January 30, 2010


"I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues."

"A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind."

"Take your life in your own hands and what happens? A terrible thing: no one to blame."

January 28, 2010


1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.  
2. Money will buy a fine dog, but only kindness will make him wag his tail.
3. If you don't have a sense of humor, you probably don't have any sense at all.
4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.
6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night?
7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without.
8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
9. Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job.
10. No one has more driving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car.
11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. It could be a right number.
13. Think about this ... No one ever says "It's only a game" when his team is winning.
14. I've reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
15. Be careful reading the fine print. There's no way you're going to like it.
16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket.
17. Do you realize that in about 40 years, we'll have thousands of OLD LADIES running around with tattoos? (And RAP music will be the Golden Oldies!)
18. Money can't buy happiness -- but somehow it's more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo.
19. After a certain age, if you don't wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.


January 26, 2010


I wanted to add a little culture to my life and an artwalk through an old Mexican town complete with samples of wine and tequila sounded like just the right combination. The tour company offered a guided visit to San Jose del Cabo a few miles up the coast of the Sea of Cortez from where we were staying and after a few moments to charge my credit card, it was set. Rico picked us up at the front entrance of our hotel and informed us that we were the only participants tonight. We didn't hop, so much as climbed into the back seat of the silver Hummer and were introduced to the driver and started on our way. It was 4:00, the sun was still shining and our guide was talkative. He was 71 years old and an amateur historian which gave credence to some of the information he shared on our 20 minute ride. We learned about pirates, whaling (he was researching a book on the subject - another writer!), the Canadian enclave, timeshares, dessert conditions, water and agriculture along with why the animals have adapted to local conditions and are smaller on the California peninsula.
We arrived at our first gallery and were greeted by the owner who knew our guide and we all enjoyed a shot of tequila - a nice way to start the evening. I'm not a fan of the bright primary colours used in tropically inspired art but I did enjoy the various examples of pottery and carvings if not the paintings. The gallery owner was very polite and informative and had been a lifelong resident in Cabo. I got the impression that he enjoyed my attempts to speak Spanish. We made our way through a dozen or more galleries including some very high priced offerings for the wealthy property owners in the area. I was surprised at the number of ex pats who worked in the area.  We had started about 5 PM and enjoyed several liquid offerings from the retailers but all the walking and humidity kept any Cabo wobble symptoms at bay. By 7:00 it was time to enjoy dinner at La Panga Antigua near the cathedral but still on the main art walk. An old building that has been restored with intimate tables set indoors and out, they lived up to their billing as one of the area's better restaurants. We had a "special" coffee after dinner and invited our guide, Rico to join us, whereupon he continued to regale us with stories about his family and experiences in America, Hawaii and Mexico. The obligatory pictures were snapped, a short tour of the building itself and appropriate tip left behind and we walked down the street to a jewelry store we had spied earlier. A few gifts for the girls at home and we were ready to climb back in the Hummer for the return trip. A pleasant ride with pleasant company, surroundings and locals. It is an easy decision to recommend San Jose del Cabo on a Thursday night - I wish I was going this Thursday.

January 25, 2010


Here's a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus".

It is offered by an English professor from the University of Colorado as an actual class assignment:

A Creative Writing professor told his class one day: "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Every  person will be paired with a classmate.

As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send a copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add a second paragraph to the story, which will then be sent back to the partner, with a copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on, back-and-forth.

Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students:

Rebecca (PINK)
Bill (BLUE).

(first paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(second paragraph by Bill )
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. " Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously  excited her and bored her. She stared out the window,  dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

( Bill )
Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam , felt the inconceivably massive explosion,  which vaporized even poor, stupid Laurie.

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

( Bill )
Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. " Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of F--KING TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air headed bimbo. I guess I've read too many Danielle Steele novels!"


( Bill )


( Bill )
In your dreams, Ho. Go drink some tea.

A+ - I really liked this one.

January 24, 2010


"To believe in God or a guiding force because someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. We are given senses to receive our information with. With our own eyes we see, and with our skin we feel. With our intelligence, it is intended that we understand. But each person must puzzle it out for himself or herself."

Sophy Burnham
reprinted from "THE ARTIST'S WAY" by Julia Cameron

January 21, 2010


Gord's journey with Alzheimer's disease

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Gord’s Story
“I could do this before,” I said to myself as I looked down at my Blackberry.

My name is Gord - I’m 59 years old and I’m living with Alzheimer’s disease. This is my story.
I spent most of my career in the competitive cargo shipping industry. In my early 50s I found myself increasingly anxious about things that did not bother me before and found it difficult to cope with the stress, the complexity and the fast-pace. I started taking anxiety medication to help calmed me down, but I didn’t improve.
Thinking it was excessive stress, my wife Brenda and I moved to a small town to adopt a slower pace. As part of our new life we bought a coffee shop. While running the shop my anxiety continued and even heightened – I had trouble with orders and cash deposits and generally coping with the demands of life. In my confusion, I began to lose my confidence.
I questioned myself and knew I wasn’t fine.
We turned to a psychologist for help. After a thorough assessment, he told me “you’ve either been hit over the head with a blunt object or you have serious dementia.” I took this finding back to my doctor and after more tests I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
Brenda and I were shocked. I was only 57 years old. Our first reactions were fear and sadness then anger and disbelief. Anger at how our lives and dreams were to change and disbelief that this could happen at our age – we’re too young -- so we thought.
We went to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary for guidance and learned from a recent study that Alzheimer's disease is the second most feared disease among Canadians over the age of 45.
We also learned that dementia is an urgent community issue and realized that your donations ensure that people within Calgary and surrounding area continue to be educated, supported, and aware of their choices.
Did you know in Calgary there are 12,000 people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia? For each of these people there are 10-12 others who are impacted.
This is a fast growing issue with the possibility of 50 per cent more Canadians and their families facing Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia in just five years.
After battling anger and disbelief for about a year, Brenda and I are at a point now where we realize we have a role to play in helping people in similar situations. Part of this role is to help overcome the fear and stigma people have with the disease by encouraging people to live in truth.
I accept that I have Alzheimer’s disease – so do Brenda and our daughters. And we are determined to make a difference. We learned the worst thing you can do is live in fear. And the key to overcoming that fear is knowledge.
The Alzheimer Society of Calgary works with people like me, Brenda, and our family. The Society has programs for people who have Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia; they support their families, their caregivers, and many groups within the community. In doing so, they provide a number of educational workshops, family consultations, support groups, and adult day support programs.
There are going to be millions of people like as we baby boomers age and it is vital to have services like those of the Alzheimer Society of Calgary in place. To sustain quality dementia care programs, the Alzheimer Society of Calgary needs your support. Please donate today.
My family and I have been dealt this Alzheimer card. Despite my diagnosis we recognize that we still have the opportunity to live a varied and vibrant life. We have good days and not so good days. But, our philosophy is to live life now and in the present – be joyfully present.
Thank you for your past contribution to the Alzheimer Society of Calgary. I strongly encourage you to continue your support. This is a vital community service that is funded with the support of people like you. Together we will make a difference.

Gord Strandlund
Alzheimer Society of Calgary Ambassador
P.S.You can donate now by visiting the Alzheimer Society of Calgary website at www.AlzheimerCalgary.com. Thank you for your support.

January 16, 2010


This is an interesting article but the researchers failed to answer why the hearing loss in husbands is FOUR TIMES HIGHER than that of their wives. I could offer a thought or two...

Say what? Baby boomers not losing hearing as fast as parents

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Jan. 14--Though they were the first generation to endure rock concerts, boom boxes and iPods, the baby boomers have lost less of their hearing than their parents, according to a study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.
The findings, which are to be published Friday in a medical journal, suggest that hearing can be preserved even as people age.
"We didn't know that," said Wen Chen, a program director with the National Institute on Aging, which financed the study.
The study used data from the Beaver Dam Offspring Study that involved 5,275 people from that community and their offspring born between 1902 and 1962.
While everyday life may be getting noisier, actual hearing loss from one generation to the next has declined, said Weihai Zhan, lead author of the study, which was published Friday in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Overall, the baby boomers had 31% less hearing loss than their parents.
Among men who were born between 1944 and 1949, 36% had a hearing impairment. However, among men born between 1930 and 1935, 58% had a hearing loss at the same age.
Among women born between 1945 and 1949, 12% had hearing impairment, compared with 23% among women born between 1930 and 1939.
Prior to the study, it would have been expected that 66 million Americans would be hearing-impaired by 2030. However, the new findings suggest that number is more likely to be 51 million.
The authors cautioned that because the study was based from the mostly white Beaver Dam area, its results do not necessarily apply to other regions or racial groups.
Still, the findings run contrary to the belief that large numbers of baby boomers are destined to lose their hearing because of exposure to loud music.
Indeed, hearing loss from one-time events such as concerts may be temporary while daily exposure to excessive noise is a bigger concern, co-author Karen Cruickshanks said in a statement.
More stringent rules about workplace noise and fewer people working in noisy industries such as mining and manufacturing also may be contributing to less hearing loss in the younger generation.
Reduced smoking may also play an indirect role, said UW researcher Zhan. Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, which can lead to less blood flow to the inner ear, he said.
Another factor may be better health care and antibiotics resulting in less inflammation and infection, said Cruickshanks, a professor of population health sciences and ophthalmology and visual sciences.
If hearing loss was genetically determined, you would not see this loss over a generation, she said.
The authors concluded that there was strong evidence that environmental, lifestyle or other modifiable factors might contribute to hearing impairment in older adults.
"These data suggest that hearing impairment with aging is a preventable or delayable disorder rather than a normal part of the aging process," they wrote.
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