Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

Archive for June 2012

I have much better things to do …

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… than to purchase a papered pooch to promenade proudly around the neighborhood to watch it poop.



— Cecil Scaglione,  Mature Life Features


Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 28, 2012 at 10:08 am

Posted in A Musing

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Doctor, Dentist Visits Quell Smoking

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By James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

  If you see your doctor  and dentist on a regular basis, you’re more likely to quit smoking and to remain a non-smoker, according to a study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences.

  “Having a regular physician and seeing a physician recently seems to have an important  association with whether or not an older patient is a current smoker,” according to Mark S. Kaplan and Jason T. Newsom of Portland State University and Bentson H. McFarland of the Oregon Health & Science University. “Older adults’ contacts with physicians and dentists are strongly negatively associated with smoking among older adults.”

  Kaplan and his colleagues base their conclusion on a study of one of the largest samples of older adults in which correlations of late-life smoking have been investigated. The sample also included one of the largest arrays of social and demographic variables as predictors of smoking behavior. The analysis is based on data from the Canadian National Population Health Survey conducted by Statistics Canada of 73,402 households across Canada. Kaplan and his associates used the health files of 13,363 persons aged 65 and older who had complete data.

  In the study, 15 percent were current smokers, 41 percent were former smokers, and 44 percent never smoked. The majority of older smokers had not visited a dentist in more than five years. More specifically, individuals without a regular physician and with infrequent physical and dental checkups were more likely to be smokers.

  Kaplan and his associates hope the study will help guide physicians and dentists when they see older patients. “Although physicians have a unique opportunity to intervene when their patients need help to quit smoking, previous studies have shown that fewer than half ask their patients about tobacco use,” he said. While dentists are more likely than physicians “to estimate their patients’ tobacco use accurately, they were less likely to assess and intervene, and less supportive of tobacco cessation, according to prior studies,” said Kaplan.

  “Given the frequency of dental-care among older smokers, communication and cooperation between physicians and dentists are of crucial importance with respect to the management of late-life smoking.”

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2003

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 24, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Posted in Health

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Baltimore Crab Lovers Take the Cake

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By Beverly Rahn Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Baltimore’s Washington Square
— Cecil Scaglione photo

BALTIMORE — It was time to test the proclamation that this town on the Patapsco River is the “Crab Cake Capital of the Continent.” We’d sampled crab cakes over the years prepared in kitchens throughout Pennsylvania, New York, Louisiana, California, Washington and Virginia, to mention a few.  Our only rule was: eschew any that involved the “F” word – frozen.

We set up our command post in the Peabody Court Hotel perched on the edge of Washington Square, the platform for the nation’s first official monument to our first president that caps the tony Mount Vernon District. You can climb the 228 steps inside the 178-foot white marble memorial for $1. It was built in 1829 by Robert Mills, the same man who a couple of decades later designed the D.C. obelisk honoring Washington.

We strolled south past sauces and scents of the world emanating from restaurants along a dozen blocks of Charles Street leading to the waterfront’s inner harbor. We initiated our crab-cake mission at Phillips Harborplace restaurant. This outlet is part of the family firm that opened its first dining room in 1956 and currently makes more than 100,000 crab cakes a day for distribution around the globe.

As we munched on the signature miniature crab cakes and a soft-shell-crab sandwich, our server explained that the key to these seafood succulents is simple: “They’re 98 percent crab meat and prepared with tender loving care.”

Back at our hotel, we crossed the square to Mount Vernon Place Methodist Church to read the wall-mounted plaque commemorating it as the site of Francis Scott Key’s death. As we ambled back to the hotel, a relaxing resident hailed us from the stoop of his townhouse and, after opening courtesies, said Phillips’ crab cakes were atop his list. He also referred us to Little Italy, eight inner-city square blocks that boast more than two dozen restaurants.

“I’ve never had a bad meal in Little Italy,” he said. He just finds a restaurant that isn’t busy “and get served well because the competition is so keen.” We decided to try the crab cakes at Aldo’s restaurant, which he and others  recommended highly. It was our first jumbo-lump kind. No one worth their crab-cake credentials will settle for less. Every crab has two large cartilage-free muscles, one on each side, that power and propel their rear fins. These are used for the top-of-the-line jumbo-lump crab cakes.

The next morning, we trundled back down to the bayfront where the tall ship USS Constellation – America’s last all-sail warship – anchors the revitalized harbor. We hopped onto one of the water taxis that depot there. 

Our first stop was Tide Point, where we boarded a jitney to Fort McHenry, the inspiration for our national anthem. The garrison at this fort three miles from the city’s commercial core rebuffed an attack by the British fleet in September 1814. The 25-hour siege was witnessed by a young attorney named Francis Scott Key. When he saw the 32-foot U.S. banner still blowing in the wind behind the fort’s cannons after the British departed, he wrote a poem called “The Defense of Fort McHenry.” The words later were tacked onto the melody of a bawdy British beer-drinking ballad and became “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Back at Harborplace, we followed the red-brick road that wraps around the inlet past the National Aquarium and  Maryland Science Center to get to the Rusty Scupper in our pursuit of crab-cake perfection. The crab cakes there were tanged with sweet mustard. As magnificent as these were, we had saved the best for our last day.

The unchallenged  “Queen of Crab Cakes” works daily at the Lexington Market, which hasn’t closed its doors since 1792. This longest continuously operating market in the country is a 15-minute walk from the Peabody, but we toook a 10-minute detour  through the Westminster Church burial grounds. Edgar Alan Poe’s grave is marked here by a concrete stone carved with a black bird and one of the writer’s most famous lines – “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.'”

As we entered Lexington Market, Bill Devine was behind Faidley’s crustacean counter, which also sells muskrat and racoon during season. He introduced us to his wife, Nancy, whose grandfather opened the seafood stand in 1886. She was delighted to discuss her crab cakes. “Boiling takes the flavor and fat out of crabs,” she said, “so we steam them, or broil them. But my crab cakes are designed to be fried. That gives them the crusty exterior and moist interior. Fry them like a steak – very hot – to seal in the juices and flavors.” She said she makes the traditional claw-meat crab cakes as well as jumbo-lump.

“It takes about 24 crabs to make one pound of jumbo-lump crab meat. Each crab cake uses about six or seven ounces – whatever my hands can hold. They’re bigger than a baseball but smaller than a softball.”

The rest is Tender Loving Care. The results are Cosmic Crustacean Cuisine. And a new crab-cake rule: eschew them all until we return to Baltimore.

Mature Life Features, Copyright 2004

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 20, 2012 at 8:21 am

People Who Get Stoned in Glass Houses …

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…should not drink or do drugs naked.

— Cecil Scaglione, Mature Life Features

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 11, 2012 at 12:05 am

Posted in A Musing

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When the going gets tough …

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… government gets tougher — it raises taxes.

–Cecil Scaglione

Mature Life Features

Written by Cecil Scaglione

June 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

Posted in A Musing

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