Did You Know These Fast Facts About Alkaline Water?

The chances are likely that you have heard numerous health benefits related to alkaline water. While some people pass these claims as a hoax, others swear by the positive effects. What’s the hype all about? Should you consider switching to alkaline water? In this post, we have ten facts that will help in understanding the fundamental aspects better.

1. Ionized water, another name for the same concept, scores high on the pH scale. Regular water has a pH level between 6 and 7, while alkaline water scores over 9 on the same scale. This elevated pH is believed to neutralize acids in the body, which is the crux of different health claims.

2. Stream and spring water is known to be naturally alkaline. Water, while passing over rocks, often collects minerals, which enhances the pH level. Since most people don’t have access to spring water, they often use artificially made alkaline enhanced water, which is believed to offer the same benefits.

3. There are many claims related to the concept. Some people believe that drinking high pH water will help in slowing down the aging process. In fact, it is also known to impact the metabolism in a good way and can assist in regulating the blood sugar levels.

4. Other benefits include better hydration rate and reduction of acid reflux. Since alkaline water has added electrolytes, it offers a natural boost of energy to the body, without any added sugar. It is also believed to help with joint pains.

5. The extent of study and research for this concept is pretty limited, so it is unfair to shun the benefits right away. However, people who have replaced regular water with ionized water have excellent things to say about the entire theory. Many Hollywood celebs have endorsed the idea on various platforms.

6. There is no known side-effect of drinking alkaline water. It is only associated with a few real advantages, which may or may not be true. If you like the idea of reducing acids in your body by a simple change, there is no reason to step back.

7. If you check for options, you will find many brands of ionized water. Look for a brand that sells alkaline water with added magnesium, potassium and calcium. Also, the water should rate at least 9 on the pH scale.

8. The whole idea of high pH water originated from the alkaline diet, which propagates a new kind of lifestyle that eliminates all kinds of acidic foods. Since the diet requires a person to quit meat and dairy, many people choose to opt for alkaline water instead.

9. If you have frequent heart burns, drinking water with high pH may help. Although the theory is yet to be thoroughly verified by experts, many alternative healthcare professionals have recommended the idea.

10. In case you intend to change your diet, do consult a doctor for better advice. People who have chronic health issues, heart disease and other concerns should never change their food habits, unless suggested by a physician. In fact, you might want to talk to your doctor about alkaline water, as well.

Start your alkaline journey today!



Breathing To Heal – How Yoga Helps Arthritis

Arthritis is common but not well understood. It is not a single disease but a way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different versions of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages suffer from this malady, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. According to the Arthritis Foundation, more than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older.

Common symptoms include joint swelling, pain, stiffness and decreased range of motion. Symptoms may come and go or stay the same for years. They can be mild, moderate or severe but may progress or get worse over time. Severe arthritis can result in chronic pain and an inability to do daily activities. It can cause permanent joint changes which may be visible, such as knobby finger joints, but often the damage can only be seen on an X-ray. Some types of arthritis also affect the heart, eyes, lungs, kidneys and skin as well as the joints.

Yoga is a set of practices with origins in ancient India. The word yoga comes from a Sanskrit work meaning “to yoke” or “to unite.” It focuses on unifying the mind, body, and spirit, and fostering a greater feeling connection between the individual and his/her surroundings. Its main goal is helping individuals realize balance. Beyond this, yoga has several secondary goals, such as improving physical health and enhancing mental well-being and emotional strength.

In addition, yoga is associated with increased mental energy as well as positive feelings (such as alertness and enthusiasm), fewer negative feelings (reduced excitability, anxiety, aggressiveness) and sleep issues. In summary, yoga is associated with a wide range of physical and psychological benefits that may be especially helpful for persons living with a chronic illness such as arthritis.

As with any physical activity, it is important to take proper precautions such as checking to see that a doctor hasn’t placed any limitations or restrictions on an arthritis patient. If a medical professional has specific concerns, get them in writing and give this information to the yoga instructor. A qualified yoga teacher generally starts a beginner with a gentle, therapeutic class. It is important that the class is led by an instructor who can guide one through safe and healthy poses.

Wear comfortable clothing that allows for full movement of the body. If it is too loose, the instructor will be less able to guide proper alignment but it should also not be restrictive. Clothing specially designed for yoga is available, but unnecessary. Yoga is traditionally practiced barefoot, though it may be possible to wear socks at the start of class, until the body warms up. Mats are used in modern yoga practice to provide cushioning and prevent slipping. Some studios supply mats for general use.

The general rule for arthritis patient is that if it hurts, stop. The old adage of “no pain, no gain” does not apply to yoga. When doing certain poses, arthritis patients should keep them relatively small and be aware not to hyper-extend the neck, keeping the head in line with the rest of the spine. For those with arthritis of the hip, be cautious when doing “hip openers” or poses with extreme external rotation of the hips.

Generally, there will be pain if one is going too far with a pose, but sometimes the effects are not felt until the next day. It is important to start slowly and expand the practice as the body dictates.



Parabolic Solar Oven

Mention solar power to someone and they immediately think of solar panels. A parabolic solar oven, however, has a much more practical use when it comes to feeding ourselves.

Parabolic Solar Oven

While searching for ways to reduce the use of nonrenewable resources, you might encounter solar power. Solar power, or solar energy, is the use of the sun’s rays to either create energy (electricity), charge a battery, heat water or other fluids, passively heat homes through glass windows, or even cook foods. When solar power is used to cook food it’s often in the form of a solar oven, which can be used in place of firewood and other fuels in order to cook meals. One popular type of solar oven is the parabolic solar oven, used over others for many reasons.

A parabolic solar oven collects the sun’s rays by using a reflective surface in a parabola, or curved shape. There are many different styles of parabolic solar ovens available, and there are instructions available to create most of them. The parabolic style allows for food to cook at much the same rate as a conventional oven, making it more convenient than other outdoor cooking methods such as campfires. Additionally, since the parabolic solar oven doesn’t use wood or other fuel, it’s quicker to start cooking and requires little time to set up – whereas with a campfire, you’ve got to spend time hunting for firewood, as well as lighting the fire and waiting for it to get hot.

One easy way to start building your own parabolic solar oven is by using a ready-made satellite dish (of course, use one that someone has discarded). Its parabolic shape is perfect for creating the oven, and all you need to do is coat the inside with a reflective substance, such as a mirror finish reflective aluminum sheet. Other people prefer to start their parabolic solar oven with more of a bowl shape, as they believe this allows food inside to cook better and helps to shelter the food from the wind.

Once you have the parabolic solar oven, you need to consider the cooking pot. The pot needs to be of a dark color. It also needs to be placed in the correct position. The parabolic solar oven should be oriented to the sun. The pot should then be placed on a small stand so that it sits at the point of focus for the oven. If you imagine a magnifying glass, the pot should be located where the glass focuses its beam. Once in position, the oven should work for 60 to 90 minutes. If the food is not cooked by then or another pot needs heating, the oven should be readjusted to the orientation of the sun.

When using your parabolic solar oven, be sure to always wear UV (ultraviolet) protective sunglasses that are darkly tinted. The reflection off the aluminum that helps to cook the food at a quick rate also can burn your retinas quite easily. You’ll also want to make sure to cover your parabolic solar oven whenever it’s not in use – this will prevent accidental flashes of light from blinding people as well as prevent the oven from heating up when it’s not needed. If you follow these simple steps, having your own parabolic solar cooker can be a great asset to your environmentally conscious lifestyle.



Immigration of Today Is the Terrorism of Tomorrow

Christiane Amanpour, globetrotting international journalist of exceptional professionalism and talent, interviewed an obviously affluent, educated, suave French lady on the streets of Paris very early Saturday morning after the terrorist attack there in November 2015. Speaking softly, but deliberately, showing little emotion, the French woman, when asked her thoughts on the horrific Friday evening of mayhem in her country, responded, “Immigration of today is the terrorism of tomorrow.”

Simple but stirring, painful but poignant, difficult but distressing, a call to attention for what we must consider here in our own country, the United States of America, lest we, ourselves, become even more complacent and ignore the obvious out of a false sense of obligation to the destitute and needy of the entire world.

On Friday, January 27, 2016, President Donald J. Trump, on his eighth day in office, as a first step in his avowed quest to bring under control the unfettered immigration situation, long a problem for the United States, issued a controversial, much-needed presidential executive order: Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States.

Later in the day, all hell broke loose in the form of demonstrations–mostly Middle Eastern foreigners it appeared–at major airports such as JFK in New York, O’Hare in Chicago, and at LAX, while the most liberal of cable news stations–although caught off guard and flummoxed by the suddenness of the new president’s audacity–lit up the air with their most dependable, far-left commentators and guest whiners. Most insufferable of those was CNN and MSNBC. FOX at least made an effort at balance, but of course they failed.

I tuned in immediately to MSNBC, the leader of extreme liberalism on cable news, where I watched one dystopian guest commentator caution us, in a genuinely concerned, whining voice as to the far-reaching, long-term, negative effects of Trump’s brazenness. His warning was that the United States would be immediately affected by not allowing “the best and the brightest”–a phrase coined by David Halberstam in his book by that name–to immigrate to the United States and thereby give us the edge we enjoy over the rest of the world in developing technology and the likes that bring us business success as well as contribute to improving the living standard in our society. He made no reference in his plea as to how many nor from where, although the executive order mainly targeted seven Middle East countries.

He implored the president to consider that point, although we have sometimes been criticized for the “brain drain” phenomena experienced by other countries when their best and most highly educated abandon their country of origin to come to the United States for the benefits and wealth accorded to their being so smart.

To further emphasize his point, he held his cell phone in his right hand, raised it over his head, then suddenly released his grip on it letting it crash to the floor, bouncing and ringing at his feet.

Well, that did it for me! I was immediately and profoundly convinced that we must allow whatever amount of immigration it takes–legal or illegal, Muslim or non-Muslim, from wherever in the world. Without doubt or hesitation, we must encourage those smart fellas abroad to–posthaste–come to the United States, no matter what their own country thinks of our enticements to their educated citizens, and we must counter any attempt to thwart that invitation–especially the harmful and radical executive order issued by the president. No matter the danger such actions pose to us. After all, that fellow on MSNBC seemed astute enough to risk destroying his iPhone for me to not have to. How could we live without it and the other high tech gadgets this political pundit warns us we will lose if we do not oppose limiting immigration?

For sure, I often wonder how I lived without my iPhone all those years–that and no Facebook to post whatever irrelevance happens every day in my dull life for others to endure. Think about it, my fellow Americans. How can we not allow unregulated numbers of the world’s masses into our country thereby improving our standard of living?

(Funny, but from my vantage point, where I have spotted dozens upon dozens of illegals of unknown origin recently having crossed our southern border at San Diego, walking north along the beaches–of our Marine Base at Camp Pendleton no less–towards Los Angeles, I have observed very few–if any–brain surgeons, computer geniuses, or those with PhDs from prestigious foreign universities. No, those I see are the poorest-of-the-poor, the uneducated, the criminal elements of the drug cartels with their mules carrying millions of dollars in cocaine, heroin, marijuana, or methamphetamines. Maybe even a terrorist or two? I see none of those as described by the Eastern intellectuals pontificating on MSNBC or CNN, arguing against immigration reform in any way, shape, or form.)

Of course, I jest a tad here. But those types of arguments–as dangerous as they are ludicrous–have been promoted and repeated as the way it is today in our country and around the world by those opposing any immigration limits of the infinite numbers seeking refuge in the United States. These misjudgments as to the true consequences and effects of uncontrolled, unregulated immigration–legal and illegal–are becoming increasingly advanced by many in the world of journalism and cable news where liberals most often prevail.

With Presidents Trump’s bold initiative, signed into effect for immediate enforcement, scads of limousine liberals, ACLU-loving malcontents, secreted socialists of means and stature, and an extraordinary number of our increasingly far-left educators at the collegiate level–especially those of Ivy League status–having left the sanctity and security of their businesses, their campuses, and their upscale homes in upscale neighborhoods, now jump into the fray with an agitating demeanor and celebratory glee, now feel they must educate all of us unacquainted with or unaware of our moral responsibility to every person in the entire world needing our help. They insist on how the world is a community of equals, how globalism is a fact of life, and how wrong we are to not readily and willingly accept those “huddled masses” referred to in the inscription on the bronze plaque affixed to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

Another liberal CNN commentator stated his case nearly the same, pleading, “We need them!” making the argument that they are indispensable to our success in higher education, medicine, technology, and other areas of our life. Another prominent argument was voiced repeatedly by leftists that the world would think badly of us. “Such actions are not the American way.”

Why should we worry about these and the other obtuse opinions by the ultra-liberal left beseeching our better nature with disregard to the common sense of it all when the safety and security of Americans is the most applicable argument for controlling who comes to our country? We should not–not for a single minute! The United States has done more for the world that any other country in it. Look it up.

Did we, as a nation drawn into a World War on two fronts in the 1940s, inadequately armed and equipped to do so due to our politicians allowing our military to shrink, become weakened, and not prepared for the battles to come, cower and surrender at the first opportunity? Did we, as did Neville Chamberlin, seek compromise with Germany with its Nazi Panzer divisions rumbling across Europe intent on invading and conquering all countries of that continent, including Great Britain? Did we go on bended knee asking the Japanese for mercy after they had devastated our Pacific Fleet by attacking, without warning or a declaration of war, our United States Navy ships anchored in Pearl Harbor on the Sunday morning of December 7, 1941, where 2,403 Americans died and 1,178 were wounded–the “Day of Infamy” as FDR referred to it?

Hell No!

Our American leaders did not compromise, cower, or otherwise show any weakness in the face of the impending, but inevitably approaching, World War II crisis. Neither did the United States surrender, nor did we even believe we would not prevail over the evils of Nazism and Japanese imperialism. We certainly gave no thought about not having foreign illegal or legal immigrants sufficient in number to meet the challenges ahead. Instead, we went to work in factories, in the fields, and in the shipyards. The dedication and hard work of “Rosie the riveter,” “Farmer John,” and welders of steel who lived by the creed “loose lips sink ships” began to produce the materials of war we would need desperately to be victorious.

It was an era of total commitment, an age of selfless sacrifice for the good of our country–most everyone pitched in. My older brother Burt tells of his and our mother’s scavenging tin cans from the trash containers of the neighborhood, turning them into a local collection facility in Far Rockaway, New York. There they were boxed up, then trucked to factories where they were–can-by-can–processed into metal that was used to build the tanks of General Patton’s 3rd Army that raced across Europe, forded the Rhine river, and forced the defeat of Germany. Some of those tin cans my brother collected may have been used to build the B-29 bomber, Boscar, piloted by Major Charles W. Sweeney, that carried “Fat Man”–an atomic weapon of unimaginable consequence–to Nagasaki, Japan, ultimately and quickly bringing the Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu to the deck of the USS Missouri to humbly surrender to General Douglas MacArthur. My brother proudly brags of his contribution, as a ten-year-old, to winning World War II. Maybe he did!

My point is that the cowardly “Chicken Little” predictions and predilections of the dire consequences of controlling our borders, stemming the tide of immigrants to our shores, preventing illegal entry of those who may be intent on doing us harm, as well as how many and who we allow into our country legally is a matter needing study, a problem needing resolution. We cannot, nor should we, allow what has been occurring now over at least a twenty-five-year period–neither the unconstrained and unmonitored deluge of immigrants from the world over with no regard as to the numbers, the country of origin, nor the assimilation–or refusal to do so–of those “huddled masses” once they are here.

Every nation has the right–indeed, the moral obligation–to establish and defend its territory. To do so, nation’s must prevent and protect against illegal crossings of their borders, and any other locations subject to alternate means of entry such as airports, seaports, or–as is the case in my area of southern California–even the beaches of our coastline, where Mexican pangas are landed frequently, offloading dozens of illegal seagoing immigrants from who-knows-where. Crudely built submarines have even been spotted off our coast–most loaded with the Mexican cartels’ plentiful drugs destined for American cities coast to coast.

Limiting the numbers–and even the ethnicity–of immigrants is the right of any nation. It is part and parcel–indeed, the very foundation–of the concept of sovereignty. The main consideration against allowing countless refugees to flood our shores–from anywhere, but especially from the Muslim countries of the Middle East region that is a hotbed of radical Islamic ideology–is first and foremost, and must always be, the safety of our own citizens.

That tired old cliché–We are a nation of immigrants!–has once again resumed its place in the argument of anyone not supporting immigration limits. The outcry from them is erroneous and, even if it were once true, is no longer applicable. If we look across the Atlantic to Europe, we can easily see that limitless immigration, especially of Muslim refugees, is the wrong course for our country. Unrestrained and unscreened floods of Muslim immigrants to England, France, Germany, Italy–all of Europe really–has resulted in dependent foreigners who refuse to assimilate, refuse to abide by the cultural and legal customs and traditions of our Western societies, and in many cases–the majority–refuse to educate or train themselves to work, and thereby contribute to the country that so graciously invited them.

As for France, and the rest of Europe, the grand experiment of multiculturalism has failed–miserably! Speaking on MSNBC shortly after the attacks, a retired United States Army general, considered an expert on terrorism, may have summed the situation up succinctly: “France has a problem; Europe has a problem–unassimilated Muslim youth, a recipe for disaster.” Need we ignore this accurate and reasoned analysis on the pretense of a misguided sense of obligation?

You may ask, “Are there not desperate and destitute millions of refugees in the world fleeing epidemic disease, endemic poverty, social upheaval of unthinkable proportion, and wars of inconceivable death and destruction throughout the world–Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, the Far East, and elsewhere?”

Yes, admittedly there are–all the above in pandemic degree. Is bringing them all–millions of “… your tired, your poor, your huddled masses… the wretched refuse… the homeless, tempest-tossed… ” and, I might add, your radical Islamic terrorists–to our shores the answer? Not if we look at such actions in an objective light and not through the lens of emotion. We, as Americans, have always come to the aid of the downtrodden of the world. And yes, that is the “American way.” But we must now, based on the overwhelming numbers as well as the suitability to our culture and society–multiculturalism be damned–approach and resolve the immigration problem rationally, without losing sight of our own best interests.

Have we so soon forgotten the carnage of 9/11–the deadliest terrorist act in world history and the most devastating foreign attack on American soil since the abomination of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On that single day in September 2011–in a matter a several hours–there were 2,996 people killed and more than 6,000 others wounded–mostly innocent Americans.

What is of concern to most of us as potential victims of terror attacks are these Middle East refugees flocking to our country as a perilous and unregulated result of our failed immigration policies–including former President Obama’s own careless and ill-thought-out plan to admit hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees–disregarding the threat some may pose to Americans wherever they live.

Our national security is at stake. Indeed, your life, my life, our families’ lives, our friends’ lives–everyone is a potential target now. Accept it! Unless we recognize the threat and act accordingly, the front lines of the war on terror will be drawn at our doorsteps in the very near future, if not already there! Despite even the most stringent selection and vetting precautions, the potential exists–no, is imminent–for terrorists to slip by our immigration screening, not to mention illegal entry through our porous borders, and enter our country intent on bringing a “Paris” to New York City. Or Los Angeles. Or a city near you.

No one supporting President Trump’s executive order, or his other plans to get a handle on the immigration problem in our country, has claimed that every Muslim is a terrorist. That is surely not the case, but all the terrorists we read or hear about in the world today, certainly all those who have done–and intend to continue to do–us harm are Muslims.

It wasn’t Irish Catholics who flew those three deadly Boeing “missiles” into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania on 9/11 killing nearly 3000 innocents; it wasn’t Protestants who set off pressure cooker bombs in Boston, Massachusetts, during the marathon on April 15, 2013, killing 3 and injuring 140 others; it wasn’t Baptists who murdered 5 members of our military in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July, 2015; it wasn’t a Lutheran couple who destroyed Christmas for most all of us–and killed 14 innocent attendees of an office meeting and Christmas party on December 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California; it wasn’t a Jewish man who slaughtered all those young revelers in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, leaving 49 people dead and 53 wounded. I recall no Buddhists, Hindus, nor Sikhs murdering any Americans, blowing up bombs, or otherwise threatening our safety. No, in each case–and numerous other instances of mayhem here in the United States, and Europe least we forget–it was radical Islamic terrorists, most of whom immigrated to this country, or to Belgium, France, or Germany. Need I continue?

Mark Krikorian, Executive Director, Center for Immigration Studies, testified before Congress on November 19, 2015, where he pointedly discussed the folly of our insistence on allowing unlimited numbers of Middle East refugees, especially from Syria, into our country:

“A wise man once said “The supreme function of statesmanship is to provide against preventable evils.” Halting refugee resettlement from the Middle East would be just such an act of statesmanship.

The starting point of any policy debate is that the government of the United States has no responsibility to anyone but the citizens of the United States… the president and members of Congress must necessarily put the interests of the American people before the interests of foreigners… This means the United States government has no responsibility to refugees; they have no claim on it and no right to demand anything of it… The Center for Immigration Studies has calculated that it costs 12 times as much to resettle a refugee in the United States as it does to care for the same refugee in the neighboring countries of first asylum, namely Turkey, Jordan, and Lebanon… Given these limitations on resources, I submit that it is wrong-morally wrong-to use those resources to resettle one refugee here when we could help 12 closer to their home.”

***

If you, Microsoft and your billionaire cronies in Silicon Valley, cry and whine that the president’s executive order will harm you financially, that you cannot succeed without those abominable H-1B visas in ever-increasing numbers–85,000 foreign workers allowed into the United States annually, with more requested each year–bringing in “brains” from India and other far-flung countries to fill your laboratories because “qualified Americans cannot be found,” then I say you are not only unpatriotic, you are short-sighted. Oh, did I forget–covetously greedy, too.

Get together and get a program in our colleges and universities that will promote scores of young men and women–United States citizens–to be able to attend institutions of higher education despite the excessive cost. There’s where you come in, Bill Gates and all you other multimillionaires and billionaires who have reaped the rewards of others’ work and sweat. Provide the funds for deserving but financially deprived students to achieve success with your assistance. I have always hated to hear your whining about not enough qualified Americans being available, yet you have done little to resolve that here in our country. Your goal must be to enroll at least 10,000 needy students per year in the education specialties you require. That is less than.001 % of those eligible.

Go into the inner cities and into the rural poor areas where you will find American youth desperately in need of a financial boost who will reward you with the “qualified Americans” you say cannot be found. Give assistance to those inner city and poor rural area schools to increase their numbers of qualified teachers and up-to-date, state-of-the-art facilities. Stop being so damned greedy that you lose sight of what our country is all about–education and opportunity. You will be rewarded soon enough if you make that concerted effort, if not in immediate financial gains, at least spiritually that you have made a difference in someone’s life.

***

Jody Warrick has written a superbly accurate and frightening account of the threat to the United States and all Western countries: Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS. In it, you learn, in detail, how competent, how dangerous, how determined, how threatening, and, ultimately, how patient our radical Muslim enemies are to our country. Read it–it will alter your thinking on immigration, especially from the Middle East–the cauldron of radical Islam that it is.

Another of the preferred of the books out now on the subject is ISIS: Inside The Army of Terror by Michael Weiss and Hassan Hassan. The authors describe ISIS as complex and multifaceted.

“ISIS is a terrorist organization, but it isn’t only a terrorist organization. It is also a mafia… adept at exploiting markets for oil and arms trafficking… It is a conventional military with a professional acumen that has impressed members of the US military… It is a sophisticated intelligence-gathering apparatus… It is a slick propaganda machine effective at disseminating its message and calling in new recruits via social media… “

In that book, on the very last page, 242, one will read a lone paragraph consisting of a single sentence, which quantifies our challenge here at home to some degree, and in which the authors boldly and unequivocally predict:

The army of terror will be with us indefinitely.

***

Postscript: First, I dedicate this article to all those little “snowflakes” claiming they live in fear of our President. Really? More so than the attacks on The World Trade Center, our Pentagon, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, Orlando’s gay night club, Brussels, Nice, Paris? You all really must mature, assess the world logically, and get some courage together to stand up for what is necessary to ensure your and others safety and security. Your selfish attitudes are no help to our society, in which you are guaranteed your liberty and unlimited opportunity. If you cannot do those things, try moving to Syria to see how that fits you.

In the meantime, visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial there to get a sense of that unprovoked attack on the United States; visit the cemeteries on the Normandy coast of France to witness the countless crosses Americans are buried under-their last great measure of sacrifice to preserve your freedom; most poignantly, visit the Arlington National Cemetery at dusk, the resting place for more than four hundred thousand seven hundred Americans who have given their all, paid the ultimate price to guarantee your freedom and liberty. There, row upon endless row of white crosses stretch for as far as the eye can see, perfectly aligned no matter what angle look at them from–“… the field of the dead… “–six hundred twenty-four acres of pristine hallowed ground where you will get a sense of the price our veterans have paid over our history to ensure your safety and security as well as the independence you enjoy without thought–or even appreciation–everyday.

Second: To you who have snuck into my country and broken our laws, thereby jumping the line of those who have applied legally to immigrate here, the time has arrived for repatriation to wherever it was you came from-with very, very few exceptions.



Health Celebrates Life – Gaining An Edge On Age

This special piece of content is devoted to youthful aging, meaning how to be as alert and able during the second half of life as during the first. There has never been a time like this in science, when so many brilliant minds are working to unravel the mysteries of why our biological clocks wind down and what can be done to slow that decline. In the following paragraphs I bring you a report from the front lines of Aging Research, with tips from the experts on what you can do today to put more in life in your future years. What better way for Health to celebrate its own Longevity than to start you on the Road to Rejuvenation!

Consider Two Established Numbers: The Life Span of our species, the maximum time any human can stay alive, has been estimated at 115 years. Our Life Expectancy, the average length of time Americans really live, is only 75 years. The distinction is important because people generally believe that life span has increased dramatically throughout history, when it hasn’t. Great Strides have been made in life expectancy, however. During the Roman Empire, life expectancy was a mere 22 years. But life span then was pretty much what it is today – somewhere around 115 years.

Life expectancy has continued to increase because we have eliminated or learned to treat so many fatal childhood ailments and because we now cope so much better with infectious diseases. But the ancients who made it past these roadblocks had as good a chance as we moderns of inching towards 115 – and as little chance of going beyond.

While scientists work feverishly to increase longevity, much of the public is ambivalent. To many, longer life means additional decrepitude. Dr. Roy Walford, Professor of Pathology at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine and a leading expert in dietary restriction, is well aware of this prejudice. “People are afraid of increasing life span because they think it means just adding old years onto old. But we’re talking about keeping people younger longer.” Indeed, the goal of longevity research is to extend youthfulness as well as life itself.

But it may not be turning out that way. That’s the view of Dr. Jacob Brody, an epidemiologist who is Dean of the School of Public Health at The University of Illinois in Chicago. Brody comes at you with scary statistics. “Today in Sweden,” he says, “Only 18 percent of all deaths occur in those under 65 years old. That will be true throughout the rest of the developed world by coming decade.” Good news? Not really, says Brody. “Dying will occur later and later, that will give people time to get nonfatal, age dependent diseases.” What we should strive for, according to Brody, is “Active Life Expectancy – years one lives free of any illness and at full function.” Right now, he claims, for every four months tacked onto human life expectancy, only one month will be lived independently at full function.

Brody points out that though we’ve added 25 years to the life expectancy of women in this century, the age of menopause hasn’t been affected. He suggests a two-pronged approach to postponing nonfatal, Age-dependent Conditions: Studying the effects of behavior change, such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, against these conditions; and more basic research to answer questions such as, why do people’s eyes begin to deteriorate at age 40?

Aging is a basic mechanism that brings our species to its knees. If you don’t think this piece of content applies to you because you’re too young – well, if you’re old enough to read health articles, you’re probably already aging. Some scientists say we begin to age soon after puberty. Edward L/ Schneider, Director of the Buck Center for Research in Aging, a privately supported center has a more radical view. “Aging starts somewhere around conception,” he likes to say. Whenever it starts, aging is a problem for more than the elderly. Now for the good news, we’re starting to make headway.

WINDING DOWN

Do Our Bodies Wear Out, Or Are Our Genes Preset To Self-Destruct?

While a breakthrough drug or therapy to extend life remains a far-off fantasy, scientists are making headway tracking down clues to another mystery: Why do we age? What is it that builds up, goes awry or is depleted, causing the changes in physiology that we interpret as aging?

It is unlikely that these researchers will stumble on some magical potion or secret of perpetual youth, but they may make discoveries that will allow our biological functions to run more efficiently and avoid breakdowns. Their findings may slow some aging processes.

Scientists from the Soviet Union to California are testing various theories, taking care to separate what is cause and what is merely effect. Some of the so-called causes of aging put forth by researchers today may turn out to be only superficial signs of a more important mechanism tomorrow. It would be silly, for instance, to say that gray hair causes aging. Someday, when more is known about the processes of senescence, the following ideas may be absurd

The Tired Refrigerator Hypothesis

Scientists prefer to call this the “stochastic” theory. A more dignified name, but essentially this hypothesis holds that our bodies are like any major appliance and they wear out. (A stochastic system is a random system, one that breaks down by chance, like an old refrigerator.) This very popular theory comes in many forms and is easy for the layperson to grasp: The body is like a Volkswagen; the clutch goes, the head gasket warps and eventually it dies in a pool of oil. There’s only one problem: Human beings are neither appliances nor automobiles. On the positive side, we have cells that replicate and refrigerators do not. On the negative side, sure, cars wear out, but we can intervene quite effectively to extend their maximum life spans, something we can’t do with humans. The average life expectancy of an automobile is somewhere around eight years or 100,000 miles. Yet my neighbor has a ’32 Ford in mint condition that runs like a top. All it takes is perfect maintenance. A 1932 Ford on the road today is equivalent to a 534-year-old human, since it has exceeded life expectancy for its species by more than seven rimes.

Clock Of Aging Theory

A much more intriguing, and more modern, concept is that there’s a genetic program somewhere in the body that dictates how fast (and in what manner) each of us will age and die. It has yet to be found, but some researchers speculate that this DNA clock might be contained in each cell, perhaps in a supergene, while others believe it resides in the brain. In fact, people have been aging and dying like clockwork for many millennia, so it’s not too farfetched to believe that a hard-wired mechanism controls this genetic process.

Error Catastrophe

This theory takes many forms, but it’s basically a cross between the stochastic and clock of aging concepts. The basic idea is that the genetic code that controls the production of the cells’ proteins goes awry. There are two ways of looking at this: Either wear and tear damages the genetic machinery and causes these errors (stochastic theory) or, for some reason, the “errors” are built in to the gentic code (the clock of aging theory).

The error catastrophe theory has been “pretty much demolished,” according to Dr. Robert N. Butler, Brookdale professor of geriatrics at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, as old cells now appear to do as well as young cells when it comes to protein production. It was a very useful theory for many years, however, as it spurred scientists to study the whole area of proteins and genetic error.

The Smudged Xerox Hypothesis

This one was dreamed up by the noted gerontologist Alex Comfort, better known for his book The Joy of Sex (Pocket Books, 1987). Think of it in this way: Take a page of Health magazine and photocopy it. Then photocopy your photocopy. Now make a photocopy of the second photocopy, and so on. By the 50th copy, you will have a blurry mess. Likewise with cells, says Comfort. Every time they replicate, the new copy of DNA gets more and more smudged. Comfort reportedly has since pulled away from this notion, which in fact is a variation on error catastrophe.

The Autoimmune Hypothesis

When the immune system rebels, responses may be as trivial as hay fever, as painful as rheumatoid arthritis or as deadly as lupus. In this theory, aging and death are part of one, big autoimmune disease, in which the immune system becomes confused and starts attacking the body’s own cells.

Suite Genes

A person’s fate depends on whole families, or “suites,” of genes, say some experts. “Unless all members are perfect, you won’t live as long or as well as you should,” says Joan Smith-Sonneborn, who chairs the program on aging and human development at the University of Wyoming in Laramie.

Smith-Sonneborn’s experiments show that there may be a way to clean up accumulated DNA damage in imperfect genes. Many years ago, she made a landmark discovery in aging research when she bombarded single-cell organisms called paramecia with ultraviolet light, then shoved them under black light. The dark was known to trigger an enzyme that repaired the DNA damage caused by sunlight. What Smith-Sonneborn discovered was that these paramecia lived 50 percent longer than untreated paramecia did.

Free Radicals

It’s the trendiest idea around, but in reality, the free-radical theory is simply an elegant variation on the stochastic theory. Namely, there are chemical agents called free radicals that wear down our bodies.

The Glycation Hypothesis

Another hot theory holds that blood sugar interacts with proteins manufactured by the body’s cells and distorts the genetic information. Furthering this notion is the fact that diabetics who have difficulty metabolizing sugars often contract age-related diseases such as cataracts and atherosclerosis while they are still relatively young. Edward J. Masoro of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio recently found that long-lived rats in dietary-restriction experiments have low blood glucose, thus bolstering the glycation (from the word glucose) hypothesis even more.

The Death Hormone

Let’s finish up with a fun theory. It goes something like this: There’s one part of us that lives forever – DNA, the master molecule of heredity. Human DNA doesn’t want to die, so it keeps the species alive as best it can and is passed from generation to generation.

Individuals, however, are expendable. Because a species must mutate or change to keep pace with a changing environment, and because this evolution is slow, it’s in that species’ best interests to turn over generations as quickly as possible so that favorable mutations will show up in the gene pool.

This is the thinking behind the rather wild theory that there is a “death hormone,” a substance, possibly secreted by the pituitary gland, which ages us and eventually kills us. For if we lived too long, we would hold up the process of evolution.

WANTED: 40 MORE YEARS

Alongside researchers working to untangle the mystery of why we age are practical-minded scientists concentrating on how to interfere with those processes under scrutiny. Two promising life-extenders involve food: on the one hand, eating more of certain substances to “clean up” cellular breakdown; on the other, eating less to prolong life.

The Starvation Principle

It’s the only method that actually increases life span (presently it stands at 115), and it has worked every time it has been tried in the past 60 years. It’s called dietary restriction, and it means dieting each day of one’s life. Oh yes, and there’s a catch: We don’t know yet whether it works on humans.

Take a mouse, as gerontologist Roy Walford of the University of California, Los Angeles, had done many times, and gave it about half the food a mouse usually eats. Then wait. By 36 months, a normally fed mouse will be dead, for that’s the maximum life span of the species. But the dieting mouse will keep on going… and going, until 54 months. We’re talking about increased life span, not just life expectancy. Normally mice in the best health under the best of conditions can’t break 36 months, but the under-fed rodents live on average, 50 percent longer.

Ronald W. Hart had the most ambitious study of dietary restriction. Leaving nothing to chance, he had nearly 200,000 lab animals in life-extending experiments at the National Center for Toxicological Research (NCTR) in Jefferson, Arkanas. Of these, 25,000 mice were living on a diet that’s about 60 percent the normal ration of lab chow – though it’s fortified to provide the same vitamins and minerals. About 95 percent of the restricted mice live 35 months or longer. Only 25 percent of the controlled mice make it that far. Said Hart, “We see no cancer in restricted mice [at the 35-month period].

“What’s interesting,” he continued, “is that any layperson can tell the difference between the restricted animals and those on the ‘buffet’ diet. The former are the happiest centenarians – in the mouse sense – I’ve ever seen. The ones on the buffet are either limping or dead.”

Why Does Caloric Restriction Work?

No one knows, though many theories exist. Some researchers maintain that it simply wards off disease because the organism takes in fewer toxins. Others suspect it reduces the number of free radicals or increases the number of enzymes and nutrients that scavenge on free radicals. Walford said it might influence biomarkers of aging in the immune system or increase the DNA repair capacity of cells.

The more immediate, and unanswered, question is whether dietary restriction increases life span in people. No one has yet done such a scientific study, but there is anecdotal evidence.

The Japanese island of Okinawa, for example, is a de facto dietary-restriction experiment in that Okinawans eat from 20 to 40 percent less food than other Japanese, a people not known for stuffing themselves. The result: Okinawa boats about 20 times the number of centenarians found in the rest of the world.

Extrapolating from the animal data, Walford believed we could increase our life span to 170 or 180 years if we ate like his lab animals. In fact, he found the evidence so compelling, he ate like a mouse himself. At 65, he took in a mere 1,650 calories per day, even though he regularly jog, swim and pump iron.

If you want to try this yourself, Walford recommended you first determine your “setpoint,” what you weigh when you’re neither overeating nor undereating. For most people, that’s what you weighed in your 20s, assuming you weren’t too fat or skinny. Once you’ve established that, lose weight very gradually, taking as long as four to six years to reduce it to 10 to 25 percent below setpoint (rapid weight loss is dangerous). Walford weighed 155 pounds from age 20 until 60. Next 5 years i.e. until 65, he shed 20 pounds and expected to break the 115-year barrier.

Incidentally, don’t expect to live to 180 by starting dietary restriction now, said Walford, because that life span is based on beginning the regimen shortly after weaning. In fact, Walford would recommend against putting children on the diet because it could retard their growth. However, even if begun after adolescence, one could still expect to boost life span to age 140 or thereabouts. (For more on dietary restriction, you can refer Walford’s The 120-Year Diet.)

Lean Dangers: Another pioneer in the field of dietary restriction, Edward J. Masoro, former chairperson of the department of physiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, had misgivings about the technique. “I have no problem with Roy’s regimen,” he said, “but I don’t think the layman is in a position to set his own regimen. People can take the diet to extremes, and it could do great damage.”

On the other hand, Hart thought that a lifetime of dietary restriction is considerably safer than most short-term diets. “Roy’s diet is well thought-out and well balanced,” he said, “though it’s more severe than I think is necessary.”

Actually, an unexpected danger was revealed by Hart’s experiments at NCTR, where lab animals are monitored around the clock. At certain times during the day, the mice’s body temperatures drop several degrees, and, unable to shiver or otherwise respond to cold temperatures because their dieting robs them of the fuel their muscles need, the animals suddenly die. Does that mean dietary restriction should only be followed by Los Angelinos such as Walford (who favors sabbaticals in India or tropical jungles) and avoided by those in colder climes? Not really, said Hart: “One of the nice things about being human is that you can put on clothes.” He also notes that restricted animals survive heat stress better than normal rodents do.

Interestingly, the temperature-dropping aspect may turn out to be the most valuable piece of evidence ever uncovered on the subject. Perhaps, NCTR researchers are telling themselves, it isn’t the diet but the colder body temperature brought on by the diet that makes the mice beyond the 36-month limit. Indeed, this works for some animals – when their body temperatures cool down significantly, their life span increase.

Similarly, Hart’s mice often drop into a torpor state in their sleep, a condition akin to hibernation. If it’s torpor that turns them into frisky centenarians, maybe someday there will be a pill that will allow humans to cool down at night. Then there will be no more talk about diets – just a pill with your nightcap, a cold bedroom and a 180-year life span.

Free Radicals: Sharks in a Protoplasmic Sea

It was Denham Harman who first suspected the awful truth: Human beings rust. At least that’s the theory.

Back in 1950s, Harman, a chemist turned physician at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, discovered that radiation caused accelerated aging in lab animals and also created an excess of free radicals in cells. A free radical is an unstable part of a molecule with one or more free, unpaired electrons. A free radical must find another molecule to which to attach itself. Gerontologist Alex Comfort likened one to a convention delegate away from his wife. He called it “a highly reactive chemical agent that will combine with anything that’s around.”

That may be bad news for the cells. It is believed that free radicals trigger a chain reaction that “rusts” the body just as oxygen rusts out the rocker panels on an Oldsmobile. And what helps create free radicals? Here’s the bad news: oxygen. In fact, every breath you take ages you, because oxygen and the everyday process of oxidation involved in metabolism create free radicals and your ultimate destruction. Among other things, free radicals supposedly obfuscate genetic information in each cell.

Let’s stop for a warning. The free radical theory is the trendiest thing going in research today. But though you may have heard the theory presented as gospel, it has not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Many respected researchers believe it, but it is just that – a belief.

Likely Cure. Free radicals are produced by everyday metabolism, but also by a host of other elements: some painkillers and anticancer drugs; burnt material, such as that found on grilled meats or toast; tobacco smoke; even sunlight. What combats them? Harman was aware that antioxidants were used in industry to prevent materials such as leather and rubber from degrading and to keep butter from turning rancid. Now the quest has begun for antioxidants that will keep us from turning rancid. Some likely prospects include vitamin B, C and E, beta carotene, glutathione, selenium, uric acid and food preservatives such as BHT, BHA and propyl gallate. One of the ironic things about the free radical theory is that it flies in the face of previously held beliefs about what constitutes healthy eating. The oft-reviled cereal preservatives BHT and BHA, may in fact preserve humans as well as cornflakes. And people who gave up butter for margarine years ago, in an attempt to avoid cholesterol buildup and heart disease, are now being told that polyunsaturated fats may increase free radical production. Thus the quandary: whether to butter and risk cardiac arrest, or switch to margarine and age every cell. (Refer another article “Ode to Cheez Whiz,” for other dilemmas.)

The most famous antioxidant is SOD, superoxide dismutase, a natural enzyme that neutralizes, or scavenges, free radicals. When SOD was discovered in 1969, it helped prove the existence of free radicals in human cells and boosted the credibility of Harman’s speculations. Further studies by Richard Cutler at the National Institute on Aging showed a positive link between the amount of SOD activity as it related to oxygen consumption in a particular species and its life span, at least in mammals. A gorilla, for instance, lives much longer than a mouse and has more SOD to protect against a given quantity of free radicals. Cutler then discovered that the same correlation held true for other antioxidants. The more vitamin E, beta carotene and so on that a mammal had, the longer it lived.

Vitamin E: The Natural Antioxidant

So what can one do? Eat several boxes of BHT-enhanced cereal a day? Go back to slathering corn with butter? What antioxidants keep a person fresh? The father of free radicals says to stick with the classics: vitamin E and C and beta carotene. Vitamin E is Harman’s favorite; he calls it “the natural antioxidant. It’s in all our membranes.” He cites a study of 5,000 women on the English island of Guernsey: Those with the highest blood levels of vitamin E had the lowest incidence of breast cancer. It’s also being tested against senile dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other age-related disorders. Harman’s says it’s hard to overdose on E.

Before you begin to rustproof yourself, consider some recent experiments in dietary restriction, the only proven method of boosting life span in mammals. Animals on a highly restricted diet increase their longevity dramatically, and free radical advocates have always assumed that low food consumption equaled fewer free radicals – a reasonable assumption. But studies by Masoro and others now show that food restriction does not reduce metabolic rate one whit. No one knows, in fact, why it works. The free radical connection, if any, has yet to be proven.



Tarot Meditation

In the following we will provide instructions about how to perform one easy but powerful tarot cards meditation technique. At first glance, meditation and tarot are two disciplines far apart from one another. This, however, need not be true. Our meditation can benefit from using the tarot cards since they are strong and potent visualization objects. On the other hand, tarot card practitioners can use meditation as a tool for discovering new, previously unknown, relationships between the cards and their symbols.

Here is a step by step guide into a relatively simple but efficient tarot meditation method. The goal we are trying to achieve is to project our consciousness into one selected Tarot card at a time.

  1. The duration of your tarot meditation is up to you, but it should not exceed 10 minutes in the beginning phase.
  2. You should use only the Major Arcana Tarot Deck. More precisely, you should start with The Fool, Card number 0 and successively go through all the Major Arcana up to The World, Card nr. 21. After a month, if you feel like doing it, you can extend the meditation time to a maximum of 30 minutes.
  3. It is not unimportant what tarot deck you use in this type of meditation. Take a look at our suggestions for online purchase of tarot decks.
  4. Position your card in front of your eyes. Adjust the distance, so that you can observe all the details without any effort.
  5. Gaze at the Tarot Card for a couple of seconds. Then close your eyes and mentally try to reproduce what you have just observed. Open your eyes again and notice the differences between your mental image and the card itself.
  6. Repeat step 4 several times, while gradually increasing the gazing period, and equally, the period where you visualize the card with your inner eye. Remember that your complete meditation should not exceed 10 minutes.

While doing this exercise, it is very important to teach yourself to be a neutral observer. No involvement, no projections, no tensions of any kind. Just be there and look at the image on the selected Tarot card with ease and in total relaxation.

After some time, you will see how (provided that you managed to be sufficiently relaxed) it takes virtually no effort from your side to see the exact copy of the Tarot card you have just gazed at projected on your inner screen. When you have mastered this step, you will have completed the first phase of this tarot meditation.

After this beginner’s level, you are ready to take on another step. Now, we will try to make the inner image more vivid and alive. We will try to transform it from being a 2D image into a 3D real live object. If done properly, the frame of your selected tarot card will become a window (or a portal) into another world. This world will be filled with light, color, objects and figures. In meditation, you should do the same thing: be there and observe this vivid image in peace and calm.

Yet another, more advanced stage would be stepping through that portal, and entering (projecting yourself into) that created live image. It can be an astral or mental projection, but it need not be. You will be there, and you will be observing the environment. You are passive, but you are conscious and observing.

What will happen afterward, depends on the individual features of the person doing this form of tarot meditation. Maybe, you will realize some new relations between a given pair of symbols, or new activity among the figures of the Tarot Card. Use all your senses to discover the hidden meaning of the symbols. When this inner image becomes more real than the external image depicted on the card, you have established the most important prerequisites for symbolic communication.

At the end, it is important to terminate your meditation properly. You should reverse the steps in the following way.

1. Extract yourself from the inner image.

2. Reduce it from a 3D to a 2D image.

3. When this image has become similar to the one depicted on the card, focus on recording your inner meditative experiences. Best way is to write them down, or verbalize them in some way. By doing this last step after each meditation session, you will establish a bridge between your normal superficial consciousness and the deeper levels of your psychic. Thus, the benefits of this tarot card meditation exercise will be expressed through your ability to access and understand your sub-conscious content more easily. And, the fact is there is hardly any self-growth and self-realization without getting to know and dealing with the deeper levels of your own being.



Prideful to Penitent – God’s Transformation of His People

“Who can say, ‘I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin’?” Proverbs 20:9

Pride is a uniquely human trait. Some pride is seen as being good – pride in your football team, pride in your work, pride in your family, etc. The loyal, confident assurance. I’m not speaking of that kind of pride.

There’s another kind: it’s the prideful attitude of the sovereign self. It’s the kind of pride that says: “I’m a good person. Yeah, I’ve made a few mistakes but all in all, I’m not bad. In fact, I’m doing really well, compared to a lot of people I know.”

I call it the sovereign self because essentially it boils down to an individual asserting themselves as good – but without defining what that “good” is. Only a sovereign being, one who has all knowledge, can legitimately determine that good. And if someone claims to be good, they are making the claim they know what the quality of “good” entails.

Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t agree. And yes, I know, THAT is one of the main issues people have with the Bible (and God, for that matter). For to tell someone he or she is not only imperfect, but far from perfect, is taken as an insult to their, well… pride.

Everyone wants to think of themselves in the best possible light. They want to believe that in general, they are good people. To prove it, they cite all the good things they do: giving to charity, lending their time to others, and even attending church. But even more than that, they list all the “bad” things they do not do. And, they reinforce it by bringing up all the people they know or know of who do those things.

Here’s what God says regarding the “goodness” of man:

“The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside, together they have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Psalm 14:2,3

“Sons of men” means everyone – no one escapes this indictment from God. The eternal God saw then as He sees today that humans are corrupt, inside and out. There’s not one person who is otherwise.

People have real issue with this. I mean, if you want to find out where someone is in relation to the Lord and His Word, tell them what He says about the nature of man. Tell them about the depravity of all people. What you will find is most people reacting with everything from passive disinterest to raging anger, and a lots of different flavors in between. This truth of the Bible sets them off like nothing else.

Why? I believe it flows from people’s innate, prideful posture. It’s the pride that tells someone he or she is not bad, actually pretty good, and in NO NEED of a savior. To accept anything else is lowering oneself, and pride doesn’t allow that.

Actually, there is a blatant irony in people’s reaction to this indictment of humanity, because a study into the nature of people reveals the only reason they react so strongly is because they know it to be true! Everyone knows their own faults. And they know a lot more of their faults than everyone else combined knows. So, while they may claim innocence, their very own conscience screams at the falsity of their words.

What follows this? Guilt. Guilt that we are not who we claim to be, and thus we prove not only liars, but hypocrites.

Guilt then builds a defense mechanism. It says, OK, I know how morally repugnant I am, I know that I am a slave to degrading passions and lusts, I know that I put my desires and needs over everyone’s, and I feel horrible about it, but because I don’t want anyone to know just how bad I really am, I will reject anyone or anything that tells me I am sick or in need of help. Because, by default, not doing so would be admission…

And so the cycle repeats.

If ever there was a bleak outlook, this is it. But God, in His love, had another plan…

God’s grace is amazing. No, I’m saying REALLY AMAZING! In love, He saw our need and sent the solution. He saw humankind strangled in selfish, prideful thoughts, oppressed on every side by temptation and sin, all the while desperately seeking to show ourselves as confident, successful people. And He saw the endless cycle of failure, coverup, failure, coverup… and knew that man would never achieve the perfection he so desired.

Because man could not achieve perfection, God had to send someone who could!

Enter Jesus Christ. The God-Man, come from heaven yet born of a virgin, living a sinless life while giving loving compassion to those who deserved it the least. While blessing, He was cursed. While giving, He was stolen from. While loving, He was hated. While speaking truth, He was lied about. While encouraging, He was mocked.

Yes, Jesus came to this earth that He might save those who were lost in their sin, lost in their failure. For no matter what they said about themselves, God knew who they truly were. They needed salvation!

When Christ went to the cross, He went to bear the eternal penalty for the sin of the world. The massive, eternal weight of darkness and death came upon Him, and He took it willingly, that we might be freed from its curse. He was the only righteous One, the only person who could ever claim complete holiness, and because of that, He was the only sacrifice acceptable to God His Father to remove the curse of sin.

And surely He did just that. His death paid the penalty, and his resurrection claimed the victory, so that those who accept His gift of love will never have to. That’s right, we don’t bear the guilt or shame or punishment for sin because He already did for us.

So, in an eternal sense, we as followers of Christ can say we are cleansed and pure. Not by our own doing, but by His doing, yes, we are washed!

And what follows? Confidence. Assurance. Hope. And Faith.

Now that is something to be proud of.



Give Your Brand A Winning Personality

One of the 3 “Ps” of authority brand positioning is Personality. Some brands have a strong brand personality. McDonald’s has Ronald McDonald as its personality. He is immediately recognized worldwide as the face of McDonalds. For years Target used a dog with a red target symbol around its eye. Some brands choose celebrities (people or animals) as their brand personalities. And for others, owners or employees are chosen to represent the face of the company.

A strong personality that immediately identifies a business can be a strong competitive edge for a company. A company without a visible personality can find itself in the background without a strong competitive edge. Often the only way for a company in this position to compete is to lower its price, because that’s the only way to compete — through the comparative advantage of lower pricing.

If you are a solopreneur or a solopro (fessional), you are often the brand personality behind your company. If you have employees, partners, affiliates, sales reps, or others that are associated with your company, then the personality of your business is shaped by their personalities as well.

Remember, part of successful authority brand positioning is to be memorable. How are you different so that your customers and prospects will remember you? It’s not enough to “brand” yourself as “affordable” or “family” or “kid-friendly.” Those terms are too general and too broad to make your brand stand out from others, and other companies can easily claim those identifiers as well.

Too many brands try to be everything to everyone, and seek to compete in every available market segment, and in the process they do nothing well.

Instead, decide what your personality will be, and then focus on developing relationships that are attracted to your personality. Whether your brand’s personality is based on your natural state, or is a “stage name” with a created personality, your brand needs to consistently show that personality to your market. When you develop a distinct personality that is identified with both your brand and your business that sets them apart, it gives you a strong competitive advantage.

How will people connect with your brand? You want your brand to help attract your target market segments to you. One way to do this is to tell a story that resonates with your customers and ideal prospects. It can be your story personally if you are the face of your brand, a story about your business, or a story that conveys a point in a way that will connect with your target market. It can even be an advertisement or promotional message for your product or service that is told in the form of a story.

The brand story should connect with the emotions of the reader to be meaningful and memorable to the reader. It doesn’t have to be exciting; it just needs to be told in a way that captures the attention of the reader. A good story is more than just a straightforward description of the facts. Weave together action verbs with curiosity, add some drama, touch the reader’s emotional triggers, and paint vivid pictures with your words. Don’t try to be Hemingway, just try to give others a story that they will be more likely to remember.

You want people to connect with your brand so that they feel that they are in the right place when they do business with your company and that they have made the best choice to trust it to deliver what they need or desire that motivates them to do business with your company. That trust is reinforced by consistency in the messages your brand delivers to them. Those messages can be both tangible and intangible. You probably have had an experience in your life where someone’s words said one thing, but their body language was totally inconsistent with what was being said. A confused mind not only doesn’t buy, it doesn’t trust.

So you want to create a brand personality that is meaningful and memorable to your target market and use that personality to develop trust with your target market through a strong emotional connection.

Here are three questions to help you develop a Personality that will define and support your brand’s image:

1. What is the goal for my company in the long term? If you plan to build a business that you will sell, you need to think about creating a brand that is not too closely associated with you as an individual. If you are a professional that is building a business that you will eventually dissolve, then you can be the primary personality and brand identity for your business. If you are not certain, then just choose an answer and move forward.

2. What are the values that will define the brand? Choose 3-5 terms that will help your customers and ideal prospects connect with your company. They can be general terms, like “affordable” or “family friendly,” but also can describe how you will interact with your customers, such as “reliable” or “always on time.” Set a timer for 10 minutes and write whatever comes to you, then choose 3-5 from the list you have written.

3. What will be your story that will also help to define your brand and help your customers and ideal prospects connect with your company? Again, if you are planning to sell your company in the future, you may want to refrain from making the story about you, and focus instead on a story that is focused on the company’s struggle or good fortune, how it began, or how it helped one customer in a meaningful way. The story should be told so that there is a magnetic connection with your customers and ideal prospects, which is likely to come from the story itself as well as the way it is told.



Rhetorical Devices in the Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy

It is according to Aristotle that a speaker or writer has three ways to persuade his audience: The first kind depends on the personal character of the speaker; the second is on putting the audience into a certain frame of mind; the third is on the proof, or apparent proof, provided by the words of the speech itself.

One of the most influential people who made a memorable speech for the past century is President John F. Kennedy, a famous public speaker who wrote an inaugural address that contains a power to persuade a lot of people.

His well-known speech shows how his method of using the art of persuasive written or spoken discourse (Rhetoric) that an author or speaker uses to convey a meaning to the listener or reader contributes to the purpose or theme of his message for his countrymen.

Definition of Terms:

1. Alliteration: Repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words that are close to one another.

2. Allusion: A brief or indirect reference to a person, place, event, or passage in a work of literature or the Bible assumed to be sufficiently well known to be recognized by the reader.

3. Amplification: An expansion of detail to clarify a point.

4. Analogy: A comparison between two things in which the more complex is explained in terms of the more simple.

5. Anaphora: Repetition of one or more words at the head of consecutive phrases, clauses, or sentences.

6. Anastrophe: Inversion of word order to mark emphasis.

7. Antimetabole: Reverasal or repeated words or phrases for effect.

8. Antithesis: Contrast within parallel phrases (not to be confused with the ordinary use of the word to mean “extreme opposite”).

9. Assonance: Repetition of vowel sounds between different consonants.

10. Asyndeton: Absence of conjunctions.

11. Chiasmus: The reversal of grammatical order from one phrase to the next.

12. Climax: Consists of arranging words, clauses, or sentences in the order of increasing importance, weight, or emphasis.

13. Conduplication: Resembles anadiplosis in the repetition of a preceding word, but it repeats a key word (not just the last word) from a preceding phrase, clause, or sentence, at the beginning of the next.

14. Consonance: Repetition of identical consonant sounds within two or more words in close proximity.

15. Ellipsis: Any omitted part of speech that is easily understood in context.

16. Ethos: Makes use of what an audience values and believes to be good or true.

17. Hyperbole: Deliberate exaggeration in order to create humor or emphasis.

18. Imagery: Lively descriptions which impress the images of things upon the mind using one or more of the five senses.

19. Logos: appealing to reason in a measured, logical way.

20. Metanoia: The qualification of a statement to either diminish or strengthen its tone.

21. Metaphor: Meaning or identity ascribed to one subject by way of another.

22. Oxymoron: Contraditory terms or ideas are combined.

23. Parallelism: The technique of arranging words, phrases, clauses, or larger structures by placing them side by side and making them similar in form.

24. Paradox: A statement that seems to contradict itself but that turns out to have a rational meaning.

25. Pathos: Appealing to the emotions.

26. Personification: The attribution of human qualities to a nonhuman or inanimate object.

27. Polysyndeton: Insertion of conjunctions before each word in a list.

28. Repetition: Word or phrase used two or more times in close proximity.

29. Rhetorical Question: A question asked for rhethorical effect to emphasize a point, no answer being expected.

30. Sententia: The punctuation of a point with an aphorism.

31. Syntax: The grammatical structure of a sentence; the arrangement of words in a sentence.

32. Tricolon: A series of parallel words, phrases, clauses, or statements.

33. Zeugma: Includes several similar rhetorical devices, all involving a grammatically correct linkage (or yoking together) of two or more parts of speech by another part of speech.

Rhetorical Devices That Are Present In The Inaugural Address of John F. Kennedy:

*Alliteration

• “same solemn” (2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph)

• “man holds in his mortal hands” (1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph)

• “for which our forebears fought” (2nd sentence of 3rd paragraph)

• “to friend and foe alike” (4th paragraph)

• “whether it wishes us well or ill” (5th paragraph)

• “Pay any price, bear any burden… ” (5th paragraph)

• “the survival and the success of liberty” (5th paragraph)

• “faithful friends” (1st sentence of the 7th paragraph)

• “colonial control” (1st sentence of the 8th paragraph)

• “strongly supporting” (2nd sentence of the 8th paragraph)

• “break the bonds of mass misery” (9th paragraph)

• “sovereign states” (11th paragraph)

• “its writ may run” (11th paragraph)

• “the dark powers of destruction” (12th paragraph)

• “steady spread” (14th paragraph)

• “sincerity is always subject” (15th paragraph)

• “peace preserved” (9th to the last paragraph)

• “bear the burden” (6th to the last paragraph)

• “a grand and global alliance” (5th to the last paragraph)

• “high standards of strength and sacrifice” (1st sentence of the last paragraph)

• “Let us go forth to lead the land we love… ” (2nd sentence of the last paragraph)

*Allusion

• “I have sworn before you and Almighty God.” (2nd sentence of the 2nd paragraph)

• “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside” (last sentence of the 8th paragraph)

*Amplification

• “Let both sides… Let both sides… Let both sides… Let both sides (Paragraphs 16 to 19)

*Analogy

• “those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside” (3rd sentence of the 8th paragraph)

*Anaphora

• “all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life” (1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph)

• “not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right” (1st sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “To those old allies… To those new states… To those people… To our sister… To that world… to those nations… ” (Paragraphs 7 to 12)

• “We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom” (2nd and 3rd sentences of the 8th paragraph)

• “both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind’s final war” (14th paragraph)

• “Let both sides… Let both sides… Let both sides… Let both sides” (Paragraphs 16 to 19)

• “not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are–but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out” (6th to the last paragraph)

• “the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet” (8th to the last paragraph)

*Anastrophe

• “Dare not” (1st sentence of the 4th paragraph and 13th paragraph & 3rd sentence of the 7th paragraph)

• “This much we pledge” (6th paragraph)

• “Ask not” (26th paragraph)

*Antimetabole

• “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.” (3rd to the last paragraph)

• “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” (2nd sentence of the 15th paragraph)

*Antithesis

• “We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning signifying renewal as well as change. ” (1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph)

• “… not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God.” (2nd sentence of the 3rd paragraph)

• “Support any friend, oppose any foe… ” (5th paragraph)

• “United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do… ” (2nd sentence of the 7th paragraph)

• “Not because… not because… but because… ” (1st sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate.” (2nd sentence of the 15th paragraph)

• “Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.” (16th paragraph)

• “not a new balance of power, but a new world of law” (20th paragraph)

• “Not as a call to bear arms… not as a call to battle.. but a call to bear the burden… ” (23rd paragraph)

• “I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it.” (2nd sentence of the 25th paragraph)

• “… ask not what you country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” (26th paragraph)

• “ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man” (2nd to the last paragraph)

*Assonance

• “… the steady spread of the deadly atom.” (14th paragraph)

*Asyndeton

• “We shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe… ” (5th paragraph)

• “explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths” (2nd sentence of the 18th paragraph)

• “The energy, the faith, the devotion” (4th to the last paragraph)

*Chiasmus

• “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.” (2nd sentence of the 15th paragraph)

• “ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country” (3rd to the last paragraph)

*Climax

• “All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet.” (8th to the last paragraph)

*Conduplication

• “to help them help themselves” (1st sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “good words into good deeds” (1st sentence of the 10th paragraph)

• “free men and free governments” (1st sentence of the 10th paragraph)

• “the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace” (11th paragraph)

• “absolute power… absolute control… ” (17th paragraph)

*Consonance

• “Whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall… ” (5th paragraph)

*Ellipsis

• “This much we pledge–and more.” (6th paragraph)

*Ethos

• “Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, Reverend Clergy, fellow citizens: We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning–signifying renewal as well as change.” (Paragraphs 1 & 2)

• “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility–I welcome it.” (4th to the last paragraph)

• “With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” (last sentence of the last paragraph)

*Hyperbole

• “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (5th paragraph)

*Imagery

• “The torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.” (4th paragraph)

*Logos

• “old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share” (1st sentence of the 7th paragraph)

• “new states whom we welcome to the ranks of the free” (1st sentence of the 8th paragraph)

• “people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery” (1st sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations” (11th paragraph)

• “nations who would make themselves our adversary” (12th paragraph)

*Metanoia

• “Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are–but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”–a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” (6th to the last paragraph)

*Metaphor

• “We are the heirs of the first revolution.” (1st sentence of the 4th paragraph)

• “Let the word go forward from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans… ” (2nd sentence of the 4th paragraph)

• “riding the back of the tiger” (3rd sentence of the 8th paragraph)

• “the bonds of mass misery” (9th paragraph)

• “the chains of poverty” (1st sentence of the 10th paragraph)

• “evolution of hope” (2nd sentence of the 10th paragraph)

• “master of its own house” (last sentence of the 10th paragraph)

• “balance of terror” (14th paragraph)

• “And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion… ” (20th paragraph)

• “The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.” (4th to the last paragraph)

*Oxymoron

• “But this peaceful revolution.” (2nd sentence of the 10th paragraph)

*Parallelism

• “We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning signifying renewal as well as change.” (1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph)

• “born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage” (2nd sentence of the 4th paragraph)

• “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” (5th paragraph)

• “Let both sides explore what problems unite us… Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms… Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science… Let both sides unite… ” (Paragraphs 6 to 9)

• “United there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided there is little we can do… ” (2nd and 3rd sentences of the 7th paragraph)

• “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.” (2nd sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond” (2nd sentence of the 13th paragraph)

*Paradox

• “Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.” (2nd sentence of the 13th paragraph)

*Pathos

• “To those people in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery… ” (1st sentence of the 9th paragraph)

• “he graves of young Americans who answered the call toservice surround the globe” (7th to the last paragraph)

• ” The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it–and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.” (4th to the last paragraph)

*Personification

• “With history the final judge of our deeds” (2nd sentence of the last paragraph)

*Polysyndeton

• “where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved” (9th to the last paragraph)

*Repetition

• “For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life.” (1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph)

*Rhetorical Question

• “Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?” (5th to the last paragraph)

*Sententia

• “undo the heavy burdens… (and) let the oppressed go free” (19th paragraph)

*Syntax

• “My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.” (2nd to the last paragraph)

*Tricolon

• “We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom–symbolizing an end as well as a beginning signifying renewal as well as change.” (1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph)

• “not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are–but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out” (6th to the last paragraph)

*Zeugma

• “Now the trumpet summons us again–not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need–not as a call to battle, though embattled we are–but a call to bear the burden… ” (6th to the last paragraph)

Encapsulation of Findings:

John F. Kennedy used 33 different types of rhetorical devices in his inaugural speech. The most dominant rhetorical device that he used was the usage of alliteration.

Conclusion:

Through extensive analysis, it can be seen that it is evident that he has a goal of getting the audience’s attention to listen and to understand his points in a meaningful way in the fields of writing and speaking.



Why Weight Loss Diets Fail

There doesn’t seem to be a law that a new year must be accompanied by feelings of weight-guilt, but January/February dismay seems to be pretty universal.

Every year, year in and year out, a new year reminds us it’s time to suffer, feel guilty or both. And so we join in this annual ritual of self-abuse.

But let me ask you this: The struggle and strain to lose weight has been going on every year for centuries. After all those years of effort, shouldn’t we be winning?

I mean, an avalanche of all the diet books in print would flatten a smallish city. But all that information, even if strictly applied, will provide–at best–no more than temporary success.

For instance, The Biggest Loser television show flogged competitors through almost superhuman efforts to lose weight. The motivated contestants did whatever they were told to do to reach the magical goal of slim and trim.

After they reach the promised land, after all that training, effort and suffering, you’d think contestants would be good to go for the rest of their lives. But you would be wrong. By about a mile.

You never see reunions of Biggest Loser alums. Most, if not all, the alums regained the weight they lost, and sometimes even more.

Why does the weight always come back? Because all the weight-loss hoopla, so heavily promoted by dietitians and doctors as a sure path to skinny-jeans heaven, throws our bodies into a very deep ditch of wounded body parts unable to figure out which way is up.

Our bodies know if they don’t step in to save the day, as in getting everything back into balance, we’re going down. Disease, even death, await.

So, an all-body call-to-arms goes out, and body parts join the battle, coordinating their efforts in a big-time push to get everything back on track. And the lost pounds come piling back. Why?

Here’s how it goes: By taking the usual, count-calories, etc., approach to weight loss, you dumped muscle, not fat. Since life depends on healthy muscles, such as the heart, your body works overtime to recover lost muscle. And you’re back where you started.

But, but, but, you cry in dismay, does that mean I’ll never be able to lose weight and keep it off?

Not at all. That’s actually pretty easy-peasy stuff. I cover the whole business in my Moving to Health program.

Well, you may counter, if it’s so easy, why don’t you just tell us? And you ask because everybody’s been brainwashed into believing health and weight loss are about magic bullets, not about understanding what’s going on. All I have to offer is understanding, so work with me here.

Losing weight is not rocket science, but getting people to change their understanding of how it works is a killer. That’s nobody’s fault; it’s just the way things are.

The weight loss industry rakes in billions and billions of dollars a year, and they don’t look kindly on anybody who talks the way I do. They keep machetes always at the ready, the better to protect their mountain of money.

I don’t want to start a fight with a whole gang of bullies, which is scary. But I do want to help people; I just have to wait for them to realize they need my help.

Here’s how it goes: We are all unique, one-of-a-kind beings. One-size-fits-all diets don’t work for unique people. So talk about losing weight must take the unique wonder of us into account; a quick ten-point list doesn’t come close.

But I can give you two basic truths that will probably contradict everything you’ve been taught: Counting calories doesn’t get you anywhere, and you have to eat fat to lose fat.

I kid you not.