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Friday, August 31, 2012

German thalidomide maker Gruenenthal issues apology


The manufacturer of thalidomide has apologized to the thousands of people born with disabilities as a result of their mothers taking the drug. Harald Stock, chief executive of German pharmaceutical company Gruenenthal, said it was "very sorry" it had remained silent on the issue.

The drug was sold as a cure for morning sickness in the 1950s and 1960s. Mr Stock spoke as he unveiled a bronze statue symbolizing a child born without limbs because of thalidomide.

"We ask for forgiveness that for nearly 50 years we didn't find a way of reaching out to you from human being to human being," he said at a ceremony in the western German city of Stolberg, where the firm is based.
"We ask that you regard our long silence as a sign of the shock that your fate caused in us."
By the time the drug was pulled from the market in 1961, more than 10,000 babies worldwide had been born with a range of disabilities caused by the drug.

This included shortened arms and legs, blindness, deafness, heart problems and brain damage.
There are between 5,000 and 6,000 sufferers still alive. Mr Stock repeated the firm's long-standing assertion that it acted according to the state of scientific knowledge and all industry standards for testing new drugs at the time, an argument challenged by campaigners.

Martin Johnson, director of the Thalidomide Trust, said that the news that the manufacturers were starting to acknowledge responsibility was welcome but they were still trying to perpetuate the myth that no-one could have known of the harm the drug could cause when there was, he said, much evidence that they did know.
"It's no good apologizing if they won't open discussions on compensation. They've got to seriously consider financial compensation for these people." Some compensation has been paid, particularly by thalidomide's British distributor.

Gruenenthal settled a lawsuit in Germany in 1972 and has voiced regret over the issue but has not admitted liability. Compensation claims are still outstanding, including one key class action.
 Claims oustanding for over fifty years?? It doesn't sound like they are all that sorry to me.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
my 19-year-old niece just confided in me that she had sex with a young man kind of randomly .
The affair is over , and I'm so glad she felt she could talk to me about it .
We talked candidly about how exciting the experience was and also how dangerous ... for health , emotional and developmental reasons .
She gets it . She also said she had already told her mother .
I'm wondering if I should bring it up to her mother , too . Or is it better to not stir the pot but remain available to my niece to talk about her life ?
Stir or Not to Stir
Dear Stir or Not to Stir ,
I have learned from firsthand experience that children and young people often feel more comfortable talking about intimacies with adults who are not their parents .
That's why grandparents and close family friends are important .
I don't think you need to call your niece's mother to report what you learned .
Rather, you can let her know that you are developing a great rapport with her daughter and that you intend to maintain that closeness while your niece is in school .
Dear Maxy,
My husband and I are the parents of a 15-year-old boy ."Will" is a good student . He has been in a friendly relationship with a 15-year-old girl , and it's become serious . They have had sex on two different occasions , and Will used a condom both times .
There was a brief pregnancy scare , and the girl told her parents about her predicament . Now her father wants us to pay for her birth control pills . I don't know what to say about this . I don't know what type of insurance they have . And I think putting her on the pill is saying , "Great , have sex."
Who knows whether she will have other than my son . Is he responsible for her birth control pills ? What should I do ?
Worried Mom
Dear Worried Mom,
It's a good sign that your sons feels comfortable discussing his sex life with you , but it is unfair to believe that a girl on birth control pills is going to be more promiscous than a boy using condoms . And while I'm not crazy crazy about 15-year-olds having sex , once they start , they aren't likely to stop .
You should be relieved that both kids are being responsible about using protection to prevent not only pregnenacy , but also sexually transmitted diseases. That said , you are not obligated to pay for his girlfriend's choice of birth control . He should continue to use condoms . Her body belongs to her .
Dear Maxy,
I am about to be in an awkward situation . I was recently engaged in a pretty intense process to see if I would be hired for a job . I worked a lot with the human-resources director , and we grew to be friendly . Then , when I didn't get the job , she sort of disappeared . Next week I am going to an event where I'm sure she will be present . I'm wondering , how should I react to her ? There won't be that many people there , so I don't think I can advoid her . But I'm not sure what to say , either .
Dear Unsure ,
First , you have to shore up your confidence . You didn't get the job , which may make you feel vulnerable or unsteady . That's natural.
What you can do is literally count your blessings . Write down what you know to be good and great about yourself , personally and professionally . Remember the good qualities that made you a viable candidate for the job . Recall positive interactions that you had with the human-resources director . Then remind yourself of the nature of the event you will be attending .
When you go to the event and see the HR director , walk right up to her and say hello . Ask how she is doing , and listen to her response . You can offer something about yourself if you like . Or you can say "good to see you" and keep moving .
By been pro-active and seeking her out , you will show that you are confident and strong . Hold that intention , and the jitters should subside .

Secret of How to Live to One Hundred and Sixteen

Besse Cooper is the oldest person in the world. (The Canadian Press, File)

What does it take to live to be the oldest person on the planet? Besse Cooper knows. The American super centenarian celebrated her 116th birthday on Saturday, a milestone that the Guinness Book of World Records says only eight people have ever reached.

The oldest living person — she's held that title since 2011 — celebrated her birthday surrounded by friends and family in the nursing home where she resides in Monroe, Georgia. Cooper was born in Tennessee in 1896, and moved to Monroe to look for work before World War One. She's been living in the small southern city ever since.
So what are the secrets to her incredible longevity? "I don't eat junk food," was one tip Cooper told the Guinness Book of World Records.
Whether it's genes or lifestyle, we can't deny that Cooper offers some sound advice to living to a ripe old age: "I mind my own business," she also says. Words to live — a really long time — by.
Cooper isn't the only centenarian with tips to share on living an extended lifespan. In his book "The Blue Zones", author Dan Buettner identifies five zones in the world where people live significantly longer than everywhere else: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece. Buettner carefully studied what the oldest people in these communities were doing differently, and compiled a group of characteristics shared by these populations.
Apparently, those who live the longest in the world have a particular way of doing things, including maintaining an active lifestyle, having a purpose in life, having strong family ties, being a part of a faith-based community, eating very little meat, drinking lightly but regularly, and eating until you are only 80 per cent full.
CBS conducted their own poll of 100 centenarians back in 2008, and received responses that line up very closely with the values espoused by the elderly living in the Blue Zones. In addition to the Blue Zones ideals, the American centenarians said it was important to laugh and have a sense of humour, maintain a sense of independence, and stay on top of current events.

Queen Wears a Hoodie

You Don't Mess With the Queen When She's Wearing a Hoodie
Queen Elizabeth released her inner badass while driving around Balmoral Castle recently. Rock that hoodie, Your Majesty!
Queen Elizabeth hoodie
Prince Harry had better watch out: Queen Elizabeth means business!
In her latest picture, Her Majesty the Queen was spotted driving around the Royal Family’s Scotland residence, Balmoral Castle, in a Range Rover after a day of grouse-shooting—wearing what looks like a hoodie. And yes, she looks super badass. You don’t mess with the Queen when she’s wearing a hoodie.
First jumping out of helicopters, then a meme, and now this? My goodness, Your Majesty! It’s like we don’t even know you anymore!
Naturally, the image quickly went viral, though opinion varies about what exactly the hood is attached to. Is it denim? Is it a sweatshirt? Is it part of her coat? In any event, it’s likely that the hoods function is less to make the Queen look like a rapper and more to keep her hair dry in the Scottish summer drizzle.

Pssst! (It's really a silk scarf) but she looks pretty tough.

Creamy Mocha Berry Parfait

Prep time : ... 10 minutes ...Total time : ... 10 minutes ...Makes 2 servings
1 ...................tablespoon Philadelphia Cream Cheese , softened
1 ...................teaspoon sugar
1/4 ...............teaspoon brandy extract (optional)
1................... teaspoon instant coffee .. dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
1/3 ................cup thawed Cool Whip Whipped Topping
1 ....................square Baker's Semi-Sweet Chocolate , shaved , divided
1 ....................cup mixed fresh berries (strawberries , raspberries)
1) Mix cream cheese , suger , brandy extract and dissolved coffee in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended . Gently stir in whipped topping and half of the chocolate .
2) Place 1/2 berries in each of 2 parfait glasses or dessert dishes .
3) Top evenly with cream cheese mixture ; sprinkle with remaining chocolate . Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve .
Fresh fruit with a lucious creamy layer ... it'll send your loved one head over heels .

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ambrosia Parfaits

Hands on time : ... 35 minutes ... Total time : ... 4 hours ... Makes 4 to 6 servings
1/4 ........................cup granulated sugar
1/4 ........................cup cornstarch
2 ...........................cups half-and-half
4 ...........................egg yolks
1 ...........................(6-oz) package frozen grated coconut , thawed
1 ...........................(8 -1/2-oz) can crushed pineapple , drained
1 ............................teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 .........................teaspoon coconut extract
3 ............................large navel oranges , peeled and sectioned
2 ............................large ruby-red grapefruit , peeled and sectiioned
1/2 .........................cup whipping cream
2 ............................Tablespoons powdered sugar
GARNISHES : toasted sweetened flaked coconut
1) Combine granulated sugar and coenstarch in a heavy saucepan ; gradually whisk in half-and-half and egg yolks . Bring to a boil over medium heat , whisking constantly ; boil 1 minute . Remove mixture from heat ; stir in coconut and next 3 ingredients . Cover pudding with plastic wrap ; place plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent a film from forming . Chill 4 hourd ot overnight .
2) Layer fruit sections and pudding in stemmed glasses .
3) Beat whipping cream at high speed with electric mixer until foamy ; gradually add powdered sugar , beating until solf pesaks form .
4) Dollop parfaits with whipped cream . Garnish , if desired . Chill until ready to serve .
Heart healthy and so good .

Obesity 'bad for brain' by Hastening Cognitive Decline


Man with large waistline 

Being overweight is not just bad for waistlines but for brains too, say researchers who have linked obesity to declining mental performance. Experts are not sure why this might be, but say metabolic changes such as high blood sugar and raised cholesterol are likely to be involved.

Obesity has already been tipped as a risk factor for dementia.  The work, published in Neurology, tracked the health of more than 6,000 British people over a decade. The participants, who were aged between 35 and 55, took tests on memory and other cognitive skills three times over a 10-year period.
People who were both obese and who had unhealthy metabolic changes showed a much faster decline on their cognitive test scores compared to others in the study. The experts stress that they only looked at cognitive function, not dementia.

The boundary between normal ageing, mild cognitive impairment and dementia is blurred - not all impairment leads to dementia. All of the study participants came from one group of civil service workers, which may mean the findings may not apply more generally to other populations.
They said: "More research is needed to look at the effects of genetic factors and also to take into account how long people have been obese and how long they have had these metabolic risk factors and also to look at cognitive test scores spanning adulthood to give us a better understanding of the link between obesity and cognitive function, such as thinking, reasoning and memory."

Shirley Cramer of the Alzheimer's Research UK said: "We do not yet know why obesity and metabolic abnormality are linked to poorer brain performance, but with obesity levels on the rise, it will be important to delve a little deeper into this association.

"While the study itself focuses on cognitive decline, previous research suggests that a healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol in midlife can also help stave off dementia. With dementia figures spiralling towards a million, the findings suggest we should be conscious of our general health throughout life."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
Years ago , my brother "Harry' cheated on his wife . She forgave him , and they got back together . They seem very happy .
A few years after his affair , the other woman had him served with paternity papers . Harry pays child support , but he has never met the child and says he doesn't plan to . He doesn't feel he can give that child the kind of relationship he has with his other children . He also doesn't want his other kids to find out he cheated on their mother .
Harry has asked that I keep this news private , but I feel he needs to play a part in this child's life . I've tried talking to him , but he says it's none of my business . I also feel his children have the right to know and that as an aunt to all of these children , I should tell them they have a sibling . Harry told me this is not my place and if I continue to press the matter , he will not allow me to be along with his children for fear that I will not respect his wishes . What should I do ?
In a Dilemma
Dear In a Dilemma ,
Please respect Harry's choices , even though you disagree . Depending on the ages of these children telling them could be complicated and confusing . Yes , I agree that they should know they have a sibling , but how and when to tell them is not your decision . Inform Harry that you will keep quiet , but eventually , his kids will find out , and it would be best if it came directly from him , with their Mom by his side , and not from say , the Other Woman or her child . Urge him to consult a counselor who can help him find the best way to do this .
Dear Maxy,
This may not be your department , but I don't know who else to ask . When I make a doctor's appointment , the person on the other end askes why I want to see the doctor . I am not comfortable telling this person . When I get there , the nurse asks why I wish to see the doctor , as if I never called . Then , the doctor comes in saying , "So , what's going on ?" and we satrt all over .
This brings me back to the appointment maker . Why are these people expecting the most personal information in my life just because they answer the phone saying , "Hi , I'm Kelly?" Is this imformation actually the least bit helpful to the doctor ?
Dear Annoyed ,
The person who answers thephone and makes the appointment needs to know what the problem is in order to allot sufficient time on the doctor's schedule . A routine checkup , for example , takes more time than a blood test . Once you get into the doctor's office , the nurse may want to be sure you have the same complaint and there are no additional problems . The doctor , however , should have your information at hand . I suspect asking again is simply the doctor's way of opening the conversation .
Dear Maxy ,
I am pretty sure my husband is cheating on me . He's been acting weird . A few times in the past few weeks he has come home smelling of women's perfume . He has not wanted to do anything with me , especiall intimately . I am so devasted , but I'm afraid to ask him about it . I don't want to lose him .
My girlfriend told me that she just looks the other way whenher husband does what she calls "his business." I don't know if I can overlook it . I want my marriage to be good .
At a Loss
Dear At a Loss,
If you want to save your marriage , you have to muster the courage to cnfornt your husband . During a neutral time , like a Saturday afternoon .
Tell him you suspect he is having an affair . Ask if he is in a relationship with someone or if he is sleeping with someone else . He may not answer .
Describe your fears and the incidents that have make you suspicious .
Stake your claim . Tell him that you want to fight for your marriage and that you are unwilling to share him with another woman . Asks if he wants to stay married and if he is willing to tell you the truth about what's going on .
Push him to be honest with you . If you are to stay married , you will figure out how to talk this through and make decisions about the future .

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Bacon Cheese Stuffed Barbequed Chicken ....Quick and Easy


The only way to make BBQ chicken taste better, in my opinion, would be to stuff it with bacon and cheese. That's where this recipe comes in. It's a quick and simple dinner that your entire family will love. To add some spice, try using pepper-jack cheese.



1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add bacon to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook to desired crispness; remove to paper towels to drain. Reserve bacon grease.

3. Meanwhile, cut into each chicken breast horizontally, making a pouch for stuffing (be sure not to cut entirely through the breast).

4. Stir together bacon and cheddar cheese, and stuff a tablespoon or two of the mixture into each chicken breast pouch (add as much filling as you can stuff in there; it’s delicious!). Secure with toothpicks, if necessary. Season each side with salt and pepper.

5. Add chicken to bacon grease and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to an oven-safe dish, top with your favorite or homemade BBQ sauce, and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quilted Abstract Wall Art

This is a quick, cheap and easy project with huge eye-candy payoff. This project is highly customizable - use a colorful abstract pattern fabric and any size canvas. This would make an amazing piece on a larger scale or done in a grouping of three or five. I plan on making another one for my son's room with a larger canvas and this urban landscape fabric.
What you'll need:
Store bought canvas {the one I used is 8x10}
Large-scale printed quilting or home dec weight fabric*
Staple gun and staples
Cotton or polyester batting*
Backing fabric {I used a large scrap}*
Coordinating thread {I used a variegated bright Gutterman}
Sewing machine

*to determine fabric requirements, take the canvas size and add 8" to each number. For example, an 8x10 canvas will require about a 16x18 piece of fabri

Let's get started!
I used batting scraps and fused them together with Heat Press. Awesome stuff and easy to use. If you don't have this, it's totally okay to butt your batting pieces up against each other and zig-zag them together.

Make a quilt sandwich by laying your fabric face down, laying down the batting and then topping it off with your backing piece. No one will see the backing, so use whatever you have on hand for this.

Use safety pins or a large basting stitch to hold the sandwich {sammich} together. You don't need a lot of them - I think I used 7 or 8.

I used a Gutterman verigated thread. For this project, use a thread color that contrasts a little or is the darkest color in the fabric. The idea is for the quilting to stand out a bit but not overpower.

Start with needle down and start sewing, pivoting the fabric as needed to navigate around curves or corners. {Needle down, presser foot up, turn sammich, presser foot down} I used my regular foot for this, but you can use a walking foot or a free-motion quilting foot if you want. Start in the middle of your fabric and just start working your way out, following the outlines of your shapes. I did mine a little messy and amoeba-like to kind of go along with the abstract vibe of the fabric.

This fabric kind of allowed me to do some figure-8 kind of wandering. I literally just followed the outline of the circles.

This is the back - you can see where I went over some of my lines a few times. It creates depth to have heavy quilting, so really - there's no wrong way to do this. Do as much or as little quilting as you want.

Trim sammich to about 2"all around your canvas.

Starting on one of the long sides, fold the raw edge under about 1/2".....

.....and pull taught over the edge of the frame.

Staple in place. Turn piece to the other long side....

...and do the same. Simple upholstery techniques at play here.

Then do the same with the short edges.

Remove a little bit of the corner to reduce bulk. {This cut piece was about 1 1/2" square.}

Pull the de-bulked sammich corner to the middle of the canvas corner and hold.....

.....while you pull the top flap over it, making sure to keep the edges folded under. Hold in place......

...while you pull the other flap over.

Staple all layers in place. Repeat with other corners.

This is the back - it ain't pretty, but it works.
Et voila! Tres chic, non?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

High Powered Superfoods for Kids


Eggs are an affordable easy-to-prepare source of protein that offers kids much-needed vitamin D (which helps absorb bone-building calcium.)  Add omega-3 eggs to kids’ diets, as these healthy fats have been shown “to improve skin, allergies, brain function and mood in children.”...


Another breakfast superfood, slow-digesting, high-fibre oatmeal provides kids with “a steady stream of energy” and can help then concentrate better at school. Best Health reports that oatmeal is also good for your mood. Serve it up for happy kids. Look outside of the breakfast-and-baking box and puree oats into smoothies and soups....


Every superfood list seems to include antioxidant-rich blueberries, offering nutritionist-approved fibre, potassium, vitamin C, low-sugar content, and anti-aging, fat-burning properties. Give your kids a sweet fix sans refined sugars by adding the berries to their cereal, yogurt or morning shake.

Black Beans

Find protein, fibre and calcium in these versatile, very affordable, heart-protecting beans. Beans are also a great source of iron, which is the most common mineral deficiency in children. Black-bean dips, quesadillas, chilis and burgers are all super-tasty kid-friendly options.

Low-fat Greek yogurt

Low-fat Greek yogurt has more protein and less sugar than other yogurt options. Yogurt’s “good bacteria” will promote healthy digestion and boost immunity. Add a squeeze of maple syrup for sweetness, or opt for agave syrup if you’re trying to avoid the spike-and-crash phenomenon associated with most sweeteners. Or stir in some fresh fruit to boost its nutritional value even further....


This is the item on the list most likely to get kid-approval. Cocoa powder — at least 70 per cent pure cocoa — has a high concentration of flavonoids that contribute to heart and oral health and may even protect the skin from sun damage. Sprinkle on pancakes or French toast, or dip fresh fruit slices into melted dark chocolate for a sweet treat.

Other foods that made the 'Superfood List': fruits, nuts, milk, tofu, tomatoes, cabbage, salmon, basil and cinnamon.

Children's Vitamins ..To Much of a Good Thing???

 Vitamins are generally thought of as a good thing. They give people more of the stuff they need. Right? Well, that depends on the vitamin, as well as on the age of the person taking it.
Before you give vitamins to your child, you should, of course, consult your pediatrician or a poison control hotline. However, there are some general guidelines available online.

According the American Academy of Pediatrics, most children should take vitamin D supplements. However, parents should be careful not to overdo it. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble, and any excess is stored in the child's tissues. Too much of these vitamins could make the child sick.
Vitamin A can also be toxic of taken in large doses. According to the "Today" show's resident nutritionist Joy Bauer, "Chronic intake of excessive amounts through fortified food and supplements can cause big problems." Ditto for zinc. "Too much zinc can depress your immune system and lead to a copper deficiency."

As WebMD puts it, if you give your child low-fat milk and dairy products, protein (like chicken and fish), fresh fruits and veggies, and whole grains (try brown rice or oatmeal), he or she probably won't need a vitamin. But giving your kid a perfectly balanced meal every day may not always be possible Additionally, children who follow a vegetarian diet may need supplemental vitamins B12 and D, riboflavin, and calcium.

When it comes iron, kids who don't get enough can suffer from anemia, "a condition that limits the ability of the blood to carry oxygen" according to "Drinking large quantities of milk may lead to iron deficiency anemia, as the child will be less interested in other foods, some of which are potential sources of iron." If your kid is downing24 to 32 ounces of milk or less each day, "there's little cause for concern."

Bauer  writes that parents should consider the kid. If the child is a picky eater, a multivitamin might be a good thing. However, if he or she is eating a well-rounded diet, then a multivitamin probably isn't needed. She points out that parents should keep vitamins out of their kids' reach, especially because some children's vitamins look and taste like candy, and they can be toxic in large doses.
Also, if you do give your children vitamins, be sure to pay extra attention to their teeth. Many kids' vitamins, especially chewable multivitamins, contain sugar.

Bottom line: Opinions on vitamins vary, and you should consult an expert. Keep in mind that your child is probably getting more vitamins and minerals through his or her diet than you might think. And, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the income level of parents often plays a part. Wealthier parents are able to provide better food and, as a consequence, more natural nutrition. Lower income families may be more likely to need a children's multivitamin.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I recently ran into an old acquaintance at a mutual friend's party . Afterward , one of the guests pointed out that my acquaintance had been arrested for a serious crime some years back . I was shocked and didn't believe it until I read an article about the incident .
Normally , it wouldn't make any difference . She and I rarely see each other . But at the gathering she had said she hoped we could rekindle our friendship . Now I'm not so sure . It is true that the offense occurred years ago and has nothing to do with me . But what I learned about her behavior gave me the creeps .
Should I blow her off , ignore what I learned and befriend her again , or ask her about it ?
Dear Unsure ,
Here's an example of how the past often catches up with the future . This woman is trying to live her life  and likely trying to repent for her transgressions . If her past behavior could have an negative impact on you , then you may want to either not rekindle the friendship or ask her about it . However , if her past doesn't effect you in any way other than that you learned about it and it's unpleasent , keep it to yourself . I imagine you wouldn't appreciate someone bringing up any indiscretions from your past simply because the person learned about it . If you want to be friends with her , move forward by accepting her invitation . If you don't , keep things as they are , seeing each other from time to time but without intimacy .
Dear Maxy ,
My sister and her boyfriend broke up a few months ago , and , according to her , it was really ugly . I suppected that he was a jerk , but he was worse than I imagined . The second that she lost her job , he was out . He was totally not there for her when she really needed him the most . Part of me has wanted to reach out to him and curse him out , but my sister asked me not to say anything .
He called me the other day out of the blue . The call went to voice mail . He acted like everything was normal . I'm wondering if I should call him back and then curse him out or even just see what he wants . . What do you think ?
Dear Mad , He's given you your entree . Yes , you can call him back , but don't begin with a verbal assault . Find out what he has to say for himself . Listen . Before you get off the phone , tell him how angry you are that he was thoughtless and cruel to your sister . He earned the earful that says he should be ashamed of himself ... but without the expletives .
Dear Maxy ,
My sister , "mary" was divorced a few years ago . She's been seeing a counselor for two years because she enabled her lazy husband .
Here's the problem , Mary has "adopted" my family because one of her daughters has disowned her , her husband won't speak to her because Mary verbally attacked her , and her other daughter wants to be left alone for a while .
If there is a holiday , Mary wants to be invited to be with my family . If there is a birthday or wedding , even on my husband's side , She has to send a card . Mary also is very domineering . She rips things out of my hand to put them away . She makes demeaning remarks about people and isn't happy with anything . Her co-workers don't do the work right , the neighbors do everything wrong , etc , etc . I could go on and on , but I don't want to sound like her . What do I do ?
Dear Texas ,
Let's separate this into sections . If Mary wants to send birthday , holiday or get well cards to anyone , that's fine . These sentiments are harmless and often appreciated by recipients , even if they seem a little strange to you . Mary clings to your family beacause she can't be with her own family , so it is a kindness to include her whenever possible . The rest sounds like depression and anger .
Set clear boundaries so Mary understands the limits of your tolerance . It's also OK to tell her that her complaints indicate that she is bitter and unhappy , and gently suggest that she discuss these things with her therapist .

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Canada prepares for an Asian future

Chinese immigrants have flocked to Canada's west coast and transformed Vancouver into Canada's very own Asian metropolis. The days of concern over the city being turned into 'Hongcouver' have gone. What does the future hold for Canada's Asian population?

Shoppers stroll casually past a Lamborghini store in Richmond's Aberdeen Centre - a major Asian mall in this once sleepy Vancouver suburb known for its farmland and fishing village.  Outside the shopping centre, people are queuing at the many Chinese restaurants. In the local supermarkets, butchers are picking live seafood out of fish tanks, chopping off the heads, then gutting and packaging them up under the watchful eye of customers, almost exclusively Chinese-Canadian.

Richmond is North America's most Asian city - 50% of residents here identify themselves as Chinese. But it's not just here that the Chinese community in British Columbia - some 407,000 strong - has left its mark. All across Vancouver, Chinese-Canadians have helped shape the local landscape.
There are the little things. Casa Gelato - an Italian ice-cream shop with a huge local following - sells Asian-inspired flavours such as green tea, durian and lychee. The Vancouver Sun newspaper puts out an online Mandarin edition, Taiyangbao. The province's auto insurance corporation serves drivers in 170 languages - Mandarin and Cantonese being the most in-demand.

Then there are the big contributions. "Economic growth is obvious and easy to measure," says Thomas Tam, the CEO of Success, an immigrant service based in Vancouver's historic Chinatown. For the first time in 2011, the Pacific Rim dislodged the US as British Columbia's biggest trade partner. With the collapse of the US housing market, lumber exports have fallen. But demand for coal and natural gas to fuel China's factories is skyrocketing.  Exports to China reached $5.1bn in 2011, nearly five times their value in 2001. Other booming industries include agrifoods, minerals, container traffic, tourism and education. The economic boost has driven a $22bn upgrade in infrastructure along trade corridors with Asia.
 For centuries, Chinese immigrants have come to Canada for economic opportunities. It began with the gold rush in northern and central BC in 1858. In the 1880s, some 6,500 Chinese migrants were directly employed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), settling in towns along the railway route, all the way to the terminus in Vancouver, where the fledgling Chinatown took root (now the third-largest in North America).

The next significant wave of migrants came in the 1980s and 90s. But they weren't about to do manual labour or settle in Chinatown with the so-called Chi-eppies (Chinese elderly people) and Chi-lippies (Chinese low-income people).  This was a largely wealthy class of Hong Kong Chinese who snapped up homes in the priciest neighbourhoods, sent their children to the best schools, and kicked off a construction boom which transformed downtown Vancouver into a Hong Kong-style city of skyscrapers.

Their sudden impact brought a sharp backlash. Polite Vancouver society was aghast at the "monster houses" being built in the old-monied communities of Shaughnessy and Kerrisdale, often demolishing character homes and tearing down trees in the process.  Newspaper headlines and some politicians warned of an "Asian invasion" while the bitter elite coined the phrase 'Hongcouver' to express their dismay at the perceived Asian-isation of their city.
"The wealth of the newcomers was an irritation to some in the local community," says historian John Douglas Belshaw, a professor at the University of Victoria. But attitudes soon began to change, he says.
"The elite says, 'Our bread's buttered on this side. We can sell a ton of real estate to this community and they're kind of like us. These people like their whiskey straight'."

The Hong Kong wave subsided after the British handover to China in 1997. Since then, immigrants from Mainland China, and to a lesser extent, Taiwan are leading the westward charge.  Mandarin is edging out Cantonese on the streets of the city. Overall, nearly one-in-five Vancouverites is now of Chinese origin - the biggest migrant community by far, with some 12,400 new arrivals each year.
Privately, there have been grumblings. In the safety of living rooms or the anonymity of online forums, old-time Vancouverites blame the Chinese for the city's sky-high property prices, although experts say there's little evidence to back up the fears.

Language is another flashpoint, especially when it comes to older migrants. "There used to be a time when immigrants to this country were required to know the language," whispers a woman in a doctor's clinic, as the receptionist struggles to ask an elderly Chinese man when he last took his heart medication. A family member has to be contacted by phone before the queue gets moving again.

There's concern too that foreign students are taking up places at university, bringing much-needed bags of cash in foreign student fees. A similar problem is playing out in schools, some say.
"My son wants out of private school," says one parent who asked not to be named. His teenager has become one of the few white students at an exclusive Christian academy in a Vancouver suburb. "All these Asian kids are playing the piano and violin in the evenings. My kid plays hockey," he says.
It's not uncommon to find only one or two white students in Vancouver classrooms, especially in courses like finance or engineering.

The Premier of British Columbia Christy Clark says, "The future is in Asia and Vancouver has a very good advantage, which is, that of all the Canadian cities, we are the closest to the Asia Pacific Rim."
That reality is reflected in the BC government's economic plan, aptly titled "Canada starts here" - a clear reference to BC as the Pacific gateway, a full three sailing days closer than anywhere else in North America.
"Our government is focused on making sure British Columbians are first in line to do business with Asia to create jobs here at home," says Christy Clark.
"Vancouver and British Columbia are a natural place for many Asian families because of our diversity. There are countless personal and cultural connections here and our economy and province is richer, more vibrant and attractive for newcomers as a result," her office said in a statement.

BC continues to prosper from its ties to Asia and its booming economy. Does the rest of Canada feel like the "Asian invasion" is going to spread? Stands to reason. Do they mind? Not so much. We are a  multi cultral country and have always been so. There are always a few intolerant individuals but by and large we have always welcomed immigrants with our open door policy. We also like their food.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bionic Bodies... Is it in Our Future?

Is the Six-Million-Dollar Man possible?

The Six Million Dollar Man 

Can the human body be replaced with machinery?  Let's investigate the potential of the technology,  and ask whether the field will move from repairing people to enhancing them.

 Can we give ourselves super vision, super strength and super speed?

Science fiction is littered with the theme of upgrading the human body with machinery.
In the 1970s classic TV series The Six Million Dollar Man, the main character - astronaut Steve Austin - is horrendously injured in a test flight accident. He was a man "barely alive" but, as the title sequence explained, science could come to his rescue.
"Gentlemen, we can rebuild him. We have the technology. We have the capability to make the world's first bionic man.  Better than he was before. Better, stronger, faster."
His array of upgrades included an eye with zoom and infrared vision. Bionic legs which could give a car a good race and an arm with the strength of a bulldozer.
  Bionics are having a transformative role in the real world. Artificial hearts implanted into the chest can keep patients alive until a transplant becomes available. Cochlear implants have restored hearing to people who were once deaf. Bionic eyes are giving sight to the blind and a range of hands, arms and legs are restoring lost movement.
But the focus is on keeping people alive or restoring lost function. What about the potential to expand capabilities, what is known as human augmentation? Could a six-million-dollar man ever be built?
"Well, first of all, it's going to cost a lot more than six million dollars," says Richard Yonck, foresight analyst with Intelligent Future in Seattle, "but there's an awful lot of technologies under way that will come very close to achieving that."

Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) - a bionic arm. Copyright: The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL)

The modular prosthetic limb, in development at Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory, is one of the most advanced bionic arms

He said: "I see strength, certainly, and I would say the equivalent to the bionic arm Steve Austin had - that kind of strength - is certainly feasible with time.
"He had bionic vision; there are developments in retinal implants which are currently working to restore sight. That type of technology will lead to further capabilities, I'm sure, with time."
What about running at speeds of 60mph (100km/h)?
"In physical terms, it's definitely feasible; in practical terms, I'd really question that, given the difficulties.
"Bipedalism was not really designed for that kind of running. There's considerably more efficient ways of moving at 60mph. I don't know if there's enough benefit to overcome the difficulties of 60mph running speed.
"I totally believe that very seriously enhanced and augmented abilities are going to be available to human beings both in the general public and certainly at the military level.
"In terms of strength, in terms of endurance, in terms of sensory capabilities - all of these are most definitely going to be, in the coming decades, seeing some significant progress."

One of the challenges with human augmentation is that the human body is still going to be quite weak. It is remarkably easy to damage the body in everyday life, from preparing dinner to playing football.
It might be possible to attach a bionic arm with enough strength to lift a car. However, actually doing so could cripple the rest of the body. Falling over while running at 60mph could be equally damaging.

Current bionic body part replacements can imitate human function, but considerable technological developments will be necessary before entering an era of enhancement.
Dr Anders Sandberg, from the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford, said: "I do think it is possible to reconstruct a body quite easily and get into a six-million-dollar man situation."
He said: "I think mid-century, I would be rather surprised if there wasn't a lot of implants and enhancements around."
Options could include "sensory augmentation; ways of extending our senses such as infra-red sight or ultra-violet; or extending hearing."
He says one day blind people who are fitted with artificial retinas will not only be given sight, but, rather like a smartphone, a range of apps will emerge that would allow recording, zooming and augmented reality.
"Eventually you reach the point where you can start doing things that normal people can't do," he said.
"It is quite possible that while we're kind of anxious about the end product that seems to come from science fiction, we'll be quietly accepting versions of it," argues Emily Sargent who is preparing the Wellcome Collection's exhibit, Superhuman.
She cites the example of the introduction of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) which made people "incredibly nervous" and then "very quickly we became accustomed to it".

Prof. Sankai, CYBERDYNE, Inc./Univ. of Tsukuba

Brain-controlled Cyberdyne's Hal suit allows disabled patients to walk again

She can see enhancements coming from "exoskeletons" - basically robotic suits.
It conjures up the idea of the people flying round like the Marvel Comics superhero.. Iron Man, but some suits are already being made. The Japanese company Cyberdyne has already developed a suit called Hal. It can help people who are no longer able to walk to regain their mobility by picking up electrical signals from the nerves which used to tell limbs to move and converting them into instructions for the suit.

The other option is devices which can be controlled by thought, but which are not part of the human body. So I can imagine a building site for the future, for instance, where there are builders wearing these exoskeleton suits and being accompanied by tools that do whatever they want without having to press buttons and things.
So will there be a six-million-dollar man?  We can't rule it out.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pumpkin-Fig Cheesecake

12 ********************12 nonfat fig cookie bar3

2 *********************packages (8 ounces each) fat-free cream cheese , softenrd

1 *********************package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese , softened

1 *********************can (15 ounces) pumpkin

1 *********************cup SPLENDA No-Calorie Sweetener , granular form

1**********************cup cholesterol-egg substitute

1/2 *******************nonfat evaporated milk

1 *********************tablespoon vanilla extract

2 *********************teaspoons pumpkin pie spice mix

1/2 *******************teaspoon salt

1/2 *******************cup chopped dried figs

2 *********************tablespoons walnut pieces

1) Preheat oven to 325*F . Lightly coat 8- to 9-inch springform baking pan with nonstick cooking spray .

2) Break up cookies with fingers , then chop by hand with knife or process in food processor until crumbly . Lightly press crust onto bottom and sides of pan . Bake 15 minutes ; cool slightly while preparing the filling .

3) In large bowl , beat cream cheese with mixture at high speed until smooth . Add pumpkin , SPLENDA , egg substitute , milk , vanilla , spice mix and salt . Beat until smooth . Spread filling evenly over crust .

4) Place springform pan on baking sheet . Bake one hour and 15 minutes or until top begins to crack and center moves very little when pan is jiggles . Cool on wire rack to room temperature ; refrigerate 4 to 6 hours or overnight before servving .

5) Just before serving , sprinkle top with figs and nuts .

Tip : This casserole is good for diabetics & it's heart healthy

There's a Medal For Everything

Mini Monsters

These mom and baby mini monsters are so cute and the pictures are all the template you need to make them. Just remember to make a little pocket inside the mom monster's mouth.