Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Life 360: The Fitness Expert on Losing the Last 5 Pounds & Mixing Up the Workout

Q: I am having trouble losing the last five pounds of my total weight loss goal. Do you have any tips that can help?

Lindsay Messina, Full Circle Six: Yes. Step out of your comfort zone and kick it up a notch! First, calculate how many calories you burn within the usual time frame of your cardio session. The next day, try to burn the same amount of calories, only this time, deduct five minutes off your usual time. This will both increase your strength and help you move past your fat-burning zone. Circuit training and alternating cardio and weights two to three times a week can also help keep your heart rate up and burn efficient amounts of calories. Lastly, watch your carbohydrates; nutrition is more than half the battle. To keep on top of the portions you're eating, let your hands be your guide. Try to keep your portions to a size that can fit in your palm, which is about half a cup.

Q: I am bored with going to the gym. What can I do to mix up my workout?
Lindsay Messina, Full Circle Six: We can all use some fresh inspiration every now and then. Try ballroom dancing, sign up for a fitness boot camp or take yoga classes. If you've been stuck indoors, it's time to go outside and bike ride, hike or power walk up a hill. Find a football field with bleachers and run or power walk up and down for several repetitions. If you work out alone, consider adding a partner. You can also spice things up at your gym by taking a class you haven't tried before, such as kickboxing, spinning or one that incorporates hip-hop moves. The less bored you are, the more enjoyable the workout will be and the faster you'll see results. Remember: Muscle has memory, so always try to surprise your body with different movements and exercises and you'll never fall into a fitness rut.

Mayor: 'Hundreds' of Suspected Swine Flu Cases

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says two people are hospitalized with suspected swine flu. City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden also said Tuesday that 'many hundreds' of schoolchildren are sick with suspected cases of swine flu. (April 28)

Specter: Move to Dem. Party 'painful Decision' Youtube

Longtime Republican Sen. Arlen Specter says he is switching to the Democratic party, a move he calls a 'painful decision.' (April 28)

Salvation - Movie Preview

Terminator Salvation is an upcoming science fiction post-apocalyptic war film and fourth in the Terminator franchise.

Directed by McG, the fourth Terminator movie stars Christian Bale as John Connor and Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright, a cyborg who believes he is human. It also introduces a young version of the first film’s hero, Kyle Reese, played by Anton Yelchin, and depicts the origins of the T-800 Model 101 Terminator, played by Roland Kickinger. The film, set in 2018, focuses on the war between humanity and Skynet. It abandons the format of previous entries in the series, which only revolved around Terminators and various other characters traveling through time to either kill or protect John Connor before the events of Judgment Day unfold.

It’s interesting to note that during filming Terminator Salvation, Christian Bale broke his hand and Sam Worthington hurt his back. Special effects technician Mike Menardis almost lost his leg filming an explosion. The sequence required a manhole being blown into the air, which hit Menardis and partially severed his leg. McG noted it was testament to the gritty style of the film. “I say with respect, I didn’t want that Star Wars experience of everything’s a blue screen, tennis balls, and go for it. I had Stan Winston build all the machines. We built all the sets, the explosive power, the explosive power so you feel that wind and that percussion and that heat blowing your eyebrows off. And with that you get a couple bumps and bruises on the way, but you get it in an integrity and a realism that hopefully echoes Apocalypse Now. You couldn’t say, ‘Let’s just shoot Apocalypse Now in Burbank, I think it’s going to feel just as good.’”

Terminator Salvation is set to premiere on May 21, 2009.

Swine Flu Spreads- 100 Dead... 1,600 Infected ...Update: Obama- Swine flu not a reason for 'alarm'

Pink markers are suspect
Purple markers are confirmed
Deaths lack a dot in marker

Drudge Report has the latest on the swine flu outbreak.
The US is still not screening passengers coming from Mexico.

The AP reported that: More than 100 people in Mexico are believed to have died from the new flu and more than 1,600 sickened, prompting widespread school closures and other measures... In the United States, at least 11 cases of swine flu have been confirmed. Canada's chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones said six cases had been confirmed there, and all had links to people who had traveled to Mexico.

Pregame: Rangers at Caps (Game 7)

The Rangers are in Washington for Game 7 of their first round playoff series with the Capitals. The puck drops at 7 p.m., and the game can be seen locally on MSG.

Do you know the last time the Rangers played a Game 7?

That was almost 15 years ago, and I still get chills. How can you not get pumped after watching that video.

And that team had a brilliant season. They walked easily through the first two rounds of the playoffs, in fact. But nothing came easy for them after that. The conference finals went to seven games, capped off with one of the most epic games in Stanley Cup playoff history.

And then the finals went seven games. The finals against a team that most didn’t even think would be there.

There are lessons to be learned. Expect the unexpected when it comes to the Stanley Cup playoffs. Nothing comes easy. Everyone has a shot. On any given night, any team can turn in the performance of a lifetime.

Before this series even started, no one was picking the Rangers. Many thought the Caps would just overpower the Rangers and sweep them away. That has been true in some games, including the last two, but it hasn’t always been the case. Remember, the Rangers had a 2-0 lead. They made the Caps work to even get to a Game 7.

Have the Caps figured out Lundqvist? I think they’ve figured out the game plan more than Lundqvist. Get the first goal because if the Rangers do, they’ll protect the lead with their lives. That’s how the Rangers have won in this series. The Rangers have got to get back to their roots and get that first goal, play a tight defense and forecheck hard. And, of course, they need Lundqvist to play like he did in Game 4.

There’s obviously a lot of other things going on. There’s Dubinsky’s bitten hand. There’s the loss of Betts, for which Brasheer was suspended. There’s the security issues in Washington.

But above it all, the season rides on one game. It all comes down to tonight. Win or go home. Everyone is counting this team out. And this team, for all its faults, plays its best when everyone counts them out.

Want to read some news from behind enemy lines? Check out the Washington Post’s Caps blog and our friends at On Frozen Blog.

Tonight’s anticipated line-up
Blair Betts has a broken orbital bone. That means he’s probably done for a lot longer than just tonight. That’s a major blow for the top penalty killing unit in the NHL.

Donald Brasheer was suspended for his actions.

Mexico City X-Men: Wolverine premiere postponed due to Swine flu

Wolverine-x-men-origins-gambit-movie-2009-marvel Even Wolverine is afraid of the swine flu outbreak.

Twentieth Century Fox has postponed the Mexico City premiere Wednesday of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” The city has been turned into a ghost town thanks to the virus, which has killed more than 100 people.

U.S. citizens are expected to be advised not to travel to Mexico unless absolutely necessary, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We were not only concerned about Hugh’s [Jackman's] welfare – and we would never send anyone into harm’s way – but we also have an enormous office filled with people we care about,” says a Fox rep in People. “There was no point in proceeding under the current conditions.”

The Mexico government has asked for residents to stay home, shutting down schools, and Variety reports that the nation’s top movie-theater chains have shut down dozens of cinemas. (via)

The flu strain mutates and now this mutant movie can’t be shown…good game.

PA Sen. Arlen Specter (R) Switches To Democratic Party

The news makes sense but was shocking all the same.

Sen. Arlen Specter, a liberal Republican from Pennsylvania facing a conservative primary challenge in 2010 that many think he will lose, today announced in a statement he is switching to the Democratic Party.

Sen. Arlen Specter talks to the media after leaving a Berks County GOP meeting in Wyomissing, Pa., on Wednesday, April 15,2009. AP Photo/Reading Eagle, Ryan McFadden

Here is an excerpt from his statement:

I have decided to run for re-election in 2010 in the Democratic primary. I am ready, willing and anxious to take on all comers and have my candidacy for re-election determined in a general election.

I deeply regret that I will be disappointing many friends and supporters. I can understand their disappointment. I am also disappointed that so many in the Party I have worked for for more than four decades do not want me to be their candidate. It is very painful on both sides. I thank specially Senators McConnell and Cornyn for their forbearance.

I am not making this decision because there are no important and interesting opportunities outside the Senate. I take on this complicated run for re-election because I am deeply concerned about the future of our country and I believe I have a significant contribution to make on many of the key issues of the day, especially medical research. NIH funding has saved or lengthened thousands of lives, including mine, and much more needs to be done. And my seniority is very important to continue to bring important projects vital to Pennsylvania's economy.

I am taking this action now because there are fewer than thirteen months to the 2010 Pennsylvania Primary and there is much to be done in preparation for that election. Upon request, I will return campaign contributions contributed during this cycle.

While each member of the Senate caucuses with his Party, what each of us hopes to accomplish is distinct from his party affiliation. The American people do not care which Party solves the problems confronting our nation. And no Senator, no matter how loyal he is to his Party, should or would put party loyalty above his duty to the state and nation.

My change in party affiliation does not mean that I will be a party-line voter any more for the Democrats that I have been for the Republicans. Unlike Senator Jeffords' switch which changed party control, I will not be an automatic 60th vote for cloture. For example, my position on Employees Free Choice (Card Check) will not change.

Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes Party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America.

Assuming he votes to organize with the Democrats -- and assuming that Al Franken (D) will become the next senator from Minnesota -- it will give Democrats the 60 votes needed for a filibuster-proof majority.

Specter, appearing on NPR's Talk of the Nation yesterday, had this to say in light of the rumors:

Well, it is true that the polls are bleak. When I voted for the stimulus package, one of just three, and was in position along with Sen. Snowe and Sen. Collins, to provide the decisive votes, there was a very strong adverse reaction. There was a resolution filed in state committee to censure me. The state chairman and the national chairman said they didn't know if they could support me. My office was picketed. And it's a tough proposition. I've overcome challenges before, and I'm working on a game plan.

We now know what that game plan turned out to be.

In his early political career, Specter was a Democrat, but he switched to the GOP to run for mayor of Philadelphia in 1967 against incumbent Democrat James Tate. Specter then ran, and lost, in subsequent races for district attorney, senator and governor (in GOP primaries) before winning the Senate seat in 1980

Lawmakers advancing much of Obama's budget agenda

A budget pact reached on Capitol Hill would give an endorsement to President Barack Obama's agenda by his 100th day in office while putting off a series of difficult decisions on health care, global warming and taxes.

House-Senate negotiators on Monday night announced the agreement on a $3.5 trillion budget outline for 2010, with votes expected in the full House and Senate by Wednesday.

The budget plan, although nonbinding, would give Democrats a stronger hand in advancing Obama's health care initiative this fall by allowing it to go forward without threat of GOP stalling tactics in the Senate.

But the budget pact also predicts dispiriting deficits that never get below $500 billion, even after the economy recovers and billions of dollars in financial rescue money are largely repaid.

Obama's Democratic allies are endorsing his top priority of expanding health care coverage for the uninsured and boosting funding for education and clean energy programs, but they're allowing his signature tax cut for most workers to expire after next year.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., announced the agreement and key details in a statement.

Most importantly, the congressional budget pact would prevent Senate Republicans from delaying or blocking Obama's plan to vastly expand government-subsidized health care when it advances this fall.

The $3.5 trillion plan for the budget year starting Oct. 1 embraces several of Obama's key goals besides a health care overhaul, including funds for domestic programs and clean energy, and a tax increase for individuals making more than $200,000 a year or couples making more than $250,000.

But the plan calls for extending most of the rest of former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for middle-class workers, investors and families with children.

Democrats would allow Obama's $400 tax cut for most workers, $800 for couples, to expire at the end of next year. The temporary tax cut was part of the economic stimulus plan enacted in February, and Obama has proposed to make it permanent by using revenues from his global warming initiative to defray the cost.

Even after squeezing the defense and war budgets to levels that are probably unrealistic, the plan would cause a deficit of $523 billion in five years.

"I think this is a good budget," Conrad said. But, he added, "Much more will have to be done to get us on a more sustainable course," including slowing the growth of benefit programs like Medicare and overhauling the tax code.

Under Capitol Hill's arcane rules, the annual congressional budget produces an outline for follow-up tax and spending legislation. The budget pact agreed to on Monday would allow Obama's health program to pass the Senate by a simple majority instead of the 60 votes that are needed for many other bills.

Obama and his Democratic allies say they still want support from Republicans for health care legislation but need the option of expedited action in case the debate becomes overly partisan.

Fiancee loves Craigslist suspect, but wedding off?

The fiancee of a medical student accused of killing a masseuse he met through Craigslist said Monday she still loves him, but the band hired to perform at their scheduled August wedding said it's been told it won't be needed.

Megan McAllister said she still supports suspect Philip Markoff but will be cooperating with prosecutors, who say he killed one woman and robbed another.

"It is my intent to fully cooperate with my fiance's attorney as well as the Suffolk County District Attorney's office as they both continue their investigations," she said in a statement. "I can only tell them what I know and what is the truth."

McAllister issued the statement through Ocean Township, N.J., attorney Robert A. Honecker Jr., who said McAllister would not speak directly to the media.

McAllister, who described Markoff as a "loving and caring person," said she expected to talk to investigators within the next several days and asked that her fiance's fate not be determined by the media and public opinion. She did not make reference to the wedding, and it was unclear whether cancellation of the band means the wedding is delayed or off.

The Bstreetband, a Bruce Springsteen tribute band, had been scheduled to play at the New Jersey oceanside wedding Aug 14. But now, the band is available for another gig on that date, according to its Web site.

"Due to circumstances beyond our control, this date is now available to book," says a blurb on its performance schedule.

William Forte, the keyboardist and owner of the Bstreetband, said a relative of McAllister called him and said "that as of right now, there is no way they will be able to have the Aug. 14 wedding date."

Forte said he planned to return the couple's $500 deposit.

"Under the circumstances, I would never hold them to the contract," Forte said.

Markoff was a second-year medical student at Boston University when he was arrested last week during a traffic stop as he drove to Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. He is charged with murdering Julissa Brisman, a New York City resident, on April 14 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place hotel.

He also is charged in a robbery at a nearby hotel of another masseuse police say he met through the Craigslist classified ads Web site.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Attorney John Salsberg, appointed to represent Markoff last week, has said Markoff is innocent of the charges.

Authorities continue to investigate Markoff to determine whether there are other possible charges.

A law enforcement official said Friday that Markoff's fingerprint was found on a wall of the Holiday Inn Express in Warwick, R.I., where a stripper from Las Vegas has said she was tied up and held at gunpoint by a man she met through the site. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The official also said Markoff sent text messages from the hotel but said he didn't have information about what he said or to whom he wrote. Markoff has not been charged in Rhode Island.

According to court papers, Markoff owes $130,000 in student loans, which is not unusual for a medical student.

He does not get money from his parents and has been unemployed for a while making him eligible for an appointed attorney paid through public funds, court documents showed.

"(Markoff) stated he did not receive financial support from his family," said an April 23 document signed by a probation officer. "(Markoff) further stated he was unemployed for a lengthy period of time and was essentially living off student loans in the amount of $130,000."

Associated Press reporters Nancy Rabinowitz in Boston and Bill Newill in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this story.

Bay's homer in 9th gives Red Sox 11th straight win

For eight innings, there were nothing but zeros stretching across the giant scoreboard at Progressive Field.

Jason Bay changed that with one swing.

Boston's outfielder — with a flair for drama — hit a three-run homer in the ninth inning off Cleveland closer Kerry Wood and the Red Sox, blanked for eight innings by Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee, extended their winning streak to 11 games with a 3-1 victory over the Indians on Monday night.

In an 0-1 hole against one of baseball's hardest throwers, Bay launched a 99 mph fastball from Wood (0-1) into the seats in left-center to give the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

"He kind of leaked a fastball back to the middle of the plate," Bay said. "That's probably a pitch he'd want back."

Bay's third hit sent the Red Sox, who got seven strong innings from knuckler Tim Wakefield, to another late-inning win in their longest win streak since a 12-game run in 2006.

Boston was back on the road following a three-game sweep at Fenway Park over the rival New York Yankees, a tense-as-always series that began with Bay hitting a tying homer with two outs in the ninth off Mariano Rivera, baseball's closer of closers.

Rivera one night. Wood another. Who's next, Jason?

"There's going to be a bounty out on me," he said with a laugh.

In his last four games, Bay has nine hits with two homers and nine RBIs.

Jonathan Paplebon gave up Mark DeRosa's RBI single in the ninth before getting his fifth save.

Wood replaced Lee, who shut out the Red Sox on five hits for eight innings, to start the ninth. He walked Dustin Pedroia leading off and then gave up a bloop single to David Ortiz, whose big swing fooled center fielder Grady Sizemore into taking a few steps back.

Wood threw a slider that Bay watched for a strike. Bay watched the next one land in the bleachers.

"It was a matter of missing my spot," Wood said. "Good hitters hit those pitches, bad hitters hit those pitches. Cliff shuts them down for 106 pitches, then I throw 12 and we're down 3-0. It's not good to waste a great performance by your ace pitcher.

"I didn't do my job. It doesn't matter how hard you throw if you miss your spot. I put it over the plate, and he whacked it."

Lee went 22-3 last season with the last loss in Boston on Sept. 23. The left-hander, though, was in award-winning form. He walked none and struck out five.

"That was the Cy Young guy from last year," Bay said. "He was around the plate and getting outs with that fastball. The radar gun says 92-93, but he's got some life on it and it plays a little bit harder than that."

The Indians have dropped six of eight.

"Obviously, we're not happy with where we are," said Lee, who has allowed two runs in his last 16 innings. "We think we are a better team than this."

Wakefield blanked the Indians on one hit — a first-inning single by Victor Martinez — over seven innings. He walked four, hit a batter and threw one wild pitch. Manager Terry Francona pulled the right-hander to start the eighth for Manny Delcarmen (1-0).

"I knew going into the game it might be a tight one," Wakefield said. "I tried to match Lee pitch for pitch."

Tigers 4, Yankees 2

At Detroit, Justin Verlander had a season-high nine strikeouts and Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run homer off CC Sabathia for the AL Central-leading Tigers, who tied a season high with their third straight win.

New York has lost a season-high four in a row, equaling the most consecutive losses it had last season.

Verlander (1-2) pitched seven-plus scoreless innings, allowing seven hits and no walks. Sabathia (1-2) gave up six hits in an eight-inning complete game.

Rangers 6, Orioles 4

At Baltimore, Michael Young homered and David Murphy broke a tie with a two-run single in the sixth to rally the Rangers.

Matt Harrison (1-2) gave up four runs in the first two innings, then retired 16 straight batters before Robert Andino hit a two-out single in the seventh. The left-hander allowed seven hits in seven innings.

Texas trailed 4-0 after the second before coming back against starter Jeremy Guthrie and Matt Albers (0-1). The Rangers took three of four from the Orioles to hand Baltimore its first home series loss.

Royals 7, Blue Jays 1

At Kansas City, Mo., Brian Bannister gave up one hit over seven innings and Jose Guillen hit two homers for the Royals.

The Blue Jays entered leading the majors in runs, batting average and slugging percentage, but Bannister limited them to Adam Lind's first-inning single. He walked six, including five of his first 14 batters.

Bannister (2-0) has allowed one run and five hits in 13 innings in winning two starts since being recalled April 22 from Triple-A Omaha. He retired 13 of the last 14 Blue Jays he faced.

Rays 7, Twins 1

At Minneapolis, Carlos Pena hit his major league-leading ninth home run and Jeff Niemann (2-2) pitched three-hit ball for 5 2-3 innings.

The AL champions are off to an identical start as last season (8-12).

Joe Crede homered for Minnesota.

The Next Flu Pandemic Millions could Die: When It Happens, Restricting Air Travel Won't Help

Restricting air travel from countries where there is a serious influenza outbreak will do little to hold back the spread of the infection, according to the findings of a study conducted at the UK Health Protection Agency and published in the journal PLoS Medicine.

Sometimes a new type of influeza virus appears that causes an illness that is more serious than is usually the case for flu. This happened, for example, in 1918, when a flu pandemic killed between 20 million and 100 million people. Recently, there have been concerns about the new type of bird (avian) flu. At present the virus responsible does not pass easily from birds to humans, and it does not seem to pass from one human to another. However, the fear is that the virus might change and that human-to-human infection could then be possible. Should all this happen, the changed virus would be a major threat to human health.

With current technology, it would take several months to produce enough vaccine against such a new virus for even a small proportion of the world's population. By that time, it would probably be too late; the virus would already have spread to most parts of the world.

Health authorities must therefore consider all the methods that might control the spread of the virus. With the increase in international travel that has taken place, the virus could spread more quickly than in previous pandemics. Restrictions on international travel might be considered necessary, particularly travel by air. However, it is important to estimate how useful restrictions on air travel might be in controlling the spread of a flu virus. Travel restrictions are usually unpopular and could themselves be harmful. If they are not effective, resources could be wasted on enforcing them.

Researchers of the Centre for Infections, Health Protection Agency, UK used the techniques of mathematical modelling. In other words, complex calculations were done using information that is already available about how flu viruses spread, particularly information recorded during a worldwide flu outbreak in 1968-1969. Using this information, virtual experiments were carried out by simulating worldwide outbreaks on a computer. The researchers looked at how the virus might spread from one city to another and how travel restrictions might reduce the rate of spread. Their calculations allowed for such factors as the time of the year, the number of air passengers who might travel between the cities, and the fact that some people are more resistant to infection than others.

From the use of their mathematical model, the researchers concluded that restrictions on air travel would achieve very little. This is probably because, compared with some other viruses, the flu virus is transmitted from one person to another very quickly and affects many people. Once a major outbreak was under way, banning flights from affected cities would be effective at significantly delaying worldwide spread only if almost all travel between cities could be stopped almost as soon as an outbreak was detected in each city. It would be more effective to take other measures that would control the spread of the virus locally. These measures could include use of vaccines and antiviral drugs if they were available and effective against the virus.