Monday, October 31, 2005

My article won!

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I just got this email from the editors at SearchWarp...

"The editors at have picked your article "Reality TV or Entertainment TV, You Decide" as the winning article for October's category writing contest. This article was very well-written and we've received several positive comments on it."

I hope you'll read it and leave a comment.

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Friday, October 28, 2005

First day of LinkedIn.

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Just checked my new LinkedIn network. I have 1 first level contact, 168 second level contacts, and 8456 third level contacts. WOW!

Check my previous post if you don't know what I am referring to in this post.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Let's play SD of S with LinkedIn

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Have you heard of the concept of Six Degrees of Separation? That's the idea that you can connect with anyone in the world through an average of just six other people.

Want to try it with me?

There is a free social networking service called LinkedIn. Go there and create a free account.

Invite me to join your LinkedIn Network.

Enter: "Tom" "Donaldson" and my private email address: and then click on "SEND INVITATIONS."

I'll review your request from LinkedIn, and approve 'em.

Let's see how big and fast and widespread we can grow our LinkedIn network.

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Word is obsolete.

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You should try out the new Web Word Processor. It's called Writely and it's free. You can write, store, and share your documents online. This makes them immediately available anywhere.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Are you missing $871?

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This is something I find absolutely amazing. According to today's news the IRS has 74 million dollars of unclaimed tax refunds. That's 84 thousand missing people owed an average $871 each.

So my question... How come they can find you if you owe them money, but they can't find you if they owe you money?

If you think you are among the missing call the IRS 1-800-829-4477 or

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Hate in America

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Have you seen the news stories about the "Church of Hate" run by one Fred Phelps. This self proclaimed Man of God hates just about everything about America (even Mr. Rogers!) and the rest of the world. Or he's creating the controversy to get attention because he feels inadequate about... other things.

Anyway he's so ridiculous it's funny and sad at the same time.

And get this he has followers, about 150 at last count. What makes people fall for this kind of crap?

There is a guy, Blair Warren who studies and writes about these kinds of things. Read his BLOG Crooked Wisdom and join his list.

When you join he will give you his "One Sentence Persuasion Course". I recommend it. You will learn a lot about what drives human nature.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How much is your BLOG worth?

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This is a neat concept. See my BLOG value below. Check yours out too!

My blog is worth $3,387.24.
How much is your blog worth?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Caller ID Spoofing

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Scam artists have now found a way to "phish" by phone. Just like e-mail phishing scams can make it appear that a message is coming from any e-mail address the sender chooses, caller ID spoofing can make a call appear to come from any phone number the caller wishes.

Here's how the scam works...

The scam artist goes to a caller ID spoofing service (i.e., These services allow you to "spoof" your telephone number. According to Camophone, with "Camophone's Privacy Telecom Caller ID spoofing and manipulation service, you can make calls anywhere to the United States and you are in control of the Caller ID that is sent to whoever you are calling."

The scam artist sets up an account and is then able to call consumers and have the caller ID display their local bank or credit union telephone number and caller ID. The consumer, feeling comfortable that they are seeing their own credit union's name, is more likely to divulge their confidential account information.

DON'T BE FOOLED. No bank will send an e-mail requesting your confidential information, they would never make an unsolicited call to request that information. If you do receive a call like this from ANY vendor that you do business with hang up and call back using their published phone number.

For more information search for this article. . .
Computerworld, "Scam Artists Dial for Dollars on Internet Phones"

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Reality TV or Entertainment TV, You Decide

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The truly educated man is that rare individual who can separate reality from illusion. - Author Unknown

Reality TV Shows.

Are they reality or just entertainment? Are they good for society? Do reality shows enhance culture? Are they a waste of time?

Let's clear up one thing first. Look up reality in the dictionary. It says, "Reality is the quality or state of being actual or true."

Now think about the last time you had your picture taken or were video-taped. You knew the cameras were on and you acted just like you always do, didn't you?


You didn't scratch your backside or pick your nose. You smiled. You became someone other than your real self. I know, I know, sometimes you want to scratch more and pick more because you want to be gross or funny.

Bottom line is, you acted as you thought you were supposed to act. Do you still think any situation shown on a reality TV show is authentic? I vote NO!

Now look up entertainment and you'll learn that, "Entertainment is something that amuses, pleases, or diverts."

For most of us, this is why we watch a reality TV show. We get to see people acting like people. We laugh when they do stupid things. We cry with them when something bad happens. We shake our heads when they act like fools. Reality TV diverts our attention from our own lives and the things that happen around us. That can be either good or bad. Sometimes it's okay to escape from the problems, fears, and pressures of life… for a while.

So in that sense, Reality TV is good for society as long as we remember it's just a simulation of reality. A slice of life portrayed by people acting as they are expected to act. Sequences and scenes are selected by producers, directors, and editors to create the reality defined by the show's premise. The actual reality is, it's an entertainment show that is designed to deliver a certain audience to a certain advertiser. You get entertainment – they get potential customers.

Can a reality TV show enhance our culture?

I believe it can. If we watch the characters of the various reality shows closely we can learn more about ourselves and our society. We get to see the entire range of human interactions and emotions. Greed, lust, love, selfishness, courage, fear, and more, it's all there. We can discover the things we value. We get to see people relating to people. We can learn what makes relationships stronger, and what tears people apart.

If we stay more than semi-conscious while we watch a reality TV show we could learn something. We could. Watched with awareness intact, a reality TV show would not be a waste of our time. Remember that.

At the same time, if a reality show or any TV show is used only to escape from your life then it is a waste of time. Stop living in and through someone's contorted and distorted created reality.

So those are my thoughts on the questions asked earlier. Here's one final suggestion I offer to you.

Turn off the TV. Get out there and experience the reality show called "Your Life." You will be amazed at how interesting and entertaining it can be.

Do you want more than just business-as-usual Entertainment TV or Reality TV?

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Simon Says

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The following article is adapted from a series of messages by Stephen Simon. In it he is referring to the sad state of affairs in most of the entertainment we get on television and in the movies.

"The words 'Kiss Kiss Bang Bang,' which I saw on
an Italian movie poster, are perhaps the briefest
statement imaginable of the basic appeal of movies.
This appeal is what attracts us, and ultimately what
makes us despair when we begin to understand
how seldom movies are more than this."

- Pauline Kael, Film Critic

I'm guessing you can relate to Pauline Kael's
statement above. You see a great movie trailer with
beautiful stars and a few flashy, action-packed shots,
so you rush to the theater, only to be disappointed
because that's all there was: stars and action - but no
substance; nothing to nourish your soul.

You probably know that most movies these days are
geared toward young males. Why? Because young
men generally have lots of disposable income
(no house payments or families yet).

And what kind of movies do young males like?

Stupid comedies and big, violent action movies.

In fact, a recent National Television Violence
Study examined nearly 10,000 hours of television
programming over a three-year period and found
that 51 percent contained violence (source:
American Academy of Pediatrics, "Article Underscores
Media Impact on Children and Adolescents," press
release, 5 January 1999").

And the violence statistics for movies released in
theatres and on DVD are even worse.

Unfortunately, this leaves people like you and me, who
crave soulful, inspiring movies, with very little to choose

But just because Hollywood doesn't see much profit
potential in enlightening entertainment doesn't mean
that we should be forced to go without.

Think about it. What are you watching?

"No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness
as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the
twilight of the soul."
- Ingrid Bergman, Actress

Ingrid was right. Movies probably are the most
powerful art form, because they can touch us deeply
on so many different levels.

In fact, I've always thought of movies as the modern
day version of shamanic storytelling.

Imagine... you're sitting at the campfire listening
spellbound as the village shaman relates our most
potent tribal myths and transformational stories,
shadows moving and drums beating...

You're captivated, inspired...

Today, our shamans are filmmakers, who combine
stories and sounds and images to create celluloid
visions of reflected light that initiate us in the
secret wisdom of our culture.

In other words, every time you pop in a DVD from
The Spiritual Cinema Circle, you have the opportunity to enjoy an inspiring multi-sensory experience that can
enlighten and empower your life.

"Hollywood is a place where they'll pay you a thousand
dollars for a kiss and fifty cents for your soul."
- Marilyn Monroe

Fifty cents for your soul? Hmm...

That raises the question: How much is your soul worth?

What's it worth to nourish your soul?

Think about it.

How often do you get to experience movies that…

Awaken your sense of joy and wonder and really
make you feel alive?

How often do you get to enjoy movies that…
Inspire love and compassion for your fellow
human beings?

How often do you get to discover movies that…
Evoke a deeper sense of connection with the
universe around you?


"You must know that in any moment a decision
you make can change the course of your life
forever... the very next movie you see or book
you read or page you turn could be the one single
thing that causes the floodgates to open, and all
of the things that you've been waiting for to fall
into place."
- Anthony Robbins, author & motivational speaker

This could be that moment and joining The Spiritual Cinema Circle could be the decision that opens the floodgates for you...

We're convinced our movies will entertain, enlighten and inspire you.


Join us now and help raise the consciousness of entertainment, one movie at a time. This month's volume features some of our best movies ever!

About Stephen Simon

Stephen Simon is a veteran producer whose distinguished career includes the Presidency of two major production companies and the development and production of a myriad of well-known films such as: "Smokey and the Bandit," "The Goodbye Girl," "The Electric Horseman," "Somewhere in Time," the Academy Award winning "What Dreams May Come", and the Emmy-nominated Lifetime movie "Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story." He is also author of the definitive work "The Force is With You: Mystical Movie Messages that Inspire Our Lives," published by Walsch Books, an imprint of Hampton Roads. Simon is also co-founder of The Spiritual Cinema Circle.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I didn't want to do it...

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I didn't want to do it BUT I had to.

What am I talking about ----> BLOG SPAM.

I just got tired of cleaning out the trash, SO...

Now only registered users of Blogger can post comments.

I apologize to all the non-SPAMMERS for the inconvenience caused by the inconsiderate.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Can You Really "Strike Gold" Online?

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Here's a link to an article called Can You Really "Strike Gold" Online? by Jim Edwards. He talks about some of the myths (or lies) about doing business online.

You can read the entire article at this site Jim Edwards article.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Peace on Earth Goodwill to Men?

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“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank

Every year as the holiday season approaches, we begin to see the ornaments, ribbons, and signs proclaiming

Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men

Have you ever really thought about that simple phrase? Do the words actually mean anything to you?

I don’t think too many people pay much intention to the meaning of those words. The evidence is all around us.

So let’s take a more in-depth look at what this phrase actually means.

A quick visit to is where we begin.

According to the American Heritage Dictionary

Peace is the absence of war, freedom from disagreement, harmonious relationships, public security and security.

But there’s another part of the definition that is even more important to the subject of this article. That definition of peace is inner contentment and security. Remember this one. We’ll come back to it later.

Goodwill is an attitude of kindness, friendliness, and benevolence.

Goodwill is actually a compound word. Let’s dig deeper into the meaning of this word by looking at it’s parts.

Good means having qualities that are desirable.

Will is self-control, the mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides on a course of action.

Okay, now we know the meanings of the words. First let’s make an adjustment to the original phrase. Instead of “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men”, I suggest this rearrangement.

Goodwill to Everyone, Peace on Earth

That makes the whole idea into an active process. More important, it’s just different enough from the original phrase to grab our attention. Our brains are jogged out of the habitual way of reading the message.

And finally, let’s use the definitions we learned earlier to expand this phrase into something even more meaningful. How about this statement of intention…

The desirable quality of deliberately choosing to act in a kind, friendly, benevolent manner towards everyone, as a result of doing that, we will have less war, less disagreement and more harmonious relationships on Earth.

Remember that other definition of peace, inner contentment and security? We can use this meaning as a clue as to where to begin the peace process.

It begins with you. You are the only one you have the power to change. Let peace begin with you though the interactions you have with others. As Emerson said, “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles”.

I suggest you make little reminder notes that say, “Goodwill to Everyone, Peace on Earth”. Put them around your home, in the car, and in your work area.

And when you finish this article, send a copy to family and friends.

Read books that inspire, add books from the Transformational Book Circle to your library.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Are You Superficial?

“So many things I would have done, but clouds got in my way.” From Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell

Like the clouds in Joni Mitchell’s song, words get in our way all the time. Have you ever stopped to think about the power of your words? Especially the words you use all the time.

Besides the value of words for sharing ideas and experiences, words can also cause us to limit our understanding of the people and things in our lives. After all, words are only shortcuts we have invented to describe something in our reality. Words are not the object.

You might think of a word as the surface of a lake. The reality lies under the surface. Most of the time, we don’t dive in to see what’s under the surface. We’re satisfied to skim over the surface.

Think of some of the words you use to describe the people you know. Have you ever called someone stupid or ugly? Once you have labeled them as such, isn’t that the way you tend to view the every time you see them. The words you use have effectively put blinders on you. It becomes almost impossible to see them any other way, doesn’t it?

Or consider the words used to describe people in the news. The media uses carefully chosen words and names to create the images they want you to have in your head. Maybe you read about the debate over what to call the unfortunate people in hurricane Katrina’s path. Are they refugees or what?

Here’s a list of seven words. Take a minute to think about what each word on the list means to you. Your meanings will be personal and unique. You may be surprised at what you discover.


Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about each word.

Is my definition of the word accurate?
Where did my meaning come from?
Does my meaning lead me to greater understanding or does it stop me from seeing a bigger picture?

As you do this little exercise in self awareness, you will begin to see how the words you use everyday have the power to control and limit your life. Awareness is the way out of this trap.

Ask someone to define the words from this list. How close is their meaning to yours? Listen and compare. Are you beginning to see how easy it is for misunderstandings to happen?

Now here’s one more question you can ask yourself any time you find yourself shortcutting with a convenient label.

What else is there about this person, this place, or this thing, that I’m missing?

For more information about books that inspire, have a look at the Transformational Book Circle.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

A Whack on the Head

When was the last time you had a good whack on the head?

Through-out history there have been certain people with a knack for saying things in a way that cause us to sit up and say, "WOW, that's profound!"

I'm talking about quotations. You know, those little gems of wisdom that get passed down from generation to generation. With just a few words, these people give us something that can change our lives, open our eyes, or give us new ways of thinking about things.

Like a quick knock on the noggin, a quotation grabs our attention. A lot of easily remembered meaning is driven directly into our brain.

Here's one of my favorite whacks on the head.

This one comes from Napoleon Hill. After studying the lives of wealthy, successful people for many years, he wrote the now classic Think and Grow Rich. This one book is credited with changing the lives of untold numbers of people.

He said, "Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve."

Do you think that's true? Let's take a closer look at this quote.

"Whatever the mind of man (or woman) can conceive"

Look around at your surroundings. Unless you're naked in the center of a rain forest, almost everything you see began as an idea or concept in someone's head. Humans conceive of new products, new governments, new religions, and even wars and holocausts. This conception process can result in life supporting or life destroying ideas. Don't under-estimate its power.

The next part… "And believe" is also very important.

What is a belief? If you were to look up the origin of the word believe, you would find that it comes from a word that means love. So a belief is simply an idea or concept that you love. When you love something you put energy into it. This energy that you put into an idea is what causes the last part of this quotation to happen… "It can achieve".

So there you have it. This quote from Napoleon Hill has a simple, easily remembered, three part formula for creating and making things happen in your life.

Conceive - Believe – Achieve

Put this formula to work every day and see what happens. Get yourself a copy of Think and Grow Rich and study it. If you already have a copy, read it again.

When you put this formula to work in your life, there's another thing to keep in mind. Another whack on the head for you.

Be careful what you ask for, you might get it.

For more information about books that inspire, have a look at the Transformational Book Circle.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005

What's Missing Could Be Making You Sick

Here’s something you probably don’t know. The fruit and vegetables you eat today are not as nutritious as the food from fifty years ago.

Who says so? The USDA. When you compare the Food Composition Tables from the 1950 Agriculture Handbook with the latest version, you’ll see the shocking truth.

In fact, that is exactly what researchers Donald Davis, Melvin Epp, and Hugh Riordan did. They compared the data for 43 garden crops. They found that the group of vegetables showed “statistical reliable declines” for many nutrients.

There was less riboflavin, protein, iron, vitamin C, Vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and magnesium, and other nutrients. In some cases the nutrient drop was more than 50%.

The cause of these nutrient losses may have been from changes in the vegetable varieties, according to the researchers. It seems that the plant breeders are more interested in vegetables that ship well and look good on store shelves. Appearance is everything when it comes to creating profits. Nutrition is a secondary consideration.

Not mentioned was the probable lack of trace plant nutrients in soil that has been mined by unsustainable farming practices over the years. This is what the organic farming people have been saying for years.

The nutrition shortage in almost all people is made even worse by our food choices. Instant, prepackaged, processed foods supply refined carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and little else. It’s a lot like the farming practices that feed the crops with high nitrogen chemical fertilizers, potassium, and phosphorus and nothing else.

We end up eating bloated, unhealthy, nutrient lacking foods. Could this be the real cause of the growing obesity problem around the world? We’re all over-stuffing ourselves trying to get the nutrition our bodies need to be healthy.

Find out more about Nutritional Supplements.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Article links

Temporary Links to article pages.

This is a personal post for some article pages I have. I want to keep track of them while I'm working on the main page of

Relationship Article
Zucchini Recipe
Travel Article
Investing Article
Natural Tonics Article

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I am impressed!

Most of the businesses I deal with on a regular basis are for the most part satisfactory. Except maybe local contractors, but that's a whole other story.

Well I've found one that truly impresses me, Blockbuster Online.

Recently I signed up for the $9.99 first month trial. I picked the first three movies I wanted on a Saturday. On Monday I had them.

I sent them back in the postpaid envelopes the following Tuesday. On Friday I had the next three movies from my list in my mailbox.

And for those emergency 'need a movie' nights, every month they give you two coupons for free movies at the local Blockbuster store.

With that kind of service I could probably get about two dozen movies per month. If only I had the time to watch them (maybe after the long, cold New York winter gets here).

I'm afraid the local video stores are not going to see much of me anymore... unless they let me pick out a movie online and deliver it to me... along with a pizza. Now that's an idea for a local business, isn't it?

Did I mention they have games too?

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Thursday, August 11, 2005

If you like flash...

Here's a great site if you like flash animations and games. And unlike many (most) of the free sites this one doesn't barrage you with banners, pop-ups, or ads.

Find it at

Saturday, August 06, 2005

What is Magnesium Good for Anyway?

About a year ago I ran across a site about magnesium. The owner of this site has compiled a LOT of research about how a deficiency of magnesium is affecting our health. Check it out.

Anyway, the other day I received my monthly Life Extension magazine. There is an article about Paul Mason and his magnesium site.

That reminded me I wanted to post a recipe for magnesium water that I put together after my first encounter with Mr. Mason's site. The recipe is based on a use patent I found for magnesium.

Here is the recipe...

Take a one liter bottle of seltzer or club soda (about 44 cents at Walmart). Put it in the fridge, it has to be cold. When it's cold, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of unflavored milk of magnesia. Put cap on bottle, shake, and put back in the fridge.

It will be milky at first, but after a few hours it with become clear again. You've now made magnesium bicarbonate water. This recipe will give you about 400 mg. of magnesium per bottle, which is the RDA. Keep it cold. Only make as much as you will use in a day or so. Drink some throughout the day, preferably on an empty stomach.

Read the medical warning on the milk of magnesia bottle. If you have any of the listed conditions, talk to your health professional before using.

From my personal experience, I've been drinking this concoction for about a year now, with no ill effects. I drink a bottle every day, and it does keep my joints, especially the ankles and knees feeling better. It's probably doing the ticker some good too!

Find out more about another Natural Tonic here.

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Chocolate Zucchini Cake Creates National Zucchini Shortage

At this time of the year zucchini squash is the number one garden commodity. People actually beg you to take some off their hands. You can't leave your car or house unlocked because if you do, zucchini squash will appear.

Well here's a recipe that will end all that. This recipe is so good it might even create a national zucchini shortage.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 3/4 cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/2 cup Sour Milk
4 tablespoons Cocoa
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
2 cups Finely diced, NOT SHREDDED, Zucchini
1/4 cup Chocolate Chips

Cream butter, oil, and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour milk. Beat with mixer. Mix together all the dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Beat well. Stir in the diced zucchini. Spoon batter into a greased and floured 9 x 12 x 2 pan. Sprinkle the top with chocolate chips. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean and dry. Needs no icing. Cakes can be frozen for use at a later date.

Hope you enjoy this.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005

You're Nobody Till Google Indexes You

You're nobody till Google indexes you. Sounds ominous doesn't it. I can hear mothers telling their children, "Eat your vegetables or Google will index you."

Remember Skynet from the Terminator movies. It was a computer program that used the combined power of the world's computers and assumed control and tried to eliminate humans from the Earth. I can't imagine Google turning hostile like Skynet. It doesn't sound dangerous to be GOOGLED by a computer.

In Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's new book "Sunstorm", it's mentioned that a future worldwide computer intelligence evolved from the search engines of the late twentieth century. I can see Google becoming like the intelligence called Aristotle from "Sunstorm". But again, I think the name will have to be changed to something more serious sounding.

Google already gives us the ability to find just about any information on just about anything. It's got maps, mail, news, and is working on a million volume library (I can't wait for that one). I can type in a telephone number and find out who it belongs to. Need the answer to a math problem? Type it into the search box and the calculator function supplies the answer.

If I type in my alter ego nickname Phremind, I get a list of a lot of the places I've (and anyone else using that name) visited and marked. If I was paranoid I'd be worried, wouldn't I?

Will Google become the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent (sounds like God) computerized companion in our future? I'm pretty sure they are working on a replicator that will give them the ability to construct actual products for us right on the desktop. I read that on the Internet somewhere. And there's an implantable Google chip in the works too!

We are the . You will be assimilated.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Study: Hypnotism aids allergy sufferers

LONDON, July 6 (UPI) -- Swiss researchers say people can reduce their allergy symptoms by up to one-third just by thinking about a place that is free of allergens.

The researchers at University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, based their conclusions on 40 people they recruited and trained to hypnotize themselves for two years.

The researchers said the group showed one-third fewer symptoms while using hypnosis, a conclusion based on self-analysis and congestion tests.

An allergy expert told the British journal Nature that the results could have been influenced by patients' belief that hypnosis would reduce their symptoms.

Lead researcher Wolf Langewitz agreed that a larger study is needed.

"We felt that the results were encouraging enough to tell people to try it, because this intervention is free of side effects," Langewitz said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

Article found at Science Daily.

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Top ten people bloggers are interested in right now.

Here is a list of people, real (???) and fictional, that are in the minds of bloggers right now. From BlogPulse.

Click on the name and go to the blog listings about the person named.











Open confession is good for the soul

"Open confession is good for the soul" Scottish Proverb

PostSecret is one of my favorite blogs. Like poetry, so much is said (and unsaid) in each of the short messages on the postcards. You'll see happy, sad, funny, and deep thoughts revealed. Some of the postcards will make you think about how the people around you have a need to express who they are... or confess what they've done.

Maybe you have a secret you want to share?

Friday, May 13, 2005

First pictures of human/dog hybrid.

Scientists have mixed human and animal genes to create the very first hybrid animal. Here's a picture of the Human Dog already created and available in pet shops soon.

Well... maybe not yet.
Here's the real news story.

Scientists mix human and animal genes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

If I had my life to live over...

This sounds like one of those things you get emailed from all your friends doesn't it?

I liked it so here it is.

If I had my life to live over - By Erma Bombeck

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television-and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realised that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's." More "I'm sorry's" ...But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it...and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us.

Let's think about what God HAS blessed us with. And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually.

Life is too short to let it pass you by. We only have one shot at this and then it's gone. I hope you all have a blessed day.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Who’s Better Off?

April 6, 2005

Whenever the administration is challenged regarding the success of the Iraq war, or regarding the false information used to justify the war, the retort is: “Aren’t the people of Iraq better off?” The insinuation is that anyone who expresses any reservations about supporting the war is an apologist for Saddam Hussein and every ruthless act he ever committed. The short answer to the question of whether the Iraqis are better off is that it’s too early to declare, “Mission Accomplished.” But more importantly, we should be asking if the mission was ever justified or legitimate. Is it legitimate to justify an action that some claim yielded good results, if the means used to achieve them are illegitimate? Do the ends justify the means?

The information Congress was given prior to the war was false. There were no weapons of mass destruction; the Iraqis did not participate in the 9/11 attacks; Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein were enemies and did not conspire against the United States; our security was not threatened; we were not welcomed by cheering Iraqi crowds as we were told; and Iraqi oil has not paid any of the bills. Congress failed to declare war, but instead passed a wishy-washy resolution citing UN resolutions as justification for our invasion. After the fact we’re now told the real reason for the Iraq invasion was to spread democracy, and that the Iraqis are better off. Anyone who questions the war risks being accused of supporting Saddam Hussein, disapproving of democracy, or “supporting terrorists.” It’s implied that lack of enthusiasm for the war means one is not patriotic and doesn’t support the troops. In other words, one must march lock-step with the consensus or be ostracized.

However, conceding that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein is a far cry from endorsing the foreign policy of our own government that led to the regime change. In time it will become clear to everyone that support for the policies of pre-emptive war and interventionist nation-building will have much greater significance than the removal of Saddam Hussein itself. The interventionist policy should be scrutinized more carefully than the purported benefits of Saddam Hussein’s removal from power. The real question ought to be: “Are we better off with a foreign policy that promotes regime change while justifying war with false information?” Shifting the stated goals as events unravel should not satisfy those who believe war must be a last resort used only when our national security is threatened.

How much better off are the Iraqi people? Hundreds of thousands of former inhabitants of Fallajah are not better off with their city flattened and their homes destroyed. Hundreds of thousands are not better off living with foreign soldiers patrolling their street, curfews, and the loss of basic utilities. One hundred thousand dead Iraqis, as estimated by the Lancet Medical Journal, certainly are not better off. Better to be alive under Saddam Hussein than lying in some cold grave.

Praise for the recent election in Iraq has silenced many critics of the war. Yet the election was held under martial law implemented by a foreign power, mirroring conditions we rightfully condemned as a farce when carried out in the old Soviet system and more recently in Lebanon. Why is it that what is good for the goose isn’t always good for the gander?

Our government fails to recognize that legitimate elections are the consequence of freedom, and that an artificial election does not create freedom. In our own history we note that freedom was achieved first and elections followed-- not the other way around.

One news report claimed that the Shiites actually received 56% of the vote, but such an outcome couldn’t be allowed for it would preclude a coalition of the Kurds and Shiites from controlling the Sunnis and preventing a theocracy from forming. This reminds us of the statement made months ago by Secretary Rumsfeld when asked about a Shiite theocracy emerging from a majority democratic vote, and he assured us that would not happen. Democracy, we know, is messy and needs tidying up a bit when we don’t like the results.

Some have described Baghdad and especially the green zone, as being surrounded by unmanageable territory. The highways in and out of Baghdad are not yet secured. Many anticipate a civil war will break out sometime soon in Iraq; some claim it’s already underway.

We have seen none of the promised oil production that was supposed to provide grateful Iraqis with the means to repay us for the hundreds of billions that American taxpayers have spent on the war. Some have justified our continuous presence in the Persian Gulf since 1990 because of a need to protect “our” oil. Yet now that Saddam Hussein is gone, and the occupation supposedly is a great success, gasoline at the pumps is reaching record highs approaching $3 per gallon.

Though the Iraqi election has come and gone, there still is no government in place and the next election-- supposedly the real one-- is not likely to take place on time. Do the American people have any idea who really won the dubious election at all?

The oil-for-food scandal under Saddam Hussein has been replaced by corruption in the distribution of U.S. funds to rebuild Iraq. Already there is an admitted $9 billion discrepancy in the accounting of these funds. The over-billing by Halliburton is no secret, but the process has not changed.

The whole process is corrupt. It just doesn’t make sense to most Americans to see their tax dollars used to fight an unnecessary and unjustified war. First they see American bombs destroying a country, and then American taxpayers are required to rebuild it. Today it’s easier to get funding to rebuild infrastructure in Iraq than to build a bridge in the United States. Indeed, we cut the Army Corps of Engineers’ budget and operate on the cheap with our veterans as the expenditures in Iraq skyrocket.

One question the war promoters don’t want to hear asked, because they don’t want to face up to the answer, is this: “Are Christian Iraqis better off today since we decided to build a new Iraq through force of arms?” The answer is plainly no.

Sure, there are only 800,000 Christians living in Iraq, but under Saddam Hussein they were free to practice their religion. Tariq Aziz, a Christian, served in Saddam Hussein’s cabinet as Foreign Minister-- something that would never happen in Saudi Arabia, Israel, or any other Middle Eastern country. Today, the Christian churches in Iraq are under attack and Christians are no longer safe. Many Christians have been forced to flee Iraq and migrate to Syria. It’s strange that the human rights advocates in the U.S. Congress have expressed no concern for the persecution now going on against Christians in Iraq. Both the Sunni and the Shiite Muslims support the attacks on Christians. In fact, persecuting Christians is one of the few areas in which they agree-- the other being the removal of all foreign forces from Iraqi soil.

Considering the death, destruction, and continual chaos in Iraq, it’s difficult to accept the blanket statement that the Iraqis all feel much better off with the U.S. in control rather than Saddam Hussein. Security in the streets and criminal violence are not anywhere near being under control.

But there’s another question that is equally important: “Are the American people better off because of the Iraq war?”

One thing for sure, the 1,500 plus dead American soldiers aren’t better off. The nearly 20,000 severely injured or sickened American troops are not better off. The families, the wives, the husbands, children, parents, and friends of those who lost so much are not better off.

The families and the 40,000 troops who were forced to re-enlist against their will-- a de facto draft-- are not feeling better off. They believe they have been deceived by their enlistment agreements.

The American taxpayers are not better off having spent over 200 billion dollars to pursue this war, with billions yet to be spent. The victims of the inflation that always accompanies a guns-and-butter policy are already getting a dose of what will become much worse.

Are our relationships with the rest of the world better off? I’d say no. Because of the war, our alliances with the Europeans are weaker than ever. The anti-American hatred among a growing number of Muslims around the world is greater than ever. This makes terrorist attacks more likely than they were before the invasion. Al Qaeda recruiting has accelerated. Iraq is being used as a training ground for al Qaeda terrorists, which it never was under Hussein’s rule. So as our military recruitment efforts suffer, Osama bin Laden benefits by attracting more terrorist volunteers.

Oil was approximately $27 a barrel before the war, now it’s more than twice that. I wonder who benefits from this?

Because of the war, fewer dollars are available for real national security and defense of this country. Military spending is up, but the way the money is spent distracts from true national defense and further undermines our credibility around the world.

The ongoing war’s lack of success has played a key role in diminishing morale in our military services. Recruitment is sharply down, and most branches face shortages of troops. Many young Americans rightly fear a coming draft-- which will be required if we do not reassess and change the unrealistic goals of our foreign policy.

The appropriations for the war are essentially off-budget and obscured, but contribute nonetheless to the runaway deficit and increase in the national debt. If these trends persist, inflation with economic stagnation will be the inevitable consequences of a misdirected policy.

One of the most significant consequences in times of war that we ought to be concerned about is the inevitable loss of personal liberty. Too often in the patriotic nationalism that accompanies armed conflict, regardless of the cause, there is a willingness to sacrifice personal freedoms in pursuit of victory. The real irony is that we are told we go hither and yon to fight for freedom and our Constitution, while carelessly sacrificing the very freedoms here at home we’re supposed to be fighting for. It makes no sense.

This willingness to give up hard-fought personal liberties has been especially noticeable in the atmosphere of the post-September 11th war on terrorism. Security has replaced liberty as our main political goal, damaging the American spirit. Sadly, the whole process is done in the name of patriotism and in a spirit of growing militant nationalism.

These attitudes and fears surrounding the 9-11 tragedy, and our eagerness to go to war in the Middle East against countries not responsible for the attacks, have allowed a callousness to develop in our national psyche that justifies torture and rejects due process of law for those who are suspects and not convicted criminals.

We have come to accept pre-emptive war as necessary, constitutional, and morally justifiable. Starting a war without a proper declaration is now of no concern to most Americans or the U.S. Congress. Let’s hope and pray the rumors of an attack on Iran in June by U.S. Armed Forces are wrong.

A large segment of the Christian community and its leadership think nothing of rationalizing war in the name of a religion that prides itself on the teachings of the Prince of Peace, who instructed us that blessed are the peacemakers-- not the warmongers.

We casually accept our role as world policeman, and believe we have a moral obligation to practice nation building in our image regardless of the number of people who die in the process.

We have lost our way by rejecting the beliefs that made our country great. We no longer trust in trade, friendship, peace, the Constitution, and the principle of neutrality while avoiding entangling alliances with the rest of the world. Spreading the message of hope and freedom by setting an example for the world has been replaced by a belief that use of armed might is the only practical tool to influence the world-- and we have accepted, as the only superpower, the principle of initiating war against others.

In the process, Congress and the people have endorsed a usurpation of their own authority, generously delivered to the executive and judicial branches-- not to mention international government bodies. The concept of national sovereignty is now seen as an issue that concerns only the fringe in our society.

Protection of life and liberty must once again become the issue that drives political thought in this country. If this goal is replaced by an effort to promote world government, use force to plan the economy, regulate the people, and police the world, against the voluntary desires of the people, it can be done only with the establishment of a totalitarian state. There’s no need for that. It’s up to Congress and the American people to decide our fate, and there is still time to correct our mistakes.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Question of the year


From The Edge

Now that's a question that gets stuck in your head.

Now after you have your short list of unprovable beliefs, here's a couple more questions you can ask yourself about them.

Where did this belief come from? (or Who? What? When?)

Does having this belief make my life better or worse?

Post a comment and let me know what you come up with.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lurking In Your Yogurt: Live Cultures That May Boost Immunity

Chicago Tribune

March 28, 2005

Bacteria in your food are a bad thing, usually: Think of E. coli or other harmful bugs. But a whole other world of "friendly" bacteria lurks out there. Called "probiotics" and found in such products as yogurt and yogurt drinks, they provide health benefits beyond the regular live cultures found in those foods.

Probiotics are among the fastest-growing category of functional foods, according to the market research firm Mintel, which cites a 140 percent increase last year in the launch of new probiotic-fortified products.

So far, the strongest evidence on probiotics has focused on digestive- tract problems such as lactose intolerance and diarrhea-including infectious diarrhea among children and the type that develops after a person has taken antiobiotics (which wipe out both good and bad bacteria in their path, altering the natural balance of the digestive tract).

Additional studies suggest probiotics may help decrease the risk of colon cancer and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and the more serious inflammatory bowel disease, which includes Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Researchers also are beginning to see signs that probiotics may help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels.

Europeans have long embraced the concept of probiotics (which is derived from the Greek word meaning "for life"), but Americans haven't fully warmed up to the idea of downing a drink swimming with billions of live microorganisms.

"We've done a good job in this country of scaring people to death of microbes," said Mary Ellen Sanders, president of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics, a non-profit scientific organization. "People don't understand the important role microbes can play in our health."

Unlike antibiotics, which kill harmful microbes in the body, probiotics simply take up temporary residence and neutralize the negative effects of the "bad" bacteria living there. Some of the benefits of probiotics appear to be their feisty aggression toward these nasty bugs in our bodies, Sanders said.


Some of the most exciting research on probiotics involves its potential to boost immunity, according to Allan Walker, a professor of nutrition and pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, who is studying how exposure to good bacteria could help children decrease their susceptibility to infections and allergies.

Probiotics appear to communicate with the cells in our intestines to turn on antibodies to fight infections, Walker said. This "cross-talk" helps rev up our immune response so we're better prepared to deal with invading bacteria and viruses that could make us sick, he said.

Though research is preliminary, scientists are revealing some promising immune function benefits, particularly among children:

-Finnish researchers cut in half a baby's risk of developing allergies early in life by giving probiotics to expectant mothers and their newborns who were predisposed to asthma, hay fever and eczema.

-A recent study published in Pediatrics found that infants fed formula containing probiotics had less diarrhea and fever, and fewer clinic visits and absences from child care centers, compared to those who consumed a formula without probiotics.

-A seven-month study of more than 570 children in day care centers found that intake of a probiotic milk reduced the number and severity of respiratory infections and the need for antibiotics.


Some foods may be made with microbes-everything from sourdough bread to pickles, sauerkraut, kim chi, miso and fermented meats like salami. But it doesn't mean all the "good bugs" survived the processing or that the strains used provide actual health benefits, which is required before it would qualify as a probiotic, Sanders said.

You also can't assume that all yogurts contain probiotics (although not all experts agree on where you draw the line). Though many of the national brands contain "live active cultures," the typical strains used to make yogurt don't make it the full ride through our digestive tract.

These starter bacteria produce lactic acid and are used to give yogurt its tart flavor, but they don't seem to have the same types of health benefits as probiotics, which do survive the digestive tract, Sanders said (although they still might help folks with lactose intolerance).

If you want a yogurt with the gut-healthy, friendly bugs, you need to scour the label to see if the manufacturer supplemented the standard strains with probiotic bacteria. The two most common are Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidobacteria (or bifidus). You won't necessarily see the word "probiotics" on the label.

These bacteria (and their probiotic cousins L. casei, L. reuteri and others) also are being added to fermented milks like acidophilus milk, kefir and soy beverages.

New to the market is Dannon's DanActive, a probiotic dairy drink that contains 10 billion live cultures per serving-or 10 times more cultures than yogurt, according to the label. DanActive also appears to be the first product to use the immunity claim to try and sell Americans on the benefits of live microorganisms. The label touts its ability to "naturally strengthen your body's defense system."

Companies are exploring adding the cultures to a wide range of non-dairy products, including breakfast cereal, energy bars, juices and other beverages, and even candy. Capsules of probiotics also are available in health food stores, but experts believe there may be additional benefits of getting your bacteria in a food form, especially through dairy products.

To take care of the "good" bacteria you buy, don't let your probiotic products linger at room temperature, and don't heat them or you'll kill the live cultures. Also, it's best to consume probiotics before the use-by date on the label (or within the week following the sell-by date). Otherwise, the live cultures begin to die off.

To reap the full benefits, you need to consume probiotics on a regular basis. The friendly bacteria only persist in your gut as long as there's a steady supply. So if you don't eat any foods or supplements containing probiotics, after about a month they will be gone.


Now that you've gotten to know the term "probiotics," there's something else you should add to your lexicon: prebiotics.

These are types of dietary fiber, such as inulin and oligosaccharides, that help nourish the growth of good bacteria. Companies are beginning to introduce new products that contain a combination of probiotics and prebiotics.

Consuming foods that naturally contain prebiotics-garlic, onions, artichokes, bananas and whole grains-also can help stimulate the good bugs that naturally reside in your digestive tract.

(c) 2005, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Mondays With Martha by Wendi Friesen

Comments: Here's a story from one of the newsletters I get. This will really make you question if the right thing is being done in the Terri Schiavo case.

Mondays With Martha

A few years ago I had the opportunity to spend my Mondays with Martha.

Martha had been unresponsive for 3 years, the cause was unknown. She seemed to be unable to respond, move, or interact in any way. Her hands were stiff and unable to open or relax. Her legs were locked in a bent position.

If she was unable to respond and had been this way for 3 years, surely there was nothing I could do. To make things worse, I had to drive over an hour to her house where her 2 daughters cared for her.. I certainly didn't see why I needed to try to help when no one else had been able to.

What at first seemed like an impossible task, became a journey of great joy.

Martha's most immediate need seemed to be to communicate and get her hands and legs to relax. Her fingers were curled and stiff as wood. Her face was unresponsive. Her legs were stiff and unbendable. She had a feeding tube and her daughters fed her through this and cared for her with dedication and love. In their dedication they chose to continue to try to heal the condition that robbed their mother of life.

In the first session, I sat close to Martha and stroked her face, her arm, her hand. I had no idea where to start or what I could do, as a Hypnotherapist that the doctors were unable to do.

We played beautiful music, I put my head close to her and I took her on an imaginary walk down a beautiful path. My plan was to re-establish her connection with her senses and create movement in her hands and legs. I described a cold stream that had crystal clear water from the new, fresh, melting snow, and asked her to put her toes in the water and feel the icy coolness. We went to a sunny meadow and found little flowers and sat in the warmth of the sun and imagined making daisy chains out of the tiny flowers. I talked about two little girls who saw what she was doing and come over to learn the daisy chains. Together we felt the grasses, and the warmth of the sun, the breeze as it blew her hair. I described in great detail how her nimble fingers slid the flower into the stem of the other.

As I talked, I stroked her hands and fingers, saying relax and let go- your fingers open and relax, and I continued to describe the sensations in her body.
Her two daughters were in the room and after our session they told me that the stream and meadow and daisy chains were an actual memory from their childhood with their mother. The details I described on the journey were just as they remembered.

In the next sessions I asked her inner mind to create a connection with her fingers and to create an ideo-motor response (an involuntary movement of a finger) that indicates yes, and another finger to move to indicate no. And as I asked, her fingers would move. We could communicate! Her hands became relaxed and soft, her legs could bend.

In the weeks that followed she began to have _expression when I came in the room. She would raise her eyebrows when she heard my voice, and yes, she smiled. Her progress was remarkable. We didn't expect much, and every little bit of progress was so very rewarding.

One day, I decided to sing. I asked her to sing with me and remember the music of her soul, her voice carrying the wonderful sounds that her soul has been longing share. No sounds were made at first and it just seemed that we could feel how much she wanted to sing. Soon she began to make sounds, soft, beautiful sounds - the aaaahs and oooohs that her willing mind learned to express as she healed. Amazing.

I am sure there were many that wanted to give up on her, pull her feeding tube, let her die since there was no hope.

But now, here in her room, after just a few months, Martha communicated. Her face had _expression. She made sounds. Her muscle unfurled and her hands could move. The joy she brought to her daughters was beautiful.

Martha's daughters- at this time in their adult life, were dedicated to their mother. Their life had meaning, joy, and reward because they could care for Martha and love her.

I can remember my drive home every Monday after seeing Martha. It was a long drive, over an hour that I spent reflecting on how much Martha taught me and how deeply she touched me. Some days I cried because I was so touched to be a part of such beautiful devotion of family.

Martha taught me, touched me, and will always be with me. I reached her because I didn't know how not to. I did it because I could.

I am saddened that the courts can take away a Mother and Fathers right to care for their daughter. Terry Schiavo brings joy, meaning, purpose and love to that family, regardless of how unresponsive she seems. This situation has turned up our country's awareness of what is real, what is right, and where we place our priorities. If Terry wanted to die she would have left long ago.

If a court had ordered the feeding tube to be removed from Martha her daughters memories of her would be filled with anger and helplessness.
I remember Martha for what she taught me, and the purpose she brought to the lives of those who loved her.
Thank you Martha.
Bless you.

And to the parents and family of Terry, my heart goes with you.

Peace on Earth,

Wendi Friesen

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Beyond Ordinary Forum

Announcement: I just put up a new forum at

It's a place where you can relax and get together and discuss the things, people, and places you think are Beyond Ordinary.

Stop in - sign up and be one of the first to contribute and help this forum evolve into something Beyond Ordinary.
Beyond Ordinary Forum
Beyond Ordinary Blog

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Don't Kick It - Terri Schiavo Editorial by Peggy Noonan

Comment: I was going to say something about Terri Schiavo. I ran across this editorial that pretty much sums up my feelings.

'Don't Kick It'
If Terri Schiavo is killed, Republicans will pay a political price.

Friday, March 18, 2005 1:37 p.m. EST

It appears we've reached the pivotal moment in the Terri Schiavo case, and it also appears our politicians, our senators and congressmen, might benefit from some observations.

In America today all big stories have three dimensions: a legal angle, a public-relations angle and a political angle. In the Schiavo case some of our politicians seem not to be fully appreciating the second and third. This is odd.

Here's both a political and a public-relations reality: The Republican Party controls the Senate, the House and the White House. The Republicans are in charge. They have the power. If they can't save this woman's life, they will face a reckoning from a sizable portion of their own base. And they will of course deserve it.

This should concentrate their minds.

So should this: America is watching. As the deadline for removal of Mrs. Schiavo's feeding tube approaches, the story has broken through as never before in the media.

There is a passionate, highly motivated and sincere group of voters and activists who care deeply about whether Terri Schiavo is allowed to live. Their reasoning, ultimately, is this: Be on the side of life. They remind me of what Winston Churchill said once when he became home secretary in charge of England's prisons. He was seated at dinner with a jabbery lady who said that if she were ever given a life sentence she'd rather die than serve it. He reared back. No, he said, always choose life! "Death's the only thing you can't get out of!"
Just so. Life is full of surprise and lightning-like lurches. The person in a coma today wakes up tomorrow and says, "Is that you, mom?" Life is unknowable. Always give it a chance to shake your soul and upend reality.

The supporters of Terri Schiavo's right to continue living have fought for her heroically, through the courts and through the legislatures. They're still fighting. They really mean it. And they have memories.

On the other side of this debate, one would assume there is an equally well organized and passionate group of organizations deeply committed to removing Terri Schiavo's feeding tube. But that's not true. There's just about no one on the other side. Or rather there is one person, a disaffected husband who insists Terri once told him she didn't want to be kept alive by extraordinary measures.

He has fought the battle to kill her with a determination that at this point seems not single-minded or passionate but strange. His former wife's parents and family are eager to care for her and do care for her, every day. He doesn't have to do a thing. His wife is not kept alive by extraordinary measures--she breathes on her own, is not on a respirator. All she needs to continue existing--and to continue being alive so that life can produce whatever miracle it may produce--is a feeding tube.

It doesn't seem a lot.

So politically this is a struggle between many serious people who really mean it and one, just one, strange-o. And the few bearded and depressed-looking academics he's drawn to his side.

It is not at all in the political interests of senators and congressmen to earn the wrath of the pro-Schiavo group and the gratitude of the anti-Schiavo husband, by doing nothing.

So let me write a sentence I never thought I'd write: Politicians, please, think of yourselves! Move to help Terri Schiavo, and no one will be mad at you, and you'll keep a human being alive. Do nothing and you reap bitterness and help someone die.

This isn't hard, is it?

At the heart of the case at this point is a question: Is Terri Schiavo brain-dead? That is, is remedy, healing, physiologically impossible?
No. Oddly enough anyone who sees the film and tape of her can see that her brain tells her lungs to breathe, that she can open her eyes, that she seems to respond at times and to some degree to her family. She can laugh. (I heard it this morning on the news. It's a childlike chuckle.) In the language of computers she appears not to be a broken hard drive but a computer in deep hibernation. She looks like one of those coma cases that wind up in the news because the patient, for no clear reason, snaps to and returns to life and says, "Is it 1983? Is there still McDonald's? Can I have a burger?"

Again, life is mysterious. Medicine is full of happenings and events that leave brilliant doctors scratching their heads.

But in the end, it comes down to this: Why kill her? What is gained? What is good about it? Ronald Reagan used to say, in the early days of the abortion debate, when people would argue that the fetus may not really be a person, he'd say, "Well, if you come across a paper bag in the gutter and it seems something's in it and you don't know if it's alive, you don't kick it, do you?" No, you don't.

So Congress: don't kick it. Let her live. Hard cases make bad law, but let her live. Precedents can begin to cascade, special pleas can become a flood, but let her live. Because she's human, and you're human.

A final note to the Republican leadership in the House and Senate: You have to pull out all the stops. You have to run over your chairmen if they're being obstructionist for this niggling reason and that. Run over their egos, run past their fatigue. You have to win on this. If you don't, you can't imagine how much you're going to lose. And from people who have faith in you.
Bill Frist and Tom DeLay and Jim Sensenbrenner and Denny Hastert and all the rest would be better off risking looking ridiculous and flying down to Florida, standing outside Terri Schiavo's room and physically restraining the poor harassed staff who may be told soon to remove her feeding tube, than standing by in Washington, helpless and tied in legislative knots, and doing nothing.

Issue whatever subpoena, call whatever witnesses, pass whatever emergency bill, but don't let this woman die.

Peggy Noonan is a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of "A Heart, a Cross, and a Flag" (Wall Street Journal Books/Simon & Schuster), a collection of post-Sept. 11 columns, which you can buy from the OpinionJournal bookstore. Her column appears Thursdays.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Yahoo! News - Are magic mushrooms food?

Yahoo! News - Are magic mushrooms food?

Comments: This is what happens when the government thinks they actually know what's best for us.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Article from the Glass Marbles Blog: Margarine vs. Butter

Borrowed from Gary's GlassMarbles Blog

Margarine vs. Butter
For Nutrition month

This is interesting . . .
Margarine was originally manufactured to fatten turkeys; when it killed the turkeys the people who had put all the money into the research wanted a payback so they put their heads together to figure out what to do with this product to get their money back. It was a white substance with no food appeal so they added the yellow coloring and sold it to people to use inplace of butter. How do you like it? They have come out with some clever new flavorings.

the difference between margarine and butter?

Both have the same amount of calories. Butter is slightly higher in saturated fats at 8 grams compared to 5 grams. Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53% over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study.

Eating butter increases the absorption of many other nutrients in other foods. Butter has many nutritional benefits where margarine has a few only because they are added!

Butter tastes much better than margarine and it can enhance the flavors of other foods.

Butter has been around for centuries where margarine has been around for less than 100 years.

And now, for Margarine...Very high in trans fatty acids. Triple risk of coronary heart disease. Increases total cholesterol and LDL (this is the bad cholesterol) Lowers HDL cholesterol, (the good cholesterol) Increases the risk of cancers by up to five fold. Lowers quality of breast milk. Decreases immune response. Decreases insulin response. And here is the most disturbing fact....Margarine is ONE MOLECULE away from being PLASTIC...

This fact alone was enough to have me avoiding margarine for life and anything else that is hydrogenated (this means hydrogen is added, changingthe molecular structure of the substance).

You can try this yourself: Purchase a tub of margarine and leave it in your garage or shaded area. Within a couple of days you will note a couple of things:

* no flies, noteven those pesky fruit flies will go near it (that should tell you something)

* it does not rot or smell differently because it has nonutritional value, nothing will grow on it even those teeny weenie microorganisms will not a find a home to grow.

Because it is nearly plastic. Would you melt your Tupperware and spread that on your toast?

Another butter vs margine article from Cornell"

Saturday, March 05, 2005

This Month's Movies on the Spiritual Cinema DVD

In a mythical time in a mythical town, a boy, lured by a bright red bicycle, enters a mysterious barber's web, unclear as to the magic that awaits him. What develops is a relationship that fulfills both their destinies. A sweet film about courage, perseverance and the caring of a community. Written by Christopher Dodd. Directed by Michael Greenspan. [20 minutes, in English]

In this beautifully animated story, a little girl and her dog brave a long, blustery night alone in her room in their house on a hill. As the storm rages outside, she begins to look within and asks questions about life, death and everything in between. These youthful queries are the same questions we continue to seek answers to as adults - questions that seem to come to us most clearly when we are alone, waiting out the storms of life. Written & Directed by Michèle Lemieux. [10 minutes, in English]

The death of a close mutual friend threatens the sanctity of the one place on earth where J.T. and Hollis, in their 70's, feel most secure: their favorite fishing hole. A stark confession tests the boundaries of true friendship and a realization sparks the light of hope as they face the consequences of the choices they've made in life. Written by Matthew Porter. Directed by Joe O'Brien & Matthew Porter. [19 minutes, in English]

This feature length documentary is a special Circle presentation in tribute to the people most affected by the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in December 2004. Join Buddhist nun Mai Chee Sansanee, the spiritual leader of Thailand, as we discover her amazing background, her philosophy, her spirit and her belief in the ever-blooming potential of each human on the planet. As part of The Circle community, your membership supports her tsunami relief efforts, which focus on the long-term rehabilitation of survivors and the education and nurturing of Thailand's orphaned children. Directed by Victoria Holt. [72 minutes, in English with some subtitles] INCLUDES AN EXCLUSIVE IN-STUDIO INTERVIEW WITH MAI CHEE SANSANEE, ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL SPIRITUAL LEADERS IN THE WORLD TODAY, AND FILMMAKER VICTORIA HOLT . [19 minutes]

In the first segment of this ongoing video diary, explore the origins of The Circle's premiere original production, Conversations With God. With author Neale Donald Walsch, producer/director Stephen Simon, screenwriter Eric de la Barre, creative consultant Viki King, and cinematographer Joao Fernandes. [7 minutes, in English]

The Spiritual Cinema Circle

More Spiritual Cinema Circle

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Top Ten Phrases in the Blog World This Week is march 1st
2.juvenile death penalty
3.commonly confused words test
4.supreme court ruled tuesday that the constitution forbids the execution
5.age group: o 100% had lower beginner scores
6.advanced level questions correct is a snow day hour delay mars volta
10.monty python's meaning of life

Source: Blog Pulse

Top Ten People in the Blog World This Week

1.Harry Potter
2.Johnny Depp
3.Chris Rock
4.Michael Jackson
5.Jamie Foxx
6.Tom Jones
7.Sherlock Holmes
8.Anne Frank
9.George Orwell
10.Oliver Twist

Source:Blog Pulse

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Some things never change.

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
- Mark Twain

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Eat your veggies - not good enough!

The RealAge Tip of the Day

Generation Gap

Packing as many fruits and veggies as possible into your meals has become more important than ever.
A study has suggested that although present-day agricultural practices yield bountiful crops, the fruits and vegetables produced appear to contain less riboflavin, iron, vitamin C, and other nutrients than they did 50 years ago. Fill any nutrition gaps you may have by increasing your produce intake and including a multivitamin in your diet.

On average, today's produce contains 6 percent less protein and 38 percent less riboflavin than fruits and vegetables grown 50 years ago did. If you're worried about getting your fill of vitamins and nutrients, eat at least 4 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables per day. Strive for diversity in your produce choices by including many different colored items, such as red strawberries and apples; green beans and bell peppers; orange cantaloupe and squash; purple grapes and berries; and white mushrooms and onions. In addition, adding a multivitamin to your daily routine can help ensure you get the RealAge Optimum dose of many important vitamins and minerals.

RealAge Benefit: Eating a diverse diet that includes 5 servings of vegetables per day can make your RealAge as much as 4 years younger.

Bridge the gap with This Delicious Supplement.

Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999. Davis, D. R., Epp, M

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Will CODEX steal your freedom?

I got this in an email from a guy who makes it his business to report on supplements and business issues.

I only pass this on because, YES, I do think the drugs companies want to control this multi-billion dollar industry. As research shows the importance of nutrition in preventing many diseases, the importance of controlling these supplements means big bucks to some companies.

MarketWave Alert #46

If you just care about your health and your right to choose what supplements you use, please read the notice below. I know a lot of these kinds of warnings make their way through cyberspace all the time, and so many of them are overreactions or completely baseless that it's easy to get jaded and ignore them. Please don't ignore this one. This threat is very real. Although there are those who will claim this CODEX bill described here has a very slim chance of ever passing, I would not underestimate the lobbying power of the drug companies.

The massive public response to the FDA's last attempt to regulate dietary supplements is what got the DSHEA act passed in 1994. It's time to let them know once again how you feel about a Megadose of Vitamin C being declared a drug and quadrupling in price. As hard as it might be to believe that this could actually happen, do what I just did and check it out for yourself. It's scary what's going on right now under the radar of tens-of-millions of American consumers.

Please act now. The clock is ticking and time is almost up.

Len Clements
MarketWave, Inc.



Your right to choose your vitamin, mineral and other supplements may end in June of this year (2005).

After that U.S. supplements will be defined and controlled by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The CODEX ALIMENTARIUS (Food Code) is setting the supplement standard in all countries in the WTO. They will be enforced by the WTO and will over ride U.S. laws. The U.S. President and Congress agreed to this take-over when the WTO Treaty was signed. Violations are punished by WTO trade sanctions, CODEX drastically restricts vitamins, minerals, herbs and other supplements. CODEX met secretly in November, 2004 and finalized step 8 (the final stage),to begin implementation in June, 2005.

The CODE includes:

1) No supplement can be sold for preventive or therapeutic use.

2) Any potency higher than RDA (minimal strength) is a drug requiring a prescription and must be produced by drug companies. Over 5000 safe items now in health stores will be banned, terminating health stores as we now know them.

3) CODEX regulations become binding internationally.

4) New supplements are banned unless given very expensive CODEX testing and approval.

CODEX now applies to Norway and Germany, among others, where zinc tablets rose from $4 per bottle to $52. Echinacea (an ancient immune-enhancement herb) rose from $14 to $153 (both examples are now allowed by prescription only). They are now drugs! Vitamin C above 200mg, niacin above 32mg, vitamin B6 above 4mg are banned over-the-counter. No amino acids (arginine, lysine, camitine etc = essential amino acids!), essential fatty acids (omegas 3, 6, 9, etc), or other essential supplements such as DMEA, DHEA, CoQ10, MSM, beta-carotene, etc, are allowed.

The CODEX rules are not based on real science. They are made by a few people meeting in secret not necessarily scientists. In 1993 the FDA and drug corporations tried to put all supplements under restriction and prescription. But over 4 million Americans told Congress and the President to protect their freedom of choice on health supplements. The DSHEA Law was passed in 1994, which does so. But this will be over ruled by CODEX and the World Trade Organization.

Virtually nothing about it has been in the media. What the drug corporations have failed to do through Congress they have gotten by sneak attack through CODEX with the help of a silent media. What can be done at this late hour?

1) Spread the word as much as possible. Please look at these websites, and inform yourselves fully at,, and

2) Oppose bills S.722 and H.R.3377. These support the CODEX restrictions with U.S. laws, changing the DSHEA law.

3) Support H. R. 1146 which would restore the sovereignty of the U.S. Constitution over CODEX.

4) Express your wishes to the President, Senators and Representatives ASAP.

5) Contact health marketing groups that can get their members to inform the government.

I can't wait 'til the future gets here

Here's an interesting article I read today.

COLUMN: I can't wait 'til the future gets here-(Iowa State U.)


10 Feb 2005

(U-WIRE) AMES, Iowa -- Most people think the best the future holds for us is nicer cars and better-smelling shampoo. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We stand on the cusp of a bold new era in the history of our species in which we will see the end of death, disease and sorrow. Although it may not seem like it now, by the time our 30-year reunions roll around, we will be living in a world more alien than most science fiction movies can even touch upon.

Technology has been accelerating since the dawn of our species. As one discovery is made, the doors to other mysteries are unlocked, which in turn unlock more doors in an exponential cascade of technological advancement. It took eons to develop language, millennia to develop writing, centuries until the printing press, decades to reach the computer age, and only a few years for the Internet to go from nonexistent to universally pervasive.

Inventor's Hall of Fame inductee Ray Kurzweil has said the magnitude of the achievements of the 20th century will comfortably fit into the first 20 years of the 21st century. Kurzweil suggests that after that it will take only 14 years for technological progress to double, and it will happen again seven years after that. Eventually, within our lifetimes, we will reach a point of infinite societal, economic and technological acceleration known as the Singularity.

The first and most obvious leap in technology will be in computer science. It is predicted that by 2019, about the time most current college students will be raising families and building careers, a $1,000 computer will have the processing power of the human brain. By 2030, an equally-priced computer will have the processing power of several hundred brains. By 2050, $1,000 will buy more processing power than all the human brains on the planet.

These advancements are going to lead to radical shifts in the socioeconomic framework of our society. The most significant shift will be in automation. Ten years from now, computer technology will be advanced enough to displace massive segments of the population from the workforce. Why would a company want to pay a forklift driver more than $40,000 a year in wages and benefits when a $5,000 computer will do the same job all day long with no breaks for years, only to be replaced by another at one-10th the cost?

Coming on the heels of this automation revolution is the single greatest achievement of our species.

According to anti-aging researcher Aubrey de Grey, in the next decade, we will be adding more than one year to our life expectancies every year, effectively keeping the cold hand of death at bay. She also predicts that we will be able to stop aging in mice in the next 10 years and will have human therapies to stop, even reverse, aging as little as five to 10 years after that. This makes the prospect of clinical immortality (the ability to stop aging and disease) something members of our generation should put considerable effort into.

This will coincide with the nanotech revolution. Nanotechnology allows machines to be constructed at the atomic level. These nanomachines will be able to manipulate individual atoms, much like the enzymes in our own bodies do, but on a much larger scale. Nanotechnology will enable us to convert carbon dioxide from smokestacks into valuable carbon atoms and oxygen molecules and construct buildings, roads, cars or anything else one atom at a time. Carbon nanofiber, already in use in industry, is 100 times lighter than steel. Using such a material, we could effectively construct skyscrapers more than 600 times taller, and as strong as diamonds (a diamond is only carbon), if we used present construction techniques.

Nanotechnology will enable us to build space elevators that extend into the stratosphere, initiating a golden age in modern space travel by launching payloads by means of magnetic rail and at a fraction of the cost of today's standards. In addition, nanorobots are much like biological organisms only they are designed by humans. These nanorobots could be sent ahead of us into space, self-replicating like bacteria, to produce a livable, breathable environment on Mars and Venus.

What I have described does not even scratch the surface of the progress we may witness in the coming decades. These are not the flying car and monorail pipe-dream fantasies of the 1960s, but are predictions based on science that is happening now and will lead us into the golden age of our species.

We may see the end of the world as we know it, perhaps even the end of the universe, provided we play our cards right. We have much to look forward to in the coming centuries and we may be there to experience it with our great-great-great-great grandchildren. The age of death and disease is on the way out. The age of infinite life spans and eternal bliss has yet to begin. We could bear witness to the end of our species and the evolution of our successors. This is our last chance to be human as we dwell in the brief transition between the ages.

It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.