Laptop making you infertile?

Paul Banas

Add it to the list: no more laptop on your knees if you’re trying to have a baby.

A new study, published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility by researchers from Argentina and the U.S., found that semen samples placed a little more than an inch under a Wi-Fi-connected laptop experienced more DNA damage and mobility issues than regular sperm. The samples were taken from 29 healthy men with an average age of 34.

[From Laptop Wi-Fi Might Cause Male Fertility Issues]

I would think the heat alone would be a warning sign, but this is even worse.

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Food gift ideas for Fathers Day

Paul Banas

Here are a few father’s day consumables for the dad who has everything and wants nothing left on the shelf, or on the plate. Get him something to eat!

1. Cookies from Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop ( Owner Sally Minier makes homebaked cookies and sends them anywhere in the world. These are just like homemade or church bake sale, made with butter and sugar and apparently a flood of memories. We especially liked the Wellesley cookie, kind of like a 7-Layer bar in cookie form, made of coconut and chocolate (but minus the nuts, sadly). These won’t keep forever, but will likely be gone before they go bad.

2. New York Times Wine Club ( Personally, I don’t know why I persist in trying to magically find wine based on label graphics at my weekly grocery store. It never tastes as good as the wine recommended to me in a restaurant, or the wine served by a friend who actually knows what he is doing. So why not a wine merchant who actually needs to make sure you are satisfied each time with the choices or you won’t come back again? Now God only knows what the NYT is doing in this business, but I guess they have to pay for those far-flung correspondents somehow. Maybe the reporters are doubling as wine testers and buyers when things are slow on the international beat. For Father’s Day 2011, use promo code FATHER for an extra gift.

3. La Cense Beef ( I’ve cut down my meat consumption just so I can feel okay about eating a steak every few weeks. And since I’m eating salads all the time, when I eat meat, I want good meat, not just anything red. La Cense is a specialized meat packer that is miles above the leader in the mail order meat category (you know who I’m talking about, Omaha!). Their cows not only are grass fed, they are “grass-finished” which means they are fed naturally even during their last trip to the slaughterhouse, when most cows are fed corn and poorly treated. The meat has more flavor and it also has more Omega-3s. Perhaps not enough to prevent a heart attack, but used in moderation, beef is not a bad thing. You’ll pay more, but you can get any cut including roasts and hot dogs and dad is sure to appreciate the thought.

4. Bake Me A Wish cakes by mail. Did you know you can even send a cake to someone, including someone in the military. Cakes are usually for birthdays, but who says you can’t send one for Father’s Day, especially if dad is a long ways off, and you know he LOVES cake. We tried a chocolate cake from Bake Me A Wish and it was very good. Expect a cake similar in quality to one you would find freshly baked at Whole Foods, with all-natural ingredients and plenty of frosting. The cake was very very moist, perhaps because it had to travel. My wife found it too “wet,” but I enjoyed it. Bake Me a Wish cakes come in 20 plus flavors and can be shipped overnight to any place in the United States, including military addresses. Bake Me a Wish also gives 5% off all proceeds to send birthday cakes to soldiers overseas.

5. Spoonful of Comfort offers Chicken Soup by mail. For the dad who has everything, except a way to satiate his craving for real and simple homemade chicken soup, this is a special gift. At $34 plus a minimum of $13.95 shipping for 4-6 servings, it’s not a cheap half gallon of soup, but we were impressed by the simple ingredient list, the hearty stock and lots of real chicken and fresh noodles. The soup arrives mostly frozen with 2-3 day delivery, ready to heat up and eat. A special fathers day pack also includes 6 homemade chocolate chip cookies, 6 Parker House rolls, and a bright red “Kiss the Cook” apron for $50. Review Policy: Bake Me a Wish, La Cense, Spoonful of Comfort and Sweet Sally’s provided samples for the sole purpose of product testing. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.

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San Francisco to ban circumcisions?

Paul Banas
Circumcision in Ancient Egypt.

Image via Wikipedia

First, if I were to go on to say that San Francisco is about to outlaw female circumcision, what would your opinion be?

Actually, the City by the Bay, as reported by, has received enough signatures on a petition to add a no male circumcision initiative to the November ballot. The proposal would ban male circumcision, with no religious exemptions. Violators would be guilty of a misdemeanor offense and subject to a $1000 fine. Female circumcision is already illegal everywhere in the United States.

80% of American males are circumcised though circumcision rates have been falling. Some vocal groups equate male and female circumcision though one procedure in almost all cases is far severe; more of an amputation than a cutting back of foreskin. Still, it’s a very interesting comparison to draw given that most people’s reaction to the proposed ban is outraged amusement. Outrage from people who would scream: “Government: Keep your hands off my son’s penis!” and amusement over what those crazy people in San Francisco are doing now.

But like the female circumcision debate (if you can call it that), this is basically a discussion over the rights of parents to impose on their kids the values of their community or religion. And on the other side, the power of the State, based on a majority vote, to say that a practice is inhuman or unfair. And it’s hard not think about the abortion debate in this same context. A headline I thought was just crazy has made me think a lot about what I believe about all government intervention in our personal lives. And it’s clearly not a clichéd left-right response.

As for GreatDad and circumcision, we’ve always taken a “no correct answer” approach. It’s up to every parent to decide what is right for their family. There is plenty of evidence on both sides to make this a very gray decision. All we’ve ever said is that dads need to be present for the procedure if they are going to direct it to be done to their infant sons.k

What do you think? Should San Francisco or any government have this control over circumcision?

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Honor a Military Dad from

Paul Banas

I just had a good talk with Vincent DiCaro at the Fatherhood Initiative. They work to support involved dads and motivating others to be the best dads they can be. They are honoring military dads with a Military Dad Award. Please take a look if you know a military dad who deserves an added honor as a dad.


Along with all the costs of war, we also don’t talk much about the effect on families, kids and dads (and moms). Being a dad has many challenges, but I am grateful that one of mine is not trying to stay in touch with my family while dodging bullets. Our friend, Armin Brott, a former Marine, recently wrote a book on The Military Father to help dads and military families prepare for a deployment and manage the situation as best they can. The Fatherhood Initiative also has materials to help military dads.

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Sexual symptom may be sign of weak heart

Paul Banas

A recent study published in Circulation: Journal of American Heart Association found that erectile dysfunction may actually be a strong predictor of cardiovascular disease. Since drugs that treat ED do not address the underlying cardiovascular causes of the problem, some men may think they are healthy when in fact, they are at risk for more serious heart conditions. According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 5 percent of 40-year-old men and 15 to 25 percent of 65-year-old men suffer from long-term erectile dysfunction (ED).

  • Eat for your heart – Choose a diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and low in unhealthy saturated fats.
  • Exercise often – Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 times a week, but even 10 minutes of daily exercise will provide cardiovascular benefits.
  • Avoid cigarette and cigar smoke – Smoking and second-hand smoke inhalation are deadly to the cardiovascular system.
  • Relax and de-stress – Emotional stress can affect physical health. Ways to improve the mind, body, and spirit connection include periodic journaling, meditative breathing and reading inspirational books.
  • Take whole-food supplements – Omega-3 fish oil capsules, Vitamin D, and B-complex vitamins have shown to positively affect cardiovascular health.
  • Check blood pressure and cholesterol – Getting regular check-ups help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction.

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