruin your blade.
when youre cooking for people. 19. When someone says they drink
Most of the time, your dinner one to two glasses of wine a night,
guests wont notice anything is you can pretty much assume its two.
wrong unless you bring it up. 20. Throw shrimp into lightly boil-
11. There is no more fun question ing water, and give it exactly three
to put forth at the dinner table than minutes to cook.
What would you do if you won this 21. If youre gonna use store-bought
weeks Powerball? pizza sauce, Don Pepino is the one
12. Kitchen chairs should be red. to buy.
Or at least fun. 22. Without some crunch (nuts,
13. Its not wise to store your drink- celery, snap peas, radishes), salads
ing glasses on a shelf above the dish- can reach only half their potential.
washerthe shelf that 23. There are very
wont be accessible few problems in my
until you shut the life that I cant mo-
dishwasher. mentarily forget about
14. Ive said it a when Im cooking
thousand times, but dinner with Andy.
it bears repeating: 24. Above all, you
Freeze soups and eat dinner together
stews at in bags so as a family.
they thaw more
Jenny Rosenstrach
quickly under Rule #25: and Andy Ward are the
getty images

running And there is founders of the family meals

water. no such thing as blog
owning too and together write the
15. As far many little Providers column for
as I can tell, bowls! Bon Apptit.

30 9/13
edited By Beth dreher


Bind Us
Strong families
teach the next
their histories
By Bruce feiLer
from the New York Times

O ne night while eating dinner

with my extended family,
I noticed my nephew texting
under the table. I asked him to stop.
Ka-boom! My sister snapped at
Our familys falling apart, he said.
I disagreed with Dad at the time,
but soon I began to wonder, What
are the ingredients that make some
families resilient and happy?
me to not discipline her child. It turns out to be a great time
My dad pointed out that my girls to ask that question. Researchers
were the ones balancing spoons on have recently revealed stunning
their noses. My mom said none of insights into how to make families
the grandchildren had manners. work more effectively, and Ive
Within minutes, everyone had ed spent the last few years exploring
to separate corners. the subject by meeting families,
Later, my dad called me to his scholars, and experts ranging from
bedroom. peace negotiators to online game
designers to Warren Buffetts bankers. children had taken and reached
After a while, a surprising theme an overwhelming conclusion that
emerged: The single most important bolstered Saras theory: The more
thing you can do for your family, children knew about their families
it seems, is to develop a strong histories, the stronger their sense of
family narrative. control over their lives, the higher
I rst heard this idea in the their self-esteem, and the more
mid-1990s from Marshall Duke, a successfully they believed their
psychologist at Emory University. families functioned.
Duke was studying myth and ritual We were blown away, Duke said.
in American families, when his wife, The researchers reassessed the
children after the traumatic
a child who knows where events of September 11, 2001.
her grandmother went to Once again, Duke said,
school may be more resilient the ones who knew more
about their families proved
than a child who doesnt. to be more resilient.
Sara, a learning-disabilities specialist Why does knowing where her
who works with children, made grandmother went to school help a
an observation: [The students] child overcome something as minor
who know a lot about their families as a skinned knee or as major as a
tend to do better when they face terrorist attack?
challenges, she said. Duke said that children who
Intrigued, her husband set out have the most self-condence have
to test her hypothesis. He and an what he and Fivush call a strong
Emory colleague, Robyn Fivush, intergenerational self. They know
developed a measure called the they belong to something bigger
Do You Know? scale that asked than themselves.
children to answer 20 questions, Leaders in sociology and the
such as Do you know where your military have found similar results.
grandparents grew up? Do you know Jim Collins, a management expert
where your mom and dad went to in Boulder, Colorado, told me that
high school? Do you know about an successful human enterprises of any
illness or something really terrible kind go out of their way to capture
that happened in your family? their core identity. The same applies
Duke and Fivush asked those to families, he said. Collins recom-
questions to members of four dozen mended that families create a
families in summer 2001. They then mission statement similar to the ones
compared the childrens results with companies and other organizations
a battery of psychological tests the use to identify their core values. >> 9/13 33
The military found that teaching that most happy families also com-
recruits about the history of their municate effectively, but its not
service increases their camaraderie. simply a matter of talking through
Commander David G. Smith, chair- problems. Talking also means tell-
man of the department of leader- ing a positive story about your-
ship, ethics, and law at the U.S. selves. When faced with a challenge,
Naval Academy, advises graduating happy families, like happy people,
seniors to take incoming freshmen just add a new chapter to their life
on history-building exercises, like story that shows them overcoming
going to the cemetery to pay tribute the hardship. This skill is particu-
to the rst naval aviator or visiting larly important for children, whose
the replica B-1 aircraft on campus. identities tend to solidify during
Duke recommended that parents adolescence.
pursue similar activities with their The bottom line: If you want a
children. Any number of occasions happier family, create, rene, and
work to convey this sense of history: retell the story of your familys best
holidays, vacations, big family moments and your relations ability
get-togethers, even a ride to the mall. to bounce back from the difcult
These traditions become part of ones. That act alone may increase
your family, Duke said. the odds that your family will thrive
Decades of research have shown for many generations to come. n


The Language of Love

Six amorous words that have no English equivalent
Mamihlapinatapai Koi no Yokan tuqburni
('mah-mih-lah-pee-nah- ('koy-noh-yo-kin) n. ('tooq-bur-nah)
tah-pay) n.A look Upon meeting someone, n.A love so deep,
between two people in a feeling that the two of you cant imagine life
love that expresses you may soon fall in love. without your partner.
unspoken but mutual (Japanese) The English translation
desire. (Fuegian language is you bury me.
of Tierra del Fuego) Retrouvailles (Arabic)
onsra (uhns-'rah) n.The joy of reuniting saudade
n.A bittersweet feeling with someone after (saw-'dah-djee) n.
that occurs in those who a long separation. A strong feeling of
know their love wont last. Literally rediscovery. missing someone you
(Boro language of India) (French) love. (Portuguese)

34 9/13


A Daughters Best Day

Sabrina Bradys touching tribute to her

from top: courteSy GooGle. courteSy peter Kramer/NBc/Getty imaGeS

veteran dad wins Googles design contest

E ach January, Google invites

kindergarten through 12th-
grade students to redesign the
company logo based on a provided
theme. This year, the Doodle 4
was 10 years old, my dad came
home from war. This was my best
day ever.
For her winning design, which
graced the Google home page on
Google directions were simple: May 23, Brady received a $30,000
Illustrate your best day ever. Out college scholarship (shes attending
of 130,000 submissions, a panel of Minneapolis College of Art and
nine guest judgesincluding TV host Design), a Google Chromebook
Katie Couric and the Roots drummer computer, and other prizes. Sparta
Ahmir Questlove Thompson High School, from which Brady
chose a poignant six-part design graduated in the spring, received
by Sabrina Brady, 18, a high school a $50,000 technology grant.
senior in Sparta, Wisconsin. Its a tough competition to judge,
In it, a little girl carrying a small says Google technologist Daniel
American ag runs toward a soldier. Sieberg, part of a team that oversaw
In the last panel, the soldier kneels the competition, but as soon as
down to envelop the girl in a hug. you see [Bradys design], you can
Bradys caption reads, When I feel it. n
36 9/13
eDiteD by LaureN GeLMaN
Dinner: science:
Spinach-Stued Feasting on
Meat Loaf low-cal meals
twice a week
Dinner: Grilled
Chicken & Chili

DiabeteS NewS

Eat to Boost
Dieting just two days a week blasts
fat and balances blood sugar

F or folks with diabetes, weight

loss is a natural form of
medication. Reams of re-
search prove that losing even just
a few pounds is an effective way to
often, diet plans dont work for
people with diabetes because the
metabolism changes associated with
blood sugar problems may increase
appetite, slow down fat burning, and
control blood sugar or reduce the encourage fat storage.
risk of developing type 2 diabetes Now breakthrough research has
in the rst place. revealed a better way for people to
But in an ironic twist, losing lose weight and reduce insulin resis-
weight may be more difcult if you tance. The secret is a concept called
have type 2 diabetes. And the reason intermittent fasting.
isnt just a lack of willpower. Too British researchers created this
40 photographs by travis rathbone
revolutionary new diet, which pass them on to future generations.
strictly limits caloric intake for two But now our thrifty bodies are
days of the week but permits larger confronted with an abundance of
portions for the remainder. Women food and no famine. As a result, its
who followed the plan lost almost incredibly difcult to maintain a
twice as much fat as those who re- healthy weight. Once we gain a little
stricted calories every day. Within bit, the rst hints of diabesity set
three months, participants reduced in, making the upward progression
insulin resistance by 25 percent of the scale hard to stop.
more on nonfast days and inam- This excess fat also causes
mation by 8 percent more than chronic inammation. Fat tissue
people who dieted continuously. contains an abundance of immune
molecules called cytokines, which
Why SoME Fat IS respond to the excess fat as if it
So StuBBorn were an infection. This activates
Why does this particular diet plan a process that seems to dull the
work? It counteracts the effects of bodys sensitivity to these key hor-
diabesity, where blood sugar mones: insulin, which cues cells
problems and excess body fat meet. to absorb sugar from the blood-
Just a small amount of excess stream; the stress hormone corti-
weight and a genetic tendency for sol; and leptin and ghrelin, which
metabolism problems can trigger a regulate hunger and appetite.
cascade of health issues, including Researchers believe that intermit-
high cholesterol, high blood pres- tent fasting helps to reduce or >>
sure, immune system problems, and
hormonal imbalances.
This constellation of health prob- Lunch: Zippy
lems is caused by a modern lifestyle Shrimp
that is out of sync with our genetic
inheritance. Researchers theorize
that because humans evolved dur-
ing alternating periods of feast
and famine, many of us inherited
various thrifty genes that cause
us to conserve energy (hoard fat
stores) when calories are scarce
and swiftly store energy (plump up
fat cells even more) when food is
plentiful. Thousands of years ago, hu-
mans with robust sets of thrifty genes
were much likelier to survive and 9/13 41
quell inammation and normalize 2-Day Diabetes Diet. You dont have
the function of key hormones. By to count carbs, calories, fat grams,
reversing this metabolic imbalance, or anything elseall you have to do
intermittent fasting seems to control is follow the special eating style in
or prevent diabetes better than which you Power Burn two days a
other ways of eating. week and Nourish on the rest.
On Power Burn days, youll ll
A SmArter WAy to up on low-calorie, low-carbohydrate
BAlAnce Blood SugAr foods that include delicious soups,
When Readers Digest editors heard tasty stir-fries, and luscious home-
about the intermittent fasting re- made smoothies. Youll put weight
search, we knew it was huge. We loss into high gear by consuming
decided to devise a plan that took only 650 calories without hunger or
the stunning resultsthat intermit- cravings thanks to three satisfying
tent fasting helped dieters lose meals and a snack. This shifts your
twice as much fat and signicantly metabolism into fat-burning mode,
lower inammation and insulin which shrinks fat cells and helps cut
resistanceand translated them down on inammation and insulin
into a diet that would allow every- resistance. The other ve days, you
day people with real lives to put the stoke your metabolism with 1,500
research into practice. So we asked calories worth of Mediterranean-

food stylist: liza Jernow. Plekon: rebecca simPson steele

registered dietitian and certied inspired foods that are proved to
diabetes educator Erin Palinski- cool inammation and reverse insu-
Wade to create a simple and deli- lin resistance. (See opposite page
cious menu that incorporated the for a sample menu.)
ndings. She developed the book This plan is superior to many
other common diabetes diets be-
cause it reduces inammation as it
Test promotes weight loss. In contrast,
Jeanne some strict low-carb diets require
Plekon, 60, you to eliminate many foods that
dropped 16 are benecial for your metabolism,
pounds in six
weeks. such as fruits, starchy vegetables,
and whole grains. A low-carb diet
also calls for many foods that may
worsen inammation, like red meat.
Extremely low-calorie plans back-
re over time because willpower
can hold out for only so long. >>
42 9/13
the 2-day diabetes diet Plan
fight fat with this new intermittent fasting strategy*
2 Days a Week 5 Days a Week
Power Burn nourish
Calories 650 1,500
TyPe of
eaTing low carb mediterranean
Omelet made with 2 egg Yogurt parfait made with
whites and cup onions 1 cup low-fat yogurt, layered
Breakfast and peppers cooked with cup whole-grain
in nonfat cooking spray; cereal and 1 cup blackberries,
1 cup low-fat yogurt topped with 1 tbs. chopped

Carrot Soup Wrap made with one 12-in.

with Dill; whole-grain tortilla, rolled
1 cup fresh with 5 oz. deli turkey breast,
blueberries cup sliced raw hot peppers,
cup sliced onion, cup
lunch diced tomato, and 2 tbs.
hummus; 1 cup garden
salad and 1 tbs. dressing
on the side

Summer Garden Soup,

Grilled Chicken served with 5 oz. broiled
Kebabs; cup pork tenderloin, 3 oz. sweet
dinner zucchini cooked with potato topped with 1 tsp.
cooking spray and trans fatfree spread, and
cup whole-grain cup prepared collard
pasta; 1 cup 2% milk greens sauted in 1 tsp.
olive oil

Snack Grapes Sliced apple topped with

cinnamon; 1 cup 2% milk

*talk to your doctor before starting a weight-loss plan.

Theres no
carb counting.
SucceSS! Our In fact, healthy
teSt teamS grains and
fruits are key.
To be absolutely sure of
the effectiveness of the 2-Day
Diabetes Diet, we tested it on
a group of people who were
diabetic, prediabetic, or at
high risk for developing blood
sugar problems. Their results
were impressive and startling:
One panelist dropped 12
pounds in three weeks, more
than halving her risk of developing She lost 14 pounds as well as six
diabetes. Another dropped her fast- inches from her waist. Echoes panel-

Kaehler: Courtesy Marnie Goodfriend

ing blood sugar by 30 percent over ist Jeanne Plekon, who shed 16
six weeks. On average, our dieters pounds, I gured that on the days
lost seven pounds in nearly three after Id taken in less fuel, Id wake
weeks. Losing just two pounds drops up feeling sluggish. But I didnt
your diabetes risk by a whopping on the mornings after Power Burn
16 percent, according to research pub- days, I would wake up early. Trust
lished in the journal Diabetes Care. me: The two days a week are not
Ive had more success on this hard. And they work. n
diet than on any other weight-loss
plan that Ive tried in the past ten To learn more about the breakthrough
science behind the 2-Day Diabetes Diet
years, says Annette Sweeney, 55. and to buy the book, visit

quotable quote

my FOOlprOOF WOrkOut mOtivatiOn

There will always be
someone busier than you
on a treadmill right now.
Celebrity trainer K aThy K aehler, on what she
tells herself when she feels too busy to exerCise,
to HealtH Magazine

44 9/13

SayS aBOut
yOur Brain
dont shrug o sloppy
messages from a loved
onedystextia (an in-
ability to text coherently)
may soon become a vital
tool in diagnosing stroke.
a report presented at
a scientic conference
described the case of
a 40-year-old man who
sent nonsensical texts to
his wife while on a busi-

photograph by joshua scott; prop stylist: linda Keil for halley resources
ness trip. When doctors
SLEEp evaluated him at a hospi-

How Busy People

tal the next day, he didnt
seem to have any of the

Outsmart Exhaustion usual language problems

associated with stroke
until they gave him a
nticipating too little sleep, say, during
smartphone and asked
a business trip or while meeting a big
him to type the doctor
work deadline? Recent data suggests needs a new blackberry.
you can bank sleep in advance to offset the What he wrote: tjhe
deleterious effects of sleep deprivation, says doctor nddds a new bb.
Christopher Winter, MD. Go to bed one to Worse, the man didnt
two hours earlier than you normally would for notice any spelling errors.
a few days before your expected lack of sleep, doctors determined that
says to the sleep-medicine physician. Even hed had an acute isch-
small shortfalls can throw off levels of key emic stroke, in which a
hormones that affect appetite, stress, and the clot blocks blood ow to
immune system. If you head into a sleep- the brain. because text
deprivation situation when youre well rested, messages are time-
those hormone levels will start out in a stamped, they may even
healthier place, so youll have more energy help establish when
symptoms begin.
than you would if you hadnt been sleeping as
well beforehand, Dr. Winter says.
46 9/13
who knew?

When Medicine Harmed More Than Healed

For 2,400 years, patients have believed that doctors were doing good; for
2,300 years, they were wrong, according to historian David Wootton, in
Strange Medicine: A Shocking History of Real Medical Practices Through the
Ages. Here, the recently published book reveals some wacky treatments
once considered cutting-edge.

TooThaches it for melancholy. No, it

In ancient egypt, a dead wasnt Viagra. The pill con-
mouse was placed on the tained mercury, a potent
tooth of a person in dental neurotoxin. Taken two or
distress. In ancient Rome, three times a day, it would
toothaches were treated have delivered a dose
by rubbing ones mouth nearly 9,000 times todays
with a hippopotamuss left accepted levels.
tooth and eating the ashes
of a wolfs head, wrote sTuTTering
Pliny the elder. A person stammered
because his tongue was
Lice too short or incorrectly
One remedy from 13th- attached to his mouth,
century surgeon Jehan posited French doctor
yperman: Smear the hervez chegoin in 1830. he
person with a paste of thought only mechanical
mercury, ashes, the spit means could x the issue
of a child, and lard. and did surgeries for it.

cancer schizophrenia
In 1880, the medical journal tional electricity would After World War II,
the Lancet published be a powerful therapeutic psychiatrists gave insulin
a letter from a doctor that agent in the dispersion of to plunge a patient with
hailed getting struck by cancerous formations. mental illness into a coma
lightning as a miracle and then brought him
cure. It cited the story of Depression back. The insulin deprived
a farmer hit by a bolt Nineteenth-century doc- the brain of fuel, which
that rendered him uncon- tors prescribed the blue killed brain cells. This
scious. When he awoke, his pill for many issues procedure supposedly
cancer was in remission. even Abraham Lincoln was reduced patients hostility
The writer predicted fric- believed to have taken and aggression.
edited by Alison CAporimo

Art of living

A House Fire Set Me Free

by Aimee HeCkel from

O n November 20, 2003, a re

burned Vivienne Palmers
house to the ground and
turned her possessions to ash. At the
time, she was devastatedbut later,
A friend warned her: Dont set
yourself up for failure; thats a lot
of stuff.
But Palmer is reveling in the
challenge. Everything is fair game
a surprising state of euphoria set in. from the practical (the drawerful of
After getting over the shock, I plastic forks and knives shes
would remember a certain thing and accumulated from take-out orders)
think, Its gone, and let go of it. It to the emotional (the rabbit
felt amazingly freeing, Palmer says. costumes she made for her young
Now, ten years later, she looks sons for Halloween one year).
around her cluttered house You just get on a roll, she says.
and wants to reclaim that On February 7, its a Davy
freedom. Her plan: Project Crockett un-coonskin cap
3650, a commitment to let for kids. Bags of plastic bags.
go of at least ten things Four random cloth napkins,
every day for a year six bandannas, two table-
(culminating in a total cloths. Not one but two
of 3,650 donated or nightmare-inducing cymbal-
sold items). clapping toy monkeys. And
a toy dog, made of
real animal
fur. OK, the
wants to
Courtesy Matt siegel

keep that
one. He thinks
palmer its cool. Palmer thinks
has vowed
to purge its disgusting. Its
ten items tabled, in purging
a day.
purgatoryfor now.
1) Unworn clothes
Here is a beautiful
vintage dress that
i will never wear.
2) key ring leftovers
Keys that go to
nothing. some of 2
them, i know for a fact,
are to houses i lived in
over ten years ago.
3) Unloved heir-
looms these were 3
my grandmothers
glasses. My husband
hates them because
they dont nest
or stack. He has a
4) tangled tech
a train case full of
wires, connectors,
and chargers that i no
longer own or use. 4

To keep herself accountable, By selling some items online, Palmer

Palmer posts images of her tossables hopes to raise enough money to fund
Courtesy ViVienne PalMer (4)

on her Process of Elimination blog, a family vacation to Southeast Asia.

where she gives away many things Everything is swirling around:
free. And it feels good. Theres the writing, the trip, me
I honestly get a little rush from wanting to get rid of stuff, me want-
getting rid of stuff, she says. And ing to make money, me wanting
that has replaced my desire for a to create a new good habit, Palmer
shoppers high. says. Its a huge process, but its
Beyond peace of mind and room energizing. And I cant think of
to breathe, theres another motivator: anything Id rather do more. n 9/13 51

Homes Built
Just for Spite
Get O My Lot!
to prevent people from using the alley next to his
house, an irritable resident lled the space with
this seven-foot-wide abode in alexandria, Virginia.
Oh, Brother
What if you and your brother had inherited a
big plot of landand he built a huge house on
it while you were away serving in the military?
thats exactly what happened in Boston in 1874.
left with only a sliver of property, the resourceful
soldier constructed a small wooden house
abutting his brothers, blocking the sunlight
and destroying his siblings view.
No, Move the Highway
elderly homeowners luo Baogen and his wife
wouldnt give in to the government when city
representatives demanded to buy their home
in Wenling, China, so they could demolish it and
build a highway. When the neighboring homes

top right: getty images. Bottom left: ap photo

were knocked down, the Baogens stayed put, and
the road was constructed around their house.
sources: The Atlantic, Mental Floss,

52 9/13
edited by dAmon bereS

who Knew?

See the
(and Smirk)
New satellite technology
uncovers hidden faces
in earths landscape
by megAn gArber
grinning from the Atlantic

H ave you ever looked into

the sky and seen a cloud
that vaguely resembled
your mom? Or gazed at the twisted
trunk of a tree only to see an old
man staring back at you? Then you
have experienced pareidolia, the
human minds tendency to read
signicance into random stimuli.
You have also intuited what
children and poets have long
held true: that anything can be
courtesy google (3)

a canvas for a human face.

Computers are learning the
same lesson, with the help of some
ingenious humans. Earlier this
year, Berlin-based design studio
Onformative combined facial-
54 9/13

recognition software with Google Mother Nature herself. What was

Earth images to scan the planets once a random rock formation
surface for terrain that forms becomes a shape that triggers an
human-like expressions. emotional response.
The resulting project, Google The next time you go on a nice
Faces, hovers over the world hike or picnic, consider this: You
to spot all the faces that are might be just a beauty mark on one
hidden on earth, say Onformative of earths many expressions. n
founders Cedric Kiefer and Julia
Laub. (For the full gallery, visit word oF the month

Our innate talent for pareidolia
allows us to enrich our imagination, software that you can use without
note the designers. Sometimes its paying a dimelike google earth,
hard to recognize the exact faces the used in onformatives face-mapping
software sees, but look closely (or project, or Apples safari web
step back) and youll be rewarded browser.
with a surprising visage drawn by

These thieves
have their head
in the cloud

Fooled by Find My iPhone IDd by Instagram

when a shop clerk in New york City was Nathaniel Troy maye, 44, and Tiwanna
robbed at gunpoint for her iPhone early Tenise Thomason, 40, were wanted for
last year, a nearby ocer knew to spring identity theft and were caught thanks to
into action with his own phone. Using some boneheaded social networking.
the find my iPhone app, he entered the while out for a fancy steak dinner, the
victims Apple Id and located the missing couple snapped an Instagram pic and
mobile in seconds. wasting no time, he tagged the location. The picture was used
drove over and immediately caught the in court to help identify the two, who
perpwhod stashed the pricey device face up to 12 years behind bars. hashtag
in his sock. #lastmeal?

Snagged by Seles Selling a Steal on eBay

Shortly after a victim noticed her iPad ebay makes selling old junk a snap, but
had been lifted while she was shopping at one thief in the Chicago suburbs quickly
a Southern California Costco, she spent found that its not the best place to
some time scrolling through photos on unload stolen bikes. One victim hopped
her phone. Lo and behold, snapshots of onto the online auction house after his
the alleged thieves were popping up on bike went missing, noticed that it was for
her iCloud account thanks to the iPads sale, and notied police. detectives won
auto-upload feature. Police released the the auction and arrested the suspect
self-styled mug shots, and the tablet was upon delivery.
quickly returned. maybe the thieves Sources: New York Daily News, New York Times, Los Angeles
should try Snapchat next time? Times, Chicago Tribune



The Teen Wholl Save Your Battery

H ave you ever run out of cell
phone juice in the middle
of the dayonly to realize
you dont have the time to charge
it, much less look for an outlet?
simply to CBS News: I developed a
new supercapacitor, which is basi-
cally an energy-storage device that
can hold a lot of energy in a small
amount of volume.
Enter Eesha Kare, an 18-year-old A supercapaci-what-now? It isnt
high school student in Saratoga, a batteryin fact, it would t into
California. Earlier this year, she your phones batteryand, accord-
presented a device at the Intel ing to Kare, it would last through
International Science and 10,000 charges in addition to
Engineering Fair that will juicing up in 30 seconds.
allow cell phones to Thats approximately ten
charge in less than 30 times the number of
seconds. She became charges slowpoke cell
one of three winning phone batteries get now.
students in the com- Kares gizmo also may
petition, placing one day be applied to
ahead of more than quickly power up other
1,600 others from important chargeables,
around the world. like car batteries.
Clearly For her efforts,
removed from Kare was awarded
a generation $50,000. Naturally,
raised on shes putting it
Duracell toward a top-
AAs, Kare rate education;
described her shell attend
courtesy chris Ayers/intel

invention Harvard
8 hourS sources: cBs news,,
The maximum
battery life for
an iPhone 5 using
a 3G Internet
For more ways
to extend your
battery life, visit

58 9/13
Pop!Digest edited By Alison CApor imo


13 Secrets a
Reality TV Show
Wont Tell You
By miChelle CrouCh

1 Reality TV is actually not, well

real. True, theres no script, but
we have writers who craft plot lines,
twisting and tweaking footage to
create conict and shape a story.
Oh, and we redo things all the time.
On Biggest Loser, the contestants
have to walk up to the scale about
ve times so the producer can Weight-
capture all the angles on camera. junkies may

be more likely to
Were always trying to get as have negative
much talent as possible while views of
spending as little money as possible.
Ninety-nine percent of the people
on reality TV get their expenses we have a name for it: frankenbiting.
covered and maybe a daily stipend If you see someone talking and
of $20 or $30, but thats it. then the camera cuts away to a shot

of something else but you still hear
Yes, we often take different clips their voice, thats likely frankenbiting.

and edit them together to sound
like one conversation, sometimes In most competition shows, a
drastically changing the meaning. clause in the contract says the
We can even create complete sen- producernot the judgeshas
tences from scratch. Its so common, the nal say in whos eliminated.
60 ILLUSTRATION by eddIe gUy
werent even on the market. And for
The judges usually make the picks,
day-in-the-life shows about differ-
but producers do step in occasion-
ent occupations, many producers
ally and say, This person is really
fake scenarios (like a tree falling on
good for the show; I dont want him
a logger) to add drama.

kicked off just yet.

I once had a woman cast as
Compelled to redo your bath-
a villain who turned out to
room in a day after watching a
be the nicest lady ever. As producer,
DIYer do it on a reality show? Not so
I sat her down and said, Listen, you
fast. Maybe we made it look like it
were cast in this role. If you want
took only 24 hours, but we actually
to make good TV, if you want the
had a professional crew working on
series to come back and make more
it for two weeks. And the budget we
money next year, then you need to
gave was completely unrealistic.

play along. If you dont, youre going
Heres a tip for applying to be on to be cut out entirely. It worked.

a reality show: Talk about your
The on-camera interviews
weaknesswhether youre terried
are especially produced. You
of snakes or you cant stand lawyers
can nudge a cast member to think a
and salesmen. The producers love
certain way or tell them something
that stuff.

that will change their tune.

Anytime you have an all-stars
The quickest way to judge the
version of a show, the players are
budget of a show? Location. If
almost always on the phone with each
theyre shooting outside in parks and
other beforehand making deals. But
on the street, they pretty much have
most of the stars are so shady, they
no budget. To save money, Ive shot
break their alliances before the game
things at my own house before.

even starts, so its still interesting.

Youre seeing only a sliver of
The big shows do an extensive
the action on that 42-minute
background check on all pro-
episode you just watched. The
spective stars. We call friends and
Biggest Loser, for example, has 11
family members, conduct drug and
cameras running eight hours a day.
STD tests, make you sit through
Thats 88 hours of footage a day,
endless interviews, and do psycho-
seven days a week. So we end up
logical and physical examinations.

with 616 hours of video for just one
Not all reality shows are the weeks episode, which allows us to
same, and some are heavily create the story line we want. n
staged. On House Hunters, some of Sources: Pascual Romero, a former reality-TV producer;
the houses toured on camera were Rob Cesternino, a two-time Survivor contestant who runs; a reality-show assistant director; and
reportedly friends homes that a reality show producer 9/13 61

Faith in
the Field
by will leitch

I n a column about
Josh Hamilton, the
once universally
beloved All-Star who had
a rough go of it during his
rst month as an Anaheim
Angel, Los Angeles Times
columnist T.J. Simers
asks Hamilton a snide
question. 97%
of Americans
Hamilton, who say they
became a born-again believe in
Christian after his well- notion that Godwho has his hands
publicized struggle with full with larger matters than the

phOTOgRAph Of hAmILTON: bRANdON WAde/geTTy ImAgeS

substance abuse, tells Simers that, score of the Maaco Las Vegas
when fans are booing him, he turns Bowlwould pick one team over
to the Bible for strength. Simers another is self-aggrandizing spiri-
responds: Does it mention any- tual megalomania at its worst. But
where in the Bible what it takes to what an athlete means when he or
hit more home runs? she thanks God is dramatically
Hamilton showed more restraint different from what a nonbeliever
than I might in a similar situation. understands.
Rather than bonk Simers on the Which is why, when Josh Hamilton
head with his bat, he says, That electried Yankee Stadium with
would go to prayer. 28 homers in the 2008 Home Run
Of all the things my non-sports-fan Derby, his words postgame were
friends dislike about sports, the big- called into question. Its amazing,
gest one is how athletes are always the last few years, what Gods done
thanking God for their achieve- in my life, and how quickly hes
ments. It drives them crazy. The done it, Hamilton remarked.
The unfortunate thing is that helping him hit a homer; he is
some fans heard: God decided that thanking Jesus for everything. From
I would start hitting a ton of home the homers to the strikeouts to the
runs. But this is absolutely not what millions of dollars and all the boos
Hamilton is saying; instead, he is and cheers in between.
humbly acknowledging that he Just because Hamilton believes
believes our accomplishments are Jesus is with him when he wins
mIcheL SImA/ geTTy ImAgeS (pIcASSO). STefANIA d'ALeSSANdRO/geTTy ImAgeS (SWANk). geTTy ImAgeS (pReSLey)

never solely our doing. and when he loses doesnt mean he

Christianity isnt some peripheral believes Jesus is with only him.
notion of Hamiltons life; it is his Hamilton has something to turn to
life. As a Christian, Hamilton in his life no matter how hes scor-
believes that everything he does, ing. That might not work for you,
from showing up to church on and that might not work for me, but
Sunday to going food shopping to it has obviously worked for him. n
hitting a home run or striking out, Will Leitch is a senior writer for
is done for the glory of Christ. and hosts the daily
Hamilton isnt thanking Jesus for podcast The Will Leitch Experience.


No oNe KNows I DID ThaT!

i was a Sports Star i Destroyed Art to live
A young hilary Swank When he was young and poor,
competed at the Junior Pablo Picasso burned his own paint-
Olympics as a swimmer. ings to keep warm in the winter.
i wrote Songs for i wrote the catchy Jingles
Johnny cash Whimsical barry Manilow wrote State farms
childrens author Shel Silverstein Like a good Neighbor jingleeven
wrote The Giving Tree, Where the though he didnt
Sidewalk Ends and the lyrics for write his own hit
cashs hit A boy Named Sue. I Write the
i Did My book on
a Dare Dr. Seuss i Did the
wrote Green Eggs tough Jobs
and Ham when an before he was
editor challenged him famous, elvis
to pen a book using no Presley worked at a
more than 50 words. trucking company. 9/13
All in a Days Work

M y neigh-
bor, a
ofcer, pulled
someone over
for texting while
driving, a big no-
no in our state.
The driver was
having none of it.
I was not
texting! she
insisted indig-
nantly. I was on
B r e nda M or a l e s,
crown Point, indiana
I really wish youd seen me before you became so curious.

Tome Deaf
Bookstore owners share their Two women came to my photo
customers oddest requests. studio to have their portrait taken.
Wheres your true ction My very young and very nave assis-
section? tant asked, Are you two sisters?
Holding an autographed book: I No, said one of the women.
want to buy this book but not this Were partners.
copy because someones written in it. Ohhhh , said my assistant.
Do you have Pride and Produce? So how long have you ladies been
illustration by chris weyant

source: cops? Jen n ifer Cord ova , Glendale, arizona

File under Time to Look for a New

Job: Today, my boss threatened to
survey says re me for killing him in Minecraft.
I was once a surveyor for
a road construction crew.

A friend was intrigued. favorite new joke, funny anecdote,
She inquired, What kind of or crazy news story might be worth $$$.
questions did you ask people? page 160 for details.
B e n L e h m a n , stevensville, Michigan 9/13
The WorsT Way To geT ThaT job
theres a right and a wrong way to write a post-interview thank-you letter.
humorist Justin belmont demonstrates the latter.
Michael bodMann/Getty iMaGes

It Pays to Increase Your
Word Power
by eMily cox & henry rathvon

Mash-Ups From brunch (breakfast +

lunch) to WiFi (wireless + delity), todays
English language is full of mash-up words.
Other examples include smog, sitcom,
and Muppet, as well as the hybrids below.
Enjoy the edutainmentor turn to the
next page for the answers.
1. motorcade ('moh-ter- B: having ESP.
kaid) n.A: breakdown. C: born on
B: automatic response. foreign soil.
C: procession of 6. meld ('meld)
vehicles. v.A: liquefy. B: com-
2. radome ('ray-dohm) bine. C: harden with age. dwelling. B: gaseous
n.A: salad vegetable. 7. bodacious (boh-'dey- element. C: close male
B: antenna housing. shus) adj.A: remark- friendship.
C: all-night party. able. B: interfering. 11. liger ('liy-ger) n.
3. digerati (di-juh-'rah- C: part human, part A: liquid measure.
tee) n.A: archaeologist. machine. B: midnight snack.
B: computer whizzes. 8. chillax (chi-'laks) v. C: big cat.
C: screen pixels. A: ice sh. B: calm 12. frenemy ('fre-nuh-
4. slurve ('slurv) n. down. C: rudely insult. mee) n.A: false friend.
A: ice-cream drink. 9. agitprop ('ah-jit-prop) B: opposition army.
B: automobile stunt. n.A: political hype. C: frantic movement.
C: baseball pitch. B: building support. 13. Frankenfood
5. telegenic ('te-li-je-nik) C: crowd control. ('fran-ken-food) n.
adj.A: suitable manner 10. bromance ('bro- A: dangerous eats.
and appearance for TV. mans) n.A: fraternity B: genetically
engineered food.
C: fusion cuisine.
Alice in wordlAnd 14. mockumentary
In Alice in Wonderland, Lewis carroll coined the word (mok-yoo-'men-tah-ree)
chortle by combining chuckle and snort. Humpty n.A: simulated-trial
dumpty explains to Alice that the word is like a manual. B: placebo.
portmanteau (suitcase with two parts): There are C: satirical lm style.
two meanings packed up into one word. carrolls 15. sysop ('siys-op) n.
poem jabberwocky contains such portmanteaus as A: online administrator.
slithy (lithe + slimy) and galumph ( gallop + triumph). B: photo shoot. C: music
1. motorcade[C] proces-
sion of vehicles (motor +
cavalcade). How many
insipid celebutantes are
riding in the motorcade?
2. radome[B] antenna
housing (radar + dome).
The plucky parasailer passed
over the radome undetected.
3. digerati[B] computer 9. agitprop[A] political hype
whizzes (digital + literati). (agitation + propaganda). No one
Todays mathletes will was persuaded by the agitprop
become tomorrows digerati. promulgated in the newscast.
4. slurve[C] baseball pitch (slider + 10. bromance[C] close male
curve). A batter can only guesstimate friendship (brother + romance).
where A.J.s slurve will go. Ben and Andys bromance grew out of
5. telegenic[A] suitable manner their mutual love of automobilia.
and appearance for TV (television + 11. liger[C] big cat (lion + tiger).
photogenic). Only the most telegenic I cant go to the CineplexI have to
dancers appear on the show So You feed my liger.
Think You Can Jazzercise.
12. frenemy[A] false friend
6. meld[B] combine (melt + weld). (friend + enemy). A true frenemy,
Inventors melded two devices to create Lisa poked fun at my lob before
the camcorder. asking her hairstylist for one too.
7. bodacious[A] remarkable (bold + 13. Frankenfood[B] genetically engi-
audacious). Wasnt it bodacious neered food (Frankenstein + food).
of Bonnie to become a paratrooper? The food purists plotted ecotage
8. chillax[B] calm down (chill + against the Frankenfood conglomerate.
relax). A puzzle addict, Daniel refused 14. mockumentary[C] satirical lm
to chillax until he solved the cryptex. style (mock + documentary). Kathy
urged her Labradoodle-loving sister to
watch Best in Show, a mockumentary
MAsh-up MAtchup about ve dog owners.
Can you take the eight words 15. sysop[A] online administrator
below and combine them to make (system + operator). A savvy sysop
four legitimate portmanteaus? knows how to detect malware.
Picture Fork 9 and below: Some anticipointment
Spoon Digit 1012: Blog-worthy
Drama Comedy 1315: Fantabulous

pixel (picture + element); spork (spoon + fork)
Answers: Bit (binary + digit); dramedy (drama + comedy); To play an interactive version of Word
Power on your iPad or Kindle Fire,
the Readers Digest app.

70 9/13
Health Drama in Humor Inspiration Family RD
page 74 Real Life page 108 page 134 page 142 Classic
page 100 page 149
photograph by william brinson

artwork by martha bernabe 9/13 73

Highways of blood. A burly bodyguard of an immune
system. Bones constantly rebuilding. You wont
believe how brilliantly designed you are. Turn the page
for two parallel stories: 1) the extraordinary things
your body accomplishes every day and 2) the health
advances that will keep it humming for years.
74 9/13

photographs by
steve vaccariello
illustrations by
bryan christie
20 Mind-Blowing Medical
The latest news you can use to protect your heart,
keep your brain sharp, wake up happier, and more
BY HallIe levIne Sklar

1 Better Stroke
Imagine youre experiencing severe
2 Protection for Big
and Small Athletes
Figuring out when players have sus-
dizziness and suspect youre having tained blows to the headnot just

Hair & Makeup/GrooMinG: kerry-Lou BreHM at pro-StyLe-Crew for BoBBi Brown

a stroke. Precious lifesaving minutes concussions but minor hits, which
tick by before you nally decide to may be just as damagingis a big
go to the hospital and while you wait concern among coaches, professional
to have a CT or MRI to diagnose the athletes, and Pop Warner parents alike.
cause. Now a new test may quickly Two wearable devices may soon make
determine whether the dizziness is it a lot easier to determine whether a
being caused by a stroke or another player has suffered a worrisome head
condition such as vertigo, prevent- injury. The CheckLight beanie (worn
ing the misdiagnosis of as many as under a helmet or without one) has
100,000 strokes a year. During the sensors that identify the strength, du-
test, a patient dons goggles con- ration, and location of impacts to the
nected to a webcam and laptop that head. Moderate hits trigger a yellow
record video of her eyes as they look blinking light; severe ones set off a
at a target on the wall and the doctor red one. Available from Reebok and
moves her head from side to side. (If electronics startup MC10, the Check-
its just dizziness, eyes wander off; if Light launched this summer for $150
its a stroke, eyes stay focused on the at Another option is the
target.) The test identies the cause X-Patch, a sensor in the form of a patch
correctly 99 percent of the time, ac- that is worn behind the ear and trans-
cording to developer David Newman- mits information about injuries wire-
Toker, MD, a neurologist at Johns lessly to a computer on the sidelines.
Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. The The developer, X2 Biosystems, says
rate of accuracy is higher than that the patch will be available next year.
of CT scans and MRIs. continued on page 79 and on blue throughout

76 9/13
The Amazing Body TouR
even though its been nearly two decades since i took an anatomy class, the design of the
human body continues to blow my mind. to see what i mean, heres a personal guide to
my favorite gee-whiz parts and what your body quietly accomplished today.
B Y t r a v I S S t o r k , M D , cohost of The Doctors and one of Readers Digests trusted medical advisers
You had about
20,000 thoughts.
picture 100 billion neurons
(or brain cells), which each
re (talk to each other)
ve to 50 times per second
(on average). the impulses
can travel as fast as 270
miles per hour. this speed is
what allows you to, say, see
an object and immediately
identify that 1) its a cat, 2)
its orange, 3) it reminds you
of Gareld, and 4) Garfield
was your favorite comic.

You didnt overheat

or freeze. your inner
thermostat, located in the
hypothalamus, is an engi-
neering marvel. a change
of as little as one degree
fahrenheit triggers your
body to make lifesaving
adjustments. when your
temperature gets too high,
blood vessels in your skin
dilate to release heat. when
it drops, they constrict and
your sweat glands shut
down. once your core
temp hits 97 degrees, you
can start shivering as a way
to produce heat.
continued on page 78
Your heart beat very impressive about the never get anything else
anywhere from 60 heart is its ability to adapt done. Or be able to sleep.
to 100 times every to our lifestyles. During a So thank your brain stem
minute. Imagine doing vigorous workout, more for making the habit of
biceps curls at that than 70 percent of the breathing automatic.
hearts output fuels your Curious why you need to
HEART pace! Thats about
100,000 times a
dayand up to
working muscles, for ex-
ample, compared with just
20 percent while you are
inhale and exhale so often?
Well, humans have a very
high metabolism; at rest,
three billion
times in the less active. You have about you demand about seven
average per- 100,000 miles of various to ten ounces of oxygen
sons life. blood vessels, laid end each minute. And your
Whats to end, and your heart lungs are perfectly de-
also pumps about 2,000 signed to handle these
gallons of blood through truckloads of oxygen.
them every day. They contain about 300
million microscopic air
You breathed sacs called alveoli, which

25,000 times provide the surface area
without trying. If roughly equivalent to half
you had to consciously a tennis court to bring
choose to breathe oxygen into the body while
that often, youd releasing carbon dioxide.
Neurologist and brain-trauma pioneer turns into nitric oxide, a gas that wid-
Robert C. Cantu, MD, told the New ens blood vessels and aids blood ow.
York Times that he is in favor of such A glass a day could help keep blood
devices but says that they shouldnt be pressure at a lower, healthier level.

used to diagnose concussions.

The Supplement
Foods for Lower Cardiologists Love
Blood Pressure Coenzyme Q10a substance your
l Sesame and rice-bran oil People body produces naturally in small
who cooked with a blend of the two, amountsdecreased mortality rates
sold at health-food stores, saw a drop among heart-failure patients by
in blood pressure almost comparable about half, according to a widely
with the decrease that results from tak- lauded study presented at the Inter-
ing meds, according to research from national Heart Failure 2013 Congress.
the American Heart Associations Coenzyme Q10 may be so benefi-
Scientific Sessions. Researchers be- cial because it encourages heart cells
lieve the effect is due to the oils fatty to produce more energy, explains
acids and antioxidants such as sesamin, Clyde Yancy, MD, chief of cardiol-
sesamol, sesamolin, and oryzanol. ogy at Northwestern Memorial Hos-
l Purple Majesty potatoes Eating two pital, although he feels more research
small helpings a day decreased blood is needed if this is to become widely
pressure by about 4 percent without recommended for patients. The study
causing weight gain, according to a found that people with chronic heart
University of Scranton study pub- failure who took 100 mg of CoQ10
lished last year. Researchers believe supplements three times a day (along
the drop is likely due to the high levels with their regular medications) were
of healthful antioxidant compounds in about half as likely to suffer major
the colorful spud. Other studies have cardiovascular complications as peo-
identied in all potatoes substances ple who didnt take the supplement.

that have blood pressurelowering ef-
fects similar to those of ACE inhibitors,
a type of blood pressure medication. Genes Predict
l Beet juice People with high blood
pressure who drank about eight
ounces of beetroot juice experienced Surgery Success
a decrease in blood pressure of about Some obese patients shed 60 percent
10 mm Hg, according to a study pub- of their weight after bariatric surgery,
lished this past April in the American while others struggle to lose just 15
Heart Association journal Hypertension. percent. Soon prospective surgery
The magic ingredient? Nitrate, which patients may learn in advance how 9/13 79
much weight they are likely to lose, physicians to play an active role in
thanks to a researcher at Massachu- their patients weight, says Louis
setts General Hospital who identied Aronne, MD, director of the Com-
a genetic variation on chromosome 15 prehensive Weight Control Program
that seems to inuence how people at NY-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell
respond to gastric surgery. Patients Medical Center.

who had two copies of the benecial
version of this gene lost about 40 per-
cent of their presurgical weight, while
Blockbuster Blood
those with only one copy lost about Sugar Drug
33 percent. The one unlucky individ- Endocrinologists are buzzing about
ual with no copies lost less than 30 Invokana, a new type 2 diabetes drug
percent. (For very obese people, this that received FDA approval in March.
could translate to differences of 30 to Unlike other drugs that lower the
50 pounds.) The team is studying 12 amount of glucose you absorb from
other gene variants that may inuence food, Invokana causes you to pee
surgery outcomes and plans to de- out your blood sugar, says Ronald
velop a test within the next two years Tamler, MD, clinical director of the
to determine who is a good candidate. Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New

York City. One study published in
Obesity Is April found that patients who added
Invokana to their diabetes drug regi-
a Disease men improved blood sugar control
The nations largest group of phy- significantly more than those who
sicians, the American Medical As- added a different diabetes drug that
sociation, voted this summer to encourages the body to release insulin
categorize obesity as a disease that after meals. Invokana produces mod-
requires a range of interventions. est weight loss (about two pounds
The milestone decisionstrongly over a year) and lowers blood pres-
supported by cardiologists and endo- sure. Unfortunately, it also has one
crinologistsis expected to inuence undesirable side effect: an increased
whether insurance companies cover risk of yeast infections.

treatment such as weight-loss coun-
seling, medication, and surgery. By
elevating obesity to more than a risk
The Healthiest
factor in other diseases, the new clas- Diet, Rediscovered
sication should help patients realize Eating like a Greek was touted for
that obesity is not just a behavioral years as pure diet Nirvana: Where
issuethat it is due to changes in brain else could you snack on nuts and en-
and body chemistry that make los- joy olive oilsoaked bread? But as doc-
ing weight difcultand encourage tors and nutrition experts zealously
80 9/13
The muscles that
help focus your
eyes moved about
100,000 times. Thats
a workout equivalent to a
50-mile walk.

You also blinked

about 15 times a
minute, or almost
15,000 times while
you were awake.
You do this spontaneously
to protect your eyes and
clean away dirt. Even
cooler: Your brain doesnt
let you miss out while you
blinkit lls in missing
information so you never
realize your eyes were

You produced about

six cups of saliva.
Yes, thats a lot of spit, but
saliva is one of the bodys
most underappreciated
uids. Without it, you
wouldnt be able to taste
or swallow food. Or form
words. Saliva is also a
potent germ ghter: Its
enzymes clean your mouth
and prevent tooth decay
and infections. No wonder
animals lick their wounds.
You made up to
three million red
blood cells each
second. Thats almost
260 billion for the day. They
perform one of bloods
most important roles: deliv-
ering precious oxygen to
all your bodys cells. A single
drop of blood contains
millions of these guys,
which get their
scarlet hue from the
protein hemoglobin.

You got cut but

didnt bleed
out or get a
systemic infection.
Next time you get a scrape,
think about this cascade
of events: After
some bleed-
ing, which
clean the
wound, your
body stops blood ow by
forming a clot. If bacteria
enter through the break in
the skin, white blood cells
quickly arrive to destroy
them. Mast cells from your
immune system release
histamine, a chemical that
increases blood ow to the
site (it also makes the area
red and swollen). This
leads other cells to begin
battle with the bacteria.
Its a magical sequence
that helps save your life
whenever you get cut.
promoted Paleo- and vegan-style pro- Doctors have started to recommend
grams over the past decade, the diet stool transplants for other gut-related
fell out of favor. Now the Mediterra- health problems like ulcerative colitis
nean diet is back, after two important and Crohns disease. We hope that in
studies recently conrmed its power- the future, there will be stool banks,
ful health benets: just like there are blood banks and
l Better brainpower: Healthy people sperm banks, says Lawrence Brandt,
who followed the diet were 19 per- MD, professor of medicine and sur-
cent less likely to develop memory gery at the Monteore Medical Center
problems, according to a University in New York City.

of Alabama at Birmingham study of
over 17,000 people. DIY Sleep
l Healthier heart: Mediterranean-
style eaters were 30 percent less likely Apnea Test
to die from cardiovascular disease or Determining whether you have sleep
have a stroke, according to a Spanish apnea usually involves spending the
study of over 7,000 people followed night in a special laboften far away
for eight years, recently published in from home. Sticky electrodes are at-
the New England Journal of Medicine. tached to your head, nger, face, and

chest to measure such things as brain
Wacky Fix for a activity, and elastic belts are wrapped

Tamer Tummy around your belly and chest to eval-

uate breathing. No wonder it can
An eective antidote for an antibiotic- take years for a spouse to convince
resistant intestinal infection may come a partner to seek a cause for disrup-
not from the medicine cabinet but tive snoring. Although home sleep
from the toilet bowl. With a procedure tests have been around for some 20
informally known as a poop trans- years, most doctors believe the DIY
plant, researchers found that trans- tests arent as reliable as those done
ferring stool from a healthy person in a lab. But research published last
into the gut of someone infected with year in the journal Sleep found that
C. difficile, a deadly bacteria, cured 15 home test results are just as accurate
out of 16 persistent cases (only one as those from tests performed in a lab
third of patients who took only anti- setting, and insurance companies are
biotics improved), according to a 2013 increasingly covering DIY sleep tests.
study published in the New England Your doctor can prescribe the home
Journal of Medicine. Donor stool is test, which involves wearing a small
typically diluted in a saline solution module on your wrist that connects
and then inserted into the intestines to three sensors placed on your chest,
via colonoscopy or enema; the healthy on a nger, and under your nose. One
bacteria wipe out the C. difficile critters. caveat: The tests are very accurate for 9/13 83
moderate to severe sleep apnea but
can sometimes miss mild cases, ex-
plains Timothy Morgenthaler, MD,
a Mayo Clinic sleep specialist. He
advises that a patient with risk fac-
tors (such as being overweight and
complaining of daytime fatigue) un-
dergo a follow-up lab study if home
test results are negative.
these tests because they can cost
several hundred dollars, are often
not covered by insurance, and emit
potentially cancer-causing radiation.
But new research shows that theyre
worth the expense and risks: Scans
revealed potential signs of cancer
in 27 percent of patients, compared
with 9 percent of those who got X-
rays, according to a study of over
A New Rx 53,000 people published in the New
England Journal of Medicine. The CT
Sleep Aid scans were also much more likely to
By the end of the year, the FDA is ex- pick up lung cancer in early, more
pected to approve a new sleeping pill treatable stages. If youre a current
that has scientists excited. Suvorex- or former smoker over age 55 with a
ant inhibits the brains wakefulness- smoking history of at least 30 pack-
promoting neurons. This is a more years (one pack a day for 30 years,
natural sleep-inducing process than two packs a day for 15 years, etc.), the
that of other commonly prescribed American Lung Association advises
sleeping pills, which work by en- screening with low-dose CT scans
hancing GABA, a chemical that slows annually.
down brain activity and produces l Pap smears for ovarian and endo-
drowsiness, explains sleep expert metrial: Now the test that has dramat-
Michael Breus, PhD. The result? Pos- ically reduced rates of cervical cancer
sible higher-quality sleep with fewer may screen for other gynecological
side effects such as next-day drowsi- diseases. With a swab of the cervical
ness and impaired memory. If you are uid from your Pap, pathologists can
often unable to get enough shut-eye, look for mutations in the genes most
suvorexant may be a good short-term frequently altered in ovarian and
option, but Dr. Morgenthaler and endometrial cancers, according to a
Breus stress the best results come new Johns Hopkins study. The test
from changing your bedtime behav- picked up almost 50 percent of ovar-
ior, like not watching the clock and ian cancers and 100 percent of endo-
shutting off your computer. metrial cancers, which is fantastic,

says Ernest Hawk, MD, vice president
Tests That Catch of the division of cancer preven-
tion and population sciences at the
Cancer Earlier University of Texas MD Anderson
l CT scans for lung: Doctors have Cancer Center. These cancers are
been reluctant to routinely prescribe often deadly because theyre difcult
84 9/13
You had
and dozens
of chances
to choke to
didnt. The back of
your mouth displays an
impressive feat of life
guarding every time you eat
or drink food or liquids. As
The you prepare to swallow,
lining of your soft palate comes up
your stomach to cover your nasal cavity
regenerated about (so you dont squirt spa-
25 percent of itself. ghetti out your nose) and
Your tummy is home to a your epiglottis covers your
powerful uid: hydrochlo- trachea (so food doesnt
ric acid, which helps break go down your lungs). To
down foods in much the appreciate the art of swal-
same way that laundry lowing, watch a baby being
detergent cleans stains. Its spoon-fed a jar of mashed
so potent (strong enough carrots. Hell push the food
to dissolve the metal zinc) out with his tongue because
that your stomach lining he is still learning how to
regenerates itself every perfect the swallowing
four to ve days so the acid reex, without which he
wont injure it. would likely die.
Your kidneys
cleaned and
recirculated almost
50 gallons of blood.
Thats about three times
as much as a medium-size
cars gas tank would hold.
To fully appreciate the
wonder of the kidneys,
which form the most high-
tech ltration system
youll ever encounter, all
you have to do is look at
someone on dialysis due
to poor kidney function.
People need a machine
about the size of a mini
fridge to lter their blood,
adjust electrolyte levels,
and get rid of waste,
while your body
accomplishes this
without any fanfare
using two small
organs, each about
the size of a computer
mouse. Your kidneys also
help maintain the proper
level of hydration. When
youre drinking a ton of
water, they excrete more,
turning your urine a clear
or pale yellow color. When
youre dehydrated, they
cling to as much uid as
possible, so your urine
becomes more con-
centrated, making it
look darker (like
apple juice).
to screen for and are usually diagnosed of honey appear to work, Dr. Paul
at advanced stages. especially recommends buckwheat
l Breathalyzer test for colon: A sim- honey (found in health-food stores),
ple breath test can correctly identify which is rich in antioxidants. One
patients with colon cancer more than caveat: Children under one year old
75 percent of the time, according to shouldnt be given honey.

a recent Italian study. Researchers
analyzed the chemical makeup of the
breath of 37 people with colorectal
Flu-Proof Home
cancer and 41 people without cancer Strategy
and found a chemical pattern that was Raising indoor relative-humidity
consistent with colorectal cancer. In levels to 43 percent or above quickly
comparison, colonoscopywidely rendered 86 percent of airborne u
considered the gold standard of co- virus particles powerless, according
lon cancer screeninghas a success- to a new CDC study. The theory is
ful detection rate of 85 to 95 percent. if you combine virus droplets with
Other researchers are studying ways water droplets in the air, they become
to use Breathalyzers to ferret out so heavy that they fall and cant be
lung, breast, and prostate cancers. inhaled, explains study author John

Noti, PhD, a senior service fellow at
A Safe Kids the health effects laboratory divi-
sion of the U.S. National Institute for
Cough Healer Occupational Safety and Health. Noti
Now theres solid science behind a recommends setting your humidier
sweet remedy from your pantry. Chil- at a slightly lower level, between
dren between the ages of one and ve 30 and 40 percent. This setting should
who had a teaspoon or two of honey provide enough flu-fighting water
before bedtime coughed less and slept vapor without spurring mold growth,
better than those who didnt, found an which can trigger allergies.

Israeli study published this past sum-
mer. The thick liquid coats the back
of the throat, where some irritant
Shot-Free Flu
cough occurs, says Ian Paul, MD, a Fighter
pediatrician at Penn State College of A new nasal spray may make u pan-
Medicine. And honey contains a lot demics a thing of the past, according
of antioxidants, which may help ght to recent University of Pennsylvania
the cold. In addition, the fact that its research. Gene therapy guru James
so sweet causes you to salivate, which Wilson, MD, PhD, and his team dis-
may thin mucus, and the sweetness covered a rare antibody that could
may also help suppress the cough ght off many u strains. To stimulate
center in your brain. While all types the immune system to produce this 9/13 87
antibody, the researchers used a so-
phisticated delivery vehicle: the genes
of a very mild virus called adeno-
associated virus (AAV). When scien- It Really Heals
tists inserted the gene for the anti- The right tunes can improve your
body into the AAV virus and then put health in a number of ways:
the virus in the nasal lining of mice, l Keep calm. Listening to favorite
the animals produced virus-ghting music lowered anxiety among ICU
antibodies, which provided complete patients by about one third, accord-
protection against lethal strains of u. ing to a recent Ohio State University
These antibodies neutralize a whole study. And no, any old music wont
array of u viruses, so unlike current doit had to be familiar and comfort-
u vaccines, the spray wouldnt have ing, according to researchers.
to be redeveloped each year, explains l Eat less. When Hardees gave
Dr. Wilson. He may collaborate with one of its restaurants a ne-dining
the U.S. government to develop a ver- makeoverincluding soft lighting
sion for u pandemics. and jazzdiners ate about 18 percent

less and reported enjoying their food
Easier Reading more, according to a Cornell study in
the journal Psychological Reports.
for Blurry Vision l Improve focus. Uplifting concertos
One in six Americans over age 65 from Vivaldis The Four Seasons can
suffers from a vision impairment boost mental alertness, according to
not correctable by glasses, such as research from Northumbria Univer-
age-related macular degeneration. sity in the United Kingdom. When
Researchers found that patients young adults were given a task that re-
with impaired vision improved their quired intense concentration, they did
reading speed by at least 42 words per better while listening to the uplifting
minute when they used an iPad on the Spring concerto versus the slower
18-point-font setting compared with and more somber Autumn one.

reading a printed book or newspaper,
according to a study from the annual
meeting of the American Academy
Needles That
of Ophthalmology. Experts believe Relax You
the devices backlighted screen, Acupuncture has long been touted
which creates contrast between the as a treatment for everything from
words and the background, is the key. infertility to migraines. Now new re-
(Patients who used the original search shows it helps relieve stress,
Kindle, which wasnt backlighted, according to a series of Georgetown
achieved a more modest gain of 12 University Medical Center studies.
words per minute.) When we looked at rats exposed to
88 9/13
You regenerated
about 0.03 percent
of your skeleton.
Your bonesstrong
as steel but as light as
aluminumarent just
some chalky-white lifeless
scaold; they are living tis-
sues with blood vessels and
nerves. They are constantly
repairing and rebuilding
about 10 percent of your
adult skeleton is replaced
each year. Your bones are
also a good example of use
it or lose it: The bones of
someone with a broken leg
who is immobile for a few
weeks will literally shrink
during that time, but they
will bulk up once the per-
son starts bearing weight
and exercising again.
Your feet
produced up to
two cups of sweat.
No wonder your shoes and
socks smell less than fresh.

RobeRT TRAchTeNbeRg (sToRk)

That sounds like a lot, but
youll want to cut your feet You
a break when you consider may have
how much work they do. fought
If a healthy person takes cancer. Your
8,000 to 10,000 steps a body has trillions of
day, thats the equivalent cells. If a mutation oc-
of walking the circumfer- curs in the DNA (genetic
ence of the earth four material) of any, it can
times by age 70! create cancer cells, which

divide uncontrollably and
Your skin shed can clump together to
about 50 million form tumors. When you
dead cells. Thats consider how many cells
about 30,000 to 40,000 split every minuteand
a minute (just think about each time a cell divides, it
how much skin youve has to copy 30,000
axed since you started genesits a wonder we
reading this article). You dont get cancer all the
may have heard that your time. The reason we dont:
skin is your bodys largest the bodys incredible sys-
organ, and because it tem to catch errors. When
serves so many important a cell divides, proofreading
functions, the scaolding enzymes x any DNA mis-
is always up, so to speak. takes. If the proofreaders
Just one square inch of dont work, the cell itself
skin has 650 sweat glands, can detect that its bro-
20 feet of blood vessels, ken and commit suicide.
60,000 pigment cells, and It says, Im about to be-
more than 1,000 nerve come cancerous, so Ill kill
endings. myself to save the body.

OUR HealtHy PaRtneRsHiP

Readers Digest Editor-in-Chief Liz Vaccariello appears monthly on
The Doctors television show. She joins Travis Stork, MD (at left and
author of our body tour) and cohosts Drew Ordon,
MD; Jim Sears, MD; and Lisa Masterson, MD. Tune
in to The Doctors daily; check local listings.
chronic stressin this case, a shallow red wine that could have antioxidant
ice bath for an hour a daywe found effectssuch as tannins or grape-
that those treated with acupuncture seed extractDr. Seidman suggests
had no spike in corticotropin-releasing getting the benets through a daily
hormone (CRH), a chemical made in six-ounce glass of red vino instead of
the brain that launches stress hor- supplements. Teetotaler? An eight-
mones, explains study author Ladan ounce glass of grape juice will also
Eshkevari, PhD, associate professor do the trick.

at Georgetown University Medical
Center and a licensed acupunctur- Prevent Drug
ist. Many insurance plans now cover
acupuncture for depression and anxi- Mess-ups
ety, especially with a doctors referral. Taking drugs haphazardlyskipping
Standard treatment includes sessions doses or lapsing between refills
twice a week for two weeks, once a costs $290 billion per year in unnec-
week for six weeks, and after that, as essary health-care costs, according
needed. Go to to nd to NEHI, a national health policy in-
a licensed acupuncturist near you. stitute. Now two new advances hope

to improve medication compliance:
Drink Up for l Swallowable sensors: A poppy

Healthier Ears seedsize sensor placed inside pills can

monitor whether or not youve taken
Experts have known for years now your medicine. Stomach acids acti-
about the ability of resveratrol, a sub- vate the sensor, which relays data to a
stance found in grapes and red wine, skin patch that sends info to a mobile
to help ght heart disease, certain app that you, your doctor, and family
types of cancer, and diabetes. Now members can access to track compli-
they may add hearing loss to the list. ance. The product, from technology
Rats exposed to loud noise that were company Proteus Digital Health, re-
given a resveratrol supplement be- ceived FDA clearance last year and
forehand had much less hearing loss should be available in about a year.
than those that werent. Oxidative l Brilliant bottles: AdhereTech cre-
stressor the bodys rusting ated pill bottles that measure the
affects age-related hearing loss, and exact number of pills they contain
resveratrol, a potent antioxidant, and wirelessly transmit this data to
appears to help offset that damage, patients, reminding them to take their
explains study author Michael Seid- medication via an automated phone
man, MD, director of the division call or text message. The company
of otologic/neurotologic surgery at hopes this technology will become
the Henry Ford Health System. But available by the fall of 2014, with
since there are many compounds in clinical trials beginning this year. n

An Unthinkable
Crime, Then an
Joshua Mieles sight
was stolen from him
when he was a child.
Forty years later, hes
giving the blind a
bright future.
by wendell JaMieSon

l from the New York Times
n october 5, 1973, four-year-old Josh Josh Miele, three,
Miele was playing in the backyard of on vacation in
1972 (above);
his familys house on President Street in the Miele family
the Park Slope neighborhood of Brook- at their Park Slope
lyn, as his mother, Isabella, cooked in the kitchen.
circa 1970 (right).
When the doorbell rang, Josh sprinted to answer it.
He opened the door and saw Basilio nearly 40, I followed her advice from
Bousa, 24, one of his next-door neigh- long ago: If the doorbell rang when I
bors, standing on the other side of happened to be visiting, I hung back,
the vestibules heavy iron gate. Josh just a little, as I answered it.
unlocked the gate. Then he slipped The attack on Josh Miele was the
his two feet into its lowest rung and most notorious crime of my child-
grabbed hold of each side with his hood, and in the end, it destroyed
hands so that his weight would pull two families. We didnt know the
open the gate. Basilio didnt move or Mieles, but I always wanted to know
speak. Josh stepped out from behind why the attack had occurred and what
the gate, into the open. had happened afterward: Had the
And then, he couldnt see. He didnt families held it together? I wanted to
know why. He felt around with his know what had become of the crazy
hands, grasping for the walls. He man and who he was. But most of all,
forced his eyes open and glimpsed the I wanted to know what had become
wood paneling in the vestibule. It was of that little boy.
the last thing he ever saw. Jean Miele, Joshs father, bought

the narrow little house on President
was seven years old at the time Street in 1965. The brownstones
and lived four blocks away, looked much as they do today,
on St. Johns Place. My mother although their facades were worn,
came into the kitchen that and many hid rooming houses within.

pRevious spRead: couRtesy Jean miele (left). Rick Gold (RiGht)

day or the next, her hands shak- The day the Mieles moved in, Jean
ing. Wendell, she said, when- immediately unpacked a shotgun,
ever you answer the door, never which he left sitting on his front stoop
go out to the gate until you know for all to see. He and Isabella had a
who is there. Always look through son, also Jean, and a daughter, Julia.
the window of the inside door. Be- Josh was born in 1969.
cause you know what happened? Felipe and Clara Bousa moved
This little boy on President Street from Cuba to President Street with
answered the door, and this crazy their son Basilio in 1955. The Mieles
man poured acid on his head. and the Bousas went out to din-
She took me to our front gate and ner together. Carmen, the Bousas
made me practice. I thought, Why daughter, babysat the Miele chil-
would anyone do that to a kid? The dren. When his mother brought Josh
newspaper provided no clues, just home from the hospital, I thought
a brief article: Boy, 4, Is Hurt by he was the most beautiful baby Id
Acid Thrower. For me, it was like a ever seen, Carmen told me after I
particularly chilling fairy tale by the reached her by phone recently.
Brothers Grimm. Until the day my But there were problems with
mother sold the house, when I was Basilio. Carmen said her mother
94 9/13
Miele designed
tactile maps
to help blind
people navigate
subway stations,
stadiums, and
more. To be
able to feel
the map is like
building an
internal view
of what the
space is like,
says Miele.

had detected something amiss with n the day of the attack,
Basilio when he was one. She said Joshs father was on a busi-
that her parents had tried to get him ness trip to Washington,
help. As a young man, he used drugs D.C.; by the time he
heavily, was thrown out of Brooklyn returned to Brooklyn, Josh was at
College, and started working at the Methodist Hospital. The elder Jean
familys bodega on Seventh Avenue. was shocked at the sight of his son.
For reasons unknown to everyone, His face was a mask, he recalled.
Basilio became xated on the Mieles. Joshs skin had turned brown, his
He broke one of their windows and features were altered. I remember
later tossed a aming bottle into their thinking, I dont know anything about
Jim Wilson/New York Times/Redux

backyard, prompting a call to the what to do about this, said Joshs dad.
police and an arrest. Doctors crowded around the boy,
He was released. He joined the trying to save his sight. His father
Army but was absent without leave began to feel reassured until the next
in October 1973. This is when he went day, when an intern approached and
to the bodega and bought a soda- whispered to him that if Josh didnt
acid re extinguisher. He opened it, get to a military hospital soon, he was
poured the sulfuric acid into a con- going to die. The intern explained
tainer, walked over to 851 President that only the military had the ability
Street, and rang the bell. to deal with the kind of burn injury
that Josh had. The elder Jean comman- of the affected area, mostly his face.
deered a pay phone in the hospitals Dr. Pruitt said his chief goal was to
waiting room and got through to Park save the boys sight. But he knew right
Slopes congressman, Hugh L. Carey, away that this objective was hopeless.
who reached out to the U.S. surgeon The globes had been irreparably in-
generals ofce. Soon a call came in to jured, he said. Josh underwent end-
the pay phone from Col. Basil Pruitt, less operations. Skin was taken from
a doctor who was head of the Brooke one of his legs and grafted to his face.
Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Dead tissue was cut away, a hugely
the only military hospital at the time painful process, again and again.
dedicated to treating burn victims. Isabella Miele, then and now an
Dr. Pruitt told Joshs father that he artist, explored San Antonio during
was sending a medical team and a the few moments she spent away
C-9 transport plane to McGuire Air from the hospital. She walked along
Force Base in New Jersey to pick up the river that bisects the city and
Josh. Joshs father just had to get his discovered a food market on a dusty
son there. The distraught dad worked plaza. But it was hard to escape what
that phone some more, shoveling in had brought her to the city: Im
dimes, and convinced a helicopter looking at the sky, and here are these
pilot at McGuire and a desk sergeant clouds, and Im crying in the middle
in the 78th Precinct of the New York of the street, thinking, Josh is never
Police Department to help him and going to see clouds.
his son. When Joshs brother saw him for
Later that night, five NYPD offi- the rst time, about six weeks after
cers formed a circle with their police hed been burned, the younger Jean
cruisers and used their headlights worried that he might collapse. Josh
to shine a star pattern on the Sheep sounded the same, had the voice of
Meadow in Park Slopes Prospect the same little boy who missed his big
Park. The pilot landed the helicopter brother, but his appearance was radi-
in the middle of the star, and then cally changed. Many of his features
lifted Josh, his mother, and his father were gone, and what remained was
into the sky. roughly scarred.

Josh learned to use a cane and
or such a devastating spent time at the Industrial Home for
injury, we were very the Blind in nearby Brooklyn Heights.
realistic about what to His father built a bunk bed that was
expect, said Dr. Pruitt. part jungle gym so Josh could climb
Upon examining Josh, Pruitt deter- and stretch his scarred underarms.
mined that the boy was burned over His mother had her own approach
17 percent of his body, with third- to Joshs rehabilitation. There were
degree burns covering more than half many times when I put him in less-
96 9/13
Or a child would scream: Mommy,
When Josh was 11 Mommy! A monster! A monster!
The rude comments and questions
or 12, he put a stop made Julia angry. Once, after Josh had
undergone an operation to restore his
to the operations. upper lip, he had to wear a gauze

Why go through bandage for weeks, and his mother

drew a mustache on it. The next time

all this pain just someone on Seventh Avenue asked

Julia what had happened to Josh,

to look a little less she snapped, He had a mustache

transplant. Joshs brother had a

dierent? he different way of dealing with the looks

and questions: He got into fistfight
asked his parents. after stght.
Josh attended Public School 102 in
Bay Ridge, where he learned to read
Braille. When his mother moved with
a new companion to Rockland County,
than-acceptable situations, she said. New York, Julia and Josh went with
Id let him touch things in museums. her. Joshs operations continued,
I would let him climb on things that including a failed cornea transplant.
people dont ordinarily climb on. He When Josh was either 11 or 12, he
would say, Mom, is this really all learned that doctors were planning to
right? and Id say, Its OK. Do it. stitch one of his arms to his burned
In 1975, the elder Jean and Isabella nose. The surgeons hoped that the
separated. After their father moved live tissue in the arm would trigger
out, Julia and Josh found themselves regrowth of blood vessels and tissue in
alone a lot. They listened to talking the nose. Josh put a stop to it. He had
books for hours on the jungle-gym had enough. He told his family he was
bunk bed. They fought and argued as always going to look differentwhy
any siblings do. They played outside go through all this pain just to look a
with friends from across the street. little less different?
The two of them would roam
fter the attack, Basilio

around Park Slope, two little chil-
dren, nine and ve, running errands, Bousa was arrested and
shoppingand more often than not charged with first-degree
someone would comment loudly assault. He said that he
on Joshs appearance. Or would ask heard voices and that people were
Julia, within earshot of her little following him. He was given a diag-
brother, what had happened to him. nosis of paranoid schizophrenia and
was treated at a psychiatric hospital
until he was deemed ready to stand I want to be
trial. Josh, then seven, testied. But in
the end, Basilio was found not guilty famous for the
by reason of insanity and ordered to
undergo more treatment. Eventually, work Ive done,
the Bousas moved to Florida. The
bodega closed. Basilio died in 1992, and not for some
after getting emphysema. His sister,
Carmen, said he smoked continually
stupid thing
and obsessively in his last years and
in moments of lucidity was horried
that happened
by what he had done. His parents died
around the same time.
to me 40 years
Nothing was ever the same af-
ter that day, she said. This thing
ago, said Josh.
destroyed my family.

hen Joshor, to give

W his full name, Joshua

A. Mieleand I first
met for coffee, he was
in New York City to lead a panel dis-
cussion at the Metropolitan Museum
wife, Liz, and their children, Benjamin,
ten, and Vivien, seven. By the time I
went to their house for dinner, I had
ceased being conscious of any physi-
cal difference between us.
of Art about improving the museum Josh has a bachelors degree in phys-
experience for blind people. His dad ics and a PhD in psychoacoustics from
still lives in Park Slope, as do his the University of California, Berkeley.
sister, Julia, now Julia Miele Rodas As an undergraduate, he worked for
and a professor at Bronx Commu- the technology company Berkeley
nity College who teaches and writes Systems on software to help blind peo-
about disability in literature, and his ple navigate graphics-based computer
brother, Jean, a photographer. programs. He developed software for
Before we met in fall 2012, I was a the Mars Observer for NASA. He is the
little nervous: I wondered how I would president of the board of directors of
react to his appearance. But I found it the San Francisco LightHouse for the
less off-putting than fascinating. His Blind. He plays bass in a band. And
intelligence and sense of humor blazed he works as an associate scientist at
through, and he quickly put me at ease. the nonprofit Smith-Kettlewell Eye
Today Josh lives in Berkeley, Research Institute. Id like to be as
California, on a beautiful block of famous as the next person would,
cottages built in the 1920s, with his but I want to be famous for the right
98 9/13
reasons, for the work Ive done and Slope, a little amazed, as she was, that
not for some stupid thing that hap- they had had so much freedom.
pened to me 40 years ago, Josh said. His perception of himself as being
He has helped develop tactile- blind has shifted over the years, from
Braille maps of every station of San not identifying with those who had
Franciscos Bay Area Rapid Transit no sight to becoming aggressively
system, exquisite creations with proud of his blindness. He has tried
raised lines of plastic and Braille to bring along his parents and siblings
labels. The maps also elegantly con- on this journey, with mixed success.
vey information via an audio smart- In those early days of being overly
pen. Joshs enthusiasm for the Braille cool with being blind, I said to my
maps is infectious, but its nothing father, Dad, cmon, when are you
like the way his voice goes up an going to get over it? I am who I am.
octave as he describes his latest proj- He was surprised, and he said, You
ect, a cloud-based software program, know, Im never going to get over it.
the Descriptive Video Exchange, It was only when Josh had his own
that, in theory, will let someone nar- children that he realized what this
rate a video or movie and describe experience must have been like for
what they see for those who cant. his parents. He better appreciates his
Josh remembers the day he was fathers never-wavering optimism, his
burned with precise detail. He sister and brothers protectiveness,
remembers riding in the helicopter and how his mother told him again
and making the nurses at McGuire and again that he could do anything
laugh. He remembers his time at a sighted person could, even some
Brooke as a horror show: He never things that they couldnt, like touch-
knew when a new soldier would be ing priceless art in museums.
moved into the cot next to him be- I never doubted that it was all
cause the previous one had died. And going to work out, he said. It was a
he remembers those days when it was foregone conclusion that it was going
just him and Julia ranging around Park to be OK. n
New York times (march 3, 2013), 2013 by the New york times co.

long ExcEptional words

Squirrelled: 11 letters; the longest monosyllabic English word
Abstentious: 11 letters; the longest word to use all ve vowels in
order, exactly once
Rotavator: 9 letters; the longest non-coined palindrome (reads the
same backward and forward)
From Mental Floss

Drama in Real Life

A 40-ton gray whale lunges onto the

deck, and Max young seems sunk.
What follows is the ght of his life.
By Kenneth Miller
100 9/13
dozen years after he set out to sail around the
world, Max Young was entering the home-
stretchan 850-mile haul from Cabo San Lucas,
Mexico, to San Diego, then a 500-mile hop to
San Francisco. On a moonless night in June 2012,
his 50-foot cutter, Reflections, cruised north-
ward, propelled by a steady breeze, its rudder guided by
autopilot. Young, 67, sat in the pilothouse, gazing out at a
magnicent conagration of stars. The retired school-
teacher wished that his wife, whod skipped this leg of
the trip, were there to share the beauty.
A yawn escaped him. Usually, and cracking berglass as the head
Young slept all day when he was sail- and upper body of the 40-ton animal
ing solo so hed be fully alert to meet slammed onto the rear deck. The bow
the challenges of nighttime naviga- tilted skyward. For a moment, the

previous spread: tui de roy/corbis. young: courtesy erin michele childs

tion. Today, however, he had only sailor and the whale made eye con-
catnapped: The ocean had been full tact. Young toppled forward into a
of whalesgrays, he guessed, migrat- pile of bags. As the creature struggled
ing toward Alaska. Hed seen dozens, to free itself, the boat turned sharply
more than hed ever observed in such to the left. When Young looked up,
concentration. Lolling and ourishing the beast was gone.
their ukes, they were wonderful to The tower that held his wind gen-
watch, but he was relieved when hed erator and radio antennasten feet
gotten past them. Now he stretched tall, made of two-inch steel tubing
and glanced at the autopilot gauges. swayed, then collapsed into the sea.
The chronometer read 10:12 p.m. The stern railing was mangled, but
Suddenly, Young heard a tremen- the craft was still aoat. Young pre-
dous whoosh from beneath the hull. sumed that its inch-and-a-half-thick
His adrenaline surged. An instant hull had survived the event.
later, a whale easily as long as the His rst concern was to get back
boat rocketed out of the water in a on course. He was now headed
cascade of silver spray, just off the southwest, toward Polynesia. Young
stern. It seemed suspended upright gured the collision had thrown the
above Reflections, the barnacles on autopilot out of adjustment, so he
the underside of its head glimmering tried to reset it. But the boat contin-
in the vessels running light. Next ued on its wayward path.
came a cacophony of crumpling metal Perhaps the problem was with the
102 9/13
For breeding,
gray whales
migrate to the
waters along Baja
California, where
Youngs accident

map illustration by mike reagan

steering. Young went below to check a few milesand shouted, Mayday!
the lines, but they seemed normal. In Mayday! There was no response.
the stern cabin, he noticed that the Young sat down and took a deep
oor and mattress were wet. Then, breath. Its been a good life, God, he
on his way back up the steps, he heard prayed. Im not a young guy. But my
an ominous sloshing. Lifting a hatch 23rd wedding anniversary is in two
beneath the small stairway, he was weeks, and my granddaughters third
shocked to nd three feet of water in birthday is the same day.
the bilge, an area between the oor- Shes got leukemia, God. Id really
boards and the hull. Some accumula- like to make it home.

tion was normal, but a set of pumps
usually kept it to a few inches. ax Young grew up in
Young began checking the most Northern California, one
likely sources of a leak: the pipes of seven children of a
that ran from the galley and two highway worker and a
bathrooms through the hull and the waitress. His father moonlighted as
spot where the bilge pumps emptied a commercial sherman, and Young
into the ocean. Everything was sound. often accompanied him on his expe-
When he checked the bilge again, ditions. Aboard their small trawler,
the water was still rising. Returning Youngs dad would describe his ex-
to the top deck, he tried steering the ploits as a B-24 pilot during World
boat by hand, but the wheel would War II, when he ew bombing runs
turn only a few inches. across the South Pacic. At age 12,
Now Young was ghting panic. He Young announced that he was go-
quickly set off two emergency bea- ing to sail to all the places his father
cons. For good measure, he ipped talked about.
the switch on his pocket-size beacon, He spent the next five decades
which had a much smaller range but preparing for the voyage, honing his
a signal that could provide rescuers seamanship on boats of increasing
with more precise information about size and complexity. After getting
his location. Only U.S. Coast Guard married and earning a masters de-
facilities could pick up the beacons gree in industrial design, he nanced
frequencies, and the nearest base was his passion by teaching shop class
in San Diego, 450 miles to the north- and science at a high school outside
east. He wasnt sure if the alert would Sacramento; for extra cash, he remod-
make it that far, and, if it did, whether eled and ipped houses. In 1987, when
Reflections would still be aoat by the he was 43 and divorced, he bought
time help arrived. Reflectionsthe big, sleek boat that
Hoping to summon assistance from matched his childhood dreams. He
nearby, he grabbed a portable two- broke it in on jaunts along the Cali-
way radioable to transmit over just fornia coast with his second wife,
104 9/13
Gray whales breach
the water to knock o
barnacles on their skin.
Its also one of the ways
they communicate.

Debbie, and their kids (two from his ting it back together before it would
rst marriage, one from hers, and the start. He remembered the pirates off
daughter they had together). And Malaysia who threatened to ram his
then, in 2000, he retired and began boat. None of those situations, how-
his globe-circling odyssey. ever, were as dire as this one: his
At rst, Young followed the route steering gone, his boat lling with
his father had taken during the war: water, and help out of reach.
San Francisco to Australia, by way At 1:30 a.m., Young was praying
of Hawaii, French Polynesia, Samoa, again when a plane circled overhead.
Fiji, and various islands in between. His radio crackled to life. This is
He and Debbie, a nancial adviser, Lt. Amy Kefarl, United States Coast
spent two years in Australia before Guard, said a voice through the
returning to Sacramento to work and static. Do you read me?
replenish their funds. From then on, Youngs heart was hammering
whenever time and money allowed, as he answered: Thank you, Coast
Young would fly to the last place Guard. I thought this was the end. As
hed left the boat and pilot it a few he later learned, the signal from his
thousand miles farther around the emergency beacon, carrying his ap-
worldsometimes with his wife or proximate location as well as contact
Marcos DelgaDo/getty iMages

a volunteer crew, other times alone. information for his wife, had reached
There had been joy along the a base near San Francisco; an ofcer
waybreathtaking sights, rewarding had called Debbie, who conrmed
friendshipsbut also trouble. Hud- that Young was four days sail north
dled now in the pitching pilothouse, out of Cabo San Lucas. The cargo
Young remembered terrifying storms. plane had then headed to sea, homing
He recalled the time the wind failed in on a blip on the radar, from one of
off New Caledonia, and he spent days Youngs emergency beacons.
disassembling the engine and put- Weve found a container ship to
Stepping onto the deck, Young noticed
pieces of whale esh lying near the stern.
He felt a rush of pity for the beast.
pick you up, Kefarl told him, after Stepping onto the deck, Young no-
Young briefed her on his encounter ticed pieces of whale esh lying near
with the whale. But his elation van- the stern. They were black on one
ished when she added, The vessel is side and glistening with bloodstained
45 miles out. It should reach you in blubber on the other, and they ranged
about ve and a half hours. in size from banana to bread loaf.
I dont have that long, he pro- That must have hurt, Young thought.
tested. Im taking on water fast. In spite of himself, he felt a rush of
Have you checked to make sure all pity for the beast and hoped it hadnt
the bilge pumps are working? been badly injured. He lifted the
He hadnt. With the boat wallow- smallest chunk; it felt like rubberized
ing and listing, hed feared it might leather. Then he made his way to the
capsize at any moment, trapping him foredeck, pulled the life raft out of its
below. But now he realized he had no storage case, and dropped it over the
choice but to risk it. When he opened side. He tugged on its tether to inate
the hatch, he saw that the pumps were it. But no matter how many times he
covered with a mass of pipes and wires did so, it remained stubbornly at.
that had oated out of two storage bins. Reflections also carried an inat-
Only one of the devices was working; able dinghy, normally used for trips
the others must have turned off when to shore, and Kefarl suggested he try
the debris settled on their switches. He launching that. Young tossed in the
cleared away the junk and was pleased bag of souvenirs before lowering the
to hear the disabled pumps hum back semi-accid vessel. To his chagrin,
into action. Then he began snatching the bag toppled out and vanished
mementos from the walls and stufng beneath the waves. Worse, Young
them into a garbage bagdrawings by couldnt nd the pump to inate the
the kids, framed photos from his wan- dinghy.
derings. He also grabbed a bag full of Suddenly, Youngs chances seemed
souvenirs for his family and hauled much slimmer. He was wearing a
both sacks with him up the stairs. flotation suit, designed to provide
When he was back in the pilot- buoyancy if he were separated from
house, the voice on the radio had his vessel, but it couldnt protect him
more instructions. Mr. Young, Id from sharks or hypothermia. If Reflec-
like you to get your life raft into the tions went down before the rescue
water now. That way, itll be ready if ship arrived, he realized, he would
you need to jump into it. likely perish with it.
106 9/13
ixing the bilge pumps had alongside, with a rope ladder draped
bought Young some time, but down its rusty ank.
the water beneath the floor- Young handed the bag of drawings
boards was still slowly rising. and photos to a tall sailor. Then he
As the hours crawled by, the vessels followed the man up the ladder and
rocking grew more violent. In the pilot- collapsed, exhausted, onto the deck.
house, Young clung to a safety line and During his eight days on the
distracted himself by replaying his life. freighter, Young got to know its
He recalled his first fishing trip young captain and developed a
with his father. He saw himself learn- taste for East Indian food. He also
ing to ride a bike and sail a boat. He learned what had crippled his boat:
remembered his first car, his first Crew members had seen a crack in
love. He relived his childrens rst the stern and severe damage to the
steps and his rst kiss with Debbie. propeller and rudder. After landing
And then came the great journey: in Panama, he ew to Sacramento
He revisited Turkey and Thailand. and made it home in time for his an-
He glided through the Persian Gulf niversary and his granddaughters
to the Mediterranean and across birthday.
the Atlantic. He sunned himself in The whale may not have been so
the Bahamas, hiked through a Costa lucky: Two weeks after Youngs re-
Rican rain forest, and cruised through turn, a 65-foot gray whale washed up
the Panama Canal. He was sailing on a beach in Baja, its head gouged
through a pod of whales off Baja Cali- with prop marks. It could have been
fornia. Night fell, and he was gazing a coincidence, but I doubt it, he says.
again at the stars. I feel bad that such a beautiful crea-
Then Young yawned, rubbed his ture had to die.
eyes, and watched the sun rise from Young also mourns the loss of
the pearly sea. The boat was foun- Reflections. He hopes to replace her
dering now, waves washing over the someday and to decorate the new
gunwales. But something square and crafts cabin with the family art-
massive was looming on the horizon: work he salvaged. Despite his losses,
a merchant ship with a largely Indian hes thankful for his memories.
crew. Young willed the vessel for- Those, he observes, we can keep
ward. Finally, the huge carrier drew forever. n

Immortal one-lIners
Old accountants never die; they just lose their balance.
Old daredevils never die; they just get discouraged.
Old lawyers never die; they just lose their appeal.
or Lame
Its an argument
for the ages as a
baseball naysayer
riles up our
humor editor

Baseball Is a Bore
By James Breakwell from

B aseball is not a sport. Baseball is so physically un-

I classify it as a low- demanding that teams often
impact recreational play two games in a row
activity like Pilates or yoga. on the same day. While
It takes more athletic ability players in specic po-
to work at the post office sitions, like the pitcher
than it does to start for the and the batboy, might get a
Mets. Im not saying everyone real workout, everybody else
can make it in the big leagues. It takes goes into the second game feeling
a set of highly specialized skills to like they just woke up from a refresh-
play baseball. The same could be said ing nap. If a football team played two
of being an accountant. Neither de- games on the same day, the fatality
serves to be televised. rate would be about 98 percent.
Theres a simple test to determine And unlike in football, in baseball,
if an activity rises to the level of a its nearly impossible to get injured in
sport: Can you do it while chewing a game. That hasnt stopped players
tobacco? By this objective measure- from hurting themselves in off-the-
ment, baseball fails, but cheerlead- eld incidents, such as playing Gui-
ing passes. Everyone remembers tar Hero (Detroit Tigers pitcher Joel
that girl on the high school spirit Zumaya suffered inammation in his
squad who choked on Skoal and was throwing arm from playing the game)
subsequently crushed to death by a and sneezing (former Chicago Cubs
crumbling human pyramid. Baseball slugger Sammy Sosa sneezed so hard
players face no such danger since that he injured a ligament in his lower
the most rigorous activity they per- back), proving once and for all that
form is the slow jog from the spot video games and allergies are more
where they stand still to the spot hazardous than playing baseball at the
where they sit. Their game is one of highest level.
long periods of inaction followed by The only thing more fragile than
short, intense periods of somewhat a baseball player is his ego. Players
less inaction. Yes, they sometimes constantly hurt each others feelings
swing a bat or catch a ball, but only by breaking unwritten rules, which
after every other form of stalling is exist solely to give them an excuse
exhausted. A baseball game is the to throw temper tantrums. A few
libuster of the athletic world. seasons ago, a pitcher ranted to the 9/13 109
media that an opponent disrespected flaws are mitigated by baseballs
him by stepping on the pitchers long and storied history, which can
mound. The spat over who walked on be traced back to at least the 1800s.
what clump of dirt was exponentially When people break out the tradition
more exciting than the game itself argument, what theyre really say-
and made headlines in the baseball ing is that baseball is unexciting, but
press for the next year and a half. thats OK because its been unexciting
Apologists argue that all these for a really, really long time.
Copyright 2013 by Joseph Larson. expLodinguniCorn.bLogspot.Com (september 10, 2012).

You Are Out, Sir!

By Andy SimmonS

N ot only is baseball Whats your hurry? (I have

the greatest sport to go home and watch
in America, its The Voice!) Oh, please,
our national pastime! Other its summer. Grab a
than watching cat videos, bleacher seat and relax.
what else has pastime status? Look up once in a while
Nothing, and heres why: The to make sure a ball doesnt
game is slow. And thats a have your number. And if it
good thing. Were an ambling does, catch it! What other
nation; we take our time and make sport involves its fans like that?
sure things get done right, and heres Above all, baseball is deliberate
a sport that lets its players get on base its a thinking persons game. Its all
by walking. Baseball is timeless be- about strategy, and surprise. The ten-
cause there is no articial timepiece sion builds slowly, men get on base,
dictating its pace. No one shamefully the manager changes pitchers, the
sits on the ball to run out the clock (as inning stretches to an anxious cre-
they do in other sports that shall go scendo. Like a Stephen King novel,
nameless), because there is no clock. nothing happens, nothing happens,
Both teams get 27 outs to do with then wham! Cujo eats you. And
what they can. And if they need a few Prince Fielder launches one into the
more, no problem. Its fair. Its, dare I upper deck.
say sporting! Football, on the other hand, as pun-
To all you speed freaks (Why dit George Will observed, is violence
cant they move things along?!) I ask, punctuated by committee meetings.
110 9/13
Its an anger-management class launching a hard ballI mean, a really
gone awry. Games are won in the hard ballin his direction a whole lot
trenches between 350-pound offen- faster than the speed limit on the In-
sive and defensive linemen. In other terstate. He has about four-tenths of
words, the fattest team wins. a second to decide whether to
I cant relate to people who swing, lay off the pitch, or
are bigger than my car, but faint. Should he make con-
when I watch baseball, I feel tact, that ball will carom
like one of the guys. In fact, off his bat at 100-plus mph.
thats the charm of the sport. The elder has four-tenths
The players look like me. of a second to react and not
They wear pants. So do I! swallow his chaw. (BTW, I
Boston Red Sox star Dustin have yet to see the
Pedroia is five feet nine Heimlich maneuver
inches, same height as performed on a
me. Dustin and I can diving shortstop.)
almost be mis- But the ball
taken for twins, wont carom off my
except I cant bat. While I might
hit a 95 mph be able to sink a
fastball like basket or run a few
he can. I could inches for my life af-
strike out with ter catching a football,
the best of them, but I I will never in a million
couldnt hit like them. years make contact with a
Id be too busy digging a thrown baseball. Know who
foxhole in the batters else cant hit? Michael Jordan.
box and wailing to the Remember when he quit bas-
umpire, Make that pitcher ketball to become one of the
stop throwing at me! Boys of Summer? The greatest
Thats because baseball athlete, nay, the greatest sports-
players possess something man of the past eon, was a mis-
I dont: reexes. Sure, most erable failure. He never got out
athletes have better reexes of the minor leagues! And when
than me, including chess he played, he did what all those
masters. But consider what a football and basketball players
batter faces: some guy, who do but Breakwell says baseball
he trusts is wearing players donthe sweated. Lots.
his contact Whifng at fat curveballs
lenses and all day will do that to a
can see the plate, body. Nuff said.

Th e Science of
The key to How to:
handling Get an Honest
interactions answer
with grace: Youre buying a used car, moving
anticipating into a new apartment, or determin-
ing which doctor should treat your
the other cancer. These are times when you
need to get directly to the core of
persons an issue.
point of view Asking general questions elicits
little valuable information and may
(often before even yield deceptive responses, says
Julia Minson, a visiting scholar in
he knows it decision sciences at the University
himself) of Pennsylvania. The best bet, says
Minson, is to ask probing questions
By Mary LofTus that presume there are problems.
l from Psychology Today Lets say someone is selling a 9/13 113
sponding to a general one.
When you want the un-
varnished truth, you have
to ask for it: What mechan-
ical problems does this car
have? What are the worst
parts of this job? How
many people with my kind
of illness have been suc-
cessfully treated? What are
their relapse rates? Your
questions should commu-
nicate that you assume
there will be difculties
and drawbacks and that
you want to know about

How to:
No one likes being told he
is doing something wrong,
used iPod. An example of a general which means that even constructive
question is What can you tell me criticism is usually received with
about it? A positive-assumption defensiveness. Thats why Denver
question is There arent any prob- psychologist Susan Heitler
lems with it, right? But a negative- a founder of poweroftwomarriage
assumption question such as What .com, a website focused on building
problems have you had with it? will communication skillsrecommends
mArk HooPer/geTTy ImAges (4)

get the most honest response, found feedback that skips the complaining
Minson and colleagues. and goes straight to the explaining.
In a study that set up a fake sales For instance, while cooking, dont
interaction, 87 percent of the sellers say to your husband, Thats not
alerted the buyer to problems the way to saut. It will dry out the
when asked a negative-assumption potatoes. Instead, offer helpful
question versus 59 percent of those advice such as My grandma taught
responding to a positive-assumption me three tips for keeping sauted
query and 10 percent of those re- potatoes soft and yummy: Start your
114 9/13
potatoes and onions in a hot skillet, Gordon Brown) cop to being shy
keep adding small amounts of butter, when theyre not performing or
and keep stirring giving speeches.
until the onions are (At a dinner party,
translucent. Who Knew? you want to sit next
For parents, the Critical to me, Rocks wife,
same approach ap-
plies to homework Corrections Malaak Compton-
Rock, once said.)
Criticism makes or breaks
and chores. Choose Theyre in good
all kinds of relationships.
encouraging state- company: Forty
Criticism is the single
ments over stern most signicant factor in percent of the
commands, and say a childs perception of his population falls into
what youd prefer relationship with his that category, says
your child do rather parent. As for adults, Jill Bernardo Carducci,
than what she has Hooley, a psychologist at director of the
not done or has done Harvard, and John Teas- Shyness Research
incorrectly. Say dale, a psychologist now Institute at Indiana
Id love to see your at Cambridge, found in University Southeast.
playroom cleaned up one inuential study that Carducci considers
by this weekend so the single best predictor small talk the cor-
you and your friends of relapse for married nerstone of civility
can have fun there adults with depression is because it paves
instead of This their response to the the way for bigger
question How critical is
place is a mess! conversations. His
your spouse of you?
What have you been pocket guide to social
Patients who relapsed
doing? You havent rated their spouses as discourse, How to
picked up one thing. signicantly more critical Talk to Anyone Any-
No one is coming than did patients who time Anywhere About
over this weekend remained well. In any Anything, suggests
until this room is relationship, its crucial you seek out a prop
spotless. to criticize without (like a wineglass) or
demeaning or humiliating. act as a host by intro-
How to: ducing people to each

other. Here are his
four cardinal rules for easier con-
at a Party versation: 1) Be nice but not neces-
sarily brilliant; 2) keep your opening
Its hard to believe, but even the lines simple, and think about your
worlds most brazen comedians introduction beforehand (your
(Chris Rock) and powerful leaders name and a little information
(former British Prime Minister about yourself that might serve
as conversation kindling later); The recipient is confronted with a
3) join conversations that are dilemmahow to respond simulta-
already in progress neously to both: I
by elaborating on the must agree with the
topic of discussion
or introducing new
Who Knew? speaker and thank
him for the gift of a
topics, perhaps from Gratitude compliment while
current events; and Gaffes avoiding self-praise.
4) end by saying, Compliments can Contrary to conven-
Theres someone I show a range of social tional wisdom, women
have to speak with, ineptitude. In one study, arent worse than men
but it was really nice clumsy responses to at accepting compli-
I like your sweater
meeting you. ments. It is the gender
included praise
Dont make the of the compliment
upgrades (Yes, it
mistake of staying on really brings out the giver that most inu-
one subject for too blue in my eyes), ences the response.
long. Its called small intrusive questions Women and men are
talk for a reason. (Do you really think so? both more likely to
Think conversational Do you want to borrow accept a compliment
hors doeuvres, with it?), and disagreement coming from a man
each topic sampled (Its itchy; I hate it). than from a woman.
and savored. When a man says,
Nice scarf, a woman
How to: is more likely to respond afrma-
tively: Thanks. My sister knitted it
Accept a for me.
Compliment But when one woman tells an-
other, Thats a beautiful sweater,
When asked, nearly everyone says the recipient is likely to demur or
the proper response to a compli- deect: It was on sale at Walmart,
ment is Thank you. But when and they didnt even have the color
actually given a compliment, only I wanted. Such a response, in-
a third of people accept it so simply tended to make the complimenter
and smoothly, found linguist Robert feel that the recipient isnt overly
Herbert of Binghamton University proud, only makes her feel awkward
in Binghamton, New York. or invalidated instead. Better to
The difculty lies in the fact that a make a relevant, related comment
compliment (What a nice sweater!) (Thanks. Its my favorite too).
has two levels: a gift component And nothing tops smiling, looking
(accept or reject) and a content the complimenter in the eye, and
component (agree or disagree). simply saying, Thank you.
116 9/13
How to:
Sorry, my mistake. It wont
happen again. Please forgive
me. If such words come
easily to you, youre lucky.
Most of us have to steel
ourselves to apologize,
sometimes because it feels
as if we were fully justied
in our offending behavior,
other times because it is so
humiliating to admit that
we werent.
It turns out that
the words you utter
Who Knew?
when apologizing are
less important than
the act of apologizing of Sorry
itself. Social psychol- Women do apologize
ogist Steven Scher of more than men but
Eastern Illinois Uni- not for the reasons
versity has identied you think, say social
ve main elements of psychologists Karina
apologies: 1) a simple Schumann and Michael forbearance (I prom-
expression of regret Ross of the University ise nothing like this
of Waterloo, in Ontario.
(Im sorry, I apol- will happen again);
Our ndings suggest
ogize, or Excuse and 5) an offer of
that men apologize less
me); 2) an explana- frequently than women repair (What can
tion or account of the not because their egos I do to make it up to
cause that brought are more fragile but you?). Employing
about the violation because they have any of these strategies
(I forgot to call you a higher threshold for is better than using
the other day with what constitutes none, Scher has
the information); oensive behavior. found, and the effects
3) an expression of can be additivethe
the speakers respon- more components
sibility for the offense (What I you include in the apology, the bet-
did was wrong); 4) a promise of ter. Perhaps most important, make
it genuine: Insincere
apologies can be worse
than none at all, found
psychologist Jeanne
Zechmeister and col-
leagues at Chicagos
Loyola University.

How to:
Dole Out
Kind words can be
powerful motivators
but only if you praise
the right things. Praising
someones ability to work
hard is more effective
than gushing about how
brilliant she is. Research
shows that kids who are
praised for their intelli-
gence do not try as hard
on future tasks. Being
praised for effort or other
aspects of performance directly un- performed better the next day if
der your control leads to resilience, they had been praised at the end
while being praised for being smart of the previous day, say Japanese
or for other innate abilities can researchers. To the brain, receiving
lead to feelings of helplessness or a compliment is as much a social
self-doubt when a setback occurs, reward as being given money.
says psychologist Heidi Grant
Halvorson, associate director of
the Motivation Science Center at
How to:
Columbia University. Persuade
How praise is delivered counts as
much as what gets praised. Praise
should be specic and sincereand Our polarized political climate
given generously, especially at the might suggest that no one can be
ofce. Workers asked to learn a task persuaded to anything; everyone
118 9/13
has already made up his or her Homer Simpson Can Teach Us About
mind. But if that were true, there the Art of Persuasion. Figure out what
would be no sales- you want, and then
men, lawyers, or go about getting it.
therapists. In fact,
Who Knew? Never debate the

Peer Power
each day, many undebatable, he
of us have to says. Instead, focus
persuade people Never discount the inuential on goals. Control
to buy into some- eect of comparing people the mood with vol-
thing they might with their fellows, says Robert ume, tone, stories.
Cialdini, an Arizona State
not otherwise Watch for persuad-
University psychologist
consider. able moments. And
turned consultant who wrote
When you want Influence: The Psychology of most important, be
to change some- Persuasion. He cites an energy agreeableexpress
ones mood, mind, company that placed monthly similarities and
or willingness hangers on oce doors so shared values;
to act, dont ask that employees could com- show people that
yourself, How pare how much energy each you have their
can I win this ar- one usedand the process best interests, as
gument? Instead, reduced overall usage by well as your own,
ask, How can I win 3.5 percent. Its not peer at heart. (Youd say,
agreement without pressure as much as social You may not agree
anger? advises evidence, says rhetoric with _____, but do
rhetoric expert Jay expert Heinrichs. Evolution- you really want Big
Heinrichs, author arily, its proved smart to do Brother deciding
what those around us in
of Thank You for what we can and
similar situations have done.
Arguing: What Ar- cant do in our
istotle, Lincoln, and private lives?) n
2013 by Mary Loftus. Psychology Today (March/apriL 2013), psychoLogytoday.coM

Judging A Book By its Cover

Since 1978, Bookseller magazines Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of
the Year has rewarded the weirdest in international book titles. Here are
some contenders from this years short list:
Goblinproofing Ones Chicken Coop by Reginald Bakeley

How Tea Cosies Changed the World by Loani Prior

How to Sharpen Pencils by David Rees

Lofts of North America: Pigeon Lofts by Jerry Gagne

Was Hitler Ill? by Henrik Eberle and Hans-Joachim Neumann

Look Twice

See the

Turn the page

121 9/13
ProP stylist: PhiliP shubin
Some people chew on pencils; others turn
them into art. I saw that I could make long,
undulating shavings with a sharpener, and
I started gluing them to a surface, says
photographer Levi Brown. Initially, I was
going to make a pattern with them, but they
started to take on a life of their own and
formed a topography. Attention, students:
Dont try this at school.


Coincidence? Divine intervention?
A really good day? Whatever way you
dene luck, these people got it.
by melody warnick

The family on The bridge

ast January, Kelli Groves, 36, settled in to drive the nal
stretch of a four-hour road trip from her home in San Juan
Capistrano, California, to Mission San Luis Obispo. In the
backseat, her daughter Sage, ten, huddled under a blanket
to watch a movie on her moms laptop; infant daughter, Mylo, dozed
in a car seat.
Suddenly, as Groves was crossing a bridge on Highway 101, a semi-
truck attempted to cut in front of her BMW but slammed into its
passenger side, instantly
pinning the sedan to the
guardrail. The truck ca-
reened off the bridge
and exploded in a ravine
100 feet below, killing
the driver.
Grovess BMW dan-
gled halfway off the
bridge. I thought that
within a few seconds,
we were going over,
says Groves.
Santa Barbara County
firefighters arrived on
the scene and tried to
stabilize the car with ropes and a tow truck cable, but still the BMW
teetered ominously as they sawed it apart to free the family. One
reghter shouted, We need to stop cutting. Were losing the car!
Inside the vehicle, the older girl appeared to be in shock, mum-
bling, Help, help. Groves couldnt see either child. She reached for
the baby, and her hand came back bloody. I kept tapping her to make
her cry, to make sure she was still alive, Groves says.
Meanwhile, the reghters had managed to extricate Sage. We
had to [pull] her out rst to have room to get to Kelli and the baby,
says reghter Greg Nuckols.
At the same time, a group of Seabees from a Navy construction
battalion pulled up, towing a large forklift. They could see the BMW
wobbling at the edge of the bridge and determined that the forklift,
which was capable of holding 11,000 pounds, could support the car
while rescuers worked their way inside.
With the re departments consent, PO 1st Class Frankie Cruz ma-
neuvered the forklift to the vehicle and held it in place. While the
forklift cradled the car, rescuers used the jaws of life to slice through
the BMWs mangled roof and pull out Groves and Mylo.
The three victims were rushed to a nearby hospital. Groves suf-
fered a broken pelvis, and Sage had multiple wounds and broken
bones. Mylo had emerged with just a few cuts. Thats impossible!
Groves said with astonishment when she heard the news. Even now,
a year after the accident, Groves says the amazing series of events
still bafes me.
126 9/13
A View to A Heist
eturning from a week at his North Carolina vaca-
tion home, David Zehntner, 56, eased his Cessna
182 into a slow circle over his sprawling 40-acre
ranch in LaBelle, Florida, preparing to land with his wife,
Berna, by his side.
As the plane buzzed over their house, Berna peered out the win-
dow. Honey, theres a truck in our driveway, she said into her
headset. Then they watched a stranger walk up to their front door.
Zehntner made a second pass. The man was now walking around
the house, peeking in windows. At one point, he looked up at the low-
ying Cessna. Back at the driveway, he quickly hooked the Zehntners
$1,200 trailer to his silver truck and took off down the road. I cant
believe hes actually doing this right in front of us, Zehntner cried.
Determined to catch the thief, Zehntner tracked the truck as it
rattled through the small town of LaBelle and then headed west to-
ward Fort Myers. Then he landed at the LaBelle airport, jumped out
of the plane, and called 911.
After his detailed description, local police were able to
apprehend the suspectand the stolen trailerin about
half an hour. The thief is awaiting trial.
Zehntner still cant believe he witnessed the whole
thing by air. The odds of something like this happening
are so astronomical, he says. The police wanted me to
buy them a lottery ticket.
saveD from a sinking car
unter Haire, 19, and ve friends, all home from college last
January, piled into Haires SUV around 10 p.m., headed for
a party near their former Lake Mary, Florida, high school.
Though theyd driven the streets often, the group couldnt
nd the house, and Haires iPhone GPS wasnt working.
Frustrated, he pulled into a parking spot facing a small lake to see
if his SUVs GPS could help. Before Haire could enter the address of
their destination, Haires friend Zac Sawin, 19, glanced up from the
backseat and saw a pair of lights glowing eerily from the water about
50 yards from shore. Theres a car in the water! he cried.
In the darkness, the boys could barely make out the silhouette of
the driver through the window. We thought, Weve got to get this
guy out of there now, or hes going to die, says Haire.
He and Sawin, both athletes, dashed into the frigid water and swam
hard to the sinking Mazda. Inside, Miguel Hernandez, 23, was clutch-
ing the steering wheel and staring straight ahead in shock.
Haire reached the car rst and convinced Hernandez to roll down
the passenger-side window. Haire climbed inside and wrestled with
Hernandezs seat belt. Then water began pouring into the car, causing
it to slip toward the bottom of the 15-foot-deep lake.
Haire crawled out the open window, and then he and Sawin yanked
Hernandez out of the car and pulled him back to the shore as the
sedan sank completely into the blackness below.
The series of events that led us there were the craziest coinci-
dences ever, says Haire. We left my friends house at a certain
time, didnt have to stop at any red lights, got lost. Sawin agrees:
If we had showed up 30 seconds later, he probably would have
been dead.

in the Dirt
n October 2011, while
tending her garden in
rural Mora, Sweden,
Lena Phlsson was
about to toss a handful of
stunted carrots onto the
compost heap. But some-
thing made her look
closer, and she noticed a
shiny object. Yes, there
beneath the leafy top of
one tiny carrot was her long-lost
wedding ring.
Phlsson screamed so loudly that her daughter
came running from the house. She thought I had hurt myself, says
Sixteen years earlier, Phlsson had removed the white-gold,
diamond-encrusted wedding band to knead dough. When she went
to put the ring back on later, it was gone. She suspected that one
of her three daughtersthen ten, eight, and sixhad picked it up,
but the girls denied it. Phlsson and her husband, Ola, scoured the
kitchen, even checking the gaps between the kitchen cabinets, but
turned up nothing.
Phlsson had hoped that the ring, which she had designed for her
1984 wedding ceremony, might appear during a kitchen renovation
11 years after it went missing. But, nothing. I gave up hope of nding
my ring again, she says. She never replaced it.
Phlsson and her husband now speculate that the ring got
swept into a pile of kitchen scraps and was spread over the
garden as compost, where it remained until the carrots leafy
top fortuitously sprouted through the band. For Phlsson, it
was the ultimate garden bounty. 9/13 129
the surfer
And the
addling out to
catch the next
wave at a com-
petition in
Christchurch, New Zea-
land, James Tuhikarama
had a heart attack, which
knocked him off his
surfboard. He inhaled water, lost consciousness, and was soon oat-
ing facedown in the ocean. For a few moments, no one noticed as he
drifted away from the main competition area.
About that time, Hira Edmonds, 25, a lifeguard and a senior instruc-
tor for a surf-safety company, was teaching 14 other lifeguards the
ner points of emergency rescue on the second oor of a building
overlooking New Brighton beach.
Edmonds had watched dozens of surfers ride the waves that day.
As he glanced out the window, he saw someone in a wet suit face-
down and motionless in the water. It doesnt take much to realize
someones in trouble, says Edmonds. Lifeguards are never really
off duty. Edmonds rallied the team, grabbed rst aid equipment, and
rushed down to the water.
The lifeguards dragged Tuhikarama, 47 and a father of two, to the
beach. More than a dozen rescuers took turns pumping oxygen and
performing chest compressions on the unresponsive surfer.
For nearly an hourfar longer than a single lifeguard would have
been able to continue the lifesaving techniquethe team continued
CPR. An ambulance nally arrived and took Tuhikarama to the
hospital, where he spent a week in intensive care in a medically
induced coma while his brain and heart healed.
A month after his release, Tuhikarama reunited with six
of the teenage lifeguards who saved him. [Being spotted by
a group of lifeguards] was the only thing that saved me, he
says. Ive been given a second chance.
130 9/13
A CAse of CAnine Kismet
uring Hurricane Sandy last year, the garage and base-
ment of Christine ODonovans house in the Belle Har-
bor neighborhood of Queens, New York, were ooded,
and two cars, years of paperwork, and photos were
destroyed. Still, she counted her blessings: Her husband, ve children
(ages 2 to 12), and an adopted shepherdridgeback mix named Buster
had remained safe.
Six months earlier, shed taken Buster home after nding the
scrawny six-month-old mutt left tied to a telephone pole.
Just a month later, however, as construction workers repaired the
house, Buster dashed through the open front gate and ran off. I was
devastated, ODonovan says. A string of neighborhood searches for
him turned up no sign.
Weeks later, ODonovan got a text from a friend, telling her to look
at a Facebook page that lists animals scheduled to be euthanized at
New York City shelters the next day.
Sure enough, when ODonovan logged on to the site, there was
a picture of Buster, who was apparently slated to be put to sleep
eight hours later, at 6 a.m. The shelter was closed for the night and
wouldnt open again to the public until 8 a.m.
Im thinking, How am I going to get him before they do this?
says ODonovan.
The next morning, she drove to the shelter with all ve kids in
tow. She asked the woman at the front
desk if Buster was still there. When the
woman replied yes, it was like a thou-
sand pounds lifted off my shoulders,
she says.
To prove her ownership,
ODonovan told the assis-
tant, Bring me to the back
where he is, and you will see
hes my dog. When Buster spot-
ted his long-lost owner, he went
wild, barking, jumping, and lick-
ing ODonovans face. She burst
into tears. The shelter worker
needed nothing moreand Buster
went home.
a remarkable reunion
teve Flaig of Grand Rapids, Michigan, knew hed been adopted
as a baby, and when he turned 18, in 2003, he decided hed try
to track down his birth mother. The agency from which hed
been adopted gave him his mothers name: Christine Tallady.
But online searches didnt turn up any results, and Flaig let it go.
In 2007, though, he searched for the name again online. This time,
the search results included a home address near the Lowes store
where Flaig, then 22, worked as a deliveryman.
When he mentioned the coincidence to his boss, his boss said, You
mean Chris Tallady, who works here?
Flaig and Tallady, 45, a cashier, had said hi to each other a few times
at the store, but theyd never really talked. He hadnt even known her
name. Flaig thought, Theres no possible way shes my mother.
For a few months, Flaig avoided Tallady. I wasnt sure how to
approach her, he told a local reporter. Finally, an adoption-agency
employee volunteered to call Tallady for him.
When Tallady realized that the nice guy shed been waving at was
her son, she sobbed. Shed always hoped to meet her birth son one
day. Later that day, mother and son talked
for almost three hours at a nearby
bar. Shed given him up for adop-
tion in 1985, when she was 23.
I wasnt ready to be a
mother, she told him.
Married with two
other children,
Tallady says, I
have a complete
family now.

132 9/13

Twice The
hen Vir-
ginia Fike,
44, plays
the lottery,
she always
picks the same numbers:
her parents anniversary date
and ages, divided by the year
they were married.
So when the Powerball jackpot
reached $80 million in April 2012, she drove to a truck stop near
her home in Berryville, Virginia, to buy a ticket. Shed planned to
get only one, but because of a mix-up at the register, she played the
numbers on two tickets.
Fike was visiting her mother in the hospital when she saw on TV
that two tickets in Virginia had hit ve of the six Powerball numbers.
Each one was worth $1 million.
Fike looked at her mom and said, Wouldnt it be funny And
it wasafter she double-checked the numbers at a convenience
store, which veried that she was indeed the double winner. Fike
received a total of $1.4 million after taxes. I must be dreaming,
she told a local newspaper reporter. I look forward to helping
take care of my parents and paying some bills.

The Unluckiest Woman in the World?

Ann Hodges was snuggled under a blanket on her couch in Sylacauga, Alabama,
one afternoon in November 1954, when a grapefruit-size meteorite burst
through the roof of her house, bounced o a radio, and struck her left hip.
She is thought to be the rst person in modern history to be hit by a meteorite.
I think God intended it for me, Hodges, then 31, said.
Trailed by a reball big enough to be seen in three states, the space rock
was traveling between 200 and 400 mph, according to scientists, when it
reached her. Hodges was badly bruised but didnt sustain any serious injuries.
Hodges died of unrelated causes in 1972. The oending rock is on perma-
nent display at the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Shed lost her beloved brother in Iraq.
Now shed do anything to rescue
his adopted dogs from the war zone.
An excerpt from the new book,
published by Readers Digest.
By Carey Neesley
l from Welcome Home, Mama & Boris

Hugging these
dogs is the
closest Ive come
to hugging my
brother, says
Neesley. From
left: Mama,
Neesley, and

photographs by amanda Friedman 135

Carey Neesley considered her younger brother, Peter, her best friend, and as a

wardrobe stylist: stephaNie potts; hair & Makeup/GrooMiNG: Gjysta Nuculaj. doG traiNer: jiM lesseNberry/aNiMal learNiNG systeMs
single mom, she relied on him as a father gure to her nine-year-old son, Patrick.
From his Army base in Iraq, Peter called and e-mailed as often as he could. Hed
befriended a stray dog and her puppy, he said, and named them Mama and Boris,
the latter for a friend whod been killed. Because no dogs were allowed inside the
base, he built a house for them outside its walls, and he was determined to nd a
way to bring them back to Michigan when his tour ended. But on Christmas Day,
2007, Neesley answered the worlds most dreaded knock on the door: We regret
to inform you ... Heres what happened in the days that followed, amid a urry
of media interest in a fallen hero:

Peters ag-draped casket emerges
from the dark hold under the plane,
e receive word and the honor guard carries it to
from the Army the hearse. Together, we watch the
that Peters body doors close, sealing Peter inside.
will come home to us on New Years
Eve. We are to go to the airport, ac-
companied by police escorts. Our At the funeral home, I am the rst
immediate family, some of our ex- to sit with Peters body. I slowly ap-
tended family, and two of Peters proach the casket, closing my eyes,
best friends meet up and take seats squeezing them tight and hoping
in two limos. As we embark on the that when I open them, this will all
cold, quiet ride to the airport, rain turn out to be a mistake. I pray to see
pelts the tinted windows, and it someone else in there, someone who
feels as though all the light has been is not Peter. Instead, when I open
squeezed out of me. my eyes, I am granted and denied
At the airport, we are escorted to my wish all at once. The body lying
the tarmac, where a straight-backed there is Peters body, but it is not
honor guard waits. Above us, we Peter. It looks, somehow, simultane-
hear the thunder of an incoming ously just like him and nothing like
plane. him. I know then for the rst time
Swarms of passengers are peering that this is real, and I fall against the
through the terminal windows at our casket, putting my head on his still
family. Though Im sure they are try- chest and crying into his uniform.
ing to be respectful, I resent having He looks so handsome, so young, so
to live out a very painful, private mo- full of promiseall the things that he
ment in front of an audience, with is. I have to correct myself now: the
my unfathomable grief on display. things that he was.
136 9/13
Sgt. Peter
sneaks treats
to the dogs
in Iraq,

After 15 minutes or so alone with that hell never have to leave us again,
Peter, I try asking his spirit for the even though he has left us forever.
strength I will need to get through
this next part: allowing Patrick to
see Peters body. As a parent, youre Friends and family come over in
never prepared for your child to droves to help put together picture
suffer. Since Peters death, Patrick boards for the memorial service.
has had terrible insomnia. He thinks As were going through the photos,
that if he falls asleep, he might die like we start talking about something so
Uncle Peter. No matter how many obvious that I cant believe weve
times I try, I cant seem to get through overlooked it: What should we do
to him that he will be ne, that he will about the dogs? I take a break from
wake up in the morning. And really, the picture boards to contact any-
I dont blame him. Who can make one I can get ahold of on Peters old
promises anymore? But I have to be base. A few of his friends reassure me
strong for Patrick. that theyve been taking care of the
I wipe my eyes, straighten my hair, dogs. The soldiersDan Haynes, Erik
and go out to meet him, taking his Torres, and Mark Hookano, who
tiny hand in mine as we step up to have already put their lives on the
courtesy carey Neesley

the casket. This is Uncle Peters line to serve their countrycontinue

body, I say, trying not to choke on to write me over the coming weeks
my words. His soul and his spirit to update me. They also tell me how
are free now. much they miss Peter. He was the
Patrick criesunstoppable, unag- heart of the groups morale, they say,
ging tears. I tell him that I know with a constant source of humor and music
all my heart that Peter is with us and and love. For them, the dogs are a con-
Peter Neesley porters, explaining that we are willing
was 28 when to speak with them under one condi-
he died. tion: The story has to focus on getting
Peters dogs home. Soon, our living
room is humming with cameras and
cables. The interviews are emotionally
excruciating, but theres no other way
to get the word out, so I grit my teeth
and bear it. The local segments are
picked up by national syndicates.
Mama and Boriss story runs on CNNs
news loop for a 24-hour period. I get
calls from relatives and friends, ex-
cited that theyve seen me on national
television. I turn on the TV and sit in
shock, watching myself talk about my
family, my brother, and bringing

Mama and Boris home to stay.

eve chosen the

Grosse Pointe
nection to the brother theyve lost too. War Memorial
They send pictures of themselves as the site of Peters public service.
playing fetch with Boris, trying to Since we dont belong to any particu-
nish teaching him the trick that Peter lar church, it seems the most tting
had been working on. The stubborn placespiritual, simple, and respect-
puppy cant quite get it, always grab- ful. Patrick squeezes my hand as the
bing the tennis ball and running away. cavernous service hall lls with hun-
But I know that soon the unit will dreds of people: veterans, families of
come home, leaving the dogs behind. departed soldiers, families of soldiers
The military cannot and will not sup- still overseas, friends, family, neigh-
port soldiers bringing back animals bors, and strangers. I think about
from war zones. How can I get those how sad it is that Peter, who always
dogs home? wanted to make a difference but never
Together with my aunt Julie and thought he was good enough, couldnt
my cousins Sarah and Terrie, I start see the crowds aching to tell him how
to hatch a plan. We can turn the inter- good he really was.
est from the media to our advantage. We take our seats, and I listen to
I return a few calls from local re- Air Force Chaplain Lt. Col. Harold
138 9/13
The interviews even as, on the surface, I oat further
away from myself. The world seems
are emotionally a little less bright now ... I have to be-
lieve that someone or something must
excruciating, have needed him pretty badly to take
but theres no him away from us. There are moments
when I am overcome with grief, there
other way to get are moments when I am angry, and
the word out. there are times when Im just numb,
and I wander the world in complete
disbelief that he isnt coming home.
B. Owens begin the readings with But he has a new home now, and I am
the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, the condent that he is in the arms of his
patron saint of animals. Next he grandparents and all the soldiers and
recites the U.S. Soldiers Creed, the friends who left before he did.
promise of service that Peter made I leave the mourners with some
in his life and now would continue to parting words. I think that what
fulll in death, standing in memory as he would want you all to take away
a guardian of freedom. from this tragic end is to appreciate
Then its my turn to take the every day you are given. He would
podium. Behind me, the winter winds want you all to go on and become the
ripple Lake St. Clair, and through the best person you can be, to chase your
large windows, the stormy skies cast dreams. He would want you to appre-
a pallor on everyone. ciate every sunrise and sunset. Every
Peter was my best friend; he was star lit at night. He would want you
my touchstone, I say. Peter was to tell the people who are important
there for every important moment, ev- to you that you love them. He would
ery transition. He was there when my want you to reach out to those in pain
son was born ... Patrick was the light and offer them a hand. We were so
in his eyes, and he is Patricks hero ... blessed to have had him in our lives,
I speak of how loyal and protec- as brief as it may have been.
tive Peter was, how compassionate After a few more moments, I sit
and courageous. Peter befriended so down, not even feeling the chair un-
many and would move mountains to derneath me.
try to make things just a little easier
for them ... This was true of people
and animals. And he would ght for After the funeral, I stumble around
them forever. like a newborn foal, confounded and
I make a promise to Peter to con- a little in awe of everything. How am I
tinue this ght, my resolve to bring going to live my life now? Still, I have
Mama and Boris home strengthening responsibilities. I am determined to be
a good mother. And each day, I drive Erik, and Mark that Mama showed up
to my job helping hospice patients, under Peters trailer. That she found
some of whom have lived through a way to sneak into the locked base
more grief than I could ever imagine. is the rst thing I cant quite wrap
I also worry every day about my my mind around. The other is the
mission: bringing home the dogs. uncanny coincidence that, the more
I feel like Im in over my head, not I think about it, seems less and less
sure of what to do next. There is no like a coincidence at all and more
road map for taking animals out of an like a homing instinct set deep inside
active war zone. her heart. Mama had never been to
But the media interviews continue. Peters trailer and had no way of
My cousin Sarah sets up a website knowing that it was his; nothing was
with pictures of Peter and the dogs, there to distinguish it from all the
and through it, we receive e-mail others save for whatever lingering
after e-mail offering sympathy, remnants of Peters scent remained.
prayers, donations, and suggestions. The soldiers report that they cant
I write often to the soldiers who get her to come out; its as though shes
have been taking care of Mama and in mourning. She wont accept food for
Boris. Clearly, this is no easy task; seven or eight days, until nally, she
Mama and Boris are feral. Even when shakes the dust off her legs and returns

Peter was there to look after them, to her puppy outside the base.
they would fend for themselves on
the city streets all day before re-
turning to their house outside the
base walls at night. Sometimes, the ne day, I log on to my
soldiers say, days go by between e-mail to nd a new tip:
sightings of them. Several times a If anyone can get this
day, I reach out into the universe, process moving, its the Best Friends
searching for someone to listen to my Animal Society in Utah.
prayer to keep these dogs safe. They I quickly nd the Best Friends web-
are all I have left of my brother. site, full of testimonials from people
Im so thankful for my aunt and whove been helped by this worldwide
cousins, who can take over the rescue network. Soon Im in contact
e-mail account if I need them to, or help with Rich Crook, Best Friends rapid
me eld phone calls. Some hot leads response manager.
zzle out. One woman in Baghdad Rich is a kind, gentle man who had a
seems to be on board, only to leave long career as a reghter before mov-
us in the lurch. But failure isnt an ing to Utah to work with Best Friends.
option. If one person cant help me, I He offers to help me, and although
resolve to nd another who can. hes never done this before either, he
One day, word comes from Dan, creates a list of the daunting logistical
140 9/13
To know that could go wrong. My mind turns to a
dark place, thinking about how the
such generosity universe hasnt been too kind to me

is coming to me and my family lately.

But sometimes there is unbelievable
from someone I light. One bright ray comes in the form
of John Wagner, the vice president of
didnt even know Gryphon Airlines, who e-mails me
is humbling. after seeing one of the news stories.
Gryphon Airlines, John explains,
transports cargo and contractors for
steps. Well need security clearance the military and other defense com-
to get on the base and get the dogs. panies. They are the only civilian
Well also need a vet in Iraq to clear airline allowed into or out of Iraq.
the dogs for crossing the border and a John makes it clear that he will do
transportation team to get them there. whatever he can to get those dogs
Then well need an airline that can y out of there, free of charge. My jaw
into and out of Iraqi airspace. This is a drops when I read that. To know that
big problem, because animals are not such generosity is coming to me from
allowed on military planes, and we someone I didnt even know existed
dont know of any civilian airlines is humbling. Suddenly, we can cross
cleared to make the trip. With no ying into and out of Iraq off our list.
direct ights from Iraq to the States, The road is still a long one, but I
well need one airline to take the rest a little easier that night, knowing
dogs to Kuwait, and then another to that two angels from nowhere have
y them to Washington, D.C., where appeared to help light the way. n
theyll have to stay in quarantine be-
fore making their journey to Michigan. Mama
Read the whole story
in Welcome Home,
& Boris (Readers
Are you up for this? Rich asks me.
Digest, $19.99), available
I dont even need to think about my wherever books are
answer. sold and at
mamaandboris on
Still, its hard not to get discouraged, August 29, 2013.
especially since theres no accounting
for all of the horrible ways that things

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing
is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.
Albert Einstein

The Year
of the

This mysterious creature

illuminates one mans past and
makes his present even sweeter
By derek Burnett
Its dusk, and my barefoot children parents handed off reies to me long
and I are chasing reies where they ago. Summer is on the wane, so its
rise from the grass beneath the pecan too cold up here for reies, but there
trees in our backyard in rural North is plenty else to do. We hike, we ride
Carolina. Wielding cheap buttery horses, we catch frogs, and we play
nets, we zero in on one insect and backyard games.
track it against the backdrop of cattle It has always been this way. My
browsing in an adjacent pasture. The parents, both approaching 70, raised
lightning bug sinks and drifts like a six of us while my father taught
dust mote in a sunbeam, and when its high school English, and they ran
light goes out, we crouch to follow its
silhouette against the
purpling sky.
e f y o ff to my children take
a fr s
sing a small farm. In case that wasnt
Pa I capture the rey and hard enough, they farmed with
19th-century horse-drawn equipment,
hand it off to my two-year-old accepted leadership positions in their
daughter, Zoe, who cups her hands church, and took in foster kids, Fresh
around it and forms a slot to put her Air kids, relatives, vagabonds, the
eye up to. When the lightning bug elderly, rascals, and strays. Yet they
ashes in her cupped hands, she looks always had time for us, and they al-
up at me, rapt. She hands it off to her ways had time for fun.
three-year-old brother, Stillman, and They hiked us up mountains, oated
he has his moment with the mystery. us down rapids, and taught us how to
Perhaps it is the honey-summer air do ips. Backyard campres all sum-
or simply one of those pangs a parent mer long, board games all winter. Sup-
feels knowing that this is it, that this is pertimes were occasions for riddles
previous spread: Michael GoMez

what he will be recalling in decades to and trivia and puns, and Dad read to us
come when he talks about when the as a group on winter nights even when
kids were small. Whatever it is, pass- some of us were teenagers. I cannot
ing a rey off to my children takes remember a time when he came home,
on a sudden and poignant weight. said, Im tired, and sat down to rest.
Neither the words nor the action had
a place in my parents lexicon.
Were at another farm, the one in
Today will be no different. My
father hitches his ancient rawboned
Upstate New York where my own horse, Duke, to his buggy to take us
144 9/13
for a ride down the busy country I cant recall that night, but it doesnt
road. Dad bought Duke years ago matter. I have for visual aid the breath-
from the Amish. Too old for much taking scene before me: a yellow n-
else, Duke still likes to pull; although gernail moon glowering high above
knobby and lopsided, he trots along the skeins of fog; pockets of low, slick
nicely. Half a mile from home, we pasture grass where the fresh-fallen
look back down the road and see rain still seeps; the smell of soil and
a blue dot gradually gaining on us. hay and young life. I think of my par-
A moment later, the figure looms ents, probably in their 20s, dropping
larger: Its my mother cranking everything to frolic in the fog with
hard on her bicycle, and before we their children, and now here is Mom,
know it, she has caught us, grin- decades later, recounting the fun,
ning broadly, the kids cheering. and I wonder, On that foggy
evening long ago,
on a s t.
udden a eigh
nd poignant w
did that feeling race
After dinner, we pile onto a hay over her, that knowledge that this is
wagon, and Dad hitches it to the trac- it, that this is what it will mean when
tor and hauls us to a pond where well I look back and say, When the kids
sh in the rain. By the time were n- were small?
ished, the sun has set and the calves in
the pasture around the pond are barely
visible through a thickening fog.
I sit beside Mom on the wagon for
Im having my regular Sunday-
the ride home, holding my kids. Mom evening phone call with my parents.
gazes out at the mist with a dreamy As usual, the winter is mild in North
look. Do you remember playing in Carolina, but my parents have had an
the fog? she asks. old-fashioned cold spell, with sub-
Sure. All the time. zero temperatures and a bitter wind.
Oh, I was thinking of one time Dad tells me that Duke has died.
in particular. It was an evening like Normally Duke would have been in
this. We saw the fog coming in, and the barn when Dad went out to do
we said, Cmon! Lets go out to the his chores, but one frigid evening, he
meadow and play in it. I remember was not there. Under pinprick stars,
playing hide-and-seek and calling Dad walked through the pasture call-
to each other through the fog. ing for his old horse and found him
dhood as idyllic as I reca
chil ll?
s my

stretched out on the frozen brook. down they will, and part of my job as
He had likely slipped on the ice and an adult is to come to grips with that.
succumbed to the cold. I can hear in
Dads voice the guilt and loss. Dad
tells me that he will not be replac-
ing Duke.
The kids are a year older, and the
That gives me pause. Its part of a backyard is once again festive with
larger pattern, scarcely detectable un- the cold green lights of reies. I catch
less one takes the long view. The farm the rst one of the season and pass it
is steadily shrinkingno more beef, to a delighted Stillman. There is no
no more dairy, no more pigs, fewer place I would prefer to be, nothing
horses, smaller garden. My parents I would rather be doing.
Rei OhaRa

talk of slowing down. Right now its Was my childhood as idyllic as I

mostly just talk. I sure cant imagine recall? Perhaps not. But the love out-
it. And thats a problemfor me. Slow weighs the rest, and with any luck,
146 9/13
Perh e r
aps no s th
t. But the love outweigh
it will be the same for my children. lovely images has xed itself upon
At one point in my life, I made my mind: He likens reincarnation
hopeful but doomed forays into to the passing of a ame from one
Buddhism but could not reconcile candle to the next; the source of life
myself to its principal doctrine of is the same down through the gen-
detachment. I can see that an enlight- erations, but its no longer the same
ened detachment from my parents ame once it has passed from one
would serve me well as they begin candle to another.
their inevitable decline. And yet I Thats what Im doing here, I nally
cling: to my parents, to my wife and understand, as the little pure light of
children, to the thrills and magic of each rey moves from my hand to
this world, calculating that the pain those of my young children: simply
of loss will have been worth the joy passing the ame that is briey mine
of attachment. Still, one of the Buddhas to hold. n

If every popular romantic comedy originated on the Web, heres what
they might be called ...

PS i Googled You Defriending Sarah Marshall

Serendigg.ity 40 Days and 40 Filters
The Wedding Tweeter Text anything
Sleepless on Skype Love Virtually
Shes Outta My Google about an emoji
hangout Never Been Pinterest
hes Just Not That Confessions of a 4-Square
instagram Queen
Shes all angry Birds 13 Going 30 Yelp Reviews
Some Like it #hawt Boys and GiFs
Rachel Miller and Sophie Cooper, from

RD Classic

A Picture
of Grief
On the scene of a in his face. Looking totally bewildered,
he was trying to answer their ques-
tragic accident, I faced tions. Mostly he was only moving his
a decision that would lips, blinking, and choking up.
After a while, the reporters gave up
stick with me for the and followed the police into the small
rest of my life white house. I can still picture that

devastated old man looking down
by james alexander thom
at the place in the driveway where
the child had been. Beside the house
t was early in the spring about was a freshly spaded ower bed and
15 years agoa day of pale sun- nearby a pile of dark, rich earth.
light and trees just beginning I was just backing up there to
to bud. I was a young police spread that good dirt, he said to me,
reporter, driving to a scene I didnt though I had not asked him anything.
want to see. A man, the police dis- I didnt even know she was out-
patchers broadcast said, had acciden- doors. He stretched his hand toward
2013 dan page/

tally backed his pickup truck over his the ower bed, then let it op to his
baby granddaughter in the driveway side. He lapsed back into his thoughts,
of the family home. It was a fatality. and I, like a good reporter, went into
As I parked among police cars and the house to nd someone who could
TV news cruisers, I saw a stocky, provide a recent photo of the toddler.
white-haired man in cotton work A few minutes later, with a three-
clothes standing near a pickup. by-ve studio portrait of the cheru-
Cameras were trained on him, and bic child tucked in my pocket, I went
reporters were sticking microphones toward the kitchen, where the police
had said the body was.
I had brought a cam-
In that hushed plates on the walls ank-
ing the window. Outside
era with methe bulky moment, I the police could be seen
Speed Graphic that used inspecting the fatal rear
to be the newspaper recognized the wheel of the pickup,
reporters trademark.
Everybody had drifted
makings of a while the childs mother
and father leaned in each
back out of the house prizewinning others arms.
togetherfamily, police, I dont know how many
reporters, and photog-
news seconds I stood there,
raphers. Entering the photograph. unable to snap that shut-
kitchen, I came upon ter. I was keenly aware of
this scene: the powerful storytelling
On a Formica-topped table, back- value that photo would have, and my
lighted by a frilly curtained window, professional conscience told me to
lay the tiny body, wrapped in a clean take it. Yet I couldnt make my hand
white sheet. Sitting on a chair beside re that ashbulb and intrude on the
the table, in profile to me and un- poor mans island of grief.
aware of my presence, was the babys At length, I lowered the camera and
grandfather, looking uncomprehend- crept away, shaken with doubt about
ingly at the swaddled corpse. my suitability for the journalistic pro-
The house was quiet. A clock fession. Of course, I never told the
ticked. As I watched, the grandfather city editor or any fellow reporters
slowly leaned forward, curved his about that missed opportunity for a
arms like parentheses around the lit- perfect news picture.
tle form, and then pressed his face to Every day, on the newscasts and in
the shroud and remained motionless. the papers, we see pictures of people
In that hushed moment, I recog- in extreme conditions of grief and
nized the makings of a prizewinning despair. Human suffering has become
news photograph. I appraised the a spectator sport.
light, adjusted the lens setting and And sometimes, as
distance, locked a bulb in the ash- Im watching news
gun, raised the camera, and composed film, I remember
the scene in the viewnder. that day.
Every element of the picture was I still feel right
perfect: the grandfather in his plain about what I did. n
work clothes, his white hair back-
lighted by sunshine, the childs form James Alexander Thom
is now an acclaimed This story was
wrapped in the sheet, the atmosphere
writer of historical rst published in
of the simple home suggested by black ction (jamesalexander Readers Digest
iron trivets and Worlds Fair souvenir in 1976.
150 9/13

Doctor Drama
Ive been a longtime
patient of Dr. A, but
when she wasnt
available for my recent
routine checkup,
I made an appointment
with her colleague,
Dr. B. Dr. A is compe-
tent and thorough, but
I felt more comfortable
with Dr. B. Would I be
betraying Dr. A if I
switched physicians?
Sen si t i v e T y pe

Dear Sensitive,
Its kind of you to
be concerned, but
youre missing the point.
A good doctor-patient relationship their laundry, and even cleans their
is importantespecially for the rooms. This really annoys meour kids
patient. Both Dr. A and Dr. B are arent contributing, and my wife and I
responsible for taking care of you, have less time together. Ive made my
not the other way around. Make feelings known, but apparently Im the
your appointment according to only one who thinks theres a problem.
whats best for you, and let the Any suggestions? Furious Fa th er
docs deal with any hurt feelings.
IllustratIon by Istvan banyaI

There may be none; theyre busy Dear Furious,

saving lives! Usually, if someone thinks
theres a problem, theres
Modern Family a problem. Tag,
Our son and daughter, Now youre it! Call a
both college grads, You Ask LAskAs! family meeting.
E-mail your stickiest ques-
live at home. Explain yourself
tions about parents, partners,
My wife makes all again, and
or oce politics to advice@
their meals, does Sending gives us keep your >>
permission to edit and publish. 153
(understandable) anger under con- but he wants to get hitched very soon.
trol. Make the point that Mom has Im tempted to give him an ultimatum:
done her job, and the kids must start We either wait it out or break it o. Is
taking responsibility. Suggest that fair? Work ing for Love
changes: Have your kids take turns
making dinner; tell them that if they Dear Working,
dont do their own laundry, it doesnt Wait or break it off is absolutely the
get washed. And tell your wife to right approachyoure not ready, and
stop enabling these slackersthen feeling pressured is not a legitimate
plan a date night to back it up. reason to get married. But rst, ask
yourself: Do I ever want to marry
Its All About Timing him? If your answer is yes or a truth-
My boyfriend of several years and ful maybe, then continue. If not, tell
I are in very dierent places. Were him now. You owe him your honesty.
the same age, but Im about to start
my medical residency as hes about to Going o Track
begin college. Weve been ghting Last year, I fell behind in my courses
because I dont want to get married because of daily track practices and
while hes studying and unemployed, long meets on weekends. So I dont
think I should run this fall. I e-mailed
my coach to explain my dilemma,
but she said that being busy would
make me work harder to improve
my grades. Im not sure that would be
the case though. How do I tell her no
more clearly? S t r ugglin g Stu de n t

Dear Struggling,
Frankly, you sound wishy-washy.
Is there any way your note could
have been taken as a call for advice?
Presumably, your coach has a lot
of experience with students, school-
work, and time management. If
youre willing to reconsider her ad-
vice, talk to her (no more e-mailing).
But if youve moved on, write her
a nice note thanking her, and then
rmly say that youre off the team
until your grades improve. For what
its worth, I do think you should hear
her out. Exercise increases brain-
power, and the discipline needed
to manage schoolwork with sports
can be an enduring life lesson. n

GIve Your BesT

Write your answer to this
problem at
My husband leaves the water
running the entire time he shaves,
brushes his teeth, and does the
dishes. It drives me crazy seeing
water being wasted like that! Ive
tried asking him to stop, but that
gets me nowhere. Please help!
E co- f r ie n dly E mm a 9/13 155

DailyDigest* Recent bits fRom
* Learn something new every day! Get the full stories at

1 Does ReD meat beat the blues?

a 2012 australian study found that women who ate
between two and four ounces of grass-fed beef or
lamb a few times a week were twice as likely to be

free of depression or anxiety as those who ate less or more;
researchers think its the omega-3s in the animals diet. sunscReen

isnt oveR
WeiRD hoW to pRolonG you can get a sun-
Reasons smaRtphone burn even if its
YouRe tipsY batteRY life overcast and cool.
so QuicklY if you nd yourself constantly Dermatologists
Unrelated studies recharging your device, ex- say clouds block
show that mixing perts advise closing unused only about 20 per-
liquor with diet soda, apps, deactivating location cent of UV rays,
drinking from a curvy services and push notica- not 100 percent, as
glass, and liking the tions, turning o Wi-Fi, many people be-
way a cocktail tastes and this little-known trick: lieve. slather up.
can all raise blood- lowering screen brightness.
alcohol levels.

5 toothpick
and here you
thought microwaving 6
hoW the coccYx
Got its name
Fun trivia about your tailbone: its
name is derived from the greek word
a potato was already a for cuckoo (kokkyx) because the curved shape
time-saver. But a spud of the bone resembles the birds beak. another
will cook even faster body part with a neat-to-know backstory is
if you stick four tooth- your glabella, that at area above your nose
pick legs into it to and between your eyebrows: its named for the
equally expose the Latin word for hairless.
top, sides, and bottom
to the ovens energy.

behinD the
scenes of
wEight loss
tV trainer Chris Powell
getty images (3)

told us the shows winning

contestants do the following
daily: eat breakfast, drink
a quart of water, cut
sugar from one meal, most
and promise to popular
move their bodies. on
minimum. twitter

Humor in Uniform

Well, well. Look who just ew in under the radar.

Youll Be Tested A Classic We Love

Combat rules soldiers should know: Few civilians know what a quarter-
Never share a foxhole with master does. So during my aircraft
anyone braver than you. carriers Family Day, I demonstrated
Never look important; the enemy a procedure called semaphoreI
may be low on ammo. grabbed my ags and signaled an
Never draw re; it irritates imaginary ship. Then I asked a little
everyone around you. girl, Now do you know what I do?
Never forget that your weapon is She said, Youre a cheerleader.
illustration by john caldwell

made by the lowest bidder. Da nny Sul l iva n

Get Paid $100 for a Laugh!

the best burst-out-loud funnies come from readers like you.
Send us your funny jokes, true stories, and quotes, and if we
publish one in a print edition of Readers Digest, well pay you $100.
to send us your entry, visit or write to: Jokes, box 6226,
harlan, ia 51593-1726. Please include your full name and mailing address in your entry.

160 9/13

Life in These United States
I m not the easiest guy
in the world to get
along with. So when
our anniversary rolled
around, I wanted my
wife to know how much
I appreciated her tolerat-
ing me for the past 20
years. I ordered owers
and told the orist to
enclose a card that read,
Thanks for putting up
with me so long.
When my wife got the
delivery, she called me
at work.
Where are you going?
she asked.
What do you mean?
I said.
She read the card
aloud as the orist
had written it: Thanks
for putting up with By D em etri Martin , from the book Point Your Face at This

me. So long.
G e or g e A r n o l d , Melbourne, Florida While phoning a friend, my grand-
mother dialed the wrong number.
On a trip to Sweden, I asked a few She apologized and tried again,
people where I could nd some but she got the same number. Once
good local cuisine. more she hung up and redialed
This is a pretty cosmopolitan same result. Now Grandma was
city, so you can nd just about any frustrated. Look, she told the
kind of international food that youd person on the other end, Im going
like, said one man. But if you want to call my friend again. This time,
truly local cuisine, get the meatballs dont answer her phone!
at IKEA. Pa t r i ck K l e v e r , Richmond, Kentucky D an ielle G illeland , Louisburg, North Carolina

162 9/13

In the British documentary 56 Up,
a man shared that he had earned only in america,
a law degree at Oxford. Then, in his with larry the
thick English accent, he proudly cable guy
proclaimed that he was now a
thanks to
barrister. My 13-year-old daughter
his History
wasnt impressed.
Channel show,
So, she said, he spent all that comic Larry
effort getting an Oxford law degree, the Cable guy
and now he works at Starbucks? gets around.
La u r e n J o y ce , san Rafael, California Here are two of
his favorite episodes:
My sister got a call from a telemar-
At the New Mexico Museum of
keter who was selling replacement
space History, outside Roswell, they
windows. I cant use them, she have a heat tile from the rst space
said. Im renting an apartment. shuttle. it cost them $10,000, and
No problem, he said. You can theyre real proud of it. the curator
take the windows with you when told me theyll blowtorch it and put
you move. La u r a O Ne al, euclid, Ohio 300 degrees on it, and you cant even
feel it. i was like, get out of here, this
I went with a friend to the country to thing? its so light! i tapped it and it
look at a house he was thinking of split in half.
buying. We found the town but not
PauL DRiNKwateR/NBC/getty iMages

Then there was the town of

the road. We drove over to city hall, one. Monowi, Nebraska, was a town
but no one there had heard of the of 100-something when elsie eiler,
road, not even the police or reght- 78, got married. then everyone be-
ers we asked. Finally, a young guy gan leavin and dyin and leavin and
came to our aid. Pulling out a map, he dyin. By 2004, it was just elsie. she
showed us exactly how to get there. was the mayor, the town council, the
Thanks, I said. Are you with judge, the cop i wanted to help her
the police or re department? raise money to x her main road. Of
Neither, he said. I deliver course, you need to have a vote of
pizzas. Th om a s E l l swo r th, on the city council rst, so she sat down
and said, OK, well call a meeting.
all in favor of xing the front road
with a cookout say aye. and she said
aye. so she said, all right, the ayes
art of talking have it! and she got her road xed.
Overheard: a mother interviewed by A nd y Simmons
bragging about her daughter.
Shes very articulate. She
can draw anything.
SeeYour favorite new joke, funny anecdote,
or crazy news story might be worth $$$.
page 160 for details.
Rho nda T u r n bo w , Cunningham, Kentucky
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Quotable Quotes
Part of being
Nelson When there is danger,
optimistic Mandela a good leader takes
the front line; but
is keeping A collection of inspiring when there is
ones head words to celebrate the celebration, a
pointed extraordinary life of the good leader
South African politician and stays in the back
toward the champion of anti-apartheid of the room.
sun, ones From O Magazine, 2001

feet moving
forward. The
From Long Walk
to Freedom, 1995 greatest
glory in
If 27 years in prison living lies
have done anything not in
to us, it was to use
the silence of soli-
tude to make us falling,
understand how but rising
precious words are.
From an address at the
13th International AIDS time we
Conference, 2000
From Mandela: The Authorized
Biography, 2000
I do not want to be
presented as some What counts in life is not
deity. I would like the mere fact that we have
lived. It is what dierence
to be remembered we have made to the lives
as an ordinary of others that will deter-
mine the signicance of
human being with the life we lead.
From a speech for the
virtues and vices. 90th birthday of anti-apartheid
From Readers Digest, 2005 activist Walter Sisulu, 2002


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