Archive for illness

Hit Me With Your Best Shot - on ice, please, and lots of ice


Vertical dunking on the rocks? Genius.

The trend moving to all corners of the country (and overseas), of getting dunked and with a very large bucket of ice water (hope they at least add a lime wedge) is full-blown viral.

Even Grandma Ethel Kennedy  took it like a sailor. AND she also challenged President Obama.

Still giving back, Dame Ethel.


The viral trend has drawn celebrities, athletes, and politicians, including the Kennedys, to participate in the #IceBucketChallenge. And they spared no one — after thirty or so members of the Kennedy family poured freezing water over their heads, they nominated "Grandma Ethel," one of the eldest in the family, to follow suit. She did — but not before she named President Obama to be next.

Next, QEII? Bet she'd still have her ubiquitous purse. Doncha' sometimes wildly wonderwhat the Queen has in her trademark hand bag? 

Morning Schmoe got frisky for a few moments on messnbc.


GO Maddow!

Then the Roundtable of The Morning Ick:



For the record, ALS is Lou Gehrig’s Disease. It’s a disease of the nerve cells in both the brain and the spinal chord that control voluntary muscle movement. Over time, it weakens your muscles and your ability to voluntarily control your muscles, killing you. ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Here is the website to donate to the ALS Association: And here is another website, made by the family of Peter Frates who was recently diagnosed with ALS; they are heavy proponents of “striking out ALS” and the ice bucket challenge:


Here's the history, ably summarized by The Verge.

Everyone you've seen is participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge involves daring a person to dump a bucket of ice water over their head within the next 24 hours, or else donate money — usually $100 — toward fighting ALS. Even if a person completes the challenge, they're more than welcome to donate money too.

Once a person completes the challenge, they're also supposed to dare several other people — usually three — to participate, which is why the challenge has been growing and growing.


Photo courtesy of


This Hawaiian footage of flash-mob dumps/observers, below, is priceless.

Jimmy Fallon outdid himself - video below.

Now that's funny right there, no matter how you judge the cause.





Does Speaker Boehner Really Hate The Pope?


Pope Francis

C'mon, you must be thinking, John Boehner's a Catholic. How could he hate Pope Francis? Even agnostic Bill Maher applauds the Pontiff from time to time. If you want to make of list of popular popes, you'd have to put Francis up there near or at the top.

So why then is Christian Republican Speaker John Boehner taking a stand against the pope? Why is he persecuting the Holy See?

There's a piece of legislation stuck in the House, bi-partisan in its origin, that simply congratulates Pope Francis on his March 2013 election and recognizes “his inspirational statements and actions.” There shouldn't really be any hesitation in passing this, should there? According to The Hill, all that's holding it up for the past 15 months is the "white smoke" of agreement by Speaker Boehner. He's not giving it.

Hmm. Something wrong with the leader of the Catholic church, Mr. Boehner?

The answer to that should be read as "yes." But to the Speaker's defense, he's not alone. It seems the entire Republican party, yes the GOP has a cross up their collective white asses when it comes to Pope Francis. You see, the Pope's teachings and the GOP's are diametrically opposed. In short, the Republicans are heathens.

Only 19 of the 221 co-sponsors are Republicans. The dearth of GOP members on the measure could be attributable to assertions that the pope is “too liberal,” according to a Republican backer of the legislation.

On the issue of the Pope being too liberal, the Vatican leader speaking from the teaching of the New and Old Testament, has come out in favor of redistribution of wealth, he's against "trickle down economics," for compassionate handling of the child refugees at our borders, aid to the poor, health care for all, and he's indicated an openness to civil unions.

Sorry GOP. Those stands aren't being liberal. They're being "Christian." And take that from a Jew. Oh, not me or Francis, I'm talking Christ.

Keep in mind, the GOP is the party of no Jews in the House -- with Cantor being voted out. Is that a coincidence, or has the party shown it's tendencies to be exclusive -- or should I say, anti-Semitic.

God will forgive Boehner, I'm sure. But He'll also expect some changes in order to allow Johnny-Boy through the Pearly White Gates. The first of those is contrition, followed closely by some bi-partisan legislating. There's still a chance for the Ohio congressman. I'm not so sure though for the Republican Party. Their destruction of the  ticking time bomb of the Tea Party may be too late to reverse.


NYT's Maureen Dowd OD's On Marijuana And Blames The Candy


cannabs edibles maureen dowd

There's nothing like trying something before writing about it. And that's what New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd did recently -- and not without some lingering effects. For an article she was writing on Colorado's legal marijuana culture, she decided to try some of the "edibles" which contain cannabis. So far so good.

So, she bought a caramel-chocolate flavored candy bar which she said looked so innocent, like the Sky Bars she used to love as a kid. After she took one bite, then another, she didn't notice anything happening. Perhaps she was disappointed but for whatever reason, she decided in her impatience to gobble down the rest of the bar.

She waited, and then it happened. The effects began. In her NYT article, she writes:

But then I felt a scary shudder go through my body and brain. I barely made it from the desk to the bed, where I lay curled up in a hallucinatory state for the next eight hours. I was thirsty but couldn’t move to get water. Or even turn off the lights. I was panting and paranoid, sure that when the room-service waiter knocked and I didn’t answer, he’d call the police and have me arrested for being unable to handle my candy.

Based on that experience, she's come to some conclusions. The biggest one being that the entire marijuana industry was set up for potheads, people who smoked frequently. This nascent business has to educate new or first time users prior to selling them the edible goods so people will know what to expect to feel.

That's not a bad idea. But her article goes on to condemn and point out the dangers of legalization, even trying to equate her unfortunate experience with people jumping off buildings and kids eating marijuana-laced goodies and ending up with irreparable harm. These are possible, but not probable. And the reason is, she OD'd because she lacked common sense.

The next day, a medical consultant at an edibles plant where I was conducting an interview mentioned that candy bars like that are supposed to be cut into 16 pieces for novices; but that recommendation hadn’t been on the label.

So in essence, she took 16 times the amount she should have taken. No wonder she got herself into a bit of a problem. If she had bought a fifth of scotch and drunk the whole thing, she would have gotten sick or drunk or both on that too. There's no suggested servings printed on a bottle of booze. So I find it a bit disingenuous that she faults the experience on her naivete. She's been around. She knows you don't go from one bite to the whole bar, just as you don't go from one shot glass of Glenlivet to the whole bottle.

Her suggestion that if this had been alcohol, she'd have known better doesn't really hold water. She claims in her article that people know you have to be careful in how much you drink, when only an idiot or the most simpleminded would think that taking too much of a marijuana laced edible wouldn't lead to some ill effects.

But that said, I do think the public has been so scared by lies and innuendos--the Reefer Madness syndrome--that more education of the public might not be such a bad thing. But Dowd's reckless accusations that it was the lack of full labeling or the implication that she needed more knowledge to safely ingest is a disservice to an industry. If she was new to this kind of purchase, why didn't she ask when she bought the candy bar how much she should take to feel some effects? The next day when she asked, she was told. A bad assumption on her part made an ass of her, not a better investigative columnist.


Oil spills send fish hearts into cardiac arrest



Who knew fish could have heart troubles? Then again, they're living beings with beating hearts. It's just that it never occurred to me to think about the little (and big) scaly guys in quite those terms. I should have, it's not like I never write about BP, Big Oil, and pollution, right? P.S. At this point, those words are all synonymous.

And they're also lethal.

In my morning Los Angeles Times, I came across a story about fish going into cardiac arrest because of the effects of the BP disaster... a story hidden on page A12. Of course, poisoning our waters is not only a health issue, it's also an economic one, and the two issues merge into one big fat mess.

Take it away, L.A. Times:

In studying the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill on bluefin tuna spawning in the Gulf of Mexico, the research team discovered that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, block “signaling pathways” that allow potassium and calcium ions to flow in and out of cardiac cell membranes and sustain normal heart rates. [...]

Their study also suggests that PAH cardiotoxicity was potentially a common form of injury among a broad range of species in the vicinity of the oil spilled into one of the most productive ocean ecosystems in the world.

Previously, cancer was the concern when it came to the toxicity of PAH. Now this. By the way, PAHs are found in coal tar (see how "clean" coal is?), air pollution, urban runoff, and creosote:

Creosote is the portion of chemical products obtained by the distillation of a tar that remains heavier than water, notably useful for its anti-septic and preservative properties.[1] It is produced in some quantities from the burning of wood and coal in blast furnaces and fireplaces; commonly found inside chimney flues when the wood or coal burns incompletely, producing soot and tarry smoke, and is the compound responsible for the preservation and the flavor of meat in the process of smoking. ... The two main types in industrial production are wood-tar creosote and coal-tar creosote. The coal-tar variety, having stronger and more toxic properties..

Study leader Barbara Block is a professor of marine sciences at Stanford. Here's what she had to say:

This raises the possibility that exposure to environmental PAHs in many animals -- including humans -- could lead to cardiac arrhythmias and bradycardia, or slowing of the heart."

Now about that dirty, filthy, disaster-in-waiting, Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline that affects more people than it does fish...