Civil War

On December 19th, on NBC’s Today show, Chuck Todd host of “Meet the Press” opined that America is now in a “cold civil war.” 

America had one real civil war with over 620,000 men killed (2% of America’s population).   Let’s hope we’re not on tap for another.  But according to a June 2018 Rasmussen poll, 31% of Americans are concerned about another civil war within the next five years (67.23% per the Intelligencer of October 2019).  Only 29% of Americans believe a civil war is “not at all likely.” 

We all know that Democrats threw down the gloves when Donald Trump was nominated.  Ongoing efforts to overturn the election.  A demand for impeachment even before he took office.  Once in the White House, they threw down the gloves on the 63 million folks who voted for him.   Formal “Resistance” was established.  Obstruction (“no” votes) to Presidential nominees became the norm.  Those on staff in the White House could not go out for dinner or a walk – without being heckled, demeaned and threatened.   

Trump is arrogant, narcissistic and undisciplined.  But has America deserved three years of resistance?  Obstruction?  Division?  Where are we headed?    America is seething with anger. Identity politics.  Tribes.  Everyone has a righteous mind (see 7/6/14).  That is closed.  With no room for facts.  Logic.  Or truth.  And a poisonous media fuels the fires.  

America.  The United States of . . . .  Wouldn’t it be nice if a Pledge of Allegiance to our nation came back into fashion?   Civil discourse?  Charity?  Compromise?   That seems way too much to ask of anyone in Washington.   But for the rest of us?  Should we take a knee?   Do we try to bring healing to our fractured nation?  Or do we want Republicans to throw down the gloves.  You tell me. . . . .   

Trouble Sleeping?

On March 19, 2012, I offered some counsel for those with trouble sleeping.  Like me.  There are three types of insomnia:  transient (occasional); acute (short duration); and chronic (long duration).   I fall asleep easily – and quickly – but there are times when I will wake up at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.  thinking, worrying, solving, praying, innovating. . . .  I’m familiar with the usual RX’s for getting to or back to sleep.  However in that post I shared three further remedies that work for me that I’ve never read about:   

1.  Clenching hands — When I wake up in the middle of the night, I sometimes find that my hands are clenched.  I simply unclench and lay them flat.  I suddenly feel relaxed;

2.  Deep breathing —   Just contemplating each – deep – breath; and

3.  A pad of paper — I often wake up thinking about what needs to be done.  So I have a pad of paper by the bed to jot things down.   

On January 3, 2016, I observed that watching phosphenes – the light show that we all “see” in darkness – can help us sleep.  Recently I note another phenomenon that keeps me awake.  When I am laying there – thinking of work, handyman projects, cooking, writing this blog, etc. – I sense that my eyes – while closed – are squinting.   It’s like my face is tightened as one is in deep contemplation.  So, I’ve been relaxing my shoulders and letting my jaw drop a bit to relax my face.  I think of it as adopting a “lazy face” (see March 13, 2014).  And then of course there’s the “bent ear” phenomenon when I find myself laying on my pillow with my ear doubled over. . . . . .   

And furthermore. . . .

On September 7, 2014, I posted on “Life after High School”   The post suggested a one year curriculum for high school students on balancing a check book; shopping; simple first aid; spending money wisely; relationships and respect; job interviews; nutrition; cooking simple meals; raising babies; investing; and so on. These are topics which a young person could put to good use after high school. Many kids will go to college. Many will not. But learning how to respect a spouse, show your best to a prospective employer, and deal intelligently with a screaming baby would be a plus for everyone in America.

But there are two additional courses that I would add for high school students.  History and economics.  Studies suggest that millenials are not taught the important events, participants or dates in American history.  And few learn the basics of economics.   The same might be said of a few of our political candidates. . . . 

Donating Blood

I received a number of comments on my post relating to blood type and health. Here’s one from my fraternity brother:   “I’m O-neg, I’m a carnivore, and I’ve given over 100 blood donations (over a dozen gallons), including to babies. I think it’s one of the reasons God keeps me around!”   Here’s another from one of my Boy Scout pals:  “I have given 26 gallons whole and done 250 platelet donations.”

Years ago – I began donating blood.  Mainly because I heard that there were health benefits (especially for men) in doing so.  And I’m on the bone marrow registry.  But maybe I’ve been stingy – judging by the generosity of my friends.   I probably went to Lifesource (the local donation venue) a dozen times.  Though I haven’t been for a few years.   

Only 37% of the American population is eligible to donate blood.  Yet according to the American Red Cross only 3% of those eligible donate.  Thus – there is nearly always a shortage for the 4.5 million Americans who need a blood transfusion each year.  The four blood types were first identified in 1901 by Dr. Karl Landsteiner (won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1930).  Of the four – O negative is the “universal donor” that can be given to all blood types. 

Every person has about 10 pints of blood in his/her body.  How about tithing?  Give a pint to your local donation center.  It’s not about the hour you’ll spend.  It’s about the life you may save. . . . .       

Blood Type and Health

Do you know your blood type?  You should.  Thousands of years of evolution have split human blood into four basic “types”: A, B, O and AB. Each has a postive (+) and negative (-) (called “RH”) component as well.   Roughly 43% of us are type O; 40% type A; 12% type B; and 5% type AB with interesting geographic, racial and ethnic differences in blood type and RH distribution. 

While there is speculation that blood type predicts broad personality traits (especially in Japanese studies), there is strong indication that different blood types have different vulnerabilities — and do better with certain diets.  A recent University of Pennsylvania study (April 2019) confirms that certain blood types are more prone to heart disease (see https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/health-and-wellness/2019/april/blood-types ).   Where one blood type does well on a meat diet, others might suffer.   

Type O is the oldest blood type in the world with the most robust digestive system.  Type O needs animal protein for good health.  Has trouble with wheat and gluten.   Thrives on vigorous workouts.  Less prone to heart disease.  O negative is a universal donor.

Type A has a more fragile digestive system which has trouble tolerating 4 legged protein.  This blood type might do well as a vegetarian.  Can be lactose intolerant and anemic.  For this reason, iron and Vitamin B-12 supplements may be helpful. 

Type B has difficulty with wheat and gluten though dairy is usually just fine.  Chicken can cause health issues due to an agglutinating lectin which may adversely affect the circulatory system. 

Type AB is the new kid on the block having been around for perhaps 1,000 years.  Should avoid red meat especially smoked and cured meats as AB shares the low stomach acid of Type A and diminished stomach acid leaves one more prone to stomach cancer. 

An interesting study of the respective vulnerabilities by blood type is found at https://www.gaia.com/article/7-relations-between-different-blood-types-health  There are many articles on this topic.  Just Google blood type and health

Don’t Get “Tired”

[A timely winter repeat from December 15, 2013]

My friend Al reminded me that in cold weather, it’s a good idea to check car tires since the cold will contract air pressure and tires can flatten out.  So, wisely I did.  And sure enough – my front two tires were low. Really low.  It was night.  Freezing cold.  So I drove to a gas station where they have one of those air pumps where you have to pop in 75 cents. I unscrewed the valve caps, had my air gauge at the ready and dropped 3 quarters. The machine kicked in and I applied the hose to the tire valve. Nothing happened.  The hose and valve were frozen.

Now this is not an issue that I’ve dealt with before so I went into the gas station where a lone clerk sat behind a thick glass partition. I explained the problem. “Valve’s frozen,” he said.  Hoookayyy. . .  “Stick the hose up your exhaust for a few minutes while the motor’s running and . . . . [he grabbed a lighter from the shelf and passed it under the window] warm your tire valves.”  “Bring back the lighter,”  he added. 

I went out and slid the hose a couple feet up the exhaust.  And let it sit for a few minutes.  And warm.  Then I fired the lighter and warmed the tire valves.  After a couple minutes, I took a breath, dropped in another 75 cents and applied the hose to the tire valve.  “PFFFFTT.”  It worked like a charm.  Whew!  The tire inflated and I brought the lighter back.  I thanked the clerk (offered him a tip – he declined).  “I used to drive a semi” he said.  “Used to happen all the time.  It’s one of those little tricks you learn.” 

Now you all know the trick.  🙂   

Christmas 2019

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . . and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.   Isaiah 9:6

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.   Luke 2:4-7

Here we are again! Christmas 2019.  Mercy – the days are often long but the years go fast. . . .

Our best wishes to all of you for a Happy and Blessed Christmas, New Year and Holiday Season!!