August 27, 2006

Rules of Life from Katie Paine

As a breast cancer survivor, Katie Paine knows what it's like.  With that and what she learned from two friends who succumbed, Katie's learned more than a few life lessons.  So when she lays down some rules for life,  you want to pay attention

She calls them the  The Paine Manifesto.

Here are just the first ten.

1. Staying Alive comes first – run, exercise, do something to keep yourself healthy
2. Relationships are next. Without friends, you are nothing. A friend, or a connection extends your lifespan by a decade. Put your friends first. The pain of losing a friend is the worst you’ll ever experience. Spend time with the friends you have while you have them. They might be gone tomorrow or next week, you never know.
3. No one ever lay on their death bed and wished they’d spent more time vacuuming, or at work, or asleep
4. Make a difference. There are millions of people on the planet that just take up oxygen. Do you want to be one of them, or do you want to make a difference.?
5. Be who  you are and see who is pleased, stop trying to make everyone happy. You can’t.
6. If you decide that who you are is someone who wants to make a difference, your life will never be the same. You will experience more joy, more exhilaration, every single day.
7. You don’t have to make a difference on the whole while world. Make a difference in  your community, in your family, in your neighborhood. It’s just as important.
8. After breathing, the most important thing in life is caring.
9. If you don’t build a values based business, your business has no true value
10. Be true to your values, your beliefs, your vision, your soul. Nothing else matters.

HT Shel Israel at Naked Conversations

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:39 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

No need to rush

Granddaughter Tracy Templeton said Bob Irwin will be especially missed in part because of the life lessons he imparted to her family.
“My grandpa taught us things in life that are really worth something there’s no need to rush through them, whether it be a book, a meal, a life. That to me is his legacy.”

Debbie Brownfield said the Grays Harbor Raceway is a lasting tribute to her husband,  Fred Brownfield's dreams and vision.

"It shows he was dedicated to getting things done," she said. "He cared about the racers and the fans. He wanted them all to have a good experience. He took things he liked at other tracks and worked to make (Elma) a place to be proud to race at or attend. He was diligent. He was definitely a go-getter. When something needed to get done, he would go through all kinds of obstacles. He was like a little bulldog.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:38 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Dads and the sorrows of an empty nest

`Everybody said, `enjoy every minute of it, it goes by really quick,' " he says of raising a family. ``Now all of a sudden, we have no one in the house. You have melancholy feelings about it, no question. Time does not stand still."

Dads who did the home work now face the sorrows of an empty nest

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:37 AM | Permalink

Loud and Proud for Clouds.

I was trying with the book to get people to look at something that was so familiar, but to just try and think about it in a slightly different way," says Pretor-Pinney. "And that's a kind of shift that I think can happen. They look up and these clouds have been there the whole time, but they look up and go, 'Wait a minute, they are incredibly beautiful and I never really stopped to think about it.

A 38-year-old Englishman, Gavin Pretor-Phinney, started the Cloud Appreciation Society on a lark that you can join for about $6.  After finding no book on clouds despite the fact we all have been watching clouds since childhood,  he wrote The Cloudspotter's Guide, a surprise hit in Britain and I imagine soon here.

The Manifesto

WE BELIEVE that clouds are unjustly maligned
and that life would be immeasurably poorer without them.

We think that they are Nature’s poetry,
and the most egalitarian of her displays, since
everyone can have a fantastic view of them.

We pledge to fight ‘blue-sky thinking’ wherever we find it.
Life would be dull if we had to look up at
cloudless monotony day after day.

We seek to remind people that clouds are expressions of the
atmosphere’s moods, and can be read like those of
a person’s countenance.

Clouds are so commonplace that their beauty is often overlooked.
They are for dreamers and their contemplation benefits the soul.
Indeed, all who consider the shapes they see in them will save
on psychoanalysis bills.

And so we say to all who'll listen:
Look up, marvel at the ephemeral beauty, and live life with your head in the clouds!

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:16 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

Electronic Slavery

If you can't live without your Blackberry, you may be suffering from an addiction that is every bit as damaging and hard to break as one to hard drugs – and one that employers might one day be held liable for.

Trapped in electronic slavery

If you have a Blackberry, how long can you go without checking email?

If you're always looking down at your handheld and ignoring everything else around you including the people, chances are you've got a jones going.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:15 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

Taking to the Road in Paid Big-Rig Gigs

Retired and want to hit the road and see America but you haven't saved enough money?

The Over-50 Crowd Takes to the Road in Paid Big-Rig Gigs.

That's right.  Couples are finding second careers driving 18-Wheelers.

At a truck stop diner along Interstate 5 near Tigard, Ore., Daniel and Becky Ford were fueling up on pancakes and black coffee for the 2,200-mile run to Dallas they were about to make in a Freightliner tractor-trailer stuffed with auto parts.

It was the 10th week on the open road for Mr. Ford, 57 years old, and his 51-year-old wife, who chucked their old life in rural Pennsylvania in May for a cramped truck cab that keeps them moving 22 hours a day.

Their new career is taking them to places they always dreamed of visiting but couldn't afford. "When the money is tight and you have other worries, you can't be too adventurous," says Mrs. Ford, a former hairstylist. "Becky and I serve as our own boss," says Mr. Ford, a former carpenter. "We can stop wherever we want."
This fall, the American Trucking Association plans a billboard and television ad blitz to lure older drivers.

"We just thought if Ma and Pa can drive the Winnebago, maybe they can drive the 18-wheeler," says Tim Lynch, a senior vice president at the trade group.

Since 2000, the number of service and truck drivers 55 or older has surged 19%, to about 616,000, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The percentage jump is quadruple that of truck drivers overall.

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Depression drugs for weight-loss

Who knew that anti-seizure medication coupled with anti-depressants could help you lose weight?

A lot of people apparently.

A new breed of 'Diet' Pills from the Wall St Journal. 

While there are no hard data on the trend, doctors and patients say it has been increasing for several years and that the drugs are being used by Americans -- especially women -- of all sizes, from obese people to anorexics. Adderall, a stimulant that was originally marketed as a diet drug in the 1970s under a different name, is said to be the weight-loss agent of choice for everyone from soccer moms to Hollywood starlets, debutantes and college kids, many of whom take it without a prescription.

"People are looking for a quick fix," says Christine Gerbstadt, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "Taking a pill is so much easier than going to the gym or cutting back on portions."

It's risky though.  Adderall carries a black box warning against misuse which could cause sudden death or serious cardiovascular problems.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:45 PM | Permalink

Diet to Go

Another way people who want to lose weight can spend more money.

Don't know how many calories in the lunch you just ate in Chinatown?

Sign up for Nutrax.

Take a picture of the meal, send it to your online account and receive a summary of the calories, a breakdown of the nutrients, and see just where you are in your weight-loss goal

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:34 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Tea healthier drink than water

Forget that old myth that tea is dehydrating.  A cuppa is far better for you than water.   

Water doesn't have flavonoids, those antioxidants that help prevent cell damage.  Tea does.

Drinking three or four cups of tea a day protects against heart disease, maybe cancer too, and strengthens your bones and helps prevent tooth plaque.

Tea healthier than water

"Drinking tea is actually better for you than drinking water. Water is essentially replacing fluid. Tea replaces fluids and contains antioxidants so its got two things going for it."

I sure hope that brewed than iced tea counts because that's all I drink during the day.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Nana Technology

You've heard about nano-technology, but nana technology is technology for Grandma

Technology that will make her life easier, safer and healthier like lifeline pendants, smart pill dispensers, mailbox alerts, balance boosters, tracking systems and more.

Smart technology and good design works for everyone, so I wouldn't be surprised to start seeing  trickle-down to other niches.

You may not know that Good Grips, the widely popular kitchen tools, started out marketing to the disabled.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Half of all women fear life as a bag lady

Nearly half of women fear life as a bag lady

    A "startling" 90 percent of women say they feel financially insecure, according to a survey of almost 1,925 women released yesterday by Allianz, a Minnesota-based life insurance company.

    Almost half are troubled by a "tremendous fear of becoming a bag lady" -- 46 percent of women overall, and 48 percent of those with an annual income of more than $100,000. An additional 57 percent are sorry they had not learned more about money matters in school.

    "Money fears of women are complicated. They fear failure, or making mistakes. They fear they are expendable. Their fear of being poor, however, has topped the list for two decades," said Judith Briles, a Denver financial adviser and author of 23 books on money management.

    It seems an ingrained girl thing, though.
    "Bag lady syndrome is a fear many women share that their financial security could disappear in a heartbeat, leaving them homeless, penniless and destitute," MSN money columnist Jay McDonald wrote in January. "Lily Tomlin, Gloria Steinem, Shirley MacLaine and Katie Couric all admit to having a bag lady in their anxiety closet."

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August 22, 2006

Pursuing Fame on a Senior Discount

I found The Fame Motive very interesting because I never understood the desire for fame.  To me, the upside pales against  the downside, the lack of privacy and control,

But the speculation at the end struck me most.  If this need for approval never dies, then turning to a deepening belief in God in one's later years and/or  focusing on leaving a legacy seem to be  eminently positive ways to handle life's disappointments and a hell of a lot better all around than whining about them.

People with an overriding desire to be widely known to strangers are different from those who primarily covet wealth and influence. Their fame-seeking behavior appears rooted in a desire for social acceptance, a longing for the existential reassurance promised by wide renown.

These yearnings can become more acute in life’s later years, as the opportunities for fame dwindle, “but the motive never dies, and when we realize we’re not going to make it in this lifetime, we find some other route: posthumous fame,” said Orville Gilbert Brim, a psychologist who is completing a book called “The Fame Motive.” ...

“It’s like belief in the afterlife in medieval communities, where people couldn’t wait to die and go on to better life,” Dr. Brim said. “That’s how strong it is.”

“It’s a distinct type, people who expect to get meaning out of fame, who believe the only way to have their lives make sense is to be famous,” said Tim Kasser, a psychologist at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. “We all need to make meaning out of our lives, and this is one way people attempt to do it.”

Therapists and researchers, including Dr. Brim, have traced longing for renown to lingering feelings of rejection or neglect. After all, celebrity is the ultimate high school in-group, writ large. It appears a perfect balm for the sting of social exclusion, or neglect by emotionally or physically absent parents.
The participants in the study who focused on goals tied to others’ approval, like fame, reported significantly higher levels of distress than those interested primarily in self-acceptance and friendship.

Surveys done since then, in communities around the world, suggest the same thing: aiming for a target as elusive as fame, and so dependent on the judgments of others, is psychologically treacherous.

Freud might have agreed: he is said to have fainted only twice in his life, both times when he perceived a threat to his legacy.
In compiling his research, Dr. Brim, 83, thought much about how an intense desire to reach this unknowable, alluring state of being might affect older people’s behavior, if the motive did not fade.

“I concluded that several things could happen, and one of them is to find another source of approval,” he said. “That might be a great love, if you’re lucky. Or perhaps it is a deepening belief in God. But I think many people suffer with realization that they are not going to be famous and there’s nothing they can do to solve it.”

It  brought to mind, The Libidinous Later Years.

This is what consciously formed legacies are about –...the.. fight against our extinction.  We cannot succeed indefinitely at that in a physical sense, but we can through a legacy that extends our beingness beyond the time of the flesh.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:43 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Fleeing from Rwanda, "I never gave up hope"

When the Hutu militias came to his front door in Kigali, Rwanda, Damascene held them off so his pregnant wife could escape out the back door with his young three-year old son Derrick.

As Jeanne fled she saw her husband being beaten and she didn't know if he had been killed.  All she could do was save the children.
Two weeks later, she was in Brussels and a week after that she gave birth.

Damascene lost all 11 brothers and sisters, his parents and 140 others from his extended family.  He thought he lost his wife too.

Damascene fled through Africa to Indonesia, than to East Timor, then to Darwin, Australia where he told immigration officials his passport was forged.  They locked him up; he was safe. 

He reached Darwin in 2001, was released from Villawood as a temporary resident in 2002 and granted permanent Australian residency last year. He had not given up hope and sought Red Cross help to find his family.

They finally found her in Brussels. He flew to her in February. "Thank God, you're safe," he said. And: "Why didn't you find someone else?"

"Because I never gave up hope. And I could see you in your son's face." He replied: "Thank you. Thank God."

Once were lost, but family finally found.

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August 21, 2006

The Importance of Culture

I'm in the last stages of finishing my book which now will be called Your Legacy Matters.    Yesterday, I touched upon culture and the importance of passing on the legacy of the culture we've inherited as a member of a family, of the communities to which we belong  and the civilization from which we are benefit. 

Culture is not just something we consume, but something we participate in.    One by one, family by family, we signal what is important by what we respect, what we support and what we are grateful for.    It seems to me that each of us has an obligation to save and pass on what we think is most important.  That is why so many stories I've read today are so dismaying.

Take this story.  Drunk Britons shatter peace of Lourdes and the riot police are called out.  How did they not learn respect for other people and their religion?    In country after country, the Brits are known as drunken louts.  Whatever happened to the British gentlemen.

Or this one.  Writing Off Reading.  In this group of 17 college sophomores, they struggled to come up with the name of a writer they liked.  The only one they could think of?  Dan Brown!  Despite GPAs above 3.5, they can't read or write even at a high school level.  Because they don't read for pleasure, they can't navigate the language.  I suspect that not one of their parents ever expressed appreciation for any book or books in general.

Juan Williams in Banish the Bling expresses his dismay at the culture of African American young people today,
a culture steeped in bitterness and nihilism, a culture that is a virtual blueprint for failure."
Cosby asked the chilling question: "What good is Brown " and all the victories of the civil rights era if nobody wants them?
Where is the civil rights groundswell on behalf of stronger marriages that will allow more children to grow up in two-parent families and have a better chance of staying out of poverty? Where are the marches demanding good schools for those children -- and the strong cultural reinforcement for high academic achievement (instead of the charge that minority students who get good grades are "acting white")? Where are the exhortations for children to reject the self-defeating stereotypes that reduce black people to violent, oversexed "gangstas," minstrel show comedians and mindless athletes?

The trend toward The Great Indoors is keeping children out of touch with nature.  How do you reverse the decline? The nature deficit is sending kids down a desolate path.

Never before in this country has the future loomed so impoverished.
I'm reminded of Ray Bradbury's  Fahrenheit 451 where firemen burn books so that no one will be able to rise up against the government because no one remembers the ideas of democracy or liberty.

Ignorance becomes bliss.  Only a brave few like Julie Christie in the movie directed by Francois Truffaut memorize the old books so the ideas won't be forgotten but can be passed on.

"Fahrenheit 451" (François Truffaut)


Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:30 AM | Permalink

Get Over It

From an interview of Nora Ephron in the Wall St Journal (subscribers only I think)

I was just with someone complaining about his mother. He's 70 and his mother is dead. I sat there thinking, 'This is unbelievable.' He was complaining about things she did to him when he was a kid. There are also a lot of divorced people who five years later are still walking around angry when they should be grateful. They love being victims. You get to a certain point in life where if you were younger you'd say, 'Think about getting a shrink.' Then you get older and want to say, 'Pull up your socks. Get over it.'

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:56 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 20, 2006

The Dark Side of the Sixties

Art critic Robert Hughes reveals how his life was deeply scarred by the Sixties.

The curse of free love

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:32 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

When Mutilation Saves

When Cutting Isn't Cruel

Our mutilation of girls may be killing them. Our mutilation of boys may be saving their lives.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:52 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Twin girls meet for first time

Two girls, fraternal twins, were separated, then abandoned a week apart on the same spot on a sidewalk in China.

The Funk family in Illinois adopted one and named her Mia; a year later,  the Ramirez family in Florida adopted the other and named her Mia.

Thanks to a website and DNA tests,  the two adopted girls, twins, met for the first time. 

  Chinese  Girl Twins

Separated at birth, united by chance
The girls, whose parents had dressed them identically in Chinese-themed outfits, shyly surveyed each other. Urged a little closer, they finally reached for each other's hand.

"I'm just awed," Holly Funk said as she looked at the tiny girls, a little island in the flow of travelers crowding the luggage claim area. "Grateful to God. To me, it's a divine thing. It's a miracle. In the sea of humanity, these kids found each other."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:48 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

She's Her Own Twin

They thought she was lying about giving birth to her three children because the DNA didn't match.  Then, they found she's her own twin.

"In her blood, she was one person, but in other tissues, she had evidence of being a fusion of two individuals," Uhl said.

It's a rare condition called chimerism, with only 30 documented cases worldwide. In Greek mythology, "chimera" means a monster: part goat, part lion, part snake.

In human biology, a chimera is an organism with at least two genetically distinct types of cells -- or, in other words, someone meant to be a twin. But while in the mother's womb, two fertilized eggs fuse, becoming one fetus that carries two distinct genetic codes -- two separate strands of DNA.

The twin is invisible, but for chimeras the twin lives microscopically inside the body as DNA.

When Uhl told Keegan she was her own twin, Keegan said she was shocked. "You wouldn't imagine that that could even be possible."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:51 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

The 9/11 generation

Traveling 1400 miles across generations  via the Corner

Some call those born after 1980 the 9/11 generation. Sept. 11 is a fixture but not a fixation. It has been a fact of childhood that terrorists threaten civilization, and may always, but that life goes on.

The 9/11 generation is both traditional and iconoclastic. Talking heads often depict it as selfish and disengaged, often symbolized by the empty pursuits of Paris Hilton. In fact, according to social scientists, Generation Y has a respect for community and authority that makes it more akin to the 18-year-olds on the beaches of Normandy than the Y Generation's baby boomer parents

"This generation, the baby boomlet, is a very odd generation," said Rachel Kleinfeld, 30, the founding director of the Truman National Security Project, a Democrat think tank. "They are much more sexually conservative than the generation before them. They are much more religious than the generation before them. They are very community-oriented. Their numbers on community orientation are like those of the greatest generation, the World War II generation. They are extremely loving of their parents. Many of them call their parents their best friends. And they are also very respecting of authority, but not all types of authority."

For instance, the 9/11 generation respects the military but not the traditional news media or government institutions. If you were born after 1980, you are likely to gather your impressions of the world as much through MySpace as any front page.

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Panic for Rolling Stones

Maybe it's time to get off the stage.

Panic for Rolling Stones as tour tickets go unsold

But perhaps most embarrassing of all for the band who have a combined age of 249 is that cut-price tickets are also being sold to pensioners through the company Saga.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:57 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

Steyn on the Future of Civilization

No one writes better on the decline of Western civilization than Mark Stein, It's breeding obvious, mate

The question posed here tonight is very direct: “Does Western Civilization Have A Future?” One answer’s easy: if western civilization doesn’t have a past, it certainly won’t have a future. No society can survive when it consciously unmoors itself from its own inheritance. But let me answer it in a less philosophical way:

Much of western civilization does not have any future. That’s to say, we’re not just speaking philosophically, but literally. In a very short time, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries we regard as part of the western tradition will cease to exist in any meaningful sense. They don’t have a future because they’ve given up breeding.

Seventeen European nations are now at what demographers call “lowest-low” fertility – 1.3 births per woman, the point at which you’re so far down the death spiral you can’t pull out. In theory, those countries will find their population halving every 35 years or so. In practice, it will be quicker than that, as the savvier youngsters figure there’s no point sticking around a country that’s turned into an undertaker’s waiting room.

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Skin tests for Alzheimer's

In about 5 years, we have skin tests to catch Alzheimer's early.  With earlier intervention, major brain damage can be prevented.

Until then, stick with doing your crosswords.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:20 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

Maybe you're rotting on the vine

Exhausted are you? 

You know that the antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest," I repeated woodenly, as if I might exhaust myself completely before I reached the end of the sentence. "What is it, then?"

"The antidote to exhaustion is wholeheartedness."

It's David Whyte on meeting Brother David. A remarkable essay

You have ripened already, and you are waiting to be brought in. Your exhaustion is a form of inner fermentation. You are beginning, ever so slowly to rot on the vine.

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August 15, 2006

Immanuel Kant on science and wisdom

"Science is organized knowledge.  Wisdom is organized life"

                    Immanuel Kant

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:10 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Being broken.

Why do we work so hard?  Is it maybe time to quit your job ...and follow your path?

We are at once infuriated by and enamored with the idea that some people can just up and quit their jobs or take a leave of absence or take out a loan to go back to school, how they can give up certain "mandatory" lifestyle accoutrements in order to dive back into some seemingly random creative/emotional/spiritual endeavor that has nothing to do with paying taxes or the buying of products or the boosting of the GNP. It just seems so ... un-American. But it is so, so needed.

Case in point No. 1: I have this sister. She is deep in medical school right now, studying to be a naturopathic doctor at Bastyr University just outside Seattle, the toughest school of its kind in the nation, and the most difficult to get into, especially if you've had no formal medical training beforehand, as my sister hadn't.

She got in. She bucked all expectation and thwarted the temptation to quit and take a well-paying corporate job and she endured the incredibly brutal first year and rose to the top of her class. Oh and by the way, she did it all when she was over 40. With almost no money. While going through an ugly, debt-ridden divorce.

It seems as if most people have to be broken before the time is right and they find the courage to follow their path.  I was.

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August 14, 2006

Ballpark franks

I only eat a few a year, beef only, so I think I'm okay.  But think of all those people with season's tickets to the ballpark.

Hot Dogs May Cause Genetic Mutations

Everyone knows hot dogs aren't exactly healthy for you, but in a new study chemists find they may contain DNA-mutating compounds that might boost one's risk for cancer.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:32 PM | Permalink | TrackBack


Normally, I'd post this on Legacy Matters, but a better example of aging with grace and grit can't be found than this septuagenarian British widower who's become one of the most popular posters on YouTube, opening each of his videos with a blues song and tagging  each, "grumbles" and "gripes"


Pensioner becomes surprise YouTube star. 

He's called geriatic1927. 

Peter posted his first video on YouTube about a week ago, under the user name geriatric1927 which refers to the year of his birth. He called it "first try."

In the clip, which starts with "geriatric gripes and grumbles" and some blues music, Peter tells how he became addicted to YouTube.

"It's a fascinating place to go to see all the wonderful videos that you young people have produced so I thought I would have a go at doing one myself," he says, sitting against a backdrop of floral wallpaper and family photographs.

"What I hope I will be able to do is to just to bitch and grumble about life in general from the perspective of an old person who has been there and done that and hopefully you will respond in some way by your comments."

I love him.  Here you can find the videos he's posted telling his life story

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:47 PM | Permalink

Bad news for husbands

Once a woman is in a secure relationship, her sex drive plummets according to research in Germany.

Security 'bad news for sex drive'.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:28 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Everyone loses

Two lesbians married in Vermont in 200 and had a child by artificial insemination.  Let's call them Anna and Susan.

Anna, the biological mother, renounced her homosexuality and taking the child with her, moved to Virginia where she won custody in the Virginia courts.

Susan brought suit in Vermont where the family court gave Susan custody and the Vermont State Supreme Court ruled that Vermont has exclusive jurisdiction.

So who's most closely following the twists and turns of this jurisdictional battle?  Fathers, who after divorce, lost custody battles against "moveaway" petitions filed by their ex-wives.

Kids, dads have much to lose

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Police laugh when woman reports a clean house

Most of the time my house is pretty neat.  Sometimes though, it's a mess which I think only reflects my disorganized state of mind.

Still and all, I don't think think I would call the police to report a clean house like this woman.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:12 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Cognito to spot hostile intent

The Transportation Security Authority is testing new airport screening software to find out which travelers have hostile intent.

Biometric readings are  analyzed by a new software called Cognito using algorithms, artificial intelligence and polygraph principles.

At the heart of the system is proprietary software that draws on Israel's extensive field experience with suicide bombers and security-related interrogations. The system aims to test the responses to words, in many languages, that trigger psycho-physiological responses among people with terrorist intent.
The company's goal is to prove it can catch at least 90% of potential saboteurs -- a 10% false-negative rate -- while inconveniencing just 4% of innocent travelers.

Even though his expertise is in human observation, U.S. behavior-recognition expert Dr. Ekman says projects like Cogito deserve a shot. He expects technology to advance even further, to devices like lasers that measure people's vital signs from a distance. Within a year, he predicts, such technology will be able to tell whether someone's "blood pressure or heart rate is significantly higher than the last 10 people" who entered an airport.

From the Wall Street Journal, a free article  Which Travelers have 'Hostile Intent'? Biometric Device May Have the Answer.

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Sudden wealth

Why anyone who becomes suddenly wealthy needs advice or counseling, maybe both.

Juan Rodriguez wishes he hadn't been so lucky.

Juan Rodriguez wanted nothing more than to be one of the guys in rural South Texas where he was raised, and he was until six years ago, when he had the misfortune to acquire almost $9 million from the state lottery.

Today, he's lost his anonymity, his buddies, whatever girlfriends he once had, and most of his family, whom he no longer trusts. He rarely ventures outside the trailer here where he lives alone.
The rule of thumb we use is
sudden wealth will ruin people in three to five years," said Thompson, president of Sage Financial Design, a Connecticut-based company whose clients include instant millionaires.

"At the end of five years, the money's going to be gone or the human being is going to be gone. They either lose their money or themselves or both."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:45 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Child-Free Society

Even if you have children, most of your adult life will be spent without them.

Life Without Children

"Demographically, socially and culturally, the nation is shifting from a society of childrearing families to a society of child-free adults. The percentage of households with children has declined from half of all households in 1960 to less than one-third today, the lowest percentage in the nation's history," according to a study by the National Marriage Project (NMP) at Rutgers University.
This change in America has gone virtually unnoticed and undocumented. Thirty-six years ago, 62 percent of an adult's life was spent with a spouse and children, the highest in history. By 1985, that dropped to 43 percent, the lowest in history.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:27 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Poor baby, UPDATED

It's hard to imagine but a husband and wife arrested in the British terror raids planned to take their six month old baby with them on their suicide mission to bomb planes in mid air.    Their baby's bottle would have hidden the liquid bomb.

Just in case you wondered how far the anti-life ideology of the islamo terrorists would go. 

Bottle and baby used as bomb

With his parents in jail, I  hope that the poor baby will be placed in a good foster home with a chance at a normal life

UPDATE:  Dr. Sanity says we have moved into a time beyond wisdom and points to a discussion she calls heart-breaking and she's right  at Blackfive, On the virtues of killing children.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:05 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Just who's in your family tree?

You'd be surprised at some of your ancestors.

Star is Descended from Kings.  Of Course, Most People Are
Even without a documented connection to a notable forebear, experts say, the odds are virtually 100 percent that every person on Earth is descended from one royal personage or another.
Muhammad, the founder of Islam, appears on the family tree of every person in the Western world.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:44 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 12, 2006

My Elder Advocate

10 tips for talking to your aging parents via My Elder Advocate which continues to expose cases of nursing home abuse and give advice on handling dementia.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

Video joys

Two good, short videos from around the Web for a Friday afternoon

9 months of gestation in 20 seconds at Google Video

Together Can  Dick and Rick Hoyt, a remarkable father-son team  runs marathons and triatholons.  Son Rick's  cerebral palsy made him a mute quadriplegic still he joined forces with his dad.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:23 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 9, 2006

Learning to Die, Learning to Live

Learning to Die is quite a remarkable essay by Brother David Steindl-Rast.

on awareness of death
In the rule of St. Benedict, the momento mori has always been important, because one of what St. Benedict calls “the tools of good works” – meaning the basic approaches to the daily life of the monastery – is to have death at all times before one’s is a seeing of every moment of life against the horizon of death, and a challenge to incorporate that awareness of dying into every moment so as to become more fully alive.

on purpose and meaning
With purposes, we must be active and in control. We must, as we say, “take the reins,” “take things in hand,” “keep matters under control,” and utilize circumstances like tools that serve our aims....But matters are different when we deal with meaning. Here it is not a matter of using, but of savoring the world around us. In the idioms we use that relate to meaning, we depict ourselves as more passive than active: “It did something to me”; “it touched me deeply”; “it moved me.”

on life.

Life, if it isn’t a give and take, is not life at all. The taking corresponds to the active phase, to our “purpose” when we do something; while the giving of ourselves to whatever it is that we experience is the gesture by which meaning flows into our lives. It must be stressed that this is not an either/or; life is not a give or take, but a give and take; if we only take or only give, we are not alive. If we only take breath in we suffocate, and if we only breathe out we also suffocate. The heart pumps the blood in and pumps it out; and it is in the rhythm of give and take that we live.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:53 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Reversing a dread disease

Just a month before the traditional Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon for Muscular Dystrophy - 38 years and still going - comes great news.

Muscular dystrophy reversal clue

US scientists have found a way to reverse muscular dystrophy (MD) in mice, offering hope of a cure for humans with muscle-wasting diseases.

The animals in the Nature Genetics study had myotonic dystrophy - the most common form of MD in adults.

The therapy targets a particular kind of toxic molecule to "silence" its presence in the diseased muscle.

The University of Virginia team showed the treatment fully restored heart and skeletal muscle function in mice.

In myotonic dystrophy, like the other types of MD, faulty DNA is to blame for the abnormalities that occur.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:45 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Leg Scratch

When nature calls and you can't get to the bathroom fast enough, scratch the back of your leg really hard.

Leg scratch 'controls' women's loo call.

"If you scratch or rub the back of your calf for a few moments, really vigorously, you may interrupt the message from your bladder to your brain just long enough for you to make it to the toilet," Ms Webb said.

Ms Webb works for the Jean Hailes Foundation for Women's Health which has joined forces with the Continence Foundation of Australia to raise awareness of continence problems.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:41 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Stem Cells + Cancer

Scientific American asks whether Stem Cells are the Real Culprits in Cancer. 

A dark side of stem cells--their potential to turn malignant--is at the root of a handful of cancers and may be the cause of many more. Eliminating the disease could depend on tracking down and destroying these elusive killer cells.

A malignant transformation turns them rogue.

Many such similarities between stem cells and cancer cells have been noted. The classical definition of malignancy itself includes cancer cells' apparent capacity to survive and multiply indefinitely, their ability to invade neighboring tissues and to migrate (metastasize) to distant sites in the body. In effect, the usual constraints that tightly control cellular proliferation and identity seem to have been lifted from cancer cells.

Normal stem cells' power to self-renew already exempts them from the rules limiting life span and proliferation for most cells. ......
In healthy stem cells, strict genetic regulation keeps their potential for unlimited growth and diversification in check. Remove those control mechanisms, and the result would be some-thing that sounds very much like malignancy.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:40 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 8, 2006

Butter and Avacado

Butter's good!  It's butter that will make vegetables more nutritious.  Butter and avocado and olive oil.

Want Fat with That?  A Surprising Way to Make Vegetables More Nutritous.  From the Wall St Journal, subscribers only.

It turns out that some of the best stuff in fruits and vegetables -- certain vitamins and cancer-fighting compounds -- are "fat-soluble." That means some fat needs to be present for the body to adequately absorb the nutrients. But studies are now showing that people who opt for no-fat dressing or who skip adding foods like avocado or cheese to a dish to avoid fat calories, are getting far less out of their salads and other veggies.

"What we're finding is that if you don't have some fat in the meal, all these wonderful" compounds are missed, says Steven Clinton, program leader for molecular carcinogenesis and chemoprevention and the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center in Columbus. "If the nutrients don't get into your system, then what good are they?"

With the salad test, the impact of adding avocado was even greater. The first salad included romaine lettuce, baby spinach, shredded carrots and a no-fat dressing, resulting in a fat content of about 2%. After avocado was added, the fat content jumped to 42%. When the salad was consumed with the avocado, the 11 test subjects absorbed seven times the lutein and nearly 18 times the beta carotene. Lutein is a carotenoid found in many green vegetables and is linked with improved eye and heart health.
Study researchers say they were not only surprised by how much more absorption occurred with the avocado added to the meal, but they were taken aback at how little the body absorbed when no fats were present. "The fact that so little was absorbed when no fat was there was just amazing to me," says Dr. Clinton

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Beautiful Baby Women

I wondered why there were so many girls in my family.

Beautiful people tend to have girls say scientists
or as my feminist friends say, baby women.

According to research, attractive parents are 26% more likely to have a daughter than a son as their first child. It is an inexorable process that has resulted in women becoming increasingly more attractive than men.

This is because of differing “evolutionary strategies” that each sex has adopted to survive, claim researchers at the London School of Economics.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:37 AM | Permalink

No Marijuana for Would-be Mommas

If you want to get pregnant, lay off the funny stuff.

Marijuana May Sabotage Pregnancy.

 Mona Lisa Marijuana

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:26 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Sweet tip

Everyone should have a jar of honey tucked away for emergencies.

  Honey Pot

Honey heals wounds faster than antibiotics

“In hospitals today we are faced with germs which are resistant to almost all the current anti-biotics. As a result, the medical use of honey is becoming attractive again for the treatment of wounds,”

said Dr. Arne  Simon, one of the researchers at the University of Bonn hospital that conducted the study.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:13 AM | Permalink

Post bridal depression

With all the pressure to plan, organize and spend an average of $36,000 for THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF THEIR LIVES, is it any surprise that, after the wedding, the brides crash?

Even Bridezilas get the post-nuptial blues

"You're expected to look your most beautiful and to be the centre of attention. It's no wonder a lot of girls feel like some part of them has died afterwards."

According to Paula Hall, a relationship psychotherapist, one in 10 new brides are so disturbed by the anti-climax of married life that they end up clinically depressed.

"There is an ingrained belief that this is supposed to be the best time in a person's life and people don't want to let go of the fantasy," she said.

The chatrooms of bridal websites have become busy with women consoling each other about the post-wedding adjustment to married life.

That's what happens when you spend all your time planning a wedding and pretty much nothing about planning for marriage.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:56 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 7, 2006

Gut Reactions

We instinctively know that how a question is "framed"  - think leading the witness or negative ads - can distort our decision-making.  Now scientists have brain images that confirm what we know in our guts.

Emotion rules the brain's decisions.

But Following Your Gut is  a good thing when it comes to life decisions and choices.

In Gut Reactions,, Jesse Prinz argues that emotions are embodied appraisals - they are perceptions of the body, but, through the body they also allow us to literally perceive danger, loss and other matters.

"Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Philosophy of Mind)" (Jesse J. Prinz)

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:41 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Crisis in Masculinity

Everyone seems to be talking about the New York Times article, Men Not Working and Not Wanting Just Any Job.

Millions of men like Mr. Beggerow — men in the prime of their lives, between 30 and 55 — have dropped out of regular work. They are turning down jobs they think beneath them or are unable to find work for which they are qualified, even as an expanding economy offers opportunities to work.

About 13 percent of American men in this age group are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960’s. The difference represents 4 million men who would be working today if the employment rate had remained where it was in the 1950’s and 60’s.

But Dr. Helen quotes the 2005 President of the American Psychological Association, Ronald Levant who says that the traditional norms of the male role - the emphasis on toughness, competition, status, and emotional stoicism  - are viewed as problematic and that we are in the midst of a crisis in masculinity.

Men feel that they are being told that what they have been trying to accomplish is irrelevant to the world of today. Since women now work and can earn their own living, there is no longer any need for The Good Provider. Furthermore, society no longer seems to value, or even recognize the traditional male way of demonstrating care, through taking care of his family and friends, by looking out for them, solving their problems, and being one who can be counted on to be there when needed. In its place, men are being asked to take on roles and show care in ways that violate the traditional male code and require skills that they do not have, such as revealing weakness, expressing their most intimate feelings, and nurturing children. The net result of this for many men is a loss of self-esteem and an unnerving sense of uncertainty about what it means to be a man.

Read them both.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:15 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

"Poison Antidote"

Reminyl and Razadyne are the names of a drug that's given to Alzheimer patients to help slow brain damage. 

Researchers experimenting with animals found that the drug completely protected guinea pigs against high doses of the nerve agents soman and sarin, as well as toxic amounts of pesticides.

Alheimer's drug a 'poison antidote'.

Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr Albuquerque and colleagues at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defence and the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, both in Maryland, said their research could benefit farm workers and soldiers.

This simple and safe antidotal therapy could be added to the arsenal of medications carried by all military members and first responders, who could easily administer it to themselves should they suspect that they've been exposed to a nerve agent," Dr Albuquerque said.

"I think maybe we have something that can protect us against bad terrorists," he said in a telephone interview, adding that the next step was to test female guinea pigs.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:03 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Evolution in Reverse

US scientists have taken a mouse back in time some 500 million years by reversing the process of evolution.

Just imagine the creative possibilities! 

And I don't mean understanding better the  process of evolution, I'm thinking of the creative possibilities for would-be novelists and Hollywood script writers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:40 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Cowardly lifeguard

The lifeguard on duty at Houghton's Pond in Milton didn't have his mouthpiece to protect himself so he refused to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a three-year-old boy.

Fortunately, there were bystanders who were CPR certified and they didn't have any qualms about germs.  They saved the young boy's life.

Bystanders Save Boy, 3, from Pond Drowning.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:10 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Aborted Fetuses for Beauty

'Research shows that they openly import foetuses from poverty-stricken provinces in Ukraine and Russia, preying on the financially desperate to treat vain Western women.'

A barbaric kind of beauty

It seems as if, around the world, women are paying to have the stem cells of aborted fetuses injected in their hands and faces, their thighs and buttocks with no evidence that it works, but in the hopes it will make them younger-looking and more attractive. 

Here, poverty-stricken young women are paid 200 U.S. dollars to carry babies up to the optimum eight to 12-week period - thought to be best for harvesting stem cells. They are then sold on to cosmetic clinics.

'The cavalier attitude of Russian cosmetic surgeons is grotesque,' says Dr Minger. 'The origin of the cells is ethically immoral. Furthermore, they don't bother to test for compatibility between the cells injected and the patient who receives them. Medical risks from complications can include infection, tumours and rejection of foreign tissue.'

Said George Sand, "Vanity is the quicksand of reason."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:49 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

Made to Order Embryos

You now can buy fresh embryos to fit your requirements, say blond hair, blue eyes, PHd material, at the Abraham Center for Life in San Antonio.  Ethical row ensues

The world's first human embryo bank has been launched offering 'bespoke babies' for infertile couples.

For around £5,000 couples can buy ready-made embryos matched to their specific requirements - even down to choosing what eye and hair colour they would like their child to have.

In each case the embryos are made from eggs and sperm from two donors who have never even met. The moment of conception occurs in the laboratory and is determined by the genetic combination the clinic thinks will best meet the needs of the paying couples on its books.

The Center Director, Jennalee Ryan is quoted

But what I say to them is Jesus was not conceived in the normal way either. I don't lose any sleep over what we are doing. I feel what we are doing is positive.

"We are helping couples and putting good genes back into the universe."

But Josephine Quintavalle of the UK campaigning group Comment on Reproductive Ethics said it amounted to the "absolute commercialisation of human life."

She said: "It is heartbreaking to see children reduced in this way to the equivalent of a special offer supermarket commodity. Cut price, tailor-made human embryos, complete with door to door delivery."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 5, 2006

Make Your Own Electricity

With the costs of electricity so high and getting higher, with more and more appliances, devices, computers, peripherals all demanding their share from the grid, the idea that you could produce all the electricity that you need is very appealing.

Springwise brings news of consumer-generated power using small wind turbines you can install on your roof.    Beginning this month, Skystream energy introduces the Skystream 3.7 that promises to reduce or eliminate your monthly electrical bills by producing electricity  quietly in very low winds.

It will take a while for state and local governments to allow such individual windmills, but I'm betting that over the next couple of decades, the American landscape will be dotted with tall, skinny, silver skystreams.     

So much for the home heliport.  But what about the birds?

The Winds of Change indeed.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:19 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

August 4, 2006

Big Mother

The case against parental surveillance devices.  Big Mother is Watching

Now, the obvious danger of such devices is that they raise paranoid parenting to an even more extreme level, thereby further depriving children of the chance to test their capacity for independence.
The more subtle, but equally important, objection to spyware is that it isn't good for parents either. By making snooping relatively impersonal, these technologies prompt mothers and fathers to bypass important moral questions about their relationship with their children. If it's all right to scrutinize your daughter's text messages, then it should be OK to read her diary. If it's all right to electronically monitor her driving, then it should be equally kosher to get in to your own car and follow her. Yet there are good reasons most sane adults would balk at these low-tech invasions of their children's privacy.

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

Forget Diamonds Forget diamonds.

Three out of four women would prefer a new plasma TV to a diamond necklace.

Technology is a girl's best friend.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:55 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

What's Better When You're Younger

Interesting comments at Lifehacker's post on what's easier when you're younger. 

Mornings after the night before.
Getting arrested.  If you're not dealt with as a juvenile, people will call it a youthful indiscretion.
Quitting your job and driving around the country with your friends.
Getting laid.
Falling back on a safety net.
Crying your way out of problems.
Still experiencing the feeling of invulnerability.

I would add:

eating anything you want and not gaining weight.
believing that life is fair
believing that you're entitled.
biking 50 miles one day and 50 miles the next and not needing Advil.
thinking that you're always going to love your tatoos.
having summers off to do whatever you want.
believing you won't survive a break-up.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:52 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Record-Setting 91-year-old Racer

He's 91 but Leo Burns is still an amazing athlete.

91-Year-Old Driver Is Still Setting Record Pace With Unbeaten Filly

To Dean Hoffman, Burns is “a remarkable story by any stretch, even more so because he’s so nonchalant about it.”

“It’s not that he’s going out there to be a novelty,” said Hoffman, the senior editor of Hoof Beats, the national trotting group’s official publication. “He’s going out there driving and winning. What he’s doing just staggers the imagination.”

While many may see harness racing as fancy — the pastime of yesteryear moguls like Cornelius Vanderbilt and Leland Stanford — it is physically demanding, at times punishing, to its drivers.

Strapped precariously into sulkies, drivers do not have air bags or seat belts as fallbacks if something goes wrong during races in which speeds reach 30 miles an hour, or more.

“It’s a young man’s game,” said Leroy Moore, 70, a longtime acquaintance of Burns who insisted that when on-track accidents happen, “young men bounce better than older people.”

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Senior Improv

WIT and wisdom make up happy hours.

The senior citizen improv class is a first for WIT, a professional theater collective that puts on about 100 performances and teaches more than 200 students a year.
Freund feels "astonished" by the quality and quantity of material that her classmates have to draw from, "and they're dirty, and they're funny, and they're imaginative."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:20 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

Gutting a Katrina House

Empty and Fulfilled

What's really unnerving are those acrid objects you're standing among -- slimy, plastic-wrapped bundles of bed linens and Christmas decorations and rotting rhinestone shoes; powdery photo albums with peeling pictures of parents and grandchildren; anniversary mementos, rosaries, china figurines and hemorrhoid medication: all the heartbreaking and very private detritus of somebody's shattered life. You're eerily reminded constantly that it's none of your business. But if you're gutting houses in New Orleans, it becomes not only your business, but your daily life.

You feel like a mortician washing a corpse. You try to do it with both efficiency and respect.

Gutting a Katrina house -- which costs at least $6,000 if you have to pay for it -- is the first step toward rebuilding it.

But it's not the government who's doing the work, although if you don't start taking first steps by the first year anniversary of that devastating hurricane, the city may well bull-doze it. 

So who's helping the unfortunate homeowners?  Not the government, but church groups. 

Plenty of other church groups, of course, are laboring on behalf of Katrina survivors as well. Indeed, the stressed-out homeowners will tell you churches are the only ones doing anything, that they themselves will never again look with confidence for help from any government agency at any level.

Most of the volunteers are young. 

But these young and veteran gutters are superb team leaders, gentle and empathetic with homeowners, firm but politely patient should some of the older volunteers patronize them and try to take over.

They party off-duty like any college kids, and are noticeably devoid of political posturing, save-the-world-itis or the far too common arrogance of the self-righteous. In fact they don't talk much about their beliefs at all. But they shake your heart with their untiring sense of purpose.
"We're not just gutting their house, we're helping them hold a funeral for their former life."

Said one elderly woman

"God sent you all to me. You are my miracle," Ward told the grimy workers, smiling through tears in her white church outfit as she left for yet another funeral. "You can't know how much you've done for me. I feel so blessed."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:53 AM | Permalink | TrackBack