Roy Exum: Walgreens Out Of Noses

Saturday, May 9, 2015 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I have to admit that I’m a big fan of Walgreens, so when I saw a shiny box of bright red balls for sale at the cash register last month, I was “in” before I even understood the game. “Not rubber balls … those are noses!” said Chris Haman, the manager at the store I use, and immediately I was hooked as I bought a bagful at a dollar each. I wish I’d bought more.

In less than two weeks, the first-ever “Red Nose Day” will be celebrated in the United States. Walgreens will partner with NBC Universal and M&Ms to raise millions of dollars for children in poverty and it is guaranteed to be a success. The reason I know is because there are no more noses available. “The response has been overwhelming, to say the least,” Chris said. “We could have sold twice what we were allotted. Then again, that’s what our country does best – we help each other, especially hungry kids.”

That’s right, Walgreens ordered five million clown-style noses and there are no more available anywhere in the country. Walgreens’ pledge was to sell a clown nose for $1.00, use half of those cents to pay for the manufacturing and distribution of the noses, and give the other 50 cents to the charities gathered under the Red Nose Day banner. Presto, there is $2.5 million right there!

And it gets better. NBC Universal is pushing the idea hard – I’ve already seen a picture of the Today Show cast wearing their red noses – and a star-studded three-hour special on Thursday, May 21, is going to generate tremendous interest in the anti-poverty programs the Red Nose Day will benefit. There are 12 charities in all, and in the United States funding will include the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Children’s Health Fund, and United Way. (The National Urban League, which identifies itself as a civil rights organization in the United States, is also listed among the charities.)

Believe it or not, Red Nose Day has grown into almost a “semi-holiday” in the United Kingdom after it was first started in 1988 by Britain’s Comic Relief. The group’s United States sister, Comic Relief Inc., will oversee it in the United States. In the UK Red Nose Day is held in March and, after raising 78 million pounds this year (and still counting), the “Be Funny For Money” charity has now raised – in U.S. dollars – a whopping $1,618,126,511.32 (that’s a billion with a “b”).

The televised fundraiser has just added Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston and Leslie Mann to its celebrity list. Jennifer Hudson, Will Ferrell, John Legend and Sam Smith are among the headlines already announced and, while the theme will be light and funny, there will be some insightful commentaries on the charities that help children in poverty.

* * *

Sister Helen Prejean, the famed nun who actress Susan Sarandon played in the movie “Dead Man Walking,” may or may not take the stand in the trial of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev but the simple truth is Tsarnaev is “dead” whether he gets the death penalty or not after pleading guilty.

It is believed if his life is spared he will be sent to “hell on earth,” or the prison known as “Supermax” in Colorado where a prisoner is in total isolation 23½ hours each day. There are no cellmates with five visitors allowed every month. Some believe that’s almost worse than death.

* * *

A doctor in Arizona claims that he’s developed a fool-proof way of going to sleep, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get the ZZZ’s to return.

His 4-7-8 breathing technique is based on a centuries-old Indian practice known as “pranayama,” which means regulation of breath. You might want to try it…nothing to buy...nothing ventured, nothing gained, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard-trained physician who studies holistic health.

Dr. Weil says here is what to do: “Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.” This is followed by the five-step procedure listed below:

-- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.

-- Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.

-- Hold your breath for a count of seven.

-- Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.

-- This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.

Dr. Weil says the trick – what makes this really work -- is holding your breath for eight seconds. This is because keeping the breath in will allow oxygen to fill your lungs and then circulate throughout the body. It is this that produces a relaxing effect in the body.



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