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Newsletter Vol. # 6 That's how I see it!

Just back from holidays and they were quite eventful. I'll give you an update on the Cayman holiday in a later newsletter but for now here are a few things to chew on: an article on Dirt, something on retirement, nuts, downside of sitting and anger.

I'd like to see some growth in the numbers of people who receive the newsletter and I need your help- how about encouraging a few new readers? Pass the newsletter on with your recommendation (but only if you can recommend it).

I picked up my tickets for the Winnipeg Jazz Festival in June-have you?

Have you been to a coffee house with live music lately? Stay tuned!


Dirt was the title of the chapter in Larry Dossey's book entitled, "The Extra-Ordinary Healing Power Of Ordinary Things" a health/wellness book. I came to the chapter and almost thumbed past it. What had dirt to do with health? However, my compulsive nature to complete almost everything I start had me read the chapter. Fascinating!

Dirt plays a central role in what is called the "hygiene hypothesis" of which the basic idea is that too much cleanliness can be bad for us, we need germs.

Our immune system evolved sophisticated chemical pathways and a variety of specialized immune cells to protect us. If these challenges to the immune system are removed, as they largely have been in modern times, things backfire. If our immune system fails to develop properly and/or if it is not given the challenges it requires in our earliest days it cannot protect us to its full capacity.

Immunologist Graham Rook of the University College, London, along with his colleague John L. Stanford suggest that people's exposure, when growing up, to specific bacteria that are contained in the dirt is very important to developing a strong immune system. They suggest that we may not be exposed to enough dirt, or to the microbes dirt and dirty water may contain.

Rook and his colleagues are not romanticizing filth; they are not suggesting that we abandon immunizations and start drinking dirty, on chlorinated water. They are suggesting however, that advances in cleanliness, come with a price and that we need to consider ways around the problem caused by excessive hygiene. "If in the course of everyday life, we don't get exposed to enough bacteria," Rook says, "we're just going to have to inject them ourselves."

It seems everything in life is about achieving some kind of balance. In the case of germs, the more pavement we lay down the fewer microbes to fight the germs are developed and we are required to be vaccinated against those very germs that we were protected against by merely playing in the dirt. My relatives who farm in Saskatchewan will chuckle at this when I share with them that perhaps their greatest contribution is to world health through the dirt on their farmland and not just food production.

The concept of dirt can also be used as a psychological construct. Dirt can also come to mean our polluted thoughts, feelings ideas and behaviors. Carl Jung stated, "only those people who really can touch bottom can be human, but to touch bottom is to become even dirtier, because the bottom is where the muck is."

I guess, only when you acknowledge your own dirt can you begin to heal yourself. Unfortunately, there is a tendency in everyone not only to reject our own dirt, but to denounce it in other people as well. If we have no tolerance for what we consider to be the polluted ideas and behaviors of others we are likely to force our personal standards of "cleanliness" on them--our ethics, morals, religion, and even our personal beliefs about healthcare. If we want to coexist peacefully, we shall have to acknowledge the dirt that exists both in ourselves and others.              

Around the world, we find statues honouring the contributions of individuals who waged war successfully against infections and uncleanness - Pasteur, Nightingale, Lister, Koch, Fleming, Salk and scores of others. Yet there is not even a simple plaque anywhere that honours the contributions that bacterium, fungus, virus, or just plain dirt make to our immune system- contributions without which none of us would be alive.

A Well-Planned Retirement

Outside the Bristol Zoo, in England, there is a parking lot for 150 cars and 8 coaches, or buses. It was manned by a very pleasant attendant with a ticket machine charging cars £1 (about $1.40) and coaches £5 (about $7).

This parking attendant worked there solid for all of 25 years.  Then, one day, he just didn't turn up for work. "Oh well", said Bristol Zoo Management - "we'd better phone up the City Council and get them to send a new parking attendant . . . "

"Err . . . no", said the Council, "that parking lot is your responsibility." "Err
... no", said Bristol Zoo Management, "the attendant was employed by the City Council, wasn't he?" "Err . . . no!" insisted the Council.

Sitting in his villa somewhere on the coast of Spain (presumably), is a man who had been taking the parking lot fees, estimated at £400 (about $560) per
day at Bristol Zoo for the last 25 years. Assuming 7 days a week, this amounts to just over £3.6 million ($7 million - or $280,000 every year for 25 years)!

And no one even knows his name.
The London Times

Nuts: new diet food?

Do nuts make you fat? Not according to a mounting body of evidence. Scientists at Purdue University, building on earlier research, recently found that people who ate 500 cal worth of peanuts daily eight weeks (about 100 nuts per day) didn't gain weight. Researchers think the nuts protein and unsaturated fat may help burn calories and keep you fall making weight control easier.

Now that I am older here is what I discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.
2. My wild oats have turned into prunes and all-bran
3. I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.
4. If all is not lost, where is it?
5. It is easier to get older than wiser
6. Some days you're the windshield; some days you're the bug.
7. I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.
8. The only time the world beats a path to your door is when you're in the bathroom.
9. It's not hard to meet expenses ... they're everywhere.
10. I spend a lot of time thinking about the hereafter.... I go somewhere to get something and then wonder what I'm here after.   

Sitting Is The New Plague                       

Like obesity or smoking before it, sitting is the new plague. Alarmingly, the latest research links it to obesity, diabetes and the major killers, heart disease and cancer.

Sedentary behaviour-sitting at work, watching TV, community-now eats up a vast majority of our time. Australian researchers looked at TV watching specifically. "TV viewing time may have adverse health consequences that rival those of lack of physical activity, obesity and smoking. Every single hour of TV viewed may shorten life by as much as 22 minutes.

Over the years, we've instituted more and more sitting time into our lives. In 1970, two in 10 working Americans work in jobs that required like activity, like sitting at a desk; three in 10 were in high-activity jobs, like construction or farming. By 2000, more than four in 10 were in desk jobs, and only two in 10 were in high-activity jobs, said a 2010 commentary in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. We also spend longer hours at the office. Screen time has increased dramatically, the same report noted, and other contributors to daily sitting time, like hours spent watching TV and driving, are at all-time highs. Between 1989 and 2009, the number of households with a computer and Internet access jumped from 15 per cent to 69 per cent. Almost one-third of U.S. children under age 2 have a television in their bedrooms, notes a 2011 study from the non-profit Common Sense Media.
                                                                                                                                                     (Kate Lunau, McLean's)

So, just what do we do about this new health crises--Sitting? I suppose like we banned smoking 20 years ago in certain areas, we could mandate walking breaks, educate the public more on health costs of sitting too much, or we could hold employers legally responsible for health related illnesses brought on by too much sitting. As well, we could attach to each computer at each workstation a gentle reminder that it's time to get up and walk a bit. I suppose however, like an alarm clock we could just reach over switch it off and--sit. Either our reminders need to be stern and punitive or it's a free country and each individual is free to choose to be healthy or not.

Any thoughts on this?


Anger is a normal human feeling. What we do or don't do with that feeling can reveal a character defect, but it is not wrong to feel angry. Denial of anger, blaming, resentment, and manipulating others are character defects or shortcomings that result from not dealing with our anger in a healthy way.

People quite often choose to deal with their anger in inappropriate ways and make strange decision to let their anger out, quite often, on the very people they love the most and who deserved the least of this anger. I find myself quite often saying to people "you need to choose to talk about your anger--  not be angry".

Why then is the person we choose to express our anger to directly most often a close friend or a loved one? Well, anger as well as happiness, sadness or fear, is a feeling that requires intimacy for its expression. A sensation of vulnerability often lies just beneath our anger, and we usually choose to show our vulnerability only to those we love because they are the ones we trust. Anger is a distinct form of intimate communication.

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me!

Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

A backward poet writes inverse.

Vol. #6 is history, weather is changing for the better, I am going to swing a golf club for the first time in six weeks and the gauntlet is thrown down with the two Gerry's.
Have a great week and keep your comments coming -I pay huge for feedback and new readers.

That's how I see it!