Sunday, July 31, 2011

Maps? I Don't Need No Stinkin Maps!

We have been on a few quick mini trips recently. Travel time about four hours each way. But it was travel to areas I am not very familiar with. One trip was to meet some old friends for a few hours just outside Disney World in Orlando and one to visit for a few days on the west coast of Florida in a small town called Land O' Lakes.

I have been to both areas before but in the case of Disney, we were to meet at a particular hotel and on the west coast it was a different way to travel. Disney was in the day time, West coast was night time, very late night time.

Yes, we have a Tom Tom somewhere in the house, but decided to use Map Quest instead for Disney. Everything was okay until the final few miles where attention to details is all that matters. Within minutes we were lost as the directions would say "if you see this you have gone to far". Arggh.  Finally we pulled into another hotel which printed up directions using Google Maps. We got there in a few minutes but even then one direction turn was wrong. But I thought, next time we would use Google Maps. Slow learner I am!

The trip to the west coast was started at 1:00 am in the morning following a few hours of broken sleep.
Again the first part of the trip went fine, but for some reason at one point Google Maps took us away from a road we should have taken and within minutes we were lost again! I had to stop at a gas station at one point and then later I had to ask a policeman another time. We had, of course, drifted into neighborhoods we didn't belong. Eventually we got on track and arrived okay.

I know the GPS would have been better but I have found it wrong on occasion too. But my point to all of this was I had failed to use a map to get to where I was going. I am a great map reader, able to plot my way around. But it had never entered my mind to bring one or use one.

The internet and gps has made me rely on technology instead of the basic stuff. Guys pride themselves on knowing our way around. Stopping for directions is a no-no. But sometimes you have to swallow your pride and ask and hope for the best.

I hate asking for directions!! I know where I am going!
Now where is that Damn map?

time to put a pot of coffee on


Friday, July 29, 2011

Putting The Ant Story To Rest

It has been fun. The story I told is true, kinda. It has been a crusade of sorts. The idea came to me while standing in front of the house wondering what to do next.
As it happens to me quite often, the story started writing itself.

I had someone ask me at work why I didn't illustrate my story. I declined saying I tried to paint a visual picture of the characters. It has been a very annoying problem with the ants. And it is not over yet. I have gotten some liquid bug and weed products that one hooks up to a water hose. I will use that this weekend.

If things get resolved, there will be an epilogue follow up story.
I had other ideas and characters in mind, but I think it is time to wrap it up. For now...

Thanks for playing along. I hope I made you smile and maybe even laugh a little.

and now reaching for the ever present cup of early morning coffee...


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ant Invasion D-Day Back to the ant story!

Please read parts 1-6 if you haven't already. Thank you

We now join a press conference from the Ant House being broadcast on Fix News...

"And so we have picked up two allies in our fight to bring democracy to the world" said the President. " Our wonderful friends the Roaches and the Wasps have joined with us in our battle with the man!"

"Democracy? We are workers who do the same thing day in and day out  and are run by a queen. What is he talking about?" said one soldier to another. Ah, that is what is called a sound byte. Sounds good to the ears, changes public perception on our war and we can do what we want" said the other soldier. "Let's see what the general has to say.

To the battlefield...
"Men, by now you have heard the wasps and roaches have signed up with us. Here is how it will work. The wasps will build nests at strategic points around the house while the BAR ( big ass roaches ) will sneak in and distract the man. Then we can continue to invade the kitchen getting water and food. Victory will be ours!" yelled the General.

"General, we have a report that the wasps are under attack and our outside entry points have been sprayed down. Heavy losses are being reported. We have not heard back from the roaches as of yet. We fear that they have been killed in action" said the aide. "This is not good" thought the general to himself.

From the man...
"It was good that I had some wasp spray and found those little nests around the house. And then I smashed some big roaches in the bathrooms. Funny thing though, they were wearing uniforms just like the ants. Why I do declare..."  ( Note, the man like to use a southern accent on occasion )

to be continued...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Good Bye To Man's Best Friend, Mugsy

We had to put down my 12 year old black lab this last Saturday. A combination of age, back legs failing, cough, and so on, it was necessary to end it. 

He was my best friend.

He loved the water and I was afraid I would find him at the bottom of the pool or dead in a corner of the yard. The only thing still strong about him was his appetite. His sight and hearing had diminished. 

He would come into my bedroom late at night, come up to me, sniffing, poking me with his nose to make sure I was okay. And then curl up on a rug at the foot of the bed for a nap.

We had many a good time playing fetch in the yard and in the pool. 
He was a purebred that we got for free. The previous owner had just had a baby and thought he was no longer a good fit for their family. She was very wrong as the next 12 years would  prove out.

We were playing fetch one day when a lady walked by with two dogs. He went on the attack. She did not get mad, saying he was protecting me. No harm was done. We put a fence in soon after!

Like many a dog he gave his love unconditionally. And I gave it back in return.

When I am in the kitchen cooking or baking, the dogs would gather around hoping for a crumb or something to drop to the floor. This Sunday as I looked around and saw he was not there, I must admit the tears did well up in my eyes. 

There are many stories to tell and I could fill pages with them but I won't. Time will pass but not my thoughts for him.

I have decided to rerun a poem I wrote about him a a few years instead.

Mugsy, gone but not forgotten.

Thank you for your time.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

lying asleep
at the ready
for play
for a scratch
favorite snack
always looking
Lab is he
always trust

no conditions
for love
smartest he knows
out the door
game of fetch
again and again
wagging of tail
his hero

pup no longer
getting older
graybeard now
moving slower
life would give
to the end

noble beast
not to judge
love in eyes

absent from room
not from heart
hug and kiss
family member
better then most
man's best friend

An ant story timeout

I will take a few days to recharge the brain on this as my next post will show how it has been for me this weekend.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ant Invasion D-Day Part 6

Please read parts 1-2-3-4-5 if you haven't already. Thank You

To the battlefield...

A squad of soldiers are sitting around a campfire eating their evening meal which consists of GRE meals. ( garbage ready to eat ) "This isn't what I signed up for. said one. Long days, long nights, no breaks, bad food, no women, is this all there is?" "Hey, said another it's Florida this is good as it gets." But I know what you are saying. Morale is so far down you would think we work in retail! But there is a rumor going around that she will make an appearance today!" "She? As in the queen? I don't believe it"....

Suddenly from a distance...
A procession can be seen, banners waving in the breeze, the sounds of boots marching, the thumping of drum beats, almost like a scene from the Wizard of OZ...oh eyo oh eyoho, the chant goes on.

"Sarge, is it true, she is coming to see us? cried the soldier. "I thought the queen was a myth, you know, like bigfoot, peace on earth, fair and balanced news reporting on Fox News?"
"Son, it is true. It is my first time seeing her myself."

"Sarge, can I ask you a question? Why do you call me son all the time when I am older then you?"
"That's how we do it in the army" said the Sarge.

The queen arrived being carried by worker ants on a huge stretcher. "My god,she is huge. I was hoping for Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra, instead she looks more like Jaba the Hut. She never pushes away from the table does she?" "It is her job and she does it well, so it appears." said another

Suddenly, all the male ants dropped to their knees and bowed to her. She said nothing, just waving her feelers. The men jumped up as one and rushed off to the battlefield, screaming, blood lust in their eyes.

To the man...
"It looks like the ants are more active today" he said pondering, pondering, pondering.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ant Invasion D-Day Part 5

Please read part 1-2-3-4 if you haven't already. Thank you

We now take you to the Ant House where the president is about to speak...

"Ladies and gentlemen and all ships at sea. We have received word from very good sources that the man has WBD, or better know as weapons of bug destruction. We have received photos from the man house showing him using the weapons in question. Put them up on the screen." he said.

"We have a navy now? " said one soldier to another. "Nah, he just likes to say that, sounds cool to him."
"Oh, Okay". And they turn back to the screen and the president.

"The first picture shows a girl in a bikini? Where did that come from? " he yelled. "Sorry Mr. President, said the aide. It is Florida and they got carried away with the camera."

As the news conference carried on...

We take you back to headquarters...

"General Sir cried the aide de camp, We got word that one of the outside buildings has been torn down cutting off our best access to the kitchen." "Heavy casualties resulted and that battalion was wiped out and hauled away with the garbage. The man had built it for outside storage and now it is gone. Oh the humanity!"
"Son, we are ants" said the General  "Sorry General said the aide, I was was watching the History Channel last night and got carried away."

To the battlefield and the man ...
"I wonder if taking down that storage had any affect on the ants," he pondered
He sure ponders a lot.

to be continued...

Ant Invasion D-Day Part 4

Please read parts 1-2-3 first if you haven't already. Thank you.

The general is speaking to the troops

"Men, I think we should take a moment to thank the first ants to the scene years ago who set the stage for this invasion, The Fire Ants! Hated by all, they cut a path of destruction causing pain with their bites everywhere they went! Let's give them a big hurrah!" he yelled. "Hurrah!" the men yelled back.

Back in the staffing room, reports are coming in from everywhere. "General we have a report saying that we have breached the house walls and are in" said a shapely female bug attendant. (Gratuitous mention of a woman in this story. The surviving queen usually kills all other females.) The General gruffly replied "I will need you to go over that report with me later". "Of course General" as she saluted and walked away. He thought to him self, "She looks like Laura Croft, with extra legs of course"

Back to the house in question

"Sarge, it sure is spooky in here. Where are we?" said the soldier "We are in the walls son. We will use them to get to the kitchen, and get to the man food." "Sarge I have heard of man food. Is it true what they say, all sweet and sticky and crumbs everywhere and and....." "Snap out of it son." yelled the Sarge " I need you to focus on the job at hand. I wish I could read the map, kind of dark in here." "Hey Sarge, let me turn on my helmet light." the soldier grinned.


Teletype chattering away...
Lots of noise and confusion... yelling...
"man is using air power dropping some type of pellets from the sky, spraying everywhere, liquid destruction dropping on the men, it is an all out attack everywhere... casualty reports escalating...

Man target
"I wonder if this bug killer and spraying is doing any good?" he pondered

to be continued

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ant Invasion D-Day Part 3

Please if you haven't already, read parts one and two. Thank you!

General De Bug is speaking to the troops...

"Men, things are going quite well at the moment" he said as he paced back and forth. He stopped and reached for a pointer and stood in front of the huge wall map. "We have made our way into the yard and are approaching  the huge paver walk way that leads inside the house. Our objective is to tunnel between each piece which is supported by sand and get a foothold to get into the house".  Pointing at the map he gave out instructions and sent them on their way

Back to the battlefield...

"Hey Sarge said one of the solider ants, Do we get to wear a miner's hat, you know, the one with the light on while we tunnel? That would be so cool and a lot of fun and would help us see better." "Son, we don't need to see to do what we need to do. Seeing is optional for ants, not really necessary", said Sarge. "That would explain the lack of fashion sense with the uniforms we wear", the solider said grinning.

The soldier continued talking, " So this is like a scene from the movie "The Great Escape" but we are trying to break in instead of out? "Can I play Steve McQueen, he gets to ride a motorcycle and is so cool..."
"Son. said the Sarge. what's a movie?" "Never mind" sighs the soldier.

Onward to the homeowner...

"Oh great, now they are in the pavers. This is starting to get nasty and serious and expensive."
He didn't know how nasty and serious and expensive it would get.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ant Invasion D - Day Part 2

Please read part one first if you haven't already. thank you

Let us now go on to the battlefield.  Here we have a sergeant talking to a young solider.

"What is the matter son" he said. "Sarge, how about a break? We have been going non stop for weeks, 24-7, and I am tired, I tell you I am so tired." said the weeping soildier.
"Son, snap out of it. Remember the mission and remember the Queen. We are doing it all for her."
"The Queen? Are we English Sarge? I hate monarchies."
"Not that kind of queen son" replied the Sarge "We have to do this to keep her alive. If she dies, we all die. Now get back in there and fight. Now what are you doing? he said. "Why the Queen's wave, of course" said the solider as he ran back to the grassy battlefield.

Back at headquarters... ( to make life simpler, the ants all have the same last name )
"General De Bug sir, we are running out of food, the men are starving and I don't know what to do." said Capt. Bug.
"I have good news said the General. The weeds that have been sprouting faster then the man target can pull have been a tremendous source of food. The roots are going to save us all. We are building nests underground everywhere and the good news they are almost invisible. We will be fine."

Back to the homeowner...
"Wow, is it hot today, bad time to be weeding" he said. "Let me weed along the fence where the pavers are, weeds aplenty. What's this? When I move the brick to get the weeds, ants are pouring out all over!" he cried.
"This is starting to get serious"

He didn't know how serious it was becoming...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ant Invasion D-Day Part One

Imagine a bunker underground WWII style as ants have yet to embrace cell phone technology and computers.
teletypes clattering in the background... assistants on hand crank phones calling out new positions to the staff pushing with long sticks ants and armor on a huge battlefield board showing the battle engagement...their target THE HOUSE...

Lets listen in as the general is speaking ,

General Alfred De Bug

" All right men. This has been a long thought out plan to attack this house. We have taken on the whole neighborhood, but this has been our prime objective after all. " He paused for a moment, removing his helmet and wiping some beads of sweat from his feelers. " We first breeched the front lawn from the street, a beached head of sorts, sneaking in undercover of grass and weeds. One of our men discovered a way to cross over to the next lawn using the cracks on the sidewalks which takes us closer to our main objective, THE HOUSE."

An aide-de camp rushed in with further updates which he handed to the general, saluted crisply and went on his way. "We have disguised our selves as innocent little ant hills, seemingly scattered around, not attracting much notice. So far our man target seems not to notice or care." The general lights up another ever present cigarette. "We have suffered few casualties so far. It is to be expected, but when you have a force of hundreds of thousands it won't slow us down for a moment. We ants are relentless, working night and day and we will ultimately be victorious." Remember the grasshopper wars, we worked, they played, and well, we know how that turned out! Victory", he snarled.

We take you now to the battlefield in question, where the homeowner, oblivious to it all is out cutting the grass. Reaching for the ever present cigarette, oops, he doesn't smoke, he is heard to remark " I am seeing ant hills by the street which I have noticed showing up around the neighborhood on my daily walks. I am sure it is nothing, but a few hits of bug spray should do the trick. This stuff is nasty" he muttered.
Little did he know, the nasty stuff was just beginning.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cellulite In Men?

90% of women get cellulite because of their estrogen levels and how the fat lies under the skin. Men's fat is more  so interlaced with the muscles. So it doesn't happen as often.

By the way, this information was found online. However a backward glance into a mirror one morning confirmed that it possible for guys to get some too! WTF! So I got that going for me. However, it is hardly noticeable because I don't wear that high cut swim suit like the ladies.

It is not like I have women clamoring to get a look at my behind as I walk away, sadly I might say.

Honestly, for the most part we don't care. If one understands it is part of nature it shouldn't matter.

Trust me, you will still get an admiring glance no matter what. In fact I am looking right about now!

and now, showing off my dimples, I realize it is

Time for another pot of coffee!


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Negativity, Is There No End?

Sometimes as I listen to people talk, I listen for the positives in a conversation. One has to listen hard because they are drowned out by the negatives.

Such as:

There goes the neighborhood

Why do that, that is so stupid

Not much talent there, is there

Things are going from bad to worse

I don't like ( fill in race or color ) people

They are all alike

The system is against me

I hate working there

This job is terrible

You never ( fill in whatever )

They are ruining it for everybody

They make too much money

I don't make enough money

You never listen

You talk too much

This government official is terrible

No, I didn't vote for him

I didn't vote

That makes me so mad

What makes you happy ( waiting on answer )

and so on, and so on

One needs an umbrella to shield ones self from mental debris spouted at ones ears.

It takes its toll on your own mental being.

You find your self watching the person talk, silently observing, not commenting, because of course, what is the point.

One must go to your happy place. Why is it taking so long? Opps!
It is catching isn't it?

time for some wheat juice :(
blech ha ha


Friday, July 15, 2011

American Justice

I know many people can get up in arms and raise a hue and cry to get the bad guy or girl and the evidence is so overwhelming and why didn't they get hin/her...blah...blah...blah...

Nothing is ever that simple or just.
I just finished " The Innocent Man " by John Grisham and before that I read " Mississippi Mud " by Edward Humes.  Both are real life and death stories, one in Mississippi and one in Oklahoma.

To borrow a line from John Grisham, himself a former lawyer, "...bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identification, bad defense lawyers, lazy prosecutors, arrogant prosecutors."

They are both stories that will captivate on one hand and fill you with despair on the other.  Oh, and if you think you would make a great eye witness, let tell you this story.

A police academy was conducting a class with about thirty recruits. The instructor was making a point when suddenly a man burst into the room pointed a gun at the teacher and fired,  killing the teacher and quickly ran away. The class sat there in stunned silence.

All of a sudden the teacher jumped to his feet yelling "You are all eyewitnesses to a killing. Write down everything you saw, down to the smallest detail."

There were thirty different versions of what happened and what the killer looked like.

You will start to wonder is there a chance for justice anywhere. You will wonder how many will  die who where innocent. You will no longer dismiss with a wave of a hand when someone will say " I am innocent." You will also wonder what if it was you that was accused, Be afraid. Be very afraid.

beer time


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Battle For The Night Time Sky

Hanging out by the pool
I saw the moon make an appearance

It played hide and seek among the 
palm trees

Can the moon really
move about?

Over my right shoulder
what should appear
the sun making its final descent

Storm clouds sneaking in once again

the fight is on

my pictures do it some justice
If clouds could smolder

The clouds
working on the moon
its fullness

night wins out after all
if things are in order
in the morning
everything will be as it was
once again

a very icy cold beer awaits

15 Examples That Show Many Americans Have Become So Desperate That They Will Do Just About Anything For Money July 13, 2011 By Michael Snyder

15 Examples That Show Many Americans Have Become So Desperate That They Will Do Just About Anything For Money

July 13, 2011
More Americans than ever are desperate for money and many of them will do just about anything to get it.  The crumbling U.S. economy has pushed millions of ordinary Americans to the brink of utter desperation.  When it comes time to choose between being able to survive or breaking the law, many people are choosing to break the law.

  These days it seems like Americans will do just about anything for money.  All over the country, there are areas where just about anything that is not bolted down is being stolen.  A lot of people have resorted to making money however they can – selling drugs, selling their bodies, shoplifting, invading homes, taking bribes, running credit card scams and even stealing from their own family members.  You will have a hard time believing some of the things that you are about to read below.  When people have their backs pushed up against the wall, often they find that they are willing to do things that they never imagined that they would do.  Things are getting crazy out there on the streets of America, and as the economy continues to decline things are going to get a lot crazier.

The following are 15 examples that show many Americans have become so desperate that they will do just about anything for money….
#1 In Utah, one unemployed 28 year old man is offering to be “human prey” for hunters for the bargain price of $10,000.  For an additional $2,000, he will let people hunt him down while he is running around naked.

#2 The Huffington Post is reporting that there has been an epidemic of air conditioning thefts all over the United States….
Across the country, in states like Illinois, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Florida, there have been reports of thieves stealing unsecured air conditioning units weighing as much as 125 pounds.
#3 In Corpus Christi, Texas thieves have actually been breaking into funeral homes in order to steal the embalming fluid.

#4 Even police officers are committing desperate acts these days.  Just check out what one police officer in Chicago is charged with doing….
A Chicago Police officer stole $50,000 from his ailing elderly father to pay off his bills and gambling debts and unsuccessfully attempted to swipe his dad’s retirement savings by impersonating him
#5 Nothing is off limits to thieves these days.  Criminals recently broke into a southwest Atlanta beauty supply store and took off with $30,000 in hair extensions.

#6 In another area of Atlanta, thieves have been breaking down walls and busting bathroom fixtures with 
sledgehammers in order to get their hands on copper, brass and steel….
Kids in two Atlanta communities won’t have their neighborhood pools to help beat the summer heat, at least for now. Thieves used what is believed to be sledge hammers to bust walls and break fixtures in bathrooms at Adams and South Bend parks to steal copper, brass and steel.
#7 One grandmother in Florida has been accused of trying to sell her newborn grandson for $75,000.

#8 In Antioch, California a total of approximately 300 power poles were recently knocked down by thieves and stripped of their copper wiring.

#9 In Minnesota recently, a mob of teen girls brutally pummeled a mother and her two daughters until they were black and blue.  Apparently the mob of teen girls was enraged over a pair of missing sunglasses.

#10 In Asheville, North Carolina thieves recently took off with 4 metal tables and 16 metal chairs that were sitting outside a pizzeria.

#11 In Florida, thieves have actually been stealing storm drain covers.

#12 In Oregon, thieves recently broke into a Salvation Army community center and stole 3 large air conditioning units.  Now all the people that come to that facility for help and for community programs this summer will be absolutely sweltering.

#13 In the Cleveland area, two young boys that had set up a lemonade standwere robbed in broad daylight.  The crooks got away with approximately 12 dollars.

#14 In Oklahoma, thieves recently broke into a church and stole “arts and crafts supplies meant to help teach bible stories to children“.

#15 A 59 year old man from North Carolina named Richard James Verone was so desperate for money that he actually robbed a bank and got caught on purpose so that he could be put in prison and be given free health care.
One day Verone walked into an RBC Bank in North Carolina, handed a clerk a note demanding exactly one dollar and sat down and waited for the police to arrive and arrest him.
Verone has a growth on his chest and two ruptured disks but he does not have any health insurance.  He is hoping that in prison he will get the medical treatment that he needs.

As society continues to unravel, prison is going to look like an appealing option for more and more people.
At least in prison you get fed, you have a roof over your head and they will take care of your medical needs.
For a whole lot of Americans, that would be a major step up.

Have you noticed that the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear?
America is becoming a cold, cruel place and lawlessness is everywhere.
For many more signs that our society is starting to crumble, please see these two articles….
*”18 Signs The Collapse Of Society Is Accelerating
*”12 More Signs That Society Is Collapsing

For ages, Americans have looked down on the crime and the depravity that goes on in other areas of the world.
Well, now America has all of the crime and depravity it can handle and it is going to get a lot worse as millions of formerly middle class Americans descend into poverty.

A regular commenter on my website who identifies himself as “El Pollo de Oro” recently described the kind of chaos that he believes is coming to the streets of America….
I live in Philadelphia, a city that used to have a ton of blue-collar manufacturing jobs as well as a great deal of white-collar employment, but the blue-collar manufacturing jobs have disappeared–and on the white-collar side, a college degree isn’t necessarily the ticket to prosperity it once was.

Philly has its share of nasty, dangerous ghetto areas as well as ritzy, upscale areas like Rittenhouse Square. But then, there are parts of Mexico City that look like Beverly Hills except that the signs are en espaƱol. A minority of Chilangos are filthy rich, which is what you expect in a Third World country: an uber-rich minority and a poor majority. And when The Banana Republic of America (formerly the USA) signed on for globalism and ignored Ross Perot’s warning, it opted to become a Third World country—which means that you can kiss the American middle class goodbye.

But there will be some growth industries in The Banana Republic of America: kidnapping, drug smuggling, murder for hire, carjacking, armed robbery. And if you want a taste of what life will be like in American cities in the future, just spend a few weeks in Guatemala City, Johannesburg or Caracas—all of which have the type of horrible crime rates that BRA cities can look forward to in the future.

Desperate people do desperate things, and hardcore desperation will be in the norm in the BRA. It won’t be fun (unless, of course, being robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight is one’s idea of a good time).

Welcome to life in a rotting, decaying Third World hellhole. Welcome to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Welcome to life in The Banana Republic of America, formerly the USA.
America is changing.  The safe, secure environment that we all used to take for granted is dying.  The number of truly desperate people rises by the day, and many of those desperate people are willing to do just about anything for money.

The United States used to have a thriving middle class, but our economic system has been so manipulated over the decades that now almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain.

25 years ago, the wealthiest 12 percent of all Americans controlled 33 percent of all the wealth.  Today, the wealthiest 1 percent of all Americans control 40 percent of all the wealth.

In the United States today, we are actually witnessing the death of the middle class.  Our jobs have been shipped overseas, the banks have enslaved us to debt, the government keeps finding more ways to tax us and the Federal Reserve keeps debasing our currency.

Everywhere you go, despair is in the air.  According to a brand new Reuters/Ipsos poll, 63 percent of Americans believe that the nation is on the wrong track.

Fortunately, many Americans are responding to these signs of trouble by preparing.
One local Oklahoma newspaper recently did an article that profiled a few of the growing number of Americans that are preparing for hard times….
Rod and Lauretta Smith estimate they could survive a year without going to the grocery store.
A large garden on their 5-acre property in south Tulsa produces hundreds of quarts of canned and frozen beans, tomatoes and other vegetables. Chickens provide eggs.

The Smiths are among a small but growing number of people stocking up on food to become more self-reliant in a time marked by natural disasters and economic uncertainty.
The truth is that all of us should try to become less dependent on the system.  The Democrats, the Republicans, the Federal Reserve and the big corporations are not there to help you.  They are not going to come riding to the rescue if you lose your job and your home.

We all need to do what we can to become more independent and to prepare ourselves and our families for the incredibly difficult economic times that are inevitably coming.  Those that have faith that their jobs will always be there or that the government will always take care of them will be deeply disappointed.

The system is dying and society is coming apart.
The only rational thing to do is to prepare for what is coming.

Chit Chat

I miss the 


How was your sleep?

How are you doing?

Busy at work?

Hope this e mail
finds you well

a cyber wave

a cyber 








shared moments




a shoulder to lean on

a shoulder offered 
in return

worry about you

I am well

and what sums it up best

I am thinking of you

coffee time


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Psychology: "Antidepressants: The Emperor's New Drugs? "

Psychology: "Antidepressants: The Emperor's New Drugs? "

"Antidepressants: The Emperor's New Drugs? "
by Dr. Irving Kirsch

"Antidepressants are supposed to be the magic bullet for curing depression. But are they? I used to think so. As a clinical psychologist, I used to refer depressed clients to psychiatric colleagues to have them prescribed. But over the past decade, researchers have uncovered mounting evidence that they are not. It seems that we have been misled. Depression is not a brain disease, and chemicals don't cure it.

My awareness that the chemical cure of depression is a myth began in 1998, when Guy Sapirstein and I set out to assess the placebo effect in the treatment of depression. Instead of doing a brand new study, we decided to pool the results of previous studies in which placebos had been used to treat depression and analyze them together. What we did is called a meta-analysis, and it is a common technique for making sense of the data when a large number of studies have been done to answer a particular question.

It is rare for a study to focus on the placebo effect- or on the effect of the simple passage of time, for that matter. So where were we to find our placebo data and no-treatment data? We found our placebo data in clinical studies of antidepressants. All told, we analyzed 38 published clinical trials involving more than 3,000 depressed patients. What we found came as a big surprise. It turned out that 75 percent of the antidepressant effect was also produced by placebos - sugar pills with no active ingredients that are used to control the effects of hope and expectation in clinical trials. In other words, most of the improvement seen in patients given antidepressants was a placebo effect. Worse yet, it seemed that even the small seeming drug effect might have really been a placebo effect. These studies were supposed to be double-blind. That means that neither the patients nor their doctors were supposed to know whether they had been given the real drug or a placebo. As it turned out, most of them were able to figure out which they were given, especially those who had been given the real drug. Antidepressants have side effects, and when a patient experiences these side effects, they know that they are in the drug group rather than the placebo group. That knowledge could be responsible for the small apparent advantage of drug over placebo.

As you might imagine, our study was very controversial. How could these drugs, which account for about 15 percent or all prescriptions in the US, be placebos? The antidepressants we studied had been approved by the FDA. If they were just placebos, why did the FDA approve them?

To answer these questions, my colleagues and I used the Freedom of Information Act to get the data that the drug companies had sent to the FDA in the process of getting their medications approved. What we found was even more shocking that what our 1998 study had shown. The difference between drug and placebo was even smaller in the data sent to the FDA than it was in the published literature. More than half of the clinical trials sponsored by the pharmaceutical companies showed no significant difference at all between drug and placebo. What they did find was differences in side effects, like nausea and sexual dysfunction, produced by antidepressants; and the FDA later determined that SSRIs, the most common type of antidepressants, actually increases the risk of suicide for children, adolescents and young adults.
In the 1990s, Director/ Producer Kevin P. Miller began producing documentaries about the great social issues of our time. Miller investigates collusion between pharmaceutical manufacturers and their regulatory watchdogs at the FDA, and also questions whether we have forced millions of children onto pharmaceutical drugs for commercial rather than scientific reasons. So why did the FDA approve these drugs? All they require is that there are two trials showing a statistical difference between drug and placebo. The drug company might have conducted 10 trials, and most have them might have failed to show positive results. Still, if there are two trials that have been successful, the antidepressant can be approved. And even in these two successful trials, it doesn't matter how large the drug effect is. It can be small enough to make no real difference in people's lives. It doesn't have to be clinically significant; it just has to be statistically significant.

Fortunately there are alternatives to treatment with dangerous but largely ineffective drugs. Psychotherapy works, and some types of therapy have been shown to be much more effective than antidepressants over the long run. Physical exercise also works, and at least for mildly depressed people, there are self-help books like David Burns's Feeling Good, that have been tested in clinical trials and found to be effective. So if you're feeling blue, you may not have to take pills to get better. Instead, talk to your doctor about safer and more effective alternative treatments."


Irving Kirsch is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hull in the UK and author of "The Emperor's New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth" (Basic Books, 2010). 
Related articles:
“'Manufacturing Depression': Are Doctors Overprescribing Antidepressants?”

“Many Get Antidepressants for No Psychiatric Reason “

“The Anti-depressants Epidemic: One in Three Women Take 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Florida Casual

The most liked aspect of living in south Florida is the year round warm weather that we enjoy. We do have the occasional cold snap in the winter months that send shivers down our spines but for the most part it is t-shirts and shorts for me on my off days and something I like to change into when I get home from work. Wearing shoes around the house is rare unless I am doing work outside or up on a ladder.

trying to be colorful for a change
as you can see ironing is optional

I am a very casual guy with my clothes. I don't ever wear a suit, heck I no longer own one. I am always on the lookout for something comfortable to wear. I was at the local Costco one day and happened to see some Speedo swimsuits for sale. No, not the little swimsuit but more of a walking short style. I bought a pair, tried them on and went back for more. That also had some t-shirts from Hathaway. T-shirts for me are always a problem as they all shrink when washed, even in cold water. I finally got lucky this time, colorful and long enough to still tuck in if needed.

They have pockets
come with a drawstring
I am ready for the pool
or a ride around the neighborhood

I am not a fashion guy and don't like to think to much when I get dressed. But just remember this, when you are shoveling snow or having a tough time walking on the icy sidewalks later on this year I will be contemplating a dip in the pool or a nap on the couch. Looking cool, very casual! haha

java time

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spur Of The Moment

It is very funny how things fall into place. Someone we knew and hadn't seen since we left Chicago in 1988 recently contacted us on Facebook, a few months back. We randomly kept in touch.
Suddenly they wrote that they were coming down for a few days starting Sunday. As luck would have it, I was off Sunday and we decided to meet them.

About as spontaneous as it gets. The catch was that it would have to be short and sweet because we had work the following day. The drive took 2 1/2 to 3 hours each way. We went out for some pizza and with the chit chat that followed you would have thought we had been doing this every week! We were there for about 6 hours, so by quick, I do mean quick. They were happy to see us and pleased that we made the effort. It does prove that nice people are always nice no matter how long it has been since you saw them.

Sometimes life can hand you a good surprise. How about that, a great weekend.
Thank you C and D for the great time.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tired Of Being Tired

I have been feeling out of sorts for so many weeks I am beginning to think that this is my new normal. Tired all day, tired at work, tired while sleeping, tired when I wake up. I went to the doctor recently for a check up. Many things weigh on ones mind when you get older and I had to ask some questions. I have many aches and pains that I try to work through each day.  New pains seem to keep popping up. Sigh.

Most things checked out fine but not everything, of course. Blood pressure was somewhat high along with my cholesterol too. I am receiving some shots as a result of a vitamin deficiency.  So that will be a work in progress and I am sure I will get things back in order over time.

Mentally, though, that is a different story. When I attempt to draw a face, the eyes come out great and then my concentration wanes and I feel exhausted, unable to continue. I had been bike riding, doing 12 miles a day, 60 to 80 miles a week and now nothing. It seems like road blocks pop up to slow down any attempt to build myself up. My home life has not been the best and that has added to my woes. Also lack of sleep, broken sleep, and any sentence with the word sleep in it has not been up to snuff.

This seems like a bit of wining on my part and it is. And maybe talking about it out in the open is the release that I need. We will see. Thanks for listening


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Pay Attention! Watch What You Eat!!

Nutrition: “Top 10 Scariest Food Additives”

“Top 10 Scariest Food Additives”
by David Zinczenko with Matt Goulding

“There was a time when "fruit flavored" and "cheese flavored" meant "made with real fruit" and "made with real cheese." Today? It's artificial everything. Most of the food at your local supermarket is no more authentic than Snooki's tan. Our fruit comes packaged in Loops, our cheese delivered via Whiz. Sure, it's edible, but there's no way your great grandparents would recognize this junk as food.

The problem with additives runs deep. The FDA currently maintains a list of ingredients called Everything Added to Food in the United States (EAFUS), which features more than 3,000 items and counting. Thankfully, most EAFUS ingredients are benign, but a few of them do have potentially harmful effects. Why they're legal is a mystery to us. Some of them might be backed by powerful lobby groups, while others probably survive simply because some guy at the FDA has too much paperwork on his desk and hasn't made time to adequately review the data. Below are 10 of the most dubious ingredients hiding in your food, compliments of Eat This, Not That! 2011. Even if you're not convinced of their danger, you have to admit this: The more filler ingredients you cut from your diet, the more space you have for wholesome, nutritious foods.

Scary Ingredient #1: Olestra: A fat substitute synthesized by Procter & Gamble. Because human digestive enzymes can't break down the big molecules, Olestra contributes 0 calories to your diet.Why it's scary: In the late '90s, Frito-Lay released Olestra-enhanced WOW chips and Procter and Gamble introduced Fat Free Pringles. Both products were required to carry warning labels to notify customers about the risk of "loose stools." Within 4 years, some 15,000 people had dialed in to a hotline set up specifically to handle adverse-reaction complaints. Apparently the complaints didn't move the FDA, because in 2003, the administration revoked the warning-label mandate. If you want to take your chances with diarrhea, go ahead, but first consider this: Olestra also appears to interfere with the body's ability to absorb some crucial nutrients like beta-carotene and lycopene. To counteract the effect, processers add some nutrients back, but it's unlikely that all the blocked nutrients are adequately replaced. Furthermore, just last week I tweeted that an animal study at Purdue University found that fake fats like Olestra may cause more weight gain than real fat.Where you'll find it: Lay's Light chips, Pringles Light chips.

Scary Ingredient #2: Caramel Coloring: An artificial pigment created by heating sugars. Frequently, this process includes ammonia.Why it's scary: Caramel coloring shows up in everything from soft drinks and sauces to breads and pastries. When made from straight sugar, it's relatively benign. But when produced with ammonia it puts off 2-methylimidazole and 4-methylimidazole, chemicals that have been linked to cancer in mice. The risk is strong enough that the California government, a bellwether for better food regulation, categorized 4-methylimidazole as "known to cause cancer" earlier this year. Unfortunately, companies aren't required to disclose whether their coloring is made with ammonia, so you'd be wise to avoid it as much as you can.Where you'll find it: Colas and other soft drinks, La Choy soy sauce, Stove Top stuffing mix.

Scary Ingredient #3: Saccharin: An artificial sweetener discovered by accident in the 1870s.Why it's scary: Studies have linked saccharin to bladder tumors in rats, and in 1977, the FDA required warning labels on all saccharin-containing foods. In 2000, the agency changed its stance and allowed saccharin to be sold without warning labels. But that doesn't make it entirely safe. A 2008 Purdue study found that replacing sugar with saccharin in rats' diets made them gain more weight, proving once again that you should be aware of these faux fat foes.Where you'll find it: Sweet 'N Low, TAB cola.

Scary Ingredient #4: Potassium Bromate: A compound that conditions flour and helps bread puff up during baking.Why it's scary: Potassium bromate causes thyroid and kidney tumors in rats, and it's banned from food use in many countries. In California, products containing potassium bromate are required to carry a cancer warning. Fortunately, negative publicity has made the additive relatively rare, but until the FDA banishes it, you should remain on the lookout.Where you'll find it: Johnny Rockets Hoagie Roll.

Scary Ingredient #5: Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT): Petroleum-derived antioxidants and preservatives.Why they're scary: The Department of Health and Human Services says BHA is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen," yet the FDA allows it to be used anyway. BHT is considered less dangerous, but in animal research, it too has resulted in cancer. Oddly, the chemicals aren't even always necessary; in most cases they can be replaced with vitamin E.Where you'll find it: Goya lard, Golden Grahams, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Orbit gum.

Scary Ingredient #6: Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil: A semi-solid fat created when food processors force hydrogen into unsaturated fatty acids.Why it's scary: Partially hydrogenated fats are the principle sources of trans fat in the American diet, and a Harvard study estimated that trans fat causes 70,000 heart attacks every year. The good news: Partially hydrogenated oils are beginning to slowly retreat from our food. Progressive jurisdictions like New York City are starting to restrict the allowable amounts in restaurants, and many chains are switching to healthier frying oil. Still, the battle isn't over. At Long John Silver's, for example, there are still 17 menu items with more than 2 grams of the stuff. According to the American Heart Association, that's about the maximum you should consume in a single day.Where you'll find it: McDonald's McChicken, Long John Silver's Broccoli Cheese Soup.

Scary Ingredient #7: Sulfites: Preservatives that maintain the color of food, and by releasing sulfur dioxide, prevent bacterial growth.Why it's scary: Humans have used sulfites to keep food fresh for thousands of years, but some people - especially asthma sufferers - experience breathing difficulties when exposed. In the 1980s, unregulated use resulted in at least a dozen deaths, prompting the FDA to slap warning labels on wine bottles and develop new guidelines for proper use. Now restaurants can no longer soak fresh ingredients in sulfites. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, there have been no known deaths since the new legislation took hold. The bottom line: If you're among the majority of people not sensitive to sulfites, consumption won't hurt you. If you're not sure, ask your doctor for a test.Where you'll find it: Wine, Sun-Maid Mixed Fruit, Jolly Ranchers, Fig Newtons.

Scary Ingredient #8: Azodicarbonamide: A synthetic yellow-orange dough conditioner.Why it's scary: This chemical is used most frequently in the production of industrial foam plastic, and although the FDA has approved its use for food in the States, the United Kingdom has labeled it a potential cause of asthma. In a review of 47 studies on azodicarbonamide, the World Health Organization concluded that it probably does trigger asthmatic symptoms. The WHO concluded, "exposure levels should be reduced as much as possible." I'll put it more concisely: Avoid it.Where you'll find it: Dunkin' Donuts bagels, McDonald's burger buns.

Scary Ingredient #9: Carrageenan: A thickener and emulsifier extracted from seaweed.Why it's scary: Seaweed is actually good for you, but carrageenan is a mere seaweed byproduct. Through animal studies, it has been linked to cancer, colon trouble, and ulcers. It isn't certain that carrageenan harms humans, but avoiding it is clearly the safer option. Most studies examined degraded forms of the additive, and research from the University of Iowa found that carrageenan could be degraded through the normal digestive process.Where you'll find it: Weight Watchers Giant Chocolate Fudge Ice Cream Bars, Skinny Cow Ice Cream Sandwiches, Creamsicles, Nature's Own Bread.

Scary Ingredient #10: Ammonium Sulfate: An inorganic salt that occurs naturally near active volcanoes and is used commercially to nourish yeast and help bread rise.Why it's scary: This nitrogen-rich compound is most often used as fertilizer, and also appears commonly in flame retardants. Thankfully, the ingredient only sounds scary - a 2006 Japanese rat study found the additive to be non-carcinogenic. Both the Center for Science in the Public Interest and the FDA deem it safe.Where you'll find it: Nature's Own bread, Subway rolls."

Related article: "Top 10 Food Additives to Avoid"


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