Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy 50th anniversary, Fred and Wilma

On Sept. 30, 1960, "The Flintstones" -- a modern stone-age family -- debuted on ABC. It became the longest-running animated series when it finished on April 1, 1966, a record which stood until being shattered by "The Simpsons."

So tonight, Fred and Wilma Flintstone, along with their neighbors, Betty and Barney Rubble, are celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Yabba, dabba, doo!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wow, what a run!

Phillies celebrate Wednesday's victory
over the Atlanta Braves
./AP Photo
Two months ago, the Phillies were floundering.

Just two games over .500 at 48-46 on July 21, the two-time National League champions were in third place in the National League East,  7 games behind the Atlanta Braves.
I'll admit, I thought this was going to be a lost season: Too many injuries, too many players having below-average seasons.
Since that day, the Phillies have the best record in baseball at 44-15 and have turned the 7-game deficit into a 6-game lead -- thanks to the recent 3-game sweep of the Braves -- with just 9 games left in the season.

At 92-61, they also have a 6-game advantage for best record in the National League and are just behind the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball.

If the Phils finish with the best record in the NL, they will get an extra day off during the NL Division Series, which means Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt can pitch on regular rest. And thanks to the NL's All-Star Game victory, they'd have home-field advantage in the World Series, should they get there.

Another Red October will soon be upon us. Let's hope it ends with a November parade!

We're getting fatter

And the U.S. is leading the way.

At least that's what the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Developmet said in its first-ever obesity forecast released Thursday that states that citizens of the world's richest countries are getting heavier.

According to the study, three out of four Amercans will be overweight or obese by 2020, which will then lead to skyrocketing health-care spending and disease rates. I'm trying to reverse that trend, eating a little healthier and exercising regularly. I'm still not where I'd like to be, but I have lost 20 pounds in the past 12 months.

The Paris-based organization, which brings together 33 of the world's leading economies, is better known for forecasting deficit and employment levels than for measuring waistlines. But the economic cost of excess weight -- in health care, and in lives cut short and resources wasted --- is a growing concern for many governments.

In the Associated Press story, Franco Sassi, the OECD senior health economist who authored the report, blamed the usual suspects for the increase.

"Food is much cheaper than in the past, in particular food that is not particularly healthy, and people are changing their lifestyles, they have less time to prepare meals and are eating out more in restaurants," said Sassi, a former London School of Economics lecturer who worked on the report for three years.