Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Guess what likable cartoon character is going to be 60 Saturday?

The great Charles M. Schulz character, Charlie Brown, turns 60 on October 2nd. I tell myself that 60 years wasn’t so long ago. Six decades isn’t that long. My reasoning is purely emotional as my 60th birthday looms near on November 7th.

I’ve always felt a kinship, of sorts, with Charlie Brown. He was nearly always misunderstood no matter how hard he tried to be like the rest of the gang.

But he never gives up. He’s still appearing in cartoon strips across the nation, and his TV specials are as popular as ever. Here’s an article about them:

 You’ve had some great TV specials, Charlie Brown - A look at the five best efforts from the 'Peanuts' gang.

Charlie Brown and his "Peanuts pals,” have had loyal readers for decades. Charles Schulz’s perennial elementary schoolers starred in more than 17,000 comic strips, four feature films, two musicals and a heck of a lot of television specials.The entire multimedia collection is worthy of repeated viewings from faithful fans, but for those who grew up in the glow of the small screen, the specials are the best of the bunch. They marked holidays, explained some universal ups and downs, and brought life to the kids from the funny pages.

Simian swat squads: India hires monkeys to guard Games venues

Image: Langurs in New Delhi, India

I have to wonder how far these Langurs can chase offending monkeys when I see the short lines these guys have on them. They sure look alert don’t they?

Official: Langurs are 'very effective way' to protect sites from other simians

“Security officials at the Commonwealth Games aren't monkeying around anymore, deploying langurs at several venues in New Delhi to keep smaller simians from causing any trouble.

Because they are large and fierce, langurs are often used in India to keep other monkeys in check in public places.”

A family affair: it’s harvest time down on the farm in Arcata


 34417_151789264861120_100000901420075_265207_1353899_n My eldest son Richard, and his two boys, Haydin (left) and Roanin (right) take a break from harvesting squash at Warren Creek Farms.

Richard’s wife Jassmine also works there, making it a family affair.

Warren Creek Farm has been growing organically since 1987 and certified organic by CCOF since 1991.

They conserve water and soil through crop rotation, cover cropping and dry farming. Dry farmed plants are more nutritious, store better and conserve water.

At Warren Creek Farms they manage weeds, pests, and diseases by mechanical and manual cultivation, crop rotation, strip grazing, soil testing, fertilizer management and as a last resort, application of organic program approved materials and practices.

Soil fertility is considered after annual soil testing. Green manure crops, compost, micronutrients and fallow years are used to maintain fertility and plant health.

At Warren Creek Farms they have a box recycling program. They pay their customers to save their boxes and many of them are used several times over.

Blue Lake & Arcata Bottoms (0-4 miles from packaging facility) Warren Creek Farms is owned by Paul Giuntoli, a third generation Humboldt County Farmer.

He and his wife Carla farm two plots of certified organic land – one on Warren Creek Road (shown above) between Arcata and Blue Lake, and one in the Arcata Bottoms.

They have been supplying the co-op with potatoes and winter squash for more than 20 years, making them one of our oldest suppliers.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World's oldest man marks 114th birthday in Montana

Image: Walter Breuning

Secret to long life: 'Cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women — and a good sense of humor'

“A Montana resident believed to be the world's oldest man celebrated his 114th birthday Tuesday at a retirement home in Great Falls.

Walter Breuning was born on Sept. 21, 1896, in Melrose, Minn., and moved to Montana in 1918, where he worked as a clerk for the Great Northern Railway for 50 years.”

I discovered at least two of Mr. Breuning’s secrets to life fit into my world view – whiskey and humor. I’ll have to pass on the cigarettes (I quit smoking them in 2000 after 30 years of puffing) and the wild, wild women. I’m just not sure I would want to live as long as this guy. All of your friends would probably be long gone when you stick around as long as Mr. Breuning has.

Is It Skin Cancer? How to Tell a Harmless Mole from a Melanoma

Know Your ABCDEs

Know Your ABCDEs

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer but it can be hard to identify. 
The ABCDE guide helps. If your mole fits the characteristics below, call your dermatologist pronto:
Asymmetry—if the mole could be folded in half, the two halves wouldn’t match
Border irregularities—the mole’s borders are uneven or blurred
Color variations—the mole has mixed shades of tan, brown, black or other hues
Diameter—the spot is bigger than a pencil eraser
Evolution—its appearance has changed in some way

Skin cancer is highly curable when it’s found early,” says iVillage skin expert Doris Day, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University. 
“Keep an eye on your skin and look for changes.”
Still, not every mole or mark is dangerous. Here are some more tips to tell the difference.

A Serious Sign of Sun Damage

A mole is simply a cluster of pigmented cells, creating a spot that can be flesh-colored, pink or very dark brown. Some moles are raised off the skin’s surface, and some sprout hairs, but neither is a bad sign in itself. 

Moles can usually be left alone but should be monitored for changes. If a mole appears suspicious (based on the ABCDE characteristics) or it becomes easily irritated, your dermatologist can numb the skin and remove it by cutting or shaving it off, explains Dr. Day. It will often be sent for evaluation to make sure it’s normal.

An actinic keratosis (AK) is a rough, red or brown, flat, scaly patch on the skin’s top layer—and it’s considered precancerous. “These occur in sun-exposed areas and you can often feel them before you can see them,” Dr. Day says. 
If left untreated, it can turn into squamous cell carcinoma, another form of skin cancer that can also spread but isn’t as deadly as melanoma. Dermatologists typically recommend using a topical cream (like Aldara or Efudex) to destroy the precancerous cells, or treating AKs with other treatments like liquid nitrogen, laser or photodynamic therapy that can destroy abnormal cells on the surface.

Just a Mysterious Mark or Melanoma?

A seborrheic keratosis can be flesh-colored, light brown or tan, and it may have a waxy or scaly, wart-like appearance. “Sometimes a seborrheic keratosis can have variations in color and be confused with a melanoma,” Dr. Day says, so it’s important to get them checked out.
These common growths, which can range in size, are benign. However, if they become itchy, red, irritated or inflamed or if they’re unsightly, they can be gently scraped off the skin’s surface or frozen off with liquid nitrogen.

Nothing to Do With Your Liver

A lentigo (or liver spot) is a flat, brownish blotch caused by long-term sun damage. They may be unsightly, but they’re benign. “They only occur in sun-exposed areas—for some people it takes a lot of sun exposure; for others, very little,” Dr. Day says.
Lentigos can be left alone, but if they bother you for cosmetic reasons, your dermatologist may recommend applying a tretinoin cream (such as Retin-A) and a topical bleaching cream. You can also have them removed with a chemical peel, liquid nitrogen or zapped with a laser, Dr. Day says.
Wear a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent more from developing (not to mention, to protect your skin).

Melasma, not Melanoma

As if pregnancy doesn’t bring enough changes, some women develop brown patches on their faces during the nine-month stretch, often called the mask of pregnancy (melasma). While its exact causes aren’t known, there are genetic, sun-related, and hormonal components so melasma can also happen if you’re taking oral contraceptives, Dr. Day says.
 “The longer you’re on the Pill, the greater your risk.” Fortunately, melasma is harmless. Sun exposure can darken the patches though, so wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, and stay in the shade as much as possible. 
Sometimes, melasma fades after childbirth or going off the Pill. If it doesn’t, a prescription-strength bleaching cream (such as hydroquinone), a chemical peel, or intense pulsed light treatment can help.

Tomorrow is National Happy Hour - Make Sure to Get Your Free Beer

National Happy Hour promotion

The good news: Budweiser is planning to give away at least half-a-million free beers at locations around the country beginning Wednesday.

Yes, the iconic American brewing company – which is now actually owned by a conglomerate from Belgium – is hoping its National Happy Hour will reacquaint American beer drinkers with a brand they’ve been steadily losing interest in for the past seven years. How do you take advantage of this deal? Simply be 21-years old or older, and show up on Sept. 29 where ever they happen to be giving away their beer.

Actually, once you hit 22, you’re eligible for yet another freebie: Bud and Facebook are, according to USA Today, teaming up so that Facebook members who turn 22 can get yet another free beer.

Despite the appeal of free suds, the ad campaign has been garnering a fair amount of ridicule from those who take their beer drinking veddy, veddy seriously. Hasn’t anyone who’s 21 or older already tried Budweiser, wondered Top Fermented, a blog offering “commentary on beer, brewing, and the craft brew industry.”

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vineyard theft ‘the viticultural equivalent of an art heist’

Thieves make off with 1 1/2 tons of wine grapes in soul-crushing heist

“Call it the great grape caper.

A thief or thieves with a taste for an unusual wine grape have made off with virtually an entire vineyard’s worth.

“It’s certainly an unusual caper, not unlike the viticultural equivalent of an art heist,” said Paul McBride, owner and partner of Grand Rêve Vintners of Kirkland, Wash., which owned the crop before the vineyard villains struck.

The theft of 1 ½ tons of mourvedre grapes occurred sometime between Sept. 15-20 at the Grand Rêve vineyard on the renowned Red Mountain region in eastern Washington, likely in the dead of night, McBride said. And the crooks targeted the mourvedre grapes, leaving behind less than 200 pounds of grapes in the half-acre experimental vineyard and ignoring other varietals growing nearby.”

photo source Grand Reve Vineyards

The Mother of All Headaches: Man Had Knife in His Head for 3 Years Before Removing It

X-Rays: Pup Swallows 105 Pennies

I just love reading bizarre things like this. It’s so out of the norm, but it’s real. This story is about a guy who walked around with a knife in his skull for three years.

His headaches were so bad however (ya think?) that he decided to have risky surgery to remove it. I think I would have done the some thing; but a hell of a lot sooner!

“A man had a knife in his head for 3 years before he finally had it removed. The Brazilian man, (pictured above holding an X-ray) Edeilson Nascimento, 29, had the knife stuck in his head after a bar fight in 2007.  The Post Chronicle states that the man is currently recovering from an operation which removed a knife with a 4-inch blade from his head. After a bar fight, Nascimento left to go home but before he reached his house, the person he fought with at the bar attacked him, stabbing him in his head.The knife remained in his head for 3 years.”

MSNBC reports that doctors were unable to remove the blade of the knife from Edeilson’s head at that time. Doctors were worried about further brain damage if they took the entire blade out. They were able to remove the knife’s handle only.

ABC News states that Edeilson Nascimento suffered through intense migraines for the next three years and that it was because of his headaches that he opted for the risky surgery to remove the knife from his head. The surgery took place at the Hospital das Clinicas in Recife, Brazil, on September 23.

See X-ray photos of the knife in Edeilson Nascimento’s head via ABC News.

‘Hello operator? Would you send someone to arrest me please?’

Mug shot of Mary Strey (Courtesy of Clark County Sheriff's Office)

If there's an emergency, who you gonna call?

 911, of course. But some 911 calls are made by people who forget that the crisis service is not a hot line to make complaints or wacky requests. These offenders face arrest and other penalties for using poor 911 judgment under the influence of drugs, alcohol or powerful emotions.

After reading the one below go here to see more.

A Wisconsin woman (picture on right) didn't wait for another motorist to call 911 to report her dangerous driving last fall. Mary Strey (photos) ratted on herself. What did the dispatcher advise her to do (video)?

Strey, who told police that she had knocked back some cocktails before getting behind the wheel, was charged with misdemeanor drunken driving. Her blood-alcohol level was extremely high.

Collecting war trophies: 12 American soldiers charged with keeping body parts

This is the first time I can recall military personnel in Afghanistan being charged with collecting grizzly war trophies.

As a veteran, I know stuff like this has been happening since we invaded that country a decade ago. It certainly happened in WW II and Vietnam, but let’s take a look at the charges in the following article first, then a brief history of the practice by modern American military forces.   

Body parts, photos part of charges against soldiers

“The first of 12 soldiers charged with crimes in Afghanistan that range from killing civilians to keeping body parts as war trophies faces a military tribunal on Monday that will decide whether his case proceeds to court-martial. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock, 22, from Wasilla, Alaska, is charged with premeditated murder in the deaths of three Afghan civilians, assaulting a fellow soldier and "wrongfully photographing and possessing visual images of human casualties."

This kind of thing is nothing new as far as what soldiers do in war.During World War II, some United States military personnel mutilated dead Japanese service personnel in the Pacific theater of operations.The mutilation of Japanese service personnel included the taking of body parts as “war souvenirs” andwar trophies”. Teeth and skulls were the most commonly taken "trophies", although other body parts were also collected.

The phenomenon of "trophy-taking" was widespread enough that discussion of it featured prominently in magazines and newspapers, and Franklin Roosevelt himself was reportedly gifted a letter-opener made of a man's arm (Roosevelt rejected the gift and called for its proper burial).

The behavior was officially prohibited by the U.S. military, which issued additional guidance as early as 1942 condemning it specifically. Nonetheless, the behavior continued throughout the war in the Pacific Theater, and has resulted in continued discoveries of "trophy skulls" of Japanese combatants in American possession, as well as American and Japanese efforts to repatriate the remains of the Japanese dead.

                           WHAT I OBSERVED IN VIETNAM AND CAMBODIA

 I served in Vietnam, and Cambodia, in 1970. As part of a demolition squad (31st Eng Battalion), Bravo Company, we were attached to numerous other units on various missions ranging from mine sweeping roads, to clearing out dense areas of forest to construct firebases.

The photo to the right were a common thing while I was there. One of the guys in my squad collected enemy fingers. Another proudly wore a necklace of ears taken from VC and NVA soldiers.

There is no excuse for this kind of thing in any war. But it happens. While I didn’t approve of it, I never turned anyone in for it because I didn’t trust officers and I knew someone would probably “cap my ass” if I did. I admit that I didn’t have much sympathy for the victims, but my brain was in a survival mode and they were – after all – people who would have killed me if they had the chance.

Then there was the civilian atrocities, like what these 12 soldiers from the 5th Stryker Unit are being accused of. I couldn’t possible do justice to portraying the horrors I saw committed on innocent civilian men, women, and children. As you read this you may be wondering how could people do these terrible things…unless you’ve been in combat. Then you know. No civilian could possibly understand the depths of depravity men will sink to in these situations.

In the madness of war civilians always suffer. It’s always been like this since the first armies clashed in ancient Mesopotamia.

As It Stands, it seems we’ll never learn, as a species, how to maintain peace throughout the world.    

Sunday, September 26, 2010

As It Stands: CCC-CPR : You don't have to lock lips with a stranger to save them

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 09/26/2010 01:26:18 AM PDT

I remember when I first got CPR certified in the early '80s my biggest concern was that I might have to actually use my new-found knowledge. I know that sounds pretty stupid, but let me explain.

The idea of locking lips with some stranger who was foaming at the mouth was repulsive, even if it was part of the cardiopulmonary resuscitation process I was taught to save lives.

I really hoped the day would never come. I had no trouble with “Resusci Anne,” the plastic torso that I knelt over on the firehouse floor while learning CPR. I saved her life numerous times to get my little American Red Cross CPR pin.

I knew my recently acquired knowledge wouldn't be so easy to apply in real life. You had to count, pinch a nose, blow, compress ... and stay cool while doing it. In a manner of minutes, I was sucking air with “Resusci Anne” in training but I knew if I stopped, no one would really die, as they might in the real world.

There was (and still is) another consideration involved in helping a person: being sued by grieving relatives looking for someone to blame. In some jurisdictions, good Samaritan laws only protect those who have completed basic first aid training and are certified by health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, American Red Cross or St. John Ambulance, provided they have acted within the scope of their training.

In these jurisdictions, a person who is neither trained in first aid nor certified, and who performs first aid incorrectly, can still be held legally liable for errors made. In other jurisdictions, any rescuer is protected from liability, so long as the responder acted rationally.

The last time I was CPR certified was in the early '90s. I let my certification expire for a host of reasons. The other day I read an article a friend sent me about Continuous Chest Compression-CPR (CCC-CPR). I don't know how up-to-date you are in life-saving methods, but this method, which had its beginnings in 2003 in Tucson, Ariz., is news to me.

It was developed at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and designed to make it more likely that a bystander would stop to help a person in distress. Here's the really great part (to me): It doesn't require the mouth-to-mouth contact of the old method.

According to Gordon A. Ewy, M.D., director of the UA Sarver Heart Center and one of the research pioneers who developed CCC, “It's easy.” In 2008, the American Heart Association endorsed the improved bystander protocol for cardiac arrest, and it now advocates continuous chest compressions.

 The doctors who developed this procedure say there is enough oxygen in the blood to keep the brain supplied for 10 minutes, so breathing into the mouth is not required. Also, stopping compression to breathe into the mouth causes a cessation in the blood flow, so little new oxygen is added, anyway.

Now we're told to pump, pump, pump the chest. In a Feb. 12 presentation by the Mayo Clinic, researchers said, “We now know that even mildly excessive ventilation rates and incomplete chest-wall recoil during CPR can be lethal.

”This, quite simply, is the reason for improvement in CPR by eliminating the mouth-to-mouth ventilations and using 100 uninterrupted compressions per minute, a proven method of resuscitation that results in more efficient oxygen delivery to the heart and brain during cardiac arrest, more successful responses to electroshock and better neurological outcomes for the future.”

This method doubles the chance for survival over the old one, according to the Sarver Heart Center. For the record, CCC is not meant to replace CPR, it's just the safest way for a layman to help. I suppose it's time I get re-certified in case the need ever arises. It hasn't yet, thank goodness, and I hope it never will.

As It Stands, getting CCC-CPR certified may be easier now, but remember it still comes with a moral responsibility to use it.

The Year Domestic Terrorists Openly Declared War on the Nation's Power Grids

Note: The Government Accountability Office says their recommendations from years ago still "have not been implemented yet leaving the p...