by Bob Sparrow
I read in the newspaper last week . . . yes, I still read a newspaper; I realize I’m in the minority, as both newspaper sales and newspaper advertising revenue are falling like a prom dress. If you ask the younger generation where they get their news they will invariably tell you ‘on line’, but all I see is faces buried in their phones while ‘tweeting’, ‘liking’, ‘Instagraming’ or posing for ‘selfies’. Their ‘news’, I suspect, comes more from ‘You Tube’ than the ‘Boob Tube’. Which means, they may not really care that much about the news – which I understand as it is mostly depressing.
Call me sentimental, but I like knowing that the Orange County Register staff worked late into the night to gather the news, print it and deliver it to my driveway before I get up the next morning. I do understand that newspaper news is a day old, but do I really need the up-to-the-minute scoop on what the Kardashians are doing or what political figure bashed what political figure today? It’s not like someone is going to ask me to weigh in on our Middle East policy. Do we even have a Middle East policy? Besides, can you line the bottom of your birdcage with your computer? Can you roll up your iPad and admonish your dog? Can you get a fire going by lighting your cell phone? I think not!
I stare into my computer at work, I’m glued to my laptop when I’m writing or perusing social media and I read books on my iPad; my eyes are thankful for the respite from the bright glare of electronic devices and welcome the act of sitting down with a cup of coffee, relaxing and reading the morning news, smug in the knowledge that my newspaper isn’t going to ‘crash’, ‘freeze’ or ‘lose its connection’.
A cup of coffee! That’s what I started to write about before I so rudely interrupted myself with this newspaper rant. Coffee’s history is quite the opposite of newspaper history; sales are increasing as well as prices, especially for that ‘Venti Half-Caf Caramel White Chocolate Mocha Cookie Frappuccino Latte with a shot of Espresso. Again, I know I’m in the minority here, but I still like a plain cup of coffee and as I started to say, I read in the newspaper last week that coffee, which has had a mercurial reputation, is now once again, good for you! The article I was reading was from New York Times writer, Aaron E. Carroll, and he, like many of us, grew up in a time when our parents drank coffee, but told us not to because it would stunt our growth. For the most part we believed them and didn’t drink coffee until we thought we were tall enough. We’d see midgets, jockeys and the Seven Dwarfs and think, ‘coffee drinkers’.
Carroll sites numerous studies that show the benefits to coffee drinkers; lower rate of virtually all cardiovascular disease, lower risk of liver cancer and lower risk of prostate and breast cancer. For those who already have liver disease, coffee is associated with decreased progression to cirrhosis. Coffee intake was associated with lower risk of Parkinson’s disease, lower cognitive decline and a potential protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease. Coffee (all these studies refer to ‘black’ coffee, no sugar or cream, but can be caffeinated or decaffeinated) was associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pretty impressive I think! But we don’t drink coffee as a ‘health drink’, although a regular brewed coffee has 5 or fewer calories and no fat or carbohydrates; we drink it because it taste good and perhaps because we’re hooked on caffeine and need that ‘legal stimulant’ to kick-start our day.
OK, give your eyes a rest, you’ve been staring at your computer long enough, turn it off (Oops, first ‘share’ this blog with a coffee lover you know, it will make them feel better about this morning’s cup of coffee), grab a newspaper and another cup of coffee and relax, that is if coffee doesn’t give you the jitters or make you run to the bathroom. Hey, nothing is perfect!