Longevity Tip

Handgrip Strength ~ Mark Sisson

You know your grandpa with the vice grip for a handshake? Or that old lady who simply would not give up her hold on those plush towels last Black Friday at the Walmart despite you yanking her around like a rag doll? They’ll probably live a long time.

In middle-aged and elderly people, grip strength consistently predicts mortality risk from all causes. It’s better than blood pressure. In older disabled women, grip strength predicts all – cause mortality, even when controlling for disease status, inflammatory load, depression, nutritional status, and inactivity.


Wellness Tip: Be Kind

Cultivate kindness. People who volunteer or simply care for others on a consistent basis seem to be happier and less depressed. Although “caring” can involve volunteering as part of an organized group or club, it can be as simple as reaching out to a colleague or classmate who looks lonely or is struggling with an issue.

Source: The Pursuit of Happiness

Writer’s Wisdom on Writer’s Block #6 of 6 Tips

I would never write first — I don’t think that’s good at all. As soon as you write in language, it becomes frozen. It’s better to think first — to think for a long time — and then write when you’re ready to write. ~ Joyce Carol Oates

Vinnie’s Mom Is Worn Out


Vinnie, Rupert, and Vinnie’s Mom follow Vinnie’s dad in the motel lobby. Dexter sits on the front passenger seat following his family into the motel. Vinnie’s dad and mom walk over to the counter. Vinnie carries Rupert and walks over to tray of courtesy cookies, apples, and bananas. 

“Can I help you?” asks the desk clerk.

Vinnie hollers, “Do you have any more cookies?”

The clerk glances over at Vinnie, then back to Vinnie’s parents. Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie thinks you were speaking to him. It’d be a big help if you had a few more cookies, believe me.”

“Rupert is starving,” hollers Vinnie.

“I thought his name was Vinnie? Does he talk in third person?” asks the clerk.

“Rupert is his stuffed grizzly bear,” says Vinnie’s dad.

“How could he be starving, Sir?” asks the desk clerk.

“Please get the cookies,” says Vinnie’s mom, her words walking the tightrope between normal conversation and begging.

Vinnie hollers in his falsetto voice, “Feed me. Feed me. I’m dying. I can’t last much longer.”

“Who is that?” says the desk clerk.

“That’s Rupert,” says Vinnie’s mom. “He won’t stop. I know. I’m his mother. It’s only going to get worse. Please get the cookies.”

Vinnie’s dad says to Vinnie’s mom, “I can handle this, why don’t you go with Vinnie?”

“I don’t have the energy. He wore me out on the drive. I’ll handle this, why don’t you go with Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s mom.

The desk clerk follows the conversation as if she were at a tennis match. “I’d get the cookies but there is no one to cover the front desk. I’ll get fired if my boss finds out.”

“Mom, Mom, Mom, I’m giving Rupert CPR. The only thing that will save him are more cookies. I can hardly feel a pulse beat. Mom, Mom, call 9 – 1 – 1. Hang in there, Buddy. The cops will arrest the desk clerk when they get here.”

Vinnie’s mom looks at the desk clerk, “He’s exaggerating about the police.”

“No I’m not, Mom. I have your phone. See?” says Vinnie holding up his mom’s iPhone.

The desk clerk glances at Vinnie’s dad credit card, types something into the computer. She shakes her head, hits a few more keys, shakes her head. Vinnie’s mom says, “Is something wrong?”

“We don’t have a reservation for you.”

“Where are the cookies? I’ll get them. Rupert is desperate. Do you have any dog treats?”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh, yes, ma’am. I’m sure,” says the desk clerk.

“Can I see your screen?” asks Vinnie’s mom.

“It’s against policy, ma’am.” 

“Dear, did you make reservations at this motel?”

Vinnie’s dad pulls out his iPhone. He opens his email app. Scrolls through his emails. “Here it is. He turns the reservation around and shows the desk clerk.”

“Sir, that motel is in Williams, Arizona. It’s thirty miles west of here.”

“Do you have any available rooms?” pleads Vinnie’s Mom.

“No, ma’am.”

“You didn’t look.”

“We want cookies. We want cookies. We want cookies,” Vinnie chants.

“I’m really sure, Ma’am,” says the clerk.

The Kingdom of Man ~ John Kendrick Bangs

What of the outer drear,

As long as there’s inner light;

As long as the sun of cheer

Shines ardently bright?

As long as the soul’s a-wing,

As long as the heart is true,

What power hath trouble to bring

A sorrow to you?

No bar can encage the soul,

Nor capture the spirit free,

As long as old earth shall roll,

Or hours shall be.

Our world is the world within,

Our life is the thought we take,

And never an outer sin

Can mar it or break.

Brood not on the rich man’s land,

Sigh not for miser’s gold,

Holding in reach of your hand

The treasure untold

That lies in the Mines of Heart,

That rests in the soul alone—

Bid worry and care depart,

Come into your own!

John Kendrick Bangs