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Posts Tagged ‘Death’

THE RIGHT WAY TO END YOUR LIFE?

Drawing A Clear Map For End-Of-Life Choices!

Robert H. Laws, a retired judge in San Francisco, and his wife Beatrice, knew it was important to have health care directives in place to help their doctors and their two sons make wise medical decisions should they ever be unable to speak for themselves. With forms from their lawyer, they completed living wills and assigned each other as health care agents.

They dutifully checked off various boxes about not wanting artificial ventilation, feeding tubes and the like. But what they did not know was how limiting and confusing those directions could be. For example, Judge Laws said in an interview, he’d want to be put on a ventilator temporarily if he had pneumonia and the procedure would keep him alive until antibiotics kicked in and he could breathe will enough on his own.

What he would not want is to be on a ventilator indefinitely, or to have his heart restarted if he had a terminal illness or would end up impaired. Nuances like these, unfortunately, escape the attention of a vast majority of people who have completed advance directives, and may also discourage others from creating directives in the first place.

Enter two doctors and a nurse who are acutely aware of the limitations of most of such directives. In 2008, they created a service to help poeple through the process, no matter what their end-of-life choices may be. The San Francisco based srvice, called Good Medicine Consult & Advocacy, is the brainchild of Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, 46 who was an emergency room physician for 14 years and saw firsthand that the needs and wishes of most patients were not being met by the doctors who cared for them in crisis situations.

The communications gap was huge,” she said in an interview. “The emergency room doctor has to advocate for patients. I felt I could do that and head things off at the pass by communicating both with patients and physicians.” Sara C. Stephens, a nurse and Dr. Lael Conway Duncan, an internist, joined her in the project. Ms Stephens flew to LaCrosse, Wis., to be trained in health care advocacy at Gunderson Lutheran Health System. Through its trainees, tens and thousands of nurses, social workers and chaplains have been taught how to help patients plan for future care decisions.

 

A Necessary Decison Process

People often need help in thinking about these issues and creating a good plan, but most doctors don’t have the time to provide  this service,” said Bernard Hammes, who runs the training program at Gunderson Lutheran. “Conversation is very important for an advance care plan to be successful. But it isn’t just a conversation; it’s at least three conversations.” Dr. Hammes,editor of a book, “Having Your Own Say: Getting the Right Care When It Means the Most,” said that while he is especially concerned that people 60 and older make their wishes known  to family members and develop a cohesive plan, the same steps should be taken by someone who develops a serious illness at any age.

People need to sit down and decide what kind of care makes sense to them and what doesn’t make sense, and who would be the best person to represent them if they became very ill and couldn’t make medical decisions for themselves,” Dr. Hammes said. “If for example, you had a sudden and permanent brain injury, how bad would that injury have to be for you to say that you would not want to be kept alive?” he continued. “What strongly held beliefs and values would influence your choice of medical treatment?’

Divisive family conflicts and unwanted medical interventions can be avoided when people specify their wishes, he said. His own mother “told us that if she had severe dementia, it would be a total waste of her life savings to keep her alive. She would rather that her children got the money. We help people work through the decision process and involve those close to them so that the family shares in their goals,” Dr Hammes said. “When patients have a care plan, the moral dilemmas doctors face can be prevented.”

At Good Medicine in San Francisco, Dr. Brokaw and her colleagues have thus far helped about two dozen people explain their goals and preferences, at a cost of $1,500 for each person. “In  today’s health care systems, families will be asked when patients can’t speak for themselves, and many families are very unprepared to make these decisions,” she said. Her colleague Ms Stephens pointed out that only about a quarter of American adults have advance care directives of any kind, and only half of them have them in hand or know where they are should they be needed.

 

Furthermore, only 12 percent had any input from a physician when filling out forms which are often alone or with a lawyer. “Our lawyer shouldn’t be writing a medical contract any more than you’d want your doctor to write a legal contract,” Dr. Brokaw said. The kinds of questions she said people should consider: What was your state of health at the start of the illness? What state are you likely to be in at the end of the illness? What, if anything, can provide a soft landing?

 

Proper Planning Helps Avoid Troubles

 

Judge Laws writes in the directive he is preparing,” After family, I value clarity of mind and the capacity to make decisions. To live well is to continue to possess  the ability to converse, to read, to retain what I learn and to coherently reflect and understand. I do not want my life prolonged if I undergo a marked lessening of my cognitive powers.” Judge Laws also does not want “to live with severe distracting pain.”

 

His directive will request that any treatment he receive be compatible with these goals. He also writes that he expects his sons and wife to support his decisions even if they disagree with them and  not let any quarrels over his care cause a rift in the family. Studies have shown that advance care planning reduces stress on patients, their families and health care providers. It also results in 30 percent fewer malpractice suits, greater patient and family satisfaction and a lower incidence of depression, drinking problems and other signs of complicated grief among survivors.

 

Ms. Stephens said that advance directives are “organic documents that can be changed at any time if circumstances or a person’s wishes change.” They should be reviewed at least once every 10 years”, she added.

This Personal Health column written by Jane E. Brody appeared in the New York Times last year.

 

Good advice here and the best time to plan for this is while you’re still in good health.

 

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE

A Complete Guide To Starting Your Own Home Base Busine

 

Long time Mail order expert, Fred Broitman has written the definitive guide to success in a business of your own. If you would like to start a business you can operate from your home no matter where you live and sell to men and women all over the world this book on MAIL ORDER is all you need to get started.

 

You’ll Learn:

  • HOW TO GET STARTED
  • HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  • HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE RIGHT FROM THE START
  • HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCT FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  • SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  • 14 SURE FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE HUGE PROFITS

and included in  this newly revised edition is: COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA TO SUPER-CHARGE YOUR NEW BUSINESS.

 

How to Become A Mail Order Millionaire is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. MICHIGAN AVENUE SUITE 1032 CHICAGO IL 60601. The book is sold on a 100% money back guarantee of satisfaction or return it for a complete no questions asked refund.

George Lauer — The Man Who Changed The Way Everyone Shops!

The Biggest Surprise is That Neither He or His Company Patented It

 

On a Sunday afternoon in 1971, an I.B.M. engineer stepped out of his house in Raleigh, N.C., to consult his boss, who lived across the street. “I didn’t do what you asked,” George Lauer confessed.

 

Lauer had been instructed to design a code that could be printed on food labels and that would be compatible with the scanners then in development for supermarket checkout counters. He was told to model it on the bull’s-eye-shaped optical scanning code designed in the 1940’s by N. Joseph Woodland, who died in December. But Laurer saw a problem with the shape: “When you run a circle  through a high-speed press, there are parts that are going to get smeared,” he says “so I came up with my own code.” His system, a pattern of stripes, would be readable even it was poorly printed.

 

That pattern became the basis for the U.P.C., the Universal Product Code, which was adopted by a consortium of grocery companies in 1973, when cashiers were still punching in all prices by hand. Within a decade, the U.P.C. — and optical scanners — brought supermarkets into the digital age. Now an employee could ring up a cereal box with a flick of the wrist. “When people find out  that I invented the U.P.C., they think I’m rich,” Laurer says. But he received no royalities for this invention, and I.B.M did not patent it.

 

As the U.P.C. symbol proliferated, so, too, did paranoia  about it. For decades, Laurer has been hounded by people convinced that he has hidden the number 666 inside the lines of his code. “I didn’t get the meat,” Laurer said ruefully, “but I did get the nuts.”.

 

This article first appeared in the New York Times Magazine January 6, 2013 under the byline of Pagan Kennedy.

 

Did you know there’s a Museum dedicated  to the bar code? The ID History Museum is run by Bill Selmeier who was interviewed for this story:

You worked at I.B.M. in the 1970’s and then helped promote the U.P.C? Yes, I started the seminars where we invited people from the grocery and labeling industry into I.B.M. We were there to reduce their fear.

 

What were they afraid of? They were afraid that anything that didn’t work right would reflect badly on them — particularly if it was only their own package that wouldn’t scan. The guy from Birds Eye said “My stuff always has ice on it when it goes through the checkout.” So we put his package in the freezer and took it out and showed him how it scanned perfectly.

 

Why are you still so interested in the history of the U.P.C. code? Let me put it this way: What bigger impact can you have on the world than to change the way everyone shops?

 

Even my book How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire has its own unique U.P.C. and as a visitor to my blog I want to offer you a special low price to order the book on a no risk trial. Plus an extra bonus. You can save more than 30% off the price and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a full refund. Sold everywhere for $39.95 plus s&h, you can order it direct from the publisher for only $29.95 and shipping is FREE.

It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to success in mail order/direct response

 

How To Become A Mail Order Millionaire is a complete guide to starting your own business, a business you can run from your home with no cost for an outside office or place of business and utilizing the power of the World Wide Websell your product or service all over the world.

 

You’ll learn:

 

How To Get Started
How To Find Great Products
How To Make Your Business Profitable Right From The Start
How To Price Your Product or Service For Biggest Profits
Secrets of Creating Winning Mail Order Ads
14 Seure Fire Check Off Lists That Guarantee Huge Profits
and included in this newly revised edition:
 
Complete Up-To-Date Information on How To Use the Internet To Super-Charge Your Mail Order Business

 

and for all new buyers I’m offering you a huge bonus. Order from this posting and you also receive a full years personal consultation from the author at no cost. Fred Broitman is the founder/CEO of SUNMAN DIRECT Chicago’s largest independently owned direct response advertising agency.  To receive this extra bonus, just send your name and address along with your check or money order for $29.95 to: SUPERIOR PRESS Dept. 8103 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago, IL 60611

PROOF OF HEAVEN? ….. You Decide!

 Join Doctor’s Journey to the Afterworld’s Gates!

For years Dr. Eben Alexander III had dismissed near-death revelations of God and heaven as explainable by the hard wiring of the human brain. He was after all a neurosurgeon with sophisticated medical training.

But then in 2008 Dr. Alexander contracted bacterial meningitis. The deadly infection soaked his brain and sent him into a deep coma. During that week as life slipped away, he says, he was living intensely in his mind. He was reborn into a primitive mucky Jell-o-like substance and then guided by “a beautiful girl with high cheekbones and deep blue eyes” on the wings of a butterfly to an “immense void”  that is both “pitch black” and “brimming with light” coming from an “orb” that interprets for an all-loving God.

Dr. Alexander, 58, was so changed by the experience that he felt compelled to write a book, “Proof of Heaven,” that recounts his experience. He knew full well he was gambling his professional reputation by writing it, but his hope is that his expertise will be enough  to persuade skeptics, particularly medical skeptics, as he used to be, to open their minds to an afterworld.

Dr. Alexander acknowledged that tales of near-death experiences that reveal a bright light leading to compassionate world beyond are as old as time and by now seem trite. He is aware that his version of heaven is even more psychedelic than most — the butterflies, he explained, were not  his choice, and anyway that was his “gateway” and not heaven itself.

Still, he said  he has a trump card: Having trained at Duke University and taught and practiced  as a surgeon at Harvard he knows brain science as well as anyone. And science, he said, cannot explain his experience.

“During my coma my brain wasn’t working improperly,” he writes in his book. “It  wasn’t working at all.”

Simon & Schuster, which released the book on Oct. 23, is betting that it can appeal to very different potentially lucrative audiences: those interested in neuroscience and those interested in mystical experiences. “This book covers topics that are of interest to a lot of people: consciousness, near death and heaven” said Priscilla Painton, the executive editor at Simon & Schuster, who acquired the book. After being published simultaneously in hardcover, paperback and e-book format, it rose instantly to No. 1 on the New York Times’s paperback best-seller list and was there again a week later. Ms Painton would not elaborate on what type of audience  the book had attracted so far, but she did say she expected it to continue to be a big seller. The publisher has printed nearly one million copies, combined hardcover and paperback , to be snapped up at  airports and as stocking stuffers at big retailers like Target and Walmart. Another 78,000 digital copies have been sold.

In a recent interview at the Algonquin Hotel lobby in Manhattan, however, Dr. Alexander made it clear that he was less interested in appealing to religious “believers,” even though they had been a hard core audience for similar books.

He rejected the idea that readers of his book would be the same as those who bought “Heaven is for Real a mega best-seller about a preacher’s son who sat on Jesus’ lap during a near-death experience.

“It is totally different,” he insisted. “Those who believed in heaven when they read the book were not happy. They didn’t like the title. They say, “This is not scientific proof.” In fact, he said, “Proof of Heaven” was not his idea for a title. he preferred “An N of One,” a reference to medical trials in which there is only a single patient. Wearing a yellow bow tie, Dr. Alexander talked about his career and his years at Harvard, sounding every bit the part of a doctor one might  trust to drill open skulls and manipulate their contents.

He left Harvard in 2001, he said, because he was tired of “medical politics”. In 2006 he moved to Lynchburg VA., where he did research on less invasive forms of brain surgery through focused X-rays and digital scanners. Then the meningitis felled him.

After recovering, he originally planned to write a scientific paper that would explain his intensely vivid recollection. But after consulting the existing literature and talking extensively  to other colleagues in  the field he decided no scientific explanation existed.

“My entire neocortex — the outer surface of the brain, the part that makes us human — was entirely shut down, inoperative”, he said. He hesitated nevertheless. It took him two years, he said, even use the word God in discussing his experience. But then he felt an obligation to all those dealing with near-death experience, and particularly to his fellow doctors. He felt compelled to let them know.

So far he has spoken at  the Lynchburg hospital, where he was treated, and said he has been invited to address a group of neurosurgeons  at Stanford. But these invitations, he acknowledged, do not mean that his theory is gaining ground among doctors. In private conversations. he said, very few of his colleagues offered counterarguments. Some agreed with his conclusion that science could not explain what he saw, but none of them were willing to be named in his book.

Other former colleagues reached for comment were not convinced. Dr. Martin Samuels, chairman of the Neuorolgy department at Brigham and Women’s hospital, a Harvard teaching affiliate, remembered Dr. Alexander as a competent  neurosurgeon. But he said: “There is no way  to know, in fact, that his neocortex was shut down. It sounds scientific, but it is an interpretation made after the fact.”

“My own experience,” Dr. Samuels added, “is that we all live in virtual reality, and  the brain is the final arbiter. The fact that he is a neurosurgeon is no more relevant  than if he was a plumber”.

Dr. Alexander shrugs off such analysis. He still hopes to tour “major medical centers and hospices and nursing homes,” he said  to relate his experience in distinctly medical environments.

His message to those who deal with dying is one of relief. “Our spirit is not dependent on the brain or body” he said, “It is eternal, and no one has seen one sentence worth of hard evidence that it isn’t.”

This article appeared in  the New York Times, The Art Section, November 26, 2012.

While your brain is working overtime to absorb the information contained in Dr. Alexander’s fascinating new book, take a time-out  to consider your future.

Have you ever wanted to own your own business? To become free from the dependency of a job?

Consider owning your own mail order business with little cost to get started. With the help of the Internet you can start and run your own business with low overhead right from your own home.  You can sell a product or service direct to the consumer no matter where they live…. and  it’s easier to get started than ever before.

My book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE was written to help men and women start their own lifetime business and become independent and successful. It has been described by experts in the field as “the definitive guide to starting your own home based business.”

Long time mail order expert Fred Broitman’s newly revised edition will help you to get started in a business of your own.

You’ll learn:

  1. HOW TO GET STARTED
  2. HOW TO FIND GREAT PRODUCTS
  3. HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE
  4. HOW TO PRICE YOUR PRODUCTS FOR BIGGEST PROFITS
  5. SECRETS OF CREATING WINNING MAIL ORDER ADS
  6. 14 SURE-FIRE CHECK OFF LISTS THAT GUARANTEE PROFIT
  7. and included in this new edition… COMPLETE UP-TO-DATE INFORMATION ON HOW TO USE THE INTERNET TO SELL YOUR PRODUCT OR SERVICE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE is available from Amazon at its published price of $39.95 plus s&h or you can save $10 and order it direct from the publisher for $29.95 and shipping is FREE. Send check or money order along with your name and address to: SUPERIOR PRESS 333 N. Michigan Avenue Suite 1032 Chicago IL 60601.

The book is sold on a 100% Guarantee of Satisfaction or your money back.

Beware the Placebo Effect!

It’s All In Your Mind!

Everyone knows that a placebo — a fake medication or sham procedure, typcially used as a control in a medical trial — can nonetheless have a positive effect, relieving real symptons like pain, bloating or a depressed mood. The placebo effect is a result of the patient’s expectation that the treatment will help.

But expectations can also do harm. When a patient anticipates a pill’s possible side effect, he can suffer them even if  the pill is fake.  This “nocebo” effect has been largely overlooked by researchers, clinicians and patients. In an article recently published in the journal Deutsche Arzteblatt International, we and our colleague Ernil Hansen reviewed 31 studies, conducted by us and other researchers, that demonstrated the nocebo effect. We urge doctors and nurses to be more mindful of its dangers, particularly when informing patients about a treatment’s potential complications.

The placebo effect is a result of the patient’s expectation that the treatment will help.

Consider the number of people in medical trials who, though receiving placebos, stop participating because of side effects. We found that 11 percent of people in fibromyalgia drug trials who were taking fake medication dropped out of the studies because of the side efects like dizziness or nausea. Other researchers reported tht the discontinuation rates because of side effects in placebo groups in migraine or tension drug trials were as much as 5 percent. Discontinuation rates in trials for statins ranged from 4 percent to 26 percent.

In a curious study, a team of Italian gastroenterologists asked people with and without diagnosed lactose intolerance to take lactose for an experiment on its effects on bowel symptons. But in reality the participants received glucose, which does not harm the gut. Nonetheless 44 percent of people with known lactose intolerance and 26 percent of those without lactose intolerance complained of gastrointestinal symptons.

In one remarkable case, a participant in an anti-depressant drug trial was given placebo tablets — and then swallowed 26 of them in a suicide attempt. Even though the tablets were harmless, the participant’s blood pressure dropped perilously low.

The nocebo effect can be observed even when people take real, non-placebo drugs. When medical professionals inform patients of possible side effects, the risk of experiencing those side effects can increase. In one trial, the drug finasteride was administered to men to relieve the symptons of prostate enlargement. Half of the patients were told that the drug could cause erectile dysfunction while the other half  were not informed of this possible side effect. In the informed group, 44 percent of the participants reported that they experienced erectile dysfunction; in the uninformed group, that figure was only 15 percent.

In a similar experiment, a group of German psychologists took patients with chronic lower back pain and divided them into two groups for a leg flexion test. One group was told that the test could lead to a slight increase of pain, while the other group was told that the test had no effect on pain level. The first group reported stronger pain and performed fewer leg flexions than the second group did.

Just knowing that a drug can have side effects may increase your chances of suffering them.

A doctor’s choice of words matters. A team of American anesthesiologists studied women about to give birth who were giiven an injection of local anesthetic before being administered an epidural. For some women, the injection was prefaced by the statement, “We are going to give you a local anesthetic that will numb the area so that you will be comfortable during the procedure.” For others, the statement was, “You are going to feel a big bee sting; this is the worst part of the procedure.”  The perceived pain was significantly greater after the latter statement, which emphasized the downside of the injection.

“Words are the most powerful tools a doctor possesses, but words, like a two-edged sword, can maim as well as heal.” – Dr Bernard Lown

The nocebo effect presents doctors and nurses with an ethical dilemma: on one hand, they are required to tell patients about the possible complications of a treatment; on the other hand, they want to minimize the likelihood of side effects. But if merely telling patients about side effects increases their likelihood, what is to be done?

Better communication is the answer. When talking with patients, doctors and nurses often say things with intended negative suggestions, like “it’s just going to bleed a bit” or “you must avoid lifting heavy objects — you don’t want to end up paralyzed.” We recommend more extensive training in communication for doctors and nurses, to help them use the power of their words appropriately. As the great cardiologist Bernard Lown once said, “Words are the most powerful tools a doctor possesses, but words, like a two-edged sword, can maim as well as heal.”

This article writtenby Pail Enck, a professor of psychology at the University of Tuebingen and Winfried Huser, an associate professor of psychosomatic medicine at the University of Munich first appeared in the August 12, 2012 issue of The New York Times.

Ray Bradbury – The Passing of the Space Age Prophet

Ray Bradbury, Age 91, died peacefully in his sleep June 5. I don’t remember being as saddened as I was by anyone who was not a family member or an acquaintance but I felt as if I knew him well because I grew up with him through his books, short stories, TV shows and movies. He’s finally gone at 91, the last titan of the era when sci-fi fandom was a way of life. The maestros of that tight world were Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein–and Ray Bradbury. You had to put Bradbury in that rank, even though your mom read him in the Saturday Evening Post. That could get embarrassing to those of us in the Sci-fi hard core.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories.

So begins a eulogy to Ray Bradbury by Bruce Sterling in the Saturday June 9th Wall Street Journal. Mr Sterling continues; His pedigree was impeccable, though he came from “Lassfuss”, the Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society, a primeval caldron of sci-fi geek culture, founded in 1934. In my own caldron of Austin, our literary mentor, Chad Oliver, came to us from Lassfuss. He told how he and Bradbury and the “Twilight Zone” screenwriter Charles Beaumont would hunt for all-night burger joints, talking sci-fi until dawn.

It sounded so wondrous that we never understood that we were hearing a hard-times story. This was depression-era California and the real Bradbury was displaced from the Midwest to Hollywood like a Steinbeck Okie, one of countless thousands who went West and inadvertently created a big chunk of postwar culture.

Ray Bradbury was born August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, IL and used his memoires of this small town for settings in some of his best stories. In 1934 his family settled in Los Angeles. There as a young boy he roller skated through Hollywood trying to spot celebrities. From 1938 to 1942 he was selling newspapers in the streets of L.A. He published his first paid work in 1941 a short story entitled “Pendulum” in the pulp magazine Super Science Stories. By the end of 1942 he had become a full time writer. That same year he married Marguerite McClure whom he met at a bookstore a year earlier. They had four daughters and eight grandchildren. He first shot to international fame after publication of his short story collection, The Martian Chronicles which was partially based on an idea from Ancient Greek and Roman Mythology.

His best known work Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1966. The film adaptation by director Francois Truffaut was a major hit starring Julie Christie. Many other novels and stories had been adapted to film and TV as well as radio, theatre and comic books. He wrote episodes for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series. Total literary output is close to 600 short stories, more than 30 books and numerous poems and plays. It’s easy to forget that Bradbury wrote a lot of horror stories, too. Having been  through the Depression and war to emerge in the anonymity of postwar America, how could he not? An emptied world where the smart machinery grinds on, yakking inanely, as the mainstream consumers are nuclear blast shadows stenciled on the outside of their suburban home— a vision from a smiling guy in short pants who spoke reverently of Buck Rogers comics. People elided his dark, mournful side, because his affect was so brisk and boistrous. He was the sharpest of social critics, but never mean-tempered like Orwell or Huxley. He was rather, like that other great portraitist of hard–life Middle America, Edward Hopper, painting horror with an effect of stillness, bleakness, loneliness, bereavement  and deprivation.

He used to speak of a mystical experience: instead of attending a family funeral, he ran off to a carnival. He found a sideshow huckster named “Mr. Electrico,” who told him that he was not a 12-year-old but a reincarnated spirit. He hit him on the head with an electrical wand and told him to aspire to immortality. If it sounds like a half-hour fantasy TV episode, it’s probably because Bradbury wrote so many of those, years later. But as a way of life: departing a funereal mainstream culture to play techno-trips with the tattooed sideshow weirdos.

Mr. Sterling concludes: But if that was Bradbury’s origin myth, it’s also what he became. Wine from Dandelions, lowly yet highly evolved, borne by the wind into the last places,you’d expect to find them blooming. Exotic, yet common as the soil.

In 2004 he received a National Medal of Arts. Also a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. An asteroid is named in his honor “9766 Bradbury” and the Apollo Astronauts named a crater on the moon “Dandelion Crater” after his novel “Dandelion Wine“. Many of his short stories were published in PLAYBOY MAGAZINE and even a TV commercial for Sunsweet Prunes ran in the 1960’s. John Huston, a huge fan of Bradbury’s work asked him to write the screenplay for Huston’s film adaptation of “Moby Dick“. He submitted a working script to Huston in early 1954. By the time the film came out in 1956, Huston had listed himself as co-author. Bradbury protested Huston’s action to the Screen Writers Guild and initiallly was successful in having Huston removed as co-author but the powerful film maker had the decision over turned.  

 Ray Bradbury remained productive until the end. He has now departed and the world as he worried in 1979 is a much madder place. More reason to re-read Fahrenheit 451 including the afterword and oppose political correctness with the courage of the master himself.

For an overview on his 50- plus years career read “Ray Bradbury: The Life of Fiction” published by the Kent State University Press.

Free Memory Boosting Tips!

Can you trust your memory? 

Forgetting where you parked the car. Returning an important phone call… It happens to all of us particularly as we get older. If you’ve ever had a moment when you can’t remember where you put your car keys or what was on your grocery list, you’re not alone. We all forget things occasionally. Truth is, increased memory loss is a serious threat for many people. Here are a few ways to sharpen your memory:

  1. Close your eyes. Distractions make it harder to remember things, so your memory is often enhanced when you close your eyes and shut out stimuli.
  2. Pay attention when learning something new. It takes about eight seconds of intense focus to get a piece of information into your memory.
  3. Get Organized. Create to-do lists, write down appointments on your calendar, and create a specific place for your keys, wallet, and other essentials.
  4. Learn something new. Give your brain the stimulation it needs to keep growing and developing.
  5. Interact with others. Meaningful relationships and a strong support system are vital not only to emotional health, but brain health. People with the most active social lives had the lowest rate of memory decline.
  6. Get enough sleep. A sleep-deprived brain cannot operate at full capacity, compromising critical-thinking skills, creativity, and problem solving abilities.
  7. Keep stress in check. Chronic stress destroys brain cells and damages the hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in forming new memories and retrieving old ones.
  8. Eat brain boosting foods such as complex carbohydrates (whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal), Omega 3s (tuna, salmon,  walnuts, soybeans and vegetables packed with antioxidants that protect your brain cells from damage (spinach, brocolli, cantaloupe, watermelon). Also limit your intake of saturated fats.

For more tips and tools on memory improvement, check out

www.memoryimprovement-tips.com

For those of you fortunate enough to live in a town or city with a Brain Store near you, you’ll find games and puzzles for adults and children  guaranteed to keep your brain buzzing. This growing chain of stores is worth checking out, as is their website.

Now for some “words to the wise”:

“If you tell the truth, you don’t  have to remember anything.”
—–Mark  Twain

and from Ben Franklin
–A clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer.
–Well done is better than well said.
–A closed mouth gathers no foot.

My thanks to my friends at THE INK WELL for allowing me to share some of their words of wisdom from their monthly CHECK OUT newsletter. This months edition also reminds us of the Five-Second Rule.

  • Surely you’ve heard about the “five-second rule”, which asserts that food dropped on the floor is OK to eat if you pick it up in five seconds or less. Even though quick retrieval often means that fewer bacteria are collected on a piece of food, it’s no guarantee of safety. Here are a few things to keep in mind next time you drop food, pacifiers, or anything you’re considering putting in a mouth:
  • Germs are invisible, so even though a floor may look clean, that doesn’t mean it is. If food is dropped in the kitchen or areas trafficked by shoes, which carry fecal matter, salmonella. E. coli, and other things that could be living on the floor, think again.
  • Bacteria can live and thrive for up to four weeks on dry surfaces and can cling to food in mere moments.
  • Moist foods (such as a slice of apple or cheese will attract more bacteria from a floor than dry foods such as crackers.

When in doubt, throw it out. A growling stomach is always a better alternative than diarrhea or vomiting, should you consume some harmful bacteria.

For creative tips on killing germs and more, check out www.vinegartips.com

WARNING! SHAMELESS PLUG COMING:

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Death comes to visit the living – Jeff Zaslow’s tragic passing.

This blog post is dedicated to someone I knew only through his writing. Jeff Zaslow was a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. His untimely death occurred Friday February 10. The words are not mine but someone who knew the deceased well, who worked with him, shared good times with him and admired him.

Neil Steinberg is also a columnist for the Sun-Times and a damned good one as was Jeff Zaslow. Since this is my blog and I can post anything I care to, here is Neil’s column from the February 15 edition of the Chicago Sun Times.

Ludwick Wittgenstein’s Tractus Logico- Philosophicus is a list of numbered propositions, each leading to the next. Number 6.4311 begins “Death is not an event in life. Death is not lived through.” For the person who has died, that is. That person is whisked away to whatever reward awaits us after death.

It is those of us who live through death, big time, who must cope with it, particularly accidental death, which radiates outward, sending shock waves, first to those at the scene, stunned to find death intruding onto an ordinary day. Then to the oficialdom who must deal with death regularly and handle the particulars. Then exploding into the lives of family, who suffer the most and, finally the thunderclap reaches the outer world, where people hear it and look up, moved to the degree they knew the deceased.

Jeff Zaslow died in a car accident Friday, as you’ve probably heard. Longtime Sun-Times readers will fondly recall his thoughtful, human and funny advice column that ran from 1987 until 2001, or his best selling books such as The Last Lecture.

I don’t do grief well–I’m self-centered and over-analytical, a bad mix–and no sooner feel loss then immediately start  questioning it, to see if it’s legitimate. Jeff’s death came as a sickening shock, yet I instantly pulled back, certain that I occupy  too distant an orbit among his concentric circles of friends to be entitled to feel awful, which is reserved for his wife and daughters and family, the true epicenter of suffering. Any hurt I feel must be ersatz, overdramatic.

No matter How I tried to focus my  thoughts on others–Jeff’s genius, the key to his life: he was a big-hearted, generous man, a true friend–I kept returning  to my own experiences with him. Memories bubbled up, random stuff. as if my brain were venting everything it knew about Jeff Zaslow, from the fact  that at birth, he was delivered by Dr. C. Everett Koop, the future Surgeon General, to his sister’s hand-made picture frames, to his love of Bruce Springsteen–we once went to a concert together–to the day, almost 25 years ago, Jeff was being given his welcoming tour of the Sun-Times newsroom and I hurried over, curious to discover just what kind of idiot leaves a job writing front page stories for the Wall Street Journal to advise women how to get stains out of a broadloom rug on page 27 of the Sun-Times.

If a Russian novelist tried to create two separate characters to split the spectrum of qualities a writer can possess, might cook up Jeff–happy, concerned for others, frenetic, sincere–and me: melancholy, self-absorbed, shambling, scarcastic. Jeff wanted to help everybody. He held  those enormous Zass Bashes at Navy Pier because he got so many letters from lonely people, and wanted to fix them up with each other, to give each one a shot at the joy he found with his own wife, Sherry. I thought he was crazy. “Jeff”, I’d say. “You’re not a social service.”

When I got the awful news–we have the same literary agency–I dutifully phoned it in to the newspaper. “Do you want to write something?” an editor asked. I said “No.” The planet of my ego is such– think Jupiter–I knew it would be impossible to launch a tribute to Jeff without having it circle back and crash into myself. “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” is the final line of Wittgenstein’s book. Good advice. I wanted to honor Jeff by shutting up, an under appreciated art form.

But silence felt even worse. We Jews bury our own, and standing at Jeff’s graveside, mutely waiting for my turn with the shovel, I stared at my shoes and tried to block out the sound of his daughters weeping. “This is the worst thing in the world,” I thought. “I hate this I hate this I hate this”.

Silence has no utility, it isn’t a sharp enough blade to scrape at the icy loss that Jeff’s death frosts over the world. I wish I could wrap this up tidily, with an inspiring  thought that counterbalances the tragedy in the world and leaves you with a smile. Jeff was so good at that. Alas, he is not here, a hard fact that touches on the often cruel nature of life, one that we lucky enough to have known Jeff will struggle with for a long time.

Thanx, Neil for allowing me to share this with my small group of bloggerfriends. If my mother were still alive and I could have read her this column, she would have said to me in Yiddish “Gut Gazooked”…roughly translated as “Well said”.

If You Could Choose Would You Die Like A Doctor?

It’s Not Like the Rest of Us, But It should Be.

                                  By Ken Murray, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC

The following is excerpted from ZOCALO PUBLIC SQUARE

“Years ago Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country. He had even invented a new procedure for this exact cancer that could triple a patient’s five year survival odds—from 5 percent to 15 percent—albeit with a poor quality of life. Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with his family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Medicare didn’t spend much on him. It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.  For all the time they spend fending off the death of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.

                         Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They’ve talked about this with their families. They want to be sure when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen—that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR (that’s what happens if CPR is done right). Almost all medical professionals have seen what we call “futile care” being performed on people. That’s when doctors bring the cutting edge of technology to bear on a grievously ill person near the end of life. The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist. I cannot count the number of times fellow physicians have told me, in words that vary only slightly, “Promise me if you find me like this that you’ll kill me”. They mean it. Some medical personnel  wear medallions stamped “NO CODE” to tell a physician not  to perform CPR on them. I have even seen it as a tattoo.

                              To administer medical care that makes people suffer is anguishing. Physicians are trained to gather information without revealing any of their own feelings, but in private, among fellow doctors, they’ll vent. “How can anyone do that to their family members?” they’ll ask. I suspect it’s one reason physicians have higher rates of alcohol abuse and depression than professionals in most other fields. I know it ‘s one reason I stopped participating in hospital care for the last 10 years of my practice How has it come to this—that doctors administer so much care they wouldn’t want for themselves? The simple, or not-so-simple, answer is this: patients, doctors, and the system. Imagine a scenario in which someone has lost consciousness and been admitted to an emergency room. As is so often the case, no one has made a plan for this situation, and shocked and scared family members find themselves caught up in maze of choices. They’re overwhelmed. When doctors ask if they want “everything” done, they answer yes. Then the nightmare begins. Sometimes a family really means ”do everything, “ but often just mean “do everything that’s reasonable.” The problem is that they may not know what’s reasonable, nor, in their confusion and sorrow, will they ask about it or hear what a physician may be telling them. For the most part doctors told to do “everything” will do it, whether it is reasonable or not. The above scenario is a common one. Feeding into the problem are unrealistic expectations of what doctors can accomplish. Many people think of CPR as a reliable lifesaver when, in fact, the results are usually poor. I’ve had hundreds of people brought to me in the emergency room after getting CPR. Exactly one, a healthy man who’d had no heart troubles, walked out of the hospital. If a patient suffers from severe illness, old age, or a terminal disease, the odds of a good outcome from CPR are infinitesimal, while the odds of suffering are overwhelming. Poor knowledge and misguided expectations lead to a lot of bad decisions. But of course it’s not just patients making these things happen. Doctors play an enabling role, too. The trouble is that even doctors who hate to administer futile care must find a way to address the wishes of patients and families. Some doctors are stronger communicators than others and some doctors are more adamant, but the pressures they all face are similar.

                            When I faced circumstances involving end-of-life choices, I adopted the approach of laying out only the options that I thought were reasonable (as I would in any situation) as early in the process as possible .When patients or families brought up unreasonable choices, I would discuss the issue in layman’s terms that portrayed the downsides clearly. If patient s or families still insisted on treatments I considered pointless or harmful, I would offer to transfer their care to another doctor or hospital. Should I have been more forceful at times? I know that some of those transfers still haunt me..

                        It’s easy to find fault with both doctors and patients, but in many ways the parties are simply victims of a larger system that encourages excessive treatment. Several years ago my older cousin had a seizure that turned out to be the result of lung cancer that had gone to his brain. I arranged for him to see various specialists, and we learned that with aggressive treatment of his condition, including three to five hospital visits a week for chemotherapy, he would live perhaps four months. Ultimately, he decided against any treatment and simply took pills for brain swelling. He moved in with me. We spent the next eight months doing a bunch of things that he enjoyed, having fun together like we hadn’t in decades. He even gained a bit of weight  eating his favorite foods. He had no serious pain, and he remained high-spirited. One day he didn’t wake up. He spent the next three days in a coma-like sleep and then died. The cost of his medical care for those eight months, for the one drug he was taking, was about $20. My cousin knew he  wanted a life of quality, not just quantity. Don’t most of us?

                        If there is a state of the art of end-of-life care, it is this: death with dignity; As for me, my physician has my choices. They were easy to make, as they are for most physicians. There will be no heroics, and I will go gentle into that good night. Like my cousin. Like my fellow doctors”.

Please share with me your comments about this subject we will all have to eventually address. However in the meantime while still in good health, if you’d like to consider starting your own business and even becoming one of the MAIL ORDER MILLIIONAIRES featured in the newest revised edition of my book, here’s my special offer to you.

A special offer only available to you.
You can buy my book HOW TO BECOME A MAIL ORDER MILLIONAIRE directly from me for the special price of $29.95. Regular price is $39.95… plus $3.50 for first class postage and handling. Send a check or money order in the amount of $33.45 payable to SUPERIOR PRESS along with your name and address to: Superior Press 333 N. Michigan Ave STE 1032 Chicago IL 60601 and I will promptly ship the book. Or you can purchase the book at the regular retail price from Amazon.

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