Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sitting on your ass is dangerous to your health

Sometimes I come across things in my work that shake me up. It's not always climate related. Despite knowing some great-calamity-affecting-all-humanity is coming, these days out selfish narcissism, I pay more attention to the smaller disasters directly affecting me.

I just finished a health article on sarcopenia. This is a condition of severe muscle wasting and loss of strength. Everyone experiences some muscle loss while ageing -- it's part of the whole mortality routine. Loose a little too much though and --BOOM -- you have sarcopenia, a predecessor to diabetes and frailty syndrome. Frailty syndrome is when you turn into a little old lady who falls over a lot, can't open her own jar of pickles, wipe her own ass or pick up the mail. It's off the the nursing home when this happens.

The main cause of sarcopenia: sitting on your ass. The preventive cure: exercise! Resistance training and weight lifting. You don't even have to exercise all that long. Apparently five minutes of jogging can undo the damage sitting writing your blog for hours on end.

“Our study showed that only fairly small doses of running were needed to produce these profound benefits," said study co-author Dr. Carl Lavie, medical director of preventive cardiology at the John Ochsner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans.

The 10 minute miles can save my muscles. Gotta go for my five-minute life saving jog -- maybe I'll carry the dog so I can combine some weight training as well. Bye. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Oh Canada
How I love you when I am away.
But then
I remember you only in the spring
and summer.
Forgetting those times
when we lie like icebergs
floating freely in the cold ocean
Oblivious to life
until it smashes into us
and we realize our potential
for participation.

Now, I have become accustomed
to sand in my bed.
Able to judge how much I will
comfortably tolerate.
The surf no longer talks to me.
I am bored with the turquoise sea 
that pushes bone white sand
up to my feet.
The high winds at my door
no longer frighten me.
The heat no longer excites me nor do
night stars silence me.
Paradise has become commonplace.

My days are spent drifting in and out of sleep.
My nights spent half awake from listening to the darkness.
I came to escape the idea of time and have become lost in each second.

Time to go home.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Media manipulation and the art of distraction

"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

A smart poet friend just posted that quote on his Facebook page. It got me thinking. We carry the myth of freedom because we can choose what we want to eat at the grocery store and post whatever we want on our Twitter. Once you start connecting the dots, you see we are  more manipulated than ever by our media. It’s the art of distraction. A technique that parents of crying toddlers use as well as dog trainers.

Wonder why Rhianna’s butt gets more coverage than Obama signing over the Gulf of Mexico oil rights to Exxon?  Today in Canada we are all  fired up about a Saskatoon woman losing her court case against her boyfriend who posted nude pictures of her on the Internet. The article finishes with this paragraph: "However, she noted that a new provision of the Criminal Code — part of Bill C-13 that is still before Parliament — could change all that." Our reaction: pass the bill, protect ourselves. Where is the in-depth discussions about how Bill C-13 will be a huge loss of privacy for Canadians? Let's see if the nude picture story gets picked up by the other news outlets.

We have all heard about the Tar Sands and the controversial pipeline they want to push through. Have any of us heard about the fracking going on in northern British Columbia, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia? Did any of us hear about the millions of dollars in subsidies given to companies without British Columbians getting anything in return?

We do have articles about the Joslyn oilsands project northwest of Fort McMurray, Alta., being put on hold indefinitely. The final quote: “McKinnon said it's "no coincidence" Joslyn's shelving comes on the heels of an indefinite delay of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would enable oilsands crude to flow to Texas refineries.”

What's the next article? Statistics Canada sounding the alarm about the unexpected deficit in April as energy exports declined amid refinery shutdowns. No discussions about investing in alternative energy but we do have an article about how Canada’s energy patch (and its investors) are under a green siege. Why a siege? Why can’t Canada’s energy patch also be developing alternative energy? Wouldn’t that be another revenue development? Isn't developing new revenue streams part of havong a business?

Remember March 28, 2013? Probably not. It’s the day Obama signed a bill giving immunity to Monsanto for any harm caused by GMO foods. It wasn’t dubbed the Monsanto Protection Act for nothing. Not much in the news that day about that. In the headlines that day: Obama meeting Pope Francis and the traffic jam scandal at the foot of the George Washington Bridge. Which issue is going to have the most far reaching impact on you, your children and your children's children?

Buyer beware. When you see some big gossip scandal break, read between the lines. What else is happening in the world and off our radar? Remember that our media is a business just like Walmart. Only their product is ideas.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Dear GM Customer Ambassador

Dear Cassandra O,
Thank you for replying to my previous message with an email that is for internal use only. I did receive a message from your customer service rep. That poor girl is not getting enough stimulation at work. I could hear the boredom in her voice. She sounded so depressed! Is she burning herself out with all the caring-about-our-safety? Like I tell my teenage daughter when she is doing her pouty-whatever-talk-to-the-hand routine  -- just breath darling and it will get better.

I know how much your GM ambassadors to the common people care about me. My first customer care ambassador was a lovely woman who only kept me on the line for 90 minutes convincing me not to be upset about my driving a car that may or may not kill me. After all what is seven years of driving my deathtrap Saturn considering the years I have left on the road?

Obviously, I need to loosen up and trust more. My second customer ambassador pointed out I had a 50-50 chance of the steering wheel giving out. Why not wait until GM got all the VIN numbers entered and see if mine came up? It would be like winning the lottery!

Thank you for the 5th recall letter for repairs already done. I'm sorry I called so many times before you could get the head office printer working and mail out the letters. After all, what is a few more months of potential accidents after seven years?? Silly me.

I know you are so very busy caring deeply about our safety. It must be exhausting giving out so many reassuring pats on the back over the phone.

All the people I have driven over the years, the young and the old, want to thank you for adding a bit of excitement to their lives. Now they can think back to all the trips they took in my car and know they were living on the edge. How lucky to have gotten home alive! The dogs don't care either way -- but you know how they are.

Finally, I want to thank you for doing the repairs and then letting me drive off away from the dealership with brakes that weren't working. How could you have known? You probably didn't have time to take it for a test drive with all that caring about safety. Don't worry though. I found a good mechanic who fixed everything. It only cost me an extra $400. Really nothing when you think about the 57 cents it would have cost you to fix the problem back in 2000. Everything was so different back then before the age of computers and media.

Please give my best to Mary and Kevin. I know they must be working hard at being committed to their customers.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

One little finger gets hurt

One little finger gets hurt and I go silent.
One-handed typing destroys my concentration.
My brain has moved to a fingertip.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wall Street's Plant

I've got a new plant for Wall Street. Goutweed, also known as bishop’s weed and snow-on-the-mountain is a giant pain in the ass in any garden. One little slip got into my garden and within one season took over and destroyed my front garden. I made the mistake of letting a small patch remain thinking it would produce something.

It doesn't. Goutweed just uses up all the good in the garden, sucks nutrients out of the soil, doesn't produce a flower, needs tons of water and wilts easily in the sun. Basically a high-maintenance plant adding little to your garden.

Its also a greedy litle fucker that wraps its roots around any other plant slowly strangling them. This invader killed off an entire strawberry patch, all my Echinacea, bleeding hearts and Irises.

I've come to despise it and after digging more of it up consider it a perfect analogy for Wall Street; a living thing that it sucks up all the resources around it, doesn't produce anything of value and is impossible to get rid. Goutweed was brought to North America as an ornamental from Europe and Asia, probably for the gardens of Wall Street. Kill it when you see it.