It’s amazing what my kids can suffer through if there’s a mug of hot chocolate in their immediate future. I’m going to use this massive carafe, which keeps 32 ounces of bevy hot for hours, as a metaphorical carrot to keep my kids motivated on winter hikes, bike rides, and campouts. puristcollective.com Even when it’s snowing. Indigenous people living in arctic climates have survived for centuries without central heating. The Yakut have lived in Siberia, where temps drop to -90 degrees Fahrenheit since the 13th century. Is it so crazy to ask my daughter to put on some faux fur and spend a 20-degree night in a tent? Hell, especially as the temperature drops. Layer the global pandemic and economic downturn over the typical seasonal affective disorder that winter brings and we could be headed for a disaster. Basically, what I’m saying is if I can’t get my family outside often, we’re going to kill each other. Purist Founder ($56) Stanley Master Unbreakable Hip Flask ($40) and Nesting Shot Glasses ($25) But that was when the temperatures barely dipped below 65 degrees. Winter is upon us and I’m worried my family won’t be able to keep that stoke alive. We’re still stuck at home hiding from germs, but it’s not warm and sunny outside anymore. It’s not as easy to rally for a lunch-time bike ride when it’s 32 and sleeting. I’ve been on plenty of winter adventures in my day and I can attest to the fact that freezing in the dark kind of sucks. I have no stoke for that. The fire is everything during winter, and I’m not just talking about camping. The backyard bonfire has become a staple in our family. It gives us a chance to avoid the Boob Tube cycle on choice evenings and invite neighbors over for a socially distant beer. The Solo Stove makes that tradition safer (the fire is contained inside the stainless steel can) and easier (holes in the top and bottom of the can circulate air through the fire). solostove.com Rab Hut Boots ($70) The good news is, if I can drag my family out into the woods this winter, we’ll probably have the entire forest to ourselves. We sat in traffic jams coming out of our favorite campsite in Pisgah National Forest during the summer because everyone was hiding out in the woods. We worked hard to avoid the crowds, eschewing the more popular trails for more obscure options, hitting lesser-visited districts and going deeper and deeper into the backcountry. But come winter, we should have the classic trails and crags to ourselves. And maybe we’ll be healthier and happier for braving the cold? There’s some science to suggest exposure to cold boosts metabolism, helps fight anxiety, and improves your immune response. I think we could all use an immune system boost. Science says whiskey doesn’t warm you up in the winter and that, if anything, it can desensitize you to the dangers of over exposure. This is the rare situation where I give scientists the finger. If it’s cold, I need my whiskey. This flask keeps it safe in my pocket and the tiny shot glasses allow me to share some hooch without sharing germs. Safety first. stanley1913.com Solo Stove Bonfire ($250) But damn it, our lives kind of depend on it. The mental health benefits of getting outside on the reg are well documented. An hour of being outside is basically like taking an anti-depressant. Then you have the long-term benefits of exercise, the health benefits of gathering with friends (which we can only safely do outside right now), and it’s basically a public health imperative that we have to keep the outdoor stoke alive, even as the temperature drops. Here are a few key pieces of gear to help stave off the cold for the whole family this winter. My neighbor is perpetually stoked. He’s a professional kayaker and has the zest for life that typically comes standard with that profession, so he’s excited for rain, drought, a cooler full of beer, a comfortable lawn chair, fresh cut grass, a freshly groomed pump track…there is nothing in the world that can get this guy down. And this summer, my family and I had a taste for what that kind of lifestyle entails. The stoke was high. The global pandemic was, and continues to be, a colossal bummer, but if there was a silver lining to the doom and gloom, it’s that my family suddenly had a lot of time on our hands thanks to the widespread cancellation of “life as we know it.” And we made the most of it. We rode bikes constantly and camped most weekends. I built a climbing wall in our backyard and added a jump line to our pump track. We explored random trails, rivers, and peaks close to home. We caught fish. In a lot of ways, our new lifestyle was cathartic; riding bikes through the neighborhood and orchestrating backyard campouts felt like a wholesome diversion while the world crumbled around us. Unfortunately, my wife and kids hate the cold. I’m not in love with it myself. I’ll risk losing toes to frostbite if there’s powder to ski, but if there’s no snow? Pour me a whiskey and plant me next to the fire. I have soft southern blood that’s evolved to tolerate mild winters. The whole world saw what my people do when that ice storm hit Atlanta a few years ago. We’re not suited for true winter conditions. Chances are, if you’re sitting in the south and reading this, you’re also from a long line of people who panic and buy all of the milk and bread when snow is in the forecast. But we’re just going to have to toughen the hell up. There are kids in Germany that go to school outside all year long. Winter Gear Here Ponchos aren’t just for surf bros spending the winter in Baja. The Honcho adds a layer of synthetic insulation wrapped in a water resistant ripstop nylon with a hood. Sure, you’re wearing a coat and standing next to the fire, but one more layer isn’t going to hurt. My wife and daughter live in the Honcho. thermarest.com And listen, maybe there will be snow. Maybe we’ll have one of those “good” winters when the resorts can open all their runs and we can cross-country ski at the higher elevations every weekend. 2020 has given us little reason to be hopeful, but let’s nurture the last ember of optimism that remains and wish for a killer, snowy winter. Either way, I’m determined to embrace the cold. To ski when we can ski and bike when we can’t. To continue the backyard bonfires and weekend campouts. We’ll layer up. We’ll bring cocoa and those handwarmer packets that cause second degree burns. We’ll toughen up and keep the stoke alive! These camp shoes have helped me fight off cold toes on many frosty nights in a tent and by the fire. They’re stuffed with synthetic insulation in a ripstop outer with a grippy sole that’s tough enough to let you wander around camp. rab.equipment Therm-a-Rest Honcho Poncho ($115)
Oxlade-Chamberlain may not be the last Arsenal star to leave this week as Chile forward Alexis Sanchez is wanted by Manchester City.Kieran Gibbs had already been sold by the Gunners to West Bromwich Albion earlier on Wednesday.Liverpool are also trying to conclude a club-record deal for Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar before the transfer window closes.The Ligue 1 side are reluctant to sell, but their purchase of Lazio winger Keita Balde on Tuesday raised Liverpool’s hopes that they may be willing to sanction his departure.It would likely take a fee in excess of £70 million to land the highly-rated 21-year-old.Southampton’s Virgil van Dijk is another Liverpool target and Klopp is waiting to see if Saints decide to cut their losses on a defender who has yet to play for them this season after insisting he wants to leave. Share on: WhatsApp London, United Kingdom | AFP | Liverpool have agreed a £35 million ($46 million, 38 million euros) deal with Arsenal to sign England midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, according to reports on Wednesday.Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared set to join Chelsea earlier this week after the Premier League champions had a bid accepted for the 24-year-old.But Liverpool appear to have won the race for Oxlade-Chamberlain’s signature ahead of Thursday’s deadline.It is believed Liverpool was always Oxlade-Chamberlain’s preferred destination and he never entered into contract talks with the Blues while he waited to see if Jurgen Klopp’s side would make an acceptable offer.Oxlade-Chamberlain is currently on England duty and is expected to undergo a medical at St George’s Park on Wednesday evening before signing a reported six-year contract with Liverpool.Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger opted to sell Oxlade-Chamberlain because the former Southampton player would have been out of contract and eligible to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season.
By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez |Cardiac patients living with Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS) might feel they have a guardian angel looking out for them, thanks to a new medical device invented right here in the Two River area.After a long journey of starts and stops, research and trials, in April the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the AngelMed Guardian®System, the world’s first implantable cardiac monitor and patient alerting system for ACS.The AngelMed Guardian®System, nicknamed “the Guardian,” is designed to identify changes in the heart’s electrical signals indicative of a potential ACS, including heart attacks or episodes of unstable angina.“I’m a little numb,” said David R. Fischell, Ph.D., of Fair Haven, co-founder and CEO of Angel Medical Systems, and one of the inventors the device. “It’s been 17 years.”The Guardian got its start in 2002 in Fischell’s home office, where he and a handful of former AT&T Bell Lab engineers toiled for years to develop the device.Fischell, who’s company bio describes him as a “serial entrepreneur,” has founded nine biomedical device companies in the last 15 years, including Angel Medical Systems. For 11 years he worked at AT&T Bell Labs in Monmouth County locations. Much of the R&D for the Guardian was performed by former Bell Lab employees.Fischell’s father, Rober t, ScD., a physicist, inventor and holder of more than 200 medical patents, serves as chairman of the board of Angel Medical Systems. He is credited with developing modern medical stents, lifetime pacemaker batteries and implantable insulin pumps.The senior Fischell first got the idea for the Guardian when he observed that portable external devices that measure a heart’s activity continuously for 24 to 48 hours, similar to Holter monitors, use electrodes that attach to the skin. “But you can’t wear that 24 hours a day,” Fischell said. “With a heart attack you need to know when it happens. That’s what got us going.” Fischell and his father, as well as his brother Tim, M.D., an inter ventional cardiologist, set about working on an internal device.A heart attack occurs when there is a sudden complete blockage of an artery that supplies blood to an area of the heart.According to Fischell, “14 million Americans have ACS.”When the Guardian’s implanted monitor detects a potential heart attack, it vibrates, alerting the patient. In addition, a pager-size device beeps and flashes, letting the user know to seek help or call 911.At the hospital, a physician can retrieve the information collected by the Guardian on a computer.Despite the current excitement, it was a long road from conception to approval.After clinical trials at 100 medical centers throughout the country, including four in New Jersey, Angel Medical Systems had to complete an extensive review process for the FDA approval.The company had to make tough decisions, including reducing its over-head by shuttering its space and allowing its 10 employees to work out of their homes, in order to save money.Funding through New Jersey’s Technology Business Tax Certificate Transfer Program, also known as the Net Operating Loss (NOL) Program, helped immensely.Now Fischell and AngelMed are poised and ready to bring the life-saving device to market, planned for sometime in 2019.“We believe it can reduce the number of patients coming in to emergency rooms every year thinking they’re having a heart attack,” said Fischell, “but are not.”“We hope the Guardian as it’s released throughout the country will have the potential to save hearts and lives.”This article first appeared in the July 5 – 12, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.