Grab Bag Border Patrol:
A fun exploration into the realities of that fence we share with our neighbors to the north….
Grab Bag Va-J-J Fun Facts:
Some tidbits of interest about the often misunderstood Tunnel of Love… Walt Disney even makes the list ??!!
Slide #1, for example, shows clearly that the clitoris is roughly the size of your first two fingers, held pointed down in that iconic, ironic, upside-down “V” (for Victory?) symbol 😊
Grab Bag Conversation Rumination:
Earlier this month I posted two consecutive weeks about the idea of end-of-life decisions, and how we are woefully underprepared as a society for the eventualities most of us will face with our own deaths, as well as those of loved ones.
I profiled a group who had produced an award winning documentary called “Consider the Conversation”. I ordered the DVD and received it a couple of weeks ago and was able to watch it with my mom, my sister and my brother-in-law. Mom is a vibrant and healthy 87-year-old, and my sister is a 61 year-old, wheelchair bound, amazingly inspirational woman with MS. We all found this documentary not only useful in terms of applying to our own lives and wishes, but so important to spread to the medical community and society at large.
Now that I have seen it, I want to even-more-HIGHLY recommend you order it and watch it with as many people as you can.
We are facing a critical issue which is both societal and personal, and most of us are completely unaware of it. We HAVE to learn about these choices. We cannot claim ourselves responsible adults if we ignore these questions about dying. This is just good life housekeeping, like paying your bills, planning your retirement or wearing a seatbelt.
Somewhere at the intersection of “fear-of-death” and “advanced medical technology”, we as a society separated death from life and allocated it to a hospital room where decisions are made by people we have likely never met. That needs to change.
We must encourage each other to embrace the final chapter and take our best shot at defining our desires for life and death if we hope to have that closing chapter written the way we would like it to be.
Grab Bag Sun Sense:
Great article on the ins and outs of sun exposure… especially the less obvious, but just as risky indirect or invisible rays. Thanks to my wonderful, sun-exposed son for sending this in:
SURFOLOGY 101 (TM) WITH CHRIS BORG: OVER DONE BY THE SUN!
When the sun shines, we can see the colors of its visible light and feel the heat of its infrared rays. We can’t see or feel the sun’s ultraviolet light though since that band of radiation lies beyond the bounds of our senses. We experience ultraviolet light through the aftermath of its effects, which may take anywhere from minutes to years to materialize. In a few cases those effects are beneficial but by and large they are far more harmful than helpful. UV’s high-frequency/high-energy radiation is hazardous to all life forms. UV light is used to disinfect drinking water because it kills microorganisms on contact. We’re much bigger than those microbes are and we have a lot more cells to spare, but the UV damage is still done and it does accumulate over time so if we’re not careful the ultimate outcome for us and the amoeba may be the same.
In the solar spectrum, X-rays are the most deadly. Right next to X-rays in lethality is UVC, the highest frequency, highest energy type of UV light. Thankfully, neither of those two forms of radiation can reach the Earth’s surface. X-rays are absorbed in the outer regions of our atmosphere while the stratosphere’s ozone layer stops UVC. Even though we did accidentally burn a hole in the ozone layer last century and it will likely take most of this century for the hole to completely fill back up, all UVC is still being shut out by that stratospheric shield.
The ozone layer also eliminates 95%+ of all UVB, the mid band of UV radiation, while its lowest frequency form, UVA, is unaffected by ozone and gets a free pass through the sky just like visible light does. Having a little UVB show up is good since limited exposure to that wavelength of light enables our body to manufacture vitamin D, a chemical compound that is essential for human health. But you can produce all the vitamin D you need with just 10 to 30 minutes of sunshine twice a week. Once you’re done making the D any further exposure to UV can start causing problems.
Overexposure to ultraviolet light causes a radiation burn that we call sunburn. Absorption of UVB energy breaks chemical bounds in the DNA of skin cells. If a cell can be salvaged, the DNA will be repaired, but when the disruption is too sever, the cell switches into self-destruct mode and under goes controlled disintegration. Aware of the damage, the body responds in several ways. First it activates the immune system to fight off any infection. That means expanding blood vessels in the injured area so that more white blood cells/nutrients can be pumped in, and the dead cells can be flushed out. It’s that increase in blood flow which turns sunburned skin red.
The body’s next self-defense tactic to counter excess UV is to step up the production of melanin. A photoprotectant pigment, melanin is the compound which gives skin its color. The more melanin the skin makes, the darker it becomes. This natural tanning process does provide some protection against UV light but that protection comes at the price of accelerated skin aging, which turns the skin dry, coarse, spotty and wrinkled before its time.
Far beyond cosmetic concerns are the further complications that can be caused by prolonged ultraviolet light exposure. Over time the UV damaged DNA in the skin becomes harder to repair. Cells with defective DNA can lose the ability to regulate their reproduction and they may undergo the chaotic, uncontrolled cell growth of cancer. UV radiation is responsible for several types of skin cancer, with malignant melanoma being the most lethal. UV light is detrimental to the eyes and has been linked to macular degeneration and cataracts. Our immune system can also be adversely affected by UV radiation, which may make those other disorders even worse.
If you’re in life for the long haul then you should take good care of yourself. That includes protecting your body from excessive exposure to UV light. You can do that by using sunscreen, putting on a hat and wearing sunglasses. The more you cover up, the greater the amount of harmful radiation you block out. A burqa would be nearly 100% effective but that’s probably taking protection a bit overboard. Do what suits you best. While some of these precautions against UV rays may seem inconvenient at the time, they can definitely be worth the extra effort in the long run. Such preventive steps may literally save your skin and the rest of you as well.
Grab Bag Summer Sippin’:
Sunburn got you down? How about this GRILLED LEMONADE recipe from rehabkitchen.wordpress.com to up your backyard game this summer? Let me know if you try it… I’d like to soon (I think Step 4 refers to 1/3 CUP of sugar, not just “1/3 sugar”).
Grab Bag Shoe Sense:
I don’t know about you, but I have put up with my running shoes (and really any lace-up athletic shoes) eventually exerting uncomfortable pressure on the top of my feet. They seem to tighten in certain spots while I’m wearing them.
I’ve lived with this for, I don’t know, decades?
Here are a few ways to better lace your shoes if they don’t stay as comfortable as you’d like:
LACING FOR FEET WITH HIGH ARCHES AND FEET THAT FEEL RESTRICTED
LACING TO AVOID “HOT SPOTS” ON YOUR FEET
LACING TO PREVENT DISCOLORED AND BRUISED TOENAILS
LACING TO PREVENT CRAMPED TOES
LACING TO PREVENT HEEL SLIPPAGE
Grab Bag Brain Game:
Oooohhh… this one is tough. Click on the picture for instructions… and put your game face on… you’ll need to be quick!
Grab Bag Funny Stuff: