March 30, 2005

Family Doctor Equals Better Care

Having a Family Doctor Equals Better Care.    People who have the same doctor over time get better care because they know the history better and care is more coordinated. 

Other benefits: health care costs are less and familiar doctors are less likely to be sued.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:23 PM | Permalink

Starved for Sleep

While sleep has always been a big priority for me, it isn't for too many Americans.

Lack of sleep is leaving Americans with deteriorating productivity, dangerous driving practices and too little sex.

Get with it fellow citizens.  Go to sleep.  Sleep more, lose weight

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:16 PM | Permalink

March 29, 2005

More April Fools

When Pope Gregory declared his adoption of the Gregorian calendar to replace the Julian calendar, he also officially changed New Year's Day from April 1st to January 1st.  Since this was 1582, it took a long time to get the word around, and some people in France refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate New Year's Day on the first of April, earning them the name April fools.

There are a lot more of them today than ever before. And they operate all year round.  They send around chain mail letters, sometimes with powerpoint illustrations purportedly from the Dalai Lama  with his "Instructions for Life".    No matter how preposterous the image of this great spiritual leader and head of state for the Tibetan people actually writing, "approach love and cooking with reckless abandon", these April fools send it out year after year, following the instructions to


0- 4 people: Your life will improve slightly.
5- 9 people: Your life will improve to your liking.
9-14 people: You will have at least 5 surprises in the next 3 weeks.
15 people and above: Your life will improve drastically and everything you ever dreamed of will begin to take shape.

The latest foolishness I've gotten is an email touting

Cancer News from Johns Hopkins
No plastics in microwave
No water bottles in freezer
No plastic wrap in microwave

Johns Hopkins has recently sent this out in their newsletters.  This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Dioxin Carcinogens cause cancer, especially breast cancer.  Don't freeze your plastic water bottles with water as this also releases dioxin in the plastic 

Of course, it's a hoax.  As anyone could find out using Google in 20 seconds. This is what John Hopkins really has to say on its official website by one good-looking, if I may say so myself,  Rolf Halden, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences and the Center for Water and Health at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  Halden received his masters and doctoral degrees researching dioxin contamination in the environment.

People who send such nonsense are no different from the French back in the 16th century who refused to get with the program.  When anyone sends you stuff like this, don't be another April Fool, too lazy to find out if it's true.  Look to the source. At minimum, check it out with
Snopes  or Hoax Slayer   Or use Google. 

And remember to use paper towels when you microwave.  Just in case.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:22 PM | Permalink

Can you do this?

If you can fold a shirt like this, you can do anything.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:01 AM | Permalink

March 28, 2005

Your Secret Nest Eggs

If you haven't left an information map as to where the money is, your family might give away your secret nest eggs and not even know it.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:53 PM | Permalink

Boy who divorced parent is adopted

From the Boston Globe, by Megan Trench

The tragic journey of Patrick Holland, the first child in state history to divorce a parent, passed a hopeful milestone yesterday when the 15-year-old emerged from a courthouse grinning alongside his new adoptive parents.
In a brief but emotional ceremony at Norfolk Probate Court, Patrick was adopted by Ron and Rita Lazisky, his mother's best friends. The couple cared for him after his father shot and bludgeoned his mother to death in Quincy in 1998
Patrick didn't set out to make national news by winning a groundbreaking legal battle last year to divorce his father. He also didn't aim to be a trailblazer by pushing a bill now before the Legislature.

Called Patrick's Law, the bill would automatically terminate the parental rights of a parent convicted of murdering the other. There are similar laws in Florida, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Tennessee, and Virginia. The bill would also give children a say in whether to terminate the parent's rights permanently.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:01 AM | Permalink

Feel like an Outsider?

Julie Leung first felt like an outsider in high school and then reflects on why we all do.  The Outsider:why high school never ends.
My teacher revealed truth to me. In his simple but unbelievable statement, he told me that everyone feels like an outsider. Everyone has moments of loneliness. Everyone worries whether she fits or whether he is odd. "In" and "out" are illusions. Inside, we are all outsiders.....

The truth is we are all outsiders. Our secret fears are real and revealed. We are each random points, outliers, misfits, rejects and strangers. We are alone. We are all different. Yet we are all the same.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:55 AM | Permalink

March 26, 2005

Got Kids?

If you're a parent with young kids, here's a why to keep up with Kid-Tech News

With a HT to Ken LeeBow at Blogging about Incredible Blogs who says in Got Kids?  "Believe me, there are a lot of issues. For example, here's an article about cyberbullying. It's moved to the blogosphere.  If you're a parent or you work with kids, be sure to put this one in your RSS reader.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:22 AM | Permalink

March 25, 2005

Genetic Legacy of plagues

The genetic legacy of plagues may protect some Europeans against HIV according to a study by researchers in the U.K. and reported in the Journal of Medical Genetics.

About 10% of Europeans carry the CCR5 mutation, in Scandinavia which suffered through the especially deadly Plague of Copenhagen in 1711, as many as 14% carry the HIV protective mutation. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:58 AM | Permalink

How Alzheimer's Patients, Families Cope

Everyone knows that Alzheimer's patients tests even the strongest relationships.  A recent study at the NYU School of Medicine showed that even a brief period of counseling can provide long-term benefits for the emotional health of people taking care of spouses with Alzheimer's.  Now they are doing more studies

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:04 AM | Permalink

March 24, 2005

Are you a financial grown-up?

From Money Magazine. You are a financial grown-up when you realize:

  1. The right time to save is always now.
  2. The only one you can count on is you.
  3. You are your own best financial advisor.
  4. You'll screw up sometimes -  and that's okay
  5. Less really is more.

HT: The Budgeting Babe

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:22 PM | Permalink

Life Gets Better as You Age

Why is it that young people with their whole lives before them are so often pessimistic while older people are mellower and more optimistic.  What can MRIs tell us?

There's a whole lot of jargon, Fouroboros attempts to parse, I couldn't,  in Neurologically speaking, is youth wasted on the young

.  It has something to do with amygdala activation, which I take to mean, it's hard-wired in our brains.

Life gets better as you age.  Or seems to.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:41 PM | Permalink

German Formula for Happy Relationship

Each criticism has to be balanced by five compliments.  This after tests on thousands of individuals by Professor Bierhoff in Germany.

Four compliments just won't do

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:28 AM | Permalink

Banksy has Gumption.

Unlike Lou Grant, I like gumption.  And artist Banksy has it as he hits New York's most famous museums. 

Banksy says, "They're good enough to be in there, so I don't see why I should wait"

A Wooster Exclusive.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:48 AM | Permalink

March 21, 2005

Asking Snopes

Laughter really is good medicine, especially good for your heart, according to the American College of Cardiology.

So, here's to your health with a few jokes from Snopes with some of the requests for verification they've received.

Please tell me if this is an Urban Legend or not. I have used the search page and cannot locate this:

The typewriter was invented by Hungarian immigrant Qwert Yuiop, who left his "signature" on the keyboard.

Click for more

Is this true?

At Heathrow Airport today, an individual, later discovered to be a public school teacher, was arrested trying to board a flight while in possession of a compass, a protractor, and a graphical calculator. Authorities believe he is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement.

He is being charged with carrying weapons of math instruction!

Could you please look into this one? I know you done a lot of ULs on Bill Gates, but this one doesn't involve him giving away money. I heard this on the radio. It's a funny story, but did it happen?

Bill Gates' wife gave birth last year to a baby girl. The Gates's decided that any girl born to them would be named Adelle. When the girl was born, the doctor said "Dude, you're getting Adelle!"

Well, is this true or not??? HELP!

George W. Bush not only smiles and waves nicely, always knows the right thing to say, too!

Bush and the Queen at London Heathrow, a 300-foot long red carpet is stretched out to Air Force One and Mr. Bush strides to a warm but dignified handshake from Queen Elizabeth II.

They ride in a silver 1934 Bentley limousine to the edge of central London where they board an open 17th century coach hitched to six magnificent white matching horses.

As they ride toward Buckingham Palace, each looking sideways and waving to the thousands of cheering Britons lining the streets, all is going well.

But suddenly the right rear horse lets fly with the most horrendous, earth-rending, eye-smarting blast of gastronomic flatulence ever heard in the British Empire, including Bermuda, Tortola and other islands.

It shakes the coach.

Uncomfortable, but under control, the two dignitaries of state do their best to ignore the whole incident, but then the Queen decides that's ridiculous.

She turns to Mr. Bush and explains, "Mr. President, please accept myregrets. I'm sure you understand that there are some things that even a Queen cannot control."

George W. Bush, ever the gentleman, replies, "Your Majesty, please don't give the matter another thought. You know, if you hadn't said something, I would have thought it was one of the horses."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:05 PM | Permalink

March 19, 2005

Find A Human

If you wasting too much time and experiencing too much frustration with those damned phone trees that keep you circulating in the nether reaches of hell, bookmark this site.  Find A Human

Intuit has put up a page for which they should receive some sort of consumer award.  It helps you cut through those automated phone systems that drive everyone mad.

With a big tip of the hat to Tom Kane at the legal marketing blog.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:17 PM | Permalink

March 17, 2005

A lake of beer

Happy St. Patrick's Day and as a friend just wrote me, "The top of the morning to you and all the rest of the day to meself!"

One thing you can say about the Irish, and I'm Irish, is that they have a good sense of heaven.  Here's the first verse of my one of my top two Irish prayers . 

St. Brigid’s prayer

I'd like to give a lake of beer to God.
I'd love the Heavenly
Host to be tippling there
For all eternity.

You can read the rest if you click here.

St. Brigid’s prayer   
I'd like to give a lake of beer to God.   
I'd love the Heavenly   
Host to be tippling there 
For all eternity.   

I'd love the men of Heaven to live with me,   
To dance and sing. 
If they wanted, I'd put at their disposal 
Vats of suffering.   

White cups of love I''d give them,   
With a heart and a half; 
Sweet pitchers of mercy I'd offer 
To every man.   

I'd make Heaven a cheerful spot, 
Because the happy heart is true. 
I'd make the men contented for their own sake 
I'd like Jesus to love me too.   

I'd like the people of heaven to gather 
From all the parishes around, 
I'd give a special welcome to the women, 
The three Marys of great renown.   

I'd sit with the men, the women of God 
There by the lake of beer 
We'd be drinking good health forever 
And every drop would be a prayer.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:37 PM | Permalink

March 16, 2005

Secret divorce nest eggs

Some 79% of men who are engaged to be married worry that their marriage will end in divorce and they will be ruined financially.  More than half of them set up secret nest eggs in case their fears become reality.  So says a survey conducted by the Indiana Family Institute.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:11 PM | Permalink

March 15, 2005

High trust companies.

There seems to be a strong link between a company's workplace culture and its financial performance.  Stocks of the the public companies on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For" list beat the market by over 300%.

Great workplaces have significant competitive advantages as a result of the high trust relationships between employees and management,” says Amy Lyman, Ph.D., President and Co-founder of Great Place to Work Institute, the firm that selects companies for the Fortune list. “Trust can contribute to higher levels of cooperation, greater commitment, lower employee turnover, decreased use of sick time and improved customer support.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:36 PM | Permalink

Ashley Smith

From the Blog of Henry David Thoreau,  March 14, 1860

No sooner has the ice of Walden melted than the wind begins to play in dark ripples over the surface of the virgin water. It is affecting to see nature so tender, however old, and wearing none of the wrinkles of age. Ice dissolved is the next moment as perfect water as if it had been melted a million years. To see that which was lately so hard and immovable now so soft and impressible!  What if our moods could dissolve thus completely? It is like a flush of life to a cheek that was dead.

Life can change so suddenly.  Stone walls around a heart dissolve.  Maybe something like that happened when Ashley Smith was taken hostage by Atlanta courthouse shooting suspect Brian Nichols.

I asked him if I could read. 
He said, "What do you want to read?"
"Well, I have a book in my room." So I went and got it. I got my Bible. And I got a book called "The Purpose-Driven Life." 
I turned it to the chapter that I was on that day. It was Chapter 33. And I started to read the first paragraph of it.
After I read it, he said, "Stop, will you read it again?" 
I said, "Yeah. I'll read it again." 
So I read it again to him.  It mentioned something about what you thought your purpose in life was. What were you -- what talents were you given? What gifts were you given to use?
And I asked him what he thought. And he said, "I think it was to talk to people and tell them about you."
I basically just talked to him and tried to gain his trust. I wanted to leave to go see my daughter. That was really important. I didn't want him to hurt anybody else.

Her family says Ashley has been turning around her "sad, tough life."  Well, she done more than that.  She not only saved her own life, but probably others as well by the way she handled a terrifying situation.  Now, she'll probably get a book contract and inspire and influence many more.  She's found her purpose. 

UPDATE: The Washington Post has a good story on Ashley who the murderer Brian Nichols called "An angel sent from God".

Smith did not develop trust by being wishy-washy. At one point during her seven-hour ordeal, Nichols told her he was "already dead." He might have had a point -- after all, he was suspected of killing a judge, a court reporter, a sheriff's deputy, and a federal customs and immigration agent. But she would not hear it.  "He needed hope for his life," she recounted in the interview that has been replayed countless times.  "You are not dead -- you are standing right in front of me," she recalled telling Nichols. "If you want to die, you can. It's your choice."

UPDATE 2.  Peggy Noonan has great piece on OpinionJournal(no subscription needed but registration required) Flannery O'Connor Country  She points to two photos of Brian Nichols, the first before he met Ashley, the second after.  Then she writes.  Something changed.  Something happened.

It is an idiot's errand to follow such testimony with commentary. It's too big. There is nothing newspaper-eloquent to say. We have entered Flannery O'Connor country, and only geniuses need apply.   

Here are mere facts. They were together seven hours and each emerged transformed. He gave himself up without a fight and is now in prison. She reported to police all that had transpired, the police told the press, and now she is famous. 

Tuesday evening on the news a "hostage rescue expert" explained that she "negotiated like a pro." Actually what she did is give Christian witness. It wasn't negotiation. It had to do with being human. 

It is an amazing and beautiful story. And for all its unlikeliness you know it happened as Smith said. You know she told the truth. It's funny how we all know this.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:01 AM | Permalink

March 14, 2005

Vast Insurance Fraud

It's often easy to people to pile on insurance companies.  Today though there's every reason to cheer a law suit brought by 12 Blue Cross and Blue Shield health insurance plans who are suing a group of health clinics and doctors who paid thousands of people across the U.S. to undergo unnecessary surgery so they could defraud the insurers out of tens of millions of dollars.  Vast Insurance Fraud involves nine surgery clinics, seven medical management companies and 34 individuals.

The scope of the alleged fraud is vast. The insurers claim the clinics paid recruiters to enlist patients in 47 states, then transported the people to California where they underwent unnecessary and sometimes dangerous outpatient procedures.
The investigators said that from August 2002 to April 2003, the defendants recruited more than 5,000 patients nationwide to undergo unnecessary procedures at one clinic and billed almost $97 million to insurers.  The clinics also coached the patients how to lie to investigators if they were questioned, the suit claims. Patients were offered credits toward future cosmetic surgery procedures in lieu of cash, the lawsuit alleges. ...
Officials said the scope of the scheme is even larger than alleged in the lawsuit. The FBI has determined that $1.3 billion has been billed as a result of the alleged fraud for a loss of $345 million. The FBI has 21 field offices investigating the case and has already disrupted six operations and indicted three people and one corporation, according to Dan Martino of the FBI.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:03 PM | Permalink

March 12, 2005

Grab Bag

It's snowing again so it's a good time to sort through some of ideas for posts that never got through. Think of it as a grab bag of assorted links.

A happy marriage can help mend physical wounds while hostility between spouses slows the healing process.

Scientists unlock the 'oops  center'.  "Our brains are better at picking up subtle warning signs than we previously thought."

Brain immaturity could explain teen crash rates. The region of the brain that inhibits risky behavior is not fully formed until age 25.

Brain increases response when hearing anger in voices.  We hear more than words.

Research shows omega-3 fats feed the human brain, not the hips and may improve psychiatric conditions as well as visual function.  And helps your heart.  More salmon please.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:41 PM | Permalink

March 11, 2005

Cancer fighting beer

With this very very l-o-n-g winter almost over, even though it's snowing again in Boston with more expected overnight, my mouth waters just thinking about the coming warm weather barbecues.  Somehow nothing tastes quite so good as a nicely charred steak, medium rare.

Yes, there are carcinogens in the charred part, even more in overcooked beef.  BUT, the great news is that Beer limits the DNA damage according to a recent study in Japan, at least for mice.  So it's beer, not wine, at barbecues for me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:07 PM | Permalink

Girlfriends and Sisters

Yesterday was International Women's day, but this is National Girlfriend and Sister's WEEK.  They have a great motto " I am only as strong as the coffee I drink, the hairspray I use and the friends I have," and an even better image. 

So with love and appreciation for all my girlfriends and sisters and in the hope they all will have this je ne sais quoi in their nineties.

   Girlfriends And Sisters

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:56 AM | Permalink

Be smart, not embarrassed

Probably one of the most embarrassing things to talk about is colorectal cancer.  The depth of the ignorance about the risk of the third leading cancer killer of men and women was revealed in a recent American Cancer Society survey that found that more older Americans (38%) know the name of a judge of "American Idol" than know they're at risk for colorectal cancer (34%).

"As Simon Cowell might say: 'These results are abysmal,' " Dr. Stephen F. Sener, national volunteer president of the American Cancer Society, said in a prepared statement. "An estimated 145,290 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2005, and 56,290 will die of the disease. The fact that two out of three Americans aged 50 and over don't know they need to be tested should serve as a wake-up call," he said.

Everyone over 50 should be screened.  No excuses.  These are the screening tests

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:20 AM | Permalink

March 10, 2005

Blogging good for your career

For some reason, the media seems to be focused on a few people who were fired for blogging.  There's quite another side as Tim Bray points out in Ten Reasons Why Blogging is Good For Your Career

1. You have to get noticed to get promoted.
2. You have to get noticed to get hired.
3. It really impresses people when you say “Oh, I’ve written about that, just google for XXX and I’m on the top page” or “Oh, just google my name.”
4.  No matter how great you are, your career depends on communicating. The way to get better at anything, including communication, is by practicing. Blogging is good practice.
5. Bloggers are better-informed than non-bloggers. Knowing more is a career advantage.
6. Knowing more also means you’re more likely to hear about interesting jobs coming open.
7.  Networking is good for your career. Blogging is a good way to meet people.
8. If you’re an engineer, blogging puts you in intimate contact with a worse-is-better 80/20 success story. Understanding this mode of technology adoption can only help you.
9. If you’re in marketing, you’ll need to understand how its rules are changing as a result of the current whirlwind, which nobody does, but bloggers are at least somewhat less baffled.
10 It’s a lot harder to fire someone who has a public voice, because it will be noticed.

Hat tip Boing Boing

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:48 AM | Permalink

March 9, 2005

When Women March

These are quite extraordinary days when ordinary people across the Mid-east are rising up in protest against those who deny them the basic human rights, what we all take for granted. 

How inspiring it is to watch people begin to take care of the most important business of their lives.

What's more striking is that we're seeing photos of mid-east women protesting.  Can it be that the force of women, unheard of before in this part of the world, will create the tipping point, beyond which there's no going back?  Isn't democracy inexorably tied to women's rights?  Weren't more than 40% of voters in Afghanistan and Iraq women?

I didn't notice many women at the pro-Syrian demonstration today in Beirut, even though it's International Women's Day.

     Burka Woman-1


MULTAN, Pakistan -  Thousands of women rallied in eastern Pakistan on Monday to demand justice and protection for a woman who said she was gang-raped at the direction of a village council, after a court ordered the release of her alleged attackers.....

Organizer Frazana Bari and her group Pattan, a charity working with women in rural communities said, "We are with every woman who is oppressed and who face injustices.

   Pakistan Women-1

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Around 500 Kuwaiti activists, mostly women, have demonstrated outside parliament to demand female suffrage amidst tensions in the Gulf Arab state over a government drive to grant women political rights.

"Women's rights now," chanted the crowd, which included women dressed in abayas, or traditional long black cloaks. Some of the demonstrators at Monday's protest wore veils over their faces.

"Our democracy will only be complete with women," said a placard written in Arabic. "We are not less, you are not more. We need a balance, open the door," said one written in English.

   Kuwait Women


Tens of thousands of Moroccans marched in Rabat to express their support for the Moroccans still detained in the Tindouf camps in Algeria.

The March was organized by Collectif Watanouna
- set up on January 20- calling on international organizations to “intervene to put an end to the sufferings of families and children, who are separated from their mothers, and to release all Moroccans held in Tindouf.”

These Moroccans were emprisoned for more than 25 years, following the artificial struggle over the Moroccanity of Southern Moroccan provinces. This struggle opposes Morocco to the Algerian-backed Polisario Front, which has tried to separate the provinces, known as Moroccan Sahara.


With a big tip of the hat to Publius Pundit who is blogging the democratic revolution around the world.

I shouldn't forget P.J. O'Rourke who once famously observed, if you want to see a bellwether of where the culture is headed, look for where the beautiful women are politically.


Instapundit is noticing.

Like I said earlier, which crowd would you rather hang out with? I hope a lot of Al Jazeera-watchers are asking themselves the same question.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:00 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2005

Milton Glaser on 10 things he's learned

If you don't know who Milton Glaser is, you certainly know his graphic work.  Perhaps his most famous is the Dylan poster from the 1960s or maybe it's his logo for New York

  Dylan        I Love Ny

Here's 10 things he's learned  about design, but they work for life as well.

1. You can only work for people that you like.
2. If you have a choice, never have a job in which he quotes John Cage, ‘Never have a job, because if you have a job someday someone will take it away from you and then you will be unprepared for your old age.'
3. Some people are toxic, avoid them. Here's a quick test: After spending time with them, are  you tired or exhilarated,  If you are more tired then you have been poisoned.  If you have more energy you have been nourished.  The test is almost infallible.
4. Professionalism is not enough or the Good is the enemy of the Great
5. Less is not necessarily more.
6. Style is not to be trusted
7. How you live changes your brain.
8. Doubt is better than certainty
9. Solving the problem is more important than being right.
10. Tell the truth.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:58 PM | Permalink

Ashes and Snow

I just find this photo mesmerizing.  It's from Ashes and Snow which I plan to see in NYC next week.

Elephant From Ashes And Snow

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:29 AM | Permalink

Manolo's words of wisdom

Did you know that Manolo has a blog?  Well, he does and he says some surprisingly smart things, especially in the Interview with the Micuccia.

It's what I say all the time to my girls in the office here: The more they dress for sex, the less they will have love or sex.  These girls throw away so much energy in this search for beauty and sexiness. I think that the old rules were much more clever and better than the rules now. The trouble is, most people are not so generous. Everybody wants love for themselves. I hear this all the time from the women I work with. I hear them say, "I want, I want." I never hear them saying what they want to give.
The grown up peoples they require the grown up clothes.

Do not denigrate the importance of looking "normal". Fashion it is about looking good, not seeking out the look of the abnormal, or the outre, or the purposely ridiculous.

Manolo says, the true radical in the serious well-cut, well-tailored clothes is the one whose thoughts, talents, and actions will change the world. The attention-seeking adolescent in the motley clothes of the fool, this person is merely the comedic sideshow.

Hat tip to Instapundit who not only writes more than any other blogger, but apparently surfs more too.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:22 AM | Permalink

March 7, 2005


Isn't it amazing how all those things your mother told you were right, even after all these years?  Like  'Eat your breakfast'.   

Eating a good bowl of cereal with fruit and milk  - and I don't mean Captain Crunch, it has to have good fiber, Cheerios for example - can help you lose weight and fend off diabetes, heart disease and stroke.    Whenever you're hungry, but don't know what it is you want to eat, a bowl of cereal always works - another tip from my Mom.

Who didn't grow up eating Cheerios?  In what I think is a brilliant piece of marketing, you can now share your Cheerios story.  I dare you to watch the Adoption Story without having a tear well up.

  Cheerios Last-1

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:19 PM | Permalink

March 5, 2005

Medical Maggots

This is gruesome and fascinating - Maggots Make Move to Mainstream Medicine.

Since federal officials approved the use of "medical maggots" last year, orders for the critters have skyrocketed as doctors use them as alternative treatments for patients with stubborn, slow-healing leg and foot wounds......

In living people, maggots clean wounds by eating dead and infected tissue. In addition, they disinfect the wounds and stimulate the growth of healthy tissue, said Dr. Ronald Sherman, an assistant professor of medicine and pathology at the University of California, Irvine. "There is no single other product on the market that can do all those actions simultaneously.....

"It still takes a certain patient to accept these. I've had just as many people turn me down as accept it," Handler said. "And then there's always the issue of the nursing staff whenever you're talking about maggots and leeches. Thirty percent of the staff is gung-ho and excited, 30 percent could care less but are good sports, and 30 percent really don't want to have anything to do with it."

Even so, maggot therapy may have a bright future. According to Handler, they're cheap, they don't become ineffective over time like some antibiotics, and they work. "Especially as doctors are getting stretched thinner and thinner," he said, "it will be helpful for them to conserve their resources and use maggots."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:02 PM | Permalink

How to Win Arguments

Do the lawyers in your life drive you crazy?  Do they always want to argue, even the littlest thing?  If so, you need a crash course in the art of argument. 

Kevin Eismann, a lawyer in Kaukauna, Wisconsin has disclosed lawyer tricks of the trade, an event, in and of itself, so remarkable and the presentation so hilarious that it was noted and quoted by the Wall St. Opinion Journal  two days running.  Here it is, just slightly edited.

UPDATE:  Turns out that Kevin Eismann has plagiarized a piece that Dave Barry wrote in 1981.  How embarrassing for Attorney Eismann to have this fact noted in a correction
in the widely read WSJ's  Best of the Web.   

Use meaningless but weighty-sounding words and phrases: Memorize some Latin abbreviations such as “Q.E.D.,” “e.g.,” and “i.e.” These are all short for “I speak Latin, and you do not.”

Suppose you want to say: “Iranians would like to order appetizers more often, but they don’t have enough money.” You never win arguments talking like that. But you WILL win if you say: “Let me put it this way. In terms of appetizers vis-a-vis Iranians qua Iranians, they would like to order them more often, so to speak, but they do not have enough money per se, as it were. Q.E.D.”

Only a fool would challenge that statement.

Memorize this list:
  • Let me put it this way
  • In terms of
  • Vis-a-vis
  • Per se
  • As it were
  • Qua
  • So to speak
  • Res ipsa loquitor
  • Ergo
  • Ratiodissenti
Use snappy and irrelevant comebacks: The best are:
  • You’re begging the question.
  • You’re being defensive.
  • Don’t compare apples and oranges.
  • What are your parameters? (This last one is especially valuable. Nobody, other than mathematicians, has the vaguest idea what “parameters” means).
Plea for justice: Even the most coldhearted mercenaries have some decency. Explain how championing your position would reap social benefits. Nobody is ever against virtue. Play it up and dramatize your arguments. Throw in facts and figures. Bring in concrete examples to illustrate your point. Introduce visual documents if you can, they are usually indisputable.

Drink liquor: Suppose you’re at a party and some hotshot intellectual is expounding on the economy of Peru, a subject you know nothing about. If you’re drinking some health-fanatic drink like grapefruit juice, you’ll hang back, afraid to display your ignorance. But if you drink several large martinis, you’ll discover you have strong views about the Peruvian economy. You’ll be a wealth of information. People will be impressed. Some may leave the room.

Make things up: Suppose, in the Peruvian economy argument, you are trying to prove Peruvians are underpaid, a position you base solely on the fact that you are underpaid, and you’re damned if you’re going to let a bunch of Peruvians be better off. Don’t say: “I think Peruvians are underpaid.”

Say: “The average Peruvian’s salary in 1981 dollars adjusted for the revised tax base is $1,452.81 per annum, which is $836.07 before the mean gross poverty level.” NOTE: Always make up exact figures. If an opponent asks you where you got your information, make that up too. Say: “This information comes from Dr. Hovel T. Moon’s study for the Buford Commission published May 9, 1982. Didn’t you read it?”

Compare your opponent to Adolf Hitler: This is your heavy artillery, for when your opponent is obviously right and you are spectacularly wrong. Bring Hitler up subtly. Say: “That sounds suspiciously like something Adolf Hitler might say.”

So there it is: The art of the argument. Use at your own risk.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:05 AM | Permalink

March 4, 2005

Muffler Man

Here's an anecdote from Dervala that makes my case about Happiest Workers.

Leo had majored in Romance Language Literature at the University of New Mexico but when his young family came to California years ago he decided to apply himself to an honest trade.

“People think that because I know all these languages, and poems, and books, I should have been something more than a mechanic. But if I worked in my academic field, I’d be fighting to make twenty or thirty thousand a year. And guess what? Last year I took home over two hundred grand from this little shop.”

As I backed my car off the hoist he was belting out a Puccini aria.

My muffler man does good work, and is easily the happiest person I’ve met so far in California.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:40 PM | Permalink

March 3, 2005

Financial Voyeurism

Terri Cullen in her Fiscally Fit column for the Wall Street Journal takes a peek at the personal finance blogs that are poking up on the Web and so are thousands of others.  Blogs Expose Personal Finance: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

While you might not want to take advice from any of these bloggers, you can take encouragement in realizing that most everyone struggles with their money matters.  Here are the personal finance bloggers she mentions:

I will teach you to be rich.  personal finance basics for students and recent college grads.
My personal finance journey by someone who's looking to retire at age 40 with at least a million dollars.
My Money Blog.  Jonathan stumbles along the path to financial freedom.
The Budgeting Babe. dedicated to all the young, working women who what to spend like Carrie in a Jimmy Choo store but have a budget closer to Rosanne.
Neville's Financial Blog.  tracking the road to financial success from the age of 22
Savvy Saver.  It's not how much you make, but how much you keep.

What impresses me about these blogs is that they are all by young people, maybe showing that financial education is convincing them to start planning early.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:26 PM | Permalink

Bruising Experiences of Middle Age

If you can't understand why you still gain weight despite diets and exercise, it may be the stresses of middle age, according to a report in USA Today 

Bruising experiences in middle age — the cruel boss, ill parents, divorce — cause women to gain weight, and it's not just because they eat more or exercise less, a large study reports today.

"Under stress, people conserve more fat, and we think that may be what's going on here," says psychologist Tené Lewis of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She and co-author Lynda Powell are expected to report findings from the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation (SWAN) at the American Psychosomatic Society meeting in Vancouver, B.C.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:46 PM | Permalink

March 2, 2005

Cedar Revolution

Yesterday was a most wonderful day in Lebanon.  Who can't feel joy at the sight of the Lebanese
saying to their Syrian occupiers, "Enough" as they defied bans to march to Martyr's Square in Beirut.

"Freedom, sovereignty, independence"  they shouted as they took back and claimed control over the most important business in their lives.

It took the assassination of the former prime minister Rafiq Hariri and quite possibly the example of the voters in the Ukraine and in Iraq to give Lebanese citizens the courage to defy their Syrian overlords.

   Beirut Wp

"What we learned when he was killed is there is no ceiling here anymore," Pascal Attalah, 34, a financial consultant  said. "If they can kill Hariri, no one is safe." reported  the Washington Post.

"It shouldn't have taken something like this to bring us out here, but sometimes it takes just such a turning point," said  Attalah,  who with a  group of friends joined others in defying a government ban and generally porous army barricades to demonstrate.  They sipped lattes and ate croissants and vowed that their would last for the duration of Lebanon's uprising.

   Beirut Woman

A long debate in parliament, carried over loudspeakers, a no-confidence vote and the surprise resignation of the current prime minister  Omar Karami who said, "I am keen that the government not stand as an obstacle for those who want good for this country."

Cheers and celebration.

  Beirut V Girl

"It's all happening today. "This is a dream come true. It's what we've been waiting for since the early 1990s." said Charbel Tauk    "For the first time, we feel the spirit of freedom. We didn't feel that freedom before,"

What's most moving for those of us who watched the civil wars in Lebanon play out on television for years is the new sense of national identity that transcends religious identities.

"All the people want freedom, Muslims, Christians, Druze, everyone. People here are holding the cross and the Koran," Mira Rahme, 21, said at the protest

UPDATE:  Demonstrators have renamed "Martyrs' Square" to "Freedom Square"
What a great sign in choosing life over death.  HT to Harry's Place.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:31 AM | Permalink