Got Neck Pain? Blame Your Smartphone

Pity our poor necks, constantly bending forward for long periods as we read, text and play games on our smartphones, e-readers, iPads and other tech toys. The result of all this continual downward gazing is a growing number of people complaining about neck and back pain – or “text neck,” as the condition was dubbed by a Florida chiropractor. Slouching in a chair or on the couch reading your iPad – call it “iSlouch” – is causing similar aches and …

Eggers’ New Novel Is the Story of Our Times

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work for Google, Facebook or even AOL (as I once did), you’ve got to read Dave Eggers’ new novel, The Circle. The 24-year old protagonist, Mae Holland, thinks she’s reached Nirvana – and who wouldn’t? The Circle, the Internet company where she’s just landed a job, lavishes cool perks on employees: brownies in the fridge,  clean, well-lit workstations, and a company store that stocks pharmaceutical-grade aloe. It takes a few …

Ready-Made Readers Boost Vision and Looks

Squinting at menus? Can’t make out the shade name on your lipstick? Welcome to the presbyopia club. Presbyopia is an age-related vision problem caused by the thickening and loss of flexibility in the lens of your eye that’s common among women 50+. It’s why finding the right distance to hold the morning paper can be difficult. And while prescription eyeglasses, of course, correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, ready-made readers that come in a range of magnifications are ideal to whip …

‘Thursdays in the Park’: Don’t Call It ‘Gran Lit’

Novelist Hilary Boyd is a grandmother. But don’t let her catch you uttering the term “gran lit.” That’s the genre name that U.K. Observer columnist Robert McCrumb coined on reading Boyd’s first published novel, Thursdays in the Park, in which middle-aged wife Jeanie begins an extra-marital flirtation at- surprise! – the local park’s playground. As far as I can tell, “gran lit” designates literature by older women. It thus manages to commit a double whammy – ageism and sexism – …

The Generation Gap: Sometimes a Great Notion!

Three years ago, magazine writer Katie Hafner’s family was in turmoil. Her mother was 77 and at loose ends, cast adrift by her husband’s incipient dementia (he had moved back in with his family of origin). Her daughter, Zoe, was an impressionable 16 and still reeling from the 2009 death of her father (Hafner’s husband, Matt). And as a 51-year-old widow, Hafner herself was eager to resolve some long-standing conflicts with her mother: abandonment and estrangement, for starters. Wouldn’t housing …

The 4th of July – in June!

Think you’re a firecracker on American history? Bet you didn’t know that… …George Washington stood nearly 6 foot 3. …John Adams was all about the girth of a nation; the man weighed in at 200 pounds. …Thomas Jefferson was a shy and aloof young man, “known to cross his arms over his chest” during the deliberations that led to the Declaration of Independence. Don’t feel bad – I didn’t know any of that either. At least not until I read …