Saturday, October 29, 2011

How I Love The Patriot!

We are watching The Patriot (2000) with Mel Gibson, a very young Heath Ledger, an even younger Gregory Smith, Chris Cooper, Tchéky Karyo and a diabolical Jason Issacs, and Kristian Truelsen.

I love how it begins with delightful scenes of Colonial life in South Carolina, A Christian family, homeschooling (children teaching children), a story of family, honor, character, perseverance against all odds, and of course, patriotism.

I'm not sure I've seen it since it was in the theatres. I don't know why! It is very bloody, but so is war.

And at times, Gibson looks very Braveheart (1995). And if he was younger, I'm sure the part of Jean Villeneuve, the French man based on Lafayette, played by Tchéky Karyo would have been played by Gérard Depardieu. They look so much alike, I immediately though of Depardieu. But then, he did seem to fill every roll of a French man in American films for a long time.

So who in the world is Kris Truelsen? He played Hardwick (first seen about 58:30 into the DVD), and is the one that gives away the location of Benjamin Martin's (played by Gibson) men in swamp by the mission. He is subsequently burned in church with the others of the community.

And he's the brother of my college friend, Jeffrey Scott Truelsen, of Ithaca, NY/Cornell/Gorges Greyhounds . My first summer of college Jff used to read aloud Kris's letters (they corresponded frequently) and his name is a link to many fond memories.

Always a pleasure to see you Kris. I hope you make royalties on your work. Please put your picture up in! The one on your home page is a fantastic shot!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Another Blow for the Sexual Revolution? (Part 2 of 2)

HPV Cancer Facts & Sources

In the news articles I found (focused on men and throat cancer caused by HPV):
  • “A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth,” Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. (1) [And we are still dreaming. The HPV vaccine protects against 1/10 (4 of 40) types of HPV known strains.
  • Have a sore throat that lasts longer than two weeks? See a doctor, Chen cautioned:
    "Just because you're not a smoker or drinker doesn't mean you can't get throat cancer." (2)
  • The study, which appears in this week's New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), shows that men and women who reported having six or more oral-sex partners during their lifetime had a nearly ninefold increased risk of developing cancer of the tonsils or at the base of the tongue. (3)
  • Those infected with HPV were also 32 times more likely to develop this type of oral (oropharyngeal) cancer than those who did not have the virus. (3)
  • The [other] two major risk factors [for oropharyngeal cancer]: smoking (3 times greater) or drinking (2.5 times greater) [than the men who neither smoke nor drink]. (3)
  • The throat cancer concern is largest for men under 50 years of age.(4)
  • Cancer of the mouth and oropharynx were largely diagnosed in older men who smoked.
  • In Sweden by the mid 2000s the figure was 90%.(4)
  • Someone infected with HPV 16 - the strain linked to oral cancer- has a 14 fold increase in risk for getting oropharynx cancer.(4)
  • 'The higher the number of partners that you’ve had, the greater the odds that you’d have an oral infection.(4)
  • The American study of 300 people showed that those with more than six partners were almost nine times at greater risk of contracting the disease while those who had already experienced a previous oral HPV infection were 32 times more likely to develop cancer.(4)
  • Johns Hopkins University has revealed that the HPV virus poses a greater risk in contracting cancer than smoking or alcohol.(5)
  • American study of 300 people also found that that those with more than six partners were almost nine times at greater risk of contracting the disease.(5)
  • Researchers was the main mode of transmission of HPV but could not rule out that it could also be passed through kissing.(5)

From the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
  • Genital human papillomavirus (also called HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.
  • Each year, about 12,000 women get cervical cancer in the U.S. Almost all of these cancers are HPV-associated
  • 1,500 women and 5,600 men who get HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils) [Note: Many of these cancers may also be related to tobacco and alcohol use.]
  • Certain populations are at higher risk for some HPV-related health problems. This includes gay and bisexual men, and people with weak immune systems (including those who have HIV/AIDS).
  • People can also lower their chances of getting HPV by being in a faithful relationship with one partner; limiting their number of sex partners; and choosing a partner who has had no or few prior sex partners. But even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV. And it may not be possible to determine if a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected. That's why the only sure way to prevent HPV is to avoid all sexual activity.

My thoughts:
  • This puts a completely new spin on Bill Clinton and Lewinsky-gate.
  • Virgins are back in style. Will we now have a bride-price again?
  • Even people with one lifetime partner can get HPV. HOW?
  • Avoid all sexual activty? As in complete celibacy? And you can't determine if someone is infected?

Pre-colonial times, here we come.

Be sure to see the previous article. What are your thoughts?


(1) The New York Times (articles covers several items about this topic & the vaccine & insurance coverage)
(2) TIME (Their opening sentance is stunning!)
(3) CBS News
(4) The Daily Mail
(5) The Daily Mail

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another Blow for the Sexual Revolution? (Part 1 of 2)

I think of the Sexual Revolution as part of the mid-1960's counterculture: free love, feminism, bra burning, Woodstock, etc. Depending on your reference, the revolution may have begun in 1870s (Warning! Veggy Explicit Photo!).

After the 1960's, homosexual relationships bumped and ground their way to the forefront of our culture.

And then came HIV and AIDS. The first case was reported June 5, 1981. I remember reading a fascinating article about it, and who was 'Ground Zero.' I think it was in Parade Magazine, the insert of the Sunday paper (this would have been of The Cincinnati Enquirer). This issue included an article about those innocently infected, through blood transfusions, administering aide, etc.

AIDs as taken many a dear soul, including a friend of mine, and an employer.

The latest event, with perhaps the largest impact, is the discovery of HPV in men. The human papillomavirus  (yes, it is just two words), the cause of more than 70% of the cervical cancer in women, as well as cancer in other areas of the groin. It is something you have probably heard Gardasil vaccines advertised for young women. And now HPV found to be a cause of head and throat cancer in men (tongue, tonsils, throat).

This story broke in the UK in February 2011, with the information of the vaccine for boys. It took until October 2011 for me to hear of it, as the vaccine flag caught my attention tonight on the ABC News.

The $64,000.00 question is: can men then spread the cancer to others through kissing? AIDS requires a transfer of fluids. It appears that HPV does, as well.

Which is downright scary.

The Mr & Mrs are enjoying the fruits of the marriage. The Mrs develops cervical cancer, and passes. Her husband, seemingly free of any cancer, seeks a new wife. He doesn't know it, but he is carrying HPV virus in his throat.

Blessings! He finds a new bride. Can he now pass HPV to her through kissing? Or can it be passed only through the consummation of their marriage? (I'm trying to be sensitive to young readers...)

Now let's take it to the less conservative individuals ( i.e., those that are active outside of marriage). She's HPV positive, doesn't know it. He contracts it, doesn't know it. Can it be passed from kissing from him to others through? Or is it only through more intimate contact? If it can be passed by kissing, can it be passed to others by kissing as well? (He (A) kisses B, who kisses C, who kisses D, etc). Are they all able to be infected? Can it cause throat cancer in women? Or travel to their cervix? (See how this unwinds?!?)

The repercussions of this could be huge! Not only in a massive breakout of cancer in men and women (and cervical cancer is a very quick killer, averaging 6 weeks (like pancreatic cancer) from what I've seen), devastation of families and awareness of sexually transmitted diseases like never before.

Might it also drive us back to the a more puritanical time, before the sexual revolution began...perhaps even to the Colonial Era? Not only is the importance of virginal purity in a young person important (to protect them and their future spouse) but also the purity of the relationship itself. It could also radically change our fashion industry, as the Colonials wore long skirts clothing of full covering. They were circumspect in behavior.

Showing the ankle will be the new rage for "sex sells" in advertising. Imagine that!

What are your thoughts?

Be sure to see the next post  for facts about HPV.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unrecognized Signs of Gluten Intolerance

My mother's nurse called to say Mom's skin was irritated on her neck, arms and chest, and that she had an extended nose bleed (10 minutes). A several weeks ago she was extremely lethargic, because her sodium levels were too low, and has been an salt tablet ever since.

Nose bleeds, low sodium and dermatitis are all signs of gluten intolerance, according to a medical doctor who specializes in nutrition.

Her attending staff know she is gluten intolerant (so am I, my children, and so was her mother and many of grandma's siblings, her nieces/nephews and great nieces/nephews.) I was told it was genetic, but the doctor corrected me and said it was passed through the mothers. (Well, isn't that genetic?)

With this knowledge, then why is she fed oatmeal, wheat bread, and wheat-based crackers? Why do they bathe her and moisturize her skin with Aveeno (which contains oats) on her? Does the right hand not know what the left is doing?

How does it all work? When someone who is sensitive ingests gluten (the protein in wheat, oat, barley and rye), it affects their intestine. It might affect the upper or the lower intestine, or both. While the body is trying to process gluten, a few signs may be visible. When the body can no longer handle trying to process the gluten a number of signs may show up simultaneously.

In her case, she is unable to absorb much nutrition through her intestines, so her sodium drops. Her system is overwhelmed with gluten, and with it being applied topically, her skin is broken out. Her liquids are restricted to raise her sodium levels, so her mucus membranes have become dry (and we have had a brief Santa Ana wind), and a nose bleed has resulted.

These things are not unique. Every year in Northern Kentucky we could have a number of extended nosebleeds. The air would be dry from the heat, and without knowing about our gluten intolerance, we were ingesting it freely.

Mom was aware she was gluten intolerant a long time ago, but she chose not to make the simple dietary changes. Whenever we were in town, all the food would be gluten free (prepared by yours truly) and she would see wonderful improvements, including her memory (she was having a struggle saying the right word and talking about the past; she chose to be silent to cover her embarrassment).

After a short while of eating correctly her speech would flow and she'd be a chatterbox of historical events! It was amazing to witness. Then we would leave, she would return to eating gluten and the situation would reverse itself.

Frustrating, yes. Yet not as much as her staff bringing this suffering upon her while under their care.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

McDonald's versus Wendy's - Who Has the Better Burger?

Burgers! Sizzling red meat, fresh off the grill. When we were riding motorcyles and reading magazines on the subject, a favorite column was one beret wearing older guy, who would frequently comment on burgers. It became a common conversation..."we've got to try this burger joint!"

Being a Californian, nothing beats In N Out Burger. A great meat mix, freshest preparation, happy staff, always clean locations, and retro 1950's styling (an homage to their founding). Yes, we'll drive to find In N Out, even turn around. Best of all, they offer a "protein style" which perfect for those on low carb or on Gluten Free diets. They wrap the burger and topping lettuce leaves, leaving off the bun. We absolutely love it.

Sorry Five Guys Burgers. Imitation is flattering, yet you don't even come close with your bizillion ways to top your burger. And you cost nearly twice as much for a lot less flavor, a tougher patty, and music so loud you have to yell at your companions to be heard.

Back to McDonald's and Wendy's.*

Both of these restaurants are national, and McDonald's does own more real estate than anyone else. However, you don't have to drive too far to find a Wendy's. Ray Kroc vs Dave Thomas. Ronald McDonald the clown vs a Raggedy Ann version of Wendy. Ray, a visionary and highly organized, even owned a ball team. Big Dave from orphan to mogul. Talk about opportunity and drive.

So who has the better burger? McDonald's features the Angus Burger, and Wendy's has returned the
Hot 'n Juicy Burger campaign, popular 35 years ago. Angus took an advertising beating from Jack in the Box (highlighting ignorance of letters in words) and the Hot 'n Juicy campaign terminology has always been titillating, even 35 years ago.

Both burgers are advertised as freshly made. Hot off the grill. McDonald's has a lot of press about pre-made burgers. I personally don't know, but I can ask my good friend Terrence Hawkins.

McDonald's Angus burger is a thicker patty - 1/3 pounds of "juicy flavorful...100% Angus Beef"
They add a sesame bun - kudos! Ever since Bob's Big Boy platters (California-Style for you Midwest Frisch's fans) I love sesame buns!
The Angus burger is served in an enclosed box. The photos on the box indicate red onions and Swiss cheese. Perhaps those are for the speciality Angus burgers? The standard one is topped with white onions, mayo, mustard, sliced red tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and American cheese (although Wiki says it should be red onions. They were definitely white, sharp and strong like white onions can be.)

Wendy's Hot 'n Juicy 1/2 pounder is two 1/4 pound patties (there is a 1/4 pounder sandwich available), with a buttered toasted (always a nice flavorful touch!), and 'premium' toppings like crinkle cut pickles, sliced  red onions, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, sliced red tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, and American cheese.
The onions were red, and gave that sweet gentle flavor of red onions.

The first taste was of the meat itself. Wendy's meat (no toppings) definitely tasted better.

Overall, Wendy's sandwich tasted cleaner. Was it a better combination of toppings? Better meat? Wendy's has always proclaimed a superior meat product, from the (renewed) 'Where's the Beef' campaign to the many links on their website for Better Beef and It's All About the Beef. They also freely proclaim that your order is made fresh when you place it, and you can still modify the toppings if you desire (this was once a advertising campaign and mainstay). The website home page states "fresh never frozen beef," "no warming drawers," and "from the grill, to the bun, to you."

Sorry MickyD...the Angus has impressive size, but it just stand up to the superior flavor of Big Dave's Hot 'n Juicy. Go Wendy's!

And don't forget the Frosty!

*Disclaimer: my first job was at Wendy's Restaurant, at Turfway Road & US 25, Florence, Kentucky.