Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wagging tail amidst the rubble.... 

Got this from the Life with Dogs page on Facebook. The photos are heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Be sure to watch the video:

Man Reunited with Dog after Deadly Tornado Outbreak

Coco looks happy too. You can rebuild a house, but your dog is one of a kind.

Oh, (expletive deleted)! 

Got this link from a former English professor of mine who is now a Facebook friend. This has crossed the line from political correctness to insanity:

New York city schools want to ban 'loaded words' from tests

Well, speaking of loaded words, how about eliminating tests? Surely there are students that find them offensive too. Yikes.

No wonder my brain feels sluggish.... 

Another interesting study reported on National Institute of Health's website. This came out a little over a year ago:

Cerebral blood flow is reduced in chronic fatigue syndrome as assessed by arterial spin labeling.

I don't know a lot about brain function, in part because of my own dysfunction, but wouldn't sluggish blood flow in the brain equate to sluggishness in thinking and functioning elsewhere in the body? I am curious what future studies will find.

No, I am NOT just tired and/or depressed! 

This has been sitting in my e-mail box for over a year, but it is an important article for those with CFIDS/ME. Courtesy originally of the National Institutes of Health:

Cognitive deficits in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome compared to those with major depressive disorder and healthy controls.

I sure wish I could take the results of this study and show it to all the doctors who blamed my brain fog on being sad or fatigued, even when I was neither (okay, so I am always at least slightly fatigued, but you get the general idea). I hope that over time more studies are done that legitimize this overwhelming ailment.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Yet another disease associated with celiac.... 

Got this from the Celiac.com newsletter. I found it quite interesting:

Active Scleroderma Common in Celiac Disease

I would like to take a moment to mention that I am going to try to sort through at least a few of the literally hundreds of articles that have piled up in my e-mail box that I had intended to read and post. This one was from October 2010. Facebook is switching to a new format next week and this blog will have a new format next month. Due to my cognitive dysfunction, I have a terrible track record with learning how to use new stuff (I still use the WYSIWYG editor that existed when I started this blog). So I figure it might not hurt to post several things now while I still know how.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rave for the Day for March 29, 2012: 

Got this in an e-mail today from Joan. Now, only the opening quote is actually attributable to Warren Buffet, but I agree with ideas presented here:

Warren Buffet, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling:

"I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971 - before computers, e-mail, cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took one (1) year or less to become the law of the land - all because of public pressure.

This is one idea that really should be passed around.

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure/No Pension. A Congressman/woman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they're out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security. All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen/women are void effective 1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen/women. Congress made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

Don't you think it's time?


Great title! 

Found this in yesterday's CFIDS/ME newsletter. VERY well-written article on cognitive dysfunction:

I Can't Brain Today: I've Got the Dumb

There is some great advice to follow here. One thing I've had to start doing is reciting aloud what I am doing while I'm doing it so I don't forget. Hence, I am often babbling to myself in public, which is rather embarrassing, but sometimes it's the only way I can get from Task A to Task B.

A first-hand account of the devastation of brain fog.... 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why I can't walk and chew gum at the same time.... 

Got this yesterday in the CFIDS newsletter. I haven't seen an article on this topic before:

Multi-tasking Challenge

I can usually remember up to three things at the same time, but beyond that, it gets pretty murky or even impossible. I would definitely fail that grocery store test. In fact, I have given up on shopping in person altogether. I have a pre-printed grocery checklist in a basket on the kitchen counter top and mark each item as I run out of it. Then Dan goes to the store and buys what I've checked off.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

National exposure for lupus, and the Spoon Lady.... 

Got this in an e-mail today. The web mistress of But You Don't Look Sick on a national talk show:

Christine Miserandino will be on “The Revolution” Wednesday 3-28 with Toni Braxton talking about Lupus

Speaking of national exposure, Dr. Oz did a piece on fibromyalgia recently. Like all his segments, it was much too brief to fully impress the impact of the ailment, but it's better than no coverage at all. And he was wise enough to include the brain scan evidence, even though that has been around for awhile.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor.... 

Movie Review: "The Hunger Games"

One of the most anticipated films of 2012 that is not a sequel has reached theatres. "The Hunger Games", based on the novel by Suzanne Collins (she also contributed to the screenplay), is a disturbing yet riveting look at a future that one would hope could never happen. It gives us a very plausible and unforgettable heroine upon which the story centers, portrayed by Academy Award nominee Jennifer Lawrence. Warning: for those who have not read the book, some of the following could be considered mild spoilers.

The premise here is that following a devastating war in North America, a new nation called Panem emerges. It is comprised of a prosperous Capitol and 12 outlying districts which are teeming with poverty and starvation. To remind the districts who is in charge, the Capitol requires that every year, two teenagers are selected from each district to engage in a televised fight to the death known as the Hunger Games. The prize for the winner, apart from survival, is that his or her district will be assured of enough food, at least until the next competition.

In the 12th and poorest district, where everything is grey as though it was covered in coal dust from the mining that is their primary industry, a 16-year-old girl named Katniss Everdeen, with the help of a boy named Gale, has been illegally hunting wildlife out of bounds to keep her mother and little sister, Prim, from starving. When Prim's name is drawn to participate in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to go in her place even though it will likely result in her demise. The other contestant from District 12 is Peeta Mellark, the baker's son with whom Katniss is acquainted.

All too soon, the two teens are whisked away to be groomed, glamorized and marketed for the delight of viewers and potential sponsors. When Katniss and Peeta arrive in the Capitol, the crowd that greets the train is so outrageously and colorfully attired and coifed that it reminded me of Cirque de Soleil. Katniss is assigned a stylist named Cinna, played by Lenny Kravitz. She is also supposed to be mentored by a previous Hunger Games winner from her district, Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), but this proves problematic as the man is drunk most of the time. Keeping things organized is Effie Trinket, played by an almost unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks in Capitol-style makeup.

The competitors, known as tributes, are allowed four days for training, and they make two public appearance prior to the start of the Games. In the first, the opening ceremony, each district's pair of tributes parade by in a chariot in front of the president and throngs of cheering Capitol residents. It brings to mind ancient Rome, where atrocities were committed in the Coliseum for the amusement of the rich. For the interview portion, a slick blue-haired host, played by Stanley Tucci, asks each tribute questions, like in a beauty pageant. The irony is, of course, that these particular interviewees will soon be thrown into an arena where they must kill or be killed.

One thing I appreciate about the film is that they did kept the character of Katniss believable. So many movies turn a female protagonist into a super hero or objectify her. But here, when the countdown begins and Katniss prepares to be released into the arena, she is shaking from head to toe as one would expect of a scared 16-year-old girl.

I dislike films where violence is stylized and excessive to the point where the audience actually begins to cheer when someone dies. Here, what you do see is realistic and meant to shock and disgust, reminding you that these are children forced into a situation they did not create. When I saw this movie in a theatre with mostly teenaged viewers, during the brutal opening minutes of the Games, you could have heard a pin drop.

A potential problem with transforming a novel written in first person into a movie is whether to indicate the point of view of anyone else. In this case, the screenwriters wisely avoided having Katniss as a narrator and instead delve into goings-on that she either doesn't know about or could only guess at. Thus, we get to see smiling commentators doing a sickening play-by-play of the action in the arena, the orchestrations of the Gamemakers as they manipulate the fates of the tributes, and the reactions of the citizens of a poor outlying district after their tribute falls.

One thing with which I was not quite satisfied was the portrayal of Peeta's feelings for Katniss. In the book, one is never completely sure if he is using this as a strategy to gain the viewers' sympathy or if he is sincere. In the movie, Peeta is more straightforwardly lovesick. But either way, Katniss has been so focused on survival all her life that she is unaware of her own attractiveness and hasn't really considered romantic relationships, so she is caught quite by surprise by Peeta's declarations.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is excellent. She did many of the stunts herself, and she was trained how to properly handle a bow and arrow. But she is also an adept actress, navigating the complex terrain between being tough and terrified.

The PG-13 rating for "The Hunger Games" is appropriate. Although the book is considered youth fiction, the movie will likely appeal to adults as well. In fact, grown-ups might more readily appreciate the parallels between the post-war future that is shown and our present-day society.

You do not need to have read the book to understand the movie, and if you have read the book, the movie has quite a lot to offer. Even though I knew the plot well and had some idea of what was coming, there were still moments that made me gasp with surprise.

The fight sequences in "The Hunger Games" are rather rapidly cut and might be dizzying to those with motion sickness or cognitive dysfunction. But the rest of the film is easy to follow and impressively atmospheric. None of the book's major plot points were left out, although there was some compression for time.

"The Hunger Games" is a bit dark, but it is quite compelling. And one might say that those who do not learn from this possible future might be doomed to repeat it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Penguin TV! 

I love this! 24 hour cameras on the penguin exhibit at Sea World.

Live video from your Android device on Ustream

Life amongst the penguins.... 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I can only hope my own funeral will be like this, heh heh.... 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Don't tell me! 

Do you need to itemize the cost of your gluten-free food? 

Caught this article in today's edition of the Celiac.com newsletter. Read on to see whether it would be worthwhile for you to track your gluten-free food expenses:

The Celiac Tax Deduction: What's New?

The most disturbing fact I learned is that the medical deduction is changing in 2013. Now you won't be able to deduct medical expenses unless they exceed TEN PERCENT of your income! Now I will probably end up owing the government instead of coming out even. That's crazy for someone dependent on Social Security and Medicare.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, March 7, 2012: 

"Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty and wisdom will come to you that way."

- Christopher Hitchens

Monday, March 05, 2012

Poor frog! 

A new electronic hazard, heh heh....

Inspiration for the Day, March 5, 2012: 

"When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."

~GK Chesterton

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, March 4, 2012: 

"Give and it will be given you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over,
will be put into your lap,
for the measure you give will be the measure you get back."

- Luke 6:38

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Would YOU survive a future like this? 

Book Review: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

Have you read "The Hunger Games" yet? If not, there's still time before the highly anticipated movie version hits the theatres March 23rd. Some of my friends polished off the entire book in a single day. While it took me considerably longer to read it due to my cognitive dysfunction, I must say the story is compelling enough for me to understand why they did so.

"The Hunger Games" is the first volume of a trilogy. Even though it is classified as young adult fiction because the protagonist is a teenager, readers of all ages can appreciate this because it is so well written. Suzanne Collins knows how to keep a reader engaged so that you find yourself hanging on every word, excited about finding out what happens next.

The story is set in the future, in what remains of the United States. The nation is divided into 12 mostly poverty-stricken districts serving a glamorous capitol. As a display of power, every year the capitol requires two teenagers from each district to compete in a live televised fight to the death called the Hunger Games. It's like a barbaric cross between "Survivor" and the Olympics. The prize for the winner is that their entire district will be given enough food so than none will starve, at least until the next competition.

Contestants for the Hunger Games are drawn at random, one girl and one boy for each district. When 12-year-old Prim is chosen, her sister, 16-year-old Katniss, volunteers to serve in her place. They live in the very poorest district, where Katniss has been keeping her family barely fed by means of illegal hunting and trading. But now the only way she can ensure the survival of her sister and widowed mother is to outlive the other 23 contestants, some of whom have been professionally trained for the games.

Katniss is whisked away to the capitol, where she is glammed up and made enticing for the television viewers, much like one of today's reality stars. She is on camera much of the time and must perform to attract sponsors who will provide items that will increase her odds of survival during the games. She must be likable enough for the masses yet intimidating to the other teens in the competition.

The setting for the games is a mystery and changes every year. In addition, should there be a lull in the action, the capitol can choose to make things more exciting for the viewers by unleashing a natural disaster or dangerous creature into the mix. Once the games begin, Katniss must rely on instinct, her relationship with the other teens and sheer luck. Will it be enough?

"The Hunger Games" is a real nail biter, with a cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter. There are more twists in the story than a corkscrew. I found it utterly fascinating and admired the skill of the writing.

So if you're in the mood for a good but unusual story, see what all the fuss has been about and grab a copy of "The Hunger Games". You might find yourself zipping through it in record time.

Inspiration for the Day, March 3, 2012: 

This was the blessing at my church awhile back....

Love is our doctrine,
the quest for truth is our sacrament,
and service is our prayer.

To dwell together in peace,
to seek knowledge in freedom,
to serve life to the end that all souls shall grow into harmony with the divine,
thus do we covenant with each other and with all.

Go in peace.


Friday, March 02, 2012

But you don't look sick-like.... 

Interesting article from But You Don't Look Sick. Apparently, another celebrity has a vague chronic illness:

Nick Cannon announces he has a “lupus-like” condition and we wish him our best, but what exactly does “lupus-like” mean?

I, too, have a "lupus-like" condition. It is called primary Sjogren's syndrome. Perhaps celebrities don't come right out and say what they have because they don't want the press to freak out the public? Or maybe their doctors don't have a firm diagnosis yet. But if that were the case, why can't they just say so?

Inspiration for the Day, March 2, 2012: 

From the call to worship at my church last month....

The heart of God, how could we name it?

In songs of praise, in psalms of joy, in stories of grace, in waving forests and fields of grass, and flowers beside the road, in a hand stretched out on a city street and everlasting sweeps of mountain grandeur.

The heart of God, how could we name it?

In the tender softness of the face of a new child and the wrinkles of life on the hand of the old, in a hidden kindness of a homely neighbor and the public costly love of the martyrs for the people.

In the heart of God lies all good and truth.

The heart of God is beyond our naming.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Inspiration for the Day, March 1, 2012: 

A Litany of Commitment

Creator and Creating God, we bear your likeness in our souls and in our bodies, having been created in your image.

What a wondrous world with wondrous peoples!

We enjoy being together - to celebrate, to compete in good spirit, and to cheer on our favorite teams.

But, dear God, keep us vigilant as well to things that happen away from the main event.

We pray for our sisters and brothers who are trapped by those who would use them for commercial gain.

We pray that we will have the courage to transform a culture that tolerates degrading and abusive behavior.

We pray for justice for all of God's children, each one of whom bears divine likeness in soul and body. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

- Reverend Loey Powell

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?