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[APRIL 11, 2001]   Pumped: Straight Facts For Athletes About Drugs, Supplements, And Training." Cynthia Kuhn, Ph.D., Scott Swartzwelder, Ph.D., and Wilkie Wilson, Ph.D., W.W. Norton & Co., 2000, 190 pages.

"Our culture is increasingly obsessed with physical appearance and performance…no wonder people would do anything, including risking their lives, to be among the strong and the beautiful…the combination of money in athletics and the desire of everyone to be beautiful has led to a huge market in drugs in supplements." In their book "Pumped," authors Cynthia Kuhn, Scott Swartzwelder and Wilkie Wilson examine the rise of performance-enhancing drugs, their benefits and the dangers associated with their use.

Thanks to the popularity of sports in America athletes are turning to more advanced and sometimes questionable methods of competing. The increased use of drugs, steroids and supplements is one example of this trend. In recognizing this the authors wrote this book partly because, "information is power. Anyone involved in sports should understand what the body needs to perform at its best and how the available performance enhancing drugs and supplements really affect health and physical accomplishment."

Chapter 1’s "Optimizing Performance" describes the needs of the human body during training and performance. The critical functions of the brain, heart and muscles and their energy sources are also examined. These sources can include sugars, fat and proteins. Interestingly enough, the authors state that the brain is the most important organ in the body for physical activity and exercise — it is responsible for directing movement, sending blood to the muscles and controlling breathing.


"How To Read The Ads" is a common sense primer for understanding the merchandising and marketing of these drugs. There are numerous drugs and supplements available that affect strength, body mass or endurance. In evaluating these promotions the authors caution against relying solely on information such as consumer testimonials or the manufacturer’s claim. More reliable information is usually contained in credible studies of the product and its performance value (such as statistical data on a suitable target population).

"Warming Up" is a brief primer on what constitutes a drug and how drugs work. The effects of drugs on the human body, particularly the brain, are also discussed. One troubling aspect found in some of these drugs and supplements is their effect on the brain; they can adversely affect the receptors (brain cells) that control the functions of the brain.


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The next two chapters, "Bulking Up/Slimming Down" and "Building Muscle Mass and Strength" shift the attention to the different substances that are available to athletes. Some of these substances act to influence weight loss and fat burning and blocking; others such as steroids, growth hormones and amino acid supplements can have greater impact on the human body. In using these substances the authors urge caution and common sense: "You can lose weight by eating less, by exercising more, or by doing both — which works best…long term or repeated dieting slows metabolism, making it harder to decrease weight just by restricting food."

Some of the authors’ most important advice comes at the end of the chapter pertaining to muscle mass: "Steroids can increase muscle mass but only at doses that have potentially dangerous effects on the brain, heart and reproductive tract."

"Getting Pumped" is an eye-opening account of the most widely used stimulants, their benefits, side effects and potential dangers. The list is a virtual who’s who of some of the most popular drugs and includes cocaine, amphetamines, decongestants and caffeine. The bottom line, according to the authors: "All the stimulants have cardiovascular side effects that can be dangerous to athletes using these drugs during training or performance."

The remaining chapters discuss the effects of substances such as marijuana, alcohol, tobacco, sedatives, and depressants and antidepressants. Not only can these be used for performance enhancement, they can also be used as a "calming" drug that is "designed to gradually slow the activity of all the neural centers in the brain." These drugs can impair performance by affecting coordination, disrupting sleep patterns and impacting existing mood disorders.

"Pumped" is essential reading for any athlete, coach or parent who is considering the use of performance-enhancing drugs. The book is easy to use; each chapter opens with the list of topics discussed in that particular chapter. The bibliography contains additional references and source materials on the subject matter. At the center is a useful tool — a color photographic guide illustrating the different substances that athletes can use (or abuse). Containing a mixture of the latest scientific information with good common sense, "Pumped" is recommended for anyone associated with sports, fitness, exercise or athletic competition.

For more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-8878.


[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln Public Library District]

‘The Contender’

Released on video Tuesday, March 6, 2001

Rated R     Approx 127 Minutes     DreamWorks Home Entertainment -2000

Written and directed by Rod Lurie


Jeff Bridges

Christian Slater

Sam Elliot

Joan Allen

Gary Oldman (also the executive producer)


This movie uses graphic language to describe sexual scenes and presents some nudity.

[MARCH 10, 2001]  The box said “two thumbs up” and “Thriller!”

In recent years, the "two thumbs up" endorsement has meant that I probably was going to find the movie to be a loser. "Thriller" usually means I may endure it but I’m probably not going to be thrilled with it.

However, in the case of "The Contender," both my thumbs are up too, and I am indeed thrilled.

"The Contender" is a gritty movie, a political "action" film of sorts. It is a thriller because you don’t have a clear shot at the plot until it is finally revealed for you. At the end, you look back on the film and say, "Yeah, I should’ve seen that coming."

"The Contender" is gritty because it focuses on a dirty fight between political rivals to appoint a new vice president of the United States. The president (played very aptly by Jeff Bridges) selects a woman, Sen. Lane Hanson of Ohio (Joan Allen), for the job, against the advice of party officials and his own advisers. The previous vice president died somehow in office — but "The Contender" never tries to explain his passing.

The whole plot is wrapped up in the confirmation hearings and the process of bringing an appointee to office or sending ’em off packing.

Gary Oldman plays Sheldon Runyon, the Republican chairman of the selection committee. The highly respected, powerful senator seems bent on not only denying the president his day in the sun but also destroying the very career of Sen. Hanson.


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Two things about this movie made a good impression on me.

First, the acting was excellent. Oldman plays a perfect bad guy in this film (he seems to have the bad-guy act down pat). Jeff Bridges, who I thought incapable of playing a convincing president, stepped up to the plate and delivered. Christian Slater played the part of a freshman congressman who was seeking to do the right thing on principle, and was perfectly cast for the part. Finally, Joan Allen was wonderful in her portrayal of the contender under siege.

Second, the plot was dynamite. This movie seems to make you move away from certain characters and make certain assumptions, but you find yourself making a couple of 90 degree turns before it’s done. In the spirit of "The West Wing," it is full of political intrigue and the power of the Washington scene. "The Contender" is a film about respect and dignity and the rocky road to realizing those two values.

The first hour of the movie has a single weakness: The lack of actors on the set portraying political operatives, appointees, devotees and those holding office makes you believe the story less. They needed a fuller cast to make it seem like Washington and government.

This is not a partisan film about the usual struggle between Republicans and Democrats. Instead it is a story about the dynamics of power, accusation and truth.

So, I recommend this film to you if you enjoy a good thriller, if you enjoy stories about the political struggles of this nation and if you like a good fiction about how truth prevails.

I give it 3˝ stars (out of five).


LCT scholarship applications available

[MARCH 23, 2001]  To foster local talent, Lincoln Community Theatre will award a $500 theater arts scholarship to a Logan County graduating high school senior who plans to attend Lincoln College.

Scholarship applications are available from area high school guidance counselors or by contacting Connie DiLillo, LCT scholarship chairman at 732-7859. Completed applications must be postmarked no later than April 27.

[LCT news release]


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LCT chooses summer production staff

[MARCH 12, 2001]  Lincoln Community Theatre has announced the 2001 summer production staff.

The first production, "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown," which runs from June 8 through 16, was selected in celebration of LCT’s 30th anniversary season. This musical was the first performance offered by Lincoln Community Theatre during the organization’s first season in 1971.

The 2001 production will be directed by Sean-Edward Hall of Springfield. Wayne Mara of Lincoln has been hired as technical director, with Jason Yarcho, also of Lincoln, as accompanist and orchestra director. Lights and sound will be managed by Stuart Wyneken of Lincoln.

The July 13 through 21 comedy, "Moon Over Buffalo," will be directed by Jerry Dellinger of Lincoln. He will also serve as lighting director. Technical director will be Max Levendel of Bloomington.

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LCT’s final production, "The Wiz," will be directed by Tracy Tiritilli of Bloomington, with husband Mark Tiritilli serving as technical director. The show will run Aug. 3 through 11. Yarcho will again serve as musical accompanist, and Wyneken will handle lighting and sound.

LCT also plans a children’s play this summer. Performances will be June 28 through July 1.

For more information see the LCT website,

[LCT news release]


Theatre 7 chooses cast members

[MARCH 3, 2001]  Theatre 7 – Decatur’s Community Theatre has selected cast members for its production of the comedy "Dearly Departed." The show is about a colorful but dysfunctional Southern family coming together to hilarious results when its patriarch, "Bud," passes away.

"Dearly Departed" is being directed by Joe Straka, with Penny Williams as assistant director

Cast members and the characters they play are as follows: Nancy Jo Batman, Raynelle; Shawn Becker, RayBud; Lesa Andrick, Lucille; James Graham, Junior; Tish Duis, Suzanne; Pam Stinson, Marguerite; Tom Morrow, Royce; Carl Sebens, Reverend Hooker; Karen Becker, Veda; John Dunn, Norval/Clyde; Julie Lycan, Nadine; Heather Jewell, Juanita; and Penny Williams, Delightful.

Tickets go on sale to the general public starting Monday, March 5, at the Decatur Civic Center Box Office, 422-6161.

Performance dates for "Dearly Departed" at the Decatur Civic Center Theater will be March 30-31 and April 6-7 at 7:30 p.m. and April 1 and 8 at 2 p.m.

[Theatre 7 news release]

Lincoln Community Theatre website

Lincoln Community Theatre’s (LCT) website is up and available. The site serves a number of functions, from providing information on becoming a season ticket holder to showing what new productions are being planned for next season. It lists everything one wants to know about LCT — except the scripts. The top of the page lists those already involved in the theatre and announces any paid or unpaid positions, which are still available. Audition dates are also listed for prospective actors.

The site also links to Gus Gordon Productions and Grand Ball Costumes. Gus Gordon produces plays all over central Illinois, and the site lists the upcoming plays. Grand Ball Costumes rents costumes here in central Illinois for plays, Halloween, weddings, birthdays or any other occasion.

A little farther down, the site offers information on upcoming plays, admission prices and season ticket prices. Presently, LCT’s website is displaying pictures of recent performances: "Annie" and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum."

If you are interested in joining a performance or just going to see one, visit LCT’s website at, e-mail LCT at, or write to Lincoln Community Theatre, P.O. Box 374, Lincoln, IL  62656.


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