Friday, February 29, 2008

Competitive training

…Writing in the NYT (Feb 7, 2008), Abby Ellin talks about people who get “personal training” in groups. Isn’t that called a class?

…This is a trend now at health clubs, according to Ellin. Almost 2/3 of personal training sessions include more than one client.

…Groups can be friends or people the trainer brings together. The average number is six.

…This can bring the price down to $20 a session.

…Sometimes, though, people can get overly competitive. Boys can array against girls.

…One guy said when he sees a woman who is better than he is, especially, he steps it up.

…Two other women, friends, got competitive and one stomped off one evening without getting a ride with her bud.

…The research shows people will put “being the best” above “doing it correctly.”

…Sometimes, the group dynamic can result in helpfulness. But, HA gathers, not always.

…Trainers may try to group people of like ability, but people often want to be with people they know—and everyone may have different abilities (and issues).

…The only thing HA did in groups as an adult was yoga. Eyes closed. That was better on so many levels.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

That's hot

…Aleta Watson, writing in the San Jose Mercury News, extols the delights of hot cereal. HA recently bought some of that candy-like sweetened oatmeal—not bad, maybe a little blah.

…But you know how much the nannies want us to eat whole grains. This could be a way. All you need is spices, fruit, nuts, raisin—and voila, super porridge!

…Blueberries, mangoes, pistachios—marscapone instead of milk. Go er, nuts. HA likes a dab of butter instead of milk. The kind that really IS butter—your belief system has nothing to do with it.

…Oatmeal was the first grain allowed to claim health benefits—that was 1997. It may cut cholesterol. Now nutritionists flip over every whole grain—amaranth, quinoa (today described as a super food in something HA read).

…Over 400 breakfast cereals with whole grains have been introduced lately (Whole Grains Council).

…You can cook steel-cut, nutty-tasting oatmeal in your crock pot overnight, according to Watson.

…Or get packaged polenta and doll it up with marscapone cheese and fruit.

…HA worries about some “health” cereal and in the safe confines of her family, calls some of it silage—something you would find a feedbag hung under an animal’s mouth.

…But hey, marscapone cheese…That big-headed Italian woman on the Food Channel seems to love that stuff.

…”More, please, sir.” That little dickens—he was a health nut!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

New status symbol--food

…Have you seen those prices lately? Ten bucks for chicken! Four bucks for milk!

…Eeek, HA truly is living on KD—Kraft Dinner, the writer’s soul food—not just joking about it.

…Writing for the Associated Press, J.M. Hirsch has some hints for staying alive in today’s economy.

…Track your food expenses…Even if you buy skanky old gas station coffee, it’s a buck a day. Bring from home.

…Make a weekly meal plan. Cook ahead on Sunday. HA would do this if she could cook.

…Go to those bakery thrift stores. When you see bread on sale, get two—freeze one. Day Old bread makes great French toast.

…Shop alone. Hirsch says children send the bill into the stratosphere. Kids? How about husbands—HA remembers how some of THOSE rascals like the best cheeses and wines.

…Don’t shop hungry. Twenty-buck difference in the tab—guaranteed.

…Check out those unit prices. Do your dishes really need to have a distinctive smell like lemon when they come out of the dishwasher? Think first.

…Store brands can be good. The best spaghetti sauce ever is a canned Kroger thing for $1.

…Try to shop just once a week.

…Stretch foods with rice, beans and potatoes.

…Wrap leftovers in single portions—perfect for lunch the next day.

…HA thinks $1-$2 a portion.

…Any other tips to share, readers? Somehow our economy got ruined—we are in this together now.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

In the dark

…According to Rick Weiss, Washington Post, Feb 20, 2008, women who live in neighborhoods with lots of street lights are more likely to get breast cancer.

…Strong nightlights or keeping the TV on can also interfere with the body’s production of the hormone melatonin, which has been shown to suppress tumors.

…Some studies have shown that flight attendants, nurses and others who work nights can have as much as a 60% increased chance of breast cancer.

…The World Health Organization has classified night work as a possible carcinogen.

…Blind women who produce a lot of melatonin have lower breast cancer rates.

…The latest researchers looked at satellite data to see how much light was coming up from various parts of Israel and then matched those to cancer incidence.

…After teasing out factors such as smoking, wealth, and ethnicity, they found no link between light and lung cancer, but a significant one between light and breast cancer.

…Fluorescent bulbs—like those curly ones everyone loves these days—suppress melatonin more than regular old incandescent bulbs.

…This is not conclusive, one scientist said, but we should look at this more closely.

…The implication: We might save energy with these bulbs, then regret it because we have cancer.

…Yipes, does this stuff never end?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Cats appear better at saving your life

…A study at the Univ of Minnesota, conducted by executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Initiative, Adnan Quereshi, MD, suggests owning at least one cat could cut your risk of a heart attack by one-third.

…Wait a hot second! Is this one of those weird-ass studies? You decide. They studied nearly 4,500 Americans over 10 years. Definitely, they found pet ownership cut stress (except, HA adds, for cleaning up their occasional vomitfests and other alimentary delights, the pets', not the scientists').

…This is based on stress being bad for your cardio system…which is pretty well established, in HA’s opinion.

….The paper was presented at the American Stroke Assn’s conference, providing a lot of legitimacy.

…The team analyzed data on 4,435 Americans, 30-75, who took a federal govt National Health and Nutrition Examination. Of this number, 2,435 owned a cat or had owned one in the past.

…Then the team tracked deaths from all causes, including heart disease and stroke. After 10 years of followup of the cat owners and feline-free types, a 30% reduction in stroke risk was perceived.

…The scientists admit that dogs might have the same effect. Dog owners weren’t scanned this time. A 2005 study has showed that a 12-minute visit with a dog could improve heart and lung function in people with heart failure (UCLA).

…This is purely anecdotal, no tables or charts, but HA has a feline secretary. She actually creates more stress by lying atop everything HA is trying to read, blocking the air holes on HA’s monitor, and knocking the pencil out of HA’s hand during important telephone interviews.

….Then, the fuzzy white dog slides in there and relieves the stress the cat caused. Then he sees an air molecule and barks hysterically and the cat has to soothe HA. Maybe everyone should have both to be on the safe side.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Sperm really counts

…Karen Springen, writing in Newsweek (Feb 25, 2008), says with the high cost of fertility treatments, increasingly, male infertility is becoming a focus.

…When a couple cannot conceive, as often as not the male is the problem.

…Anything that makes the body unhealthy affects fertility, according to one authority.

…Start with prescription drugs. SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac can be a problem. Beta blockers used for high blood pressure, alpha blockers (such as Flomax for prostate), ulcer drugs like Tagamet, and pain meds like oxycontin—all can reduce fertility.

…Likewise, men, quit using anabolilc steroids or testosterone creams or injections. They cut natural testosterone production.

…This is a toughie: You may not be having enough sex. You need to have more. From 10-18 days after the first day of the woman’s period, go to it.

…Our old bud obesity can also cut fertility. If your waist is more than 40 inches, uh-oh.

…Your doctor also could prescribe an anti-estrogen. They can also open up ducts and reverse vasectomies.

…And this one is easy: Keep the hydraulics cool. Boxers! Stay out of hot tubs, don’t rest your laptop on the equipment. Also: Don’t stay on your cell all the time. The evidence is sketchy—so far—but cell phones might not be great in this respect.

…Above all, be patient. And don’t forget that “have lots of sex” part.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Ultra-great medical care--for the rich only?

UltraCare Urgent Care opened in HA's town—the ritzy part, Scottsdale. Or, as some most unkindly refer to it--Snotsdale.

…This urgent care center, it says, set out to “pamper” patients. HA supports urgent care as less horrible for patients than the ER. (Anyone can go to this place, hint, hint.)

…When you come in, according to an account by Edward Gately in the Easy Valley Tribune, you are greeted by courteous staff.

…Imagine that!

…There are leather chairs (illustration isn't actual waiting room). Flat screen TVs. And get this—bottled water.

…”This is a retirement community,” the director said, “and this community has higher expectations for their physical care. There are a lot of upscale retirees who are here to enjoy their time, enjoy golfing, and they are used to a certain level of treatment. We feel like everyone who is waiting is entitled to be waiting in a calming, soothing environment.”

…Yes, buddy! Everyone! Not just well off retirees, who (did you think of it?) may be sick and not able to make a tee time anyway.

…Bottled water? Pish-tosh. HA has been in “downscale” waiting rooms where the waits were so long, the staff passed out crackers to the patients with diabetes.

…How about good service for every patient? Have these doctors ever thought of how crummy it is to sit up someplace when you are sick? Or get in a car and go someplace when you are about to vomit any second or lose bowel control?

…If HA were to be truly bitchy about it, she would observe that retirees may have more time to wait than younger people who have to take time off from work (since most offices close for 1.5 to 2 hours during lunch hour, when many patients could come without losing money or getting in trouble at work).

…I am sure the Richies will come to this joint to be fawned over, while the rest of us try to corral our cranky, feverish children; fill out repetitive clipboards; and beg for mercy as the hours tick by.

…Recently, HA was told by a doctor’s office to come pick up a referral. No, they couldn’t mail it or fax it to the other physician. Mail it? Why didn’t HA just beg for water or something?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fingers of fate

…According to Rita Rubin, USA Today, scientists—yes, with degrees and everything—are looking at the relative length of our index and ring fingers to figure out our characteristics.

…They think the difference between the length of these two fingers signifies the amount of the male hormone testosterone exposure in the womb.

…The longer the ring finger compared with the index finger, the higher the exposure.

…They do a ratio, dividing index finger length by ring finger length.

…Men tend to have longer ring fingers (the testosterone?) than index fingers, and a ratio less than 1.

…Women’s tend to be equal for a ratio of 1.

…Well, HA has a longer ring finger.

..Some doc immediately said that doesn’t matter, that this isn’t that great an indicator of a difference in genders—not like height, for instance.

…One researcher thinks he has linked lower finger ratios with less musicality, in men, that is. Supposedly, heteros have lower ratio than homosexual men. The biggest association is with low ratios affecting endurance, as in long distance running.

…They also think they see a link in osteoarthritis. A lower finger ratio, more common in men and athletes, could be linked to a greater risk of osteoarthritis in later life. Of course, this could be because people with this ratio tend to be more athletic and would stress joints more, leading to traumatic arthritis in later life.

…For women, the strongest link seems to be to osteoarthritis of the knee in women whose ring fingers are longer than their index fingers.

…One doc said he didn’t see this as a powerful diagnostic tool. Probably not. And it isn’t even the fun finger anyhow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How about a dish of well-being, with a side of...

…Writing in the LA Times (Feb 17, 2008), Jennifer Steinhauer says those trendy LA beaneries are now emphasizing immunity-enhancing foods. They call these functional foods.

…To HA, foods serve the great function--when you are hungry, eat them and you are not hungry.

..Seriously, HA has made a career out of the phrases: “Nothing too pretentious” and “Everything to excess”—but functional food restaurants?

…There is a little Visa-like sticker to put in the window if you serve immunity foods.

…Apparently, these joints are frequented by cancer patients, so must claim some validity, HA admits.

…First there was Jamba Juice, Steinhauer says. Then that Airborne stuff. Spave coffee is loaded with supplements. Green Giant has Immunity Boost (worked on that name), which are packets of veggies. We have all seen those Active yogurts—HA thought all yogurt had cultures—surprise!

…On the menu of one restaurant, a little picture of an herb is next to the “good” stuff.

…At another place you can get a goji berry martini (now you’re talkin’)!

…You have to eat all your life…so what’s the harm?

...These places do require a walletectomy, however.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Is your pet a behemoth?

…HA has a 26-lb cat. She got him from the pound. Per instructions, she put him on a “diet.” But first, since cat foods don’t list carbs and she was told to limit carbs, she had to go through P’mart, add up the percentages of other ingredients and what was left was carbs. Most dry foods are around 32%--she will save you some time..

…She served him the agreed-upon amounts. There are other cats in the house, though, and he quite ably sidled over to their bowls when they left.

…At the next vet visit, he had gained eight pounds.

…He is fast, though—HA’s daughter describes his gait as being like a bowling ball speeding down the alley.

…Apparently, the national nannies are now worried about our chubby pets (that’s his name, by the way, Chubby Butters---he’s a yellow flamepoint Siamese).

…More than a third of adult cats and dogs are obese. Make that half of those more than seven years old.

…Of course, with most dogs, table food is the culprit. Feeding a 20-lb dog a 1-oz piece of cheese is like the average woman eating 2.5 hamburgers.

…(Mmmm…HA wishes she had one of those now.)

….Dogs spend 70% of their time lying down. Well, this is common knowledge. Except of course, for border collies and Jack Russells.

…70% of owners use treats as a sign of affection. Well, duh.

…Your dog, one expert says, should have a well proportioned waist.


…HA has owned two dogs and neither was a big eater of dog food (those “brown balls”), which they considered a last resort. But they sure love a nosh or two from each meal the humans were having.

…At least, Chubby sticks with the cat food. Boy, howdy, does he.

…To check out a free downloadable workout for people and pets created by celeb trainer Gunnar Peterson, visit

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dance dance reduce

…Does the active video game Dance Dance Revolution sound faintly Japanese to you? It does to HA.

…Anyhow, according to the American Council on Fitness (, you can get meaningful exercise capering around on the pad and following the dancing lights.

…Sure beats the energy expenditure of moving your thumbs, anyhow.

…Actually DDR is Japanese. It is now sort of a cult, according to an article by Mark Anders in the Dept/Oct 2007 issue of the ACE’s magazine.

…The state of West Virginia has bought this game for the classroom (765 schools).

…Kids have forgotten how to play, said one expert.

…But is this real exercise? They did a study of 24 volunteers at the Univ of Wisconsin LaCrosse. These were kids under 18 and university students. The kids practiced a 4-song sequence for up to six hours at a time.

…Six hours? US hours? Earth hours?

…Their fitness in terms of oxygen consumptiion and heart rate was measured before, during and after.

…Results? DDR was comparable to many other forms of aerobic exercise and could result in significant weight loss if used consistently.

…HA thinks the 6-hour practice session would do it!

…But--she is grateful because she can now type the words: Do try this at home.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

When it comes to genetic testing, think

…Ever avoid asking the question if you don’t want to hear the answer? That adage sort of applies to genetic testing as it advances in the health care realm.

…Very few genes are definitively linked to a given disease or condition and even if present, may only increase chances—they usually are not a guarantee you are getting the problem.

…Genes are being used to craft certain drugs to the individual’s system—this is likely to be a more prevalent use of testing as time goes on.

…Commercial companies, such as,, and charge a thousand bucks or more to check da code.

…They say they tell only you and not your insurance company. But you could be hating life if they tip your company off to your 50% increased chance of stroke or whatever.

…Another problem is needless anxiety. Will people really change their lifestyles? Is a change in lifestyle even that sure a guarantee of a change in “fate”?

…Before you check your supposed destiny, think. What will you really get out of it and what is the downside?

…Sometimes, HA thinks, we know too much--too much conflicting and ambiguous stuff-- for our own good.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Heart month

…Freedom News Service had a column the other day about a low-grade protest against Valentine's Day…you know, rumblings.

…Why do women hate V-day, according to FNS? Men get the idea that the only day they have to be romantic is the day Motel 6 is having a special.

…The poems on the cards never say, “I will love you as long as you empty the dishwasher.” They say, “I will love you forever” and stuff. Conditions, people. Put conditions!

…Bad strolling minstrels in restaurants.

…Husbands never know your corrrect lingerie size (and never will, HA adds).

…Prison halfway houses start looking good as a place to get dates.

…And some women don’t look good in red.

…As for why men hate it, some got bruised at Vicky’s Secret over the last Angel bra last year.

…Should Mom get a card? This produces anxiety.

…Men are expected to watch Moonstruck.

…Some women say not to get them anything—this is a trap.

…All they get is a card.

…The strolling minstrels. (Those guys better unionize.)

…And the wife digs out last year’s pink shirt and asked, “How come you never wear this?”

…Solutions: Wear black on Thursday. And if you just broke up (this is the one day a year most breakups happen), listen to sappy songs on your iPod and get over it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Skinny brain?

…The latest buzz among the Hollywood crowd is a diet book called Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman and Kim Bernouin.

…Acording to Julie Klausner (, this is a vegan tract disguised in an appeal to insecure women.

…Predictably, a new volume is due—Skinny Bastard. For men.

…Veganism shuns not only meat and other animal products, but also leather and fur.

…The authors, former models of some sort, call soda “liquid Satan.” (HA kinda likes that one.)

…One author got a “holistic” degree in alternative nutrition (from an unaccredited institution) and the other is described as a know-it-all. Not to knock know-it-alls, but still…

…Apparently some of these self-obsessed skinnies are shocked to find gross pictures of skinned cows in the book.

…”Don’t be a fat pig anymore” is an example of the book’s “humorous” headlines.

…Why do people take this, much less pay for it? “When people go on a diet the first 10 lbs they lose is brain,” Klausner quips.

…The gist of the advice? Eat 1000 cals a day and say over and over: “Every day in every way my ass is getting smaller.”

…Oh, and meat and eggs are ewww-gross.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What's new in jumping around

…The American Council on Fitness ( has come out with their 2008 Trends report.

…First, we will be doing more offbeat workouts, like ballroom dancing and line dancing. Well, maybe YOU will.

…Equipment-free workouts will be big. This pits your muscle groups against each other, with your weight as the resistance.

…You will go on more charity walks and run in more marathons.

…Boomers will be getting up off it.

…You will be looking for short, focused workouts, 20 mins or less. Some gyms will allow you to attend two in a row (pardon HA, but then isn’t it long?).

…You will be combining workouts and meditation . Spin-Yoga, Pilates Fusion.

…You will probably hire a trainer. This is one of the fastest-growing professions.

…You will be exercising to your iPod or PDA. Watching streaming video. And recording your pulse rate.

…You will craft your workout to your sport. Certain exercises before skiing or running.

…Or you could walk it off.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Kissably whatever

…HA is getting pretty free with the lip moisturizers, rubbing them on her crows feet and so on. OK, she gets bored and stuff happens.

…However, dermatologists actually worry about people’s lips and how to keep them soft and not all flaky and cracked. Especially in winter.

…At the recent meeting of the American Academy of Dermies, Margaret E Parsons, MD, discussed the subject.

…When she sees dry lips, she tries to see what the person is doing or not doing. Some lipsticks are irritating. Even anti-aging products can be bad for lips.

…Indoor heat lowers humidity, then outside cold further irritates this tissue.

…Wear a lip balm sith Sun Protection Factor of 15 or more, she advises. Men often don’t and have more lip skin cancer.

…That stuff to plump up lips can really irritate (in fact, that is how it works—irritates until blood rushes there and plumps up the lips).

…Forget phenol on the lips. Think mentholatum, etc.

…Spicy foods, peppers, citrus peels—ouch.

…Oral acne meds containing isotretinoin, in particular—can irritate lips without even being applied to them. Vitamin E, aloe vera—these also can be culprits.

…Smacking your lips when nervous or when a little irritation has started, can make it worse fast.

…Use vaseline on your lips at night.

…Maybe HA better get rid of the weird lip balms. Why did they call it lip “ivo” at one time—does anyone know?

Thursday, February 07, 2008

P B and woo-hoo!.

…J.M. Hirsch of the AP is all about the peanut butter. Remember when the choice was smooth or chunky? It’s so much more now.

…Crunchy can be light or dark roasted. Smooth can be mixed with chocolate, cinnamon, raisins, and molasses, even coffee.

…How about hickory-smoked PB? Or PB with hot peppers or sun dried tomatoes.?

…Ninety percent of homes have at least one jar.

…You can put the chocolate varieties into brownies or cakes.

…Fruit seems to be a weak combo…Just put on banana slices or dump in some raisins.

…If you want honey, don’t buy a spread, just put on honey.

...Peanut butter has non-cholesteroly fat and protein.

…HA is a famously bad cook, but she mixes olive oil, Chinese vinegar, something from the spice aisle called Chinese Five Spices, and a few wads of PB in a pan with a little water, heats to melt the PB, and pours it over spaghetti. Can’t even be called cooking and it’s great cold, too!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Laugh a day keeps docs at bay

…A reader received this advice from Gold’s Gym. The info is from Mayo.

…Laughter stimulates your organs, bringing in more exygen and increasing those yummy feel-good endorphins.

…Hard laughter reduces stress responses.

…Laughing helps digestion (unless you laugh ‘til you puke, as the saying goes).

…Laughing also improves your immune system.

…It relieves pain, producing a natural pain killer. (Try that after abdominal surgery, but yes, overall, this is true.)

…Do you feel like everyone has a sense of humor but you? Maybe yours is just warped. Maybe you have a sense of the absurd instead. Put up cartoons that make you smile.

…This list says think positively—we all know HA is not a fan. If you expect the worst, at least you will be correct! If something good happens, you will be pleasantly surprised.

…Rent some funny movies. This is so subjective. HA sat through THE JERK five times. She even paid and went back in on the same day. THE BIG LEBOWSKI is her favorite movie of all time. But don’t go by this—most people don’t “get” HA.

…Develop your own way to get some free laughter. Hey, it’s the political season—you're off to a good start.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Please don't go to sleep forever

…Susan Brink, writing in the LA Times (Feb 4, 2008), says Heath Ledger’s tragic death has brought up the subject of keeping sleeping pills too handy.

…Just because you see drugs on TV, doesn’t mean they are safe, according to one spokesperson.

…Unintentional poisonings—pharmaceuticals, over the counters, herbals, and alcohol all combining--can put you out! Any single one may seem OK—but you can’t “layer.”

…”There is no absolutely safe medicine!” one authority said.

…It’s easy to make mistakes at night when you are half asleep. Did you take one or not?

…Never, ever take a prescription sleep aid and then later, an over-the-counter one. This is especially dangerous.

…Everything you take can boost the effects of everything else. Sleeping pills, antidepressants, and alcohol all depress the central nervous system—do that enough and you stop breathing. Game over.

…Or if you are on an antihistamine and drink a glass of wine, and you may not be fit to drive.

…Use the same pharmacy for everything, the experts urge. If you are concerned about various substances playing with each other, go to and search on interaction.

…Believe HA now—the FDA is not keeping everything safe for you. Often there is no
”cushion” or margin of error with drugs.

…HA values her readers and wants to keep all of you.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Baby in a wreck?

…HA sometimes sees people zipping along on a bicycle with a baby strapped in a seat on the back. It makes her a little queasy. (She should talk—she used to take her baby down the block-long escalators in a tacky little stroller in DC.)

…Safety expert Debra Holtzman, however, shares HA’s misgivings (and would probably have fainted at the subway judgment described above).

…A baby does not have enough neck strength to balance that large head in case of a sudden stop.

…After age 1, children can support a lightweight helmet, she says, and ride in a trailer or rear-mounted seat.

…Select the right helmet. Head injuries are the leading cause of you-know-what on a bike. Toddler helmets are a must! Adults, too.

…Make sure the seat says American Society of Testing and Materials approved—ASTM.

…Rear-mounteds are usually OK for up to 40 lbs. A trailer can hold 100 lbs.

…Holtzman prefers trailers for their stability.

…Before you set off on some big excursion, practice riding with the child onboard. A rear-mounted seat changes the center of gravity. Get used to it. Only skilled bike riders should attempt to bring a child along. Practice turns without the child even in there.

…Be visible—wear fluorescent clothing. Avoid riding at dawn or dusk.

…If the kids hates it and screams or struggles—forget it.

…OK, OK, the flimsy stroller and straight-up-and-down escalator—bad idea. She lived, fortunately.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bad dog! Good database?

…Virginia has instituted a registry of vicious dogs similar to the Sex Offenders Registry, according to an article by Tamara Warta in Government Technology Magazine.

…You can go to it and find pictures of the offending animal and its address. Check it out:

…Some Virginians think it’s too harsh a measure, other say it’s not harsh enough.

…The too-harsh camp says it’s like a McCarthy blacklist. The not-harsh-enoughers say they want even more info on the rogue pets. A number of people also complain that their locality is not covered.

…One person wrote and said they track the dangerous dogs on a bike route before going for a ride.

…That person has had a run-in, HA bets. HA’s daughter, as she once reported on this blog, almost got her upper lip bitten off by a pit (19 stitches) and another pit put her sister’s greyhound in the hospital. Search on “dog” in blank at the top of this page.

…A lot of planning went into the Virginia site. Any resident can complain, but the complaint has to be investigated. They want to make sure feuding neighbors don’t badmouth dogs. Animals must be declared dangerous by a court.

…But one bite is all it takes. Some states let the dog have the first one free. Not Virginia.

…One unintended consquence—owners now sometimes chain up dogs, making them even more bad-tempered.

…To get a dog off the registry, owners must buy $100,000 worth of insurance, place signs in the windows of their home, and attach a special tag to the dog.

…Maybe the best thing about this is the big sign on the house. HA doubts a website would have prevented her incidents. Her sister easily found out from Animal Control that the dog that savaged her greyhound had priors.

…Alas, since writing that, HA now has some other direct experience. Her new dog Jim is a nipper—he goes after men’s pant legs and grrrs and pulls on them. This is worrisome. She doesn’t want Jim to turn up on America’s Most Wanted.