When Life Sucks

“When life sucks, don’t suck with it.”  Me 🙂

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#StandingWith StandingRock

http://www.mic.com/articles/160657/standing-rock-protesters-are-getting-help-from-thousands-of-veterans-as-human-shields#.XjlX4bISI

Nearly 2,000 veterans have pledged to stand with Standing Rock, acting as “human shields” for those protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

The group, Veterans Stand for Standing Rock, offered its services one day after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to abandon its ongoing demonstration against the project and South Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple announced a “mandatory evacuation” of the protesters’ main camp…

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/before-standing-rock-dakota-access-pipeline-faced-resistance-in-iowa-112916.html

Before the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota began its months-long, public standoff with Energy Transfer Partners and the Morton County Sheriff’s department over the Dakota Access Pipeline, saying that the project put their water supply at risk and that they weren’t properly consulted, landowners, environmental scientists, and agricultural experts in Iowa voiced similar concerns about the project…

Some of the landowners describe being threatened by Energy Transfer Partners with eminent domain, even before the Iowa Utilities Board granted its approval for the pipeline. “The piece of land on my farm which Bakken wishes to condemn has been in our family for over 80 years,” Herman Rook wrote to the Iowa Utilities Board…

http://www.indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/11/28/dave-matthews-supports-standing-rock-during-livestream-concert-social-media-erupts-166596

The Cracker War

I buy Premium saltine crackers. Always have. But in the interest of saving money, I thought, why not try the Walmart brand?

But I needed a second opinion, so I asked Nate at my local Walmart if their brand was the same as Premium. He said yes, and mentioned that his wife also loves Premium, but is happy with the Walmart brand. He went on to say that he thought their crackers were even made in the same factory as Premium, like a lot of their other products.

Okay, Nate, I’m sold. But was Nate’s opinion the same as mine?

Can you guess which is the Premium cracker and which is the Walmart brand?

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Of course the Walmart brand is smaller. Go figure. But the texture is different, too. Walmart crackers don’t have the same crispness as Premiums. Maybe you can figure out why by looking at the list of ingredients.

Walmart brand

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Premium

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Premium crackers have 10 more calories per serving than the Walmart brand, but if you know me at all, you know that I don’t really care about calories.

Most of my crackers go into a bowl of soup, so how did Walmart brand crackers perform in soup? Again, since they’re not as crispy as Premium crackers, they didn’t stand up as well in soup.

Let’s compare prices:

Premium (online prices)
Walmart $2.56
Amazon $4.86
Walgreens $3.59

Walmart brand $1.78 (in-store and online)

So, are Walmart brand crackers worth the savings? Uh, no. Sorry, Walmart.

Because of the title of this post, did you think it had to do with race? Ha! Fooled ya! You’ve just been click-baited. 🙂

Can long-term pot use cause Alzheimer’s?

I don’t know much about Alzheimer’s, but I did have a grandmother who passed away from that disease. Am I worried about my pot use causing Alzheimer’s? No.

This research was published today in some Alzheimer’s magazine. It centers around a very expensive brain scan (not covered by insurance) which the author has been selling at his California clinic for almost a decade.

At first, I thought there might be something to this research. After all, we’re talking about a brain scan here. But I wondered how they can tell if a brain is acting abnormally when they don’t know what the brain looked like before the so-called long-term pot use.

How much did each person use every day? What kind? Was it homegrown or doused with chemicals from a dispensary? What were the ages and genders of the patients? Did any of them suffer from addiction, depression, PTSD, or chronic pain? Because you can’t blame pot when other medical conditions affect the brain.

In other words, I think this research is full of shit. Yes, we all know that pot can mess with your memory. But so can a bunch of other stuff, including pollution and old age.

So, here’s the information I found. You decide.

http://www.content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-alzheimers-disease/jad160833

Conclusion: Multiple brain regions show low perfusion on SPECT in marijuana users. The most predictive region distinguishing marijuana users from healthy controls, the hippocampus, is a key target of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. This study raises the possibility of deleterious brain effects of marijuana use.

Authors: Amen, Daniel G.; Darmal, Borhana; Raji, Cyrus A.; Bao, Weining; Jorandby, Lantiea; Meysami, Somayeha; Raghavendra, Cauligi S.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/dec/01/psychiatrists-couch-dr-daniel-amen-md/

The Washington Post wrote that by almost any measure Dr. Daniel Amen is the most popular psychiatrist in America. He is a double board certified psychiatrist, who has written 10 New York Times bestselling books, including the mega-bestseller “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.”

I’ve never heard of this doctor, but then I don’t buy self-help books.

http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/shame-on-pbs/

I used to have a high opinion of PBS. They ran excellent programs like Nova and Masterpiece Theatre and I felt I could count on finding good programming when I tuned into my local PBS channel. No more.

It was bad enough when they started featuring Deepak Chopra, self-help programs, and “create your own reality” New Age philosophy, but at least it was obvious what those programs were about. What is really frightening is that now they are running programs for fringe medical claims and they are allowing viewers to believe that they are hearing cutting edge science.

Neurologist Robert Burton has written excellent articles for salon.com pointing out the questionable science presented by doctors Daniel Amen and Mark Hyman in their PBS programs…

http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2008/05/caution_that_program_may_not_b.html

“It’s 10 on a Saturday night and on my local PBS station a diminutive middle-aged doctor with a toothy smile and televangelical delivery is facing a rapt studio audience. ‘I will show you how to make your brain great, including how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease,’ he declares. ‘And I’m not kidding.’

“Before the neurologist in me can voice an objection, the doctor, Daniel Amen, is being interviewed by on-air station (KQED) host Greg Sherwood. Sherwood is wildly enthusiastic. After reading Amen’s book, ‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,’ Sherwood says, ‘The first thing I wanted to do was to get a brain scan.’ He turns to Amen. ‘You could start taking care 10 years in advance of ever having a symptom and prevent Alzheimer’s disease,’ he says. ‘Yes, prevent Alzheimer’s disease,’ Amen chimes in.

“Wait a minute. Prevent Alzheimer’s disease? Is he kidding? But Sherwood is already holding up Amen’s package of DVDs on learning your risk factors for A.D., as well as his book with a section titled ‘Preventing Alzheimer’s.’ Then, as though offering a landmark insight into a tragic disease — and encouraging viewers to pledge money to the station — Sherwood beams and says, ‘This is the kind of program that you’ve come to expect from PBS.’

http://www.yelp.com/biz/amen-clinics-costa-mesa-4

Amen Clinics
Counseling & Mental Health; Psychiatrists

5/2/2015
Worst experience ever. Especially when you’re in a extremely depressed state of mind. I did all the tests and it came down to just an internist “reading” my results and pushing their vitamin supplements onto me. Ugh. Don’t go here. They’re no help.

3/3/2016
Beware – Amen Clinics preys on mentally ill people and the families who love them. The clinic will bleed you dry with “off label” treatments, nutrition classes, supplements, charges to fill out insurance paperwork, and routine services that cost 2x what regular providers charge. Amen Clinic’s pushes their expensive services even when they aren’t working…

11/20/2016
The cost associated with said process/treatment is staggering…

http://www.nextavenue.org/can-marijuana-save-aging-brain/

Cannabinoids, the active chemical components of marijuana, can regulate inflammation in the brain and promote neurogenesis — the growth of new neural pathways — even in cells damaged by age or trauma. As more research has indicated that brain inflammation appears to be a cause of several degenerative diseases, marijuana has been getting a closer look as a potential preventive medication.

In a 2006 study published in Molecular Pharmaceutics, a team of University of Connecticut researchers reported that THC, the chemical compound responsible for marijuana’s high, “could be considerably better at suppressing the abnormal clumping of malformed proteins that is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease than any currently approved prescription.”

To be clear, most scientists investigating the link between cannabinoids and brain health are not advocating widespread casual marijuana smoking to ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Marijuana possession remains illegal and research has shown that long-term, frequent marijuana use can impair memory, focus and decision-making…

In 2007, Ohio State University researchers published a paper stating that medications which can stimulate cannabinoid receptors in the brain “may provide clinical benefits in age-related diseases that are associated with brain inflammation, such as Alzheimer’s disease.” In 2009, Italian and Israeli researchers found that cannabidiol (CBD), marijuana’s primary non-psychoactive cannabinoid, may also block the formation of the plaques in the brain believed to bring on Alzheimer’s.

Wenk believes that, in humans, “the equivalent of one puff a day” could help ward off dementia. “I have said to older people, ‘Try it,’” Wenk says. “They email me back to say it’s helping. It’s worked in every rat we’ve given it to. We have some happy, intelligent old rats.”

What do I see? Take a walk with me…

Somebody thought that shooting at street signs was fun. How much skill (alcohol) does that take?

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I haven’t seen a Z-28 in a long time, so here you go.

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Middle-class American or drug dealer?

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Hi, doggies! Do you have to bark so loud? Have you ever heard of a muzzle? (Just kidding.)

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Supergirl was here.

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And here.

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Not too far from this buggy, I found this. Looks like we’ve already been invaded by the Russians.

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White balls.

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Green ball.

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Red ball.

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Windy day. As I was recently telling a friend, I love the wind. It makes me feel… wild. Like I was a kite, ready to fly. Or a bird, soaring in the big blue sky.

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For my friends who like black and white.

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Impostor: a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain. Remind you of anyone? (I’ll give you a hint:  he has orange hair.)

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Ummmm… Bugs Bunny? 🙂

Fall Is Cranky

First, we got some rain. (Thanks, Mother Nature.)

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Then came the snow clouds…

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…but no snow, not yet.

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Thanksgiving Day sunset.

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Does this look like snow?

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Because it ain’t. It’s bugs.

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Bugs and more bugs. (Cover your nose!)

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I’m just hanging around, waiting for payday, so I can buy some weed. One day, Medicare will cover weed. Seriously. But I can’t wait for that day.

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Superman and Superwoman! 🙂

Opioids are a plague?

http://www.statnews.com/2016/11/18/opioids-addiction-chronic-pain/

The opioid epidemic has rapidly emerged from the shadows and is now recognized as a plague that affects hundreds of thousands of Americans regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. In its destructive potential, it can be compared to the AIDS and polio epidemics…

A plague is contagious — addiction is not. And please, addiction is as destructive as AIDS? That’s what you would call a lie.

As for who this “epidemic” affects, it’s been shown that it mainly affects white, middle-class people. Those who enjoy a certain socioeconomic status are the ones with access to prescription medications like opioids.

But unlike AIDS and polio, the opioid epidemic continues to rage in large part because we, as a nation, have not yet resolved to attack it head on…

Really? Why don’t you tally up all the money that’s been spent in the war on drugs and the fight against addiction. Just like with every war, the more money you put into it, the more it takes on a life of its own, causing destruction to just about everyone.

As a pain expert, I had hoped the surgeon general’s report would have placed a greater emphasis on the need to develop alternatives to opioids that can be used for pain management, which would eliminate a key pathway to abuse…

Opioids are not a “key pathway to abuse,” just like marijuana is not a pathway to heroin abuse. And it’s extremely disturbing that a pain “expert” believes this to be true. Tens of millions of patients have taken opioids without any problems whatsoever.

And while a lot of people talk about alternatives to opioids, they don’t exist. Nothing works as well as opioids for pain. Nothing. How do I know? Because just like millions of other pain patients, I’ve tried everything. So, while this “expert” can hope for alternatives to opioids, that’s not the reality. And it won’t be for decades to come.

Here’s a more in depth analysis of the Surgeon General’s report:

http://www.reason.com/blog/2016/11/18/surgeon-generals-report-mistakenly-treat

The article from STAT reminded me of an article I saw months ago:

http://www.aol.com/article/2016/07/14/prolonged-drug-use-may-impact-moral-judgment/21432378/

Researchers from the University of New Mexico and the Mind Research Network have found yet another ill effect linked to prolonged drug use. According to the scientists, over time, both cocaine and methamphetamine can diminish activity in the brain’s moral and emotional centers, creating difficulty in determining right from wrong. The study’s subjects were inmates from prisons in New Mexico and Wisconsin. Roughly 130 of them had a history of methamphetamine and cocaine use, while the remaining 80 did not.

Whose morals are we talking about here? And with a sample size that was so small, using prison inmates, this “study” determines nothing. Also, you can’t determine what happens to a brain on drugs unless you have tests that show how that same brain worked before the drug use started. Recently, scientists have figured out how to “fingerprint” the brain. Turns out, everyone’s brain is unique:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/brain-connections-map_us_582b628be4b01d8a014adc56

As some scientists are discovering, each brain is wired in a completely unique way. In the same way that each of us has a specific fingerprint, we also have a distinct map of brain connections…”

This research by UNM is the only kind that’s been funded by anti-drug agencies, like the NIDA. Do you want to know why we spend so much money on the failed drug war? It’s partially because of wasteful research like this.

What I would like to see is a test that shows the activity in Trump’s “moral and emotional centers.” You know, the ones that determine “right from wrong.” Would it look similar to the prisoners’ test results?