Tag Archives: New York

A Followup to my Talk on Blogtalkradio

7 Apr sxc.hu/Cieleke - Juggling

Although we had some technical issues connecting, I was able to give my talk today about humor and health on The Wellness Coaches show on blogtalkradio. 

Any thoughts I had about having lost my New York accent years ago were dashed after I listened to the broadcast later on.  It’s like I never left! How can that be possible? You can take the girl out of Queens, but you can’t take Queens out of the girl!

Because I got started on the show a little late, I was unable to finish my last anecdote about humor and its relation to stress so I’d like to finish it here.

When I worked at IUPUI (Indiana University, Purdue University at Indianapolis) they often offered free workshops during the lunch hour that included special guest speakers. One guest speaker was Dr. Steve Allen, Jr. who specialized in Family Practice medicine and to me, he was a very special guest.

As it turned out Dr. Allen is the son of the famous comedian, Steve Allen who was the first host of the Tonight Show. Many comedians have copied his shtick! Leno copied Allen’s Man On The Street routine. Carson’s Carnack the Magnificent routine, was also copied. But you know what they say: Imitation is the greatest form of flattery! Comedians revere Steve Allen.

For those who are unfamiliar with Steve Allen’s work, Allen was not only a comedian, he was also a composer, lyricist, conductor, singer, and pianist. He wrote over 50 books. He also wrote over 8,500 songs, at least two of which you will be familiar: “This Could Be The Start Of Something Big” and “Impossible” recorded by Perry Como. There was just no end to his talent, he was brilliant. My family would tune into his show weekly and join him and his audience in hysterical laughter.

So, here was his son before me talking about humor and stress. I wondered how a son of such a famous father (and mother too, Jayne Meadows)

Steve Allen and wife Jayne Meadows at the 39th...

Steve Allen and wife Jayne Meadows at the 39th Emmy Awards – Sept. 1987 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

could manage under such a big shadow! It turns out he manages very well! He asked his audience, which included a fairly large group of well-dressed, well-mannered, educated, and reserved employees to take the three scarves that he passed out to each of us, and juggle them up in the air.

We all stood up and tried to juggle these wisps of fabric. They were so thin and fragile, there was no way we could keep them up in the air. Soon, most of us were bending over picking them up or retrieving them from the seat in front of us. Lots of laughter ensued. Dr. Allen managed to turn this group into a bunch of rowdy pre-schoolers! He says that juggling brings the creative use of silliness and that he gets the same result when giving his talk to Nobel Prize winners or janitors!! Laughter = release of tension.

sxc.hu/Cieleke - Juggling

Juggling with Dr. Allen, Jr.      sxc.hu/Cieleke -

Now, just because we were being silly, doesn’t mean that something positive wasn’t happening or that he wasn’t being serious in his talk! This was a fun way for employees to spend their lunch time and I was happy to be a participant, especially because I have always been a big fan of Steve Allen, the comedian.

Dr. Allen won several professional awards for his work in stress management. By the way, I still have the scarves.

Since I consider myself more of a student of humor and laughter rather than an expert, I searched for information online about humor from a more technical point of view that was from the experts. One site was from Harvard that discusses how the brain processes humor: http://www.hms.harvard.edu/hmni/On_The_Brain/Volume16/HMS_OTB_Spring10_Vol16_No2.pdf

Another site was from howstuffworks.com http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter1.htm

Both these sites are educational and funny! I encourage you to take a look!

So how does humor fit in when developing healthy living habits is such a struggle sometimes?

One example  of how it fits in is that if you are at work and you’re under a lot of stress and can’t exercise to relieve or reduce your stress, you can use humor in the form of reading a funny book on your break (I recommend a Far Side book) or watch something silly on YouTube.

Less planning is involved with using humor for good health. You don’t need to change clothes or hire a personal trainer or go to a class. You don’t need to follow a certain recipe or prepare a meal as you do when you are following the Mediterranean diet. You can just turn on the TV or computer and look for a comedy!

So, the bottom line is: humor is more accessible in the arsenal of healthy habits.

Laughing relaxes us. It relaxes our muscles. It puts us in a positive frame of mind. It stimulates our brain and makes us happy. It lowers our blood pressure. It increases creativity. It reinforces group cohesiveness, improves problem-solving ability, and increases endorphins and dopamine.

Last but not least, laughter is contagious like a cold and can spread!

I would love to hear your comments about what you thought of the show and/or your thoughts about humor and laughing. Any funny stories would be welcome too!

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The Rebuilding of Ground Zero

27 Sep By Succu (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (httpcreativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0)], Wikimedia Commons

I was watching TV in bed a few weeks ago and was about to turn in when PBS announced a Nova special: Engineering Ground Zero. The program was so interesting that I stayed up to watch it.

 

This program isn’t so much about what happened 9/11, 2001, it is about the rebuilding of this 16-acre site.

THAT WAS THEN…

The film is inspiring, hopeful, with leaders who are full of innovative ideas that will amaze you!

 

Yes, when they first began talking about rebuilding a skyscraper, I admit, I thought they had lost their minds! But after seeing this film, I feel very reassured and that is why I wanted to write this post, to share with you what I learned from this program.

 

There were many bitter disagreements, starts and stops in this rebuilding process, but when momentum took hold, Michael Arad was chosen as the architect and designer of the 9/11 Memorial. It was a design that was chosen out of 5,000 entries.

 

In no particular order, the film mainly covers:

The 9/11 Memorial (the cascading pools)

The MemorialPlaza (includes the 400 trees)

One WorldTradeCenter (the skyscraper)

The underground massive museum

The steel

The concrete

The glass panels

The bronze panels

 

The 9/11 Memorial

The Memorial is a phenomenal structure of two flowing water pools where the twin towers had been. I get goose bumps when I think about it because water has so much significance when you think about it. To me it signifies cleansing, purity, sustenance, life, and healing properties. Each of these pools is 30,000 square feet, almost an acre of void. The design calls for 52,000 gallons of water to cascade over the walls every minute, drop 30 feet, and disappear into a second, inner pool. What Arad created was brilliant, genius!

 

The Bronze Panels

Names of the 2,982 individuals whose lives were lost are not listed alphabetically, but by the locations where individuals died: the South Tower, the North Tower, Flights 11, 93, 77, 175 and the Pentagon. First responders and those who died in the 1993 attacks are also grouped together. One-hundred-fifty-two bronze panels will surround the pools with these names.

For fifty percent of the people that are on the Memorial, no remains were found, so this is going to be, for many families and many loved ones, the place that they will go on those special days: the birthdays, anniversaries. Unfortunately, this is the final resting place of the deceased.

They wanted the memorial part of the site to be completed on the 10-year anniversary of the attack, September 11, 2011. They accomplished that goal and you get to see this beautiful memorial from start to finish in the film. When fully completed, the entire site will include a train station to rival Grand Central, six new towers, and, at its heart, the 9/11 Memorial.

 

The Skyscraper

One World Trade Center skyscraper begins with world-renowned architect David Childs who is striving for a balance of security with beauty. The first 20 stories are like a bunker, built to withstand the force of a truck bomb. As it rises, the tower transforms into eight interlocking triangles, covered in huge panels of clear glass. More than a hundred stories up, a broadcast antenna brings the total height to a symbolic 1776 feet. The cost? More than three billion dollars, Childs’ design will be one of the most expensive skyscrapers ever built and one of the most innovative.


The Concrete

The core of One World Trade Center contains critical safety systems like extra-wide stairwells. It’s made of a material that’s strong like steel, but more fire-resistant: concrete.

 

The cores in the Twin Towers were compromised on 9/11, because they were made of steel wrapped in thin sheetrock. Childs’ design calls for super-strong concrete. So strong that it had to be developed in the lab. In testing this new concrete, they formed a four-inch-diameter cylinder of the concrete. It can accommodate a thousand Americans standing on this one cylinder. Challenges are getting the concrete to the site before it hardens, not to mention pumping it up 40 stories high.

 

When finished, One World Trade Center will contain almost 500,000 tons of this material, much of it in its core, which has walls up to six feet thick. Inside, the core protects a total of 70 elevators, as well as the extra-wide stairwells that are pressurized to keep smoke out. Smoke is the real killer.

Childs has a vision of using prismatic glass at the podium to add to the beauty of the structure. Cutting grooves into glass this thick and this large has never been done before. The only way to do it is to build a new machine from scratch.

The Glass Panels

Each glass panel consists of laminated safety glass on the inside, an insulating air space, and another thick pane of glass on the outside, lined with an energy-saving coating. The coating lets sunshine in while reducing heat, resulting in cost savings in office lighting and air-conditioning.

Installing these panels is a painstaking task: they can weigh up to 5,000 pounds. There are around 13,000 panels. When this wall of glass is complete, it will wrap around the entire building from the 20th floor to the top. I don’t know about you, but that blows my mind!

The Podium

The podium of One World Trade Center is a square about the size of the original towers. But as it rises above its base, at the 20th floor, the corners taper in. A square becomes an octagon. Four sides become eight interlocking triangles. Finally, at the top, it resolves in a square once again. Above the podium, One World Trade Center is going up a floor a week.

 

The “Green” Building

One World Trade Center is designed to be a certified green building. Steel contributes to that, because much of it comes from recycled materials like old refrigerators, cars, even toasters, all melted down into liquid.

 

Some of the largest steel pieces are called nodes. They can be as large as 60 tons and stand three stories high. Nodes are giant joints that hold multiple pieces of steel together. They come in all shapes and sizes and make it possible for the building to shift form, from four sides into eight. And they also help re-distribute the weight as the building rises.

THIS IS NOW…

 

Working with steel this big takes experience. Peter Jacobs is a member of the Mohawk Nation, famed for their work on skyscrapers and bridges for over a century. For more information about the Mohawk Nation, click here.

 

The Museum

A massive underground museum is being built beneath the Memorial plaza. People are going to be looking up at the underside of the plaza above, which is 60-70 feet above. There will be a very large volume of space. People will understand the enormity, and the scale of what was lost.

 

The Trees

Four hundred trees are being prepared to be taken to their new home: Ground Zero. They originally come from the three places where people died: New York, Pennsylvania and the Washington, D.C. area. These trees have their own computer chip in them. They have their own monitoring system for aeration and irrigation. Some weigh 18,000 pounds each.

 

The Conclusion?

The rebuilding of Ground Zero won’t be finished for years. David Childs’ original concept to cover the concrete podium with prismatic glass has been scrapped. Its replacement is yet undecided in this film. Many of this skyscraper’s safety features are likely to make it one of the most influential buildings in America.

 

By the way, you can watch the program online for free at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/engineering-ground-zero.html Just click on the green bar on the upper right. A DVD is also available for purchase.

Some films help us to move on from an uncomfortable place. This is one of those films.

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Commemorating 9/11

11 Sep 017_17

 

I was listening to the TV eating my lunch when the news anchor announced that there would be a “Healing Field” held at the Crown Cemetery in Fishers, Indiana. It would be hosted by the National Exchange Club. They wanted volunteers. This sounded like something I would be interested in so I took down the phone number and called.

The Reading of the Names

To my surprise, I was the only non-Exchange Club member to call and volunteer. They asked me if I would like to participate in reading some of the names of the people we lost on 9/11. I was touched that they asked me.

Still a New Yorker

I left Queens, New York when I was 29 but decades later, I’m still a New Yorker at heart. I wasn’t in New York when the attack occurred, but I felt the loss as if I was still there. I watched it live on a big screen TV at work. We all did. I might as well have been there. So I needed a tangible expression of mourning and although this particular Healing Field took place in 2004, I didn’t feel that I had progressed much since September 11, 2001.

Healing Fields

Participating in the Healing Fields did much to heal me. It involved many boy scouts hammering re-bars into the ground to hold up the American flags and situate the flags. Volunteers also helped carry and position a flag. I participated with this too. Each flag represented a person who died that day. I still get chills just typing this. The photos of that day can express what occurred better than I ever could.

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Official Ceremony With US Fighter Jets

There was an official ceremony and at the close, US Fighter Jets flew overhead. As fast as they were, I still can’t believe that I got two photos of them flying overhead. It was incredibly spectacular!

I’ll Never Forget

The Healing Fields was a day I’ll never forget nor will I ever forget 9/11. Sometimes we need help in recovering from a traumatic event. An event like the Healing Fields goes a long way to restore your good health.

For more information about the Healing Fields, click: Healing Fields

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