Monday, December 29, 2014

Is Gluten-Free The Latest Food Fashion?

Is Gluten-Free The Latest Food Fashion?

In the 1990s, we scorned our intake of fat. In the 2000s, carbohydrates were vilified as being the thing that put more weight on our bodies.  Now the food culprit is gluten. Since 2012, gluten-free product sales have risen 63 percent. It's a gold mine for manufacturers. A food label reading "gluten-free" is a guarantee for the product that carries it to become a big seller. Is it the latest food fashion?

What's Your Opinion? Are You Gluten Intolerant?

Do you think you may be gluten intolerant? Is there such a condition? People who have Celiac Disease cannot tolerate wheat and many other grains. But lately, people who have not been diagnosed with Celiac have professed to being intolerant of gluten. Consumer Reports magazine has a new slant on the subject you may find interesting. After reading the magazine, I wondered how my readers would feel about the subject. So I'm leaving it up to you to decide whether you actually have a problem with gluten or if you're a victim of excellent marketing. Read on....

Gluten Free May Be Less Nutritious

Many people believe that gluten-free foods have more vitamins and minerals, but that's not necessarily so. Many foods that are touted as being gluten-free aren't enriched with folic acid or iron. Products that contain wheat flours are enriched with these nutrients. What's more, getting rid of gluten often means adding more sugar, fat and sodium to compensate for the lack of taste in gluten-free foods. Consumer Reports makes this statement:  "A gluten-free bagel for breakfast and two slices of gluten-free bread at lunch means 10 to 15 additional grams of fat." While that doesn't sound like a lot, it accumulates over a period of time.

  Rice: A Mainstay For Gluten-Free Food

Gluten-free products rely heavily on the addition of rice. Eating large amounts of rice increases the body's arsenic intake, providing measurable amounts of arsenic in rice and packaged foods made with rice. Several of these products also contain inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen. In their tests, Consumer Reports states:  "These levels are close to 10 times the amount of inorganic arsenic we think consumers should get in their diets on a weekly basis."

 You May Gain Weight On A Gluten Free Diet
There's no evidence that following a gluten-free food program will help you to lose weight. Studies in the Journal of Medicinal Food have found the opposite effect, because of the tendency for these foods to have more calories, sugars and fat. Consumer Reports says if you've lost weight on a gluten free diet it may well be that you've opted for foods with more fiber. Fiber helps to satisfy hunger and fresh fruits and vegetables aid in the loss of weight and the intake of fiber.

 You May Be Paying More For Gluten Free

In every category tested, except ready-to-eat cereal,  Consumer Reports found that gluten-free foods are more expensive, sometimes as much as double the price. Why should these foods cost the consumer more? The added cost is attributed to the costs the "manufacturer must pay to meet certification and labeling regulations." To me, that seems rather exorbitant for such a small adjustment, considering the fact that gluten-free foods have so many expensive ingredients removed before manufacture. I would think it would have a balanced out effect on the price to consumers.

You Could Miss A Serious Health Condition  

If you're still convinced you have a problem with gluten, see a doctor, have your blood tested to check for the antibodies associated with Celiac Disease. One note of information, if you go for these blood tests, you need to be eating gluten when the test is done to get proper readings. If the test is positive, you will need to have an endoscopic biopsy of your small intestine to monitor any damage you may have already sustained.

You May Still Be Eating Gluten Without Knowing  

A recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that out of 158 food products labeled gluten-free, about 5% didn't meet the standards. Although the Food and Drug Administration's gluten-free rule went into effect in the summer of 2014, the standard doesn't require manufacturers to test their products before claiming they are gluten-free. Often, these products are manufactured on the same equipment as wheat or other gluten containing products. It can also happen in the growing fields, when oats are grown in or around fields where wheat was previously grown. A final word on this segment is, that if your gluten-free product contains malt, malt extract, or malt syrup, these are usually made from barley, which is not gluten-free.

 Common Sense Eating 

If you are susceptible to gluten, try substituting amaranth, corn, millet, quinoa, teff and only an occasional serving of rice. Stick with naturally gluten-free foods such as vegetables, fruit, lean meat, poultry, fish, most dairy, legumes, and nuts. Become an avid label reader, and minimize packaged products made with rice or potato flour. Keep an eye out for elevated levels of sugar, fat and sodium.
To read the entire Consumer Reports article, you can subscribe to the magazine at the link below. I hope I've made you do some thinking, and please feel free to leave a comment below.

Disclosure: This author is an Amazon Affiliate, and receives a commission from any article sold from this page.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

WAC Organization: For A Good Cause

I served in the Women's Army Corps in the years from 1968-1972. The Corps no longer exists, but is now a part of history. Our methods of organizing our gear was totally different from anything I'd ever known. My mother was a taskmaster, an excellent housekeeper. Our house was always spotless, so I didn't think I had too much to learn about organization. I couldn't have been more wrong!

Let's Talk About WAC Organization

My first introduction to military service was at night, having come in from the bus station in Anniston, Alabama. We were sent to Processing where we met a rawboned woman in an immaculate uniform who ticked us off by name on a roster, then informed us: "My first name is Sergeant, my last name is Bell. Whenever you refer to me in any manner, even answering roll call or a question, you will answer with my full name." WOW! I thought, "Oh man, what did I get myself into?" If she asked a question and you answered simply "yes or no," you can bet she'd be standing nose to nose with you in an instant, yelling "WHAT DID YOU SAY?" And you knew you'd better answer properly,  "Yes (or No) Sergeant Bell." After a couple days of listening to Sergeant Bell give us instructions about how to address her, we were relieved to be moved to a platoon. My platoon was Alpha-3 and my Platoon Sergeant was Sergeant Valentine. Believe me, that was a misnomer if I ever heard one.

Organization of the Barracks 

Basic training took place in Ft. McClellan, Alabama. We came in from all parts of the country, from all races, creeds and colors. We lived in a single barracks (known as a bay,) where we were totally responsible for its cleanliness. Some of these girls had never had to sweep a floor, much less use an electric buffer, but we set to work to do what was called for by Sergeant V. We pushed and pulled each other, and by the time basic was finished in eight weeks, we worked together as a team. 

God's Aisle

The beds and lockers were all aligned so that there was a center aisle we were never allowed to step foot on, unless we were cleaning and buffing it. It was known quietly between us recruits as "God's Aisle." This was where the NCOs (non-commissioned officers, i.e., sergeants) and Commissioned Officers (Lieutenant, Captain, Major, Colonel, etc.) did "walk through" inspections. If we were lucky, we got those instead of individual inspections. Many times they went down the center aisle, only to turn back up the center aisle and then around to our individual areas. We never knew when it was to be what we called a "real" inspection.

Details Are Not What You Think

When someone was assigned a "detail" in the WAC, it meant you were responsible for the cleanliness of such area or item, for the entire platoon. "Details" were assigned by Sergeant V daily, and inspected closely to see they were done properly. The first day, we were asked to place a check mark beside our name on a roster to indicate if we were interested in being a Squad Leader. These would be the Sergeant's team to help inspect our details. I did not check my name, I wanted no responsibility until I figured out if I was going to stay. Right then, it didn't seem likely.

Details, Demerits, Recycling

The walls and floors of the bathroom showers were scrubbed each day with a brush and cleaner/disinfectant. The bathroom sinks and commodes were scrubbed each day. If a speck of dirt or filth was found upon inspection, the person responsible for that detail that day was "gigged" or given a demerit. If someone racked up too many demerits, they could get "recycled," which meant they were sent back to begin the first week all over, in another platoon. Nobody wanted to repeat any more time than they had to. Demerits or gigs were far too easy to come by, as I was about to learn. The floors of the bay area were swept with a large commercial broom, mopped with water and a commercial mop and bucket, then buffed with an electric buffer to a high shine.

I Knew My Time Had Come!

Inspections were held almost daily for the first few weeks. On my first inspection, they opened my locker and I received a BUB (button unbuttoned) for each button on each jacket and skirt hanging in my locker! GEEZ! Nobody ever told me, if you weren't wearing them, they had to be buttoned! I also got gigged for every zipper unzipped, a ZUZ. My brass wasn't polished enough, my shoes weren't shiny enough...and on and on. This gave me a humongous total, and I figured I was done in, my time had come! But oh no, they weren't done yet! 

 Pallas Athene
Goddess of Wisdom and War
Symbol of The Women's Army Corps

Other Violations Noted

I had a tissue waving out of the top of a Kleenex box, that also got me a gig. That was my introduction to the tucked and covered Kleenex. Then they went to my footlocker, which we were taught belonged at the end of our bed. Nobody told me it had to be lined up exactly with the bed posts of our metal frame bed. Another gig! And when they opened the footlocker I was already in agony, because I knew there'd be even more things wrong! Sure enough, pantyhose were just beginning at that time, but we weren't allowed to put them in our footlocker, but had to put nylons (we didn't wear) there, rolled tightly. Sergeant V picked up each one of my nylons, gave them a swift yank and they fell open, resulting in two more gigs! We never wore a garter belt, because we wore the new pantyhose, but yep! you guessed it! It had to be there in the footlocker just the same, in a particular divided area, placed just so. Of course, mine was wrong! Gigged again! 

A Quarter Will Bounce If It's Right

Then they proceeded to my bed. Beds in the WAC at that time, were metal, just the size for one person. They were to be made with a bottom sheet (not fitted!) a top sheet, and an Army blanket, pillow and pillowcase. Our Sergeant turned to her aid who was writing down the gigs, said "quarter please." The aid handed her a quarter, which she quickly threw in the center of my bed and it just laid there. I'm wondering, "What on earth is that for?" when she reached down to the cover on my bed and gave it a hard yank, jerking the covers off. Then she picked the mattress up and threw it on the floor. Gigged again, several times! The quarter was supposed to bounce off the blanket, the sheets were supposed to be folded a certain way before being tucked tightly at each corner, and only a set amount of inches of white sheet was to be visible at the top of the blanket (YES! they measured with a yardstick.) I figured I was on my way out before I ever really got IN. Sergeant V kept up a flowing list of my faults, that the aid dutifully took down on the yellow legal pad. Then Sergeant V turned to me (I'm standing there at attention with my heart in my throat) referred to the fact that I was older than most of the women in the platoon, told me I needed to "get my act together," if I didn't want to be part of another platoon, and all I could say was, "Yes Sergeant V," and pray she'd move on before she found something else. She did. Each member of the platoon was given a pretty hard "rake over the coals," and it was all done in the presence of the rest of us.

 Courtesy of the Author
Did Those Inspections Help Us Bond?

You bet they did...we had a common enemy, as well as a common need to show her we could do this. By the time we graduated, we were the best Platoon in Company A. Organized? Sure, we were, but I can tell you this...I doubt any of us EVER lived our lives like that again! By the way, Sergeant V was proud of us, and she wasn't so bad after all.

Author's Note:  The Women's Army Corps was disbanded in 1978, when male and female forces were integrated.

Howard Hughes: Boy Wonder and Recluse

Howard Hughes, boy wonder in his young years, was known in the early 1930s to be obsessive-compulsive. One of his favorite foods was green peas, but he was obsessed with their size and used a special fork to sort them by size. This was only one of his more interesting compulsions in his young years.

The Early Years 

Hughes became wealthy because he was brilliant and inventive. After inheriting his father's tool company when he was just a kid, he took it to extraordinary heights, becoming an industrial multi-millionaire. He was charming, outgoing, dazzling to the ladies of Hollywood and always seen with top female stars. Hughes made his mark in the film industry with a controversial movie called "The Outlaw," with Jane Russell. Of course, he  produced and directed the film at RKO Pictures, which he owned. 

Even then, he had odd habits that would today be considered to be signposts of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.) In the 1930s-40s, no one had ever heard of such a thing. He was just considered eccentric by those who knew him.

Near Fatal Airplane Crash

His mental problems worsened after a near fatal airplane crash on July 7, 1946 as he was piloting an experimental U.S. Army Air Force reconnaissance aircraft known as XF-11. He suffered a crushed collar bone, multiple cracked ribs, crushed chest with left lung collapsed. The collapse shifted his heart to the right side of his chest which caused even more pain. He also incurred numerous third-degree burns. It took him months to recover, and during this time he was given codeine as a painkiller, which set him on the road to a long term self-medicating habit. Did this contribute to his later reclusive behavior?


He Bought His First Hotel and More

In Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1966, Hughes rented the top two floors of the Desert Inn Hotel and Casino. He rented it for ten days, but overstayed and continued to pay the rental. Hughes did not gamble, and the operators of the Desert Inn wanted the space for the high rollers coming into town during December, and they asked him to vacate the property. This irked Hughes, and so instead, he bought the hotel and casino. Thereafter he stayed as long as he pleased. He eventually bought The Sands Hotel and Casino, The Frontier Hotel and Casino, and The Landmark Hotel and Casino, among other holdings. The umbrella  name for his holdings was Summa Corporation.

Increasing Isolation From The Public 

Hughes became more and more isolated from the public. He stopped going to Hollywood parties, stopped dating stars. He would sit alone in his screening room and run the same movie for hours on end. Ice Station Zebra, a cold war/espionage film starring Rock Hudson, Patrick McGoohan, Ernest Borgnine and Jim Brown was a favorite and he was known to have watched it at least 150 times. He would only pick up objects with a tissue, believing that this protected him from germs. He would sit naked in his bedroom with a pink napkin placed over his genitals. Toward the end of his life, no one was admitted to the room except for a few trusted people.

 Beginning of the End 

In  November, 1970, the Las Vegas SUN newspaper reported that he was "carried out of the Desert Inn on a stretcher, driven to Nellis Air Force Base in an unmarked van and flown by private jet to Resorts International’s Brittania Beach hotel in the Bahamas."

He Never Returned to Las Vegas 

After leaving the D.I. Penthouse, a bitter struggle began over his corporations and holdings. His manager and personal physician were abruptly fired and there was a general shakeup in executives. All his directives were given by a "spokesman," as he never spoke publicly.

Hughes Dies In A Mysterious Manner

Hughes reportedly died on April 5, 1976 on a flight from Mexico to Houston, Texas. At the time of his death, his 6'4" body weighed only 90 pounds. His hair, beard, fingernails and toenails were long and unkempt. There were five broken off hypdermic needles in the flesh of his arms. Kidney failure was noted as the cause of death and his other organs, including his brain, were said to appear perfectly healthy.

Battle For Control and Deception

Soon after his death, the battle for control of his corporations and estate began.

Another report from the Las Vegas Sun carried this piece of news:  "In the years that followed Hughes’ death, numerous documents turned up purporting to be the billionaire’s will. However, judges ruled none was legitimate. One of the more intriguing wills was submitted by Utah gasoline station operator Melvin Dummar, who claimed to have once given Hughes a car ride."
The will was found to have no merit  in court.
Hughes estate was eventually divided between his closest relative, the son of a maternal aunt, Houston Lawyer Will Lummis and 22 other relatives. Summa Corporation was renamed the Howard Hughes Corporation in 1994. 

This story really has no ending, because even today,  the Hughes name carries a powerful amount of clout, especially in Las Vegas, where the holdings still exceed almost every other corporation in town. Howard Robard Hughes was super intelligent, blessed with good looks and great wealth. But in the end, sadly, he wanted nothing to do with the world and its inhabitants. Perhaps there were reasons we know nothing about. In any case, he no longer has to suffer.

Read more about reclusive people at Empty Life Mysteries
Disclosure: This author is an Amazon Affiliate and receives a commission from anything sold from this page.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Father of the Blues: W.C. Handy

W.C. Handy: Father Of The Blues

Source: Photo Courtesy of Amazon
Item Is Available For Purchase On This Page

There's good reason that William Christopher Handy, was known as "The Father of The Blues." Handy began his life on November 16, 1873 in Florence, Alabama and grew up to become a composer and musician, as well as one of the most influential American songwriters. Contrary to some popular belief, he did not invent the blues. It originated from informal work songs, spirituals, shouts and chants of the African-American community. But Handy took these things, worked them, refined them, and molded them into 
a music genre that became a dominant force in American music. It's only fitting that he should be known as the Patriarch of the genre. Blues is a part of sub-genres country blues, west coast blues, Chicago blues, jazz and music of the 70s up to the present time with blues, rock, and even hiphop.

His Story in His Own Words

In the book "Father of the Blues," Handy tells his own story of being a sensitive child whose Father was a minister who did not approve of "devil" music and theater. The only music he approved were the gospel and chorus songs performed in church. Only after Handy had proven his talent and made his mark in the music world did his Father grudgingly accept his "calling." In addition, Handy was involved in another struggle, that of being a black entertainer in the 1900s in the Southern states. But he persevered, playing wherever he could and writing songs when inspiration struck.

His First $100 Earned From Writing Music

He made his first $100 from writing "Memphis Blues" and had his own orchestra during the First World War. Later, Handy became successful in New York as a publisher and song writer, giving voice to other talented entertainers. This extraordinary tale covers the entire story of American music, from the popular songs of the South through rag and jazz. His influence on modern day music can't be denied. It's obvious that if there had never been a W.C. Handy, it's likely there would never have been the wide range of music genres we enjoy today, including rock 'n roll.

His Poster Should Have A Place Of Honor

If you're a blues musician or a lover of blues, this poster would likely be placed on a wall in honor of the man who started it all, W.C. Handy. He was a legend in his own time among his own people, and eventually to the world. Other artists began singing and playing his songs, such as Louis Armstrong, Etta James, The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Bessie Smith, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Guitar virtuoso Chet Adkins, and many others. St. Louis Blues and other works of Handy's are considered blues classics, and all blues aficionados respect them.


Father of the Blues: An Autobiography (Da Capo Paperback)

Poster of W.C. Handy
Available for Purchase From Amazon
At This Link:  WC Handy

Tracing The Rise of "The Devil's Music"

American Blues was once considered "The Devil's Music," and was wrongly attributed as bad habits passed on to the white community from the black community. A ridiculous theory at its best, and racial bias at its worst. Tracing the history of blues through the years since it began, it's obvious that human beings are all alike no matter their color. And they all love good music. American Blues is now a genre recognized around the world, due to W.C. Handy.

W.C. Handy and His Orchestra

W.C. Handy's Orchestra from 1914.  Handy was a musician before his time. He believed that in learning about and working his craft, he could better himself and other musicians. Learning from his example, many other black performers and musicians were encouraged and eventually prospered. Today our world is vastly enriched by their talent.

W.C. Handy's Orchestra from 1918

Statue of W.C. Handy on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee

The "Father of the Blues" W. C. Handy is memorialized in the W.C. Handy Performing Arts Park on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. Music Festivals and spontaneous jam sessions are often held here at the feet of the master of the genre. But it's not just there that he is recognized as his fame spread all over the world.

There are books by and about W.C. Handy in this list from Amazon. His history and talent are worth reading about, so make your choice, or take them all, and find out about this wonderful brand of American music.

Disclosure: This author is an affiliate of and makes a commission from the sale of any article bought from this page.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Empty Mansions: The Empty Life Of An Heiress


Photo Courtesy of Amazon,  Item Is Available to Purchase on This Page

Empty Mansions: Book Review

How could someone be so fabulously rich and yet have such an empty life? That's the story of Huguette Clark, daughter of Copper King W.A. Clark, in the book "Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune". Huguette (pronounced Oo-get in the French manner,) was one of two daughters from Clark's 2nd marriage, to Anna Eugenia LaChapelle. At the time of her death at the age of 104, she owned three palatial mansions in New York, California and Connecticut. They were maintained spotlessly as if she would return any moment, but she lived her last 20 years in a hospital suite, where the privacy she sought was insured.


Is It All About W. A. Clark, Huguette's Father?

I was a little disappointed when I first began the book because it seemed more about W.A. Clark. But reading on, I realized that the family background was necessary to understand the heiress and why she became a recluse. She was closest to two people, her father and her sister. Her sister Andree' was 17 when she passed away from a brief illness. Her father died in 1925 when he was 86 years old. Having lost the only two people she was close to and being naturally shy, this pushed Huguette even further into withdrawal from the world.


Telephone Conversations, Mundane But Revealing.

Telephone conversations between Huguette and her cousin Paul Clark Newell Jr. are included in the book. She always initiates the call, never giving him her phone number. Obviously this means she only wants to talk when she wants to talk. Her conversations are mundane, revealing much about her interests, but very little about her feelings. She was married once, and they were already separated before the official end of the marriage came 9 months later. She took herself and an entourage to Reno, Nevada to get a quickie divorce. Rumors swirled that it was first his fault, and then that it was her fault. It was said that it was an arranged marriage, which neither of them wanted. It was intimated that he was homosexual, or that Huguette was incapable of consumating the marriage. Nobody really knows, but she never married again and took back her maiden name of Clark.

The only photos of Huguette are in her young years.

There were never any photos of her in her later years, only those in her childhood and young adulthood. She was an artist who enjoyed painting in oils. Obviously she must have been talented, because one of her very small paintings sold on eBay for a little over $100 recently. She had a huge doll collection, some of which were worth thousands of dollars. She had doll houses, custom built with the finest materials, sometimes paying as much as $85,000 for one. The details of each house were extremely important to her, and she spent much time making sure the materials were the best money could buy. Huguette never spent much time with her mother, so Anna found surrogate "daughters" of her doctor and other staff, to invite to tea, to chitchat and laugh with. Huguette only showed up at a couple of these tea parties, and didn't stay long at either. She had nothing to give but the emptiness she felt inside. She could be charming and gracious at times, but it was an affected manner that she did not truly feel and couldn't maintain for long periods of time. This rich-beyond-belief heiress, who lived in a fairy tale world, was lonely beyond imagining. She contributed her money generously to various causes and charities, but it was impossible for her to give herself.

 Information Came From First Cousin

This book is a collaboration between Paul Clark Newell Jr., Huguette's first cousin and Pulitzer Prize Winner Bill Dedman, providing two different views; one more personal (Newell) and the other on the amassing and "Spending of a Great American Fortune," by Dedman. Although the author says she was a cheerful, happy person, that impression seems a bit out of kilter with her life. It seems her money made it possible for her to live a life of loneliness, only interacting with others on a whim or necessity. She truly lived in an empty mansion in her mind, though she spent little physical time in any of her homes.

Huguette Clark and Family Trivia

W.A. Clark, Huguette's father, was the owner of and responsible for the original selling of the lots that made up the beginning of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clark owned a railroad, which he financed from his own pocket without help from others.

The family was booked to sail from New York to France for vacation in April of 1912, but the ship never made it to New York, because it hit an iceberg and sank. It was the ill-fated Titanic.

A large part of her doll collection were the exclusive Hina dolls from Japan. She also had custom made dollhouses, by a master craftsman in Japan. These collections were worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You can read more about Huguette Clark, Howard Hughes and other people who withdrew from the world at Mystery in the History

Disclosure: This review was written by this author from her own reading of the book Empty Mansions: The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune. The book is available for purchase here and this author receives a commission if the book is bought from this page.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Airway Bypass For COPD

New Studies on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Emphysema:

What's it like to have healthy lungs?

When a healthy person breathes in, tiny sacs (alveoli) in the lungs fill with air like small balloons. When the person breathes out, the sacs deflate, much like a balloon does when the air is let out. Breathing is easy and effortless, even under stress such as running, once they stop and rest.

A person with emphysema/COPD does not have this easy in and out ability because the walls of many of the lung alveoli are destroyed. Airways and air sacs lose their elasticity and are unable to function properly. This results in trapped air in the lungs, which causes the person with this condition to have over expanded lungs, changing the shape of the diaphragm, and resulting in the need to exert more effort to breathe. The lungs have less capacity because they fill with the air not expended.

New Information, Possible New Procedure

Johns Hopkins Hospital, one of the world's most prestigious health organizations, located in Baltimore, Maryland, announced recently a new procedure for people with emphysema/Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Known as an airway bypass, it's a procedure which enables people with this condition to breathe more effectively.

Johns Hopkins describes the successful result of the airway bypass this way:  "holes are created between medium-sized airways and the alveoli to allow the trapped air to escape from the lungs." It's a minimally invasive procedure done with a bronchoscope (a long thin tube with a light and lens that is used to look at the airways.) The instrument is inserted through the mouth of the patient, into the windpipe and down into smaller airways, or bronchi. To get trapped air around these blocked airways, the doctor inserts a very small needle through the bronchoscope and uses it to create tiny holes through the airway wall in into surrounding alveoli. Up to six holes may be created in each lobe to connect the damaged collapsed airways with the larger, more healthy airways, allowing the trapped air to escape. The new passages are then kept open with stents that are similar to the wire mesh tubes used in heart stents, to keep arteries open. These stents are chemically treated to reduce scar tissue, which helps prevent the passageway from closing.

Studies To Determine Efficacy

Johns Hopkins conducted a "multicenter, randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled study" in 2012.  This procedure could make it possible for a much needed alternative to lung volume reduction surgery or a lung transplant. Both of these surgeries pose greater risks to the patient, and only benefit a select group of individuals.

What To Do If You Have COPD/Emphysema

If you suffer from emphysema/COPD, talk to your pulmonary doctor and ask about the airway bypass procedure. You may also ask about airway bypass by clicking on National Institute of Health  

Disclosure:  This author is an affiliate and receives a commission for any item purchased from Amazon from this page.

Retro 1960s Lava Lamps

Those Were The Days!

Lava lamps were all the rage in the 1960s, not so much for the light they gave (very dim), but for the mood they helped to create as they slowly bubbled and flowed inside the colorful liquid. On this page we will explore what a lava lamp is, how they began, and provide you an opportunity to buy your very own retro 1960s lava lamp.

Lava Lamps were created in 1963 by a British man, Edward Craven-Walker They were also once known as Astro Lamps, but that didn't last long because the motion of the material inside, as it ebbed and flowed made one think of volcanos and lava. Thus, the term "lava lamp" was born.  Here's how they work:

Colored wax chunks are immersed in a glass container filled with clear or colored liquid. There is an incandescent light bulb underneath the lamp, which creates warmth and causes the wax to expand. The expansion makes the wax begin to "bubble" or "blob" and rise up in spheres. Then, as the spheres cool at the top, away from the heat source, they fall slowly back to the bottom, where they once again begin to warm and rise. This rising and falling action continues the entire time the lamp is on. When the power is switched off, the wax sinks to the bottom, dormant, until the next time the heat source is switched on. Watching the rise and fall of the colored wax, can become mesmerizing, like watching fish in an aquarium.

Since so many people loved them, they came to have a place in almost every household. But they were especially loved by the young crowd. A lava lamp in a darkened room gave the room ambiance and atmosphere, like a nightclub, only you had the comfort of being at home. The hippies loved them, the beat generation loved them, the anti-war crowd loved them, and even many adults who didn't fit any of the "in crowds" loved them.

You can find these retro, decorative lava lamps here in many colors and styles. Here are a few of the best available:

Cherries - Not Just For Pie Anymore!

Luscious Cherries ~ not just for pie any more!

If you think luscious cherries are only to be used for pie, just investigate this page of cherry recipes and you may change your mind. Here you will find recipes that will complement beef, ham, pork, turkey and chicken. There are also ways to use cherries as a dessert without making pie but since I don't want to exclude Cherry Pie lovers, there will also be a Cherry Pie recipe here too. As you scan through these luscious cherry recipes, keep your eyes and your options open when it comes to cherries. Who knows? You may just find a whole new world of use for this beautiful, delicious fruit.

Cherry Sauce - Delicious With Beef, Pork, Chicken

The special flavor in this Cherry Sauce is in the touch of dried ginger, along with 1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar. Be sure to use apple cider vinegar, because it imparts a more mellow flavor than white vinegar. Measure the vinegar carefully as too much can make the sauce sour and unpalatable. Make the sauce just before serving dinner so it will still be warm when served. A very simple, but effective sauce for meat. 

Cook Time:
    Prep Time: 15 min
    Cook Time: 15 min
    Yields: 4 to 5 servings
Total Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients for Cherry Sauce For Meat and Fowl
    1 can Cherry Pie Filling
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
    1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar


    Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.
    Serve warm with pork roast, pork chops, pork tenderloin, beef roasts, roast turkey or chicken
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt
    1/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Cherry Cranberry Relish

If you like a fresh cherry relish, here's a recipe that you can do in moments, that's mouthwatering and fits in nicely with your time and any first course. For this relish, you DO need a mini-prep tool to make a uniform size chop. This is not cooked, but combined to make a raw, fresh tasting relish.

1 cup frozen cranberries
1 cup frozen cherries
1 Large navel orange
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon Almond flavoring

Wash the outside of a large navel orange. Chop the orange including the peel, into pieces that will fit in the mini-prep. Process until you have a small chop. Remove from processor and put into a medium size bowl. Process 1 cup frozen cherries until they reach the size you want. Do the same with the cranberries. Place those in the same bowl with the processed orange. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon almond flavoring.

Quick Cherry Turnovers

What happens when you want a quick dessert for an unexpected dinner guest? Do you panic, or throw together an ice cream sundae? Why not make these quick cherry turnovers. All you need is bought puff pastry dough (always keep some in the freezer for just this sort of occasion!) and cherry pie filling. Ditto for the pie filling, only of course, in the pantry.

Follow the directions on the box of puff pastry. Fill triangles with cherry pie filling and fold over. Use a pastry brush to lightly paint with egg, then sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake until golden, only takes a few minutes! When they come out of the oven, they can be served plain or with ice cream on the side. In any case, it will seem as though you've taken hours for these turnovers. I won't tell, if you won't!

Fresh Cherry Pie

Not as quick as canned pie filling, but a world of difference in the flavor. You'll be happy you made this pie. You may even become famous in your own circle of family and friends. NOTE: You can use either fresh pitted cherries or frozen pitted cherries for this recipe and top with a second crust or make a lattice top to fancy it up a bit. Do NOT use this recipe with canned pie filling.

    Prep time: 25 min
    Cook time: 55 min
    Ready in: 1 hour 20 min
    Yields: 8 servings

Ingredients For Fresh Cherry Pie

    1 & 1/4 cups sugar
    1/3 cup cornstarch
    1 cup cherry juice
    4 cups fresh (or frozen) pitted cherries
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    1 homemade or prepared pastry crust

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
    In a large saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch; gradually stir in cherry juice until smooth.
    Bring to a boil and cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
    Remove from heat, add cherries, cinnamon, nutmeg and extract.
    Pour.into prepared pie shell. Place second pie crust on top or cut lattice pieces and arrange on top.
    Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees and continue baking for 45-50 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. If crust is browning too quickly use tin foil to cover the edges or use a pie crust protector.
    When pie is sufficiently browned, remove and place on a wire rack; cool completely before cutting.

If you're looking for more cherry recipes, you're sure to find something you like in one of these cookbooks: 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lost Lives Of The Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra

Tzar Nicholas, Tzarina Alexandra
Princesses Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia & Prince Alexander

"The Romanov Sisters," by author Helen Rappaport is the story of the "lost lives of the daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra." The Romanovs ruled Russia from the 1600s to the day Tzar Nicholas resigned in 1917 during a revolution. The Bolsheviks (the Red Army,) revolted against the Tzar's rule, and imprisoned the family. Then in fear their captives would be rescued by forces of the anti-communist White Army and thus become a rallying point for the opposition, they executed them. This part of the story is well known to anyone familiar with the history of Russia.

"The Romanov Sisters" is a look into the lives and personalities of each sister. Author Rappaport puts the reader into that turbulent era of history from 1905 through to 1918, using diaries and writings of the girls. The book focuses on the differences between Olga, Tatiana, Maria and Anastasia, and their rather empty, though luxurious lives, They lived away from the public eye, sheltered, with only each other as playmates. The only contact they had with anyone outside their immediate family and caretakers, were some of the Tzar's guards. Any sort of permanent liaison with one of them was out of the question, since they were commoners. This put the girls completely out of touch with society and with reality. The reality was, they were hated by the Bolsheviks, who wanted them and their entire family obliterated. The girls, innocent, and coming into their teens, naively assumed their father and mother were loved by the populace. As they took their turn serving as nurses to their White Army casualties, they had no idea they were living on borrowed time. They had no way of knowing that it wouldn't be enough for the opposing forces to just depose their father from the throne. They expected respect and concern for their family's well-being, since they were royalty. Little did they know........

How do you rule a country filled with superstition, poverty and starvation without coming under the scrutiny of the masses? As the Romanovs hid away because of the illnesses of the Tzaritsa Alexandra and the heir to the throne, Tzarevich Alexander, the population came to have hard feelings against the family. The Romanovs were completely out of touch with the people and their suffering. Still, the removal from power should have been enough. But in the fear that they could somehow rally the population, it was decided they should all die, even the innocent children, because even they could be a threat to the Communist movement.

The author of The Sisters: Lost Lives of the Daughters of Nicholas and Alexandra, Helen Rappaport, also authored another book about the entire family and their end of days. It's titled "The Last Days of the Romanovs: Tragedy at Ekaterinburg and is available, along with this reviewed book, for purchase below from Amazon. Both books are well researched and written. Helen Rappaport has a fine reputation as an author who knows her subject; these books prove that out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Moment In Wild Horse History

A Moment In Wild Horse History
The Story of Wild Horse Annie
And the Law Protecting Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros

"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated." ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Velma Ann Bronn Johnston loved horses. She loved them so much she became an activist to try to stop the removal of wild horse and burro herds from public lands, earning her the nickname of Wild Horse Annie. She became instrumental in the passing of The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

Wild Horse Annie

Annie was born in Washoe County, Nevada in 1912 to rancher parents where she grew up loving life on the ranch. The story is told that she became involved in the fight for wild horses and burros after she saw blood running from a truck overloaded with horses on its way to a slaughter house. The horses inside the truck had bloodied each other because they were so crammed together. After investigating and becoming outraged at their slaughter, she began speaking to civic groups, schools and others to bring awareness to the public about their cruel treatment. She knew she had to take some action, so she never let up in her attempt to bring this cruelty to the forefront of the nation's people. She spoke wherever she could find an audience, on a city street, on a tree stump, or in a conference room, she told the story of the nation's wild horses, with a passion borne of desperation for their care.

Wild Horse Annie Helped Create An Act Of Congress

Finally in 1971, due to the work of Wild Horse Annie and other activists, the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Protection Act of 1971, an act of Congress, was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon. It was designed to prevent roundups of these wild animals by aircraft and vehicles, requiring the departments of the Interior and Agriculture to protect them, making it a criminal offense for anyone to harass or kill feral horses or burros on federal land. It also permitted public land to be set aside for their use and permitted the Bureau of Land Management to close public land to livestock grazing to ensure the protection of wild horses and burros. This was truly a landmark ruling in favor of these animals.

What Happened To The Law?

Today, this law is virtually ignored by the Federal Government as they continue harsh, cruel roundups to remove all horses and burros from the range lands, so the cattle ranchers can graze their cattle without giving up a blade of forage to a wild horse. Ranchers have been known to fence off watering holes, so the horses can't get to water. Then when their cattle are there, they open the water holes for them. There's a huge ranchers political lobby that continues to prevent wild horses from surviving, with whatever means they can employ. Slaughter houses have been reopened in the states that have been closed for decades. Fortunately, one in New Mexico was recently shut down after previously being given permission to open. But the roundups go on. The horses are often shipped to Mexico or Canada, to be butchered for food for Europeans, who find horse meat a delicacy. These are the descendants of the horses who carried us in the war to win this country, who helped us settle the west, who carried us into battle in WWI. Yet, now they are a nuisance, and no longer needed. For shame, on a country that cares more for its wallet than for the lives of these magnificent animals.