Sports Illustrated magazine for a while ran a regular feature called "Sport – Not a Sport" in which writers debated whether certain activities, such as cheerleading, ice dancing or synchronized swimming were really sports.
While those examples are certainly debatable, at least they all involve some level of physical proficiency and effort.
But there's one activity that is televised, on ESPN2 no less, every Fourth of July that is most emphatically NOT a sport – the disgusting spectacle called the hot dog eating contest.
Founding Father Benjamin Franklin, who wrote this chiasmus, "Eat to live, don't live to eat" in "Poor Richard's Almanack" (1732-1758) would probably agree with Julia Swan's sentiments on what she calls "the disgusting spectacle" of hot dog eating contests.
I, however, owing to my heritage, (Yes, I do blame my Italian grandparents, great-grandparents and all the Middle Paleolithic relatives from the Italian Peninsula for my being just a "bit" overweight) don't have such a caustic view of "overeating" as a sport.
I was trying on clothes at a local department store recently when I heard a male voice.
Putting my own clothing back on, I opened the stall door to find a young couple discussing clothing the woman was trying on. They were not just near the dressing room. They were well inside it.
"This is a woman's dressing room," I said. "You need to leave."
The man didn't argue but his girlfriend got angry and, when I refused to back down, she called me "crazy" and stormed out saying, "I guess I'll have to go change in the men's room."
What qualities should Allentown's next police chief possess?
That interesting question recently was put to city residents by Mayor Ed Pawlowski, who will choose a new top cop in the fall.
My husband and I attended the mayor's information-gathering meeting and were disappointed with the relatively sparse turnout.
The attitude of folks who didn't plan to attend seemed to be, as one neighbor put it, "It makes no difference who's in charge. Nothing will change."
Summer is the season of Lions.
Let me explain.
My father was a dedicated member of the Lower Lehigh Lions and summer, in my memory at least, was the season when the Lions' calendar got in full swing. Bookended by flea market and garage sales in May and September, the summer calendar included my dad's shifts at breakfasts at Macungie Memorial Park and stints at Wheels of Time and Das Awkscht Fescht.
Our home phone number was among those listed to "make reservations or for more information" for various events.
The terrorists seem to be winning the war against the American way of life, one catastrophe at a time.
Following the horrible 9-11 attacks, we cued up in airport security lines, having our luggage scanned, packing lotions and shampoos in Ziploc bags and leaving our pocket knives at home.
When a self-proclaimed al-Qaida operative fashioned a bomb in a shoe and tried to ignite it on a flight, we began removing our shoes for inspection in those airport lines. (I was relieved when, after the thwarted attempt by the "underwear bomber," we were allowed to keep our skivvies on.)
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton, first Baron Acton (1834–1902), written in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton in 1887.
Author George Orwell may only have been off by a mere 29 years in titling his book "1984." Recent revelations show the leaders of this once Democratic Republic have crossed the line pushing this country toward dystopia.
Usually, my columns have to do with raising children. This topic strikes home quite easily with me from both a personal and a professional perspective.
I spend my days turning research into practical information for everyday family life and my evenings in the laboratory of my own home. More often than not, the family venue supports every last bit of the research findings ... for better or worse.
This month I am going to travel to the opposite end of the spectrum and address an issue facing the older population.
A few weeks ago, I ran into a retired couple I had not seen for at least two years.
Residents of Ohio, they try to visit the Lehigh Valley annually for the Bach music festival in Bethlehem.
The husband has roots here, so when he and his wife are in the area they tend relatives' graves and place flowering plants at each family member's tombstone.
As we chatted, they mentioned an eagerly-anticipated upcoming monthlong journey to Norway and Germany, homelands of their ancestors.