Of Fame and Fortune

It's not what you know.

When I was a kid, one of the currencies of being popular in school seemed to always involve fame.

Connections with famous people--celebrities, musicians, professional athletes, actors--earned you cool points. It mattered.

The world, of course, was smaller then. I'm old enough to say that my student years certainly predated social media and smart phones. I was in high school before I surfed the 'net. Occasionally somebody might show up with a picture (an actual, printed photograph) taken from when they met a basketball player at Duke, maybe even somebody who played for the Hornets.

But back then the streams of fame flowed far away. North Carolina might as well have been Egypt. NASCAR hadn't struck it big. New York and Los Angeles ruled. Sorry, everyone else.


Another Day in the Books

I had one of those days today when I inadvertently felt really, really old. As in, grown-up old.

Maybe it was the regularity with which I went to the dentist for a cleaning. By now, I know my dental hygienist by name. She knows that I have a terrible gag reflex and always has a little Q-tip with numbing gel on it for when she flosses the very back molars. We chat before the whole thing begins--I ask about her kids, we talk about the weather. Afterward, the dentist comes in, we joke, and then I make another appointment for August. That'll be here before you know it.

Then to work. Time to deal with the inbox full of email that I left behind over the weekend.

At lunch, my pal Gray told me about a bicycling friend he has in Charlotte who's a wine importer. The Wall Street Journal just profiled him with a lovely write-up and even lovelier photos of remote Spanish regions where he picks some of his wines.

We drove down to Cornelius at noon to a wine shop that carried several of his imports. Doug, my other office next-door-neighbor, came with us. Solomon trumps taste and experience and story--but not price. There were plenty of affordable bottles. I picked up a few, eyeing one in particular to crack open later--old vines, limestone soil, fruity and peppery.


What Happened When My Wife Blogged About Her Zero-Carb Life

Turns out diet talk is hugely popular--and controversial.

My wife, Kelly, has a pretty amazing story. A little more than ten years ago, she was overweight and miserable. When she went for an annual check-up with her doctor, he delivered sobering news: she needed to lose 100 pounds. Otherwise, she'd risk a lifetime of poor health. He had a simple but difficult suggestion: eating a very low-carbohydrate diet.

Sugars, which are the building blocks of most carbohydrates, are extraordinarily addictive. Science shows that eating sugar lights up the same neurons in your brain that blink on when you snort cocaine. If you've ever seen a kid wolf down a bowl of Sugar Smacks, this isn't news to you.

Breaking addiction is extraordinarily difficult, and that's the path my wife had to walk when it came to eating sugar. And, by God, she did it.