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Friday, October 29, 2010

Is Your Investment in Health Ready for Your Retirement?

Regardless of the amount of money you may have squirreled away for retirement your real comfort and security is going to come from your investment in your health - not from you money.

The reason for this is simple - a single health event - for example being diagnosed with a degenerative disease - will wipe out your savings one way or another.  Whether it occurs through having to pay for in-home care, special services or expensive medicines, or paying for nursing home care - your nest egg is doomed.

Couple this with the nonsensical side effects this has on your spouse, e.g., selling the family home or divorcing to meet various state financial requirements for nursing home or other care, and you have a real problem.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • Will you be able to even get into a reasonable, safe nursing home, one where there aren't continuous fines for violations and "elderly abuse"?  What will your spouse do?
  • Who will look after the plethora of care issues if you need, for example, a surgery?
  • How will you ensure that treatment options among doctors and across medications don't conflict?
I speak from experience on these matters.  I've watched the effect that retirement health had on my father who passed away from Alzheimer's a number of years ago.  I've watched the effect retirement health had on my mom, who is still alive.  I've watched what it does to my mom's neighbors in her "over 55" apartment.

I personally don't want to live in this way - regardless of whether I can afford to.

What way is that? You ask.

Trapped in an endless circle of uncoordinated and dangerous medical treatments for problems which are, by and large, avoidable or caused by medical treatments - particularly drugs.  Agonizing day in and out about whether to take "big pharma" medications that have "death" printed on the side effect sheet.  Being trundled into and out of various medication options willy-nilly.  Watching friends and relatives become addicted to pain killers.  Watching my neighbors be rolled off in ambulances on a daily basis - only to be literally lost because HIPPA does not allow anyone who's not on some list to even know where they are.

Watching Medicare and Medicaid literally become lifestyles - your life planned around doctor visits, medication problems, pain pills, and what treatment options I can and can not have.  What to do about things that are "not covered".  Waiting weeks to be seen by a doctor.  Watching the disparity of Medicaid and Medicare.  Listening to doctors who treat you as a problem because you are old instead of treating your medical problem.

No matter your actual monetary savings you might have these kinds of issues will dominate your retirement.

The only way around these problems, and they are significant, is to find ways to remain healthy as long as you can as you age.  To take charge of this mess.  To control it before it controls you.

Because, as I see it , once you end up in the hospital as an elderly patient your fate is sealed.  The the event horizon on a black hole you will pass over it and never be heard from or seen again.

And, what's even more interesting to me is that no one talks about this aspect of retirement...  The internet is virtually silent.

Oh, there's plenty of talk about which Prescription Coverage option to take.  How to get Supplemental Coverage, and all the rest.

Plenty of "rah, rah" AARP crap.  But nothing serious.  Nothing that address the root cause.

Like sheep to slaughter everyone accepts that this is their fate.

And, like the Emperor with No Clothes, no one is asking if accepting this fate is the right thing to do.

Well, I don't accept this.  Any of it.

I don't want the "nanny Gub'mnt" to take care of me.  The mere thought of it makes me ill.  Look at this article if you need proof - deciding whether Medicare should consider the cost of "tissues" (for crying I suppose) in the cost of psychiatric care.

The first step in solving any problem to to understand the problem and I think the first, and most egregious problem here, is the whole notion of modern retirement.

What is it? Where did it come from?

Personally both of my grandfathers worked factory jobs until retirement.  One in a metal/plating factory, one in an automotive factory.  Retirement to these guys meant no longer doing the daily grind and being able to sit home and enjoy baseball or auto racing.

This was the old 1930's retirement model.  With maybe some Social security and Medicare there to offer support (it was still new then).

Today we pine over this model, even idealize it, but it does not work or fit?  My grandfathers did not have the life span we have today.  Even then I do not think either was really happy sitting around "doing nothing" - which, at least for men, can translate into death very quickly.

A quick check of my mom's "over 55" apartment bears this out - there are very few men.  Most husbands are dead save a few who, to me, appear to either like some type of physical activity or have something to do - like take care of a spouse.

So what am I going to do?

Certainly not fall into the Medicare lifestyle. And I've already started with my plan.

So far:

I learned about proper nutrition and the impact it can have on my health.

I've started this blog to talk about me, what I learn, what I do, why I do it.

I've started talking to others about this topic - asking what will they do and why.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Death by Retirement

The other day I came upon an article in the WSJ about retiring.

From the article:

"Don't let the rally in the stock and bond markets fool you. Many Americans are still hurtling towards a retirement disaster. Few realize it. Even many of those running the big pension funds don't know.

That's the conclusion of John West and Rob Arnott at Research Affiliates, an investment management firm, in Newport Beach, Calif. In their latest report, "Hope Is Not A Strategy," they have some numbers to back it up.

"I worry a lot about people reaching their golden years and discovering, 'Oh, I should've saved more,' and 'Oh, I don't qualify for Social Security any more because it's means tested'," says Mr. Arnott, a widely respected market strategist. "We're headed for a retirement train wreck," he adds, "and it's going to get really ugly over the next 15 years."

Remember, there's something like a $55 trillion (with a "T") unfunded set of liabilities (a years worth of global GDP) - Social Security, Medicaid, etc. to be paid for.  My guess is that bill will be coming due during my retirement.
Its certain to be a financial train wreck... 

Do I have savings - sure.  But what will the landscape in retirement be for me in say, 15 or 20 years (I'm 53) factoring in the bigger financial picture?

The answer is it will A) not be like today, B) not offer much I am interested in, C) no amount of reasonable planning will protect me from societies great rush to failure. 

That's right - not offer much I am interested in.  There's a way to post comments over there.  I wrote this:

- Never retire and work at something that makes you happy.

- Accept that you will eventually die and don't waste time and money on keeping yourself alive in a state worse than death.

- Change your lifestyle to require less.

- Take better care of yourself by changing your life style.

Yes indeed.  Anyone who believes in all the statistics of the financial world must also see this statistic: retirement = death.  (Do your own research, start by Googling "retirement death").  Personally I think how long you live has a lot to do with how you perceive your "value" relative to the world.  If your life's value is your work and you stop working - surprise - you have nothing to live for.  Statistics bear this out.

The second big, and I mean really big problem, for the elderly is the disaster of modern medicine.  I have written here about this before.  This is going to get a lot worse and probably will never get better.  My rule of thumb is this, past about 60 if you go into a hospital for anything serious you will die or end up in a nursing home within a year.

Its bad enough doctors prescribe medicine willy-nilly based on what the big Pharma sales "skirt" tells them to do.  But once you're in the hospital your doomed - because - just like with heroin - you get "addicted" to the process.

How do you stay out?  By doing research and learning that 99% of modern medicine is about making money for someone else from your misfortune.  Pills prescribed for things you can fix by changing your behavior.  More pills to avert the side effects of the pill you don't need.  More pills to fix the side effects of those pills.  On and on until you die.  (See my previous post on "Does My Medication Really Work".)

And yes, you will die.  Get over it.  Everyone is going to die.  The only question is "Do I want to die in the hospital or nursing home hooked up tubes, tanks, pumps, and fluids?"  Do I want the "plug pulled"?  Do I want to be "Left to die by people I don't know?"  Modern society has created ridiculous expectations for living forever.  Try valuing your life on accomplishments and goodness instead - had kids and raised them right, had a good business and made money fairly with no regrets, treated the spouse right, learned to forgive...  Don't have much of this?  Its not too late to change.

Before I was born society handled the elderly much differently than today.  Grandma died in the back room taken care of by the family.  Today grandma is trundled off to the nursing home after a broken hip where she's abused by stupid, careless 30-somethings that hate their job.  If she complains out come the OC-80's until things are fine.

You can prevent this type of death - my wife is working on this - by properly training the family about what's important.  As important as any retirement account is the investment you make in keeping your family intact and educated on life - from end to end.  Teaching the value of having grandma around to help teach and direct the kiddies - both grandma's own kiddies as well as the grandchildren.

Modern feminism has destroyed this part of our lives.  Women dealt with this part of life until about 50-60 years ago when it was ceded to modern technology.  Re-assess where you are.  Go to a nursing home or hospital and see what's in store for you.

The modern educational system turns out, for the most part, modern idiots.  They are clueless about education, nutrition, and life. You want to have proper nutrition.
Most modern people are malnourished.  I write about this a lot.  You want to stay out of the hospital and nursing home?  Get your nutrition right.  Exercise and learn to keep moving.  Most elderly sit around all day - surprise - blood clots form, etc.  They eat crap and its killing them. Remain active and eat right.

The goal of the "end of life" game is to remain yourself as long as you can.  I don't want to live if I am not me anymore.  Modern medicine wants to take this from you so the doctor can get $22.00 US for an office visit to prescribe a drug you don't need and you can be an OC-80 zombie.

And what about stuff?  Do you need all that?  Is life a game where the person who dies with the most toys wins?  No.  I hate to say it but life as you age is not like that nonsense they show on the TV commercial - the perfect house, grandpa and grandma, fit and trim, sun shining, flying around the world to spoil grandkids.  Life intervenes and the last thing you want is a lot of stuff (cars, houses, crap) that you have to worry about and manage.  Its just a burden.  Am I advocating living in a box under the bridge - no.  But stuff = aggravation.  Greedy kiddies wanting it and the related stress.  You get the idea.

While all this may seem like the Borg - resistance is not futile.

Do your own research. Learn.  Grow.  Stop expecting nanny government to save you.

What's really ironic to me is that all the sixties hippy radical types that went on into public service, who promote universal health care, and all the rest are so dumb about what this system is doing to them

Technology is not the answer - particularly in medicine. 

Thinking for yourself is - using modern technology to make the right decisions is what needs to go on - not having some government flunky controlling your morphine drip.

For me - death will begin by enslavement to Medicare - so I want to stay as far away as I can.

I've lived a good life I can be proud of.  I certainly don't want to die but when I do I do.  Its certainly a lot less stressful than worrying every minute about my cholesterol level. 

I enjoy my life now because I am free.

Are you?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I stumbled onto this article in the NY Times about long hair the other day.

Its written by a woman in her 50's about her hair and the grief she takes for it.  This is funny because long hair, at least in the 60's and 70's, was all about the conformity of non-conformity.  Now society has come full circle and again thinks that "long hairs" - both men and women - should stay in their place.

She complains that society judges middle-aged women with long hair harshly - but she keeps it any way.

Personally I like long hair and long beards.   My wife has long hair.  I have both.

She's had long hair for most of her adult life (which includes virtually all of our 35 years together).  I've always loved her long hair.  I'm sure its a pain but, well, isn't everything of value a pain in one form or another - just like me I suppose.

Me, I came to long hair late game late in life...

My was hair was long in the late 70's when we lived in NYC - probably shoulder length.  But it got shortened by the pressures of getting a job and raising a family.

I did grow a mustache around 1977 and have had facial hair (mostly a beard) ever since except for exactly one day,

For many years my wife complained about my beard since I first had it.  She complained it scratches, it tickles, and so on.

So, one day somewhere in late 80's I got ticked off by all this complaining and decided on a whim to shave it all off - my beard - that is.  I came down from the shower all freshly shaved and said "What do you think?"

I saw in her face a look of shear horror.  She stammered "Don't ever do that again!"

That sealed the deal - since then I've had a beard.

About 1999 or so I started growing a long beard. I'm not sure why - probably because I'm a non-conformist (really?).

Now I look like Gandalf the Wizard from Lord of the Rings.

This movie was on the TV the other day when my 7 and 9 year old granddaughters were visiting - kids that age don't really watch something like that but it was on and we were all together.  Since I actually look a good bit like a younger Gandalf I told them "that's papa when he was older".  This caused them to pause and think for quite a while.  They looked at the screen and at me.  They wouldn't talk to me the rest of the night and regarded me with suspicions for a few weeks afterward.

When I play out at gigs young people are fascinated with my beard  - though this can result in problems.

For example, some younger females believe that its perfectly fine to come over and play with my beard - often directly in front of my wife.  Let's just say that does not make my wife happy - though so far she' has escaped any subsequent "charges pending".  (Though I understand the Loretta Lynn song "Fist City" a lot better than I used too...)

I love my wife and do my best to keep us both out of trouble.

I guess I am old because I always thought that a good way for a man to get smacked by a woman was to randomly start grabbing at her hair uninvited.  (I say "smacked" because that violence would mere prelude to my subsequent unspeakable demise at the hands of my better half.)

Younger males are mystified by it as well...

"Do you use conditioner on it?"  One asks.  Are you kidding?

"Did you dye that white stripe down the middle?" Sure...have you looked at the rest of me?

Probably the most common comment is "How long did it take to grow that?"

"Years" I usually reply.

Despite all this at least I am able to enjoy the silent camaraderie of others with long hair and beards.  Though we are few in number relative compared to the throngs of hairless wonders of the modern age.  We travel through society mostly unnoticed (think - when did you last see a guy with a long beard?) and, like semi's passing in the night, merely blink a momentary flash of recognition as we pass each other.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coming to a Grade School Near You...

April 16th, 2013.  Witching hour.

Keep this date in mind.  Its the day the first OxyContin patent (US #5,508,042) expires.

Why the concern?

Because there will be a flood of cheap generic OxyContin starting up soon after.

Think there is a drug problem today - wait until this medication goes off patent.

The pressure of law enforcement on kids and drinking has had a very insidious side effect.  Kids have long since figured out that hitting mom or grandma's medicine chest for over the counter pain killers is significantly less risky than a DUI. Plus unless you're a complete fool no one will test you for this if you're stopped while driving a car.

Ten years ago or more this was in your local high school...  You probably didn't even know it.

FYI - OxyContin is made by PurduePharma along with many of your other heavy duty pain killers like Dilaudid.  More than a billion (with "B") dollars of Oxy sold every year (starting in 2000).

Vikes and Perq's will be shoved off to the side by this new generic big boy...

But don't worry, our good friends at PurduePharma are hard at work denying that there is any addictive side effect.

As I have written about before this drug is also an addictive bane of the elderly.

Beware the witching hour...

Does My Medication Really Work?

I am always interested in how science and medicine are used for financial and/or intellectual leverage over folks who are neither scientific or intellectual.

If you're not scientifically minded then you really have to rely on what other people are telling you - about your health, about medicine, about the environment, about many things in the world that you don't direct understanding of.  So if you're at the "end of the tail", so to speak, you'll often hear those who present themselves as knowledgeable (and farther up the tail) quoting various scientific studies about a given subject.

Often these quotes directly reflect the belief system of those doing the quoting.  About climate, about medicine, about many things that affect your life.  Many people find this troubling, and lacking a scientific background, are more or less put in a position of helplessness.

For example, we all know that cholesterol is bad and will make us die from a heart attack unless we take medicine to control it.  But stop for a minute.  Where does this information come from?  Usually the television or ads in magazine and web sites.  We've all seen the ads for Crestor and Lipitor with happy, smiling doctors telling patients about all the of nasty side effects they cause.  The assumption is that these medications are so vital to our survival that "liver problems, even death" should be waived in favor of these miraculous cures.

So is this really the case?

Are these medications so important to our very survival that we must take them regardless of the dire consequences?

Well, the first question we must ask ourselves is do these medications actually work.  Let's forget for a moment about whether reducing cholesterol is actually a good thing and just focus on the medications.

From the perspective of logic it would seem that the entire premise of these ads and all the pressure doctors put patients under assumes that they in fact do work as advertised.  If the medications work, we can think about whether they are good for us to take.  If the medications don't work, then we need to reassess their value.

You say "But of course they work" and "there are many scientific studies that show they work."

I propose that this in fact may not be the case.  I came across this article today by Dr. Mark Hyman.  The article begins "A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found over 40 percent of the best designed, peer-reviewed scientific papers published in the world’s top medical journals misrepresented the actual findings of the research. The “spin doctors” writing the papers found a way to show treatments worked, when, in fact, they didn’t."

That's right - forty percent (40%) of the best studies misrepresent their results.  Not only did the studies misrepresented the data in the abstract or in the main text of the study, but it was discovered that in cases where studies had negative outcomes—in other words, the treatment studied DID NOT work—the scientists authoring the studies created a “spin” on the data that showed the treatments DID work. Here is their conclusion:

“In this representative sample of RCT’s (randomized controlled trials) published in 2006 with statistically non-significant primary outcomes, the reporting and interpretation of findings was frequently inconsistent with the results.”

In plain language, Dr. Hyman writes 40 percent of the studies we count on to make medical decisions are authored by scientists who act as “spin doctors” distorting medical research to suit personal needs or corporate economic interests.

He continues: Consider the example of the recent large and widely quoted JUPITER trial “proving” that Crestor (a statin or cholesterol-lowering drug) could prevent heart attacks in people with normal or low cholesterol. In this trial researchers twisted the data to suit the commercial sponsor of the study. An independent review of the JUPITER trial published in the Archives of Internal Medicine showed that it was deeply flawed and the actual data did NOT show any benefit for the prevention of heart disease.

If this were an isolated incident, we could overlook it. Unfortunately, it’s a consistent pattern.

The article goes on to discuss specific drugs and the results of their uses (specifically Avandia and an estimated 50,000 unnecessary deaths).  At the end it describes some ways to protect yourself.  I think they are incomplete so I have taken Dr. Hyman's list and augmented it:

  1. Follow the money: Be a detective and look up the articles mentioned in the news. Find the study, see who wrote it, and determine what financial conflicts of interest they have. Also check who funded the research.  Fortunately with the internet this is not as hard as it looks.  Start out by simply typing the name of the drug into Google.
  2. Do your homework: Be suspicious of media reports of scientific findings. Be even more suspicious of advertising.  Does it sound too good to be true?  Do the finding miraculously exactly match what is being sold?
  3. Does it pass the “sniff test”: Is the treatment suggested just a “me-too” drug that has not been proven to be any better than existing treatments? Does it make sense to you or does something smell rotten? Trust your intuition.
  4. Can you accomplish the same results by changing your behavior: For example, getting more exercise, abstaining from problematic behavior that makes the problem worse, improving your nutrition.
  5. Don't go to the doctor without your homework:  The doctor is bombarded with marketing and "skirts" pushing drugs from big Pharma.   Many times he has not does his homework and merely prescribes what makes sense based on what he's told.  Be prepared to argue.
  6. Don't expect instantaneous results: Health problems take time to develop, e.g., obesity.  Expect to invest at least as much time in getting them fixed.  Be wary of "instant cures".

Monday, October 25, 2010

The New Husband Store Just Opened...

A brand new store has just opened in New York City that sells Husbands. When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance:

You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are 6 floors and the value of the products increase as you ascend the flights. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down except to exit the building.

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband.
The 1st floor sign on the door reads:
Floor 1: These men have jobs.
The 2nd floor sign reads:
Floor 2: These men have Jobs and Love Kids.
The 3rd floor sign reads:
Floor 3: These men have Jobs, Love Kids and are extremely good looking.
"Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going.
She goes to the 4th floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4: These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and help with Housework.
"Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it!"
Still, she goes to the 5th floor and sign reads:
Floor 5: These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, help with Housework and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the 6th floor and the sign reads:
Floor 6: You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor.
There are no men on this floor.
This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please.
Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.

To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner opens a New Wives store just across the street.
The 1st first floor has wives that love sex.
The 2nd floor has wives that love sex and have money.
The 3rd,4th, 5th and 6th floors have never been visited.

Death by Hand Sanitizer...

Killing bacteria on your hands is good, right?  After all, that's what our mom's told us when we were growing up: "Wash your hands before you eat!" was right up their with "You'll put you eye out...".

Unfortunately, modern marketing has taken this notion to a very dangerous extreme: antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizer.

Dangerous you say?  But after I pet Fluffy my hands are full of nasty dog bacteria, aren't they?


But the methods you may be using to get rid of Fluffy's germs might be killing you.  And, the likelihood of infection from other, more dangerous bacteria like MRSA, may be increased by hand sanitizer.

First let's start first with how the immune system works.  Everyone's heard about T-Cells, anti-bodies and the sorts of things that happen inside you body as part of your immune system.  But that's not what's important here because this system comes into play after there's a problem.

Here we're going to start with your first line of defense:  the Mucosal Immune Response (MI).

First of all, what is this?  From this link: "The mucous membrane lines the passages and cavities communicating with the air and outside environment, consisting of a surface layer of epithelium, a basement membrane and an underlying layer of connective tissue (lamina propria). It extends from the nose to the rectum lining the hollow organs and cavities of the body."

When you put something in your mouth, inhale germs that someone has coughed or sneezed out, or swallow something the MI is your bodies first line of defense.  Picture your mucosa as a silk stocking imbedded with white blood cells and immuno-globulins. These defenders will label, attack and remove any perceived pathogen, as a toxin, bacteria, fungus, virus or undigested food proteins, that enters your system and tries to get through the lining into the blood.

Mucous membranes are usually colonized with friendly bacteria, e.g., lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidis that discourage colonization of pathogens. When these protectors are killed by immunosuppressive drugs such as antibiotics, and certain foods, (e.g., white sugar and foods made with it) stress, chlorine, food preservatives, chemicals, environmental toxins, etc., then pathogens like Candida albicans can attach to the membrane and overgrowths occur, called Candidiasis or yeast infections.

So what you do with your hand sanitizer and Fluffy's germs first touches your body via the MI.

Now, let's look into what's going on with hand sanitizer.  (This also applies to various hand soaps and other products that people use.)  Hand sanitizers, soaps, kitchen and bathroom sprays can contain any number of ingredients to kill "germs".  Among them triclosan, alcohol, sodium hypochlorite, sodium hydroxide, and benzalkonium chloride (this list is basically related to hand sanitizers but these chemicals, triclosan in particular, can be found in other products.)

First, alcohol.  There are two kinds: Ethanol and Isopropyl.  Ethanol is the kind you drink and is also called ethyl alcohol.  It kills germs.  Ethanol evaporates within seconds of application to the skin.  However, health care workers have been warned not to put alcoholics in the same room as hand sanitizers. There have been verified reports of prison inmates getting drunk on hand sanitizers and of children licking hand sanitizers off their hands and getting drunk.

While most of the alcohol in hand sanitizers evaporates within seconds of being rubbed on the hands, some is absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream. Research with adults showed measurable amounts of alcohol in the bloodstream after using a large amount of hand sanitizers, but not enough to cause intoxication. The same research has not done been done with children.

The other route of alcohol absorption is through inhalation of the vapors.

Isopropyl alcohol, also called rubbing alcohol, is a petrochemical that can be absorbed through the skin and through inhalation of vapors. It is a known neurotoxin, meaning toxic to the nervous system. It also dries the skin out. Some research shows toxicity even in low doses when used around the eyes and lips. Rubbing alcohol was once used to rub down children with a fever. The practice was discontinued after some infants died or went into a coma from repeated rubdowns. The Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) toxicity rating of isopropyl alcohol is a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being most toxic.

So what are the issues here.  First off alcohol is not terribly effective on bacteria.  It will kill gram-negative types more effectively than gram-positive types.  Alcohol dissolves the outer layer of the cell wall for gram-negative types.

The good news is that many bad bacteria, like MRSA, are gram-positive and alcohol will kill them.

The very bad news is that alcohol dries out your skin causing cracks.  Cracks into which bad bacterina and MRSA can enter your body directly.

Next - triclosan.  This FDA approved chemical has its own set of problems.  The main one in my view is that it combines with chemicals in water to create substances like dioxin and chloroform.  Dioxin is a highly toxic poison.

Chloroform can damage your bodies MI and let in things through your mucus lining.

Personally after reviewing even the Wikipedia listing (see above) I think this is bad news all around.

The remaining chemicals fall into two categories: one for surfaces and one for hands.

Benzalkonium chloride, or ADBAC, while able to kill bacteria, also results in an increase of bacterial resistance.  So, killing 99.9% of the bad bacteria can make the remaining .1% more virulent and dangerous.  Personally I would not put this on my body.  It can also cause allergic problems, its toxic to other animals like fish and can cause problems with your MI.

The remaining chemicals are not part of hand sanitizers.  Bleach kills lots of things, like MRSA, but its damaging to your skin and contains chlorine which can damage your MI.  Sodium hydroxide, or lye, is an ingredient in lye-based soaps.  Its effective at killing MRSA as well.

For me the bottom line on hand sanitizer is that its not something to use.

In addition, proper nutrition and keeping your body in good condition, i.e., avoiding antibiotics that can impact the MI is a good thing.  Having the proper concentration of stomach acid is also important as it relates to bacteria on food.  Many drugs can reduce the effectiveness of stomach acid.

Also, if you have a cut or other penetration of your skin - treat it with Iodine (Logol's or the betadyne type) - don't use hand sanitizers.

As for Fluffy - man and dog have been evolutionary companions for tens of thousands of years - if Fluffy's "germs" were going to kill you they'd have done it already.  Don't get me wrong, there's a long list and some of them are nasty, but they're not the type of thing your going to normally run across unless you live in the wild.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breath on My Shoulder

This video was recorded yesterday.

It's the first live performance of "Breath on my Shoulder."

I talked about some of the technical issues when writing this song way back in August, 2010 in the post "A Little Off Topic..."

Bill "Scotty" Grill - Acoustic Guitar/Vocals
Jimmy Mac - Guitar
Carl O - Bass
Tim Orban - Percussion
Todd Kueny - EWI 4000/Sax

Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Meals: Just Say No

For many years people have known that hamburgers from McDonald's don't decompose.

That's right - no matter how long you keep them they don't rot.  They don't decompose.  The bun's don't mold.

There's even a video...

You might guess it because of all the chemicals they use, but you'd be only partially right.

The key ingredient is sodium - that's right - good old table salt - so much so that the meat qualifies a "preserved".

In fact these burgers (and buns) are so well preserved "No normal animal will perceive a McDonald's hamburger bun as food, and as it turns out, neither will bacteria or fungi. To their senses, it's just not edible stuff. That's why these bionic burger buns just won't decompose."

As for the bun's - well, just check out the ingredients: Enriched flour (bleached wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid, enzymes), water, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, yeast, soybean oil and/or partially hydrogenated soybean oil, contains 2% or less of the following: salt, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, wheat gluten, ammonium sulfate, ammonium chloride, dough conditioners (sodium stearoyl lactylate, datem, ascorbic acid, azodicarbonamide, mono- and diglycerides, ethoxylated monoglycerides, monocalcium phosphate, enzymes, guar gum, calcium peroxide, soy flour), calcium propionate and sodium propionate (preservatives), soy lecithin.

Great stuff, huh? You gotta especially love the HFCS (diabetes, anyone?), partially-hydrogenated soybean oil (anybody want heart disease?) and the long list of chemicals such as ammonium sulfate and sodium proprionate.

The author of the link concludes that these things don't rot because they are in fact not even food.

So next time little Suzy or Johnny wants "McDonald's" Just Say No...

Fear of Shingles

My mom lives alone in an "over 55" apartment.  A big topic of conversation there this year has been related to shingles (no, not the kind on the roof).

Periodically one of neighbors or friends will suffer from a break out.  Most, being elderly, suffer significantly from it.  Recently a close friend of hers had shingles - she's in her 90's.   Unfortunately she ended up in the hospital for a brief time.

Apparently this took a significant toll on her friend - to the point where she was never quite the same.  "Never quite the same" is a code word for "have to go to the nursing home" or "have to go to assisted living".

This is a big fear where my mother lives.   One day the ambulance pulls up, wheels someone out, and they never come back.  Its frightening and depressing.

Shingles, herpes zoster, can do this to someone over night.  Her and her friends fear it.

So, when the local pharmacy and newspapers pop up with "get your shingles vaccine" there is cause for concern.

Concern you ask?  Why?  Doesn't the vaccine cure shingles?

No, it does not.  In fact, I think it may trigger it.  The vaccines themselves also make my mother worried.  The usual sites like WebMD are all "rah rah" for vaccines and traditional treatments - which is always suspicious in and of itself - even to her.

So I did some research and found this link:

"If you had chicken pox as a child, then you're at risk of developing a case of shingles. Long after the chicken pox is gone, the virus that caused it (varicella zoster virus, VZV) lies dormant in nerve roots. VZV may rest quietly there for all your days. But for certain people whose immune systems are compromised by immunity-suppressing drugs or stressful events, VZV may suddenly come roaring back as a case of shingles.

Obviously, no one wants that. So: To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? When I put this question to HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., he said that although he doesn't know exactly what the vaccine contains, he wouldn't take it for a king's ransom. Why? Dr. Spreen: "Because ALL vaccinations are suspect until they've been monitored for decades (for long-term dangers), and this vaccine obviously could not fall in that category"

Needless to say everyone in her apartment complex is constantly bombarded with the "get the shingles vaccine" chorus from doctors, friends, and family.  But, as you can see from the above quote, perhaps this is not such a good idea.

My mom doesn't like to take new medications for a variety of reasons.  So the idea of this vaccine does not appeal to her.  Nor does the long list of potentially nasty side effects that is provided with it.  Being the oldest child I am often asked "what should I do".

I don't have all the answers but I certainly can research these types of problems.  In this case I discovered the above link and the notion that shingles can be held in check by Vitamin B-12.

The article goes on:

"I had shingles once...and badly: Zoster ophthalmicus affects the eyes and can even cost you your vision. I was working on a ship (enclosed, recirculated air environment), and had had some poor dental work in port. From that I got the flu, had to stay up late treating patients, and that led to shingles. I was one miserable guy, but I had the nurse give me B- 12 shots everyday for 3 days and that was the end of it (though my vision was foggy for a week before clearing)."

Bumping the ratio

When I asked Dr. Spreen about preventing shingles with vitamin B-12, he suggested that 500 mcg per day would probably be a good insurance policy because B-12 protects the nerves. Supplementing with lysine (anessential amino acid) is a little more complicated.

Dr. Spreen: "With lysine you have to be more careful, as you're playing with something called the lysine/arginine ratio. Lysine competes with arginine in the body, and arginine is a stimulant of growth hormone, so you don't want to drive that down unless you have a real reason. And an arginine supplement isn't a solution because you're trying to alter the ratio to make it less favorable to the virus.

"That said, if you GET shingles, then 3 grams (3,000 mg) of lysine daily can do a lot (a LOT) to shorten the duration and lessen the pain/itch right off). Given that a person has developed shingles (or, rather, gets them fairly often), at that point I'd go on 500 mg of lysine daily (between meals) as insurance after kicking the previous outbreak. But I wouldn't take lysine just because I had chicken pox as a kid."

In supplement form, high doses of lysine may raise cholesterol levels and increase the risk of gallstones, so lysine supplementation should be monitored by a nutritionally oriented physician. Dietary sources of lysine include meat, fish, dairy products, legumes and brewer's yeast."

After reading this you get the idea that perhaps the cause of a case of shingles might be nutritionally related.  Then there is this final note in the article:

"The main reason I would not get the shingles vaccine is that it is manufactured by Merck. I do not trust most pharmaceutical companies, anyway, but Merck tops the list, especially after they got in trouble for making up research studies and articles and then paying respected scientists to put their names on them.

Here are the ingredients of the shingles vaccine (as put forth by Merck):

ZOSTAVAX is a lyophilized preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV). ZOSTAVAX, when reconstituted as directed, is a suspension for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.65-mL dose contains a minimum of 19,400 PFU (plaque-forming units) of Oka/Merck strain of VZV when reconstituted and stored at room temperature for up to 30 minutes.

Each dose contains 31.16 mg of sucrose, 15.58 mg of hydrolyzed porcine gelatin, 3.99 mg of sodium chloride, 0.62 mg of monosodium L-glutamate, 0.57 mg of sodium phosphate dibasic, 0.10 mg of potassium phosphate monobasic, 0.10 mg of potassium chloride; residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace quantities of neomycin and bovine calf serum. The product contains no preservatives. (Source)

Just out of curiosity, is there a reason why this vaccine contains a flavor enhancer (monosodium glutamate, MSG)? Is it so the sucrose tastes better to the live herpes zoster virus?

Zostavax was licensed in 2006 by Merck, the same year Gardasil (Merck's HPV vaccine) was also licensed. Zostavax is recommended for people 60 and older, and it only protects half of those vaccinated. The attenuated virus (which means it's still alive, just "weakened") is 14 times as potent as the chickenpox vaccine. (Source)

Basically, if you have any health problems and your immune system is weak, this vaccine could cause a whole lot of harm."

The elderly are, for the most part, shoved off into medicare for this type of thing.  Everything is "by the book or the doctor doesn't get paid" - so there is little margin to make adjustments.  If you don't take the vaccine your doctor may choose not to keep you as a patient.  If you want a more holistic or natural approach medicaid probably does not cover it.  So you're left with towing the party line, as it were, or venturing off into the wilderness on your own.

Clearly no one wants shingles.  But do you want the potential side effects of the vaccine?  Vitamins, on the other hand, pose less risk.

Another concern I have is that most elderly people eat very poor diets.  Sure, there are vitamins, but vitamin absorption may be low.

At any rate I am suspicious of vaccines at this point - particularly when off-the-shelf vitamins may do as good a job.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ritual Surgery or Surgical Ritual?

You've got to hand it to medical science - its always moving forward - they've discovered the checklist!

From this link: 

"Which hip is being repaired? Is this the right anesthesia? Do we have all the right surgery tools?

Answering such basic questions from surgery checklists — and involving everyone as a team, even patients — saved lives in Veterans Affairs hospitals, according to one of the most rigorous studies of patient safety in the operating room.

Surgery deaths dropped 18 percent on average over three years in the 74 VA hospitals that used the strategy during the study. Surgery team members all created checklists and discussed them in briefings before, during and after surgery. "

What's not said here is that surgery teams without checklists killed more people with easily preventable mistakes than those with checklists.

Its astonishing that these articles don't outrage people.

What, you're a doctor, one of the most highly educated and trained professionals in the world, and you run your surgical practice without the benefit of a simple checklist?

After all, soccer mom has a checklist when little Johnny goes to camp.  You and I take one to the grocery store.  Why doesn't her surgeon have one?

Read a little further and you'll find this: 

"Teamwork problems are ubiquitous in health care but in operating rooms, they're so problematic because ORs are so hierarchical. They're full of ritual and for so many years it's been the surgeon (who) dictates," Pronovost said.

The VA's program began in 2003 and over time has been adopted at virtually all of its 130 surgery centers. Before sedation, patients identify themselves and the reason for their surgery, hear the checklists being read off, and can speak up if something doesn't sound right. The idea is to give everyone in the operating room an equal voice in helping ensure patient safety."

Ritual? Really?

You mean like this?

It's good to see that all that money we're spending on new health care laws has a good foundation in history.  

Imagine if we simply passed a health care law that required surgeons to use a checklist like the one described in the article.  Imagine a world the patient or a nurse know more about what's going on than the surgeon - like person who's being operated on (no - my left arm!).

I have experience with this.  Several years ago I broke my left wrist.  A trip to the ER left me with an appointment to see a specialist who had to do surgery.

After some consultation the surgeon and I agreed to have him put a metal bracket in and re-set the break.

The morning of the surgery sees me in the giant bullpen of "out patients for surgery" with many dozen of people where there.  Once I am called into the OR prep area I am installed in a bed and set up with IV's and other things.

I joke I need a red marker to write "NO" in big letters on my arm.

No one laughs.

Then someone says "don't do that! Don't write on your arm!"

Eventually the surgeon comes in.  He checks me over a bit and then takes my broken arm and writes mysteriously on it (doctor scrawl I suppose).

"What's that for?" I ask.

"So we operate on the right arm." he says.

"But my left arm is broken" I joke.

He didn't laugh either.

I've read up on this a bit - one day in the Borders - and its not just the VA hospital, either:

"Jauhar feels responsible when he botches the blood pressure check on a patient who later dies during an aortic dissection and when he misses the high blood sodium level of a man who then suffers irreversible brain damage."

Ah!  Medical science also has its own idea of responsibility as well. No doctor ever causes a problem - they merely misidentify or miss characterize one.

Read the part in the book where they handle failures.

I guess that's why they call it practicing medicine.

I'll have to keep all this in mind.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chips, Cookies, Cocaine & Heroin

Like big business and big government big food is out to kill you make you an addict.

That's right - a food addict.  Like any had drug certain types of food trigger biological responses in your brain that make your crave more - so, surprise - you'll buy more.  (They really don't want you to die from their products - then you wouldn't buy more.)

"There are specific biological mechanisms that drive addictive behavior. Nobody chooses to be a heroin addict, coke head, or drunk. Nobody chooses to be fat, either. The behaviors arise out of primitive neurochemical reward centers in the brain that override normal willpower and overwhelm our ordinary biological signals that control hunger..."

And here are some of the scientific findings (links to studies in the link above) confirming that food can, indeed, be addictive:

  • Sugar stimulates the brain's reward centers through the neurotransmitter dopamine, exactly like other addictive drugs.
  • Brain imagining (PET scans) shows that high-sugar and high-fat foods work just like heroin, opium, or morphine in the brain.
  • Brain imaging (PET scans) shows that obese people and drug addicts have lower numbers of dopamine receptors, making them more likely to crave things that boost dopamine.
  • Foods high in fat and sweets stimulate the release of the body's own opioids (chemicals like morphine) in the brain.
  • Drugs we use to block the brain's receptors for heroin and morphine (naltrexone) also reduce the consumption and preference for sweet, high-fat foods in both normal weight and obese binge eaters.
  • People (and rats) develop a tolerance to sugar -- they need more and more of the substance to satisfy themselves -- just like they do for drugs of abuse like alcohol or heroin.
  • Obese individuals continue to eat large amounts of unhealthy foods despite severe social and personal negative consequences, just like addicts or alcoholics.
  • Animals and humans experience "withdrawal" when suddenly cut off from sugar, just like addicts detoxifying from drugs.
  • Just like drugs, after an initial period of "enjoyment" of the food, the user no longer consumes them to get high but to feel normal.
Just like cigarettes, cocaine and heroin "industrial foods" are designed to make you an addict. 

Its simple - high-sugar and high-fat foods work just like heroin.  Heroin bonds to your bodies own opioid receptors.  Sugar and high-fat food trigger your body to release its own opioids which bond with the same receptors.  Hence the wrong diet makes you dependent on food to get that "heroin high" that gets you through the day.

The proof of this is drugs that block the brain's receptors for heroin or morphine also reduce the consumption and preference for sweet, high-fat foods in both normal weight and obese binge eaters.

Is this any different than cigarettes?  Nope...

Is this even new?  

Nope - see this web page for the history of other addictive consumer products.

In fact, Paregoric an opium derivative, was available it the state where I live without a prescription until 1970.  I know people who swear that their adulthood drug problems stem from the use of this by their parents to calm their childhood ills.

"Little Johnny's crying in his crib because his tooth hurts, I'll swab some paregoric on it..."

"Here little Suzy, have another cookie, it will make you feel better..."

In either case the seeds for addiction were planted very early in life.

But fear not, you can over come these issues.  

It takes some work and determination but you can do it.

Here's a list of 50 blogs related to beating food addiction.  Or you could ask my "old lady".  She's lost close to 50 pounds based on her own scientific researches over the last many months.

I think the crucial point is to break out of the consumer-based mentality.  You are what you eat and eating the latest food wonders pushed out by "big food" is not the way to go.

It's Midnight...

Its midnight.  Dark. Smokey.  A small, happy crowd of regulars clinging to the bar.

The benefit is winding down.  I showed up around 5:00 PM today in order to get things set up.

I didn't know the guy who died - though from his picture he looks familiar.  No matter, its a benefit.

What looks like his mom is sitting over by the jukebox - white hair, walker.  Probably a brother and a couple of kids or a niece and nephew. Standing off to the side - not part of the regular crowed.  Going through an old photo album.  The kind with a three-ring binder and clear plastic sheets covering the pictures.

They sit, looking at the pictures - commenting to each other.  Sometimes pulling back the plastic for a better look.

We've played for our share of tragedy over the years - more than a few benefits - gas explosions, accidents, childhood foolishness.

Its the life that's important - not the aftermath.

There's a pig roasting in the parking lot.  I buy a couple of wrist bands for food - not that I need to as I'm part of the entertainment - but it goes to the family and I have a job.  No one looks too sad so I guess it wasn't a surprise or it happened a while ago - but I'm not sure.

I've been to the ones where its a surprise - injuries or death - its never fun.

My friend is in the rehab right now - physical therapy - trying to get him back to where he was before his accident.  He'd been coming out to hear us every Tuesday without fail for years.

The doctors gave him up for dead.  He was in the hospital and showing no response.  One of the team of neurosurgeons told the family to "pull the plug" because there was no hope. Fortunately, the boss came in and said "not so fast..." Today he's in the rehab walking and talking on his own.  Nearly a victim of modern medical science.

I miss him.  He's one of the good fans.  I hope he's back soon.

Back to midnight.  The "old lady" is talking R.  R.'s drunk and having a good time.  The PA crapped out and we had to ride over and pick up a backup.  Two hours lost but probably not a problem.  The bikes will clear out before dark anyway - at least most of them - and probably early because we're not their entertaining them.

Maybe this will help forgo another accident.

"Maybe the guy died on his bike", my partner in crime says while we ride over to get the other PA.  "Here they are, drinking, riding their bikes to the memorial, riding home drunk, all without helmets."  He smiles "I swore that off years ago..."

Death by lack of helmet or death by modern medical science?

Which is worse?  Which is more Politically Correct?

The "old lady" and I, we're both dog tired.  There was a minor mishap at the farm today.  An empty car ended up in the ravine - no one was hurt - dumb, in fact, not just dumb but a new benchmark in dumb. Young people are always in too much of hurry to do things right - relying too much on mechanical things prone to failure.  The "old lady" had to baby sit until the tow trucks took care of the problem.

The "big black dodge" could have pulled it up and out.  In fact, it got all the way down there and had the chain on but the plastic bumper and crappy sheet metal frame would have been trashed or pulled completely off.

No insurance payout if you save yourself.  Keep that in mind.

There was another benefit a few weeks back.  Guy hated dialysis so he quit it cold turkey - just stopped doing it.  His old lady hung around like one of Ebenezer Scrooge's Christmas ghosts - talking about how his ghost was spooking the cat; very weird and creepy.

I leave early from the benefit.  The door is open and its cold.  The "old lady" complaining...

The dogs are waiting patiently even though we're late.  They're always happy we're home.

Where do you find so much to write about someone asks...  It finds me.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I love to see people doing business in new and creative ways.   This is clearly one of them.

I happened upon this one the other day: 1-800-Autopsy.  From the site:

"1-800-AUTOPSY bases our mission on commitment, respect and service to those that place their trust in us. 1-800-AUTOPSY is committed to never lose our focus and broaden society's perspective of death.

1-800-AUTOPSY, established in 1988, is a totally autonomous and mobile-based thanatology specialty company. Vidal Herrera of 1-800-AUTOPSY has cultivated a distinguished reputation of autopsy excellence within the funeral industry, hospital and research institutions, procurement tissue and organ foundations, private families and the legal community."

What's Your Colon Transit Time?

As educated as Americans are supposed to be, with a trillion dollars in school debt to show for it, its surprising how little most know about the most basic facts about their own bodies.

Let's take digestion as an example - something that, as it turns out - impacts all aspects of your life.

Well, you say, what could I know about my own digestive system?  Its all hidden away on the inside.

As it turns out, you can tell a quite a bit.


Let's be a bit scientific and see what we can infer about our digestion system.   To do this we need to start somewhere where there is something, er, concrete to look at... and that takes us to the end product of digestion.

So let's start there...

First of all, that tendency to take a look after you've done your business is completely natural - just watch the dog or cat.  Besides, what you leave behind (no pun intended) can tell you a lot about what's going on inside of you - which is what we are interested in.

From "What is Normal...?" - "Normal feces contains water, indigestible fiber, undigested food, sloughed off intestinal cells, living and dead bacteria, bile, and worn out red blood cells. A normal stool should be brown to light brown, formed but not hard or too soft, cylindrical but not flattened on any side, fairly bulky and full bodied but not compact, easy to pass, and it shouldn't have an extremely foul smell. Each bowel movement should be in one piece, about the size and shape of a banana being tapered at the end. Sometimes this will not be discernible if the feces breaks up in the toilet."

This is generally what is agreed by everyone (science, doctors, web sites) on as far as I can see.  Whether its a floater or sinker - well, that's apparently up for debate and you can do your own research. There are many signs of trouble in your digestive system, which the linked article points out, that can be discovered by a quick check each day.

But good bowel health is more than the end results, as it were.

According to the Royal Society of Medicine, ‘over 90% of all chronic diseases are due to an infection of the gastrointestinal tract’. 

That's right - 90% of all chronic disease - not just digestive disease - but all chronic disease.

The longer waste remains in your body the more likely you will suffer from chronic problems.  While comprehensive list of the problems can be found here problems include all the classic digestive diseases, circulatory problems, problems with eyes, skin, and muscles and joints, urinary and reproductive problems, and general mental health issues, e.g., depression, etc.

Imagine if all household waste (including waste of humans and animals) sat around in the house for a few days.  Compare that to taking it out once a day.  Big difference...

You may already have heard it said that ‘death begins in the bowel’ and this is indeed true.

And this is where we cross paths with "colon transit time".  This is the time that elapses between the time the food enters you mouth until it departs your body at the other end - normally 8 to 14 hours.  That's right kiddies - 8 to 14 yours - in by 9 PM, out by 8 AM, as it were.  A good rule of thumb is one bowel movement per meal per day.  (Again, let rover be your guide.)

Modern Americans have, on average, a colon transit time of 60 hours.  Medical science says anything less than 72 hours is okay.  But Americans suffer from digestive problems a lot - and its getting worse.  While there is always variation from person to person just make sure that you're not significantly contributing to your own poor health.

That 60 hour average transit time leaves 5 to 10 pounds of waste in your colon at any given time - just hanging around - spending an extra 50 hours in your intestines.  What it does to you?  Well, you can just imagine...

Here's a list of some of the poisons that can accumulate in your bowels if your transit time is low: Indol, skarol, phenol, cresol, indican, sulphurretted hydrogen, ammonia, histidine, urrobilin, methylmercaptan, tetramerhy-lendiamin, pentamethy lendiamine, putrescin, cadaverin, neurin, cholin, muscarine, butyric acid, bera-imidazzolethy-lamine, methylgandinine, ptomarropine, botulin, tyramine, agamatine, tryptophane, sepsin, idolethylamine, sulpherro-globine.

Like my post on sinus flushing says, compacting waste of any sort inside your body that should, in fact, be eliminated on a regular basis, is asking for trouble.

This is no different.

Fortunately you can boost your colon transit time relatively easily.  There are many sites devoted to this topic but to summarize:
  • Eat unrefined foods whenever possible.
  • Make approximately 50% of your diet raw food
  • Eat cultured foods regularly (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, borscht, sourdough grains)
  • Avoid sodas; drink less coffee and tea and more water
  • Exercise
There are lots of other treatments as well - but those are up to you and/or your doctor.

Healthy eating, as usual, seems to be the most bang for the buck.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Simply Remarkable...

Every once and a while its good to find someone so good at his craft that you literally feel humbled.

Henrik Sundholm


Deviant Art.


ICP = Insane Christian Posse?

I happened upon this by accident the other day.  Who knew?

This is some remarkable stuff

I have to hand it to these newspaper guys over in the UK.  They find the most interesting things out about our culture - which we somehow miss or never catch on to.

Insane Clown Posse - not the sort of thing, at least in my experience, you'd want your kid to listen too - but they do.  Sort of shock, horror rap.  I'd post a link to a video but even I have standards.  I had a kid that listened to this - but it was probably a decade ago now.  Fortunately for me they tend to outgrow it.

(In case you don't know ICP is made up of "Violent J" and "Shaggy 2 Dope" - a couple of white rappers from the Motor City area.  Violent J is Joseph Frank Bruce and Shaggy 2 Dope is Joseph Utsler.)

Teenagers like this because its a slap in the face for their parents and teachers.  The lyrics are horrific (PARENTAL ADVISORY):

I'm hating sluts
Shoot them in the face, step back and itch my nuts
Unless I'm in the sack
Cos I fuck so hard it'll break their back.

Nice, huh?

Except these guys came out of the closet, as it were, as evangelical christians.  There have been leaks to this effect for years and the interview above makes it pretty plain.

A recent song addresses a list of miracles:

Hot lava, snow, rain and fog,
Long neck giraffes, and pet cats and dogs
Fuckin' rainbows after it rains
There's enough miracles here to
blow your brains.
The song climaxes with them railing against the very concept of science:
Fuckin' magnets, how do they work?
And I don't wanna talk to a scientist

The author of the UK newspaper piece, Jon Ronson, finds some revealing things out from these guys related to their song about miracles and how their fans are taking their new religious revelations:

"Did you anticipate this kind of reaction?" I ask them.

"No," sighs Violent J. "I figured most people would say, 'Wow, I didn't know Insane Clown Posse could be deep like that.'

But instead it's, 'ICP said a giraffe is a miracle. Ha ha ha! What a bunch of idiots.'"

He pauses, then adds defiantly, "A giraffe is a fucking miracle. It has a dinosaur-like neck. It's yellow."

Yeah, technically an elephant is not a miracle. Technically. They've been here for hundreds of years…"

"Thousands," murmurs Shaggy.

"Have you ever stood next to an elephant, my friend?" asks Violent J.

"A fucking elephant is a miracle. If people can't see a fucking miracle in a fucking elephant, then life must suck for them, because an elephant is a fucking miracle. So is a giraffe."

Geniuses to be sure.

While I have to applaud there conversion to Christianity it would seem that the business of rapping still has a way to go as far as reflecting that.

N'uff Said

Friday, October 15, 2010

Obesity - A threat to national security...

One of the most popular posts to date for this blog has been about obesity.  That's right, about being over weight.

Now it would appear that obesity is threatening our national security.

As Pogo used to say "We have met the enemy and he is us."

Back in 1971 I entered high school.  I lived in the rural mid west at the time and high school was a 15 mile bus ride.  When I started there the graduating seniors were going to Vietnam via the draft.  Its probably hard to imagine for you kiddies reading this but this was real serious business in those days.

The commies where threatening our security - our freedom and way of life.

Now its our own laziness.

I recall sitting in study hall and lunch with seniors my first year of high school.  Though not much explicitly was said the potential trip to southeast Asia was always the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

In those days you were a man at 18.  A lot of guys lived on their own and went to high school where I lived.  I rode on the bus each day with girls who would get married when the graduated.  Some left early, which you could do in those days, to get married at 16.  They raised families.  They were grown up.

Families were large in those days, too.  You'd sit in church and see a family take up the entire pew - mom, dad, 8-10 brothers and sisters - usually from 18 or 19 down to infants in arms.

Mom worked in those days - at home.  Cleaning, feeding kids, canning, you name it.  She had no time for your kiddie bullshit either.  My buddy - see below - had married brothers - she was probably about 7 years old at the time.  Mom worked the garden and farm with dad.  My buddy was lucky - some of our peers sat in the truck all day while dad ran the plow because mom was too busy to watch them working around the house.

But back to obesity...

In those days no one to speak of was overweight.  I think there were many reasons for this.

One was that you didn't eat the crap you do now: sugary soda, candy bars, fatty chips of all sorts.  And you didn't eat it all day long either.  One of my pals in those early days (probably the mid 1960's) lived on a farm.  It was a two mile trip to her house on my bicycle so I didn't get there much.  I was a weenie.  She road over on her bike.

She used to come over with other kids after school - but she always left on time.  One day I asked why.  She said "If I'm home late I don't get dinner - its all gone."  I was astounded.  "What do you mean", I asked.  She said when dinner goes on the table its in big bowls.  If you're not there to grab a helping you don't get any.  Needless to say she always left on time.

There was no eating extra food in my house for the most part either.  Maybe you could have an afternoon snack after school but in general you ate only at meal times.

If I wanted soda or a candy bar it had to buy it myself - as part of my $1 allowance per week.  In those days a soda machine charged $.10 USD for soda and the same for a candy bar.  These machines weren't ubiquitous like they are now.

If I wanted a snack before dinner I got celery.

Another reason is that you didn't just sit around as a kid.

My other buddy lived about a mile away on another farm.  I used to ride my bike down there after school and work for his dad - I was probably 7 or 8.  We plowed fields, put corn in the corn crib, milked cows, whatever his dad needed us to do.  I got paid in change.  This guy could drive the tractor over to my house on the road - I was impressed - he was my age.

If I wasn't doing that we were busy outside basically year round - playing baseball or kick the can or ice skating.  (In those days it was your fault if the ice broke an you fell through.)

We were also taught that what you see advertised on TV was probably bad for you - especially junk food.  Today advertising has been lifted to fine art - but not then.  It was something to be suspicious of.  Why, if the product was sooo gooood did they need to push it on TV?  We were taught it was a commie conspiracy to take over the country. (Most of our dads had been in wars or the military.  WW II hung like a pal over us - Nazi's in particular.)

This wasn't just "out on the farm" either - my cousin lived "in town" - same deal as me - more to do, more trouble to get into, but you didn't sit around the house all day eating and doing nothing.

The only comparison I have to this experience is my own grandchildren.  They are now in the age range I am reminiscing about.  There lives are much different.

They don't go outside off of the property alone because its dangerous.  So no running, no bike riding, none of that.

They are glued to the television.  (Yes I know this is cliche but its still true.)  They come over and often as not there they sit with movies playing over and over.  The kids immobile.

They always need to have food while all this goes on.  Snacks and goodies - all sugar and fat.

This is not new and has been going on since I was probably in high school.  Kids I new that had younger brothers and sisters exhibited this same behavior - probably starting in the late 1960's.

My guess is that this more or less parallels the introduction of "color TV" and working mom.  With no one there to watch over things things went down the tubes.

Well, from where I set today I think the commies succeeded - just like we were told.

Our national security trashed by us and our own very own laziness - all for a tube Pringle's and can of Coke.

"We have met the enemy and he is us."

Antibiotics - A Scourge on Humanity

Antibiotics kill bacteria - right?  Everyone knows this.

Well, did you know that each of us has thousands of species of bacteria on and in our body - that's species - most not know until recently by their only by their DNA, if at all.  There are on the order of 10^14 (ten with fourteen zeros after it) bacteria in our bodies - yet our bodies are made up of only about 10^13 cells.

Some bacteria are so specialized that they can only live on our elbows.

But the bigger picture seems to be that we are not just human, but in fact human-bacteria hybrids.   What I mean by this is that, as humans, without bacteria in and on our bodies would could not live.  That's right - apply enough bleach and Lysol and you will die - not because these are potential poisons, but because they will kill off the bacteria in your body you need to live.

And what do antibiotics do to these bacteria - they kill them.

(That's right.  Think about it.  Penicillin doesn't have a little dictionary of healthy human bacteria it carries around to check if the bacteria that's about to die is necessary for your life.  It just kills all bacteria regardless.)

So let's think about this.  When little Johnny runs in the house with his nose running mommy wisks him off to the doctor to get a prescription of penicillin.  After all, little Johnny is sick, right?  (Never mind the cold is caused by a virus - which antibiotics don't affect.)  Perhaps so, but that prescription of penicillin may do a lot more harm to little Johnny than good.

In fact, a whole generation of children have been raised to adulthood this way.  In fact, not just humans, but most food animals as well.

Their gut or skin flora killed off by well meaning idiots without a clue as to the consequences. And there are many insidious digestive and other problems that people and vets do not associate with antibiotics that science is just beginning to recognize

I believe that there is a lot of evidence now (and more so to come as modern medicine and business wakes up from its "What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas" mentality about antibiotics) that will show that we have inflicted huge and unnecessary pain and suffering across the face of the planet.  (I can see the lawyers rubbing their hands together with excitement - this is way bigger than the Mesothelioma shake down - hell, everyone in the modern world has used antibiotics.)

Dr. John Pitt, on Penicillum in 1979 stated (from):

"It is very ironic that this humbled fungus, hailed as a benefactor of mankind, may by its very success prove to be a deciding factor in the decline of the present civilization"

Simply stated, antibiotics are dangerous mycotoxins, fungal metabolites, that kill bacteria, even the good bacteria that is present in our intestines and essential for good health. This upsets the delicate balance of the yeast to bacteria ratio in your digestive system, giving the yeast fungi the upper hand in creating a yeast infection. Without the good bacteria in your system to control yeast, it spreads and becomes a toxic fungal parasite known as candida.

Penicillin is a good example of a fungal by-product called a mycotoxin. It was discovered from a mold (mold is a fungus) experiment that Dr. Fleming was performing on a bacteria colony. He added some mold from bread to the colony and observed that the fungus killed all the bacteria; producing the substance he later named penicillin.

The number one cause of yeast infection was born in 1928 and is so over-prescribed today that yeast infection is a growing epidemic.

Before you reach for those handy antibiotics do a little research.

Do I really need antibiotics?

What will the antibiotics do to me?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Trojan Whores - A new twist on an old tail.

Over on Lone Wolf...  Sort of works on both blogs.

Sexual Devolution...

So I was down at the local U the other day working on some math stuff (and no, its not maths or university, its mathematics and the (or "a") university, unless you don't know how to spell).  It was a beautiful day - sun shining, temperature was around 65-70, light wind, fall colors - just stunning.

Now, in the olden days when I was at another U this always brought out the love birds - happy couples necking, holding hands walking to their classes, laying the sun or under a shade tree, that sort of thing.

So I arrived a few minutes early for my appointment so I had time to walk around and get something to eat.  As I was walking back to my meeting it struck me - there was not a single "couple" to be seen.  Not one.  Not anywhere.

On the drive back I had some time to reflect on this - how odd - beautiful weather always puts "love in the air" - or so I thought.

Apparently, a lot has changed in the intervening decades since I was in school...

For one thing, it looks like feminism has given the "male on the prowl" his dream as scientifically documented here. Some related posts here and here.

Full PDF here.

No strings attached love (as in "free" of obligation of any kind) (called NSAL) - well this is a new development - at least since the wild and free 1970's.

Or is it...

A quick read of the article reveals that while there is plenty of NSAL in the air on your local U campus, but "free", as is usually the case, turns out to be not so "free" after all.

(In case you are wondering, those that had sex, starting say around 17, without any casual intentions or with the "intent of a lasting relationship" do not suffer what I will describe below.  This is science - created at the same institutions which I describe - I am not making this up and no, its not fanatical right-wing religious Nazism.)

So the idea is that we can separate love and sex, and, having divided things up, freely go about one without the other.  Seems like a good idea, right?  Well, as the research documents, no, its not.

The first thing you see is that while the great "feminine mistake", er, mystique, didn't get the memo out to either gender about the "falling in love" part - as in how to not do it.  So, yes, we (as in "we the collective of kiddies" - not me personally) can all have free sex but, low and behold, and according to scientific research, secret expectations of love and relationships muck up the fun after the fact.  Usually this happens with depression - though there are other negative consequences as well.  One of them, in fact, is having more casual sex.

So, let me get this straight.  Casual sex (particularly in women according to the study) causes depression.   Depression causes more casual sex (as documented here) which in turn causes even more depression...  This would not appear to be a positive thing for those involved - or am I wrong?

As we all know in these modern times the big "D" depression = prescriptions happy pills.  So, following the maths as it were, we get casual sex = depression = happy pill prescriptions.

So, let's look at this.  (Try Googling "antidepressants sex").

Looks to me that happy pill perscriptions = unhappy/no sex.

This leaves us with our final equation: "casual sex = depression = happy pill presriptions = no sex/unhappy sex".

So what have we done to ourselves (me personally excluded as I have been with the same wife for going on 35 years) and our children?

(And no, I don't think women should be back in the kitchen without a vote or equal pay.  My wife thinks that feminism has robbed her of much (see, science backs you up) - particularly as it relates to our daughters - but, as they say, that's for another time.)

To my original comment on the "U".  Today's kids have been over-exposed.  They've lost the magic, as it were.  No need to hold hands or fall in love when a simple text "booty call" will reel in a casual partner.

Is this fair to them?  After all our generation created feminism in the first place.

Sadly it looks like this is robbing our sons and daughters of happy, fulfilled relationships and sex lives.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


From regarding the mortgage "robo-signing" scandal:

"In a joint statement, the officials said they would review evidence that legal documents were signed by mortgage company employees who "did not have personal knowledge of the facts asserted in the documents. They also said that many of those documents appear to have been signed without a notary public witnessing that signature - a violation of most state laws."

"What we have seen are not mere technicalities," said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. "This is about the private property rights of homeowners facing foreclosure and the integrity of our court system, which cannot enter judgments based on fraudulent evidence."

(Let's not confuse this with a different problem as outlined here.   This is the problem that liens associated with the mortgage were transferred improperly when rolled up into investments.  So "robo-signing", if done without proper ownership, will be a problem, and, if done right, won't be.  But this is a court issue - only the court can decide if the lien-holder who appears in a foreclosure has standing.  Basically its up to the foreclosee to handle this... they signed the mortgage - which is also really just a legal agreement.)

This is insane:  "did not have personal knowledge of the facts asserted in the documents".

Like there hasn't ever been a foreclosure before? Are all the past foreclosed mortgages invalid?  Oh please!

Does anyone reading here think that they ever had all the facts required on something like a loan document?

This will come back to bite everyone if it gets taken seriously. 

Its a court issue - let the banks show up and fail to prove standing - after one or two the'll get things figured out.  That's why there is law.

Anyone can make this same claim - for anything:

"Yes, your honor - I never understood that paragraph."

Poof - car loan gone!  Mortgage gone!  Business agreement gone!

Don't think some clever lawyer will figure this out...