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Figure skating is not considered extreme, but in my 40s I found that the ice is very hard | hobbies



I hit hard 40. I was in a rut. I needed to get in shape or else I would be stuck in this middle age rut forever. For too many of my peers, their obedience to gravity manifested itself as a shift in balance, from upright to hunched over, from fast to lazy. I wanted to stay upright as long as possible.

The need was not only physical. It was meant to take my mind off my weekly routine so that I wouldn’t get stuck like Nick Carraway with my thinning hair and portfolio of enthusiasm. Warming up your ego with the embers of youth is not good. I needed to bring them back to life.

I knew men who were in demand by golf, which had green spaces and technical requirements to distract thoughts from reality. You can spend the whole weekend playing golf. It was for me. I was always bored with playing ball and loved my wife too much.

It was much more interesting to become a projectile yourself. As a teenager, I skated from time to time, and I still had hockey skates. Why not? As I sharpened them, I said to myself, “Never get too old; it’s never too late.”

“Some did a pirouette so that they almost blurred. What did it look like on the inside? Adam Rippon competes at the 2018 Winter Olympics. Photographer: Dean Mutaropoulos/Getty Images

Then I appeared at the nearest ice rink and tried to avoid other skaters, recovering my icy legs. Over time, my fitness and reflexes improved until I was able to develop good speed, a homemade breeze blew the cobwebs off my 40+ years. I rolled from my old self, as far as I could, to a new me.

Soon, fast laps around the rink began to seem less interesting than what the skaters were doing. Some pirouettes almost blurred. How did it feel from the inside?

One evening I saw a young man jump so high with the blasé grace of a champion that he obscured the loudspeakers hanging from the roof. Up there, he paused long enough to raise his heels and meet outstretched hands. My jaw dropped when he finally landed, light as a kiss.

Figure skater performs a split in the air
“Help me, I wanted to fly.” Photographer: Robert Decelis/Getty Images

The figure skater was selected by Disney on Ice’s talent scout to participate in the South American tour. He spent the next 12 months choking on glitter and plastic fruit, getting paid to jump and spin in front of open-mouthed crowds in remote locations. I was twice his age and still rooted to the ice; but I was also a man, and so help me, I wanted to fly. It was then that I became an ambitious skater.

Figure skates by Andrew Herrick.
Anti-gravity boots by Andrew Herrick. Photographer: Andrew Herrick

Beginner classes were hard on my graying, balding ego. Often the only male student, I towered over children in sequined tutus, glitter on their flushed cheeks. On a wet morning, the party was affected by the indoor climate of the rink, and I found myself speeding through the swirling fog, feeling every drop of moisture splash onto my face as I dodged a flock of Tinkerbells. Girls could pretend they were fairies. It was enough for me to pretend that I was young again.

It wasn’t just magical fog and soft landings. Doing three turns and twizzles inside a crowd of kids resulted in bruises (for me, not for them). In middle school, my clumsy style overwhelmed the coaches, who ranged from haughty to adorable. Then in my first advanced session, I tried to jump back, rolled over on my side and fell hard. After limping off the skating rink and spending several days in pain, an X-ray showed that the ball joint of my right femur had been driven into the pelvic cavity, splitting it in two.

Nine months later I was back (strategically knocked out) on the ice. In the meantime, I found my anti-gravity boots: a leftover pair of top-box figure skates made of fragrant Italian leather and niobium steel blades. Skating now had a vertical dimension. Or you can try to rotate it.

Pictured: Australian figure skaters Anastasia Golubeva and Hector Giotopoulos Moore perform in the short program at the 2022 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final on December 8, 2022 in Turin, Italy.
“Perhaps because figure skating is practiced indoors in Australia, it is not generally considered an extreme sport.” Pictured: Australian figure skaters Anastasia Golubeva and Hector Giotopoulos Moore. Photographer: Marco Mantovani/Getty Images

Spinning excites and irritates. So many physical factors must be perfectly balanced for a stable balance at the tip of a single blade 15mm long and 3mm wide as the world spins at 300 rpm. It’s like a spinning ride in an amusement park, only I ride myself, creating forces so strong that it’s hard to turn a limb against the pull of artificial gravity.

This should make you dizzy, but I’ve found the trick is to stay out of focus and move with a blur. Another paradox is that I need to be both stiff and relaxed in order to spin well. But when this is achieved, the sheer delight of coming out of the long spin causes me to spread my arms in recognition of the roar of acclaim from my imaginary crowd.

headshot by Andrew Herrick
Andrew Herrick: “Now I can try a few moves in the air: waltz-jump, loop or salchow”

Perhaps because figure skating is practiced indoors in Australia, it is not generally considered an extreme sport; although I found the ice to be extremely hard and very difficult to skate. But it has three properties that have been proven to mitigate the effects of aging: it’s social, physical, and purposeful. Like tai chi on ice, it’s also great for balance and coordination. Courage, confidence, and composure are other important ingredients. And, as with many things in life, enjoyment increases with skill.

Now I can try a few moves in the air: waltz, loop, or salchow. When I do this, there is a sublime moment at the apogee of my leap when I am released from all earthly bonds. I become a weightless body and mind, there is nowhere to retreat. Jumping into space on ice at speed and spinning in the air, I trust physics and give myself into the hands of forces beyond my control.

This moment is worth all the pain and effort. As grace conquers gravity, I am serene in flight, confident that I will descend safe and sound, lightly, grinning like a boy.

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Healing begins in the lobby of Barrington Hospital, where volunteer musicians play their passion – Chicago Tribune



If you happen to walk through the front doors of Barrington’s Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and think you’re hearing Windows launch music or Universal Studios or Warner Bros. themes played on the piano, don’t hesitate. This is most likely Guido Calcagno, a registered nurse, playing tunes for patients, staff and visitors.

Calcagno is one of the volunteer musicians who play live music for patrons in the Good Shepherd lobby Monday through Saturday.

When volunteer pianist René Mullany plays 88 keys in the lobby, she usually keeps her eyes on the entrance. If she spots a child going to the hospital, she can turn on a Disney song or “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. If a veteran enters, she will play a patriotic song. Her reasoning is that hospitals can be scary and intimidating, and if people recognize a familiar song in the air, maybe that little thing will put them at ease.

“Because we’re in the front, I feel like the pianists are kind of ambassadors for creating a positive tone for Advocate Good Shepherd, and sometimes we can be the face of the hospital,” said Mullany, a Cary resident who has volunteered for her musical talent for four years old. “Let’s face it, when you’re in the hospital, the happiest thing is the kids. Otherwise, you are there to visit someone who is sick, or you are there for a test. … Every time I go to play, at least three or four people pass by, and you can see them snapping their fingers to the beat of the music. People stop by and thank us for our efforts — for being there and bringing a bit of comfort to what might otherwise have been a stressful situation.”

Calcagno, 23, understands. On weekends he plays the small Kawai piano. Piano-trained since the age of 4, the Deerfield resident began working at Good Shepherd in August 2021, and by October he was entertaining passers-by with popular music and compositions he composed. It all started when he heard volunteer pianist Sue Schurr play while walking to the cafeteria. He introduced himself, played some music for Schurr, and she referred him to the hospital’s volunteer services coordinator, Lynette Ig, a clarinetist who auditions for musical volunteers. The rest is history.

“When I play, I can play about eight different songs,” Calcagno said. “I play from a wide variety of music. I have my own compositions… about 10 different pieces that I can play from memory or improvise. I like to think that the music I created really evokes emotions or feelings. In my piano folder, I have music from TV shows, be it Korean dramas, anime, Golden Girls intros, songs from films like Interstellar, Inception, and more modern classical music, pop songs. It also depends on how I feel that day. Music is as therapeutic as it is for my listeners. It helps me relax and reflect and think about what might have happened the day before at work, helps me digest.”

Calcagno, who attends to a wide variety of patients during his 12-hour work day, says he always has time for music and would like to help out with film scores one day.

Eeg said that there are currently 10 volunteer musicians, including a flutist, who play in 90-minute shifts. High school students who have reached the age of 16 can also become volunteers. Interested persons can fill out an application. Magda Scanlan, Good Shepherd’s director of volunteer services, said the office makes sure volunteer roles are aligned with their needs and passions.

Schurr brought a friend from Mullany’s book club into the ranks, and she eventually brought her mother, a piano teacher, to duet with her in the lobby. Schurr, a retired English and drama teacher, laughs as she recalls how she came to play Good Shepherd in 2016.

“My husband had knee surgery and I was getting a little bored so I started walking and checking the hospital and going to the dining area, I was like, ‘Wow! Piano! It’s amazing!” – she said. She sat down and started playing. Schurr asked the staff if she could volunteer, and Eeg said the vacancy had been created.

“We created this position because we now had this beautiful piano that people wanted to play,” said Eeg. She and Schurr agreed that none of this would have happened if the donated piano had been small enough to fit through the conference room door as planned. When the piano did not fit, it settled at the main entrance to the hospital.

“It was a wonderful mistake,” Schurr said. “It was a blessing.”

She plays late morning/early afternoon on Thursdays. She said that playing the piano on Good Shepherd is good for her brain because she tries to learn two new pieces a week. At the request of patients, she learned to play Coldplay and the Ukrainian national anthem. She plays hymns, songs of the season. She even made friends along the way.

“I play Hanukkah and Christmas music. … I try to keep inclusivity in mind,” Schurr said. “You look around and see who’s there and try to play for those people. I listen to Pandora. I listen to the radio and if I like a song I download it and play it. I don’t want to get bored with my own music. I’m definitely trying to spice it up and make people have fun.”

Scanlan said that the live music “feels like you’re entering a really healing space.”

“It’s a beautiful campus, but when you hear music, it just speaks to your other senses,” she said.

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Does Honor Among Thieves have a post-credits scene?



action adventure Dungeon & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves brings the high fantasy escapism of the hugely popular Dungeons & Dragons tabletop RPG to the big screen.

The film follows the lovable villain Egin Darvis, played by Chris Pine, and his ragtag team of magical misfits, including the barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez), the paladin Xenka (Rege-Jean Paige), and the sorcerer Simon (Justice Smith), who must take on the adventurer. turned tyrant, Forge Fitzwilliam (Hugh Grant).

This is not Paramount’s first attempt at adapting D&D; there was a trilogy of films in the early 2000s that are probably best forgotten, but the script and ensemble played Honor among thieves garnering far more rave reviews and leading viewers to speculate that this could be the first installment in a new series of stories set in the fantasy world of D&D.


And if we’ve learned anything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s that a surefire way to get viewers talking about potential installations in the future is to tease them a bit with a post-credits scene.

Is there a post-credits scene in Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves?

After Chris Pine and Co. Defeated the bad guy and saved the day, all that’s left is for the music to play and the credits to rollbut you won’t want to leave the theater right away, because yes, Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves includes a post-credits scene.

Or more specifically, the mid-credits scene: after the initial animated credits sequence, the characters reappear. However, this is not intended to leave the door open for future adventures, but rather a reference to one of the film’s early comics. We won’t spoil it for you here, just stay where you are and enjoy.

Philip Ellis is a freelance writer and journalist based in the United Kingdom covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.

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Cancer tumors in mice shrank thanks to oxygen-sucking battery



Mouse breast tumor tomography


Implanting an oxygen-consuming battery into mice with cancer caused their tumors to shrink or disappear in two weeks when used in conjunction with an experimental class of anti-cancer drugs.

As most tumors grow, they consume oxygen from the non-cancerous tissues surrounding them, so that the tumor cells become anoxic or hypoxic. One class of drugs, called hypoxia-activated prodrugs (HAPs), aims to exploit this feature by killing only those cells that exhibit hypoxia so that healthy cells are less affected, reducing the side effects of the treatment. But no HAPs have been approved for clinical use due to limited evidence for their effectiveness.

Now, Fang Zhang at Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and colleagues have developed a self-charging implanted battery that is powered by salt water injected around it, causing the battery to generate very low voltage electricity and consume oxygen. By creating a hypoxic environment, the battery must optimize the action of the HAP.

“The battery can cover the tumor and continuously consume the oxygen it contains for more than 14 days, which is much longer than previous agents. [that worked for] usually no more than two days,” Zhang says.

Zhang and his team implanted the battery in the armpits of 25 mice with breast cancer. Five received a healthy battery and HAP treatment. The rest of the mice were divided into groups in which they either received no treatment or received only HAP preparations, or an implanted battery that did not work, or only a working battery that can last up to 500 hours in mouse tissues.

Fourteen days later, the tumors were reduced by an average of 90% in the five mice that received the working battery and HAP treatment, and in four of these mice they completely disappeared. Tumors remained the same size or grew in other groups of mice.

While the battery hasn’t caused any safety issues when used in mice, the safety bar is higher in humans, so further research is needed to make sure it’s compatible with human tissue before being tested in humans, Zhang says.

Randall Johnson at the University of Cambridge they say that inducing hypoxia in tumors may have negative effects, such as an increased tendency for the cancer to spread to other parts of the body. While this hasn’t happened in mice, the costs and benefits of using a battery in humans should be evaluated before any human treatment, he says.


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