November 29, 2005

Love Gone Right

Don't miss this tale of Love Gone Right over at Ambivablog who has the whole story and lots of photos. Where's there's life, there's love.

"It is incredible. A-less-than-a-year-old hippo has adopted a male tortoise, about a century old, and the tortoise seems to be very happy with being a 'mother'."

 Baby Hippo

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:10 PM | Permalink

Converts to Convents

Roman women are converts to convents.

Growing numbers of educated Italian women are throwing away their high heels and lipstick and opting for the austere life of nuns in closed convents.

A surprising 550 women in Rome chose to withdraw to cloisters this year compared with 350 two years ago, it emerged at a conference organised by the Vicariate of Rome and Italy's Union of Mother Superiors.
Until recently, most women entering closed convents in Rome were third world immigrants with little education. Now the recruits are all Italians with university degrees.

"They are realising that what the world has to offer to them is not all it is made out to be," said Sister Pieremilia Bertolin, the secretary general of Usmi.

Well, it's often seemed like a blessed life to me.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:12 PM | Permalink

Brat Patrol

With 92% of heirs switching their advisors soon after getting their inheritance, private bankers are pulling out the stops in the battle for assets.

In the Brat Patrol, Barrons reports how private bankers are wooing the next generation.

banks, brokerage houses and boutiques catering to the wealthy appear to be brimming with ideas on how young people can handle money responsibly and gracefully. They're doling out parenting advice, running financial boot camps for clients' children and moderating family disputes. In part, the bankers are responding to clients' anxieties; many wealthy parents fear their kids will become idle layabouts or spoiled brats.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:39 PM | Permalink

November 25, 2005

Exposed by Parrot

If you're going to cheat on your spouse, get your parrot a new home.

Frank Ficker, 50, has now been kicked out of the family home by wife Petra, also 50, after she heard their 12-year-old parrot Hugo impersonating him on the phone to another woman.

Petra, of Freiburg, Germany, said: "Hugo always liked to mimic Frank and he could do his voice perfectly.

"Frank asking who's at the door, Frank yelling at our nephews, Frank telling me he loved me. And then one day I heard him doing Frank's voice, but saying "Uta, Uta"."

Petra turned the house upside down and found two plane tickets for a weekend break in Paris booked for her husband - and a mystery woman named Uta.

She said: "I kicked him straight out. It's just me and my parrot now."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:04 PM | Permalink

Mom or Alien?

  Mother Alien

On the left is how a newborn perceives his mother's face says psychologist Frederck Maimstrom. On the right is the most familiar depiction of an alien.

In fact, it's how most self-described abductees describe their alien kidnappers. It may all be due to our primitive facial recognition template says Maimstrom. You can read more about Your Mama Looks Like E.T. in the Washington Post. Or read Maimstrom's article in Skeptic Magazine called Close Encounters of the Facial Kind.

HT Bookofjoe

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:47 PM | Permalink

Marilyn's Lesson Plan

Here's some life lessons from Marilyn at California Fever who calls it Lesson Plan

The most powerful transformations can begin by doing just one kind or compassionate thing a day. Do one nice thing today for someone you really dislike...not for them, for you.

~ An attitude of gratitude will lead to plenitude.

~ Fear is a great motivator...if I get up off the couch long enough to allow it to be.

~ Pity parties don't get the credit they deserve. I think of them as a celebration of bottom dwelling. If I've reached the point where I'm throwing myself a pity party, there's nowhere to go but up.

~ Once I stopped thinking of depression as the enemy, it began to lose its power over me. That doesn't mean I stopped getting depressed--it just means I reframed it. Now I'm able to experience it without the accompanying fear. I've lived with depressive cycles long enough to understand that they're just that--cycles. I'll tumble down again...but I'll rise again, too.

~ When I spend just one day being fully aware of every single word I say, I'm always shocked at what comes out of my mouth.

- Most people think they crave fame...when what they really crave is to be known.

- We are extraordinarily resilient creatures...we just often forget that.

- The only person I need to impress is myself.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:28 AM | Permalink

November 24, 2005

A Thanksgiving Blessing

Lord, behold our family here assembled.
We thank Thee for this place in which we dwell;
for the love that unites us;
for the peace accorded us this day;
for the hope with which we expect the morrow;
for the health, the work, the food, and the bright skies,
that make our lives delightful;
and for our friends in all parts of the earth.
Let peace abound in our small company.

Purge out of every heart the lurking grudge.
Give us grace and strength to forbear and to persevere.
Give us the grace to accept and to forgive offenders.
Forgetful ourselves, help us to bear cheerfully
the forgetfulness of others.
Give us courage and gaiety and the quiet mind.
Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies.

Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors.
If it may not, give us the strength to encounter
that which is to come,
that we be brave in peril, constant in tribulation,
temperate in wrath,
and in all changes of fortune, and, down to the gates of death,
loyal and loving one to another.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:44 PM | Permalink

November 23, 2005

Looking to Good Things

Just published is Peggy Noonan's new book on John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father. Her column today in Opinion Journal veers between the state of chatter today where the sheer volume of insult, name calling and rudeness has become a large negative blur that saps our energy and .looking at good things and good people whose well-lived lives can revive and refresh us.

Because those who have added to life, who have inspired us and pointed to a better way, should be lauded and learned from. I think the inspiration to be gotten from a life well lived--spectacularly lived--is more important than ever these days. It's important that we dwell on the good and, just as important, maybe more so, try to understand it. This makes us stronger rather than sapping us, as so much of the ebb and flow of news and argument tends to do. We need to be looking to good things.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:25 PM | Permalink

November 22, 2005


These are very startling figures from the UN. The study has been published as a book, "Women in an Insecure World."

There is a shortfall of some 200 million women in the world -- "missing' due to what a three-year study on violence against women calls "gendercide."


Theodore Winkler, head of the research center that directed the project said:

"The deeply rooted phenomenon of the violence against women is one of the great crimes of humanity. We cannot close our eyes to it and hope it simply goes away,"

Gender-related abortions and infanticides were the leading causes for the shortfall in the female population. Another factor was domestic violence, including so-called honor killings in some cultures.
Winkler said violence against women was the fourth-leading cause of premature death on the planet, ranking behind only disease, hunger and war.
The book uses U.N., World Heath Organization and government reports and photographs to examine the plight of women. According to a study based on 50 surveys from around the world, "at least one out of every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:52 PM | Permalink

Is there a moral obligation to be happy?

Is there a moral obligation to be happy? I never thought about it in those terms until I came across this today via Tom McMahon.

From Denis Prager

It only takes a moment's thought to realize that while most unhappy people don't engage in evil, most evil is done by unhappy people. This is true on both the macro and the micro levels. We all know how much more likely we are to lash out at others when we are unhappy and how much we desire to make others feel good when we feel happy.

Given this association of evil with unhappy people, it is quite remarkable how little attention is paid to happiness as a moral, rather than only a personal psychological issue. Too often the pursuit of happiness (not the pursuit of fun or excitement) is regarded as a selfish pursuit, when in fact it is one of the best things a person can do for everyone in his life and for the world at large. The Founders of America were brilliant in many ways, not more so than by enshrining that pursuit alongside the pursuit of life and liberty.


The notion that happiness (or at least acting happy) is a debt we owe to all those in our lives and even to society at large is foreign to the vast majority of people. Yet, the more time I have devoted to writing and lecturing on this issue, the more I have come to realize that this is indeed the case. Ask anyone who was raised by an unhappy parent; ask anyone married to a chronically unhappy person; ask any worker whose co-worker is moody what their life is like and you will readily understand the moral obligation to be as happy as one can be.

He makes quite a good argument. Absolutely, the world would be a better place if people were happier, if they experienced happiness more often and more deeply. To do that, we have to grow up and take responsibility for creating our own lives, our best lives. For most, if not all, of us, that means doing the work - the necessary emotional and spiritual work so we can be happier. Still, no one can be happy all the time. Everyone suffers one way or another, some from disabling mental states of stress, anxiety and depression and it can a long time and a lot of work to burst through the shell into a larger way of being.

We can, however, be kind no matter how bad we feel. I think kindness is a greater moral obligation. Happiness is a state, an emotion, or a feeling of satisfaction. Kindness is more. Kindness is action in the world, ripples in the ocean of life. Didn't the Dalai Lami say,

This is my simple religion.
There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.
Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:10 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2005

The Power of Making Choices

Coming of age in the 60s, the phrase "Keeping my options open" was one we all repeated to each other as the way to be for as long as we could. Only in retrospect does it appear to be bad advice.

From the Gruntled Center.

The problem with the religion of choice is that it does not let you actually choose anything. Any choice made now forces you to give up other choices in the future. If, on the other hand, you try always to keep your options open, you never get to live any particular kind of life fully.

Choosing to live a married life with one particular woman is what makes the extraordinary change in men. Single men live the life of “options.” They have lots of choices, but many fewer accomplishments. Married men are the most productive economic group in society because they have given up the life of many options, and are living the life of their one great choice.

Hat tip Ambivablog

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:57 PM | Permalink

November 18, 2005

Deleting the Anti-Aging Gene

Scientists have discovered that deleting the "anti-aging" gene in yeast dramatically increased its life span almost six times.

via Instapundit.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:46 PM | Permalink

Hurrah for Haider Sediqi

A round of applause for Los Angeles cab driver, Afghan immigrant Haider Sediqi, who handed over a pouch of diamonds he found in the back seat of his cab to the police. Shortly after dropping off a fare at LAX, he found the small brown pouch, opened it only to find the diamonds worth some $350,000 and immediately called the police.

The haul was returned to its relieved and grateful owner, New York jewellery trader Eric Austein, airport police said.
Other people's jewels are "not what you earned," Sediqi told the Los Angeles Times. "Someone else earned that."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:59 PM | Permalink

Mental Health Treatment Online

Treatment Online seems to be an interesting site, a community of mental health professionals using the web to create not only a business but the pooling of experience from all those that participate who are battling stress, depression and addiction.

They have an interesting community weblog and right away, i found a post to link to Keys to a Happier Life, from the BBC who's going all out to help the residents of Slough and incidentally the rest of us who always need reminders.

- Plant something and nurture it

- Count your blessings - at least five - at the end of each day
- Take time to talk - have an hour-long conversation with a loved one each week
- Phone a friend whom you have not spoken to for a while and arrange to meet up
- Give yourself a treat every day and take the time to really enjoy it
- Have a good laugh at least once a day
- Get physical - exercise for half an hour three times a week
- Smile at and/or say hello to a stranger at least once each day
- Cut your TV viewing by half
- Spread some kindness - do a good turn for someone every day

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:34 PM | Permalink

Web Cam Saves Mom

Here's the Internet enabllng care-giving from a distance.

Sons rescue mother on the other side of the world.

A web camera in a Norwegian artist's living room in California allowed her sons in Norway and the Philippines to see that she had collapsed and call for help, one of the sons said Friday.

He said the family was on the verge of tears when they watched on the web camera as ambulance personnel assisted their diabetic mother, who is recovering in the Desert Valley Hospital in California.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:17 PM | Permalink

November 16, 2005

Drink Milk, Lose Weight

Drink milk, lose weight. A year long clinical trial at the University of Vermont of overweight and obese adults confirmed that adults on the high dairy diet lost an average of 24 pounds with a decrease of 27.5% in body fat.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:11 PM | Permalink

Thanksgiving Tree

Now this is a very nice idea for Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Tree

Designed as an autumn decoration, the Thanksgiving Tree provides families with an opportunity to write "thank-you" notes on leaves that are hung on the tree.

The autumn-colored Leaf Notes are blank on one side with the words "Thank You" on the other. Throughout the days before Thanksgiving, and as people arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, family members and guests are encouraged to write a note of gratitude on a leaf-note and hang it on the tree.

Following dinner and before dessert, or at some other appropriate time, The Thanksgiving Tree is placed at the center of the table. Those gathered are invited to share what they have written on their leaf-note or other thoughts and feelings about the meaning of Thanksgiving Day

"For many," says Bates, "this time of sharing has become the most important and meaningful part of the Thanksgiving celebration." Response to the Thanksgiving Tree has been overwhelmingly positive.

"Families are grateful for a resource that makes it easy to talk and share important thoughts and feelings," says Bates.

Technorati Tags:

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:17 PM | Permalink

November 15, 2005

User-friendly family law

This should be helpful to a lot of people, like the 2.2 million who will get married this year, the 1.1 million couples who will get divorced, the 1 million who live with an unmarried partner and the new parents of 100,000 adopted children and who knows how many involved in child custody and child support cases.

It's the Family Law Center launched by Findlaw.

The FindLaw Family Law Center features information on a full range of topics, including prenuptial agreements, cohabitation and marriage, divorce, child custody and support, and domestic violence. The site also provides comprehensive and easy-to-understand articles, checklists, legal forms and links to a variety of state-specific resources and government agencies.

These resources are presented in a user-friendly format that enables FindLaw users to quickly and easily find the information that meets their specific needs. “Our mission is to give people the information they need to make informed decisions,” said Scott Kinney, vice president and general manager of Thomson FindLaw. “We built the Family Law Center to be a helpful, trustworthy resource for those seeking a legal perspective of their relationship and parenting issues. And, FindLaw can help them find a local attorney who specializes in representing individuals with Family Law needs

HT Loren Baker at Search Engine Journal

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:28 AM | Permalink

November 12, 2005

Parents Tears

Some of the disaffected, unemployed Muslim youths 6 who kept Paris burning for 16 days and entirely too gleeful after torching cars, churches day care centers and busses seem to be listening to their parents.

From the Washington Post, Parents Tears Calm Youth Rage

The parents have reclaimed the night in the suburban Paris town where France's unrest began two weeks ago. While arsons and clashes with police are continuing in dozens of
cities across France, fires have not burned in Clichy-sous-Bois since Monday night.

The tears of our mothers stopped us," said Maldini, 26, a stout, French-born son of Algerian immigrants. He declined to provide his family name for fear of police harassment. "The parents, the mothers and fathers were all crying."

Other parents have no control. Some in France Ask: Where Are the Parents?

Many parents are struggling to make ends meet, leaving them little time for their children. They often can hardly communicate with their sons and daughters: Many parents are not French citizens and never learn to speak French, while their children don't learn the language of their ancestors.
According to Sonia Imloul, who works with troubled teens in Seine-Saint-Denis, the Paris-area town hit hardest by the unrest, an estimated 40 percent of families in the suburbs are dysfunctional, causing a high rate of school dropouts, drug use, petty crime and aggressive behavior.

As David Brooks writes in Gangsta, in French, they are taking hip-hop as their model of how to be men.

After 9/11, everyone knew there was going to be a debate about the future of Islam. We just didn't know the debate would be between Osama bin Laden and Tupac Shakur.

Yet those seem to be the lifestyle alternatives that are really on offer for poor young Muslim men in places like France, Britain and maybe even the world beyond. A few highly alienated and fanatical young men commit themselves to the radical Islam of bin Laden. But most find their self-respect by embracing the poses and worldview of American hip-hop and gangsta rap.

One of the striking things about the scenes from France is how thoroughly the rioters have assimilated hip-hop and rap culture. It's not only that they use the same hand gestures as American rappers, wear the same clothes and necklaces, play the same video games, and sit with the same sorts of car stereos at full blast.
It's that they seem to have adopted the same poses of exaggerated manhood, the same attitudes about women, money and the police. They seem to have replicated the same sort of gang culture, the same romantic visions of gunslinging drug dealers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:48 AM | Permalink

Virgins Rule

Now here's a refreshing post - Virgins Rule.

It's a point of view you don't come across much anymore and from a man of experience who's not a pig even if he's a Hog on Ice.

Read the number of women in the comments who wonder just how empowered they really are or were.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:43 AM | Permalink

When Terrorism Hits Home

Terrorist attacks are mighty different when you know one of the victims.

My brain unconsciously processed the information: Statistics from half a world away... Thank God I don't know anyone over there... Are there any Diet Cokes in the refrigerator?

But in my daily AM-induced trance I was shocked into sharp focus when the newsman reported that the lone American death, at the time, was
"34-year old Rima Akkad". In that instant I knew it was my friend, the beautiful and jovial younger sister of my high school classmate Malek, who I think saved me (at least from something) by getting me over the Mexican border in a wheelbarrow after a drunken night in Tijuana in 1985.

Al Qaeda Killed My Friend by Andrew Breighbart, guest blogging over at Roger L Simon's blog

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:26 AM | Permalink

November 11, 2005

Transpersonal Gratitude, a Great Fullness

From An attitude of gratitude for the deeply forgetful,
From the deeply forgetful we learn that love — not cognitive capacity — is the deepest human need and reality. In our aging society, an attitude of gratitude for those who have lost in large measure the very story of their lives is a necessity. Stephen Post

An attitude of "trans-personal" gratitude goes far beyond the routine everyday. It is to be grateful for the universe as it appears and for everything just as it is.

Care-givers who practice such gratitude maintain a positive state of affect and protection against depression. Emotional distress was predicted by those of self-reported low or no religious faith.

Cultivating the spiritual intelligence of care-givers then seems to be one of the highest priorities, especially for those dealing with Alzheimer's patients.

In my mother's circle of now elderly nurses, it's a given that hospitals with nuns as nurses give the best care. Mother Theresa is the exemplar.

Brother David Stendal Rast says the practice of giving thanks, of seeing all that is given as gift, is gratefulness, the mystical counterpart of gratitude. Gratefulness leads to Great Fullness and Great Aliveness.

"Gratefully Embracing All That Is" is the tagline for, a network for grateful living.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:09 PM | Permalink

November 10, 2005

Life is too short to be little

Millie Garfield saved this newspaper clipping so she could share these rules of life because they are things she wished she had known.

1. Any and all compliments can be handled by saying, "Why, thank you!" It helps if you have a Southern accent.

2. Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas.

3. Never continue to date anyone who is rude to the waiter or doesn't like cats or dogs.

4. The five most essential words for a healthy, long-lasting relationship are, "I apologize," and "You are right."

5. Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.

6. When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm.

7. The best advice my mother gave me was, "Go! You might meet somebody!"

8. Pick your battles. Will this matter one year from now? One month? One day? Don't sweat the small stuff.

9. Never pass up an opportunity to use the bathroom. It may be your last chance for a long time.

10. Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man. Most people are better than you think.

11. Work is necessary, but it's not the most important thing.

12. Be nice to your friends. Some day you might want them to visit you in a nursing home.

She adds

13. Nothing is forever

But the very best is her last addition

14. Life is too short to be little.

I also like 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:31 PM | Permalink

Tracking down anonymous sperm donors

For the first time, an anonymous sperm donor was traced on the Internet

LATE last year, a 15-year-old boy rubbed a swab along the inside of his cheek, popped it into a vial and sent it off to an online genealogy DNA-testing service. But unlike most people who contact the service, he was not interested in sketching the far reaches of his family tree. His mother had conceived using donor sperm and he wanted to track down his genetic father.

That the boy succeeded using only the DNA test, genealogical records and some internet searches has huge implications for the hundreds of thousands of people who were conceived using donor sperm. With the explosion of information about genetic inheritance, any man who has donated sperm could potentially be found by his biological offspring. Absent and unknown fathers will also become easier to trace.

The teenager tracked down his father from his Y chromosome. The Y is passed from father to son virtually unchanged, like a surname. So the pattern of gene variants it carries can help identify which paternal line an individual has descended from and can also be linked to a man's surname.

The boy paid $289 for the service. His genetic father had never supplied his DNA to the site, but all that was needed was for someone in the same paternal line to be on file.

Though his donor had been anonymous, his mother had been told the man's date and place of birth and his college degree. Using another online service,, he purchased the names of everyone that had been born in the same place on the same day. Only one man had the surname he was looking for, and within 10 days he had made contact.

"This is the first time that I know of it being done," says Bryan Sykes, a geneticist at the University of Oxford and chairman of, a genetic genealogy service. The case raises serious questions about whether past promises of anonymity can be honoured, he says.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:25 AM | Permalink

It's Never Too Late

Jean Marotta never could forget the dream she had of being a nurse and she learned it's never too late

In 1998 my daughter had a baby. She invited me to be in the delivery room with her. Her nurse was a wonderful woman my age who gave me tiny tasks to do while my daughter was in labor. She asked if I was a nurse. When I answered no, she asked, "Do you work in the health-care field?" Again, I answered no. She told me, "You're a natural," and I admitted, "I've always dreamed of being a nurse."

"It's never too late," she said. "Go to school now."

The very next day I went to Maria College in Albany, New York, to talk with an admissions officer.
That was the beginning of a three-year odyssey that ended in my graduation as a registered nurse from Maria College in May 2002. At the graduation ceremony, I won an award for the highest average in my class (3.9). Walking across the stage I wanted to shout, "If I can do this, anyone can!" It was the most satisfying, wonderful, ecstatic experience of my life.

Now she knows the power of meaning and purpose and how it can create not just your future but your legacy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 AM | Permalink

November 9, 2005

Health Round-Up

Once again, it's time for my periodic health round-up of health news you can use

Sleep apnea double risk of stroke and death according to Yale research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A lot of people should be trying inexpensive, drug free sinus cones.

Statin drugs may be more important for older patients as study shows new role for HDL 'Good" Cholesterol

Seeking clues as to why dieters so often fail and binge-eat instead, scientists studied rats to learn that stress plus tempting treats triggers binge-eating. Ravenous rodents give dieting clues.

Exercise is as good as medication in easing depression say experts. Workouts Can Lighten Heavy Hearts.

If you know someone who needs a transplant, if you want to be a transplant donor now , sign-up at MatchingDonors, a nonprofit, run by volunteers and profiled in Businessweek, Meet Your Organ Donor Online.

Colas, not coffee, linked to hypertension in women. Good news for all coffee drinkers.

Yes, there is a new research paper out on Treating Diabetes with Cannabis . Another report of a cannabis-based drug that eases arthritis pain.

Younger retirees face high death rate. The death rate for workers who retired at 55 was 37% higher than those who kept working until 65. No doubt poor health counts for a lot of those but what about those who no longer felt they had a purpose in life?

Promising new treatment target for deadly brain tumors.

Checking a person's waist-hip ratio, not their body mass index (BMI) is the best obesity measure for assessing heart attack risk reports The Lancet. Larger waist size indicating the amount of abdominal fat was harmful while larger hip size was often protective. Waist-Hip Ratio a Better Heart Measure Than BMI

Keep the weight off in middle age and you'll thwart the development of Alzheimer's and dementia.

There's really something to Blindsight, - the brain might have an alternative way of processing visual information.

Something bothering you? Write it down, let go, feel way better.

Restless legs syndrome linked to other health woes, like insomnia and depression.

A vaccine for nicotine is one step closer. Study found NicVax helped 38% stay away from smoking for 30 days. They still need FDA approval.

We're closer to learning why fat tastes so good. According to French researchers, there is a protein-based fat sensor in the tongue. Fondness for Fatty Foods May Be Built-In

U.S. Details Plans to Combat Bird Flu, but still the best advice for everyone is to stay healthy, wash your hands whenever you go out in public and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. If you can, get a flu shot, but don't worry if you can't.

Gas-Blockers Slow Alzheimer's in Mice. iNOS inhibitors have already been tested in humans.

A 16 year old girl's science project, "Liar, LIar Your Stomach's on Fire" may lead to an improved polygraph. Path to the Truth May Lead to the Somach

Ovarian Cancer Screening Methods Inaccurate. The TVU test and screen for CA-125 are two methods that identify too many false positives that often lead to unnecessary surgeries.

Broccoli sprouts, cabbage and garlic appear to have a role in preventing cancers. Shopping Cart of Cancer Fighters.

Botox helps stroke patients. Injections improved muscle control and eased limb pain, study found.

Four-legged, early warning system. Uncanny Canines. seizure-alerting dogs help those with epilepsy.

Moderate exercise helps with knee osteoarthritis by strengthening knee cartilage.

Gene boosts breast cancer risk. Mutation raises odds in women with strong family history.

Cancer drug could fight scleroderma. Taxol may help with that terrible disease of the hardening of the skin.

Researchers may have discovered Dyslexia gene that accounts for about 17% of cases

An Apple a Day for Health? Mars Recommends Bars of Chocolate
It's the healthy new sweet from Mars, CocoaVia which you'll find in the health food store or next to the nutrition bars, not the candy aisle. Great news indeed.

If you have dry eye syndrome, try Fish Oil, or at least read this piece in USA Today

Fish is really, really good for you. Not only is it packed with healthful vitamins and minerals, it is also a major source of omega-3 fatty acids, which a veritable flood of recent studies shows lowers the chance of heart attack, makes babies smarter, wards off dementia and stroke in the elderly, and even seems to guard against dry-eye syndrome.

From the blogs
Secrets to a smooth doctor's visit.

Eliza Camahort has more to say about about the basic disconnect: We are not the customers of those who are serving us

Should we be able to buy lavish doctor attention? A lot of concierge or retainer doctors say yes and and some patients say the extra couple of thousand a year is worth it. The New York Times discusses.

It may be that aspirin can prevent skin cancer according to one report from Australia

Closing with a beautiful post from the Doctor is In, how a surgeon views surgery That Terrible Power .

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:06 PM | Permalink

November 7, 2005

Surviving Cancer Needs a Plan

The ten million cancer survivors in the U.S. need a survivorship plan to guide their future health care says the Institute of Medicine, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences, reports the Wall St Journal.

When active treatment ends, these people's special needs may be just beginning, said the study, released Monday. Yet, the legacy of physical, psychological and social consequences has largely been ignored by doctors, researchers, even patient-advocacy groups, leaving survivors too often unaware of simmering health risks or struggling to manage them on their own, said the report by the Institute of Medicine.

"Successful cancer care doesn't end when patients walk out the door after completion of their initial treatments," said Sheldon Greenfield of the University of California, Irvine, who led the study for the institute, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences.

Yet, "you fall off a cliff when your treatment ends," said report co-author Ellen Stovall, president of the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, who speaks from personal experience as a two-time survivor.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:24 PM | Permalink

Carnival of Personal Finance

It's the Carnival of Personal Finance over at Blueprint for financial prosperity. Lots of links to posts, one of which may be just what you need to make or save money.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:16 PM | Permalink

Adding to my worry beads

Counting my worry beads - hurricane, flood, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, terrorist attack, dirty bomb, avian flu, I find I can add two more this week -pirates attacking cruise ships with rocket launchers and 4GW in France.

From Lexington Green at Chicago Boyz

What is happening in France is nothing less than an "instant war" by a "smart swarm" of networked arsonists who are conducting a loosely coordinated nation-wide intifada:

"They are very mobile, in cars or scooters. ... It is quite hard to combat" he said. "Most are young, very young, we have even seen young minors." There appeared to be no coordination between separate groups in different areas, Hamon said. But within gangs, he added, youths are communicating by cell phones or e-mails. "They organize themselves, arrange meetings, some prepare the Molotov cocktails."

This is much, much worse than I thought it was. It is a massive outbreak of 4th Generation Warfare, in the middle of an advanced, Western country.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:33 AM | Permalink

November 6, 2005

No Good Divorce

More on the divorce front, this time from the Washington Post and Elizabeth Marquardt who asks Just Whom Is This Divorce 'Good' For?

Many people incorrectly assume that most marriages end only when parents are at each other's throats. But the reasons can often be far less urgent, like boredom or the midlife blahs. Research shows that two-thirds of divorces now end low-conflict marriages, where there is no abuse, violence or serious fighting. After those marriages end, the children suddenly struggle with a range of symptoms -- anxiety, depression, problems in school -- that they did not previously have. The waxing and waning cycles of adult unhappiness that characterize many marriages are often not all that obvious to children. For the children of low-conflict marriages, divorce is a massive blow that comes out of nowhere.
But when you talk to the children themselves, you find that rampant "good divorce" talk mainly reflects the wishes of adults, while silencing the voices of children. The divorce debate has long been conducted by adults, for adults, on behalf of the adult point of view, but now the grown children of divorce are telling their own, very different stories.
The evidence is piling up and the message from our generation is clear: Divorce divides and shapes children's identities well into young adulthood. It frees adults at the expense of forcing their children to grow up too soon. It has lasting consequences even when divorced parents do not fight.

She certainly can give pause to anyone with children considering a divorce. "Staying together for the sake of the kids" until they are out of the house may be the smartest, kindest thing to do.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:33 PM | Permalink

Technology Helping Divorces

Jeff Zaslow points out that there is less drama and histrionics surrounding divorced couples than there used to be. Emailing the Ex in the Wall St. Journal.

"Sure, the same battles still go on. But many ex-spouses these days are finding civil ways to interact. They're "talking" by email to keep emotions in check. They're heeding the lessons of earlier generations of divorced couples, and they're paying attention to research about broken families. In 2005, there are opportunities for improved relations that weren't possible earlier in the divorce boom.

The Internet acts as a moderator according to one family court judge

  • you have a chance to vent, then delete before sending
  • you get to speak your mind without interruption
  • you can connect with support groups at 10 pm after the kids are in bed

We're learning from each other.

Divorced couples today have also discovered useful low-tech maneuvers. For instance, knowing that arguments can flare when a parent picks up a child at his ex's house, some now make the exchange in public places. "If they do it at McDonald's, everything is out in the open and they're less likely to raise their voices," says Lawrence Ganong, a University of Missouri professor who has studied stepfamilies for 30 years.

When Dr. Ganong began his research, people assumed divorce was always an adversarial process, he says. "We're much more sophisticated about divorce now. Because there are more people who've been divorced, people ask each other, 'What worked for you?'

Some of the best life advice comes from asking someone who's been through what you're going through, What worked for you.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:26 PM | Permalink

November 5, 2005

Donate Life

John Scripter was on his death bed with only days left to live when he consulted with his wife and then agreed to become the first heart transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital. He was really, really scared. The doctors thought, maybe they could give him another 7, maybe 10, years of life with the transplant.

Now, a folk hero, Scripter returned to MGH for a 20th anniversary celebration of his transplant. Doctors now expect him to live another 15 to 20 years.

He faced his fear and won maybe as much as an additional 40 years of life. Since more than 200 people have gotten transplants at MGH and won whole new lives. Families have remained intact, children are not orphans.

This is why people should make out organ donation cards. If you are in an accident and your heart or liver can be saved, wouldn't you want to give a perfect stranger another 40 years of life?

Donate Life.

  Donate Life-1

Here's a Donor Card, free and printable.

There are also some wonderful stories

Gloria has told Suzi of her grief for Suzi's loss and her intention to be sure she is deserving of Bobby's gift. Suzi says that her grief "turned to joy when I discovered that my husband's death was not final but had given five people a chance to live." Melissa, who wrote in that first letter to Gloria that she hoped a child had received one of her dad's organs and could live to grow up, understands now that the gift that saved Gloria's life also "saved" the lives of her son Arylon and daughter Aquia, who came so close to becoming motherless at ages 9 and 6. Gloria and family, who attended Melissa's wedding, now are celebrating with Suzi the birth of Melissa's little boy, Robert. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:37 AM | Permalink

Chinese activist protesting brutality of forced abortion is kidnapped

Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life or somewhere in between, I can't believe that any American woman or man supports the forced abortions that are going on in China.

In the last few months, some 7000, maybe many tens of thousands, forced abortions have been performed in Shandong province, outside Shanghai. One blind activist, Chen Guangcheng, traveled to Beijing to complain to the central government, journalists and other activists of the "bizarre" brutality of the forced abortion campaign by local government officials in Shandong. According to the San Francisco Chronicle,

Chen was ambushed on the street by plainclothes security officers from Shandong who bundled him into a car and took him back to Linyi. There, Chen found himself under de facto house arrest, where he remains.

It's a horror story of kidnappings, ransoms and brutality against women by local officials that may have widespread consequences to the stability of China. Public protests against corrupt local officials numbered 74,000 last year, up 50% from two years ago. Some of the terrible stories is in the extended entry.

A former employee in the Linyi family planning department, who asked that he be identified only as Cao, said such astonishingly cruel measures were usually carried out by "overzealous" local officials.
Zhu Hongying, 40, and her husband, Xia Jiandong, 40, who are farmers in Zhai Tian Zhuang village near Linyi, and who already have one son, said they had first heard of the forced abortions in March, when Zhu was five months pregnant.

"We panicked and ran into (Linyi) to hide," Zhu said during an interview that was conducted by telephone because local police had sealed off her area in the wake of Chen's detention. "But to get to us, about a month after we left, they arrested three of my sisters-in-law. So we felt very guilty and went home."

What happened next went beyond her deepest fears, Zhu said: "The people from the family planning department were waiting for us. They demanded 700 RMB (about $90, two months' wages for Zhu) to release my sisters-in-law, and then they pushed me into a van and took me to a local family planning clinic."

There, a group of eight people surrounded her and harangued her to have an abortion.

What they were doing was illegal. By law, only financial and other penalties can be levied against parents who break China's one-child policy. But Zhu said there was no way for her to protest.

"I just kept sobbing and begging, but no one listened," she said. "Finally, I was so weak, I just said 'yes.' Then a doctor came in and gave me an injection in the stomach. After I took the shot, the whole day I didn't feel anything. The second day in the early morning blood and water all flowed out of me. Then the baby came out, but it was dead. It was a boy."

Zhu said gazing at her dead son was the most heartbreaking moment of her life.

After she aborted, her husband said, a nurse came into the room and dumped the baby's body into a black plastic bag, along with all the other discharge.

"She told me to go throw it into a truck, which had a large container kind of thing at the back," said Xia, his voice quavering. "When I opened the door and looked in, it was full of black bags and blood."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 AM | Permalink

November 4, 2005

He Asked His Mom

He was only 14 when Blake Ross began working at Netscape. By 19 he had co-created Firefox, an open-source browser that has been downloaded 100 million times and garnered 10% of Internet Explorer's market share.

New York Times technology columnist David Pogue interviewed him in One Teen's Gigantic Contribution to the Internet.

My absolutely favorite part:

DP: And how were you, a bunch of volunteers, able to do this when the best and the brightest, highest paid programmers from Microsoft could not?

BR: First of all, they dropped the ball. Internet Explorer hasn't been updated since 2001. And so when Microsoft basically disbanded the Internet Explorer team, the Web started to outpace the Web browser.

We guide our development by what our users want, not by the dollar. You know, no other factors come into play except these features that people are asking for. So basically I go home and I say, "Hey, Mom, you know, what's still wrong with the internet? What's bothering you?" And she tells me.

DP: You ask your mom?

BR: Well, she'll yell at me. And I'll say, "Mom, calm down. What's wrong?" And then I'll fix that.

DP: I wonder why Bill Gates's mom couldn't do the same thing?

BR: Yeah (laughs).

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:29 PM | Permalink

Into the Flow with Hope

Prosperity comes from the Latin root which literally translates: "according to hope" or "to go forward hopefully." Thus it is not so much a condition in life as it is an attitude toward life. The truly prosperous person is what psychologist Rollo May calls "the fully functioning person."
Eric Butterworth in Spiritual Economics

via Brian Johnson at Zaadz who reminds us that affluence means "an abundant flow" and wealth originally meant "well-being."

When we are consciously centered in the universal flow, we experience inner direction and the unfoldment of creative activity. Things come to, but prosperity is not just having things. It is the consciousness that attracts things.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:51 PM | Permalink

Paris is Burning

After watching the seventh straight night of riots in the Parisian suburbs, I am afraid we are seeing the beginnings of civil war in Europe between the Europeans and the second and third generations of Muslim immigrants.

  Paris Burning

The unrest spread to at least nine Paris-region towns overnight Tuesday, exposing the despair, anger and criminality in France's poor suburbs - fertile terrain for Islamic extremists, drug dealers and racketeers.

The violence, concentrated in neighborhoods with large African and Muslim populations, has highlighted the difficulties many European nations face with immigrant communities feeling marginalized and restive, cut off from the continent's prosperity and, for some extremists, its values, too.
The unrest spread to at least nine Paris-region towns overnight Tuesday, exposing the despair, anger and criminality in France's poor suburbs - fertile terrain for Islamic extremists, drug dealers and racketeers.

The violence, concentrated in neighborhoods with large African and Muslim populations, has highlighted the difficulties many European nations face with immigrant communities feeling marginalized and restive, cut off from the continent's prosperity and, for some extremists, its values, too.

Francis Fukuyama explores why Europe is in such trouble in A Year of Living Dangerously

We profoundly misunderstand contemporary Islamist ideology when we see it as an assertion of traditional Muslim values or culture.....In his book "Globalized Islam" (2004), the French scholar Olivier Roy argues persuasively that contemporary radicalism is precisely the product of the "deterritorialization" of Islam, which strips Muslim identity of all of the social supports it receives in a traditional Muslim society.

The identity problem is particularly severe for second- and third-generation children of immigrants. They grow up outside the traditional culture of their parents, but unlike most newcomers to the United States, few feel truly accepted by the surrounding society.
The real challenge for democracy lies in Europe, where the problem is an internal one of integrating large numbers of angry young Muslims and doing so in a way that does not provoke an even angrier backlash from right-wing populists. Two things need to happen: First, countries like Holland and Britain need to reverse the counterproductive multiculturalist policies that sheltered radicalism, and crack down on extremists. But second, they also need to reformulate their definitions of national identity to be more accepting of people from non-Western backgrounds.

UPDATE: Wow, another must-read by Theodore Dalrymple in City Journal, The Suicide Bombers Among Us. At its heart, hatred and the desire to continue total male domination.

the sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced, in a single day, by the nightmare of permanent conflict.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:19 AM | Permalink

November 2, 2005

The Interdependence of Preparedness

Because I've written a lot about Being Prepared, I was delighted to hear "Stockpiling supplies and developing family response plans in case disaster strikes not only might save lives — it's also a civic duty," coming from no one less than the Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in an interview with The Associated Press.

Two months of hurricanes ravaging the Gulf Coast should prove that people need to make preparations so emergency officials can focus on those who are poor, elderly or otherwise can't help themselves, Chertoff said.

"For those people who say, 'Well, I can take care of myself no matter what, I don't have to prepare,' there is an altruistic element — that to the extent that they are a burden on government services, that takes away from what's available to help those who can't help themselves," Chertoff said. "That is a matter of civic virtue."

Chertoff's comments mark a new stage in Homeland Security's "Ready" campaign — which was widely ridiculed two years ago for urging homeowners to stock up on duct tape and plastic sheeting to safeguard their homes against a chemical or biological attack.

Now, Chertoff said, the department plans to reach out to school students to carry the preparedness messages home to their parents. Additionally, Homeland Security and the Ad Council launched a newspaper and radio campaign Monday pitched at small businesses to develop disaster plans for workplaces.

Chertoff's plans are an optimistic and pragmatic mix.

If gas stations keep power generators on hand, Chertoff argues, they can pump fuel for commuters to drive to work. If utility company employees can get to work, they can provide power to grocery stores. Once grocery stores are open, households can restock food, water and first aid needs while emergency responders focus on people who can't get their own.

"The great lesson of all of these events is interdependence," Chertoff said. "We're all dependent on everybody else. Everybody has their role to play, and if people fail in their role, it's going to have a cascading effect."

DHS "Ready" campaign:

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:04 AM | Permalink

Chewing Gum Speeds Surgery Recovery

Presented this week at the annual meeting of the American College of Surgeons was a study showing chewing gum speeds recovery after laparoscopic colon surgery.

"It is normal to sit down at meal time and chew and swallow for 15 minutes," he explained. "Gum chewing stimulates that activity nicely. The sooner the body thinks it is normal, the sooner it will act normally. And the sooner you get to go home."
Something to chew on.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:24 AM | Permalink

November 1, 2005

Recipes for Life and Changing the World

Nancy Glaser, a Stanford MBA, left her career in venture capital

to help Third World women become apparel-industry entrepreneurs. She was in Russia after the Berlin Wall fell, working to build St. Petersburg into a fashion center. For the past three years, she's been visiting bombed-out villages in Afghanistan, helping poor women turn their native handicrafts into Fifth Avenue must-haves.

Glaser talks about giving up the dream job to take real risks in her life in this interview by Patty Fisher, Desire to live right life can change the world.

`The women in Afghanistan make beautiful hand-embroidered tablecloths and napkins, but the fabric is terrible quality, the thread breaks, the colors run,'' she said. ``They don't match anything you have in your home. The workmanship is beautiful, but it's the wrong color, the wrong design.''

She has enlisted designers from New York and Europe to showcase the women's work, and she's trying to raise money for better materials. It's been hard because the country is so devastated, and so much of the aid money goes for security. But she's determined to succeed.

``Once people have a livelihood and can support their family,'' she said, ``they put down their guns.''

via Evelyn Rodriguez who will be writing more about her own vision of artisan journalism and offers us this bonus:

Nancy Glaser says, "Even with all the devastation, there was so much hope. Turning aid containers into shops, people had already set up a bazaar on a dry riverbed.” She described women swathed in burqas and speaking perfect English (learned in refugee camps in Pakistan). Eager to be working, they presented her with resumes. She also saw school classes meeting under trees that included girls for the first time in six years.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:00 PM | Permalink

The Upside of Cancer

Cathy Siepp, a wonderful, smart and funny writer, reveals she has lung cancer.

Because sure, breast cancer is no fun; I’ve had friends who’ve died of it. But it also has a survival rate of around 85%. That’s the unsurvival rate of lung cancer, which is what I have. I’m actually lucky still to be alive, given that I was diagnosed almost three and a half years ago, after a cough that wouldn’t go away, and most lung cancer patients don’t make it past two years. Except that, since I never smoked even one cigarette, never lived or worked with smokers, and in fact have zero family history and no other risk factors at all (unusual even in people who don’t get cancer), the bald truth is I’m pretty unlucky to have this in the first place.

The upside of cancer?
One is that you can put the fear of God into people with hardly any effort at all,
The other advantage is people reveal themselves to you as they really are – it’s almost like a solution for invisible ink

I wish her the fullest of life along with my fond hopes she writes for a long time.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:26 AM | Permalink