June 30, 2006

How to Get Fired

There's no permalink but if you go to Inbubblewrap, you may still find it under "Special Notes".

Seems as if at the last department picnic, management decided for liability reasons, they could serve alcohol if people were limited to only one drink.

The guy who ordered the cups was fired.

  Fired For Ordering Cups

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:42 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Hilarious

You don't have to understand a word, it's just hilarious.

I couldn't stop laughing. The infectious quality of uncontrollable laughter.

I just wonder if the poor guy still has a job.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:33 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Why We Get Older and Mellower

Good news for aging brains or why we get older AND mellower.

It turns out that we become MORE emotionally stable as we grow older because our brains gradually reorganizes our emotion system, moving from the amygdala to the pre-frontal cortex, from the more animal brain, center of the automatic fear response, to the the more evolved, conscious thinking brain.

That slow move gives us increased control over our negative emotions and greater accessibility to our positive emotions.

This gradual reorganization of the brain's emotion system may result from older folk responding to accumulating personal experiences by increasingly looking for meaning in life, the researchers propose in the June 14 Journal of Neuroscience.

Evidence that emotional functions improve in older brains "indicates that our ability to register the significance of information is preserved, and even enhanced, as we age," Williams says.

  Neural Feel As People Age

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Hateful behind the veil

This is one clause for a pre-nup that beats all.

"if he ever
refuses a clear opportunity to leave for jihad, then I want the choice of a divorce"

From Hateful chatter behind the veil. All from the web postings of the wives of the terrorists arrested in Canada who were planning to detonate bombs against the Toronto stock exchange, storm Parliament and, if they were lucky, behead the prime minister.

  Wives Canadian Terrorists

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:52 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 28, 2006

Rising Whole

Are we moving towards a higher view of motherhood, one that embraces a variety of ways of being a mother? Can we go from Me to We?

Motherpie rises above the either-or debate of motherhood in Whole Mothers.

Can those on either side of the "Mommy wars" rise with her or will they continue to throw insults and taunt those who make different choices?

I'll listen to just about anyone but... Me, I have big difficulties with Linda Hirshman who lays all the faults of society to women who didn't stick it out at work once they had children.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:07 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Lazy Advice to Graduates

If you are entering the so-called “real” world or if you are extending your stay in the “unreal," here is my advice:

Fall in love.

Not necessarily with another person, although that is nice, but fall in love with some area of knowledge. Don’t study a subject or take some job just because you think you can make a lot of money at it. Pursue a direction because it inspires you, because it feeds your soul, because it challenges you and causes you to grow as a person, because it advances the human condition.

Read more at Fred Gratzon's blog the Lazy Way to Success, where doing less accomplishes more.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:58 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Caring for Elders and Alzheimer's

If you're caring for an older adult, you should bookmark Jack Halpern's new blog, My Elder Advocate as he tracks matters of concern for elder care.

Getting more concerned about Alzheimer's is Robert Essner, Chairman, President and CEO of Wyeth, Inc. says Open the Door to Curing Alzheimer's

He says we should be as serious about the coming epidemic of Alzheimers as we are about the possible pandemic of avian flu. We need to give priority status to drugs for Alzheimer's, the way we did with HIV-AIDS.

It will claim one in 10 baby boomers, create a personal and fiscal nightmare for their families, and drain -- if not bankrupt -- state and federal health-care budgets. Medicare now pays one-third of all its health-care funds for some 4.5 million Alzheimer's patients. Are we ready for three times that number?
--
If we don't do these things, the projections are staggering. Within the next five years, nearly a half-million new Alzheimer's cases will be diagnosed annually, as 78 million baby boomers reach age 65. Given those numbers, most of us will either become an Alzheimer's patient, care for one in our home or know a patient in our extended family.

Meanwhile, the Wall St Journal reports that PET Scans are being used to discover early Alzheimer's using very small amounts of radiation that can distinguish between dementia and Alzheimer's enabling those who are diagnosed to start medications that can slow the progression.

"If it were me I would want to have the scan -- I would want to know," says Gary Small, director of the Center on Aging at the University of California in Los Angeles. "I would want to plan my estate, get on medications and plan for my future."

Three new resources for caregivers from Kelly Green at the Wall St. Journal (subscribers only). Here they are:

The Alzheimer's Association introduces Carefinder with sections on planning ahead, care options and support and resources. Especially useful is the interactive tool to generate questions to ask while screening care providers and facilities.

From Met Life, the "Since You Care" guides, all in pdf form, including Becoming an Effective Advocate for Care.

From the National Senior Citizens Law Center, a guide to 20 common nursing home problems and how to resolve them

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:53 PM | Permalink

June 27, 2006

The Immaturity of Unfinished Minds

Discovery reports that immaturity levels are rising

Specifically, it seems a growing number of people are retaining the behaviors and attitudes associated with youth.

As a consequence, many older people simply never achieve mental adulthood, according to a leading expert on evolutionary psychiatry.

Among scientists, the phenomenon is called psychological neoteny.
----
The theory’s creator is Bruce Charlton, a professor in the School of Biology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. He also serves as the editor-in-chief of Medical Hypotheses, which will feature a paper outlining his theory in an upcoming issue.

A “child-like flexibility of attitudes, behaviors and knowledge” is probably adaptive to the increased instability of the modern world, Charlton believes. Formal education now extends well past physical maturity, leaving students with minds that are, he said, “unfinished.”

----
"People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.”

Charlton added that since modern cultures now favor cognitive flexibility, “immature” people tend to thrive and succeed, and have set the tone not only for contemporary life, but also for the future, when it is possible our genes may even change as a result of the psychological shift.

The faults of youth are retained along with the virtues, he believes. These include short attention span, sensation and novelty-seeking, short cycles of arbitrary fashion and a sense of cultural shallowness.

David Brooks, a social commentator and an op-ed columnist at The New York Times, has documented a somewhat related phenomenon concerning the current blurring of “the bourgeois world of capitalism and the bohemian counterculture,” which Charlton believes is a version of psychological neoteny.

Brooks believes such individuals have lost the wisdom and maturity of their bourgeois predecessors due to more emphasis placed on expertise, flexibility and vitality.

By contrast, Jeremy highlights the characteristics of minds that are not only adult but are fully actualized.

Maslow has also identified a number of characteristics shared by self-actualizing people. According to Maslow, self-actualizers tend to, among other things: possess a more efficient view of reality and a corresponding tolerance of ambiguity; be accepting of themselves and others; demonstrate spontaneous behavior that is in tune with their own values and not necessarily tied to the common beliefs and practices of the culture; focus on problems that lie outside of themselves, thus demonstrating a highly ethical concern; maintain a few extremely close interpersonal relationships rather than seek out a large number of less intense friendships; and possess high levels of creativity."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:07 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 26, 2006

Three Graces

Since I posted Happy Dust, I've been pondering the meaning of charisma. According to the dictionary, charisma is defined as a personal attractiveness that enables you to influence others.

Now here's some etymology on the meaning of charisma via Jeff Kelley The root of charisma lies in the Greek, charis which means many things, among them, splendor, inner grace, charm, talent, gift, gratitude, innate giftedness, courtesy and beneficence.

In Greek mythology, the "Charites" were worshipped as goddesses protecting and promoting joy and happiness. We know them as the Three Graces

Aglala splendor
Euphrosyne - merriment and pleasant state of mind
Thalia - blooming life

I wish you all three.

Three Graces Botticelli

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:47 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Another honor killing in Britain

Sister is stabbed to death for loving the wrong man.

Samaira Nazir was murdered by her brother and his cousin in front of her 2 and 4 year old neices. Her father, allegedly involved in the attack, is in hiding.

A BUSINESSMAN is facing a life sentence for stabbing his sister to death in front of his two young daughters in a so-called honour killing.

Azhar Nazir, 30, and his cousin, 17, used four knives to cut Samaira Nazir’s throat and repeatedly stab her after she fell in love with an asylum-seeker from what they saw as an unsuitable caste.

Miss Nazir, 25, had rejected suitors lined up to meet her in Pakistan and had been summoned to the family home in Southall, Middlesex.

The father, also called Azhar, Nazir and the youth launched the attack and at one point dragged her by her hair back into the property.
.
Miss Nazir, a businesswoman described as “strong-willed”, was heard to shout at her mother, Irshad Begum: “You are not my mother any more.” She was then held down as a scarf was tied around her neck and her throat was cut in three places.

Nazir’s daughters, aged 2 and 4, were screaming and were splattered with blood. Police fear that they were ordered to watch as a warning to them. Neighbours called the police after hearing the screaming

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:45 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

The Brain is always giving birth unless stressed or depressed

It used to be the accepted scientific wisdom that we are born with all the brain cells we will ever have or need. Elizabeth Gould is the scientist who started a new field - neurogenesis - by proving that human brains continually create new brain cells.

Her research is explored in a well-written, accessible article in Seed magazine by Jonah Lehrer called The Reinvention of the Self.

The brain, Elizabeth Gould had now firmly established, is always giving birth. The self is continually reinventing itself.
---
Put a primate under stressful conditions, and its brain begins to starve. It stops creating new cells. The cells it already has retreat inwards. The mind is disfigured.

The social implications of this research are staggering. If boring environments, stressful noises, and the primate’s particular slot in the dominance hierarchy all shape the architecture of the brain—and Gould’s team has shown that they do—then the playing field isn’t level. Poverty and stress aren’t just an idea: they are an anatomy. Some brains never even have a chance.
---
Chronic stress, predictably enough, decreases neurogenesis. As Christian Mirescu, one of Gould’s post-docs, put it, “When a brain is worried, it’s just thinking about survival. It isn’t interested in investing in new cells for the future.”

On the other hand, enriched animal environments—enclosures that simulate the complexity of a natural habitat—lead to dramatic increases in both neurogenesis and the density of neuronal dendrites, the branches that connect one neuron to another. Complex surroundings create a complex brain.

I would never have stumbled across it had it not been for Ambivablog and her post Stress and Depression Make You Stupid.

But it isn't just drugs that can reverse the long-term brain-stunting effects of deprivation and stress. An enriched and stimulating environment can coax the brain to begin to flourish and recreate itself again. "On a cellular level, the scars of stress can literally be healed by learning new things."

(T.H. White, in The Once and Future King, wrote,
"The best thing for being sad is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails.")

What exciting research.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:41 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

A Wedding to Die For

  Hugh O'brian Wyatt Earp 2

Hugh O'Brian who some of us remember as Wyatt Earp married for the first time at age 81 to his girlfriend of 18 years, Virginia Barber, 54.

The ceremony, dubbed a Wedding to Die For, took place at a cemetery, Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

O'Brian, who won honors in high school and in the Marine Corps almost became a lawyer until he went to L.A. determined to earn money for tuition. He not only became an actor, he became a humanitarian and a visionary after meeting Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa.

He continued to win awards for his screen and stage work, but none probably meant as much to him as the honors he won for his work for over 50 years in youth leadership, called HOBY, empowering youth to achieve their highest potential.

But until June 25, he never had the honor of being a husband. In lieu of gifts at his wedding, he asked for donations to HOBY.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

$24 billion forgotten or abandoned?

$24 billion in assets lies unclaimed says the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators .

Common forms of unclaimed property include savings or checking accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends or payroll checks, refunds, travelerís checks, trust distributions, unredeemed money orders or gift certificates (in some states), insurance payments or refunds and life insurance policies, annuities, certificates of deposit, customer overpayments, utility security deposits, mineral royalty payments, and contents of safe deposit boxes.

If a financial institution hasn't had contact with an owner of an account for a year or more, they turn it over to the states who may or may not contact you.

In Missouri, there's $400 million in unclaimed assets in Wealth waiting for the taking.

Last year over 1.3 million claims were paid to owners totaling about $1.2 billion.

You can conduct free searches of state and federal databases. NAUPA tells you how.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:53 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

June 24, 2006

Egg a Day

You probably still think that eggs are bad for you.

Well, a new study shows that eating eggs may protect AGAINST heart disease, cancer and eye problems.

The incredible, edible egg is right.

  Egg-2

Some trivia from the American Egg Board

• The egg shell may have as many as 17,000 tiny pores over its surface. Through them, the egg can absorb flavors and odors. Storing them in their cartons helps keep them fresh.

• Eggs age more in one day at room temperature than in one week in the refrigerator.

• White shelled eggs are produced by hens with white feathers and ear lobes. Brown shelled eggs are produced by hens with red feathers and red ear lobes.

• A hen requires 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. Thirty minutes later, she starts all over again.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:47 PM | Permalink

Sexless Marriages

Homosexuality is a crime punishable by death in most Moslem countries. So many are seeking Marriages of Convenience so they live a somewhat normal life.

Muslim Gays Seek Lesbians for Wives

On a Web site for gay South Asians, 27-year-old Syed Mansoor uploaded the following message last summer:

"Hi, I am looking for a lesbian girl for marriage. I am gay but I would like to get married because of pressure from parents and society. I would like this marriage to be a 'normal' marriage except for the sex part, please don't expect any sexual relationship from me.

"Being an Indian gay person, I believe it is so much worth it to give up sex and have a nice otherwise normal family. We can be good friends and don't have to repent all our life for being gay/lesbian."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:37 PM | Permalink

Shaming Perverts

The best defense women can use to stop subway perverts is to use their camera phones.

Say Cheese, You Sleaze!
Self-defense pros say the power to humiliate flashers and gropers by exposing their overexposure with a snapshot is an even more powerful weapon for women than a can of Mace or kick in the groin.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:34 PM | Permalink

Soul less

What it's like to be without soul.

Richard Godwin at One Cosmos, one of my favorite blogs

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to conduct psychological evaluations of a number of people from formerly communist countries, mainly the USSR. Uniformly, what has been so striking about them is a certain palpable absence of soul, which was one of the most damaging consequences of communist totalitarianism. For the ban on religion also amounted to a ban on the deepest and most vital regions of Being itself. After a few generations of malign neglect, the damage becomes incalculable and sometimes irreversible in this life.
----

Admittedly, it’s a somewhat small sample--perhaps a dozen or so--but not only were these people not religious, but they were literally incapable of being so. ...
But it also left them very empty and devoid of meaning. There was a depression about them, but it had a rather different feel than a psychological or biochemical depression. It was actually a little spooky, as if they had been the victims of “body snatching.”... they were more like soulless machines. It also made them very comfort-seeking, very hedonistic--not in the grandiose and narcissistic American way, but in a petty way, as if life consisted solely in stealing whatever small pleasures were available.
---
Western Europe is getting to the point that it no longer comprehends religion, as is true of secular America (which is why they are so allied in their contempt for Americn values). If we do not reverse this trend, we’re going to lose something so critical to our psychic substance, and yet, not even know what hit us. Secular Americans are genuinely clueless in their ignorance of how much they benefit from the thoroughly Judeo-Christian milieu in which they were raised. Like those atheistic Soviets, they really don’t get it, and are largely incapable of doing so.

Via Ambivablog, comes Donald Beck, who writes at Experimentaltheology

It's not what you believe, but how you act in the world that counts,

For me, beliefs are like the tides, they ebb and flow. But how I treat my neighbor, how I practice my faith, should be constant and unchanging.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:57 AM | Permalink

A daily pleasure is Lileks

"Say what you will about the past, at least it had a future."

James Lileks


I am not susceptible to disaster scenarios. I do not believe we have ten years to prevent the inevitable collapse of civilization. As long as I can remember I have been fed end-times scenarios – death by ice, death by fire, death by famine, death by smothering from heaps of clambering humans scrabbling for purchase on an overpopulated world, death by full-scale nuclear exchange, death by unstoppable global AIDS, death by a two-degree rise in temperatures, death by radon, death by alar, death by inadvertent Audi acceleration, death by juju. Doesn’t mean we won’t die of juju. But somehow we survive. The only thing I take away is a vague wistful wonder what it would be like to live in an era when things were generally so bad that the futurists spent their time assuring us it would be better. Say what you will about the past, but at least they had a future. All I’ve ever had, according to the experts, is a grim narrow window of heedless ignorance bliss followed by a dystopian irradiated world characterized by scarcity, mutation, and quite possibly intelligent chimps. You have no future. Oh, and don’t smoke!

Bah.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 AM | Permalink

June 23, 2006

Natural Remedy for Hangover

If anyone is celebrating this weekend, drinks too much and wakes up with a godawful hangover and is willing to do ANYTHING to stop the pain, will they please try this because I'm dying to know if this works.

From Bottom Line Health, Doctors' Favorite Home Remedies, comes this outrageous tip.

Hangover

To ease the symptoms of a hangover, cut a wedge of lemon and rub it on your armpits.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:33 PM | Permalink

June 22, 2006

Zapper

I used to suffer terribly from migraine headaches. I had cat scans and took medications for years. Then I went to a funky spa in Key West about 15 years ago to stop smoking.
I stopped taking my medication and went on a liquid fast for four days. We walked a lot, did yoga and soaked in the pool.

By the end, I had a great sense of well-being and I never got migraines again. Go figure.

But if I still had them, I would get me one of these Zappers. It's a new device that uses a magnetic pulse to disrupt and stave off headaches. It seems to prevent the initial electrical storm in the brain from developing into a full-blown migraine.


Describing the findings as very positive, Yousef Mohammad, a neurologist at Ohio, said that after treatment the patients studied reported a significant reduction in nausea, noise and light sensitivity.

“Perhaps the most significant effect of using the TMS device was on the two-hour symptom assessment, with 84 per cent of the episodes in patients using the TMS occurring without noise sensitivity.

“Work functioning also improved, and there were no side effects reported,” he said. “The device’s pulses are painless. The patients have felt a little pressure, but that’s all. These are very encouraging results.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:46 PM | Permalink

What's for Dinner

One of the great questions of life is What To Make For Dinner.

Now, thanks to the endlessly inventive internet, there's Cooking with Google.

Now via Lifehacker, there's another new site Snacksby that turns what's in your pantry into a meal.

As they say, like macgyver, but for food.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:59 PM | Permalink

Fluffernutters forever

There are people around here who will fight to the death for Marshmallow Fluff despite the attempts by one outraged Mass state Senator who wasn't even sure it could be called a food.

Miss Kelly has the details

In the sandwich fight gets sticky, the author of The Marshmallow Fluff cookbook says
"It's almost anti-American. It's definitely anti-Massachusetts."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:29 PM | Permalink

Your data isn't yours

Most people believe that they own the information about themselves. Well they don't as
AT&T made clear today.

Your data isn't yours

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:28 PM | Permalink

Mad Englishmen

In an amazing article in the Wall St Journal, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, I learned that the most violent developed country is now Great Britain.

So what is the government doing about it?

Police have been instructed to let off with a caution burglars and those who admit responsibility for some 60 other crimes ranging from assault and arson to sex with an underage girl. That is, no jail time, no fine, no community service, no court appearance. It's cheap, quick, saves time and money, and best of all the offenders won't tax an already overcrowded jail system.

Not everyone will be treated so leniently. A new surveillance system promises to hunt down anyone exceeding the speed limit. Using excessive force against a burglar or mugger will earn you a conviction for assault or, if you seriously harm him, a long sentence. Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer jailed for killing one burglar and wounding another during the seventh break-in at his rural home, was denied parole because he posed a threat to burglars.
--

Using a cap pistol, as an elderly woman did to scare off a gang of youths, will bring you to court for putting someone in fear
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Police forces are smaller than those of America and Europe and have been consolidated, leaving 70% of English villages without a police presence. Police are so hard-pressed that the Humberside force announced in March they no longer investigate less serious crimes unless they are racist or homophobic.
Among crimes not being investigated: theft, criminal damage, common assault, harassment and non-domestic burglary.
--

It may be crass to point out that the British people, stripped of their ability to protect themselves and of other ancient rights and left to the mercy of criminals, have gotten the worst of both worlds. Still, as one citizen, referring to the new policy of letting criminals off with a caution, suggested: "Perhaps it would be easier and safer for the honest citizens of the U.K. to move into the prisons and the criminals to be let out."

Madness, it's sheer madness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:26 PM | Permalink

June 21, 2006

Cockeyed tips

Some decent tips and lessons over at Cockeyed from readers. Here are a few things I figured out.

I discovered that bok choi, choi sum, chinese cabbage, pak choi and many other asian vegies, are just the same damn vegetable!

On a similiar vein. Portobello, Button, Field, BBQ and cup mushrooms are all the same damn mushroom. Just different ages!
Don't even get me started on green onions!

Hair conditioner works as a decent substitute for shaving cream if you run out.

Deer don't necessarily cross at "deer crossing" signs.

Rubbing your hands on a stainless steel surface under running water after chopping garlic or onions completely removes the smell. No soap required. I don't know why it happens, but it does.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:07 PM | Permalink

Sex and migraines

It may be small solace, but migraine sufferers report higher levels of sexual desire.

In fact, both are linked to levels of the brain chemical serotonin. Evidence suggests a complex relationship between sexual activity and headache.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:04 PM | Permalink

June 20, 2006

What's an acceptable risk?

If the old "father knows best" model for doctors doesn't work, neither does the neutral model of only the facts and it's your decision.

What's an acceptable risk? How do you decide for yourself, for others?

"People hate the risk of bringing bad things on themselves," Dr. Ubel said, "but a sense of responsibility makes them overcome these instincts to think about what's best for others."

How the doctor frames the question makes a big difference.

"Physicians who place emphasis on informed consent have mistakenly come to see this as a process in which they play only a neutral role," Dr. Appelbaum said, "and not the role of someone who gives advice as well. Yet patients who value the information often value the advice, too, and that seems to me a very proper role for a physician to play."

It only makes sense that we rely on our doctors for information and advice. Giving us only information about risks and telling us to decide for ourselves is a cop-out.

If your doctor doesn't tell you what he or she thinks is their best advice, given the facts, look for another one.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:16 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Why Shame is useful

Mary Katherine Ham on Shame and when a good old-fashioned stigma can be useful.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:54 PM | Permalink

Sex and Robots

An international team of scientists and academics will publish a "code of ethics" for robots and machines as they become more and more sophisticated.

Verruggio and his colleagues have identified key areas that include: ensuring human control of robots; preventing illegal use; protecting data acquired by robots; and establishing clear identification and traceability of the machines.

Isaac Asimov drew up laws for robotics years ago that any science fiction fan can recite from memory

• Robot may not injure human or, through inaction, allow human to come to harm
• Robot must obey human orders, unless they conflict with first law
• Robot must protect itself if this does not conflict with other laws.


It's quite likely that people will be having sex with robots in a few years. After all some people will have sex with anything.

Even though robots will have sophisticated self-learning mechanisms, I am convinced that robots will never achieve consciousness in the way we understand consciousness as including the full range of emotional experience.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:36 PM | Permalink

The Bottom Line on Popular Supplements

The Washington Post brings us the result of scientific studies on some Popular Supplements.

Glucosamine and Chondrotin Sulfate
Calcium and Vitamin D
B Vitamins
Multivitamins
Echinacea

No word about the placebo effect, but a healthy diet trumps all.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:22 PM | Permalink

NYC #1 in common courtesy

New York deemed by politest city in the world? Get outta here!

A test in 35 cities says NYC is #1. Good for them

Former Mayor Ed Koch said, "Since 9/11 New Yorkers are more caring. They understand the shortness of life."

Another former mayor, Rudolph Giuliani, introduced a raft of "politeness" by-laws in the 1990s, such as a $50 fine for putting feet on subway seats, the move was greeted with astonishment by residents.
--
Katherine Walker, the editor-in-chief of Reader's Digest British edition, said London was tenth out of 18 European cities tested.

"This was the world's biggest real-life test of common courtesy," she said. "The results were often surprising and consistently thought-provoking."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:43 AM | Permalink

World Cup Revives

Maria Mueller, 95, was found slumped over in her chair by her son who couldn't find a pulse. Neither could the local doctor who declared her dead.

She suddenly sprang up and asked when Germany was next playing in the World Cup.

When told she had been declared dead by doctors, Maria Mueller replied: "Not likely, not until I see if Germany wins the World Cup.

"There's still life in these old bones yet, and I certainly couldn't miss the football.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:36 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2006

Death Vans

China is now employing death vans used for lethal injection executions, mobile execution chambers, that travel from village to village. The designer says lethal injections are a sign that China promotes human rights.

Amnesty international says from 2000-8000 are put to death each year.

China makes ultimate punishment mobile

China's critics contend that the transition from firing squads to injections in death vans facilitates an illegal trade in prisoners' organs.

Injections leave the whole body intact and require participation of doctors. Organs can "be extracted in a speedier and more effective way than if the prisoner is shot," says Mark Allison, East Asia researcher at Amnesty International in Hong Kong. "We have gathered strong evidence suggesting the involvement of (Chinese) police, courts and hospitals in the organ trade."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:08 PM | Permalink

Sick blogs

Sick blogs help afflicted share news and seek comfort.

Last week, two Web sites, carepages .com and caringbridge.org, which host more formal "patient pages" through hospitals, reported a combined increase from 46,000 personal sites to 95,000 in the past year.
---

In the late 1990s, just as the Internet reached mainstream usage, sociologist Frank was one of the first to predict that a "new patient" would emerge from the era, one who researched his or her ailments in the comfort of home, then challenged a doctor with the newly acquired knowledge. Sick blogs and patient pages are evidence that that moment has arrived, Frank said, a sign that the new patient has gained an unprecedented sense of empowerment from his online community. In turn, he said, it also has created a new tension between patients and physicians.

"What doctor likes being confronted by a patient who's been up all night canvassing the Internet?" Frank asked.
--

"You could call it a new grief ritual," said Victoria Pitts, an assistant sociology professor at City University of New York, who authored a 2004 study about breast cancer patients inspired to start personal Web sites. "These people have created a new personal narrative to their illness, which goes beyond the health protocols they might have found on
WebMD. ... But whether it's helping their recovery is still speculative. It's certainly transformed it."

That transformation is being experienced by bloggers such as Jeannette Vagnozzi, a 41-year-old resident of La Verne (Los Angeles County), who writes about her breast cancer on
2hands.blogspot .com.

Transcending time and space, the internet connects people who want to be connected and puts up a little flag at each sick blog inviting people in.

For anyone newly diagnosed with an illness, sick blogs are the way to learn what they can expect as they go forward and leave a record for others.

Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert confirms in his new book Stumbling on Happinessthat the best way to imagine the future is to look to other people who are going through or been through what we now are contemplating.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:02 PM | Permalink

Too many wrinkles, too soon?

If you seem to be getting wrinkles before your time, it not be a lack of sunscreen but an indicator of susceptibility to a potentially deadly lung disease.

Extra wrinkles a bad sign for smokers

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:41 PM | Permalink

June 16, 2006

Hungry for Meaning


"Menace in Europe : Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too" (Claire Berlinski)

As I was reading Berlinski's chilling and urgent book, I was struck by a passage about a British psychotherapist who specialized in psychosomatic illness. Apparently, he's treating many, especially women, who are on restrictive vegetarian diets and who suffer from depression anxiety and too many colds.

He believes that at the heart of the food fixation is religion. His patients, having rejected theism and Christianity, are embarking on a desperate quest to conquer the unacceptable prospect of disease, aging and personal extinction.

For ten years he was a Freudian until his own explorations into psychology, philosophy and literature convinced him that love, integrity, compassion and courage - values common to all religions - were more important than he realized.

The focus of his practice now is to impart these common religious values that, he believes, give life meaning. His clients don't even have a vocabulary for these ideas which he calls the true deliverers of the Good Life.

He has his clients to try them out for a week. Without fail, they come back and say, yes, being more honest with the spouses, children and parents did yield meaningful results. They felt more deeply anchored in themselves.

His patients don't come to him in a search for meaning, they come for anxiety or depression. When that's cleared up, he asks them,
"What do you want your life to stand for, what do you think you're here for?"

Almost without exception, they get fascinated by that and do another year with him.

"I love that stage of work."

Berlinski comments that given a choice between the British vegetarianism and high colonics, is it any wonder that so many disaffected are turning to Islam for meaning/

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:07 PM | Permalink

Stuck glasses

Last week, I found two glass measuring cups that had stuck themselves together and no matter what I did I could not pull them apart.

I was ready to throw them away until I remembered ice contracts, heat expands.

I filled the inner cup with ice water and rested the outer cup inside a bowl of almost boiling water. After waiting about 5 minutes, I pulled them apart easily.

Good tip to remember

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:30 PM | Permalink

Republican marrow

When chemotherapy did not work for her leukemia, she had to wait for a bone marrow transplant to save her life. She joked what if the bone marrow was from a Republican!

Well, it was as Mary Traver from Peter Paul and Mary learned when she called the donor to thank her.

We are more alike than we are different.

Peter, Paul & Mary Still Have a Song to Sing All Over This Land.

These days Ms. Travers's thoughts turn to much more than music. In conversation, she mused on mortality and the trio's long relationship.

"I think I scared the boys," Ms. Travers said of her ordeal, referring to Mr. Yarrow and Mr. Stookey, who are both 68. "I think of them as my brothers." She was sitting in Mr. Yarrow's apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where her husband, Ethan Robbins ("I call him St. Ethan"), often stayed while she was being treated at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.


Said Mr. Yarrow said of the cancer scare, "In our case, every little bit of nonsense between us disappeared."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:06 AM | Permalink

June 15, 2006

Disaster Planning for Day Care

The National Association of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, a non-proft group of 800 child-care agencies, will release a report next month of disaster preparedness for child care agencies reports the Wall St Journal's Sue Shellenbarger.

Participants had hands-on experience in catastrophes ranging from hurricanes in the South and Southeast, to terror attacks in New York City and Oklahoma, to earthquakes and wildfires in California. By compiling their collective wisdom, "we're trying to not let what we learned fade into the abyss," says Linda Smith, executive director of Naccrra.

The 2001 terrorist strike on New York City, for example, spotlighted the value of staff training. Thanks to planning and practice, teachers at a 5 World Trade Center child-care facility grabbed emergency records after the first plane hit and evacuated quickly with the children, leaving their purses and even shoes behind.
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The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and Hurricane Katrina pointed up the need for another measure: emergency identification tags or bracelets for small children. After the federal-building bombing, wounded children from a child-care facility on an adjacent street were swept away so quickly for medical treatment that officials temporarily lost track of them. Similarly, some children and their parents were separated in mass evacuations after Hurricane Katrina. Now, child-care officials in Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi are recommending that child-care centers be equipped with name badges or hospital-type identification bracelets that can be placed on children during emergencies.

Elements of a child-care emergency plan
• Emergency and parent contact information
Evacuation kit with medical supplies, information
• Emergency cellphone and source of cash
• Back-up contact plans for phone outages
• Plans for evacuation destinations.
• Back-up plan for teachers' or nannies' own families.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:11 PM | Permalink

Emergency rooms and 100,000 lives

Good news and bad news on the health front.

Emergency rooms confront a crisis of patient arrivals
Our emergency care system is overcrowded and overwhelmed concludes a 2 year study by the Institute of Medicine.

There are 114 million emergency room visits a year

A half-million times a year, or about once every minute, ambulances carrying sick patients are turned away from full emergency rooms and sent to others farther away.

No one knows how many people died as a result. We do know that emergency rooms are not ready to handle mass casualties from a pandemic of bird flu or a terrorist attack.

``If you can barely get through the night's 911 calls, how on earth can you handle a disaster?" asked a coauthor of the report, Dr. Arthur Kellerman, Emory University's emergency medicine chief.

While Checklists to improve patient care may have saved thousands says Harvard doctor

More than 3,000 hospitals joined the project, including 61 in Massachusetts. Yesterday, Berwick said the campaign had created a new standard of care, and, by his organization's calculations, had saved more lives than predicted.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:52 PM | Permalink

June 14, 2006

Who owns the lottery ticket?

Kevin buys a lottery ticket and mistakenly throws it away at the White Hen Pantry convenience store where he bought it. John, an elderly man who regularly goes through the trash there, finds the lottery ticket that's worth $1 million. He shows it to the store owner who remembers Kevin and calls him up.

Kevin dies a month later.

Who owns the ticket. Kevin's heirs or John?

Sounds like a law school question, doesn't it.

Well, the court ruled that lottery ticket is like cash. Possession is all that's required to prove ownership.

Now John calls up the heirs and offers them a third. That's $333,333.

They refuse saying they want half. They have nothing, the court has ruled against them, they turn down $333,3333. They want to appeal.

Some people never know when to call it a win.

"I told my lawyers to take my offer off the table and they get exactly zero," he said. "I'm not going to pay them one penny. They had their opportunity before and they were greedy."

Family Sues Lottery Ticket Finder

They would rather hire lawyers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:25 PM | Permalink

Salving wounds through stories

The only person known to have survived a lynching attack died last week in Washington at 92. The rope was pulled so tight, it left marks for the rest of his life.

History's Healer

He symbolized one of the ugliest periods on our nation's history -- a time when fathers and husbands, brothers and sons, friends and neighbors were snatched from their homes and murdered at the end of a rope.
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His story to me is a family tale, a family legend. Family shame.
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That's why he spent much of his life trying to salve the wound with knowledge, in hopes that one day it would heal.
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Official accounts put the number of lynching victims at about 4,700, though there were likely many more. The recorded lynchings were documented by reporters and photographers. Postcards depicting lynchings became popular souvenirs until the same Congress that never outlawed lynching made the postcards illegal.

Cameron and I talked about those postcards once. He told me I needed to see them so that I could understand how it had been. How ugly and hateful.

It's the power of story

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:27 PM | Permalink

Charge lockers

Now this is a good idea for a business from Springwise. Charge lockers.

I know I would pay to charge my cell when I'm traveling because I hate packing my phone charger.

 Charge Lockers

My only question is - will it work on iPods?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

Wedding Sponsors

Another sign that weddings have become much too big and too commercialized.

Couple signs advertisers to sponsor wedding day.

To have a large wedding on the field of a professional baseball team, some individuals might take out a second mortgage. But a marketing-savvy couple is rallying up a stable of local and international companies to sponsor their special day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:47 PM | Permalink

Another reason why coffee is good

More good news for people who imbibe too much and drink coffee all the next day.

Coffee may cut alcohol liver damage

After looking at the data of 125,590 people, researchers from Kaiser Permanente, report that drinking coffee cuts the risk of cirrhosis of the liver from alcohol by 22 per cent per cup each day.


"These data support the hypothesis that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis," concluded the report published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
----

"Coffee is a complex substance with many potentially biologically active ingredients," the study said. "The fact that coffee is also frequently taken with added cream, milk, sugar or other substances adds more possibilities for health effects."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:00 AM | Permalink

June 12, 2006

Gladdening one heart

One of my favorite quotes is from Henri Frederik Amiel.


Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.

Justine did just that as you can read in Caregiver proves how every day counts.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:37 PM | Permalink

June 11, 2006

Cell phone numbers released to telemarketers?

I got yet another email from a friend saying that cell phone numbers are being released to telemarketers and that I had only 8 days to register my number with the National Do Not Call Registry.

THIS IS NOT TRUE.

As always when getting some dire warning via email from a friend who has all the best intentions, check it out first with

Snopes and UrbanLegends

Here's what Snopes has to say about the cell phone warning.

Urban Legends says this warning has been circulating since September 2004 and has more.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:35 PM | Permalink

June 9, 2006

Respected Doctor now alleged murderer

Why did Karen McCarron, a respected physician and advocate for autistic children, smother her three-year-old daughter with a plastic bag?

The toll of autism has a lot of people in heated discussion.

Her husband has filed for divorce. Grandfather Michael McCarron said

Karen McCarron had a lot of resources and help with Katie, whom he described as a happy, endearing child who loved to swing and play in the grass and would line up her Teletubbie dolls so they could "kiss" each other.

"This was not a question of there's no place to turn, there's no support," Michael McCarron said. "This was not a murder about autism."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:21 PM | Permalink

An Open Mind on Coffee

Drinking coffee makes you more open-minded

The coffee you drink as a pick-me-up in the morning could also make you more open to persuasion, researchers say. Evidence from a new study suggests that this happens because caffeine revs up the brain, not because it generally boosts mood.

Previous studies have show that consuming caffeine can improve one’s attention and enhance cognitive performance, with 200 milligrams (equivalent to two cups of coffee) being the optimal dose.

Moderate doses of caffeine can also make you more easily convinced by arguments that go against your beliefs, say Pearl Martin of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and her colleagues.

So where does that leave tea drinkers?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:14 PM | Permalink

Men want to marry more than women do

Men are far more likely than women to want to get married - and are just as keen to start a family reports the Boston Herald.

“The world is a tough place and the men understand that if they’re going it alone, it makes for a great cowboy movie, but it doesn’t make for a great life,” said Dr. Richard Pomerance, a Bay State psychologist specializing in relationship decisions.

More than 12,000 men and women took part in a survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistic

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:39 AM | Permalink

June 7, 2006

The Beauty of Old-Time Hacks

What David Warren says to his fellow journalists in Elementary Stuff

In a long, rambling, extemporaneous memoir, I emphasized the traditional hack virtues of smoking and drinking and general loucheness against the prim political correctness of the current media mainstream.

The beauty of the old-time hacks, I averred, was that they did not seek fame, only adventure, in contact with life. They could be as anonymous as mediaeval artists. They did not consider themselves to be intellectuals, and so their heads were free of stinking pride. Yet they had pride in craft, which the current ones seldom have. All our little Woodwards and Bernsteins today want fame, instead. And they want it smoke-free and soberly, they are professional fame-seekers.

Adventure and contact with life, that's the stuff.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:54 PM | Permalink

Damien

This is for real.

Suzanne Cooper, 36, was induced for 6 days before giving birth to a baby boy at 6 am on 6/06/06 weighing 6 lbs, 6 oz.

So she names the poor baby Damien, after the child in the movie The Omen, the remake of which debuted on the same day.

But wasn't Damien the anti-Christ?

There is Father Damien of course, a Catholic missionary who cared for the lepers on a remote Hawaiian island and who also died of leprosy and who is awaiting elevation to sainthood.

Still, it seems an awful lot of baggage for the poor kid.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:13 PM | Permalink

Love more, have less

The words millions of Americans want to be able to say

"I know exactly where everything is."

Into the Closet

Organizers and closet designers offer a predictable variety of theories to account for the growing infatuation, including the increase in home-makeover television programs, a hunger for a sense of control in a world that moves at warp speed and a desire to focus on the home in an era of war and natural disasters. They also cite benefits of serious closet organization that go beyond efficiency and order for their own sake, including the reduction of stress, the inspiration to take on more ambitious efforts at home- and self-improvement, and the elimination of a potential source of embarrassment.
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Ms. Glovinsky said that a well-organized closet offers "a pocket of order," a place that, once redone, can have an antidepressant effect. "I've seen people's moods brighten as they get organized," she said.
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"Doing this is a form of self-respect," said one Mr. Lupo who also remarked, "Love more, have less."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:13 PM | Permalink

A Nation of Wimps?

Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, now represented by a sole blogger, reprints "A Nation of Wimps" from Psychology Today that should be required reading for all parents.

Summary: Parents are going to ludicrous lengths to take the bumps out of life for their children. However, parental hyperconcern has the net effect of making kids more fragile; that may be why they're breaking down in record numbers.

It's great reading, take for example, the corruption of playtime, the cell phone as the eternal umbilicus, parental hovering causing acute anxiety, the endless adolescence all making kids risk-averse, psychologically fragile, riddled with anxiety.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:13 PM | Permalink

Slaves Auctioned in Airports

For those of you who still have the comfortable delusion that slavery doesn't exist anymore.

Sex slaves auctioned in British airport arrival halls

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:52 PM | Permalink

Stealth Wings

These are just too cool, too WOW not to post about.
Strap on stealth wings for special forces instead of parachutes to land behind enemy lines

  Strap On Stealth Wings

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:18 AM | Permalink

June 5, 2006

Take a deep breath

Why taking a deep breath can help asthma sufferers

PEOPLE with mild asthma can reduce significantly their reliance on inhalers and the size of the doses they take by adopting simple breathing exercises, research suggests.

A small study by scientists in Australia has revealed that for asthmatics who regularly practise one of two breathing techniques, the use of inhalers to prevent and relieve shortness of breath dropped by more than 80 per cent.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:16 AM | Permalink

Sputnik in Brooklyn

This is how easy it is to lost track of stuff you thought you could never lose.

A cache of emergency war supplies, to aid in survival efforts in the event of nuclear attack, was discovered in a Cold War bunker found in the masonry of the Brooklyn Bridge.

But no one in the Department of Transportation knew anything about it. Nor apparently did anyone else.

Like a time capsule, the cache revealed.

Some containers were marked with two dates notorious in the annals of the Cold War: 1957, when the Soviet Union launched the first satellite into space, and 1962, the year of the Cuban missile crisis when the two superpowers may have come closest to war.

Sarlin said one of the containers was marked, "To be opened after attack by the enemy."

The stockpile included empty water drums and boxes of medical supplies, such as tourniquet bandages and an intravenous drip. Also, there were cans of high-calorie crackers with instructions to consume 10,000 calories a day per person. The instructions said the crackers should be destroyed after 10 years, but they were mostly intact.

I imagine most people would focus on the age of the supplies, the out-datedness of the stock.

I'm thinking of the person or persons who put this cache together. How frightened yet responsible they were in 1957 and again in 1962, the date written on the containers.

In 1957 the Soviet Union launched the world's first satellite. The total surprise of Sputnik so galvanized the nation that even students like me, in the sixth grade, felt responsible for studying harder to close the Sputnik gap and beat the Russians. In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis had a lot of us thought it was possible that there would be a nuclear war.

Some group thought to prepare for the future in case the worst happened.

Varifrank writes

Today, My pal Ray stops me and makes a very good point:

"So here were talking about a losing a fixed-in-place Cold War bunker in the middle of New York City, one of the most populated cities in North America. Worse, the bunker is literally in the Brooklyn Bridge, a prominent city landmark... Lost, just completely lost it - For 50+ years.

Yet everyone on the left is constantly screaming that we didnt find Saddams WMD's in Iraq?. Hell, we cant even find our own stuff here at home!"

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:13 AM | Permalink

Tip's Tunnel

I know it's been the most expensive public works project in history, I can only trust that they will fill all the leaks, but today the Big Dig will become Tip's Tunnel.

Tunnel is Tip O'Neill's triumphant legacy.

THIS WEEK we will make official what many of us have known all along: The Big Dig is a monument to Tip O'Neill. More than that, though, it is a monument to a time when great politicians used their political muscle to do great things for ordinary people.

Tomorrow the tunnel from Chinatown to the Lenny Zakim Bridge will be dedicated the Thomas P. ``Tip" O'Neill Jr. Tunnel. It was O'Neill who won the funds that began the project and kept it alive even over Ronald Reagan's veto. Reagan knew what he was talking about when he called it ``Tip's Tunnel."
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The construction of this engineering miracle is a monument to political civility that has all but disappeared, to a time before big money, partisanship, and a pervasive negativity ruled government. It was a time when politicians were able to do important things -- to build for the future -- working across party lines
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With all the talk of cost overruns and delays and leaks we are losing sight of what has been accomplished. A city that was choking to death in traffic has a new face. The central artery wasn't just an eyesore but a divider of neighborhoods.
The Big Dig has thrown open the city to the sunlight, reconnected Boston to its harbor, and created the potential for one of the world's great urban green spaces.

The City of Boston is immensely better off and more beautiful.

Building for the future works.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:49 AM | Permalink

June 4, 2006

When ordinary moments become holy

When faced with a diagnosis of terminal cancer, ordinary moments become holy.

So Harry Lehotsky writes in the Winnepeg Sun

Being told you only have a short time to live has a way of sharpening your senses and adjusting your priorities and perspectives on life.

Many of the most ordinary events and encounters in life are infused with fresh meaning and significance.

A sunny day. The smell of lilacs. A good day at work. Greetings, hugs, goodbyes. We take too many people and things for granted.

Time simultaneously speeds up and slows down. It's hard to explain. It's like you're aware of how quickly hours and days speed by. But you're more determined than ever to juice the most out of every minute.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:05 PM | Permalink

June 2, 2006

Words Can Wound

There's enormous power in words.

It's no surprise that verbally abusing a child -belittling, shaming or threatening - can contribute to depression and anxiety that can plague the adult for years.

Now, a study of more than 5600 people, aged 15-54, offers evidence.

"Those who were verbally abused had 1.6 times as many symptoms of depression and anxiety as those who had not been verbally abused and were twice as likely to have suffered a mood or anxiety disorder in their lifetime," study author Natalie Sachs-Ericsson, an FSU professor, said in a prepared statement.

Words as Powerful at Sticks and Stones.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:19 AM | Permalink

June 1, 2006

Bereavement Fares Dying

The next time you get a call that a relative is seriously ill or has died and you want to fly out for the funeral, don't count on getting a bereavement fare from the airlines.

From the Wall St Journal, Airlines Curb Bereavement Fares (subscribers only)

The special fares are the latest casualty of the airline industry's troubles. Eliminating bereavement tickets is part of a wider cost-cutting strategy by airlines that has led to the disappearance of everything from in-flight amenities such as meals and blankets to other discounted fares such as those for seniors, students and children.

But while taking pillows and pretzels off planes may annoy travelers, yanking fares aimed at helping grieving passengers strikes some as particularly harsh. Still, some airlines -- and even some travelers -- say that because fares have dropped so low in recent years, the bereavement deals are no longer needed. Indeed, they are often more expensive than last-minute fares available on discount airlines or via travel Web sites.
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With the disappearance of bereavement fares, fliers aren't only losing potential discounts, they are losing flexibility, too. Bereavement tickets typically allow fliers to change the time and dates of their flights as often as they wish, with no penalty. That kind of flexibility is particularly crucial for travelers who don't know when they need to be someplace for a surgery or funeral. Without bereavement fares, travelers who need to change their tickets multiple times can be hit with steep fees.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:04 PM | Permalink