Who knows why some of us feel intellectually inferior? I am certainly not going to blame my mother and father for this, though they would sort of smile with a sense of surprise when I did anything above the norm. Achievement was appreciated, if not expected. Dropping out of college probably left an intellectually-challenged imprint on me as well. Now, having returned after 40 gap years, I am surrounded by Ivy Leaguers and I really am the dumbest person in the room.
All this is a way of saying that I have learned to deal with human perceptions and presumptions... but now my PHONE has to be smarter than me too?
I know I am not alone in simultaneously marveling at all the things my devices can do (even though I do about 1/20th of them) and being irritated by them. Nor am I alone in bitching about how these constantly accelerating gadgets try to tell me what I am thinking before I even finish thinking it. This week, for example, I was texting with my son and attempting to show off my NBA savvy. So I was taken aback when he counter-texted a giant question mark asking who Camelot was. I had not noticed that while I was musing about Carmelo (Anthony), my SMARTER-phone assumed I must mean Camelot. (Since when does King Arthur play for the Knicks?)
Lest you think this is strictly an age thing, a young friend's email about Kobe Bryant's potential career as a raper stunned me. Until he quickly wrote back that he had meant rapper, but the keyboard misunderstood. (I love when it talks dirty) Okay, it may be a little about those our age being resistant to the Tech world. We mastered Email just in time to Instant Message. Arthritis fought algorithms as we took on texting. My kids had to teach me how to Spotify, but now I use it to perfection. But none of this makes me feel as brain-cell deficient as the superiority of the auto-correcting of the Internet.
Again, I am not alone. My friend Bonnie emailed and asked if I could put her in social-network touch with a mutual acquaintance. It took me awhile to realize that the Susan Freudian she was referring to was actually Susan Friedman. Talk about a slip! And when I responded, poor Susan was transformed from a therapist's quip to a Freed Man. Speaking of the latter, when I wrote a friend about Obama's great comic delivery, I got an odd response, virtually accusing me of racism. I had to return to the original to see that my computer program had assumed I meant Obama's comic slavery.
Poor GOP Chairman Reince Priebus has been a constant source of Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart's material, who toss his Jumble-filled name back and forth. So imagine how he confounds AutoCorrect. My daughter admitted that when she tried writing something about him, (she works on Capitol Hill) the name kept coming up as "Tribe PreIndustrial." (Whoa--good stretch!) Every time she writes to her friend Lex, by the way, it comes out as "Jew." Now Lex is Jewish, but still...
Yes, I realize that AutoCorrect is just trying to be nice, to save us a little time by taking a leap of conjecture to get to our obviously-intended point faster. But honest, they AUT-TO butt out sometimes and let us reflect on what we are going to say and how we are going to say it. They may think they are saving us time, but in fact, we now spend more of it poring over everything we just wrote to make sure we didn't inadvertently insult the ones we love. By the way, if AutoCorrect is trying to save us time, why is it that whenever I try to shorten something, it comes back wrong? I received an email asking why I needed a fix, for example. Huh? As I checked the thread, I realized I had been saying I needed tix for a show. I find it usually gives us three strikes before it gives up and lets us write what we choose.
I applaud the amazing strides these tech folks constantly conjure up, but don't they have anything better to do than correct something that was perfectly fine in the first place? It's one thing to chime in periodically to suggest that if we like Sam Cooke, we'll probably like John Legend. But to tell us we probably mean Prince Rainier when we are talking about the head of the Republican party?
I may be insecure about my aging brain, but I will be damned if I am going to let a phone tell me it knows better. Maybe it should just go back to ringing.
That doesn't mean you should pour out a bag of Skittles at each meal. Try to eat foods of a variety of natural colors to gain antioxidants, said Dr. Amen.
Just because something is a fruit, doesn't mean you should chow down on it, according to Dr. Daniel Amen, author of "Use Your Brain To Change Your Age." For brain health, Dr. Amen recommends food with a low glycemic index -- which measures how quickly food increases blood sugar -- and a lot of fiber, which benefits your intestinal tract. Certain fruit like pineapple and watermelon have high glycemic indexes and should be avoided, advises Dr. Amen. Instead, incorporate fruits like blueberries, apples, oranges, cherries, kiwi, strawberries and raspberries. When it comes to fiber, consider adding coconut to your diet. <em>Correction: In a previous version of this slide, "blood pressure" was incorrectly inserted where "blood sugar" is.</em>
Don't eliminate all of the fat in your diet. Instead, focus on incorporating good fats. In fact, if your cholesterol drops too low, you may be at greater risk for depression, according to Amen <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-breakthrough-depression-solution/201106/low-cholesterol-and-its-psychological-effects" target="_hplink"> and several studies on low cholesterol</a>. So what exactly are "good fats"? Dr. Amen advises people to eat foods rich in omega-3s to promote brain health, including almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, fish, lamb, avocados and green leafy vegetables. Another added benefit of eating good fats? "Your vitamins are actually absorbed better when you eat them with a little bit of fat," said Dr. Amen.
While you generally want to avoid bad fats, if you choose to eat steak, "you want to go with grass-fed, hormone-free, free-range meats" rather than grain-fed meats, said Dr. Amen. "When you feed the animals the high-glycemic foods, they actually produce less of the good fat and more of the bad fat. So they're not as good for you." In other words, what your food eats affects your health too, according to Dr. Amen. <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdid/" target="_hplink">mdid</a></em>
Next time you're whipping up some grub, turn to your spice rack for an extra brain boost. Spices and herbs may do more for your health than you realize. According to Dr. Amen, cinnamon balances blood sugar; garlic, oregano and rosemary increase blood flow to the brain; curry acts as an anti-inflammatory; and saffron can have anti-depressant effects. <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/spence_sir/" target="_hplink">S. Diddy</a></em>
Next time you're craving a cold glass of juice with your breakfast, think again. "Juice is sugar that is unwrapped from its fiber source, and whenever you unwrap sugar from its fiber source, it can turn toxic in your body," said Dr. Amen. <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/mamchenkov/" target="_hplink">Leonid Mamchenkov</a></em>
You may be dreaming about that delicious breakfast muffin all night, but you should probably steer clear of the breakfast pastries. "There's way too much bad fat and sugar," said Dr. Amen. Instead, he recommends a protein-heavy breakfast like a few boiled eggs, nuts and an apple. While Dr. Amen suggests eating lean protein at each meal, he believes it is "especially important in the morning because it helps you focus," he said. <em>Photo courtesy of <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/15216811@N06/" target="_hplink">Nicola since 1972</a></em>
The last thing you need when you're trying to eat healthy are friends who try to coerce you to be unhealthy. "You have to deal with the food pushers in your life because they'll steal your health," said Dr. Amen. "The health of the people you spend time with will often determine your longevity." Make sure your friends understand and support your decision to eat healthier, and try to find other people who who are on the same healthy path as you.