Saturday, April 21, 2012

KITTY NAP TIME


Brisco and Bowler are all snuggled into bed, with their lady friend, Marie.

THE DANGERS OF ALCOHOL

MORE REASONS TO AVOID ALCOHOL: IT MIGHT VERY WELL GIVE YOU CANCER


(This is a rerun of an article from my old Yahoo blog from 2009.)


Let’s raise a toast—to preventing cancer! Only instead of champagne, we’ll drink water! Or perhaps organic carrot juice? Orange Crush, maybe? It can be anything, as long as there is no alcohol in it!

Well! If you think there is nothing wrong with drinking “in moderation” or even consuming a little bit of alcohol, think again. Now we are finding out that even drinking a small amount of booze can raise a woman’s risk of developing cancer of the breast, liver and rectum.

Yahoo News recently ran an article from HealthDay which said that the association between moderate alcohol intake and breast cancer in women is well-known. But now, the article said, research involving more than a million middle-age women shows that “even low levels of drinking can raise a woman’s risk of developing cancer of the liver and rectum. For women who smoke, cancers of the mouth and throat were also linked to high alcohol consumption.”

Researcher Naomi Allen from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom called the findings “robust.”

“Because a high proportion of women drink low amounts of alcohol regularly and because most of the increased risk is for breast cancer, the risk among women associated with drinking alcohol is of particular importance,” she said.

The study showed that the risk of cancer increased as alcohol consumption increased, and that the type of alcohol consumed appeared to make no difference. The report is published in the Feb. 24 online edition of the Journal of National Cancer Institute, the article said.

Of course this article went on to say that numerous studies have suggested that alcohol, especially red wine, might help deter heart disease. Well here is my study: This is just plain ridiculous. It is only common sense that any benefit is in the GRAPES, not the alcohol. Alcohol is a toxin! And I have seen other studies that show you’d have to drink hundreds of bottles of wine a day to get any benefit! The article did stress that people who are not drinkers should not start drinking to prevent heart disease. Whew! Thank goodness I don’t have to spend my hard-earned money on forcing down this horrible tasting stuff to stay alive!

But anyway, as I’ve said before, even if alcohol WERE healthy, just the fact that it is a mind-altering drug makes it wrong. It drives me nuts that there are so many people who would NEVER smoke pot because “drugs are bad” and it is bad morals to use a DRUG to relax and unwind and socialize, etc. Yet these same people think nothing of using a mind-altering drug in the form of alcohol. This is why pot-smokers call booze-drinkers hypocrites, and I don’t blame them! Booze drinkers are after the SAME psychoactive effect as a pot-smoker. And that is not good! Adults should set an example and not drink OR use marijuana!

In a related matter, let me tell you of some of the ways I have seen alcohol promoted and glorified recently. This is while trying to AVOID references to alcohol, mind you. We received the new village visitor’s bureau brochure, which had a picture of three smiling women on the cover, in front of a fireplace, holding up their wine glasses to raise a toast, with the caption, “Genuine warmth, all year long.” It was a promotion for the WINERY, the star-attraction in town. Arrggghh. Inside was a glowing article about the winery and its tours, wine education classes, food pairings and romantic holiday dinners. “And of course, every day is a wine-tasting day,” it said. There also was a welcome letter from the village president in which he raved about the winery and how it produces more than 20 varieties of this chemical. It astounds me that there would be interest in even ONE variety of wine, let alone 20. And THEN, the village promoted it’s third annual booze-festival in conjunction with this winery and other area wineries. This is an entire event centered around drinking, with glowing media coverage including front-page photos of smiling people drinking and toasting their booze glasses. This is what our own village officials promote.

And then I was walking through the room where a TV happened to be tuned to a PBS travel show, where I heard the host, Burt Wolf, say something about how most of his shows feature people drinking champagne, so let’s tour a champagne factory and see how it is made! Grrrrr.

And also received something from eBay wrapped in newspaper from South Bend, Indiana which had a big front page article interviewing a bartender who was giving tips on how to stretch your booze dollar in these tough economic times. He wants us to “branch out a little” in cocktail choices, order their $5 martinis, and buy wine by the bottle rather than the glass. He said that the place he works at has been “blessed” because business has remained steady. Well how sad is that??? What does this say about our society? That we’re a bunch of drinkers? The article closes with this guy’s advice to “have dinner, drinks. Put money into the economy. Keep the ball rolling.” Aarrrggghhhh! I would never go to a place like that! And then above this article there were pictures of people drinking at some hangout, celebrating some sports event. Wonderful.

I could go on and on, but the worst one happened less than a year ago when I received a flier for a lecture series at a local research science place. I was curious to see what the next topic would be about, thinking how nice it would be to expand my mind, learn something new and get my mind off all the alcohol references in the world. Imagine my surprise when I saw that they were planning a lecture on WINE!!! They were having some Purdue University professor talk about how great wine is! This guy is also a “wine scientist”, a commercial winemaker and German engineer, professional wine judge and “life-long wine sipper and sniffer”. His “credentials” in booze go on and on. Aarrggghhh! What’s more, he teaches “Wine Appreciation” to over 300 students every semester. Three hundred people he indoctrinates into the world of booze every semester!!! This is unbelievable to me! And he gets PAID to do this! He MAKES MONEY promoting and glorifying alcohol! I don’t get paid for ANYTHING! None of my blog articles or emails or letters, not a single dime! I’d like to teach an “anti-wine appreciation” class to 300 students a semester! I’d like to give a lecture on why we should avoid wine! But they would never have me!

So yeah, that was among the worst booze incidents I have come across. There are many, many more, but I don’t want to get any more worked up than I already am. So let me just reiterate: don’t drink booze. Not even a little. Agreed? Good. Now go get some organic carrot juice and let’s raise a toast!

Friday, April 20, 2012

CINDYBIN'S VIDEO PICK OF THE WEEK: BHOOLA SAB

Cindybin’s Video Pick of the Week: Bhoola Sab by Euphoria

(This is a rerun from 2009 from my old Yahoo blog.)


Bhoola what?

Sab. Bhoola Sab. I have no idea what this obscure Hindi dialect phrase means in English, but it is the name of a catchy tune by the Indian rock band Euphoria.

We discovered this song while watching some video program last week, and ended up replaying it several times, it was so good. I haven’t found much about this group online, other than they have been around since the 90’s and were among the first bands to bring rock culture to India.

I think the lead singer has a nice voice and I really like the background singers. The song has a good beat and you can dance to it—I’d give it a 10. I easily found the video on YouTube, so I thought I’d share the link with you. Meanwhile, I’ll keep trying to find out what “bhoola sab” actually means. All I know is that “shoobie-do-wah” apparently is the same in both languages.

“Bhoola Sab”, by Euphoria: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIurW4R6J4M

Tuesday, April 17, 2012




A PLUG FOR MODESTY

(This is a rerun of a blog I wrote in 2007, which was on my old Yahoo website which has been discontinued.)

A recent newspaper article caught my eye—a story about an “alternative prom” held for LDS youth, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (or “Mormons”). The article talked about teens and chaperones from the Chicago area who gathered in a church facility for their own special prom, where they could “dress up, dance and enjoy themselves in an atmosphere that reflected their religious beliefs.” The youngsters could still attend their regular school dances, of course, but this was just something special for them as well, which would be a safe place for kids to gather without encountering alcohol, smoking, immodest dress or sexually suggestive dance moves. Some of the Mormon youths brought friends from other religious denominations. Admission was free. The theme was “Reflecting Eternity” and the article talked about how expectations were clear as far as dress: “Show up in Sunday dress or better as per LDS standards, clearly outlined in a little white booklet issued to church youth. That meant no short skirts, tight clothing, plunging necklines or backs, exposed stomachs, bare shoulders or anything else that flies in the face of what the church deems to be neat and modest.”

The article noted that these days, it takes some effort for young ladies to dress modestly. “For years Mormon girls have complained about being unable to easily find formal dresses that have sleeves,” the article stated. “Most off-the-rack dresses have either spaghetti straps, low-cut necklines or open backs. As a result, the girls have had to creatively find ways of covering up with jackets, scarves or shrugs.”

The article included quotes from kids about how they enjoyed the dance and the activities, etc. One of the church leaders who chaperoned the event said that these kids are right at the stage in their lives when they are watching peers start to make choices that are going to have long-term impacts on their lifestyles, such as alcohol and tobacco use, drugs, and sexual issues. “It’s starting to draw some childhood friends down different paths and that is upsetting to young people when they see that happen. We hope this gives them places to gather that they can come and enjoy each other.”

I just thought this was a good article, and wanted to share a bit of it. I was not raised LDS (I converted as an adult) so I never knew about these modest dress guidelines of the Church when I was that age. But then, I never went to a dance in high school, either (nobody ever asked me on a date!). I did go to a few dances in college, but my formals were not at all revealing. I don’t even remember having any trouble finding gowns with sleeves, such as the formal I wore as a college senior in the late 70s (see photo above). These were the types of dresses I picked out, even though I did not really have any religious beliefs back then. I do remember sometimes wearing a halter top in college, but I was so skinny that I didn’t think a thing of it. Had I been more voluptuous, I certainly was not the type to want to show off my chest. It would have creeped me out having guys look at me for something like that.

This is why it bothers me so much when I hear about such things as Hooters waitresses walking around serving food in skimpy outfits, and posing with their exposed cleavage for Hooters magazine and on the company’s website. How can they DO that? What kind of example are they setting? And then there are the revealing gowns you often see in beauty pageants and on awards shows. And of course there are the racy and pornographic magazines common in today’s society, not to mention strip clubs and the like.

I can’t help but look at these young LDS teens, the standards they have. I am not saying they are perfect, because of course nobody is. But I think that virtually all of them would agree that it would not be a good thing to work at or go to Hooters, or to pose for FHM, Maxim, Playboy, or even the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition or Victoria’s Secret. I highly doubt any of them would think being a stripper is something one should aspire to, and I don’t think these young girls would want to marry a guy who would go to a strip club. These LDS youths would all know that this type of behavior is wrong, that it sets women back, no matter how much they are paid. I think they know that it is degrading to everyone involved, both men and women.

Yet I have chatted with women online who say they would pose for Playboy if they lost weight, or that nothing is wrong with posing for FHM Magazine or being a stripper or going to strip clubs. Their reasoning astounds me. “They get paid big bucks!” “How are they being taken advantage of? They’re laughing all the way to the bank!” “How does this set women back? My partner and I think that women get everything!” “If you’ve got it, flaunt it!”

Statements like these drive me crazy. It scares and saddens me to think that so many women (and men) simply cannot understand why this type of behavior is wrong. I have posted with a young British woman who told me that had she been alive in the 60’s, she would have loved to be a Playboy Bunny (the women who dressed in skimpy bunny costumes and served food and drink at the famous Playboy Clubs). She felt that this occupation was “empowering” to women. I asserted that it was far from empowering, but that it was degrading. I told her about TV shows I watched in the 60s which portrayed jobs like “bunny girls” as something scandalous. A “nice girl” just didn’t do that sort of thing, and decent men did not go to such places. There was a “That Girl” episode where Ann filled in for a girlfriend at a nightclub for the evening, and found out that she had to wear a skimpy outfit. It wasn’t nearly as revealing as the bunny costume; it was sort of a one-piece leopard print swimsuit, not low-cut at all, and with a little skirt attached. Yet to Ann, wearing something like this made her feel very uncomfortable. As the episode went on, the nightclub was raided and Ann ended up in jail because of some misunderstanding. Her boyfriend Donald came to get her, and was shocked at what she was wearing! He immediately took off his trench coat and put it around her. Ann was embarrassed, too, and said that if her parents found out, her father would be yelling and her mother would be sobbing. At the end of the show, Donald told Ann to never go back to that nightclub. Ann said she had to, in order to get her paycheck. Don said to have them mail it to her, and that she could mail the costume back “in a very small envelope.”

And then there was a “Gidget” episode where Gidget got a job as a waitress at a teen club, but through a misunderstanding, her father, sister and brother-in-law thought she was working at the “Tomcat Club” as a “kitty”. The women there wore outfits similar to the bunny costumes, only not as low-cut. When they were talking about going to this club to find Gidget, her sister was upset that her husband would even think of walking into such a place, and insisted on going with him to help find the teen. Gidget’s father went into the club and couldn’t find Gidget. At the end of the show, when they found out that she did not work there at all, Gidget said she was surprised that her family went to the Tomcat Club, and especially chastised her father, telling him that a place like that was hardly appropriate for a university professor (which he agreed with).

I told this British woman all these things and more, but it was like talking to a wall. This young lady simply could not see it, and stated that we would just have to agree to disagree. Women like her and those in various other groups with whom I have become acquainted, who have good families, jobs and education—I keep thinking that if THEY can’t understand how it sets women back, then what hope is there for the real “jerkface idiots” of the world--those who would publish racy magazines and run places like Hooters or strip clubs, and have bachelor parties with strippers, etc. I have heard men claim that women work at Hooters willingly, and seem to be happy. I have replied that of course they seem to be happy, because they want a big tip! “Do you really think they care about you as people?” I ask. And even though these women appear to be happy on the outside, I firmly believe that they cannot be truly happy inside. Certainly not in the way those Mormon youths are with their beliefs and standards. People also have asked me if I would rather we be under Taliban rule. Well of course not, I reply. But I try to explain that this behavior sets women back in a different way, even more than the Taliban.

I agree that it is a woman’s choice to work at Hooters or to be a stripper or pose for racy magazines or even to wear revealing dresses. That is why we are all here on earth, to make wise decisions, to learn and grow, so that we can return to our Father in Heaven someday. But I also believe that most parents would be appalled if their daughter grew up to make the choice to engage in this behavior (I know my parents would have!), and that most little girls have higher aspirations for themselves than that when they grow up, anyway. No little girl thinks, “I want to be a stripper (or work at Hooters or pose for FHM) when I grow up!” Just because a woman gets paid does not make it right. In fact, that’s what makes it so very wrong! No amount of money is worth that. It makes men disrespect us and sets a terrible example. In my opinion, a woman who flaunts her body for money does not “get everything.” She gets nothing, really. And I feel glad that most of these LDS youngsters know that, so that it will help them continue to make wise choices for the rest of their lives.

A WOMAN REVIEWS THE THREE STOOGES MOVIE




A WOMAN REVIEWS THE THREE STOOGES MOVIE

When my husband asked me if I wanted to go to the new Three Stooges movie with him, he felt a little hesitant.

“You don’t HAVE to go, you know,” he said. “I can ask a guy friend.”

“No, I’ll go,” I replied. “That’s actually one movie I wouldn’t mind seeing.”

“Really?” he said, surprised. “That’s good! I just didn’t think you cared one way or the other, and I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be dragging you there.”

He wouldn’t be dragging me, I assured him. I watched The Stooges a lot as a kid (it was shown along with cartoons on the local after-school children’s program in the 60's) and I still enjoy watching it now and then on the rerun channel. But from what I understand, there is a significant number of women who don’t quite appreciate the trio’s slapstick humor. I’ve seen articles online and there’s even a YouTube video by a female comedian entitled, “Women Hate the Three Stooges.”

But I never saw anything wrong with their brand of comedy. Which is why, I guess, my husband calls me “an enlightened woman.” And since we rarely ever go to movie theaters—I think the last time I went was to see Nancy Drew with a friend in 2007—I was looking forward to viewing this production. There are so many movies that are unacceptable in my opinion—I’m not into horror or violence or raunchy comedies with lots of drinking and sex. And R-rated movies are totally out. But the Stooges was rated PG and I figured it would be more my style.

So I mentioned to my son and daughter-in-law that we were going to see it sometime over the weekend.

“YOU??” my daughter-in-law said in horror. “You’ll walk out within ten minutes because of the violence!”

“No I won’t”, I said. “I grew up with that, so I’m used to it!”

“Oh, so because you grew up with it, that makes it okay?” my son said snidely. (He was just teasing. I think.)

But I explained to them that it is just cartoon violence, not real. It’s not like the Stooges were mad psycho killers slashing women and children apart with blood and gore and all-around mayhem. Well there would be mayhem, I was sure, but fun, madcap mayhem. And nobody really gets hurt. At least not permanently.

And I was right. The movie was totally silly and stupid! And I mean that in a good way. And yes, there was violence. If it had been the real-life kind, half the cast would have perished within the first half hour from internal bleeding and severe head wounds. Not to mention their eyes would have been poked out.

But more than that, Mr. Bin and I were anxious to see how the actors portrayed the original Stooges. We agreed that if you didn’t look at their faces real closely and just got lost in the story, you would swear you were watching the original Moe, Larry and Curly. It was pretty neat! The slapstick fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed, right down to every poke, punch, slam and bop on the head. Even the buzz saws on the scalp are impressive. And then there was the fight scene in the hospital nursery involving baby boys and spraying urine. Hilarious! So we like potty humor.

The story revolves around saving the Catholic orphanage the boys were deposited at as infants. (The baby stooges were adorable!). For some strange reason, they just never get adopted, and end up working at the facility as adults. They are, as some of the nuns describe them, “Pure of heart, and dim of wit.” The grown up stooges set out to raise money for the orphanage, so we get to see them in all kinds of wacky settings and jobs. There is also a sub-plot involving a murder attempt.

The movie has been years in the making, with numerous cast changes. But it was finally filmed last year, with Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes as Larry, and Will Sasso playing Curly. We thought they did an excellent job portraying the original characters—especially Moe and Curly. Jane Lynch is funny as Mother Superior, and Larry David is the Nazi-like nun who suffers many wounds at the hands of the stooges. (I guess it’s just funnier when it’s a guy.)

Actors portraying The Farrelly brothers, the directors of the film, do a postscript where they explain all about the rubber hammers and safe eye-poking techniques, and advise kids to not perform these stunts at home.

All-in-all, it was my type of movie. I laughed and I understood it and I didn’t hear any bad language and there were no people rolling around in bed. Some alcohol was shown, but the Stooges didn’t drink. There was some major cleavage at times, and I did object to the extremely scantily-clad chesty nun at the end of the movie (as did a Catholic anti-defamation organization, so I heard). But, other than that, I recommend it, and on a scale of one to five I’d give it a four.

I can’t imagine viewing it without being a fan of or at least being familiar with the original trio, though—even if you are into slapstick. I still think the best part was seeing how Moe, Larry and Curly were portrayed in a modern-day setting. And as one article on “ehow.com” advised, the best way to appreciate the film is to strip your mind of all its concerns. “An empty head is most conducive to maximizing the Three Stooges experience.” Well that’s no problem for me—in fact, my head was empty before I even got there! Ha!

And that’s how this enlightened woman feels. So take that, wise guys! Now scram! Woo woo woo!

Sunday, April 15, 2012





YUMMY, HEALTHY RECIPES FROM SHAPE UP WITH NANCY LARSON

Here are a few recipes I have tried and tested myself from Nancy Larson, hostess of the 80's exercise show, "Shape Up With Nancy Larson" (see blog below).

ZUCCHINI PIE: Three medium zucchini, 1/2 clove garlic, 1/8 teaspoon dill weed, 2 eggs (beaten), at least 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese (cubed). Slice zucchini in thin pieces and put into a buttered 9" pie pan. Stir garlic and dill weed into the beaten eggs and pour over zucchini, and top with cubed cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes to half an hour, or until lightly browned. Before serving, sprinkle natural sea salt on it to taste. Store leftovers in refrigerator.

BANANA BREAD: 3 bananas, 1/3 cup honey, 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 beaten eggs, 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour. Mash bananas, add honey and butter and dry ingredients. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. (Nancy's original recipe used half a cup of honey but I used less and it was still delicious. The less sweetener the better!)

BROCCOLI CASSEROLE: 20 ounce package frozen chopped broccoli, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons flour, 6 ounces cheddar cheese, 3/4 cup cottage cheese, 1-1/2 teaspoons butter. Cook and drain broccoli. Beat eggs, add flour and cheese to broccoli. Melt butter in bottom of casserole, add the rest and bake at 350 for 20 to 30 minutes.

SHAPE UP WITH NANCY LARSON: SHE PRAYS FOR YOUR GOOD HEALTH



SHAPE UP WITH NANCY LARSON: SHE PRAYS FOR YOUR GOOD HEALTH

Nancy Larson wants you to shape up! She’ll encourage you, prod you, teach you and even pray for you. And by the end of her show, you’ll feel better physically, mentally, and probably even spiritually. She has faith in you!

This internationally-known born-again TV host from the 80’s led viewers through a demanding yet fun exercise routine called Shape Up With Nancy Larson. The out of production show originated from a Christian TV channel from Chicago. It was eventually syndicated, reaching as far as northern Israel.

Modestly dressed in a leotard usually covered with shorts, Nancy stretched, bended and twisted to catchy music designed to get couch-potatoes moving. The homey set featured a living room and a little kitchen table, where Nancy often shared healthy recipes to inspire viewers to actually do something to take charge of their overall health and eating habits.

I’m writing about Nancy because believe it or not, I often get hits on my blog for people searching for information about her. At least several times a month, my “search engine terms” stats show people typing in various combinations involving her name and program. My blog shows up in search engines because of a recipe for zucchini pie that I attributed to Nancy years ago in conjunction with my low-carb Somersize weight loss story.

And so I thought I’d write an official blog featuring everything I know about Nancy—which actually isn’t very much! There is limited information about her online, which is why my site always comes up. But it is intriguing to know that after all these years, people still remember her and want to know what happened to her!

I know probably as much as anybody else and what they have found online. I did see that someone posted on a message board that they heard she developed “an aggressive form of breast cancer and stopped doing her shows.” But I cannot confirm this. I have no idea if she’s even alive.

From what I remember and have also found online, she originally started doing the show after an old knee injury began acting up. She had been teaching exercise classes at her church, and while praying that the knee would be healed, she felt compelled by God to do an exercise program on television. She approached WCHC-TV, Chicago’s Christian station, where she began taping the half-hour show in 1980. One of the few exercise shows at the time, it was soon distributed to other Christian stations in the US and Canada, and was a big hit in the north of Israel. Nancy visited the country and soldiers even stopped her on the street to ask for her autograph.

“It was the best exercise program ever,” said one person who had posted on an Internet message board a few years ago. She was looking for a copy of the video that Nancy used to sell on her show. Another person posted somewhere that she wanted tapes of Nancy’s daily show. “They were great and a good workout,” she wrote. “I had taped some of them but the tapes have gotten old and you can hardly see anything on them. Just wondering if there were any copies of the shows out there that could be purchased.” I don’t know if these women ever found any tapes, but I have several of her shows from 1983 and 1984 on VHS recorded years ago, and was lucky enough to find a copy of Nancy’s official video on eBay.

On her daily program, Nancy often read letters from viewers praising her for helping them improve their lives.

“You have changed my days from boring to energy”, Nancy read on one episode. “I look forward to you each morning. Since I have watched you, I have been so much more flexible and I try not to ever miss a day.”

Nancy read another lead from a viewer named Jean: “Everything you say in your show is the truth, but the most important thing you say is to ask God for our strength every day. When I did that, that’s when my life started to change for the better. You and your show have helped me so much mentally and physically that I have been telling everyone. After all, I am living proof that it works.”

Nancy agrees that she herself is “living proof” as well. “When we ask God for strength and when we ask God to lead our life, when we give Him our day, He is going to give us in return his peace and his joy and his guidance and his direction in your life,” she said in response to the letter. “Some of you have turmoil in your life, and you don’t know which way to turn, and you have no peace. Then I would suggest that you ask Jesus Christ to come into your life. He will give you peace you’ve never had before. He will change your life. And that’s what Jean was talking about. When she did that, her whole life started to change. And mine did about ten years ago. My life has never been the same. And I would never, ever want to go back to the way I lived before.”

I love hearing her words of encouragement, and her uplifting, Christian messages. (Although after being on the Internet, I now can’t help but wonder if she was one of those who would put down Mormons; I guess I’ll never know). Nancy tells viewers that “Jesus cares for you” and often prayed that God would strengthen their bodies and help them to develop a personal relationship with the Savior. “We were made for one reason, created by God to fellowship with his son, and if you’re not fellowshipping with God, knowing Jesus Christ as your lord and your savior, you’re empty inside. That’s how I was about ten years ago. I had everything you could possibly want in life materially, but I was empty. I had a wonderful husband and two beautiful children, but I was empty inside of me until I asked Jesus Christ into my heart and into my life,” she said.

Nancy always stressed that God wants us to look good and be healthy.

“It’s not vanity to take care of yourself. It’s not vanity to want to look nice and get the weight off. That’s not what vanity is. God cares about that and he’s concerned about you and also your body.”

It is obvious that the 40-ish Nancy took care of herself. She was quite slender with short, dark hair. Watching her twist and bend, one can’t help but be impressed with her flexibility. She had an equally svelte teenage daughter Amy who often exercised with her, and an older son who I never saw but whose picture was displayed on a shelf at the back of the set. Even her husband sometimes popped in for a visit (although I don’t think he exercised with her), and he and Amy were featured in the show’s opening scenes.

On my tapes, with snazzy theme music playing, we see Nancy and her husband biking, playing tennis and walking, as well as Nancy doing jumping jacks and buying grapes (although not at the same time!). There is also a shot of her with a friend at the mall, where they almost take the escalator but go up the stairs instead. The next season’s opening is a bit different with Nancy leading an exercise class, eating at a restaurant with a friend, and with her husband and daughter walking the dog in the woods, riding bikes and flying a kite. We also see the nicely-dressed and smiling Nancy pouring orange juice as her husband and daughter sit at the morning breakfast table (something you would never see at my house!). The announcer says “Welcome to Shape Up, with your hostess, Nancy Larson,” and there she is, ready to exercise, or at the table reading letters from viewers or offering a healthy recipe before the warm-up.

“I have recipes on from time to time because I get so many requests for them,” she says. “God said you are the temple of my spirit, and you’re defiling the temple with what you are eating. Now is the time to start. Get the bad food out of your house, and get what is good in your house. Begin to pray, ‘God, replace my ungodly appetite’ and you’re going to see a change in your life.”

And then we get to the workout portion of the show. “If you’re pregnant or have any physical problem, check with your doctor first,” she cautions. “So come on, get off the sofa today and join me. You’re gonna stretch, you’re gonna bend, you’re gonna tone those muscles, and you’re going to feel better than you ever had. You’re going to think better, you’re going to feel better physically, and your whole attitude really changes because you have taken time to exercise. You’re special. You deserve it.”

And after hearing something like that, how can anyone just sit there like a lump? So off the couch it is, where we do a warm-up consisting of jumping jacks, reaching from side to side, the “fold” where you reach up and bend down, and the lunge. She takes a quick break at this point, telling viewers to get a sturdy chair or a mat, while they run an ad for her mail order exercise cassette. Then there are more exercises, followed by a cool down.

“You’re not going to be more tired when you exercise,” Nancy notes. “That’s a fallacy. You’re going to have more energy because your heart begins to pump, and you’ve got oxygen and blood just pulsating through your body to every cell and fiber of your being. And you need that for vitality.”

One interesting tidbit I found online about Shape Up was where someone wrote, “If you love your back, don’t do this workout.” The author said exercises Nancy performed such as straight-backed bounces and holding three-pound weights out to the side in either hand can be a “recipe for spinal disaster.” And yes, I found that out the hard way.

At the end of each show, Nancy reveals more words of wisdom and encouragement, or goes over a recipe again. On one of my tapes she even gives instructions for a homemade exercise mat. And then there are her pleas to our Maker. ”Lord, give us strength to make it through this day,” she prays, closing her eyes and clasping her hands. “Father, we need strength physically and we need strength in our mind and we need strength in our spirit. We need peace that only comes from you, Jesus. I pray for every person that you would touch their lives.”

Exercise can relieve stress, Nancy admonishes, but if we want peace, we have to have Christ in our lives. “I pray that you would ask Him to come in; if you have turmoil and you’re upset, and he’ll give you peace that the world can’t give you. If we’ve asked God to come into our life, if we’ve asked Jesus Christ to be our own personal savior, God has come in to dwell within our bodies. And it’s your responsibility to take care of that body God has given to you. That’s what Shape Up is all about. We want to get our bodies in shape for Jesus.”

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