Archive for the ‘Health’ Category


October 7, 2011 9 comments

Okay folks, it’s Friday night and I should be hitting the sack soon, but I’m just so (pardon my French, gentle readers) fracking outraged by something that just happened that I have to vent and share my outrage with others!

My daughter is having her sixth birthday on Sunday. This afternoon my wife did a bit of last-minute shopping at Walmart to buy a Rapunzel doll for her, and she happened to see a purple bean-bag chair thingy that she thought Fiona would like. It was $15. She had left it in the trunk of her car when she got home and I just went out and brought it up to our bedroom. I was thinking to myself that $15 is awfully cheap for a bean-bag. We bought one a few years back for 3 or 4 times that much at a furniture store; but hey – it’s Walmart and it’s a kid-sized bean-bag, right?

Then I noticed a couple of large tags on the bag (it was made in China, of course; but assembled in the good ‘ole USA). One of the tags read: ‘Warning: this product contains a chemical that is known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm’ (!) That was it! And my wife noticed that a sticker on the bean-bag read: ’13 years old and up’.

Now let me tell you, I’m generally sick and tired of seeing the following three-letter abbreviation, but really; WTF!!!!!

What the hell kind of country do we live in where it’s okay to sell products that cause cancer and birth defects to children?!! I know we’ve all heard about the Tobacco Industry, and Chinese toys made with lead paint; and Monsanto can introduce genetically altered corn into our food supply that no-one knows what the long-term effects on our health and the environment may be without really telling us. But now Walmart is allowed to sell something my child will sit on that causes cancer?! And our government allows this??!!!

This is just unbelievably absurd! If California didn’t recognize that whatever this mystery chemical is, it can have deadly health effects, would there even have been any kind of warning tag on this product?

I’m still totally blown away by that damn tag. I still can’t believe what this world has come to! Why would anyone use a cancer-causing chemical to make anything, anyway? Because it’s cheaper? Is our health care system cheap? What’s the cost of treating cancer? The way things are going, in a few more years there won’t even be any more warning labels like this absurd thing I saw tonight. Some corporation will pay off who ever is supposed to be protecting our health even more money to ignore this shit. But I’m glad that tag was there.

The bean-bag went immediately back into my wife’s car trunk and will be going back to Walmart in the morning. But will someone else buy it for their child? Where will that chair and all the others like it eventually end up?

Gosh, I’m noticing a pervasive theme in my recent posts lately. We all have a hell of a lot to think about.

Please just remember to read the labels while we still have them. Good night.

Categories: General Ramblings, Health

Beating the Winter Blues

It’s been an exceptionally cold winter around here (and much of the world, it seems) and by the end of January the snow and the grayness can get a bit oppressive. It feels like winter has been around forever! So I’m here to try to come up with some ways to lift the frozen depression that descends on so many people at this time.

Right now it’s 28 degrees outside, a regular heat wave! But I’ve actually been a little more depressed these last two days than usual. It’s weird, but on Monday when the temperature was -8 at 7:30 in the morning I felt amazingly happy! I was up to go meet a friend in Batavia for breakfast, so I think just getting out of the house on my own was a big boost; but also it was a glorious morning. The sky was clear. The waning half-moon was bright in the deep blue southwest. As I drove away from home the bright dawn sky was crisscrossed with glowing pink jet contrails. Then the sun blazed above the horizon and those pleasure hormones (dopamine?) lifted my spirits as daylight painted the bare trees and snowy fields with warm orange highlights and filled my dreary arctic world with light! It is utterly amazing what an effect sunshine has on the human brain. Even when it’s cold as hades!

So, I think number 1 on my list is sunshine; or those natural daylight light bulbs when the real thing is scarce. By golly, even as I write this, the sky is beginning to brighten up a bit!

The second thing that really makes me feel better is to do something creative. Several days ago I started painting a picture for a friend of ours. I haven’t done any painting (acrylic) in a very long time. And when I retreated into our back room/sanctum upstairs, set up the easel, started some music and lost myself in the flow of color, I wondered “Why the hell don’t I do this more often?!”

Suffice it to say, I’ve since gone out to purchase more canvas and a few more paints. Every April I get this swelling of creativity about doing outdoor stuff, like concrete sculpture, but why not start now in the depths of winter? I’m really looking forward to painting again! And it certainly helps the kids, also, to get involved in more art projects this time of year; whether it’s painting or drawing or Moon Sand or building things with blocks and Legos and Tinker Toys. Music and artwork; you can’t beat it!

It’s also good to get some physical activity during the winter. I’ve been sledding a couple of times with the kids, but generally it’s been too cold to be outside for very long. I suppose a membership to a gym or the ‘Y’ would be a good idea. My friend Laurie does a lot of swimming during the winter. Swimming is like a zen thing with her. Sounds great!  Which reminds me – up at the high school they used to have open swim night in late winter. I need to check that out! The kids loved it. Arthur and Fiona will be starting their home school gym class again next week, thank heavens. What I need is an adult gym class for semi-old fogies!

Another thing that gave me an inordinate amount of pleasure last week was bacon. Yes, bacon! We usually eat turkey bacon around here, but last week something prompted me to buy real, honest to goodness bacon, like, from a pig. I’m not proud of this, but by golly it tasted sublime!! (Reduced sodium bacon, too!) Not something I’d recommend to do very often, but my animal body surely savored the experience. Must be that atavistic fat-craving thing our bodies do in winter. Which is why exercise should probably be right at the top of this list!

One more thing I can think of to beat the winter blues, beside going to Hawaii, is laughter. The past few days I’ve been watching more comedies on TV (thank you again, Netflix), and it seems laughter is a mighty good medicine. I’ve especially enjoyed a BBC comedy called ‘The IT Crowd‘ that I just discovered. And speaking of television in general, we’ve all been watching the first season of the show ‘Merlin‘, and it’s really good! A different take on the Arthurian legend, but despite the retelling of the basic story and the somewhat modernization of the characters, it’s a fun show.

So this is my sage advice for today: 1) Light, 2) Exercise, 3) Creativity, 4) Laughter, 5) Bacon (in moderation, and only when combined with #2). And Dark Chocolate. I must never forget Dark Chocolate!

Think Spring!

Glad That’s Over…

Yesterday I had my first colonoscopy. And despite my apprehension, it was a breeze! My friend Ky drove me to the Doctor’s office at 8:00 am and by 9:30 or so I was done. Actually I don’t remember the procedure. The nurses got me all set up with an IV and explained what would happen, (I was starting to feel a bit nervous, I must say) then they wheeled me in to a small operating room where I met the Doctor. I rolled onto my side with a nice comfy pillow under my head. The nurse said they’d start the IV with the anesthesia and told me I might feel a little dizzy and get sleepy. I felt very relaxed… started thinking ‘this isn’t so bad’ and the next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room! And then Ky came in.

Like Burt Reynolds said in the last part of Deliverance, “What happened on that last set of rapids? I don’t remember nothing. Nothing“.

It didn’t feel like they’d done anything. In fact, I felt pretty damn good! A little dizzy, but really good! They told me some people remain conscious during the procedure, depending on how each individual reacts to the sedatives. But I guess because I’d never had an operation, the medication had a pretty good impact on me. I wouldn’t even mind doing that again!

After a little chat with the doctor and a glimpse of some pictures of the inside of my colon, Ky and I were off for a bit of breakfast. Man, did that taste nice! And then I was back home again.

So that’s the end of my colonoscopy saga. If you’re over fifty, it’s probably a good thing to get done.


Frequently Asked Questions About Colonoscopy and Sigmoidoscopy

How To Live Forever; Or Why Habits Are A Curse

Now it’s time to get on to other things…

Categories: Health