It’s getting fun…

Just Say No!

Just Say No!

I mentioned about 11 weeks ago that we were getting a little weight loss contest started at the office. I had been involved in one at my previous job, but the job came to an end before the contest did. While people say unemployment is a good opportunity to stay in shape, it’s really not. You’re a little depressed, so you eat for comfort. And a lot of your friends want to take you to lunch or dinner to “cheer you up.” By the time I was in the new job, I had regained all my old weight, pushing me past 230 lbs.

Moving the Dial

Moving the Dial

From a modest 3 pound loss the first week of the current contest, I am down (officially) 30 pounds in 11 weeks. In the first week of results, I was in third place. By the following week, I had dropped to fifth place and was beginning to get depressed again.  I moved into second place after the third weigh-in and stayed there for the next 6 weeks — even after gaining a pound-a-half in week 8.

Instead of judging based solely on weight lost, we’re going by percentage of beginning weight lost. That was my bright idea, and while it’s the fairest way to do it, I hurt myself, because I’ve been the leading in total weight lost for most of the contest. Darn percentages.

Joe, one of the other producers in the office, shot to the head of the line with a 6 pound drop the first week. He had a tight grip on first place even after a pair of out-of-town trips. I got tantalizingly close a couple of times, but just couldn’t catch him.

It's in Sight

It's in Sight

That was until week 10. I finally edged into first place after a 4-and-a-half pound loss. I followed that with another 3.5 pounds this week. Not to be outdone, Joe worked off 4.2 pounds for this week, all while on an out-of-town assignment. I’m still in first, but only by a razor-thin .19%. Between the two of us, we’ve lost 56.6 pounds. If you add the guys in 3rd and 4th place, we’ve lost 95 pounds!

Now I’ve got an out of town assignment coming up — on a farm and in a food preparation area. It’s cafeteria food, which might help curb any urges. That’s kind of what happened at trivia Monday night… when the smell of cigarette smoke from the bar overwhelmed any desire I had for my table-mate’s chicken fingers.

Who Will Win??

Who Will Win??

We’ve got one more weigh-in, and the contest is coming down to the wire. Instead of a blowout, you’ve got a tight race, with no clear idea just who will come out on top. Number two posted a link of area restaurants in the city I’ll be traveling to, which to me, is creative competition and additional motivation. This is all adding up to be an exciting finish.

The extra benefit is that my 35th high school reunion is at the end of the same week the contest ends. So, I’ll actually be around the same size (or slightly smaller) then I was when I went back to Ohio for my 20th.

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Laughing With vs Laughing At

It’s all about perception. If people are smiling at you, it could be because they think you’re good looking or are dressed well. Of course, it could mean that your slip is showing, you’ve got spinach in your teeth or you’ve spilled a drink down the front of your pants.

Fist Bump for National Attention

Fist Bump for National Attention

I, for one, am not laughing at the mayor pro tem. I thought the fist bump thing was kinda cool, and actually agree with the point he made on the radio Monday morning. Whether they were laughing or not, it got people talking about Memphis.

Lowery also made the point that when he saw the Dalai Lama later that day, the first thing the Lama did was put a fist up, ready to bump. Nice.

Anyway, it seems that someone always has an opinion about something going on here. An opinion column in the Sunday edition of New Orleans’ Times-Picayune took on the first televised mayoral debate here in Memphis (yes, I know they’re behind a bit. Things haven’t been running well there for the last couple of years). The headline writer, noticing the mention of Jerry Lawler, must have thought he was in hog heaven. Here’s what he came up with: “Memphis wrestles with embarrassment.”

Oh, that man!

Oh, that man!

I have to imagine his motivation to mention embarrassment was because the piece begins by talking about Mongo.

Yes, he’s strange. Yes, he’s been running for mayor time after time. Yes, he doesn’t like wearing  shoes. But if enough registered voters sign his petition, he can run for anything he likes.

Here’s the thing about the column that got me. This is an actual quote from the columnist, comparing the madness of New Orleans to our mild levels of wackiness: “we have a reputation for absurdity, but it’s hard to imagine us descending to Memphis’ level.” Okay.  All I’ll say is this. Open a new window in your browser and Google “New Orleans scandal.” You’ll get over 2 million hits in a couple of seconds. Dude, you can’t descend to a level you’ve already passed, now can you?

The King

The King

Of course, it you want to read a newspaper opinion column that’s not flattering for Mr. Lawler, you don’t need the Times-Picayune (by the way, what the heck is a “Picayune” anyway?). Otis Sanford took a look at Jerry in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal. While he likes the King (and who doesn’t?), he doesn’t think that the local entrepreneur is quite up to the task of running the city.

Hey, the last guy was a school teacher. Actually, so is the interim guy. Having vision and the ability to lead doesn’t necessarily stem from your current occupation. Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer… didn’t make him a good leader, now did it?

I think the most recent debate would have been more interesting if they had allowed Lawler the opportunity to take part, although, I have to admit (much like Sanford did), the incredibly small percentage of support for Lawler in the most recent poll was quite a surprise. And I have to thank the Lawler campaign for calling the house on Monday to remind me to go and vote. I already have, so I’ll pass the reminder on to you.

Go early vote. Those poll workers desperately need someone to talk to!

200.0

Well, I’ve passed my original goal by 10 pounds, but there are still two more weigh-ins in the weight loss contest at work. While I’m thrilled to have gotten this far,  I had to deal with that pesky mid-week rebound again. I didn’t regain as much as usual, which is good. I’ve also got a couple of workouts before the weigh-in, so I should do pretty well by the time Tuesday rolls around.

200 and dropping

200 and dropping

I’m having to decide how to deal with an unexpected issue regarding these workouts. I usually gauge how well I do by how much of my ball cap is sweat-soaked by the time I finish working out. For a good work out, the brim is wet, and the sweat goes all the way up the front to the little button on top. The last couple of days though, I’m spotting the hat, but not soaking all the way through. I think my body has finally acclimated to the three miles I’ve been doing. Since I’m running in the mornings before work and in the afternoons after work, I don’t really have much desire to cover more distance. Maybe I’ll just change my route.

Speaking of which, I had the bike out this weekend for the first time in a while, and strayed off my usual course on Saturday and Sunday. I got a little ambitious and headed over to Mud Island Sunday. It’s always a chore to bike up the Auction Street bridge, but a darn good workout. Unfortunately, there’s always too much traffic to really enjoy flying down the bridge.

My doc is old school

My doc is old school

The good thing is that I saw my doctor while I was riding down Island Drive. Good, because he saw me getting exercise. It always seems like doctors take your word that you exercise with a grain of salt.  Oh, they want to believe you, but you know how people are… they say one thing… etc. Well, he saw me, so there. That, however, is not the interesting thing. He drove by — I know — not interesting either. How about this — he was driving a Model T, like the one in the picture!

Man and machine

Man and machine

He’s not quite old school enough to use the thing to make house calls. I mean, how often do you see that? Actually, I was at a house-warming last weekend and two doctors stopped by the house. They were both aunts of the hostess though. Anyway, my doctor has an interest in a Front Street Vintage Auto Storage, a garage at Butler and South Front Street that stores classic cars.  There was a story about it (the garage, and the Model T, as well as the guy who does all the work there) in the April issue of Memphis Magazine.

I know I mentioned voting the other day (lots of waiting machines for those of you who want a voice in who the mayor will be). One of the things I was thinking as a worked my way back up the bridge on Auction was, the interim mayor has mentioned on occasion that he knows he needs to lose a few. We’ve noticed too Mr. Mayor. Since you live on Mud Island, why just walk to work at City Hall? You make a few trips over that bridge on foot, I promise you’ll lose weight!

Gone Fishin’

No pictures available, but congratulations to Glenn & Nicole Carver on the birth of their daughter! Now on with your regularly scheduled blog:

Are we finally getting to a point where something (anything) is going to happen to the Pyramid?

On the Hook?

On the Hook?

There are a spate of stories indicated renewed activity in the talks between the city and Bass Pro Shops. There might be a hit of desperation in the negotiations — if interim Mayor Lowery can do a deal quickly, it could be a big help in the approaching special election to fill out  the former mayor’s term in office.

Am I Blue?

Am I Blue?

Among other things, the failure to do anything with the Pyramid had to be a blot on the record of Mayor Herenton. The thing’s been sitting empty and unused for 5 years now, almost half the time it was open for business. Can’t blame its problems on the last mayor though. It wasn’t his idea, and he certainly wasn’t to blame for the economic slump that kept Sidney Shlenker from realizing his grandiose schemes to develop the property.

Still, 13 years is a pretty short life for an entertainment venue. The also-closed Mid-South Coliseum, once called “The Entertainment Capital of the Mid-South.” opened in 1963 and held its final show in 2006 — 2 years after the final event at the Pyramid.

Helllooo?

Helllooo?

I saw Luther Vandross at the Pyramid (I went for En Vogue, the lady I was with wanted to see Luther). I also saw the inaugural Memphis Grizzlies game at the Pyramid. That has been the only time I’ve seen a live performance by Justin Timberlake, who sang the national anthem. It would seem strange to see it as a hunting and fishing emporium, but better that than leaving it empty.

It would also be nice to bring a going concern to that end of downtown. The ‘Mid was supposed to turn the Pinch District around. The Uptown development has done a lot more to bring people into that part of town. Large-scale retail would certainly be a good thing to have around there. That might actually get someone to move into the old Chism Trail supermarket (which was a Kroger before that). I’m all for full-service grocery stores downtown.

Ready to Go

Ready to Go

I hope that if there is a plan nearly completion, it doesn’t fall victim to the usual “let’s not rush into anything” impulse that a lot of elected officials seem to have. It’s been 5 years. Anything you need to know about a deal to unload that triangular-shaped white elephant has been on the table for a while. I don’t care whether action now would be interpreted as a boost for Lowery’s candidacy. It’s time to get something done.

Physician Heal Thyself

Talk about a stroke of bad luck. Brain surgeon and TV personality Sanjay Gupta goes to Afghanistan to do some reports for CNN and contracts the H1N1 virus while he’s there. Read all about it on his blog.

On His Back

On His Back

Is there something ironic about a doctor coming down with an illness that we’ve been getting warned about for months? Probably not. After all, a war zone’s a big place, there are lots of people around and you wouldn’t have the best opportunity for cleanliness. Plus, the vaccine won’t be available for a few more weeks.

If anything, it’s just a reminder of the risks that medical professionals take by spending so much time in the company of sick people. It’s a surprise they don’t get sicker. With the big numbers of kids picking up the flu locally, I’m sure doctors are advising parents to not bring their kids to the office or hospital.

The last time I caught a really bad cold, it was when I lived in Atlanta. I was in the very small waiting room of my doctor’s office. Even though I was there for a routine follow up, I think that I, along with everyone else in the room, picked up the cold that the really sick guy in the corner of the room was trying to share with us.

I’m sure the “sick” doctor seems like a dichotomy at times. The seriously overweight doctor urging his patients to lose weight (sounds apocryphal I know, but I’ve heard it from several people telling it as their own story). I actually know a heart doctor with a wicked smoking habit. I spent more time talking to him in the LeBonheur parking garage than inside the hospital. He said it relaxed him, so what can you do?

headerHowever, Dr. Gupta’s case, as well as the tent set up at LeBonheur’s ER a week or so ago should remind us to do what we can to avoid becoming an H1N1 statistic. There’s a very information-rich website set up by the government (I hope the anti-reformers don’t seize on it as being a step toward socialized health care) at flu.gov. It even has a nice little rap flu video by Dr. John Clark of Baldwin, NY.

Not His Fault

Not His Fault

And remember, as Dr. G also reminds us, don’t blame that pig with the hacking cough for all your problems. Even though it’s still being called the “swine” flu in some quarters, it’s really a Type A flu with a number of elements, including bird flu.

Fist Bump for Health

Fist Bump for Health

Keep washing your hands, keep common areas clean (don’t go crazy with the disinfectant, you don’t want to go breeding resistant bugs) and do what the interim mayor did to prevent any risk of making the Dalai Lama sick. Go with fist bumps instead of handshakes until the flu crisis has passed.