Sunday, June 29, 2008

Up Close and Perennial

If someone knows the name of this plant please post a comment.

For a very close look, click the image below to view its finer beauty.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Sampling of SPAM


chester nghi

charlesc you look really stupid
Lucrecia SevedgeMaking her want you bad

Candra Reppell
Love package of low price
Leonardo SiupingTry and life up to them, it seems that you will seem spent all seems for nothing
Haleigh GiridharEarn a University Degree based on your professional experience
update@update.firstbanks.comWarning : Your online banking account could be suspended
Shayna LuhnowI do not want to buy their shops unknown in the stores?
GingerDo not refuse plesure
hieronymus darrowI-t hapepne'd as predic ted
dory hoYou look really stupid here charlesc
AthenaMan's stuff store
godart ritShould have meds without any prescription in the Canadian Drug store
Sophie B.Hello! I am bored this afternoon. I am a nice girl
bobbie chin-wAwake the stud in yourself
Meghann BenischekI do not want to buy unknown them in stores?
forester han-gyooNever be ripped off by a doctor again
Damme Solidbarrettes honeybee
Had to read the content of the last one. And it just makes plain sense, if you interpret it any other way, then pleaze me know let. Here it is:

"Themselves are attempting to push into the british in other things, how grossly your majesty has curate of the church of borthwick, requiring him cried, you were seen, and that's why the man stopped there were lines under his eyes. As far as i can cried butzow. Maenck was the first to proclaim which splendidly illustrates the ultimate unit of lisbeth's, for her reliance, in her smallest."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Japan's Preventative Medicine and Social Ills

With an aging population of "over 60s" making up 21.5% of the nation, and more high fat Western restaurants like McDonalds popping up, Japan's health care costs are growing and it's taking steps to trim it. There are some things about Japan's health philosophy that are good, and other things that may be seen as warnings.

For years there have been many reports of Japanese work place employee exercise time. Often there is a group exercise at the very work site, like next to a desk. Now that is getting much more focused national attention and an already slim population, compared to us, are being encouraged to trim more.

Fitness programs at Japanese companies save on medical costs ... by preventing illnesses. And now they are getting strengthened with legislation that adds financial incentives for companies to have healthier workers.

Many corporations have lunchtime aerobics sessions and cafeterias with low-calorie food, are handing out free pedometers and taking other measures to fight the latest imported buzzword: "metaboh," short for "metabolic syndrome" - the cluster of symptoms linked with obesity, high cholesterol and blood sugar, large waistlines and risks of heart disease. (source: AP)

That's the good part of Japan's preventative medicine initiative, and they can offer some lessons to us in that way.

On the other hand, the most recent government supported employee health program would not go over very well here, certainly not very quickly.
The government initiative, which kicked in April 1, requires companies to have workers aged 40 to 74 take up the battle of the bulge by requiring waist measurements at health checkups ..

Those exceeding government limits — 33.5 inches for men and 35.4 inches for women, which are identical to thresholds established in 2005 for Japan by the International Diabetes Federation as an easy guideline for identifying health risks — and having a weight-related ailment will be given dieting guidance if after three months they do not lose weight. If necessary, those people will be steered toward further re-education after six more months. (source: NY Times)

The dieting guidance and nutrition education is definitely good, though it's hard to imagine an employer approaching you with a measuring tape to get your circumference. But it is an extension of the fit for work mentality in Japan.

While Japan has made itself an economic powerhouse with it's emphasis on work devotion, it is negative in other ways. Many workers' time are so consumed with the demands of work that eating quick, more fattening meals at the desk is common. In addition, those who are chubby, may get labelled a "metaboh", short for metabolic syndrone, and lose respect from co-workers.

Preventative medicine good, sensei, but workaholic corporate culture may be connected to more problems outside the work place as well.

Being a valued productive and contributing worker is so very important for the Japanese culture, but sadly, there is also a record high suicide rate among Japanese elderly. The rate jumped by 9% last year (over 33,000), with health and economic worries being the main reasons. This AP writer reported that economic and health problems were closely related.

In a report by the National Police Agency, depression alone was believed to cause nearly 20 percent of Japan's suicides last year. That is so very sad. Could there be that much time and concentration with work that there is a lesser and lesser amount of personal time spent with seniors? If so, then that is very lonely for them. People of all ages need to feel worthwhile, that's why we want to live.

Perhaps the time is right for international sharing of health ideas, and perhaps a definition of balance.

Monday, June 23, 2008

McCain Advisor sees "Good" in Terror Attack. What a Positive Attitude!

John McCain's senior adviser Charlie Black suggested that a terror attack before Election Day would help his candidate. Hey why not fake an attack - anything goes when you're looking for power, right. Hmm, no, sounds a bit like Wag the Dog.

It's good to know what goes through a senior advisor's head, so that any exaggerated threats can be analysed on the political radar screen by observers. But what a decent and totally ethical campaign deflection suggestion Mr. Black - if only more people would see the good that can come from monstrous and cowardly attacks on innocent people. By the way, up to the time of this post Mr. Positive still had his job.

Friday, June 20, 2008

City streets have two kinds of Holes - Pot, and Ass

You can navigate around the potholes once you know where they are hiding - slowing down to avoid wrecking your vehicle, and driving around it, but these days, it's getting harder to avoid the other types of holes - which pop up everywhere. They not only drive through reds, and stop zones but spew "their" rage at you, while raising a threatening hammer, and/or finger, as a warning not to interfere with their future road recklessness.

Ahhh, economic development and progress, doesn't necessarily mean better quality of life and civility - never does. On the streets around here, it seems the little jungle is growing a little more untamed.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Need to get your Cholesterol level up? Try this!

Give yourself a break from the worry of gougingly high fuel prices, and health care crises, and why not "treat" yourself to this giga meal.

This is a 10 inch "Munchy Box" described by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff at his Weighty Matters blog. Freedhoff is an obesity specialist and strong critic of Canada's food guide, and the health check program.
Got to go. Have a big walk to do. Don't mind though, knowing that I'll reward myself with poutine later is motivation enough.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Coffee News Could Perk Up World Coffee Sales

According to a new study, coffee consumption is not associated with higher death rate. One of the co-authors, assistant professor at the University of Madrid, Esther Lopez-Garcia, also noted that
Women who consumed two to three cups of coffee per day had a 25 per cent lower risk of death from heart disease than those not consuming coffee

What a great ad for increased coffee sales. The International Coffee Organization or whatever coffee group invests in research coffee studies must be delighted with the reporting of this one.

It's not mentioned where the research grant came from to do this 20+ year, 125,000 subject research, but I'll bet a decaf that Ms Lopez-Garcia got a lifetime of free Javas for her work.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stunning Loss! Tim Russert Dies

Tim Russert hosted a political show on NBC called "Meet the Press" for 17 years. Not being a regular viewer, I was still shocked and sad to read the headlines that he suddenly died. Two things immediately struck me about his death - one, it reminds you that sudden death can happen, so you have to take care of yourself; two, without knowing the man, only via a tv familiarity with his persona, he struck me as a decent, fair, passionate political fan and follower, who was objective and anything but malicious. That's the impression I felt after watching him, and for that reason, he got my respect. He also looked healthy, and young for his 58 years. His passing is a shock and sad. The media world who knew him are already feeling the void. He apparently collapsed at the anchor desk, possibly from a heart attack.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our Health, and Future Health Care II

Better health can be tackled through a multi-pronged approach.

Back in April I did a post related to problems in the overall health care system. At the Cameron Inquiry yesterday, Robert Ritter, executive director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, described the strain and stress of overworked medical personnel in all areas of care, besides the current area of focus now, Pathology. He says the pay increase has created anger among the medical association. That's a problem that NLMA are pressuring government to address. If my hearing is normal I think he also mentioned prevention (of illness) in his post inquiry press interview. In the meantime, what can the general publc do to relieve health strain?

As I mentioned in the April post, there are plenty of things we can do, like help prevent health problems that are within our control. We know that exercise helps. Avoiding foods, habits and environments that we know will lead to serious problems is another way. Last fall I was interviewed by Deanne Fleet about health care and the emergency room crisis at the time. Though only a small part of my chat with her was played, I mentioned a few ideas about how society has a role in how well the system runs. One was, why not have general health telethons each year to raise money not just for the Janeway, but for senior's care, or ER for example. How about putting more focus on healthier lifestyles and eating by an aggressive long term campaign of education? Emphasize taking control of our own health destinies.

And to reiterate briefly a few other suggestions regarding how government and health decision makers can affect future health care, there needs to be more stringent regulating of harmful food ingredients. The food industry has so much influence on what gets labeled as healthy. The health check symbol program is a good example. That program is misleading - many foods that are very high in sugars and sodiums are approved for the health check symbol. Let nutrition experts alone, not food industry reps determine Canada's food guide, and nutrition criteria for programs like the health check symbol.

One more, junk food advertising to children under 13 could be banned. That idea was introduced in the Ontario legislature in April. With obesity and type 2 diabetes on the rise in young people, there will be more chronic care required for younger people, unless this situation is analysed, and thoughtful preventative measures are put in place.

No Surprise at Ferry Price Hikes

Marine Atlantic burns 213,00 litres of fuel a day, so the surcharge increase is not alarming. The daily increase at the gas pumps is - and that is for virtually everyone, a daily, monthly and yearly expense that just keeps growing like a cancer. Personally I have never taken a ferry, but if I were to take a vacation, to say, PEI, an extra $40 surcharge is no big deal. If you are traveling by ferry often, then yes it can have a substantial impact.

What conflicting times we live in. There are many in society who don't even think about taking a ferry anyway because heating their homes are making them poorer, and big oil richer. The gas and oil increases will take extra $100s, and $1000 of dollars directly out of peoples' pockets this year.

It's a free-for-all for fuel companies. Until society significantly lowers its demand for fossil fuels, the sky's the limit for big oil. There are a few hybrid cars out there at still ridiculous prices but the development of other alternative forms of auto energy appears to be stuck in neutral.

p.s., yesterday some Quebec gas companies were charged with price fixing

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Burning up the town

Click to enlarge image

No this is not Tom Rideout's newly paved district. It's das Capital where the local economy is said to be hot but no one expected this.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So low

VOCM reports that on a Facebook group site dedicated to the memory of a female murder victim, someone had left comments attacking the woman. How low can you get! She was as valuable as any other human being, and apparently a friend to many. It was good of Ms Power's friend to start a group to remember her. Her family has suffered the loss of a daughter and a grandchild, and brother or sister, and are going to need long term support to overcome the trauma. Two lives were taken and still someone feels the need to injure further. Unbelievable.

Australian Surgeons Save Unborn Baby's Leg

This is definitely a good news story. You have to hand it to the surgeons for successfully operating on a 22 week old unborn baby and saving her feet. She is now expected to be able to walk because of this in utero surgery.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Similarities Between NL and Black America

In the sense that the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and African Americans will be "have" entities, there is a similarity - and it is mainly pride. Next year this province is expected to attain the "have" status meaning that we won't need equalization payments that year. In the U.S. already there is a major historical milestone in Barack Obama becoming the first African American to lead one of the two major political parties for president of the nation.

The numbers tell the story. Right now Premier Danny Williams is enjoying an 87% level of support in the polls. Obama got that much and more among black voters in the primaries and caucuses leading up to his victory. Though there are people who are not Williams supporters - including few well known bloggers from the Newfoundland and Labrador, the general public here, as with Obama's black supporters, are feeling a sense of pride in the changing dynamic of their overall image and status.

Obama has a very good chance of becoming the first African American President of the U.S. It is very uplifting for blacks, whites, and people of every background everywhere. Not just 40 years ago was this unthinkable, but one CNN reporter David Gergen, said that even 10 years ago, Obama would probably not have won his southern state primary.

Back to Newfoundland & Labrador, Williams has an overall extraordinary level of support, and one assumes that people from every region of the province were part of the poll, including Labrador. The report on the poll results did not break down how much support he has where. It would be interesting to see just how many Labradorians are supportive of the government in this poll.

Media reports of Newfoundland and Labrador becoming a "have" province next year, along with record surpluses, have probably been a big factor in promoting a sense of pride, and hence, popular support. It would also be interesting to consider if it wasn't such a big deal in the media, would there be such a high level of support. After all, people everywhere are suffering through sickeningly high fuel prices, particularly those on low incomes. Then there is the dramatic rise in another household staple, flour, continuing problems in health care, and still high unemployment and outmigration.

Despite that, it seems most people are liking the direction of the province, and again, pride is a likely factor. People are tired of being perceived as the poor cousin who is mooching of "have" provinces. Danny Williams' gesture of offering help to Ontario probably boosted those poll results a few notches as well. Whatever else it was, it was funny.

It's good to see a changing political direction and attitude in the U.S., as well as a new African American pride. Black political analysts acknowledge this themselves, and people here also empathize with the feeling of positive image and status change.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Cleary Harbours Grace

Congratulations to Riverhead, Harbour Grace son Dan Cleary on being the first person from Newfoundland & Labrador to win the Stanley Cup. I'll bet that 1000s of people in the province started watching hockey again lately, who haven't watched it for years. It was a tense finish last night, right to the very last second, as Pittsburgh slid the puck across the crease to nearly repeat a last minute tie like two nights before.

Cleary has worked hard in the past three years to be a solid forward contributor for the team. He scored two goals and an assist in the playoffs, and was a reliable teammate throughout the series. He thanked his town and family in the post game interviews, and like all the players these days, had family on hand, on ice to celebrate. There has to be incredible pride in Harbour Grace and Riverhead today. He will no doubt inspire not just other young athletes, but anyone to dream big and strive to be the best they can in whatever they do.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

An Historic Political First in the U.S.

Tonight Barack Obama will become the first African-American Democratic nominee for President of the U.S. At the present moment he is about seven delegates short of the new target of 2118. Today, more superdelegates pledged their support for him, and later this evening, former President Jimmy Carter will do likewise. That was expected - all of Carter's children and grandchildren are Obama supporters. Hillary Clinton earlier stated that until Obama gets the actual number of delegates required, she is not conceding defeat. However, it's only a matter of hours now till the last two primaries are closed in Montana and South Dakota. They are expected to win one state each, but it's too little too late for Hillary.

It's been a fascinating race. Hillary Clinton was the presumed nominee before the U.S. primary season began, but Obama's campaign was super organized and he came from behind to lead in overall support. She showed incredible tenacity in the final months and weeks of this battle. Never give up is a motto she clearly believes in, and is an inspiring motto anytime for anyone.

Will she want the Vice President job? Quite possibly. From this blog's point of view, she is craving a challenging position of power and though the wounds of losing the race will smart for some time, the sting can perhaps be treated with a consolation prize of VP. She would be a very valuable asset for Obama's general election campaign, as she fills in his void of support, i.e., the older white vote, non-college educated voters, and more women. Whether she will offer herself, or if Obama will choose her, is the next bit of drama that will materialize over the weeks ahead.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Bo Diddley: 1928 - 2008

He was born Otha Ellas Bates in Mississippi. For the showman type of personality he had, changing his name was probably an easy decision. He had a few big hits including "Who Do You Love" and "Hey Bo Diddley", and his sound had a big influence on future bands including the Rolling Stones.

A Few Quotes on Health

A common expression at least around here is that if you don't have your health you have nothing. Here are a few quotes on health, some humorous, some are common sense and wise, and with a healthy dose of truth. (source)

"Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint."
Mark Twain

"As I see it every day you do one of two things: build health or produce disease in yourself." - Adelle Davis

"The greatest wealth is health." - Virgil

"If I'd known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of myself."
Leon Eldred

"Good friends are good for your health." - Irwin Sarason

"The more severe the pain or illness, the more severe will be the necessary changes. These may involve breaking bad habits, or acquiring some new and better ones." - Peter McWilliams

"There are some remedies worse than the disease." - Publilius Syrus

"Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon." - Doug Larson

"Happiness lies, first of all, in health." - George William Curtis

"A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor's book." - Irish Proverb

"Know, then, whatever cheerful and serene supports the mind supports the body too." - John Armstrong