Monthly Archives: January 2019

More letting go….

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My father is dying. I am trying to brace myself for that which is to come. The heartache is immeasurable.

He is a good man.

I spend all of my energy sending him love and light and kindness. I ask the nurses to hold the phone to his ear so I can tell him that I love him. I break into tears, then pull myself together, because I know that is what he would want. I work hard because I know that is what he would also want. He is a good man. I ask the nurses to please be kind to him.

I’ve been writing myself notes while he is still alive. Today’s says, “I spoke to Dad today. As I write this, my precious father lay dying. This is in my mind every minute.

He is still alive. I will keep this note forever. It was written while he was still alive. January 22, 2019″.

I am afraid. I don’t know what the world will be like without knowing he is there.

The heartache is immeasurable.

He is a good, good man. I love him.

Clemson Burgers

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I pulled this from a Facebook post that did not give accreditation. When I find out what the author’s name is, I will post it here.

The problem with Trump’s McDonald’s party isn’t that McDonald’s is uniquely cheap or unhealthy or unfit for consumption or whatever other classist, pseudo-elitist, crap some of you folks seem to think. The unhealthiness of American fast food is generally overstated by almost everyone, as is its alleged inedibility, and the fact that people on a budget can conveniently access hot, delicious meals for the price of 15 minutes of labor is a miracle of the modern world and there’s no goddamn reason for an American President to be ashamed Americans know how to make some good, cheap hamburgers. Only a people as fat and comfortable and safe as Americans could be confused otherwise. Sorry, Belgium, you may have invented the french fry, McDonald’s made it into crack. Anyway, stop fronting. Y’all just had three cruncheritos and a mexican pizza from the Bell. Shit is good sometimes.

And the problem isn’t that Trump is a billionaire or that this repast took place at the White House on all their high falutin’ china, that fast food is somehow too undignified. America loves that shit. Billionaires eat McDonald’s, too (ask Warren Buffet), and when the fuck did we become the kind of nation that’s offended by our leaders having a goddamn burger on some fancy, company’s coming over, china, anyway? This isn’t Europe, the White House isn’t Versailles, as much as that doofus and our Centaurian first lady would like to pretend it is. McDonald’s is just fine on them high-class plates. (And by the way, the White House isn’t a palace because we don’t have kings and queens, we have employees, and as Trump’s employer, if he wants to snort addie off the Resolute desk and then piss on that big carpet seal while no one’s around, that’s fine with me. He should have the same right to misuse, abuse, and degrade his place of work as any other American worker. If your shirt is so stuffed shit like that is going to bug you, move to the 19th century or a Jane Austen novel or something.)

The problem, as always, with everything, is Trump. Trump isn’t just a rich guy, or the president. His every move, every thought, revolve around presenting himself as his own, vulgar, demented, version of what a rich man is. This is a man who lives in a gold tower and, so desperate to inhabit his sad, cartoon version of wealth, literally shits in a gold toilet. He is hyper-conscious of status signifiers, even though the signifiers he chooses signify exactly the opposite of his intention for anyone with a semi-functional aesthetic sense, the most famous, desperate, social climbing asshole in a world full of them. He is, always, always, always trying to look wealthy, special, “classy”, and terrified of looking otherwise. That’s the whole point of being Trump.

So this compulsive would-be elitist invites a college football team to the White House, many of whom come from modest backgrounds, to be feted by the leader of their nation on what should be one of the proudest days of their lives, looking forward to some sumptuous, chef prepared, eight course White House meal, and this cheap prick, rather than giving them something to remember, tosses a bunch of the same shit they’ve been eating their entire lives at them as a cute little publicity stunt. One of the players actually commented that he thought it was a joke.

Trump could have served almost any other guest to the White House exactly that meal, any president could have, and it would’ve been fine. Imagine Obama, or Clinton, or Reagan, serving a bunch of McDonald’s to Queen Elizabeth or Vladimir Putin. People would have chuckled a bit, and it would’ve shown the leaders to be human, just like us, juice dripping down their chins, just like every other “politician and foreign dignitary eat hot dog” shot.

But Trump is way too stupid to understand the endearing, folksy irony of that. Trump is never going to serve that shit to his Saudi buddies, or his Russian handlers, or any other VIP. He feeds those people steak at Mara Lago (because steak is his idea of the way rich people eat, of course).

Trump didn’t feed those kids McDonald’s because he genuinely loves McDonald’s, that would probably be a little endearing. Of course he genuinely does love McDonald’s, but that’s not why he did it. What’s bugging us all is that this compulsive, status-obsessed wannabe fed those kids McDonald’s because he looked at a bunch of working and middle-class kids, of various ethnicities, none of whom are famous or powerful, and he thought “People like this eat hamburgers, they don’t need steak. McDonald’s will be fine for these people.”

Trump, tone deaf and socially repulsive as always, managed to ferret out precisely the wrong thing to do and do it. Out of the sociopath’s inability to empathize with another, his would-be elitist’s obsession with class signaling, and likely just pure stinginess, he fed exactly the wrong food to exactly the wrong people, the one group of White House guests who really should have been treated like VIP’s. People who would have enjoyed it and allowed us to enjoy it.

What amazes us, what infuriates, us about Trump, is that while revelling in his abject personal grossness and complete lack of taste or class or style, as well as his touted working-class preferences, he has somehow convinced himself that he is the wealthy, cultivated sophisticate every fucking Burger King eating one of us knows goddamn well he ain’t. Somehow, some-fucking-how, he manages to both revel in his supposedly working-class appetites and then look down on people who eat the same shit he does. It’s fucking Apeneck Sweeney convincing himself he’s Louie the 14th because every day he voids his three Whopper lunch into a gold shitter, putting his nose up at the rest of us for having a cheeseburger and, you know, having porcelain in our bathrooms, too fucking stupid to know how completely, utterly, transcendentally boorish and cheap and gauche and truly nasty every single fucking thing he does and says is, as well as every toilet he has plated.

But under all that, what bugs us, what really bugs us, what’s so infuriating about that photo, is that smug ass look on his face. Like he just did those kids the biggest favor in the fucking world. Yeah, kids, here you go – I eat steak (ketchup steak, but still steak) every night because I’m the fucking king shit on turd mountain, but you peasants will be overjoyed when you see that I’ve thrown these lovely hamberbers to you.” That look says it all – sure it’s your first time at the White House, the biggest day of your lives, but you’re still just peons. Behold the generosity of your leader and the bountiful table scraps he has laid before you, this day.

In those pictures, standing behind that table, that smug, shit-eating grin fuck, presenting his grand $3000 repast, is looking directly at us.That’s him telling us “yeah, I’m using the highest office in the land as nothing more than a grift to line my pockets, I’ve given all my friends and the actually wealthy people I want to suck up to all the favors I can as fast as administratively possible, but here you go, you jerks, serfs, fucking peons, eat the fuck up. I’ll be having prime rib, but you look more like the type to enjoy a couple bucks worth of cold ass McDonald’s.”

Like a five year old thinking he’s stealing candy when everyone sees exactly like he’s doing, this dumb fuck thinks he’s getting away something. He thinks he’s terribly clever and crafty for pulling the most blatant, obvious, half-assed political scam in the history of the republic, and to make matters worse, he thinks we’re a bunch of dumb assholes for falling for it. That’s what’s so fucking obnoxious about it. This knuckledragging imbecile manages to stumble ass-backwards into office on a wave of reactionary race-hatred and he fucking thinks he’s Machiavelli and PT Barnum rolled into one, pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes, when we all see exactly what the fuck he’s doing. It wasn’t brains or cleverness or tactics that got him elected, he was just the most evil, stupid asshole around at exactly the point that a bunch of people wanted exactly that sort of evil, stupid asshole.

That’s what’s really bugging us about those photos. He’s the shittiest, nastiest, most classless little punk fuck, a complete, daddy-gave-me-everything, failure, and everyone knows it, but there he is, the most powerful man in the world, telling us “I’m better than you, so I take what I want and you’ll like it, but here’s some good-ass fries on a silver platter. Tuck in, losers.”

Just like he tells us every fucking day, every time he opens his mouth.

Things Your Essential Oil Salesperson Won’t Tell You

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This is what your essential oil salesperson isn’t telling you.

I first started using essential oils in 1977, about the time my daughter was born. I had a natural childbirth and was advised by my midwife at the time, that using essential oils could help relax me. It did. This was also the year I became a full-time vegetarian, started practicing yoga and introduced exercise into my daily routine on a more profound level. All of these things changed my life for the better. I continued to use the oils and learned to love them. I also became better educated about their limitations.

Over the last 5-6 years, the essential oil industry has flourished like never before, although they have been around for centuries. Sadly, essential oils are being peddled primarily by a large demographic of individuals with little or no scientific background, and who do not understand the differences between anecdotal and empirical research. They believe they’re going to get rich by selling these oils. Some do. The majority don’t. That’s how pyramid marketing works.

It is not unusual to hear an essential oil salesperson say, “I just slip two drops of Frankincense under my tongue and I never suffer from (fill in the blank) again. Well, I DIDN’T slip those drops of oil under my tongue, and I don’t have that ailment either….and I didn’t ingest the oil because scientific research suggests that doing so is risky. I trust science.

A lot of things about using essential oils is risky.

I know of 8 different people among my friends that sell essential oils. Some are even-headed. Some are irrationally enthusiastic. Some are in between somewhere. Even after 42 years of experience, because I refuse to go along with the financially-motivated findings of some of the large oil distributors, some of my oil selling friends won’t acknowledge that I know a thing about them. I’m quiet, and I don’t push my opinions off on people, so they just assume that my silence is one of agreement. It isn’t.

I have a master of science degree in Psychology, and many years of education in the area of research and brain chemistry. I work for a major independent research firm and conduct research on a wide array of topics and issues. In other words, I am a paid professional researcher who knows a thing or two about conducting research. I understand what real research is, and I understand what real research isn’t. I also understand how to read scientific studies, and while I know that some do, I am willing to bet that the majority of people selling essential oils do not have this knowledge. It took years…decades, in fact, to acquire, and involved intense education and supervised study to get to the level of knowledge that I have about research and I feel that I can only scratch the surface.

I remember presenting to a salesperson, some empirical scientific evidence that talked about the dangers of ingesting essential oils. The research had been compiled scientifically and was derived from empirical, peer-reviewed studies. It was quoted in a new book that had just been published about essential oils. The article was posted on a discussion group, and, of course, a salesperson from one of the major oil selling outlets commented that the person who wrote the article was “just trying to sell books.” The article had been heavily substantiated and had a long list of verifiable evidence attached. There was no counter-evidence given, no real discussion about the validity of the research, nothing. It was simply dismissed. The argument was that because the article had appeared in a book that was for sale, that the author must have made it up because she wanted to sell books. I was astonished, especially given the impressive substantiation that was attached. The person that made the comment had zero scientific background. In fact, the only qualification she had was being a top-tier essential oil SALESPERSON.

According to SPINS, an upper level marketing research firm, in the past year alone, U.S. retail sales of essential oils rose from $55 million in 2015, by an astonishing 14% to $133 million! This does not include the tens of millions in sales from multilevel marketers who bypass retail shelves and sell directly to people via independent distributors. The indies are their own animal. There are two major ones, the second being an offshoot from the first.

Those distributors, (most of whom conduct their own research), and a higher demand for over-the-counter “natural” remedies free of the side effects that can come with prescription drugs, has fueled a surge of interest in essential oils among people, especially those who use either alternative or conventional medicine. The oils can easily be found at major department stores, such as Target or Walmart, despite the objections of the pyramid-scheme style distributors that warn against using any brands other than their own.

As the popular use of essential oils exploded, so did the concerns about the oils’ safety. The truth is that a rapidly increasing number of people are turning up in emergency rooms with chemical burns, gastrointestinal problems, allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and other side effects from using essential oils. This doesn’t mean they are dangerous to use across the board. They can be used safely by most people. However, certain precautions should be observed.


The two major distributors of essential oils are infamous for overstating the potential of the oils while downplaying their risks.

There is very little scientific research on essential oils that can be considered valid and reliable. One of the reasons for this is that salespeople who are inexperienced with scientific research do not realize that when a retail company conducts its own research, by definition, that research is not valid and reliable. The research must be conducted by an independent research firm with no monetary interest in the outcome!

Many of the marketing plans of the major oil sales organization come up with schemes for their unwitting sales staff. For instance, one of the major independent distributors falsely claims that the FDA gave them a renowned “CPTG” designation, when, in fact, the company in question INVENTED that label FDA has nothing to do with it. CPTG Quality Testing is what they call their research….which is not independent research at all. The FDA doesn’t even recognize CPTG testing. It’s just a marketing ploy that fools many of the oil salespeople into thinking that this one brand is the exclusive brand of the hour, when, in fact, there are other brands with lower prices and quality just as high.

Among the REAL studies pertaining to essential oils are some promising findings. One recent scientific study found that lavender oil can lower cortisol levels. Inhaling lemongrass aroma before a stressful event can, in some instances, prevent anxiety. Studies also show that tea tree and oregano oils can fight microbes, making them popular treatments for dandruff and toe fungus, but they should only be used for these purposes under the guidance of a trained medical professional.

Some of the claims by essential oil salespeople are false or misleading. For instance, feeling sick to one’s stomach and throwing up after surgery is a common problem. Science has explored the possibilities behind treating nausea with ginger, but if you’re too nauseous to eat, what do you do? Researchers decided to put aromatherapy to the test.

Various studies have explored the possibilities that just the smell of peppermint help with nausea. Scientists had women take deep whiffs of peppermint extract…the same kind you get at the grocery store, and it seemed to work. While none sniffing plain water with green food coloring—the placebo—or the control group who didn’t sniff anything, felt better, 80% of the mint sniffers felt better within just a few minutes.

The study, however, was very small, and it did not use pure peppermint essential oil. Peppermint extract actually consists of peppermint oil and alcohol, and one scientist thought, “Hmmm. Maybe it was the smell of the alcohol that made people feel less nauseated! In 1997, researchers reported a simple and inexpensive treatment for postop nausea…which was the smell of isopropyl alcohol! They discovered that they could just effectively tear one of those little alcohol swab packets open and wave it under a patient’s nose, and this would relieve nausea and vomiting in more than 80% post operative cases. It’s been since shown to work as well as a leading anti-nausea drug, and may even work faster, cutting nausea in half within 10 to 15 minutes, rather than 20 or 25.

So was it the alcohol, the peppermint, or both? Essential oil companies LOVE to boast about how peppermint oil helps with nausea…so another test was conducted. Patients were instructed to take three slow, deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth, smelling alcohol, peppermint, or nothing. The smell of peppermint cut nausea in half within 5 minutes, but then, so did the alcohol. However, so did smelling nothing. So maybe it had nothing to do with the scent; maybe it was just the instruction to take slow, deep breaths. That would make it a really cost-effective intervention. Maybe this discovery shouldn’t be so surprising, given the proximity of the vomiting and breathing centers within the brain, but the essential oil companies love to claim credit for it.

Controlled breathing was shown to be effective with or without any scent.

And this is the case with many, many essential oil claims. They are claims made by the manufacturers. They are claims made by the people that SELL essential oils….but they are not founded in science and, many times, the information is false. Thankfully, “double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials performed to evaluate the effect[s] of essential oils are gradually starting to appear in medical literature, but they are few and far between.

There are two bits of advice that I can leave with you, regarding this topic.

First, do NOT trust research conducted by the very company that is selling essential oils. They can make any claims they want to make. There are no laws yet governing these claims. They want you to drink their oils, because they sell oils. Period. And second…do not EVER ingest essential oils! Ingesting sage oil is associated with seizures in children. Ingesting oil of wintergreen can be deadly. Eucalyptus oil, when ingested, can cause seizures in adults or children. Camphor essential oil can be deadly when ingested. Essential oil of nutmeg can cause seizures, comas or death. The risks are simply too high.

I say use the oils. Use them sensibly. Use them for relaxation or for treating minor illnesses. Just don’t drink them, and don’t use the oils in place of advice from your doctor. There are safe ways to use them, and ways to use them in conjunction with any medical treatments your doctor prescribes. Be smart. Educate yourself with science and not with company-generated propaganda.

References:

Botma M, Colquhoun-Flannery W, Leighton S. Laryngeal oedema caused by accidental ingestion of oil of wintergreen. Int J Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. 2001; 58:229-232.

Halicioglu O, Astarcioglu G, Yaprak I, Aydinioglu H. Toxicity of Salvia officinalis in a newborn and a child: an alarming report. Pediatric Neurology. 2011; 45:259-260.

Khine H, Weiss D, Graber N, Hoffman RS, Esteban-Cruciani N, Avner JR. A cluster of children with seizures caused by camphor poisoning. Pediatrics. 2009; 123:1269-2097.

Kolassa N. Menthol differs from other terpenic essential oil constituents. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2013; 65:115-118.

Vigan M. Essential oils: renewal of interest and toxicity. Eur J Dermatol. 2010; 20:685-692.

Woolf A. Essential oil poisoning. Clinical Toxicology. 1999; 37:721-727.


N Engl J Med.
 2007 Feb 1;356(5):479-85.

Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils.

Henley DV1Lipson NKorach KSBloch CA.

Are you a racist?

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How to determine if you are a racist.


You say “I’m not a racist” at least twice a week.
You say, “I’m not a racist, but…”
You say, “I don’t hate black people (or Mexicans, or Muslims), but why do they have to…”

You give what YOU feel are “cute” racist names to ethnic groups…such as “Mu-slimes” or “Nigg*ers”.
You feel compelled to point out undesirable characteristics or behavior by groups of people according to their skin color, birthplace, income level, religion, et al
You find yourself explaining to people why you are not a racist.
You defend racists, not for their racism, but for their “good qualities.”
You call any place where people of color live a “shit hole” or similar derogatory term. (Add an additional strike if you rent to them).
You tell people, “I don’t know the proper term to call you.”You have a black friend, or co-worker or one goes to your church. (We all do. But we like our friends, we don’t parade them like trophies. Get over it. Only racists feel the need to point to them like badges of honor.)
It’s important to you that people think you’re not a racist.
You say, “you don’t hear me complaining about Asians.”

You consider anyone who doesn’t adhere to white people socialization to be beneath you, wrong or inappropriate.


Scoring:If you fit two or more descriptions, you’re probably a racist. Four, you are one. All ten and you’re the President. And if you don’t think he’s a racist, that’s hint 12.
If you don’t think the President’s racist, you definitely are.

Move!

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“It’s been a wild ride.

A lot of miles. A road sometimes smooth, sometimes hard and ugly.

And I guess I could tell you that if you look hard enough, that just next door is just as interesting as the other side of the world.

But … That’s not exactly true.

If I do have any advice for anybody, any final thought, if I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move.

As far as you can, as much as you can.

Across the ocean, or simply across the river.

The extent to which you can walk in somebody else’s shoes–or at least eat their food–it’s a plus for everybody.

Open your mind. Get up off the couch. Move.”

Anthony Bourdain

I met him upon two occasions. Once was at a restaurant in New York with a group of movers and shakers that I still hang with when we can all get together. The other time was through a friend of a friend. Both times, I found him charismatic and intelligent, funny, albeit self-centered. He worked hard, and loved what he did….but he was also full of piss and vinegar with a cynical slant on life. It really doesn’t matter who Anthony Bourdain was, in terms of the quote that I posted above. Those words are the words that I live by.

I try to move.

I am moving forward at this point in my life. At times, it all seems to be going by too quickly. I have been presented with some amazing opportunities and am taking this chance to cash in on them. I do so excitedly and with gratitude. Simply put…I have it made.

I take good care of my mind and of my body.

I move.

That is the key to life….movement. Don’t get stuck. Don’t get stale. Keep moving forward.