Unintentional eavesdropping

Unintentional Eavesdropping – A Very Short Story

She pulled up in a black Mercedes-Benz convertible.  You can visualize the type—blonde hair swaying in coastal breezes, Chanel sunglasses (the rhinestones were a bit of an overstatement), sporting flawless porcelain veneers; a perfect 10, and dressed in Ralph Lauren’s newest line of active wear.  I watched her get out of her car; walk over to the parking meter, insert some coins and proceed to walk toward the crowded coffee shop that I was sitting in.  She opened the door and made her way to the counter, placing her over-sized Coach handbag and her over-sized key ring on the counter-top.  Lifting off her shades, she proceeded to carefully place them on the top of her head.  All of thirty seconds into her wait, when the barista paid no attention to her, she loudly cleared her throat and glared at the young girl (who must have been all of 18) with an expectant, irritated look.

After ordering her soy latte, she walked toward me looking for a place to park, and chose the table right next to mine – a window seat.  She sat down and put her coffee on the table and her handbag on the chair next to her and then began to unpack everything in her purse in search for lip-gloss.  Just when her lips were moist enough, a handsome man in casual attire, also holding the keys to a Mercedes and a leather folder joined her.

At first, I continued with my own reading agenda, but it didn’t take any time at all before I was utterly distracted and unintentionally eavesdropping.  In fact, I was no longer reading, but taking notes on what I was hearing.  It wasn’t like I planned on it.  I don’t normally do such a thing, but this couple was pretty hard to ignore, and the more I heard, the more curious I became.

Their conversation did not go as one might expect.

“Here’s what you can afford and not afford”, he said as he pulled out a number of multicolored coded graphs and wheel charts out of his folder.

The woman then reached into her purse and pulled out a piece of paper.  She unfolded it and showed it to the gentleman saying, “I re-worked my numbers and this is what I came up with, but I’m probably underestimating where we’re actually at.”

 He grabbed the paper and carefully compared it to his notes and then articulately went over a list of things she forgot to add.

“Let’s talk about the assets lost with this last upheaval.  I know you can make this work with a little bit of ingenuity.  The boat is not going to yield a profit even if it’s sold, and some things can be trimmed back.  Like your monthly spa days, tennis club membership, and the rather high clothing budget for everyone.”

He held up the color wheel naming off the categories as related to their importance.

“But, there’s no way I can cut back the kids clothing.  With all of their sports activities, school and social events, I don’t see how they can be included in this.”

Expressionless, the man leaned backwards and forwards in his chair a couple of times.  Perhaps he was uncomfortable; perhaps he was annoyed, or perhaps his boney ass hurt (neither of them were sporting any extra body fat).  Closely, he leaned in over the table and said, “If the additional $300,000 was still available to pull from, it would make things a whole lot easier.”

Additional $300,000 dollars? My curiosity was soaring!  The suspense was all-consuming.  Who was this man?  Was he a debt consultant, an accountant, a friend?

About this time there were a continual stream of sighs coming from the woman, and a rhythmical nervous tap occurring with her right foot under the table.  Observably, she wasn’t very comfortable with the conversation.

“When is the IRA money accessible?” she said.

He ignored her question, looked down at his watch and said, “Oh, hey… I’ve got that thing.”

She responded, “Oh, right…

They both stood up at the same time, he very matter-of-factually leaned over the table and kissed her saying, “See you at home.  I’d like salmon for dinner.”

The End
Copyright2013 ©CI

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Abercrombie & Finch—time to ditch your CEO!

It isn’t often I decide to go on a little rant, but tonight I’m feeling the urge.  Someone on my Facebook page posted this article in Elite Daily about Abercrombie & Finch’s CEO, Mike Jeffries, and his extremist, prejudice views against overweight people.  He “hates” fat chicks!  He’s “not bothered by excluding fat people,” and considers anyone who is overweight less-than cool—part of the unwanted, undesirable crowd.  Admitting that he has very exclusionary ideals Jeffries said, “A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong.” He continued to criticize other clothing companies who try and embrace all sizes by carrying XL and XXL sizes.  Jeffries declares that “fat chicks will never be a part of the in crowd,” nor does he want overweight women wearing their brands.

This really is an outrage. I think people should boycott this store. If the CEO hates “fat chicks,” what kind of message is this sending to kids today? Whether you have prejudice against a skin color, a gender, a political stance or religious belief, it’s just plain wrong. You know, Hitler had an elitist mindset and spread his beliefs in racial “purity” and in the superiority of the “Germanic race”—what he called an Aryan “master race.” This kind of thinking is dangerous and shouldn’t be supported.

Speaking of Abercrombie & Finch CEO Mike Jeffries: “He doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store, he wants thin and beautiful people,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t want his core customers to see people who aren’t as hot as them wearing his clothing. People who wear his clothing should feel like they’re one of the ‘cool kids.” – Robin Lewis, The New Rules of Retail

Original article: http://elitedaily.com/news/world/abercrombie-fitch-ceo-explains-why-he-hates-fat-chicks/

 

Remembering Sandy Hook…

What transpired at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday is incomprehensible.  Cruel acts of violence are never easy to understand, but when the lives of innocent children are taken, it casts a horrible shadow us all.  It’s cold, it’s frightful, and it’s unsettling.  We want answers, and we want it to stop.  Honestly, I’m not sure we’ll ever get answers or make sense of this horrendous act of violence.

Today, my prayers exist on many levels.  I pray for the families of these victims.  May God comfort them in their mourning and allow them all to find solace in His love and the memory of their loved ones… I pray for the leaders in this nation–for wisdom in how to help to make certain these kind of evil massacres never happen again.

Thank you to all those who have reached out in love to assist in the healing process.

“Even hundredfold grief is divisible by love.”  ~Terri Guillemets

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Colorado nightmare: Does the media affect human behavior?

The news of the horrific crimes committed last night in Aurora, Colorado has sent a chill up my spine.  Watching the continual updates of this tragedy has caused me to pause and “think” about how and why these kinds of crimes continue to escalate in this nation.

With last nights tragedy, I cannot help but wonder why a 24-year-old man would commit acts of violence like this?  I cannot help but wonder if television and movie violence has played a part in the promotion of these kind of acts against humanity.

As a screenwriter (thankfully I don’t write horror or thriller stories), I am asking myself if the media is playing a part in the acceleration of evil we’ve seen over the years. Does violent entertainment feed these kinds of minds, and if so can it really be classified as entertainment? If the answer is yes, then it might be detrimental to society, and no amount of money is worth promoting things that contribute to this kind of criminal thinking.

The Academy of Pediatrics says “More than one thousand scientific studies and reviews conclude that significant exposure to media violence increases the risk of aggressive behavior in certain children, desensitizes them to violence and makes them believe that the world is a ‘meaner and scarier’ place than it is.”  If children begin to think that this type of violence is normal behavior these thoughts are often said to be difficult to change later on in life.  Hence, the child becomes an angry adult.  The American Psychological Association says there are three major effects of watching violence in the media (i.e.: video games/television) children may become less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, children may be more fearful of the world around them, and children may be more likely to behave in aggressive or hurtful ways toward others.

Of course, it’s not just violence in the media.  There are other reasons children/adults commit violent acts. According to one study, “The involvement of parents in what their children watch, how the family interacts with each other, what the children are exposed to in their environment are also indicators of  how they will behave and what value system they will follow.”

As a writer, I fully understand the elements that are crucial when telling a story, especially in film.  However, perhaps we are “showing” far too much.  Unlike the visuals that are in a work of fiction, a film or television show has the capacity to visually bring the audience into the scene.  It’s not entirely about the imagination of our audiences.  We show perspective and intent visually, and that’s powerfully suggesting.  Stories about good vs. evil have been around forever, but perhaps the acts of violence that are being shown in the media are really the issue.  I don’t know… as a responsible writer, I am questioning it.

The New Media Foundation has a great article on media values, listing the 12 short-term effects of media on the public found in James Potter’s book , 11 Myths of Media.

Perhaps the film/media industry needs to reassess healthy values and truly realize the affects that certain kinds of human behavior can have on audiences.

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”
– Roy Disney

For Further Reading:

http://www.thenewmediafoundation.org/media/values.php

Interesting… Fox News talked about this:

Tragedy in Aurora: Hollywood to blame?

Success: It’s all about your perspective

I don’t often post another person’s blog post, but this one is good, so I’m going to share it.  My advice to any and all who read this:  To everyone here who has been tempted to quit… Dream big, live large and don’t let anyone steal your vision!

What is your excuse for not succeeding?

John Lennon was abandoned by his parents

Check out what all these great people had to deal with

1. John Lennon was abandoned by his parents.

2. The English poet John Milton was blind.

3. Beethoven was totally deaf when he wrote the Ninth. He never heard it himself, except in his head.

4. Alexander the Great was a hunchback.

5. Homer was thought to have been blind.

6. Handel was paralyzed on his right side when he composed his greatest masterwork.

7. Edison was deaf when he discovered the gramophone.

8. Helen Keller was blind, deaf and dumb.

9. Golda Meir had leukaemia for twelve years.

10. Confucius was an orphan.

Edison was deaf when he invented the gramophone

11.  JFK had a very painful back injury and still became president.

12.  Roosevelt’s legs were paralysed when he was elected president.

13.  Stephen Hawking has motor neuron disease, which is incurable. When he was 21, he was told that he had a maximum of a year to live. He is now the most famous physicist since Einstein. His book A Brief History of Time has sold more than 10 million copies. He is totally paralysed and can only move two fingers which he uses to operate his voice computer.

14.  Christopher Reeve, who acted in the role of Superman, was paralysed from the neck down and he continued to amaze us. He collected millions of dollars in sponsor money for scientific research into his type of back problem.

15.  Fred Astaire was rejected at his first screen test in 1933. He received a letter with the comment that he could neither dance nor act. He had the document framed and hung above the fireplace of his expensive house in Hollywood.

Fred Astaire was told he couldn’t dance

16.  Caruso’s teacher said that Caruso had a terrible voice and could not sing.

17.  Darwin gave up his medical career and was reproached by his father for being a layabout.

18.  Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper publisher because of his ‘lack of creativity’.

19.  Albert Einstein could not speak until he was four.

20.  Louis Pasteur was fifteenth in a class of 22 chemistry students.

Disney was fired for ‘lack of creativity’

21. Newton was a poor student at primary school.

22. Tolstoy was expelled from school as being incompetent and unwilling.

23. Churchill had to do a year over at primary school.

24. Henry Ford went bankrupt five times.

25. And you? Do you believe you CAN despite …..?

Henry Ford went bankrupt 5 times

 

Shaked, Stirred, or Poured: Drinking Trends in Ventura County -Ventura County Reporter – Dining Guide 2012

Ventura County Reporter – Dining Guide 2012.

My latest article on the drinking trends in Ventura County! (Go to pages 12 & 16)

Heart disease: Surgeon speaks boldly about the “real” cause

World Renown Heart Surgeon Speaks Out On What Really Causes Heart Disease

We physicians with all our training, knowledge and authority often acquire a rather large ego that tends to make it difficult to admit we are wrong. So, here it is. I freely admit to being wrong.. As a heart surgeon with 25 years experience, having performed over 5,000 open-heart surgeries,today is my day to right the wrong with medical and scientific fact.

I trained for many years with other prominent physicians labelled “opinion makers.” Bombarded with scientific literature, continually attending education seminars, we opinion makers insisted heart disease resulted from the simple fact of elevated blood cholesterol.

The only accepted therapy was prescribing medications to lower cholesterol and a diet that severely restricted fat intake. The latter of course we insisted would lower cholesterol and heart disease. Deviations from these recommendations were considered heresy and could quite possibly result in malpractice.

It Is Not Working!

These recommendations are no longer scientifically or morally defensible. The discovery a few years ago that inflammation in the artery wall is the real cause of heart disease is slowly leading to a paradigm shift in how heart disease and other chronic ailments will be treated.

The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.

Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and despite the fact we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.

Statistics from the American Heart Association show that 75 million Americans currently suffer from heart disease, 20 million have diabetes and 57 million have pre-diabetes. These disorders are affecting younger and younger people in greater numbers every year.

Simply stated, without inflammation being present in the body, there is no way that cholesterol would accumulate in the wall of the blood vessel and cause heart disease and strokes. Without inflammation, cholesterol would move freely throughout the body as nature intended. It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to become trapped.

Inflammation is not complicated — it is quite simply your body’s natural defence to a foreign invader such as a bacteria, toxin or virus. The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders. However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process,a condition occurs called chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.

What thoughtful person would willfully expose himself repeatedly to foods or other substances that are known to cause injury to the body? Well,smokers perhaps, but at least they made that choice willfully.

The rest of us have simply followed the recommended mainstream dietthat is low in fat and high in polyunsaturated fats and carbohydrates, not knowing we were causing repeated injury to our blood vessels. This repeated injury creates chronic inflammation leading to heart disease,stroke, diabetes and obesity.

Let me repeat that: The injury and inflammation in our blood vessels is caused by the low fat diet recommended for years by mainstream medicine.

What are the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation? Quite simply, they are the overload of simple, highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flourand all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of omega-6 vegetable oils like soybean, corn and sunflower that are found in many processed foods.

Take a moment to visualize rubbing a stiff brush repeatedly over soft skin until it becomes quite red and nearly bleeding. you kept this up several times a day, every day for five years. If you could tolerate this painful brushing, you would have a bleeding, swollen infected area that became worse with each repeated injury. This is a good way to visualize the inflammatory process that could be going on in your body right now.

Regardless of where the inflammatory process occurs, externally or internally, it is the same. I have peered inside thousands upon thousands of arteries. A diseased artery looks as if someone took a brush and scrubbed repeatedly against its wall. Several times a day, every day, the foods we eat create small injuries compounding into more injuries, causing the body to respond continuously and appropriately with inflammation.

While we savor the tantalizing taste of a sweet roll, our bodies respond alarmingly as if a foreign invader arrived declaring war. Foods loaded with sugars and simple carbohydrates, or processed withomega-6 oils for long shelf life have been the mainstay of the American diet for six decades. These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.

How does eating a simple sweet roll create a cascade of inflammation to make you sick?

Imagine spilling syrup on your keyboard and you have a visual of what occurs inside the cell. When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin whose primary purpose is to drive sugar into each cell where it is stored for energy. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, it is rejected to avoid extra sugar gumming up the works.

When your full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.

What does all this have to do with inflammation? Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. Extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins that in turn injure the blood vessel wall. This repeated injury to the blood vessel wall sets off inflammation. When you spike your blood sugar level several times a day, every day, it is exactly like taking sandpaper to the inside of your delicate blood vessels.

While you may not be able to see it, rest assured it is there. I saw it in over 5,000 surgical patients spanning 25 years who all shared one common denominator — inflammation in their arteries.

Let’s get back to the sweet roll. That innocent looking goody not only contains sugars, it is baked in one of many omega-6 oils such as soybean. Chips and fries are soaked in soybean oil; processed foods are manufactured with omega-6 oils for longer shelf life. While omega-6’s are essential -they are part of every cell membrane controlling what goes in and out of the cell — they must be in the correct balance with omega-3’s.

If the balance shifts by consuming excessive omega-6, the cell membrane produces chemicals called cytokines that directly cause inflammation.

Today’s mainstream American diet has produced an extreme imbalance of these two fats. The ratio of imbalance ranges from 15:1 to as high as 30:1 in favor of omega-6. That’s a tremendous amount of cytokines causing inflammation. In today’s food environment, a 3:1 ratio would be optimal and healthy.

To make matters worse, the excess weight you are carrying from eating these foods creates overloaded fat cells that pour out large quantities of pro-inflammatory chemicals that add to the injury caused by having high blood sugar. The process that began with a sweet roll turns into a vicious cycle over time that creates heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetesand finally, Alzheimer’s disease, as the inflammatory process continues unabated.

There is no escaping the fact that the more we consume prepared and processed foods, the more we trip the inflammation switch little by little each day. The human body cannot process, nor was it designed to consume, foods packed with sugars and soaked in omega-6 oils.

There is but one answer to quieting inflammation, and that is returning to foods closer to their natural state. To build muscle, eat more protein. Choose carbohydrates that are very complex such as colorful fruits and vegetables. Cut down on or eliminate inflammation- causing omega-6 fats like corn and soybean oil and the processed foods that are made from them.

One tablespoon of corn oil contains 7,280 mg of omega-6; soybean contains 6,940 mg. Instead, use olive oil or butter from grass-fed beef.

Animal fats contain less than 20% omega-6 and are much less likely to cause inflammation than the supposedly healthy oils labelled polyunsaturated. Forget the “science” that has been drummed into your head for decades. The science that saturated fat alone causes heart disease is non-existent. The science that saturated fat raises blood cholesterol is also very weak. Since we now know that cholesterol is not the cause of heart disease, the concern about saturated fat is even more absurd today.

The cholesterol theory led to the no-fat, low-fat recommendations that in turn created the very foods now causing an epidemic of inflammation. Mainstream medicine made a terrible mistake when it advised people to avoid saturated fat in favor of foods high in omega-6 fats. We now have an epidemic of arterial inflammation leading to heart disease and other silent killers.

What you can do is choose whole foods your grandmother served and not those your mom turned to as grocery store aisles filled with manufactured foods. By eliminating inflammatory foods and adding essential nutrients from fresh unprocessed food, you will reverse years of damage in your arteries and throughout your body from consuming the typical American diet.

Dr. Dwight Lundell is the past Chief of Staff and Chief of Surgery at Banner Heart Hospital , Mesa , AZ. His private practice, Cardiac Care Center was in Mesa, AZ. Recently Dr. Lundell left surgery to focus on the nutritional treatment of heart disease. He is the founder of Healthy Humans Foundation that promotes human health with a focus on helping large corporations promote wellness. He is also the author of The Cure for Heart Disease and The Great Cholesterol Lie.

Posted by at 1:40 PM

The de-feminization of women: women get your groove back

I’ve wanted to address the subject of femininity for some time now.  I would love to see women begin to take their femininity back.  In fashion, in the workplace, in the home and in life at large!  Being lovely and soft does not equate to being uneducated and weak. Au contraire. Women need to celebrate their differences and embrace who they are as women.  It’s not about becoming a “tough guy,” but being able to show a softer side, a more vulnerable side. In essence, showing vulnerability isn’t a female weakness but a sign of a woman’s strength. Women should dress like women, not like the way they would dress if they were men. Ladies, dare I say we’ve been somewhat defeminized.

Over the ages, women have been suppressed, oppressed and made to feel less-than.  It’s no wonder there has been a surge of feminism rising in this nation and other parts of the globe.  However, I don’t believe that true femininity has to do with us become more like men.  Rather, it is embracing what we are and knowing who we are that is essentially empowering. Women are unique, special and different than men.  Different doesn’t equate to less intelligent, less passionate, less important, or less valued.  In truth, a woman’s strength is in her ability to embrace her differences with elegance and intelligence. This is a woman who is resilient, comfortable in her skin, shrouded by feminine loveliness, poised, graceful, tender and lady-like.  She has the backbone of steel, and a heart of gold.  She has the strength of an oak tree and the scent of jasmine.  She is woman.

Some insightful and thought-provoking quotes:

“We are all born sexual creatures,thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift.”
― Marilyn Monroe

“Let us be elegant or die! –Amy”
― Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

“God made man stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I’ve ever met.”
― Farrah Fawcett

“Why do women want to dress like men when they’re fortunate enough to be women? Why lose femininity, which is one of our greatest charms? We get more accomplished by being charming than we would be flaunting around in pants and smoking. I’m very fond of men. I think they are wonderful creatures. I love them dearly. But I don’t want to look like one. When women gave up their long skirts, they made a grave error…”
― Tasha Tudor

“It seems to be the fashion nowadays for a girl to behave as much like a man as possible. Well, I won’t! I’ll make the best of being a girl and be as nice a specimen as I can: sweet and modest, a dear, dainty thing with clothes smelling all sweet and violety, a soft voice, and pretty, womanly ways. Since I’m a girl, I prefer to be a real one!”
― Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

Flowers spring to blossom where she walks
The careful ways of duty;
Our hard, stiff lines of life with her
Are flowing curves of beauty.
― John Greenleaf Whittier

“I’m not afraid of my femininity and I’m not afraid of my sexuality.”
— Goldie Hawn

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”
— Sophia Loren
“Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.”
— Rosalind Russell
“This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries. At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities…. The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter.”
— Jimmy Carter, “Losing My Religion for Equality”

A Valentine’s Day Wish

Wishing a very HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY to everyone reading this.

Embrace love in a new way today, for it is an undeniable symbol of eternity.

It wipes out all sense of time, destroying all memory of a beginning and all fear of an end.