Why Betty White Doesn’t Look 88 Years Old (Yes, She’s a Vegan)

Thank you for being a host.

For me, no episode of SNL could ever be funnier than when Justin Timberlake hosted his first time in 2003.  But finally, thanks to Danish-Greek American actress Betty White, someone has come pretty close.  In fact, her hosting job earned Saturday Night Live its highest number of viewers since November 2008 when John McCain hosted and Tina Fey snuck off the set of 30 Rock to parody Sarah Palin.

It’s not necessarily easy to keep me laughing with TV shows and movies that are supposed to be funny.  But watching sweet little Betty White for nearly 90 minutes was the most consistent “LOLing” I’ve done since the first time I saw I Love You, Man.

Every skit was hilarious: “Delicious Dish”, “MacGruber”, “She’s a Lesbian”, “Scared Straight”, “Thank You for Being a Friend”, “CSI: Sarasota”, “Census”.  Which means all the hype leading up to Betty White’s hosting gig, including the facebook petition and the countless Internet articles speculating her success at hosting, actually were worth it.  Betty White as host of SNL will be right up there with Christopher Walken’s “VH1’s Behind the Music: Blue Oyster Cult” (“more cowbell”) in the SNL Hall of Fame of our minds.

And I was so amazed to find out that Betty White is 88 years old.  It’s natural to say, “But she doesn’t look 88 years old…”

Betty White at the 1988 Emmy's, age 66

I know that’s what I always think of people I see on TV who are celebrating their 100th birthday.  No one who is 100 looks 100.  But what does 88 years old look like?  What does 100 years old look like?


Eighty-eight looks like a 68 year-old who hasn’t taken very good care of themselves.  For example, perhaps a regular smoker who after their retirement doesn’t continue to live an active lifestyle both physically and mentally, nor do they take deliberate notice of what they eat and drink.

It involves some circular reasoning: People who look young for their age are usually in shape- and because they are in shape, they look healthier and younger than most people their age- and because choose to stay in shape as they get older, they tend to be the ones who live to be the longest- and they tend to become the longest-living and youngest-looking people.

Enter Betty White, a vegan.  While I could never be that disciplined, I do recognize it’s no coincidence that she’s still so full of life.  And spunk.

On top of that, I’ve learned that people who continue to look younger than their actual age in their younger years, continue to look younger in their older age.  Like Dick Clark (80), Chuck Norris (70), Harrison Ford (67), or Johnny Depp (46).  So of course, genetics is a big part of it.

It’s sort of like a man’s receding hairline.  I’ve noticed that by observing the hairline of 21 year-old man, it is easy to predict how much hair he will have at age 40, 60, and 80.

Looking back at pictures of a young James Taylor, he already had a receding hairline going on.  By his 40’s, he was pretty much completely bald on top.

Robin Williams, who I would say best represents the average American man’s rate of hair loss, showed very minimal signs of balding when he made it big with his sitcom Mork and Mindy back in 1978 at age 27.  But by the time he did One Hour Photo in 2002 at age 50 (one of my favorite “scary” movies, though most people I talk to don’t feel the same way), it was clear he was losing some hair, but that he would not be going completely bald in his adulthood.

In other words, whether it’s a general youthful appearance or an extremely slow rate of hair loss, these “signs of youth” are obvious when a person is a young adult and they stay that way throughout the rest of their lives, given they take care physical and mental care of themselves.

So that’s why 88 year-old Betty White looks like she’s 68.  And why so many 68 year-olds we know look 88.  And most 100 year-olds look 70.

But most important isn’t how old or person looks on the outside, or even how young they feel on the inside.  What’s most important is how young a person’s body thinks it is- which is largely controlled by how well they take care of their own body.

Sure he's bald and 57, but LOST's Terry O'Quinn is one bad arse!

Because what good is it too look younger than your actual age your whole life only to die at age 60 (while “feeling 30”) because of heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure?  All of which could have been prevented or severely slowed down by carefully limiting sodium (meats and packaged/processed foods), sugar (other than from whole fruits), and saturated fats (animal fats, not fats from nuts and oils).  And replacing them with fresh produce, high fiber, plenty of water, and regular exercise.


I want to be like Betty.

And one more thing… Now that you’ve read my take on Betty White, why not read my perspective on: being a dad.  That’s right- parenting from a dad’s point of view.  I have been documenting my thoughts as a dad since the week we found out my wife was pregnant.  I formally invite you now to read my “dad blog”:

dad from day one

Celebrity Apprentice 2010 Recap: Burger Heaven

A big part of enjoying any new season of Celebrity Apprentice is to familiarize yourself with the “celebrities” in the cast.  Granted, there are always a few I have actually heard of, if for no other reasons, nostalgic purposes.  This year, though, there are only a few I had never heard of before; Wikipedia helped fill in the blanks for me.  Here there are, starting in the order of my own greatest familiarity with them to least:

Cyndi Lauper- the off-beat queen of 1983 with her hits “Time After Time” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

Sinbad- seriously, how can you not like Sinbad?

Sharon Osbourne- now more famous and recognizable from her reality show appearances than being the wife of Ozzy Osbourne

Rod Blagojevich- the “corrupt politician” whom we’re supposed to hate

Darryl Strawberry- whom I still have a 1988 Post Cereal baseball card of in my parents’ garage

Bill Goldberg- the Jewish professional wrestler, athlete, and… “actor”

Holly Robinson Peete- whom I had a crush on in 6th grade from her role on Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper

Bret Michaels- reality show contestant transfer from VH1, oh yeah, and the lead singer of Poison

Curtis Stone- Australian TV chef

Michael Johnson- Olympic Gold Medal Sprinter

Carol Leifer- Jewish comedienne/writer for Seinfeld

Selita Ebanks- Victoria’s Secret model

Summer Sanders- Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer

Maria Kanellis- former professional wrestling actress

The episode started out with The Donald explaining he understands it’s even harder now than ever to get people to ask for money.  He confidently confirmed that the “celebrities” are putting their careers on hold (cough-cough-desperate-for-a-comeback-cough-cough) to be on the show.

As the script called for, he turned down his personal chauffuer’s ride, telling us the viewers, “Ya know what, I’m walking instead.”  After the camera was turned off, he then most undoubtedly took the ride he just turned down.

This premiere was packed with follicly challenged hosts and constestants, not because they are losing their hair, but because they choose some of the the most bizarre do’s for themselves.  The Donald, of course, has his own signature horribleness.  Blagojevich prefers more of a spin-off of The Donald,  but looking more like a 12 year-old boy’s haircut.  Donald Jr. (who proves bad hair runs in the family) feels most confident in his uneven “which way is it going today?” slick-back.  And Cindy Lauper, it really wouldn’t be fair to call her messy bird’s nest a hairstyle.

The men named their team Rock Solid and the women chose Tenacity (which  means “courage”).  Both teams had to take over a diner called Burger Heaven (two different locations, one for each team).  They only  had 3 hours to be open for business.  This caused a particular challenge for the contestants because any rich friends they had in New York City had to actually be there in person to make a financial contribution.

Rock Solid chose to target people with extra money to give to charity by making all their menu items $100.  But Tenacity chose to make their menu items more affordable for “street people”.  As a curve ball, The Donald had last season’s winner, Jewish comedienne Joan Rivers to visit both team’s restaurants to decide which one was better.  Her decision would cause The Donald to personally give an extra $10,000 to that team’s charity.

Favorite Moments:

When Goldberg compared his old school paper hat to a Yamaka.

When it was obvious that Cyndi Lauper was annoyed by the radio DJ saying naming her restaurant challenge “Girls Just Want to Eat Luh-unch”.

When Sharon Osbourne referred their restaurant as a “Star Wars Bar” because Cyndi Lauper started singing “True Colors” with the accompaniment of her accordion player.

When Joan Rivers referred to her Rock Solid Burger as an “Icelandic Sandwich” because it took Blagojevich nearly 9 minutes to deliver it to her after it was ready.

When Joan Rivers nonchalantly stole a menu from Tenacity’s restaurant as she was leaving.

When The Donald pointed out Cyndi Lauper’s hairdo, then she replied by telling him that her friend Edith thinks that Donald is very sexy, then Donald Jr. asked Cyndi how old her friend is.

When the Friskies commercial came on.  I refer to it “Cats on LSD”.  It’s pretty trippy, man.

The Bottom Line:

Joan Rivers liked Tenacity’s restaurant better, which gave them the $10K advantage, even so, Rock Solid came out way on top:

Tenacity: $29, 559 + $10,000 = $39, 559

Rock Solid: $57, 905

That was a combined total of $97K, then The Donald threw in an extra $3K, giving a total of $100,000 to the American Diabetes Foundation.

The men won, so that meant The Donald had to fire someone from the women’s team, Tenacity.  This episode was unique in that their were no clear stand-out lazy contestants.  But in the board room, a few of the women mumbled Carol Leifer’s name when The Donald asked them who the weakest member of the team was.  Even though Cyndi Lauper was the Project Manager, Carol Leifer was fired.

Then, as usual, the episode abruptly ended with a shot of the car driving away the recently fired contestant.

Thanks for reading, fellow Celebrity Apprentice fans.  If this post garners enough hits from Google searches, like my Bachelor recaps did, I’ll be back next week with another recap.

Manspeak, Volume -1: Boyspeak

During the summer of 2000 I was a camp counselor in Florida. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing but I had to make my campers think that I did. Each week I teamed up with a different co-counselor and ruled over a new cabin full of 16 boys, ready for action and trouble. Every group of boys had a natural leader, a natural rebel, followers of both, and occasionally, what I call the Boy Wonder.

He was the most misunderstood. He had the hardest time fitting in with the rest. He was in his own world. And he really didn’t mind. Because I am convinced he didn’t realize any of this.

Of course most boys encounter these traits at some point in their boyhood; some just take longer to grow out of it, if ever.

It was camp policy that every counselor had at least one of his campers with him at all times (like Sonic the Hedgehog and his rings). The Boy Wonder of the group usually ended up being the one I spent the most time with. There was something in it for both of us: I would be his faithful friend and he would be my camper-at-all-times.

The most memorable Boy Wonder was an 8 year-old named Daniel, complete with a pasty white complexion and perfectly straight bangs running across his forehead. Everyone learned his name on the second day of camp, when he threw up his corndog and tater tots inside the cabin after lunch. As the other counselor cleaned up the mess, I watched all the boys outside.

The easier job would to have been to clean up the puke. Because outside the cabin as I tried to stabilize the situation, Daniel chased all the other boys. They were afraid to get near him because of the vomit all over his clothes and face.

But ultimately, Daniel wanted to be the comedian of the group. And in a way he was: There were times he made the other boys laugh, but they were always laughing at him, not with him. His jokes were too familiar and too predictable (knock-knock’s and chickens crossing the street). It’s like he began realizing that by the end of the week, so he decided to start making up his own jokes:

Q: “What did the anteater say to the ant?”
A: “May I eat you or may I lick you?”

I remember what happened as soon as that joke was delivered. A few seconds of silence passed as this non-logical riddle fell flat. Then, it hit us all at once. The entire cabin roared up in a session of uncontrollable laughter. The joke made no sense: Why would a talking anteater politely ask his victim if he would prefer to be eaten (and die) or licked (and survive)? And why would being licked even be an option anyway? And that’s why it was inevitably hilarious.

Somewhere out in central Florida today is a high school senior named Daniel. Maybe his jokes got better. Maybe he started fitting in with the other boys. But if I know Daniel, he still hasn’t grown out of his Boy Wonder phase.

He would be far from the first. Classically, I’m referring to Gary Busey. But more recently, any man featured on a “celebrity” reality show on VH1.  And even it weren’t for the recent MTV Video Music Awards incident, I would still say it.

Kayne West.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com