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Spotlight: Spot of Bother by Jeff Lynch

23 Nov

November 23, 2011

Jeff lives in Asheville, NC with his partner Eric and their two dogs Dixie and Shade.

Small business owner and avid fan of all things bizarre.

Formerly of the Bothersome Things podcast, you can now find Jeff’s weekly Spot of Bother news commentary on the Flash Cast Podcast.

That’s the description from his website but that hardly does him justice. Over on Flash Cast he’s been called “the evil NPR guy” but that’s not quite it either. One thing is for sure, his segment is always a highlight for me. When you read the post below you’ll see why. And you’ll see why I’m jealous as well. While we share the some of the same interests, he writes about them much more eloquently than I do. And perhaps even worse, his segment usually precedes mine on the Flash Cast. While my voice work can be described as (and I am being generous) competent, Jeff sounds like a pro. He is a tough act to follow. In fact, given his deep voice and subject matter, maybe “Evil NPR Guy” is about right.

Jeff’s Spot of Bother can be found on the web right here.
You can also find him on twitter @PleaseLynchMe

This Summer I took it upon myself to lose twenty pounds of unwanted weight, and contrary to popular recommendations I did not opt to start by removing my head. I have such kind friends. Actually I had two reasons for my endeavor, lowering my cholesterol and an upcoming trip to South Beach. In all honesty, looking better (note: I did not say good) in a bathing suite was probably the real catalyst. I can see the flab in the mirror after all, not the Wendy’s Baconators swimming around in my bloodstream looking for a soft, warm home. After toiling away at the gym all Spring and Summer, I did in fact loose the weight and rediscovered my old self.  I’m now back to my college days pant size. The problem is, those trips to the gym must now continue or else I’m sure to slip right back into my arm chair and lose myself in another episode of, say, American Chopper whilst chowing down on the aforementioned Baconators. It’s a vicious cycle and quite honestly I can sympathize with those who throw in the towel and pick up the Snuggie.

As it turns out, so many people are opting for the ‘arm-chair-and-bucket-of-chicken’ lifestyle that manufacturers have been forced to take notice and expand (pun intended) their product lines to accommodate these hearty folk.

My friend Melinda, a physical therapist, recently spent thousands of dollars on a new oversized treatment table because so many of her patients were no longer able to fit on the old ones designed for Americans 1.0. She explained to me that it was a trend in the medical field. Oversized gurneys, hospital beds, exam tables, wheelchairs, ambulances, the list goes on.

Now, it seems the auto industry has taken notice of this big new challenge and have began researching ways to improve upon both existing and future automobiles in order to make them more safe and convenient for the big-boned soccer moms to haul their brood around the neighborhood.  Here’s a delightful story from London’s Telegraph (Yeah, it’s not just an American thing) :

Typical family cars have become more than a foot wider and almost double the weight over the past 50 years as manufacturers struggle with the world’s obesity crisis.

Consequently some luxury manufacturers have begun road-testing the next generation of larger-sized vehicles.

Officials say will allow bigger people to maintain their comfort on the road.

In plans dubbed “plump my ride” – in a play of words from the television show Pimp My Ride – BMW has recruited 800 volunteers, ranging from the slim to the obese, for a study to gauge how obesity affects mobility while driving.

The unnamed volunteers were last week put through a series of tests designed in part to examine factors such as getting in and out of cars or looking over their shoulder while reversing.

“People are getting more obese and we want to find out how that limits their range of motion and how our vehicles can adapt to the changing needs of our customers,” Ralf Kaiser, a member of BMW’s ergonomics team, told the Sunday Times.

“We know that a lot of overweight and obese people have problems in daily life, and in the car this starts with getting in and getting out.

“In general, these aren’t sporty people. We already have things like the parking distance control, which shows obstacles on a screen when you are reversing.”

He added: “For someone who can find it difficult to turn 140 degrees to look behind them, they can now just look at the screen.

“The study will mean we can look at things more scientifically and build a car that at least 95 per cent of people can use.”

Mercedes has unveiled plans to strengthen grab handles above its doors, in part to help heavier passengers support themselves.

Porsche, meanwhile, is installing “electrically-powered steering columns” on top-of-the-range models that rise when the engine is switched off.

Over the past decade, Honda has widened its seats by up to 2in to accommodate larger bottoms while its new range of vehicles will also have buttons that will allow for so-called “sausage fingers”.

Other manufacturers are installing reversing aids and blind spot detectors as standard.

According to the latest figures a Ford Prefect was 4ft 9in wide with an 18in long seat cushion in 1953. This compared to a 2011 Ford Focus that was 6ft 1in wide with a 23in long seat cushion.

Government statistics show that more than 60 per cent of adults in England and a third of 10 and 11-year-olds are obese.

In August The Lancet medical journal said that by 2030 more than 11m would classed as obese, with a body mass index (BMI) above 30, compared with a healthy BMI score of between 18.5 and 25.

Obesity and chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes cost Britain £20 billion a year in terms of lost productivity, it was claimed last month.

It was recently disclosed that over the past five years Yorkshire Ambulance Service spent nearly £10 million on specialist vehicles to transport obese patients.

Speaking earlier this month at a launch that unveiled plans to cut obesity levels by 2020, Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, said Britain had to become a nation of calorie counters to counter the obesity crisis.

Also, Consumer Reports has just released a new report reviewing the best cars currently on the market for plus-sized people. The complete list may be found here, but the top spot goes to the Honda Odyssey.

As for me, I’m going to continue my relentless pursuit of  skinny jeans on the treadmill for as long as my willpower persists. After all, the view out the gym window is great … there’s a Wendy’s right across the street.

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