Friday Thoughts

Staying young – doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. John Morley, M.D., director of the division of geriatric medicine at Saint Louis University outlines a 10-step program to improve quality of life as we age.

He suggests little changes that involve good eating, such as including dark chocolate in your diet, drinking wine, socializing, adding simple exercises, fidgeting in your office chair to burn calories, spending time walking from your car to the store rather than driving to find a close parking space, working in your garden, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or going dancing once a week. I can fidget, and adding wine, chocolate, and dancing, how can this be bad.

Hate America? – I loved this quip from England about why the world hates Americans. “. . . because they have fridges bigger than most of our flats,” he said. “It’s envy.”

Health care stuff
– A New York Times Jan 2009 study that included 2,807 hospitalized adults found 75% were not able to name even one physician taking care of them and less than half of the 25% of patients who came up with a name got it right. The patients who were able to name one of their physicians also were more likely to be dissatisfied with their care, researchers found.  Could it be because the doc just pops in for five minutes every other day?

Dentists – The Raleigh News & Observer says that North Carolina faces a serious and growing problem of people who can’t afford to see a dentist or can’t find one in their community, health experts say. The state’s growing population is trumping efforts to increase access to dental care, especially in rural areas that generally have fewer dentists.  I think if you divide the number of dentists by the actual numbers of teeth of the NC population, it probably comes out about even with the rest of the country.

Roman Dental Care – Romans imported Portuguese urine (believed to be stronger than their own) to rinse their mouths, to improve the color of their teeth and freshen their breath,. Urine contains several compounds like ammonia and urea that actually kill germs and help fight the gum disease gingivitis. This is one home remedy I will leave for others to try.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

Google does it under water – Google launched a new service last week to allow Internet users to explore the depths of the world’s oceans from the comfort of their homes on dry land. The “Ocean in Google Earth” feature allows users to virtually dive beneath the water surface, explore 3D underwater terrain and browse ocean-related content contributed by marine scientists.

Nearly four years after Google Earth enabled users to zoom in to view streets, and later explore galaxies in the sky, the latest version of the software allows virtual travelers to cross miles of unchartered territory underwater. Ocean in Google Earth was unveiled formally at the San Francisco Academy of Sciences.

Google Earth users can click icons on sea maps to see video of creatures that thrive in those locations and can virtually swim with the sharks, dolphins or turtles.

Clean Garbage – A town in Britain has recently demonstrated its new electric garbage truck that is fueled by the garbage it collects. The waste-powered Ford Transit garbage truck was presented a few weeks ago at Huddersfield town center.

It will collect garbage from 25 newly installed split bins and take it to the Energy from Waste power station and recycling center nearby. The power station burns the garbage to generate electricity, and the truck recharges at a charging post to be ready for the next day’s route.

More Google wiz-bang technology – This scary bit of news recently hit the web. Google unveiled an upgrade to Google Maps that allows people to track the exact location of friends, foes, or family through their mobile devices or laptops. Google Latitude not only shows the location, but it can also be used to contact them via SMS, Google Talk, or Gmail. A beta version of Google Latitude has been around for about a year and there are others, but Google is the biggie to bring it to the masses.

You can do things like find where your spouse is stuck in traffic or what bar your friend is at, or where the kids really go when they are out at night. Businesses can watch employees, anywhere in the world.  The good news is that it is opt-in for now, but I can see company paid-for phones not offering a choice. I can also see where it might be good for law enforcement and military use. This one was overlooked by George Orwell, but could be more devastating than anything he ever thought of, if used wrong.

“Be courageous. I have seen many depressions in business. Always America has emerged from these stronger and more prosperous. Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith! Go forward!” Thomas A. Edison

China is the world’s largest cigarette producer, with a growing market of about 320 million (we have only 305 million people in the US). Chinese cigarettes are also among the cheapest in the world — a pack can cost as little as 8 US cents.

China has 1.3 billion population and that is a bit over 20% of the world’s population. India’s population is 1.1 billion, a bit over 1/6th of the world population, and is younger and growing faster than China.
Here we are the most prosperous nation on earth with our measly 320 million. Kind of gives a perspective that we might be doing something right. Except, maybe we should elect the illegal aliens for Congress. It will give them jobs, take them off of welfare, reduce the number of criminals in Washington, and they might even get something done.

Cheers tidbit – Jay Thomas, who played Eddie LeBec on Cheers, was also a radio DJ in LA. He answered a call on the air one morning asking him, “What’s it like working on Cheers?” Thomas made several unflattering remarks about Rhea Perlman and having to kiss her. Rhea happened to be listening to his show. A few weeks later, on Cheers, Eddie LeBec was killed in a bizarre Zamboni accident. We knew she was tough.

Did you know that Spam was created in 1937 and originally called Hormel Spiced Ham. People seem to take sides where they love it or hate it, but more love it than don’t. It has a worldwide following and is especially enjoyed in Japan. South Koreans give it out as gifts. Hawaiians love it so much, they consume over seven million cans a year.

If you go to Hawaii (the only state that grows coffee), look for Spam on the McDonald’s breakfast menu – true, and if you are ever up in Austin, Minnesota, stop by the plant and check out the Spam museum.

There is hickory-smoked Spam, hot and spicy Spam, garlic Spam, and, for Dieters, “light” Spam. There is also a collector’s edition Spam Golden Honey Grail as shown above. Is Hormel trying to outdo Monty Python?

Holy Cow, how about a drink with that Spam – True, a new soft drink made from cow’s urine, often seen as sacred in parts of India is about to be launched. Many Hindus consider cow urine to have medicinal properties and it is often drunk in religious festivals. The bovine beverage is undergoing laboratory tests for the next 2 to 3 months with commercial release sometime after that.

The flavor is not yet known, but the liquid produced by the holy cows is being mixed with products such as aloe vera and gooseberry to fight diseases such as diabetes and cancer. “Cow urine offers a cure for around 70 to 80 incurable diseases like diabetes. All are curable by cow urine,” Om Prakash, the head of the RSS Cow Protection Department, said.

No name or a price for the drink has been announced yet. A few names come to mind, but I’ll let you fill in the blanks. Do the Romans and Indians know something we don’t?

Hope – It didn’t take long to find out there is little Hope for Change in Washington. Maybe it’s time to Change your Hope.

Spring Gardening Tip – When weeding the garden, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it was a valuable plant.


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