Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Just as it operates in my day-to-day life - as it does in yours - so it operates, on a much wider scale, in most of the industry, and government, and business, and institutions that operate around us.
What drives me crazy is that people seem to be willing to separate themselves from this understanding and simply believe whatever the medical community tells them, as if there is no conflict of interest present at any level within the medical or pharmaceutical communities.
It is as if every player in that arena is presumed to be a "good 'ol Doc Baker" (a favorite from our family's Little House on the Prairie viewings) whose only motivation and ultimate purpose is unquestionably the good of his patients... to the point of working at his own expense. Certainly no one ever presumed (and rightly so) that Doc Baker was "out to make a buck" at the expense of his client; rather, Doc Baker would work for no pay - or for the barter of a chicken or a quilt or a meal of stew. He would make house calls. He was like a member of the family, and there was not a bone in his body inclined toward greed or financial aspiration or dishonest gain.
How and when did we transfer that level of trust to our contemporary society's medical and pharmaceutical establishment? And on what basis do they deserve unquestioning, unflinching devotion and assumption of good will?
I have many good friends who are doctors, and I do believe that they believe they're doing the right thing when they do what they do. Based on what they've been taught, they are most often practicing medicine in the manner they're convinced is the best thing for their patients. So we trust them.
My first foray into not trusting my doctor with absolute carte blanche authority, doing whatever it was he told me to do, came fifteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. But that is another story for another day, if you ever care to hear it. For now, let's just say that I continue to be shocked - weekly - at "just how deep the rabbit hole goes"* in the arena of deliberate deception, conflict of interest, and dissembling - when it comes to medical information in general, but vaccination science and policy in particular.
If you have the stomach to handle "the red pill,"* listen to this interview with CBS investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson. What she continues to uncover regarding medical, pharmaceutical, and governmental conflicts of interest, particularly as relates to H1N1 (swine flu) reporting and recommendation, will likely shock you, especially if you're still very prone to presume good 'ol Doc Baker is looking out for you when he recommends that you get that shot. "Pharmaceutical money is behind many strings that are pulled in Washington government," she notes.
"Let me begin by saying that this was the same kind of stonewalling that I received under the Clinton administration, under the Bush administration, and now under the Obama administration, by CDC, FDA; it's very common..."
Thankfully there are still a few investigative journalists out there willing to stick their noses into things, and then to stick their necks out to report what they find. I think you will find it interesting and enlightening.
(You can find links to the other parts of the interview in the right-hand sidebar at the YouTube site, or you can listen to Part 2 of the interview here. Here are Part 3 and Part 4.)
For more information about this and other investigative reporting that Sharyl Attkisson has done on this subject, see this CBS report containing her interview with Dr. Bernadette Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health and current health editor for US News & World Report.
*The references to "the red pill" and "how deep the rabbit hole goes" are from the 1999 film The Matrix.
Monday, November 23, 2009
So - with all due respect* and acknowledgment that they're doing quite well for composing in a second language - I offer the following amusing Chef's Suggestions:
* Walnut Shrimp...
Jumbo shrimp with cream walnut sauce exquisite flavor, you're never try before.
* General Tso's Chicken...
The most tender morsels of chicken enveloped in an etherealty light blended of special ingredients to import the morest crispness & exquisite flavor.
* Beef with Orange Flavor...
The tender beef breaded & deep fried with imported tangerine peel and enhance by a rich brown sauce.
* Roast Duck (Half)...
The old traditional way to marinated and slow roasted to golden brown.
* Spicy Pepper Shrimp...
Breaded large shrimp deep fried to golden crispy & cooked in special way to coat with hot and spicy powder.
* Jumbo Shrimp Chef's Special...
Jumbo shrimp with vegetable in chef's own sauce.
We were also advised by a large sign near the ice cream: "To avoid sticky, wash spoon every scoop."
And one near our table: "Please bring in church bulletin and received 10% discount."
On the front cover of the travel menu was a map, depicting our location as being near "Eftinghum St." (Effingham St.), "Crowford Porkwoy," (Crawford Parkway), the "Naval Haspital," the "Renuissunce Hotrl," and the "Sport Hall of Fome Museum."
The fellowship over this meal was a delightful end to a delightful evening of watching my youngest daughter EL play handbells in the youth handbell choir that was performing at the Portsmouth Antique Show.
[*This is shared in good humor as good-natured fun. I do not mean to be seriously mocking anyone. I would also like to freely acknowledge how much Chinese that I - the English speaker - could put on a menu in their language: precisely zero words.]
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Apparently it is most often caused either by excessive fatigue from lack of sleep, or by stress and anxiety over a particular event (like an impending public speaking engagement).
As far as I know, the frequent twitching of my left eyelid which I have experienced over the past few days is the result of neither. I have certainly had more exhausted and more stressful times in my life, when no "blepharospasm" was present. I am not experiencing a particularly sleepless or anxious time in my life right now.
Whatever its cause, "Eye Twitching is associated with an abnormal function of the 'basal ganglion' from an unknown cause. The basal ganglion is the part of the brain responsible for controlling the muscles."
So, I'm not sure how I feel about having any sort of "abnormal brain function from an unknown cause," but I do know that the little twitch I've begun to develop a dozen or so times a day in my left eye is driving me crazy.
I guess it is time for "sleep week" in our home, where I go to bed at 9:00 p.m. and see if more sleep will take care of it. But who has time for that! I have overnight Thanksgiving guests arriving on Wednesday, and the late-night visits with out-of-state family members is one of the best parts! "Sleep week" will have to wait.
Does anybody else have any experience with this? I'd love to hear how it resolved itself...
Friday, November 20, 2009
I loved reading again about the history of Thanksgiving. Schoolchildren around the country are told that the Thanksgiving holiday originated as a celebration where the Pilgrims thanked the Indians for their help during the harsh winter. This is a drastically incomplete picture of what truly transpired as both Native Americans and European Americans together thanked God for His goodness to them. May we all remember again the rich heritage of our nation's gratitude to Almighty God for His blessings and provision for us.
Following is the body of the text of their mailing, including the Editor's Note at the end:
David Barton of Wall Builders suggests a few resources to review the true history of Thanksgiving. This scholarly article, "Celebrating Thanksgiving in America,” includes primary sources about the four-century long highlights of the holiday.
Find a number of famous Thanksgiving Proclamations of historic significance listed on this page.
Read a notable Thanksgiving sermon entitled, “Blessed Is the Nation Whose God Is the Lord, and the People Whom He Hath Chosen for His Own Inheritance,” preached by the Reverand Thomas Baldwin of Boston in response to President George Washington's 1795 Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Editor's Note: Unlike modern sermons (which are commonly published or taped weekly), due to high paper and printing costs, only the most popular sermons and preachers were published during this era. Once available as pamphlets, notices appeared in local newspapers announcing the sermon details. The prices were listed, sometimes noting sale prices were less by half “for those distributing them free in the prisons and gaols.” Sermon pamphlets were collected as private devotional reading and individuals who could afford it might have selections bound together into volumes. George Washington was among those who collected them.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The reality that children are being seized from loving, exemplary parents simply because those parents have chosen to educate them at home is appalling. To hear the terrified screams and cries of little 7-year-old Dan Schultz as he is forcibly removed from his bed and home in the middle of the night is shocking... disturbing... sobering...
(I just keep hearing the voice of the little twit in Steven Crowder's video - you know, the one who can't name the Vice-President of the United States - announcing, "I don't like America. I'm from America, but I don't like America. I'm moving to London.")
This idea that to be a "progressive society" means that the State takes over the lives and education of its children - with little or no regard for parental rights - is no longer just a European idea.
Consider the words of the current United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who believes that "the more our schools truly become the centers of the community, centers of family life, the better our children can do." He envisions "pushing innovation, pushing change," where schools are open "twelve, thirteen, fourteen hours a day, six or seven days a week, twelve months a year."
Why? Because, "Our society has changed, and our schools have not really kept pace." He acknowledges - and he's right - that the days of kids coming home from school at 2:30, to a mother at home and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, are largely over. He is correct when he acknowledges that the typical American school child is currently "going home to almost no-parent families." Dad is at work. So is Mom. She has been since he was six-weeks old.
I just missed when we started calling this good. acceptable. ideal.
When did it become the government's responsibility to raise our children for us?
As you evaluate the merits of his plans for American schools (which include things like onsite provision of three meals a day, onsite provision of dental and medical care, and onsite provision of vision care and eyeglasses for students), consider his own track record of success as CEO of Chicago's public schools. Even taking into account a controversial change in testing methodology which experts have claimed "significantly inflated test scores," fewer than half of all Chicago elementary and middle school students met or exceeded state standards during his years of leadership. This means that for all the money he poured into it (an astonishing average of nearly $11,000 per pupil), fewer than one in every two Chicago students can read on grade level. Or write on grade level. Or perform math on grade level. Or demonstrate understanding of science on grade level.
His assessment of the situation? "The money I spent to open our schools longer in Chicago is arguably the best money I spent."
"This needs to be the norm, not the exception," he has said when referencing this proposed near-24-hour-a-day oversight of children, in all areas of life, by schools.
Sounds like he's following the battle plan of Adolf Hitler, who noted, "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'*
*From a speech given by Adolf Hitler in November 1933, quoted in The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I just found out about this, and I think it is very interesting. I remember George Bush's having been criticized for being slow to visit New Orleans following hurricane Katrina. I was so glad to hear about these unpublicized visits by the former first couple to the survivors of the Ft. Hood shootings. Their Texas ranch is about thirty miles from the military facility, and apparently the Bushes arranged to enter and leave the facility secretly to avoid press coverage of their time there.
*From Romans 12:11-15
Monday, November 16, 2009
The true story itself is great. I can't wait to go see it.
Watch the trailer here. Or check out these video thoughts.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
It truly is one of my favorite times of year.
A friend recently asked me about Advent traditions we do, and it got me thinking about it all just a little bit earlier this year. I am approaching the coming Thanksgiving holiday (the "official" commencement of Advent for our family, for all practical purposes) with mounting excitement.
In whatever ways you decide to do it, why not join us and make Advent a special time in your household this year, too?
Please also share your favorite traditions and ideas in the comments section, as I am always open to adding something new that has proven especially meaningful.
Here's to making the Christmas holiday about something more than presents and toys!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Don't get me wrong, I'm not praising this as genius. But I am noting that they did better than 66% of the people Steven Crowder interviewed outside the Kodak Theater in Hollywood, CA.
So it seems that my 11-year old, who mistakenly called her "Peloski" instead of "Pelosi" but did, in fact, know both her first and last names without any prompting, is more knowledgeable than most Americans, 2 out of 3 of whom apparently can't even name the Vice President of the United States, let alone the Speaker of the House. I wonder how many know what the Speaker of the House is... What this position does... Where in the line of succession to the President this position falls...
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Labor and delivery has always been a very special time for me. My husband is home, and his gentle demeanor and special support and total focus on making me comfortable is a wonderful, astonishing thing. You see, labor lasts for several hours. Long hours. For me, the hours move both slowly and quickly, but they blur by in a haze of pain and excitement and anticipation and joy. They are both long and hard, and fleeting. And I know the time must be very long for someone who is outside of the physical experience of it. I'm sure at times it "gets old," just waiting and holding and caressing and having to soothe. For hours. But for me, it has always been a very precious time.
When I was experiencing it nine years ago, in the sweet haven of our bedroom, I did not know it was to be the last time. The last umbilical cord cut. The last placenta examined. The last "first nursing."
How many more "lasts" have there been over these past nine years, totally missed at the time?! At some point I changed her last diaper, not realizing it was the last diaper I'd ever change for one of my own children... I experienced the last time I'd ever breastfeed, without knowing it in the moment... I taught my last child to read without realizing it was a milestone... the last thumb-sucking passed unnoticed... the last time snuggling together on the bed... the last time she still fit, curled up on my lap, and I buried my face in the sweet scent of her hair...
And so, this rainy, windy morning, we abandon all previous plans for the day - thanks to Ida, a severe tropical storm sitting right on top of us - and commemorate little EL... my last baby, who is no longer a baby at all.
How proud I am of who you are, and of who you are becoming, little EL! You are a treasure. You are so earnest, so genuine, so real. You are so passionate, and you feel things so deeply. You are sometimes very defiant and rebellious and naughty, but you are always so sincere in your brokenness and repentance. I can't wait to see what your adult self looks like, after many more years of loving refinement from your Heavenly Father.
Happy birthday, my sweet, sweet EL. I love you more than you could ever know, and I thank the Lord for you on this, your birthday. How sad to realize that I totally missed your last eight-year-old hug... it went unnoticed at the time, and is now lost forever.
Let's live every moment with full knowledge of the wonder and magnificence of it all, okay?! I don't want to miss any of it from just not paying attention...
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
"What are you doing?" she had asked.
"I'm making dinner. Wanna come help?"
And so I had a new young kitchen helper on my hands. (Our previous neighbor girl had also learned to cook, and do fractional math, in our kitchen, but she has since moved away.) And so, it was time once again to bring out the "math plates."
Math plates are a regular part of the schooling in our home because "home economics" is also a regular part of the schooling in our home. (I understand that this is no longer a PC term, but it fits exactly what I'm trying to accomplish, so that's what we call it.) I feel very strongly that I want the children in our family to know how to cook when they leave home. They all need to understand nutrition and healthy eating. They all need to be able to follow a recipe to prepare things from scratch, without dangerous pre-fab ingredients.
But the girls also need to know how to shop frugally, how to plan family meals, how to pull off getting all parts of a meal ready at the same time, etc. Call it sexist, but I do want the girls to be equipped to be doing the bulk of the meal preparation for their families one day because I hope they will choose to be home with their children when they are young. Mom training children = Mom home with them all day = Mom who needs to do most of the shopping/cooking/cleaning = Dad trying to support a family on one income = Mom who needs to know how to resourcefully provide for her family on less-than-average funds. (Hence, home economics.) But I digress...
Math plates. These are nothing more than paper plates (ours happen to have a lovely floral pattern on them, but only because those were the most substantial ones around when I needed to make them). There's a whole plate (a birthday plate, I think) and then there are the "half plates" (three plates, cut in half to make six halves) and the "third plates" (a plate cut into thirds) and the "quarter plates" (a plate cut into fourths). Whenever I am making food in our home and there is a young child around (unfortunately there is a dearth of these in our home these days, but not from lack of trying), I grab them and let them help me.
[A word about this sort of "help" - it is not helpful. It is training. It is fun, but it is work. Do not expect it to pay off as "help" for many more years. But call it help. Kids love to think they're helping; they don't need to know it isn't really helpful but is actually a ton more work taking a ton more time than you would take on your own. This is one of the secrets of mommyhood.]
Usually the math plates come into play in our home when I'm doubling a recipe. With six of us eating, I'm usually at least doubling everything. Sometimes I'll triple or quadruple it, just to jazz up the mental math required of them. Or we'll do something "half whole wheat" so that they have to work with halving as well as doubling.
At any rate, eventually the day will come when you suggest pulling out the math plates to help with some impending recipe conversion, and the child will say, "Mom, may I just do it in my head, please?!" By all means, you will indicate, and you will smile to realize that you have a pre-schooler who is handling complex fractional math computations in her head without batting an eye.
Here's to kitchen math!
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I haven't been willing to post anything yet about the flu vaccine, or the swine flu vaccine, since to take a position against them is seen as almost adversarial, certainly "selfish," and most definitely "stupid." So I haven't taken a public position... not even when a friend dutifully went to get her vaccine, then promptly reported on FB that she had the flu within three days... not when another friend posted on FB about her newly heightened fear of H1N1, prompted by having watched the 60 Minutes special in which a young boy nearly died... not when yet another friend posted on FB that her cousin had died of H1N1, but further inquiry revealed that she actually had had West Nile Virus... not when a friend revealed that the lupus he has suffered crippling debilitation from for many decades presented itself after a swine flu vaccination thirty years ago...
It is a serious topic, and those of us who question the conventional medical "wisdom" of vaccines are slow to make that position known to the masses. Most folks just aren't ready to question everything they've ever heard about inoculation and how beneficial it is... how necessary... how important...
Just know the following facts* before you stand in line for your arm prick: in the areas of the world that have just completed their flu season, H1N1 had proven to be a mild flu that is of little danger to all but the most severely immunocompromised; that 99% of deaths reported as "flu deaths" are actually a result of secondary infections like bacterial pneumonia, which you are more likely to acquire when you submit to the vaccine, as it causes suppressed immune function for several days after administration; that recent studies indicate that those who have had the seasonal flu vaccine (this year, or in years past) are more likely to catch swine flu than those who haven't; that they stopped actually testing for flu strain two months ago, and are simply assuming and announcing that anyone with "flu-like symptoms" has H1N1; and that both the seasonal flu vaccine and the swine flu vaccine contain thimerosol, a mercury preservative.
(If you're contemplating the flue vaccine decision, read this and this, even if you don't watch the videos that start automatically when you click the links.)
*Links to studies and information which substantiate the above statistical claims can be found on this website. I don't want to take time to go back and find them all right now. This post has already been a "saved draft" for over a week now, waiting for me to find time to re-do this research. It isn't happening... you can take the time yourself if it is important to you.
I did find this funny look at this serious issue, however, and I share it here just for fun. It made me laugh.
Monday, November 9, 2009
It is a strange time of year to decide this, heading into the "feasting" holidays, but I figure if I don't do it now, I might have five or ten MORE pounds to worry about come the obligatory solennial "start-on- January -1-but-end-by-January-13-diet" that most Americans (myself included) go on.
*Pamphagous, by the way, is a word I found on Save the Words, a site which makes you aware of words that are falling out use so you can begin to use them again in conversation and correspondence if you think they're worth saving. (All the italicized words are from that site, too. Do you know what they mean?!) Since I am extremely pamphagous most of the time, but would like not to be, I decided to begin to use that word. Literally, it means "omnivorous," but connotatively it means "eating or consuming everything."
Hopefully, I will develop the lubency for running that my husband and sister-in-law demostrated as they trained for the OBX 1/2 Marathon they completed this weekend; the rest of us joined them only in their mandatory pre-run carb-fest. Blech! I need to get home and have a good, cold salad!
So, anyway, I pledge to eat less and work out more, and maybe lose a few pounds in the process. And I'm hoping not to temerate.
You can look up these words, or find some of your own, on Save the Words.org. Just click on "adopt-a-word," then type the word into the box and click "find." The word will appear in a new box to the right... hover over it for a definition and a smarty-pants, potentially politically-loaded sample sentence.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
While the study found a significant increase in all forms of female victimization storylines, they found a 400% increase in the depiction of teen girls as victims; further, they found an 81% increase in incidences of intimate partner violence on television.
The PTC has made a video compilation from a variety of shows, both comic and dramatic, that depict some of this violence. WARNING: It is shocking and disturbing and, in some cases, revolting. If you are usually careful and selective with the types of media entertainment you allow yourself to watch, you likely have not seen anything like this in a long time, if ever. You might not wish to fill your mind with these sorts of images.
On the other hand, if you are a Christian adult, and especially a parent, who regularly watches television programming, perhaps seeing them all together like this will serve as a wake up call as to the seriousness of the issue at hand. These shows are not ones I've watched, but the titles are very familiar to me since they are the "popular" shows of our day... ones that many of my friends and acquaintances have indicated that they watch regularly: C.S.I.; Desperate Housewives; Grey's Anatomy; Criminal Minds; Family Guy; American Dad.
If you are a child (and especially if you are my child), do not watch this video compilation of these clips. It is perverse and ugly stuff.
I am cringing at the idea that many, many American children are regularly watching these kinds of violent depictions. My six-year old neighbor has cable television in her bedroom, and watches whatever she wants to at whatever hour of the day or night. I'm sure she's not alone, as statistics show that many children have televisions in their bedrooms. One study found that nearly 3 out of 4 black (70%) and Hispanic (74%) children between the ages of 2 and 13, and close to 1 in 4 white children (22%) of the same age, have free access to a television in their bedroom. Another found that 41% of five-year olds have their own private bedtime television in their room!
What are they watching?! What are we doing? This study only began to scratch the surface of the garbage we're putting out on the primetime airwaves of every major television network* in America. It did not analyze for depictions of graphic sexual content; it did not keep track of television incidences of profanity. or nudity. or risk behaviors. or self-mutilation. or alcohol abuse. or drug use. or suicide. It did not chronicle television incidences of deviant sexual behaviors like group intercourse, homosexuality, incest, multiple partners, and sexual behavior with near-strangers.
Check out the Family Guide to Prime Time Television, where you can look up any television show and see how it rates on an evaluation of its family-friendly nature with regards to sex, language, and violence. We owe it to ourselves and our children not to let ourselves be "lobsters in the pot of cold water" as the networks turn up the heat!
* Networks included in the study were ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC. Every network but ABC demonstrated a significant increase in the number of storylines that included violence against women between 2004 and 2009. (CW and MyNetworkTV were not included in the study since they did not exist in 2004.)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Writing, blogging... not so much. Don't get me wrong. I am a writer - an avid writer - and getting my thoughts organized into something coherent and lucid is something I highly value. This happens easily when I choose to sit down to write, but when time is short, it gets passed over like a pleasant but unnecessary byway, by simple virtue of the time it takes. I can, and must, gather thoughts and examine motives and petition Deity and facilitate relationship... but when time gets scarce, these are accomplished in a sort of inverted cone of priority, with writing somewhere near the bottom. (Well, not near the real bottom, where things like watching a movie or stealing moments on Facebook reside; and certainly not in the "past the bottom" category of things I simply have no time for, where things like watching television shows reside.) But near the bottom of the cone, at the wider part, you will find a multitude of things I usually try to make time for no matter how busy I get with the dailyness of the "have to," each competing for a share of the fleeting spare moments...
And so, here I sit. I am in the quiet moments before the rest of my family awakens, wishing for a cup of tea wafting delicious hints of spice and sweet into my nostrils from warm hands. But there was no time for that this morning, as I sought to steal a few moments to write.
The narrow parts of the cone... pray, journal, breathe deeply the Scriptures... are musts.
The obligatory business parts of my life... plan and execute the schooling, pay the bills, prepare the meals, wash the clothes... are reluctant "musts" as well.
But the good books, the genuine fellowship, the significant conversation, the fun game together... these each vie for a share of the remaining time. A good cup of tea and a chance to try the hand with the pen stick their noses in there, too...
Life is a mystery; a glorious, fleeting treasure to be revered and cherished and experienced and savored... loveliness, beauty, music, family, creativity, laughter, art...
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things" (Phil. 4:8). My hope and prayer, my delight, is to live life fully through my beloved God and through the people He has given me to love and to serve.
"We can pray." My husband just quietly slipped into the room, whispering those words. And with that, I travel back up the cone, leaving this stolen indulgence of writing...
*Anderson, Neil T. Victory over the Darkness, 2nd Ed. Ventura: Regal Books, 2000.
*Swenson, Richard A, M.D. The Overload Syndrome. Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1998.