Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stuff and Belongings

I recently read an interview with Dave Bruno.* Here is one excerpt from the interview. “Stuff requires maintenance, both physical and emotional. It influences what we do and what we want to do. A normal human being can only handle having so much stuff before the stuff starts to take control, whether it be clutter or wasted time or unhealthy desires. If we don't self-impose limits, stuff is always going to win. Also, and I think we're all coming to understand this more, the priority on having lots of stuff has damaged the earth and hurt many developing people groups. Those of us who jump headlong into overconsumption help destroy the world. But our over consumption thrashes ourselves, too. Who's getting the benefit? Maybe some microbe that feasts on ocean garbage gyres. But the rest of us aren't deriving much good from consumer indulgence.”
So what should we keep? Our tendency to confuse “needs” with “wants” will usually trick us into keeping more than we need for survival or even thriving. Better defining that difference is a big step in the right direction. Step outside of the realm of “stuff” and think of keeping the intangibles.
Keep the meaningful traditions. Others are beyond their expiration date and no longer serve a purpose for the family. They can be cast away. I always include that topic in premarital counseling as couples are choosing what to “keep and cast away” from their family of origins. Keep ties with friends and family – even if it is just that annual news letter. What would you add to your list of “keepers”?
Finally, focus on the word, “belongings.” Let’s determine what is merely “stuff” and what truly helps us “belong” to something or someone with a tie that is more significant than a 60 second commercial. Cast away the “stuff” and treasure the “belongings.” That could make it easier to keep the important and cast out the unnecessary.

* Author of a book called The 100 Thing Challenge: How I Got Rid of Almost Everything, Remade My Life, and Regained My Soul. For the full interview go to
http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/11/interview-with-autho-4.html
By Cinda Gorman

Body Language Surprises

A few weeks ago I sent out a request from Facebook asking people about body language they found annoying, distracting or rude. The answers I received were very interesting because many of their responses would not be classified as body language in a ‘Body Language’ article or book. Their responses tell us that so much of what we do is classified or interpreted as body language by others and we need to understand this as we move through our professional lives.
Understanding how we are physically perceived and the messages we send without speaking is critical to our success. The standard basics:
1. Stand up straight
2. Do not fold your arms across your chest
3. Open hand gestures palms up
4. Looking people in the eye
Were not among any of the responses I received. The following were some of the responses I received:

1. Wearing sunglasses any time you are talking with another person, while being interviewed on TV or in a picture.
2. Women that insist they need a giant bright colored purse to ‘express’ their true self and then manage to fling it over their shoulder, often hitting people as they move through their day. I received many negative comments about large purses.
3. Invading intimate and personal space.
4. Men wearing hats or baseball caps indoors for any reason.
5. Playing with or checking your phone in the presence of anyone.
6. How people behave in meetings: folding their arms, leaning back and disengaging, rolling their eyes, avoiding eye contact with the speaker or other members of the group.
7. Women who wear too high of heels and lurch as they walk, appearing as if their shoes have overtaken their body.
8. Women who play with their hair, anytime, anyplace. Twirling, stroking, caressing hair is unprofessional. This also applies to mustaches and beards.
9. Chewing gum in public reduces you to an adolescent without a any sense of professionalism.

What we perceive as our personal body language messages may not even come close to what others perceive and are receiving from us. Make sure you are sending the message(s) you intend to send.
------------------------------------------------------------------------- By Ellen Reddick, Managing Partner, “You Are The Message,” Phone: 801.581.0369, Ellen@impactfactoryutah.com

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I've Aged

As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever,
but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).

Sunday, March 20, 2011

It Did Not Melt

Once upon a time there lived a king. The king had a beautiful daughter, The PRINCESS. But there was a problem. Everything the princess touched would melt. No matter what; Metal, Wood, Stone, anything she touched would melt. Because of this, men were afraid of her. Nobody would dare marry her.
The king despaired. What could he do to help his daughter? He consulted his wizards and magicians. One wizard told the king, 'If your daughter touches one thing that does not melt in her hands, she will be cured.' The king was overjoyed and came up with a plan.
The next day, he held a competition. Any man that could bring his daughter an object that would not melt would marry her and inherit the king's wealth. Three young princes took up the challenge. The first brought a sword of the finest steel. But alas, when the princess touched it, it melted. The prince went away sadly. The second prince brought diamonds. He thought diamonds are the hardest substance in the world and would not melt. But alas, once the princess touched them, they melted. He too was sent away disappointed.
The third prince approached. He told the princess, 'Put your hand in my pocket and feel what is in there.' The princess did as she was told, though she turned red. She felt something hard. She held it in her hand. And it did not melt! The king was overjoyed. Everybody in the kingdom was overjoyed! And the third prince married the princess and they both lived happily ever after.
Question: What was in the prince's pants? M&M's of course. They melt in your mouth, not in your hand. What were you thinking?

A Keeper

Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, work shirt and a hat, lawn mower in one hand; and Mom in a house dress, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things: a curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep. It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, re-heating leftovers, renewing; I wanted just once to be wasteful! Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.
But when my mother died, and I was standing in that clear morning light in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more. Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away, never to return. So while we have it, it's best we love it. And care for it. And fix it when it's broken. And heal it when it's sick.
This is true for marriage, and old cars, and children who misbehave at times, dogs and cats with bad hips, aging parents, and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep, like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.
There are some things that make life important, like people we know who are special. And so, we keep them close! So remember: good friends are like stars, you don't always see them, but you know they are always there!

Communion on the Moon

Forty years ago two human beings changed history by walking on the surface of the moon. But what happened before Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong exited the Lunar Module is perhaps even more amazing, if only because so few people know about it. "I'm talking about the fact that Buzz Aldrin took communion on the surface of the moon. Some months after his return, he wrote about it in Guideposts magazine. And a few years ago I had the privilege of meeting him myself. I asked him about it and he confirmed the story to me, and I wrote about it in my book Everything You Always Wanted to Know About God (But Were Afraid to Ask).
The background to the story is that Aldrin was an elder at his Presbyterian Church in Texas during this period in his life, and knowing that he would soon be doing something unprecedented in human history, he felt he should mark the occasion somehow, and he asked his minister to help him. And so the minister consecrated a communion wafer and a small vial of communion wine. And Buzz Aldrin took them with him out of the Earth's orbit and on to the surface of the moon.
He and Armstrong had only been on the lunar surface for a few minutes when Aldrin made the following public statement: "This is the LM pilot. I'd like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way." He then ended radio communication and there, on the silent surface of the moon, 250,000 miles from home, he read a verse from the Gospel of John, and he took communion. Here is his own account of what happened:
"In the radio blackout, I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, 'I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.
I had intended to read my communion passage back to earth, but at the last minute [they] had requested that I not do this. NASA was already embroiled in a legal battle with Madelyn Murray O'Hare, the celebrated opponent of religion, over the Apollo 8 crew reading from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas. I agreed reluctantly.
I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility . It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements. And of course, it's interesting to think that some of the first words spoken on the moon were the words of Jesus Christ, who made the Earth and the moon - and Who, in the immortal words of Dante, is Himself the "Love that moves the Sun and other stars."
---------------
By Eric Metaxas

Friday, March 18, 2011

No Pun In Ten Did

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, "I'm sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger."

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies "Yes, I'm positive."

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?", they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

7. A woman delivers a set of identical twins and decides to give them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Ahmal." The other goes to a family in Spain ; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, "They're twins! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to "persuade" the friars to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, dude, this is so bad, it's good…..) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Proposed 28th Amendment

No one has been able to explain to me why young men and women serve in the U.S. Military for 20 years, risking their lives protecting freedom, and only get 50% of their pay. While politicians hold their political positions in the safe confines of the capital, protected by these same men and women, and receive full pay retirement after serving one term. It just does not make any sense.
Monday on Fox news they learned that the staffers of Congress family members are exempt from having to pay back student loans. This will get national attention if other news networks will broadcast it. When you add this to the below, just where will all of it stop? 35 States file lawsuit against the Federal Government. Governors of 35 states have filed suit against the Federal Government for imposing unlawful burdens upon them. It only takes 38 (of the 50) States to convene a Constitutional Convention.
For too long we have been too complacent about the workings of Congress. Many citizens had no idea that members of Congress could retire with the same pay after only one term, that they specifically exempted themselves from many of the laws they have passed (such as being exempt from any fear of prosecution for sexual harassment) while ordinary citizens must live under those laws. The latest is to exempt themselves from the Healthcare Reform... in all of its forms. Somehow, that doesn't seem logical. We do not have an elite that is above the law. I truly don't care if they are Democrat, Republican, Independent or whatever. The self-serving must stop.
If each person that receives this will forward it on to 20 people, in three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message.. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.
Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution: "Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Cab Ride

I arrived at the address and honked the horn. After waiting a few minutes I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 90’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940’s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother to be treated.”
“Oh, you’re such a good boy, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?” “It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly. “Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued in a soft voice. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now”. We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “How much do I owe you?” She asked, reaching into her purse. “Nothing,” I said “You have to make a living,” she answered. “There are other passengers,” I responded. Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug.
She held onto me tightly. “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.” I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. People may not remember exactly what you did, or what you said but they will always remember how you made them feel.

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Man Down in Aisle 4

A husband and wife are shopping in their local Wal-Mart..
The husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in their cart.
'What do you think you're doing?' asks the wife.
'They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans he replies.
'Put them back, we can't afford them demands the wife, and so they carry on shopping.


A few aisles further on along the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.
What do you think you're doing?' asks the husband.
'It’s my face cream. It makes me look beautiful,' replies the wife..
Her husband retorts: 'So does 24 cans of Budweiser and it's half the price.'

Friday, March 4, 2011

Say a Prayer for our Military

• Your cell phone is in your pocket. He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags. He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
• You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls. He patrols the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists. He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.
• You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight. He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
• You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday. He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
• You roll your eyes as a baby cries. He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet.
• You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything. He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting.
• You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him. He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.
• You see only what the media wants you to see. He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
• You are asked to do some thing by your parents. You don't. He does exactly what he is told even if it puts his life in danger.
• You stay at home and watch TV. He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.
• You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable. He tries to sleep but gets woken by mortars and helicopters all night long.

Bill Cosby Presidential Candidacy Platforms

I have decided to become a write-in candidate for president in the year 2012.
Here is my platform:

1. Any use of the phrase: 'Press 1 for English' is immediately banned!!!. English is the official language; speak it or wait outside of our borders until you can.
2. We will immediately go into a two year isolationist attitude in order to straighten out the greedy big business posture in this country. America will allow no imports, and one export: wheat; because the world needs to eat. However, a bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil. We will begin using Wal-Mart 's policy, 'If we ain't got it, you don't need it.' We'll make and sell it here!
3. When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it coming in here.
4. All retired military personnel will be required to man one of the many observation towers located on the southern border of the United States (six month tour). They will be under strict orders not to fire on south bound aliens.
5. Social Security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin in, you ain't getting nuttin out. Neither the President nor any other politician will be able to touch it.
6. Welfare. -- Checks will be handed out on Fridays, at the end of the 40 hour school week, after the successful completion of a urinalysis test for drugs, and passing grades.
7. Professional Athletes -- Steroids? The first time you check positive you're banned from sports ... for life.
8. Crime -- We will adopt the Turkish method, i.e., the first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There is no more 'life sentences'. If convicted of murder, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for the victim you killed: gun, knife, strangulation, etc.
9. All foreign aid, using American taxpayer money, will immediately cease and the saved money will help to pay off the national debt and, ultimately, lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision as to whether, or not, it's a worthy cause.
10. The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.
11. The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.

GOD BLESS AMERICA !

Sincerely, Bill Cosby
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: Soap, Ballot, Jury and Ammo. Use in that order.
America needs a candidate with this platform!!

New Area Code - 809

We actually received a call last week from the 809 area code. The woman said 'Hey, this is Karen. Sorry I missed you- get back to us quickly. I have something important to tell you.' Then she repeated a phone number beginning with 809. We did not respond. Then this week, we received the following e-mail: Do Not DIAL AREA CODE 809, 284, AND 876 from the U.S. or Canada. This one is being distributed all over the US ... This is pretty scary, especially given the way they try to get you to call.
They get you to call by telling you that it is information about a family member who has been ill or to tell you someone has been arrested, died, or to let you know you have won a wonderful prize, etc..
In each case, you are told to call the 809 number right away. Since there are so many new area codes these days, people unknowingly return these calls. If you call from the U.S. or Canada, you will apparently be charged a minimum of $2425 per-minute. And you'll also get a long recorded message. The point is, they will try to keep you on the phone as long as possible to increase the charges.
Why it works: The 809 area code is located in the Dominican Republic. The charges afterward can become a real nightmare. That's because you did actually make the call. If you complain, both your local phone company and your long distance carrier will not want to get involved and will most likely tell you that they are simply providing the billing for the foreign company. You'll end up dealing with a foreign company that argues they have done nothing wrong.

AT&T VERIFIES IT'S TRUE – http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=6045
SNOPES VERIFIES IT'S TRUE:

Do Medications Really Expire

Does the expiration date on a bottle of a medication mean anything? If a bottle of Tylenol, for example, says something like "Do not use after June 1998," and it is August 2002, should you take the Tylenol? Should you discard it? Can you get hurt if you take it? Will it simply have lost its potency and do you no good? In other words, are drug manufacturers being honest with us when they put an expiration date on their medications, or is the practice of dating just another drug industry scam, to get us to buy new medications when the old ones that purportedly have "expired" are still perfectly good? These are the pressing questions I investigated after my mother-in-law recently said to me, "It doesn't mean anything," when I pointed out that the Tylenol she was about to take had "expired" 4 years and a few months ago. I was a bit mocking in my pronouncement -- feeling superior that I had noticed the chemical corpse in her cabinet -- but she was equally adamant in her reply, and is generally very sage about medical issues.
So I gave her a glass of water with the purportedly "dead" drug, of which she took 2 capsules for a pain in the upper back. About a half hour later she reported the pain seemed to have eased up a bit. I said "You could be having a placebo effect," not wanting to simply concede she was right about the drug, and also not actually knowing what I was talking about. I was just happy to hear that her pain had eased, even before we had our evening cocktails and hot tub dip (we were in "Leisure World," near Laguna Beach, California, where the hot tub is bigger than most Manhattan apartments, and "Heaven," as generally portrayed, would be raucous by comparison).
Upon my return to NYC and high-speed connection, I immediately scoured the medical databases and general literature for the answer to my question about drug expiration labeling. And voila, no sooner than I could say "Screwed again by the pharmaceutical industry," I had my answer. Here are the simple facts:
• First, the expiration date, required by law in the United States, beginning in 1979, specifies only the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug -- it does not mean how long the drug is actually "good" or safe to use.
• Second, medical authorities uniformly say it is safe to take drugs past their expiration date -- no matter how "expired" the drugs purportedly are. Except for possibly the rarest of exceptions, you won't get hurt and you certainly won't get killed.
Studies show that expired drugs may lose some of their potency over time, from as little as 5% or less to 50% or more (though usually much less than the latter). Even 10 years after the "expiration date," most drugs have a good deal of their original potency. So wisdom dictates that if your life does depend on an expired drug, and you must have 100% or so of its original strength, you should probably toss it and get a refill, " If your life does not depend on an expired drug -- such as that for headache, hay fever, or menstrual cramps -- take it and see what happens.
One of the largest studies ever conducted that supports the above points about "expired drug" labeling was done by the US military 15 years ago, according to a feature story in the Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2000), reported by Laurie P. Cohen. The military was sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every 2 to 3 years, so it began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results showed that about 90% of them were safe and effective as far as 15 years past their original expiration date.
In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, said he concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Mr. Flaherty noted that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn't mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. "Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons," said Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement in 1999. "It's not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover."
The FDA cautioned there isn't enough evidence from the program, which is weighted toward drugs used during combat, to conclude most drugs in consumers' medicine cabinets are potent beyond the expiration date. Joel Davis, however, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, said that with a handful of exceptions -- notably nitroglycerin, insulin, and some liquid antibiotics -- most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. "Most drugs degrade very slowly," he said. "In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years. " Consider aspirin. Bayer AG puts 2-year or 3-year dates on aspirin and says that it should be discarded after that. However, Chris Allen, a vice president at the Bayer unit that makes aspirin, said the dating is "pretty conservative" ; when Bayer has tested 4-year-old aspirin, it remained 100% effective, he said. So why doesn't Bayer set a 4-year expiration date? Because the company often changes packaging, and it undertakes "continuous improvement programs," Mr. Allen said. Each change triggers a need for more expiration-date testing, and testing each time for a 4-year life would be impractical. Bayer has never tested aspirin beyond 4 years, Mr. Allen said. But Jens Carstensen has. Dr. Carstensen, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin's pharmacy school, who wrote what is considered the main text on drug stability, said, "I did a study of different aspirins, and after 5 years, Bayer was still excellent. Aspirin, if made correctly, is very stable.
Okay, I concede. My mother-in-law was right, once again. And I was wrong, once again, and with a wiseacre attitude to boot. Sorry mom. Now I think I'll take a swig of the 10-year dead package of Alka Seltzer in my medicine chest -- to ease the nausea I'm feeling from calculating how many billions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry bilks out of unknowing consumers every year who discard perfectly good drugs and buy new ones because they trust the industry's "expiration date labeling."

By Richard Altschuler (“I am not young enough to know everything”. – ‘Oscar Wilde’)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Universal Health Care

Dear Mr. President:
During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos,who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone. While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care? I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me".
Once you fix this "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear.

Respectfully,

STARNER JONES, MD