Gambling: Harmless Fun or Perilous Compulsion?

Omar Sharif, who died recently, was known for his roles in great movies like "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago." Many people also knew that he was a world-class bridge player but I, for one, was surprised to learn that he had lost several fortunes over the years while gambling on the game.

Strange Bedfellows: Love and War

The month of June is traditionally the time for weddings. Newspapers, magazines, and all forms of social media are teeming with photos of beaming grooms and blushing brides. Wait a minute. Do brides still blush? Somehow, I doubt it.

Mortality and the Luck of the Draw

A woman who reportedly went to extraordinary lengths to protect herself, and still died in a freak accident, reminded me of another who did much the same thing, and still met death in an unexpected way. The two had little in common except how far they went in order to stay alive, which––as it turned out––was not in the cards.

Are Your Worst Nightmares Also Everyone Else's?

They are the grim subject of several centuries-old paintings, in which a black horse (or "night mare") hovers near a sleeping figure. They have been the terrifying theme of movies, past and present––from "I Wake Up Screaming" (1941), to the latest "Nightmare on Elm Street" flick. So, what exactly is a nightmare?

Busted for Buying a Burger

We hear a lot about "impaired" and "distracted" drivers these days, and most of the warnings make good, common sense. Obviously, drinking and driving don't mix. The same goes for drugs, both illegal and some prescription. And texting, of course. But eating a hamburger?

Women Are From Pluto, Not Venus

There used to be nine planets, as every school kid knew. Back then, you could keep your red Mars and your ringed Saturn. I felt a special kinship with Pluto because it had been discovered on my birthday (February 18). Now, what's happened to Pluto shouldn't happen to a Dog Star.

Soaring to New Heights

To quote designer Pierre Hardy, "People love a high heel because it is not natural. It is a cultural object connected with seduction, power, and sexuality." Well, maybe. I do agree that it is not natural. If God had meant me to be six feet tall, he would have given me longer legs.

Going Left Isn't Always Right

Does this ever happen to you? I can be driving north on the freeway thinking that I'm going south, unless I can see the sun setting over the Pacific, and even then I can get confused. (What's the ocean doing over there?) Some of us have no sense of direction, and it seems to be a female-dominated trait.

Baring It All on the Internet

Our personal computers know -- and tell -- a lot about us. If you think they can keep a secret, just try Googling something as a test. A few days ago I typed "surveillance cameras" into my browser, just to see what they look like, and soon ads for security devices began appearing on my home page as well as other sites that I visit.

What Are We Afraid of Now?

I live in "Earthquake Country," otherwise known as California. My newspaper arrived on my doorstep this morning bearing a spine-chilling front page headline: MASSIVE QUAKE COULD HIT ANYTIME. We've been hearing that for years, but something happened recently to alter my usual ho-hum response to such news.

Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

I sympathize with the frequent flyer who caused an uproar by using a "Knee Defender", a $22 device that attaches to a tray table and prevents the person in front from reclining more than a few inches.

Confessions of a Bad Mother

My daughter was only in nursery school when Mattel toy makers launched a fashion doll named "Barbie," with an adult body and clothes for her tall, curvy figure. Five years later, my little girl wanted a Barbie because all her friends had them. I said no.

Sense and the Single Girl

You may have heard that real men don't eat quiche, and real women don't pump gas. A new insurance survey says we don't change tires, either. Only half the women surveyed had ever changed a tire, compared to ninety percent of the men. Why? One suggestion is that we don't like to get our knees dirty.

Stressed to Excess?

"Some days you just can't make a nickel," my father would say in times of stress. And he never had to deal with computer glitches, airport security, gridlock in Washington, or GM recalls. Just two World Wars, the Great Depression and Prohibition. There's always something.

Human IQ: Where Does It Come From?

Is our intelligence due to nature or nurturing? Are we born with a certain amount that never changes, or can it grow over time? If you think you were not born smart enough to learn something new, you could be selling yourself short.

Mindfulness: New Age Fad or Old as Buddha?

If you already knew what "mindfulness" was, you were way ahead of me. I just read about it recently. At first I wondered if "mindfulness" was the opposite of "mindlessness." But apparently there's more to it than that.

When Hoarding Becomes a Hazard

At first glance, it might look as if I am a hoarder, simply because I have run out of space in my filing cabinets, and things are piling up. I've tried cleaning house, but the last piece of paper I throw away is always the first one I need later on.

Passing Through a Shadow

"Everyone has his or her own way of dealing with grief," my always cheerful therapist liked to say, "and you'll find yours." She was less positive about her answer to my question, "Does it ever end?" The best she could do was, "It gets easier."

The Ultimate Man Cave

To a slightly dyslexic person like me, the words "man cave" can be mistaken for "cave man," but whoever coined the phrase "man cave" probably had prehistoric creatures in mind anyway.

"It's a Wonderful Life" (The Sequel)

Really, is nothing sacred anymore? Frank Capra, the extraordinarily talented movie director of the last century, must be rolling over in his grave with the news that a sequel to his iconic Holiday film, "It's a Wonderful Life" is now in the works.

Will the Real Me Please Stand Up

A friend and I recently got into a discussion of what it means to have an "alter ego." (In Latin, the "other self," or "doppelgänger" from the German.) As I understand it, they all pretty much describe the same thing: a person who is identical, and yet distinctly different, from ourselves.

Type A Personality

Researchers have been studying personality traits known as "Type A" for so long that it has become a household word. We call people who are work-obsessed and overly competitive— with increased risk of health problems as a result—"Type A" personalities.

Giving Credit Where It's Due

My grandmother was fifty-something before she cast her first ballot. It was 1920, the year the 19th Amendment was passed, giving women the right to vote.

What's So Good about Being Single?

For some, "healthy, wealthy and single" has become a mantra for the 21st century.

How the Brain Tracks Speeding Objects

Ever wonder how a batter knows when to swing at a pitch coming toward him, sometimes at more than 90 miles per hour?

Getting a Grip on Anxiety

Have I got this right? Fear is a rational emotion, whereas panic and anxiety are not. But wait. Aren't panic and anxiety the same? "Anxiety" may sound more scientific than "panic," from the Greek god Pan, who liked to frighten sheep.

Celebrate Getting Older

If you didn't know that May is Older Americans Month, you are not alone. I would guess that not a lot of people did know, including me. A recent article brought it up, and urged those of us who are "of a certain age" to celebrate. My first thought was, "Why?"

Some Tasty Reasons to Eat Chocolate

Ah, chocolate candy and red roses, timeless hallmarks of love! If you were lucky enough to get both, this past Valentine's Day, the roses wilted long ago, and you may be avoiding the candy because you thought it wasn't good for you. Not so!

Keeping Your Brain Young

We all know that older adults who get regular exercise are healthier than those who don't. But who knew that they are also 60% less likely to develop dementia? And here's the best part: exercise doesn't have to be boring, Dancing can keep your brain younger, as well as healthier!

Taking the Birth Order Quiz

Of America's first 23 astronauts in space, how many were first-born children? Give up?

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