Time to Fall Back

. Saturday, October 31



It’s that time again. It’s time to throw a monkey wrench into your body’s rhythm by messing with your sleep cycle just to jump to the hands on the clock. While you may gain an hour the first day, what you’ll lose is an hour of daylight in the end. So, before we have to deal with a full case of Cabin Fever, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston offers up these tips to cope with the time change:

  • Stay away from caffeine and other stimulants, especially during the days before and after the time shift, and avoid napping for a few days because it can disrupt your sleeping at night.
  • Sleep through that extra hour if you can instead of trying to get things done.
  • Don't drive if you feel sleepy because of the time shift. Consider taking public transportation for a few days to give your body time to adjust.
  • Relax, avoid stress and remember to take your regular medications over the weekend of the time change.

For those who have trouble sleeping overall, try the following:

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same times, even on weekends. No sleeping in.
  • Avoid food and drinks with caffeine after lunch, including coffee, tea, soda and chocolate.
  • Take 15 to 30 minutes to wind down before heading off to bed.
  • Keep your room dark, quiet and cool; ear plugs and eye masks can help.
  • Keep in mind that time in front of screens -- the computer or television varieties -- before bedtime can disrupt sleep.
  • Don't work or study right before bedtime, in order to allow yourself to relax.
  • Don't exercise strenuously right before bedtime.

Learn more at the National Sleep Foundation.

Soap or Sanitizer? Both.

. Wednesday, October 28


The most common way for any germ to enter the body is through the mouth, nose and eyes via the hands. Try to be aware of how often your hands stray to your face, and you will see for yourself just how infectious germs are carried to their target.

The difficulty of killing those germs on your hands arises when those left behind after washing or sanitizing develop a resistance to the agents in the products used to mutate and continue to infect. Ironically, the biggest culprit is antibacterial soap that leaves behind enough of a residue for the germs to become immune to it.

Washing your hands with warm water and soap is still the most effective way of preventing the spread of germs. But, it’s the technique that makes it so. It’s important to suds up and scrub for at least 20 seconds. That allows the suds to penetrate every nook and cranny of the skin, with the added benefit of actually cleaning your hands, especially in the bathroom. Plus, soap will kill e coli, a particularly potent germ that hand sanitizers won’t kill.

That’s not to say that hand sanitizers don’t have a place in the war against germs, as long as the product used contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Alcohol kills by dissolving the germ cell’s membrane and evaporates quickly so that nothing is left behind for the germs still present to become immune to.

Like soap and water, it is important to rub sanitizer into your hands until the alcohol evaporates. And don’t worry, it won’t dry out your hands.

Pilot: 150 Miles Not a Serious Event

. Sunday, October 25


"It was not a serious event, from a safety issue," said Northwest Airlines pilot Richard Cole. "I would tell you more, but I've already told you way too much."

With an investigation in progress, few details have come out about the now two-going-on-three day old mishap of overshooting the destination by 150 miles. That overshot prompted the National Guard to be put on alert if needed to chase down the rogue jetliner.

While the 144 passengers were unaware of anything amiss, the flight crew stated that no one was sleeping, there were no arguments, and no one noticed that they weren’t in communication with the ground, according to one police report. The pilot and captain had just come off a 19 hour layover and were at the beginning of their work week. Both passed the breathalyzer, and both were apologetic.

Instead, the report cited the crew “indicated they had been having a heated discussion about airline policy.”

Nice cover. We can all rest assured that Northwest Airlines employees were only talking about work-related topics as they flew aimlessly around the sky. And, by the way, it’s not a serious event. Right.

First Family Portrait Released

. Saturday, October 24


The official first family portrait is shown here, compliments of the financially strapped Annie Leibovitz, noted for her fiasco with shooting young Miley Cyrus topless in 2008. Unclear is why the Obamas chose Leibovitz instead of the official White House photographer.

Taking up the “relaxed” posturing that Leibovitz wants to be noted for, the Obamas are dressed in monotone black and white, except for a random tie, with the overall feel of a quick trip to a funeral.

Whatever it was she was going for with this particular photograph is lost to me. To my eye, the focus is on the background, not the Obamas, making the whole thing look fragmented and busy.

But, that’s just me.

Jackson Portrait by Warhol in Nov Auction

. Friday, October 23


Mark November 10 in your calendar, and plan on a trip to New York City, because on that day, Christie’s Auction House will be auctioning off one of Andy Warhol’s 1984 paintings of Michael Jackson.  The portrait is a 30 x 26 silk screen, one of a small group of Jackson that Warhol did around the same time. One of the other paintings in the collection sold for over $1 million, but this one is expected to bring in $500,000 to $700,000.

Example of Why Health Care Needs to Change

. Wednesday, October 21


Meet Aislin Bates, a healthy two-year-old that is a bit tad small for her age, introduced to the world on Wednesday morning’s “The Today Show” on NBC. She weighs 22 pounds, which puts her in the one-third percentile for kids her age, and based on that one fact, United HealthCare denied her medical coverage. She just doesn’t meet height and weight standards.

Looking at the case as one of a PR nightmare, the insurance company is back-pedaling with statements such as “it’s an industry standard,” and “the CDC itself releases these standard guidelines.” Still, United HealthCare will not include Aislin in the family’s health insurance policy.

Dr. Nancy Snyderman said it best when she said, “This is just so bogus. A pre-existing condition for a child this age is birth, let’s be real..... This is why things have to change."

Arkansas State Budget Under the Ax

. Tuesday, October 20


While Arkansas has slid by unscathed by much of the current economic woes that have brought much of the country to its knees, the yearly state budget’s fluctuations have taken a turn for the worse, according to KHTV out of Little Rock.

Acting on advice from the Department of Finance and Administration, Governor Mike Beebe announced today that the proposed 2010 state budget will include a hefty $100 million cut.

Programs most severely effected by funding cuts will be the Department of Corrections, Community Corrections, the Department of Health and the State Police, all of which receive the most funding from the state.

Standing firm in funding are those programs that receive federal funding along with state funds, such as the Department of Labor and the Department of Human Services.

Governor Beebe advised an already overcrowded corrections system to “punish them in some other way besides taking up a penitentiary bed that we need for a murder or rapist, armed robber or somebody that will hurt you."

Beebe also stated that layoffs will not be necessary as long as unfilled positions remain empty.

Who NOT to Call from Jail

. Monday, October 19


You know how it goes. You go out to a few bars with friends, tie on a good one, and three sheets to the wind later, you’re climbing behind the wheel of your car to head home. In no time at all, you see flashing lights in your rear view mirror, you fail the sobriety test and the next thing you know, the officer has his hand on your head, guiding it safely into the back seat of his cruiser. Well, maybe you don’t know how it goes. I don’t either, but I saw it on TV.

Next thing you know, you’re at the police station, ticketed and told when to show up to court. And, there’s the door. Only, your car is still out on the highway and you are miles away. What do you do? You call your friend, the only one that will answer the phone at 2:00 a.m.

That’s about what happened in upstate NY last night. All’s well that ends well, right? Not quite. Stacy Kolinski, 22, showed up at the police station to pick up George Reddick, her drunken friend – with a blood alcohol level of .20, more than twice the legal limit. Kolinski was charged with aggravated DWI and also given a summons to appear in court.

Yep, that’s a match made in heaven…

SAD Bigger Threat Than H1N1



It’s that time of year when shortened daylight hours takes its toll on the moods of millions of people. The result is devastating. Why? According to Dr. Keith Ablow, Seasonal Affective Disorder will cost the economy dearly in lost productivity during a time when we can least afford it.

SAD is a bout of major depression linked to less available sunshine. “The symptoms can include sadness, tearfulness, decreased concentration, decreased self-esteem, low energy, alterations in sleep patterns and appetite, loss of interest in hobbies and work and, in severe cases, thoughts of suicide,” said Ablow, noting that the same treatments used for non-seasonal depression will work, and possibly the use of bright light therapy.

Depression is damaging, and this year, SAD will reach epidemic levels to the point where it is a far greater threat than the H1N1 virus because it is “so responsive to treatment.” Keep a close watch, and head it off before it takes hold before SAD escalates and warrants the attention this defeatable malady deserves.

Welcome to Hypocrisy U

. Sunday, October 18


Just last month, Arkansas launched a state lottery for the purpose of providing college scholarships for its students. In its first four days, the lottery took in $1.4 million dollars.

With the purpose of the lottery in mind, one staunchly prohibitive Christian university in central Arkansas, Harding University, decided to exempt the lottery from its anti-gambling code of conduct. Today, however, the university changed its mind:

"My intention was to express in our policy the reality that it will be very difficult to enforce any prohibition against the lottery," said President David Burks. "In an attempt to avoid one appearance of hypocrisy, I made a decision that has itself come to be viewed as hypocritical."

Not entirely clear how any of the colleges who chose to ban participation in the state lottery will be dealt with, Burks stated that his intent is to stand firm against gambling and will at least issue verbal and written warnings to any student caught playing the lottery.

As much as Dr. Burks wanted to avoid the appearance of hypocrisy, he has anyway, and in full color. The Harding University mission statement includes this little snippet of wisdom, listed as the first goal of the school:

Generally, the integration of faith, learning and living - developing the whole person through a commitment to Christ and to the Bible as the Word of God, an emphasis on lifelong intellectual growth, and the encouragement of Christian service and world missions through a servant-leadership lifestyle.

Wouldn’t “Christian service” include freely giving in order to help Arkansans increase their access to higher education? The gambling aspect of the lottery is minute in comparison, wouldn’t you think?

Maybe. It might not be much of a consideration considering that the vast majority of Harding University students are not Arkansas residents, with only a handful from the city in which the university resides. The private college oozes money and wields its power over the city, the county, and yes, the state, often dictating which businesses will or will not operate within its radius of influence.

Harding, along with other denominational religious groups, stood firmly against the state lottery, but lost to the choice of the voting citizenship. Arkansans want to support Arkansas, and spoke their mind. Perhaps, with the lottery scholarship in hand, a few college bound Arkansas teenagers will choose to attend Harding.

At that point, Harding will probably just increase tuition to remain out of reach. Welcome to Hypocrisy U.

All That Dung is Valauble After All

. Saturday, October 17


While the “green” advocates run amok over certain biological emissions, JBS's Five Rivers Cattle Feeding lots near Kersey, CO are doing something about it. JBS has found that if you heat cow excrement, it produces energy. Testing is underway now at JBS’s two large feed lots and the local slaughterhouse. They’re calling it “new technology.” Here’s the prototype of the shit burning machine:


Not a Dummy After All



The neighbors didn’t call the police. They thought the body slumped over in a chair on their neighbor’s patio was just part of a Halloween display and thought nothing of it.

Instead, Mostafa Mahmoud Zayed, 75, of a Marina del Rey apartment complex had died of a single gunshot wound to an eye, an apparent suicide. Sure, everyone noticed the slumped body, but didn’t think it unusual. Zayed’s body had been there since Monday.

Suicide Advocate Investigators Stumped


Bill Melchert-Dinkel outside home in Minnesota
 For Sunday Mercury use
 He is being investigated by Minnesota police for allegedly encouraging people to commit suicide in internet chatrooms.
 Picture taken by Toronto Star

Meet William Melchert-Dinkel, a Minnesota nurse under investigation for encouraging suicides on various Internet message boards. Several family members of those who tried to or succeeded at attempts to commit suicide have evidence that communication with Melchert-Dinkel occurred just before with encouragement and specifics on how to succeed based on his nursing training.

In January, 2009, Melchert-Dinkel put himself into a hospital for his addiction to Internet suicide sites and feelings of guilt for past and present advice on how to end life. Called a suicide fetish, he would often pose as a 28 year old woman on suicide message boards to make suicide pacts with others.

With the list of complaints coming from the US, Canada and England, officials are not only uncertain of the issue of jurisdiction, but what particular law these alleged crimes fall under. A precedence in the making, families just want this heinous criminal put in jail.

Obama Gets a Pat on the Back from India

. Sunday, October 11


Though the topic of Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to “rid the world of nuclear arms and to bridge the divide with the Muslim world” is a hot one, kudos to Sudarshan Pattnaik for creating this sand sculpture on the Golden Sea beach in Puri, India to commemorate the occasion.

Too bad he ran out of room for that last letter!

One Job, Six Ready to Do It: One Tough Job Market

. Friday, October 9


For every job opening, there are now 6.3 people available to fill that position. It is the toughest job market since 1950, according to the Department of Labor.

The numbers don’t add up:

14.9 million people are unemployed.

7.2 million jobs lost, plus the 125,00 per month needed to keep up with population growth.

Fewer people are now facing job loss.

Unemployment will reach 10 percent early next year and drop back to 8.6 by 2012.

Output is recovering, but without the recovery in jobs. Employers laid off huge numbers, but productivity and output continued to jump. Employers are content to see just how far they can push productivity up without hiring again.

Kiss and Make Up Not Always a Good Idea

. Saturday, October 3


At one point or another, we all do it. We argue, fight, hurt each other, say things we never thought would come out of our mouths, do some major damage, only to kiss and make up once the guilt takes over. Does it work? Not always.

That kiss and make up doesn’t always work was proven yesterday in Louisiana when a woman bit her boyfriend’s tongue so hard that she was covered with “a large amount of blood” when she was arrested.

Of course it’s a “he said… she said…” incident. During an argument, the woman whacked her boyfriend over the head with a beer bottle – he said. She said she didn’t bother with a beer bottle, but admitted to biting his tongue when he tried to kiss and make up.  Not only did he try to kiss her, he spoke lewd, sweet nothings in her ear that set her off once again. She bit down hard.

Take it home: If you’re going to try the kiss-and-make-up tactic, be 100 percent sure both of you are ready to make up… Or else!