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WOTBA's Walking News Digest: "Walking Away," Walking for Beginners, and Amy Winehouse

Time for the roundup of global walking news. I like to report the best of the world's walking stories as a transition between walks. Last week I walked around Central Park, enjoying the flora and fauna and the park's free Wifi. I also walked 28.7 miles, according to my pedometer, but subtracting dog walks and going to the grocery store, I may have only walked 10 miles inside the park.

It's raining mightily in Manhattan today, but as the clouds clear as promised tomorrow, I intend to wander around the Lower East Side in search of entertainment, art, food and culture.

• The Municipal Alliance Committee in Brick Township, New Jersey organized a project for the residents of Brick to collectively walk 25,000 miles, the equivalent of the journey around the Earth, in three months. They just recently walked the final mile. APP.com (Asbury Park Press) April 29, 2008.

• WOTBA has taken note of the increasing use of the phrase "walking away" to describe the abandonment of homes when the value of the homes drop below the mortgage obligation. Both The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times this week explored whether or not the walk-aways constitute an urban myth. The hard evidence leads to "maybe." LA Times story here.

• The Brewton Standard in Alabama published an article titled "Walking recommended for all," that seems to be geared toward adults who grew up sitting on the couch. A beginner's guide, the article gives basic advice such as what types of shoes to wear, how to find places to walk and cheery words of encouragement like "Keep your eyes focused ahead of you and hold that smile." My favorite line comes at the end: "If walking doesn't work out for you on one day, pick it up again the next day." If you have a hard time remembering how to put one foot in front of another, let this be your guide.

• Controversy erupted last week over the new book, South Beach Diet Supercharged, and its claims of the benefits of interval walking. Some exercise specialists think that interval walking does not hold that much extra benefit over regular walking, at least as far as the South Beachers claim. For me, all walking in New York is interval walking - strolling a couple of blocks, followed by running across intersections, then race walking to get to the movie, then slowing down to look at windows, etc. But I don't know that interval walking does more than sustained walking. Read the controversy at USA Today, April 30, 2008.

• Seasonal historic walking tours of downtown Prescott, Arizona resumed last week, according to the Daily Courier, with the main point of interest being Whiskey Row, once home to 40 saloons. The 80-minute walk of less than one mile also highlights "the occasional ghost."

• WOTBA has a soft spot for bad girls, and when not walking or reading classic literature I enjoy wasting time at the tmz.com website and others like it. That's why I'm able to report that this past Friday troubled singer Amy Winehouse was found strolling a motorway after her car got stuck in traffic. Ever resourceful, Ms. Winehouse decided just to get out of the car and wander around to other vehicles in search of a cigarette. Observers noted that the talented Rehab singer bore some cuts and scratches on her arms that were probably not caused by a pet cat. WOTBA, a Texas native, understands big hair and wishes Ms. Winehouse a speedy recovery. UK News Yahoo.

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