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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
What is the right age to let girls wear makeup ? I have a daughter in the 5th grade . Most of the girls are 10 and 11 years old . They are just beginning to take an interest in beauty . One of the girls has come to school a few times wearing lipstick . It was bright red . I thought it was inappropriate . Obviously , she is not my child , but I am concerned about my daughter getting the wrong impression of what is right . I don't want to speak poorly of this girl . but I want my daughter to be clear on what I think is appropriate . I currently allow her to wear colorless lip gloss and that's it .
Setting the Standards ---Jackson Mississippi 
Dear Setting the Standards,
Playing with make-up on your mom's dressing table is a rite-of-passage many of us will remember, but the regular wearing of make-up certainly has become a more controversial debate.
Many girls are starting to wear make-up from the age of 11 - three years younger than it was a decade ago. Peer pressure from friends, older siblings and wanting to feel grown up are being blamed as the main cause. They are also influenced by what they see on TV and the internet.
Unsurprisingly, most women don't approve of the shift in pre-teen girls and their beauty habits. Women are mostly concerned that these pre-teen girls might develop an unhealthy obsession with their appearance. This is a reasonable viewpoint.
The general guideline ( after asking a few dozen moms of  pre-teens) seems to be: clear or pink lip gloss between 11 and 12, conservative eye make-up, somewhere between 13 and 14 and light foundation between 14 and 15 as long as they are not having problems with blemishes. 
You and I know that make-up is a part of every woman's life . And so teens should be taught how to use cosmetics properly and keep them light and natural looking.
Set some guidelines with your daughter...such as:
You may wear light pink lipstick at 12....mascara at 13 etc. So that she has a clear picture of what you expect.  What you don't want, is for her to feel left behind by her friends. She wants the same privileges as her peer group. She is excited about becoming a young woman.
Pick your battles; this isn't such a big one. Look ahead a couple of years.  Soon you will be dealing with when she can wear high heels and when she can start dating. Better to take a firm stance on boys, drugs, alcohol and getting her homework done.

Dear Maxy,
Tooth decay runs in my family . Nearly everyone who got to be 40 has ended up with dentures . I am the first one to retain most of my teeth . I have had a bunch of dental procedures, but so far, no dentures . I mention this because I have two children who have inherited poor dental habits even though I have been vigilant about my own teeth . I don't know what to do to get them to understand the repercussions if they do not start practicing better hygiene .
Clean mouth 
Dear  Clean Mouth ,
For a start you could look up some scary images on the internet of people with decayed and or missing teeth due to poor dental hygiene. That kind  of  "scared straight" approach can awaken them to the  potential  downside of  bad habits .
 Also, get your dentist to warn them as to what can happen to their teeth and gums without proper care, as the years progress. Ask him/her to demonstrate  proper brushing and flossing and give them a routine to follow. If they follow the routine, they should get some kind of reward each week.
Possibly one of your relatives might even co-operate by telling the children how they regret not taking better care of their teeth.
If all else fails, you may have to take away privileges until brushing and flossing becomes a regular routine. This is something you have to police pretty closely, for their own benefit. Good luck.

Dear Maxy ,
My husband died 11 years ago . Our son "Marcus" was 6 at the time . His dad was in intensive care for two months, and because of his young age, our son was not allowed to see his father .
Before he died, my husband asked his younger brother to keep his drum set until Marcus turned 18 . Marcus' uncles used to call him on his birthday, which also was his father's birthday . But since my husband died, neither has called to wish their nephew a happy birthday . 
Marcus will be 18 soon . He is into music and wants the drums . I have asked his uncle on several occasions by sending a message on Facebook . I also asked my son's half-brother (from my husband's first marriage) to get the drums and Marcus could pick them up from his house . Nothing has happened . I recently noticed a picture on Facebook of a guy who used to play in a band with my late husband . In the photo, he is playing drums that look suspiciously like the ones that belong to my son .
Marcus has nothing of his father's . He was not included in any decisions on what to sell and what to keep, or even asked what he'd like to have . He was also given his dad's El Camino . But my husband put the title in the name of Marcus half-brother, who sold it . He didn't even give my son any of the money from the sale . That was bad enough , but Marcus only really cares about the drums .
The entire family knows that my late husband wanted Marcus to have the drums . What should I do ? File a lawsuit ? How do I honor my later husband's wishes and give my son this final gift from his dad? 
Distraught Mom of a Musician 
Dear Mom of a Musician, 
Is  anything  in writing? If  not, you might  need  to file  a lawsuit, but  in order  to prove  your  case, you probably  will need other credible  witnesses  to testify that your husband's wish  was  for Marcus  to have  the  drum set . An attorney  will let  you know  if  you have  a case .
But  a lawsuit  should  be the last  resort . Asking personal
questions  on Facebook is making your family's business open to the public and I am not surprised you got no response . Pick up the  phone . Call the  uncle who supposedly has the drum set . Be nice. Tell him  what a wonderful 18th birthday  present  it  would be for  Marcus  to finally have  this  memento  from his  father . Ask if it would be convenient if you or Marcus picked it up,  and  what you can do to facilitate  the transfer .
Marcus  could also call his  uncle . Family relationships work  both ways  and  Marcus  is  old  enough  now  to establish  his  own contact with his uncle.  If he told him in person, how much it would mean to him, you might get a more positive response.
Marcus should have established a relationship with his uncle long before now. He is nearly eighteen, almost a man. He may be the one to best handle the situation.
But for certain, If you hound this uncle you will only make the situation worse and make him dig his heels in. 

Dear Maxy ,
Last week , our son came home from school and told us that a boy at his school had killed himself . The boy had been a friend of his since fifth grade . 
The school had a moment of silence over the public address system, but never mentioned the boy's name . Most of the details about the suicide are nonexistent, although there are few things mentioned on a website asking for help paying for funeral costs . Students who didn't know the suicide victim are guessing it was caused by bullying . Our son says that's not true . Some students are even saying the fund requests are a scam .
We haven't heard anything about whether the school is offering grief counseling . We've talked to our son about the tragedy and are trying our best to help him . Because the students have no information, they are making wild guesses and placing misinformed posts on social media . My question is why is this tragedy so secret . Should the school do more ?
Sad Mom
Dear Sad Mom,
Sometimes, the  school is  ill-equipped  to deal  with such  tragedies and  does  nothing, which  tends  to create a whirlwind  of  misinformation . Also, the  administration  may fear
that  mentioning the details  would further negatively affect the kids or even encourage copycat suicides . But the details do not  need  airing . The  acknowledgement  of mourning , however  is  important .
The  American  Foundation  for  Suicide  Prevention  ( )  offers a  Toolkit  for  Schools , and  you should  mention  this  to the  administration . The  foundation  is  also  an  excellent  resource  for  anyone  dealing  with a suicide   and  you will find  information  there  that  will help  you talk  to  your  son about  his  friend . There most definitely should be a grief counselor at the school to help the children deal with the loss. It might be helpful to talk with some of the other parents to see what you can do as a group to arrange something with the school.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Birds and Dogs Give Advance Warning of Nepal Quake

Photo: Thinkstock

Moments before the ground shook in Nepal, a flock of birds flew up and dogs started barking.
“It was like time slowed down to a snail’s pace,” said Jacquie Eales, 51, an Edmonton resident and University of Alberta research manager who was on vacation in Nepal when the earthquake struck.
“There was no rumbling sound, it just moved. I looked at my friend. He’s Nepali and there was a panicked look on his face. He came running toward us and pushed us near a truck. We were hanging onto the truck and the ground was just moving. People were screaming and running and there was panic.”
Eales flew out of Nepal that same day. Her flight was one of only two that weren’t cancelled.
“There’s a deep sense of gratitude. Things happen for a reason and we don’t know why or how we got through the earthquake unscathed,” she told the Edmonton Journal. “We thank our lucky stars we made it out. It was the longest 36 hours I’ve ever lived through. I couldn’t get home fast enough.”
Eales’ anecdotal evidence of animals predicting the earthquake moments before it hit aligns with a recent international study that documented changes in wild animal behaviour before seismic events.
Scientists set up motion-triggered cameras in Yanachaga National Park in Peru, and found “significant changes” in animal behaviour — sightings decreased significantly — more than three weeks before 2011’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck the area.
The study found that rats had the most fine-tuned internal warning systems — they disappeared completely eight days before the earthquake — while ground-dwelling birds and armadillos also showed evidence of hiding prior to the quake.

An earlier study even noted that lab rats’ sleeping patterns changed ahead of earthquakes.
In the five to seven days before the earthquake, no animal movements were recorded at all, “an unusual phenomenon in a mountainous rainforest region normally teeming with wildlife,” CNN reported.
“As far as we know, this is the first time that motion triggered cameras have documented this phenomenon prior to an earthquake,” Dr. Rachel Grant, study author and lecturer in animal and environmental biology at Anglia Ruskin University in the UK, told the Daily Mail.
Some researchers believe this change in animal behaviour is linked to an increase in positive ions in the air, generated by stressed rocks below the earth’s surface prior to an earthquake, which create an imbalance known as “serotonin syndrome.”
“People can get headaches, nausea, anxiety and restlessness. We think the animals are moving away from this concentrated source of positive ions,” Grant, told CNN. "Animals, in general, will move away from unpleasant stimuli.”
In the days before a massive earthquake struck China in 2008, thousands of toads hopped across the streets in one of the hardest-struck provinces. In the hours before the earthquake, zoo animals began to act strangely: zebras hit their heads on doors, lions were awake when they should have been sleeping, and peacocks started screeching.
Grant emphasized that she doesn’t believe animals have a sixth sense when it comes to predicting earthquakes, only that they are generally more sensitive than humans in responding to their changing environment.
She hopes to further her research by studying zooplankton, investigating the biological changes in sea creatures prior to an earthquake.
“I want to measure lake water and that could potentially be a bio-indicator of earthquakes — these marine animals are very sensitive to chemical changes in the water,”

Thanx Yahoo

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Britain's Youngest Organ Donor 'Died A Hero'

Britain's Youngest Organ Donor 'Died A Hero'

The parents of Britain's youngest organ donor say their son "lived and died a hero" after the infant's kidneys saved the life of a patient with renal failure.
Doctors told mother Jess Evans during her 12th week of pregnancy that one of the twin sons she was carrying suffered a fatal condition which stops the brain and skull from developing.
She and her fiance Mike Houlston were told their baby would either be stillborn or die shortly after birth.
In an interview with the Daily Mirror, the couple from Cardiff said they decided to allow the infant's kidneys and heart valves to be donated to save the lives of others.
The twins, Teddy and Noah Houlston, were born in April 2014. Teddy died just 100 minutes after birth.
The couple told the newspaper that Teddy's kidneys have since been used to save the life of a patient with renal failure.
Mike Houlston, Noah, and Jess Evans from Splott in Cardiff (Huw John/Cambrensis/PA)

Mike Houlston, Noah, and Jess Evans from Splott in Cardiff (Huw John/Cambrensis/PA)"He lived and died a hero. It's impossible to explain how proud we are of him," Mr Houlston said.
Ms Evans added: "Although he wasn't with us very long, and we brought him into the world knowing there was no hope of a life for him, we are incredibly proud of his heroism.
"We hope Teddy's story will inspire families who find themselves in the position of losing a child. Knowing part of your loved one is living on in someone else is comforting."
Dr Paul Murphy, from NHS Blood and Transplant, said Teddy's donation was "exceptional".
"Every donation is inspirational. It is a selfless act of heroism. But Teddy's story is exceptional.
"He was the youngest organ donor in the UK."
Ms Evans and Mr Houlston are raising money for the charity 2 Wish Upon A Star , which provides services for bereaved parents.

Food for Thought : Proper Nutrition Needed for Physical Activities

 Spring  is  here  and  many of  us  are  ready to  get outdoors  and  get active .  You  don't  have  to look far  for  a  local  5K  jogging  run or  some  other  community  sport this  time  of  year . Additionally , marathons , adventure  aces  and  triathlons  are  becoming  more  proper  too . Successfully  completing  one  of  these  adventures  takes  hard-work , dedication  and  of  course , proper  nutrition . If  you have  one  of  these  in your  sights  , make  sure  that  you have  the  proper  fuel to get you through . Here  are  a few  tips  to help you successfully  fuel  your  spring  workouts :

1 . Staying hydrated  is  important , but  you can overdo it .  The  color of your urine  is  one  of  the best indicators of  hydration  status . It  should  be  colorless  or  light  yellow , if  you are  well-hydrated  . Water  is  best  choice  for  hydration .

2 .  If  your  activity  is  less than one  hour ,  you likely  will not  need any specialized energy or  electrolyte replacements  such as  sports  drinks  or  glucose  products .

3 .  Deciding  what to eat  before  an  event  can be  a bit  tricky  . For  short events , such as  a 5K jog  ,  you most likely  do not  need  to do anything  special , other  than eating  a light  breakfast  . For  longer  distances ,  you may need  to refuel  during  the  event .

4 .  Understanding  that everyone's metabolism  and  digestive  system  work a  little  different , You should  never  try out  a new  product  , supplement  or  food  just  before  or  during  an  event . Make  sure  you test  how  your  body  reacts  to these  and  how  these  products  help  your  performance  during  training .

5 .  As always , check  with your  doctor  before  starting  any complex  exercise  routine  and  your  dietitian  for  information  on your  nutritional  needs . 

Words of Wisdom:

Think about it. Everything you really, Really, REALLY want requires risk. There are no exceptions. Whether it’s a healthier body, a bigger income, a better career, or a stronger marriage, you can’t get any of those things by just hoping they’ll happen. You have to do something

You can give yourself over to wholesome aspirations, letting them carry you along with resolve and passion, staying true to your own North Star without straining and stressing along the way. You can be prudent, love others, rise in your chosen work, and nurture our planet without feeling like there’s a stick at your back.

Walk your path in reverence for humanity and life. No one's journey is easy or free of fears, no matter what it looks like on the surface. It's remarkable and lovely to feel the humbleness of making a real difference, large or small, versus a "See! I'm-special!" trap of the frightened ego-aspect. Ask yourself often what it is you want to contribute while you're here, what you want your personal legacy to be, even if it's a silent, less-obvious one.

To all those people and organizations who want to cut back on their education and motivation, you would be well advised to listen to the words of the great philosopher Aristotle. Even though he penned these words more than 2000 years ago, they still ring true today. He said, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” In other words, it may cost you some time and money to keep on learning, but the results are always worth it.

A proud grand-poppa           G.

Little Old Ladies' Day on Maxy

An elderly woman called 911 on her cell phone to report that her car had been broken in to.
She is hysterical as she explains her situation to the dispatcher: "They've stolen the stereo, the steering wheel, the brake pedal and even the accelerator!" she cried.
The dispatcher said, "Stay calm. An officer is on the way."
A few minutes later, the officer radios in. "Disregard." He says. "She got in the back-seat by mistake."

A college student challenged a senior citizen, saying it was impossible for their generation to understand his. “You grew up in a different world,” the student said. “Today we have television, jet planes, space travel, nuclear energy, computers…”
Taking advantage of a pause in the student’s litany, the old lady said, “You’re right. We didn’t have those things when we were young; so we invented them! What are you doing for the next generation??”

Double Yuck! 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I have a 13-year-old son , I admit that my husband and I are very strict with him about lots of things , including what he watches on TV and what movies he views . I learned that some of his friends routinely get to watch R-rated movies --- either because their parents are lenient or because their parents have given them no restrictions on what they watch on TV. When I learned that , I decided not to let my son go over to heir houses anymore . I want to limit what he sees at least for now . Routinely , when he asks me if he can see a movie that is rated R , I automatically say no . I'm wondering if I should amend that . I don't want him to start ignoring me , even though I do think these other parents are making it harder for me to keep up my standards .
Drawing the line , Jackson Miss.

 Dear Drawing the line,
It is admirable that you care enough to want to protect your son from bad influences. But the truth is, most teens watch R-rated movies at home without their parent's knowledge, or at a friend's house, anyway. Many of the so-called adult situations that make movies R-rated are already being seen on TV, on the internet and in video games by teens: that includes sexual situations, violence, adult language, and drugs. We live in a new age where kids are no longer as naïve as in previous generations. They are inundated with adult situations through mass media and their experiences outside the home, away from your protection. Over-protection will not prepare him for the reality he will live in when he leaves you.
That said, I'm not saying this invalidates the need for a rating system. The line between R rated and PG-13 rated movies and programs has become very fuzzy. Some PG 13 movies have very intense situations including nudity and violence, while some movies are rated R because of a few cuss words. 
A 2-hour movie can’t ruin the years of values, morality and responsibility that you have carefully instilled in your son. Most teenagers know fantasy from reality and right from wrong and can judge what information they should accept; unless there is something fundamentally wrong with the child.
However, he should not be exposed to NC-17 rated material at that age. That rating is for extreme sexual and/or violent situations. Kids under seventeen are not permitted in theaters to watch those productions.
So, what do you do? First of all, lighten up a bit on the  strictness and show him you have some faith in him. You need to tell him you trust his judgement and give him a little leeway.
Forbidding him from seeing certain people or going to their homes is going to produce rebellion and isolate him socially.
The best filter is you. Watch the movies yourself, first, (keeping an open mind to the fact that he should be allowed the same privileges as his friends). That way you can judge if he will be comfortable watching them.

Dear Maxy , 
I believe in thank-you-notes . I'm having a hard time convincing my children that they are important . When they receive presents from people , I tell them that they should write a note immediately to express their gratitude . Half the time they do nothing . How can I get them to be more responsible ?
Enforcing Good Manners 
Dear Enforcing  Good  Manners ,
While  you don't  want to run the risk  of  making  good  manners  seem  like  a punishment ,  you may have to insist your children use proper etiquette . 
Another  approach  that  may  open  their  eyes  is  to  point  out that someone cared enough about them to go out and buy or  make them a gift . Ask them how they would feel if they took a lot of time and trouble to find a gift that someone liked and that person never appreciated or even acknowledged it.
If  they are more comfortable with a phone call, text, email or Facebook...that works just as well in this age of technology.

Dear Maxy ,
I went to an event that was hosted by a woman I met through a professional contact . I thought the event was horrible . It was poorly produced . People came late , primarily because it started too early --- smack in the middle of rush hour . And it seemed really disorganized . Because I came out of respect to my contact , I sat through it , but I was none too happy .

I chalked it up to not-so-great experience until the host cold-called me for feedback . I hedged around my thoughts at first , but she kept asking so I told her . What I said was measured , but I did let her know that I was not particularly pleased , I think I said it in a way that wasn't offensive . I don't tend to volunteer my thoughts , especially if they are questionable , but I actually didn't volunteer . She asked me . She seemed to take it pretty well , too, but I'm second-guessing myself now . Should I just made nice on the phone , or was it right to tell her wht I thought ? 
Heads up 

Dear  Heads  up ,
Congratulations  on  your  tactful  honesty .  I agree  that it  may  not  have  been  your  place  to say anything, if  you were the one  to  bring it  up . After  all , you  said  you do not  know  this woman . But since  she  reached out  to  to  you , it  must have  been for  a reason . She, no doubt, respects your opinion. While  she  may have  been looking  for  affirmation  of  the success  of  her  event ,  she  got  what she probably needed  .... honest , constructive  feedback  that  she  can use . She, very likely, will take your advice to heart and her next event will be better because of you. There is no need to call to make it up to her in any way but continue to be friendly if you meet again.

Dear Maxy ,
I am expecting my first child . My mother is a wonderful , intelligent 68-year-old woman . She is also bipolar and seems incapable of keeping herself physically healthy and her house clean . I know her poor health almost certainly stems from the fact that her living conditions are filthy . She also has a sour smell about her that makes me worry that she is lax about her personal hygiene.

I have tried many times over the years to help her keep her house clean , but inevitable it returns to the state of extreme disarray . The only visible floor is the pathway through piles of junk . The kitchen and bathroom is moldy biohazards . Eventually , I can to the realization that nothing I say or do is going to make her start talking care of herself . I can't afford a caregiver to help her and I'm past the point of trying to make a dent in the perpetual filth myself .

My main problem is that when my baby is born , I know Mom is going to want to spend time with her . I don't feel comfortable allowing my infant child to be exposed to the unhealthy conditions of her house . I am ashamed to say that I also don't feel comfortable placing my baby in the care of a woman who seems incapable of caring for herself . How can I tell my mother , the woman that raised me , how to live? This is a conversation I never wanted to have . Is there anyway I can avoid breaking her heart and embarrassing her ? 
Concern daughter and Mom-to-be 
Dear  concerned  Daughter  and Mom-to-be,
Hoarding and poor hygiene can frequently accompany mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and impulse control problems.
I sympathize, but  your  child's welfare, will soon become  your  first priority . This  will make  it  easier  for  you to talk  to your  mom . Tell her  you love  her  and  understand  her level  of  cleanliness  and  hygiene  is  her  choice, but  it is  not appropriate  for  your  child . Explain that visits  with the  baby will take  place only  in your  home , under  your  supervision .
She  will  promise  to do better, but  that is  not  a guarantee.
 Tell her you  hope  this  will  motivate her to seek professional
treatment to make her life healthier and make it better for everyone  around  her .

Helpful website.... ( )
She may be ashamed or embarrassed but if she cares enough about you and her grand-child , she may take stock of her life and hopefully, reach out for help .
 Her situation should not, under any circumstances, change  the  parameters  you have  set up  for  the  care  of  your  child .

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Roving Reporter :Come home Mr. Jindal and do your job

                                                   Governor Bobby  Jindel 
Prentiss  Smith

According to the 2011 America’s Health Ranking by the United Health Foundation, Louisiana is ranked as the 49th healthiest state to live in for the second straight year. According to that same study, Louisiana ranks 48th in high school graduations, 48th in occupational fatalities, 48th in infectious diseases, 48th in infant mortality, 48th in premature deaths, and 49th in children in poverty.

These are devastating statistics for any state, but particularly a poor state like Louisiana. These are not statistics that any of us who love this state should be proud of or satisfied with. And yet, we have the governor of the state traveling around the country auditioning for president of the United States on the Republican ticket in 2016, while exclaiming that he is not going to accept Medicaid funds for hundreds of thousands of lower- to middle-class Louisianans who have no health care.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has been feeding at the public trough all of his working life and has never held a private sector job, is showing he has put his party and his ideology ahead of the health and welfare of vast numbers of Louisianans.

I love Louisiana. I was born and raised in this state. It is a great state with great people, but our state is in big trouble economically. And regardless of what Gov. Jindal says, all is not as rosy as the governor would have us to believe. Mr. Jindal has convinced himself that he is presidential material, but he is not. He does not wear well in the broader country. He is not what America is looking for. He may have fooled the people in Louisiana twice, but he will not fool the American people. My advice to Mr. Jindal is to save his money, because he has as much of a chance of being president as I do.

America is not looking for a right-wing ideologue like Bobby Jindal. In fact, the country is not looking for a left-wing ideologue either. This country is split 50/50. Americans are looking for someone who walks the middle line — not left or right. Gov. Jindal has governed as an ideologue who is willing to say or do anything to promote himself and his own personal agenda. He has been running for president since he came into office, and it has hurt the state. He should come home and do his job.

Whoever the next governor of Louisiana is, he or she is going to have to spend their first term straightening out the mess that Jindal and the current legislature — both Democrats and Republicans leave them. Jindal and the Legislature seem to have forgotten who they work for and why they were sent to Baton Rouge. The economic good news that is being fed to the citizens of the state is a mirage.

Now you see it and now you don’t.

Over his term, Jindal has not been a friend of the working class and poor people of this state as evidenced by his turning down Medicaid funding from the Affordable Care Act. It would have helped hundreds of thousands of low- to middle-income people —mostly poor whites and blacks who live in rural and urban areas of the state. These are people who want and need access to affordable health care.

Now this administration is proposing to cut $300 million from higher education. That is crazy. Education is the key to how we are going to change all of the aforementioned problems in this state. We cannot continue to cut education as this governor has done during his two terms in office.

Quality education for our children is the best thing we can do to improve our state. These proposed cuts come on the heels of the governor hiring a new commissioner of education, who will be paid in excess of $400,000 a year. That is 10 times more than a teacher in the classroom in one of the poorest states in the union.

Our politicians — both Democrats and Republicans should be ashamed of themselves for paying a public official this exorbitant amount of money. School teachers in this state have not had a meaningful pay raise in years. We have lost thousands of good teachers because they are not being valued as they should be.

No public official in a state this poor should be paid that kind of money. The people of Louisiana should be outraged. Public education is the one thing that we should all be able to agree about — it should not be cut any more. Access to a good education enhances who we are and strengthens us as a state. It is the only way we are going to compete in this new world. It is past time for Mr. Jindal to come home and do his job. And that’s my take.

Prentiss Smith lives in Shreveport and is a member of the Greater Shreveport Human Relations Commission.

Thanx Prentiss

The  Roving  Reporter

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Secret to the best Bolognese ain't what you think

 Chef Easton’s pastas are stunning. But  the mega-star of his recipes is his pappardelle alla Bolognese. It’s rich, comforting, and life-affirming—like any meaty ragù. But there’s something special about it.  So what goes into America’s most soul-satisfying Italian sauce? Easy: time, chicken livers, wine, and a total dismissal of tradition.

SO, How do you make this Ultimate Bolognese Sauce ?

Spice Mix:
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp. black peppercorns

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 oz. chicken livers, rinsed, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ large onion, finely chopped
  • ½ small bunch thyme
  • ¼ cup Mama Lil’s Kick Butt Peppers in Oil or Peppadew peppers
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 14-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup red wine
  • 1¼ lb. ground beef chuck (20% fat)
  • 1 lb. ground pork shoulder (Boston butt)
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Pasta and Assembly:
  • 12 oz. pappardelle
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • 3 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about ¾ cup)
1. Spice It Up
Toast spices in a dry small skillet over medium heat, tossing often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes (this releases their flavor). Let cool, then finely grind in a spice mill (or use a mortar and pestle).
2. The Flavor Base
Preheat oven to 250°. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof pot over ­medium-high. Add livers and stir to coat. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until livers are deeply browned—­almost burned, really—5–8 minutes. Add onion, thyme, and Mama Lil’s peppers; stir to coat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring as needed, until onion is brown and soft, 5–8 minutes more. Stir in garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir in spice mixture and 1½ tsp. salt.
3. Meat of the Matter
Add tomatoes, then wine, stirring and scraping up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add meat and stir to combine (the mixture will be fairly stiff but will loosen as it cooks). Add milk and mix well—everything should be evenly coated.
4. Low and Slow
Cover pot with a lid and transfer to oven; bake for 6 hours.
5. Custom Blend
Remove pot from oven. The sauce will have firmed up; stir to loosen. Pluck out thyme and, using an immer­sion blender, purée sauce until smooth. Add vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Makes 6 cups sauce.


Serve Like a Pro
Finishing pasta in a pan with butter and some of the cooking liquid is what separates restaurant results from home versions. Cook pasta until al dente, drain, reserving 1 ½ cups cooking liquid, then… 1 Toss pasta and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. 2 Ladle in Bolognese and toss until pasta is well coated (about 2 cups). 3 Toss and add pasta cooking liquid as needed to create a glossy sauce that coats the noodles. Top with Parmesan and serve in warmed bowls.

Mangia ! Mangia!

Series of Videos about Food and a Couple of Quickie Recipes

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dear Maxy ,
For the past fve years , I have been complaining about my husband to everyone who would listen , it seems like . He was so irritating to me in a thousand different ways and after I had talked to him about it forever . I took to talking to other people . Earlier this year , a friend of mine lost her husband to cancer . She had been a big complainer about him too . I have watched though , how grief has changed her view of him and their relationship. She seems to be filled with remorse about his death and about how she was unkind to him , even though she admits he was also unkind to her . This has got me to thinking : I don't want to die mad at my husband or at myself . I really would like to have a happy marriage , but I don't have a clue as to how to mend our old wounds . What do you suggesr ?
Reclaiming Love

They've lost the ability to see things from the other's perspective 
Dear Spell Check ,
I am a believer in telling people rather than hoping they will figure it out . Chances are your new eager friend  is so excited  about connecting with you  that she has no idea  that she is dishonoring you by misspelling your name . Rather than reprimand her , write to her  and say , "FYI" : This is how you spell my name ."

Dear  Caught  Between two  MILs ,
Shame on your mother-in-law  for being  so  jealous and bitter  that she would interfere in your child rearing decisions  and prevent your son from  having a loving relationship  with Gladys . I hope your husband has the gumption  to tell his mother that these are not her decisions to make  , and if she cannot except your child's relationship with Gladys , She could benefit from counseling .
Enough already .


Dear Maxy ,
One of my new friends from work likes to write me texts and other messages to get together and update me about various things . She never spell my name right , which drives me up the wall . My name is not difficult , but even if it were , it is written in my signature on my emails and my stationery . I have written her back and always spell out my name , hoping she will notice . So far , she's oblivious . Is it rude for me to point out how to spell my name ? It irritates me every time I see that she spells it wrong .What should I do ?
Spell Check

Dear Maxy ,
I am a 29-year-old married woman with a 14-month-old son . My husband and I live one hour away from his dad and stepmother , "Gladys" and two hours from my parents . We all get along great .
When I decided to go back to work , both my mother and Gladys volunteered to watch my son two days apiece . I pay a neighbor to watch him the remaining day , especially since she has two kids of her own and I want my son to have some socialization . It's a perfect setup , and every is happy except my husband's mother , who lives in another state . She is furious that I allow Gladys to watch my son , stating that she was "not related" and not really his grandma" and she will never love him like a real grandma should .
My mother-in-law wants me to have the neighbor watch my son for the two days Gladys is now taking and she even offered to pay the neighbor so it would not come out of my pocket .
My husband has a close relationship wuth his mother and a polite one with Gladys . (His mother never allowed him to get close to his stepmother, even though she didn't come into the picture until years after the divorce). He's on the fence about this arrangement. But , Maxy , I love Gladys . She is a retired kindergarten teacher who is wonderful with my son .
My MIL is giving me a headache over this . I always thought we had a great relationship and her demands blindsided me . Now she's angry that I have allowed Gladys to have a relationship with our son altogether . I haven't mention any of this to Gladys , but I'm sure she would be heartbroken. She truly loves our son and he loves her . What should I do ?
Caught Between Two MILs

Food for Thought : Left-overs

Many times  when we  cook at home  or  eat out  in restaurants  , we  will have  "left-overs." Left-overs  are  a great way to stretch  your  food  dallor  by getting  two meals  for  the price  of  one  or  by helping  you cook once  and eat twice . You want  to make  sure  that your  food  is  safe  to eat each time  serve it . Safe  handling  of  leftovers  is  very important  to reducing  foodborne illness . 
Here  are  a few  tips  to help ensure  the  safety  of  your meal  the  first  and second  time  around :

1 .  Refrigerate  promptly .  Do not  leave  food  sitting  out  on the  counter  for  a long  time . Anything that  that  has been out on the  counter  for  a long  time . Anything  that  has been sitting  out  for more  than two hours  should  be thrown away . 

2 .  Anything  you do  not plan to eat  within a few  days  should  be put  in the freezer  . Label everything  , including  left-overs  from resturants  with a date .  Discard  all food  leftover  within three  to  five days . 

3 .  Verify  you have  heated  foods  to at least  65*F by  using  a  food  therometer  . If  you are  microwaving  your  food , let  your  food sit  for one  minute  before  checking  the  temperature . If  your  microwave doesn't  have  a timer  , make  sure  you  rotate  your  food  halfway  through the  cooking  time .

4 .   If  taking  your  leftovers  for  lunch  the  next day  , make  sure  you  keep  food  safety in mind  . Put   cold  pack  in your  lunch  box  and  refrigerate  when possible .

Words of  Wisdom :

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” 

“Quit being so hard on yourself. We are what we are; we love what we love. We don't need to justify it to anyone... not even to ourselves.” 

“Healing is more about accepting the pain and finding a way to peacefully co-exist with it. In the sea of life, pain is a tide that will ebb and weave, continually.
We need to learn how to let it wash over us, without drowning in it. Our life doesn't have to end where the pain begins, but rather, it is where we start to mend.” 

“Words themselves aren't that important. Even if somebody says words that shock you, or make you want to kill them, or make you tremble with emotion, the words themselves you tend to forget in time. Words are just tools we use to express or communicate something.” 

“It’s so easy and convenient to buy our children gifts, but I encourage and challenge you to give them gifts that TRULY matter! The gift of unconditional love. The gift of encouragement. The gift of support. The gift of friendship. The gift of communication, understanding, and patience. The gift of guidance and support. The gift of quality time. And the gift of loving them for who THEY are. Material things are nice, but NOTHING compares to genuine love! Parenting should be taking seriously.” 

Mr. Humble sitting  in  for   the Proud  grand-poppa .  No  he's  not  sick , the  Reno rascals  is  in Reno /or  Vegas  painting  the  town  red  (smiling).
Picture  and  post was  taken and  written by  Grand-poppa . I'm only  following  instructions .
Mr Humble  at  your  service .

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The shape of the glass really does affect the wine's taste

The wine connoisseurs are right; the glass really does affect the drink's taste. There are many reasons why you shouldn't glug wine from the bottle. Aroma is probably the biggest. As any wine lover will tell you, its flavour can be hugely affected by the shape of the glass you're drinking from.

A camera system developed by scientists in Japan has revealed exactly how wine's aroma changes as ethanol vapour escapes from a glass. They found at 13°C (left), the alcohol concentration at the rim of a traditional wine glass was higher than at the centre
A camera system developed by scientists in Japan has revealed exactly how wine's aroma changes as ethanol vapour escapes from a glass. They found at 13°C (left), the alcohol concentration at the rim of a traditional wine glass was higher than at the centre

To set up the system, Kohji Mitsubayashi, at the Tokyo Medical and Dental University, covered a mesh with the enzyme alcohol oxidase. According to a report in Chemistry World, this converts low molecular weight alcohols and oxygen into aldehydes and hydrogen peroxide.
The mesh was also impregnated with horseradish peroxide and luminol, which together change colour when exposed to hydrogen peroxide.The mesh was placed on top of a wine glass, and a camera captured the color changes, digitally mapping the concentration. The mesh was placed on top of a wine glass, and a camera captured the colour changes, digitally mapping the distribution of ethanol leaving the glass.

The team looked at various wines in different shaped glasses and at different temperatures.
'We selected three types of glasses - a wine glass, a cocktail glass, and a straight glass - to determine the differences in ethanol emission caused by the shape effects of the glass,' researchers explained in their paper, published in the journal Analyst.
At 13°C, the alcohol concentration at the rim of a traditional wine glass was higher than at the centre.
'This ring phenomenon allows us to enjoy the wine aroma without interference of gaseous ethanol,' Mitsubayashi told Chemistry World.
The same pattern wasn't evident when the temperature was higher, or cocktail or tumbler glass.
'Accordingly, wine glass shape has a very sophisticated functional design for tasting and enjoying wine,' said Mitsubayashi.

The team looked at various wines in different shaped glasses and at different temperatures. They found the traditional wine glass was by far the best shape to improve aroma 


While it may go against tradition, experts are urging champagne drinkers to ditch their crystal flutes in favour of an ordinary wine glass. When toasting a special occasion with a bottle of bubbly, classy champagne flutes are the obvious choice for many.
And while it may go against tradition, experts are urging drinkers to ditch their crystal flutes in favour of an ordinary wine glass. This is because higher-end brands will taste better in a broader glass, according to wine connoisseurs.

Frederico Lleonart, a global wine ambassador for drinks company Pernod Ricard, says a simple wine glass emphasises the aroma and fizz in better and more complex champagnes.
'When the sparkling wine or champagne has complexity, depth and autolytic notes, such as the best cavas or champagnes, then the best option is actually to use a white wine glass in order to let the aromas express themselves better,' he told The Sunday Telegraph.

But simple sparkling wines should still be served in flutes as it keeps the drink colder for longer and shows off the bubbles better. 'Both the flute and the saucer help the aromas diffuse in different ways: the flute concentrates carbon dioxide at the top of the glass, whereas the saucer's wide mouth means the bubbles evaporate more quickly,' he added.
I don't know about you folks, but I am going to get myself a nice glass of wine....A votre santé!

Homeless Man Finds Fortune in Forgotten Bank Account

John Helinski, 62, had slept in a cardboard box by a bus stopJohn Helinski, 62, had slept in a cardboard box by a bus stop

A man who spent years sleeping in a cardboard box by a bus stop found a bank account he had forgotten - with enough money for the deposit on a house.
‘John Helinski, 62, says, ‘I remember sleeping under the benches there. No one would see me.’
‘I guess I'm exhilarated, excited, you know.’

Helinski had forgotten all about the account - the bank it was with had changed name in the intervening period. But unbeknown to him, Social Security benefits had been being paid into the account all the time he was homeless. When Helinski found it again, it had enough money for the deposit on a house.

The account was found when police and social security workers attempted to find Helinski temporary accommodation in a homeless shelter - and needed identification, according to ABC Action television. The bank account came to light when housing officers tried to trace a birth certificate for Helinski.
‘At that time, it was Landmark Bank. Then it became Bank of America,’ he said
Tampa police officer Dan McDonald says, ‘We were stunned. We weren't quite sure what to say.’

Helinski is now in temporary accommodation - but has enough money to buy himself permanent accommodation, and plans to move out.
 No one should be homeless in the "land of the free and the home of the brave." The same goes for my own country, Canada. With our extreme winters , we should do far more to offer shelter and warmth to our homeless.

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy ,
I have a close acquaintance who is a fitness instructor at a health club where I often work out . Two years ago , I saw her at a local peace parade and got very worked up over something she wrote on the signs she was wearing . I became so crazed over it that that I forgot myself and said some awful things about her . I also stopped going to her workout classes for a month and deleted her Facebook pages . Then I found out her husband had had a stroke the day of the parade . 
I realized how hideous my behavior had been. I returned to her workout class and intended to apologize profusely to her, but she wasn't there that day . When she finally came back , I told her I'd been praying for her and her husband .
Sometimes it seems she has forgiven me and everything is the same between us but on other days , I'm not so sure . I apologized to her in a general way , in a holiday greeting card , not mentioning the parade . I've lost countless hours of sleep crying from quilt , shame and regret . I've finally decided I have to do something . Please print this so she can see it and we can talk about it . She reads your column .
Dear Distraught ,
Printing this in my column  and  hoping  she  sees it  is  a cop-out.  You need  to work up some courage  and  talk to her directly .  It is hard to atone for a wrong-doing and harder to apologize for it. A semi-apology in a greeting  card doesn't  cut it  and  telling  her  you will pray  for her is kind, but  insufficient .
Ask your  friend  whether  she  is  available  for coffee,  or  find a time when neither of  you  is  rushed  and  can spend a few minutes privately . You need  to tell you how  sorry you are for  your  behavior  at the  parade  and  afterward . She needs to know  that you are ashamed about the things you said and for waiting so long to apologize .  Let her know you value  her  friendship and  that you hope she will forgive you . Whatever  happens after that , at least  you will know you did the correct thing and tried  to make  it  right .

Dear Maxy ,
"Grandma" has every right to be concerned about her stepson's nearly 3-year-old child who barely speaks . She should follow her instincts and strongly encourage that the girl be assessed by a speech therapist. The lack of expressive language could be a sign of autism . 
While the suggestions to spend more time interfacing with the child are great, professional intervention might be necessary . It is deplorable that the pediatrician has not caught this , an early intervention can change the trajectory of a child's life .
As a special education teacher over the past 10 years , I've seen the terrible repercussions caused by the lack of early intervention and the overworked school systems that regularly miss identifying these needs. 
Special Ed Teacher 
Dear Teacher ,
Several  readers  pointed  out  that the  lack  of  speech  could  be a sign  of  autism . Others  told  me  that their  kids  didn't  speak  much  at that age  and  turned  out  just fine . There's  no way  for  me  to evaluate  what's  going on, but  I absolutely  concur   that the child   should  be  evaluated  by a  speech  therapist  to find  out. 
Unfortunately , that is  Dad's  call , and  he  seems  disinclined  to do anything . If "Grandma " can convince the father to let her take the child to a specialist for an assessment,  wonderful . If  not, talking to and reading to the little girl will definitely help . Even children's television programs can provide stimulation.
Engaging the child's mind in any way, with crafts or drawing or picture books and encouraging verbal responses from her is beneficial . Socializing with other kids her age may be the best way to draw her out.

Dear Maxy ,
My cousin lives in the Caribbean with her family . She and I are pretty close , so we've emailing back and forth all winter . Normally she is very friendly and thoughtful but for some reason this year she got kind of mean with her commentary about the weather . While we was having the worse snow and cold you could imagine , she was having sunshine and 80 -degree temperatures .
That's not news , but more the way she rubbed it in I'm thinking she really didn't know how bad it was for my family . We had a few power outages . We had so many missed days at school that the family couldn't have any kind of vacation time off . I don't mean to be a complainer , but I really want my cousin to know that she was horribly insensitive to us and I don't appreciate it . Am I being too sensitive ? 
Deep Freeze --- Boston 
Dear Deep  Freeze ,
I think you are  being overly sensitive. It  may seem justifiable to you, but I think your cousin was just pulling your leg or trying to tease you. There is no way for her to really understand how bad your winter was. Your  state  got  brutal weather and record low temperatures this year, like so many northern  states and also Canada. We are all still recovering  from that frigid reality. People living in tropical climates don't have a clear sense of what we go through in a particularly nasty winter. 
Don't scold her; just explain how extreme your weather was and how much snow and mind numbing cold you had to deal with. Also tell her how lucky she is that she doesn't have to endure winters like that. Ask her if she would like to trade places next winter so you can torment her from a nice warm Caribbean island. Treat it with humor and tell her quit the weather comments.
It is not worth jeopardizing a great relationship over.

Dear Maxy ,
I have hired a baby sitter for my son ever since he was born . He is now 6 years old . I never reported this to the IRS because I wrote a check . I didn't pay illegally . Now I have learned that I am suppose to report it . My son's babysitter is upset because it means she will have less take home pay , but I don't want to have a problem with the government . What should I do ? 
Paying Taxes , Baton Rouge , La.
Dear Paying  Taxes ,  Baton Rouge , La.,
The law is pretty clear; you have to report your expenditures and the baby sitter must declare all her income. You need to explain to her that you wish to abide by the law and that she really should be paying income taxes on her earnings.
The federal requirement is based on amount earned per year. If you pay a sitter as a subcontractor,  you must file a 1099 at end of the year if  she makes more than $600. You can read IRS Publication 926 which breaks down household employment liabilities.
 If you pay someone for work in your house and pay more than $1000 per year,  you are required to do payroll. This is from information on the IRS website.  This means you have to with-hold some of the pay for expenses like unemployment, social security and medicare and you pay the employer portion of said expenses. The up side is that it doesn't cost much, it is the right thing to do and you do not risk being fined. The fines can be high for non-compliance. You can get some of the money rebated by claiming for child care on your tax form.
There are no such corresponding requirements for reporting income: a baby sitter has to declare all of her income, from whatever source, unless it’s otherwise excluded.
If  you have  the resources and are able to  give her a little extra, by all means do so . 
It is up to her whether she declares  her income or not.  You are not responsible . You are doing the right thing by reporting your expenses and explaining the situation to her.
I hope she complies and you don't lose a good baby sitter.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Food for Thought : April is Autism Awareness Month .

Autism spectrum disorder ( ) and  autism are  both general  terms  for  a group  of  complex disorders in brain  development . These  disorders are  characterized  in varying  degrees  by  difficulties  in social  interaction , verbal and  nonverbal communication  and  repetitive  behaviors .
If  you have  a child  with ASD  you know  that many  aspects  of  caring  for for the child  can be  difficult , including  meal time . Here  are  a few  tips  to  help  you when caring  for the nutritional needs  of  a child  with special  needs  :

1 . Create routine  with meals :
Remember  the  sights and sounds  of  preparing  a meal  can be  stressful  for  your child . You may need to dim  the  lights  for  mealtime  and  make sure  the television  and  radio is  turned  off . Let  your  child choose  their  seat  or  pick out  a favorite  food. 

2 . If  your  child  has sensory issues : 
It  may be  helpful  to allow them  to play with their food  . Becoming  more  familiar  with the food  can help .  This  can get a little  messy ,  so put  down a  a towel or  sheet to make  cleanup  easier .

3. Be prepared  for  picky  eaters :
It can be difficult  to feed  children  with sensitivity to  tastes , colors,  smells  and textures . Let your  child be involved in every step of  the  meal process , from picking  out  the  food  at the  store  to preparing it  and  deciding if  he  wants  to eat it . don't  be  discouraged  if  a  child  dose not want  to eat  a new food . Keep  a  low-pressure  and low-stress environment .

4 . Discuss  your child's  growth  patterns with  your pediatrician :

This is important for  all  children  not  just those with special needs . Your  pediatrician should  be  able  to let you know how your child is  growing  and if  there  are  any  particular  concerns . 
Ask  for  a  referral  to see   dietitian if  you are  having  trouble  with meals  and  feeding.  

Words of Wisdom :

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.

If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.

It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.

A home with a loving and loyal husband and wife is the supreme setting in which children can be reared in love and righteousness and in which the spiritual and physical needs of children can be met.

A proud grand-poppa       G.