Saturday, 22 June 2013

Living in The Old Famers Almanac in July 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Farmer's Calendar

Most of us anticipate the summer with its long hours of daylight and comfortable warmth. But when temperatures rise into the high double digits, it's time to find ways to stay cool as a cucumber.

Farmers, landscapers, and others who make their living working outdoors use several methods to make their jobs comfortable in warm weather. Some escape the worst of the heat by starting at first light and stopping early. Others may find relief by working in shady areas during the hottest time of the day.

If you need to work outdoors in hot weather, pace yourself and take frequent breaks out of the sun. Wear loose-fitting clothes and don't forget a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen to protect your skin from the Sun's rays. Sweating helps to cool your body but causes you to lose much-needed water, so drink plenty of fluids to keep hydrated. And, as much as you might be otherwise inclined on these bright, sunny days, stay away from caffeine and alcohol, as well as protein-rich foods.

While battling heat, let your thoughts drift to a refreshing swim or a leisurely mountain hike. These contemplations may help you to feel less like a piping-hot, baked potato.

If this fails, slices of cooling cukes on your skin will help you to chill out.

SKY WATCH ☆ Use binoculars to see Venus, still just 10 degrees above the horizon in from of the Beehive star cluster in Cancer, as twilight fades just begin fireworks begin on the 4th. Earth reaches aphelion, its annual furthest point from the Sun, on the 5th. The quarter Moon sits next to Virgo's blue star Spica on the 15th and dangles just below Saturn in the southwestern sky on the 16th. Returning Jupiter is now in its new home of Gemini in the eastern sky during the start of morning twilight, as it passes to the right of dim, orange Mars from the 20th to the 22nd. Venus slides closely above Leo's brightest star, blue Regulus, from the 21st to the 23rd.



Living for the OB/GYN Appointment

On Thursday I had my annual exam at the Obstetrics & Gynecology Group in Parsippany, with Dr. Bissinger, who is very likable and friendly, and he listens to me and shows that he cares about me and my health. It's a perfectly good place to go and I've getting pap smears and exams since I was 14 (my mother was smart enough to make sure that I learned very early how important this is). Consequently, I have never minded this part of being female. I take my mammograms in good nature as well and those are uncomfortable but a very key part of the process.

Wondering where I am going with this?

Just this: when showering that morning for the appointment, I found myself suddenly shaving everything - and I do mean everything. I'm going to see a man who exams vaginas for a living - so what if my garden isn't perfectly hoed and trimmed? I'm sure plenty of women just let it all run wild and could care less if it runneth over. But while I usually keep it fairly neat and nice, I was suddenly struck with the slight worry that maybe he'd look at it and say, "What's up with this mess?!"

Of course he wouldn't, no more than Luis would. My trimming and keeping it neat is of little to no importance to him. He might notice it if I pointed it out to him, and say, "How nice." But on his own it won't draw that kind of notice, compliment or criticism. The irony of it all, eh?

We all have our little weirdnesses and anxieties and I guess - at that moment, in the shower - this was mine. As if he would criticize. Unlikely, I grant you, and if he did over such a pointless detail, I'd be finding another doctor. I'd never put up with the God complex from doctors. I went to an ophthalmologist who was such a dick that I stood up in the middle of the appointment, told him he was an ass and never to contact me again, and went into a short diatribe about how he should not talk to people at all and walked out. He sent me a bill and I sent it back with a letter about his lousy attitude and service and if another invoice showed up it would go with a copy of this letter as well as a sternly worded letter to the AMA and that was the end of it. I'm normally a pleasant person with an excellent sense of humour - Dr. Bissinger is, too, - but this guy was condescending, humourless and just awful. The condescension was what really pissed me off. He was that way from the get-go and I finally had had enough.

My doctors are not like that. Not one of them.

But next year, when I have to go for my annual exam, I will undoubtedly find myself with razor in hand, laughing at myself and wondering why I'm worried about such a stupid thing...

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Living in Religious Stupidity - A Post About Children Killed by Nutter Church

Last night I posted this brief bit about an article I'd read in People Magazine:

'I found an article in People Magazine entitled "Did Their Faith Kill Their Kids?" - be afraid when you read anything with a title such as that. This article was about a couple, Mr. & Mrs. Schaible, of whom two of their children had been sickening, let two of them die from bacterial pneumonia. First it was their 2-year0old Kent, who died in 2009, then Brandon, their 8-month-old son, died on 18 April 2013. A court in Philadelphia has charged them with murder, because they would not get either child to the doctor because their crazy church wouldn't let them! These two kids died from an easily treatable disease! They have lost all of their children and are in jail. Hopefully they will never get out.'

I got responses:

  • Deborah Sweet Wow, how awful. Hope they never see the light of day again.
    16 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 1
  • Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez Yes. It's bad enough I know people who won't get their kids inoculated because they operate under the incorrect and misguided notion that those inoculations cause some form of Autism (they don't - I've attended classes for EMTs to deal with patients who are Autistic and no one believes that this is the case). That is bad enough. And they tell the school system that they are into some religion that is against this so that their kids can go into school and infect others. How is THAT okay?!

    Gabriel Bakker 1) The church that convinced them not to go to the hospital is not facing any criminal charges at all. The pastor of that church is not the one in jail.

    2) You can't imagine what those parents are going through. They lost their children and now on top of that have to spend the rest of their lives in jail.

    3) Children die after being taken to the hospital too - you don't put the parents in jail in those cases for TAKING the kids to the hospital, do you? You don't put the doctor in jail either.

    4) This country was founded upon freedom of religion - people have the right to follow whatever crazy religion they please, no matter how stupid it is, as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights of other people. (In this case, it interfered with their children's rights)

    5) Those parents were duped by their church .. there are lots of churches out there of all kinds (including wiccan churches) that dupe their followers. That doesn't mean every wiccan church is bad, nor does it mean that every christian church is bad. But when someone experiences a tragedy as a result of following the practice of some cult, my reaction is to feel sorry for them, not angry. I'm sure they wish they were dead a million times over .. perhaps if anyone the pastor of the church should be the one in jail, not the parents.

    6) And most important, we have a right to not go to the hospital! It is a very important right! There are many diseases that doctors don't know how to treat and often they treat them by experimenting on patients with different drugs, because they're paid by Big Pharma to be drug dealers .. my mother has destroyed her health and messed up her life by trusting her doctor and taking the pills she's told to take, and they experimented all kinds of drugs on her, including many that are now illegal, and many that are dangerous as hell but, sadly are still being prescribed.

    Psychiatric medicine is the worst. If I was crazy I would still do everything I could to avoid going to the hospital, because if you do go to the hospital for a psychiatric disorder, you're almost guaranteed to be made worse.

    Doctors prescribe Ritalin, and Adderol (which are Amphetamines, called Speed on the streets) to children as young as 3 years old!!! Tell me thats not messed up!

    Would you rather live in a world where parents are forced to give their children speed because they were required to take their child to the doctor for behavior problems and the doctor decided he wanted to make some money selling the child speed instead of treating the actual issue?

    When I was a child diagnosed with extreme ADHD and borderline Autism, a doctor tried to prescribe me with ritalin. I thank GOD that my parents, for religious reasons, were against giving me amphetamines when I was a child and refused. They discovered the Feingold Diet instead, which mandates avoiding eating Petroleum Based Food Dyes (called Artificial Colors) which every civilized country in the world except for America has banned because the rest of the world knows they cause ADHD.. What if my parents were locked up for not following the doctors advise in my case? Instead of being gifted, I would have been stunted, as I watched the other children who grew up around me who had ADHD's lives slowly degrade because of the drugs they never should have been given in the first place.

    Nothing is as simple as it seems, and these parents already wish they were dead .. nothing we can say here will make anything better or worse for them, but I'm shocked to hear you react so strongly with hatred towards them.

    Surely you don't believe parents should be required to always follow the advise of doctors in hospitals, do you? what kind of police state do you want to live in?

    • Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez It's my opinion. It's one thing for adults to make his or her own decision. It is up to parents to do what they can to nuture and protect his or her children. Kids can't make that decision. And I wouldn't compare this to speed. I'm personally against giving kids drugs for ADHD, as it happens - something like 85% of the population has it. I always joke that the 15% without ADHD should be on something to give them ADHD. But allowing your kids to die for something like a misguided religion - to me - is wrong. I'm entitled to my opinion.
    • Gabriel Bakker I agree that its a messed up situation, a terrible thing. And my rant was probably a bit long and overboard and perhaps even irrelevant.

      But I think perhaps we should blame the church that misled the people too if we're going to be so angry .. how is this any different then some nutcase religious cult tricking hundreds of people into drinking poisoned coolaid?

      And also I don't want to live in a world with mandatory hospitalization .. I don't trust doctors, I've seen too many times when they screwed people up by prescribing drugs that were completely unnecessary and under tested.
      15 hours ago · Unlike · 1

      • Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez Fortunately for me, my doctors have worked so hard on my behalf. This is a terrible condition to live with - although not as bad as others - and my docs have helped me to make it bearable. To keep me walking and able to get out of bed.
      • Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez However, you are right in that the church should be held liable. I just can't fathom how the parents could buy into it. I'm naturally leery of religion in its own right - the daughter of an atheist and an agnostic, this will happen. I made my own choice as an adult (I feel that way about religion, too - don't program your kids, let them pick and choose when they are old enough. Besides, I've noticed that most Christians sort of "lose the way" the more their parents pushed it), and would never have gotten into the idea that medical treatment is bad. Also, Ray was raised as a Christian Scientist and quickly dumped that as an adult. They believe in the same thing: prayer heals, doctors don't. It scares me that anyone could try to sell that. Just scares me to my bones.
      • Gabriel Bakker If I was facing a disease like the one their kids had, or if I had kids with that disease, I would go to a hospital/take the kids to a hospital. For things that modern medicine has "down-pat" I would trust a doctor for.

        But for things like (especially psychiatric issues, I do not trust psychiatric doctors as far as I can throw them. Too many of them are just drug dealers, and they take the most innocent people (like little children) hooked on drugs that they have no idea what they're for.
      • Deborah Sweet It is wrong to assume that parents have the legal right to withhold medical treatment from minor children. They do not, regardless of religion. Every state in the Union has laws which compel parents to give children life-saving medical care. IF a Dr. or hospital knows a minor is deliberately being withheld from lifesaving care, court orders can be issued, and treatment given. Many of these laws came about because of Jehovah's Witnesses, but they apply to any sect which holds that modern medical intervention is unnecessary, and that God heals all.
        I'd have more sympathy for the parents if they hadn't allowed a second child to die. They should have learned from the first one. At least the rest of their children will now have a sporting chance of growing to adulthood.
        Whether people like it or not, we have a responsibility to protect those who are weaker or have less power or voice.
        Can anyone really believe that someone's beliefs take precedence over the life of a child who cannot speak for themselves? Our courts don't.
        15 hours ago via mobile · Unlike · 2

        As you can see, it turned into quite a long conversation. We argued, saw each others points, all found it to be tragic and awful. I never can fathom what makes people turn to a religion that, like fad diets, cut out whole aspects of life. And I stand by my assertion that for an adult to make the decision to allow a curable condition to kill her or him is one thing, but to not protect and nurture your children to ensure they make it to adulthood is just wrong.

        And as Deborah pointed out, it is not legal to allow one's children to end up dead because some nutter of a priest pushed them to just pray instead of mixing prayer with a doctor's knowledge to save them. There are times that I agree with Republicans that we have too many bloody laws dictating what we do/don't do, how to live/not live, and there are times when I can see why certain laws are put in place. At times we are too ignorant (I'll say that instead of "stupid", because sometimes it is just plain old ignorance) to be allowed to do as we please. That doesn't sound too nice, but there it is. I supported passing laws regarding blue headlights, tinted car windows and wearing seat belts. It needed to be done.

        This article was shocking. It was awful to read that a family let two of their kids die of something so easily cured. It was appalling. And you know me. If it is something that means a lot to me, then it is time to talk about it.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Living in the Old Farmer's Almanac: June 2013

Farmer's Calendar

Rather than rely on supermarket fare, many folks prefer to raise their own chickens for eggs or meat. The number of people who own chickens in urban areas has been growing steadily in recent years. In response, several towns and cities, including Las Angeles and New York, have changed their ordinances to allow small-scale chicken farming in residential areas.

Farming chickens means that you have control over the quality of your produce and the happiness of your hens. You can give your flock fodder that is free from chemicals and additives and provide lots of room for them to run about. Chickens that allowed to forage in the yard will add slugs, bugs, grass, and weeds to their menu, resulting in highly nutritious, great-tasting eggs with bright orange yolks and thick, firm whites. The poultry also create high-nitrogen droppings, which, when aged, are an ideal organic plant food.

As a bonus, these feathered friends are great pets that entertain for hours with their whimsical antics.

If you would like to raise a few chickens, talk shop with backyard farmers--they are sure to have tales and tips to tell. Also, check food regulations before turning your dreams into reality: You don't want to run "a-fowl" of the law.

SKY WATCH ☆ A striking vertical line of bright planets form near the sunset point some 40 minutes after sunset on the 1st. Jupiter, at magnitude -1.9, is closest to the horizon; Venus, at -3.8, is int he middle; and Mercury, at -4.0, Stands highest. Mercury is just a scant 10 degrees above the horizon, so the spectacle requires an unobstructed skyline for viewing. The thin 2-day-old crescent Moon hovers to the lower left of Mercury and Venus on the 10th. Look for the Moon, due south at nightfall, next to blue Spica on the 18th and below Saturn on the 19th. Jupiter disappears behind the Sun in a conjunction on the 19th. Summer arrives with the Solstice at 1:04 A.M. on the 21st.



5 June - 34 tornadoes wound through Ark., 1916 (Luis' birthday)