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Newsletter Vol. # 42 That's how I see it!

Hello and welcome to this week's newsletter.

What you will find in this weeks newsletter: what's the fuss about Fluoridation? The scoop on Disposable Plastic Water Bottles; Why No Jail? -for those responsible for the financial crash of 2008-09; Strategies-For-A-Healthy-Life-And-Workplace-employer and personally; and an interesting contribution by one of our readers.

Hi, I'm back from the Caymans!
My holiday played out in two parts: the first two weeks-wife (Drinda), daughter (Lisa), grandchildren (Miliah and Conner), sister-in-law Nancy and her husband Jay with their grandson Oisin (parents Walker and Shayma) and the many daily activities.  Okay, let's start with the late nights, kids overtired, tears, iPad to keep them entertained, inflatable pool outside our door, a multitude of toys, squabbles, pouts, and much laughter. Unorganized chaos! What helped keep the action going was all three houses-Brad, Nancy and Jay, Walker and Shayma are side by side, we just had to wander next door to keep the party going.
Organized events included: Crystal caves-huge natural underground caves, well lit and an interesting story around every corner; a day at Oisin's daycare, which our kids just loved; submarine ride-taken down to a depth of 100 feet to get a look at ocean life and out to the reef where it drops off to thousands of feet; banana boat ride-a cylindrical pontoon dragged behind a jet boat (Lisa on the jet boat and the three kids holding on for dear life and singing at the top of their lungs); a visit to a kids gym, Turtle Farm-turtles, sharks, birds of many species and the wonderful beach and water slide; visits to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world-Seven Mile Beach; Ryan (niece Brandy's partner) flying his drone hundreds of feet into the air and seeing the kids mesmerized; suppers out to Dukes, and Cracked Conch overlooking the ocean at sunset with night divers wandering by as we savoured our scallops; lunch near Rum Point with Suzanne (Brad's girlfriend) and her parents; ride on Suzanne's boat which took us throughout the many waterways that provided access to the North Sound and a shoreline dotted with houses that provided us with a look at how the rich and famous lived; and of course the almost nightly and incredible meals that Nancy provided after a near perfect day.
The second part of my holiday isn't anywhere near as exciting as when the whole family was here. I have the house to myself as Brad goes to work daily. I exercise, write an article or two for the newsletter, read some articles on how to promote my new book, and sing at the top of my voice so as to have a voice when I get back with the guys and what I call Barry's Basement Band, alias "bluelight." Oh, did I mention that I golf every day at 3:00 on one of the most beautiful and difficult golf courses I have ever had the pleasure of playing.
If I can remember how to get pictures into this newsletter I will share some of the holiday events and golf course with you.

The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it. 
                                                                 Charles Kingsley

To Fluoridate or Not To Fluoridate
       (That is the question?)

I hadn't realized there was such a public debate over the question of fluoridation of the public water system. Apparently there is a very vocal and very organized group of lobbyists that have since 2005, encouraged over 30 communities to vote to do away with fluoridation including Calgary, Waterloo, Slave Lake and Québec City.

My understanding of fluoridation was much like Canada's chief dental officer, Peter Cooney, that fluoridation was a harmless, cost-effective way to prevent tooth-decay. This belief is supported by the "Canadian Dental Association, the World Health Organization and Health Canada. The US Centers For Disease Control hails water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century."

So who is it that is opposing the plethora of studies supporting these long-standing, credible organizations? Well it seems there are many who believe that the "additive is harmful to the teeth and bones of children, citing studies that link fluoridation to kidney disease, lower IQs and is actually harmful to the teeth and bones of children."

All my life I thought this issue was a slam-dunk for fluoridation. Nothing I have read in the past or present has me believing otherwise. Obviously, however, there are some who truly believe fluoridation is harmful and have credible evidence to back their claims and/or are persistent and powerful enough to sway politicians. Is it a case of blindly following "the old tried and true ways" and it's really a time for updating our information and perhaps changing or is it blindly following "something new because it's new?"

All I'm sure about in this debate is I am 73 and still have my teeth-is that partially due to fluoridation or just my genetics?

That's how I see it! How do you see this issue?

Mans self-concept is enhanced when he takes responsibility for himself       Hugh Prather

Disposable Plastic Water Bottles

Question: Is it safe to re-use a disposable plastic water bottle?

Answer: Yes, but only up to a point. The bottles, designed for one-time use, are usually made of polyethylene, a flexible plastic that can be damaged with repeated use and washing. Some preliminary research suggests that this can release potentially harmful chemicals. But the studies have had inconsistent results, and researchers disagree about whether these compounds pose a significant risk.

A better reason not to re-use the bottles over and over is it that they can become contaminated with bacteria from your hands or mouse. Bacteria don't grow easily and water but can thrive when saliva and food particles are present, especially if the bottle is left at room temperature.

If you do refill your water bottle, do so only a few times. Before refilling, wash it in hot soapy water, as you would anything you drink from-but not in the dishwasher. Wash the cap, too, and inside the narrow neck. Keep a re-used bottle out of heat or sunlight, which may speed integration and increase bacterial growth.

Why no Jail?

After the recession of 2008 - 09 which greatly effected the US and Canadian economy, there were many articles/books/talk-show that dissected the reason for the depressed economic situation. Many solutions on how to correct the problem were bandied about. One of the most novel solutions that came to me over the Internet as humour, was the one where instead of bailing out the banks and companies run by crooked CEOs to the tune of billions of dollars, we give each citizen of the US of million dollars (350-400 million). With the gift came stipulations such as: the money had to be spent within the country, had to buy a house/ property, an American car. This would get the economy jump-started and save millions, perhaps even billions.

In truth, I know very little about how to get national and world economies jump-started but I did understand the problem that started the whole economic decline was due to corporate greed driven by individuals with no conscience. The shame of it all is that not one person has seen a jail cell because of their shady behaviour!

Up until just recently I did not understand how these crooked money manipulators got away with doing what they did. An article by Jason Kirby clued me in as to why these individuals didn't end up in jail--it has to do with the "Holder Doctrine."

The Holder Doctrine was a policy established by former attorney general Eric Holder in 1999, when he was deputy attorney general of the United States. It held that federal prosecutors had to consider the "collateral consequences" of pursuing criminal charges against companies.

Holder goes on to state, I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indication that if we do prosecute-if we do bring a criminal charge-it will have a negative impact national economy, perhaps even the world economy.

There you have it, the individuals can't be prosecuted because the institutions they represent are so large and if brought down the financial ripples could affect the national/world economy. I guess, "Big is Better!" No it just protects the crooks better.  

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked up the boat to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio and discovered that the weather would be bad all day. I went back into the house, quietly undressed and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different anticipation and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 5 years replied, "and, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?"
And that's when the fight started...

Strategies For A Healthy Life and Workplace

I read an article the other day that a particular company was increasing its employees wages by 18%. That certainly is a message to the employees that they are valued. Money is an incentive. Another incentive that is used to recruit top prospects is an organizationally funded Wellness program. Organizations that believe "The best resource is our employees" look after them with well-run wellness programs.

During my working tenure with the Manitoba Teacher Society, I certainly did my best to promote healthy people and workplaces. The MTS still has a mandate to encourage their members to choose a healthy lifestyle. Colleen Coates in her article, "Mental Health Key To Work Productivity" takes wellness a step further than just a positive lifestyle; she takes it into the realm of mental health.

She lists a number of strategies that employers can Institute to encourage employee wellness and improve mental health.
      -Encourage active employee participation in decision-making. There are many ways to involve employees in day-to-day activities that will affect them. For example, using focus groups is a good way to get employee input.
     -Clearly defined employees' duties and responsibilities. Develop comprehensive job descriptions or update the old ones. If your job descriptions are more than five years old, chances are they are out of date.
     -Promote work-life balance. Ensure employees at all levels are taking their vacations and appropriate time off on a daily or weekly basis.
     -Encourage respectful and non--derogatory behaviours. Develop a respectful workplace policy and provide employee training on the details.
     -Manage workloads. Distribute work as evenly as possible; don't give it all to your best-performing employee.
     -Allow continuous learning. Support employees' efforts to learn and grow on the job and through external educational programs.
     -Have conflict resolution practices in place. Watch for, and manage, workplace conflict before it becomes a problem.
     -Recognize employees' contributions effectively. Develop a strategic recognition program and train managers on how to incorporate these   strategies into their day-to-day activities.

Here are some things that employees can do to improve their own wellness and mental health:
     -Build healthy self-esteem. One way to do that is to "do good things for your self and others and then give your self positive strokes for doing that." Self-esteem is really about being able to see one strengths and weaknesses, accepting them and then doing your best to be satisfied.
     -Receive as well as give. Many of us have trouble accepting kindness (positive strokes) from others. We just shrug off their positive compliments; we need to learn to accept them and just say, "Thank you. I appreciate that."
     -Create positive parenting and family relationships. Value each of these relationships and the skills and abilities each person "brings" to the family. Love them for who they are, and don't waste energy wishing they were someone else.
     -Make friends who count. Healthy friendships support good mental health. Together you and your friends share life's challenges and joys. Work hard to keep in touch with friends and actively seek out new friendships.
     -Figure out your priorities. Financial problems cause stress, so it's important to avoid over-spending. Create a meaningful, realistic budget-and differentiate between your needs and your wants.
     -Get involved. Being involved in things that really matter to us provides a great feeling of purpose and satisfaction. Try to find time to volunteer, getting involved in any way that you can-you make a difference no matter how big or small your efforts.
     -Learn to manage stress effectively. Stress is a perception and a normal part of life. It's not whether like or dislike "situations", it's how you handle them.
     -Deal with your emotions. Learn to identify and manage your moods. Have a backup plan in place to help you deal with the times you are troubled, such as a good friend you can turn to.
     -Have a spirituality to call your own. Get to know what really makes you happy. Find time each week to be by yourself and do something for yourself.

I remember talking to a superintendent of schools who was very insistent that wellness was a personal issue. In other words, he felt the employer had no responsibility to their employee to encourage or intervene in matters of health-whether that is physical or mental health. I was young and naïve at the time and actually engaged in "trying to change his mind." What a waste of his and my time. I believe I have stopped (well not totally) trying to sell wellness and have taken to encouraging people - employer and employee - to consider the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.                                                                                                    

Reader Contribution

It is good when the good Doctor takes RR for the soul. To be a therapist is a priestly domain within the living symbol of an ideological framework, where both intertwines within that job description analysis and it resides within the modern human conscious and subconscious mind of today. Thanks to that enigmatic soul Freud.  All therapist priests need to have a safe place to fall where they can meditate in get back in touch with the source within that communes with all that is inside and outside of themselves.

Thank-you Harriet, I think?

I have to admit it has not been easy to get back into a positive routine after a months absence, but feel I am there after a week. It is great to go away on a holiday, and it's great to come home. I am glad to be putting together the newsletter once again and would appreciate your comments and/or feedback.