Columns

Vail Daily column: Mortage rules often change

February 27, 2014 — 

Within the mortgage industry, things can and do change rapidly. Changes get unveiled and unrolled from a macro level or from entities such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But changes are also rolled out from a micro level. Such changes may be more subtle, such as an overlay or addition perhaps even a tweak or removal to loan program guideline, made from specific lenders or banks. Macro or micro changes may help or hurt particular borrowers depending on their nature. Either way, for mortgage loan originators to be successful and productive in the current lending and regulatory environment, it is imperative that they are up to speed and paying attention to such macro or micro changes. Let me help illustrate this point by referencing a few such changes that have been made.

Down payments being used to buy a home are the first such example. Within the past week or so, Fannie Mae has unveiled guidelines which now permit for more of a down payment to come in the form of a gift. Prior to Feb. 24, buyers using a conventional type loan (i.e. not direct government financing) had to have 5 percent of their own funds in on the transaction. Any down payments past that 5 percent could be in the form of a gift from a family member or an acceptable other interested party.

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Free health lecture in Vail Friday

February 17, 2014 — 

I once read this at a sports therapy clinic: “Great nutrition makes a good athlete great. Poor nutrition makes a great athlete good.”

This begs the question, “So what is great nutrition?” Is it more protein shakes and vitamin supplements? More eggs in your smoothie? And what other factors need to be considered for athletic performance? Raising athletes and being married to an athlete, I have asked the same questions but from a scientist’s perspective.

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Pet Talk column: Pets can keep you healthy

February 13, 2014 — 

Everyone knows that having a pet is good for your heart, but not many people know they can help your immune system and improve your sex life. Now that I have everyone’s attention, keep reading to find even more unknown gems about how pets can improve your health.

First let’s look at the most obvious benefit: your heart. Even before I was a veterinarian, studies were showing the heart health benefits of owning pets. A report by the NIH in 1980, when I was a pre-vet student, showed someone who has a heart attack and leaves the hospital alive and has a dog at home has a 97 percent chance of surviving the first year. Those who did not have a dog at home only had a 72 percent chance of surviving the first year. I think cardiologists should prescribe a dog with your other heart meds!

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Your Inner Athlete column: Reach your own gold standard

February 10, 2014 — 

I’m not sure if someone told me this analogy or if I read it somewhere. Either way, it introduces this topic perfectly.

The difference between involvement and commitment can be explained by a bacon and egg sandwich. In a bacon and egg sandwich, the chicken is involved while the pig is committed.

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Biff America: A close call and foul language

February 6, 2014 — 

I’ve found that while good things often require time and patience to occur, bad stuff seems to happen in a heart-beat ... I call them Oh-S**t moments.

You’ll be driving down a highway that you assume is dry. But what you thought was black-top is really black-ice and in an instant you’re doing 360s at 55 miles an hour. When that happens the first words that pass your (or at least my) lips are often “Oh s**t.”

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Biff America: The subjectivity of cruelty and coolness

January 30, 2014 — 

“He’s my dad’s coolest friend ... He’s on TV.”

That rousing endorsement came from Morgan, my pal Danny’s 5-year-old daughter. That was 10 years ago. I’m guessing Morgan doesn’t feel that way about me now. What is “cool” to a 5 year old often doesn’t resonate when that 5 year old turns 15.

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Biff America: Rediscovering the Love Shack

January 22, 2014 — 

Sara Little Bird had her way with me in the “Love Shack” in the winter of 1974.

I was 20 years old, and she was an older woman of 30-something.

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Achieve peak results in your Vail sport

January 20, 2014 — 

We have all heard that the best way to get results is to ignore them. In order to perform your best, you must pay attention to technique, tactics and effort. When you can do this, the results will come.

As much as I agree with the theory behind this strategy, as a consultant to many individual athletes and teams, and with my experience as an athlete, coach and doctor of sport psychology, I know it is extremely difficult to completely tune out all the thoughts regarding the scoreboard.

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Girl Talk column: Making resolutions that will stick

January 17, 2014 — 

We are firmly rooted in the new year. We have started our new beginning and taken our opportunity to do things differently. How are you faring? Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves at the end of every year to create these things that we will do differently in the year to come? The New Year’s resolution ...

Some stats about New Year’s Resolutions from statisticbrain.com:

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Biff America: Don’t hate on me because I’m hot

January 17, 2014 — 

You know you have lived in the mountains for a while when it is 20 degrees outside yet you still debate whether you need your heavy jacket for a bicycle ride into town. On that day, I decided to err on the side of caution and wear my warmest coat. Thirty minutes later I was regretting it. By the time I was halfway through my errands, I was sweating like the cast of Duck Dynasty at a gay pride parade. I opened the vents on my helmet and pulled the zipper down to my navel.

My last stop was Main Street to exchange some jeans — a Christmas present from my mate — cut in that new school fashion of having back pockets behind your knees and designed to show about 4 inches of butt crack. In my wife’s defense, she didn’t know those trousers were intended for snowboarders and plumbers. Christmas morning she was much chagrined as I modeled the pants for her. As an added bonus I had placed one of her gifts in the back canyon, just above the low waistline. Kind of like a new-school version of Santa’s sack.

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Director’s Chair: When is an opening act not an opening act?

January 17, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows at the Vilar Performing Arts Center.

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Vail Daily health column: Look to a tree for muscle function lessons

January 13, 2014 — 

The human body is similar to a tree. A tree has roots, which hold it firmly in the ground. The other job of the roots is to hold up the tree trunk. Our body’s roots are the large muscles in the hips. These muscles hold up our trunk, which is the spine. A tree has branches that grow off of the trunk. Our “branches” are our arms and legs.

If a tree does not have a solid root base, this makes the tree susceptible to increased sway in the wind. The top of the tree will sway more than the middle or the bottom of the tree. If our hip muscles, our roots, are weak, then our spine, the trunk of our tree, could be unstable. The spine supports our head. If the spine is unstable, this could cause “excessive sway” or instability of the head on the neck. The relevance of this information can best be demonstrated with a patient example.

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Five reasons to do yoga this year

January 13, 2014 — 

A new student in my class recently asked me how yoga has changed my life. The question caught me off guard, not because I didn’t know the answer, but because I wasn’t sure how to convey the magnitude of positive changes I’ve experienced and enacted in my life as a result of my yoga practice.

How could I convey that yoga has transformed my physical and mental landscape from tight and fearful to open and strong without sounding like a crazy person? Can I tell her that it has saved my life twice — first from high school bullies and later from a tired life in an office — without sounding a tad melodramatic? Should I just tell her I can now touch my toes and it helped me heal fully from a bad shoulder separation, or should I go deeper and explain that it gave me the tools to stay in perspective during a miserable divorce?

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Women’s Health column: Trouble with urinary incontinence?

January 13, 2014 — 

As I stated in previous columns, studies show that 80 percent of us gals have trouble with incontinence at some point in our lives. However, just because it is common, does not mean it’s normal. Let’s continue the conversation.

So you’ve been doing your kegels, keeping track of your intake and output, making sure you’re not going “just in case” and you’re still leaking. (Hey, if this stuff was easy, I wouldn’t have a job!)

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Learn about links between wheat consumption and health problems in Avon

January 6, 2014 — 

While the subject is not new, there still remains great confusion surrounding the topics of wheat, gluten, Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and gluten sensitivity. While many still consider wheat and gluten to be one and the same, it is important to identify that they are extremely different and should be treated as such. Considering the differences helps one to understand the relation to other diseases and conditions that have recently come to light.

Earlier this year, two physicians published books focusing on the association between wheat and gluten and other health conditions and diseases beyond the usual digestive disorders most often associated.

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High Altitude Society: Broadway Series makes its debut at Vilar Center

January 6, 2014 — 

The Broadway Series at the Vilar Performing Arts Center started off with a hit on Dec. 30 with Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway.” The near sold-out show featured Berg and five Broadway artists performing some of Broadway’s finest pieces from classic shows such as “Les Miserables” and “Evita.” The series continues at the Vilar this season with “Man of La Mancha,” “Mamma Mia,” “Tao,” “The Ten Tenors” and “Midtown Men.”

Many of the shows at the Vilar Performing Arts Center would not be possible without the generosity of the underwriters and sponsors. Underwriters David and Elizabeth Ginsberg were on hand at the May Gallery to explain their involvement in bringing the series to the VPAC’s stage.

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Relationship column: Choosing a mate in the second half of life

January 6, 2014 — 

Editor’s note: Neil Rosenthal is out of town. This is a reprint of one of his previously published columns. This is the first of a two-part series.

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Biff America column: Seeking a second opinion

January 2, 2014 — 

“There’s gotta be another way.”

That declaration was made by my buddy Danny Balls when his doctor told him he had to stop smoking and cut back on his whiskey and beef consumption. Dan has been suffering from shortness of breath and weight gain, which has caused his knees and back to ache.

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Pet Talk: No joke: Don’t give pot to pets

January 2, 2014 — 

There’s a buzz around town now that Colorado is legalizing marijuana. How is it going to affect Fido and little Ms. Kitty? Let me give you a word of advice: stash your stash, guard your ganja and hide your hemp. Store it high and out of reach. This is not a joke.

I am going to break it down into the good, the bad and the ugly, and it is not all bad or ugly. There may be indications for medical marijuana use in pets. Disclaimer: this does not mean “party on with your pets, Garth.”

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Ask A Sports Med Doc: Shoulder separation injuries

December 30, 2013 — 

Question: What is a separated shoulder and does it require surgery?

Answer: An acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury is often called a separated shoulder. This is somewhat of a misnomer as the ball and socket of the shoulder joint are not injured. Rather, there is disruption of the AC joint where the collar bone (or clavicle) and the highest point of the shoulder blade (the acromion) meet. In AC joint injuries, the ligaments that hold these two bones aligned are torn to varying degrees.

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Vail Daily column: The ‘tooth’ about good oral hygiene

December 25, 2013 — 

“Eighty five percent of pets have periodontal disease by the age of 3.” That is a staggering statistic, and yet dental disease is often the most overlooked and ignored aspect of our pets health. And for obvious reasons, pets can’t brush their own teeth and few of us as owners are committed enough to brush their teeth for them. It is important however to understand the health consequences of poor dental hygiene and why preventive dental care is recommended so strongly by your veterinarian.

Periodontal health refers to the health of the tissues around “perio” the tooth “dontal.” The tooth is made up of the crown, which is the portion we can see above the gumline and the root which is below the gumline. The root is held in place in the socket by a periodontal ligament. Plaque develops when bacteria and saliva cover the teeth, this is the stage most of us brush away daily to prevent further damage. When the plaque is not cleared from the surface of the tooth it will harden into tartar. That’s the stuff the hygienist scrapes away during your visit to the dentist. We all know that this can be uncomfortable — now imagine asking a dog or cat to sit still, open their mouths and let the veterinarian scrape literally years of tartar from between the teeth and under the gumline, not likely right? That’s why dental cleanings on animals are so involved.

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Relationship column: He’s just not into you

December 24, 2013 — 

Dear Neil: My husband left me four weeks ago. We have been married for two years, together for four and have two children, ages 4 and 2. I was pregnant when we met and am now 27. (He is 24.) We have been fighting a lot, and he is often angry at me. Frequently he rages at me, and he’s hit me several times.

But I’m not ready to give up on him, and I forgive him. I was sexually and physically abused as a child, and I consider him my best friend. So recently I gave him a gift: a picture of us when we first married (with the wedding vows written around it) and an engraved bracelet. He threw them in my face. I asked if he still loved me, and he said no. But I love him, and I don’t know what to do.

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Director’s Chair column: A different Burt from the one you know

December 24, 2013 — 

Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows that are not to be missed at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

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Biff America column: Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful

December 20, 2013 — 

My mate and I had every reason not to like Mitchell, and we were adamant not to let the fact we never met him stand in our way. He had three strikes against him. First of all, he was dating Chelsea, who might be the sweetest, most kindest gal in the world (my mate excluded). Secondly, he was a male model, and worst of all, he was a male model.

Chelsea was on the rebound, having kicked her last boyfriend to the curb because he was a jerk. Before the last boyfriend there were a few others who weren’t jerks, but were boring, conceited and one played the pan flute. (I’m not kidding.)

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Women’s health column: Tips to retrain your bladder

December 9, 2013 — 

So we ended last month’s column talking about getting control over your bladder and improving its ability to hold larger (normal!) amounts of urine.

As we continue to discuss disciplining your bladder, keep the following tips in mind:

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Biff America column: Truth, hope and a prayer

December 4, 2013 — 

I looked my buddy Paul straight in the eye and lied to him.

Yes, I hoped my assertion would come to pass, but I said it with the conviction of one who had no doubt. We both walked away feeling better, though I think both of us knew I might be full of it.

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Living with Vitality column: Avoid workout cruise control

December 2, 2013 — 

The aging athlete has long struggled to find the miracle workout routine, and eventually has gotten stuck. You stay strong, always making time for exercise, but before you know it, autopilot has taken over and you’re stuck in an endless routine with no results. Whether it’s a roadblock in athletic performance, a deadlock fight with body weight or just boredom, the routine you’re working hard to maintain is exactly what’s keeping you from attaining goals.

As the famous saying from Albert Einstein goes, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Thousands of us do the exact same training plan we have been doing for years. When you do the same exercises every day, you’re more likely to fall off the wagon before lifestyle-changing results can be achieved. Why? Because the human body is an amazing machine built to withstand force and act upon it. Over time, the body adapts, becomes efficient and ultimately hinders your success. To turn off the cruise control in your routine, look into individualized training zones that allow you to shape your training and use correct periodization in the weight room, and let your body recover from physiologic stress.

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Ask a Sports Medicine Doc column: Water skiing injury likely a hamstring injury

December 2, 2013 — 

Question: I was recently water skiing in Lake Powell when I took a bad fall and felt a tear in my buttock. I had immediate pain and then difficulty walking. What do you think I did?

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Biff America column: We were there in different places

November 29, 2013 — 

Mrs. Bieschel came running into the fourth grade classroom like a crazy lady. She had black circles under her eyes and brown lines running down her cheeks. Now of course later in life I discovered that this was caused by mascara and face foundation being streaked by tears. But at the time, and with the mind of a 10 year old, I searched for an explanation.

Just a few weeks earlier, Johnny Ryan had a similar looking black eye when Jimmy Spada punched him in the face at recess. My first thought was that my grammar school principal had stepped into a three punch combination. If her appearance wasn’t odd enough, Mrs. Bieschell did something I had never seen an educator do, she grabbed our teacher, Miss Casey, and hugged her. They clutched each other and rocked gently.

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Your Inner Athlete column: Mental strategies to bounce back quickly from injury

November 25, 2013 — 

Lindsey Vonn’s latest injury reminds us that no matter how great our physical strength and capability is, the risk of getting hurt will always be inherent in sport.

For Vonn, and anyone suffering from the disappointment of an injury and striving to have a speedy recovery, a combination of physical rehabilitation and mental toughness is key to bouncing back with fast and efficient results.

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