I’m a sucker for TED Talks. Well, I just had lunch.  And watched another — that I would like to share with you.

Africa.  A continent of crushing poverty.  Pain.  Corruption.  And yet – so many good organizations are working to make things better.  Ndidi Nwuneli presented a talk “The Role of Faith and Belief in Modern Africa”  see  ).  The premise of Ndidi’s presentation is that there are many faith-based organizations which offer help to the poorest of the poor in Africa.  And there are many secular organizations which do the same.  But secular organizations often refuse to work with faith-based organizations.  Ndidi’s message?  Please keep an open mind so we can work together to help people. . . . .

The takeaway is that groups that are not religious can enhance their missions and results by working in concert on certain tasks (especially health care and education) with faith-based organizations.  By working together – rather than at cross-purpose (or redundant purpose) greater progress may be made.  The winners?  The poorest of the poor in Africa.  The losers?  None that I can think of . . . . . 

Run Over

[A repeat from December 11, 2014] My parents taught me early to keep my eyes open.  And to watch for coins on the street or sidewalk.  In my post of August 2, 2012, I spoke of picking up pennies, nickels, dimes, dollar bills — as well as cell phones, wallets, watches and fine jewelry (some mighty fine).   I still do. My eyes are glued to the ground.  And yes – I still pick up pennies.  And nails (see 1/8/17).  All monetary finds go into a bowl for a year-end charitable donation.  It’s really a game.  A personal challenge.  To see what I can find.         

During the week, I catch the train and go downtown to my office.  Each day as I walk across the train tracks, I slow. Looking. I have never put a coin on the railroad tracks (to do so would probably invite several years in the penitentiary). But I’m on the scout for those errant “run over” coins that have been placed on the tracks — and lost — by others. Over the years, I have acquired a nice collection.  Nineteen flattened coins to be precise.  A few quarters.  Dimes.  Nickels.  Pennies.  Each one I’m sure has a story.  Just as each lost coin has a story.  The good thing is that if I ever run low on cash, I can always take these run over coins to the bank and trade them in for unscathed versions.  One dollar and thirty-six cents by my count.     

Leg Cramps – Part III

[The finale from August 28, 2014]

In my posts of October 24 and 26, 2011, I discussed the causes of and treatments for leg cramps. Since that time, I have had zero leg cramps. Until last night. . . . .

Let’s set the stage.  It was Friday.  I took the day off.  To play in a 2 day golf tournament (my team won).   It was 90+ degrees.  100% humidity.  I poured sweat.   And drank bottle after bottle of water.  At the turn, when I normally make a pit stop, there was no reason to stop.  I just went on to the 10th tee.  And teed off.  More water.  And I continued to pour sweat.  We had dinner.  More water (no cabernet).  And when I got home, I was tired.  I went up.  Got in bed and started reading.  That’s when it happened.  The biceps femoris (the muscle behind my right knee) began cramping.  Ow ow ow ow.   I rubbed.   Drank some water.  And Donna sped off for some V-8 juice (potassium/sodium).  And she gave me two more things not mentioned in the earlier posts. 

Donna had read that magnesium can help stop muscle cramps.  So I popped a magnesium pill (Metagenics Mag Glycinate – 200 mg).  And she had bought a Health & Wisdom magnesium gel with aloe vera.   And she brought some ice.  Within 10 minutes, the cramp was history.  I went back to reading.  And slept like a baby.  Maybe it was the Dove bar that I tossed under the sheet . . . . *

*Read prior post for context  

Leg Cramps – Part II

[A repeat from October 26, 2011]

My last post on Leg Cramps prompted numerous comments.  One cure – from my old friend Jim – had me saying “no wayyyy”:

I have a much easier solution . . . . You simply put a small bar of soap in a pocket or hold on to it.   That’s it.   It’s weird but I have used this for years.  You can even place some small bars under your sheets.    I prefer to keep some of the bars in my nightstand so they are readily available in case of a cramp.  If I get a cramp I reach into my nightstand drawer, grab a bar of the soap and the cramp is gone within about 10 seconds.  It has never failed to work.   My doctor confirmed that he had heard of this working, but I know of no scientific evidence as to why.”

Soap.  Puh-lease

However, investigative reporter that I am, I delved into this “remedy.”  There are many articles on this subject.  Soap – a remedy for leg cramps.  Even the ever-suspicious Snopes refers to the cure as “undetermined” –    If you Google +”leg cramps” +”bar of soap” you will get more than 30,000 records.  +soap yields over 2 million(!).   One theory is that soap is heavy in sodium chloride – which can be inhaled.    

Sure – I’m a skeptic.  But you know what?  I now have a bar of soap by the bed. . . . .

Leg Cramps – Part I

[A post from August 28, 2011]

Both Donna and I have experienced nocturnal leg cramps or spasms.  Back of the leg.  Very painful.  Does it ever happen to you?

In order to treat leg cramps, it is advantageous to know the cause of such cramps.   From my research, I gather that dehydration, low potassium, low sodium, low calcium and underlying muscle injury can contribute to leg cramps.  When I have experienced leg cramps, I rub the area vigorously, apply ice, drink a V-8 juice (high in sodium and potassium) and have a few glasses of water.  Know what?  The cramp goes away.* 

The last time this happened I had played golf all day without stops.  Walking.  No water.  Had a bit of lunch and a little ice tea and no other hydration.  Then we went out in the evening.  A wee bit of red wine.  No water.  Come nighttime, there was little inspiration to guzzle a few glasses of water or V-8 at bedtime.  Then at midnight – KA-BOOM!  Leg cramp.  My RX worked perfectly. 

*My comments here are not medical advice.  

December 31, 1999

Does anyone remember the approach of the new millennium? I’m talking New Year’s Eve 1999.  Do you recall the media warnings that power grids might shut down. Telephone service interrupted. Computers could crash. And the world might come to an end. All because the shift from December 31, 1999, to January 1, 2000, to a new millennium, would cause these catastrophic “issues” with computer networks.

As an Eagle Scout – and with my penchant to “Be Prepared” – in the week prior to this possible cataclysm, I went out and bought a few gallons of bottled water, some cans of Chef Boyardee, Campbell’s soup and tuna and I squirreled away a couple thousand dollars in twenties and fifties. And we had a few bottles of Liberty School cabernet sauvignon — all just in case.  As the clock ticked toward the advent of the New Year, Donna and I hunkered down in bed and watched a movie.  I figured – hey – when ya got no control, ya got no problem. . . . .

So as the nudge from 11:59:59 p.m. to 12:00:01 occurred (in Africa, Europe, New York and Chicago) and the new year went off without a hitch, we turned off the lights and went to sleep.   We ate the canned pasta, consumed the soup over the coming year or so, spent the dollars, and we drank the cab (which was dutifully replenished).  

A few weeks ago, I went down to the basement and in the back of the closet behind some flower pots, there was a dusty gallon bottle of water.  Leftover from that fateful night.  No.  We’re not drinking it.  But it is being used to water plants in the house.   Eighteen year old water. . . . .

Christmas 2018

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 2018.  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!!