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May 15th

Anne Boleyn began her trial for treason and adultery on this day.


She was framed.

Grab Bag Too Much of a Good Thing:

A published study in Molecular Cancer Research Journal last October found that cancer cells (in vitro) that had been “wounded” by radiation actually survived BECAUSE OF increased levels of a protein called Hsp-27… and one of the main stimuli for Hsp-27 in the body is intense exercise. 

Oops. This small study flies in the face of other research that shows exercise is beneficial for cancer treatment.

Suggestions are offered that it may be a good idea to keep exercise quite moderate a few days before, during and after radiation cancer treatments. Seems reasonable. More research is certain to follow.

Grab Bag Minute Help:

Online Volunteering

Is that minute, as in 60 seconds, or minute, as in tiny? Well, it’s both.

We all know that big accomplishments are just a culmination of a lot of small efforts. The brilliant folks at Sparked have found a way to tap into the extra minutes we all have that could be harnessed into something bigger, and for good causes. Putting a few minutes into something important can be part of a big success:

Sparked helps us donate our time to worthy causes, even when all we have is a few spare moments. They match your skills with needs from non-profit to create small tasks you can do right from your desk.

They call it “microvolunteering.” It’s the idea that while you might not be able to donate an entire afternoon, you could totally use a few minutes of your “Late Afternoon Facebook Time” to help others.

You can lend a hand with everything from design to web development to tweeting. Breaking down the needs of non-profits into smaller tasks lets entire projects be crowdsourced to microvolunteers like Team Netted.

Everything you do brings us a tiny step closer to solving huge problems.

Grab Bag Salmon Quandary:

Recently listed in Sunset magazine’s Top 100 Cultural Trends Shaping the West:

#28: Eat salmon without the guilt

For many of us Westerners, dinner doesn’t get any better than a buttery side of rich pink salmon. Plus, it’s our heritage fish, a centuries-old food for all who have lived along the Pacific. But order it from a waiter or at a fish counter these days, and the person next to you might hiss. That’s because stocks in certain areas of the Pacific are crashing, and farm-raised salmon are tagged as polluting and disease-spreading. What’s a salmon lover to do?

At risk of getting the fish-eye ourselves, we’re here to tell you that you can eat salmon without fear of social ruin. For a start, always go with wild over farmed: All salmon fisheries off the West Coast are responsibly managed, so any salmon from these waters is sustainably caught. Wild salmon stocks from Alaska are particularly healthy and strong, and Oregon salmon from north of Cape Falcon (on the coast roughly west of Portland) are doing well too. So are salmon fished off of Washington.

Take one of these wild fish home, grill it until it’s crispy on the edges, and savor it with a good glass of Pinot—and a clear conscience. Because the West doesn’t taste any better than this.

… And don’t forget… market price will drive availability. Wild salmon will always be more expensive…. and may get prohibitively so should stocks begin to drop dangerously low. That’s our economic version of “natural selection” 🙂

Photo by Joel Sartore for National Gepgraphic

Grab Bag Shoe Savior:

Awhile back I posted about the potential damage done to knees by high heels. I think we can safely assume that feet, ankles, hips and back are included in that concern.

But there’s a side to many women that isn’t ready to wave the white flag on fashionable footwear.  Can comfortable feet and healthy spines co-exist with good looking shoes? 

That’s what Scarpasa aims to do. Their website is all about mid to low heels and flats… and searching the globe for just that. Here’s what they say about themselves:

At Scarpasa we do the work for you, scouring the world for quality flats and low and mid-heeled shoes. We curate an international collection of the hottest wearable footwear from independent designers so you can look good and feel good while doing what you do best.

I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by many of their offerings when I looked at their site. They also make it easy to narrow down just what you’re looking for:

So here’s hoping you can look like Manolo but feel like Nike, and rescue your gorgeous musculoskeletal structure in the process 🙂

Grab Bag Listing Agent:

Never used Craigslist? You don’t know what you’re missing. This king of internet want ad sites can help you buy, sell, rent, or give away anything you want.

BUT, Craigslist is not fancy. Noooo…. it’s not even very good at making it easy to find what you want. It’s just HUGE and somewhat organized. Definitely could be improved.

So along comes Craiggers, tidying up what the original lacks. Just go to Craiggers.com and search for the item, the category and the location, and Craiggers provides a MUCH better interface.

After you enter your search, a list of your items, in your specified neighborhood, pops up. When you see something of interest, click on it and an additional column pulls out on the right, showing the description and any picture attached.  

Thanks to the smart kids at Craiggers…. a vast improvement on the original.

Grab Bag Brain Game:

Typing random letters… a good deal more difficult than real words… sharpens observation and coordination.


Grab Bag Funny Stuff:

This one has spread over the internet like wildfire, but in case you haven’t seen it….

You like food? Huh? Yes?



And…. a fine compilation of years of feline faux paws 🙂

Have something to say? Love to hear it. Click the word “Comment” below and leave yours 🙂

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Grab Bag Secret Shadow:


Last summer, Prevention magazine published an article about a phenomenon they called Shadow Diseases. It seems that there are measurable connections between some benign conditions and some more serious hitchhiking diseases. The reasons behind each of these connections are different, but the knowledge that these pairings can happen is helpful, and can be used as a tool in your health fix-it kit.

Condition: Migraines  →   →   →   →   →   →   Shadow: Heart Attack or Stroke

Condition: Endometriosis  →   →   →   →   →   Shadow: Melanoma

Condition: High Blood Pressure  →   →   →    Shadow: Diabetes

Condition: Psoriasis     →   →   →   →   →   →   Shadow: Heart Attack

Condition: Metabolic Syndrome    →   →   →     Shadow: Kidney Stones

Condition: Asthma  →   →   →   →   →   →   →  Shadow: Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Read the full article here.

Grab Bag Go Fish, Stop Fish:

We keep hearing it. We get it.

Eat more surf. Eat less turf.

But we must keep two goals in mind when selecting the best fish to consume.

First, we need to avoid the consumption of the chemical class known as PCBs, as well as lead and mercury. Why? Read the following info gathered from this government study. If PCB’s and other fish contaminants can have this effect on children, can we really feel comfortable with their effect on us as adults?

Investigators report developmental disorders and cognitive deficits in children of mothers who had eaten moderate to high amounts of contaminated fish during the six years preceding the pregnancy and who continued to do so during the pregnancy.  Developmental effects include:

  • lower birth weight (160–190 grams)
  • smaller head circumference (smaller by 0.6 centimeters)
  • on average, babies are born earlier

These developmental effects were still evident 5 to 7 months after the infants’ births. Neurobehavioral deficits observed include:

  • depressed responsiveness
  • impaired visual recognition
  • poor short-term memory at 7 months of age

At 4 years of age, these children still had the following:

  • deficits in weight gain
  • depressed responsiveness
  • reduced performance on the visual recognition-memory test (i.e., one of the best validated tests for the assessment of human cognitive function).

At eleven years of age, these children were:

  • three times more likely to have low verbal IQ scores
  • twice as likely to lag behind at least two years in reading comprehension
  • have difficulty paying attention

Impairment was also associated with higher concentrations of lead and mercury levels in the children.

Secondly, an anti-inflammatory diet incorporating healthy fish can have a real impact on our defense to arthritis, heart disease, asthma, skin conditions and diabetesnone of which sound like very much fun.

So swapping out the sirloin for the salmon seems simple enough, but not every fin is not created equal. Some have undesirable ratios of omega 3’s: omega 6’s. Others have sadly evolved to build up high levels of mercury or antibiotic residues that make them a higher risk than reward choice. Here are Dr. Andrew Weil’s picks for hits and misses in the piscine pool:

Eat More of (2-6 servings per week recommended):

• Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon

• Canned Sockeye Salmon

• Sardines

• Herring

• Black Cod

(I have no problem with the first two…. I guess I’ll need to work on the last three)

Eat Less or Avoid Altogether:

• White (albacore) Tuna, Swordfish, Shark, King Mackerel (does anyone you know eat mackerel??) and Tilefish: All have high levels of mercury (“small catch” tuna is OK)

• Farm-raised Tilapia: very low in omega 3’s, very high in omega 6’s

• Farmed (Atlantic) Salmon: Dr. Andrew Weil and others suggest AVOIDING THIS ALTOGETHER. The popularity of salmon has given rise to farming on such a large scale that antibiotics and other drugs must be used to fight infections that could decimate the farm. In addition, the ratio of omegas is quite different in the farmed version. Let’s face it…. fish are not meant to live in tanks or pens. Adding to that, we are also beginning to see the environmental impact of fish farming, and our oceans are paying the price for cheap and concentrated fish foods and unnatural densities of fish excrement.

Grab Bag Handy Hangover Tip:

Now I am certain few if any of the Grab Bag readers need this tip, but some of you may “have a friend” who might….

The best hangover “remedy” is to avoid alcohol in the first place. However, if you do overdo it, drinking plenty of water and taking a B-complex vitamin supplement plus extra thiamine (100 mg) to counter the B-vitamin depletion caused by alcohol can help, as can… asparagus? Researchers at the Institute of Medical Science and Jeju National University in South Korea recently conducted a study that linked the amino acids and trace minerals in asparagus extract with reduced hangover symptoms.

While more research needs to be done before asparagus can be touted as a reliable hangover cure, if you drank too much the night before, eating asparagus at breakfast can’t hurt – it is a nutrient-dense vegetable, among the richest food sources of folate, and a good source of fiber, vitamins A, B6 and C, and potassium.


Grab Bag Brain Wonder:

Many thanks to kind reader Lynette L. for reminding me about Stephen Wiltshire, a mind and talent rarely seen. Worth the time to watch the special gift of this savant…

Grab Bag Brain Game:

So, if we play games like this, might we develop a gift like Stephen Wiltshire’s?? Probably not, but it certainly can’t hurt to play these. This one asks you to click on matching pairs of shapes, either side by side or out on the perimeter. The edge ones get more points the further away from one another you find them. Fun and slowly addictive.

STOBLOBS

Grab Bag Funny Stuff Part A:

OK… I think human beings have officially thought of everything now.

These are honestly and truly being manufactured and are available for sale here. So….. do these dogs really leave these butt covers unchewed, unlicked, untorn?

Rear Gear comes in many designs including a disco ball, air freshener, heart, flower, biohazard, smiley face, number one ribbon, cupcake, sheriff’s badge, dice, and you can even make yours custom, so there’s a Rear Gear for everyone.


Grab Bag Funny Stuff Part B:

Doomed to fail …….

Everyone should have a draem and a deram! Why have just a dream?

Those are lighthouses?

What??

That’s gotta hurt….

Who was in charge of marketing here?

This explains why our country struggles with weight loss.

Who’s comin’ with me to Eats and Sweets?

This certainly would work….

How do we gently let him know…..

Yeah… that jackhammer noise will definitely harm whatever the cigarettes don’t.

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