Sam Bauman: Change is sweeping things about, even to an aging men’s magazine
I recently wrote in this space about the benefits of changing some aspect of seniors’ lifestyles. Doing away with habits that perhaps bog one down.
I gave as an example my plan to eliminate my 6 p.m. martini with cheese and crackers, with jalapeños on top. Well, I found the practice of probably 20 years hard to give up. One drink, no more was pleasurable. So I didn’t quit sipping.
But I resolved to change something so I decided my two-hour exercise program (plus three times a week aerobics) could be updated. I opted to go for the old sessions program four times a week alternating with Tai Chi three times. I have a couple of tapes on tai chi for seniors.
Tai Chi is almost restful and I can even meditate some of the time (the old gray wall as focus).
The mixing of lifestyles seems to work, may not work off as many calories as before, but it’s more fun and I don’t think I cheat — I still do the aerobics faithfully.
Which brings me to another change recently announced. It’s Playboy magazine, where I spent several years as an editor back in the 1970s. It was exciting working on the hottest book (in sales, not necessarily content) around and a lot of fun.
Then Hef, editor and publisher, decided we should announce that the circulation of 5 million should be announced in a full-page ad in the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and NY Daily News.
I was not in advertising, but I decided to come up with the ad. So I pecked out on a typewriter my ad: “Dear Playboy Advisor, I’m the editor of a men’s magazine in Chicago. We just reached a circulation of 5 million. Should I tell anyone about this? Signed, HMH.”
The reply was: “Yes! Tell everybody about it. We can all use some good news.”
Well, I don’t know if everybody read about the 5 million circulation, but I remembered it when Playboy recently announced that it would no longer publish photos of nude women. The reason was obvious. From the peak of 5.7 million, circulation had fallen to 800,000.
Reason given was that there was so much nudity on the Internet that the magazine had lost its edge, so change had to happen.
That’s a lifestyle change of note. I still get the magazine (or “book” in magazine talk), sometimes free, sometimes $8 a year. I look forward to seeing the new March nudeless edition.
Other changes of note, not as newsworthy: McDonald’s will now serve breakfast all day.
And in Carson City, the multi-purpose athletic center is taking final shape with huge windows on all four corners.
Read the fine print — if you can
I’ve seen the TV ad for a brain enhancement supplement Prevagen many times, and it wasn’t until I noticed the fine print along the bottom of the ad that I began to wonder about the reported brain power enhancement that the ad proclaimed. The sort of footnote along the bottom of the ad is so small few will notice it and even fewer read it. I couldn’t read it fast enough to get it all, but it said something to the effect that the Food and Drug Administration could not verify the ad’s claims for better memory.
So I turned to the Internet, not infallible but with enough entries to give a pretty fair evaluation of items. Lots of entries about Prevagen, many from the maker. But there were many pro and con, with many claiming the FDA had sold out to Big Pharm. I’ll leave those charges to be dealt with by Congress.
Here’s what was on the net: “A supplement called Prevagen, which has helped propel its manufacturer, Quincy Bioscience, into the ranks of fastest-growing companies in the U.S., shows evidence of serious side-effects and should be marketed and regulated as a drug,” says the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“Anyone taking Prevagen should check with their doctor in light of the FDA’s disclosures about this so-called ‘brain vitamin.’”
In a warning letter, the FDA accused the company of not reporting to the government “adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with the use of Prevagen products.”
Repeated research has shown that most supplements to diets to be ineffective, so one should be wary of them.
Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.