From The Point

Always, Lori Flynn

From The Point - Always, Lori Flynn


A few nights ago, I noticed an alert on the Settings icon of my iPhone, telling me I was due for a software update.  Giving it no further thought, I allowed it to take place.

The following morning, driving to my first appointment, I pulled the phone from my bag and saw Jaromir Jagr’s smirking face looking up at me from the screen and – THEN NOTHING!  The phone went black.  Was it something I did?  (Was it something he did?)  Several things clouded my mind at once.  I picked the logical choice and pulled off the road.

Turning off the ignition, I opened the door, to get my head between my knees without hitting it on the steering wheel.  When the nausea subsided, I powered  down my cell phone.  Stupid, I know, since it had no power, and then powered it back up.  Maybe someone on Facebook would know what to do!  I’ve never been one to post pictures of every millisecond of my life (because no one cares) to say “Look at me! I’ve matched my own outfit today and figured out where to pour the water in the coffee pot!”  Oh wait, I can’t, no phone.

I think about calling my husband.  At very least, he’d buy me another phone.  Call him with what?  Are there even pay phones anymore?  Where are they, and how much do they cost now, $5.00?

I hit the phone against the dashboard.  A good jolt normally does wonders for my laptop.  My cell phone is still dead.

I’m sweating and starting to hyperventilate.  I turn the car’s air conditioner back on, but it doesn’t seem to help.  Can’t I live without my cell phone?  Suddenly the what-if’s bombard me.  What if I have an accident, get lost (I’m blonde), see and alien, get abducted by an alien, get abducted by a human?

Am I addicted to my cell phone or just attached?

I know where I have to go.  The thought makes me swallow the vomit in my throat.  Pulling back into traffic, I can hear the harsh sounds of honking horns while middle fingers fly.  Follow, follow, follow, I will, the gray potholed road, to the Apple Store, and wait till my next birthday for an audience with a ‘Genius’.

For those of you who haven’t been honored, Geniuses are highly trained Apple employees who use in-door voices while asking questions graduates of MIT would struggle with.  Then, if you’re lucky, they’ll hook your device to life support and perform a miracle.  Worse case scenario, they’ll whisk it away to the back where not even immediate family is invited.

As I drive, the label no longer matters, addicted or attached.  I wanted my phone back.  I want to know who followed me on Twitter, the second they do.  I want to check my mail in case an agent or publisher desperately has to work with me – or my dog’s vet needs to change his appointment.  I don’t post pictures on Facebook, but I like to look at them.  I need to know what’s going on with my Florida Panthers and the entire NHL – even in the middle of summer. I love the Word of the Day, although most I can’t pronounce and will never use in a sentence.  And my calculator! How am I to figure out a proper tip without it?

I’m almost there when I hear a ping, then another.  I glance at my phone and see Jaromir Jagr’s face with 4 missed calls at one hand and 21 new pieces of mail by his other.  Making a U-turn, I call my first appointment and say I’m on my way.  I pull into Dunkin Donuts and order a large coffee – to feed my real addiction.

If you think you may be addicted to your cell phone, check out an interesting blog I found by Ira Hyman, Ph.D.

Have a comment?  Let me hear from you!

If you’re looking for a way to stay off your phone, read my romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL.

AS ALWAYS        FROM THE POINT                 Lori Flynn





48441776-american-flag   I guess you may have heard.  The election is over.  It ended differently than most were told it would, as promised by the media.  Some feel the need to publicly protest, to destroy property.

What’s almost funny?  That’s the behavior that was expected from the supporters of the candidate that won.  Go figure.

I can sympathize.  I’ve felt the same way, some of you are feeling now, for the last eight years.  And I can tell you, unfortunately, there’s no easy fix.  Experts have suggested employing the services of a therapy dog or purchasing a coloring book.

In the meantime, try staying away from mainstream television stations and watch Hallmark.  Their movies depict manufactured problems that are completely solved in ninety minutes!  You can also try reading, but stick with fiction.  May I suggest, the romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL, written by, well, me.  It’s an easy read, and will take your mind off politics.  (Yes, I know I’m shameless!)

I’ve heard some people say that they’re leaving the country and heading for Mexico or Canada.  I certainly don’t remember enough of the Spanish that I learned in high school to live in Mexico.  The Canadian National Anthem is beautiful and I already know all the words, being the avid hockey fan I am.  But I’m not going anywhere.

You see, I’m an American.  I stand up for the National Anthem with my hand over my heart – and sing.

You can do as you wish.  This is still a free country.  And there are flights leaving every minute.






woman-writing-vintageNot long after penning my own birth announcement, I began writing fiction and was instantly hooked.  Since then, for better or worse, my friends and loved ones have enjoyed or been subjected to my ramblings and manuscripts, up to and including my recently published novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL. 

As I work on what I hope is the final editing of the next, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned (and I need a distraction).  Along with the joy of writing, there are rules, or elements writers use when creating a story.  They are:


Your characters are your participants in your story, they are the who.  The main character is called the Protagonist.  The character in opposition to your protagonist is called an Antagonist.  Any other characters that interact with the main two, are called Minor characters.

It is important to give your characters  their own personality and stick to it.  Don’t blend traits with other characters through the course of the novel, so that your reader is left saying, “I don’t believe she would do or say that.  She’s to shy, but her mother would.”


The plot is what’s going on, your story line, the what.  It’s simple actually.  You start with an event, move to a climax, and end with a resolution.  Of course, the idea is to keep them turning pages from beginning to end.


The setting is the where and when of your story.  It’s up to you if you chose to write what’s familiar or to venture out and research new lands.  Be careful though, I once had a Beta Reader correct me when two of my roadways didn’t cross somewhere in North Carolina.  Google Maps said they did.  She lived there and said they didn’t.

And I don’t know if any of you remember a few seasons back, a show called,  “The Glades”? It was a short-lived show set in my neck f the woods that completely ignored setting.  They would go to lunch in a city on the other side of the state (a 4 hour drive), taking highways that couldn’t lead them there, and return before they were missed.  I found it distracting.


The theme is the moral of your story or the why.  I always have the most trouble with this one.  (Do I really need a why? I have all this action. Maybe I’m not deep enough.) I’ve been told there are only a certain amount of themes and writers just implement variations of them.  You can actually Google them, and pick the one that suits you, if you’re stuck.  Now, how do I know that.


The style of your story is the how, how it’s written.  Every writer has a unique style, a voice.  There will always be well meaning people available with a critique, a lesson, a criticism, lecture.  I come from a place of gratitude, and listen to them all.  I’ve learned so much.  But never let anyone change your voice.

Something else you need to know before penning your manifesto is that when it comes to publishing, your word count will depend on the Genre you write in.  My genre is romantic suspense which makes my word count between 80,000-100,000 words.  Literary fiction can go as high as 125,000.  Mystery and Horror are set between 70,000 and 90,000.  And Young Adult is 50,000 – 75,000.  So, depending on your genre, you may want to cut down on the adjectives or develop a descriptive flare.

When done correctly and tastefully, using the  rules and elements, you sometimes get to write (get it?) the wrongs in your life.  With a change of a name, a description, or a location, it’s fiction after all.  Those of you who know me, would not be shocked to find me include, let’s say the goalie of the hockey team I live and breath for – have season seats for.  This way I could torture him for nearly 400 pages – like he did me all season – then on the very last page, have him wake up in the Everglades surrounded by his new gator team mates.  I feel better already.

I love Your Comments! Take a moment and write me one!

Pick up a copy of my romantic suspense novel ABSOLUTE RECALL available now at, Friesen, and Barnes &

FROM THE POINT             Always, Lori Flynn



kids fightingIf you were to stand within earshot of a playground in any state across our great land, you’re bound to hear childish banter such as:

“He’s calling me names!”

“She said I’m fat!”

Barry called me a liar!”

You’re a dodo head!” ( It’s really a word.  I looked it up.  And someone has most likely called you one whether you heard them or not.)

Should you happen to turn into one of the many televised Political Debates, ( you must have by now – it seems as if there’s been enough of them), you’d notice a similar banter.

“Hillary was the worst Secretary of State in the History of the United States,” said Trump.

Jeb Bush taunted Hillary with the term “anchor babies” causing her to scream back that they were “just babies”.

Chris Christie attacked Marco Rubio, saying all he did was constantly repeat the same rhetoric, interrupting him saying, “There he goes again!”

In the following debate, when Trump attempted to revise the same point with Rubio, Marco Rubio, told him that he had just repeated himself 5 times in the past 5 minutes!

Donald Trump has been quoted as saying that:

Jeb Bush will never secure the border.

Ted Cruz will fail like all the others.

John Kasich is wasting time and money.

Marco Rubio has the worst voting record in the Senate.

He then called the other Republican candidates “mere puppets”.

What’s more, Bernie Sanders said, Hillary’s dog ate his homework!

Maybe I made the last one up.  But don’t they all start sounding like Charlie Brown’s teacher after awhile?

Relax, I’m not on a soapbox to push my own political agenda.  I don’t have one, and honestly I’m not interested in hearing yours.  All I’m saying is, this wonderful country of ours has issues and we, the people, are in the long grating process of choosing a new leader.  But with the posturing and backbiting that takes place during the debates, how are we to decipher where these candidates stand?

With these questions in mind, I channeled my inner Nancy Drew and came up with some answers.

According to U.S. News, 63% of people polled wanted to hear our candidates policy positions rather than their routines, positions held or how much money they raised in fund raisers.  The top issues in the 2016 election are:

  1. Immigration
  2. Same-Sex marriage
  3. Education
  4. Gun Control
  5. Taxes
  6. Economy
  7. Health Care
  8. Climate Change
  9. Foreign Policy
  10. Environment

Different polls added terrorism and race relations to the list.

The American people remain uneasy about the economy.  Bernie Sanders is against an economy that benefits what he considers to be “millionaires and billionaires.”  And while Hillary won’t go that far, she was quoted saying the economy “still isn’t delivering for the ordinary Americans.”  Republicans blame the Democrats.  Marco Rubio says “the American dream is slipping away.”  John Kasich promises to “get the economy moving again.  And before dropping from the race, Jeb Bush asked us to use our imaginations where people are lifted out of poverty again.  (I’ve been using my imagination for 7 years.  It hasn’t worked, Jeb.)

Our current administration has brought climate change to the front of the class and aims to produce binding agreements that could get the world closer to preventing temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – or so they say.  Their actions have not only been suspect, but have spurred many a lawsuit form industry groups.

Where Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders argue when pushed about which of them is doing more to fight climate change, leading Republican Presidential candidates debate if global warming’s driven by human activities.

The Keystone XL pipeline is another hot button topic on energy policy in the 2016 election.  President Obama rejected it because of environmental concerns and both Democratic candidates stand with him.  Most Republican candidates support it.

Where the Second Amendment is concerned, most Republicans support it and the NRA.  They defend the right to carry concealed firearms.  The Democrats support more gun control and disagree among themselves how much.

With healthcare, it’s the rising price of drugs that is on everyone’s mind.  Bernie Sanders says he’ll negotiate prices for Medicare and force companies to release pricing information.  Hillary plans to put a $250 monthly cap on out-of-pocket drug spending for people with chronic or serious conditions.  Republican Marco Rubio says drug companies have engaged in pure profiteering, and Trump called it disgusting and vowed to fix it.

When it comes to Medicare, Democrats want to expand the program, while most Republicans want to reduce and privatize it.  Republicans also vow to repeal Obama Care, while Democratic candidates say they’ll uphold it.  Both Democratic candidates say they will repeal the Cadillac tax. (I ask you when you look up what this is, to also look up the health care plans our candidates are privy to.  It will blow your mind.)

So do your homework America.  It’s your future that’s at risk here.  Every Candidate has a candidate website that should answer any question you may have.  Most are their name then dot com.  (other than Ted Cruz who uses dot org)

What would I like to see?  I thought you’d never ask!  In a word – RESTORATION – of faith in our government to bring our military and reputation back to its former glory so we can feel safe from terrorism and when our borders are threatened.

RESTORATION of our health care system, so surviving an illness or accident can be our only concern.

The RESTORATION of faith in humanity. Somewhere in the past seven years, we’ve grown apart.  I don’t care what color you are, what tax bracket you’re in,  or where or even if you go to church.  We share a planet.

Do you want my vote, Presidential Candidate? Show me the baby – don’t tell me about the labor.

Leave me a comment!


Politics not your thing?  Pick up a copy of my newly released Romantic Suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL.  It’s easy to do!  Just go to “About The Book” and click on the link.  I thank you. 





how-to-treat-back-pain-722x406In the interest of honesty, I have to admit that my back has bothered me a time or two in the past.  Nothing to cry about, you understand, sciatica my doctor mumbled once while suggesting over-the-counter pain relievers.  This holiday season, however, between decorating, shopping, and celebrating – my New Year’s culminated into a painful beginning.

OK, so yes, I felt something wasn’t quite right.  But slowing down or, God forbid, stopping wasn’t an option.  And when it came down to wearing those priceless, gold, spike-heeled shoes on New Year’s Eve, I carried on with only a slight hesitation.  (They had gold zippers, ladies!)  Try not to judge – I’m only 5 feet tall and require the extra height not to get trampled in crowds.

For me, New Year’s morning was like a scene from The Wizard of Oz.  I’d be willing to bet most of you are thinking I stuck with the shoe theme and will mention Dorothy’s ruby reds (be still my heart!).   Sadly, my reference is of the Tin Man who was left to rust in the forest and can move only enough to bellow, “Oil Can!”  My husband instantly grasped the meaning, but couldn’t resist an eye roll.

What was I to do?  It was a major holiday and even with my exceptionally high pain tolerance, a trip to the bathroom seemed like a hike to the moon.  My head was spinning with advice from my neighbors and friends which prompted my only logical course of action – schlep like Quasimodo to my computer and consult the internet!

According to the experts, about 80% of all Americans can expect to experience back pain at some time during their lives.  It is the leading cause of disability in men over 45 and the 2nd most common reason that we visit our primary care doctors.  What’s more, back pain is the 3rd most frequent reason for surgical procedures and the 5th most frequent cause of hospitalizations.

Unfortunately, intermingled with reams of helpful information online, are also common misconceptions, myths, and old wives tales.

Here are some of the best (or worst):

1.  Myth:  You should always get a massage.

In some cases a massage can help but in others it can hurt, depending on the cause of the pain.

2.  Myth:  Severe back pain can result in paralysis.

In most cases, back pain does not usually indicate a problem leading to paralysis except in rare cases of spine tumors, spinal infections, and unstable spine fractures.

3.  Myth:  Stretching relieves back pain.

If you are unsure of the cause, stretching can cause more damage.  More so if the nerve is inflamed.

4.  Myth:  It’s best to lie down until the pain goes away.

Bed rest in not recommended, but you should reduce normal physical activities if you wish to recover more quickly.  Bed rest can actually slow your recovery.

5.  Myth:  A hot bath reduces back inflammation.

As soothing as it sounds, surrounding inflamed muscles in hot water can actually make an acute injury worse.  Generally, it is better to apply ice for 15 to 20 minutes (but not directly on the skin).  (Or take the bath anyway and hold your head under the hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes. – Of course I’m kidding!)

6.  Myth:  A fitness ball is better than an office chair for your back.

Fitness balls are a way to engage your core muscles.  It’s important to find a ball that is the correct size, to practice proper posture, and if you’re me – not to shoot yourself across the room the first time you answer the phone.  Their lack of support can be less than ideal.

7.  Myth:  Most back pain eventually requires surgery

Untrue.  Most back problems are treated with non-operative measures, such as activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy.  Activity modifications typically include avoiding twisting motions, prolonged sitting, and heavy lifting.

8.  Myth:  Severe back pain correlates to the level of back damage.

With acute pain, the level of pain correlates to the level of damage.  However, with chronic back pain, the amount of pain does not typically correlate the amount of damage.

9.  Myth:  An MRI scan or other diagnostic test is needed to diagnose my back problem.

Most health professionals can develop a successful treatment approach based on a thorough medical history and physical exam.  Only specific symptom patterns in a minority of cases indicate the need for scans or other sophisticated test.


Some people still believe that drinking cod liver oil will help with back pain.  It has been known to reduce joint pain, so should your back pain stem from arthritis – possibly this is for you.  (Personally, I’d have to mix it with tequila to kill the taste.  Then I’m sure it would work!)

Another Old wives tale is to use a Mustard Poultice.  For those of us born before the turn of the last century, a poultice is a soft, moist mass of cloth (this one would be steeped in mustard) that is applied hot as a medicament to the body.  Then I guess you should just put me in a bun and throw me on the grill before my dog gets a whiff of me.

The article that made my dart board, came from HEALTH.  Under the headline of “Managing Your Pain, I found, “4 Surprising Cures for Back Pain.”  As the pain took over my back, grabbed my buttock, and ran down my leg, the only thing that surprised me was the nerve that they had to print it.

Tell me what you think

Cure #1 =  Take yoga classes for 12 weeks.

3 months of sitting on a mat?  I’m having a hard time sitting for more than 5 minutes at a time.   Is the mat resting on a bed of cannabis?

Cure #2 = 10 Weeks of weekly massage.

Personally, my back hurt too much to be touched.  Even if it was Brad Pitt – naked – holding a puppy.

Cure #3 = Acupuncture

Make sure they’re sharp and then stick them in my eyes.

Cure #4 = Talk Therapy

They say people taking part in a group of cognitive behavior therapy for 3 months showed improvement.  Seriously – 3 months?  It sounds like a 12 step program to me – from which I would need a 12 step program- then a bail bondsman.

The most helpful site I found was from Dennis at  At no charge to you. he will send you his Sciatica Guide and printable, easy to follow stretches and exercises.  I thank you. Dennis.

Sooner than later, you should resort to calling a doctor.  Be it your primary care, an orthopedic, a chiropractor, or Dr. Bombay.  The choice is yours.  We’ve already consulted the rest of the world, we may as well ask a professional.

Good Health to us all!

Write me a comment!  And – pick up a copy of my romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL, available everywhere!

FROM THE POINT       Always, Lori Flynn






skull    Close to half the population of the United States take vitamins.  Multivitamins hold the number one spot as the most popular. They are sold in virtually every grocery store and are a thriving industry.  Everyone you know is taking at least one – and are preaching to you why you should be.  Vitamins are good for you, after all, and will improve the quality of your life.  What’s more as humans, we live by the axiom, if a few help, a truck load can make us immortal!


Absolutely not.  Consider how you wouldn’t seek out an antibiotic without suffering some illness, yet we blindly take supplemental vitamins despite having no deficiencies.  According to Medical News Today, “Vitamins are organic compounds needed in small quantities to sustain life.  We normally get the necessary amounts from our daily diets, but sometimes individuals will develop vitamin deficiencies.”  Registered Diectian, Marissa Puleo advised that taking too many vitamins and supplements does have negative consequences since although many are water soluble and are excreted, others remain in the body.  She goes on to say that these vitamins can reach toxic levels and cause adverse side effects.   

Is your diet rich in vitamin and mineral fortified foods?  Before your shake your head to the affirmative, be honest.  Do you actually think that adding a few chili peppers to your pepperoni and sausage pizza lets you consider it as a vegetable? Have you been considering the lettuce and tomato on your Big Mac as a food Group? (Then you may as well count the ketchup!) And I’d like to know, just who started this whole love affair with kale.  I’ve tried an entire bottle of ranch dressing and still feel as though I’ve just eaten a house plant.

Since your diet has your doctor (and your mom) shaking their heads, and you’re thinking vitamins are your answer, keep in mind – there could be consequences. After all, does anyone really know how many vitamins it takes to kill a person?  Actually, yes.

THE 5 VITAMINS YOU SHOULD NEVER TAKE – without consulting your doctor first!


This vitamin plays a role in promoting eye sight, boosts immunity and forms and maintains healthy skin and teeth.

Unfortunately, it is fat soluble which means our bodies hold on to the excess, and doesn’t flush it out allowing it to build up in the liver. Consuming too much Vitamin A (hypervitaminosis) during a short period of time can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tiredness, bone pain, hair loss, liver damage, osteoporosis, hemorrhage, coma, or death.

Best Food Sources = liver from chicken, beef, or pork, sweet potatoes, spinach, cantaloupes, carrots, kale, collard greens.

Limit:  It’s best to stay under 3,000mg per day.  That is equivalent to 79 to 115 chicken eggs.  I also discovered that if you ate a polar bear’s liver in one sitting it could kill you.  (I haven’t done that in – forever!)


This family of 8 water soluble vitamins enhances energy levels, regulates moods, and boosts your immune system.

If you should take too much, your body will normally flush the excess out , so they don’t accumulate, but that doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t cause you trouble.

Vitamin B6 can damage nerves when taken in doses over 300mg per day.

A regiment of 2,000 to 3,000mg per day of Vitamin B3 (Niacin) taken to lower cholesterol can cause (reversible) nausea and jaundice.

Too much B9, has been linked to prostate cancer.

Best Food Sources:  chicken, eggs, turkey, tuna, salmon, beef, lentils, peas, Swiss chard, spinach, black beans.

3.  VITAMIN C  (Ascorbic Acid)

In the 1700’s, Scottish doctor James Lind conducted an experiment proving citrus fruit cured scurvy, although Vitamin C itself wasn’t discovered until the 1930’s.  In the 1970’s, it was also given credit to prevent the common cold – incorrectly, of course.

This water soluble vitamin is generally safe, while helping to fight skin aging and keeping your tendons and ligaments young, preventing injury.  And of course, it’s great for your immune system.

Deficiencies can cause tooth lose, acne, fatigue, and death.

Mega doses of Vitamin C (about 2,000mg daily) can increase the risk of kidney stones, heartburn, insomnia, and diarrhea.  But, it probably won’t kill you.

1,000mg of Vitamin C = 14 oranges

Best Food Sources: broccoli, brussels sprouts, oranges, grapefruits, tomatoes, chili peppers, kale, strawberries.


So why Vitamin D?  It seems so harmless, right?  Most of us believe that an afternoon in the sun is enough to give us all we need.  Well, maybe, if you live where I do, in sunny South Florida where sunglasses are a daily part of our wardrobe.  Unfortunately, not so much in the remainder of the world.  (Honestly, the picture post card weather gets old after a while. I celebrate the occasional dark and drab day.)

Vitamin D protects against depression, heart disease, and cancer.

Symptoms that you may have a deficiency include fatigue, depression, and nighttime leg cramps.

A Vitamin D deficiency is bad for your body, although your levels may fluctuate through summer and winter due to the sun.  Taking a Vitamin D supplement may not always be wise.  The fat soluble vitamin has been linked to prostate and pancreatic cancers, and will require guidance by your doctor.

Best Food Source:  salmon, sardines, cheese, eggs, mushrooms.


This fat soluble vitamin has long been touted as a bladder and prostate anti-cancer agent, is vital for brain health, and promotes healthy skin.  For those interested, I even found research that it will amp up your sperm count!

That said, there is an important warning, a Danger Will Robinson! with this beloved antioxidant in that when taking very high doses, it may interfere with the body’s ability to clot blood.  If you take prescribed blood thinners or aspirin, this could be a problem for you.

Best Food Sources:  eggs, sunflower seeds, almonds, olives, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, whole grains.


It’s simple, actually.  When it comes to monitoring vitamin intake, eat a healthy diet.  This will normally be the best source of any vitamins or minerals your body needs.  From there, trust your doctor to inform you should a deficiency arise that will need to be supplemented.

So relax – have a piece of fruit.  Just remember to wash it first.  Why? I’ll leave that for another day, another blog!


Leave me a comment!  And keep your eye out for the release of my romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL.  To Be Released December 2015!









Is Cheating Worth it blog We humans are capable of most anything.  Cheating, unfortunately, is one of them.  We cheat on our partners and our taxes, which forces us to employ our memories, cunning accountants, and pit-bull attorneys.  Yet, we continue to do it.  BUT IS IT WORTH IT?

In professional sports, when players cheat they let down their teammates, employers, fans, and themselves.  It’s a betrayal that taints the integrity of all sports.  You see to some of us, the diehards, if you can’t play with the big boys – you should just take your balls and go home – because it will never be worth it.

It was in the summer of 2012 that rumors began to circulate attaching everyone’s favorite hero, Lance Armstrong to a doping scandal, but he seemingly fought those allegations.  In October of 2012, however, they resurfaced, when the 7 time Tour de France winner was accused of not only using performance-enhancing drugs, but also bullying teammates into doing the same.  It is said he doped in the years he was on top of the Tour de France team, from 1999-2005, although he never failed a drug test, nor did any of his teammates who testified against him.

In the end he lost his 7 Tour de France titles, his sponsors, and a testicle.  I ask you.  WAS IT WORTH IT?

Figure Skating has a long history of drama and trauma, and you guessed it, cheating.  For Nancy Kerrigan, the road to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway took a treacherous turn when a man with a metal baton bashed her knees after a practice session.  It wasn’t long before the perpetrators were named in the incident, for one, Jeff Gillooly – the then husband of Kerrigan’s competitor – Tonya Harding.

Despite being unable to compete in the U.S. trials, Kerrigan was voted onto the Olympic team with Harding.  Harding placed 8th.  Kerrigan captured the silver metal.  Later, Harding admitted that her husband had told her of the attack after the fact and pleaded guilty to be placed on probation with a fine.  The U.S. Figure Skating Association, knowing scum when it sees it, stripped Harding of her 1994 Championship title, and banned her for life from competitive figure skating and coaching.  She probably thinks it was worth it for her 15 minutes of fame.

In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first across the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  She had barely broken a sweat, and had improved her time by more than 20 minutes.  Called into question was that she hadn’t been spotted at any of the race checkpoints.  Reports soon surfaces that Rosie had left the pack of runners and took the subway to a stop about a mile from the finish line, then rejoined the race.

She was immediately disqualified form the New York Marathon also, after it was reported she had pulled the same stunt there.  I realize that this is certainly not the worse thing to happen at the Boston Marathon in its history – but maybe the tackiest.

The late 1980’s to the late 2000’s were known as Baseball’s Steroid Era.  There were countless players who used steroids to improve their speed, stamina, and accuracy.  It is hard to say how many since until 1991, steroids weren’t banned in baseball and there was no systematic testing until 2003.

Probably the best known as the biggest offenders of the time were Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds.  All three had set home run records.  In 1998, McGwire even broke Roger Maris’ 1961 record of most home runs in one season.

Some people think this is a tough one since it wasn’t always banned.  As a woman, if there was something to ingest that would make us feel thinner, younger, and gorgeous – oh wait – there is – tequila!

An investigation by the NFL showed that from 2009-2011, certain players received bonus pay for intentionally harming the opposing team on the field.  Players and the Saints defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams pooled their money together to cover these bonuses.

It was said there was a bounty of $10,000 to take out Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Farve. (Personally, I feel his wife may have chipped in.)

The NFL found players Jonathan Vilma, Scott Fujita, Anthony Hargrove, and Will Smith were the ringleaders, but as many as 27 Saints were involved.  Players and coaches were suspended, fines were paid, all of which adversely affected the season.  WORTH IT? I guess it would depend on who you asked.

From steroids to corked bats, baseball and cheating go way back.  But we can’t forget about those men on the mound, known for doctoring the ball, every now and again.

On June 19, 2012, Joe Peralta was on the mound as a Ray facing the National’s, his former team – and they were on to him.  He had come out in the 8th and never got to throw the first pitch before the umpires surrounded him like flies finding pine tar hidden in his glove.  He said he had mistakenly picked up his practice glove as he was ejected from the game.  Peralta was given an 8 game suspension, which he appealed, and was back on the mound the very next day.

Joe Niekro, known  as the knuckleballer, had pitched for several teams in the majors, including the Yankees.  On August 3, 1987, the umpires noticed his knuckleball appeared too fluttery and after examining his glove, made him empty his pockets.  What they found was an emery board he was using to scuff up the balls.

On April 23, 2014, Yankee pitcher Michael Pineda was ejected from a game against the Boston Red Sox’s for using pine tar, noticed on his neck.  A few starts previous, against the same team, the Red Sox station NESN had been discussing a substance on Pineda’s pitching hand.  After the game, he had called it mud.  I’m thinking Pineda makes his mud with pine tar. (What’s in that stuff anyway? Does it work for crows-feet?)

As hard as I tried, and I did try, I didn’t find a single professional cheating hockey player.  Please, know that I’m referring to on-ice activities.  Their personal lives are their own affairs.  You can say that I’m delusional, or that it’s just because hockey is my favorite sport, or that I know in my heart of hearts that the Florida Panthers will stick around for the play-offs this year.  But it’s my blog.

Then there’s Tom Brady – recently suspended for 4 games for his alleged involvement in a purported ball deflation scheme, during the 2015 AFC Championship Game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts, violating federal law.  After hours of intense questioning, he apparently said something about having his cell phone destroyed during that time because he was changing carriers and getting another one (hang the man!).

What do I take from this?  Brady is a future Hall of Fame quarterback who apparently prefers his balls squishy, which normally means he has smaller hands, which means…to him it was probably worth it.

Leave me a comment!  And keep an eye out for my soon to be published romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL.  To be released December 2015!





VACATION Recently, it was reported on TODAY, that we are taking less vacation days than ever – as many as 16 days less than 15 years ago.  Experts now believe that the result of this work more/play less trend, could be detrimental to your relationships.

According to Dr. Sue Varma, a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center, “A lot more Americans now are working harder than ever.  When it becomes a pattern, you start to burn bridges with key relationships in your life.”

In a recent study, respondents admitted skipping children’s activities, birthdays, and vacations to work more.

Dr. Varma goes on to say, “A lot of people are finding this a tug of war between family and fun and friends. We don’t see time as a resource.”

If this has you saying, “OK, I give!  I’ll take a few weeks of the 300 days I’ve accumulated off!  Your next hurdle is – SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO?


There is much to consider with both.  I will begin with the more conventional – preparing for a traditional vacation.

First, you must choose a destination.  If you’ll be travelling out of the country and need a passport, processing time for routine applications is approximately 4 to 6 weeks.  If you should need it quicker, there is an expedited service that will bring you your passport within 8 business days – for an extra fee, of course.

Location, Location, Location!  The world is your oyster – so pick away – with caution.  Keep in mind, there are places on this big beautiful planet where natural disasters seem to cluster.  Earthquakes, typhoons, and tsunamis – do you really want to be the next spotlight with The Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore?  And where terrorism is difficult to predict these days, there are hot spots to be avoided.

How about your destination’s financial stability?  Very recently vacationers traveling to Greece were left without funds, as were their citizens.

Now that you know where you’re going, if you’re traveling internationally, especially to developing countries and rural areas with higher health risks, it is important you are up to date on all routine vaccines, as well as travel vaccines.  Sadly, contrary to what you’ve seen in the movies, not every mishap will turn you into Spiderman.  To find out vaccine recommendations and requirements for your travel destination go to:

When it comes time to pack, you will need to be cautious.  Airlines today have become mighty persnickety about the weight of your checked baggage.  It’s important that they weigh 50lbs or less or a fine will be assessed, the amount, depending on the airline.  The highest I found was JetBlue who charges $100 at pound 51- with absolutely zero wiggle room.  Other airlines ranged from $25 – 75.  Which would almost bring one to think, do I really need 14 pair of shoes for a 14 day trip?  (I do, I do, I do!)

Some checked luggage is subject to specific fees regardless of dimension or weight.  Items such as bikes, surf-boards, gulf clubs, and fishing poles are checked at a flat fee starting at about $100.

Now let’s deal with the car you may have to rent if you’re not meeting family or going to an area with mass transportation.  You’ll be immediately bombarded with questions – some of which an affirmative answer will add hundreds to your final bill.  There are generally three requirements to rent a car: a major credit/debit card in the primary drivers name, a drivers license and to be older than 21.  When it come to size – it matters – if you don’t understand what they are offering you, take the time to go on line and look at pictures.  It could mean not having to squeeze your family of 8 into a clown car or having you and your significant other traveling in an oversized church van.

The most important thing you need to remember is YES – you do need insurance, but you most likely DO NOT need to buy it from the rental company.  First, check your existing auto policy.  It may cover your car rental the same way.  To be safe, check with your agent.  Second, check with your credit card company.  Some, such as American Express, provide secondary coverage that will cover it.  Why pay for the same thing twice?

HOTELS –  What can I say other than READ THE REVIEWS!! And then heed the reviews!  Please, haven’t we all watched enough movies written around creepy hotel rooms?  Don’t we all sit in theaters or home saying, “Those fools, I would have never stayed there!”  Yet, we do.

The latest threat that has very literary come back to bite us in the butt is the dreaded bed bug.  So, if you’ve retained nothing I’ve written so far, pay attention now.


A flashlight and a beagle would be helpful to complete this.

1.  Pull back the sheets on the beds to check for pinpoint blood spots (brown).

2.  Use your flashlight to examine the piping of the mattress.

3.  Lift the corner of the mattress, and check the edges of the box spring.

4.  Don’t forget to check the headboard.

What you are searching for are apple seed looking insects that are brownish in color, but will become darker when blood engorged.  Bedbugs will normally be within 7 feet of the bed.

Should you see ANY evidence of bed bug activity, demand another room – far from that one – and begin your examination again.  Remember to leave your luggage outside the door.  You wouldn’t want any uninvited quests to join you on your trip home.

Last, and to me most important, you may need to find a reputable place to board your pet.  For some of us, whose little angel has a “DOES NOT PLAY WELL WITH OTHERS” file following him, it’s not so easy.  And, I ask you, what can you do when you’re thousands of miles away and you can see on the Mommy Cam that your Mr. Humpy is actively courting some petrified poodle?  (Can they sue me for that?)

Have I made your pending vacation feel more like a colossal hassle than a dream?  If so, why not try a Staycation?  What’s that, you ask?  It’s when you take the time away from work, and chill at home.  No packing, planes, needles, bugs, or boarding.  You can sleep in your own bed – and walk around in your underwear if the spirit moves you!  And you don’t have to be immunized to do it.

Some people, those of us who find it impossible to totally relax, turn their Staycation into  home improvement projects.  They use their time to paint the house, clean out the garage, organize closets, search the attic.  You know, important things that will come up when your children are in therapy.

It’s up to you – you can stock pile food and never leave the house, binge watch all the shows you’ve been hearing about for the last several years. (Spoiler alert – Jax dies!) Reconnect with the people pictured on your screen saver!

Whichever you decide to do, stay or go, relax and enjoy it.  Because back at work – someone younger and sharper – has their eyes on your job!

Leave me a comment and keep an eye out for my greatly anticipated romantic suspense novel, ABSOLUTE RECALL, due out this fall





Sunscreen BlogI can remember, like it was yesterday, stepping from the car as a new bride, to the unfamiliar frontier that was to be my home.  Somewhere between the vows and the wedding cake, the man at my side neglected to mention he was moving me to the equator – a hop, skip, and a jump from the sun – one zip code from hell.

In reality it was South Florida.

With my reaction, my husband could only muster, “It’s only May.  August will prove a real problem for you.”

He wasn’t wrong.  I love hockey, cold weather, St. Bernard’s, and snow.  Did I mention hockey?

In the years since my arrival, I have graciously bloomed where I was planted and am forever grateful to Vincent Viola for keeping the Panthers in Florida, where they belong.  After reading Palm Beach Post Staff Writer Susan Salisbury’s article on problems with today’s sunscreen’s, however, I believe I may have a bigger problem than heat and hockey.

According to the article and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Sunscreen Guide for 2015 – the 9th annual edition – an analysis of 1,700 sunscreens found that 80% contained harmful ingredients.  What was more, they don’t protect adequately against dangerous ultraviolet radiation.

The active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical.  Each uses a different mechanism for protecting skin and maintaining stability in sunlight, and each can pose hazards to human health.  The most popular sunscreens on the market today, contain a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients:  oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate.  (Obviously, these chemicals are not meant to be ingested).  Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

To accurately tabulate human exposure and toxicity information, the FDA asks certain questions.  Among those are:

*  Will the chemical penetrate skin and reach living tissue?

*  Will it disrupt the hormone system?

*  Can it cause a skin allergy?

*  What if it is inhaled?

Nearly every chemical sunscreen in the United States contain avobenzone because it is the best available for use against damaging UVA rays.  It does, however, breakdown when exposed to sunlight and must be stabilized with other chemicals, such as octocrylene.

The frequently used and worrisome oxybenzone was found to act like estrogen in the body, while it alters sperm production in animals, and is associated with endometriosis in women, as well as causing relatively high rates of skin allergy.

As for protection, for those of you who chose a sunscreen by perusing the aisles of your local drugstores, in search of a product with the highest SPF number – keep reading.

Sonya Lunder, Senior Analyst with the EWG said that, “The SPF (sun protection factor) value tells you how strong the sunburn protection is.  There are also UVA rays from the sun which cause more subtle skin damage.  As the SPF goes up higher, you do not get more UVA protection.  It maxes out at 20.”

The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values “inherently misleading,” but it has not issued a regulation that carries the force of the law.  Twelve percent of sunscreens they evaluated this year advertise SPF greater than 50+.

What’s more, it’s been found that the common sunscreen additive, vitamin A, may speed development of skin cancer!  Vitamin A is added to 19% of beach and sport sunscreens and 17% of moisturizers.

So, which products made it to this years EWG’s SUNSCREEN HALL OF SHAME?  As you can guess, there were numerous.

The number one stand out was my favorite – Neutrogena.  EWG states while its Pure and Free Baby claims to be chemical free, its label begs to differ.

Neutrogena is also pegged with boasting sky-high SPF values (which is most likely why I purchased it) 70-100%.  Their Wet Skin Kids Sunscreen Spray also had several strikes against it.

Banana Boat, And Coppertone also scored poorly.  CVS, the pharmacy/store, had 3 of their products listed in the top 12 worst sunscreen lotions, and 4 listed in the top 11 sprays.

Now that we are armed with this newfound knowledge and are aware of the shortcomings of today’s sunscreens, what are sun-worshipers and those of us living down the road from the sun to do?  The EWG suggests that we adjust our attitudes about sun exposure.

1.  Don’t use sunscreen as a tool to prolong your time in the sun.

2.  Cover up! Shirts, hats, sunglasses.  (Hazmat suits on aisle three)

3.  Avoid sunburn.  (This is why they get the big bucks.)

4.  Avoid tanning beds.  (Does anyone still do that?)

5.  Protect kids from the hot sun! (Hide your women and children!)

6.  Check your skin.  (Move in with a dermatologist.)

As I feel my options waning, I think about surgically attaching Go-Go Gadget arms to retrieve my mail, so as not to step foot from my house, and envision toilet training the dog to avoid daily exposure from the sun’s lethal rays.  Perhaps I should consider donning a wet-suit as I scurry from my home to our backyard pool.  From there, I could make sure to remain submerged until I see stars.

Of course, doing this, would put me at risk for colorectal and kidney cancer from the adverse effects of the chlorine.  But I think it best if we leave that for another day – another blog.

Stay safe out there.

To access the EWG 2015 Guide to sunscreens go to:

Leave a comment and look for my greatly anticipated romantic, suspense novel, titled ABSOLUTE RECALL, due out this fall!!

From The Point       Always, Lori Flynn





superstition 2Professional Athletes – as their adoring public, we look on as these gods among men, and women, who have honed their natural abilities perform for us.  We cheer for them, covet their lives, money, and long to bear their children. But do we ever stop and think of the dedication that is required of them?

Combined with the stress and strain of competition, the mental component has got to be enough to knock a few screws loose. Enough, I would think, to develop a number of ticks, rituals, and superstitions.

My primary example is a young, shut-down defensemen with the Florida Panthers, with a rocket-hard shot from the point, who for this writing shall remain nameless – Erik Gudbranson.  Without fail, he ensures that he is the last man on his team to leave the ice.  Should he not be on the ice at the conclusion of a period, he’ll jump over the boards, and join the end of the line.

About midway through this NHL season, I began to ask myself, superstition or OCD?  The end of the regular season had me thinking, perhaps I should look in the mirror.

Aren’t I the one that arranges my life to be sitting in my lucky season seat – 10 minutes before warm-ups – for every game, rain, ( I can’t in all honesty include hail, sleet, or snow – they are the Florida Panthers, after all, and play in Sunrise, FL).  Even on that fateful night when involved in a car accident en route to the game, instead of an ambulance, I asked the Florida Highway Patrol to send me a cab so I could go to the game.  (Panthers -1, Camaro-totaled).  I was also admitted to the hospital hours after a game with Pneumonia.  Yes, I felt like crap during, but leaving was never an option.

So when do sports superstitions bleed into obsessive compulsive disorders?  The line is blurrier than you may think.  I was surprised to read that the definition of OCD states that, “the person usually recognizes that the behavior is excessive or unreasonable.”  And where superstitions and OCD deviate is that a person with OCD feels that the stakes are much worse than a win or a loss.  What you have to ask yourself is, is this behavior interfering with your life?(Hmmm, I may be in trouble here.)

According to Today Health, in an article written by Melissa Dahl of NBC News, OCD can be a serious, potentially debilitating anxiety disorder that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  But specifically, there are some parallels between sports superstitions and an aspect of OCD psychologists call “hyper-responsibility obsessions”, in the processing.

In my humble translation, it somehow causes both to feel responsible for the bad outcome.

All that aside, sports superstitions have basic rules:

1.  Additions and subtractions are made at the start of the season.  When you find something that works – you never change it.

2.  If you try to change it – even tweak it – your team will lose.

3.  It’s only weird if it doesn’t work.

For those of you thinking, WHAT???  What this means is:

*  Don’t wash my lucky socks during season.

*  Don’t touch the remote during the game (it’s exactly where it has it be).

*  Don’t say “It’s good!” before a field goal actually is.

*  Don’t move the dog, (he knows where to sit during a game).

*  Don’t comment on how well our goalie is doing with under a minute left.

*  Don’t answer the phone, door, or anything else that rings, or buzzes.

*  Don’t say, don’t ever say, “Don’t worry.”

*  Don’t offer me Paxil.  It only makes me say things twice.

To let you know that I’m not singling you out, Erik, I found other professional athletes with superstitious rituals of their own.  There were many.  Here are some I could print:

–  Jason Terry from the NBA wears 5 pair of socks during games, all pulled to his knees.  What’s stranger, the night before a game, he wears the shorts of the opposing team to bed.

–  John Henderson, a defensive tackle, had to have the assistant team trainer slap him across the face before every game when he played for the Jacksonville Jaguars.  He now plays for the Oakland Raiders.  Does the saga continue in shades of silver and black?

–  In 1996, during Bruce Gardiner’s rookie season, he was told by a teammate that in order to break out of a scoring slump, he needed to show his hockey stick who was boss.  Gardiner began dunking his stick blade in the locker room toilet before each game.  (Can I hear a collective eww!!!)

–  Michael Jordon never hit the court without his UNC trunks under his Bulls uniform.

–  Going way back, Babe Ruth always made sure to step on second base whenever he jogged in from right field.  If he forgot, he would run out from the dugout and kick it before the next half inning began.

–  NHL Goalies – I could write an entire blog on their quirks alone.  But, the Flyers Pelle Lindbergh, would always wear the same orange T-shirt from a Swedish store under his equipment.  When it began to fall apart, he hired someone to sew it.  What’s more, between periods, he would only drink a Swedish beverage called Pripps, served by a specific team trainer, in a cup with exactly 2 ice cubes.

By now, I’m sure you understand, Erik, that I wouldn’t care if you employed UBER to assist you from the ice – as long as you returned.  You’re exciting to watch and the Panthers need you.

And when the fall returns, I’ll be there, in my lucky seat.  And this year the Stanley Cup will be ours ….I have a new pair of earrings that say so.

Have a comment?      From The Point               Always, Lori Flynn