Monday, November 30, 2009

Girls of Cancer: Miss November

Deanna Favre

Deanna Favre was born in Mississippi, attended grade school with a guy named Brett, dated him as a sophomore in high school, gave birth to their first daughter at 20, moved in with Brett when he was the quarterback for the Packers, stood by him during his struggles with Vicodin and alcohol, and now is happily married to him, was diagnosed with cancer in 2004, underwent five months of chemo and a lumpectomy, created the Deanna Favre Hope Foundation which supports breast cancer education, women's breast imaging and diagnosis services for all women, and wrote a book in 2007.

Whew, what a life-in-a-sentence. Now, onto Brett. This won’t be the lovefest displayed by Joe Buck during Minnesota Vikings broadcasts, but it may get close. Brett Favre is not the best quarterback ever—he holds most of the all-time passing records, but he’s also thrown the most career interceptions with 313.

Brett is also awesome—most touchdowns, completions, yards, MVPs (tied with Peyton Manning), and most consecutive game starts by a non-lineman or kicker with 282 (304 including playoffs). Brett is in his seventeenth consecutive year without missing a game.

Brett is even more intriguing off the field. He reveals himself in front of cameras while most athletes put up a wall. He always seems happy and jokes with his teammates. He fakes his retirement every year and has found his way onto the Vikings out of spite for the Packers, an archrival. He’s historically been dreadful playing in domes and also, lately, in the playoffs. Brett has overcome addictions. Above all, the day after his father died in 2003 he had one of his best performances, passing for 399 yards and 4 touchdowns and shedding tears when it was over. It was one of the most incredible sporting events I’ve seen.

Brett and Peyton may end up splitting the MVP this year, leaving them both with four. It is mind-boggling how well he’s playing at 40 years old. His Vikings are 10-1 and have a chance to win the Super Bowl. I will be rooting for Brett and my boy, Super Randy Moss, to meet in the big game.Deanna and Brett Favre

I welcome all female readers who are either cancer survivors or patients to be featured as co-Miss Decembers. If interested, please submit a short bio including your diagnosis, any funny stories, and a photo of yourself (at any age—cancer, pre- or post-cancer) to bmrubenstein (at) I will publish all submissions. You all deserve some winter and Hanukkah love.

Leia Mais…

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lather and Repeat

Rub bar of soap onto soaked washcloth. Put soap back on holster. Clean self.

This is my preferred method of bathing, in which, had I been the only person using the soap, a single bar would last many weeks.

Enter my female roommate, Vina. The lifetime of our shared soap bars is just a few weeks. I think water may transform Vina into a lioness or a different clawed animal—I can't tell if she peels clumps for bathing, to create a potpourri of sorts, or for some kind of sacrificial ritual to the Goddess of Clean.

Soap bar

Leia Mais…

Monday, November 9, 2009

Refill, Re-buy, Recycle

My dad is a bit misguided on the motto, "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." He takes pleasure in filling the trash can. He doesn't like different foods touching each other and uses separate plates—normally paper. He rarely separates the two or three paper plates stuck together.

He grabs a stack of napkins for all meals and snacks, even something as dry as pretzels. He needs silverware with his meals, even if it's only a sandwich. He gathers such an abundance of materials that at fast food joints I reiterate, "Dad, please don't get me ketchup, silverware, or napkins—I'll get my own."

He leaves lights on even when he won't re-enter that room until many hours later—to turn them off before going to bed.

He's always bagged his groceries in plastic, but used to grab no fewer than five paper bags on his way out of the supermarket to add to his stockpile. He uses the brown bags to collect the newspaper for recycling each week. I once conservatively estimated he had compiled over 30 years worth of them.

After all his waste, he is surprisingly adept at recycling. He makes sure to recycle all bottles, aluminum, and newspapers. He seems to think that his recyclables compensate for overuse, despite me telling him that only about 35% of recycled materials are reused.

Like all Americans, my carbon footprint is enormous relative to most of the world, but I do my best to reduce it. I bring snacks to work every day in a brown bag. My dad uses about three of these per day, and then throws them away, but I've been using the same one for several months. It now resembles the skin of a 110-year-old woman who's been smoking for 97 of them.

Reused brown paper lunch bag


According to UNDP, Human Development Report 2007/2008: Fight Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World, the United States is the world's highest per capita emitter of carbon dioxide with over 20 metric tons per person. China—the source of much hostility from conservation groups for overtaking the U.S. as the world's top overall emitter—spews out a mere four metric tons per person.

The greenouse effect aside, there is no debating that pollution effects water, air, ecosystems and human health. Many people think they're entitled to overconsume and waste, and that it is not their responsibility. I urge people to make simple concessions like switching to energy- and fiscally-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

And when my book comes out, you can purchase it in e-book format if you'd like. Or, just read it over and over again—I'll give you credit for "Reuse."

Leia Mais…

Thursday, November 5, 2009


The following is a text message conversation between me and my friend. I was on the Metrorail headed for work.

Friend: I just farted so bad that I smoked myself out of my office.

Me: Make sure to leave a trail.

Friend: They're spraying Febreze in the hallway now. That can't possibly be because of me.

Me: Wow, that sounds like one of those once-in-a-lifetime rips. Be proud. That's lethal.

Friend: It's actually a little embarrassing.

Me: Are you sure you didn't poo yourself? Better check yo self.

Friend: That's my next move. As soon as I finish e-mailing an apology to the whole office.

Me: Did you claim that fart as your own or did they smell your brand?

Friend: No, you don't claim those. I don't think they know it's me for sure. But, I think they suspect someone.

Leia Mais…

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


"Do you think you're going to write another book," my mom asked.

"Absolutely not," I said. "The first one has consumed my life for five and a half years."

And yet, just days later I was already thinking about segments that don't quite fit in my first book. I even considered writing them down.

I played with potential first chapters, the hook that is meant to corral you readers with your hundreds of thousands of book options, and why read mine?

Would the second begin right where the first leaves off, much like My Friend Leonard following James Frey's megahit, A Million Little Pieces? Or would it plug some holes of the first book—the stories behind the stories of the cancerslayer, from Superman himself?

Leia Mais…