It's the day before the Big Day and I'll be liveblogging two sessions, the one on Politics and the other on Dollars and Sense, most likely at my corporate blog, Estate Legacy Vaults since they seem to have more to do with business. All the other stuff, I'll put in here. You can go to Flick'r or technorati and search for the tags, BlogHer and bloghercon to see what everyone is saying.
Since I had to leave at 4 am, I wasn't able to post the link to my newest entry on the Third Age Blog.
It's called When Good Enough is Good Enough about being broken, grace, Liv Ullman's face, and letting your light shine through.
Last night, I had the pleasure of finally meeting Evelyn Rodriguez and catching up again with Yvonne DiVita and Maryanne Mazurek. We had a grand time in Los Gatos at the Taj Mahal of brew pubs drinking beer and eating fried green tomatoes.
It was great to hear more from Yvonne and her sister Maryanne Mazurek about their new business, Windsor Media Enterprises and their print- on- demand publishing and marketing services. It's authors helping authors with an accompanying AHA blog for all those who aspire to see their words in print.
Evelyn who wanted us to see some of the California country she clearly loves drove us to Los Gatos. Her Crossroads Dispatches has long been one of my favorite blogs. She'll be a panelist and, though she says she'll just be speaking extemporaneously, is clearly prepared to speak in the Mother Tongue which she likens to the marriage of public discourse and private experience. She quotes from Ursula Le Guin, always in inspiration of original thought.
The mother tongue, spoken or written, expects an answer. It is conversation, a word the root of which means "turning together." The mother tongue is language not as mere communication but as relation, relationship. It connects. It goes two ways, many ways, an exchange, a network.
Everyone on the East Coast is still suffering under an extraordinary heat wave with temperatures in the 90s and in some places over 100 degrees.
If you think that's too hot, just be thankful you are not in Iraq where the high yesterday was 120! It cooled down in the evening though with overnight lows in Bagdad of 90.
This is one of the best essays on character, I've read in a long time.
Doug Manning On Character.
I love character. Character is who you are when no one is looking. Character is who you are with people who can't give you anything. Character is who you are when things don't go your way. True character is fearlessly being who you are. True character is stepping up when stepping up is required.
Character defines the quality of life you get to experience. It differentiates the great from the good, the interesting from the humdrum, the resilient from the fragile.
True character does not develop in a cave. It unfolds in the full flow of life, when things are challenging. You cannot become a character by wishing it so. Character comes from choosing the uphill climb. You cannot develop true character until you take complete responsibility for your own life.
Read how he compares the character of his parents' generation, his generation and his children's generation.
HT to Jeremy who asks whether character is a resource in decline in these days of material abundance, rising expectations and too few challenges.
Your personal character is your primary asset, one that you build up over time and a resource that you can draw upon in difficult times and can never use up though you can lose it with a single disgraceful act. It may be the only guarantee of everlasting happiness said Seneca, the stoic.
In the not so distant past, in our private schools and liberal arts colleges, the building of character was considered as important as the acquisition of knowledge. Heraclitus said, "Character is destiny, " and Booker T. Washington said, "Character is power".
Character is formed in the torrent of life.Could it be that we have to be knocked down and beaten up by life before we can start Learning from Life?
“How many gifts do we have, buried under a hardened armor, awaiting the gracious trauma of a shattered shell?" the Doctor asks.
And Kahil Gibran tells us
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding. Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
Here's a good tip if you haven't gotten around to making your wallet card yet.
Store your emergency contact numbers on your cell phone beginning with ICE (in case of emergency). So, ICE followed by the telephone number of Mom or Dad or your spouse.
If your unconscious or unable to respond to emergency personnel, paramedics need to get in touch with the right people and ICE numbers on your cell phone are a good way.
Barbara Mikkelson at Snopes adds a lot more
Now, Bob Brotchie, a paramedic who works as a clinical team leader for the East Anglian Ambulance NHS Trust has launched a campaign (sponsored by Vodafone's annual Life Savers Awards) to get people to store "In Case of Emergency" (ICE) information in items that have become ubiquitous in many parts of the world: cell phones.
According to Vodafone:
[R]esearch carried out by Vodafone that shows more than 75 per cent of people carry no details of who they would like telephoned following a serious accident.
Bob, 41, who has been a paramedic for 13 years, said: "I was reflecting on some of the calls I’ve attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile phone contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured person.
"It's difficult to know who to call. Someone might have "mum" in their phone book but that doesn't mean they'd want them contacted in an emergency.
"Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history."
If you take the time - 15 min - to do your wallet card, the vital information a paramedic needs to know about your blood type, allergies, significant medical conditions, and medications would be all there.
From Real Simple, what to do before you pack up to head out.
What would you add?
I'm going to add a category to this blog for checklists, some of my own and others I find on the web. I'm hoping that you good readers will make them even better.
Three Days Before...
Suspend mail and newspaper delivery. Contact the post office www.usps.com to hold your mail; you no longer have to do this in person. Do the same for your newspaper delivery. Or have a trusted neighbor collect mail, packages, and newspapers while you're away so they don't accumulate in front of the door, a sure sign you're not home.
One Day Before...
Set timers. To keep your house from sitting dark all evening, install plug-in timers ($4 to $10 each, Home Depot or Lowe's) on lamps in several rooms. Set them to turn on and off at different times. Consider putting a radio and a television on timers, too (use the same plug-in timer models).
Discard perishables. Don't return to a smelly refrigerator. Toss dairy products, cold cuts, and produce, or donate the food to a local shelter.
Adjust the refrigerator temperature. Make sure the thermostat isn't on the supercool setting. This will keep the refrigerator from blowing a circuit while you're away. A closed-up house can raise the kitchen temperature, thereby increasing a refrigerator's energy use by up to 50 percent in summer.
Three Hours Before...
Adjust shades and blinds. Leave them partially open so your house looks lived-in. You also want to be sure passersby can see that the lights are on at night.
Leave a car in the driveway. If you're taking yours with you, ask a neighbor to park her car there while you're away.
Set the air-conditioner. If you have central air-conditioning, raise your thermostat so that it's set about 10 degrees below the average outside temperature. But don't turn it off. Without the help of air-conditioning, mold and mildew can develop in houses in humid climates.
Unplug appliances. Your toaster, coffeemaker, dryer, radios, televisions, and phones not connected to an answering machine can be unplugged. You'll save electricity and also eliminate the risk of a power surge blowing out a machine.
Turn off water and gas. If you use gas, turn off the pilot light and shut down the water heater. Shut off the water to the dishwasher and the clothes washer, too; pressure surges while you're gone could otherwise burst a hose.
Empty trash cans. You don't want ants and flies feasting while you're away.
Fifteen Minutes Before...
Lock all doors and windows. Believe it or not, people often forget to lock their doors after loading up the car. If you have an attached garage, lock the inside door in addition to the garage door.
Tetanus is generally preventable but the immunity from the vaccine wears off if you don't get booster shots.
Tetanus is a disease caused by bacteria that is found all over the world. Once inside a person's bloodstream, a tetanus infection can lead to painful symptoms, prolonged hospitalization, even death.
Vaccine protects against tetanus but you need a booster every 10 years or you lose protection.
Older adults account for some 70% of the reported cases of tetanus infection according to DB.
Keep your protection up-to-date, get your booster shot
I fight spam every day, sometimes deleting up to 300 trackback pings, so I've finally installed a new plug-in that closes off trackbacks after 30 days.
While I fumed death to spammers, I never thought of murder.
Someone in Russia did. Russia's biggest spammer was brutally murdered in his apartment, dying after repeated blows to the head.
What do the police do when there are millions of suspects?
Say you're going to a ball game or a concert and you're driving. You want to be sure that everyone in the car has their ticket with them. Make everyone hold their ticket to their forehead or the car doesn't move.
via 43 Folders
"Been doing it for 20 years, and you’d be amazed how often it saves the day."
Ripped from today's headlines Pop Shock.
A Brooklyn man who claims his estranged wife forged his name to get hold of his frozen sperm and used it to conceive a daughter has been ordered to pay child support — and has filed a multimillion-dollar suit for reimbursement.
The lawyer for the unwitting dad, LIRR engineer Deon Francois, says New York University's famed fertility clinic should be responsible for the little girl's expenses through college.
What a true champion Lance Armstrong is with his 7th victory in the Tour de France.
He praises the tour itself, his competitors and then turns to the journalists.
Then, in a pointed message to the journalists who have worked overtime to prove that he has won his races by using drugs, he also had a direct message: "To the cynics and sceptics, I say I am sorry that they can't live a dream, or believe in miracles, as there are no secrets to my success. Vive le Tour."
Sheryl Crow shed a tear. Cancer survivors praised his inspirational tale. Rivals and fans fondly bade farewell to a cycling great.
On the day of his last ride in the Tour de France, Lance Armstrong absorbed all of the accolades with a calm smile.
The seven-time champion began the final stage in humble fashion, posing for photographs in front of a chalkboard scribbled with "merci et au revoir" — thanks and goodbye.
He donates his share of the prize money to his team.
Did I say his girlfriend is Sheryl Crow?
No wonder cancer patients around the world look to him as their model of how you can Live Strong.
The Lance Armstrong Foundation believes that in the battle with cancer, unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. A great place to go when first diagnosed, its website provides practical information and the tools need to LIVE STRONG.
Knowledge is Power.
Of course there's his remarkable story of recovering from testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and his brain.
Cancer revealed his great strengths and purpose in life.
Cancer left him scarred physically and emotionally, but he now maintains it was "… the best thing that ever happened to me," This new perspective allowed him to think beyond cycling and focus on his debt to the cancer community. He formed the Lance Armstrong Foundation within months of his diagnosis to help others with their cancer struggles.
His story, his inspiring example and his foundation is his Great Legacy to all of us.
He knows "that every day is precious and that every step matters."
From the things I never knew department, these shocking numbers.
A. 11 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic during the days of the slave trade. 95% went to South and Central America, only 5% of the slaves went to the United States.
B. At least 28 million Africans were enslaved in the Muslim Middle East. At least 80% of those captured by Muslim slave traders were estimated to have died in treks across the desert. The death toll from 14 centuries of Muslim slave traded into Africa could have been over 112 million. Add that toll to the number sold in slave markets and the total number of victims of the Trans Saharan and East African slave trade could be higher than 140 million people!
This must be one of history's best kept secrets.
Katzman points out that in the U.S, we had the great fortune of the 18 and 19th century Abolitionists. Just a few dedicated people, inspired by their Christian faith, opposed slavery, crusaded against it and changed the world.
No such abolitionists arose in the Muslim world where slavery still exists in many places, albeit secretly. In my hometown, a suburb of Boston, the wife of a Saudi prince was arrested earlier this year for keeping slaves!
Tommy Thompson, the Health and Human Services Secretary in President Bush's first term and former Governor of Wisconsin is having an RFID tag the size of a grain of rice implanted under his skin.
Thompson is, a director of the company Applied Digital which owns Verichip who makes the subcutaneous RFID chips for humans and pets.
the chips will contain personal information that will help medical professionals and others provide emergency treatment. The chip provides a form of identification that's tough to lose. By clicking the number found on the chip into a password-restricted database, paramedics can get an accident victim's medical history in the field.
Today, I started as a contributor to the Third Age Blog where I will post every Thursday. I'm honored to be included as part of a group of talented and accomplished people, each a different third age voice, that will become even more interesting as time goes by and as people get in the groove.
My first piece called Learning from Life, all about how you learn your most important lessons.
Today, there's an extraordinary piece by Cicero at Winds of Change that is a must read if you are like I am fascinated by the dramatic stories of when peoples' lives changed, by near death or otherwise.
When you hear or read such a story, you know you are touching the essence of an other who could be yourself.
So, July 21st is the day I went to the bottom of the cold sea. It's the day I almost slipped away, where the Visitor would've taken my hand and led me into oblivion. It was the quietest day of my life. Quiet like the grave under a starry winter sky. July 21st was also the beginning of my recovery. I'm convinced that a normal hospital might have misdiagnosed my illness. I am blessed.
Near death experiences change people. It changed me.
The fact is, I'm not fully recovered. You wouldn't know it if you knew me, because I make do. I'm well enough. I can tire easily, and I have storms of twitches and cramps. I've never felt the same, as though I was 100 years old once, and pulled out of it. But I came out of this experience renewed, with a fresh mission. I'll call it Cicero's Imperatives:
Living matters. Life matters. Adding something positive to the world is imperative. Do not squander life.
Everyday I ask myself: Am I wasting time? Is what I'm doing making a difference? Will it matter? Will it heal? Am I building something better?
These are questions you can ask yourself at any time. They become more insistent in the Third Age
We can't assume for the sake of moral neatness that men whose lives were not disfigured by extraordinary suffering, who were in global terms rather affluent and well-protected, but who nonetheless vented their poisonous hatreds on the bodies of their innocent fellows, must have been reacting to prior evil-doing. People's choices are shaped by good forces as well as by bad ones, and sometimes what they choose brings evil out of that good, and the prior good is as much a part of the causal chain as any prior evil is. The world is not ultimately a tidy place, let alone a just one, and we shouldn't let our desire for a simple moral order blind us to the causal complexities which lie behind horrific actions. (Eve Garrard)
The host of normblog, Norm Geras, also a Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, U.K. , gives an important lesson in the difference between necessary causal agents and moral culpability for those who see none in the Guardian (full text here).
It needs to be seen and said clear: there are, amongst us, apologists for what the killers do, and they make more difficult the long fight that is needed to defeat them. (To forestall any possible misunderstanding on this point: I do not say these people are not entitled to the views they express or to their expression of them. They are. Just as I am entitled to criticize their views for the wretched apologia they amount to.)
So, there are apologists among us. They have to be fought - fought intellectually and politically and without let-up. What is it that moves them to their disgraceful litany of excuses? This is doubtless a complex matter, but here are a few suggestions. One thing seems to be the treatment of those who practise terror as though they were part of some natural environment we have to take as given - not themselves free and responsible agents, but like a vicious dog or a hive of bees. If we do anything that provokes them, that must make us morally responsible, for they can be expected to react as they do. If this isn't a form of covert racism, then it's a kind of diminishing culturalism and is equally insulting to the people transformed by it into amoral beings incapable of choice or judgement.
Finally, via norm, a fine statement by Robert Mason, from one of the signatories to the declaration against terror.
Of course, I started out saying we deserved it. I rattled the shibboleths and evoked the totem of roosting chickens. I suddenly reversed my support of the Kurds and the Afghans and the Sudanese, all to blame George Bush. But I knew it was a lie.
See, like any progressive, I knew that true people's movements don't, as the terrorists do, boast of their love for death, or target the innocent, or espouse Jewish conspiracy theories, or reject democracy on principle, or enslave women... especially all at once. I'd seen this foe before, and it's name wasn't America. It was fascism, trading in jackboots for keffiyahs and merging Mein Kampf with Qur'an. In this fight as any other, I knew I had to stand where I'd always stood... with the heretics, the hebes, the homos and the harridans.
Be they the slaughtered mothers of the Sudan, the roasted innocents of Manhattan or the pulverized cosmopolitans of London or Bali or Tel Aviv, I therefore announce my solidarity with the victims against this rising fascist tide. We have met an enemy that is not us, who hates us for our good ideas, not our bad policies. Fighting it requires no apology.
Standing up for women, Jews, homosexuals, Christians, and ordinary people living ordinary lives, though all are really extraordinary, is what fighting terror is all about. Indeed, fighting it requires no apology.
Nearly nine out of 10 New Yorkers now stock emergency supplies in their homes in case of a terror attack or other disaster, according to a survey released yesterday.
The city's Office of Emergency Management, which launched a preparedness campaign two years ago, said New Yorkers have responded in a big way.
A recent survey by Marist College found:
88% of New Yorkers stock some emergency supplies in their home.
51% say they have an emergency plan.
55% have a "Go Bag" of supplies to take with them in an emergency - including copies of important documents, contact numbers, cash, bottled water and snacks, a flashlight, a portable radio, prescriptions, and a first-aid kit.
"As the poll results suggest, many New Yorkers are aware of the hazards we face," said OEM Commissioner Joseph Bruno.
"Taking some basic steps - making a plan, assembling an emergency supply kit and putting together a Go Bag - can go a long way in the event of an emergency."
What happens when you start building houses without basements or attics is that a lot of people don't have room for a lot of stuff.
That's how the self-storage business was born and soon became a HUGE business with annual revenues that now exceed Hollywood's.
Self-storage Nation by Tom Vanderbilt is fascinating.
It may seem like good news that divorce rates have declined until you learn that marriage rates have declined even more dramatically.
Couples who once might have wed and then divorced now are not marrying at all, according to The State of our Unions 2005. The annual report, which analyzes Census and other data, is issued by the National Marriage Project at New Jersey's Rutgers University.
Cohabitation is here to stay," says David Popenoe, a Rutgers sociology professor and report co-author. "I don't think it's good news, especially for children," he says. "As society shifts from marriage to cohabitation — which is what's happening — you have an increase in family instability.
The USA has the lowest percentage among Western nations of children who grow up with both biological parents, 63%, the report says.
It could be that belly fat is your body's way of coping with stress Tara Pope reports today in the Wall St Journal (subscription only)
This month, a report in the medical journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity looked at the link between stress and the consumption of comfort foods, finding that there may be a physiological reason people tend to binge on fatty and sugar-laden foods during times of stress. In a series of rat studies, researchers at University of California-San Francisco fed two groups of rats a diet of rat chow and sugar water. But one group of rats lived more stressful lives, spending short periods of time during the day in a confined space. Stress hormone levels were higher in the confined rats, and the stressed rats started to eat less healthy chow and gulp down more sugar water.
But what happened next was surprising. As the stressed-out rats started to accumulate more belly fat, their stress hormones went back down. The higher the belly fat, the lower the animal's stress hormones. That suggests that gaining belly fat may be the body's coping mechanism for turning off the stress response. In addition, the theory is that stress hormones may somehow turn on the brain's reward center, and the result is that during times of stress, certain foods actually taste better, making you eat more of them.
"It's why comfort food may reduce stress," says Mary Dallman, UCSF physiology professor and lead author of the rat studies. "It may be that you feel better if you put on belly fat if you're under conditions of chronic stress."
Private first class Stephen Tschiderer, a medic, was shot in the chest by an enemy sniper hiding in a van a short distance away.
The incident was videotaped by the insurgents.
Tschiderer, was knocked to the ground from the impact, but he wasn’t killed, thanks to the protective body armor he was wearing. “I knew I was hit,” said Tschiderer.... The only thing going through my mind was to take cover and locate the sniper’s position."
After a few seconds, Tschiderer jumped to his feet, shot back, then took cover and located the sniper.
After being shot and calling for help, other soldiers from Tschiderer’s unit joined him and together they tracked down the wounded sniper by following the blood trail he left as he and another attacker fled the scene.
The sniper was handcuffed and given medical aid by the very man he had tried to kill, Tschiderer.
His Mom after seeing the video the Army released said, "That shows the incredible strength of character that we're incredibly proud of."
Story and link to video here.
If you were to name diseases that seem terrifying to just about everyone, Lou Gehrig's disease would be at the top of the list.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is incurable. It destroys the brain's ability to control muscles through neurons, gradually causing physical decline until the patient is unable to breathe. Some 30,000 Americans live with ALS and about 5600 are newly diagnosed each year.
Yet, remarkably, ALS patients with advanced ALS who have trouble breathing and probably only six months to live are not greatly depressed even though death is very much on their minds.
Steven Albert, associate professor at Columbia University and co-author of a study published in the July 12 issue of Neurology says,
"The broader message is that even when people are dying, they can have satisfying lives and appreciate a lot of things."
Death was on the minds of many of the patients, however. Of the 53 who died during the study period, 23 reported thinking about ending their lives. Three asked caregivers for relief from pain even if it hastened their deaths.
"For those people who are able to exercise this control over dying and report very high levels of suffering, their mood improves when they realize they could work out an arrangement and control the time of death," Albert said.
Dr. Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, director of the University of California at San Francisco's ALS Center, said the findings reflect what she sees on the job. "Most patients are quite comfortable with death," said Lomen-Hoerth, who wrote a commentary accompanying the two new studies. "It comes with having a lot of time to prepare, and from clinics and hospice professionals addressing the issue with patients and families."
And if you're still looking for ways to lower your blood pressure, try walking on cobblestones.
Cobblestone walking paths are common in China, Boston too. Seems as if Chinese medicine believes that the uneven surface of the cobblestones stimulate and regulate the "acupoints" located in the soles of the feet.
In Oregon, scientists at the Oregon Research Institute recently confirmed the health benefits of walking on cobblestones.
These are very exciting results," said John Fisher, a lead scientist in the latest study. "Compared to conventional walking, the experience of walking on the river rock-like surface of these manufactured cobblestone mats improved participants' balance, measures of mobility, as well as reducing their blood pressure."
HT Book of Joe
The news just keeps getting better and better about chocolate.
We know that dark chocolate, rich in flavonoids, offers benefits to your heart much like red wine, fruits and vegetables.
Now dark chocolate seems to help lower blood pressure as well.
So forget your milk chocolate and white chocolate and head on out to Trader Joe's. They have the most delicious dark chocolate wrapped dried blueberries, cherries and cranberries. Fruits and chocolate.
Two essentials wrapped in one, saving time, saving hearts.
Ben Stein never fails to enlighten, this time on investing in your own net worth
Our lives are measured by what we do for others, not by how much money we make. Spending time with lonely people, military families, widows, widowers, this is a pretty easy way to make a huge difference in a suffering human life. So when you think of your uncle who just lost his aunt, when you think of the woman down the street whose husband was just called up by the Guard and sent to Iraq, don't just think about them: ask them out to dinner. Invite them to a barbecue. Just call them up to gossip. People are always asking me for stock tips because they think I know something about the market. Usually, I don't. But I do know this. Sharing company with a lonely man or woman or child is about as good an investment in your own net worth as a human being as you can make. Do it today.
I just came across this summary of interviews of people who have had near death experiences by Ken Ring. What's remarkable to me is how close these insights are to those of the great wisdom traditions of the world's religions.
1. There is a reason for everything that happens.
2. Find your own purpose in life.
3. Do not be a slave to time.
4. Appreciate things for what they are.
5. Do not allow yourself to be dominated by the thoughts or expectations of others.
6. Do not be concerned with what others think of you.
7. Remember, you are not your body.
8. Don't fear pain or death.
9. Be open to life and live it to its fullest.
10. Money and material things are not particularly important in the scheme of things.
11. Helping others is what counts in life.
12. Do not trouble yourself with competition - just enjoy the show.
A lot of people are dissatisfied with the way their relatives in nursing homes are treated at the end of their lives. With one in four Americans dying in a nursing home, that's a lot of unhappy people.
Too often they don't get pain medication. Some 25% of those with cancer don't get daily pain medication and many are sent to hospitals where they receive aggressive treatment in the last weeks of life
Providing information can enhance end-of-life experience, a new study finds. Just by giving elderly people straightforward information makes them more likely to enter hospices for their end of life care.
HospiceNet for patients and families facing life-threatening illness
Based on tests of 10 samples of umbilical cord blood, a recent report by the Environmental Working Group, reveals that unborn babies are soaking in a stew of gasoline byproducts and pesticides
The very thought is horrifying.
If you're skeptical about the latest medical study, you've good reason.
A recent review published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that one out of every three highly cited studies is either refuted or seriously weakened by subsequent research.
Dr. John Ioannis, author of the review says,
This is largely the scientific process at work," said Ioannidis, an associate professor of medicine at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts-New England Medical Center, in Boston. "There is nothing wrong with publishing promising evidence."
the initial finding that hormone-replacement therapy reduced older women's heart disease risk (a larger trial later found that HRT actually raised cardiovascular and cancer risk); the promise of vitamin E in preventing heart attack (it doesn't); and the news that vitamin A supplements cut breast cancer risk (again, a larger, randomized trial showed no effect).
Is your home a hummer, Robert Samuelson asks.
Since 1970 the size of the average home has increased 55 percent (to 2,330 square feet), while the size of the average family has decreased 13 percent. Especially among the upper crust, homes have more space and fewer people. We now have rooms specialized by appliances (home computers, entertainment systems and exercise equipment) and -- who knows? -- may soon reserve them for pets. The long-term consequences of this housing extravaganza are unclear, but they may include the overuse of energy and, ironically, a drain on homeowners' wealth.
Me, I've always preferred cozy cottages and American bungalows.
Researchers say that the findings could offer insights into addictive behaviors.
The 11 case studies presented in the new study were startling, not just for the dramatic onset of a dangerous compulsion, but because the reduction or discontinuation of the drug resulted in an equally dramatic cessation of the habit.
One 52-year-old married man started gambling "uncontrollably" after raising the dose of his dopamine agonist. His wife phoned the neurologist to report that her husband had lost more than $100,000, was eating compulsively -- he gained 50 pounds -- and had an obsession with sex that resulted in him carrying on an extramarital affair. The man lost his excessive interest in gambling and sex when the medication was tapered off, according to the report.
Another man with no history of gambling started frequenting casinos for days at a time, exhibited an increased sex drive, drank more alcohol and ate excessively. When his medications were stopped, he reverted to having sex once weekly instead of four times a day.
And one 68-year-old man lost more than $200,000 gambling in six months and left town for days at a time without telling anyone where he was.
Do you really need to be told again how dangerous it is to drive while talking on the phone?
Of course, we all do it even though drivers are four times more likely to crash when using cell phones, even if they use hands-free kits.
One of the risks we are apparently willing to take.
Curry spice shuts down melanoma. In the lab, high doses of curcumin -the ingredient that gives curry its yellow hue - killed melanoma tumor cells.
(To be proven effective though, the spice must be tested first on animals then humans.)
Still in all, curry take away is probably doing those pale-skinned and freckled celts and anglo-saxons in England, Ireland and Australia a lot of good.
The usual prelude to a divorce is separation. Now there's controlled separation negotiated by therapists, a movement that's gaining adherents across the country.
Hilary Stout reports on Family Matters in the Wall St Journal (subscription only)
Separation in the U.S. has become essentially a prelude to divorce. But a new approach that has quietly attracted interest over the past few years aims to do the opposite. Controlled separation is usually negotiated in a therapist's office, never in a lawyer's, and its ultimate goal is to save the marriage by putting a concrete limit on the time apart (usually no more than six months) -- and negotiating more than a dozen hot points into a written contract to eliminate the uncertainty, insecurity and second-guessing that can become toxic in a troubled relationship.
In most separations, there are few rules. Legal separations, negotiated by lawyers, generally cover only finances and children. So-called trial separations, in which one spouse simply moves out with no guidance, are generally emotional and unpredictable since no one is ever sure what the other is up to. A marriage and family therapist in Wisconsin, Lee Raffel, developed the idea of controlled separation in the late 1990s out of "sheer frustration," after some three decades of counseling couples.
"I could see that when couples separated, they were having a terrible time," she says. "They didn't know if they wanted to stay or go. They only knew they were unhappy. They didn't know how to solve their problems and they did a lot of nasty things to each other."
It doesn't always work, though. Elsie Radtke, associate director for the family ministries office at the Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, says that more than half of the couples she counsels through controlled separation end up divorcing. But she feels that the process benefits those couples too. The split, she says, is often far less acrimonious as a result of the controlled separation.
One of the great advantages of blogging is that you meet so many interesting bloggers face to face that you've been reading. I've been lucky enough to meet Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By, Yvonne DeVita at Lipsticking, and the Diva of Marketing, Toby Bloomberg.
Others I've met at Blogging Gatherings, at the first Blogger Con, back when I was just a reader and the idea of actually writing a blog seemed terrifying. I've learned a lot and met a few people at the Thursday meetings at Harvard's Berkman Center even though I'm only a sporadic attendee. People like Bill Ives, Dave Weinberger, Lisa Williams who also posts at a very interesting and local H20 town and Amanda Watlington.
The most recent blogger bash was an after-hours American Marketing Association where I met John Cass of Backbone Media whose recent survey of corporate blogging has just been published and which I plan to discuss over at Estate Legacy Vaults blog. You can download it here and join the conversation at its very own blog.
One of my new blogging friends, Dina Lynch, is the Mediation Mensch. That's mediation, not meditation. Mediation uses a neutral third party to resolve disputes between two parties, well short of the all out warfare that lawsuits too often engender.
I have a soft spot for mediators since my Dad was one and an arbitrator too, at one point, President of the American Academy of Arbitrators. I'm happy to see how far the field of mediation has come in public acceptance as a legitimate and preferred alternative method of resolving disputes. It means that we are learning to rise above our differences to stand on a higher common ground.
If you're interested in mediation, jump over to Mediation Mensch. Dina is even making the generous offer to coach two new practitioners for free. Hard to beat that.
Many of my other blogging friends, and they are legion, I will meet at Blogher on July 30 out in Santa Clara. Registration is almost full, but you still have time until registration closes on July 25th or until they fill the last 40 seats whichever comes first.
From Codeblog: Tales of a Nurse, a tale of a paramedic.
I've never since had a call where I went from calm to panic to elation to embarrassment so quickly.
J.K. Rowling's first editor told her that she wouldn't make any money at children's books and that she should get a day job.
She never took that advice and today, she's richer than the Queen of England ($1 billion vs. $440 million).
She turns 40 on July 31st, sharing the same birthday as Harry Potter and two weeks after the publication of her sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The way Rowling has tended to her writing and personal life over the years impresses Levine: "It's a testament to her character, more than anything else, that she's remained true to herself. She has managed to maintain her perspective. I think that takes a great deal of effort."
As for Rowling, on jkrowling .com, she tells fans this about her good fortune: "Probably the very best thing my earnings have given me, though, is absence of worry. I have not forgotten what it feels like to worry whether you'll have enough money to pay the bills. Not to have to think about that any more is the biggest luxury in the world."
I'm with Brooke Shields and not Tom Cruise when it comes to post-partum depression or baby blues.
Better yet, I'm all for midwives, visiting nurses and temporary nannies to help a new mother out. It only makes sense when a mother is going through one of the biggest transitions of her life. She needs the experience of people who understand what's going on and what she needs, especially sleep.
Turns out, now a study shows that personalized care by health professionals may very well prevent post-partum depression.
The next time you are late or delayed somewhere, it may save your life writes the Mac Ranger.
Since that day I've been a firm believer that "seconds" can make the difference between life and death. I don't know "why them" and "not us", that's in God's hands. But when I think of that day I am in awe of the difference a slight change can make. Now when I'm delayed in traffic, or especially now that I fly frequently, and I get delayed or bumped from the flight, I remember that day. Since that day, I've never really been in a hurry. Today's article simply reminds me of the brevity of life and the "salvation of delay".
Stand out of the way when Sheila O'Malley gives a history lesson
if you think for one second that the Brits are a people who crumble easily, I have got to say: You are out of your goddamned mind.
There's this thing? It's called History? Maybe you should check it out.
If you haven't seen this tribute, you've missed the 935 comments to date expressing the countless ways we Yanks appreciate Our British Friends
An 83 year old German woman divorced her husband of 60 years after he was caught having a "quickie" with his younger by 30 years lover after they forgot to pull the curtains in the animal breeding center where the husband volunteered.
The divorce court heard the couple had met over 60 years ago as Allied bombs fell on Bonn and have since raised three children together.
Mrs Meister said: "I had a good husband and he was a good father but that man does not exist any more."It's a sad end for us, but I showed no mercy. I just threw him out."
If you ever wondered what exactly meaning and purpose adds to your life and world view, take a look at David Gerlenter's piece in the LA Times
Woody Allen's History Goes Nowhere - and it doesn't explain Natan Sharansky.
If you understand their disagreement, you will grasp the main spiritual question facing Americans today.
Allen, 69, is a filmmaker from Brooklyn. Sharansky, 57, was a political prisoner in the Soviet gulag; today he is an Israeli politician.
Then ask yourself, who is living the more valuable life.
Like millions of others, I've been reading the first-hand accounts of the London bombings in many round-ups on various blogs. What's struck me is that I wasn't really surprised. Horrified yes at the carnage, saddened for all those whose friends and family were killed or injured in the bombings, but not surprised.
Terror has become part of the reality we live in.
The best efforts of many governments have undoubtedly aborted many attacks. The bombing in Britain, however horrific, was comparatively small. The response by police and emergency workers was quick, coordinated and effective. A quick comparison: During World War II, some 43,000 Londoners were killed during the Blitz, 139,000 injured, a million homes destroyed. The London Blitz only stiffened the resolve of the Brits to resist the Nazis.
I expect no less of them now. The sang-froid, bravery and stoicism of the English people comes into high relief at times like this for us all to admire, support, and emulate.
London is a special place, and Londoners have always been made of uncommonly tough stuff. They endured five years of unspeakable hardship, as Hitler prosecuted his campaign of indiscriminate bombing in an effort to deprive British civilians of their will to fight. Later, Londoners soldiered on for three decades in spite of regular IRA bombings.
Thursday, extremists once again brought a campaign of terror to London. But just as Hitler and the IRA failed to bring the great city and its people to its knees, so will this latest attack fail.
Indeed, it already has.
Though the bombings disrupted an otherwise routine morning rush hour, by midday, London was already recovering.
And like so many terrorist attacks before, Thursday’s bombings will have the opposite effect of what the terrorists intended. Rather than softening their resolve, the British, true to their history, will react with courage, anger and steadfastness.
And so must we.
Amir Taheri writes in the London Times
But sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you
Christopher Hitchens thinks
It is ludicrous to try and reduce this to Iraq. Europe is steadily becoming a part of the civil war that is roiling the Islamic world, and it will require all our cultural ingenuity to ensure that the criminals who shattered London's peace at rush hour this morning are not the ones who dictate the pace and rhythm of events from now on.
Terror has become part of the reality we live in and what we can expect here and in Europe for years to come.
Living with that fact, living fully and purposefully knowing one can die at anytime, has become part of the Business of Life.
My first reaction to this news was "Well, if that doesn't beat all"
This is good news for a lot of people and in particular for Africa.
From the San Francisco Chronicle
Circumcision reduced the risk of contracting HIV by 70 percent - a level of protection far better than the 30 percent risk reduction set as a target for an AIDS vaccine.
I learned last week a new word –PIETAS.
Pietas is an ancient and noble Roman virtue that teaches reverence and gratitude for those on whose shoulders we stand. I want to to applaud today not the famous people in American history, but all those Americans on whose shoulders we stand because of the way they worked together.
Alexis de Tocqueville, that famous French observer of Democracy in America, observed how uniquely American was the characteristic to working together IN ASSOCIATION to achieve common goals. Political factions and religious groups are the most obvious associations but de Tocqueville found Americans coming together in associations to plan fetes, raise churches, build inns and distribute books.
In 1831, he remarked that at the head of a new undertaking, you would find the government in France, a great lord in England, and an association in the United States.
When we want to get something done, we find people of like minds and we do it together. We connect and we share alike in a common endeavor. Toastmasters is a wonderful example. Each of us wants to become more comfortable speaking in public. Together, we all help each other do precisely that. Another great example is Alcoholics Anonymous. Without a doubt the most successful way to deal with addiction, AA exists only to help each member get and stay sober with the help of every other member.
Apart from the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, my most treasured American possession is the free public library. In 1833, not far from here in Peterborough NH, the first public library was spontaneously organized by ordinary people like you and me who wanted knowledge to be available to anyone who wanted to educate themselves.
One can say that the World Wide Web is an example of an association or a network that exists only in its links and connections. No one is in charge, no one runs it. We are "small pieces loosely joined" in the words of Dave Weinberger which is also a wonderful book.
This self-organization of people into associations and networks can only happen in an open society where everyone is free to do whatever they want. Even free to disobey authority.
Engineers who have studied the collapse of the World Trade Towers for the past 4 years learned something remarkable. In a connected world, ordinary people have better information than officials and disobeying authority may be the best thing to do. By ignoring official advice not to use the elevators and to stay put in their offices, some additional 2500 lives were saved on September 11.
Living in America, I am an optimist, confident that the good sense of the American people will prevail whatever happens or we will at least muddle through. But I wouldn’t be so confident if I didn’t believe in the constructive use of pessimism to anticipate what could go wrong and how to prepare against it. I was trained as a lawyer after all.
That’s why I’m such an advocate for preparedness. Being prepared for just about anything gives you not only peace of mind but the confidence to prevail whatever happens. With such confidence comes courage. Courage is action in the face of fear. Action itself dispells fear which I liken to a cloud of unknowing.
You will need that confidence and that courage as well as the American talent for association to prevail and survive if what appears likely to happen, happens.
A global pandemic of avian flu is likely this year or next or the year after that that could kill tens of millions worldwide. Avian flu, in particular, the H5N1 virus has been evolving, crossed the species barrier, infected and caused the death of 54 people. The World Health Organization openly admits that everyone is unprepared and says we are living on borrowed time. We don’t yet have a national plan or vaccines for more than 1% of the population. Our public health response is in no way prepared. Given television and the Internet, the potential for panic is huge.
A medium level pandemic in the United States would cause half a million deaths, more than two million hospitalized, sicken a third of the population or some sixty seven million of us and cost $166 billion in direct medical costs.
If such a pandemic were to break out today, the US Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy said, “We’re screwed.”
As I wrote earlier in On Borrowed Time
If there is a pandemic, it will be everywhere.
The scene of the disaster will be everywhere.
Everywhere is local.
All the battles will be fought on the local level.
That’s where I’m counting on the American genius for self-organizing associations to prevail.
Here are some useful links where you can learn a lot more.
Trust for America’s Health, report on A Killer Flu, June 2005.
Wikipedia entry on bird flu
Nature Magazine's special report, Are We Ready
Its fictional blog by Declan Butler, senior reporter, describes the imagined outbreak and first alerted me to this growing threat
Foreign Affairs, July-August, 2005 The Next Pandemic, by Laurie Garrett
On Borrowed Time, my first blog post on the subject of Avian Flu
Effect Measure, a blog of senior public health scientists
Canada Sue imagines a pandemic in her hometown of 100,000
Avian Flu blog What we need to know
World Health Organization, Avian flu
U.S. Centers for Disease Control Key Facts: Avian Flu and H5N1 virus
1. Don't leave your rental agreement in the glove compartment of your rented car.
2. Password protect laptops AND palm pilots AND memory sticks.
3. Keep your ATM and credit card receipts. Don't throw them away with your personal data on them.
4. Use your hotel safe. Your personal information may be just as valuable as your jewelry.
5. Keep your contact numbers for your credit cards packed with your clothes and not in your wallet. You may want to put it in the hotel safe in a sealed envelope.
6. Pack an extra credit card just in case your wallet is stolen.
All the above useful tips are from Andrea Coombes at Marketwatch.
Does your urine smell like maple syrup? Do you get muscle cramps? Excess dandruff? Carpal tunnel syndrome? Do you sneeze in bright sunlight? Or have chicken skin on your upper arms?
Is your body telling you something? A new website, Bodylanguage helps you identify what deficiency you may be suffering from and steps you can take to get rid of the symptoms.
Co-creators, Jim Campbell is a forensic scientist and Graham Cope is a biochemist who says,
Body Language empowers the general public to have greater control over their own health and puts the emphasis on prevention rather than cure,
We have developed the Body Language concept so that people can identify deficiencies and replenish them with healthy foodstuffs,
A note on the site says
Body Language is a collection of 'classic' signs and symptoms that the authors have painstakingly collected, researched and expanded. Most of them are grounded on valid science, a few are 'old wives tales' that nevertheless have sound scientific validity, a few are anecdotal. many of them are fascinating in their own right.
If you're interested in blogs about money and finance, BusinessWeek has a round-up of the best in Blogging for Dollars via Instapundit who never ceases in his search for carnivals and round-ups like the Carnival of Personal Finance.
From Today in History, The Fourth was the one day of the year that really counted.
By the 1870s, the Fourth of July was the most important secular holiday on the calendar. Even far-flung communities on the western frontier managed to congregate on Independence Day. In an American Life Histories, 1936-1940 interview, Miss Nettie Spencer remembered the Fourth as the "big event of the year. Everyone in the countryside got together on that day for the only time in the year." She continued,
There would be floats in the morning and the one that got the [girls?] eye was the Goddess of Liberty. She was supposed to be the most wholesome and prettiest girl in the countryside — if she wasn't she had friends who thought she was. But the rest of us weren't always in agreement on that…Following the float would be the Oregon Agricultural College cadets, and some kind of a band. Sometimes there would be political effigies.
Just before lunch - and we'd always hold lunch up for an hour - some Senator or lawyer would speak. These speeches always had one pattern. First the speaker would challenge England to a fight and berate the King and say that he was a skunk. This was known as twisting the lion's tail. Then the next theme was that any one could find freedom and liberty on our shores. The speaker would invite those who were heavy laden in other lands to come to us and find peace. The speeches were pretty fiery and by that time the men who drank got into fights and called each other Englishmen. In the afternoon we had what we called the 'plug uglies' — funny floats and clowns who took off on the political subjects of the day…The Fourth was the day of the year that really counted then. Christmas wasn't much; a Church tree or something, but no one twisted the lion's tail.
No one could ever have imagined that 130 years later, we'd be "twisting the lion's tail", 83 million miles away with Deep Impact.
Simon Coggins works for the British Antarctic Survey and writes a fascinating blog about living 75 Degrees South at Halley, Antarctica Britain's most southerly and isolated research station.
Take a look at the gallery to see how they live inside the Laws Platform and some of the extraordinary photos of the Aurora Australis (the Southern Lights) taken by Jeff Cohen.
So interesting that at the darkest time of the year, June 21, they take a week off to make presents for each other, feast, and have special communication with their families.
So how about blogs that offer advice and ideas on household projects? I've been exploring a few since the Wall St Journal highlighted them in Homespun Expertise on the Web by Kara Swisher.
My favorite was House in Progress with a great tag line "We call it home improvement because it can't get any worse," and a fabulous blogroll of house bloggers as well as an aggregator site called houseblogs.net. Loved the drawers in the stairs.
Spent a lot of time at Hewn and Hammered indulging my love for bungalows made and restored by artists and craftsmen. In fact, since I'm in the process of selling a house that's currently rented out and getting ready to look for another, I spent much too much time there. Suddenly, I'm very interested in houses again. But first I want to read Sarah Susanka whose ideas on beauty, coziness and sustainability were first articulated in her book and I ended up ordering her "The Not So Big House Collection: The Not So Big House and Creating the Not So Big House" (Sarah Susanka)
Then of course there's This Old House, with all sorts of resources, even webcams on their latest project.